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I Spent 6 Months In A Thai Prison For Shoplifting. Here’s How It Changed My Life


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I Spent 6 Months In A Thai Prison For Shoplifting. Here’s How It Changed My Life

Emilia Semrau

Guest Writer

 

5c532ba13b00007202689541.jpg

COURTESY OF EMILIA SEMRAU

This name card was given to Emilia Semrau when she arrived at the prison in Mae Hong Son, Thailand. During her incarceration she placed the card on top of her bedding each morning to reserve her sleeping spot. The card states her crime (theft), her age (25) and the length of her sentence (6 months). 

 

 

I left my home in Olympia, Washington, in January 2018 to undertake a two-year global journey I hoped would help me to discover more about the world and, subsequently, myself. I had just divorced a wonderful man ― and the equally wonderful life that came with him ― after being married for six years.

 

I left everything I knew ― and anything I couldn’t fit into a 60-liter backpack ― because I realized my true path was to travel by myself and share my knowledge of yoga and holistic health. I booked a ticket to my first destination, Thailand, and as I flew towards my new life, I was full of faith in the unknown and I trusted that I was honoring my true path. Little did I know that one unwise decision would radically change my perspective on everything I thought I knew about myself and who I am.

 

It was 2:00 in the afternoon on a Friday during the first week of my adventure and I was in Pai, a bustling hippie tourist hub located in northern Thailand. I entered a shop I hadn’t noticed before during my four days in town. Its doorway was covered with a vibrant silk cloth and its interior revealed shelves stacked with handmade jewelry and leather goods. The displays were beautiful and obviously tended to with great care.

 

Full story: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/thai-prison-shoplifting_us_5c51e314e4b0ca92c6dc9c81

 

-- HUFFINGTON POST 2019-02-06

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5 minutes ago, webfact said:

I realized my true path was to travel by myself and share my knowledge of yoga and holistic health.

And larceny.

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At least she admitted stealing the item and did not come out with some claptrap about how she did not realise she'd absent mindedly put it in her bag.

 

Mind you she probably knew the Thais wouldn't stand for the old guff she might get away with in our countries.

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Good girls in, bad girls out.

 

There's a Temple near us teaches Vipissana meditation. Apparently it's worse than a prison sentance.

 

I'm sure this young lady learned some valuable life lessons.

 

If not, she could always open a massage parlour.

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53 minutes ago, webfact said:

Little did I know that one unwise decision would radically change my perspective on everything I thought I knew about myself and who I am.

Who in the world believes a shoplifter got caught and jailed for their first offence?

Most get caught after tens if not hundreds of thefts.

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2 minutes ago, BritManToo said:

Who in the world believes a shoplifter got caught and jailed for their first offence?

Most get caught after tens if not hundreds of thefts.

To be fair, she does admit to stealing through most of her childhood and adult life - as a kid from apparent necessity and as an adult just because she liked stealing makeup from Walmart. I just see this as karma catching up with her when she did it in a different country who doesn't tolerate her shit as much. 

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1 hour ago, ChipButty said:

They frown upon petty crime in Thailand especially with a Farang, do your time bitch

She's done it already and is back in the USA.

 

In the UK police won't attend a shoplifting case unless it involves goods over £200. Apparently there are now shoplifting gangs stealing just under the threshold. If caught they can, like a speeding offence, opt to not appear in court and plead guilty by completing a form. Just how they get caught and prosecuted if the police don't attend, I'm not sure. Read it in the Daily Telegraph the other day.

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7 hours ago, grollies said:

Good girls in, bad girls out.

 

There's a Temple near us teaches Vipissana meditation. Apparently it's worse than a prison sentance.

 

I'm sure this young lady learned some valuable life lessons.

 

If not, she could always open a massage parlour.

I've done it. 3x. Most people crack. Not many can live alone in their heads for 10 days. Even 7, even 3.

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7 hours ago, BritManToo said:

Who in the world believes a shoplifter got caught and jailed for their first offence?

Most get caught after tens if not hundreds of thefts.

She stated that she stole from shops many times 

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Sneak thievery is a common forms of theft in Thailand and most shops have CCTV cameras, with news programs regularly broadcasting footage of shoplifters. Years ago I was in a shop and this young boy was hiding in a cardboard box which had a spy hole cut in it. :w00t:

 

Surprised to hear her sentence was that severe. Seems like in the last few years, every time a foreigner gets busted for having sticky fingers it ends up on the news, so if anybody's thinking they can get away with it here because they're above suspicion, be forewarned.

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2 minutes ago, Gecko123 said:

 

Surprised to hear her sentence was that severe. Seems like in the last few years, every time a foreigner gets busted for having sticky fingers it ends up on the news, 

Apart from the fact that this wasnt on the news and She wrote a personal blog about it , which was picked up by TV

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9 hours ago, webfact said:

I left everything I knew ― and anything I couldn’t fit into a 60-liter backpack ― because I realized my true path was to travel by myself and share my knowledge of yoga and holistic health. I booked a ticket to my first destination, Thailand, and as I flew towards my new life, I was full of faith in the unknown and I trusted that I was honoring my true path. Little did I know that one unwise decision would radically change my perspective on everything I thought I knew about myself and who I am.

I'd have given you a life sentence for that paragraph alone...

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22 minutes ago, Vacuum said:

Think she got paid by Huffington Post already.

Doing time in a Thai prison is always good copy I suppose.

 

The sentence might have seemed harsh but I'll bet she doesn't do it again. 

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Why didn’t she just pay for the item when accosted, tell the bloke yeah I was just bringing it to the counter in my bag, I’m intending to purchase it. Surely the whole thing could have been resolved as a misunderstanding, being a foreigner especially. She doesn’t sound like the full quid to me.

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Hmm!!  I'm not sure i believe this?  6 months for petty theft, I think the police and shopkeeper would have got her to pay and kicked her out of Thailand. More to this story than what's stated, even if true.

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14 minutes ago, Pdavies99 said:

Hmm!!  I'm not sure i believe this?  6 months for petty theft, I think the police and shopkeeper would have got her to pay and kicked her out of Thailand. More to this story than what's stated, even if true.

Yes, surprising that this didnt make the news .

Not surprising though , she started a gofundmepage 

https://www.gofundme.com/help-free-emilia-in-thailand

 

Whats that noise that I can hear ?

 

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If you're going to be a thief, at least be good at it. Without blinking, she should have pulled out a credit card, smiled, and said, "Yes, I love this bag. How much is it? Do you take Visa?" Be good at your job. Reframe the shopkeepers experience. Project a positive vibe and smile. She didn't leave the store. There is no evidence of theft. Noooo, she was going to buy it! It's beautiful! I love Thailand! 

 

Would have worked 9 out of 10. 

 

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