Klong Prem Central Prison
|Security class||Maximum security|
|Managed by||Thai Department of Corrections|
Klong Prem Central prison (Thai: คลองเปรม; rtgs: Khlong Prem) is a maximum security prison in Chatuchak District, Bangkok, Thailand. The prison has several separate sections. The compound houses up to 20,000 inmates. Within the perimeter of the compound 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 held 1,158 foreigners from 56 countries out of a total of 7,218 prisoners. It is a part of the Thai Department of Corrections.
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 by completing a form listing the items to be purchased and the prisoner's name. After paying for the items, the order is generally delivered that evening or the next day.
As of June 2010, foreign prisoners held at the Bangkok Remand Prison at Klong Prem could be visited Monday through Friday, between the hours of 08:30–15:30. There is a small restaurant outside the main visiting area where meals can be bought for the prisoners. Purchases are sealed by prison store staff in a plastic bag, and then the visitor passes it through the window to the prisoner after a visit. There is also a service for limited fast food, such as KFC or pizza, delivery for prisoners.
Prison World Cup
With the large number 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 US, Italy, France, England, Germany, and Thailand. Games consist of two 20-minute halves on a 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.
- Jon Cole, American heroin smuggler. Author of Bangkok Hard Time.
- 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 escape.
- Vo Duc Van - American convicted of attempting to bomb the Vietnamese Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand. As of August 2010, Vo Duc Van was 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.
- Johan van Laarhoven - In 2015 The Dutch former Coffee shop owner from The Netherlands sentenced to 103 years in prison for money laundering. His fortune was made from running licensed cannabis cafes in his own country. Van Laarhoven was convicted for spending money in Thailand earned by selling cannabis in The Netherlands. Johan van Laarhoven now 55 of age, will spend 20 years behind bars serving 43 concurrent sentences. His wife, Tukta, was sentenced to 12 years in prison since her name is on their property purchase documents and officials have asserted that the money used to buy that property was earned by selling drugs.
- Sandra Gregory - UK 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.
- 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 prison.
- Paul Hayward - Paul Hayward is 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 of more than 33 years.
- Jason Gagliardi (17 June 2002). "Gaaoooool!". Time. Retrieved 17 May 2009.
- Joseph, Joanne and Larissa Focke. Drug Muled: Sixteen Years in a Thai Prison. Jacana Media, 2013. ISBN 1920601201, 9781920601201. p. 195. "Goosen says that[...]when she was on death row,[...]She tells of how, shortly after she arrived at Lard Yao,[...]"
- Rao, Nathan. "My despair at the Peru two." The Daily Mail. Friday August 30, 2013. Retrieved on July 4, 2016. "Sandra, 48, was initially handed the death sentence[...]Her sentence was reduced to life, which in Thailand is 99.9 years, before being commuted to 25 years in the notorious Lard Yao jail, dubbed the Bangkok Hilton."
- "Klong Prem Central Prison". Foreign Prisoners Support Site. 2009. Retrieved 17 May 2009.
- "Klong Prem Central Prison". correct.go.th. 2009. Retrieved 17 May 2009.
- Cole, Jon. Bangkok Hard Time. Singapore: Monsoon Books. ISBN 9789814358323. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
- David McMillan. Escape: The True Story of the Only Westerner Ever to Break Out of the Bangkok Hilton. Mainstream Publishing. p. 320. ISBN 1-84596-345-8.
- David Sapsted (19 June 2001). "I was so stupid, says heroin smuggler pardoned by king". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 24 December 2008.
- AAP (17 December 2008). "Aussie charged over drugs in Thailand". The Age. Retrieved 20 December 2008.
- AAP (19 December 2008). "Andrew Hoods admits Thai smuggling attempt a 'big mistake'". The Australian. Retrieved 20 December 2008.
- AAP (20 December 2008). "Heroin accused 'did it for the money'". The Australian. Retrieved 20 December 2008.
- Justin Vallejo (20 December 2008). "The tragedy of Andrew Hoods - and his little girl". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 20 December 2008.
- Ron Corben (5 August 2009). "Aussie Andrew Hood sentenced for attempted smuggling". news.com.au. Retrieved 5 August 2009.