From Andrew Drummond,
Bangkok, December 12 2010
Bangkok, December 12 2010
Pattaya Police Superintendent, Colonel Nunthawut Suwanla-ong, has denied reports that a British visa overstayer was mistreated in the police cells at the local police station on Beach Road, Pattaya.
In a statement to the Pattaya Daily News, issued to 'counter allegations by the foreign media' the Superintendent said that the prisoner Mr. Richard Hewitt, 47, was arrested in an apartment block in Soi Chalermphrakiet 16, Pattaya on November 13th not November 23rd as earlier reported.
This followed a complaint by neighbours, he said, who were terrified of his 'drug crazed' behaviour. However information received here suggested the complaint was made by the owner of a condominium where Hewitt lived and not kept up with his payments and that Hewitt was removed from his apartment which was in a filthy state.
In this video voice-over on the Pattaya People site the Superintendent seems to have given a different statement that Hewitt was arrested on November 24th.The Pattaya People cited Hewitt's drunken rather than drug crazed behaviour.
The Pattaya People, owned by Nils Colov and Thai partners, is also enraged at the affront to local police. And reported that the Superintendent 'vehemently denied these allegations!' which the report said were carried in a British newspaper. Which paper we are not told.
Pattaya One News, owned by the British Honorary Consul and his Thai partners, so far remains silent on the issue.
(The Pattaya Times leads as usual publicising its owner American Drew Noyes and his law firm, and carries a glowing report of his 14 years of Noyes' service to Thailand. It's lead story is how the internet is buzzing around with the world with news of pornographers in Pattaya and describes teakdoor.com* as 'well balanced')
According to the Pattaya Daily News: 'Futher investigation revealed that Mr. Hewiti's (sic) visa had expired and he was on overstay. Subsequently on 25th November police Lieutenant Srithongphet had sent a report with an indictment to the Pattaya Provincial Court with charges of staying in the kingdom illegally and the British Embassy were informed accordingly.
'Later, after the suspect was sent to the Pattaya Provincial Court, his attorney's response was to send him back Pattaya Police Station because Mr. Hewiti could not give any statement to the court due to his mental condition'.
'Accordingly the officer invited the Bangkok Pattaya Hospital's doctor to examine the suspect, and they discovered he suffered from a nervous disorder. He was then sent to the Galya Institute (under the Mental Health Department) for treatment under the jurisdiction of the Saladaeng Police Station. When the suspect's condition had improved he was sent back to Pattaya Police Station for further judicial procedures'.
Back at the police station last Monday quite some days after he had 'improved'
Police said Hewitt's condition was due to his own behaviour.In none of the newspaper reports do police refer to Hewitt's physical health status and why he was chained to the bars.
Clarification: Although the PDN reports that Hewitt was arrested on the 13th and have accompaning pictures and video taken on that date, this appears to be a newspaper and television invention as the police report states he was arrested on the 24th and the British Foreign Office say they were notified on the 25th. Further while the police report states that he went to the court, he only had a look at the cells downstairs. The hospital which the Superintendent mentions is where Hewitt was taken after a well wisher arrived on the scene and he only went there once and is still there, so thus he had not actually improved much from anything. It therefore follows that photographs shown around the Canterbury Tales pub in Pattaya taken by a British tourist police assistant 'from the Valleys' at Hewitt's apartment were of course taken a long time prior to his arrest and were therefore part of a dress rehearsal. My apologies for the confusion caused by the story. I hope this is now clear.
Police cell pictures: Benny Moalfi
*The last time I looked at Teakdoor posters were describing a Thai woman and former Thai magazine editor as a 'f**king wh**re'.