If You are Dutch You Are Screwed
On Stick's site there have been various warnings about getting involved with drugs. The Thai authorities are not lenient, there are random checks in the bars and also on the street. You do not want to be caught because it means trouble and most likely jail time. Though I have never seen a Thai cell from the inside, if it is anything like in the movie 'Bangkok Hilton', you do not want to be in there. Any substantial time in there means a certain death, if not through violence, then it is through Aids. HIV is rampant and so is rape.
Just an excerpt from a letter of a foreigner in the Bangkwang prison (or in Nonthaburi, that was not quite clear to me). This guy was approached to 'pick up some dope in Bangkok and get 20,000 dollars. He knew what he was doing and saw no harm in it. It became a one way trip:
"Our mediaeval cells are overcrowded, Sometimes there are 30-40 people in a cell that is only meant to hold 5. In the daytime we spend 5 hours under the burning sun and at night time there is not much sleep. There is always movement, noise and the danger of people attacking you. When you are white you stick out like a sore thumb and the Thai prisoners will have it in for you. Fortunately I am quite big and can blow a nasty punch so I have gained some respect, but there are stories about farangs here who are mass raped by 30 guys every night.
Even though I can defend myself, I would have trouble with 5 guys coming at me and also you do not want to get hurt here because a trip to the hospital is a sure way to get Aids. The food is almost the same every day. Rice, sometimes mouldy and fish soup, for as far as you could call the crap we are getting a soup. When we want to wash we have to use water from the river that normally gives you eye and ear infections. Strangely enough for a country where we are punished harshly for possessing drugs, here in jail, drugs are rampant. I'd say that 60% of the inmates are using heroine, for a price of course. I am not blaming the Thai government, I can only blame myself for having been so incredibly stupid"
So any sensible person stays away from drugs, you do not want to get involved. How about it however if you are sensible, you don't get involved with drugs, you don't use them, you don't smuggle them and you stay away from the full-moon parties, where loads of undercover cops hang around. Where the guy that sells the XTC is often a brother of the policeman that arrests you and who gets a bonus for every arrest. Would you be safe then? Whenever the police line you up you know your urine test is going to be virginally blank, you are just cruising the country with a friend? Are you safe? You are not. Behold Thai justice.
Some 6 years ago 2 friends travelled through Thailand in a rental car. One of them, a Dutchman had been to Thailand before and even had a Thai GF that lived with him for some time until for whatever reason, the relationship was broken off. They were on their way to the airport to leave for Bangkok. Little does he know he is not leaving the country any time soon. Yes, I know what you are thinking, he or someone else stashed heroine in his suitcase, or maybe the ex GF turned sour on him and set him up. Nothing of the sort. There are no drugs within a mile from him or his luggage and as I understand the ex-GF had no bone to pick with him.
Still, it was his ex-GF that inadvertently got him in trouble.
As it is, the relationship was over and she had gone her own way, trying to make a living. Unfortunately, making a living involved drugs. She and her brother were caught while in possession of a sizeable amount of drugs and were arrested.
Apparently, from her passport it becomes clear that she had spent some time in the Netherlands (and we all know the reputation my country has with regard to drugs). A further check comes up with the name of her ex BF and behold, an even further check points out he is in Thailand at that very moment. This is proof enough for his involvement in what must be an international drug ring and provisions are taken to arrest him and also his travel partner (an Italian).
So mind you, even though the guy is squeaky clean, knows nothing about what his ex is involved in, just happened to 'have known her' that is proof enough for his involvement and arrest.
They go to trial and the judge decides there is no proof and sets them free, whereas his ex is sentenced to 33 years in jail. End of story? No way. The Italian indeed is set free, but the prosecutor goes into appeal in the Dutchman's case.
Well, tough shit you think, but at least he is out of jail, he may have to hang around in BK for a while and the appeal will probably go the same way. Not in your lifetime! The Dutchman immediately is taken into custody again and has to await the appeal in jail. So, even though he is innocent, even though there was no proof and the judge found him innocent, he still is in jail and until recently had no idea how long it was going to take. Turns out it took 5 years before his appeal served and now just a few days ago, at the end of October, he was brought to the courthouse, without his lawyer present and was sentenced to life time imprisonment (or 'reclusum perpetua' as they tend to call it in another country tough on drugs, The Philippines), without him even knowing on what grounds or new evidence (His ex GF always maintained that he was not involved).
Since Stick's website is not the place to start a sympathy action for this guy (although he deserves our sympathy) and I merely want to warn about what could happen to basically any foreigner in Thailand, I will not mention the non-existent help from the Embassy, or all the promises Dutch politicians made to his parents, but did not keep (Hey, who can blame them, they are politicians).
There is however an unsavoury political ring to the story.
It is not unusual that foreigners are set free pending an appeal from the prosecutor's office. So why the harshness in this case?
Well, of course no one knows for sure, but some time ago, another Dutchman was arrested on drug related charges, in Thailand. He was set free awaiting his trial, turns in his passport and promises to not leave the country. Now mind you, this guy was not innocent, it was very clear he had been busy with drugs.
It just so happens that this is the son of Mr. and Mrs. xxxxxxx, with Mr. xxxxxxx being the president of the Xxxxxx Xxxxxxx Bank, which enables Mrs. xxxxxxx to have a diplomatic passport and she travels to Thailand. During that visit her son 'escapes' Thailand
So far so good, but instead of keeping a low profile, I understand that mother and son, upon their return have harsh criticism on the treatment the Thai government bestowed upon the son. This did not go down well with the Thai authorities.
The Thai ambassador, Vasin Teeravchyan, informed the press that the Thai government informs that Dutch prisoners now have little chance to be released on bail. "The recent escape of xxxxx shows that we can not release prisoners".
So what words of warning can I give you. It is not enough to worry about whether the BG you will pick up tonight is using drugs or not. It is not enough to worry whether your current teeruk is perhaps involved with drugs. You also have to worry about the possibility that ex teeruks will at one time in the future be involved in drugs.
For all those guys travelling to or currently in BK, are you sure that Noi, who lived in your apartment for half a year last summer, is not currently being arrested by the police, that Lek, you went to Koh Samui with, comes up clean in the urine line up. Is there a clear trace of you sending money to 'get a girl out of a bar' or to just help a girl to study, while that girl is trying to make a quick buck with drugs? It is enough to make you an accomplish and the Thai police could be waiting for you.
On top of that however, if you are Dutch, you are screwed.
This is scary!