Fri, Jun 29, 2012 - Page 5 News List

Dental mission visits Taiwanese inmates in Thai jails

Staff Writer, with CNA, BANGKOK

Two Taiwanese dentists visited a prison in Bangkok, Thailand, on Wednesday to perform dental procedures on dozens of Taiwanese prisoners as well as offer them spiritual support.

Huang Chun-feng (黃淳豐) and Yang Chung-ho (楊忠和) examined and treated more than 30 Taiwanese prisoners at Klongprem Central Prison in the Thai capital. It was their fifth visit in five years to treat Taiwanese inmates in Thailand.

The dentists filled cavities, conducted root canal procedures and cleaned the teeth of prisoners.

One inmate surnamed Yu (于), said that the language barrier and lack of health insurance in Thailand meant that prisoners like him encountered numerous difficulties when seeking medical help.

The mission really helped resolve their dental problems, he said.

Huang said that despite the short period of time the dentists and the prisoners interacted it was still a reminder that their home country had not forgotten them.

Over the past five years, he has received many thank you cards and letters from the prisoners he treated in Thailand, Huang said.

Some of the inmates wrote about the change in their mindset before and after committing the crimes for which they were imprisoned.

One inmate wrote to Huang several times after treatment and told him about his life story, the period when he went astray, his time in prison and how religion had since changed him for the better, Huang said, adding that the man died of heart disease while still in prison.

Henry Chen (陳銘政), head of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Thailand, which helps to arrange the missions, promised the office would assist the inmates as much as possible and keep their families informed on their situation.

More than 170 Taiwanese nationals are in prison in Thailand. The representative office arranges a dental mission to one Thai prison each year to treat Taiwanese inmates, the office said.

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