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25 arrested after police raid online gambling base in Mae Sot

Caitlin Ashworth

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25 arrested after police raid online gambling base in Mae Sot | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Sanook
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Police arrested 25 people involved in online gambling after a raid Saturday night at a house in Mae Sot, Northern Thailand, right on the Burmese border. Police also confiscated equipment used for the online gaming. Out of the 25 people arrested, 5 of them were Thai and the rest were foreigners, mostly from China.

Since people have been staying at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, many have been gambling online, the chief of the Immigration Police Bureau says. Police seized 7 computers, 14 smartphones and 2,000 to 2,500 SIM cards. The gambling operations also has 50 bank accounts with a total of around 100 million baht.

The illegal gambling business operated 24 hours a day with employees working in 3 shifts that were 8 hours each.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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Crime

Pathum Thani police hunt “100 million baht auntie”

Jack Burton

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Pathum Thani police hunt “100 million baht auntie” | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

Police in Pathum Thani, just north of Bangkok, are tracking down a mysterious loan shark known as “Mrs. Millionaire” to face charges that she hired a man to beat a vendor who owed her money, leaving him with permanent brain damage. The woman, whose age is estimated at around aged 65-70, dresses plainly and carries a large rubbish sack around, which reportedly contains the cash she lends to traders in local markets, including the one outside the Zeer Rangsit IT centre where the March 12 attack occurred.

Despite her modest appearance, she’s been dubbed the “100 million baht auntie” and linked to a gang which employs violence to chase down unpaid debts.

63 year old Weerapat Kampiranon, who’s run a market stall outside Zeer Rangsit with his wife, selling crab fried rice for the past 8 years, complained to Kukot police last week about the assault, which took place as he and his wife were packing up for the day. He had been in a coma for months.

The couple later addressed the media with celebrity lawyer Ronnarong Kaewpetch, who demanded Pathum Thani police explain why loan sharks were able to ply their trade freely around the market, even after the government told them to drive “informal lenders” out of business during the Covid-19 virus epidemic.

Weerapat says he was getting on his motorcycle while his wife went to the toilet when the attack occurred. A man wearing a cap and face mask hit him 4 times over the head with a heavy object, leaving him with internal bleeding and temporary loss of brain function, requiring 2 months’ hospitalisation.

His wife says she heard the sound of her husband being struck and raced out in time to see the attacker, who fled the scene. Pointing to a large caved-in area on the side of his head he told police he can’t remember much about the attack.

“Doctors say I have lost 10% of my brain capacity and the damage is permanent. I had to re-learn how to walk, and still stammer a bit.”

Weerapat’s wife says the past months were gruelling – medical bills for his care came to 100,000 baht, which they raised from relatives.

“He was in critical condition for 4 nights, and I wasn’t sure he’d make it. I was worried about losing the mainstay of my life. It was like bringing up a child. He had to start again.”

Weerapat said “100 million baht auntie” has many customers in the marketplace outside Zeer. He borrowed an initial 60,000 baht from her in late 2016 as he wanted to sell T-shirts and open a new branch of his stall. She charged monthly interest of 10%. He carried on borrowing and his debt at one point reached 80,000 baht, though she agreed to halve the interest 2 years ago when the economy soured.

Ronnarong, the lawyer, says Zeer Rangsit is well known for its loan shark lenders. Police have issued a 10,000 baht reward for information leading to auntie’s arrest, but say they’ve been unable to establish her name and know little about her. They say she’s unlikely to be as wealthy as her nickname suggests nor attached to any gang.

Pathum Thani police hunt

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Crime

Man arrested for triple fatal shooting in Nakhon Phanom

Jack Burton

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Man arrested for triple fatal shooting in Nakhon Phanom | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai Post

Police in the Isaan’s Nakhon Phanom have arrested a man for the shooting death of his wife and 2 of her family members. The suspect reportedly confessed he acted out of jealousy after learning his wife wanted to return to her ex-husband.

41 year old Noppadol Nuamsamlee was arrested shortly after the fatal shooting of his wife, 23 year old Sujittra Chiangbai, her sister, 25 year old Jittra Chiangbai, and their mother, 45 year old “Lawan,” in Muang district yesterday afternoon. Police conducted a re-enactment this morning, a standard procedure in Thai police investigations.

Authorities say the incident began after Noppadol and his wife left their house to go shopping. While driving his pickup truck, Noppadol demanded to know why his wife was still in touch with her ex-husband, with whom she had a 5 year old son.

After stopping on the roadside, he allegedly assaulted his wife, who phoned her sister for help. When Jittra and her mother arrived, Noppadol allegedly fired at them as they tried to intervene. He then fired 2 shots at his wife before fleeing. All 3 women died at the scene. Police later arrested the suspect on the road.

During questioning, the suspect reportedly admitted he shot the women “in a fit of jealousy”. He told police he became angry after finding records of chats between his wife and her ex-husband on her mobile phone.

Noppadol, a resident of Bang Lamung district in Chon Buri, was due to appear in Nakhon Phanom provincial court today to face charges of murder and carrying a firearm in public. Police say they will oppose bail.

60 year old Paijit Chiangbai, who lost his two daughters and his wife, says he never imagined Noppadol, who had lived with his younger daughter for a year, could have shot his family. He says he arrived at the scene shortly after the shootings and Noppadol pointed the gun at him and threatened to fire if he tried to intervene. He says he will never forgive the suspect and doesn’t want him released on bail.

Paijit also says he never thought his daughter would return to her former husband, as they had been separated for a long time and he already had a new family. Noppadol also has an 8 year old daughter from a previous marriage.

25 year old Ratchadaporn Thongkhlee, a friend of Jittra, claims the suspect had earlier threatened to shoot her and Jittra.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Crime

Prohibition activist criticises unequal enforcement of Thai alcohol laws

The Thaiger

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Prohibition activist criticises unequal enforcement of Thai alcohol laws | The Thaiger
PHOTO: The Thaiger

The head of the prohibitionist Alcohol Watch Network is criticising the Office of Alcohol Beverage Control and police for looking the other way after ML Piyapas Bhirombhakdi posted a photo of herself showing off a branded bottle of an alcoholic drink on her Instagram profile (the picture has since been deleted). Piyapas is not only a great-granddaughter of HRH Prince Nares Varariddhi, a son of HM King Rama IV, but is the wife of Chutinant Bhirombhakdi, an heir to the Boon Rawd Brewery fortune and executive vice president of Singha Corp. Her post showed her holding a new Boon Rawd product.

Kamron Choodecha argues that the bottle and brand were clearly visible and, given that Piyapas has a vested interest in Boon Rawd’s sales, her post must be construed as sales or marketing, violating the Alcohol Beverage Control Act, which prohibits any sort of alcohol marketing online. He claims the fact she has not been fined, even as police extract hundreds of thousands of baht in fines from ordinary people posting harmless photos of themselves enjoying alcoholic beverages, shows the inequality in Thai society and the privilege elites are given when it comes to the law.

Others may argue, however, that the hypocrisy of the incident illustrates only how ludicrous the law is. Sporadically enforced over the years, the law again made headlines this year when foreign-managed alcohol distributor Beervana was fined 50,000 baht for an online post describing one of its products as “refreshing,” which contravened a ban on adjectives in marketing copy.

In the days that followed reports surfaced across the country of the OABC and police summoning people and slapping them with huge fines for posts that had no connection to sales or marketing.

Most recently, a young woman in Thailand’s South was fined 17,000 baht for posting a photo of a beer she liked to a beer fan page. The page owner was so outraged that he paid 5,000 baht of the fine and met face to face with regulators to protest the law.

Even Kamron, an anti-alcohol zealot, admits that the law is being misused by police and authorities. He says simply using the word “beer” or posting photos of bottles or glasses does not break the law, as long as brands are not shown. He believes the law’s intent is only to prevent advertising of alcoholic beverages on conventional and social media platforms. He argues that if the poster had no commercial intent, no one should be fined.

“But if authorities are going to strictly interpret the law, distant royal relatives or any other elite member of society should be punished equally.”

By the way there is an alcohol ban on for the next two days.

2 Buddhist holidays, Asahna Bucha Day and the start of Buddhist Lent, fall this weekend, and as a result the government has added Monday, July 6, as a national holiday. There will be an alcohol ban on the Sunday (July 5) and Monday (July 6). No alcohol will be sold or served on these days.

Prohibition activist criticises unequal enforcement of Thai alcohol laws | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Nation Thailand

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