Thalu Gas group member attempted suicide in prison cell by swallowing over 60 paracetamol pills

On 27 June 2022, TLHR lawyers went to Bangkok Remand Prison to visit 11 political prisoners from the “Thalu Gas” group, who have been detained since 17 June 2022 from the Din Daeng protests on 11, 14, and 15 June 2022.

Theerawit, one of 11 political prisoners in the Thalu Gas group, told his lawyers that he was the oldest in the cell, 41 years old, so he volunteered to take care of the remaining ten other people. One of Theerawit’s duties was to take care of first-aid boxes given by the correctional officer in case someone got sick. Theerawit said he would always keep these first-aid boxes close, even when sleeping.

Theerawit stated that last Friday night (24 June 2022), Polphon might have secretly picked up several packets of ‘Paracetamol’ while everyone was sleeping. Then, he ingested large quantities hoping to end his life in prison. Corrections officials estimated that Polphon probably consumed more than 60 Paracetamol pills.

Then on the following day (25 June 2022), fellow inmates noticed Polphon was vomiting all day since early morning. Moreover, Polphon looked drowsy and confused while also having such a pale face and inability to speak. Despite these unusual symptoms, the other ten tried investigating the cause of his vomiting. Furthermore, they all searched Polphon’s bed until they found dozens of used pills under his bedsheets.

Polphon confessed that he had attempted suicide by taking dozens of paracetamol pills at night. Then his friend hurriedly notified the corrections officers.

The correctional officer took Polphon to the Medical Correctional Institution for gastric lavage in the evening. After that, the other inmates did not hear more about Polphon again. 

Even though the lawyer inquired again about Polphon’s condition after he was sent to the hospital, but the lawyer did not receive a response from the corrections officer regarding Polphon’s health condition. 

Theerawit told TLHR that Polphon had been the most stressful among the group. Polphon also told Theerawit that the reason he’s presented himself to the police even though his arrest warrant was yet to be issued was because of his confidence in his innocence. Polphon believed he was not the one who committed the crime as alleged.  And yet, the police pressed charges against him, and the court ordered his detention to this day.    

Another matter is that Polphon is just in his twenties. In the eyes of Theerawit, Polphon is just another minor. When he was imprisoned, Polphon usually said that he wanted to die with the tone of his voice being sad and hopeless. He would sit in the corner and cry alone on many occasions.  

The other ‘Thalu Gas’ inmates are stressful as well. They only eat once per day and someday they would not eat at all. All of them have anxiety. Two inmates, Putipong and Baiboung, have slit their arms to protest the court detention order and court decision not to grant the bail. Both used canned fish lids as a knife, causing more than ten cuts from the wrist to the elbow. 

Apart from that, there has been an ongoing hunger strike to restore their justice, done by Theerawit himself, since 18 June 2022. He consumes only water and mineral salt. At this moment, his body is weak and thin, and his face has turned pale. He has to ‘crawl’ instead of walking due to his loss of strength. He is only able to walk with help from others.

Polphon was accused of burning a police vehicle belonging to Dindeang police station after  #ราษฎรเดินไล่ตู่ or #ม็อบ11มิถุนา65 (#11June2022) protest. On 16 June 2022, Polphon went to the Narcotics Suppression Bureau as a means to present his innocence to the police.

However, the police presented him with five charges, the exact charges received by this case’s first four alleged offenders. While the others have their arrest warrant issued by the court, Polphon arrest warrant is yet to be issued. 

As his arrest warrant was not yet issued, the police could not arrest him that night. The police instead made an appointment with Polphon for the request of detention to the supreme court the morning after. The court has granted the detention request from 17 June 2022 till today.  

Read more:

Department of Correction’s response on the attempted suicide in prison

Letter From Bung-Bai Por, on hunger strike in Central Women’s Prison after Fifth Denial of Bail

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