Locked Up, detained and deported for Vaping

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Jogger
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#1 Locked Up, detained and deported for Vaping

Post by Jogger » Thu Feb 28, 2019 12:59 pm

Cecilia Cornu, 31, was in Phuket for a family holiday in January and was caught by Karon police holding an e-cigarette on Jan 30 whilst on a scooter with her fiancée as her parents and brother followed behind.
Cornu claims she was stopped by four police officers who snatched the e-cigarette and demanded B40,000, which she refused to pay.
She claims she was then arrested and taken to Karon Police Station where officers tried to bully her into paying a bribe.
Cornu was charged, her passport confiscated and a trial date set for Feb 11. Her return flight was scheduled for the following day.
She posted bail of B100,000 and was released the same day pending trial.
On Feb 11 Cornu attended Phuket Provincial Court where she was convicted for the offence and says she was fined B827 (23 euros). She was then sent to Phuket Immigration for what she thought was to collect her passport.
Upon arriving at the immigration office, she was informed that she would be transferred to Bangkok for deportation.
Cornu was then taken to Bangkok where she claims she spent four days and three nights in a prison cell shared with 60 other women in dire conditions where she had to sleep on a hard, dirty floor with no sheets or mattresses before returning home to France.
Cornu claims the ordeal cost her a total of approximately 8,000 euros (B286,000) in legal fees and travel expenses.
Karon Police Chief Col Prasarn Hankotha responded to Cornu’s claims this morning (Feb 27). He told The Phuket News, “Karon police arrested Ms Cécilia Cornu after she was seen using an e-cigarette in Karon on Jan 30.”
“After waiting in the station for many hours while police worked on the case with her lawyer, she asked for bail which was granted at B100,000,” he explained.
“She posted bail and was released the same day. We did not hold her in a cell during her time at the police station.”
Col Prasarn went on to explain that the full bail amount was later returned to Cornu. “We have documents to prove this,” he said.


“Ms Cornu was fined by Phuket Provincial Court on Feb 11 but we do not know the amount as we have not yet received a report from the court.”
Col Prasarn flatly denied Cornu’s claim that his officers demanded a B40,000 bribe. “Karon Police had nothing to do with that,” he asserted.
“We had to confiscate her passport to prevent her from leaving the country before the trial, which is a normal procedure,” he said. “Police then sent her to the Phuket Immigration Office on Feb 11 to process her deportation via Bangkok.”
When asked about claims made by Cornu regarding her expenses, Col Prasarn replied, “We know nothing about 8,000 euros or B286,000. She paid a fine at Phuket Provincial Court and that is all we know.”
The Chief of the Phuket Immigration Office, Col Kathathorn Kumthieng, explained the standard procedure for all foreigners who are transferred to Bangkok for deportation, highlighting that it can take about three or four days to process and all travel and living costs during that time are the responsibility of the deportee.
When asked about Cornu’s case, he replied, “I don’t know about Ms Cecilia’s complaint. It is not an important issue". https://www.thephuketnews.com/frenchwom ... tLuRP3W.99

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#2 Re: Locked Up, detained and deported for Vaping

Post by fountainhall » Thu Feb 28, 2019 1:17 pm

Not being a smoker, I had never heard the term “vaping”. But a quick internet check shows it has been illegal for some years - something to do with import taxes apparently.

Apart from the fact that she broke a law, she should have learned her lesson by not agreeing to pay some sort of tea money. With 40,000 the asking price, the chances are she could have negotiated down to considerably under 20,000. Still a lot of money but the actual outcome of not doing so should have been obvious to her once bail was set so high. Expecting a Thai Court to take her side when she had broken the law was madness!

Obvious lesson - when in Rome . . .

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#3 Re: Locked Up, detained and deported for Vaping

Post by Gaybutton » Thu Feb 28, 2019 4:19 pm

The term 'ignorance of the law is no excuse' applies even in Thailand. I imagine it never even occurred to her she was violating the law. Along with that, what an overreaction! I really can't think of any reason why she simply wasn't warned, perhaps a small fine, and nothing more. After all, she wasn't using hard drugs or committing a major crime.

Why do I think this lady, along with everyone she knows, will never set foot in Thailand again.

Some may remember Monty. He nearly got deported because he was seen emptying ashtrays at his place of business. That's all he did - nothing else. His crime? Working without a work permit.

Which reminds me - whatever was the outcome, or perhaps still pending, with those Bridge players who were merely playing socially, not anything to do with money, about 3 years ago by now?

From what I understand, it is perfectly legal to buy playing cards in Thailand, but illegal to play any card games with them.

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#4 Re: Locked Up, detained and deported for Vaping

Post by Dodger » Thu Feb 28, 2019 4:20 pm

What happened to this girl is absolutely outrageous and I hope it gets a million hits on U Tube and makes the headlines in the international press.

Conjuring up a law to forbid people from smoking electronic cigarettes in non-public areas was the first numbskull move. She wasn't importing e-cigarette vapors or attempting in any way to make money which would violate tax laws - she was simply on holiday in a strange place and made a trivial mistake. Secondly, even if this girl did violate this ridiculous law it doesn't come anywhere close to justifying the disgusting treatment she received.

What really got her in trouble had nothing to do with smoking an electronic cigarette - it had to do with her lack of knowledge regarding how the "game" is actually played in Thailand. I guess the travel agent in France forgot to inform her that when a uniformed officer demands money, regardless of the amount or the reason why, you can try to talk him down on the amount similar to how you barter at a street market which is perfectly acceptable in Thai culture - but always pay him or be prepared to suffer a severe consequence.

If I was the father of this young girl this incident would be far from over.

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#5 Re: Locked Up, detained and deported for Vaping

Post by Captain Kirk » Thu Feb 28, 2019 5:15 pm

Dodger wrote:If I was the father of this young girl this incident would be far from over.
Bad as it seems to be (if we got the story as it actually happened) I doubt the Thai authorities could give a toss if her father kicked up a fuss. In the same circumstances I wouldn't have paid the cops either. Just sheer bloody mindedness wouldn't allow myself to pay it. Maybe a couple of hundred and move off cursing them but when it comes to thousands? Not a chance.

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#6 Re: Locked Up, detained and deported for Vaping

Post by fountainhall » Thu Feb 28, 2019 6:34 pm

Captain Kirk wrote:In the same circumstances I wouldn't have paid the cops either. Just sheer bloody mindedness wouldn't allow myself to pay it. Maybe a couple of hundred and move off cursing them but when it comes to thousands? Not a chance.
So you would have happily gone to jail?? Because barring payment of that amount or bargaining down that’s surely what you would have faced.

Interesting that there has been a long correspondence about this on TripAdvisor. The vast majority of comments are along the lines of this poster.
It is not for tourists in a country to decide which of that country's laws they will obey.

As to the police extortion I am sure that everyone knows that Thailand runs on corruption from the top to the bottom, as visitors we have to accept that, it is up to the Thai people to change it if they want to.

Yes of course foreigners get targeted by the police foreigners have money, no point extorting 50 Thais out of 20THB when you can extort one foreigner out of 1000THB

If you don't want to run the risk of being targeted by the police it is VERY simple don't break any laws.
When you travel anywhere it is not difficult to run fairly simple checks on the internet re what you should not do. I agree: this law is an ass. But would you try chewing gum in Singapore? There are sill people who think that law is idiotic. But having had a couple of pairs of expensive trousers all but ruined from gum stuck at the side of subway seats in Hong Kong, I’m all for it.

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#7 Re: Locked Up, detained and deported for Vaping

Post by Gaybutton » Thu Feb 28, 2019 8:51 pm

fountainhall wrote:When you travel anywhere it is not difficult to run fairly simple checks on the internet re what you should not do.
I'm wondering if what happened to this lady would even have come up in a check.

I would not only try to check what I can, but also try to find out what the consequences are for violations.

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#8 Re: Locked Up, detained and deported for Vaping

Post by Captain Kirk » Thu Feb 28, 2019 9:22 pm

fountainhall wrote:So you would have happily gone to jail?? Because barring payment of that amount or bargaining down that’s surely what you would have faced.
No, of course I wouldn't "happily" skip off to jail. I'd be beyond anger, but I just know myself well enough that I wouldn't pay it. As I'm on my way there in a couple of weeks this story does give pause for thought. I think if for some reason I think I'm going to be approached by the cops it may be prudent to quickly turn the phone on to casually record the conversation.

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#9 Re: Locked Up, detained and deported for Vaping

Post by fountainhall » Thu Feb 28, 2019 9:40 pm

I guess I would be beyond anger myself. But I’d also be realistic. At the very least I’d have discovered in advance that the cops in Thailand regard many farang as well-oiled cash machines.

I was once “caught” when in a desperate rush I persuaded a taxi to turn left when the sign very clearly said “no left turn”. We then got stuck in traffic and a cop stopped the taxi. The driver was mad at me, the more so when the cop wanted his license and another document. Facing the inevitable, I reached for a Bt. 500 note in my wallet. Unfortunately I only had 1,000 bills. As I had created the problem, I placed a bill in the palm of my hands, got out of the cab, wai-ed the cop and grasped his hands, leaving the note. Within seconds, the driver’s papers were returned and we were waived in our way,

I was pissed off knowing I could have got away with 500, but then It was I who persuaded the cab driver to break the law and I did not have the right notes. I had no problem paying up.

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#10 Re: Locked Up, detained and deported for Vaping

Post by Trongpai » Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:11 pm

I did not know vaping was a crime in Thailand. I see people all over Thailand doing it. I see them for sale by street vendors. I read someplace recently that it's useful in helping people quit smoking. Makes no difference to me as I'm not a smoker, vaper or a midnight toker.

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