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Boonpong Sirivejjabhandu

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Died  29 January 1982
Boonpong Sirivejjabhandu httpsthoughtpadblogfileswordpresscom201401

Boonpong Sirivejjabhandu GC, (Thai: บุญผ่อง สิริเวชชะพันธ์; rtgsBunphong Siriwetchaphan, 21 April 1906 – 29 January 1982) widely known as Boon Pong was a Thai merchant and member of the underground "V" Organization during the Japanese occupation of Thailand during World War II.

Contents

World War II

Boon Pong, using as cover his contract with the Imperial Japanese Army to supply the canteens of Allied POWs working along the Kwai Lo River, smuggled medicine, money and contraband food to the POWs and is credited by many with saving thousands of lives during the building of the Burma Railway.

Although Thailand made peace with the Japanese after being invaded, there was an active underground movement. One prisoner recalls Boonpong was the merchant with the lowest prices and the smallest mark up. However he performed other services risking his life and those of his family. He lent money, provided extra medicines and ran messages. With access to medicines, the death rate of the prisoners was reduced from five a day in May 1943 to one a week by the following November.

Post-war

After the war, Boonpong was attacked by Thai police in some mistaken retribution. Sir Edward 'Weary' Dunlop, another hero of the POW camps, ordered a report on 'the condition of Mr. Boonpong, injured Thai civilian, who had done so much for prisoners of war.’ In 1947 he was in financial difficulties and so a POW association on hearing of it organised a collection for him. Shortly thereafter, Boonpong started the Boonpong Bus Company. In 1948 he was awarded the MBE by the British Government.

Later an Australian medical scholarship was named in honor of him and Sir Edward Dunlop. The documentary film “The Quiet Lions” is about both of them. Boonpong also figures prominently in Beyond the Bamboo Screen, a collection of anecdotes by Scottish PoWs.

In popular culture

Rungsak Loychusak portrayed Boonpong Sirivejjabhandu in Boonpong a thai television soap opera based on the true story him. Boonpong was broadcast on Thai PBS during 8 May 2013 - 20 June 2013.

References

Boonpong Sirivejjabhandu Wikipedia


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