Burrowes free after paying 500 baht fine

PHUKET CITY: The Simon Burrowes saga appears to have finally come to a conclusion as the Englishman pled guilty to a charge of being impolite to a state official and was fined 500 baht.

Burrowes was due to fly back to the UK on January 31, but became involved in an altercation with Immigration Police officials at Phuket International Airport, who suspected his passport was fake.

Mr Burrowes lost his temper with the immigration officials, whom he had accused of laughing at him.

He was subsequently arrested and spent the next three weeks in Phuket Provincial Prison before his release on bail.

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The incident, which caught the attention of the British media, was widely publicized internationally.

Mr Burrowes appeared before Phuket Provincial Court again yesterday and walked away a free man after paying a court-ordered fine of 500 baht (approx US$14.28).

He had originally intended to plead not guilty but, faced with the prospect of a prison sentence, was persuaded to change his plea.

“If I had pled not guilty, this could have gone on for awhile and I could have got anything up to three years, so I decided to stop fighting. I was forced to plead guilty,” he explained.

He has been stuck in Thailand since his release from prison, but now that the case is over he is hoping to return to his native England.

“They returned my passport, but the visa has expired so that is now being processed. I don’t know how much that is going to cost; hopefully, it won’t cost me anything,” he said.

Perhaps surprisingly, Mr Burrowes is not desperate to leave Thailand.

“I’d like to stay here for a bit longer, just to relax for a few days. I also need to raise funds for my flight home, which might take awhile. The flight I missed was non-refundable,” he said.

He has no plans to return to the Land of Smiles.

“I doubt I will ever come back. Thailand is not a bad place, but I have had an awful experience here,” he said.

— James Goyder

Phuket News

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