Edwin Wiek - Activist or Liar?
Apparently the temple does have its limits and feel they have been overstepped by three over-exuberent individual campaign addicts who have spoken out publicly in Thailand. It is a criminal act to publicly slander a Thai. Edwin Wiek is a serious animal saviour but has made public accusations about the Abbot. Some of his past remarks are not without foundation but unlike the west where you would have to submit civil proceedings for damages and a public apology, in Thailand it is criminal and can result in a prison sentence. The papers cannot even report this accurately thus proving the press in the east is just as bad as the UK. This cutting says the temple is suing the three. It is not, they have got fed up with the torrent of abusive language used by campaign groups and have complained to the Police:
The accusations and character assassinations by Edwin Wiek do not only extend to organisations that he personally doesn't like. I have also been a subject of his victimisation in some very sick and cruel ways that display an acute lack of respect for people who disagree with his opinions and he provides organisations that he is associated with a very poor image.
Most recent was a personal tirade on the Lonely Planet forum where his friend Khunwilko described me as "a Walter Mitty type character with Aspergers Syndrome, delusional, that I make up these facts with no evidence to prove any of it".
I can publish papers on this website and they will say I forged it or altered it. I have even been accused of forging emails from individuals and the depths they stoop to seem bottomless when you point out a mistake or that they have incorrectly interpreted something.
This needs putting into perspective. Firstly Khunwilko, who sometimes uses the nickname cowslip, and was born in Plymouth, according to him self had a happy childhood and his one happy memory is of boating in Salcombe. The reality is he was not a popular kid, was bullied at school, and boating is not his favourite pasttime. He was christened William, brother to Jacob, by Mr. and Mrs. Bell and when trying to get into teaching in the UK moved to Stoneleigh in Warwickshire where he failed in his attempt to gain a teaching certificate and so took a TEFL course as an alternative. He did manage to travel funded by teaching English to foreign students going to places such as Bonaire, Caracas, Banff, Barcelona, and Bangkok and finally to Sri Ratcha where he has been for more than a decade. In 2004/5 he suffered a nervous breakdown but luckily met an Australian psychiatrist who helped him to recover. He has never been to the Tiger Temple nor does he have any conservation or animal welfare qualifications. He does not know anybody who has investigated the temple nor has he submitted any evidence or papers on the issue. He is married to a Thai national but has not managed to learn the language or does not wish to. He does not posses any of the necessary qualifications to take any serious part in any Thai debatable issue and spends all his considerable amount of available spare time posting on web forums. He claims he cannot divulge his real name because he works for an official Thai government department. This is a lie and he teaches English in a low class school in Sri Ratcha where he tells the kids to call him Khun Wilko. Nothing he has to say on the Tiger Temple issue is of any relevance and is largely ignored by the three key proponents of anachak, cee4life, and the CWI.
Mr. Wiek on the other hand is a very different individual. He is manipulative, destructive, an absolute liar of the kind I have not met since childhood. He is far from 'losing the plot' despite his attempt at using faltering health to get out of the charges laid before him by the temple. He has emailed me to say that everything I have to say about the CWI, himself, and the reasoning behind the defamation of the temple in Sai Yok is all lies. I invited him to correct all my inaccuracies or mistakes and I will acknowledge his input. He subsequently declined to communicate with me any further.
He also cast aspersions about Sybelle Foxcroft and so I forwarded his email to her and asked her to comment. As you would expect she declined and contacted both Mark Jones of the CWI and Edwin Wiek of WFFT about Wiek's rather personal comments. At this point I confess to enjoying an element of soup-stirring but I was surprised to receive this email from Wiek and had fallen into the trap of thinking all these people live in harmony. I have since had a very short reply from the CEO of cee4life.org that included Edwin Wiek's reply to her in which he writes:
"We have not said anything at all about you, and the e-mail from Anachak is made up by the guy himself. But I think you know that already. I am very busy with much more important things and don’t want to waste my time on false accusations".
It is true that I could have made up the email and I cannot prove what the content of his original email was but the message does contain the MIME information which shows clearly the communication came from his domain server. He deliberately calls me anachak in his reply and in the Thorn Tree forum denied knowing my name even though the email he sent back with his reply to Sybelle Foxcroft contained the email between myself and Wiek signed with my real name. Lastly is his comment about not wanting to waste time with false accusations which beggers the question 'Then why do you spend so much time and public funds doing exactly that?'.
Because this reply was forwarded by Ms. Foxcroft I only have her email certificate so presumably if he suddenly decided to reply to me he would deny sending her his reply too which was: (please note I do not publish emails from anachak visitors but this is an exception)
Subject: RE: Anachak Mail Sent @ 22/07/2010 03:24:18
Date: Thu, 26 Aug 2010 08:34:38 +0700
(the first line of this email is removed as it is highly offensive to the recipient)
We have not said anything at all about you, and the e-mail from Anachak is made up by the guy himself. But I think you know that already.
I am very busy with much more important things and don't want to waste my time on false accusations...
Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand
The email to which he is referring and denies sending is this:
> From: "Edwin Wiek" - firstname.lastname@example.org
> Sent: Thursday, July 22, 2010 6:53 AM
> To: "'Rich@Anachak'" - email@example.com
> Subject: RE: Anachak Mail Sent @ 22/07/2010 03:24:18
I would like to know who wrote the article on the page "Sybelle" It is full of issues that are not correct and I feel that whoever wrote
it is more interested in hurting some people or organizations then trying to publish some facts for the mutual benefit of our society or
wildlife conservation. It states for one example that I have been convicted, and although that was correct in the lower court and the court
of appeal, I have been ruled Not Guilty in the supreme court. Another issue is that CWI does indeed pay for the legal support; as they
started publicizing the issues at the tiger temple they feel partly responsible for the case. They also pay for two more animal
welfare/wildlife conservation Thais who have been charged as well.
Sybelle (I assume she wrote it now) is a frustrated woman who tries everything to get her "book" published and slugs off everyone that is
not 100% agreeing with her. I believe facts should be presented when we publish things on websites or print them in papers, not blatant lies.
With best regards,
The article he refers to at Who is sybelle foxcroft? doesn't say anything about criminal convictions and he provides me with another line of enquiry in his paranoia. Then he says the CWI does indeed pay for his legal fees. Forgive my inability to understand why this is not a fact Edwin but that is exactly the point I was making. Now I am no psychiatric expert but I can see that you have very real problems in managing your temper let alone animal welfare, and the derisory comments you make about me, my mental state, and my twisting the truth does serious harm to the credibility of other animal welfare organisations.
Sometime after writing this article he did just as expected and sent out a denial about Sybelle Foxcroft on his wfft facebook site and one of his followers sent it on to me:
"I have not e-mailed, called or send messages in any other way over the last 4 months. If she claims that I did do so, that i was abusive in any way, she is making that up or has been misinformed" and: "I am not hiding behind other names or persons, if I have something to say I will do so directly. WFFT has collected info on the tiger temple over the last year and finalized a full stripe pattern analysis. Other orgs also did work on the TT issue, but one org in particular seems to feel that this cause is their own 'pet' project"
So now both Ms. Foxcroft and myself are both liars? As the woman in question and myself are directly opposed to each others opinion of the temple it is highly unlikely we would conspire to defame an irrelevant Dutchman in Petchaburi however he did not expect this private message to find its way to me and it will be very amusing if he should choose to deny this correspondence as well. I would like very much for someone at the CWI to read this as well because they have been a third party to some of these emails and would be well informed to discover what kind of person Edwin Wiek is. If you are reading this please note: you have seen the emails via cc; you were asked to remind Wiek to tone down his language; he used third parties and pseudonyms to try to argue with me on facebook and would not make any points directly; The WFFT has not collected anything about the temple, it was Edwin Wiek who has been asking people to volunteer information (or is that an admission that tigertempletruths and wfft are one and the same?); the tiger striping was performed by Ms. Foxcroft; and one org did make it their goal in life to stop the abuse at the temple, but that was why you sent one or two investigators to her, apart from you didn't know the answers to what they were asking of course.
Your claim on Thorn Tree that WFFT is a conservation organisation is misguided. It is a sanctuary, they rescue injured animals and rehabilitate them back into the wild. These are not endangered species, they are indigenous to Thailand, and you do not know the difference. Save the Tiger ran a program to re-introduce the Siberian Tiger and they have been overwhelmingly successful - This is a fine example of conservation.
The WFFT Park in Petchaburi does rehabilitate Gibbons back into the wild and that is an excellent practice that should be applauded - but it is not of conservational value because the Gibbon is going to survive as a species whether you put them back or not.
You also claim you no longer reply to me because I tell too many lies and criticise your work. It does animal welfare a disservice when you fail to answer your critics and the truth is; You are unable to answer questions because you do not know the answers. You are not an animal expert, nor a conservation expert, you are not Dr. Wiek, nor am I able to find any formal qualifications under your name. And yet your argument for my 'keeping my nose out' is that I am not suitably qualified. I am not certain yet, but I think you are a fraud, and have gotten in through the back-door. Now this doesn't mean you are not capable nor does it mean you are not knowledgeable because this field of work is relatively new as are the qualifications that go with it. But the very same rules apply to me. I am an amateur, but I did take the time to learn, unlike you who could not do the tiger striping for his own defence against Wat Pa Luangta Bua Yannasampanno. Nor have you personally collected evidence against the temple. As opposed to me who can and did.
Meanwhile you will repeat 'it is easy to be a critic, much harder to do the job'. You are quite right and I am being critical, and so were you about the temple, Abbott Phra Archarn, me, and several other members of the Lonely Planet Forum. And to prove that you really did send the email here is the certificate:
Received: from Postfix filter 42a77884ce2a0a03efc6bb50a6dcdb21 (smtp-in-133 [127.0.0.1])
by smtp-in-133.livemail.co.uk (Postfix) with SMTP id E7AFE24E4C3
for <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Thu, 22 Jul 2010 06:53:25 +0100 (BST)
Received: from smtp113.biz.mail.sp1.yahoo.com (smtp113.biz.mail.sp1.yahoo.com [126.96.36.199])
by smtp-in-133.livemail.co.uk (Postfix) with SMTP id 525F924E4C3
for <email@example.com>; Thu, 22 Jul 2010 06:53:24 +0100 (BST)
Received: (qmail 45123 invoked from network); 22 Jul 2010 05:53:24 -0000
Received: from HPPC (firstname.lastname@example.org with login)
by smtp113.biz.mail.sp1.yahoo.com with SMTP; 21 Jul 2010 22:53:23 -0700 PDT
I am fairly expert in things computer and I can translate what this certificate tells us but I cannot create it. I wouldn't know how but a very kind reader emailed me anonymously to say "He logged into Yahoo from 188.8.131.52.dynamic-range.ttt.co.th -> Thailand. The mail was delivered by smtp-in-133.livemail.co.uk"
Thank you email@example.com for that bit of crucial feedback.
I could take it further and request a lookup but it would probably be in Edwin Wiek's own interest to own up at this point and admit he lied. Or if he persists he can copy the MIME certification and send it to Yahoo and ask them if it is genuine. He won't do that of course because he knows he lied. And this begs for another reasonable question - if he lies so easily, why should you believe what he tells you about other organisations to which he is so critical?
This page is aptly named tigertempletruths because I want to oppose that site which contains the most appalling untruths. That encourages me to think what a coincidence? My very first contact with the opposition to the temple was with David Hargreaves of tigertempletruths.org who steered me to the CWI and the nonsense report by them that had got me curious to begin with. I tried asking him for more information such as his facebook profile and personal contact details and where he is located, all of which he was reluctant to respond to. I wondered if this was Professor David Hargreaves but actually he would stick to facts. The reports and photos looked familiar and the language is repetitive of other sites. It is obvious that intelligence is being gathered by David Hargreaves, someone whose name is not known to the temple in question, who posts no photographs of himself, and who does not want to meet any of those who have been involved in some way. The name has never been associated with the CWI, khunwilko doesn't know who Hargreaves is and neither does Sybelle Foxcroft. He does not say when he visited the temple or why, he doesn't reveal who his contacts are, nor is his information accurate. In other words, David Hargreaves is a psuedonym. So who is he?
The site itself contains videos that are old news and mostly irrelevant because it does not show the changes that have been made to try to improve the situation. What is the point of publicising a mistreatment when the staff member, the tiger, and the means used are no longer there? Except to publicise your grievance. But tigertempletruths has never been to the temple so how could they have a grievance? Too many of the reports made to them such as "It is a weekly occurance at least that a tourist is bitten. I saw a 9 year old boy get bitten on the hand, a lady being attacked and going into shock after been bitten on the foot during exercise and many more injuries"
This volunteer went during a bad period that's a fact. I didn't see a single injury to the public while I was there though staff did get wounds but this needs putting in perspective, it is half a ton of rhino skinned playful cat with huge claws and razor sharp teeth. If you think you will not get hurt when they play around you are not well enough familiarised to be there at all. You have gone there to indulge yourself and when it goes wrong you blame the temple.
Most of the images are also out of date and some like this one:
Have no connection with the temple at all. This is a news media stock photo of a staged Police raid on a trafficking gang trying to cross the border into Laos. This is an all too familiar problem in Thailand and one they are keen to stamp out but was not alerted by the temple nor was it anywhere near Sai Yok.
A lot of the material published on the site is correct but misinterpreted or downright skewed to deliberately mislead. Fiona Patchett who is quoted did not invent any of her findings but that leads to a tiger temple 'lies' page with statements like:
Q5) Are the tigers sedated or drugged in anyway?
THE TIGER TEMPLE SAYS - No, they are not drugged
THE TRUTH - Yes, tigers sleep during the heat of the day. They are not, however, incapable of waking up, as many of the tigers at the temple are. If tigers slept so deeply, as one tourist commented on, that they could not feel themselves being dragged around by the throat, the species would be extinct in the wild.
The Truth is: You are trying to imply that the tigers are drugged and you have absolutely no evidence that is happening. In fact the amount of Ketamine required to knock out an adult tiger would leave it so helpless that it could easily stop breathing and in the canyon temperature and lack of veterinarian support it would probably do just that. It would require the skills of an experienced anaesthetist to sedate the cat so accurately and it would have to be monitored all the time it was under. The temple staff does not possess this kind of skill. It is a ridiculous claim that was first put about by Edwin Wiek and is easily dismissed.
A big cat requires a preanaesthetic such as Acepromazine followed by an injection of Ketamine or Telazol. Both of these do not cause any muscle relaxation (the primary reason for claiming the cats are drugged) but both can cause Hypotension (low blood pressure), which would prove fatal if the animal became overheated. There is a notion that darting a big cat brings it down and out for the count but this is media presentation. A dart has to carry a mixture of different drugs that are time lapse released and usually it takes a few minutes to have the required effect. The animal will then need to be anaesthetised and again it will require monitoring or a gas intervention to stabilize the animal. Information source: Drs. Foster & Smith, see www.PetEducation.com
The site does correctly point out that DNA tests have since been carried out. But they do not know by whom or when. The easiest way to test dna from a big cat is hair sampling. Ketamine is lost in about 4 days from blood testing but can stay for months in the hair. If the cats are out every day it would not be difficult to determine the use of tranquilizers from the same samples.
This kind of misuse of facts has been notable from two sources: 1) the CWI and 2) Edwin Wiek.
The language used with phrases such as "Please read the full Tiger Temple Report by Care for the Wild International also." is typical of language used by Edwin Wiek with the 'also' placed incorrectly in the sentence. A comment on the site uses the expression 'slug off' and in the email above you can see the same expression. This is not an English expression. At Startpagina David Hargreaves has learned to speak Dutch and posted information within hours of Edwin Wiek's arrest. It was more than 24 hours before the news broke and took two days to reach the UK. The CWI has published their accusations and are, as far as I am aware, continuing their research. They have nothing to hide and no fear of reprisal so if they wanted a sensationalist website, they would simply publish one. But what would be the point when they are already in the position of being unable to substantiate their report which is fast losing credibility. What they really need is corroboration. Edwin Wiek used to have a lot to say but has been told to 'shut it'. He claims on WFFT and Facebook that he had overwhelming evidence that forced the temple to drop their charges. I asked him 'Why have you withdrawn your accusations and have decided not to repeat them if the temple was forced to withdraw?'. Edwin Wiek cannot publish any of his claims again without immediate reprisal and the question has gone unanswered. The order by the court was not made public but it would be normal practice to make it conditional. He would have been warned about his behaviour.
Edwin Wiek still needs a website where he can tout his stories or a site that would also provide corroboration. Someone who would publish all his findings and tigertempletruths does just that. The server hosting this site is also updated from a Bangkok IP address. He has to hide behind this veil for fear of prosecution and he can easily deny it is him but without doubt David Hargreaves, who is certainly not in Norwich, is almost certainly Edwin Wiek. He sensibly uses a domain setup by someone in the UK using a .org with Nominet details withheld because he doesn't want it known that the domain name was registered by the CWI. This is a sensible way to be proactive but he accuses me of hiding behind a name!
The truth is you are being conned into believing tigertempletruths.org is yet another organisation that has discovered issues with the tiger temple. You are being led to believe this is a third party and it is nothing of the sort. Wiek says he has been dismissed by the court because the temple has been forced to drop all the charges. So why doesn't Edwin Wiek press counter charges? He is trying to campaign against the temple, wouldn't this have been an ideal opportunity? The truth is that the cost of continuing their legal case was too expensive and the temple doesn't have sufficient funds to pay the bond. Which of course contradicts the claims of how much profit they make. Many times the tigertempletruths.org site says "we have ongoing investigations into the temple". You could only do this if other organisations knew who you were and yet there is only one man behind this site. If it is an organisation others would know about it and some of us do. But the truth is, you are collating other peoples research, you are not carrying out any investigations.
The truth is that several animal experts have raised questions about how the temple operates and have pretty much left it at that expecting the authorities or appropriate organisations to make changes at the temple. Edwin Wiek has taken it up as a crusade, financed and supported by Care for the Wild International and because his case is neither credible nor strong enough he has run a conspiracy campaign resorting to lies and plagiarism.
The truth is Edwin Wiek, you are a sad indictment of a headline grabber who will take someone elses hard work and portray it as your own. Then again, isn't it lucky that Lonely Planet have removed the forum thread and deleted your account. It means I can't be next in line to have you arrested and at the very least saves the CWI a bit of money. But for the visitor reading this - Why on earth would you want to believe a single word this man says?
Six years later and I have still not yet received an apology from Edwin Weik nor a summons for libel. Nobody could ascertain anything other than "Yes - Edwin Weik IS a liar"