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Chutima Sidasathian and Alan Morison: the Phuketwan case continues

Phuket Prosecutor Seeks Extra 30 Days in Phuketwan Case: Judge to Decide

Wednesday, December 30, 2015
PHUKET: The Phuket Prosecutor's office has asked for an extension of 30 more days in which to consider an appeal against the verdict dismissing all charges in the Phuketwan case. A judge is expected to respond early next week, possibly as soon as Monday.

The request is made in a letter dated December 28. The author of the letter may have been unaware of a previous notation from a Phuket judge that the extension granted in November would be the final extension of time in which to lodge an appeal.

According to court officials, up to five 30-day extensions can be sought. In the hand-written note on the request in November for the second extension, the judge appears to have signalled that in the Phuketwan case, a third extension is not warranted.

A verdict at Phuket Provincial Court on September 1 dismissing all charges against journalists Alan Morison, Chutima Sidasathian and Phuketwan's parent company, Big Island Media, was hailed at the time as a victory for Thai justice and media freedom.

The verdict seemingly brought to an end a case in which the Royal Thai Navy initiated criminal defamation and computer crimes allegations that carried a maximum penalty of seven years in jail.

The Navy cited a paragraph written by Reuters' journalists that first appeared in a feature on Rohingya trafficking and was reproduced word-for-word on Phuketwan. Reuters later won a Pulitzer Prize for a series that included the paragraph.

Ironically, Phuketwan shuts for good at midnight on December 31 after eight years of reporting on Phuket and the region. Corruption, the safety of tourists and residents, environmental issues and the human trafficking of Rohingya from Myanmar (Burma) have been the topics most frequently covered by Morison, Khun Chutima and other staff.

Early in February, Khun Chutima is taking up an invitation to contribute to an international conference at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France.

The conference, 'News Organisations Standing Up For the Safety of Media Professionals,' has the support of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, the International Federation of Journalists, the European Broadcasting Union, the International Press Institute and the International Women's Media Foundation.

Morison will be going to Australia, where he was recently the recipient of a Freedom Award from Anti-Slavery Australia, and where he expects to be interviewed by media outlets about the trafficking of Rohingya and Bangladeshis through Thailand and South East Asia.

Coincidentally, the chief investigator in Thailand's human trafficking investigation, former Royal Thai Police Major General Paween Pongsirin, is now seeking asylum in Australia.

The major general says the investigation was brought to an abrupt halt after five months and he was forced to flee Thailand soon after because of threats to his life. Major General Paween was regarded as one of the most honest and hard-working investigators in Thailand's police force.

His investigation began after the discovery in May of graves near secret jungle camps along the Thai-Malaysia border, where thousands of Rohingya and more recently Bangladeshis had been held for ransom, beaten, raped and in some cases murdered.

At the same time as the graves were being exhumed, hundreds of boatpeople - men, women and children - were photographed in distressing conditions at sea off the coast of Thailand and in other parts of South East Asia.

Rohingya whistleblowers later led a team from Australia's 'Four Corners' television program to more graves near the home of an alleged human trafficking kingpin in southern Thailand, but the graves remain unexhumed and the accusations have not been investigated.

The government of Thailand has expressed the desire for Thailand to be lifted from Tier 3 - the bottom rung - of the US State Department's Trafficking in Persons ladder next year.

But if Major General Paween and others with knowledge of the trafficking networks are to be believed, many more suspects have yet to be investigated and accused.

''Over the years that Phuketwan reported on the hideous trade in people through Thailand, the industry grew with little or no enforcement,'' Morison said. ''Dealers changed from selling drugs to trading in humans because there was no danger of arrest or punishment. This was a huge business.

''It would be shameful and tragic for Thailand if anyone in a position of authority today escaped scot-free for their part in what is clearly a crime against humanity.''

WATCH Thailand's Moment of Truth - Dateline
The Dateline documentary team from SBS Australia shared the three-day trial of Alan Morison and Chutima Sidasathian with participants for a show full of revealing insights.

WATCH Shallow Graves - Channel News Asia
How a good cop helped Thailand turned the tables on trafficking, a nightmare that may not yet be over.

WATCH Al Jazeera Investigates - Genocide Agenda
A frightening look at what's happening in Myanmar (Burma) where documents reveal a plan to exterminate all Rohingya.

WATCH Journey into Hell - Four Corners
From Burma through Thailand, an award-winning current affairs team traces official complicity in the brutal treatment of the Rohingya and Phuketwan's part in its exposure.

WATCH How Trafficking Works
Phuketwan Investigative reporter Chutima Sidasathian says of traficking in 2014: ''It's worse and worse, day by day. Nobody cares''.

LISTEN The Rohingya Solution
A tragedy almost beyond words has been unfolding in Thailand, where a human smuggling network is thriving with the full knowledge of some corrupt law enforcement officers. Alan Morison of Phuketwan talks to Australia's AM program.


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For what it's worth Alan and Khun Oi .. Happy New Year!

Posted by Ian Yarwood on December 30, 2015 18:56

Editor Comment:

Thanks, Ian. Likewise to you . . .


I've never commented on here before, but have lived in Phuket and been a daily reader, for almost ten years now. Thanks for the news, and comic relief (mainly thru thru the "coments" and replies) you've done a sterling job and best of luck to both of you, cheers

Posted by Braken on December 30, 2015 20:27

Editor Comment:

Thanks, Braken.


Hi, why are you closing after so long?

Posted by Why on December 30, 2015 20:38

Editor Comment:

We are weary of seven-day working weeks. PW is tops for news and views but except for a couple of wise and loyal sponsors, Phuket business offers no support.


Unbelievable. Will they not be content until they have completely ruined the reputation of the country/policeforce/military/legal system in Thailand. Bringing all the good officers into unfair dispute with them ? And dragging you down too. Shameful. Hopefully they get the Judge's note.

What a way to wish you a Happy New Year, ey !

Posted by James on December 30, 2015 20:50


Well with three very powerful persons with intricate knowledge of the people smuggling in Thailand, being outside of Thailands borders, those who know about it, took part in it or turned a blind eye to this horrendous activity, should be trembling in their boots. The facts will come out and given to the international press and media.
Thanks to the Thai Navy and their ill advised court action against Phuket Wan, for bringing the plight of the Rohingya and human trafficing into the world spotlight.
May 2016 bring big arrests and jail time to all those human slave traders.
To Maj General Paween, Uncle Alan and Khun Chutima, may you folk have a safe and peaceful new year, before exposing all you know to the world.

Posted by Duncan B on December 30, 2015 21:51


My dear Alan and Khun Chutima we wanted to wish you bon voyage and safe travels wherever your plans take you. It is a sad end to this difficult year to be loosing PW and we sincerely say thanks for all the hard work and excellent reporting. We wish you every success and good health for the future.

Phuket Island Radio. 91.5 (soon) and 92.75FM

Posted by Byron Jones on December 30, 2015 22:37


Thanks for all your news coverage over the years. I'll miss Phuketwan a lot. All the best to you in 2016! CM

Posted by Anonymous on December 31, 2015 01:52

Editor Comment:

Thanks, CM.


Congratulations on maintaining your high standards over such a long period of time, and for shining a very bright light on issues that the world needed to be made aware of. Best wishes to you, Alan and Chutima, on your future pursuits.

Posted by Stick on December 31, 2015 05:32

Editor Comment:

Thanks, Stick.


Boring isn't it getting the authorities to put their hands up and ackowledge defeat. Best of luck to you both.

Posted by andrew-drummond on December 31, 2015 06:19

Editor Comment:

Thanks, Andrew. May you be back soon.


Good luck to you both in the future, you deserve a break.
Our morning routine will be slightly different tomorrow!
Happy New Year!

Posted by Andrew Keir on December 31, 2015 10:20

Editor Comment:

Thanks, Andrew. You have a great 2016, too.


Will miss my daily phuketwan read. First time comment but enjoyed phuketwan for 6 years. All the best Alan. Happy new year.

Posted by Craig P on December 31, 2015 13:18

Editor Comment:

Thanks, Craig.


We miss you what can a say But have A Very Good New Year All An To Phuket Wan we se you next year, you can`t stop like that. Best Regards Bjorn Ronningen.

Posted by Bjorn Ronningen on December 31, 2015 14:04

Editor Comment:

Thanks, Bjorn.


My new year's wish for PW is for the harassment to stop. I also wish that journalists and media around the world pay more attention to this situation. All the best to PW and thanks for its struggle to provide unbiased reliable information.

Posted by Ryan on December 31, 2015 14:38

Editor Comment:

Thanks, Ryan.


My first post too. I used to play Aussie footy against Mt Gambier teams. They were always tough and maybe a little mad. ....I guess you brought some of that spirit to Phuket. I hope yours, K Chutima's and the rest of the PW team's future endeavours are successful. Happy New year.

Posted by Jack C on December 31, 2015 15:23

Editor Comment:

Thanks, Jack C.


A Big thank you to Phuketwan for stepping up and telling the truth in the face of adversity, whether it be corruption, slave trading, statistics or any number of controversial issues, along with the standard news items.

Few tread where you bravely did, and never flinched. You are good journalistic and humanistic role models for many.

All the best wherever you land.

Posted by farang888 on December 31, 2015 15:30

Editor Comment:

Thanks, farang888. All the best for 2016.


This is BAD fore you, but for me it`s good you rock 30 days more ??

Posted by Bjorn Ronnigen on December 31, 2015 16:00

Editor Comment:

No, no more rocking.


2 wonderfull people we lose here in Phuket + all employees in Phuket Wan, we have a tear in my eyes.

I Don`t you ends this new ????

Posted by Bjorn Ronningen on December 31, 2015 16:10


My New Year Greeting to Alan and Khun Chutima!I wish good luck in 2016. The PW is our pride.

Posted by Maung Kyaw Nu,BRAT. on December 31, 2015 18:33

Editor Comment:

Thanks, everyone at BRAT.


Happy New Year & with any luck 2016 will be better than the last.
Have a good 2016.
P.S. Let me know if you need need Malcolm Turnbull's email address.

Posted by Brad Gibson on December 31, 2015 20:26

Editor Comment:

Thanks, Brad.


A little disillusioned with the land of smiles? You aren't the first and won't be the last farang to fly off with his tail between his legs.

Posted by Red Neck on January 1, 2016 19:38

Editor Comment:

Don't you mean Red Faced? I am going on a holiday then coming back. Please withdraw your head from your bum.


Hi Guys ,

Best Wishes to ALL the crew @ PW .

You're leaving a large hole which I doubt will be filled soon .



Posted by ian on January 2, 2016 05:56


Returned to Europe a few years back, but have been following the News from PW regularly to get a feel of what is going on in Phuket. Hope justice will prevail in this case and wish you a Happy New Year

Posted by Sailor on January 2, 2016 20:06

Editor Comment:

Thanks, Sailor.


30 days are long gone, so I presume the option for appeal has passed?

Posted by stevenl on March 9, 2016 13:07

Editor Comment:

Yes. No appeal.

Tuesday October 25, 2016
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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