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Police questioned as casino shootout evidence goes missing

Jack Burton

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Police questioned as casino shootout evidence goes missing | Thaiger
PHOTO: Daily News

Bankok police are being questioned over their handling the Monday’s shooting incident at an illegal gambling den in the capitol’s Thung Mahamek area, in which 4 people, including a police officer, died, and whether officers are concealing evidence. The secretary-general of the Justice Reform Institute said yesterday that police appear to be treating the shooting in the same way they treated the Red Bull heir’s hit-and-run case, alleging that forensic investigators were notified hours after the police, apparently to allow time to get rid of the evidence, equipment, including surveillance cameras. He suggested that PM Prayut Chan-o-cha pay special attention to this case and deal harshly with any rogue police.

The dead officer has been named as 32 year old Watthanaset Samniangprasert, interrogation inspector at Samae Dam police station, who is reported to have frequently gambled at the venue. The Metropolitan Police Commissioner says every single CCTV camera inside the den appears to have been removed by the time police arrived at the scene 30 minutes after the shooting. The commissioner confirmed it took police half an hour to reach the den after being told of the shooting. A blood-stained Baccarat table was reportedly found dumped behind the building.

The chairman of the House Committee on Law, Justice and Human Rights is offering a 10,000 baht reward for information about anyone who destroyed evidence at the illegal gambling den. He said today that the House committee will invite the commissioner, a senior police officer who was transferred after the incident, and former politician Chuvit Kamonvisit, to testify before the committee on August 13.

The commissioner reportedly said that the venue was not a technically a gambling den, because there was only one table on the premises, which was devoid of any gambling equipment. Chuvit wrote on his Facebook page yesterday that he doesn’t understand why the commissioner asked him to provide information about Hia Tee, the alleged operator of the gambling den.

He says the police should have questioned the 2 men who were seen in a photo, which went viral on social media, showing them climbing a ladder to dismantle CCTV cameras at the venue, while the bodies of the victims were still lying on the floor.

“Didn’t they feel ashamed at all?”

Chuwit said that those enforcing the law must ensure that all are treated equally, but it appears that they exploited their experience, knowledge and expertise to conceal and distort the facts to the benefit of their own interests and those of their people.

A day earlier he said Hia Tee is an established figure in Thailand’s illegal gambling world and well known among Thai gamblers, adding that “Rama III” gambling became very popular after casinos in neighbouring countries closed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“For Thai society, illegal gambling dens are not a serious offence, because they bring prosperity to the communities and provide financial support for police officers the next time they need money for their promotions or to catch thieves or drug traffickers.”

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | Thai PBS World

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

BTS

K-Pop’s BTS launching pop-up in Bangkok May 1

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K-Pop’s BTS launching pop-up in Bangkok May 1 | Thaiger
PHOTO: BTS can't perform yet, but they are sending their pop-up to Bangkok next month.

Thai BTS fans are celebrating as the first official BTS pop-up in Thailand is set to open in Bangkok on May 1. The world-famous K-Pop group will launch the Map of the Soul pop-up at EmQuartier in Bangkok. Until now, Thai fans, or ARMY as they are known, have waited while pop-ups shops were launched around the world. The exhibit will be open from May 1 to July 25 and access will only be available by pre-registration online, which opens tomorrow.

ARMYs worldwide were devastated when Covid-19 forced the postponement of BTS’s “Map of the Soul” world tour, but the band, famous for their appreciation and interaction with their fans – they hold the Guinness World Record for most Twitter engagement! – have worked to find ways to raise fan morale during the pandemic. They released the album BE with a Grammy-nominated single “Dynamite” and launched these pop-up events where Bangkok ARMYs can pose in front of BTS music video backdrops and shop for official BTS merchandise.

Tickets purchased online will reserve fans a 1 hour visit to the pop-up on a certain date and time slot. Reservations for each week will open on the Friday previous for booking of the event on the M Floor of The EmQuartier. Bookings must arrive 10-15 minutes early and be verified by mobile phone OTP, after which fans will receive a wristband and queue for safe entry.

Strict Covid-19 safety measures will be in place, limiting the number of entries at a time, requiring social distancing and masks, and offering hand sanitiser when entering and exiting.

BTS, the 7-member South Korean boy band formed in 2011 debuted in 2013 and became one of the biggest bands in the world holding 18 Guinness World Records, appearing frequently in Time magazine influence lists, and setting music records on charts around the world. They’ve sold 20 million albums and equalled The Beatles’ record for reaching 4 number 1 albums in the US within one year.

It was estimated their sales account for about the same of South Korea’s entire GDP as Korean Air, being the reason to visit cited by 1 in every 13 tourists, and over 40% of all music sales in the country along with 25% of American K-Pop sales, having the top-selling worldwide physical album of 2020.

BTS have addressed the UN and their endorsements have caused companies and organisations to experience huge jumps in income, including multiple charities they have raised millions for. Their charitable work, devotion to fans, and addressing of difficult topics in their music such as mental health, loss, bullying, individualism and other social commentary have earned BTS praise as more than just your average boy band. Huge turnout is expected for the Bangkok opening of the BTS Map of the Soul pop-up at the EmQuartier next month.

SOURCE: The Smart Local

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid UPDATE: 1,470 new Covid-19 infections, 7 deaths, provincial totals

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Covid UPDATE: 1,470 new Covid-19 infections, 7 deaths, provincial totals | Thaiger
Photo via Facebook/ศูนย์ข้อมูล COVID-19

1,470 new Covid-19 infections and 7 deaths were reported today by the CCSA. 446 new cases are in Bangkok which remains the hotzone of new infections, although the latest outbreak has now spread to most Thai provinces. Out of the 7 deaths, one was a 24 year old Thai woman with a history of visiting an entertainment venue in the southern province Surat Thani where other Covid-19 infections were reported.

The young woman’s death is a rare case as the vast majority of Covid-related deaths in Thailand are the elderly or older adults with pre-existing conditions. Health officials say the woman suffered from obesity and died 3 days after testing positive for the virus. At present, there are 18,148 patients in state care… 14,555 in hospitals and 3,593 in field hospitals.

Since the start of the pandemic last year, the CCSA has reported a total of 48,113 Covid-19 infections and 117 coronavirus-related deaths.

The other Covid-related fatalities include…

  • 68 year old Thai woman with pre-existing conditions of asthma
  • 83 year old man from Bangkok with pre-existing conditions of high blood pressure
  • 80 year old woman with pre-existing conditions of diabetes
  • 45 year old woman in Bangkok with high blood pressure
  • 59 year old man in Bangkok with pre-existing conditions of diabetes
  • 86 year old man in Bangkok with pre-existing conditions of heart disease

Here are the provincial totals for today, as published by the NBT…

Covid UPDATE: 1,470 new Covid-19 infections, 7 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

Covid UPDATE: 1,470 new Covid-19 infections, 7 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

SOURCE: CCSA | Pattaya News | Nation Thailand

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Bangkok

Police officer infected with Covid-19 commits suicide at hospital

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Police officer infected with Covid-19 commits suicide at hospital | Thaiger
Screenshot/ Police Online

A police officer infected with Covid-19 killed himself yesterday at a Bangkok hospital. The Royal Thai Police spokesperson says 59 year old Boonchu Panklin committed suicide due to stress after testing positive for the virus.

The railway police deputy inspector was also diagnosed with diabetes and hypertension. He tested positive for Covid-19 after coming in contact with another patient. At first, Boonchu was asymptomatic and was admitted to a field hospital on Sunday.

The next day, he had difficulty breathing and his blood oxygen levels were low. He was transferred to another building. A police spokesperson has the medical staff did not know about the officer’s mental health issues. On Tuesday, he hung himself in the hospital bathroom. After numerous calls to Boonchu’s phone went unanswered, hospital staff looked for the officer and found him by the toilet with a belt tied around his neck.

The officer’s family needed to quarantine after he tested positive for the virus and the chief of the Pathumwan police station, Pansa Amarapitak, says the officer felt guilty for putting his mother, wife and child at risk of infection.

Anyone in Thailand who feels depressed, lonely or suicidal can call the Samaritans of Thailand: 02-713-6793 for Thai and 02-713-6790 for English.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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