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Stickman

"Welcome To Hell" - inside a Thai prison

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Back to the Book,

 

Picked it up Saturday Evening, it was read by Sunday Lunch.

 

Its a story that I took an interest in touch all along, expats tend to socialise with expats, and contract engineers with our own kind.

 

Considering the fact that the book has been written and published so soon after the events and given that it was written by an engineer (most of our literary work reads like a user guide), I thought he put his side of the story across quite well.

 

There are times when you can sense his anger bubbling under the surface as he is relating to a certain episode but he manages to keep it in control and continue to tell his side of a fascintating (to the reader) yet harrowing experiences and yet still seem to allocate the same amount of print to each episode.

 

The characters are lightweight, but they don't need anything of substance, this is "His Story" think of it more of a monologue than a story. I know one thing for sure, there is no way I could have been what he went through and then be able to tell it the way it is told.

 

The most shocking part about it was not what was being said, but the way that I found myself in agreement with all his observations of how the system works over here, from what he experienced first hand is what over the years has built up to be my own viewpoint. And rest assured If every I got involved in a situation through no fault of my own, bail would be paid forthwith and I'd been out of here.

 

There is a current case here in Chonburi, a Navy Officer was driving back to Sattahip after being to see his family in BKK for the weekend. At 1:30 AM he hit a Motorcycle doing a U-Turn on Sukhumvit (not sure where) killing the rider and hospitalising the pillion. He is now locked up in Chonburi Prison Charged with "Death by Careless Driving" I know in my home country that someone who killed another road user if the victim was attemting a U-Turn across a 3 lane Highway at 1:30 AM, would be taken away for sure, Breath and Blood / Urine sample, questioned, released on Police Bail pending further enquiries.

 

This is a Naval Officer who was driving back to base minding his own business and whallop, so anything could happen to a farang.

 

The author did come over as rather naieve, never been to Asia before let alone Thailand yet ploughs headlong into a potential multi million dollar contract, Greed influencing sanity IMHO.

 

All in all though a pretty decent read, and it could open up a few peoples eyes

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A few comments on the book; I think the debate with BB is over.

 

This author of the book denies doing the crime, and, of course, there really is no way from simply reading the book to determine if he did the crime or not. But many of his comments echo things I have seen or heard elsewhere, particularly his description of court proceedings here.

 

During the loan work outs following the financial crisis I sat through a number of bankruptcy court hearings. Because the client in these matters was a bank, we had the benefit of good lawyers (the author of ?Welcome to Hell? obviously did not), but there were similarities.

 

We were told that it was bad form to object or present too much evidence in the from financial experts since it would suggest that the judge wasn?t capable of figuring out these things for himself. The author of ?Welcome to Hell? got similar advice, and was convinced that it was one of the reasons he was convicted. He blames his lawyers; I think it has more to do with the judicial system and Thai culture generally.

 

To put a company into bankruptcy in Thailand you have to establish that the company is ?insolvent?. I don?t know how you could possibly prove this anywhere without not only presenting financial information, but also having someone knowledgeable in finance explain that evidence in a clear and detailed fashion. Here, it quickly became evident that the bankruptcy judges were way out their depth ? understandable since they had no prior experience in this area and were trained as lawyers and not financial professionals. In the US, they have specialized courts with judges who only handle bankruptcy cases, and even there (I had to testify in one bankruptcy case in the US), it is not easy. Here, it was a farce. And it also quickly become apparent that ?other? factors were more important in determining the outcome of bankruptcy proceedings in Thailand. This has been the subject of questioning and critical articles in The Wall Street Journal, The Economist and just about every serious business or economic journal covering those proceedings.

 

I don?t know if this guy did the crime - the only witness died while serving time for fraud in another prison ? but his description of the proceedings was eerily reminiscent of what I saw in the business bankruptcy cases I saw here. And we had good lawyers. It is as though evidence doesn't really matter here.

 

The other troubling thing is that he was convicted even though no one testified against him? Maybe the authored lied or conveniently forgot what happened during the fight, but no one testified at all about the fight: the only other witness available got sick and died in another prison.

 

I don?t want to give too much away, but the court apparently relied on his confession ? written in a language he couldn?t understand ? and his re-enactment of the crime in front of television cameras. Now if you live here, you have seen this before on Thai TV: criminals ?willingly? re-enacting their crimes for the benefit of TV news. The author claims he was tortured for days before he ?agreed? to do the re-enactment. This has more than a ring of truth; even if you are guilty, why would you possibly re-enact the crime in front of TV cameras? Why do the authorities even allow that - it just reeks of a Stalin era show trial?

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Stick,

 

Thanks. I was joking really, but if I can't find it in a couple weeks I'll take you up on that, and return it of course. BTW, I am bringing down about 50 paperbacks I have stashed up here I have read recently (I read a lot). You might enjoy some. ND will have them. I'll be giving them to Harry Seaman, so just ask to see them. I'll have a list of what I bring. I'll send you a copy, and if you want to borrow some to read just ask Harry or Nervous Dog.

 

Cent

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I found the book stirring while at the same time disturbing. It seemed to me his anger and temper may have caused most of his problems. This was re-emphasized when he beated up another falang in prison who was masturbating.

 

I was taken back when the police used a plastic bag over his head to abstract a confession. I suspect these bags are used more then we can imagine.

 

He did speak of another falang that did not accept the services of a lady and was later arrested for stealing her cigarettes. that falang claimed he could have gotten out of the problem for 3000 baht. What a break for something he did not do!

 

Like Gadfly1, I too wondered why he was convicted when there were no witnesses.

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Guest lazyphil

i saw a docus on bangkwang and san quentin some time ago....if push came to shove (and it does alot in san quentin ::) i'd do time in bangkwang any day!

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"So, you speak for everyone here ???? wow......"

 

I never said I did. Your strawman responses march forward.!!!

At least you are consistent. :: :: ::

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I was taken back when the police used a plastic bag over his head to abstract a confession. I suspect these bags are used more then we can imagine.
Your mention of the plastic bag incident reminds me of a farang "suicide" awhile back that we actually discussed on this site.

 

A farang was found dead in a hotel on Soi Nana with his hands tied behind his back and a plastic bag over his head. The police decided it was a suicide. No real explanation was ever provided as to how they reached this conclusion.

 

When mentioned here, someone - I cannot remember who - actually argued it probably was a suicide because it is possible for someone to do this - that is, commit suicide by putting a plastic bag over their head and then tying their hands their back. I honestly don't know if this possible, but when the leap was made from "possible" - but obviously very unlikely - to "probably", I decided that it really wasn't worth arguing the issue further.

 

What many don't realize is that this sort of stuff happens here frequently (balcony jumpers come to mind), and the police generally conclude it was a suicide. I often wonder if they are involved. Frightening.

 

On the positive side, the new chief of forensics here, Khun Pornthip, is starting to challenge this nonsense. She is outside the police force and intensely disliked by the top police brass for making sense when they do not. I hope she lasts.

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Are there any books about thailand written by falangs that are not mainly about prison experiences or the nightlife/prozzies? Maybe Bangkok Phil will come up will something more original :)

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Hi!

 

Pattaya, Bangkok on steroids. I think the author's name is Duncan Hearn. To be fair not a great book but still interesting.

 

regards

 

ALHOLK

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There have been some hopeless attempts to raise the intellectual level of Bangkok literature a notch or two...I can't recall names. We just can't climb out of the pit. ::

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