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Thai jail vermin were my friends: Swedish ex-con

A Swede incarcerated in a Thai prison after a lack of money made him turn to drug smuggling, has written a book about his experiences in Thai prison, in an isolation cell with only rats and cockroaches for company.

Thai jail vermin were my friends: Swedish ex-con
The bug in the picture is not the bug mentioned in the article.

“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.

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

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Swedish police remove sculpture mistaken for suicide victim

Police on the island of Gotland removed a public sculpture from the Galgberget nature reserve near Visby on the grounds that it is just too creepy.

Swedish police remove sculpture mistaken for suicide victim
The gallows at Galgeberget. Photo: Artifex/WikiCommons
According to local news site Hela Gotland, someone was out for a stroll on Galgeberget (the Gallows Hill) on Wednesday when they saw what they thought was a body hanging after a suicide. Local police were contacted but when they went to investigate they instead found a sculpture by artist Jessica Lundeberg. 
 
The artwork, entitled ‘The Watcher in the Woods’, is a partially transparent plate sculpture that looks like a spooky little girl. 
 
 
Despite discovering that the suspected suicide victim was actually artwork, police determined that Lundeberg’s piece could scare others and thus took the sculpture down. 
 
“It was decided that if it were to remain, more people would likely be frightened in the same way,” Gotland police spokesman Ayman Aboulaich told Radio P4 Gotland. 
 
Lundeberg told Hela Gotland that the sculpture has been at Galgeberget since a public art project last summer and that this was the first time it had caused any concern. She said ‘The Watcher in the Woods’ was the only piece that was allowed to remain after the end of the project. But now it is there no more. 
 
 
Lundeberg has taken the sculpture back to her studio. While she hopes it will eventually return to Galgeberget, the artist told Hela Gotland it seems unlikely.  
 
She said that the sculpture was damaged by police. 
 
“It was ragged, dismantled and broken. I was horrified when I saw it,” she said. 
 
Police have reportedly promised to pay any necessary repair costs.
 
Although the person who reported the sculpture to the police has not spoken with the media, their jump to conclusions could perhaps be attributed to the nature reserve’s macabre history. Galgeberget is still home to gallows that were used to hang criminals for centuries. The last execution to be held at the site was in 1845, according to Hela Gotland
 
 
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