Two young foreigners caught with hundreds of ecstasy pills in Pattaya two years ago and sentenced to decades in Thai prison have now lost an appeal to have their terms reduced, the Guardian reports today.
Australian Jake Mastroianni, 26, who worked as a DJ at the “full moon” party and in clubs around Pattaya in 2014, was in August that year caught with 61 ecstasy pills and will serve two life sentences for drug dealing.
28-year-old Lance Whitmore, an ex-soldier from Worcestershire in the UK who had been living in Thailand, off and on, for some years before his arrest and had a job working for a petroleum company, was caught with 200 ecstasy pills in his possession.
Both men were friends and were caught in a supermarket in Pattaya two years ago.
As Whitmore whose father reportedly runs a restaurant in Pattaya pleaded guilty to the charges last year he will serve “only” (sic) 50 years. Mastroianni had been advised by his lawyers not to plead guilty.
In four to six years both men can apply to get transferred to prisons in Australia and the UK. If they’re lucky they can then serve the rest of their terms in slightly more comfortable prison cells than those they will by then be used to from Thailand.
Here’s not the place to discuss the Thai justice system where murderers and rapists often get away with just a couple of years behind bars – the sentences in the two cases above were obviously extremely harsh, even for Thai standards. But simply let that be a warning to you.
If you’re a casual drug user in your home country you better kick the habit for a couple of weeks and stick to booze when you’re on a vacation in Thailand.
Now we’re not saying that if you live here and have a trusted dealer so-to-say the odd spliff in your condo will land you in gaol for life. But if you’re just on a holiday in Thailand you better steer clear of drugs altogether, including such that may be perfectly legal to consume in your home country.
You neither have to be a dealer yourself nor does it have to be crystal meth or cocaine. Thai drug laws are very strict and even half a gram of marijuana can land you in a Thai prison cell for longer than you would wish for.
Sure, in minor cases a bit of tea money will most often sort out the problem; but what if your vacation savings are nearly used up and you’ve got no friends who can help you?
Much easier to kick the habit for a while and stick to beer and booze when you’re in Thailand, okay?
Here’s a BBC documentary from 2015 about Bangkok’s notorious Klong Prem prison a.k.a. “Bangkok Hilton”, where Whitmore and Mastroianni will spend at least the next few years: