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Independent panel reviews Boss case to see if it can be re-opened

The Thaiger

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Independent panel reviews Boss case to see if it can be re-opened | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Vorayuth "Boss' Yoovidhya, alive and well, location unknown.
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PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has asked the independent panel examining the dismissal of charges relating to the 2012 hit-and-run case against Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya if it can be re-opened. Prosecutors abruptly decided not to arraign Boss on a charge of “reckless driving causing death” after the other charges relating to the incident had lapsed due to the statute of limitations.

“I’ve asked them to study if I can order a re-investigation into the case. We’re in the stage of establishing facts about the justice process.”

There has been a public outcry over the handling of the Boss case that has dragged on for nearly eight years since the incident in the Thong Lor suburb of Bangkok in the early morning of September 3 in 2012. Thais have openly opined on social media about the ludicrous aspects of the investigation, including the latest witnesses who had recently appeared, to provide contrary evidence about the crash (one of whom was killed in a motorbike incident in Chiang Mai last week), and the failure of Boss to appear in court 8 times, and eventually being able to flee the country.

Jaruchart Maadthong, one of the 2 new witnesses, was killed as a result of a collision between 2 motorbikes on Huay Kaew Road in Chiang Mai last Thursday. The incident occurred just days after he was named as one of new witnesses in the long-running case.

The PM set up a 9-member independent panel headed by Vicha Mahakhun, known as a local “former graftbuster” to examine the prosecution’s dismissal of the charges and the legal aspects of the case. He has also ordered the seizure of the body of witness Jaruchart Maadthong for a new autopsy in Bangkok to allay any suspicions about his untimely death.

The 2 new witnesses contradicted earlier evidence and had told prosecution investigators that Boss was not driving at high speed and they had seen the motorcycle of the deceased policeman, Wichian Klanprasert, “cut in front of his Ferrari”. Their statements, appearing nearly eight years after the incident, were enough to convince the prosecutors to drop the final and most serious charge.

The twists, turns and coincidences in the Boss Yoovidhya case, and the lack of a prosecution, have turned the spotlight on the Thai justice system, both in Thailand and overseas, which appears to be unable to successfully prosecute cases involving the country’s rich and famous.

The PM says that he needs to ensure transparency.

“As a supervisor of the police, I’ve asked them if they can seize the body for a new autopsy. They’ll have to talk to his family. We have to lessen the doubts with facts.”

A team of doctors at Chiang Mai University’s faculty of medicine on Monday concluded that Jaruchart died of massive bleeding in his brain and in his stomach and there were no injuries to suggest that he had been shot. They also said that the injuries were consistent with the motorbike incident and the victim’s head hitting the road. Jaruchart was not wearing a helmet at the time and, anecdotally, had been drinking before the incident.

According to Office of the Attorney General deputy spokesman the panel has held a press conference at 10am this morning to reveal the results of the investigation so far.

The head of the panel added that it was too soon to say if the committee would recommend that police challenge the prosecutors’ decision to drop the reckless driving charge and reopen the investigation.

We’ll recommend action only if it can be taken.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Bangkok

Pro-democracy movement raises issues on LGBT and women’s rights

Caitlin Ashworth

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Pro-democracy movement raises issues on LGBT and women’s rights | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Line Today

The pro-democracy movement is now sheading light on issues on gender equality and LGBT rights in Thailand. Some people at the September 19 rally in Bangkok were collecting signatures calling on the decriminalisation of abortion and prostitution. Even a booth called “Pussy Gallery” was set up where people could draw colourful vaginas, raising awareness that the colour does not value a woman.

Since a large rally in July, activists have been calling on an end to the military run government and demanding a rewrite of the constitution. The New York Times reports that young women are at the frontlines of the protests, some raising issues like abortion and taxes on menstrual products as well as outdated rules for girls at Thai schools.

A Times reporter spoke to female student involved in the political movement who said “The monarchy and the military have all the power in Thailand… I shouldn’t be afraid to say that men have almost all the power in Thailand.”

In the past, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha brushed off talk of gender equality. In 2016, before he became prime minister, the retired general said “Everyone says that we have to create justice, women and men have equal rights … Thai society will deteriorate if you think that way.” He went on to say “Outside the house, we (men) are big … At work, we (men) have the power.”

The Times reports women only occupy 14% of seats in parliament. Before the 2014 military coup, they only occupied 5%. The nation’s top military school and the Royal Thai Police Academy do not accept women.

Along with the Pussy Gallery at the September 19 rally, another booth encouraged participants to paint sanitary menstrual pads to send the message that a woman’s period is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. The pads were also given away for free as a protest against the tax on menstruation products.

Gender equality and LGBT rights activist Chumaporn “Waddao” Taengkliang gave a speech at the rally and said there are stereotypes, harassment and injustice in Thai society that exclude both woman and LGBT people from the right they deserve. Waddao says in Thai media, LGBT people are often portrayed as comic relief.

Winner of Drag Race Thailand Season 2, Angele Anang, was also seen at the rally. Angele says Thailand needs LGBT rights, like same-sex marriage.

“This government is no longer legitimate. They have not provided justice to everyone, whether you are an LGBT person, or whether you are a woman. They are not transparent in every aspect, such as the budget. I am here to be a part to tell them what we want.”

Pro-democracy movement raises issues on LGBT and women's rights | News by The Thaiger

SOURCES:New York Times | Prachatai English

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Bangkok

Around 10 villagers hospitalised after chemical spill in Samut Prakan

Caitlin Ashworth

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Around 10 villagers hospitalised after chemical spill in Samut Prakan | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Sanook

Around 10 people were hospitalised after a chemical tank spilled at a village in Samut Prakan, just southeast of Bangkok. Those near the spill reported feeling nauseous and some had trouble breathing. Officials do not known what chemical was in the tank.

The 1 metre tank had been taken to the woods by 2 employees at a Bangphli Niwet Village second hand shop who hoped they could take it apart and sell the scrap metal. The 2 employees fainted when the tank spilled. Trees and grass in a 100 metre radius of the chemical spill died.

The chemical let off a strong odour and Thai media says the fumes spread to the village. Those at the second hand shop, close by to the chemical spill, started to feel nauseous and some had trouble breathing. Some people reported skin rashes after the incident. Around 10 villagers, including children, were sent to hospital.

Thai media says police secured the area and sprayed water into the air. 500 metres around the tank has been sealed off and workers are cleaning the area to remove the chemical. Medics are doing health checks to make sure others are not experiencing symptoms from the fumes.

SOURCE: Thai Residents

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Crime

Man arrested for fake immigration documents operation at Bangkok grocery store

Caitlin Ashworth

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Man arrested for fake immigration documents operation at Bangkok grocery store | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Naewna

A Burmese man was arrested after he allegedly faked work permit documents and stamps, operating at a produce shop in Bangkok near the Myanmar Embassy. After a number of cases involving Burmese migrants with fake visa documents and bogus stamps, immigration officers investigated the grocery store, posing as customers.

Many customers entering the grocery store didn’t buy vegetables and were seen exchanging documents, according to Thai media. After going undercover and collecting evidence, immigration officials arrested the Burmese man, Thai media reports as Ong, and 2 women allegedly involved in the scheme. They searched the property and found a large number of Myanmar passports and various kinds of stamps.

Ong allegedly admitted to producing fake immigration stamps, work permit applications and other immigration documents. He charged around 2,000 to 3,000 baht for his services, police say. Ong, who has lived in Thailand for a while and can read Thai, allegedly told police he acquired legal work permits and the proper documents, becoming familiar with the stamps and documents needed by immigration. He allegedly told police he copied immigration stamps as well as stamps from hospitals used on medical certificates.

Thai media says immigration police are now expanding their investigation to crack down on other operations producing fake visa documents and stamps.

SOURCE: Thai Residents

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