UK publisher Colin Hastings dies in Chonburi crash. Expats mourn loss – Tributes flood in after tragic accident claims life of veteran Fleet Street journalist turned Bangkok local. No alcohol involved.

Tributes continue to pour in after the tragic death of popular British publisher Colin Hastings in a car accident last Sunday. Police and emergency services were called after his car hit a residence wall in the Sattahip area of Chonburi. The veteran journalist and publisher arrived in Bangkok in 1973 in the heyday of journalism and reporting from the Southeast Asian war theatre at that time. He went on to make Thailand his home. The 74-year-old was the publisher of the widely-circulated Big Chilli expat lifestyle magazine.

Veteran UK publisher Colin Hastings. The 74-year-old publisher of the Big Chilli magazine died on Sunday in a car accident. It took place in the Sattahip area of Chonburi. Mr Hastings was pronounced dead at 3.15 pm.

The expat community in Thailand is in shock after the death of legendary UK publisher Colin Hastings. Mr Hastings died on Sunday afternoon after a car crash in the Sattahip area of Chonburi.

Emergency services were called to the scene by the owners of a residential property into which Mr Hastings’ black Toyota Vios car had crashed. 

Collision saw airbags deployed as the Toyota Vios hit a residence wall at speed. Efforts to revive the elderly publisher failed and he was declared dead

The collision discharged the airbags in the vehicle. Afterwards, paramedics dragged Mr Hastings from his car.

At length, they attempted to revive him by giving him CPR. However, all efforts failed, and he was declared dead at the scene. The time of death was recorded as 3.15 pm.

Mr Hastings was one of the most high-profile members of the expat community in Thailand.

A director of the British Club in Bangkok, he arrived in the Thai capital in 1973, two years before the fall of Saigon and at a time when the world’s eyes were focused on Southeast Asia.

The veteran journalist worked for many publications, including the Bangkok Post and Media Transasia, before establishing the Big Chilli Magazine in 1999.

At this time, the Big Chilli is one of the last published magazines in Thailand.

Big Chilli is a lifestyle magazine for expats, distributed in expat heartlands such as Bangkok, Pattaya, Hua Hin, Phuket, Ko Samui, and Chiang Mai. The publication has a circulation of approximately 35,000 copies.

Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Thailand paid tribute to the long-standing magazine publisher and a veteran of Fleet Street reporting in Southeast Asia

On Tuesday, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Thailand paid tribute to Mr Hastings, referring to him as one of the last Fleet Street journalists to work in the kingdom.

It also praised his business acumen for keeping the Big Chilli magazine afloat in what is an extremely challenging time for print publishers, especially in Thailand.

Fleet Street in central London was traditionally the headquarters of the United Kingdom’s leading newspaper titles in the 20th century. Indeed, many top British media firms are still headquartered nearby.

Jim Thompson the original ‘farang’ who ushered in the heyday of the expat in 20th century Thailand

On Sunday, staff of the Big Chilli magazine in the Chilom area of Bangkok were among the first to announce the news of the loss.

In addition to praising their boss’s achievements, a post on the magazine’s social media read: ‘It is with heavy hearts that we inform you of the passing of Colin Hastings this afternoon due to a tragic car accident. We are deeply saddened by this loss. Further details will be shared as soon as we receive them. Please keep Colin’s family and loved ones in your thoughts during this difficult time.’

Across the expat online community, tributes have been paid to the popular UK man.

For instance, The Irish Thai Chamber of Commerce described him as ‘one of our own,’ a warmhearted compliment.

Mr Hastings is remembered as a sportsman and a board member of the British Club in Bangkok. He ran the widely circulated Big Chilli lifestyle magazine

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Thailand has promised to publish an extensive tribute to Mr Hastings, in addition to his funeral details.

On Sunday, in its Club News section, it offered some insight into Mr Hastings’ long career.

‘A veteran British journalist with Fleet Street experience, Colin arrived in Bangkok in 1973, and worked on numerous publications with the Bangkok Post and at Media Transasia,’ it wrote. ‘He went on to become the first editor of Thailand Tatler in 1991, and in 1999 launched his own expat-focused publication, Big Chilli, which he managed to keep afloat while print media all over the world went out of business. A superb squash player, Colin was an outstanding all-round sportsman. He served on the board of the British Club and moved as easily in Thai society as he did in foreign circles. The FCCT will publish a fuller tribute to Colin in the coming days, along with details of arrangements for his funeral.’

Remembered fondly by his local in Bangkok. The Royal Oak Bar on Sukhumvit Road where it was noted he was a regular before most of the staff were born

Afterwards, one of the most poignant portraits of Mr Hastings came from his local pub, The Royal Oak on Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok, a favoured haunt for foreigners.

The tribute read: ‘All the staff at The Royal Oak have been deeply shocked at the tragic news of the passing of our dear friend Colin Hastings. Firstly, we would like to pass on our heartfelt condolences from every one of us at the Oak to Colin’s family and friends at this difficult time. Colin had frequented these premises long before most of the staff were born. In all that time, I doubt you will find anybody with a bad word to say about him, certainly not our staff whom he always treated with the utmost respect.’

The note then went on to describe the active role Mr Hastings played in that community as well.

‘Colin was a member of our Sunday club, an informal group of long-term expat residents who gather every Sunday afternoon in the Oak. I’m not sure Sundays will ever be the same. Our small, tight-knit community has been hit hard by the loss of our dear friend Colin. We will be holding our own fitting tribute to him in due course.’

Daughter expressed her anguish in a brief statement

Meanwhile, Mr Hastings’ 44-year-old actress daughter Angie released a harrowing statement.

‘I lost my father; we are still in shock. I just need some time,’ it read.

Ms Hastings is an accomplished actress who appeared in numerous films and TV shows from 2000 to 2016. She is a media studies graduate from Kingston University in London.

Following the accident on Sunday, Mr Hastings’ body was sent to the Institute of Forensics in Bangkok for an autopsy. Certainly, this is just a routine procedure under police regulations.

In the meantime, police have confirmed that no third party is being sought in connection with the accident. 

Police confirm the death of Mr Hastings was a tragic accident. Certainly, no alcohol involved. The 74-year-old may have had an underlying health condition

At the same time, they have extended their deepest condolences to Mr Hastings’ family.

Police Lieutenant Santichon Hoomart of Sattahip Police Station suggested that Mr Hastings may have been driving at speed. The UK publisher is understood to have had a medical condition.

In short, he confirmed that no alcohol was involved in the accident.

‘The victim is not believed to have been drunk. There was no smell of alcohol. There are no other charges in the case, and nobody is under suspicion of any crimes,’ he told reporters. ‘It was an accident. The driver’s insurance will pay for the damage to the wall.’

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