As told to Callum Macdonald (Updated Summer 2017)

Andrew Drummond is a British independent journalist and occasional television documentary maker based out of Bangkok and covering Thailand and South East Asia.

He currently serves a wide range of newspapers and broadcasters throughout the world.

He is a former Fleet Street, London, journalist having worked in house at the Evening Standard, Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, News of the World, Observer and The Times.

Specialising in investigations he has also worked on assignments throughout Europe, and in the United States, South America, Africa, China, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Australia, Africa, the South Pacific and Central Asia.

In television he has worked on documentaries for 'World in Action', 'BBC Panorama' BBC Everyman,  Fox TV 'The Reporters', Channel 4 Dispatches, World Monitor, Twenty Twenty Television, and was one of the two founding partners of the Observer Film Company, the film arm of the Observer newspaper.

From Thailand he has covered most of the major breaking stories in South East Asia, from the Asian Tsunami, to bird flu, the Bali bombings, to military coups and crime.

He is a holder of the Maurice Ludmer Memorial Prize into investigations into racism and fascism.

From 2011 in Thailand, he says, his role as a foreign correspondent had almost been taken over by that of Crime Correspondent as the country suffered from intakes of foreign criminals feeling among many places, the Costa del Sol, in Spain, and there was a notable rise in crimes against tourists.

His reports led to the arrest of many wanted criminals and caused considerable financial damage to 'boiler room' share fraudsters in south east Asia, and he was the journalist who tracked down glam rock star Gary Glitter (Paul Gadd) to a seaside home in Vung Tau, Vietnam, where he was arrested and jailed for child sex abuse.

He had successfully fought off a series of libel cases brought under Thailand's Computer Crime Act on a public interest defence. The cases had been brought by foreigners already convicted of fraud and extortion.

He left Thailand in 2015 and his departure was reported by many newspapers including the Guardian, Bangkok Post, and Sydney Morning Herald.  He would have stayed, he said, but the threats from boiler room fraudsters put his children at risk, and in any case he needed to educate his daughter and two sons in the U.K.

He currently lives in rural Wiltshire with his three children Annie, Matthew and Archie.

Notice: For private messages just email 'andrew' at this site - without the 'www' of course or use the site's contact form. skype: flyingsporan. (WhatsUp and Line)

The Early Years
As told to Callum Macdonald

Andrew Drummond was born in Denmark and educated in Scotland. His father was a war-time RAF Squadron Leader flying B17 'Flying Fortresses' for the RAF 220 Squadron (Coastal Command in the Battle of the Atlantic.
He is the youngest of three sons. His mother Kirsten Vibeke Drummond, was variously, nurse, teacher, and conference interpreter.

While his father was flying with British European Airways (BEA), he attended The Abbey School at Fort Augustus on Loch Ness. On leaving school he joined the Berkshire Mercury and Reading Chronicle in Reading as a trainee reporter.

He left the 'Chronicle' on completion of training and passing National Council for the Training of Journalists exams, heading to London and the Fleet Street News Agency.

Shortly afterwards he took over as News Editor at Thames Valley News Service, which he left to work on the Evening News (by day)and the Daily Mail (by night). In 1973 the Daily Mail invited him in full time.

For the next 13 years he worked in Fleet Street until it disintegrated as a press centre after the Wapping industrial dispute of 1986.

Left: Squadron Leader R.P. 'Roddy' Drummond, D.F.C.





The 'Popular' Press

SEX DRUGS AND STRIKE 1974-1986


He was on the Daily Mail for the last years of the Harold Wilson, Labour Government and was involved in the 'Hunt for Lord Lucan', and in the 'Hunt for the Jackal', Carlos Ramirez, and at two big armed sieges in London, one at the Spaghetti House in Knightsbridge. the other in Balcombe Street.

He was also present for the Daily Mail's catastrophic airlift of 'orphans' from Vietnam, and the invasion of Cyprus by the Turks.

He interviewed Yvonne Goolagong, (Cawley) the Australian aboriginal tennis player. and remembers the Daily Mail finding the 'Lost City of the Incas' and then losing it the next day (not him he insists).

Andrew Drummond ended up working in the Investigations Department and it was from there that he was invited to join the 'News of the World.

In those pre-internet days the News of the World was broadsheet with a 5 million circulation. Despite being prurient in outlook it had established a sold reputation for investigations.

While there he joined the cult 'Children of God' in Tenerife for a report which was commended in the European Parliament; covered the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, and went on assignments to the United States, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Italy, Spain, Tenerife, Australia, and the Philipinnes.

For nearly two years he went undercover to join the a Nazi organisation for a series of articles which earned him the 'Maurice Ludmer Memorial Prize for Investigations into Fascism and Racism'. He also investigated contract-rigging in government departments, safety conditions on North Sea oil rigs, a rogue British army unit in Northern Ireland (not published but several soldiers were courtmartialled) and crime, a lot of it.


(Andrew Drummond on left with Great Train Robbers from his day working on crime at the News of the World)

In 1986 disturbed at the direction the newspaper was taking under the editor David Montgomery he decided to quit the News of the World during the Wapping Industrial dispute, to freelance and make films. He was the only reporter to leave, although he joined a few sub-editors on the picket line.

On leaving his first case was to investigate Briton Derrick Gregory, who was facing death in Malaysia for drugs trafficking.


Unusually Gregory made a full confession, naming syndicate bosses never been revealed before. Andrew Drummond researched the story for Twenty Twenty Television and, on a commission for Channel 4 went around the world with a crew to investigate the syndicate for the Channel 4 documentary -'No Man Wants to Die' , produced by Claudia Milne and Geoff Seed.

By the time film had got to edit, there was still one major syndicate boss the crew had been unable to get to. So he flew alone back to the United States to get affidavits from two drugs couriers in penitentiaries in Oklahoma and North Carolina. He took the story 'Unmasked the drug baron who got away' to the Observer.

For the next few years he mixed the Observer with television, something the newspaper had no objection to, and even positively encouraged.

On assignment for the Observer Foreign Desk in Burma he went into Karen State to report on the killings and torture – carried about by the Burmese Army on the Karen ethnic minority.


Again with Twenty Twenty Television he went back to make a documentary, this time for BBC Everyman 'Burma's Forgotten War' (Producer George Case/Writer Andrew Drummond)

Then after covering the uprising in Rangoon in 1988 he went on to cover a blowpipe war in Sarawak, Princess Anne's Royal Tour of Burma, Laos and Thailand, and stories of Australian colonialism on Christmas Island and the Cocos and Keeling islands. He then made another short film for Channel 4.

This was the 'The Ratpack' for the Channel 4 'The Media Show'. He turned the cameras on the press for the visit of the Prince and Princess of Wales (Lady Diana) to Thailand.

His visit to the Karen opened up more and more doors among the Burmese rebels and he was finally invited into meet Burmese heroin warlord Khun Sa at his base in Homong in the Shan States of Burma.



When Andrew Drummond returned to London the Observer Film Company was created with Andrew Drummond and Kimis Zabhiyan heading it up. He went back to Thailand and Burma this time with his own crew to film 'Lord of the Golden Triangle.

The film successfully launched the newspapers film company and was widely syndicated and broadcast almost simultaneously on ABC Australia's 'Four Corners'.


With drugs warlord Khun Sa in the Shan States
of Burma 
After the production and broadcast he took up an offer from Lyndel Marks, who was leaving CBS Sixty Minutes to join Fox TV Stations*, which at the time was revolutionising American TV out of Fox 5 in New York,

(*Not to be confused with Fox News)

There as a Field Producer for 'The Reporters' and Associate Producer for 'A Current Affair' he helped open Fox TV Stations Europe office in Sky Television, London.

Also using knowledge gained from the Observer on a South American trip he set up 'Hell on Earth' a film on San Pedro di Lurigancho prison in Lima. He was also Field Producer on 'A Right Turn', a film on the rise of neo-fascism.

After less than a year however and with the closure of the segmented documentary show 'The Reporters' he decided to leave and move back to Bangkok, initially as correspondent for the London Evening Standard.

Our Man In Bangkok



Shortly after returning to Bangkok two British teenagers, Patricia Cahill, 18, and Karyn Smyth, 17, were arrested for trafficking in 26 kilos of heroin. It was the largest haul of heroin ever found in personal luggage at Bangkok airport and a story which was to run for years.

The Guardian described them as 'innocent limp wrested waifs' and published a series of articles in an 'investigation', claiming the girls were part of a Customs and Excise and British government cover-up, aided by Thai police corruption. Most of Fleet Street followed the same line.

Andrew Drummond, informed otherwise, actually stuck to the line, against considerable opposition, that the girls knew they what they were doing, but that they should be treated leniently due their ages.

When the young women were pardoned by the King of Thailand, and they admitted the truth, he was vindicated.

Fleet Street did an about turn

True lies - Exposing the myths behind a massive heroin bust

TOURIST FROM HELL

Shortly Briton John Scripps had butchered a Canadian mother and son, Sheila Damude,43 and Daren 21, in Phuket and then flown onto Singapore where he had also butchered a South African.

The only motive was the cash and credit cards they had on them.

He was arrested by Singapore police under a different name. Illiterate Scripps, who had learned butchery at Albany Prison, England, cut up their bodies and put them in bin-liners for disposal.

Andrew Drummond flew to Singapore with Scripps' sister and interviewed Scripps in Taneh Merah prison (to the annoyance of Singaporean authorities)

Scripps confessed to the murder of the South African only giving a scarcely plausible reason that the South African Gerald Low had made a homosexual pass at him in the hotel room.

Andrew Drummond was then commissioned to follow Scripps' trail back to the United States, Mexico and Belize.

Three other people known to have had contact with Scripps ( disappeared without trace, Timothy MacDowall, a British financial advisor, William Shalik, an accounant, and a San Francisco gay prostitute Tom Wenger.

Scripps was the first Briton to be hanged in Singapore.



Andrew Drummond travelled to Mt Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia, when a British Army team got lost in the treacherous Low's Gully; to Irian Jaya when some British students were kidnapped, and switched to 'The Times' in time for a libel trial in Singapore when Premier Hoh Chok Tong was suing opposition M.P. J B Jeyaretnam represented by the legendary Q.C. George Carman. The Times headline at the time reflected how authoritarian the island state then was.

"Nobody fishes in the lake any more. Not even the fish open their mouths."

For the Times Andrew Drummond, returned again to Mt. Kinabalu when an English girl went missing on the mountain, and to Sarawak to see the results of the government victory against the indigenous dayaks over their fight for the rain forest.

But from the mid-nineties Thailand was hit by a series of tourist murders, all of a fairly sensational nature.

Reporting out of Thailand his assignments have taken him to Burma, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Korea, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Australia, and Indonesia.

When God's Army, an army nominally led by two young boys Johnny and Luther Htoo, were accused of being behind a hostage siege at Ratchaburi hospital in Thailand Andrew Drummond walked across the Burma border again to meet up with the child soldiers.

(right) Andrew Drummond with Johnny Htoo of 'God's Army')




BACKPACKER MURDERS

In December 1995 British backpacker Joanne Masheder was murdered while visiting the caves of a local Buddhist temple.

Her murderer was a young Buddhist novice who killed her for just the few dollars she had in her rucksack.

The monk Yodsak Suaphoo had befriended Joanne (right) in the grounds ot a a local temple and than beat her and threw her body into a cave. In 1996 Yodsak was sentenced to death, reduced to life. He died in prison while serving his sentence.

In 2001 came the rape and murder of British back-packer Kirsty Jones in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand. Death of a Backpacker.

Kirsty from Brecon, a University student had booked into the Aree Guest House in the Northern Thai capital.

To this day nobody has been arrested for this offence although Thai police have a complete DNA profile of her killer.



This was followed in 2004 by the brutal murders of British backpackers Vanessa Arscott, 23, and Adam Lloyd, 24, (right) by a Thai policeman, again by the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi.

Police Sgt. Somchai fled to Burma for a month. Local people were terrified to testify against him. But in the end he was convicted and jailed for life.

Then in 2006 came the murder and rape of Katherine Horton, 23, on the Thai holiday island of Koh Samui. Murder comes to a holiday idyll.

Katherine was walking on the beach at night talking to her mother on the mobile phone when she was set upon by two fisherman who had swam ashore with rape in mind. They had been drinking alcohol and watching pornographic videos.

Within two weeks they had been found, tried and sentenced to death.The sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment.



Andrew Drummond has also carried out many assignments for major newspapers and magazines throughout the English speaking world.

He was the journalist who tracked down rock star Gary Glitter in Vietnam which led to the arrest of Glitter (Graham Gadd) on child sexual charges and his subsequent imprisonment.

He has played a prominent role in the exposure of foreign child sexual abusers in Asia and his work has now tended to veer more and more towards transnational crime with communications and ease of transport resulting in the free flow of villains into South East Asia.

From 2011 onwards he was the subject of multiple SLAPP* court criminal libel actions and Thai Computer Crime Act libel actions brought by two convicted criminals who had decided to base themselves in Thailand.

He successfully fought off a number of cases, winning 3 and having several others dismissed but actually losing just one for allowing a poster on his site to describe a man who used to run a brothel in Melbourne (who faced charges in Thailand related to racketeering) as a 'pimp' - this despite producing the Australian Securities and Investment Commission documents proving the man's occupation. He was subject to a small fine and suspended sentence.

However in late 2014 he received a threat from 'boiler room'   operators (share fraudsters) in Bangkok. Although he had received threats before he was forced to take this one seriously as it would have a direct affect on his three children. He departed Thailand and returned to the UK via Cambodia and Vietnam.


British Journalist Quits Thailand After Threat By Foreign Criminals - The Guardian

Veteran Journalist To Leave Thailand Amid Safety Fears

Drummond is irreplaceable - Phuketwan