(More rushes from 'Big Trouble in Thailand)
Link: JJ: My uncle is big Captain in police station
From Andrew Drummond, Bangkok, September 13
Royal Marines who claim they were swindled and held at gunpoint while on R&R in Thailand said tonight that they were 'ready to go to war' over an alleged cover-up of the incident.
The Marines of Delta Company, 40 Commando, based in Taunton, who were held at gunpoint by a Jet Ski operator on the Thai holiday island of Phuket, said they would take the matter to government to government level, if Thai authorities tried to shift the blame.
And they added that they would stick by a British producer/cameraman, who filmed the whole incident, and who now faces arrest accused by the Thai authorities of 'setting up' the scene for filming.
'The Thai authorities should choose to hold an adult approach to this incident. If not, we are willing to raise the level of this dispute to that of a diplomatic incident, though of course we will have to go through legal channels,' said Marine Police Sergeant and Detachment Commander Tim Wright.
The row follows an incident which happened when Delta Company were on 'R &R' on the Thai holiday island of Phuket earlier this year.
The 'damaged jet ski' con is widespread in Thailand and complaints have already been made by several Embassies, including the British, Australian and Chinese, to the Thai authorities.
Prior to the film's transmission the Provincial Governor had been ordered by Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister to act to end the rip-offs to preserve the country's image for tourism.
Reliable reports say that corrupt police take a 20 per cent cut from all payments.
Meanwhile producer Gavin Hill, who was working for comedian Rory Bremner's Vera Productions, said: 'At the moment our relationship has come to an end. They have not given any support. They are also not honouring some promises I made to the Thai authorities or corrections I am making to the scripts.
'They appear to have left me out to dry. The Thai authorities are trying to get the series stopped. But actually if they look at it closely they come off quite well. We were primarily looking at British tourists on holiday.
'I actually love Thailand and would not wish to harm the country at all. The authorities cannot see who is doing the harm.'
The series which was shot with the co-operation of the Thai Tourist Police was originally called 'Thai Cops'. The title was then changed to 'Big Trouble in Tourist Thailand' and the Thai Film Board protested.
'I told the production company that title was offensive to Thailand, but my views were apparently not 'taken on board' as they claimed they would be. It's a mess.
''The situation with the Marines and JJ was real and menacing. It was not set up or scripted. I just recorded what happened'.
JJ's boys look on