Kiwi ex-pat arrested in Thailand

A New Zealand ex-pat living in Thailand has been sentenced to more than four years in prison for drug charges, local news organisation reports.

Garry Halpin, 52, was a tourist police volunteer in Phuket when he was arrested in December after police found 18.45 grams of crystal methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, a digital scale and cough syrup in his room at Chalong Villa Resort and Spa.

According to the Phuket Gazette website, Halpin confessed to the drugs charges he was facing in his trial, reducing his original sentence of nine years and eight months in prison by half.

The original fine of 500,000 baht was also reduced to 250,000 baht.

He is now due to serve four years and 10 months behind bars.

"Garry was a tourist police volunteer who always helped the Chalong Police to communicate with tourists," Lieutenant Colonel Jarun Bangprasert of the Phuket Provincial Police told the Phuket Gazette.

"He worked closely with police, and used this connection to convince foreigners that he could do what he wanted, right or wrong,"

A tip-off from a 25-year-old arrested in Rawai led police to Halpin. The 25-year-old was arrested the day before Halpin was taken into custody.

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