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Andrew Drummond: bad laws allow expat crooks to win in Thailand

Thai Law Allows Expat Crooks to Escape But Punishes Journalists

Monday, April 7, 2014
Countdown to World Media Freedom Day: Day 4

PHUKET: British journalist Andrew Drummond has exposed killers, pedophiles and rip-off merchants of all kinds in a decades-long career as a foreign correspondent in Asia.

Notorious pop star Gary Glitter, with his liking for underage girls, is among the characters he has chased out of South-East Asia.

But in trying to warn readers about expat villains and scammers, Drummond has become a victim of bad laws in Thailand that can be wielded by fraudsters and crooks to lame a dogged pursuer and escape punishment.

Drummond said in a recent post on his popular online site that he is ''probably the most sued journalist in the world.'' And that is, he writes, ''because foreign crooks have been abusing Thailand's ill-conceived libel and Computer Crime Act laws.''

The same laws now being used by the Royal Thai Navy to silence Phuketwan journalists from writing about Rohingya boatpeople have already been used repeatedly by expats in the Thai sin city of Pattaya to stop Drummond exposing their activities.

One of about 20 cases involves a former Melbourne brothel owner who has sued because a commenter on Drummond's site described him as a ''pimp.''

Drummond's near-daily reports on the unsavory characters of Pattaya attract thousands of regular readers to

But the problem is that Thailand tends to be a country where becoming ''part of a community'' can provide fraudsters and extortionists with protection.

Only with the Royal Thai Navy's landmark prosecution of Phuketwan have international NGOs spoken out and Thai authorities begun to realise just how the country's criminal defamation laws and its Computer Crimes Act can be misused.

''It's a crooks charter for foreigners, and Thai authorities have been slow to realise it,'' Drummond said.

Foreign fraudsters find it easy to set themselves up in Thailand then use the influence of their local chums to ward off problems.

Drummond, though, has been dogged in pursuit of a handful of characters. Once, he would have been rewarded by seeing these people arrested and deported.

Instead, by using the law to work in their favor, a group of disreputable Pattaya-based businesspeople has tied up Drummond's time, energy and especially money with a string of unjust law suits.

Reports on Drummond's site of his clashes with this array of B-grade ne'er-do-wells from America, Europe and Australia entertain readers but have so far failed to awaken authorities to the damage being done to Thailand's reputation.

''These people shouldn't be in Thailand,'' Drummond said today. ''God knows how they get work permits.

''Their companies are all phoney. Thailand is a welcoming place for criminals, to be honest.''

Thanks to Drummond, the names of the villains are becoming well-known. But until Thai authorities react, they and others will continue to tarnish Thailand's reputation.

And once a good organisation like the Royal Thai Navy begins to use bad laws to restrict legitimate reporting, it's time for the country's lawmakers to wake up.

''It's all a bit ridiculous,'' said Drummond, who fights on thanks to the financial support coming directly from his readers. Crowd sourcing is likely to be essential to the future of investigative journalism.

Drummond has found that Britain's national newspapers, once his main source of income, are crying poor more often these days as digital reality bites hard.

And he has had to turn down seven overseas assignments because one court thought he might be ''a flight risk, although they neglected to tell me.''

''Thailand took British criminal law and tore it apart,'' said Drummond. ''There is no case law so rulings are up to individual judges, and you can't criticise judges in Thailand.''

Drummond isn't giving up without a fight but at 62 and with three young children who need a good education, he's looking longingly towards Britain.

Drummond is simply irreplaceable. If he is forced to leave Thailand, the crooks will be free to continue their shakedowns and rip-offs, without scrutiny.

Time is running out for the authorities to save the country's reputation. Repealing the bad laws would be a good start.


By Andrew Drummond

UNLIKE IN THE developed world, libel in Thailand can be charged as a criminal offence. Anybody with money can make a complaint. When the case first goes to court the defendant is not allowed to speak up for himself.

Only his lawyer can ask questions, but he cannot produce witnesses.

In this way many of these cases are accepted. In Thailand there is no presumption of innocence. Thailand also has the Computer Crime Act, which was created for national security, but is now also being used to control journalists. So if stories are also on the internet the plaintiff will bring a double charge.

That means in each case the defendant will have to pay 100,000 baht bail, innocent or otherwise. The plaintiff can also ask that the court bar the defendant from leaving the country. This has happened to me in a case in which I was found not guilty . . . but it took nine months to hear!

Now all the plaintiff need to do is bring several cases to break the defendant financially. If they keep delaying the cases they can double the defendants legal fees, and they can also take charges out in a distant court. (Two plaintiffs have now moved to Samui). They can also keep requesting I do not leave the country.

None of the cases outstanding against me are serious and one case has actually been accepted in the Pattaya Court based only on a picture (none of the words of the story were translated or complained about by the plaintiff).

Two of the plaintiffs who have taken charges out against me are in the criminal and civil courts accused of massive rip-offs to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. So they may well have the cash. Thus the only way to stop them is survive and fight or go to jail.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Protect the Criminals because the Criminals are the ones in charge.
Sounds exactly like the western worlds banking system.

Injustice for all, and justice for none. (unless you are rich)

Posted by Tbs on April 7, 2014 14:58


Andrew Drummond... a great man and worth to be supported!
Every ethical business man in Thailand (Foreigners and Thai)should support this person with a few hundred Baht as he fights lonely against people who give this country (and all ethical business people) a bad reputation.
Who knows... maybe one day he will support one of us who got cheated here in Thailand by bad people.....

Posted by Mr. K on April 7, 2014 15:18


Everybody should get behind Andrew Drummond and support him, even if it is with only a few hundred baht.

He is fighting a lone battle that is in every farang's best interests. To rid Thailand of the likes of [these three expat ne'er do wells] will be for the greater good of everyone, Thais included.

Posted by Arun Muruga on April 7, 2014 19:00


Other than money, we can support Andrew , and PW by ....well I guess we'd all be deported if we had a blockade of our own.
How can we affect change? I cannot stand being powerless.

Posted by The Night Mare on April 7, 2014 19:39

Editor Comment:

Perseverance and looking up are the paths to change everywhere. If your first letter draws no response, send the next one to that person's boss. The one after that goes to Bangkok and the department head, all the while copying your embassy and any other groups that might have influence. Giving up is not an option if change is what you want.


In America there is a law that allows the people to condemn an undesirable person to be expelled. 20.000 signatures are needed to be sent to the Justice Department in order to start the proceedings. I am sure there would be only 4 or five signatures if such list was passed around against Andrew Drummond. We all know who would be those names signing the list.
Let us take the opportunity to draw a list with the names of the real undesirable people in our middle in Thailand so those in charge of maintaining the good reputation of the Kingdom could understand how we look and feel bout our dishonest fellow countrymen.
Also suggest to the Thai Lawmakers to create such important and useful law...

Posted by ivan pedro j. schiffer on April 8, 2014 04:07

Editor Comment:

Who would check the 20,000 names to make sure they are real people, ivan pedro j. schiffer? Wasn't there a petition to have a British television personality expelled from the US, and didn't that move fail? It might not work. Enforcing existing laws could do the trick.


"UNLIKE IN THE developed world, libel in Thailand can be charged as a criminal offence"
That's simply not true. Also for example in Switzerland you can be sued for libel somebody. In court you would have to give some evidence on what you libel someone.

Posted by Domi on April 8, 2014 15:44

Editor Comment:

Is the Swiss Navy likely to sue? Defamation charges brought by one person on behalf of 60,000 others are rare.
You may be right about Switzerland being an exception to the rest of the developed world.
One reference says: ''In Switzerland, defamation, slander and insult constitute a criminal act under Articles 173-1, 174, 175, 176 and 177 of the Swiss Penal Code. . The Swiss courts recognize truth as a valid defense and may be presented by the defendant in order for him to be exonerated from criminal liability. Likewise, the defendant will not incur a penalty if he ''proves his allegations to be truthful,'' or if he had reasonable cause to ''hold them in good faith as being truthful.'' The judge in Switzerland determines whether statements are true or not.

Under Article 178 of the Swiss Penal Code, the prosecution for the offenses against honor (defamation, slander, insult) shall be barred in four (4) years.. When it concerns defamation against a deceased or absent person, there is a limitation to enforce the law up to 30 years (after the death).

The Swiss Federal Court has upheld the protection of an information source for internet news portals. Accordingly, Switzerland has supported source protection in connection with a medium's blog, which means that the Swiss internet news portals may not reveal their source information from third persons, thereby 'preserving the media freedom.'''


Swiss Navy?? Er.... shurely shome mishtake?

Posted by phonus balonus on April 8, 2014 18:07


It's no wonder farang get labelled in a negative fashion in Thailand. The lowest common denominator drags us all down, and heroes like Andrew step up to level the playing field.In Canada, the Gary Glitter song, Rock and roll Part Two, has been banned at sports arenas since he was found out as a pedophile.It is still played in the U.S. arenas, unfortunately.

Posted by Dean on April 8, 2014 21:02


Andrew comes across as being obsessed with a couple of small time crooks who are easy targets. His trysts with two villains filled his site with "noise" and actually put me off tuning in. There are so many foreign villains in Thailand who I am sure Andrew knows all about, yet he shirks writing anything about them. Foreign gangs have set up drug networks. Boiler operations continue unhindered and their owners are the city's pimps controlling the sex industry. Extortion by foreigners against other foreigners is widespread. Andrew is doing good work, but he needs to go much, much further.

Posted by Steve on April 9, 2014 18:23

Editor Comment:

What he needs, Steve, is your help so he can hire another couple of investigative journalists. You do not seem to understand that with the people you call ''small-time crooks'' wielding bad laws against him, his extra time is consumed with court appearances and conversations with lawyers. Perhaps you need to read the article again. If you are genuine in your concern, help to give Andrew the resources he needs. Otherwise you're just another negative do-nothing.


Andrew Drummond is in my eyes one of they bravest men in Thailand, keep up the good work

Posted by Robert. on April 20, 2014 22:52


Andrew please contact me ASAP - I have additional information regarding Kelly Miller aka "Brie" the Alabama woman found and arrested. She accused my brother of horrible things in 2007 only as an avenue to postpone her sentencing of the original vehicular homicide. Since that date my family's lives, namely my brother's has been horribly affected. I am so grateful of your perseverance and ability to stand tall!!

Posted by Amy on March 14, 2015 11:40

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