PHOTOS: Chris Dodd, BBC
Police are defending their actions when they charged a British backpacker with theft after he picked up a mobile phone at Chiang Mai airport last February.
29 year old Chris Dodd spent 10 days in jail in February after he was charged with stealing the phone belonging to a German tourist and remanded in custody by a court. Chris insists that he intended to hand the phone in when he arrived at his accommodation.
Read the original Thaiger story HERE.
The charge was dropped after his family and friends back home raised 828,690 baht to pay a fine on his behalf. Dodd has since returned home and continues to protest his innocence.
He has also complained in interviews with the local media that he was forced to have his dreadlocks shaved while he was detained and had to sleep in an overcrowded jail where nobody spoke English.
Dodd, a tattoo artist, told the BBC that he found the phone just as he was about to get into the taxi after arriving at the airport.
The broadcaster says he told them he picked it up the phone and while looking for its owner he moved it to a different location, which is considered theft in Thai law.
Pol Colonel Krissana Pattanacharoen said police at Chiang Mai International Airport had been approached at 8.40pm on February 26 by a German tourist who said she had lost her mobile phone in the terminal.
CCTV footage showed a foreigner with dreadlocks and white cap pick up the phone from the floor of the passengers’ lounge before leaving the airport in a public van.
Police then traced the van to a guesthouse in Tambon Sripoom, Muang district and found the phone in the possession of British backpacker Dodd, who comes from Poole, Dorset.
“The SIM of the phone we confiscated from the British man had been removed, and the password and language changed,” said Krissana.
“All the data had been wiped clean. Police then took him to the Pupingrachaniwet police station to be charged.”
Based on the evidence, police charged him with theft and he was taken to Chiang Mai prison pending trial. He was freed on bail on March 11.
Krissana insisted that the shaving of the dreadlocks had been done in accordance with the regulations.
“We strictly follow the laws with respect to basic human rights,” Krissana added.
“We are gathering information from his interviews to consider legal action against him.”
BBC quoted Dodd as saying: “I was stripped naked, sent in, given a blanket. Then, the next thing you know you’re being taken into the cells, where they house massive amounts of people.
“Nobody spoke English. It was really intimidating. You just have to fight for a space on the floor and you have people’s legs all over you.”
SOURCE: The Nation
Chiang Mai Song Thaew drivers see red over Grab
Chiang Mai’s Grab vs traditional public transport continues. The issue has simmered for two years with occasional outbreaks of violence and an ongoing war of words on social media.
Thai PBS reports that the spat has become a major problem again between the public Red Song Thaews and Grab Cars in the northern city.
On the one hand members of the public are finding Grab more convenient, personal and better service. While the Red Bus drivers are complaining that their income is dropping, by more than 50% in some cases.
The Department of Land Transport and airport authorities reported 344 Grab drivers had been fined for picking up passengers at Chiang Mai airport since January 1.
Speaking to Thai PBS, students said Grab was much better and provided a personal service often at only a small increased cost.
“It goes to exactly where we want and is quicker than waiting for a Red Bus.”
One student even claimed they had been dumped so that the Red Bus driver could pick up tourists – a more lucrative kind of passenger.
The deputy of the local Red Bus association Bunreuang Wangmee said his organisation represented 2,465 members. While he admitted that some overcharged most kept to the 20 baht to 30 baht charges. He claimed that meant they were better value than Grab Car.
He said that some of his members had seen their daily income plummet from 1,200 baht to 400-500 baht per day.
Police and drug courier injured in shootout at Chiang Mai checkpoint
FIL PHOTO: A police checkpoint set-up in the Chiang Mai city area – Chiang Mai Citylife
Three alleged drug couriers have been arrested this morning following a gunfight that injured a suspect and a police officer.
The incident happened in the Mae Rim district of Chiang Mai. Police say they monitored road checkpoints last night until officers at a traffic booth in Tambon Rimtai noticed a motorcycle leading the way for a pick-up truck at 1.20am, according to The Nation.
Police flagged them down at the checkpoint but the motorcycle mounted the footpath to avoid the checkpoint and sped away. When the pickup was stopped, a man on the back jumped down and ran into the forest, with police not far behind.
The suspect opened fire on the policeman chasing him with his homemade sawn-off shotgun. The shot hit the officer’s left arm. The officer returned fire and hit the suspect in the abdomen before police were able to seize his gun. The injured suspect was identified as 21 year old Wongsakorn Jala.
Both the injured policeman and suspect were rushed to the district hospital.
The two other suspects were identified as a 22 and 30 year old. Police found 200,000 methamphetamine pills in the back of the pickup. Police are still trying to find the motorcycle ‘scout’ who was leading the way.
The suspects told police they were hired by a Lahu man in Chiang Mai’s Chai Prakan district to take the drug from Fang district and deliver it to a recipient in the city.
SOURCE: The Nation
Young British man found dead in Chiang Mai condo
PHOTO: Thai Rath
A maid discovered a British man dead in the bedroom of a room on the eighth floor of a luxury condo in the Chang Khlan district of Chiang Mai over the weekend.
39 year old Kapadia Sarfaraaz was found face down on the bedroom floor. Police found no signs of a struggle or wounds on the body. But they say there were lots of different medications in the room. They speculate that the man had probably died from some ongoing illness.
The man had checked into the condominium last Tuesday and thought to have been dead about one day. In the Thai Rath report, the man was described as a “big man”. An autopsy is currently being held and relatives and the Consulate are being contacted.
SOURCE: Thai Rath
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