Klong Prem Central Prison
|Security class||Maximum security|
Klong Prem Central prison (Thai: คลองเปรม) is a high-security prison in Bangkok, Thailand. The prison has several separate sections. The greater complex houses up to 20,000 inmates. Within the complex perimeter are the Women's Central Prison, often referred to as "Lard Yao" or "Lard Yao women's prison". There is the Central Correction Institution for Drug Addicts (also known as "Bambat Phiset"), Bangkok Special Prison and the Central Correctional Hospital. The Lard Yao men's section takes custody of male offenders whose sentence term is not over 25 years. As of 2002 the men's section holds 1,158 foreigners out of a total of 7,218 prisoners from 56 countries.
Klong Prem Central prison was originally a temporary prison established in 1944 in the Lard Yao district as a consequence of demands during World War II when Thailand was at war with Britain and the United States. In 1959 it was used as a vocational training centre for those who, in the words of the Thai corrections department, “act and behave as gangsters".
In 1960 the old Klong Prem prison on Maha Chai Road (now the Bangkok Corrections Museum) had become especially overcrowded so all prisoners were transferred to the vocational training centre site. The Interior Ministry established a temporary prison within the new compound by dividing one part into a vocational training centre and the other part into the Lard Yao temporary central prison. In 1972 the Interior Ministry issued orders establishing the prison on Maha Chai Road as the "Bangkok Remand Prison" and the prison in the Lard Yao subdistrict was designated the "Klong Prem Central Prison".
Visiting Klong Prem
Klong Prem Central Prison allows the family of inmates to visit prisoners. Visiting rules and times vary and international visitors have some special privileges. Different days are allocated to certain cell blocks. Weekend visits are typically prohibited. Additional privileges (e.g., phones, longer visits) when visiting foreign prisoners can sometimes be attained with a letter from the appropriate embassy or with bribes to prison guards. Food for prisoners can be purchased at the commissary. Fill out a form listing the items you would like to purchase and the prisoner's name. After paying for the items, they are generally delivered that evening or the next day.
As of June 2010, foreign prisoners held at the Bangkok Remand Prison at Klong Prem may be visited Monday through Friday, from 8:30am – 3:30pm. There is a small store in which common items can be bought such as bread, fruits, crackers, soft drinks, water, toilet paper and clothing. In addition, there is a small restaurant outside the main visiting area where other foods can be bought for the prisoners. All of this is sealed by prison store staff in a plastic bag, and then the visitor passes it through the window after a visit. The prisoner receives it in his or her hands within minutes. There is also a service for limited fast food delivery for prisoners, such as KFC or pizza.
Prison World Cup
With the large amount of foreign nationals at Klong Prem, the prison is able to hold a football World Cup. Teams of 10 are chosen by prison staff to represent Nigeria, Japan, the U.S., Italy, France, England, Germany and Thailand. Games comprise two 20-minute halves on an approximately half-sized pitch. The winners are given a replica of the real World Cup trophy, which is made of wood in the prison workshop.
Current and former notable prisoners
Foreign prisoners are concentrated in building 2, and those prisoners may have contact visits for several days providing visitors can demonstrate they have traveled from another country. As of June 2010, there are many foreign prisoners in other buildings of the prison complex.
- Brian Scott Meise- released
- David McMillan - Arrested for drug charges, he successfully escaped from the prison in August 1996 and has published a book titled Escape which describes his time in Klong Prem and his perilous escape.
- Vo Duc Van - American convicted of attempting to bomb the Vietnamese Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand. As of August 2010, Vo Duc Van is currently being held in building D6. He has always accepted full responsibility for his actions and still claims that the detonators had been removed from the devices. The incident happened on 19 June 2001 and was intended as a political statement as 19 June is the commemoration day celebration of South Vietnam National Army Day. Vo Duc Van is also a practising Buddhist and the intention to kill was never in his mind.
- Sandra Gregory - United Kingdom woman who was imprisoned in Thailand for drug smuggling after being caught trying to smuggle heroin and temazepam out of Bangkok's Don Muang Airport. The King of Thailand granted Gregory a Royal Pardon and she was released on 18 June 2001.
- Nola Blake - Nola Blake is an Australian woman who in 1987 was arrested in Bangkok for drug trafficking. Blake received a Royal Pardon and was released in March 1998 having spent 11 years and two months in prison. She returned home 24 March 1998.
- Holly Deane-Johns - Australian woman convicted in Thailand of attempting to post a parcel of 11 grams heroin back to Australia. On 7 December 2007, Deane-Johns arrived back in Australia where she was transferred to Bandyup Women's Prison. She is expected to serve another five years of her sentence there before being considered for parole.
- Harry Nicolaides - Harry Nicolaides is an Australian writer of Greek-Cypriot origin imprisoned in Thailand under the Thai lèse majesté law, for a passage in a 2005 novel of his deemed to defame the Thai monarchy. On 19 January 2009 he was sentenced to three years in prison. He was pardoned on 21 February, after having spent six months in a Thai prison.
- Paul Hayward - Paul Hayward was an Australian man who was convicted in Thailand, alongside Warren Fellows and William Sinclair, for attempting to export 8.5 kilograms of heroin to Australia. After being transferred back to Lard Yao he was released on 7 April 1989, after being granted a royal pardon.
- Colin Martin - Colin Martin is an Irish citizen from Carrickmacross, County Monaghan, who was imprisoned in Thai prisons for the crime of murder. He was released from the Lard Yao prison near Bangkok on 18 January 2005 and was deported from Thailand.
- Viktor Bout - Arrested on 6 March 2008, by Royal Thai Police for allegedly conspiring to supply the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). He was extradited to the United States on 16 November 2010. On 2 November 2011, he was convicted by a jury in New York of conspiracy to provide material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization, conspiring to kill Americans, conspiring to kill American officers or employees, conspiring to acquire and use an anti-aircraft missile, illegal purchase of aircraft, wire fraud, and money laundering.
- Andrew Hood (some reports say "Hoods") - Arrested in departure hall of Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International airport on 17 December 2008 and charged with trafficking heroin. On 5 August 2009 he was sentenced to life imprisonment for drug trafficking. He avoided the death penalty by confessing to the crime.
- Bang Kwang Central Prison - Bangkok's other main prison which holds male inmates with sentences above 33 years.
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- David McMillan. Escape: The True Story of the Only Westerner Ever to Break Out of the Bangkok Hilton (3 July 2008 ed.). Mainstream Publishing. p. 320. ISBN 1-84596-345-8.
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