MEN IN TIGHTS IN PATTAYA COULD BE SCOTTISH JUDGES
ANDREW DRUMMOND, MAY 11 2012
The continuing controversy over the future of Glasgow Rangers Football Club, currently in administration and banned from signing players over 17 for a year, has had an interesting knock-on in Thailand.
There has been mention 20 years on for instance of a commercial flight containing Scottish judges diverting to a military airport in Thailand due to a lightning strike when sweaty Scottish judges were cowered in the cabin in case press were at the gate to cover the incident. And one of the founders of Pattaya’s ‘Boyz Town’ gets a heavy mention.
How is this connected to the Glasgow Rangers Football Club? – That’s ‘Gers’ if you are syllably challenged.
Well apparently Lord Justice Nimmo Smith has been appointed to oversee the enquiry into the football team’s problems. I am not going to explain them here but they have not been acting as a proper football club should and are in administration.
But its not been good and now Scotland's most famous team is up for grabs.
Lord Nimmo, is known to ‘The Sun’ newspaper as ‘Nimmo the Dimmo’ (something journalists try at their peril in Thailand) and he is not that much well regarded by the rest of the Scottish press either judging by some other editorials.
This stems from his alleged whitewash of the ‘Magic Circle’ enquiry – a Royal Commission in the early nineties in which it was alleged that gay Scottish judges were not only being regally hosted in Pattaya and elsewhere, but were subsequently involved in a ‘sex for justice’ scandal.
At the centre of the scandal was the acquittal of a Scotsman called Gordon May for defrauding Teague Homes of Edinburgh of some £213,000 together with the company lawyer Tucker Arthur Colin Tucker.
May was also charged with stealing another £6,700. Both men were acquitted at the Dunfermline High Court.
It seemed a straightforward case. May was a gay director of Teague Homes. A chap called James Lumsden was company secretary. The company even lodged in its annual report that those figures had been ‘misappropriated’ by May and Tucker. But after an exchange between the Advocate General and his Deputy the case was withdrawn and May and Tucker were formally found not guilty. The whole of Scotland, it appeared, wanted to know why.
During this period May and Lumsden turned up in Pattaya and put down over £200,000+ on a company called Bodisorn and hence Pattaya’s ‘Boyz Town’ was born – with their flagship enterprises ‘Boyz Boyz Boyz’ nightclub and ‘The Ambiance Hotel’.
Now in Scotland ‘ Scottish Law Reporter’ has blogged:
Clearly in the light of more recent investigations by the Scottish media, reprinted below, the decision to withdraw the prosecution’s case as it hung in court, may have been premature… and, what was not generally known at the time was that several Scottish judges had chosen to invest some of their accumulated wealth in gay clubs in Thailand, where they frequently flew out to visit, seeking sexual relations with the youngest of males.
“In one account made to an enquiring journalist, ‘On one not so fine sunny day, a commercial flight en route to Thailand which, among the passengers was carrying several of Scotland’s first division judges was forced to divert to a Military airbase in Thailand due to the aircraft suffering an lightning strike during a storm. Sitting in the seats were several sweaty Scottish judges worried the incident would become a photo opportunity for journalists who might have rumbled their little boy hunt.’
“It’s easy to remember why these judges were on their way to Thailand, via a detailed investigation from the Sunday Herald newspaper, reprinted below. However, it’s not so easy to come to the same conclusions as Lord Nimmo Smith, that nothing untoward happened in the Scottish justice system and there was no grounds to the Magic Circle affair whatsoever, leaving those who are looking for answers over the Rangers FC affair, a little worried the answers may not be forthcoming in this 'independent inquiry' kicked off by the SFA...
Scottish Law Reporter maybe overdramatizing things a bit – but the report referred to: ‘STRANGE TALE OF CROOKED COPS, TRANSVESTITES, A MUTILATED BODY AND TWO SCOTS KNOWN AS THE ‘GAY MACMAFIA’ was spot on and perhaps even erred on the cautious side.
This is how I became involved. May and Lumsden took on a new business partner called Iain Macdonald. He was gay and rich and young. At 28 he had just come into an inheritance from his father the Lord Provost of Inverness. Lumsden and May convinced him to put in £250,000 for just half their business – a very quick profit.
May also persuaded MacDonald to write a will leaving everything in Thailand to his boyfriend. (May’s not Macdonald’s).
A month after he signed the illegal will (It was also signed by the beneficiary) Macdonald died in a fire in the Ambiance Hotel. His body was mutilated because somebody had hacked his fingers trying to get rings off the corpse. The ‘boyfriend’ got nothing, nor did Macdonald’s family.
Newspapers sent me to investigate. May and Lumsden had alibis. May was off premises. Lumsden was, er, engaged in other matters and had a witness to prove it.
Then in 2000 I received a call from John Hector (I can name him now he is retired finishing his days in Beijing), a Customs & Excise Drugs Investigator based at the British Embassy in Bangkok to say that he had visited Kevin Quill, a Yorkshireman who had been arrested on the way to the airport where police had found yaa baa (methamphetamines).
The drugs were in a consignment of Benson & Hedges cigarettes he was taking back to Britain to sell.
It’s something which hundreds of Brits do even today. A 400 baht carton of duty free and unstamped cigarettes bought in Pattaya, will fetch a minimum of £25 in Britain (1,250 baht) – 300 per cent profit – sold to friends.
(Legal cigarettes in Britain however cost seven times legal ones do in Thailand)
“Kevin Quill is a patsy,” said Hector. “He’s been set up. Probably worth you looking at this case.”
I duly went to see Kevin Quill in jail who protested his innocence. He’d never taken drugs in his life. In fact he was vehemently anti-drugs. He’d been in business with the Scotsmen May and Lumsden. They had bought the cigarettes from a Thai policeman and staff at the Ambiance had packed them for him. The hotel car took an odd route out of Pattaya. A police roadblock had been set up. He was escorted to Pattaya Police station (even though police had opened nothing) Then police opened the cigarettes and found the drugs in one packet in one carton. (No others were opened).
I would have been perhaps more cynical, but I knew about Teague Homes and the background in Edinburgh of May and Lumsden. One was an aggressively butch gay. The second a gay queen. Apart from Teague Homes, there had been other incidents in a pub in the Grassmarket there. They had arrived in Pattaya and re-invented themselves as ‘pillars of society’ and Lumsden was to become head honcho of the annual Pattaya Gay Pride week.
Within a week I had established that the day after his arrested Quill had been removed as a director of the company he shared with Lumsden/May and a Thai lawyer (and surprise surprise a former President of the Rotary Club Jomtien-Pattaya).
The day after his arrest the arresting officers had been treated to a party with free Johnny Walker Black at ‘Boys Boyz Boyz’ and that May had written to Quill in prison to cover the occasion saying police had turned up demanding free drinks....’The bastards!’
Further while still in prison Quill’s penthouse apartment was stripped and converted into two suites for renting out, his car had been appropriated as the hotel taxi. Clearly these guys were assuming Kevin was going down.
I reported back to the British Embassy and with the Consul Deryck Fisher went to see the head of police Chonburi Region 2. General Pongsarn knew what had gone on, he said. Yes there was a ‘dodgy’ sergeant in Pattaya. Quill was known for drinking..a lot of it..but not for drugs. It did not look right.
Yet again the Pattaya newspapers were at their best. One journalist from the Pattaya Mail offered his services. When they were rejected he offered them to Gordon May. The Pattaya Mail then printed a story quoting May, without checking with Kevin Quill, that Quill had boasted of attempted murder and was involved in a massive fraud.
There was no fraud investigation. I checked. There was no attempted murder accusation or boast. I had asked Kevin Quill to prove documentary evidence of the finances he brought to Thailand, which he did in abundance. And of course why should Kevin Quill accept 7 million baht when he invested 13 million baht in the first place?
This was one of my first tastes of Pattaya journalism, where journalists also offered legal services,' keep out of newspaper' services, and even as volunteer police, had according to the British Embassy at the time, used a stun gun during investigations of foreigners.
Kevin Quill was duly released on bail to fight his case. I had written the story for the Scottish newspapers, but now Lumsden started issuing libel writs against me for a story headlined: ‘Lock Stock and Two Smoking Boys’ which ran in the ‘Bangkok Post’.
Meanwhile Kevin who had brought charges against the Scottish duo, fell for their promises that if dropped the charges he would get their property back. He got the property back but they then filed charges against him for making malicious complaints. Their action failed.
I was unconcerned about the libel hearings. I travelled to Scotland saw Iain Macdonald’s family and brought back with me the phony will, and an affidavit from his mother, which coupled with the company records etc., clearly showed what game was being played.
An appeal went out to the UK and nearly £10,000 came in from the Guardian, Daily Mail, Express, Observer, the National Association of Journalists, and also from many individual journalists.
In Bangkok the FCCT hummed and hawed and issued a statement of ‘concern’.
The British Consul Deryck Fisher also issued a statement saying he had received an apology from General Noppodal Somboonsap for the ‘frame-up’ of Kevin Quill. General Noppadol, who gave evidence for me, had reviews the evidence, interviewed all the arresting officers, and seen the arrest video.
Meanwhile the ‘Bangkok Post’ behind my back did a deal with the plaintiffs and, as to be expected in Pattaya, Kevin Quill, was convicted and jailed for six years and I was convicted of libel.
I gave an interview to the Guardian who quoted me as saying: “I am in awe of the fact that the prosecutor was a director of the same commercial sex company as the defendant.”
A case was brought against me for ‘contempt of court’. I won.
I further won my criminal libel cases as expected on appeal. The judge ruled I was acting in the public interest and doing my job as a journalist. Now 12 years on it still has not been finally determined by the Supreme Court.
Kevin Quill won his case on appeal and was freed to return to the UK. He came back for the Supreme Court judgment, lost, and was banged up again.
The British Embassy action was muted. There was no action. They all knew Quill was set up but they did nothing more than has been detailed here even though a foreign office dictat rules that diplomats can appear in certain cases abroad. It was as if that having taken a right decision in the beginning they now regretted it. Consular official Kate Duffal however looked after him well while he was in prison suffering from throat cancer.
I was sued in the civil courts. I could not contest because I was not allowed witnesses because the Bangkok Post lawyers (who had done a deal with the plaintiffs) had not entered my witness list. I was ordered to pay a million baht.
“I am not going to pay I said and certainly not to anyone in the gay commercial sex business,” I said, while my own lawyer was trying to keep me quiet.
Lumsden and May did of course present to the court an investigation by Chonburi Police saying there was no evidence that ‘Boyz Boyz Boyz’ was a commercial sex business.
So there we have it and twenty years on the case of the ‘Magic Circle’ rears its head again. Lumsden and May are now less influential figures in Pattaya’s gay commercial sex trade, though Lumsden still acts as ‘mine host’ at ‘Boyz Boyz Boyz’.
The two men run their own gay hotel - Baan Souy. Its not going to make Flying Sporran's 'The List' - I fear.
Meanwhile Kevin Quill says: “I am almost sorry for them now. Things come around and they are a very sad pair.”
No dramatic finalé I am afraid.
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