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by So Sethbutr

KOH TAO
is a small far away island in Thai gulf away from mainland, surrounded by natural atmosphere for tanu-turtle to lay eggs ... no other inhabitant. During pacific war, government fear that British army will take away political prisoners from Tarutao which is on Indian ocean coast. They set up a large fund for clearing the site and make ti a prison camp for normal and political prisoners. Only ordinary prisoners were able to help working in kitchen.

They cleaned and served the guard family and prison staffs. All the prison cells were well build within closing area while the house of director, prison official and police were built in design. There is a large tank -- keeping 3,000 gallon of water. When all the political prisoner arrived, the large tank collapsing down. Actually, no water supply. The political prisoners have to survive with the scarce of water. The prison officials dig up small well which was not enough for 54 prisoners during the hard time. Political prisoners have got to buy water for their ordinary usage in high price. During the first month -- the prison guard -- Pien Anurojna -- director of the camp treat the political prisoners well as they should deserve for their honor -- that is -- during the day, all political prisoners were around to walk out of the camp and making a living by fishing and get some kind of vegetables to feed their own. It was already known that KOH TAO island was alone with no other island near by. The sea was already surrounded the camp only at night that they had to stay within permited area.

But not before long -- by the case that he treat them too well, Pasadee Pien was sent out of KOH TAO. Colonel PRA-GLA-GLANG-SAMON (Mongkol Hongsakri) director of the peniteniry department think that it was too dangerous to free the political prisoners like that. Colonel Payom Preme-precha replaced the ex-pasadee (guard) he ordered that the political prisoner must be in prison cell at night and must be in the permited area during the day. Therefore, the political prisoners got no chance to go fishing -- get out off for some sea foods as well as vegetables.

They ate scarcetic meals with no food nutritions from prison supply. They were physically lack of food -- weak -- can not resist a bad attack from malaria which they already suffer from Tarutao added by new kind of malaria facing at KOH TAO where they just work to clear the area. The political prisoners all were malaria sufferer. Their most suffering thing was that they rarely got letter from their family.

Since there was not enough fuel for the ship. All communications were with difficulties. The supply ship went to KOH TAO only once a month but there were no letter to the prisoners -- fir some reason. Pasadee Payom declaired that all letters to the political prisoners had to be inspected. However, political prisoners got no letter or news from their relatives. That mean they lacked of money, scarced of foods or other supply and the worst was lacking of medicine for curing or relieving. They prison did not offer the drug or curing them at all. All supply and money from family mostly lost along the distance. Political prisoners hardly accept food supply and drugs which their family already sent to. Mother of So Sethabutre had tried every way to diliver things to her son -- all were lost along the distance. The medicine they needed came from prisoner offial in a very expensive price. Some suspected that might be the drugs their family sent to them. Later, PRAGLA-GLANG SAMON, director of penitentiary department at that time ordered all the political prisoners under 60 years old had to work in the field like they were the ordinary prisoners -- which was illegal. Political prisoners were expected to be excellent prisoners who did not aloud to work like workers. They were expected to help official in controlling or do the literate work or accountancy work only.

The corner stone of the order was that hard working was somekind of physical exercise to political prisoners, it reduced the decease. In working hard, political prisoners were devided into group of 5 or 6 working out in the field. The assignments were road construction, cut woods, clear the area forcrops growing. All crops belong to the prison camp.

However, to make the political prisoner work harder than their strenge in sun or in rain while suffering with malaria or cut the drugs and other supply were really life sentence for them. Since the lack of money, food and drugs in distance area full of malaria decease mean dead. Actually, all survived got life penalty in jail but after reduce the penalty in special occassion, by being a good behave, their penalty still left only 2 years and few months.

Therefore, when the political prisoners were free due to the time they would be foes of government which still in power. It was the unknow, unspeakable and illegal penalty both spirital and physical -- in order to get rid of all these political prisoners at KOH TAO by malaria, by starving and by torturing.

In the year of 1943, the political prisoners work so hard out in the sun and in the rain at rain forest, in spite of that they were not built for or used to work that hard. They were weak, thin, staving and already suffering with malaria while got other kind of the decease. Six of them died during 6 weeks time.

The first who died by malaria suffering to the brain was captain-Luang Jakrayothin (Prince Bus Israngkul Na Ayuthaya) while Luang Jakrayothin suffering with the fever, he called the name of his child and wife while he was in dangerous stage, Praya Jinda Jakraratna pledge him one tube of attabrine. He did not getting any better. Prince Sithiporn Kridakorn give him another tube of kamfer. It was using in vain, since Luang Jakrayothin died in few hours later.
 
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