Friday, 11 December 2009

The Thai King and Lese Majeste

The literary magazine ‘Granta’ published a series of essays, probably in 1998, by noted media commentators expressing their immediate reactions upon hearing the news of Princess Diana’s death in a car crash. As I recall, many of the articles were suspicious of the British Queen’s possible involvement in the accident. The writers expressed that their initial reactions ranged from “a fortuitous event for the monarch” to; to my own personal favourite; “did the Queen fix her brakes?”

In the UK and many other countries, we have the freedom to criticise our leaders. For the most part, those occupying privileged positions are not protected from public censure, freedom of thought and the ability to voice those thoughts is considered to be an essential human right.

Not so in Thailand. Sixty three years after the murder of his brother, Rama VIII behind closed doors in the palace where the only other occupant of the room was the present incumbent, any free discussion, albeit in private, as to the mystery may well result in 15 years imprisonment under the country’s draconian lese majeste laws. A law I hasten to add, which is frequently enacted to suppress political dissent as well as to shroud matters the monarchy do not wish broadcast.

The scope of Thailand’s lese majeste decree is pervasive and directly encroaches upon many aspects of a just enforcement of the local system. Thailand’s king is the recognised supremo of the police, the judiciary and the prison system and despite it being common knowledge that these institutions are absolutely corrupt, speaking out against them very often results in further convictions for breaches of lese majeste edicts.

Thai academics such as Prof. Uwanno Boewonsak, a member of the king’s Privy Council, preached in the Bangkok Post early this year that having a Lese Majeste law which protected the incumbent from public reproach was not at the expressed wish of the king, but rather at the universal acclaim of the people. Only Thais, as a function of their dismally low IQ’s (75-85) could be gulled by this rejection of logic. Boewonsak declared that, unlike Thais, we Farangs were flawed (shades of 1984), because we didn’t sufficiently revere the monarchy, which mental defect enabled us to think subversive thoughts in respect to Rama IX.

I consider that the Thai people embrace the lese majeste law not because of love for Rama IX but rather from fear of the king. Much in the same way that Dr. Goebbels promoted the common Germans’ love of the Fuhrer in Nazi Germany, and comrade Beiria gave the Russian proletariat a cozy warm feeling towards Stalin with his brand of propogrands, so Prof. Dr. Uwanno Boewonsak is doing his damnedest to present a fratricide as a loving father of his nation.

Is it true though that Bhumbibol is universally loved by the populace? Given the low IQ this shouldn’t prove to be an impossible task for any self-respecting public relations commissar to maintain. Such though is the resilience (and the internet goes a long way to help  ) of the inquisitiveness of humankind, that global facts can’t remain repressed forever. Despite a predilection for rejecting contrary data inherent in the Thai people, even ‘Local’ data passes into the ‘global’ domain.

In fact, it’s very much because of Thai ‘doublethink’ that the true negative value of a ‘local fact is not seen as a dangerous truth. Thanks to the Internet, local truths can be both readily promulgated and verified.

A significant number of Thais don’t unreservedly love Bhumbibol, Several Thai publications decry the number of Thai language websites that are notably anti-monarchy. One such article stated that 2,700 sites were, by order of the ministry of information and communications technology, closed down each week because of content that portrayed the king and his family in a seditious manner. This number sounds high to me, but even at one tenth the value it is strongly indicative that a significant number of Thais are insisting upon their human right to document the abuses imposed upon the nation by a hypocritical (alleged) fratricide.

A fundamental failing of the Thai intellect is their inability to reason long term effects from prior causes. A Thai will confidently broadcast an easily dis-provable statement to achieve a short-term advantage.

One such claim is that Bhumbibol, and selected members of the Chakri dynasty, have been revered throughout the whole of their reign. The ‘immediate’ facts do indeed seem to support this assertion. Enter any Thai dwelling school or business and you’ll see innumerable posters of Rama V or Rama IX festooning the available wall space.

Has this adulation for the monarch extended all the way back to the start of his reign and beyond? Yes, most assuredly according to Thai historians, certainly not according to more research minded non-Thai historians. However, in fairness, one must remember that anyone who even remotely hints that the incumbent is anything other than universally adored – and note well, this equally applies to non-Thais commenting from outside of Thailand! – is liable to join me in the Bangkok Hilton for up to 15 years hard time.

Notwithstanding Thailand’s attempt to enforce a global ban on reporting the true history of its monarchy, publications such as the UK’s Economist (www.economist.com) have some very fine articles exposing the ‘myth behind the monarch’. A good summation was included in the December 04 2008 article entitled: “A right royal mess”, banned in Thailand (http://www.economist.com/world/asia/displaystory.cfm?story_id=12724800 - fourteen day free subscription required).

Regarding the fable that Bhumbibol has been universally adored since his ascension (1946), The Economist reports that the main reason Thailand didn’t become a republic by 1970 was the Vietnam War. At the start of American involvement in the war the Thais universally despised the King, not loved him. Needing a staunch ally against communist incursion into the last region not controlled by Bolshevikism, the United States of America pumped millions of dollars into an ongoing campaign to brainwash the Thais into loving their king. One manifestation of this was to simultaneously strictly enforce the then lese majeste laws as well as insisting that each home was given posters of the Royal family. For more info on the USA and their Cold War antics in Thailand have a look at ‘The Revolutionary King: The True-life Sequel to "The King and I"’; ISBN-13: 978-1841194516, a book banned in Thailand as it tells a bit more than they want people to know

For myself though, I prefer to use intellectual jujitsu against my enemies. In this case official Thai statistics. As said, the Thais are definitely not the sharpest knives in the cutlery draw, in fact you’d be hard pressed to find any blunter! Without foreseeing the consequences, senior members of the Thai ministry of Information and Communication Technology permitted the state executioner, Chuvaret Juraboon, to publish ‘petchakart concuthai’ (the last executioner) :ISBN 974-924-446-x.
An English language version of the book was sanitised for overseas readers, but not included in that English version was a table of the numbers of those machine gunned to death by Juraboon and his ilk and the crimes they were alleged to have committed.

The table presented on page 174 of the book relates that between 1935 and 2003, 319 people were executed; 3 of those females. The table categorises the executions of follows:

For murder - 270
For security against the kingdom offences - 5
For offences against the Royal family - 19
For drug cases - 25

Now hang on there for a minute. Nineteen people executed for, presumably, attempting to assassinate the world’s best loved monarch, surely not? What one has to bear in mind is that there are also an unspecified number of would be assassins who were unfortunately gunned down by the fratricides bodyguards and were dead before they could stand trial. I’ll leave it to you to guesstimate now many.

Perhaps I should rethink my position of being a republican and study Comrade Marx instead? Seems like Bhumbibol rarely has a year that isn’t ‘annus horriblis’. Fingers crossed though nudge, nuge, wink, wink.

Bang Kwang Bridget.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

More D2 Death Row information.

There may have been some confusion over my last entry on the blog on the subject of Death Row. This is my fault for not being more specific, sorry.

The 24 names given were for those on D2 Death Row who had been excluded, although eligible, from the Kings Birthday amnesty on December 5th 2007. It is by order of the incumbent that :

drug cases, whether the sentence is death, life or numbered must be excluded from the first amnesty which by virtue of having exhausted all appeals in the courts they would have otherwise received

Having exhausted 3 courts, the only possible means for someone who is on a Death sentence to get a commutation to life, is by an appeal to the King. However, only in exceptionally rare cases will the Monarch rule on this before he receives notification that the victim is scheduled for imminent execution. The appeal process frequently takes many years and the victim is only ever informed of the Kings decision to decline a reduction in sentence about 2-3 hours before the actual execution. Of course the Thailand Department of Corrections will have been aware of this decision for the prior two or three weeks. The source of this information is none other than Chuvaret Juraboon, in the Thai language version of his book “The Last Executioner”.

This clearly invalidates the Prime Minister’s statement that the execution of Bundit and Jirawat was without Government or Palace sanction.

An incredible amount of International disapproval was justifiably levelled at Thailand following the last executions, so much so that the subsequent executions of Manop Janthima and Ayo Ayi (numbers 4 and 10 on the previous blog) had to be cancelled.

At the time of writing this blog entry (18/10/09) the following figures for D2 (note the Hilton has two Death Rows, D2 and D5) are applicable:

Total number on D2 Death Row – 308

Of these 32 are non-Thai and 276 are Thai

The 32 non Thai are from
Laos – 4
Kampuchea (Cambodia) – 2
Myanmar (Burma) -13
Malaysia – 3
China – 3
Taiwan – 7

Of the 308 victims
Drugs – 154
Murder – 130
Armed Robbery – 23
Sexual Offences – 1

The following applies solely for those with drug convictions:

Number of individuals whose cases are finished and all appeals exhausted and so requiring a Kings Pardon for a stay of execution – 47

Those awaiting the verdict of their appeal to the Utun court – 34

Those awaiting ratification of the Thai Supreme Court (Dika) of their death sentence – 73

The above victims must be eligible for 2 Amnesties before being allowed a sentence reduction to Life. The next Amnesty, which may not even apply to Drug convictions as has happened in the past, will possibly be announced in either May 2010 or even December 2010.

The following numbers are for non-drug cases. As such Amnesties always apply to them and without restriction (all are Death Row statistics):

Murder
Case finished, all appeals exhausted – 15
Awaiting ratification of Dika court – 59
Awaiting ratification of Utun court – 56

Armed Robbery
Case finished, all appeals exhausted – 2
Awaiting ratification of Dika court – 9
Awaiting ratification of Utun court – 12

Sex Offences
Case finished, all appeals exhausted – 0
Awaiting ratification of Dika court – 0
Awaiting ratification of Utun court – 1


Be Well and Be Happy and spare a thought for those listed

Gary

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Sexual Abuse in Thai Prisons

If accounts of sexual abuse offend you then you’d be well advised to disregard this blog. I must also add that whilst this report focuses upon sex practices as a ‘power game’ in the men’s prison, I have no doubt whatsoever that incidents in the women’s prison are far, far worse.

Equally, and for the record, my personal belief is that adults are free to engage in any consensual indulgence that they want in private. The operative words being: adult, consensual and private. Who am I to say that others should conform to my heterosexual ‘norms’.

Thailand, as a country, has managed to blur sexual identity, So much so that a third sex- The katoey, or lady-boy – clamours for official recognition in both public affairs and sporting events. Generally, a katoey (pronounced ka-toy-ee) is a male who has had some or all of their primary sexual characteristics – penis, breasts, surgically modified so that they appear as females. The degree of augmentation mostly is confined to breasts.

A small, but significant, percentage of Thailand’s 350,000 inmate population are katoey. As they are obviously highly noticeable in a male-only conglomerate, although they tend to be very aggressive, they aren’t usually a problem here in the Hilton. They do sell their sexual favours, but as it is on a purely voluntary basis, no one is coerced to have sex with them.

Bring, ostensibly, a male (and katoey) only environment, as one rightly suspects, homosexuality is rife, In this respect, like any other prison regime with long-term sentences, and the average in Thailand is 25 years for all types of offences, same sex partnerships are the only viable means of mutual sexual gratifications. Nevertheless, any form of sexual release, whether ‘sold’ or with partner, is prohibited and in Building 2, by order of the building chief screw Bunlom Conwichet, punished by public degradation.

This prohibition though does not apply to the screws reporting to Conwichet. They are free and I stress encouraged, to rape any of the inmate occupants in the building. This ‘courtesy’ extends to the kapos (trustee inmates).

When a screw or a kapo rapes an inmate, sexual gratification is a secondary objective. The prime purpose is to reinforce the status held by those assigned over us. Whereas in the general homosexual community the ‘pleasures’ are mutual and are achieved in private, rapes of inmates by the screws and kapos are usually public displays. Further, these rapes involve the inmate being anally penetrated by the screw/kapo, or alternatively the inmate is forced to fellate the rapist. In some instances the victim is compelled to clean the aggressor’s flaccid penis orally, post penetration.

For the screws and kapos to subjugate Thai’s isn’t considered a forceful display of domination. To really drive the lesson that the screws and kapos can do with us as they consider fit, acts of buggery and fellatio with a non-Thai as the victim enforces the exercise.

Until recently – that is since the early part of 2009 when screw Sangpol Thongnoal transferred to D2 from Building 3 – rapes of non-Thais were relatively infrequent. Mostly, when Conwichet decided that a public display of power was called for, it was left to the kapos to shock us into submission. Since Thongnoal’s arrival however these demonstrations have increased in frequency and Thongnoal has usually been the principal participant.

Such is the degradation experienced by the victim that suicide after the rape results. Thongnoal has refined the torture by announcing the name of the intended rape victim days beforehand. Whilst the Thai’s stoically submit to being raped by Thongnoal and then contemplate suicide, the non-Thai victims prefer to attempt suicide before they are raped by him.

One such non-Thai victim was a Laotian inmate, who, some 3 months ago, was targeted by Thongnoal as neither having the money to pay off Thongnoal, nor (very understandably) having the ‘Sang froid’ to endure being gang-banged publically by the screw and 2 of the Kapos. One of the 2 Kapos involved has now been identified to me as ‘Yoot’, the building chief’s own ‘minder’. Rather than submit to the impending multiple public rape the individual instead elected to cut his own throat privately behind the back of the, now defunct, D2 bakery.

As inferred, Thais have been the usual rape victims. However as a display of power it serves to add a little to the perceived dread all inmates are required to have with regards to both the screws and Kapos, such as Yoot.

It should also be remembered that Thai’s also have easily accessible families, hostages to fortune if you will and the screws make it very plain that any and all protests about them will assuredly result in punishment being meted out forcefully on their families. Similar threats are continually made to non-Thais (myself included) with families resident in Thailand. However the real kudos for sadists such as Thongnoal comes from sexually abusing non-Thais who are – if not sufficiently cowed – in a position to lodge a formal protest.

In order of ranking, kudos is derived from victimising: Thais; then Burmese, Laotians, Cambodians, Malayan’s and Vietnamese; after which are Singaporeans, Taiwanese, Nepalese and Koreans. Next are the Japanese, Chinese and those inmates from Hong Kong. The less likely to be abused are the Caucasians and the ‘Nigerians’ a generic term encompassing all black Africans. The reasons for these 2 groups being less susceptible to abuse is that we are far more likely to either protest to our embassies, or in the case of British Nationals who have no other resort, react violently.

Sexually abusing the easier targets soon paled for Thongnoal and he determined that amongst the screws and kapos he could better establish himself as the ‘hard man’ of D2 by abusing and intimidating the next level of non-Thais, his ultimate aim being to victimize Farangs and Nigerians.

The next group Thongnoal decided to terrorize was the Singaporeans, his principal target seeming to be a 50 year old man of my acquaintance. In the past I’ve been highly critical of this gentleman, but his tenacity over handling Thongnoals attempt to rape him has been exemplary. In my mind, he has redeemed himself.

Thongnoals modus operandi is to first thoroughly cow his victims before raping them. His reasoning presumably is that they’ve become suitably aware of just how unpleasant – in a relatively minor way - he can make his intended target’s life. When it comes time to finally dominate the victim, sheer hell is unleashed, so much so that any thought of resistance is impossible. That the victim may well commit suicide, and the case of the Laotian serves as a good example, only serves to enhance Thongnoals reputation.

Initially Thongnoal confines himself, in the case of a non-Thai, to only insisting on complete subservience from his prey. As per the prison rules, all inmates must show deference and respect to the screws and often the kapos as well. Failure to do so is punished by 3 months solitary in D10, the punishment building. Very often those in solitary confinement are shackled as well.

Showing deference to perceived superiors is natural in Thai society. This doesn’t present them with any difficulties. For non –Thais though it’s a different matter, and is a source of considerable contention amongst the non-Thais. Kow-Towing to inferiors is not how we usually conduct ourselves unless our spirits have been broken. In its simplest form, showing respect entails bowing one’s head so that it is lower than the screws whenever in their presence. In the extreme, and the screws can demand this, it entails prostrating oneself in the presence of the screw. Thongnoal always demands this extreme.

After a few days of prostration on demand, Thongnoal then starts to subject his victim to spot searches. Initially these are simple ‘pat down’ searches, but soon they progress to increasingly more humiliating indignities leading ultimately to the full on, strip naked, bend down and touch the toes, anal cavity style searches perfected in the remand centres such as Bombat. Whereas in Bombat these types of searches were only usually conducted fortnightly, Thongnoal conducts these exceedingly intrusive, painful and humiliating searches several times a day when he’s present in D2.

A note here is that Bunlom Conwichet, the D2 building chief, knows and sanctions this type of search.

Once the victim has become inured to this level of degradation, Thongnoal increases the pressure. It could be said that he tires easily from inflicting routine humiliation and pushes hard to bolster his belief in his own superiority over us inmates. As debasing as the searches are for the victims, the sexual gratification becomes the only means left by which he can establish himself as the ‘hardest’ screw in D2.

The Singaporean I mentioned above is an intelligent man. He could readily see that anal assaults were imminent and that was a degradation he had no intention of enduring. Fortunately for him he has an Embassy that does provide some protection for its nationals. He duly wrote to his Embassy and strongly complained that he feared that he was targeted as a rape victim by Thongnoal. None of us had any doubts that the Singaporean Embassy would react, but none of us were expecting the ‘force’ that the embassy would put behind its protest.

Usually when complaints are made to the Embassies both the consular officials and senior prison staff try to hush up the protest and the matter rarely gets as far as to instigating a formal inquiry by the prison authorities. In the extremely rare event that an inquiry is held though, you can rest assured that it always results in a cover up. In the case of the British Embassy, the complainant would have been in far more jeopardy of being buggered by screws and kapos had they had the temerity to protest in writing. This is something I can personally attest to from my days on remand in Bombat.

As a cover up this case proved to be no exception. Nevertheless, the Singaporean gentleman’s written protest did have a very positive, well as positive as the Singaporeans in the Hilton could have hoped for, outcome. Both Thongnoal and building chief screw, Bunlom Conwichet, were advised by the 3 man investigating team of screws from the Thai Department of Correction, that the Singaporeans did apparently have some ‘clout’ and consequently it would be better all round if the Singaporeans were not targeted in particular.

Of course a xenophobic sadistic pervert such as Thongnoal craves gratification and a quiet ‘word to the wise’ only meant that his focus has to be re-sighted onto another ethnic group. A chance conversation with a gay Dutch inmate has left me in no doubt that Thongnoal has quickly chosen his next victim. But that’s another blog entry.

Be well and Be Happy

Dr Gary Jones

Friday, 9 October 2009

What's in a Name?

Most readers of this blog probably have never heard of the name of the one-time major pharmaceutical company named Distillers. We aren’t on-line here in the Hilton so I don’t know if one of the 20th Century’s biggest medical disaster perpetrators – Distillers, manufacturers of Thalidomide – are still in business. The names Distillers and Thalidomide cause members of the 50s and 60s generation to shudder in horror.

On a side issue, that the Directors of Distillers weren’t publically lynched, a-la Saddam Hussain, is a good reason I embraced Atheism during my formative years. Despite my Atheistic beliefs, I still have belief in an overall “Goodness” encapsulated within the human psyche. Perhaps, just perhaps Distillers and its board of Directors festered and withered away in well deserved putrefaction. Please let me know if Google returns a current balance sheet on them or not.

As said though, my overall faith in human nature – outside of Thailand naturally – is strong, so I will gamble for this blog, that Distillers has been deservedly expunged from the Corporate Rolls. Nevertheless, expunged or not, Distillers is a proper noun that start-up companies shun. Some form of Racial Corporate Memory?

Certainly in Western culture Proper Nouns applied to people, places and events, subconsciously and automatically I add, assume a ready association that is impossible to shift. Even the passage of millennia fails to eradicate the taint. Would a play entitled Brutus and Juliet evoke the necessary connotations? No, no more than had Shakespeare named his play of innocent, but tragic love, Lothario and Juliette. Are there Parents willing to name their offspring: Adolf, Genghis, Idi, Judas, Et Al? Do any of the Arnold family name their offspring Benedict?

Whereas personal Proper Nouns fall easily into disuse once a slur has been cast upon them, this is not so with Geographic names. Take Siam for example.

Siam was once the traditional name of a part of Indo-China bracketed by Burma, Malaysia Cambodia and Laos. Strategically placed for the Axis Forces during World War II, a vital piece of real estate, its location provided an incalculably indispensable launch pad for a Japan with colonial pretensions.

Whereas other bordering countries valiantly resisted the Japanese incursion, realising that allowing any foothold to the Nippon’s in the region was a pre-cursor marking their own collapse and inevitable domination by the invader, Thailand readily laid back, opened its legs – via the Gulf of Siam – and welcomed the ingress of Hirohito’s imperial rapists. British held Malaya, as was Malaysia at that time, was speedily plundered and Fortress Singapore was quickly breached. Siam’s treachery contributed extensively to the Japanese War Machine.

The outcome of World War II is well known, Japan, Germany and the Axis allies were humiliated. Those losers who had participated and ended somewhat honourably mainly through the tenaciousness bravery of the common troops in battle – were readily forgiven. Not so those who had willingly collaborated with Hitler’s and Hirohito’s evil captains. Whereas there was some justifiable bloodletting in North Western Europe amongst pockets of “Les Collaborateurs”, overall the occupied colonies were mainly supporters of the Allied effort. Siam, by contrast, embraced the Nipponese cause en-masse! The spineless Siamese were too busy enjoying a good rogering by Japan to so much as field a division of elephants in support of their Nippon overlords, let alone field a troop of Maquis.

Like Distillers and Thalidomide, the name Siam stank of despicability at the end of World War II. Not that its neighbours in South East Asia didn’t complain of the stench long before the end of World War II.

Humans endure for just a brief time whereas geographical locations abide for aeons. Within the post World War II world order the name Siam was well and truly knackered. No easy solution you may think. Indeed it was a dilemma. Very rapidly the name Siam was becoming synonymies with cowardly treachery well beyond the confines of South East Asia, so much so that some 15 years later when Hollywood’s Walt Disney wanted to portray treachery, corruption and arse-licking deviousness even he assigned the role 2 Siamese cats in the cartoon 101 Dalmations.

An expedient solution had to be found. Change the name of the region. Siam became Thailand. But, as they say, a Rose by another name still becomes replete with thorns. Siams moral pygmyism isn’t located within its soil, it’s part of the fabric of the Siamese DNA. As has been proved before, changing the name of a country does squat and slowly the rest of the world is coming to realise that, as with Siam, Thailand doesn’t play well with others.

For myself, I become increasingly convinced that an excellent synonym for Thailand is Thalidomide. What do you think?

Gary

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Executions have restarted in Bang Kwang Prison

It has recently been reported that Thailand has restarted executions of Death Row prisoners. The two that were executed were friends of mine that lived with me here in the same building. The two men Bundit Charoenwanich, 45, and Jirawat Phumpruek, 52, were taken in the night and only given 60 minutes to write their last wills and have a one minute phone call to their families before being executed by lethal injection. This was the first executions carried out by Thailand since 2003.

As prisoners, some of us were aware that the lethal injections had been delivered to Bang Kwang prison, but it seems that the decision to execute both men from D2 building was the sole decision of Natee Jitsawang, the Director-General of the Department of Corrections. It was not, so it seems, the decision of the Thai Government, a fact also reported by the BBC World Service.

Now that the prisoners have been shown that executions can happen at any time “Life Insurance” is now being paid to the Building Chief, Bunlom Conwichet by most of the 24 names listed below. This is a bribe paid so that the poor unfortunates names are not next on the list for the lethal injection. The bribe is anywhere from 1000Baht to 5000Bhat per month (between GBP18 and GBP100) depending on the perceived wealth and nationality of the person on Death Row.

This is probably true in other buildings as well, but it is very difficult to find out any news. The screws make it virtually impossible to communicate between buildings and Death Row inmates are not allowed to attend the Mosque on Fridays, or any other day come to that. They are also not allowed to leave Death Row to pray at the Monday Buddhist sessions.

Some will say that these men all deserve what is coming to them as they are Drug dealers and therefore deserve to die. There are many reasons that this is wrong but we can leave it to the official Thai figures quoted by the Head of the Thai Supreme Court, Pramarn Dongsue, that 30% of the inmates are in fact innocent of the crimes they have been convicted for. One third. Surely even the most rabid supporters of the death penalty have to recognise that 6 – 8 of those on the following list will be murdered and not executed.

It should also be remembered that all on Death Row are permanently shackled with the shackles welded on. Once the sentence has been carried out it is far easier to remove the poor unfortunates’ feet than to try to cut the shackles to remove them.

The following is a list of the men currently on Death Row in D2 Building in Bang Kwang Prison.

Kamjan Ananta (Thai) Drug
Sevan Mahamonthol (Thai) Drug
Chart Vatcharanugosnvisith (Thai) Drug
Manop Janthima (Thai) Drug
Anan Temusak (Thai) Drug
Janthib Panya (Thai)
Dit Manamethavee (Thai) Drug
Chor-Kor-Por-Moo X (Myanmar) Drug
Suphong Laoviriyathanachai (Thai)
Ayo Ayi X (Chinese?) Drug
Laokee Saelao (Thai) Drug 10 yrs on DR
Proyong Kweaparb (Thai) Drug
Somchai Voy-Yue (Thai) Drug
Supachai Kajaejan (Thai) Drug
Sarapad Thamsongsrisan (Thai)
Sawat Vichiwong X (Shan State) Drug
Sanan Sornpetch (Thai) Drug
Tuon Siriporn (Thai)
Ijob X (Shan State) Drug
Lapho X (Myanmar) Drug
Arthong Kaekai X (Myanmar) Drug
Saknarin Mahamonthol (Thai) drug
SSWichian Saejang (Thai) Drug
Khan Namthong (Thai)
X indicates full name not known.

Please think about them and if appropriate, pray for them

Gary

Friday, 28 August 2009

Eye Witness Account of the Riots in Bombat

Back in July of this year I reported on the riots and deaths that had occurred in Bombat prison in April 2009. This riot has never been reportd in the outside world and the Department of Correction would like it kep this way.

The following is an eye witness account of what happened in Bombat Central Prison.

"A Thai Prisoner, un-convicted, jumped one metal fence, climbed on top of a guard station, threw blankets on the concertina wired wall separating building 8 + 9 and was making his way towards the prison wall and the exterior when spotted. A warning shot was fired. Before he could reach the edge or contact the last wall or obstruction, a shot was fired from the guard tower behind building 9 and the inmate fell forward, most probably dead from the head wound. His body remained entangled on the wall between buildings 8 + 9.

A group of prisoners had gathered and began shouting to get assistance and some Thai inmates started to confront the acting building chief who in fear ran into his office. The other guards ran out of the building I believe as I was watching the crowd shout at the acting building chief to get the inmate a doctor.

In the building chiefs fright he abandoned logic or maybe he was afraid and recoiled in fear as opposed to reaching out and helping.

The crowd took it upon themselves to fling objects at the office the chief was in. Momentum took on a life of its own and soon people were in the throes of trashing everything that represented the oppressive totalitarianism of the Montri Bunnay regimental distortion and alienation of all our rights inside the prison.

Prisoners had all this built up tension and had been treated without any of our basic rights that it all just blew up. Some clear thinking prisoners got the last and remaining screw – the acting building chief - out of the office and then out of the gate. The inmates then realizing no authority was present went on to torch all the offices and destroy everything that represented the prison system.

There were pleas to guards to come in and help the slain inmate. All pleas were rejected. The majority of us watched as only a fraction of the inmates went on their rampage. I stayed in the distance and safety of the Sepak Takraw court avoiding black curling smoke and thinking it’s all going to get ugly once the black suits come in riot gear.

I was completely surprised by the collective and spirited rebellion as the Thai’s are normally docile as a group and never manage this much resistance without any leadership. In a way I found their action affirming of the discomfort that had been brewing since the outrageous and ridiculous onslaught of human rights violations the prison had been systematically imposing on the inmates.

The riot guards arrived, we had a head count, then went upstairs, only to come back down an hour later and be shifted without bedding and personal belongings to 6 different prisons or locations. I think some were transferred to other buildings within Bombat."

Saturday, 15 August 2009

H1N1 In Bang Kwang Prison Part 3

My orignal posting regarding the H1N1 virus in the prison has caused quite a stir.

A journalist picked up on the posting and used it as the basis of an article. This article has since appeared on many sites around the world and many people have read it. A link to what I think is the original http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/Pandemic-AH1N1-Hits-Bang-Kwang-Ce-t285626.html.

The first I knew about this was when I oversaw an email sent from Kate Dufall at the FCO to Gail Bailey, the spokeswoman of the British Womans Group which had been sent to one of the Britons here in Bang Kwang.

The email dated the 3rd of August was demanding to know who blew the whistle on the H1N1 spread here in Bang Kwang Prison.

However, it has had excellent repercussions. Here is the story in full.

On the 5th August Benoit, a French Budhist Monk, visited and in passing mentioned that a new policy was in force and henceforth all those visiting inmates had to buy a face-mask from the guards. Benoit was charged 5 Baht (approx 10p) for his. Clearly this was yet another scam; common to many others perpetrated upon us and our visitors by staff at the “Department of Corruptions”

As far as I was concerned at this point, this was just a more reasonable (financially) extension of the scam imposed by Bunlom Conwichet, the building chief guard of D2, whereby his trustee inmates (I call them kapos), were “shaking down” Farangs (foreigners) for 100 Baht (£2) per mask. Principal amongst these was Conwichet’s own personal Kapo, Yoot.

However, on Thursday (6th Aug 09), much to everyone’s surprise, face masks were handed out for free to both the D2 death row inmates (341 occupants in D2) and the non-death row inmates (399) such as myself. It was immediately apparent to many of us that something of a major “moment” had occurred that had uncharacteristically forced the D.O.C. to become concerned about the risk we inmates were being exposed to from the H1N1 virus.

By Friday (7th Aug 09), when I was shown the Bailey/Dufall emails, I started to get a very firm idea that it was the above mentioned article that had most probably caused the D.O.C. to reverse a long held policy of leaving the countries 300,000 – 350,000 inmates population openly susceptible to contracting life threatening illnesses.

This opinion was further underscored at 15:30 when we non-death row inmates were returned to our cells. Each of us had to (willingly on our part) submit to having our temperature taken before being allowed to enter the cell-block building.

Those registering a fever – on Friday 3 inmates, and Saturday (8th Aug 09) 3 more – were segregated and transferred to the Bang Kwang hospital building (D12) for a Tami-flu shot. Rather, I should say an alleged Tami-flu shot going on the past performance of the corrupt medical officer in charge of D12. I think that it’s significant to note that those on death-row are not similarly screened when they return to their cells at 14:00.

There can be no doubt whatsoever that it is solely due to the article and its readership that we have suddenly achieved a modicum of protection from this virulent scourge.

I and others within the Prison system here in Thailand, owe a debt of thanks to this Journalist who had the courage to post the article and in the process has probably saved many lives.

Thank you Sir, we all appreciate it.

Dr Gary Graeme Jones

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

H1N1 In Bang Kwang Prison Part 2

A reply has been recieved from Prisoners Abroad regarding the original and it actually opened more questions. See what you think

=====================================
Thank you for your e-mail.

This was the first we had heard about an outbreak of the H1N1 virus at Bang Kwang. We therefore made enquiries with the British Embassy in Bangkok. They informed us as follows:

It was confirmed by Dr Manop - Director of Medicine at Bank Kwang - that a contingency plan is in place and that they have ordered enough Tamiflu to cover every prisoner. Personal supplies of Tamiflu will not be permitted.

As they represent the greatest risk in terms of passing on the infection, all officers have been instructed to wear masks and alcohol spray is readily available. There is lesser chance of an out-break via visitors as they are not in direct contact with the prisoners. Masks will be mandatory from this week with mandatory spraying of all hands with alcohol at the entry gates. I cannot confirm that prisoners are also being required to wear masks at their own expense. There are, apparently, H1N1 awareness programmes daily on the internal tanoid systems and information posters everywhere.

Dr Manop confirmed there have been 5 suspected H1N1 cases, all of whom have been isolated. We were not informed of any fatalities amongst prisoners or staff. The next peak is expected next week August 11 through 18 - but there has been no suggestion of calling off visits at this stage. However, contact visits of any kind will be put on hold.

Hope the above information is helpful

Kind regards

=====================================
A reply was called for

Thank you for that Matthew

This information does go someway towards confirming what we have been told. However a couple of points if I may.

All of the awareness programmes and posters are in Thai and nothing has been distributed in other languages. Will the British Embassy be rectifying this?

Also the Thai Public Health Ministry, whilst having announced free anti-viral drugs for the Thai people, have not indicated that this extends to foreigners nor for prisoners. I suspect that this means that both tourists and prisoners will have to pay for thier anti-virals. If this does indeed become the case will Prisoners Abroad
or the British Embassy help financially or a better option, work with the Thai Department of Correction to ensure that all BNO's get the drugs as required free of charge.

Once again Thank you for your reply

=====================================
recieved back from PA

We are not sure whether the British Embassy will be translating posters etc. Perhaps you would like to mention this as a suggestion to them?:

http://ukinthailand.fco.gov.uk/en/

The information we were provided with indicates that Tamiflu stocks will be made available to all prisoners, not just Thai nationals. There has been no suggestion that foreign prisoners will need to pay for Tamiflu.

If it does turn out that foreign prisoners are being asked to cover these costs, and negotiations between the British Embassy and the Thai authorities are unsuccessful at getting the Thai authorities to cover such costs, then the Prisoners Abroad Medical Fund would be available to those whose families/friends are not in a position to support them. This fund covers the costs of essential treatment and medication for prisoners where appropriate.

Kind regards

=====================================

The original blog was picked up by a Journalist and published on thaivisa.com and since then has been translated into various languages. Thanks go to that man for taking the time to blog and also adding more information that I was unaware off.

Be well and be happy

Gary

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Why are so many British people raped, murdered or jailed in Thailand?

Many British Nationals are raped and murdered in Thailand. Many more are held in jails throughout the country.

The following numbers are for the westerners (male and female) in Thai jails as of 20-5-07. As of that date, most of the figures were sent to me by respective Embassies in answer to a questionnaire I had previously sent. The questionnaire was a repeat of an exercise of a similar request to the embassies – also responded to - in the previous year (2006). Both the 2006 and 2007 questionnaires were emphatic that the Consuls include both their own full passport holders as well as those individuals that they were required to represent holding subordinate passports such as the UK’s BNO’s.


Austria 1
Canada 3
Czechoslovakia 2
Estonia 1
France 15
Germany 10
Holland 10
Italy 5
Kazakhstan 4
New Zealand 1
Poland 3
Russia 8
Sweden 1
Switzerland 3
Spain 3
USA 1
Uzbekistan 3
UK 173


The UK’s number was sourced from interviews given to Colin Hastings, editor-in-chief of Big Chilli, by Ambassadors: David Fall; 2006, 2007 and Quentin Quayle, post 2007.

Initially, Ambassador Fall confessed that the 2006 number of British Passport holders represented by Consular staff was over 140. Later, 2007, Fall conceded that the number had risen to over 170 – likely 173. During a subsequent interview with Big Chilli, Quayle confirmed the number to be over 170.

For my purposes, I’ve extrapolated the 2007 numbers and calculated that the UK now has over 200 passport holders in Thai jails, comprising some 80 non-British National Overseas (BNO) passport holders (racially designated Full British Citizens) and 120 BNO passport holders.

The British charity (so called), Prisoners Abroad, claim that there are some 40 only “Full British Citizens” which they consider to be within their remit to support. However as stated previously, Prisoners Abroad’s remit is established by Her Majesty’s Government and the British Embassy in Thailand. It is pertinent to note that both the UK’s Home Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office are major contributors to the Prisoners Abroad coffers. Many of these 80 non-British Citizens indicated don’t receive support from the charity.

Since 2007, many of the designated countries shown have recorded a decline in the number of nationals in Thai jails, i.e. Estonia, France, Holland Italy, USA, to name but 5. None of the other countries, with the exception of the UK, have indicated an increase. Certainly, no new Western country has entered the rolls.

These numbers must not be considered in isolation. Complementing the UK’s Thai prison population statistics, are the statistics for Britons Raped or Murdered and often Raped and Murdered in Thailand. I am still sourcing these numbers but independent researchers, using the figures from around 2005 to 2008 (in my opinion a relatively “quiet time” for rapes/murders of Britons) conclude that fully 10% of all murders of Britons overseas occur in Thailand!

Current figures exist in a report generated by the FCO. It is called British Behaviour Overseas and is available from their website. The report for August 2007 which covered the year 1st April 2005 to 31st March 2006 reported that for 381,000 estimated British Visits to Thailand 5 rapes were reported and 224 murders.

The report for the year 2006 – 2007 reported of the 860,000 visits 269 deaths and 2 rapes were reported. However be aware these figures only list the visiting British Nationals, not expats already living in Thailand.

Now whilst this doesn’t seem too bad as I said this is a quiet period and no figures are available for the years preceding 2005. Articles in the press have questioned why HMG haven’t alerted people to the fact that Thailand is a dangerous place to be with 17 murders of British Nationals in the period between 2003 and 2007.

Needless to say I do have an explanation for why Thailand is so dangerous a venue for a British Passport holder, however rather than put words into your mouth I’d like everyone reading this to:

• Check my numbers
• Ask your own MP’s to explain the discrepancies by raising the question to the Foreign Secretary as to why are there more British National/Passport holders in Thai jails than all of the other Western Nations combined.
• Ask that your MP provides you with the response from the Foreign Secretary in both Email and snail mail formats.

Once all of the responses are in, I’ll give you my own conclusions, which:
• Explain both rapes, murders, raped and the murdered Britons
• Britons in Thai jails.

As a scientist and not a politician, I use Occam’s Razor to test the validity of my hypotheses and not hyperbole, obfuscation, or just plain lies. But you can judge for yourself.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

H1N1 In Bang Kwang Prison

This is a copy of an email that has been sent to the charity Prisoners Abroad. When we get a reply I will post it as well.


To: Matthew Pinches (matthew@prisonersabroad.org.uk)

Hello Matthew, I hope this email finds you well and not suffering from the effects of what I am about to ask you

As you know from past emails I have sent, we are in contact with many British Passport Holders in Bang Kwang Central Prison Thailand. News has started to reach us of an outbreak of H1N1 (swine flu) inside the prison and it there has been some fatalities. As of the 13th July, 2 prisoners have died as a direct result of the virus, one prison guard has also died and a second is in hospital in a very serious condition (hopefully by now having made a full recovery)

Reports have also been forwarded to me that the Thai Department of Corrections has issued instructions that face masks are to be worn by all staff and prisoners (non Thai prisoners have to pay 100Baht, approx £2 for these masks)

However, can you tell me whether yourselves or the British Embassy is aware of the outbreak in the prsion and what steps are being made to get Tamiflu to the British Passport holders that are currently held there, and also to other British Passport Holders in other prisons in Thailand. I am aware that all medication for foreign prisoners must be sourced and paid for by the respective Embassies and I also wondered if the British Embassy in Thailand has a contigency plan in place?

As you know the conditions inside Thai prisons are very harsh and the health of a lot of the prisoners incarcerated is not good many also suffering with Tuberculosis, a disease which is at epidemic proportions in Thailand as a whole. H1N1 will have a devastating effect on them all. Certainly I suspect that the Prison Hospitals are not equipped to handle the influx that this epidemic could cause.

I would be grateful if you could give this your urgent attention.

Thank you

Friday, 10 July 2009

Reports of Riots in Bombat and Lat Yao part 2

Following on from my posting earlier questions have been asked of Prisoners Abroad and the British Embassy here in Thailand.

They confirmed in writing that the riots had occurred and that the only British Passport holder involved had been found and visited and deemed safe. He is currently here in Bang Kwang in building D5.

One sad fact to report is that an Italian national died in Bombat. The gentlemans name was Gianni and he died of a heart attack after a round of "Intensive Interrogation" Our thoughts go out to his family. We hope the Italian Government has been made aware.

News has now reached us all about further riots in Lat Yao again this time in May. We have no news on who, what, why nor how but I will update as soon as I get any news.

Be Well All

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Report of Riots in Bombat and Lad Yao Prison. One dead

I have asked others to scour the Internet and in particular the Bangkok Post and Nation websites for news of something very serious that has happened here, but it seems the Thai equivalent of a “D” notice has been issued and so news of the following has been suppressed

On the 13th April 2009 there was a riot in the D8 Building in Bombat Prison and a few days after another occurred in Lad Yao. As far as we can ascertain it was sparked by the terrible way that the Thai Prisons are run

Here are the bankable facts on what happened at Bombat. On either the 12th or 13th of April, an initially peaceful protest over screws beating and torturing inmates, escalated into the building called D8, breaking out into a riot. The cell block in D8 was subsequently set on fire. Over 100 inmates were involved and were transferred over a 2 day period to the Bangkok Hilton. The first day’s consignment saw 35 victims sent to the punishment block D10 and 40-50 were sent to the other death row, D5. During the “altercation” – I use that word as I am unsure as to whether the event happened during the protest or the ensuing riot – one inmate was murdered by the screws.

At least 1 British Passport Holder and 4-6 Nigerians were amongst the protesters.

On Wednesday 20th April 2009, a Thai official called Montri (full name not ascertained) arrived from Bombat to conduct interrogations of the protesters being held in the SOI’s (punishment cells) upstairs in D5. I have personally witnessed this screws public interrogation technique, with his boots, rattan cane and riot sticks. Many of us in D2 can also attest to his ability to resort to electrodes on the nipples and testicles when he is not being monitored by inmates such as I.

Even so, the screams from those being questioned in D5 were clearly heard by people in the exercise yard downstairs. Reports from D5 rapidly made it back across to the other buildings.

On my way back from a parcel collection on the 21st April 2009 I saw a group of 10-12 people shackled and waiting for a paddy wagon back to Bombat. There was no sign of the British Passport Holder reported amongst them.

This next section about the altercation has not been adequately verified but comes from a very reliable source.

The inmates from D8 are a mixed bunch, those who have been sentenced and those on remand (FACT). Those on remand are shackled, whilst those who’ve been sentenced can apply to have their chains removed if (after 6 months) their 1st behaviour classification takes them from the average class to good. Paying a bribe, as with Bang Kwang, helps. For those on remand seeing those chains come off, even 6 months after sentencing must be incredibly frustrating

Add to that the chronic and deliberate overcrowding in Bombat – each inmate has less than ½ square meter of sleeping space in a 7x5 cell. There are 70 occupants per cell in Bombat. Also in Bombat, from 20:00 until 06:00 the following day and on the hour, every hour, the prisoners have to take it in turns to conduct a room count (waking everyone) and then signalling to a ‘Kapo’ (who sleeps through it all) that no one has escaped, by beating loudly on a small bamboo drum. As per Obama, sleep deprivation is torture. All of the above should make you, the reader, want to protest, let alone the lads serving full-life sentences in Bombat. These are all facts I can personally attest to.

But back to the protest and this is the part I haven’t managed to verify yet. For an hour or so the protest was quite peaceful. 18-20 lads had presented their petition and were then sequestered into one of the D8 sweatshops by the Kapos. Word soon came to them that Montri was on his way to “Sort out their bad attitude.” Rightly fearing that this was a prelude to Montri and his electrical equipment, the 18-20 lads attempted a breakout from the sweatshop, reasoning that even Montri wouldn’t open indiscriminate fire on 700 inmates. Whether the lads were preparing to take hostages in an attempt to parley their way out is unknown.

Sure enough, Montri, along with his team of storm troopers – if you could see the uniforms these arseholes wear you would agree on my choice of description – burst into D8 with both guns and riot gear. The storm troopers fell upon many in D8, even those uninvolved in the protest, clubbing unconscious 50-100 inmates to get to the small group of 18-20 original protesters. One of the storm troopers ordered them all to lay face-down on the ground.

On advice from one of the Kapos, Montri gave the order to murder the selected ring leader by shooting him in the back of the head with a rifle. This we know to be a fact!

Although things did quieten down briefly, pretty soon the enormity of Montri’s actions incensed the rest of D8 who then made a charge at the storm troopers, driving them out of D8. Whether further shots were fired or not is unknown. What is known is that the whole of D8 rose up, en-masse, and set fire to the cell block. How Montri and his thugs quelled the protesters is not known at this time.

Due to the fact that no news has been broadcast to the outside world, for fairly obvious reasons, we are very concerned as to the welfare of all those from Bombat. The death of any inmate in custody is a cause for serious concern, but to have been executed in this manner is intolerable. I have to ask where the British Passport Holder is and all the other lads we have seen come, but not go.

I have asked that Prisoners Abroad and the British Embassy in Thailand be alerted and we all await their replies.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Letter to the Director General.

This is a letter that has been sent to the Director General of the Thai Department of Correction and also the King's Personal Private Secretary.

It details abuses that we have suffered in the Hilton, and despite complaining nothing has been done.

I urge all of you too visit the website and read about the abuses we suffer here in Bang Kwang

Be Well all and be good

Gary

Director General,

We foreign inmates in D2 Bang Kwang write to advise you that since Bunlom Conwichet replaced Adun Sawangchoroen as senior officer in building 2 (D2) in June 2008 unrest and dissatisfaction with the terms and conditions of our confinement has escalated exponentially. Thanks to your ill considered choice of building chief, you are running a very real risk of a potential mutiny to rid ourselves of this racist.

In fairness to you, you should note that copies of this address have been sent not only to His Majesty’s Principal Private Secretary, but also internet sites critical of your Constabulary, Judicial systems, and penal institutions. Additionally copies have also been sent to the English language newspapers published in Thailand.

Amongst the Internet sites is the noted site, which foreign inmates contribute to, http://steveinbangkwang.bravehost.com this site is rich in images and detailed accounts of how your staff exploit and intimidate the 4000 inmates in Bang Kwang. Other and far more explicit sites exist, but Thais are not permitted access unless specifically invited to do so. We foreign inmates are proud of these sites, which, along with books being considered for publication internationally, are maintained by either current inmates or those recently repatriated.

To express out disgust at how you and the likes of Conwichet manage our lives whilst your captives, we are making it a personal crusade to document each and every abuse perpetrated upon us by you and your officers. You may be interested to learn that we have a full account of your collusion with Sophon Thititammufak (previous director of Bang Kwang) over the embezzlement of the government monies to refurbish the, now defunct, Bang Kwang D1. Also discussed is the more recent seizure of 570,000 baht from the D2 coffee shop by Conwichet in 2008. Were you involved in that also?

A leading academic, Professor Duncan McCargo, a significant contributor to both human rights watchdogs such as Freedom House as well as the U.K.’s “Economist”, both publications highly critical of the way your country abuses human rights, will equally be following the course of this protest in order to report upon it in the 2009 Freedom House Publication (yearly): ’Countries at the Crossroads’, wherein once again Thailand will be ranked alongside North Korea, Myanamar and Vietnam as being the Worlds prime abusers of human rights in Asia.

By maintaining Conwichet, his assistant – Satit Samanhan, along with the prisoner trustees (blueshirts), Prayoon Semsamarn – ‘Yoon’ and Jaket Khaysomphet – ‘Geng’, in Bang Kwang prison will have a deleterious effect on your country’s international standing. As stated, by allowing Conwichet and his cronies to increase the pressure on us inmates, we will reciprocate by putting the pressure on your country's economy via the internet and media.

Since taking charge of D2 the situation for us Foreign inmates has deteriorated abysmally. Conwichet makes no secret of his hatred of foreigners and has been determined to maximise the amounts the corrupt extractions in bribes from farangs and Nigerians. The Asian inmates in D2: Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong are equally targeted for bribes by Conwichet. For these nationals, he sends blueshirt ‘Yoon’ to collect the weekly tribute, a sum amounting to many thousands of baht. It must be stressed that these sums are in addition to the ‘usual’ bribes that guards in Thai prisons demand for; water, accommodation, food, medicine, infrastructure maintenance, etc.

It should not be necessary, but we do so anyway, to remind you of certain facts applicable to Thai prisons with Bang Kwang in particular. At least 20% of the prison population is not Thai. As per the recent head of the Supreme Court, Pramarn Dangsue, 30% of the inmates are in fact innocent of the crimes convicted for. Most of the Bang Kwang inmates will serve a minimum of 20 years incarcerated. Researchers at the U.N. state that the average life expectancy of western inmates is a mere 10 years. Everything necessary for a prisoners’ survival has to be purchased (ultimately) from your guards. This includes ‘legal’ items such as : medicines, food, water, clothing, toiletries; and contraband such as: cash money, telephones, electrical items, narcotics and alcohol. Despite attempts from the Department of Corrections to claim it is our visitors bringing in contraband, in fact the overwhelming bulk is ‘imported’ by guards such as Conwichet and Samanham using blueshirts such as ‘Yoon’ and ‘Geng’ as distributors.

Racially Conwichet and his cohorts (named) consider farangs and Nigerians as inferior. Let us remind you that both of our cultures have long histories of successfully opposing racial subjugation. We are not intimidated by the inevitable consequences. Further you would do well to remind your guards that it is not we who have families in this country unlike our Thai counterparts.

Despite your policy of preventing communication between buildings, a surprising amount of data is passed concerning your guards. For example, we now have a comprehensive history of how Conwichet conducted his stewardship of D4 uploaded onto the Internet. It is no surprise that in corruptly mismanaging D2 he is following a tried and tested formula. It only now requires that those managing our Internet sites upload this specific document and an up to date summary of his excesses in D2 will be on–line.

Conwichet has made it a policy to invite teams of searchers, comprising of guards from other prisons, to ‘raid’ D2. Within days of becoming head of in June 2008, we were subjected to the first of such vicious searches, and so it has regularly continued during the past 6 months. Scarcely more than a week passes when we are not subjected to a full and virtually non-productive – in that almost no contraband is found – search. The most recent, and most destructive as regards farang and Nigerians property, was last Tuesday evening, 3-2-09. This was a particularly vindictive search. This search primarily conducted against foreigners and notable Thai sympathisers, was not aimed to locate contraband, instead, and as per Conwichets instruction, it was designed to both steal and destroy foreigners personal items.

Conwichet timed this search to take place when we were locked in our cells, necessitating that your ‘blueshirts’ used bolt butters to remove the padlocks securing our lockers. Gleefully assisting them were a hand picked team of blueshirts, including ‘Yoon’ and ‘Geng’. The items stolen included: money, postage stamps and certificates, radios, CD and DVD players, clothing, cartons of cigarettes and medical supplies. The items destroyed included: non-Buddhist relics such as bibles, Q’arans, Torahs; family photographs, court and legal papers, to name but a few. In one instance, typical of many, a British inmate had his full upper set of dentures smashed along with a spare set of bi-focal glasses.

As financially debilitating as the thefts were, after all those items can be repurchased from your guards in a few weeks time, it was Conwichet’s instruction to destroy that has infuriated us the most.

Only 1 item of contraband of any significance was found during the search; a mobile telephone, in possession of a Thai inmate. Of course, this came as no real surprise to anyone, including Conwichet and Samanhan. The previous day they instructed Yoon and Geng to sell the mobile to either a farang of a Nigerian in the eventuality that Tuesday’s search failed to uncover anything of consequence. As neither of the 2 communities, nor our Asian counterparts, had any interest in the proscribed item, Yoon and Geng were forced by circumstance to sell the mobile to a Thai on death row. When the 3-2-09 search failed to uncover any item which would justify the action, Yoon and Geng were required to direct the search team to the Thai; so that at least something could be found.

Director General, it is all very well for you to posture in the Thai media that your aim is to provide a humanitarian solution regarding one of the world’s largest per capita prison populations. We foreigners don’t have to read how you are unable to enter one of your prisons without an armed escort to see the lies behind your words. Thus far we foreigners have been relatively mild and self-censoring in our reports to the outside world, on our websites and in our books scheduled for publication. You may be able to censor Thai's and the Thai media, are you really so arrogant to believe that you can do so on the International stage?

Your contention has been that it is the inmates supporters who are responsible for the importation of contraband into Bang Kwang. Absolute rubbish, it is your guards. Certainly as regards D2 the 2 principal offenders are Bunlom Conwichet and Satit Samanhan. In turn, they are assisted by the blueshirts: Jaket Khaysomphet and Prayoon Semsamarn. As these 4 continue to make foreigners their targets you are well advised to have them relocated to provincial prisons where there are no foreigners to offend their racist sensibilities.

It is your prerogative to ignore this warning that we foreigners fully intend to escalate our internet and media campaigns, as you increase that pressure on us, so we will so do on you. After all, mobile phones now come equipped with cameras. Can your country really afford yet more photos of your guards kicking an inmate to death? Remind yourself of the contents of the existing sites, http://steveinbangkwang.bravehost.com as said is a good starting place.

The Farang and Nigerian inmates, D2, Bang Kwang.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Parcels to Prisoners in Bang Kwang

There have been a lot of messages and discussion in various locations on the web lately about parcels getting to prisoners in Thai jails. Reports that parcels had been disallowed have abounded on various places and so called official websites

However, I have been regularly receiving parcels sent to me with, apart from one or two issues, all contents totally intact. The original reason given for disallowing parcels was that drugs were being smuggled into the prisons, but its probably more like the Guards and Wardens were seeing a hit in their kickbacks, as they were not selling as much to the inmates

However nice it is to receive goods in the post, getting letters is just as nice. It shows that we haven't been forgotten and strangely it helps on the inside. If we can show the guards that we have friends on the outside we get some measure of protection. It frightens them a little, and the tend to lay off a bit.

If you want to write have a look at http://www.foreignprisoners.com/ and see if anyone catches your eye. Even if all you send is a Postcard with a scenic view anonymously, that would be great.

Sorry for the slow updates, but they dont let us have the Internet in here as you can imagine, so all these messages are sent out and then transcribed.

Be Careful

Gary Jones

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Apathy

A typical example of the apathy that exists in here has just occured to me.

Each morning I sit with a very intelligent inmate from Malaysia, George (63yrs old, Death Row) whose been here for 2 years now on a murder charge. The time I spend with George is very beneficial for me as he speaks college level English, and Ive found that prattling away in "pidgin" to others really does my brain in eventually. Besides all that, he is an ex-pat of long standing in Bangkok and he and I have several notable personalities of the local bar scene in common.

However, I have just had to cut short a session with him as I was on the verge of exploding in rage. He and I were discussing and critiscising the Human Rights agencies for thier seeming lack of interetsin in Thai prison conditions. My contention is that far too many prisoners are not bothering to write to friends, family and supporters illustrating the abuses. In turn those few on the outside who are willing to campaign on our behalfs have little of detail to work with.

I concluded my arguement with
"So George, just whom are you encouraging Audrey (his daughter) to lobby? Human Rights Watch? Freedom House?"
He smugly replied
"Oh, no one, I leave that sort of thing to you"

George unfortunatly is typical of 99.99% of the inmates here in the Hilton. Of the 4000+ inmates here I can only name 6 of us who are trying to raise awareness of whats going on in here.

They will all benefit from our work, which is no bad thing, but if they helped we would get it done much quicker.

Ah well, be safe out there

Gary Graeme Jones
D2 Bang Kwang

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Prisoners Abroad and Her Majesty's Government

Usually I can constrain my anger over most situations but what has pushed the “Big Red Button” in this instance is an utterly puerile letter I received from the UK charity Prisoners Abroad (P.A.). In missionary terms, my cup of bile runneth over.

Ostensibly P.A’s role is to provide much needed services for Britons in foreign gaols. In reality things are much more devious.

Upon very careful consideration, and supported by letters from a long term inmate (now ex-inmate after 17 years) to me, it becomes fairly easy to see that P.A’s function is not to support Britons in overseas jails, but rather to shield the various Embassies and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in countries where Britons are incarcerated, from having to address any of the valid issues that those Britons raise.

I’ll go further. Even the much vaunted £30 per calendar month support grant paid by P.A to inmates in Thai jails does us more harm than good! Because of this grant, which is incidentally controlled by the British Embassy, the Embassy themselves argue that they are not under any obligation to “advance” us funds in order to buy food, pay bribes, pay services, buy medicine etc in order to survive.

The screws know we receive these funds and they demand, on threat of punishment beatings or torture, their share. This “share” amounts to 1,500 Baht per month and at an exchange rate of £1 = 52Baht (set by the prison), I’m left with the princely sum of 60Baht to survive on a month.

Other embassies allow their nationals up to 3,000 – 4,000 baht per month which is much more realistic although admittedly the money they pay their nationals is in the form of a loan. Granted our 1500Baht is free, but seldom goes further than to pay off the bribes to the guards. As I have told P.A. they can stuff it, Ill starve to death.

It doesn’t end there though. The £30 is means tested and the Embassy decides who is to receive it. If we receive regular funding of any amount from family and friends through the Embassy, or the Embassy learn we are receiving money in another way (we have informers in D2 who delight in dropping others in it), then the Embassy instructs P.A. to stop funding us. The Embassy full well realise that the only means of controlling us inmates is to threaten us with withdrawal of these funds, a tactic that Kate Dufall of the F.C.O regularly employs.

I am sorry if this destroys anyone’s faith in the P.A. but they really are a bunch of shysters and little more than a front for the F.C.O, posturing that they have the welfare of British Prisoners in overseas jails at heart. In truth however they receive a large percentage of their funding from Her Majesty’s Government (the Home Office and the F.C.O.), which in turn means that P.A. will not publicly stand up against the very organisations that terrorise us. Hell, they don’t even protest our indignities privately!


Gary
D2 Bang Kwang Prison
Thailand

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Bloody Missionaries

I am an atheist and as such I don’t take too kindly to being hassled by folks whose sole aim is to – at best- feed upon my misfortune to attempt a conversion. At worst, and there are numerous instances of this, they line their own pockets by soliciting funds from real Christians by lying to them that these funds will support prisoners welfare.

My first really bad experience of these evil people was back in ’73 when I was fighting bankruptcy. I was targeted by Jehovah‘s Witnesses and instead of warding off my bankruptcy I was warding of offensive and incessant attempts to convert me.

Since being in here, as with all other inmates, I’ve been the target of innumerable missionaries. Only four Christians have I had any time for; Vernon de Florey-Morris, Reul and Phoebe Lumilang and Sister Christine. Sadly, both Vernon and Christine have passed away and Reul and Phoebe have been moved to another part of Thailand by their church. The others, without fail, have all proved to be concerned with their own agendas which do not match mine.

About a year ago I received what I considered an offensive and insensitive letter from a missionary based in Brisbane Australia. The missionary, Tracey Laing, had sourced my details from a website, Foreign Prisoner Support Service (FPSS), run by another Aussie, Kay Danes. Tracey (male or female, I haven’t a clue), using some incorrect details posted on the FPSS, proceeded to preach at me, in writing, that I should be grateful that I was feeling remorseful for the crime I had committed, as I was now ready to receive Jesus as my saviour. I went ballistic; even if I weren’t innocent, he/she did not consider that they should do more research on my case, Thai Police methods, the Thai Judicial system and Thai Prison conditions before writing to me. Equally I consider that these missionaries would do well to apply some objective research to that book they preach from.

In the way that researching a topic is important, before offering a conclusive opinion upon it is critical, this next point is relevant to this blog (well I think so anyway).

A letter arrived from one of my regular correspondents asking if it was important that people thought me innocent. I took the question within the context that I seemed annoyed that people were assuming my guilt rather than my innocence. My “Anger” with those who say I’m guilty the loudest is because they refuse to bother with examining any of the evidence I try to present in my defence.

For those who have actually bothered - and this is important to me – to both have examined my evidence and then passed it on to others so that they too can examine it, but then still believe in my guilt, I have a deep respect for. I don’t expect others to slavishly accept my innocence or guilt. Everyone must be free to arrive at their own conclusions.

Enough for now. Onwards and upwards

Gary
D2 Bang Kwang Prison
Thailand