There are now 455 Malaysians in prisons in Thailand, with more than 90 per cent serving sentences related to drug offences.
Halmah Hassan, Second Secretary (Consular) in the Malaysian Embassy in Bangkok, said a small number of these Malaysians were in the prisons for credit card-related offences.
"There are 196 Malaysians held in five prisons around Bangkok and seven other prisons in several provinces north of Bangkok, while 259 Malaysians are imprisoned in southern Thailand," Halmah told Bernama recently.
She added that the Malaysians in Thai prisons were serving various types of sentences, including death, life imprisonment and jail for several years.
Although they had been sentenced to death, she said these sentences would be reduced to life imprisonment and this could be reduced further if the convicts showed good behaviour, Halmah said.
She added that seven of the 196 were women, five at the Central Women's Correctional Institute in Chatuchak and two at the Chiang Mai Women's Correctional Institution.
Halmah said the embassy was monitoring the welfare of the 196 Malaysian inmates in the prisons in Bangkok and in the north.
She said that among the prisons in Bangkok where Malaysians are being held are the Bangkok Remand Prison (30 inmates), Bambat Piset (40), Klong Prem Prison (34) and the Bangkhwang Prison in Nonthaburi (51).
Embassy officials monitor their welfare
The Malaysian consulate in Songkla was monitoring the welfare of Malaysians imprisoned in southern Thailand, Halmah said.
She added that the embassy officials made scheduled visits on all the Malaysian inmates to monitor their welfare.
She said such visits helped the inmates as they get better treatment if they had visitors.
"If there are Malaysian inmates in Chiang Mai, which is located thousands of kilometres north of Bangkok, we will still visit them," she said, adding that it was part of the responsibility of Malaysian missions abroad.
Specific action would be taken if there were complaints from Malaysian inmates, including contacting the prison authorities who had been very positive to them (embassy officials).
The embassy, Halmah said, also received applications from Malaysian detainees who wanted to be moved to prisons in southern Thailand to make it easier for their families to visit them.
She added that Malaysian prisoners to be released from Thai prisons would be issued travel documents which would enable them to return home.