BBC Thai has released notes of an official document obtained from a visit to an Australian court. The recorded documents state Deputy Minister of Agriculture Thammanat Prompao, served four years in jail for conspiring to import heroin to Australia.
The deputy minister then went under the name of Manat Bophlom before changing it to Thammanat Prompao.
Early September, Australia newspaper Sydney Morning Herald broke the news about Manat’s jail term. Prompting Thammanat to accuse some Thais and foreign journalists of creating a smear campaign against him.
BBC Thai reported that Thammanat said to the broadcaster that he was asking Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to contract Australia for a copy of the court verdict.
BBC Thai reports they went to Downing court in Sydney last month to record the documents of the case. They were allowed to use their laptop, but prohibited from photo-copying the document, according to BBC Thai.
Thammanat Refutes Documents
The document stated that Manat was arrested by Australian police on April 15, 1993 at a guest room in Palage Hotel near Bondi beach. Together with three persons a Thai and two Australians.
The court record showed that Manat Bophlom had admitted to the charge of conspiring to import a commercial quantity of heroin to Australia on November 15, 1993. The presiding judge handed down the verdict on March 31, 1994 and sentencing Manat to six years in jail.
The court said he would be eligible for release after serving at least four years of his sentence. Manat was deported from Australia after being imprisoned for four years in Sydney, BBC Thai reported.
BBC Thai cited that Thammanat said to BBC Thai via telephone on October 4, 2019 that he did not plead guilty to the charge. But instead asked for negotiations between his attorney and the court.
He said he had not been involved in drug smuggling. He said at the time of his arrest, he did not have much experience or enough money to fight the charge.