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
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.