Gavin Hill, the producer of the documentary Big Trouble in Thailand, and Tim Wright, the Royal British marine Police Sargent, have taken time to respond to my various points on the article More Trouble for Big Trouble in Thailand and I thought their comments deserved to be addressed in a post.
I’ve made no bones about the fact that I believe the jet ski incident in the first part of this documentary was at least partially staged. I have written numerous articles about the subject now and have dissected not only the aired footage but the raw footage released by Gavin Hill and have used this footage to back up the points I’ve made.
The biggest problem I had was the missing raw footage of JJ holding the British Royal Marines at Gunpoint. I have asked for the release of this footage 6 times. Gavin Hill stated twice he would release this footage but failed to do so leading me to believe that the gun incident was spliced in for dramatic effect and didn’t happen as portrayed.
I have chosen to respond to these comments as to keep it all out in the open and so there is no doubt as to what I am saying. These comments have not been edited in any way and can be found by following the link above to the article they were posted to.
Hi Talen – sorry for the delay, just came across your reply.
I am unable to release the footage for copyright reasons and due to an active police investigation. If you listen again to the aired footage JJ does indeed tell me not to film. He says: “Don’t film”. Again, I ask you why he would make that request. And why at first was the gun concealed behind his back? What’s your theory? In reality, you say, it was a BB gun. Was it Talen? Now, are you sure? Quite the gunsmith you must be. I think, actually, the jury (of people who know one weapon from another) is out on that. But JJ is Thai so if he says it’s a BB gun then a BB gun it must be. Just as it’s 40,000 Baht plus to fix a broken jet ski. As one of the Marines later said – he wouldn’t want to be shot by the gun whatever type it was. Perhaps you wouldn’t mind inviting me over to your place for tea – you could even pull a gun on me … just for fun, mind you. But please let it be a BB gun and once we’ve had a laugh (mine more nervous than yours) you can remind me about the 40,000 Baht you’d like me to cough up. Have you been in a Thai jail? Quite obviously not. Yes, I’m sure you’re right that Marcus is thanking his lucky stars he wasn’t put out of his misery – 50 years and he’ll be free in any case. Walk in the park that. And you should know – being so very familiar with the precise detail of the legal arguments and knowing his case inside out like you do. I’d go easy on the mercy though Talen … mercy and humanity are wonderful things in a person but really you shouldn’t empathy for another man’s suffering get the better of you. And finally, BTIT wasn’t made for the TAT. It was made for a UK niche TV channel aimed at men aged between 18 and 34 in Britain. I happen to think it will be great for tourism, in much the same way that UK and US police shows are good for tourism … especially considering the target market and if the numerous positive comments left on You Tube are anything to go by. Have you watched the Thai TV news? Well, it’s a bit like watching car accidents. More bad things on Thai TV and in the newspapers than anything you will see on BTIT.
Gavin, I originally asked you to release the FULL raw footage of the jet ski incident over a month ago, well before any police involvement and before you had a problem with copyrights. You originally released most of the raw footage and followed up with another small clip after my last article on the subject was posted. You apparently didn’t have a problem with copyright before. Now you are using the guise of copyright and police investigations to make it seem as if your hands are tied. I think we both know you never had any intention of releasing the raw footage of JJ holding the Marines at gunpoint. Everyone else that has been following this knows this as well.
You are correct that JJ tells you not to film, but we aren’t positive of the context as we don’t know what happened before and audio was dubbed in just after. The audio at the end of that aired segment was dubbed in for dramatic effect. Something I proved some time ago. Again why wasn’t JJ arrested that day by the police? You had the film as evidence to show them right there and then. Why didn’t you?
As for my theory … well, here it is. I think you got JJ screwing around on film and thought it would be great to edit it in to the final cut in a way to make the scene much more dramatic. The raw footage of the incident was absolutely boring. You have made inaccurate statements about the scene being a rolling scene with no cuts and I think you are trying to cover your ass and that’s why we won’t see the raw footage. Simply, I don’t think you are credible.
I don’t need to be a gunsmith to tell you the gun JJ had was in fact a BB gun. The police have the gun in evidence, it is in fact the very same gun and is also in fact a BB gun. Why are you now trying to say it wasn’t a BB gun? If you are referring to the Marines as ” the jury of people that know one gun from another” then you really have a problem because quite honestly I doubt they know their left from their right. If they told you anything other than the fact that the gun in question was a BB gun then they should be relieved from duty immediately as a danger not only to the themselves but to the entire fleet as well.
As for the fourth episode which introduced us to Marcus and the drug dealing incident you refer to. No, I have not been in a Thai prison. In fact I never will be in a Thai prison because, unlike the drug dealing scum bag Marcus, I know that dealing drugs in Thailand is against the law and can carry the penalty of Death. And yes, he should be kissing the ground every day he wakes up because he is still alive, he should have received the death penalty. Sorry, I have no mercy nor empathy for scumbags of his ilk who prey on people and then pretend what they are doing is meaningless and not harmful. Seems you have enough empathy for him to cover the rest of us.
Gavin, for you to state that U.K and U.S police shows of this kind have been good for tourism in those respective countries is a laugh. Are you really serious with that statement? If you are I can easily see how you would believe that Big Trouble in Thailand is good for Thailand’s tourism industry. I’m sure the Thai Tourist Authority would thank you to please stop helping them.
The target audience of this documentary is exactly the tourist that Thailand doesn’t want or need coming to their country. They will be the ones most likely to be involved with the police. And while I agree that Thai television news is quite over the top and sensationalistic, it is at least real which is more than I can say for your production.
I have just found this site and as you seem to have taken an aversion to my methods let me put you in the picture about the incident, which I see Gavin Hill has already commented on.
I was called to the scene, one of numerous similar incidents I had been called to that week, and had been informed that a gun had been pulled on a group of Royal Marines by a local ‘business man’! It w
as not my intent on arrival at a scene to allow that weapon or any other to be drawn again. As for not calling the local police, they were there, I didn’t have to, my Thai colleagues had called them and they sat around doing nothing, just waiting for the money to be handed over and for us to leave. If the lad had not already made a deal with JJ, I would have removed them from the scene and told him to take him to court. He would not have done because he knew it was a scam.
This onging corruption and criminality spoils a beautiful country and a very generous and loving people. I saw many tourists being scammed by the jet ski hire people, it is something I would warn anybody visiting Thailand against doing, along with motorbike hire, drugs and ladyboys.
The whole visit to Phuket was marred for many of the young me and women I was policing by such scams, and it would be far more productive for you to try and remove that blight from your golden beaches than to insult law abiding tourists who bring much needed foreign currency to your country.
I am an honourable man and I would like an apology for your comments about me. To insult me as you have and caste doubts as to my character and professionalism deeply saddens me I can only hope you never fall foul of a similar con.
I do think I owe you an apology but probably not for the reasons you would like. I think the way the film was edited and how the jet ski scene was portrayed left too many questions that were unanswered for too long resulting in you looking bad. Do you fault me for bringing up the obvious questions? Supposedly your men were held at gunpoint with what they believed to be a high powered rifle. At no time during the incident nor after the incident was this brought to either the attention of the Thai police or the British Royal Navy.
You’ve done a disservice to your men if what you and Gavin Hill say is true. You should have told the police when they arrived of JJ’s actions and had them arrest him on the spot. Gavin claims the incident happened exactly as aired so you had proof positive of JJ’s actions on film to show to the police immediately. Why wasn’t JJ arrested that day and why did the police not see this incident on film until after it aired on the Bravo channel? Forgive me if I seem just a little skeptical of your statements.
You say the gun incident was brought to your attention when you arrived but the raw footage released by Gavin belies that fact. And I find it wholly unbelievable that any British Marine, and yes, I know a few, would shake the hand of the man that held your men at gunpoint.
Mr. Hill did finally release raw footage showing the police were on site. You say the Thai police ” sat around doing nothing” just waiting for the money to change hands. Honestly what could they do when your Marine Mr. Tebbot admitted, not once but three times in the raw footage, to being involved in an accident. The police in America and Britain could do no more than what the Thai police did, listen to both sides. Your Marine agreed to pay the price and so did you. If in fact he didn’t create the damage you should have walked away and not payed. I highly doubt the Thai police would have stopped you. Even they know that dealing with another countries military is best not to be done.
I agree with you that there are many scams in such tourist destinations involving jet ski’s, drugs and motorcycles, although I believe not all ladyboys are bad just misunderstood. Unfortunately people don’t seem to research destinations they visit as much as they should. And even when warned properly they still ignore the reality such as your young Marines who you yourself warned repeatedly.
I would love nothing more than to see those scams removed from the beaches of Thailand and with them the law abiding tourists that aren’t smart enough to figure it out even when they’ve been warned repeatedly by those around them as to the danger. Unfortunately wherever you find tourists you’ll find the scams, even in Great Britain and America. In most cases forewarned is forearmed.
I think this is where I will leave it for now. As I said before I don’t see any other raw footage ever being released and what was released was taken down apparently due to copyright concerns, although I’m sure it didn’t help that I used that same footage to prove all of my points beyond a reasonable doubt.
There is no such thing as reality television. Real life, even for those with more adventurous jobs such as policeman, is pretty much a mundane affair. Because of this and the fact that everyone involved knows there are cameras around things become blurred and much less real than they are portrayed.
Believe only half of what you see and nothing that you hear.