Trafficking Drugs in Thailand Could Get You The Death Penalty

Personally, I have always felt, if you do drugs, buy drugs or get involved in trafficking drugs in Thailand you are an idiot.

Thailand has some of the world’s strictest anti-drug laws, which are meted out in the same way to both Thais and foreigners. That means, if you are caught in Thailand doing or buying drugs, but especially selling or trafficking drugs, your sentence is likely to be severe – including a possible death sentence.

Such was one of the most famous drug trafficking cases against three Australians in Thailand in the 1990s. Two women and a man, Jane McKenzie, Deborah Spinner and Lyle Doniger, they were caught at Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport trying to smuggle heroin out of Thailand. The heroin was hidden in condoms inside body cavities.

The Thai authorities, however, had been tipped off by the Australian authorities so, when the three arrived at Don Mueang Airport they were summarily arrested, charged and initially found guilty and given the death sentence. That sentence was eventually commuted to 50 years in jail.

Lyle Doniger spent six years in Bangkok’s notorious Bang Kwang jail before he was given a royal pardon by Thailand’s King Bhumiphol Adulyadej and allowed to return to Australia.  Jane McKenzie and Deborah Spinner didn’t apply for a royal pardon at the same time as Doniger, so they spent six years in Klong Prem prison followed by another five years in a prison back in Australia before they were also given a royal pardon in 2007.

If you have ever thought about doing, buying or trafficking drugs in Thailand, do yourself a favor and watch this short video about Jane McKenzie, Deborah Spinner and Lyle Doniger and how their lives were spent in two of Thailand’s most notorious jails. Then don’t be stupid.

Finally, read How Not to Get Arrested in Thailand, for more information about keeping yourself safe.