Monday, April 1, 2013

Monday, April 01, 2013


The following statement is issued by Finnwatch, a Finnish non-profit organisation (, with regard to Briton Mr Andy Hall's court hearing brought by Natural Fruit Company in Thailand at Bangkok South Criminal Court today, April Fool's Day, 2013.  Mr. Hall was a member of a Finnwatch Team which published a scathing report on Natural Fruit, based in Pranburi, and connected to Democratic Party politicians. The company's reaction was not to sue Finnwatch but Hall, just one member of the five man team.


"Legal actions against Finnwatch researcher are an attack against human rights defenders and freedom of expression. 
Thailand's authorities must immediately launch an investigation into the operations of Natural Fruit and its parent company NatGroup 
. Human rights issues must be tackled also in the ongoing free trade agreement negotiations between Thailand and the EU. 
Andy Hall
Natural Fruit, a maker of tinned pineapple and juice concentrate, has submitted two lawsuits in Thailand against Andy Hall, the migration expert who recently coordinated Finnwatch's field research in Thailand. 
If found guilty, Mr Hall could face seven years in prison. Natural Fruit is also demanding seven million euros for damages. 
The accusations relate to research commissioned by Finnwatch and conducted by Mr Hall in October-November 2012 and the communication of its results to the public. 
The most alarming findings were based on interviews with Natural Fruit's employees. The workers, some of whom were undocumented migrants, reported poor working conditions, unlawfully low wages, confiscation of official documents, use of child labour and excessive overtime.  
Interviews were documented and can be verified. 
Finnwatch communicated the findings to relevant Thai ministries in December 2012. Natural Fruit was also contacted repeatedly during the research process. 
The company did not respond in any way or display any interest to comment on our findings. 
Despite strong evidence indicating serious wrongdoings, Natural Fruit or its parent company NatGroup have not been held accountable and are allowed to continue their operations. 
Our understanding is that the lawsuits filed against Andy Hall are not only unfounded but also a part of a wider attempt to limit the activities of human rights defenders and the freedom of expression in Thailand."

Hmm. If they can make it fresh
what was it before? An example
of how some Thai companies
 refuse to employ English
speaker to do their English
language advertising.
In recent months alone, several situations have been reported in which the fundamental human and labour rights of workers in Thailand's key export industries, such as shrimp, tuna and pineapple processing, have been grossly violated. Thai authorities' responses have in many cases been inadequate and ineffective. 
Thailand recently finalised lengthy negotiations on a partnership cooperation agreement with the European Union, its third largest trading partner. 
According to José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, respect for human rights and the fight against corruption are essential elements of the agreement. In March, the EU and Thailand launched negotiations for a bilateral free trade agreement. 
It is important that the EU, in the context of the ongoing negotiations as well as in its other interactions with Thailand, raises the above-mentioned human rights issues and uses all the means in its power to encourage Thailand to respect human rights and the freedom of expression. 
Thailand must step up its efforts to protect human rights defenders and to ensure that organisations, researchers, activists and journalists promoting human rights may carry out their work free of harassment. 
All legal actions against Andy Hall must be dropped, and Thailand's authorities must immediately launch an investigation into NatGroup's operations."

 DISCLAIMER: The author of this site has no personal knowledge of working conditions at Natural Fruit and the views expressed here are of course those of Finnwatch. Finnwatch is a reputable organisation.


  1. In the Bangkok Post.

    Here's a sample:

    The lawyer for natural Fruit, Somsak Torugsa, said if Mr Hall could not be located, his client might ask the court to formally advise the court in his hometown in England that he was required to appear to answer a criminal lawsuit.

    Natural Fruit vice president Kachin Komneyawanich alleged that Mr Hall's reports and his communications with the public, which could be found on at least 20 websites, had damaged his company and were without truth.

    The Prachuap Khiri Khan-base tinned pineappple and juice concentrate maker Natural Fruit is owned and operated by a brother of Democrat Party secretary general Chalermchai Sri-On.

    1. What the lawyer forgot to say is that the courts in his home town (Spalding) will not give a monkey's uncle about what the Thai court does. There is no charge in Britain of criminal libel. The laws of libel are used in Thailand to keep dissenters quiet..and..broke.