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Crime

10 months later, no action to catch Bea’s murderer – Phuket

The Thaiger

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10 months later, no action to catch Bea’s murderer – Phuket | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Dimitrios ‘Dim’ Chairopoulo, wanted and believed to be living in Greece

“We are all in desperate need of some answers so that justice can be served for the family.”

It’s been over 10 months since the murder of a local Phuket beautician 43 year old Niramon ‘Bea’ Aewkaew. But her alleged Greek murderer Dimitrios ‘Dim’ Chairopoulos remains on the run.

Back in March the Cherng Talay police said they were chasing an Interpol Red Notice so that they would have a better chance to track down and arrest the 42 year old Dimitrios.

Bea and ‘Dim’ were seen leaving their accommodation on February 11. It was the last time Bea would be seen alive.

Immigration police confirmed that Mr Chairopoulos was recorded as clearing immigration formalities at Phuket International Airport to board a flight to Dubai in the hours after Ms Niramon was last seen alive. He boarded an Emirates flight EK0379 to Dubai. Police also confirmed that he arrived in Dubai on the same day.

A request for a Red Notice was submitted with the Foreign Affairs Division of the Royal Thai Police on February 19 but, for now, no formal international’s notice has been published..

At the time Chief Col Sen Kwannimit of the Cherng Talay Police confirmed “If he comes back to Thailand he will be arrested.”

But since The Thaiger’s story in March there has been no advance in the case. A Greek man has come to Phuket, had a relationship with a Thai woman, allegedly murdered her, flown out of the country and vanished. The family are left with no response from Thai authorities about any advances in the case.

Rick Muller, the owner of a major pool company in Phuket, has lived in Phuket for 16 years and was married to Bea for 10 of those years. The couple had an 8 year old daughter who now lives with Rick fulltime.

Rick was at the scene when they found Bea’s body.

“We are all in desperate need of some answers so that justice can be served for the family. The prosecutor in charge of the case said he was in constant contact with the family however there has been no communication or updates provided.”

February 16, 2019

‘Dim’ was seen leaving the room at a guesthouse in Bang Tao where Ms Niramon’s body was found on Saturday, February 16, 2019.

In the days leading up to her murder her family had been desperately trying to contact her.

‘Bea’ was the eldest of 5 children from Phatthalung province and had been working in Phuket as a beautician at the time.

One of her sisters, May’ was contacted on February 15 by one of Bea’s workmates trying to locate her.

Neither May or Bea’s other sisters, relatives or friends were able to contact her. Bea had just moved to a new house so nobody knew where she was living. Another sister, Pichy, spoke to friends and was able, using Google Maps, to locate the guesthouse she was staying.

The owner of the room told the family that the air-conditioning was on in the room but there was no response. When the owner returned with a key he informed the family that Bea was found on the bed with a black cloth stuffed in her mouth and her hands and feet bound.

CCTV footage shows the couple leaving the room in the afternoon of February 11, the last time that Bea was seen alive.

10 months later, no action to catch Bea's murderer - Phuket | News by The Thaiger

What we know about the alleged murderer?

Dimitrios ‘Dim’ Chairopoulos, who remains at large and thought to be in Greece, worked as security in a night club in Athens. He already had a daughter to another woman in Greece.

During his relationship and marriage with Bea he was said to be ‘controlling’ and ‘jealous’ by members of Bea’s family. A close family friend told The Thaiger that the family had concerns for Bea’s safety and were ‘uncomfortable’ with her ongoing relationship and marriage with Dim.

“We tried to get to know him at family functions but he was not easy to know and seemed very possessive of Bea,” said one of the close family members who asked not to be named.

“He did threaten to kill her if she ever left him and Oh, another of her sisters, went with Bea to file a report of the threats at the Cherng Talay police station at the time,” they explained.

That report was made to police in 2016. A year later the pair married and were still married at the time of the murder.

“He would drive past the beauty shops that Bea worked at and spy on her.”

The family claim that, apart from his own possessions, he also stole Bea’s phone before he headed to the Phuket International Airport on the evening of the murder.

So where is Dimitrios Chairopoulo?

At this stage the Greek Embassy has made no comment about the case or followed up with Greek Police about the pursuit for the fugitive man.

There are currently approximately 58,000 valid Red Notices worldwide of which only 7,000 are public. An Interpol Red Notice has not been issued to alert international police or Immigration officials to be on the look-out for Dim.

For now, the alleged murderer of Bea – an innocent Phuket beautician, beloved sister and family member – remains at large, most probably in Greece.

If anyone has any information about Dimitrios ‘Dim’ Chairopoulo’s whereabouts or information that may lead police to arrest him, please send a confidential message to The Thaiger.

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Crime

Booming regional meth industry – Thailand, Myanmar, China and Laos

The Thaiger

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Booming regional meth industry – Thailand, Myanmar, China and Laos | The Thaiger

“At the same time significant investment has been made in new highways and bridges in an out of Myanmar, Thailand, China, Laos, Bangladesh and Vietnam. This has provided a boom in movement of products like food and clothing. And drugs.”

A UN Drugs and Crime report released this year states that the methamphetamine trade is now worth a staggering US$30-61 billion per year in East and South East Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Bangladesh.

That’s a two to fourfold increase from the figures just a decade ago, the last time the UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) estimated the value of the methamphetamine trade in the region.

Better enforcement, co-operation with neighbouring governments, increased manpower, more sophisticated surveillance and increased numbers of seizures have happened whilst the trade in meth has blossomed in the region.

Methamphetamine pills (aka. yaba in Thailand) are now being sold at highly discounted prices, and the well publicised massive seizures and interceptions do little to dent the operations of highly sophisticated and tech-savvy drug traffickers. Even the crystal methamphetamine (ice) from the region is feeding demand as far away as New Zealand.

Experts say the boom in South East Asia’s methamphetamine industry is the result of a series of regional and political factors, which have seen Myanmar’s lawless Shan State emerge as the regional meth factory.

The Shan State is in Myanmar’s north-east and borders Thailand, Laos and China.

Booming regional meth industry - Thailand, Myanmar, China and Laos | News by The Thaiger

From the 1970s to the 1990s, Myanmar’s lawless Shan State warlords, militias and rebel groups typically sold opium and heroin, but subsequently shifted to synthetic drugs after realising how much easier they were to produce and more profitable they could be.

Lax enforcement in Shan State, coupled with porous borders, enabled methamphetamine producers to easily import the chemicals needed to make meth. Poorly enforced money laundering controls then allowed kingpins to easily clean their millions and flourish.

At the same time significant investment has been made in new highways and bridges in an out of Myanmar, Thailand, China, Laos, Bangladesh and Vietnam. This has provided a boom in movement of products like food and clothing. And drugs. In the ‘Law of Unintended Consequences’, China’s Belt & Road strategy to open up trade routes throughout Asia, has inadvertently made trafficking drugs a lot easier.

Booming regional meth industry - Thailand, Myanmar, China and Laos | News by The Thaiger

Routinely, seizures of truckloads of 1-5 million meth pills are intercepted then paraded by Thai police. But the biggest drug haul was in 2018 when authorities seized a record-breaking 120 tonnes of crystal meth and methamphetamine pills coming out of the Golden Triangle. More than half of the busts took place in Thailand, where authorities confiscated more than 515 million meth pills.

Now, Laos and Malaysia are also reporting record-breaking busts. In the first eight months of 2018 Chinese authorities reported a 22x increase in crystal methamphetamine seizures in Yunnan province, alone, compared with just three years before.

The UNODC report also states that organised crime groups are not only moving “staggering” amounts of meth to meet demand, they are also trying to increase that demand by flooding the region with cheap product. That’s led methamphetamine pill prices to hit historic lows. The flood also creates greater need and a myriad of social problems.

Pills are reportedly selling for less than US$1 (30 baht), even lower than the going price two decades ago.

At the start of this year Thai authorities began an “intensification campaign” along Thailand’s northern border with Myanmar. That’s where the main route south begins through Thailand. But those efforts, and the vast amounts of international investment to open new routes in and around the region, has just sent enterprising traffickers to use new routes, too numerous for effective enforcement.

John Coyne, a former Australian Federal Police official says the capacity for cashed-up and smart producers to simply ramp up production is allowing meth producers “to write off large seizures as a cost of doing business.”

“There needs to be a distinct rethink on what we do.”

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Crime

Leading anti-drug enforcer warns Thailand is becoming an emerging hub

Greeley Pulitzer

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Leading anti-drug enforcer warns Thailand is becoming an emerging hub | The Thaiger

PHOTO: A small meth lab raided in the Shan State, one of many thousands of undetected facilities, hidden under the jungle canopy – Daily News

Thailand is becoming a major conduit for drug cartels, according to Niyom Termsrisuk, secretary-general of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board. The growth of meth labs has exploded in the lawless Shan State of Myanmar, north of Chiang Mai, with better roads and newer, smaller, transportable meth factories keeping ahead of attempts of enforcement.

An ongoing case involving smuggling drugs from Thailand to Australia shows that “Thailand has become a connecting point for the Golden Triangle and destination countries, due to its convenient transportation.”

A case of drug importation from Thailand to Australia in April was again in the spotlight this week as suspects appeared in court over Australia’s largest-ever seizure of methamphetamine, which was shipped from Bangkok in stereo speakers.

In April Australian police found vacuum-packed packages containing crystal methamphetamine and heroin, valued at 24.8 billion baht, hidden in speakers at the Melbourne waterfront. They tracked down the smugglers, 38 year old Stephen Mizzi, and two married customs agents, Rachel Cachia, and Donovan Rodrigues, both 37 years old, who were all sentenced to life in prison.

Police seized 1,580 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine or ‘ice’, and 72 kilograms of heroin.

Meanwhile, Thailand’s national police chief Chakthip Chaijinda has ordered police nationwide to keep their eyes peeled for drug trafficking during the New Year period.

A police spokesperson says police and authorities will step up counter-smuggling measures, including beefing up border checkpoints. Security forces have also been told to watch for smugglers coming across the mountains in Thailand’s north.

The ONCB is expected to set up more vehicle checkpoints and ramp up efforts to fight drug addiction in communities, the Bangkok Post reports, and police will step up campaigns against drug use in schools and nightclubs.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Bangkok

Over 50 Chinese youth arrested for running scam call centre from Samui hotel

May Taylor

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Over 50 Chinese youth arrested for running scam call centre from Samui hotel | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: CTN News

54 enterprising teenagers, most from China, have been arrested for running a call centre scam from a Koh Samui resort. The Chiang Rai Times reports that the arrests happened after police received a tip-off from a Chinese person who had worked for the call centre.

Police say the Chinese teenagers were enticed to come and work for the gang, which was running over 100 chat rooms tricking victims into parting with their cash. Workers at the call centre were given a target of 5 million baht to be raised from each person they spoke to.

Part of the con consisted of persuading other Chinese nationals to invest in fake stocks. Once the victim fell for the scam and transferred the funds, the app being used was closed down.

The gang leader is reportedly still at large and in possession of the Chinese teenagers’ passports. Police believe he has not left Thailand. Meanwhile, the 54 workers have all been charged with working illegally in Thailand.

In another bust in Bangkok yesterday, 24 Chinese people were arrested for running another call centre that duped fellow nationals into investing in a cryptocurrency-style scam. It’s understood the scam had been running since March.

The workers were arrested at various rental properties around the capital, with more than 500 mobile phones and dozens of computers seized. Immigration Police say they’re working to identify any Thai nationals who may have been part of the operation.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

Over 50 Chinese youth arrested for running scam call centre from Samui hotel | News by The Thaiger

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