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