Looking back, Prasert Sriwaurai isn’t sure what stopped the crew from killing their skipper. But he can’t forget the anguish that drove them to discuss, in whispered voices, whether a body thrown into the depths of the ocean would ever be discovered.
For years, the fishermen had been trapped at sea in brutal conditions – forced to work or face being beaten with barbed stingray tails, scalded by boiling water and woken up with hammer blows. For many desperate to escape the boat, murder felt like the only option.
“I just feel pity, thinking about it,” said Sriwaurai, now a 60-year-old monk in a remote village in northeastern Thailand. “I feel pitiful for myself and others. We just wanted to go home, but were stopped and pushed to the point where we discussed killing. It’s pitiful.”
Sriwaurai’s six years held captive are a far cry from the life he expected when he joined the boat in 2009, lured by the promise of a monthly salary of 10,000 baht (£230) and decent conditions.