LY TONG LAST STATEMENT FOR CHRISTMAS VERDICT IN 2003
Honorable Court Audience
More than 2.5 years after Interior Minister Purachai’s declaration: “Thai Criminal Justice System’s problems are…outdated laws and the authority’s lack of vision, which focused on a suppressive rather than a preventive approach. Worse than that, at times the country was also left at the mercy of Mafia figures and the Anti-Robber Ministry was ruled by the robbers themselves” (Bangkok Post, March 26, 2001, p. 3). It has reformed and improved some of its legal proceedings such as:
- Each hearing requests at least two (2) judges to preside from November 2002 in order to prevent the arbitrary judgment of unilateral and monopolistic judges.
- From June 2003, the court hearing’s total number is to be decided in advance, reducing the trial duration, scheduling the next hearing in a continuous order within a week or a month, instead of relying on the court officials’ convenience with months-long separation from each hearing, because many cases have been prolonged 5-6 years and mine more than 3 years.
This reform has, in fact, a formal and procedural nature, and the major issues such as the judgment process and verdict decision, however, remain unchanged. I’ve already collected the list of dependents that comprises of innocent people who have been punished with 20-30 year imprisonment and of serious criminals who have been acquitted because they paid the right price (2-4 million baht) for their death penalty.
Prime Minister Thaksin’s declaration in the biggest corruption scandal, the case of Suwit Kamalvisit, with strong and resolute language: “Many police are Mafia types or closely associated with influential figures” and “I pledged to clean up the force within 5 years,” has offered new hope that Thai justice system is at an important turning point, and all corrupted police and degraded Court officials have realized the reality and new situation to be susceptible to fear and to mend their ways. This hope was consolidated when the Chief Judge decided to intervene in my case to change the last hearings to earlier schedule, but the 3 November hearing has shattered my illusion, and my faith in Thai court has burned into ashes when two new judges, Pairut and Chatree, under Prosecutor Surasak’s suggestion have rejected police interpreter (PI) Suthathif the defense witness’ status on the pretext that she had been a prosecution witness and my lawyer Somsak and I had cross-examined her. After U.S. Consul Jeffrey’s having sent his delegate to confirm to Judge Pairut that the former judge Prathakchai had accepted to have her back to the court as my witness according to my complaint, and lawyer Somsak has sent her court summons so that she can confirm and complete her testimony’s major points omitted from 18 July 2001 court report, PI Suthathif has been allowed to present her words before the two new judges only.
Prosecutor Surasak has failed his attempt’s first phase: to prevent two new judges to hear the truth from PI Suthathif, but he has succeeded in his attempt’s second phase: her confirmation and completion have not been recorded in the 3 November 2003 court document due to its lateness.
The major points having been omitted by former Judge Prathakchai comprise of PI Suthathif’s followed underlined statements such as:
“Instructor Pilot (IP) Thira told me that Ly Tong was “very nice.” He used no threat, no force, only begging for help. Being afraid of losing his job family, IP Thira changed story. And he was “very sorry.” “When Thira changed story, my husband got ‘up set,’ because we are justice defenders. Please help me to calm him down.” In the former, Judge Prathakchai recorded minor important points: “Ly Tong was very nice, Thira being afraid of losing his job and family, he was very sorry,” but did not record the major important points: “Ly Tong used no threat, no force, only begging for help and Thira changed story” (P87-N13). In the latter, what made Suthathif’s husband “upset” was “Thira changed story,” not “police were making charges against Ly Tong” (P87-N12).
Besides forgetting and making mistakes a few words, he also sometimes omitted the whole sentence. When I refused to sign the fabricated police report, I asked IP Thira sitting in front of me, PI Suthathif and Lieutenant Police Choompol, “Thira! Did I use any threat, any force to you during the flight as what police report has fabricated?” Thira kept silent with a sad and sorrowful face and did not answer. The intentional forgetfulness and mistake are named “Selective memory” in criminology: Select to remember the minor importance and select to forget the major importance favorable to defendant’s self-defense.
However, some statements he was obliged to record, because he could record nothing at all from all the Truth presented by PI Suthathif, also proved that “a palm, even big one, can not hide the sun.” And the Truth Sun was still radiant from the testimony of PI Suthathif and even of IP Thira. Thira confirmed that, “The accused talked to me ‘politely’ all the time (P91-N26). When I asked her, “Whether IP Thira had translated the statement to mean that I was attempting to ‘crash’ the airplane or not?” PI Suthathif replied, “No, I cannot recall” (P85-N4). Judge Prathakchai also had to record, “There were no wordings in the said letter which implied any actions forced upon the pilot of the aircraft, but the wordings were more in the nature of a request for assistance to defendant’s people…without intimidation of any kind” (P86-N7) when prosecutor Surasak asked her to translate the letter which, he meant, implied the threat of crash. Four major points: use no threat, no force, only begging for help, and Thira changed story,” the most important evidences rejecting the fabricated charge: Hijack, were not only heard by prosecutor Surasak, lawyer Somsak, Interpreter Kig in the 18 July 2001 court hearing, but also by former U.S. Consul Paul Mayer, who, missed the hearing, was presented by PI Suthathif at U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, and new consul Jeffrey, another U.S. consul, Associated Press (AP) reporter, Thai Press and Media when PI Suthathif reiterated these major points in front of them, during the argumentation to reject her defense witness’ status, at the court room in 3 November 2003 hearing.
In addition to PI Suthathif’s honest and courageous testimony, who was harassed and threatened by police many months before and after her witness hearing on 18 July 2001, I also have proved that the crash threat was fabricated too late; therefore, in the police report on 18 November 2000, there was no word whatsoever which mentioned the letter and the crash threat among the total of 475 Thai words. I also proved that IP Thira did not read the letter by using his testimony’s sentence: “I looked inside the envelope cursorily” (P90-N5) and “I didn’t pay attention to the letter” (P91-N12). Moreover, the letter did not imply any threat as charged, only arousing IP Thira’s sympathy and compassion so that he would volunteer to help me. Besides me and my editor John Cosgrove, there were four (4) Thai translators: three before the Rayong Court: Banyat, Charlie, Kig, and one with her signature and registered seal, Ms. Maneesann, who have confirmed that “to plunge into the ground” meant “to jump into the ground,” not to crash or to cause any accident.
The irony and laughing matters are that after the experience of Saigon I Mission, on 4 September 1992, I changed from old to new methods:
- The Operating Method: To rent an airplane and to fly by myself as in Havana Mission and this Saigon II Mission.
- The Persuading Method:
- My nicety, politeness, and gentleness have been confirmed by prosecution witness before Saigon Court in Vietnam in Frebruary 1993, and by IP Thira before the Prachuap Court on 21 November 2001 in his testimony, “The defendant talked to me politely all the time until he finished dropping the propaganda leaflets and then headed the aircraft back” (P91-N26).
- I used explanation and reward to persuade IP Thira to volunteer to help me. This claim is proved by the Court Indictment in its last part’s sentence, “The defendant used $10,000.00, one VDO Camera as reward to influence the disadvantageous person to join and cooperate in such offense with the defendant…” (P46-N2). IP Thira’s voluntary cooperation can be proved by the dialogue in the VDO tape filmed over Saigon, Vietnam, in which Thira’s joyful laughing was recorded two (2) times while waving back when I told him, “People and children are waving us on the street,” especially his question sounded proudly and happily, “OK! You’re satisfied with the result?” right after we just finished dropping leaftlets over Saigon. His willingness can also be proved by two (2) pictures, one taken at Utapao conference room after landing with his big smile to me during our chatting and other at Banchang Police Station in the next morning with his happy face while being investigated by police (P63). Thanks to IP Thira’s telling the Truth about his voluntary assistance in the first stage of investigation, I was welcomed as a guest at Utapao, not handcuffed even during the escort from Utapao to Banchang Police Station, allowed to use my cell phone for many interviews from the U.S. all the 18 November morning, reserved a female room while the woman detainee had to sleep along the entrance hall, and the mosquito net system was renewed free-of-charge by the order of a police general according to my request (P59).
- I absolutely did not imply any threat, either verbal, written or by gesture, even
false threat as Soe Myint did with a soap bar disguised as a bomb to divert a Thai
Airways to India in his case. Instead of using threat and force, I used the art of invoking IP Thira’s sympathy, compassion for his voluntary cooperation with the sentence “I jump off into the ground” in my original letter which was edited by John Cosgrove to become “I plunge into the ground,” an initiative originated from the experience in my Saigon I Mission on 4 September 1992 in which, while I was looking for a way to slip through a small window in the cockpit to bail out, the Hungarian pilot told me, “Don’t jump. You will die. I’ll help you by flying back to Bangkok so you can get off and walk away safely.” If this Hungarian pilot could suggest a help because he was so afraid that I would die in a pitiful sight, Thira could surely volunteer to help me when reading the sentence “If you don’t help me, I will jump off into the ground to commit suicide,” especially in this mission, I did not carry a parachute! Anyway, Thira was willing to help even though he did not read my letter, but the notice of $10,000.00 (ten thousand U.S. dollars) written 2 times outside on the envelope and he did accept my logical and persuasive explanation as mentioned in the “Real Scene Playing” chapter of page 24-27.
In a coordinated and guided conspiracy to avoid being sued by communist Vietnam, due to my using a Thai aircraft with a cooperation of a Thai pilot in order to drop leaflets to appeal the oppressed and exploited people of Vietnam to stand up, breaking chains and smashing fetters and pillory to liberate themselves, Mr. Chaisak and Thai officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have lately distorted the word meaning of my letter, fabricated allegation to harm the upright who carried out a noble and just mission. Lieutenant police Choompol has blatantly and stealthily slipped a small cutter in the evidence and made an extra false report 10 days later to materialize a plot with false weapon, although the prosecution witnesses from Police Interpreter Suthathif, Chaisak, Makawadee, Luechai, Suwit to Dosadee, even including Thira, all confirmed that I did not carry any cutter when they checked me and my belongings after the mission.
After finishing my new testimony according to Judge Pairut’s order in the 3 November hearing, I have sent it again to eight (8) Superior leaders of Thailand and twenty (20) Superior world leaders including the United Nations, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, International Criminal Court, the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia to present some more true evidences so they might pay their attention to and follow up the process of prosecution and judgment of Rayong Court in this case in order that Justice and Truth would be defended. If this measure is still not effective enough, I’d prefer to bring this case before the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the U.S Special Court because “Injustice anywhere is a threat to Justice everywhere” (Martin Luther King, Jr.). If a world-renown Freedom Fighter like me is to be unfairly judged by a small-town court by any reason whatsoever, how can normal Thai people without fame be protected by laws and Justice in a country being classified among the most corrupted group of countries such as communist Vietnam and Indonesia?
This is the first test of reforming and improving Thailand’s Justice System, in general, and Rayong Court, in particular, to realize the commitment of Prime Minister Thaksin “to clean up the police, the court within 5 years.” It can pass the test if the Rayong Chief Judge would not only charge me of Civil Disobedience and acquit me but also punish those who were involved in this conspiracy game such as expert Chaisak, police Choompol, and Captain Luechai, a pilot who contemned the honor of Thai Kingdom’s Air Force officer by telling lie under oath, negating his own statement to me at 3:30 A.M. on 18 November 2000: “Police cannot lock you up, because according to IP Thira’s testimony, you committed no crime!” as well as court officials who knew every Truth of the case but intentionally condoned and tolerated prosecution witnesses’ perjuries. Even Christmas verdict was scheduled with dark scam. Christmas is a very important holiday for westerners and Christians; therefore, U.S. Consul, western media and press are supposedly not to attend the hearing so the verdict publication would be limited. The verdict day is also after the King’s birthday, so it would nullify amnesty and pardon procedure. One factor was inattentively missed from this calculation: In the day the SAVIOR came into this world, no dark scam can survive and all evil scheme to harm the Just and Just Cause would be neutralized and destroyed by God’s sacred and miraculous power.
I’ve sacrificed 17 years of my life’s young age to fight against evil power, cruel tyrants such as Red Mafia Bosses in Hanoi, Vietnam, the old dinosaur Fidel Castro by hundreds thousands of leaflets to condemn them, and tyrant Saddam Hussein by 33 days on hunger strike. If I’m not willing to sacrifice more years of my remaining life, if necessary, to fight against petty tyrants who have maltreated their compatriots as slaves and animals so that all basic rights and dignity of common Thai people are to be protected by just and enlightened laws, I would not deserve the title “World-Renown Freedom Fighter.”