Kiwi tourist pleads guilty to ecstasy possession in Phuket, Thailand

A tourist from New Zealand pleaded guilty to drug possession at a court in Phuket, southern Thailand, on Monday.

In September, police arrested 45 year old Ari Michael Salinger after finding two ecstasy tablets on his person. He was released on bail and his passport was confiscated while awaiting trial.

On Monday, the court sentenced Salinger to a “small fine” after he pleaded guilty, reports Newsroom. He expected to be transferred to the Immigrant Detention Centre to await deportation, but he was instead detained at Patong Provincial Police Station.

Salinger’s father Dr Jim Salinger, a renowned New Zealand climate scientist, said that his son’s clothes, food, and medicine were taken away upon his detention on Monday. He was left to sleep naked on a concrete floor for three nights, said Dr Jim.

Related news

Yesterday evening, Salinger was moved to the Immigration Detention Centre to await deportation to New Zealand. The exact details of his return home are still up in the air.

Salinger’s pregnant girlfriend Vanessa Pagarigan travelled to Phuket from her home in the Philippines in September when he was arrested.

Vanessa said she feels there has been little help for Salinger, complaining that even before his imprisonment it took two weeks to get an appointment with the New Zealand Embassy in Thailand.

An official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs contacted Salinger’s father to inform him that local police reported that Salinger had been throwing water at other detainees and police officers, which he denies.

Salinger’s concerned father told Newsroom

“He has a son in Australia who wonders whether he will ever see him again. And we don’t suddenly want to find the embassy ringing up to say, “I’m afraid your son’s dead.”

Dr Salinger’s concerns about his son’s detention are valid given that an Australian man died inside the detention room at Patong Provincial Police Station just two weeks ago.

Crime NewsPhuket NewsThailand News


Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

Related Articles