Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tuesday, July 24, 2012
13
The young son of a British M.P. has been arrested in Laos for drugs related offences. The incident which has been suppressed by British newspapers should however be taken as a warning to visitors to the country.

People should be particularly careful in the backpacker hot spot of Vang Vien. A spectacular holiday can turn into a nightmare.

Vang Vien has become the new fashionable place for gap year students and youngsters looking for adventure at a modest cost – and it certainly offers that.



It is best known for its ‘tubing’ pub crawls as kids head down stream on inflated inner-tubes calling in to top up on booze at numerous riverside bars on the way.  Beer is 50/75 cents.

There have been many accidents as people swinging from ropes accidentally dive in to rocks. But the small village is likely to remain popular.  It has been compared to Thailand 30 years ago – less exploited and less developed. Here's a sensible video that warns of the tubing dangers.

But like Thailand the young backpackers are seen as ‘rich visitors’ and police also need to eat.

Like Koh Phangan, scene of the full moon parties, police conduct regular drugs searches. These searches are not intended to put an end to the business. Drugs are even offered on menus, as they were once on Koh Phagnan, but to, er, pay for the policing.
Full Moon Drugs Menu on Koh Phagnan - now sellers are a little more discreet
So trippers heading for Vang Vieng through Thailand and reading this beware. If you are partaking in a spliff or something, don’t do it in public or be prepared to pay out up to US$1000.


If you do not have the cash Pongthong Prison in Laos is not a nice place. Once you're in it is very difficult to get out of. Up until recently, well they maybe they still do, stocks were used as a punishment for naughty prisoners.

I am of course also not naming the M.P’s son. He has been released. The record will have been struck. His holiday has been screwed.

But be careful out there. (This was a Flying Sporran Travel Advisory)

Footnote:

While this story was not used in the British press there were of course absolutely valid legal  and ethical reasons why. No charges were finally pressed. So technically this never happened.

That probably frustrates editors but the son is of course not an M.P.

(Left: Where foreign offenders go in Vientiane)

13 comments:

  1. Silly, silly boy.
    When will people learn that South East Asia is not the place to use drugs?
    It's much better sticking to Europe where the fines/ repercussions are far less severe.

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  2. Unlike you Drummond to partake in censorship of the press? Or have you been learning from the pattaya press and taken a bung?

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  3. Wow. That was like a dagger to the heart. No bungs here Lee - but urgently need assistance to combat certain Pattaya Editor in court August 25th. All welcome.

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  4. AD, can you clarify?

    If the boy's name is Joe Bloggs but you have no documentary proof of that I can understand that you can not publish the name. But if you have a legitimate source there are surely no problems in publishing it. Or is this a Thai problem?

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  5. Enigma: Not that simple I'm afraid. Unless there is a no police report even legitimate sources go by the wayside because without a plethora of them (plus pictures of the man in custody) who will go on record and who witnessed the event the family could simply deny. In this case the circumstances are slightly different but the same rules apply. I'm not fussed by this? Are you really. Its a blog because its a warning. Its not a story because the name cannot be used. I think I would also have to say I may have had a spliff sitting on the beach when I was younger. The beauty of Laos is that it seems so remote and unconnected with harsh police type actions and it is easy to believe the dream.

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  6. Daddy is probably on harder stuff anyway. Pommy Poli's cannot be that boring can they without some help?

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  7. "but urgently need assistance to combat certain Pattaya Editor in court August 25th. All welcome."

    Sounds ominous.....

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  8. I asked for information and am not fussed by it in nay way. You've answered the point I think by saying in Thailand you need lots of sources and particularly a police report. So,as you say, despite many "other legitimate sources" if the police give no report they can effectively censor. I do understand your need for caution and the story is not about censorship. Not right though is it?

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  9. Not ominous I hope. I am looking forward to a field day.

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  10. Yes. I think thats the point. And police reports are not necessarily accurate either. They always disappear if there is a settlement involved

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  11. There were 27 tourist deaths in Vang Vieng that were recorded by the tiny hospital there in 2011, caused by the dangers of tubing and swinging on ropes in shallow waters with jagged rocks below!

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  12. InspectorcluelessJuly 28, 2012 at 12:08 AM

    "Not ominous I hope. I am looking forward to a field day".

    I don't suppose you've considered laying on transport to this event?

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  13. Well Laos is not the West & a good warning post AD? One border town I think it was Chiang Khong? can't remember? the jail was a hole in the ground with a grill on top---you jumped in--just like the MIs in the Vietnam movies? May have changed now but an expat I know got caught with no visa years back after crossing the river by mistake & it wasn't very nice for the next few days. He paid his way out. BE WARNED would be travellers!!!!!!its not all roses, dope & fun!!!if things go wrong--it can be hell as some find out.Whats worse if you have limited $$$, man, you will have a problem.

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