If you want to travel to Thailand, you should leave your electronic cigarettes at home. The 31-year-old Cecilia Cornu can talk about it. Because of the e-cigarette with which she was caught on the paradise island of Phuket, her dream vacation turned into a real nightmare.
In Thailand, the e-cigarette has been banned since 2014. The reason for this is that the government thinks that it encourages young people to smoke. All e-cigarettes found by Thai agents are confiscated and the owner can get a fine, or even end up in prison for up to 10 years. Cecilia had to deal with the worst scenario.
The young woman, from a small town in the south-east of France, spent two days in the seaside resort of Karon when she was stopped by four policemen with her fiancee on their scooter. “I immediately took the e-cigarette I had in my hand. At first, they asked more than 40,000 baht (converted 1,100 euros) in cash, but I refused,” she explains.
8,000 euro of court costs
Then she was taken to the commissariat and her passport was also taken away. Eventually, Cecelia was sentenced to a fine of 23 euros a week later. Her parents, however, had to cough up 8,000 euros in costs to lawyers, court costs and the police.
Cecilia believed at that moment that the nightmare was over until she was stopped again on the eve of her return to France. When she wanted to pick up her passport, she was surprised to hear that she would be transferred to Bangkok to be deported. Upon arrival in the Thai capital, she immediately had to go to jail.
“We sat with sixty women in barely seventy square meters, it was forty degrees,” she testifies. Eventually, she will spend four days and three nights there. “The food was given by bars, like in dungeons during the Middle Ages. We got drinks from old paint pots. I slept on the floor and ate nothing but rice. I have experienced hell!”
“Never again Thailand,” she says on her Facebook profile. Cecilia now warns other travelers to be extra alert to corruption, if they travel to Thailand and certainly check in advance which items are prohibited in the country of destination.