Canadian expat in Thailand claims embassy has left him to die

Published:  16 Oct at 6 PM
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A Canadian engineer living in Thailand’s Phuket Town is claiming on YouTube that his embassy and Thai officials are refusing assitance and leaving him to die.

Tim Rooney, resident in Thailand for some 13 years, was involved in an altercation with a German expat during an attempt in 2011 to sell his computer via an online site. The advert stated no offers would be accepted and, when the German replied with an offer, the resulting emails became heated.

Words were exchanged online, with the result that Rooney was arrested under Thai law for defamation. Court cases in Thailand, especially when involving foreigners, can take many months to be heard, but finally last year a prosecutor decided to drop the charge, informing Rooney his bail money and passport would be given back within 30 days.

However, when he returned to court after 30 days, he was told that the German had insisted he was charged with insulting, a minor offence meriting a 500 baht ($15) fine, after payment of which he would have his passport returned. Again, when he returned to court to pay his fine, he was told the German had appealed the original decision and the initial charge was again standing.

At this point, needing major surgery on his leg as a result of diabetes and unable to return to Canada as his passport was still impounded, Rooney appealed for help to the Canadian Embassy. Online reports suggest he was sent away after being brusquely told there was nothing they could do for him, and Thai officials were also unable to help.

As he has been unable to leave the country for two years now, due to the legal confiscation of his passport from the moment the case was brought, he is now running out of funds. He has been told the charge will probably be dropped again, but has no idea how long this will take.
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