If you are an expat living in Thailand, you have probably had occasion (more than once) to remark on the corruption in this country, and you have probably said to your buddies, with a degree of smug satisfaction, that this is not the way things work “back home.” Well, if you were in the audience for the Sunday, December 2, presentation from John Wayne Ryan to the Pattaya City Expats Club, you might start to think differently.
In talking about his recently-released book, I Survived, John described a complex web of organized crime, murders, kidnappings, prostitution and corruption in Australia – corruption that extended up to some very high places.
John Wayne Ryan, author of “I Survived” describes law & order in the Australian state of Queensland in the 1970s and 80s. John was enlisted to establish what was going on inside Queensland Police; he did the job, and as the title says, he survived!
I Survived is the story of the “Whisky a Go-Go” murders, the underbelly world in which they occurred and their aftermath. The murders happened when a bar of the same name was firebombed in 1973. Fifteen people died from asphyxiation. John said that it was the worst mass murder in Australian history up to that time.
The aftermath included witnesses disappearing, kidnappings, extortion, bribery and drug running – which, John recounted, all operated not only with the knowledge of senior police officers but in fact under their control. “The cops ran everything,” John said.
“I made two mistakes,” John said: investigating corrupt cops, and investigating the premier of an Australian state. “There were five attempts on my life,” he added.
Open Forum MC Roy Albiston invites new members & guests to introduce themselves. PCEC meetings are free for all to attend, & have a delicious buffet catered by the Tavern by the Sea (part of the Amari complex) for only 220 baht. Other menu options include tea or coffee & toast, or fruit juice & fruit for 95 baht. The buffet starts at 9.30 & the meeting at 10.30.
About a year after the murders, the wife of the man who was driving the “getaway” car announced that she was going to “tell all.” The woman and her two daughters were then kidnapped. Their bodies have never been found; the women are still listed as missing; and the perpetrators have never been apprehended.
John recounted how when a royal commission was launched in 1987 into corrupt police practices, a bogus charge of perjury was leveled against him in an effort to destroy his reputation.
John said that he decided to write the book after being approached by one of the victims of the 1973 murders. He said that he had been talking about writing this book for 30 years and that he realized that the story had to be told.
John said that crooked cops and politicians are still around today, but that it is not as organized and as endemic as it was back in the 1970s. He added that in the world of the Internet, things are more open now; corruption tends to get exposed more quickly.
John W. Ryan has pioneered police work in Australia and educates law enforcement in the USA, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. Throughout his career, John has introduced a number of ground breaking defense tactics and products to Australian law enforcement practice. In 1972, he authored the very first manual for security officers and private detectives.
After John answered several questions, Master of Ceremonies Richard Silverberg provided an update on upcoming events and called on Roy Albiston to conduct the Open Forum where questions are asked and answered about Expat living in Thailand; Pattaya in particular.
Read more about the Club’s activities on their website at www.pattayacityexpatsclub.com.
John & wife Katerina pose for a photo after the talk with friend & PCEC board member Lawrie.