Jim Thompson Mystery Solved!

SOLVED! The Mysterious Disappearance of Jim Thompson, the Thai Silk King

Chapter 10

General Black joins in the hunt

Over at Tanah Rata, there was a noticeable change in mood as far as the scouting for Jim was concerned. The operation, which was now in its seventh day, began to gain momentum when it became obvious that brigadier general Edwin Black, the chief of the American support forces in Thailand, would be joining in the hunt.

Before coming over to the resort, the military leader kept in touch with a religious figure to ascertain if he could provide useful insights as to where Jim could be found.

To make it a lot easier for him, the army officer handed him a detailed map of the region. After taking a good look at it, the mystic pointed to a particular spot and encouraged the commander to concentrate his probe on the area which he had highlighted. Equipped with this information, general Black came to the territory with his aide, lieutenant Dennis Horgan and his long-time friend, Dean Frasche. The first thing they did was to visit the address where Jim had stayed. While they were at the double-storied house, Helen and Constance were repeatedly asked about the developments which unfolded prior to the unexplained absence of their friend. Of the two, Constance certainly had a lot more to say.

Jim's trip to Moonlight

The threesome were told that just before their coming over to stay with the Lings, Jim and Constance had spent a day in Penang. Since Jim was especially tied up with a lot of last-minute details, it was Constance who took the trouble to finalise their travel arrangements.

When they met up at the airport on Thursday, it became evident to the two of them that Jim was not in line with two statutory requirements. In the first instance, he had failed to get his compulsory cholera inoculation. Apart from this, he had also forgotten to obtain his clearance certificate to show he had no outstanding tax payments with the country's Inland Revenue department. By right, he was not at all supposed to leave the country. Fortunately, Constance knew some of the officials rather well and this helped to smoothen out the irregularities.

The couple left Bangkok as planned and got in to Penang in the afternoon. She recollected that "neither of us had been there before and we were anxious to see the island (for ourselves)." She added: "We hired a car and (while we) were driving around the island... Jim became anxious to return to Georgetown to get a haircut." Constance admitted that she was put off with Jim's unexpected request. She later dropped him off at a barbershop while they were on their way to the Ambassador Hotel where they had earlier booked two rooms for their short outing.

Later that day, the two of them had a quiet dinner at an Indian restaurant, after which they went for an evening stroll. The following morning they got up early, booked a taxi and made their way to the province. While they were on their way to the mainland, the driver of the taxi suddenly stopped his vehicle and left them for about five minutes. He later returned with a relief driver who took over the driving from him.

Apart from this development, they also encountered another change just before they got over to the prefecture. This happened at Tapah where they not only had to deal with a change of drivers but a change of vehicles as well. The next taxi which they were told to board had two Chinese passengers waiting in it. Jim and Constance were totally against the idea of sharing the ride with the other two commuters. After some deliberation, the other two travellers were asked to get off and the driver saw to it that they driven on their own to the outpost.

General Black conducts survey of his own

Satisfied with whatever that was brought up, general Black and his team later got together to work out the details of their plan.

The subsequent morning, the threesome got up early and made the necessary arrangements for an aerial tower to be positioned on a water tank near the country house. The device was designed to throw a radar communication 'net' which covered a radius of approximately sixteen kilometres. Lieutenant Horgan was put in charge of the tower and his role was to ensure that a minute-by-minute radio contact was established with his superior's exploration team.

General Black, who was equipped with a portable wireless set, went into the woods to conduct a survey of his own. He was in constant contact with his aide while being accompanied by Dean and two aborigines. Apart from being able to keep in touch with his assistant, general Black was also able to establish radio contact with the other parties who were on the lookout for Jim.

The search conducted on Saturday, April 1, was indeed extensive. Joining in the exploration were two hundred more officers and men from Perak's police field force. They were earlier engaged in a training operation at Tambun near Ipoh. They came to Tanah Rata from Tanjung Rambutan after making their way through the jungle. They were later ordered to merge with the various police parties who were based at the administrative division.

General Black calls off his investigations

The following day, there was no let up in their pursuit of Jim: the police carried on with their winnowing from where they had earlier left off; general Black and his crew went about with a separate probe of their own. The Sunday exploration, though intensive, proved to be no more of a success than before.

The morning after, general Black and his team informed the police that they were calling off their investigations. They left the scene and got over to Kuala Lumpur on the same day. While resting at the Malaysian capital, the general told a group of reporters that "there has been absolutely no trace of Jim's whereabouts." "Jim," he said, "has a knowledge of jungle law. This would have enabled him to survive for a few days. On realising that he was lost, he would have been on the lookout for a stream. He would have subsequently followed it expecting to come to a village.

"I find his disappearance rather strange. There has not been a single clue, not a bit of torn clothing or even a shoe. According to the police here, a ransom is usually demanded within a time frame of forty-eight hours. Nothing of that sort has surfaced since the day he went missing."


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SOLVED! The Mysterious Disappearance of Jim Thompson, the Legendary Thai Silk King (Excerpt) by Edward Roy De Souza

Excerpts from "SOLVED! The Mysterious Disappearance of Jim Thompson, the Legendary Thai Silk King", an imprint of Word Association Publishers (www.wordassociation.com), 205 5th Avenue, Tarentum, PA 15084, USA. ISBN: 1-932205-89-6. Copyright 2004 by Edward Roy De Souza. roysouza@singnet.com.sg



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Posted on 8-Aug-2006

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