12,000 Prisoners Released on First Day of Royal Pardon

December 8, 2011

Thailand’s King has issued a royal command pardoning some 30,000 prisoners to mark his 84th birthday. The decree, which was signed by His Majesty, was published in the Royal Gazette. His Majesty said the convicts should be given a second chance. Those receiving a royal pardon are inmates who displayed good conduct, those convicted of minor offences, inmates with ailments or disabilities, and those under 20 years of age and over 60. Under the decree, jail sentences for some prisoners have also been commuted.

See more photos on my Facebook page >>>

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra this morning presided over the ceremony to release inmates at Klong Prem Prison. A similar ceremony was held at other prisons across the country. In Bangkok and surrounding provinces a total of 2,766 prisoners were released today. A further 9,234 prisoners were released in other provinces.

The prisoners released today were guilty of minor offences and had less than one year to serve. They also had good prison records. In addition some elderly and disabled prisoners were also released. In total, about 30,000 inmates are to be released nationwide under the royal pardon. The second round is due to take place on 18 December when another 10,000 will be released.

The short ceremony at Klong Prem this morning, started with PM Yingluck paying respect to a portrait of His Majesty the King. During a speech, the prime minister urged inmates freed today to be grateful for the King’s great mercy and to apply the King’s self sufficiency economy philosophy to their everyday lives. This was then followed by songs praising His Majesty and then finishing with the Royal Anthem. A monk then blessed the prisoners as they left to head home.

Under the royal pardon decree, over 10,000 other convicts are receiving reduced punishment. Those who benefit from reduced punishment but not being released this time, are Dr Wisut Boonkasemsanti, a gynaecologist who dismembered his wife, and former deputy police commissioner Chalor Kerdthes, sentenced for murdering the wife and son of a Thai jewellery businessman. Both were originally sentenced to death but their jail terms have been reduced to 21 years and 50 years respectively under this year’s royal pardon.

Serm Sakhonrat, a former medical student who murdered and butchered his girlfriend, will be freed on 18th December after serving a reduced prison sentence of eight years. His prison term was reduced five times. He was initially sentenced to life imprisonment. United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship chairwoman Thida Tavornseth said 20 out of 94 detained red-shirts will be released under the royal pardon this year.

After the blessing by the monk the ex-prisoners were quickly reunited with their relations. Some openly cried as the mass pardon was unexpected. Many quickly changed out of their dark blue prison uniform and put on shirts brought by their relations. Some didn’t have any relations come to pick them up, but the Corrections Department had given these prisoners 500 Baht allowance for them to return home if their lived upcountry. I noticed that some of them headed straight to shops opposite the prison where they were seen drinking beer. I am sure many dreamed of doing just this while in prison.

Main Sources: Bangkok Post, Nation & MCOT


23 Responses to 12,000 Prisoners Released on First Day of Royal Pardon

  1. Aaron Ming
    December 8, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    Please prove the fact that you in deed saw prisoners drinking beer right after their release as I find it hard to believe. Please only report, no personal prejudice against Thai people please. You are fortunate to be there in Thailand and to be able to go back to your country whenever you want.

    • Richard Barrow
      December 8, 2011 at 9:52 pm

      Wouldn’t you drink beer as soon as you were released if you had been in prison for a long time? It’s only natural and nothing negative about them. I would most likely do the same. I saw it at Klong Prem as I was driving out of the prison. This was at shops opposite the prison and they were drinking with straws out of big bottles of beer. They were still wearing the blue prison uniform. I saw it again at another prison later the same day. Again, nothing negative meant. It was just an observation.

    • January 1, 2013 at 10:44 pm

      My Thai wife is currently a prisoner of Pattaya Remand Prison,having received a sentence of 3 years for possesion of 6gms of Ya ice.
      As i know fully the full details of prison life in a Thai prison albeit that I fortunally am on the outside.
      The reality is if you have money to give both in Shopping &/or money deposited you just do your time with remission through work in the prison.
      Prison here is not mean’t to be a holiday camp!
      Many Thai families live too far away & is cost prohibited to visit.So as a result life is extremely grim!
      So far as from the Kings Birthday 5/12/2012 there has been no Pardons!Although it has been expected that there will be early releases in the new year due to the amount of young women incarcerated their,some even with their new born babies inside!
      When a person leaves prison is it not understandable that a prisoner has a beer if that his celebration of release.
      Please if you do not know about something.
      Keep Big Mouth Shut until you do!
      I am open to all comments & advice.
      Please contact me for further information at:

  2. Kirk Sunglieng
    December 9, 2011 at 10:45 am

    I supposed the family didn’t bring the champange, so beer is the next best thing to celebrate freedom. A common gesture and socially accepted elsewhere, but I am sure many Thais will see that differently under this circumstance. Personally, I will not wear the prison uniform in public place anywhere. Thank you for the story.

    • Richard Barrow
      December 9, 2011 at 11:09 am

      To be clear here, the “prison uniform” in these pictures has the King’s name and is not normal issue. In addition, they are wearing long pants which is forbidden for prisoners. So, at first glance they don’t look like prisoners, but obviously everyone in the local vicinity knows exactly who they are.

  3. ng hooi khim
    December 9, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    can i know the name list who had been released and the name list who will be released in coming 18th November.

    • Richard Barrow
      December 10, 2011 at 6:59 am

      There is no public list. However lists are posted at the prisons.

  4. December 10, 2011 at 1:17 am

    Dear Mr. Barrow,

    Thank you very much for posting this information! As a matter of interest, do you know how many hill tribe prisoners have been, or are going to be, released through this amnesty? I am corresponding with a number of these individuals, and I know that some of them have been awaiting this day with great hope…

    Sincerely yours,

    Catherine Boyle

    • Richard Barrow
      December 10, 2011 at 6:59 am

      Sorry, there has been no statistics of that kind released.

  5. Ahmed
    December 19, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Can u arrange the list of foreigner prisoner who has get pardon in bankok jail, my brother was their he is still not relaese in first batch he belong to pakistan name AZHER AHMED, pls. reply


    • Richard Barrow
      December 20, 2011 at 7:03 am

      You will have to contact your embassy. Only family can get details like that. Alternative is to go to the prison as they post lists there of who is being released.

  6. Ahmed
    December 22, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    Hi Richard,

    Thanks for your reply , can u please tell me when the last Bach would be released.

  7. van der laan henry
    January 6, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    yeh 20000 in total releast, when we bin releast we got no place to sleep and we travelled 2day from one police station to the other day and night, and after be send to the other hell the idc

  8. Nancy Lim
    March 13, 2012 at 9:29 am

    Hi Richard, my name is Nancy Lim. I have a brother who is now executing his sentence in Bangkwang Central Prison. Do you have any ideas when is the contact visit that might be arranged by the prison management for the year of 2012? Your reply is much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    • Richard Barrow
      March 17, 2012 at 10:15 pm

      Not sure if they publish this on the Internet but I will look out for it for you. Normally they post notices at the prison.

  9. Nancy Lim
    March 18, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Hi Richard, thanks in advance for your kind assistance. Hopefully that I could hear some good news from you. Foreigner like myself is quite difficult to get much information from the prison management as communication media is a barrier within the foreigner and the Thai. Almost all of the communication media is in Thai language in exception to those they wish to bring to the most attention to the foreigners. I really appreciate this website is set up in this way as this website helps a lot to the foreigners like me to get some of the information regarding the Thai laws and regulations. You act like “a lamp” to us.

  10. ThaiGirl
    June 19, 2012 at 12:35 pm


    I’m helping my friend do some research on the kickboxing matches held in Thai prisons. I believe it’s called Dan Samakkee, where prisoners can duel to literally save their life and whoever wins is released from jail regardless of their offense. Is this true? Do you have any further info on this or can you direct me to a source for this?

    Thank you,
    Thai Girl

    • radi
      August 3, 2012 at 3:16 am

      hi thai girl im so sorry to disapoint you but its not true at all

  11. August 1, 2012 at 12:39 am

    i’m looking for my dad.due to his last letter on year 2006,he said that he is currently in Klong Prem Prison in Thailand.I’m hoping for a response to be able to know if he has been freed or not..i haven’t seen him since i was 3.

    December 31, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    Can u arrange the list of foreigner prisoner who has get pardon in bankok jail, my brother was their he is still not relaese in first batch he belong to Indian name RAVINDHRAN NEPOLAN, pls. reply

    • Richard Barrow
      January 3, 2013 at 11:06 am

      Sorry, that information is not released publicly.

  13. Able
    January 2, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Can someone confirm that the death penalty has been lifted for all prisoners or is it only for offenders under 18 back in 2012?

    And sorry but can you also give me your background and what makes you a creditable source?

    Thank you

    • Richard Barrow
      January 3, 2013 at 11:12 am

      I have seen no news that said death penalty has been lifted for all prisoners.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *