Chiang Mai - Thailand
A Thai man named Dum was sapped behind the right ear and manhandled into the back of a covered pickup truck where he was trussed up and blind folded. He was given a shot to keep him out for a while and he was taken to an empty warehouse on the outskirts of Chiang Mai.
Inside he was strapped solidly to an ancient wheel-chair. The blindfold was removed and he was left alone for the night… no lights - no ventilation.
He woke with a throbbing headache to find himself bound to a chair in a dark building. All was quiet and he almost died of fright when he heard pigs grunting nearby causing him to pee his pants. He knew from the sounds that they were not very far away. He wasn’t a very religious man, but his father came from the south of Thailand and he had been raised a Muslim. Pigs and Muslims did not mix well together. Little did he know that the pigs were there for that very reason?
With dawn approaching light began to creep into the building and his surroundings began to come into focus. He realized that he was in a large warehouse. As more light filtered in he could see that his chair was facing a piece of machinery but he couldn’t tell what kind.
As his head continued to clear and the lighting improved he found that he was facing some sort of a hay machine but had no idea as to what type. He sat there and the machine sat there. They were very close together. Everything was quiet with the exception of the occasional grunts from the dreadful pigs.
Dum’s fears subsided a bit until he heard the grunting of the pigs turn into wild squealing frenzy and he came to reckon that they were being fed and that they were very hungry.
Then he heard a switch being thrown. Electric motors were first humming and then whining as the monster in front of him came to thunderous life, raking in the piles of straw on the apron and with a ram coming forward jamming it into a chamber.
The ram went back and forward with Dum watching, his eyes as big as silver dollars. His mouth opened wide with fear and fascination when, with a series of mechanical movements, wires were tied and with a clunk-clunk sound, a solid bale of straw was ejected out onto the floor next to him. That’s when Dump pissed his pants for the second time.
He didn’t hear the switch but the machine started to wind down and eventually all movement came to a stop. Dum was visibly shaking in his bonds, drenched with sweat and urine.
Someone wearing a hideously grinning clown mask seemingly appeared out of nowhere and dropped a hood over Dum’s head. Everything went quiet again and then he could hear movement behind him and an authoritative and forceful voice beginning an interrogation in a place, time and setting where there were no equivalents to the warnings about prisoner’s rights for he had none.
“Your name is Aroon Jikkham. Your mother nick-named you Dum because you were so dark-skinned. You are 25 years old and you were born in Korat. When you were 17 you were arrested for molesting a young neighborhood girl. The charges were dropped only after your mother made a settlement to the girl’s parents.
“You were arrested 6 years ago for selling drugs, served one year at in the provincial prison and then released. Your mother died of a broken heart while you were in prison.
“You were arrested again in Phitsanulok four years ago for possession with intent to sell some hash, served six months and somehow got out on probation.
“Since then we know that you have become deeply involved with some people in the heroin trade.”
There was a pause. “We need your cooperation. Will you assist us?”
There was no response from Dum.
“Will you assist us!?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about………… I am not working with… “
The masked man raised his hand and the switch was thrown and the electric motors wound quickly up to speed with the sweeper tongs going around and around and the jaws opening and closing as the piston moved in and out.
Dum could feel his chair being moved closer to the pick-up of the machine. The hood was abruptly removed and to his horror he could see that the pick-up tines were almost brushing against his legs.
Two men with masks threw in several bundles of straw that were rammed into the chamber and then threw in a teddy bear and a life-sized baby doll which in seconds were snatched away into the closing jaws. They followed the doll with more hay and in a moment the tying mechanism rotated and out the end of the contraption popped a new bail with parts of the doll and a leg of the teddy bear sticking out.
The switch was thrown once more and the machinery wound down.
“Now, for the last time…. will you help us!?”
“But they’ll kill me if I …..”
From behind him Manit shook the chair and called to the man near the switch saying: “Enough! Turn it on and let’s get it done! The pigs are hungry and I’m tired of trying to reason with this fool.”
“NO! NO! What is it you want me to do? I’ll do it.” Dum had defecated and urinated in his pants again and was trembling both from his withdrawal from the drugs he depended upon and from utter fear.
“Okay. Blindfold him and give him a shot to settle him down. Then take him to the wash room, hose him down and cleaned up. Then bring him back here.”
A while later Dum wearing a different shirt and sarong was rolled back into the room near the baling machine. Blindfolded, he did not make a sound.
Manit asked, “Do you know who we are?”
Hesitantly: “Are you Police?”
“No. We are the worst nightmare of crooked cops. Our strings go far higher than the police. They have no control over us whatsoever. It is we who have control over them. If you had not agreed to assist us we could have and would have put you through that machine. And, if you fail to keep your word or try to betray us we will do just that. The people that you are associated with might only kill you. But we will bail you up feed you to the pigs. Is that clear?”
“Yes, but what…………?”
“What we want is very little. We want you to help someone get a job. That’s all. This man will find you in the next few days and introduce himself as a friend and he’ll tell you what you have to do.”
“And remember this. You will be watched day and night and should you ever turn on us your life will be short and you’ll die painfully for we’ll throw you to the pigs alive. You got that?”
“What if Prakorb…. But what if they should find out about this guy ……my new friend………?”
Manit, “The only way they will find out is if you tell them and I don’t think that you want to do that, now do you?”
He waved his arm and the bailing machine sprang into life and let run for a few minutes and then shut down.
“Do you fully understand us Khun Dum?”
Sobbing uncontrollably, Dum nodded his head. “Yes. Yes, I understand.”
“Alright Khun Dum and this I promise to you. If you assist us, then we will assist you in time of need. You have my word.”
Manit walked away and said quietly to the medic: “Okay, give him something to eat. Then give him another shot to put him out and have your men take him back and drop him off near his house after dark.”
Later, as they were leaving the warehouse, Manit casually mentioned to his Sergeant Major: “Pittoon, I think it’d be best if you can get that equipment greased up. It sounds like it is going to go shake itself to pieces or explode.”
“And, while you are at it, pick up some more hay and buy some more Teddy Bears and Dolls. They’re very effective.”
”Also, give the watchman enough money to feed the pigs for the next month. We might have a barbecue coming up.”
Manit went out into the yard climbing into an older model unmarked pickup and headed back into Chiang Mai to bring the DEA people up to date on progress.