BANGKOK – British independent investigative journalist Andrew Drummond, who has specialised in exposing the activities of foreign criminals in Thailand for more than 25 years is leaving the country.
Andrew Drummond covered South East Asia as a journalist for The Observer, The Observer Film Company, London Evening Standard, The Times for10 years and more recently the London Evening Standard again. He also regularly broadcasts from Bangkok and stories by him have also been syndicated world wide.
In a statement posted on his website, Andrew said he was returning to Britain because he and his family no longer felt safe in Thailand.
“The primary reasons were a direct threat to the safety of himself and his three children from foreign criminals in Thailand working in liaison with the Thai Police and Thailand’s Computer Crime Act, which he said was being used by foreign criminals to silence criticism of their activities,” the statement said.
In a statement issued today he said:
“I have enjoyed my time in Thailand where I have made many good Thai and foreign friends but there comes a time having too much knowledge which I cannot keep to myself can be too dangerous.
My well being has been threatened as have those of my children. This is not of course the first time, but the recent threat came from a group of people who have killed with impunity before, and have even had police set up people on false charges.
Andrew’s bodies of work includes countless reports on the shady activities of foreign crooks, from financial swindlers to sex traffickers and killers, mostly based in Pattaya and Phuket.
The reports have outraged and titillated readers in equal measure, while making their author the target of frequent litigation and threats.
Andrew also said he had “left information in Thailand which should be of use to the DSI” in conducting further investigations.
He also expressed dismay at the growing use of the Computer Crime Act to intimidate and silence people who expose wrongdoing.
He mentioned the Phuket-based journalists Alan Morison and Chutima Sidasathian, who are being sued by the navy for reprinting a Reuters report that alleges complicity by navy officers in human trafficking.
He also mentioned Andy Hall, the migrant workers’ advocate who faces a number of court cases.
“The harassment of Andy, Alan and Chutima, has no place in a country calling itself free,” he wrote. “Thailand’s inability to take criticism, and its greatly flawed justice system, are major handicaps to its progress.”
Mr Drummond said he still faced three lawsuits in Thailand by people accused of criminal activities in his investigative reports.
“I have worked as a journalist for over twenty years in Britain, the United States and Australia without being sued once,” he wrote.
“In many ways foreign criminals will be seen to have won this battle. They have not won the war.”