Ex-Southampton lecturer arrested at gunpoint in Thailand

He blames Hampshire Police and brands them “racist”

A former lecturer at The University of Southampton was arrested at Bangkok airport this month after being blacklisted internationally by Hampshire Police.

Dr Declan Hayes, who lectured Finance at MSc and MBA level from October 2007 to September 2015 at the university, is blaming Hampshire Constabulary for being detained at gunpoint and held in a crowded cell for 18 hours. The 61 year old arrived in Thailand earlier this month but was immediately refused entry to the country for his planned 30-day trip. Thai police told him that his name had been placed on an Interpol list by a UK police branch.

Dr Hayes was stopped by Thai police shortly after getting off the plane he was on, searched and taken to a cockroach-infested cell which housed 60 men and two women. Once released, Hayes then had to cover the expenses of his own deportation from Thailand.

In an email to Hampshire Police, sent after the deportation, Hayes told of his detainee experiences, writing, “Though you will undoubtedly object to the tone of this e-mail, it is much more palatable than having a hyped-up Thai police officer stick a cocked .38 in your ear as he searches for contraband.”

dr hayes

Dr Declan Hayes (right) pictured with a Druze leader in Homs, Syria, at the time of the Presidential election

In early 2012 a man made threats against Dr Hayes and his property in Southampton, which Hayes reported in a statement to the Hampshire Constabulary. Dr Hayes says they are the only force which he has had dealings with and is holding them responsible for his ordeal.

In his correspondence with the force, Hayes wrote, “Hampshire Police put me on an Interpol blacklist in May 2012 for reasons that have not been made clear to me and which were never followed up in person with me when I lived [in Southampton] from May 2012 to September 2015 and when I had several dealings with the police over community and other matters.”

Despite a number of email and phone calls, however, Dr Hayes has not received any explanation or seen any action taken by Hampshire Police Force.

Dr Hayes told The Soton Tab, “They raided my house because Muslim Brotherhood supporters said I threatened them by tweet [in 2012]. My reasonable tweets were in response to threats, real and credible, they made against Catholic nuns, one English one Syrian. But it is easy to follow up nonsense like that instead of doing real Police work.

“The British Police in Hampshire had ample time to question me but they never did […] I have paid them money to get their file on me. I know they have nothing and that is why they have missed their own imposed deadlines.”

Dr Hayes claims that people are avoiding him over what he refers to as “outrageous allegations”.  In the email he has since sent to the force, Hayes demanded that Hampshire Police, “publically give me back my good, untarnished name and apologise to me and to the people of Ireland, Syria and Thailand for the harm and distress you have caused us all by your racist, sectarian, cavalier and totally unprofessional approach to policing.”

The former lecturer is adamant that he will fight for compensation. He now wants a formal apology from the force and to be removed from the list, as well as monetary compensation to cover the cost of his expenses to get home and further distress caused. He told the Tab, “I am going to play very hard with the right legal team at the right time. Any excess monies will go to charities in Syria not to me.”

Speaking to The Soton Tab about his experience, Dr Hayes said, “Scary is fear of the Unknown. As I’d lived in Japan for 10 years I knew what the cops in Thailand were capable of so the gun to the temple [was] not a particular surprise.

Hayes added that whilst in the cell he “spoke mostly to the Finn and a Palestinian, who had been in that windowless cell for a year and was a kind of sling Rat, existing by bartering. I gave him some spare baht from the £30 I had to pay for my lodgings.

“Thai police do not care if you fall foul of them. Those two women locked up with us could have been gang raped. I hope they got back to Laos.”

Dr Hayes was visiting Thailand for a number of reasons which include meeting people regarding his work on Syria.


Dr Hayes used to lecture at Southampton University

Dr Hayes told The Soton Tab he thinks that “Hampshire Police are trying to cover their butts.

“It is what police do in these circumstances […] They had 3.5 years up to and including 31 August 2015 to question me but did not. They have not met their own deadlines as they are in damage control mode.”

A Hampshire Police spokesman is reported to have said: “We don’t pay compensation to people who have been arrested by a foreign force and we wouldn’t comment on the work of Interpol.”

The Constabulary declined to comment further.