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Bogus policeman arrested for extorting Bangkok lottery sellers

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Bogus policeman arrested for extorting Bangkok lottery sellers | The Thaiger
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A man has been arrested for allegedly disguising himself as a policeman to extort money and lottery tickets from at least two lottery ticket vendors who sold overpriced tickets in Bangkok.

40 year old Poramin Sartsomboon has been arrested over the matter.

Police say Poramin was arrested on Sunday after parking his car in front of Thepsirin Temple, where he allegedly intended seeking out further ticket vendors on whom to prey.

He said the suspect dressed himself as a policeman and carried a fake police ID card that stated his name as “Pol Lieutenant Phakin Linpituphak”.

Plapplachai police station conducted an investigation that led to Poramin’s arrest after two lottery vendors had filed complaints with the station on March 14 and 15.

The vendors had allegedly been extorted by Poramin in separate incidents while selling lottery tickets in front of the temple. They said Poramin had claimed to be an officer from the police taskforce suppressing economic crimes.

The two victims say Poramin had found them selling overpriced lottery tickets, taken them into his car and told them that they would be taken to his police station.

However, on the way, Poramin intimidated them into paying him a bribe in exchange for their release, telling them they would face a heavy fine at the police station if they refused to do so.

One of the victims gave Poramin 10,000 baht, but the other gave him 70 lottery tickets as he did not have enough cash, according to police.

The fake policeman often hunted for prey a few days before the lottery draws on the 1st and 16th of each month, he added.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Bangkok’s shopping malls struggle under tourist ban, fierce competition

Jack Burton

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Bangkok’s shopping malls struggle under tourist ban, fierce competition | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nerdnomads

Suvarnabhumi, the name of Bangkok’s second international airport, means “realm of gold,” and was given by His Majesty the late King Rama IX to Bangkok’s eastern outskirts (technically in Samut Prakhan province), once a marshland called Nong Nguhao (Cobra Swamp). With its overtones of wealth, the name represents the hopes of developers, who are turning the area into a retail battlefield.

The problem is oversupply. In late June, multitudes of of shoppers eager for a new experience after weeks of Covid-19 lockdown came to the grand opening of Siam Premium Outlets Bangkok, a brand new mall less than 10 kilometres east of the airport, the main gateway to Southeast Asia’s second largest economy.

The mood was festive for the debut of the massive project, a collaborative effort by Thai mall operator Siam Piwat and US conglomerate Simon Property Group. The joint venture invested 4 billion baht to accommodate an anticipated 10,000 visitors per day in the mall’s 50,000 square metres of floor space.

Siam Piwat Simon’s managing director says “Premium outlet is a retail trend that still has potential to grow”. He believes that growth will reinforce Thailand as one of the world’s most popular tourism destinations. But given the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s hard to imagine a tougher time to open a mall. The foreign tourists whose spending would normally ensure the success of a new shopping complex are being kept out as the government still bans most international arrivals.

When tourists do return, their numbers and mobility may be limited, and competition among major retailers around Suvarnabhumi will enter a new, more intense chapter. Rivalries between central Bangkok’s many malls and those emerging around the airport will also heat up. There’s plenty of shopping for bored travellers waiting for flights inside the main airport as well.

Some analysts predict the “new normal”, requiring social distancing and limiting customer numbers that could result in significant shrinkage in physical store offerings. The head of retail advisory and transaction services at CBRE Thailand says retailers’ rental space requirement may be reduced by 20 – 40% from the levels before the pandemic. Still, nearly 1.3 million square metres of new retail space is expected in Bangkok by the end of 2023 – more than 25 times the size of Siam Premium Outlets Bangkok. That many commercial facilities opening in a span of just 3½ years is sure to add plenty of new challenges to the retail landscape. According to a spokesman for the Thai Retailers’ Association…

“Premium outlets are business in an upward trend, while duty-free shops are the opposite. In the future, there will be no tax because of free trade agreements. And tourist behaviour is changing. They don’t want to pay a lot of money for short-lifecycle goods. They would buy more goods from premium outlets rather than duty-free shops, where goods are more expensive.”

Thailand has been benefitting from growing overseas tourism, led by the Chinese with their formidable purchasing power, which was booming until the pandemic. According to a report by the World Tourism Organisation, in 2018 the kingdom was the ninth most visited country by tourists in the world, and second after China in Asia. Thailand’s visitors in 2019 were close to 40 million.

Bangkok's shopping malls struggle under tourist ban, fierce competition | News by The Thaiger

The turf war near Suvarnabhumi is essentially an extension of the fierce retail competition in central Bangkok, where retailers are also highly dependent on overseas visitors. Siam Piwat introduced mega mall Iconsiam on the east bank of Chao Phraya river, as a joint project with Thailand’s largest conglomerate CP Group and its property arm Magnolia Quality Development, in November 2018. Siam Piwat co-owns Siam Paragon with another retailer, The Mall Group, which also developed Emporium and EmQuartier department stores. Central Group, including Central Pattana, runs Central World and Central Chidlom.

More projects are in the pipeline. Magnolia Quality Development is working on one called The Forestias, scheduled to be completed by 2023. The US$4 billion (124 billion baht) project is on track to be the largest property investment in the kingdom’s history.

Whether in Bangkok proper or near Suvarnabhumi Airport, all major retail complexes have one thing in common: they’re counting the days until the foreign tourist inflow returns. The Tourism Authority of Thailand came up with a plan to promote domestic tourism packages to mitigate the impact from the lack of overseas travellers, but Thais’ spending power is limited compared to that of foreign tourists.

Although the coronavirus situation in the kingdom is well in hand, the risk of a second wave has the world on edge, even as some countries such as the US and Brazil struggle to rein in their first wave. The outlook for Thailand’s big bet on the return of inbound demand is fraught with uncertainty. The “Realm of Gold” that welcomes travellers may not be quite so precious for some time to come.

Bangkok's shopping malls struggle under tourist ban, fierce competition | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: Nikkei Asian Review

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Bangkok

Bangkok running enthusiasts enjoy new pop-up track at Central World

Maya Taylor

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Bangkok running enthusiasts enjoy new pop-up track at Central World | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

As Bangkok residents enjoy the freedom of Covid restrictions being lifted, the city’s Central World mall has unveiled a pop-up running track to help people get back in shape after lockdown.

The mall’s managment team has installed a 500 metre track, which is open to the city’s runners every evening from 5 pm to 8 pm, until July 22. The track is already proving popular, with both serious runners and newbies, as well as those just along for a selfie in the unusual exercise spot.

The temporary track is part of the mall’s “Central World Sport Unlock Phase 1” campaign, aimed at getting people healthy again after Covid restrictions led to most being confined indoors, with limited exercise.

Nattakit Tangpoonsinthana, from the Marketing team at Central Pattana, says the mall plans to run more fitness activities in the coming months, pointing out that it also boasts over 50 health and wellness stores, and has been the starting point for various marathons over the years.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Crime

Thousands arrested nationwide for illegal motorbike racing

Jack Burton

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Thousands arrested nationwide for illegal motorbike racing | The Thaiger
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Since the lifting of the national curfew on June 14, gangs of illegal street racers, known as “dek waen” or “vanz boys” have quickly returned to Thailand’s roads. From June 20-30, police arrested more than 5,600 racers and seized more than 17,700 bikes nationwide. PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has warned against gatherings and street racing, and says that regardless of the curfew police should take action against the racers, even threatening a renewed curfew. During the curfew, public complaints on illegal street races dropped from over 600 to less than 300 a month.

The assistant national police chief says Bangkok police and the Provincial Police Region 1 which covers the lower central plains, arrested 109 such racers, seized 11,743 motorcycles and prosecuted 3,088 shops for illegally modifying motorcycle parts. Most modifications were to motorcycles’ exhaust pipes, increasing the noise they make, thus the locally coined word “vanz.” Police also put 668 parents of illegal racers on probation.

The Provincial Police Region 8, covering the lower South, says it seized 237 motorbikes and 311 illegally modified exhaust pipes, and put 175 young motorcyclists and 28 parents on probation. Police in the northeastern Ubon Ratchathani province arrested 85 motorcyclists and seized 317 motorcycles and about 300 modified exhaust pipes. Police in the northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima arrested 476 motorcyclists and seized 665 bikes and 204 substandard exhaust pipes.

The Provincial Police Region 6, which oversees part of the North, arrested 6 racers, put 1,921 motorcyclists and 212 parents on probation and seized 1,306 motorcycles.

The Provincial Police Region 7 which also covers lower south provinces put 5,009 motorcyclists on probation and seized 4,632 bikes and 357 modified or substandard exhaust pipes.

Thousands arrested nationwide for illegal motorbike racing | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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