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Have you read the infamous book “The Damage Done: Twelve Years of Hell in a Bangkok Prison” by Warren Fellows?
Ever wondered what it's like in a prison? How about the worst one in the world? The unbelievably inhuman living conditions and suffering that many prison systems put their prisoners through. And in some places how it is not only hell to live through, but how it is certain to scar you for life.
Six Thai girls (two of them Koh Phangan locals) are in the gravest, desperate need of our help. (Their names and details are at the bottom of this post). They’re enduring this right now in a far away land, frightened, lost and basically alone.
They need help just to survive their current horrific situation and they need help to try and get out of it one day if possible. They also need help to find the gang who took them away from home and coerced them into involvement in crimes they knew nothing about but have now landed them maybe forever in prison abroad.
These young Thai girls, two of whom many of you will know as they live and have family in Koh Phangan, along with four others are in a hellish and frightening situation with currently very little hope ahead.
Like the opening words in the book Damage Done – “imagine the worst day you’ve ever had. Now multiply that by 1000” and you’ll have an idea of what they’re going through.
You can only speculate on how the gang managed to lure them into a situation that many people reading will think only fools could fall for. And you might be right. They were foolish. They’re also very naïve. Easily impressed. Above all they are all poor. That’s exactly the kind of people this organized criminal gang look for. They lure them with the offer of excitement and adventure. When they have them where they want them they use fear and intimidation to finish the job.
This post contains photos of our girls, their ID cards, it contains photos of some of the charges from the courts that they now face. You will see photos of them as they were before all this happened. Also you will see photos of some of the suspects involved in ensnaring them and then forcing them into their fate. We are offering a large reward for information leading to their arrest.
These girls were essentially taken from Bangkok after meeting and being befriended by two very pretty, well dressed and fun-loving Thai girls. They were wined and dined and dazzled with a few days of the champagne lifestyle. It’s the sort of stuff that many of us take for granted as normal life.
They were then introduced to some more of their friends and offered more of the same. Undoubtedly there was the offer of financial gain and a glimpse of the highlife. We can only speculate on that.
None of them had ever left Thailand before. In fact one of our girls was issued her first ever passport the day before they flew, on the 17th of November 2020, to that Mecca of fun, excitement and adventure. Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. In the middle of a violent civil war.
Once there things changed very quickly for them. Please remember that these girls speak very little English. They certainly don’t speak good English or speak it well enough to get by abroad. They had no money on them. They were left alone by their now captors for four days in a room without food or water too scared to venture out into a strange African city in a war zone. They thought they’d gone there to party with rich cool dudes they’d met, like the ones in Bangkok. They were going to party with them and come home and show off to their friends the cool new clothes they had bought with their earning. They would splash out on presents for their kids and family.
Instead, after four days alone their “captors” appeared and took them out for the day sightseeing around Addis Ababa. After four days alone and starving even you might accept that offer. So off they went for the day. Leaving their possessions behind in their room with their luggage.
A day or two after this fun day out it was time to go home. How happy they must have been to be getting out of there. At Bole International Airport about to fly home they must have been skipping through the airport in anticipation of arriving back to Thailand where their friends and family were.
Except that isn’t going to happen to these girls. Not for many years. For one, maybe never.
Their joy soon turned to terror when they were stopped. You can maybe guess the rest. The luggage of all six girls had been professionally packed and the the linings were filled with cocaine. It easily passed any visible inspection but didn’t pass the X-Ray machines at Bole airport.
Ethiopia has no Thai Embassy. So after their arrest these girls had nobody to call. They didn’t call home for a further 10 days. Their spirits crushed and in complete panic a tearful call eventually came through from Sim to her boyfriend here in Koh Phangan. And in the 5 mins call between sobbing uncontrollably she explained as much as she could.
Since then a fantastic lawyer has been hired to assist her. She and the others have been to court. They’re in serious trouble. Requests have been made to the Ethiopian police to look into the girls’ story and try to find the men involved. A very clear photo of one has been provided via the lawyer. He has been extremely kind and taken all the girls’ food in prison. He has also agreed to pass messages back and forth for all of them. We have photos of some of those letters for you to see. Most of their families are poor farmers from Isaan who live day to day. So without the help provided by us so far they would have no contact with the outside world.
We hope that this story becomes public. It may prevent this happening to others. Because this gang will not stop and will already be finding their next victims. And for Thai families out there it could be your daughter one day.
So please share it if you feel like doing so. Get in touch if you recognize any of the suspects in the photos. We have set up a funding page (link at bottom). Please be generous if you can.
We want to provide all of them with legal assistance. They need blankets because it is very cold there, especially now. They need food which isn’t provided. They will need female hygiene products and probably as important as anything else we need to make it possible for them to contact their families and loved ones as regularly as possible.
To repeat, these girls, apart from one, have no legal assistance except for some help from the kindly lawyer hired to defend Nipa Sopa (Sim). When they next go to court on 10th January, they will have nobody to speak up for them. They will have no official interpreter. They have no money for food in prison (again money has been provided via Sim’s lawyer for them all to eat), they have no way of defending themselves unless we get involved. They can’t call home. They can’t write a letter directly to their families.
The girls names and ages are:
1) Mr S********* T********g DOB: 1/2/2000. Nickname: Pretty. (She is a ladyboy). Pretty is well known to many here on Koh Phangan as the friendly and sweet barmaid at BM Bar and later The Hub. (We have redacted name and also blurred face at the request of the family).
2) Miss Nipa Sopa. DOB: 4/9/1996. Nickname: Sim. Sim is a very close friend of ours and much loved here on Koh Phangan. She has left behind her partner Jason and 15 month old son Alfie.
3) Miss Anucha Phakakong. DOB: 31.3.1985. Nickname: Pim.
4) Sunisa Dejkaluram. DOB: 7/8/1987. She has left behind a 1yr old and 7 year old child.
5) Tiptaulee Kongcheam. DOB: Unknown.
6) Sunisa Boonkam. DOB: Unknown.
Thanks for reading and please keep your eyes open and donate if you can.
To donate via bank transfer (or by cash in bank/atm):
UK Bank Account:
Lloyds Bank PLC
Account Name: Jason King
Thailand Bank Account:
Account Name: Jason King
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