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  1. #1
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    Andy Hall Criminal Defamation Case



    British rights activist Andy Hall is congratulated by supporters as he leaves the Prakanong Court Wednesday. Criminal defamation charges were dismissed against the Finnwatch researcher for his report on human-rights violations at Natural Fruit Co. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)

    Bangkok Post
    October 29, 2014
    Writer: Online Reporters

    Criminal defamation charges against British activist Andy Hall were dismissed on Wednesday. The charges linked to a report he co-authored alleging severe labour abuses in Thailand's food industry.

    The Prakanong Court dismissed charges brought by Natural Fruit Co due to unlawful interrogation under Section 120 of the Criminal Code. Mr Hall could have faced up to a year in jail if convicted of defamation -- a criminal offence in Thailand.

    "We are relieved and glad that justice has prevailed in this case," said Sonja Vartiala, executive director of Finnwatch, the Finnish rights watchdog group for which Mr Hall worked as a researcher.

    "The court hearings were yet another confirmation that, as Finnwatch's report revealed, there are serious problems in working conditions at Natural Fruit. The question that now must be asked is why Thailand's authorities have not taken action against the company however," Ms Vartiala said.

    Mr Hall's report investigating working conditions at a fruit processing factory belonging to Natural Fruit in southern Thailand leveled accusations of forced and child labour, unlawfully low wages and long hours.

    Natural Fruit, a major supplier to the European drink market, denies the allegations. But Mr Hall stood by his research and accused the company of trying to undermine the report's findings through its legal action. "We had many witnesses including from the company ... and there's no evidence to suggest I am guilty," Mr Hall said before the verdict.

    The case relates to an interview Mr Hall gave to the Al-Jazeera television network over his 2013 report for Finnish rights watchdog Finnwatch called "Cheap Has a High Price".

    More serious charges await under the computer crime act - which carry up to seven years in jail for each count - and are due to be heard in November. The fruit processor is also seeking $10 million through a civil suit.

    "Finnwatch demands Natural Fruit now drop all the charges against Andy Hall," Ms Vartiala said. "Instead of allowing companies to bring human rights activists to court, Thailand needs to prosecute companies like Natural Fruit, who are violating labour rights."

    Andy Hall case dismissed | Bangkok Post: news

    Great news! I hope the remaining charges are dealt with similarly.

  2. #2
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    Defamation Witness Threatened With Death: Thai Officials Asked to Protect Him

    Phuketwan
    November 1, 2014
    By Alan Morison

    A key witness in a defamation case won by the beleagured migrant rights activist Andy Hall earlier this week went to police today, claiming his life has been threatened.

    The witness, a migrant worker whose testimony is regarded as swinging the case in Hall's favor, had been granted protection and was leading a new life.

    Hall and his lawyers believe the people who have been issuing threats somehow managed to track down the man.

    ''This man's testimony was very important,'' Hall said today.

    ''Now the British Government has written to Thailand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, asking for an investigation of the threats to his life.''

    Finland's Ambassador to Thailand also urged officials to act. Mr Hall was working for the NGO Finnwatch when he coauthored the report on labor conditions that triggered the defamation suits.

    Mr Hall said the Department of Special Investigation or the Ministry of Justice now had to provide the man with thorough protection.

    ''If they can't protect him . . . this is a real test case.''

    The Prakanong Court in Bangkok on Wednesday dismissed a case of defamation brought against Hall by a Thai pineapple processing company. Three more cases are pending.

    It's alleged that the people intimidating the witness were carrying guns when they attended the court hearing and dropped bullets near the witness and his wife.

    Defamation Witness Threatened With Death: Thai Officials Asked to Protect Him - Phuket Wan


  3. #3
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Migrant Rights Activist Indicted in Thailand for Defamation

    BANGKOK (DPA) - An activist who reported on alleged rights abuses at a Thai pineapple processing plant was indicted for defamation and committing computer crimes by the Thai Criminal Court Monday.

    British researcher Andy Hall published a report in 2013 alleging Natural Fruit Company Limited committed human rights violations against migrant workers in one of its plants.

    The report titled Cheap Has a High Price accused the company of employing underage workers, forcing staff to do overtime and confiscating migrant workers' passports.

    Natural Fruit denied the allegations, said that the report led to a loss of profit, and filed several charges. Hall told dpa he would plead not guilty when formally charged at the next hearing on October 19.

    The cases have been pending for more than a year.

    Natural Fruit also sued Hall in 2014 for defamation over an interview he gave Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera, but a Thai court ruled in the activist's favour in that case.

    Charges of defamation and computer crimes have increasingly been used against journalists and activists in Thailand in recent years, a practice international organizations have said might be used to silence criticism.

    The labour activist faces up to seven years in prison if convicted on the charges in the latest case.

    Migrant Rights Activist Indicted in Thailand for Defamation

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    I was quite encouraged for a few seconds until I realized this is an old thread. Arghhh! Those Natural Fruit Company guys are real thugs and the government is spineless to dismiss this case. Will Thailand ever develop a value to care about people and human rights?

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    Andy Hall cleared

    This one suprises me.

    I particularly like the second to last paragraph;

    He tweeted that he plans to bring perjury charges against Natural Fruit management "for false statements made in court" and an allegedly false police report filed with Bang Na police; and against the OAG.

  6. #6
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    Congrats to him, he's hard a long haul on this.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by thailazer
    Will Thailand ever develop a value to care about people and human rights?
    Perhaps if the legal system wasn't the way it is currently, perhaps things would change.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Horatio Hornblower
    Congrats to him, he's hard a long haul on this.
    The master of fucking understatement you are........

  9. #9
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    Good news indeed!

  10. #10
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    "Instead of allowing companies to bring human rights activists to court, Thailand needs to prosecute companies like Natural Fruit, who are violating labour rights." Nice thought. Totally unrelated of course, but National Fruit is owned by members of Chalermchai Sri-on's family (the General Secretary of the Democrat Party). So clearly we can rule out any hint of corruption, or Witness intimidation. Or legal action. https://andyjhall.wordpress.com/case/natural-fruit/

  11. #11
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    Bangkok court bans British activist Andy Hall from traveling outside Thailand

    A BANGKOK court confiscated the passport of British migrant rights defender Andy Hall and banned him from traveling outside of the country Wednesday.

    The order was handed down following a bail request submission ahead of his indictment next week (January 18) on criminal defamation and computer crimes offenses charges brought against him by Thai pineapple exporter Natural Fruit Company Ltd.

    While Hall was granted bail Wednesday, he was ordered not to leave Thailand before the case has been ruled on by the court.

    Hall tweeted Wednesday:
    I'm not a flight risk & researching migrant worker conditions in Thailand is not a crime.So why restrict my freedom?

    In a statement released Wednesday, Helsinki-based NGO Finnwatch issued a statement saying that Hall will seek the help of the British Embassy in Thailand in an attempt to have his passport returned by the court.

    “The confiscation of Andy Hall’s passport and the limitations placed on his ability to travel freely are a form of harrassment and intimidation,” the statement said.

    “Ever since the beginning of this campaign of judicial harassment, Andy Hall has shown nothing but respect towards the rule of law and the judiciary in Thailand, alongside his willingness to respond to allegations against him in a court of law.”

    Hall could face up to seven years in prison if found guilty of the charges, which were brought against him by Natural Fruit in 2013 for documenting and exposing abuses against migrants in a report by Finnwatch called, “Cheap Has a High Price.”

    Bangkok court bans British activist Andy Hall from traveling outside Thailand - Asian Correspondent

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    m.youtube.com/watch?v=wP93lCLrB4E

  13. #13
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    Dapper Good to see the support you Give AH.

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    Very intriguing to see that they confiscate Andy Hall's passport the day before EU representatives arrive, to follow up the IUU report.

  15. #15
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    Local human rights campaigner Andy Hall, is facing up to seven years in a Thai prison for raising instances of modern slavery in Thailand.

    Andy, whose parents Des and Pat are based in Lincolnshire, awaits the start of his trial on January 18.

    Andy has fought to protect human rights in South East Asia for the past 10 years and took part in key research which documented the dreadful treatment of migrant workers in a large Thai company. With four separate charges, countless appeals, demands for false confessions and reports of witness intimidation, local Labour MEP, Glenis Willmott, and the TUC continue to call for this harassment to end.





    Read more: Labour activist Andy Hall is facing up to seven years in a Thai prison | Lincolnshire Echo
    Follow us: @LincsEcho on Twitter | LincsEcho on Facebook

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    Hall to be tried on defamation charges

    BANGKOK — A court Monday charged British human rights activist Andy Hall with defaming a Thai fruit company, a case which could see him jailed for up to seven years if found guilty.

    Natural Fruit, Thailand's biggest producer of canned pineapples, accused Andy Hall of defamation and computer crimes over a report published in 2013 that he helped author for Finnwatch, a Finland-based watchdog group.

    The report, "Cheap Has a High Price," alleged ill-treatment of migrant workers at a factory owned by the firm. Natural Fruit denied the allegations.

    The indictment means Hall will face a second trial over the report after a previous lawsuit was thrown out by a court on a technicality in 2014. Natural Fruit filed four lawsuits against him, and is appealing the dismissal of the first.

    Rights activists have criticized Thailand's defamation and computer crimes legislation, which they say politicians and corporations have used to muzzle critics.

    Hall on Wednesday denied the charges against him.

    "I only collected raw data and took no part in analyzing the data. Finnwatch officials were responsible for that," said Hall after the indictment. "They also put the report on the website, not me."

    The case will begin in mid-May and is expected to conclude in late July.

    Hall is on bail and has had his passport confiscated. He said on Monday he had been given permission to leave Thailand at the end of January for a week.

    In the two other pending cases, Natural Fruit has demanded 400 million baht (USD$11 million) in compensation for damages.

    Rights Activist Andy Hall to be Tried for Defamation

  17. #17
    Being chased by sloths DJ Pat's Avatar
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    ****shakes head*****

  18. #18
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    Thailand Wants to Throw This British Rights Activist in Jail for Fighting Exploitation

    By Charles Parkinson

    January 18, 2016 | 7:55 pm

    "How can they indict me for computer crimes when I didn't even put the report on the internet?" British human rights activist Andy Hall told VICE News on Sunday.

    On Monday, Hall was indicted by a Bangkok court on charges of criminal defamation and computer crimes relating to a report released three years ago exposing severe working conditions in Thai factories. Observers say this case highlights the growing repression of civil society representatives under Thailand's military government.

    Hall, who has spent more than a decade working on migrant workers' rights in both Thailand and Burma, now faces up to seven years in jail if found guilty at a 12-day trial at Bangkok South Criminal Court starting on May 19.

    The charges stem from a document released by Finnish NGO Finnwatch in January 2013, which focused on factories run by tuna companies Unicord and Thai Union Manufacturing, and pineapple processing firm Natural Fruit.

    For the compilation of the report, Hall was contracted by Finnwatch to lead a team of interviewers who gathered testimony from factory workers about the conditions they were working under.

    Entitled Cheap Has a High Price, the report was only published in Finnish, with an executive summary made available in English. In it, Finnwatch highlighted exploitative working conditions in the factories, all of which were major suppliers to Finnish retailers.

    Monday's court hearing took five hours and included a lot of wrangling over who his translator would be because the court had brought a Burmese translator who didn't speak enough English. While the court initially refused to switch, Hall has now been assigned a translator who worked with him on previous cases.

    "It's really scary how this happens in the Thai court system every day," he told VICE News after the hearing, adding that a serious point of contention over the recent conviction of two Burmese men for the murder of a pair of British backpackers on the Thai island of Koh Tao was the lack of adequate translation services they were provided throughout the proceedings.

    Hall pleaded not guilty to all of the charges and the nine days of defense he has been granted in May's trial came after he had initially requested 12 days to present all of his witnesses and evidence.

    "I am confident that at the end of the day I am going to win all of these cases, all I did was do research and I reported what the migrants said," Hall said on Sunday.

    According to Finnwatch Executive Director Sonja Vartiala, the report did not call on Finnish companies to stop doing business with any of the three companies, but rather to encourage them to improve conditions for their workers.

    In response, major Finnish retailer S Group sent a delegation to Thailand to meet with representatives of the factories, during which they called on Natural Fruit to introduce third-party oversight of working conditions at the factory.

    'Under the military junta, repression of political activities has reached levels unseen in several decades in Thailand'
    "Natural Fruit refused and that's why they've lost a lot of customers in the European Union (EU)," Vartiala told VICE News. "So if there has been damage to their business, they have caused it to themselves."

    While Hall was not responsible for writing or publishing the report itself, less than a month after its it was released, Natural Fruit filed charges against him, which have been widely condemned as judicial harassment intended to stifle his work.

    Natural Fruit has since filed charges against Hall in three other cases. Those include a criminal defamation case relating to an interview Hall gave to Al Jazeera in June 2013 about the findings of the report, for which Natural Fruit and Thailand's Attorney General have been granted leave to file further appeals despite the Thai Appeals Court dismissing the case in September 2015.

    Natural Fruit has also filed two civil defamation claims against Hall, demanding 400 million Thai baht ($11 million) in damages over the findings of the report.

    According to Vartiala, Natural Fruit has never contacted Finnwatch about the report or sought to press charges against the NGO or anyone who held genuine responsibility for the study.

    Related: Assassinations, Curses, and Stolen Jewels: The 'Blue Diamond Affair' Is Still Darkening Saudi-Thai Relations

    A spokesperson for Natural Fruit could not be reached by VICE News prior to the publication of this article.

    Human Rights Watch's Asia Division Deputy Director Phil Robertson said the targeting of Hall reflects the exacerbation he has caused among powerful circles through his successful efforts to shine a light on pervasive labor rights violations.

    Thailand's agriculture and manufacturing sectors rely heavily on migrant labor, with some migrants living in conditions that amount to modern day slavery. Up to 3 million Burmese migrant workers live in the country, making them a key focus of Hall's work.

    "He's consistently stood up for the rights of migrant workers in Thailand and that has earned him plenty of enemies among political and business elites who are not amused at people examining the way workers are treated in their supply chain," Robertson told VICE News.

    'If I was Thai or if I was Burmese, they would have assassinated me, that's just how it works in Thailand'
    The charges filed against Hall are just the latest example of activists in Thailand facing judicial harassment, with observers saying the situation for human rights defenders and the press has deteriorated markedly since the military took power following a coup in 2014.

    "Under the military junta, repression of political activities has reached levels unseen in several decades in Thailand," said Andrea Giorgetta, director of Asia Desk, Southeast Asia, at the NGO International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH).

    "The military has harassed and arbitrarily detained scores of junta critics, including activists, students, academics, and media persons," he told VICE News.

    In a recent high-profile case involving a foreigner, Alan Morison, the Australian editor of local independent media outlet Phuketwan, was forced to endure a year-long legal battle to fight charges of criminal defamation based on reporting on the alleged involvement of Thai naval officers in trafficking Burmese Rohingya refugees.

    While both Morison and Thai journalist Chutima Sidasathian were eventually acquitted in September 2015, they told the Guardian the pressure of having to face such a case and fear of the seven-year prison sentence they were threatened with had deeply affected their lives.

    According to Hall, he has lost two jobs as a result of the charges filed against him, with a teaching contract at Bangkok's prestigious Mahidol University not renewed after the charges were initially filed, and a job advising the Burmese government for the EU prematurely ended.



    Andy Hall (right) with Alan Morison (left) and Chutima Sidasathian (center). (Photo via Andy Hall)

    While Morison's case was resolved relatively quickly, both Vartiala and Robertson suggest the case against Hall is likely to drag on for a number of years more. "That sends a chilling message to other researchers and activists who want to take on the powers that be in Thailand," said Robertson.

    Yet Hall is quick to point out that in many ways he is lucky to only be facing criminal charges. If he were not a British citizen capable of drawing on the support of his own government and whipping up international attention, he says his prospects would likely be far bleaker.

    "If I was Thai or if I was Burmese, they would have assassinated me, that's just how it works in Thailand," he said.

    According to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), at least 30 human rights defenders were victims of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances in Thailand between 2001 and 2014.

    In late 2014, two land rights activists in southern Thailand were gunned down within days of each other. Pitan Thongpanang had been at the forefront of a campaign challenging a major mining concession in Nakhon Sri Thammarat Province, while Sumsuk Kokrang had been challenging the legality of a palm oil plantation in Krabi Province. No suspects have ever been caught for the killings.

    According to Hall, one of the migrant workers he interviewed for the Finnwatch study, who came forward to corroborate many of the testimonies published in the report and has become a key witness for his defense, has been the target of sustained threats and intimidation.

    While the killing and persecution of local rights activists is often met with impunity, Hall's case has drawn considerable international attention.

    Since the charges were first filed against him in 2013, Hall has garnered significant support from international trade union organizations, with the Trades Union Congress (TUC) of England and Wales successfully lobbying the UK Labour Party to raise his case in the British parliament.

    Related: Thailand Keeps Arresting People for Insulting the King — and His Dog

    In the most recent response to a written question presented to parliament by Labour Party MP Kerry McCarthy in September 2015, ruling Conservative Party MP Hugo Swire said the UK government was providing Hall diplomatic assistance and had discussed the case with the Thai Justice Minister, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and other Thai authorities.

    Meanwhile, after his case was raised in the European Parliament in October 2015 and drew condemnation from representatives from several countries, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides agreed to follow the case and attend trial hearings.

    According to Vartiala, while Natural Fruit may have set out to silence criticism, they have only drawn more exposure to their mistreatment of workers.

    "I don't think they really knew what they were doing when they started this case, but now everybody knows of them. If you do an internet search for Natural Fruit, the first thing that comes up is this case against Andy," she said. "Now I think it's too late for them to take it back, so there is no return any more."

    Meanwhile, while many people have urged Hall to leave the country and escape the charges, he says he sees them as "complimentary" because they demonstrate the work he is doing is having an effect — an effect he says would be undermined if he flees injustice in a way the majority of the workers he seeks to help have no opportunity to do.

    "When you face something like this you can't run away," he said. "I have to be a voice and I have to be a face for people who are much more exploited than I am."

    Follow Charles Parkinson on Twitter: @charlesparkinsn


    https://news.vice.com/article/thaila...g-exploitation

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    I really do hope he wins this and gets enough support from the international media and public.

    The world needs more Andy Halls.

  20. #20
    Being chased by sloths DJ Pat's Avatar
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    Pure draconian bullshit.

    Once I was on a forum where a Thai member claimed that a certain bunch of records had arrived at Music One (imported) I went down there and alas, the records weren't due for another two weeks
    Went back on the forum and told that member she was 'bullshitting'

    She went crazy and sent me PMs saying that I 'don't say things like that to Thai people' I said 'but you were wrong' her answer:

    'But this is Thailand'



    Says it all really. Brings a whole new meaning to the saying ''throwing toys from your pram''

  21. #21
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Trial of British Labor Activist Opens in Thailand

    The criminal defamation trial of a British labor-rights activist who is being sued by a Thai pineapple processing plant over allegations that it exploited its mostly foreign workers, opened in Bangkok on Thursday with a company official testifying against him.

    Activist Andy Hall faces seven years in prison if convicted of charges that stem from a survey he conducted among workers at a plant in southern Thailand operated by the Natural Fruit Co. Ltd., and whose 800-strong workforce is made up largely of migrants from Myanmar.

    The charges against Hall, whose passport has been seized by Thai authorities, include allegations that he violated Thailand’s Computer Crimes Act in connection with the case.

    Hall interviewed the workers and did research on behalf of Finnwatch, an NGO based in Finland that advocates global corporate responsibility, and which published a report in 2013 based on his work.

    “[Andy] disseminated false information on the Finnwatch website so that customers don’t order our products,” Kachin Komneyawanich, Natural Fruit’s vice president, said on the witness stand Thursday.

    Kachin was the lone witness who testified for the prosecution at the Bangkok South Criminal Court.

    ‘I simply did my duty’

    Outside the courthouse, Hall told reporters that he did not commit libel or break the computer law, saying he simply was relaying to Finnwatch information and statements he had gathered from the workers for its report.

    Among their allegations, the Natural Fruit plant workers said they were deprived of reasonable wages, sick and holiday leave, and that their employer had confiscated their passports and was employing child-workers.

    “I have just said what the workers told me,” Hall said Thursday. “I researched the conditions in that factory; Finnwatch then prepared the report and published the report and put it on the internet.”

    “So firstly, it is not my report. Secondly, I did not put it on the Internet,” he said, adding, “[T]he main thing is I simply did my duty as a researcher to report the conditions that the workers face. That’s what I have been doing in Thailand for over a decade.”

    The case is the most serious of four separate lawsuits filed against the activist by Natural Fruit three years ago, but a Thai appeals court dismissed one of the cases in September 2015, according to Finnwatch.

    The second of three days of prosecutorial testimony will follow on May 26, and witnesses for the defense are to testify over eight days spread between June and July, the Finnish NGO and other sources said.

    Migrant workers who used to work at the pineapple canning plant are expected to testify for the defense, along with union figures, lawyers and leaders of Thai export companies who were featured in Finnwatch’s report, which was titled “Cheap Has a High Price.”

    The NGO’s executive director, Sonja Vartiala, plans to travel to Bangkok to testify on Hall’s behalf.

    “Andy Hall’s work in defense of migrant worker rights in Thailand is internationally recognized. This campaign of judicial harassment against him has been condemned by civil society and responsible businesses all around the world. Finnwatch continue to stand by Andy Hall,” Vartiala said in a statement issued last week.

    Trial of British Labor Activist Opens in Thailand

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    Keep in mind....

    During the pretrial, the plaintiff can present its evidence that a crime was committed, yet the defense cannot submit any evidence to counter the claim.

    The judge only considers one side of the story and then decides if a crime might have been committed or not.

  23. #23
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    Not being funny but why Hall didnt jump the border and go home i have no idea. They have to find him guilty because not doing so validates his research and the reports veracity and the Thai hiso community can not allow that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pseudolus
    Not being funny but why Hall didnt jump the border and go home i have no idea.
    Integrity and believe in his innocence? Not that it worked for me....just saying...

    Quote Originally Posted by pseudolus
    They have to find him guilty because not doing so validates his research and the reports veracity and the Thai hiso community can not allow that.
    Two Thai seafood companies paid his bail.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by CSFFan View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by pseudolus
    Not being funny but why Hall didnt jump the border and go home i have no idea.
    Integrity and believe in his innocence? Not that it worked for me....just saying...

    Quote Originally Posted by pseudolus
    They have to find him guilty because not doing so validates his research and the reports veracity and the Thai hiso community can not allow that.
    Two Thai seafood companies paid his bail.
    Innocence usually means being innocent in jail for a long time i thailand.

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