Thai Crime: Thai Rehab Center Abused Its Patients

As a result of explosive reports of abuse, extortion, and squalor at a drug rehab center in a temple in Kanchanaburi, the Department of Medical Services ordered the closure of the center. The village headman of Moo 10 in Dan Makhamtia district received an urgent notice Thursday night ordering the immediate closure of Wat Tha Phu Rat Bamrung.
The Narcotic Drugs Act sets criteria for healthcare facilities that the temple did not meet, and the atrocities were revealed after the temple’s abbot died, which resulted in the temple’s drug rehab operating license automatically expiring.
A popular shaman and a lawyer took reporters to see the temple’s squalid conditions on Monday, 15 minutes before it was raided. Soldiers moved some 200 patients to the hospital after they had been beaten and tortured, as well as starved to death and extorted by their relatives.
The lawyer and shaman claim that a criminal network of police and government officials is involved in the rehab center. They asked the Crime Suppression Division to intervene. The soldiers found 216 men in rehab crammed into a single room with only two toilets.
Shaman called the conditions “hell on earth” and reported them to local police who were indifferent, so he turned to the CSD and the press. Kanchanaburi’s governor also visited the rehab temple to see the conditions.
They were sent for drug rehab by police or their families, so some men were staying voluntarily, while others were there in exchange for a clean criminal record. During their 12-month treatment contract, they were charged 12,000 baht to join the program and another 2,000 baht a month for food. Early release or other contract breaches carried an additional 10,000 baht fine.
According to the shaman, it was strange how police in Kalasin and Roi Et took so many suspects to this temple for the rehab treatment, suggesting an organized crime ring similar to human trafficking.

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