It’s not every day that we get a sneak peek of what it is like inside a Thai prison. That is exactly what we are getting now from a 58 second video that was originally uploaded to Youtube in October 2011. It shows a conversation between two foreign inmate, one called Jeffrey and an unidentified Nigerian. It was shot in Bang Kwang maximum security prison, just to the north of Bangkok. You are only sent here if you are serving a long sentence. In the case of these two guys, they are more than likely serving time for a drug offence. The area here is along one of the inner walls where the prisoners go to relax, wash clothes and use the toilets. It is most likely shot at the weekend as there are plenty of Thai prisoners around. During the week they spend most of their time in the workshops. At the weekend, there are less guards on duty and prisoners are left to their own devices in the prison grounds.
The first video talks about the prisoners doing illegal activities such as doing drugs. The Nigerian has lit a fire and he says he is burning old letters. In the second video, Jeffrey talks about his house which can be seen. As the foreigners do not work, they have huts which they can hang out in during the day. Some of them are well equipped with easy chairs and cooking equipment. Some foreign prisoners even hire Thais to be their cooks. Although this is all old news (I wrote about it here on ThaiPrisonLife.com last year), it has only just come to the attention of Thai authorities. Just this week it was posted on the British based website LiveLeak.com where it got many comments both on there and on Reddit. The Bangkok Post have now picked up on the story and prison authorities have called in to question the foreigners seen on the video.
According to the Bangkok Post, Jeffrey told prison authorities that he recorded the clip in “October 2010″ and that he sent it onto an American friend. He said he did not know how it got on the LiveLeak website. I think the date was probably wrong as a user called Moskel76 uploaded it to Youtube in October 2011. It is possible that Jeffrey is this person who did the uploading as only two videos have been uploaded to this account so far. It is not uncommon for prisoners to have illegal cellphones. Many of them are smartphones with internet connections. In one month alone, nearly 500 cellphones were confiscated at Nakhon Si Thammarat Prison. It is not far fetched to believe that prisoners have uploaded to Youtube. They have even been known to have Facebook pages where they post photos. Some of the confiscated cellphones showed prisoners taking drugs.
As a result of this video, the prison authorities at Bang Kwang have downgraded the two inmates to the worst grade. This will mean that they will miss out on things like the annual contact visit. They also won’t be eligible for a collective king’s pardon. Personally I think a part of the blame should be directed at prison officials for allowing this to happen. Although some cellphones are smuggled in by the prisoners or thrown over the walls, prison wardens have also been known to have sold phones to the inmates. According to the Bangkok Post, 28 prison officials were dismissed after it was found they were involved in illegal activities. As to how many cellphones are being used by prisoners, let’s just say that within just 6 months, prison authorities have confiscated 9,513 cellphones! And if you think there are none left then think again. Inmates are still calling their girlfriends even today.
Watch both of these videos here