Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

The confirmation by the Thai Appeal Court of a 50-year-jail sentence on former British soldier Lance Whitmore for selling ecstasy tablets in the Thai resort of Pattaya will probably not stir an iota of sympathy in many.

But to me it is only a sad confirmation not only of the lack of humanity but a confirmation of the dark side of a country which is celebrated world-wide for its 'hospitable and gentle people'.. if confirmation were needed that is.

Whitmore, 27, was guilty. No doubt about it. But guilty of what? 

His lawyers state that mysteriously from the initial arrest report the weight of the Ecstasy tablets he sold to an under-cover Thai police officer tripled from 8.79 grams to 27.9 grams.

Whitmore was unbelievably stupid too selling drugs to any Thai. 

He may well have also been very stupid following his father who had opened up a bar in Pattaya, once referred to by the Observer as a modern day ‘Sodom and Gomorrah’.

His family claim that he was just carrying the drugs for a friend who was the actual dealer. True, perhaps, but that defence would probably not carry much weight in a British court either. 

And he had been in Thailand long enough to know all this. He had acquired a job working offshore for Thailand Petroleum Services, and would not have needed to deal in drugs.

But a not guilty plea was not a realistic option in a Thai court. Defendants have to fall on Thai mercy.

After doing so his mother Debbie Caswell was reported today to be in a ‘dark place’. 

That is how she described her son’s condition a few months ago. 
I initially thought she was referring to Pattaya, but it was the jail.

“If dogs were kept in those conditions there would be an outrage (in UK)”, she said.

After his arrest Whitmore was kept in a ‘safe house’ for three days, presumably to extract more information. 

He told his mother he was tortured.

I have no personal knowledge of this case but of course complaints of police adding on to the weight of a drugs haul and beating up suspects are very common and have been true in many other cases.

If Whitmore survives Thailand’s grim jails he may come out an old man, its reported. But lets hope he gets a transfer back home.

So why do I have empathy for a drugs dealer and so much sorrow for his mother?

Well that’s because Thailand lets the career foreign criminals go ‘for cash’.

Giannini at scene of accident
Take the case of Canadian boiler room fraudster Frank Giannini. He crashed his car in Pattaya killing two Thais in the process.  At the time the media reported he had drugs paraphernalia in his car.

What happened to him – well he just disappeared from the legal system completely. No charges. No case. Nothing.

One of Giannini's victims. 

But he resurfaced years later when he was arrested in his home in Lat Krabang where police found a stash of heroin. This was a joint operation with the United States DEA.

He was charged and remanded into prison. Then two weeks after the DEA agent-in-charge left the country he was released!

Did I mention that he had US$100,000 in his safe at the time of his arrest?

The only saving grace is that the officer in charge of the case, Colonel Akkharawut, who was beholden to Bangkok’s boiler rooms, took a dive from a high building six months later when the CSD and CIB were being investigated for corruption.

But the CSD/CIB were only being investigated for corruption because Thailand’s Crown Prince had fallen out and disowned his wife, who had put many of her family members into running these units.

Then of course is the case of Brian Wright, 59, from Rhode Island, who repeatedly raped a 12-year-old girl who was jailed for 36 years at Pattaya Court.  Where is he now?  God knows.  The court took about £10,000 and gave him bail to appeal.  Why would he come back to hear he had lost his appeal?  He did not.

Neither did Brian Goudie, 48, from Falkirk, a serial conman, who was found guilty of cheating a frail old lady out of nearly US$300,000.  He paid his £10,000 and disappeared from jail too.

And then of course there is the other serial conman Drew Noyes, from Wilmington, North Carolina, who was jailed for extortion and then paid bail, plus an additional fee to leave the country, and of course has not been seen since.

The above cases of course are one’s I have been involved in - but nothing beats the case of the three policemen who were found guilty of stringing up and hanging three 17-year-olds in the police station in Kalasin in North East Thailand getting bail after being found guilty!

Thai Police and the Army used to control the drugs trade. That is an historical fact. 

They even fought each other over it and ran their own mule convoys down from the Golden Triangle.

Khun Sa
In fact, it was not so long ago that I filmed the army building a road to the camp of heroin warlord Khun Sa just over the Burma border – and they were not doing that to catch who was then the DEA’s ‘most wanted man’.

The army and police acorns today have not fallen far from the tree.

I was involved in the prosecution of a murder in Thailand where the murderer beat a woman viciously then finished off the job with a wok of boiling oil. The victims death was unbearably painful, as it was intended.

The defendant got 'humanity' - a mere 3 year jail sentence.

No I am afraid Lance Whitmore was a ‘patsy’. There’s no humanity for patsies.


Tim said...

What about the guy involved in the Lance sting that died after impaling himself on a shard of glass? Also, no mention that Lance implicated and lead police to his friend and accomplice Jake....

Andrew Drummond said...

Tell me about the shard of glass. Three days in a Thai police safe house. I'd be surprised if he didn't implicate Mother (Saint) Teresa

D. Farang said...

This is the really scary, seamy underbelly of the LOS, where justice is absent for so many victims. This is why Thailand is labelled a third world country - for the constant payoffs of the nefarious to the like-minded, to avoid all negative consequences of their actions.

It's why the status quo will remain - and incredibly - tourist numbers just keep on a rising. To the indecent - money always talks louder than morals and ethics. Look forward to more of same.

My Thai wife said that to really change Thailand - everyone older than say one years old would have to die - and they would have to start all over again with little babies, and a new paradigm of education. Perhaps she's right in theory.

Bryce Holden said...

I've been astonished by the sheer scale of the outcry over the severity of this guy's sentencing on social media and various online forums. The whining ranges from "it was only ecstasy" and "Oh, ecstasy is harmless" to - like you, AD - "what about such-and-such case?"

Just because he's a young Caucasian, there's a deliberate attempt to portray him as someone who made a silly mistake or a chancer who "only had a few pills" rather than as a veteran drug pusher with a long history of trafficking in contraband narcotics. If this was an African caught with a couple of grams of marijuana while sat on lower Sukhumvit, you wouldn't give a shit; hell, you'd probably be saying "throw away the key" and "why do they let these Africans into the country in the first place"?

Sorry, but hypocrisy stinks regardless of its point of origin - Thais or Westerners. Judicial systems in every country are chock full of anecdotes where some have been dealt with more harshly than others and Thailand's is no different. Trying to make out that this case somehow represents duplicity and corruptibility of the system as a whole rather than just the heavy-handedness of one particular judge makes you look no better than the pricks posting on Thaivisa.

This idiot put HIMSELF in the situation where he'd eventually have to fall at the mercy of a judicial system that can be as inconsistent as any in the West and, frankly, I find it hard to sympathise.

Bob Kneale said...

There is no good reason for this idiot not to survive jail, most do, how many foreigners haven't? Also, he will not be an old man when he is released, as you well know the maximum term in practice in Thailand is 20 years incarceration regardless of the theoretical 50 years given by the court.

Was Giannini 'released' or bailed?

Andrew Drummond said...

In the last year I have done three stories about foreigners dying in jail. None died of old age. I think you're out of touch here Mr Kneale. I never claimed that he would come out an old man - read again -

D. Farang said...

"If this was an African caught with a couple of grams of marijuana while sat on lower Sukhumvit, you wouldn't give a shit; hell, you'd probably be saying "throw away the key" and "why do they let these Africans into the country in the first place"?

I would never say throw away the key for simple possession of a soft drug like cannabis, that is being legalised in more jurisdictions - by allegedly sane governments, like Canada for example. I see you espouse throwing away the key Bryce - whilst I espouse education - for both users and those with zero tolerance to anything other than cigarettes, alcohol and prescription drugs. IMHO - marijuana trumps all three - take CBD's in marijuana, which stop many from having seizures - and they don't get "high."

Education is key in all things.

Jack said...

Jason Flannery. Apparently died 'running through a glass window whilst high'. Rumour is he had procured the tablets and was killed by the supplier of them (different police) when lance got arrested. Presumably as they knew lance would lead the arresting police to Jason and then on to them.

jules in KL said...

If you can't do the time, don't do the crime.

He was a big boy and knew that the Thais are irrational about drugs compared to other crimes, as in most Asian countries. If it had been Angeles City, perhaps he would not have even been arrested, just shot.

His only hopes were to bribe big and fast (before too many mouths got involved) or throw himself upon the mercy of the court. And that is risky.

Yes, he will possibly die in prison, certainly he will not like it. Moral of the story ... don't be immoral.

Billy Smart said...

If you want drugs in Pattaya mostly Cocaine there is a well known farang bar you can buy your products. This has been going on for a number of years. Many ex pats and tourists of a certain ilk know this bar and what goes on inside yet the police never raid the place. The cops are obviously getting paid off to turn a blind eye the same way im sure they were for Lance Whitmores operation. Then all of a sudden he gets busted. The moral of the story is that once you start greasing the sweating palms of law enforcement the option of getting out the trade is not there. You have to keep the bribes flowing or you will end up in Lances flip flops.

leave Thailand to the Thais said...

He wouuld have been given the choice.
pay in 24 hours and you will get x amount (depending how much he can pay) If you can't or won't pay them you become the show piece that Thailand will not tolerate drugs.
Parents getting that dreaded call can shout from the rooftops whatever they like.
If you don't pay it's goodbye. Forget not guilty. Forget set ups. Forget it's not his it's his mates.
I'm getting tired of repeating this but it is the only solution if caught doing anything

John Peddubriwny said...

On the one hand, locals have been executed for drug offences, so the idea that a Farang get's to stay alive is perhaps not so bad. I would imagine that he will serve about eight years of the sentence, mostly in an English prison, before being pardoned.

But seriously though compared to other jurisdictions,this is an undoubtedly harsh sentence. Lee Aldhouse received a 25 year sentence for a cowardly knife murder. So the scales say that less than an ounce of Ecstasy is worth two cowardly knife murders?

Pattaya Player said...

Yea FCUK bar

Pattaya Player said...

Or the one near soi 7