19 Year Old South African In Laos Jail

I first heard of this story about a week or so ago.  The headline just stated that 19 year-old from South African is being held in Laos jail.  After reading this article below I still feels that this young man is not telling the whole truth of the story.  Also, no words from Laos government or that young laotian lady.

The story he gave seems to come out of some movie scripts.  I don’t buy it at all and the Laos government probably doesn’t either.  So? Somewhere he hitched a ride from this young girl and the storm rolled in??  They decided to pull over and it just happened to be in front of Cambodian Ambassador resident?  Instead of seeking a shelter from trees along the main road or near by shops, they just invited themselves to the Ambassador’s resident.  This is where they both crossed the line, especially when you’re a tourist to the country.  Perhaps he didn’t get a chance to read the Do’s and Don’t pamphlet that Laos government posted everywhere.  I don’t care who you are and what country you are in, you just don’t trespass on to people property.  In some country they both might ending up dead.  Hopefully this will some lesson learned for all the foreigners.

Magistrate’s son in Laos jail

NASHIRA DAVIDS | 20 July, 2011 00:07

Arno Immelman has not been charged

A Western Cape magistrate has vowed to raise hell if her teenage son is not released from an infamous southeast Asian jail by the end of the week.

Arno Immelman, the 19-year-old son of Paarl magistrate Anne-Marie Immelman, has been in custody in the infamous Phonthong prison in Laos for the past three weeks. He has neither been charged nor has he appeared in court.

What makes his mother’s nightmare even worse is that she has been warned not to “set foot” in the country because she, too, will be arrested.

Immelman said if Arno is not released, she will approach Fair Trials International for a legal adviser to “go there and get my child”.

Arno, who is taking a gap year, taught English in Thailand, but crossed the border into neighbouring Laos.

It is understood that, early this month, Arno and a Laotian woman were found asleep on a couch at the official residence of the Cambodian ambassador to Laos.

Immelman said he didn’t mean to trespass – it was just a big misunderstanding.

“Arno and this lady were [riding] on her scooter.

“It started raining and it was cold and they went into what they obviously thought was the guesthouse at which he was staying. The guesthouse is across the road from the Cambodian ambassador’s residence,” she said.

Immelman said the gate to the residence was open and so was the door. There were no security guards and they parked the scooter on the property. Both fell asleep. Immelman said there was no suggestion that the two were sexually involved.

“She woke him up the next morning when the police were already there. They were both taken away. She is a Laotian lady and that seemed to be one of Arno’s problems,” she said.

“Apparently it is tradition there that no foreigner must come near those girls.”

Eventually, South African embassy officials and an executive of the company for which Arno works managed to visit him in prison.

Velelo Kwepile, a consul at the South African embassy in Thailand, said the teenager seemed “okay”.

“We visited him last week. He said he [was] not stressed but he is behind bars and you cannot take that away,” said Kwepile.

He said Cambodian authorities called Laotian police when they came across the “trespassers” on the couch.

But the Cambodians have declined to lay charges against Arno and have expressed their willingness to have him released.

Immelman said she had last spoken to her son on June 30.

http://www.timeslive.co.za/thetimes/2011/07/20/magistrate-s-son-in-laos-jail

 

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8 thoughts on “19 Year Old South African In Laos Jail

  1. marie21234

    In Laos, the judicial process has nothing to do with the legalities because the legal system in Laos is not developed. You do not fight it as a legal battle. It is a persuasion exercise where you have to persuade the government officials, not the judges. Laos signed the UN Declaration of Human Rights on 7th December 2000. The Lao penal code is merely there for the Lao Govt to gain entry to the World Trade Organisation and World Aid. The Lao authorities DID NOT pay any attention to their own laws, let alone International law. The Laotions aren’t big on international law even though they sign various treaties. Foreign lawyers are pretty in effective. Lawyers work with the government.
    They can hold your without charge indefinitely. They do this all the time. The Laos authorities are stubborn but they will act an Embassy become involved as they generally don’t like things to escalate.
    Laos Government is communist and does not play by western rules. Nor does it adhere to human rights. . If you shake a fist at them then you might make things worse .
    Things can quickly escalate in Laos if it gets political. One need to connect with the right people and keep your Embassy involved to resolve the issue diplomatically. You will be able to secure a Lao lawye. Just be careful however, just because you engage a Lao lawyer, do not think they will respect any confidentiality. The Lao lawyers are obliged to resolved matters in favour of the Laos government. So you really have to get them to negotiate with the Embassy in support to lessen the impact on your son or to get a better outcome.
    I used to be a prisoner in Laos myself and there some boys there on visa runs. They stayed in prison for about five months and then were released. The Laos authorities believe strongly that if you are in problem then you must have done something to get yourself there.If you back the Laos Government into a corner on a point of law, then YOU will lose.
    Laos have a history of abusing human rights. And we must just sit back and endure it. Support the United Nations but no action are taken against these people!!!
    WHO EVER YOU ARE, IF YOU CAN LIVE WITH THIS TOTAL ABUSE OF POWER AND TRAPPLING ON HIS HUMAN RIGHTS. GOOD FOR YOU MAY YOU NEVER END UP IN THE SAMe POTITION. RATHER FIGHT AGAINST THIS ABUSE OF HUMAN RIGHTS!!!
    In Laos, the judicial process has nothing to do with the legalities because the legal system in Laos is not developed. You do not fight it as a legal battle. It is a persuasion exercise where you have to persuade the government officials, not the judges. Laos signed the UN Declaration of Human Rights on 7th December 2000. The Lao penal code is merely there for the Lao Govt to gain entry to the World Trade Organisation and World Aid. The Lao authorities DID NOT pay any attention to their own laws, let alone International law. The Laotions aren’t big on international law even though they sign various treaties. Foreign lawyers are pretty in effective. Lawyers work with the government.
    They can hold your son without charge indefinitely. They do this all the time. The Laos authorities are stubborn but they will act if the Embassy become involved as they generally don’t like things to escalate.Please understand that Laos Government is communist and does not play by western rules. Nor does it adhere to human rights. So you must handle this very carefully. If you shake a fist at them then you might make things worse for your son
    Things can quickly escalate in Laos if it gets political. You need to connect with the right people and keep your Embassy involved to resolve this diplomatically. They should assist you to engage a lawyer for your son. You will be able to secure a Lao lawyer for him. Just be careful however, just because you engage a Lao lawyer, do not think they will respect any confidentiality. The Lao lawyers are obliged to resolved matters in favour of the Laos government. So you really have to get them to negotiate with the Embassy in support to lessen the impact on your son or to get a better outcome.

    I used to be a prisoner in Laos myself and there some boys there on visa runs. They stayed in prison for about five months and then were released. Please try not to despair too much as it would be far worse if the Laos govt thought you son was involved in drugs, or politics. The foreigners are usually held at the Immigration office until they are transferred to Phonthong.
    If you have any contact with him at all then you should advise him to be as humble as he can to authorities. He must not do anything to offend them. The Laos authorities believe strongly that if you are in problem then you must have done something to get yourself there. So he should be very respectful to them and seek to resolve the situation without creating problems.
    If you back the Laos Government into a corner on a point of law, then YOU will lose and your son will become a political case.
    Laos have a history of abusing human rights. And we must just sit back and endure it. Support the United Nations but no action are taken against these people!!!
    WHO EVER YOU ARE, IF YOU CAN LIVE WITH THIS TOTAL ABUSE OF POWER AND TRAPPLING ON HIS HUMAN RIGHTS. GOOD FOR YOU MAY YOU NEVER END UP IN THE SAME SITUATION!!!!

    Reply
  2. seeharhed Post author

    I’m not going to get into the laws or human rights issues. All I’m saying, don’t put yourself in that situations. Obviously, this guy didn’t respect other people property. It is common for foreigners to crossed over to Laos for visa run. The problems usually raised when they involved themselves with local women and drugs. I’m not saying this young man did any of those things, but someone needs to come clean. I just laughed when his mother going to raised hell through International Court, obviously she doesn’t know much about Laos.

    Reply
  3. Nye

    It does sounds like a movie script, and their choice of word referring to him as a teenager came off a bit odd to me. He should be referred to as a young man. If he was booked at a guess house nearby I could see that it’s a misunderstanding since most are probably looked similar. It’s obviously that he was arrested for staying with a Lao girl, and not so much of trespassing imo.

    Reply
    1. seeharhed Post author

      Nye, I totally agree with you. They just trying to play that innocent card game. If he is a teenage, shouldn’t he be under his parents supervision then?? In his case, What is he doing roaming around in Thailand?? teaching english??? really?? I better just stop now…

      Reply
  4. unbjames

    Sad story if it’s true … gotta tread lightly and be informed in foreign countries (by the way, thanks for the like on my latest post dude, much appreciated!)

    Reply
    1. seeharhed Post author

      salalao, at this point in time… I don’t think we will ever know about the girl. As I mentioned earlier, I’m not buying his story at all. The people who wrote the story just tried to paint that innocent picture of this boy.

      Reply

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