Hounded Brit Scientist Now The Victor in Thai Academic War

Thailand’s Director of Innovation Breached Academic Ethics

From Andrew Drummond, Bangkok, June 22 2012

A British academic, who faced physical attacks, verbal abuse, and debilitating legal actions after exposing the director of Thailand’s National Innovation Agency as a fraud, was today vindicated after a four and a half year battle.

The chief of the agency responsible for innovation in Thailand had in a bare faced and unethical way simply plagiarised others to get his doctorate, a University council has now ruled.

Now Supachai Lorlowhakarn is expected to resign his post as the man in charge of the Ministry of Science and Agriculture’s National Innovation Agency. Innovation, it seems, got the better of him.

Wyn Ellis, 54, an agricultural consultant from Swansea, Glamorgan, said he had tried in vain to stop the NIA’s director from copying his UN/ITC report “Strengthening the Export Capacity of Thailand’s Organic Agriculture” but was ignored.

Despite Mr.Ellis’ complaints Supachai Lorlowhakarn was awarded a research doctorate by Thailand’s top University and rose to be the top man in an agency set up ‘to promote innovation culture and create awareness of innovation at all levels of Thai society’.

Following a decision on Thursday Chulalongkorn University today announced that it has now revoked Mr. Lorlowhakarn’s degree.

“The University Board has now taken into consideration all the facts and has concluded that the thesis is not in accordance with university regulations,” adding, “it is also in breach of academic ethics”.

Wyn Ellis complained that Lorlowhakarn had copied outright some 80 per cent of his paper.

After making the complaint he was unsuccessfully sued for criminal and civil libel in nine cases by Mr. Lorlowhakarn and on two occasions had bricks thrown through the windshield of his car as he went to court to defend himself.

Dr. Ellis, who studied at Reading and Oxford Universities said in Bangkok today:

 “This is the end of  four and a half years of indifference, obstruction, duplicity and sloth.

“I am glad the language of the announcement is strong.  For exposing the truth I have been put through the wringer. I have received verbal abuse.

“I have had bricks thrown at me, and big agencies have been reluctant to employ me because I became a hot potato

““Whilst I am relieved that my allegations have been finally upheld, several questions remain. The first is regarding the role of the academic advisers, who to my knowledge have not been investigated despite the university’s promise to do so.

“Secondly, it is now incumbent upon the Thai Journal of Agricultural Science to immediately retract a paper based on the plagiarized thesis.

“Its refusal to act upon prima facie evidence is reprehensible, and is compounded by baseless personal attacks made against me by TJAS’ Editor-in-Chief. “

Mr. Ellis is a research consultant at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. He has conducted assignments for among others, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the UN International Trade Centre, the Asian Development Bank, and Britain’s Overseas Development Institute.

The Bangkok Post is now running with this

8 thoughts on “Hounded Brit Scientist Now The Victor in Thai Academic War

  1. Truth as a virtue is not necessarily a component part of Thai society. They operate differently and prefer a slightly more oblique attitude to life in which 2 + 2 does not necessarily have to be 4 if it is more convenient to arrive at another computation.
    Foreigners would do well to understand that in their dealings with the Thai.

  2. A minor correction: I am a freelance consultant, not a Chulalongkorn employee. (My 3-year research project with Chulalongkorn University was recently completed).

    I also note the reaction of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Science, who yesterday told Thai Rath that the Chula decision will have no impact on Supacahi's position at NIA.

    Clearly, he takes the view that SL's moral code is well suited to his job at NIA. I beg to differ.

  3. I am definitely NOT an intellectual by any capacity, but I will note this.
    One may live in Thailand, one may have a comprehensive command of the Thai language both written and spoken, but at the end of the day, Westerners can never be Thai, and never get into the Thai mindset. Asian thinking does not incorporate ideas such as plagiarism being wrong, as all that is important is the end result regardless of the route taken to achieve it. It's not unique to Thailand, as China has stolen many patents and technological systems and protocols to develop their "own" version of products and systems/procedures advancing their determination to be better than anyone else in this rapidly developing part of the world. Reputations and integrity of endeavour within Western academia, simply has no place in Asian development, which is accelerating at an astonishing rate. Such is our world, and like it or not, we now have to simply cop it sweet.

  4. On the contrary, if cheating is considered to be an innovation then he may well be admirably suited to the task.

  5. Congratulations Wyn, and also to you Erika.

    Hope to see you back here Erika – there is a lot of work to be done. Have you ever read that Andrew Drummond rag?

    Me neither.

    Must be all made up.


  6. I don't know what all the fuss is! I didn't have to do a thesis when I studied at the university of Khao Sarn road. But I graduated with honours 🙂

  7. With th is outcome of this story, recent allegations of widespread cheating within the police tests, and my now three separate shockingly, er… malpractional experiences with inept doctors that are boasted as " 5 star ", I too believe integrity and honesty have little place in the local mindset. EDITED

Comments are closed.