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Thai jail vermin were my friends: Swedish ex-con

The Local · 3 Aug 2012, 11:19

Published: 03 Aug 2012 11:19 GMT+02:00

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"The rats, a bug and the cockroaches became my family. You may laugh at it today but that is how it was," Jens Månvinge told daily Aftonbladet.

An acute lack of funds persuaded Månvinge to become a narcotics courier in the mid-90s but he was foiled in Thailand and sentenced to death, a penalty later changed to 30 years imprisonment.

“It was the consequence that I had to face, but it was hard to know how to deal with that amount of time,” said Månvinge to the paper.

Månvinge was taken to the Thai Klong-Prem prison, also known as the "Bangkok Hilton", which is built to hold 6,000 prisoners but in reality holds twice that amount.

He told the paper that he survived his first time in the jail by planning his escape, but later changed his mind and aided a fellow prisoner’s flight to freedom.

However, this support came at a severe cost as he was punished with two and a half months of isolation. This period of time he spent chained to the wall in a dirty cell, with only rats and bugs for company.

However, the fact that the cell was infested was what saved him from going mad, according to Månvinge, who befriended his small cell mates.

“They became my friends. I turned to them and felt a support, like you do from a pet. They meant the world to me," Månvinge told Aftonbladet.

He named the male rat Louisiana Joe and the female Big Mama, according to Aftonbladet. The bug was called Den Senila Skalbaggen (The Senile Bug).

“I couldn’t always see their eyes but I knew they were watching me. In that kind of situation, these things become important,“ he told the paper.

Månvinge spent six years in Thai prison before being transferred to a Swedish jail.

Story continues below…

In 2007 he was able to re-enter society and has now written a book about his experiences in Thailand entitled Den senila skalbaggens tröst (The comfort of the the senile bug).

The Local/rm


The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:54 August 4, 2012 by charubun pananon
How can he know which rat is male or female ?
05:10 August 5, 2012 by jimmyjames
A moving article. It has been several decades since I'd thought of my own similar experiances. One tends to push such memories into the furthest closets of the mind. I have no doubt my relationship with the creatues I lived with saved my sanity, my humanity, and ultimately my life. People often think of such creatues as "lower" life forms, I know better as does Manvinge. Others who have never been in such situations have no way of understanding nor could they ever understand without the benefit of the such transformative experiances. In these circumstances people will travel to areas of themselves they could never have envisioned or else they can go the other way which leds ultimately to insanity and death. You always find the exact same threads of understanding in stories that relate similar experiances in circumstances of hopelessness, deprevation, and torture. I look forward to reading the book. As for determining the sex of rats....the same way as you determine the sex of humans......you look and become aware of the obvious.
23:22 August 5, 2012 by toyotabedzrock
Why did they leave him in the Swedish jail for so long?
06:55 August 10, 2012 by sonia hust
sounds like middle-aged toothless mennonite internet porn addict cum sunday school teacher dieter dyck of ottawa canada
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