High on Ice - An unfortunate publicity blurb.
A Flying Sporran Enquiry
February 26 2012
Readers of his website will remember how we caught the boss of a drugs and alcohol clinic in Thailand smoking 'Ice' with prostitute in a Bangkok hotel room.
The rehab in question called 'Channah' (win) reacted swiftly and removed Briton Simon Gunn - or rather he was forced to step down - in the interest of the clinic's reputation. ..a move for which they should be heartily congratulated.
The 'Channah' closed down, or did it. Well not exactly. It appears to have re-appeared at the same location in Koh Chang, this time under the name 'Dara (star) Drug & Alcohol Rehab Asia. Elevated to boss is State Registered Nurse Martin Peters, a former regular customer at the 'Crossbar' pub in Bangkok and former employee of 'Channah' and Simon Gunn.
But what is amazing is that Simon Gunn's name has re-appeared again in publicity for this clinic on the site www.angelscommunity.com.
Simon waxes lyrically about the new 'Dara' Rehab clinic, which liberally quotes from a feature in the 'Bangkok Post' which was actually written about his rehab 'Channah' when it was in Kanchanaburi. Former Bangkok Post turned 'Big Chilli' sleuth Maximillian Weschler did not pick up on the fact that some of the staff were 'out to lunch'.
When I called 'Dara' in Koh Chang, a member of staff strongly denied that Simon Gunn had anything to do with 'Dara'. This was a new venture under different ownership, he insisted.
He suggested that someone had possibly trawled the net and written a piece without checking. They had not seen Gunn for years, he said, and I believed him.
But then how would the author know that 'Dara' was in fact the old 'Channah' unless someone from DARA had told them. And why would they take credit for an article written by the Bangkok Post about Channah? And why had they not spotted this first on the internet?
I was given the name of a chap called Darren, just his first name, to contact together with an email.
Above - Caught on tape smoking ice with a Soi 7 girl
But here's the good news. The old 'Channah' charged up to US$35,000 a month for its courses. The new 'Dara' has been charging as little as US$5000. That's a little bit more realistic.
I have now heard back from Darren Lockie a spokesman for 'Dara'.
He states: "We have made sweeping changes at DARA, the price was just one component, and that was made because we were not helping the very people we set out to help. We are now at capacity of 30 people regularly. We also drug test all of our staff, have new contracts in place and have spent significant money on bringing in consultants and marketing to make sure we remain the best rehab facility in Asia.
"For you to try and bring us down based on a random website that we have no knowledge or control over is unfair. The past article on Simon was fair and I had no complaints. It was unfortunate and damaging, but we learned from it, took control back and made significant changes for the benefit of DARA and our Clients."
Declaration: The owner of Position Front Page who designed this site has an interest in a similar sort of clinic on the Thai island of Koh Samui. I have informed him I will not take adverts for such clinics or write anything which might be considered promotional. This is policy only and nothing should be inferred from it.
My position: My caution about writing about these sort of clinics is that some tend to charge inordinately high prices to clients who are at the rock bottom of their lives. They want stars and high rollers of course. But the staff at these places are often former addicts and ordinary people who have dried out and reformed and gone through public paid for schemes in the UK and elsewhere to treat people in the public sector where they are needed most. If genuinely helping people is their calling then they should be treating ordinary people first!
It is encouraging that Dara has reduced its rates to a more acceptable level and they should be congratulated for doing so and in the absence of anything to the contrary I wish them good luck.