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george

Australian Woman With Bar Mat.

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I have a friend who was there at the time who phoned me last night on a totally unrelated matter. Apparently this is what happened:

The lady's friends put the bar towel into her bag. She did not do it and was unaware. The lady's bag was seen with the bar towel by bar staff and the police were called and searched her bag. The bar owner did not press charges - he was not even in the bar at the time.

The lady became abusive towards the police, basically she protested her innocence. Her friends were also abusive, saying that she didn't do it. However when the cops asked how the mat got in her bag no one said anything. A simple apology would probably have sufficed at this stage, but no. She was then asked to accompany the police to the police station, (an apology would still probably have sufficed, but no).

She did a runner - the cops chased her down Bangla Rd onto the beach. At this stage they took her back to the police station where she became even more abusive. They put her in the clink to cool her off. No charges were ever pressed by the Aussie Bar, but by this stage it was too late anyway.

Correct ! This is exactly what happened. Everyone is entitled to there opinion on thaivisa however, if anyone wants the plain and simple facts and are not interested in flaming, ridiculous statements about police corruption and attacks on the owner of the bar, the above is all you need to read.

The only questionable thing is whether this was a prank or plain and simple theft. For me it was an attempted theft that was made to look like a prank, it was not a prank. The beer mat was too big to not know it was there, the weight of it is close to a kilo. If this was a prank then the friends would have said so right away but they didnt, they only came forward later on to say it was a prank. In other words....

"Shit, we have been caught, oh no, what are we going to do ? How are we going to get her out ? I know, lets tell the cops it was a joke, lets say we did it and they will let her out ! Sheila, thats a great idea, lets go to the police station now !"

The damage was already done, the abuse she gave to the cops, her refusal to admit it and simply pay the fine, demanding an English lawyer etc, etc had already happened therefore, her friends desperate attempts were to no avail.

I have no doubt that the mis-informed will still continue to post on here slating Thailand, slagging off the bar, the owner... but the reality is this story is now over, she was convicted with a suspended prison sentence, given back her passport, had her fine paid for her and sent home.

Case closed ! :)

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Her story is here

http://au.news.yahoo.com/a/-/latest/558285...hai-jail-stint/

"I HAD TO PLEAD GUILTY"

Annice Smoel has been reunited with her young daughters at Melbourne airport, saying she only pleaded guilty to stealing a bar mat in Thailand to get out of the country.

The mother of four arrived home in Melbourne on Thursday after spending 18 days in the holiday town of Phuket - including four nights in jail accused of stealing the mat from the Aussie Bar.

"I had to do what I had to do to get out," she told reporters at the airport.

"The governor of Phuket was there and he guaranteed me personally that I wouldn't go to jail if I pleaded guilty.

"If I'd pleaded not guilty it would have taken months to go to trial and I just had to come home."

Ms Smoel and her husband Darren earlier shared a tearful reunion with their four daughters, who'd feared the worst for their mum who was facing a possible five years in jail for a prank gone wrong.

Ms Smoel was celebrating her mother's 60th birthday at the bar when she was arrested. She claimed her friends had put the bar mat in her handbag as a practical joke.

"I'm just so relieved and very happy to see my daughters again, very much so," Ms Smoel said.

"I wasn't free until I was on the plane because they never handed my passport to me.

"They deported me, I was marched through customs and it wasn't until I actually went through customs at Phuket airport that I was actually free."

Ms Smoel said she would never go back to Thailand after her nightmare holiday.

Her husband said they were happy to be home.

"It's been a very long time to be away, we're exhausted but happy to be back," he said.

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"He wondered why the Australian owner of the Aussie Bar would allow a dispute to develop with a fellow Australian. " Quote from phuketwan.com attributed to the Govenor of Phuket. Sure the bar owner isn't feeling too comfortable now after the Govenor making a public statement concerning his action in the case.

Even the governor thinks Steve is petty, these people put money in his pocket and he presses charges on a fellow Australian.

Never bite the hand that feeds you.

More like the hand that steals from you - Why should the owner have to put up with larceny from anyone.

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Too late, the tourism damage is done

I doubt it.

Among sane tourists I know, that is.

In Australia the normal folk I know will be laughing about a silly woman

on a boozing night with her "mates" who nicked a beer mat without paying for it

(when they could have bought one quite cheaply) - and stuck it in her bag.

And was caught by the bar staff.

And the woman rather than apologising for her and her mates' actions

dug herself in further... because "it was raining and she ran across the road"...

and then mouthed off to the police ...when she could have had a slap on the wrist

and written the story off as childish silly behaviour and apologised for her mates actions.

And her mates chipped in and apologised too.

And paid for the towel/mat with a tip to the staff for the problems caused.

I'd suggest most Australians have the common sense to work it out.

I'd suggest most tourists who don't put bar equipment in their bags without buying it have the common sense to work it out.

I'd suggest most bar owners and business owners have the common sense to work it out.

I'd suggest many of those drinking in the Aussie Bar right now have the common sense to work it out.

I'd suggest I can work it out.

Of course. If her "mates" had rammed a condom full of coke up her butt

without her knowing and she was caught at the airport I might sound more concillatory.

Edited by Splatter

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ive been to phuket and to the aussie bar loads of times but i know one thing for sure the next time i go i won't be going back to the aussie bar and i hope his trade goes down after all this fuss over a beer matt when he could of easy gone to the police and said forget come on the women had kids and was on her mums 60th bday . not like she was a cheap charlie backpacker . im sure he made a few bucks from her and her mates that night . my advise is give the place a wide birth stick to the brit bars they don't grass

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Ms Smoel said she would never go back to Thailand after her nightmare holiday.

and quite frankly I think that it is a good thing that she never sets foot in the kingdom again.

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Guilty or innocent this insignificant incident has ballooned in to yet another problem for Thai tourism which is already in a deep crisis.

The handling of all involved in the case appears to be completely appalling. :)

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I'm Thai living in Australia. I wonder what would happen to me if I tried to steal things here and said it was just a prank and then verbally abused the police.

Phuket police went too easy on her. She could go to jail for that abuse and bribery. She actually needs to thank them.

I'm so glad that she wont go back to Thailand.

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ive been to phuket and to the aussie bar loads of times but i know one thing for sure the next time i go i won't be going back to the aussie bar and i hope his trade goes down after all this fuss over a beer matt when he could of easy gone to the police and said forget come on the women had kids and was on her mums 60th bday . not like she was a cheap charlie backpacker . im sure he made a few bucks from her and her mates that night . my advise is give the place a wide birth stick to the brit bars they don't grass

I will have no problems in returning to the Aussie Bar.

I've listened to the bar owner's interview on The Age.

I've listened to the woman's story on The Age.

However, I don't think the police and mayor managed the media very well.

Seeing as I didn't and won't be voting for the Phuket mayor I don't think this will be a problem

that will create an echoing void in my life.

And considering I won't be planning to nick anything from a bar I doubt I'll need a chat with the police.

Edited by Splatter

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How big was her hand bag then :)
The 'bar mat' that started the whole controversy was 145cm (4.75721 in Feet) by 45 cm (1.47637 foot long) and made of thick rubber.

Welcome to the 'News of this World' :D

Kan Win :D

At least someone reacted intelligently, unlike the macho Viagra poppers' hysterical defence of a fair damsel in distress with the usual TV soupcon of racism.

ANNICE Smoel needs our help. So let’s lay off giving our usual moral lectures to the Thais.

Given the kind of Australians they see in Patpong, Pattaya and Phuket - and who I’ve talked to in their jails - I doubt they’d be impressed.

They’d be less likely than even Indonesians or Singaporeans to respond well to our usual flaming outrage at wicked Asians, which proved so useless in helping Schapelle Corby, the Bali Nine, or Nguyen Tuong Van.

But here we go again. In fact, it may be precisely our brand of abusive finger-wagging at Asian authorities that got Smoel into this pickle.

The 36-year-old mum from Montrose, in Phuket to celebrate her mother’s 60th birthday, was grabbed two weeks ago by police who accused her of stealing a bar mat from the Aussie Bar.

She was locked up for two days until she raised bail, and now can’t leave the country until her charges are dealt with. Worse still, she faces up to five years in jail, when she has four children at home.

What makes this case seem even more wrong is that one of Smoel’s girlfriends confessed to police that she’d actually popped the bar mat into Smoel’s handbag as a prank. There is also surveillance footage at the bar, which Smoel insists should clear her.

So, on cue, 3AW this morning was flooded with callers eager to dam_n Thai police as corrupt, stupid and brutal.

It’s this same sad story every time, actually, even when we’re talking about someone as plainly guilty as Corby. dam_n those shifty Asians for seizing one of our virtuous own!

But two factors need adding to this story of Australians betrayed. The bar mat, for a start, was no mere coaster but a $60 souvenir, and when police questioned Smoel she did a runner.

Second, one of the Aussie Bar’s owners, Steve Wood, says Smoel made an even bigger mistake when she was taken to the Patong police station: she “verbally abused” the police chief.

A local tourism publication, Phuketwan, yesterday claimed the same: ”Phuketwan has been told that Ms Smoel ‘went ballistic’ at the time of the incident, abusing officers all the way up to the local chief of police . . .

“While bad language and anger are tolerated these days in many Western countries, they are not condoned in Thailand and usually only compound the problem for any tourist in trouble.”

I don’t know what was said. But I do know it’s a mistake to think that us now berating Thai officials is the best way to help Smoel get out of a trouble allegedly caused by berating Thai officials.

Do we really not understand that our raucous manners and big mouths don’t charm many foreigners? Do we really need to be told that abusing and lording it over Asian police and judges in particular buys us nothing but trouble?

I don’t deny that Thai justice has its quirks, and there may be more to this than a stolen bar mat and a tantrum.

Some claim this was actually a sting, for instance, which I don’t think is a wise allegation to make, or a fair one.

That said, it is of course true that Thai justice works slowly, and sometimes seems to work best when cash does some oiling, I’m sorry to say.

I’ve heard stories of money making charges vanish. I also know a few Thai police aren’t such sticklers for propriety, having had one in Pattaya give me a lift on his motorbike to a brothel when I’d actually asked for the address of a good hotel.

And as the paper’s Asia correspondent, based in Bangkok, I covered the case of Lisa Marie Smith, daughter of a rich Australian businessman, who was mysteriously given bail by a Thai court and allowed to keep her passport despite being allegedly found with 4kg of hashish and hundreds of amphetamine tablets.

That was in 1996, and Smith has not been seen since she popped into our Athens embassy months later for a new passport, no doubt considering the $74,000 surety forfeited by her father, plus a few other legal expenses, was money well spent.

Such things might make one speculate as to why Phuket police, with everything else going on in their sex resort, made a stand over a bar mat.

But here we get to not only the odd priorities of Thai police in upholding a law against stealing bar mats in a town bursting with prostitutes, which the same law insists are illegal.

We also get to the real reason it might suit us to protest respectfully. It’s not just that Thais, like most people anywhere, are proud, having never been colonised, and don’t much like hectoring from farang.

Nor is it even because crying “corruption” tends to make officials in such places freeze into a show of by-the-slow-book propriety.

(Much better to do a Michelle Leslie, who made no such claims against the Indonesian police who arrested her for alleged possession of ectasy, but - unlike Corby - kept her mouth shut, her head respectfully covered by an Islamic scarf, and flew quietly home after more than $130,000 went “missing” from her legal funds.)

No, we should mind our mouths because the kind of Australians many Thais see are the kind whose preaching on morals would raise not a blush of remorse but a laugh. Or even anger.

Have you been, say, to Patpong or Pattaya? Think of Sodom and Gomorrah, but with neon lights. Then add thousands of Australians among the loiterers there, many with tatts on their backs, bar girls on their arms and beers in their hands.

Even in more “refined” resorts such as Phuket, you’ll find thousands more Australians boozing, screeching, ogling, pawing, bullying and haggling over everything from T-shirts to a girl, as if every dollar saved from a Thai was worth a hundred to an Aussie, rather than the other way around.

Or if you really want a trip with a difference, try a tour of Thai jails, starting with the Bangkok Hilton.

There I found Australians ranging from pedophiles to drug smugglers and back again to men who thought the usual moral rules against molesting young girls didn’t apply if their prey were Asian and desperate for money.

Look, I know I exaggerate. There are many thousands of Australians touring Thailand respectfully, or living and working there by all the good rules you’d wish. Fine people in a fine place.

But when I heard Smoel complain that Australian consular officials seemed reluctant to assume she was as innocent as she said she was, I wasn’t quick to condemn.

I’ve seen some of the Australians such officials have had to help, such as the loser who flew in to visit his drug-smuggling wife in jail, only to get as high as the hanged - so high that he forgot to give her the present made by her children.

I remember helping that same man - since dead of an overdose - check out of his Bangkok hotel, his suitcase clanking with bottles stolen from the bar fridge, along with a wooden clothes hanger taken from the wardrobe and a Buddhist book the hotel placed by his bedside as an aid to a more moral life.

If Thais sent to us the kind of people we sent to them, what would we think of the rest of their kind?

And what would we think when one, arrested by our police at some local dive, screamed of false arrest?

So, yes, let’s please work for the release of Annice Smoel. But asking politely for justice would suit us much better than our usual sneers and snarls, and would help her more.

So, my dear Thai Ambassador - as a sign of mercy, benevolence and goodwill to a country whose tourism you welcome, would you please help to restore this woman to her family? We thank you for your efforts, and please forgive us any offence we may have given.

http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewb...s_like_they_do/

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I'm Thai living in Australia. I wonder what would happen to me if I tried to steal things here and said it was just a prank and then verbally abused the police.

Phuket police went too easy on her. She could go to jail for that abuse and bribery. She actually needs to thank them.

I'm so glad that she wont go back to Thailand.

The answer is simple. According to the Court of Thai Visa Fulminating Farang Fantasy Fanatics,

1) If you're a Thai in Thailand, you're wrong.

2) If you're a Thai in any other country, you're wrong.

Or to put it more succinctly, according to the Bombastic Bar Beer view of the world, farang right, Thai wrong ... no need to bother with facts, reality, fairness or sobriety.

If you're wondering why these same geniuses still come to Thailand and remain here ... don't look for logic.If they all left it would cut into booze sales, but otherwise have little effect.

Edited by Kaojai

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So thailand saves face and if you look about I'm sure that some jumped up member of the local constabulary is not looking so jumped up now he has a desk job in Surin

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There should be a pole started so Thaivisa members can vote.

Something like this:

A: she should have been made to pay for the mat, let go with a warning and told not to visit the bar again.

B: with police involved, a small fine (1000baht ish) and police warning.

C: taken to police station, warning, fine and let go.

D: Kept for months awaiting a court case, eventually given a life sentence.

Edited by johnson36

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There should be a pole started so Thaivisa members can vote.

Something like this:

A: she should have been made to pay for the mat, let go with a warning and told not to visit the bar again.

B: with police involved, a small fine (1000baht ish) and police warning.

C: taken to police station, warning, fine and let go.

D: Kept for months awaiting a court case, eventually given a life sentence.

Good idea :)

I vote A

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She was fined 1000 baht (A$38), which was paid by the Governor of Phuket, Wichai Praisa-nob.

He intervened in the case after receiving telephone calls earlier today from Thailand's Ministry of Tourism and the Foreign Ministry.

Governor Wichai said he felt very sorry for her and considered she was not at fault.

He wondered why the Australian owner of the Aussie Bar would allow a dispute to develop with a fellow Australian.

This story annoyed me more than most (which is saying a lot lately) so here comes the vent:

Whether the poor missus, who was probably about half gassed and just trying to have a good time on her holiday, stole the silly mat or not, it all got completely out of control; it's not like the dang thing was made of gold! I hope she get's home all right and recommend she spend her next holiday somewhere more friendly and easy-going, like Myanmar.

Regarding the police and the severity of the crime, I had a guy break into my house last year. I happened to be home much to his surprise. With the help of neighbors I caught him and despite the fact that he screamed that he was going to come back and kill us all and tried to knife us with a screwdriver, we managed to tie him up until the police came to get him. At the station the police sergeant asked me if it would be okay if they just held him over night and let him go in the morning with a warning. Oh yeah, justice was served, SO, let's not get on too much about the morality and rightful consequences of lifting a freaking dirty old bar mat from a dumpy joint in Phuket.

I salute the honored Governor Wichai Praisa-nob, for using common sense and kicking this mountain back down into the mole-hill it should have been in the first place. I am pleased that a Thai in power realized how something as petty as this farce could hurt his people very badly in their tourism wallets. Thailand need more cool heads like him in places where it counts. Hearing of this man's grace made me feel better about being here, but really I'm starting to think it might be 'Better in the Bahamas'...

Edited by JatujakShopper

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