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