Bangkok’s notorious maximum security Klong Prem prison has long been nicknamed the “Bangkok Hilton” – and only one foreigner has ever escaped. Now former drug smuggler David McMillan has written Escape: The true story of the only Westerner ever to break out of Thailand’s Bangkok Hilton to explain how he did it
I’ve written before about how grim conditions are in the Bangkok Hilton, Bangkok’s infamous maximum security prison Klong Prem. (Not to be confused with the recently opened and very posh Bangkok Millennium Hilton hotel – it must have caused their marketing department nightmares). There has been a slew of memoirs written by foreigners of their time in Thai jails – most notably Warren Fellows’ The Damage Done and Sandra Gregory’s Forget You Had A Daughter, as well as the Australian TV mini series Bangkok Hilton starring Nicole Kidman – but David McMillan’s is somewhat different.
Not only did McMillan manage to escape from the Bangkok Hilton, but whilst he was in the jail, he managed to bribe the guards so that his life was one of relative luxury compared to other foreigners’ tales of routine beatings, appalling food, and being locked in a room with 50 other men for days at a time. Therefore his prison memoir has a unique perspective on both how he wound up in jail and how he was able to still exercise some influence within the prison to better his conditions and ultimately create his escape.
Andrew Drummond interviewed McMillan on the publication of the book and their undeniably fascinating conversation has been syndicated in various forms in Bangkok’s The Nation, The Australian and This Is London..
Richard Barrow at the excellent Thai-Blogs.com has also done a pretty comprehensive interview with McMillan which adds in lots more detail too. I’ll definitely be getting hold of a copy for myself.