A British scientist who went through five years of hell after revealing that Thailand’s Director of Innovation stole his research for a PHd has finally been fully vindicated by a Thai court.

Dr Wyn Ellis, 55, from Morriston, Swansea, was attacked with bricks and forced to undergo nine criminal trials for ‘violation’ and ‘defamation’ of the man who is supposedly leading Thailand into the 21st century.

All but one was dismissed. But (Thursday) the Dusit Appeal Court in Bangkok overturned the last case and Ellis’s name was cleared completely.

There appeared to be little doubt of his innocence. Ellis, an expert on organic farming, had shown how the Director of Innovation, Supachai Lorlowhakarn, had copied over 160 of 176 pages of his research into among other things growing asparagus and then presented it as his own to gain a PHd.

Supachai has since has had his PHd withdrawn by Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University on the grounds of plagiarism and serious ethical misconduct, and has been found guilty of criminal forgery. But his six month sentence was suspended and he was fined a mere 6000 Thai baht (£127.09).

Not only that but he was allowed to keep his job.

Meanwhile Dr. Ellis lost his job and was drained of all his cash, left with sometimes less than £100 to his name as the Thai authorities backed the prosecutions and the newspaper which carried his complaint sacrificed him to the courts.

Dr Ellis said, “I’m grateful to the Appeal Court for its vindication of the right of the individual to offer honest criticism of public officials and to report on anything that may affect their fitness for office. The court found that my comments to be truthful, legitimately made and in the public interest.

“It’s high time that bad apples are weeded out.”

Erika Fry

The reporter who first covered the plagiarism case for the Bangkok Post, Erika Fry, later said she had to flee Thailand after the newspaper did a deal which left her and Ellis to stand trial, while the newspaper avoided prosecution. She later wrote her story for the Columbia Journalism Review.

Escape from Thailand

Thailand’s Director of Innovation was ‘criminal forger’

Academic Scandal

The newspaper you can trust


Its hard to imagine a greater abuse of Thailand’s criminal libel laws. The story speaks for itself. What’s left to ask? Where indeed were the people at the Ministry? Where were the ethically minded?  Where was the courageous campaigning investigative newspaper? Its hard to believe that this has happened in a city which has all the trappings of the modern world. The pressures on Dr. Ellis’ private and work life must have been immense – but he has come through this with his held up high after surviving a beating that unfortunately Thailand can give so well. Bricks through his car windows! What century are we in?


  1. Thailand is not third world. And I am not sure it's that easy to Thais are like this or like that. This is a matter of corruption. I think Obama recently loss face too and has dealt with it by condemning those who criticise him.

  2. The factual nature of the content of my letter should have been obvious to police investigating Supachai's claim.

    We were surprised that the prosecutor should file an appeal, having already won the case in the lower court. And now that the Appeal Court has sensibly quashed this verdict and dismissed the charge, it's still not over.

    Although the wording of the Appeal Court verdict seems to leave limited scope for a new appeal by the Prosecutor, I have yet to be informed whether they will pursue the case to the Supreme Court- which could add several years to the process. They should stop wasting taxpayers' money and drop the case now.

  3. It's just a different way of looking at innovation. In much the same way that Thaksin is a reformist democrat, Chalerm is interested in the Rule of Law, Kitti Na Ranong is an economist, Peua Thai is a socialist party and the redshirts are upholders of peace and equality. The list of Thai-style reality show participants is endless, and the creativity of their working methods are legendary (in the sense of completely beggaring belief).

    1. I suppose my pedestrian thinking is the root of the problem here. If only we could all conduct our lives like SuperChai, by aspiring to be Porsche drivers when we haven't yet fully figured out how to navigate our way through life on our own two feet. Perhaps awareness is a bit like the highway code. Look right, look left, look right again. The Head of Innovation obviously didn't think he needed to master such pedestrian skills. And by doing so, he missed out on an essential learning experience that would have better equipped him for the road ahead. It does now seem that politically-ambitious people everywhere in the world are guilty of taking such shortcuts in their education. Awareness most certainly should work both ways. I have spent many years trying to figure what motivates those who really aspire to greatness – for the very simple reason that their whim can have a profound effect on my quality of life. I'm still not much wiser, regardless of where they come from. (Well they don't exactly live on the same planet, do they?);-) But then again, just how many aspiring people have really made even a minor effort to understand their common constituents. Very few, I would say.

      Those who aspire to be in charge had better be very sure that they understand basic pedestrian values. Otherwise they end up losing major face. (A fate worse than death? I think NOT.)

      So why are we making excuses for such ill-equipped people?

  4. But, wouldn't you agree? I cannot stand this hands off status Thais enjoy. It is quite simply, a Fonzi factor. Or young Thai wives tales? Bit of both I suppose. Somebody write THE book….

  5. Your comments,Doi,indicate that you have completely understood. Having spent many years trying to find some common ground with their ideas of hierarchy, mai pen rai and (supposed)no conflict(remarkably like vested conservatism everywhere),one doesn't so much dismiss these things as realize their irrelevance to the vast majority. Now if I were advocating hate and violence against such power-hungry factions, your 'cultural awareness' capitulation might be excusable.

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