Taranaki man held on drugs charges in Thailand

The Taranaki man arrested on drugs charges in Thailand is no stranger to controversy.

The man, named by Thai police as Taylor Grainger, 41, has been charged with possession of drugs on the holiday island of Phuket.

Police in the west coast holiday hub of Patong said Grainger was arrested with two packs of yaba methamphetamine amounting to 1.2 grams, and 0.95g of cocaine following a week-long drug blitz in the lead-up to Christmas.

Yaba in Thai translates to "madness drug". Yaba tablets contain a mixture of methamphetamine and caffeine.

Yesterday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said the man's correct name was Grainge Taylor.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is providing consular advice to the family of Grainge Taylor.

"The family have asked the media to respect their privacy at this time," a spokesperson said.

While the ministry would not say where Taylor was from, it has been suggested he is Taranaki man Grainge Madgwick.

Yesterday, the registrar-general and general manager of births, deaths, marriages and citizenship, Jeff Montgomery, confirmed Taylor and Madgwick were the same person.

He said Grainge Marriott Madgwick, born in November 1973, changed his name in December 2010 to Grainge Taylor.

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In October 2010 he was in the news after Westpac Bank's fraud investigation department laid a complaint with police alleging Grainge Madgwick used other people's details to get access to and use credit cards. 

At the time Madgwick was reported as saying he would pay back the money he had spent.

It was alleged the spending totalled more than $100,000.

No records could be found of any charges being laid against Madgwick over the matter.

Methamphetamine is a category one drug in Thailand and possession for personal use can lead to from one to 10 years' imprisonment or a $780 to $7800 fine, the Thailand Law Forum website says.

Cocaine, which Taylor was also allegedly found with, is classed as a category two drug.

Compared with other Southeast Asian countries, minor drugs charges in Thailand are treated as less serious offences.

Taylor is the third New Zealander to face drug allegations in Asian countries in recent weeks.

Antony de Malmanche was arrested on December 1 at Bali's Denpasar airport, allegedly with 1.7kg of methamphetamine in his backpack.

And Peter Gardner was detained in China in November with 30kg of methamphetamine allegedly in his luggage.

KIWIS DETAINED OVERSEAS

Other cases involving New Zealanders in overseas drug cases:

● In the late 1980s mother and son Lorraine and Aaron Cohen served 11 years in a Penang jail, before being released by Malaysia with a royal pardon.

● In 2013, New Zealand-born man Tony Ming Ly, 21, was charged over his alleged part in an international drug syndicate which imported 585 kilograms of methamphetamine into Australia.

● Former Maori Language Commission deputy chief executive Sharon Armstrong, of Taranaki, was arrested at Buenos Aires international airport on April 2011 after she was found with 5 kilograms of cocaine. She returned to New Zealand on October 2013.

● Sydney-based Peter Gardner, 25, was detained in China in November after 30kg of methamphetamine was found in his luggage.

● On December 1, Whanganui beneficiary Antony de Malmanche, 52, was arrested at Bali's Denpasar airport, allegedly with 1.7kg of methamphetamine in his backpack.

 - Taranaki Daily News

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