British Academic Removed From Blacklist After 4 Days At Thai Airport

September 8, 2015 – Academic rivalries and accusations of plagiarism rarely make international news. But that’s what unfolded at a Bangkok airport on Thursday, when British academic and agricultural consultant Wyn Ellis, a resident in Thailand, was refused entry to the country because of a years-long plagiarism dispute that left him branded a “danger to Thai society”.

Ellis spent four days in the transit section of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport after refusing to be deported, opting instead to stay in the airport until the matter was resolved.

He was finally allowed to re-enter Thailand last night.

Ellis’s problems originate from a row with a Thai official which began nine years ago that led to him being added to a Thai immigration blacklist. In 2006 Ellis made complaints that the then head of Thailand’s National Innovation Agency (NIA) Supachai Lorlowhakarn had plagiarized much of his doctorate dissertation from early research that Ellis had conducted on asparagus.

After a series of legal battles, Supachai was stripped of his doctorate by Chulalongkorn University and was convicted of criminal forgery in 2012. He was also fired from his position as director the NIA.

The matter appeared to have been resolved, but on Thursday Ellis, who is married to a Thai academic, had been returning from a trip to Europe. He was detained at the Bangkok airport, where immigration officers showed him a letter sent from Supachai in 2009 that accused Ellis of forgery, stealing government documents, and being an overall “danger to Thai society.”

“It was entirely my choice to stay to clear the situation locally. So, I want to make it clear I was never kept locked up by the Immigration Dept; this was my choice to remain so I could clear my name from the blacklist,” he wrote Monday night.

He added that he was allowed to work in an immigration office and was provided with “excellent” food and “REAL coffee” by immigration staff.

But when Ellis was eventually released today, the only emotions he expressed were relief and gratitude, as he tweeted: