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History of Koh Tao from 1933 to 1944: Life in Prison Policy

Based on an original text Sor Sethabutra (? ???????) Former inmate at the prison in Koh Tao
Translated into French exclusively from the Thai language by Kanyarat Kolak (????????? ??????) For kohtaozone.com

Foreword by kohtaozone.com

We all know the island of Koh Tao as it is today: a vacation destination. But what about before? That's what we wanted to dig. Initially our research does not lead us very far. Indeed, there are few resources in French and even English on the history of Koh Tao. But we found documents written in Thai and especially the text that follows. We had to use a translator and that's a page in the history of Koh Tao offers that we find in French through this story of life on the island of Koh Tao, the time when IT was still a political prison

That's how the story begins

Koh Tao (????????) is a small isolated island in the middle of the Gulf of Thailand away from the continent. L? Island is surrounded by uninhabited islands where green turtles will lay their eggs. When the Pacific War began, the government feared that Britain comes through military force to free the political prisoners of the island of Koh Tarutao (???????) on the border, near the ocean Indian. So he put a big budget to deforest Koh Tao (????????) and make this island the main detention facility for political prisoners. On the island, non-political prisoners would help prison staff working in the kitchen, cleaning and service, the orders of the prison. The island is also one of its inhabitants the family of jailers and prison staff. The prison was built efficiently, surrounded by fences of barbed son while the houses of the director of the island prison and that prison officials and police officer were created beautiful and modern with a large water tank of ? a capacity of 3,000 liters

When political prisoners were transferred to the island, it s huge water tank? Collapsed and was no longer in operation. Since they don? Had more source? Water, political prisoners had problems shortages? Freshwater and? Drinking water. A small pond was then dug in the detention camp, to replace the tank? Water. But when the 54 political prisoners used it? Water group and limited duration, WATER No water table? Feed the pond fast enough to satisfy everyone, forcing them to buy the? Water at a price expensive for their daily consumption

During the first month on l? Island, the jailer Pian Anurod (?)  (?), as Director of the island showed his respect for prisoners well and treated well, as necessary for such inmates; Since Koh Tao (?) was an isolated island with nothing nearby and the sea autour as barriers, he authorized the prisoners out of l? pregnant prison in the day for walking, fishing and seek food freely. At night, they had to remain behind screens. Unfortunately for the detainees, shortly later, the Director Pian (?) was posted because it dealt too much with political prisoners. Police colonel Pra-kla-klang-samorn (?) (Tall Hong-sa-krai (??)), Director-General of the Department of Correction to l? time because that was the Director Pian (?) as a breach of discipline.

Lieutenant in second Pa - yorm Praemdecha (?)  ????????) came to replace, with police sergeant Porn Nouraksa (?)  ????????) as an assistant. His arrival on l? Island, he ordered of why political prisoners in the detention house at night and day, he ordered the prisoners remain behind barbed wire. Prisoners n? had the right d? go fishing, foraging as before and were forced to eat the prepared by the prison, insufficient for everyone and of poor quality. By unstressed, the prisoners became malnourished, lean and low. Carriers of malaria since l? island of Tarutao (?) n? were more able to resist this disease when? they caught malaria d? a more virulent form on Koh Tao (?) who had just d? be destroyed and knew lots of rain and d? humidity. Almost all prisoners caught malaria.

Keep in touch

The biggest problem for the prisoners, c? was to keep in touch by e-mail and news to their relatives. This task proves difficult because he n? there was no fuel for boats and more submarines of the alliances began to s? interfere in the territory. The supply ship was so Koh Tao (?) just once a month and most of the time the letters to prisoners were rare. C? could not know c why? was like that. The new Chief jailer Mr Payorm (?) explained that the letters of prisoners for the family should be inspected by prison staff before? be mailed. However, these political prisoners rarely received mail or news for their families.
The fact d? be cut family then explained the lack d? money and consumer good, and worse still, a shortage of medicines for prisoners who were ill. The House of detention refused to give in, or no treatment. The goods sent by the families of the detainees were lost. Political prisoners were almost no consumer good nor drugs on the part of their family. The mother of ORS Sethabutra (??) trying by all possible means d? send things to his son but without success. The only way d? have drugs, c? was? buy prison staff at unreasonably expensive prices, while such drugs could be those sent by their families even.

Of forced labour to the death

Later, Pra-klaklangsamorn (?), Director-General of the Department of Correction to l? time forced to political prisoners aged less than 60 years in forced, as ordinary prisoners. C? was a violation of the rules of the prison. political prisoners should be regarded as prisoners of first class and therefore exempt from forced labour. They could not normally work to help prison staff in their supervision, offices or accounting. The purpose of these forced was to give prisoners a physical activity, therefore, of strengthens the body so he could resist diseases. Political prisoners were for example to go in the Woods, getting in a group of 5 or 6 people, to roads, déforester, cut the weeds and prepare the land for planting beans and the maniocs. All agricultural products were only returning to prison. The fact to work voluntarily and hard political prisoners, to a strong sun, rain, and cut them from contact with their families to deprive them of property and consumption of drugs was a real form d? execution; live in a wild area infested malaria, c? was to send them to death. It should be noted that these political prisoners had been found at the beginning to life in prison, but that sentence had been reduced to special occasions, especially for their good conduct and finally remained them more than only a little more than 20 years in prison to. Therefore they could again be a problem for the Government s? they had been released. The best way d? prevent this was to slave State and of oppress them so that physically and mentally? happens some thing and qu? they die of disease or hunger on Koh Tao (?).

The epidemic

Because this job? slave, during the season of rains of l? year 1943 (2486), prisoners who n? were not accustomed to forced became very lean and low. Being carriers of malaria, their State of health s? added when? they caught even once malaria d? a more virulent form. In just 6 weeks, 6 political prisoners had already died. the first death on Koh Tao (?) because of malaria, it s? was Captain Luangchakyothin (?) (M.L.)1 Bud Isarangkun Na Ayuddhaya (?.?.????)). With a high fever, he is tortillait of suffering by calling his wife and his children. Given qu? it was the dangerous stage of the disease, Praya Chinda Chakrarat (??) gave him a puncture d? attabrin, but it does l? not restored. His Serene Highness Sithiporn Kridakorn (??) he therefore contributed an another bite of camphor. This is l? aida; It was a few hours later. Prasaeng Sithikarn (?) was the second victim of malaria. Am Boonthai (??) was the pseudonym of journalist "Maenam Khong (?)" was the third victim but this time of disease d? dropsy, the tortured very early July. To him break into the belly, a doctor, sentenced for the murder of his wife went to Koh Tao (?) in a boat named Chawaengsaksongkram (?). His stomach became flat but only a few days later it regonfla again. N? with more doctor, he took a sharp nail and is pierced belly himself several times. Finally he was dead, released from all suffering.
A fourth died very shortly after, Am Boonthai (??), c? was corporal Satra Khachakun (??). He was alone without parents or family providing for their own needs during his time in prison. His wife l? had left from qu? he was arrested. C? was Sor Sethabutra (??) which gave him all the time l? aid and subsidies: money, clothing, food and medicines. "Thai Noi (?)" wrote in his book on the political prison camp that "our life in the camp was conducted on the principle of"everyone for themselves"because c? was as if everyone was in l? n ocean? with head above l? water.". Tablet d? emetin or quinine meant life. Here, we should say amen to the kindness of Muong Mahasithiwohan (?) (ORS Sethabutra (??)) giving its own drugs, l? money and food to d? help better survival of Satra (?). It had even paid someone? one for washing clothes. "But Satra (?) eventually leaving us forever."
ORS Sethabutra (??) told that in such a situation if miserable, with the lack of medicines and food, give a pill to a dying friend could cost you the life later. C? was a tough decision to make between l? humanity and l? survival instincts. All political prisoners were to maintain good health and they practised l? self-medication. Camp staff did not take care of prisoners, nor did give them treatment. Each tablet of quinine, d? attabrin or d? emetin was vital for the survival of each. The lack of drugs was that each prisoner was l? self-medication of devers. Some were taking medications gradually by small dose, leading to l? ineffectiveness of treatment and they n? were not enough drugs for total healing of this serious disease, while d? others who were in the primary stage of the disease had retained their drugs for later. But when their State tenuous worsened until? excited delirium, drugs n? were more effective. C? was the case of Prasaengsithikarn (?). When he moura, there many d? attabrins and quinines hidden under her pillow and the mattress. As Sor Sethabutra (??), his method was not taking drugs by prevention. But when the disease is remanifesta, he took drugs intensively to speed the healing. In this way, Sor Sethabutra (??) which was small and frail survived malaria of Koh Tao (?).

New entrant

During that death watched prisoners on Koh Tao (?), seen as M.R.2 Nimitmongkon Nawarat (??) and Dr. Chod Khoomphan (??), having a sentence d? imprisonment for life in prison, Bang Kwang (?) for an attempt of rebellion in 1938 (2481), were the Afar and incorrigible and could become a threat, the Government exiled them to Koh Tao for qu? they suffer and die together with political prisoners on the island.
M.L. Nimitmongkon Nawarad (?.?.???), ex-soldier of l? l army? air, already condemned for l? the rebellion case Boworndead (?) in 1933 (2476) and then released in 1937 (2480) was again arrested, tried before a Special Court sentenced to life imprisonment for an attempt of rebellion in 1938 (2481), the same case as the dwarf Talalak lieutenant (??) and d? other 17 political prisoners sentenced to death by execution in prison, Bang Kwang (?).
The first image qu? have seen M.L. Nimitmongkon Nawarad (?.?.???) and Dr. Chod Khoomphan (??) upon arrival on Koh Tao was so frightening to the point d? losing the head. C? was indeed l? image of l? hell on Earth. Everyone was in a State of bone; their pale faces, their wild-eyed. Some slouched, shivering under a blanket, while d? other tortillaient pain at losing their clothes. They reported suffering and déliraient because of the high fever. One was vomit on his bed, l? other, sitting in a State inert, hagard. Another still is folded in two under its cover tremblant fever. 2 Newcomers went immediately account qu? together with the political prisoners of l? case of rebellion in 1933 (2476), they were sent to purgatory.
M.L. Nimitmongkon Nawarad (?.?.???) failed even to lose their lives to cause d? a high fever; He received the enormous generosity of his Highness serene Sithiporn Kridakorn (??) who had sacrificed his last medication that left to save his life.

Death in death to the déserpoir

One day, shortly after, Luang Chormphonlan (?), former Governor of the police of the province of Petchaburi (?), any? a very generous, reached the final phase of the disease. It is writhing in pain because of the high fever. In a State of delirium, he immediately called his wife and children until? to what? he die at dusk. A few days later, Pheuan Poontanik (??) died he suddenly, it was the sixth death.
The death of the 6 fellow in just 6 months discouraged the rest of political prisoners. Remaining in the more miserable situation, some left squarely fall their honours, forgetting their dignity and their glory. They revealed a selfish human nature and "everyone for himself". Their good level? studies n? had therefore not helped to refine their spirit; some political prisoners s? were lowered to flatter or worship people to pity. So d? obtain more privileges and facilities that other, some spying their comrades in prison for any what? they said and did, to go the told to prison staff. Reported stories n? were not all true and a general atmosphere of suspicion settled. Political prisoners are divided; those who were neutral, which prided not the other; which did not bribe prison staff, pay those there who seemed to be the most stubborn and obstinate were put under pressure by working hard.

The Elephant Group

Chawaengsak-songkhram (?), the boat to ships sailing between Suratthani (?) and Koh Tao (?) due stop its activity because of the shortage of fuel, to be replaced by Chaiyo (?), a boat powered by a wood engine. A group of political prisoners received l? order d? go cut down trees to make logs for the ship Chaiyo (?). The group included Sor Sethabutra (??), M.L. Thaweewong Wachareewong (??), Proong Susewee (??), Prasert Khachamahid (??) and Paow Saengsongsoong (??). The landscape of Koh Tao (?) was mountainous and the trees were on its flanks. After having cut trees, they were rolling along the mountain until? to the sea, then cut them in logs d? about 65 centimetres long. This group of prisoners was nicknamed "group d? elephant."

The Royal Amnesty

A day of this miserable period, an aircraft flew in the direction of needle d? a watch over Koh Tao (?). The pilot made a hand sign as prisoners? he wanted to say something. Prisoners discussed this aircraft during a little more than 3 weeks prior to understand what wanted to suggest this generous pilot; the truth c? was that all political prisoners came to receive a royal amnesty following a change of Government. field marshal Plaek Phiboonsongkram (??) was forced to resign from his post as Prime Minister after his defeat in a vote at the Congress, about d? a project to make the city of Petchaboon (?) the capital of the country and build a Buddhist city in the province of Saraburi (?). Mr. Kwang Apaiwong (??) was chosen as the new Prime Minister, and the new Cabinet voted to request d? a royal amnesty to l? against political prisoners of the Affairs of the rebellions: the rebellion of Boworndead (?) in 1933 (2476) and rebellion in 1938 (2481).

Hope found

L? hope and courage suddenly appeared among the political prisoners; they were refreshed and alive. Their disease seemed forgotten. Prison staff appeared suddenly different in behaviour; These words and these ways to talk about had l? more environmentally friendly air. Instead of insults and angry language, there was everywhere the voice call political prisoners by their title of nobility. Some captors began to flatter political prisoners who appeared to have the potential to return to power.

Departure to Suratthani

Political prisoners had l? order to prepare for leaving Koh Tao (?) and go to the prison in the city of Suratthani (?) until l? time of release. The concern was now, after the liberation, where to find l? money to buy new clothes for change the old rags. How to find money to buy to eat during the trip, to pay for public transit to return home. Moreover some of them n? were not even sure whether if their house had been bombed or not.
At the prison in the city of Suratthani (?), the captors, as qu? intermediate, put on public sale personal objects of political prisoners. At that time, during the war, consumer goods were not abundant and therefore very expensive. As the margins of society, they sold their business at incredibly low prices, leading to congestion of people who wanted to buy things of good quality, but at a cheap price. Proongsusewee (?) sold his gold necklace d? a baht3 for 40 baht. He content d? winning 18 baht to benefit because it does l? had paid that 22 baht. But in fact, the price of the market to l? time was over 400 baht for 1 baht d? or.
Sor Sethabutra (? ???????) And PAOW Saengsongsoong (???? ?????????) sold every man his net for 40 baht, while HSH Sithiporn Kridakorn (?? ????????????? ??????) was 80 baht for its wool blanket, new, good quality and was glad of? have got a deal. And again, a Chinese owner? A tailor shop put the current, spent an hour later. He wanted to buy another 1000 baht by offering to cover. But don? Remained more

The day of liberation

October 20, 1944 (2487), the day of liberation around the market town of Suratthani (????????????), there was a parade of political prisoners held laughable; some wore rags, d? other shoes so worn that? we saw their feet. There were some who wore hats with holes. Fashion dress had changed. We saw more people in silk sarong or trousers with a jacket buttoned up? Neck, not as well known fashion by ex-political prisoners who did not know how to choose clothes. MR Nimitmongkon Nawarat (?.?.?. ?????????? ???????) Khoon Siriyothin (????????????) and each bought a shorts synthetic fabric for its beautiful designs in knitted wool, a polo and a hat. But after s? Be changed, walking under a scorching heat to catch the train, they began to scratch around. They had to change again in light of the prisoner. At the station Petchburi (????????), many people brought bowls of meals and a dozen trays of dessert "Mor-kaeng (???????)" to welcome and good luck to all former political prisoners
During the journey, a kind friend gave Western-style jacket in Sor Sethabutra (? ???????) For that eye the door. He related that? He felt strangely ill at? Comfortable in, that after 10 years? IT? Had not been this kind of jacket. At Station Bangkok Noi (??????????), Thonbuti (??????), Mr. Manit Wasuwat (????? ??????) was the first friend came to? wait and offered him the post of editor of 'Sri Kroong (???????). "

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