Sydney, Dec 26 (ANI): A Melbourne man, living in miserable conditions in a crowded Bangkok immigration jail cell, has turned down the Australian Government's help to return home.
Since four years, Colin Hansch, 61, has been sleeping on a mat and receiving a small daily diet of rice and soup.
But still, he has told Thai authorities that he would rather stay in jail than return to Australia.
"I've not been back to Australia for 30 years. I don't want to go back, I've got nothing to go back to," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted him as saying.
Hansch is a computer engineer who left Melbourne in 1967, and has been held at the immigration centre in Bangkok since September 2004.
He fears that, if he accepts the offer, he will not be able to obtain a passport to travel overseas again.
According to reports, Hansch wants to be able to visit Malaysia or Cambodia.
"I think they [Australia] don't want to give me a passport ... they don't want to set a precedent giving a passport to somebody while they are in custody," he said.
A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs in Canberra said that Hansch had repeatedly rejected the offer from the embassy in Bangkok to issue a limited-validity document to let him return home immediately.
It is believed that he was transferred there, pending deportation, after serving two years in a Bangkok jail for assault causing serious bodily harm, in relation to a dispute with a bar girl in the beach resort of Pattaya. (ANI)