Briton filmed inciting Thai shopping centre fire faces court

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The Independent Online

A Briton arrested in Thailand after being filmed inciting people to burn down a shopping centre appeared in court today, the Foreign Office said.

Jeff Savage, 48, a former Royal Household employee, was arrested last month following major unrest in the Far East nation.

Savage, from Tonbridge, Kent, who has lived in Thailand for nine years, was captured on video exhorting protesters to set fire to the Central World shopping centre in central Bangkok, days before it was torched and destroyed during the Red Shirt protests.

He was filmed wearing a bandanna and saying of Central World: "We're gonna loot everything, gold, watches, everything, and then we're gonna burn it to the ground."

Savage, who worked intermittently as a Buckingham Palace general porter in the kitchens during a five-year period from 1993, later denied any involvement in the destruction of the shopping centre and said he was being "stitched up" when he was arrested and taken to a Bangkok remand prison.

Savage was reportedly charged with violating the state of emergency decree, an offence which carries a two-year prison sentence.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "There was a court hearing today. He was remanded in custody until Monday, awaiting further forensics."