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Deceased captain from Wednesday’s Phuket boat crash had been the captain in another fatal boat crash

The Thaiger

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Deceased captain from Wednesday’s Phuket boat crash had been the captain in another fatal boat crash | The Thaiger
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… meanwhile an 18 year old boat boy remains missing.

Whilst the search continued for a missing boat crew, 18 year old Kittipong ‘Boy’ Samunboot, following a speedboat crash on Wednesday late afternoon off Phuket’s east coast, it’s been revealed that the captain of the boat, Surat Mat-osod, was involved in an earlier fatal crash at sea in 2014 off Krabi.

Wednesday’s crash killed Surat, the captain of the “Choksupasarn”, and injured 12 other tourists.

In 2014 Surat’s speedboat collided with a fishing trawler off Krabi. Two South Korean tourists were killed in that incident and dozens more injured. Read the story HERE.

At the time Surat told police… “About 20 minutes after we departed from Maya Bay on Koh Phi Phi the sky got very dark and a black plastic bag flew under my seat. I was worried it would fly into the tourists, so I decided to pick it up.”

Surat was charged with recklessness causing death at the time. After serving time in prison, Surat returned to work as a speedboat driver, until his death on Wednesday.

The speedboat, under his care left AA Marina pier on Phuket’s east coast around 10am on Wednesday for a tour of Koh Khai Nok. On the way back it crashed into the motor yacht “Stella” (formerly reported as “Stallion”), steered by Russian captain Alexander Gorbunov. The Russian captain is reported to have given every assistance to the tourists at the scene and ferried many back to shore.

The injured tourists were from Russia, Pakistan, Estonia, Iran, England and Egypt and were being treated at Thalang Hospital. Many have now been released.

The missing crewman’s father says his son had worked on the speedboat for just one month before the incident.

PHOTO: Phuket People’s Voice

Deceased captain from Wednesday's Phuket boat crash had been the captain in another fatal boat crash | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Deceased boat captain, Surat Mat-osod, was involved in another fatal boat crash five years ago – Kritsada Mueanawong

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Crime

Thai police scrutinised over record number of dismissed human trafficking cases

Greeley Pulitzer

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Thai police scrutinised over record number of dismissed human trafficking cases | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai police arrest a man suspected of trafficking at least 200 people in December - The Thaiger

Thailand is home to about 610,000 modern-day slaves, or about one in 113 of its population of 69 million, according to the Global Slavery Index by the Walk Free Foundation. Yet Thai prosecutors turned down nearly a fifth of human trafficking cases sent to them by police last year. This has raised concerns that police were on a drive to push the number of cases, some of them ‘tenuous’, up to enhance Thailand’s global image.

A 79 page report to be released soon, drafted to inform an annual US report ranking countries on their efforts to combat trafficking, shows Thailand’s public prosecutors rejected 64 of 364 cases in 2019.

Thailand has been criticised in recent years for human trafficking in its lucrative textile and seafood sectors, as well as its sex trade. The country handed down just 194 trafficking convictions last year, down 17% from a peak in 2018.

Prosecutors say police have been told to increase trafficking arrests amid concerns about the dwindling number, and most of the cases dismissed last year involved smuggled migrants who were misidentified as trafficking victims.

“In practice, most police know that the cases involve smuggling, but they receive orders to treat them as human trafficking offences. This is perhaps due to the lack of clear understanding of the differences between trafficking and smuggling of migrants.”

Trafficking involves deception or control over another person for purposes of exploitation, while smuggling simply means entering another country illegally and is considered consensual.

The percentage of dismissed trafficking cases hit a record 18% last year, up from 10% in 2018 and 4% in 2017. The 64 rejected cases were instead prosecuted under smuggling and transnational crime laws, according to the report.

Thailand’s top anti-trafficking officer, Jaruvat Vaisaya, says police are responding to a growing number of people being transported to Malaysia.

Lawyers and campaigners say the conflation of smuggling and trafficking means some resources for trafficking victims are spent on migrants who have not actually been exploited. One prosecutor source said he had heard of police officers being “ordered” to find more trafficking victims.

“This clearly shows that the government wants the highest number of cases to show that many arrests have been made,” says Adisorn Kerdmongkol, a coordinator at the Migrant Working Group. Human trafficking is a political issue in Thailand.”

Thailand’s anti-trafficking department, part of the social ministry, declined to comment on the report, which is due to be sent to U.S. officials by the end of the month.

Thailand rescued a record 1,807 trafficking victims last year, up from 622 a year earlier, the government said this month. Most were Burmese migrants bound for Malaysia and activists have questioned whether many were in fact smuggled, not trafficked.

Vaisaya said it was certain that people headed to Malaysia would be trafficked once they crossed the border.

“Regardless of whether it’s human trafficking or not, what we want is for the offenders to be in jail.”

Public prosecutor Pravit Roykaew says Thai authorities often rush to make decisions within 24 hours about whether someone is a victim of human trafficking.

“Authorities are confused with the trafficking law. It does not provide a specific timeframe for identifying victims. This results in not getting all the facts, which may cause misidentification.”

“If it’s one or two cases, it’s acceptable,’ says one independent lawyer, “but if you have over 60 cases dismissed, it means you just weren’t careful enough. Having a high number of cases doesn’t mean that Thailand is successful in solving human trafficking.”

SOURCE: Reuters

 

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Crime

Student stabbed at college in Songkhla

Greeley Pulitzer

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Student stabbed at college in Songkhla | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Students in Songkhla's Hat Yai district gather outside the college building where a student was stabbed - Assawin Pakkawan, The Bangkok Post

A student is recovering in hospital after being stabbed in a fight in Thailand’s southern Songkhla province Tuesday following an exchange of harsh words on social media. Police say the incident occurred at the Luang Prathan Ratnikorn Industrial and Community College. Police and a rescue unit were called to the scene and found 21 year old Prinya Chanpoon, a second year student in the auto mechanics department, stabbed and lying in a pool of blood. He was given first aid at the scene and rushed to hospital.

Police learned that Prinya was allegedly stabbed by a fellow student, 20 year old Veerapat Chuaykaew. The two had earlier exchanged nasty comments on a LINE chat group.

At about 10:30am, during an exam break, the two students met each other outside the building and exchanged insults. This led to a fistfight, during which Veerapat allegedly drew a knife and stabbed Prinya in the left side of his ribs, then fled.

Prinya underwent surgery and was recovering in hospital at press time. Police are looking for Veerapat.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Bangkok

Nonthaburi beggar exposed, drives a big SUV

Greeley Pulitzer

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Nonthaburi beggar exposed, drives a big SUV | The Thaiger
PHOTO: A Nonthaburi "beggar visits a parked Fortuner before heading to a nearby village with a cane - MGR Online

Beggars and the homeless remain a major issue in Thailand, especially in larger cities and tourist areas, and many choose to help, but their kindness is sometimes exploited.

Facebook user “Chaluta Joy” posted photos on Monday of a beggar, who’s been seen asking for money in different villages and markets in the central province of Nonthaburi, stepping out of a shiny new Black Toyota Fortuner parked in front of the Don Sa Kae Temple in Bangyai District.

The vehicle has a Bangkok license plate. The man is seen looking in the rear-view mirror, apparently to ensure he still looks a beggar. He places some items into the car before leaving with a bag and walking cane, heading to a nearby village.

Netizens have mixed opinions on the matter, some saying they now wonder if they should continue to give money to beggars, others opining that what he is doing is “better than committing crimes”, and some even think that the man might be an undercover policeman.

Chaluta captioned her post “What are you doing uncle? I’ve learned my lesson on giving people money. Uncle also goes to the Bang Bua Thong Market. Sorry uncle, I can’t see this alone”.

SOURCE: Thai Residents

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