September 8, 2015 / 6:04 AM / in 2 years

Thailand frees British man blacklisted in plagiarism spat

BANGKOK (Reuters) - A British academic who accused a Thai official of plagiarism, and whose name later showed up on a national security blacklist as a potential danger to society, said on Tuesday he had been freed after being held for four days at a Bangkok airport.

Wyn Ellis, a long-term resident of Thailand with British and Thai citizenship, was freed late on Monday after he was detained shortly after arriving from Europe last Thursday.

Ellis is working on a sustainable rice program for the United Nations in Thailand. He discovered just a few days ago he had been blacklisted, apparently because of a 2009 letter written by the man he had accused of copying his work.

“I am out and I am off the blacklist,” Ellis told Reuters on Tuesday after spending four days in a cell with 15 other people.

“It’s a relief to be back in my own home. We had a glass of wine last night to celebrate,” he said.

Ellis said immigration officials showed him the 2009 letter after he was detained. In it, he said former National Innovation Agency (NIA) chief Supachai Lorlowhakarn had described him as a “danger to Thai society” and accused him of forgery, stealing government documents and plagiarism.

Supachai sent the letter to Thailand’s immigration bureau after Ellis had filed a complaint to authorities that Supachai had plagiarized from one of his studies.

The NIA told the immigration department last week that it had revoked Supachai’s letter.

Ellis said he had been coming and going to Thailand without any problem, but had lost his Thai passport on a recent trip to Britain and Norway. He was using his British passport when he returned to Thailand on Thursday.

Reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat and Simon Webb; Writing by Martin Petty; Editing by Paul Tait

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