Single-storey shophouses advertised for rent are now common in what was once a packed Myanmar community in Ranong's Muang district. Some families have left their belongings -- including a bicycle, in one instance -- as if in a hurry to leave the country.
A few days after the police arrested four Myanmar migrant workers over the brutal stabbing murder of a 17-year-old student in a nearby alley on Sept 28, at least three households moved back to Myanmar.
Now, two months later, all is quiet. Stories from the suspects, relayed by their friends and family, that they were tortured into confessing have spread like wildfire through the migrant worker community. Visits in the night by police investigators have also fuelled fears that their children might be snatched for questioning.
Teenagers no longer occupy gaming cafes or play pool. Billboard signs calling for justice that were once placed in front of the temple near the alley were removed last Sunday. "The atmosphere has changed," said Attaporn Emwat, the owner of a shrimp processing factory.