A GoFundMe campaign launched last week already has raised over $33,000 for the family of a Hanover Township man who is being detained in Thailand.
Michael Morra, who is the chief of Hanover Volunteer Fire Department, is employed by General Electric and was in Thailand working on the country’s electrical infrastructure, according to the fundraising website. He is a welder, according to his LinkedIn profile.
While trying to board a flight home Nov. 23, he was arrested for alleged possession of contraband after Bangkok Airport security claimed to have found a single bullet in his checked luggage, according to the fundraising site.
Dan Stultz, a co-worker of Morra’s, set up the GoFundMe page to help Morra’s family cover legal expenses while they work to bring him home. He did not respond to a request for comment Friday.
Stultz wrote in the GoFundMe page description that Morra was placed in a Bangkok prison and made to live in poor conditions. His bail was raised from $3,000 to $12,000, and he was forced to sign documents he could not read, according to the fundraiser site.
Morra’s bail has since been paid, and he is staying in a hotel in Bangkok, awaiting adjudication of his case, the GoFundMe page says. The hotel bill is being paid by his employer.
In an emailed statement, a G.E. spokesperson said, “We are aware of the situation with Mr. Morra and are in contact with the Morra family. G.E. assisted with securing Mr. Morra’s release on Nov. 28, and we remain actively engaged with the appropriate authorities in Thailand and the U.S.”
The State Department is also involved and issued this emailed statement late Friday: “We are aware of the detention and subsequent release on bail of U.S. citizen Michael Morra in Thailand on charges of possession of a bullet without permission. We take very seriously our top priority of assisting U.S. citizens abroad, and are providing all appropriate consular services. U.S. embassy officials remain in close contact with Mr. Morra and are continuing to monitor Mr. Morra’s case.”
Morra’s family declined to comment out of concerns for his safety.
On the fundraiser page, Stultz noted the financial hardship the family faces because of the situation, and of Morra’s service to his community.
“We can’t solve all the problems, but we can give the family one less thing to worry about,” he wrote.
Those interested in donating can do so by visiting gofundme.com/f/helping-chief-michael-while-detained-in-thailand.