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Simon Burrowes Free After Paying 500 Baht Fine


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Burrowes free after paying 500 baht fine

PHUKET CITY: -- The Simon Burrowes saga appears to have finally come to a conclusion as the Englishman pled guilty to a charge of being impolite to a state official and was fined 500 baht.

Burrowes was due to fly back to the UK on January 31, but became involved in an altercation with Immigration Police officials at Phuket International Airport, who suspected his passport was fake.

Mr Burrowes lost his temper with the immigration officials, whom he had accused of laughing at him.

He was subsequently arrested and spent the next three weeks in Phuket Provincial Prison before his release on bail.

The incident, which caught the attention of the British media, was widely publicized internationally.

Mr Burrowes appeared before Phuket Provincial Court again yesterday and walked away a free man after paying a court-ordered fine of 500 baht (approx US$14.28).

He had originally intended to plead not guilty but, faced with the prospect of a prison sentence, was persuaded to change his plea.

“If I had pled guilty, this could have gone on for awhile and I could have got anything up to three years, so I decided to stop fighting. I was forced to plead guilty,” he explained.

He has been stuck in Thailand since his release from prison, but now that the case is over he is hoping to return to his native England.

“They returned my passport, but the visa has expired so that is now being processed. I don’t know how much that is going to cost; hopefully, it won’t cost me anything,” he said.

Perhaps surprisingly, Mr Burrowes is not desperate to leave Thailand.

“I’d like to stay here for a bit longer, just to relax for a few days. I also need to raise funds for my flight home, which might take awhile. The flight I missed was non-refundable,” he said.

He has no plans to return to the Land of Smiles.

“I doubt I will ever come back. Thailand is not a bad place, but I have had an awful experience here,” he said.

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-- Phuket Gazette 2009-04-28

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This is a telling extract from the Gazette report...

"Mr Burrowes lost his temper with the immigration officials, whom he had accused of laughing at him"

That was not a good idea. How many times have you all been in an immigration or customs queue and witnessed some beligerent individual making a fool of him/her self. A lot of folks forget that they are guests of the country they are visiting, and should (try) to respect the officials of the land. It's not at all clear to me who was really at fault in this case and to say that "The thing to do now to save face is to award Simon an elite card, a five year visa, free hotels for life anywhere in Phuket" is rediculous.

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He has suffered enough. His punishment has already greatly exceeded any so called crime. Thailand doesn't want to give the message that it is unfairly persecuting tourists, and that is clearly what happened to him.

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This is a telling extract from the Gazette report...

"Mr Burrowes lost his temper with the immigration officials, whom he had accused of laughing at him"

That was not a good idea. How many times have you all been in an immigration or customs queue and witnessed some beligerent individual making a fool of him/her self. A lot of folks forget that they are guests of the country they are visiting, and should (try) to respect the officials of the land. It's not at all clear to me who was really at fault in this case and to say that "The thing to do now to save face is to award Simon an elite card, a five year visa, free hotels for life anywhere in Phuket" is rediculous.

I think it was said "tongue in cheek"

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This episode was a complete travesty and it would have been nice if someone in authority could have stepped in and ended it sooner. Just a quiet word from above and a press release stating something about miscommunication for the reason for his release.

Anyway, what is a guest?

guest

(gst)

n.

1. One who is a recipient of hospitality at the home or table of another.

2. One to whom entertainment or hospitality has been extended by another in the role of host or hostess, as at a party.

3. One who pays for meals or accommodations at a restaurant, hotel, or other establishment; a patron.

4. A distinguished visitor to whom the hospitality of an institution, city, or government is extended.

5. A visiting performer, speaker, or contestant, as on a radio or television program.

6. Zoology A commensal organism, especially an insect that lives in the nest or burrow of another species.

Maybe tourists fall under #3 because it seems like (and I am not saying that it is like) 1,2,4,5 and 6 do not apply... Although some would say that #6 applies to the locals as a large % of guest #3 provide a nest (home) to the locals. :)

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This episode was a complete travesty and it would have been nice if someone in authority could have stepped in and ended it sooner. Just a quiet word from above and a press release stating something about miscommunication for the reason for his release.

Anyway, what is a guest?

Why do think it's a 'complete travesty' ? Do you have first hand information to share with us. I have no idea whether Mr Burrowes was not respectful, or whether the immigration officer was obnoxious. I'm interested to read any UK press interviews with Mr Burrowes.

A guest can mean many things. I personally consider that I am always a guest when visiting or living in a host country. My interpretation of 'guest' is that I am only in the host country by virtue of the entry/visa stamp granted by the host country, and that I should live by the laws & customs of the host country while I am in their country. I am always aware that I can be asked (with force) to leave the host country, without explanation.

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Why do think it's a 'complete travesty' ? Do you have first hand information to share with us. I have no idea whether Mr Burrowes was not respectful, or whether the immigration officer was obnoxious. I'm interested to read any UK press interviews with Mr Burrowes.

A guest can mean many things. I personally consider that I am always a guest when visiting or living in a host country. My interpretation of 'guest' is that I am only in the host country by virtue of the entry/visa stamp granted by the host country, and that I should live by the laws & customs of the host country while I am in their country. I am always aware that I can be asked (with force) to leave the host country, without explanation.

Hey Kata,

I think that it is a complete travesty as the guy spent 2+ weeks in the jug after his passport was confirmed. My opinion is that once the passport was confirmed it should have been an easy fix to let him leave the country. But instead (if the reports are to be believed) they threw the not respectful charge at him because they (immigration) had sweet FA to charge him with. Essentially immigration was being petty... it was 2+ weeks for being pissed off that a real passport was mistaken for a fake one and missing his plane... and that is what I call a travesty.

I do not believe that tourists are not guests in the usual sense of the word, in Thailand. People are allowed to enter the country, spend money, not complain about anything and leave. Tell me how does that equate to a guest... It seems more like tourists are hosts... as in hosts to to something that is living off of them (parasites).

One last bit... Obeying the laws and customs sounds nice, but in reality there are customs which would seem very odd to the traveler. The people at immigration should realize that when opening up a country to foreigners that there will always be problems and adherence to the letter of the law cannot be good. A more flexible approach would be fair and wise. When they thought the guys passport was a dud, they could have explained what was going on and their procedures before his plane was taking off. People get upset when they do not know what is going on. Immigration should have explained their steps and why they were doing them. Easy, simple and it helps people to relax/remain calm.

My little story...

Once in the states, while downtown, a motorcycle cop asked me to stop. Rather than being gruff... he stated plainly that there was a report of someone who looked like me and wanted me to listen to the bulletin... I said sure as the person was not me. Anyway, the cop could have bundled me up and took me to the station, but he was very polite and explained the situation. No problem, no stress, very simple. The key point was that he let me know what was going on and I had no reason to worry.

Anyway, have a good day!

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Essentially immigration was being petty... it was 2+ weeks for being pissed off that a real passport was mistaken for a fake one and missing his plane... and that is what I call a travesty.

I do not believe that tourists are not guests in the usual sense of the word, in Thailand. People are allowed to enter the country, spend money, not complain about anything and leave. Tell me how does that equate to a guest... It seems more like tourists are hosts... as in hosts to to something that is living off of them (parasites).

Good reply to my 'travesty' query...

I guess my own personal view about 'guest' is because I have worked & lived in a number of countries over my life time. I rarely visit a country as a tourist, so I guess I have a different perspective from others.... :)

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A guest can mean many things. I personally consider that I am always a guest when visiting or living in a host country. My interpretation of 'guest' is that I am only in the host country by virtue of the entry/visa stamp granted by the host country, and that I should live by the laws & customs of the host country while I am in their country. I am always aware that I can be asked (with force) to leave the host country, without explanation.

seconded!

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Skipping the whole "guest" "tourist" argument, (and I hope I'm "keeping up") I believe this whole episode is a mistake by all parties involved.

First, before anything occurred why did the authorities not confirm the passport was phony before hassling this guy?

Secondly, why did the individual get abusive, when "he thought" the authorities were laughing at him. (Who cares anyway, why was this guy so offended?)

Lastly, complete over the top reaction by the authorities, throwing this guy in the slammer. I'm back to point #1, once the passport was validated they should have let him travel and just get on his way. IF the passport was proved a fake, then yes, should have been detained.

Everyone involved just got too emotional, all logic went out the window when that occurred.

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