Scott's Life in Bangkwang Prison - Thailand

Visit Scott

Scott was transferred to Wandsworth Prison in London, where he will be starting to serve the remainder of his thirty year sentence, on 11th November 2009 after completing four years and eight months of his sentence in Thailand.  

For the first few months Scott will be entitled to three visits a month which he would like to use catching up with family. 

He hopes that you understand and when he is able to receive more visits will send an update so that he can finally catch up with friends old and new.

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If you wish to visit someone in Bangkwang Prison Scott's family's experiences may be of help. 

NB - Last updated in October 2009 so proceedures may have changed.

September 2012 - It is not confirmed but we have heard that you are now unable to take anything into the prison.  All items going into the prison now have to be purchased in the Prison Shop located in the Visitor Registration Area.

To see people it's great, most welcomed and very kind.  To those who have already been - nice one! 

Things to bring - fresh fruit (apples, oranges etc.), biscuits & chocolate, any cooked food, a big smile and if really kind a Burger King plain cheeseburger!! 

See you soon!

Scott

If you happen to be passing through Bangkok and have a few hours to spare Scott would love to see you.  Don't worry that you may not know what to say to him - Scott has the most amazing sense of humour and can talk for England!  If you do manage to get a word in edgeways let him know where you heard about him.

The information we give is based on the experiences of family who have visited Scott in the last twelve months.  One thing we have learned when visiting Scott is that things can change without warnng!  If you know of any changes please let us know for when one of us next visits!

Visiting days for Building No: 3 are on Monday and Wednesday.  You are able to visit in either the morning or afternoon.  You will need to have registered at the prison visitor's centre by 9am for the morning visiting session from 9.30 - 11.30 and by 1pm for the afternoon visiting session from 1.30 - 2.30.  Please remember that these session times are not always adhered to, sometimes you will have to wait a little longer for Scott to be called and other times the phone line which you talk to him on can be abruptly disconnected.

Please note that the following days are Public/Bank Holidays when visiting will not be permitted:

Monday April 6th 2009 - Chakri Day

Monday - Wednesday April 13-15th 2009 - Songkran Festival

Wednesday July 1st 2009 - Mid-Year Closing (Bank Holiday but not a Public Holiday - please double check this date)

Wednesday August 12th 2009 - H.M. Queen's Birthday

Monday December 7th 2009 - Substitution day for H.M. King's Birthday

What You Will Need to Take

You will need your passport

You will also need at lest one copy of your passport but preferably two - if you are unable to get one it can be done at the prison for a few bhat.

You will need to know Scott's full name and that he is in Building No: 3

You will need to know that his offence is for drugs.

You will need to be dressed appropriately - for men long trousers, take a long sleeved shirt as they do not always let you in wearing a T-Shirt, women need to have their shoulders and knees covered.

How to Get There

A taxi from Bangkok takes about 30 minutes depending on the traffic and at the most should cost you is about 200 bhat.  (As of October 2009)

From the Central Pier you can take the Chao Phraya River Express Boat which goes north bound in the direction of Nonthaburi, which is the last stop.  The cost is about 40 bhat. 

Nonthaburi Pier taken from the river

At the end of the pier in Nonthaburi walk along the road directly in front of you going away from the river.  You will pass a convenience store on your left which also has an ATM outside - there are also a couple of banks along this stretch.    Continue walking and take your first left hand turn.  Continue along this road and you will see the prison watch tower ahead of you to your right.  It is about a ten minute walk from the pier.

Family find the above information invaluable when hailing taxi's to get to the prison.  If you think it may be helpful please print off.

At the Prison

Firstly you will need to register at the Visitor Information Centre which is across the road from the prison.  As you enter this area you will see the river ahead of you, as you walk towards the river you will see an area with orange plastic chairs to your right - this is where you need to be.  To the front of the chairs will be a long table with a plastic basket on top containing visiting request slips.  Take one and fill in where required, English instructions are also given to help you.  Hand this form in at the window near the table - you will see where others are going - along with a copy of your passport.  If you do not have a copy with you you can go into the shop next door and just inside the entrance to your left you will see a young lady next to a photocopier, she will copy for you for 2 bhat.  After handing in your paperwork you sit on the orange chairs and wait until you hear Scott's name called, this could take up to half an hour.  When you hear his name go to the shelf in front of the window where your paperwork and passport copy will be waiting for you to collect.  You are then able to cross the road to the prison.

The view of the river taken from the side of the Visitor Information Centre

If you have taken any books, magazines etc. they need to be taken to the Foreign Affairs Office which can be found to the right hand side of the Main Gate to the prison.  Write Scott's name and Building No. on them - they will not let anything with naked or partly naked ladies into the prison.  They will be censored here and then go to Scott.

Anything else you have bought for Scott needs to be in a clear plastic bag with his name and building number written on the side.  If you do not have such a bag you can purchase one at the prison - again for a few bhat.

You enter to the left of the Main Gate.  Follow the path round to your right and continue - you will not get lost as you will be caught up in the flow of other people visiting.  You will have to hand in all of your belongings, including anything in your pockets, which are put into lockers for you and a numbered tag will be given to you.  You are allowed to take in a drink for yourself and pen & paper to take notes if need be.  You will also need to keep with you your paperwork you have for your visit.

Continue to walk a short distance and you will find yourself in an area behind the main gate which you saw from the road.  A guard will be stood in front of a second gate very similar to the main one with a doorway in it, hand your paperwork to him for inspection and when he is satisfied that all is in order he will open the smaller doorway for you to enter the visiting area.

You will now find yourself outside again and in front of you will see some railings with what looks like a larger metal container towards the left.  Walk to your left and if you have taken anything in for Scott you need to put it into one of the plastic baskets which you will see and put onto the rollers to the front of what looked like a container - it is an x-ray machine very similar to what you find in airports. 

Whilst your things are going through this machine walk to the left of it, through the airport style body scanner, and you will then be searched by a guard.  When this has been done collect your things from the x-ray machine and transfer then from the original basket into one of the supermarket style baskets which you will see piled up.

In front of you now is a large concrete area with trees and flower beds and glass fronted buildings running along each side.  Cross the roadway which runs through this area and continue towards the glass fronted office at the bottom.

When you reach this office you need to hand in your paperwork, they will take from you the visiting request form and ask you to cross over the road again to the visiting areas on your left.  Enter any one of the doors and take an empty stool - a good tip is to try and sit near to an open door as the fans above you are not always switched on and it can become unbearably hot in the glass corridor which you are sat.  It can also be a little less noisy if you give the first two sections a miss and continue through to the third section.  In front of you will be a glass screen with bars behind it, a gap of about 1 meter and more bars - this is where Scott will sit.  Also in front of you, on the ledge, is a phone.  You now have to sit and wait, conversations are often struck up with other people waiting which can be helpful if they happen to be regular visitors.  As the prisoners start to filter through you may suddenly panic that Scott will not know who you are - don't worry he will have been shown your name and you have seen photo's of him here on his site so you should spot him as he walks along looking for you.

When Scott arrives pick up the phone and he will do likewise.  You can now speak.

When your visit has finished, if you have taken anything in, you need to return to the window next to the road.  This is where you hand your gifts in, they can also be rejected here - again without reason.  Before handing them in you will need to find your visiting request slip which you handed in from the pile on the shelf in front of the window and put this in the top of the bag.  Hand your bag in and then you have to wait.  Your bag will be taken to Scott in his building, it will be given to him and he then puts his thumb print on the visiting form as proof that he has received it.  The slips are returned to the area where you are waiting in batches and the names of the prisoner read out so that you can collect your slip.  As you leave the visiting area the guard who originaly let you in will collect this slip from you along with the photocopy of your passport. You can then collect your belongings and if you wish purchase goods at the prison shop to be sent into Scott.  The prison shop is across the road where you registered - it is in the first doorway.  Although there are goods on display like a normal shop you do not go around with a shopping basket - as you enter you will see a table with forms on it, you fill it in like a shopping list and hand in at the counter.  You will be asked to pay at the second part of the counter.

You are now free to enjoy the rest of your stay in Thailand in the knowledge that you have made an enormous difference to Scott's day and morale.

Having read this far you are probably feeling very dispondent about visiting - it does sound complicated!  Remember though that there will be many other people, like yourself, visiting an inmate - some of who do so on a regular basis.  In our experience they are very good at spotting someone who looks a little lost or confused and are more than willing to steer you in the right direction.  It also helps to smile and be polite to the guards and officials - no matter how you may be feeling - as a visitor you have no rights so there is no point in trying to demand them!

Should you have any queries or need any further advice regarding visiting the prison please do not hesitate to contact Scott's family via his e-mail address: scott_hurford@msn.com and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.

UPDATED NOVEMBER 2009

If you can only visit the prison on a Tuesday or Thursday and would like to visit someone a very good friend of Scott's from Building No: 6 would love to see you.

Chandra Kumar Rai is from Nepal and has so far served fifteen years of a life sentence for a drugs offence.  Chandra speaks fluent English and is a very interesting, well informed person to talk to.  If you use Facebook you can also request Chandra's friendship and get to know him better.  Scott's family help him by forwarding all of his messages etc and post his replies for him.

 

Soe Paing Tinsoe is from Burma and was another very good friend to Scott.  He is also a resident of Building No: 6.  He speaks many languages fluently and would love to be able to practise his lanuage skills a little more. 

When you vist the prison you can only speak to one person at a time so it makes sense to request to visit both Chandra & Soe Paing at the same time and make more use of your visit.

Copyright Scott Hurford 2007 - All Rights Reserved