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Checking in to the Bangkok Hilton

Visiting just one of the thousands of Britons jailed abroad can be an enriching experience for both of you, as James Hopkirk discovered

I didn’t know how I would recognise David. As the prisoners filed out of their cells and into the visitors’ compound I tried to make eye contact with any westerners as they shuffled past my window. Eventually a balding, middle-aged man pulled up a chair in front of me, picked up the telephone and introduced himself. We didn’t know each other, and until a few minutes before he didn’t even know he had a visitor. We were meeting for the first time through reinforced glass at Bangkok’s Bangkwang prison.

David is one of more than 2,500 Britons in foreign jails and for him, like many others, visits from tourists and expats constitute much of the contact he has with the outside world.

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