New deportation threat to Times freelance

Times stringer Andrew Drummond is again facing deportation from his Thailand home after being sued for libel by the owners of a sex club.

The Scottish owners of Boyz, Boyz, Boyz, a “go-go club” in the resort of Pattaya, claim Drummond harmed their business and reputations with a story appeared in the Glasgow-based Sunday Herald and the Bangkok Post.

Drummond was found guilty of criminal libel in October and ordered to pay a £300 fine by a court in Pattaya. He avoided deportation after his original story about James Lumsden and Gordon May was backed up by Thailand’s number three police official and by the British Consul.

A civil damages hearing, also in Pattaya, has led to Drummond being ordered to pay £14,000 in costs to Lumsden.

This week Drummond was in court again facing a second prosecution for criminal libel, because he had repeated the allegations from the witness box.

He said: “I’m not going to pay it. I’m a foreign correspondent and I don’t keep assets in Thailand. If they want to sue me for the money they can take me to a British court.”

Drummond, who has been freelancing from Thailand since 1988, added: “These guys have set about a course of action to deprive me of my assets and to get me out of the country and at the moment they are succeeding.”

Drummond said he had no faith that the Pattaya court would give him a fair trial. He said he believed the police and judicial system in the province to have close links with figures in the sex industry.

He said: “My main concern is to get all this rubbish out in the open so that the Thai Government can see what is happening. The Government claims Thailand is cleaning up its act and cracking down on the sex industry, but it is all rubbish.”

By Dominic Ponsford

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