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Indelible International - Banned in Thailand: Brokedown Palace

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Banned in Thailand: Brokedown Palace
   Jordan Steinfeld
   December31, 2010
  

For those of you who haven’t seen it, Brokedown Palace is like one giant high budget episode of Locked Up Abroad full of dubious strangers, forced signatures on foreign language documents, and cockroaches turning up in unexpected places.  In addition to the normal “overseas and framed” fodder, Brokedown Palace also has sketchy American dignitaries, a repurposed mental institution, and a young Paul Walker talking about bras. All in all, I can think of a worse way to spend an hour and forty minutes of my life. For those of you looking to question every friendship and one night stand you’ve ever had in addition to being scared shitless before a trip overseas, this is the movie for you.

I’ll give you a moment to pop over to Netflix and take a peak before I get on with the article but you can’t be upset if there are spoilers (I mean, this movie did come out in 1999 after all).

Brokedown Palace is banned in Thailand because of its negative portrayal of their justice system, but to be fair, American consular affairs aren’t portrayed in so great a light either. The protagonists have drugs planted on them by a devastatingly handsome foreign stranger and are then turned over to the police as a sort of bribe (all in a days work, I suppose).  The girls are then imprisoned, interrogated, beaten, convicted in a sham trial, and basically have their worlds crash down around them as they sit in a Thai prison. It all sounds a bit dramatic, but isn’t too far outside the realm of possibility.

While the likelihood of you being framed for a crime you didn’t commit is low, your survival may hinge upon your ability to deal with the police should you be detained and this is one place where the film does not seem to take liberties.

Although it’s difficult to get statistics and up to date information, one thing seems clear, the Thai police are not going to go easy on you simply because you are foreign. Americans are notorious for thinking they are above the law in all countries except the US but drug laws aren’t the same everywhere. Drug possession does not carry the same weight everywhere and getting high in Bangkok is not the same as getting high in Tel Aviv, which is not the same as getting high in Santiago, which is also not the same as getting high in Chicago  (hopefully you already know this, but really, it needs to be said).

Reality check, this is a quote taken directly from the English version of the Thai customs directive, “…Violators of laws related to illicit drugs, e.g., having and holding, holding for use, or being a producer, seller, or transporter are subject to the death sentence.” That’s right, it says death sentence.

For more stores from inside Thailand’s prisons watch this or you could go ahead and watch this BBC World special on “The Bangkok Hilton.” 

Thailand, banned in Thailand, movies, review, drug trafficking, things not to do
 

     

 

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Umbrella-packing

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Umbrella-packing
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