The brother of a Leicestershire English teacher who died in Bangkok yesterday is calling for an inquiry into the British Embassy Bangkok’s handling of the matter, in addition to an inquiry by the Thailand Government into his employment by Kasem Bundit University.
Speaking from his home in Devon, Mr Michael Davies said the manner in which the British Embassy Bangkok handled his brother Gareth’s basic human rights was “absolute crap”, at the same time lambasting his brothers employer, Kasem Bundit University, for ignoring his brother and failing to correct a wrong for almost a month.
“The foreign service costs the taxpayer a lot of money, but when people are most vulnerable and in need of assistance the average citizen abroad can’t get these well-paid, trumped-up clerks to get out of their air-conditioned offices when a British subject is in dire need.
In an attempt to gain answers himself, Mr Davies said he had requested an autopsy be performed on his brother in Bangkok, as his condition seems to have deteriorated rapidly over the last week or so.
On March 16 in an eMail to photo-journ’s newsblog, Mr Davies said:
Spoke on the phone with Gareth today.
Indications are that he may be able to fly home soon on normal flight. I am now in touch with Embassy and they will assist in arrangements.
I have also asked for arrangements to pay hospital . Can you please assure doctors that I am attempting to pay ASAP.
Need them to take care of him.
British Embassy Bangkok failed to make one face-to-face visit
“Despite several alerts from different people that Gareth was deteriorating and being neglected, British Embassy staff in Bangkok failed to make even one face-to-face consular visit. The embassy staff told me “because he had access to a mobile phone they didn’t think a contact visit was necessary”.
“Gareth died at about 7am Bangkok time, which is 1am in England, but I didn’t get a phone call from the British Embassy Bangkok until 8.30pm Bangkok time ‚Äì 2.30pm in the UK ‚Äì and even then the chap just said, “I understand you’ve spoken to the police” and went on from there.
“The British Embassy Bangkok’s got my home, work and mobile numbers and I told him if it hadn’t been for Gareth’s friends in Bangkok and Twitter, I would have been thinking Gareth was still alive up until that time”
UK worker protection in Thailand
Mr Davies also¬†criticised his brother’s employer, privately-owned Kasem Bundit University, for failing to ensure Gareth was enrolled in Thailand’s Social Welfare Fund as required by Thailand labour laws until media attention brought it into the spotlight last week.
“The Thailand government wants English teachers to go there, but when people with a passion for teaching English to foreign students do, they are often paid poorly, are charged “farang prices”, and not given the basic rights and protection that a Thai employer would even think about withholding from Thai staff.
“There’s no question Gareth was ill, but if the payments Kasem Bundit University had been taking from his salary had been paid to the Social Welfare Fund as required I wouldn’t have had to move him to a hospital I could afford, 45 miles (72km) from Bangkok, instead of to a hospital with the specialists necessary to treat his illness”, Mr Davies said.
Born in the village of Glennfield, 47-year-old Leicestershire English teacher Gareth Davies accepted a staff teaching position with Kasem Bundit University’s department of English language for communications and on October 17, 2011 was issued his Thailand work permit, though he had been teaching at Kasem Bundit University for several months prior to that while it was being processed.
Thailand’s Social Security Office website states: “A notice to register the insured with the Zone Office of Social Security must be given within 30 days with effect from the date on which the employee is engaged as an employee or otherwise it is an offense punishable by not more than 6 months imprisonment or a penalty fine of not more than 20,000 Baht ( ¬£408 / $US 650) or both.”
In a flurry of Twitter messages with photo-journ’s newsblog last Friday, the British Ambassador to Thailand, Mr Asif Ahmad, said “visits not the only way we help 100‚Äôs of Brits in hospital. Fortunately in this case friends and relatives have visited.”
Mr Ahmed also claimed: “Media focus on case has had a positive influence on the employer. You [photo-journ’s newsblog] stepped in an area UK govt cannot intervene”, adding “employment and other commercial contracts are not areas where we can intervene. We can raise systemic problems which we do.” ( Continues … )
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He is currently Thailand editor/ managing editor for AEC News Today
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