Pa Chee Wang – Female pirate of the Andaman Sea

  • Vessel
  • PIrates' vessel
  • phrao vessel
  • Pa Chee Wang loookalaike

A few years back, while I was looking for information on the Andaman area, I came across this text by Prasit Shinnakarn published in Phuket Bulletin of July 2007. I found it quite interesting, and I am sure you will too: 

Still today, if you were to mention the name of Pa Chee Wang along the Andaman coastline, you would be almost guaranteed to be met with a stir. Pa Chee Wang was born in a Phang Nga fishing village called Wang Mor Gang. Unfortunately, her lovely face was ruined by a harelip and this caused her to suffer from depression during her teenage years. The name ‘Wang’ means roughly ‘a chipped mouth’ and locals never let her forget the fact that she didn’t look the same as they did. One day the girl disappeared from the village.

PIrates' vessel

PIrates’ vessel

10 years later, ships trading between Krabi, Phang Nga and Phuket often encountered a certain female pirate, situation which continued occuring for years, making the Andaman Sea a place of dread. To be avoided at all costs was a female dressed in white, her face covered. People said she was a cruel, avaricious, and bloodthirsty pirate. During each attack, she commanded her crew from the ship’s figurehead. It was believed that she had a special prayer incantation, which was the key to her success.

Sailors soon called her Pa Chee Wang (Chee came from her nun-like outfit). She proved a scourge – despite many efforts on behalf of authorities to get rid of her and her shipmates. She soon became a legend and a local even wrote a ballad about her that sang about her indestructibility to men and of her ability to stop bullets. Nowadays, psychologists might explain that her facial handicap led her to overcompensate; others may claim that rejection by her community deeply scarred her.

phrao vessel

phrao vessel

Phraya Borirakphuthorn, the first Governor of Phang Nga, was informally called Phraya Phang Nga Tab Lek (the iron liver Governor), which came from his love for adventures. His favourite pastime was to go hunting, especially for crocodiles and tigers. At that time Phang Nga was described as an isolated town surrounded by a tropical forest that was the hunting grounds of Bengal tigers, sea and brackish water crocodiles. The Governor went hunting for them on a boat with his friends and would use spear instead of a gun, although they kept weapons just in case things went badly. So it was logical the he would have a go at defeating Pa Chee Wang.

They finally faced each other off Koh Yao, an island in the Phang Nga Bay to the east of Phuket. Phraya Borirakphuthorn shouted for the pirate to surrender. He provoked the anger of the female pirate who replied with shots. It is said that this lack of composure made her lose concentration and that her opponent capitalised on this with a veritable broadside. However, Pa Chee Wang rallied her crew and in doing so, stood up and exposed herself. The Governor fired his flintlock and the charge hit her full in the chest. Her white nun-like robe was soon stained in bright red blood as she struggled for life. Soon she was dead.

The Governor pulled his boat up alongside the pirates’ vessel and declared victory. This was the end of the female scourge’s life and all that remained of her was a ballad.

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About the author

Thomas has a university background in the UK and in Latin America, with studies in Languages and Humanities, Culture, Literature and Economics. He started his Asian experience as a publisher in Krabi in 2005. Thomas has been editing local newspapers and magazines in England, Spain and Thailand for more then fifteen years. He is currently working on several projects in Thailand and abroad. Apart from Thailand, Thomas has lived in Italy, England, Venezuela, Cuba, Spain and Bali. He spends most of his time in Asia. During the years Thomas has developed a great understanding of several Asian cultures and people. He is also working freelance, writing short travel stories and articles for travel magazines. Follow Thomas on

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