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Prawit apologises after insensitive comments about Chinese boat disaster

The Thaiger

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“They build their own ships, don’t follow our rules.”

Thailand’s #2, deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan is again in hot water, this time for making comments about the Chinese that died in last Thursday’s boat disaster in Phuket, the second worst maritime disaster in Thailand (after the 2004 tsunami).

He suggested that Chinese people are to be blamed for the tourist ferry incident that killed at least 46 people when they drowned following the sinking of ‘Phoenix’.

In his Monday remarks, sparking anger on Chinese social media, Prawit made claims that ‘Phoenix’ was operated by an illegal Chinese business. He also said that ‘they’ ignored the forecasts on the day. Police said the incident remains under investigation.

“The Chinese did it to the Chinese. So what can I do about it? They build their own ships, don’t follow our rules.”

The controversial deputy PM was referring to current investigations that the company who owned and operated ‘Phoenix’ was a Thai shelf-company which was, on paper, Thai but in reality just used as a smokescreen to disguise the Chinese funding and operation of the boat in the waters off Phuket. The operators and some staff have also been revealed to be part of the Tranlee Travel Company that had its assets seized last year in a zero-dollar tour crackdown on Phuket.

Read more about the investigation HERE.

In a later interview with reporters the 72 year old deputy apologised saying he was only speaking based on what he was told.

“If I said anything that upsets people, I apologise.”

Thailand’s defence ministry spokesperson , Kongcheep Tantravanich, also jumped to the deputy PMs defence later re-affirming the apology. He said Thai officials are continuing to assist survivors and have been co-ordinating with Chinese officials at all times.

Read more about zero-dollar tourism HERE.

A Thai Facebook page following Chinese social media said Prawit’s comment drew widespread condemnation from Chinese netizens.

Investigators have so far called into question the design of the ‘Phoenix’, the quality and manufacture of the buoyancy vests, the Thai officials who may have issued registration paperwork and the bonfires of the actual company running the tour operation.

The Chinese tourism ministry in Beijing has already issued a statement urging Chinese travelers to closely monitor weather and sea conditions and obey all warnings.

If you have story ideas, a restaurant to review, an event to cover or an issue to discuss, contact The Thaiger editorial staff.

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Bangkok

Woman faints and falls, hitting Bangkok BTS train this morning

The Thaiger & The Nation

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A woman in Bangkok has fainted, briefly disrupting services at the Morchit BTS station in the capital.


The Nation reports that a woman fainted as a the skytrain service was approaching the Morchit station this morning, falling over and hitting the train as it came into the station, causing services to be temporarily disrupted.


According to the Facebook page “What’s happening to BTS today”, which monitors the BTS service, the incident took place at 8:35 am.


The page says the woman hit the train as she fell but did not fall onto the tracks.


But Dr Anat Arbhabhirama, the chai...

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Bangkok

67 year old and grand-daughter murdered in Samut Prakan

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Police are looking for a Lao welder after a burglary at a private residence in Samut Prakan, south-east of Bangkok, ended in a double homicide.

Officers were summoned by neighbours at 7.30am this morning to a house on Soi Phetch Heung 23 in Tambon Bang Yor, Phra Pradaeng district. They found the bodies of homeowner 67 year old Mali Imsawat in the bathroom and her granddaughter, 12 year old Issaya Perkcheuy, in a bedroom.

The Nation is reporting that both had their throats slit, as did another granddaughter, 9 year old Aparat,  but she was alive and rushed to hospital.


The house had been ransacked and there were signs of a struggle. Valuables including a gold necklace and cash were missing. A bloodstained kitchen knife was placed next to the kitchen sink.

A neighbour told police he’d heard loud arguing from the house at 6am and then saw a bloodied Lao man he knew hurrying from the house.

He called...
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Bangkok

Focus still on Nigerians from Tourist Police – Romance scams

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Tourist police are set to wrap up their focus on all 1,400 Nigerians living in Thailand. This has come from the deputy tourist police chief Pol Maj-General Surachete Hakparn.

Surachete says police would recheck Nigerians living in Thailand to ensure they are living in accordance with the purposes they stated in their entry visa applications or work permits.

Surachete said singling out the entirety of one nationality for police attention was needed after “many Nigerians” were found to be taking part in romance scams deceiving Thai women. He said five Nigerians had been arrested in romance scams at this stage.

He spoke during a press conference held to share the progress so far of a police crackdown on romance scams.

Surachete claims five Nigerians and 12 Thai accomplices from eight gangs had been arrested from 39 areas in Chon Buri, Surat Thani, Trat, Phitsanulok, Bangkok and other provinces for deceiving 48 Thai women out o...
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