BANGKOK – Martin Garnett a former Australian luxury car dealer turned heroin trafficker who was once on death row has secured his transfer home after 20 years in foreign jails by using Facebook and crowdfunding site Pozible.
His mother, 72-year-old pensioner Jan Garnett, reported on Facebook that prison guards cheered him on as the sum of the money raised began nearing the target on crowdfunding site Pozible.
“He got a friendly guard to look up the site … now walking to the phone, different guards are calling out to him ‘hey Marty, it is up to $17,980’. He is over the moon,” she wrote.
Garnett has been in prison since he was arrested at Bangkok Airport in 1993, when he tried to board a plane for New Zealand with 4.7kg of heroin strapped to his body.
He received the death sentence, but the penalty was commuted to 40 years.
According to court documents obtained by The Daily Telegraph, he became a highly-placed loan shark in partnership with the guards inside Thailand’s Klong Prem prison.
“The prison guards in Thailand were sneaky, shallow people who cared very little about life, cared nothing about the law or rules, and who manipulated anyone they could,” states a document by Garnett and his lawyer.
“Sadly, Martin found that he fitted in really well in this system because he was exactly like them.”
Last year, he secured a transfer to NSW under an international prison transfer system which requires the inmate to pay for the transfer under guard by police or prison officers.
Mrs Garnett made the plea to raise the transfer fee of just under $20,000 to friends via her Facebook page, using Pozible as the crowdfunding platform.
“He knows this is a large sum but hopes you may find it in your heart to make a pledge no matter how small,” Mrs Garnett posted on her page.
The “Bring Martin Home” campaign on Pozible said Garnett had converted to Islam while in prison and regretted his past actions.
“He has spent most of his adult life behind bars often in very difficult conditions,” the page said. “Martin has made some bad choices in his life, he knows that and deeply regrets them.
“Martin is a new man with a calmness in his heart and a passion for making a positive contribution to the world … with his dreams of clean energy and sustainable living and numerous other plans.”
After reaching the target, Mrs Garnett posted a “thank you” on Facebook, saying “Martin is really humbled by all this support and love shown to him and me”.