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88 million baht seized from ex-officials of destitute fund

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The AMLO (Anti Money Laundering Office) has seized 41 assets worth 88 million baht from three former senior officials at the Social Development and Human Security Ministry and nine alleged accomplices as part of the probe into the misappropriation of allowances and related irregularities at protection centres for the destitute.

AMLO acting secretary-general, Pol Maj-General Romsit Viriyasan, yesterday said the agency’s in-depth investigation had found that the former permanent secretary for Social Development and Human Security, Puttipat Lertchaowasit, and his former deputy Narong Kongkham, as well as the former inspector-general Theerapong Srisukhon were allegedly involved in corruption.

Meanwhile, AMLO legal affairs director Witthaya Neetitham met yesterday with the Royal Thai Police’s Counter-Corruption Division (CCD) chief, Pol Maj-General Kamol Rienracha, to discuss filing complaints against 12 senior officials, including Narong, Theerapong, Puttipat and Puttipat’s female close aide who is also an ex-official.

Kamol later told reporters that the AMLO would officially file the complaint on June 19, as the CCD would first have to get the green light from the Central Investigation Bureau to take up this “complicated” case and set up an investigation team.

According to Romsit, corrupt officials forged documents to access the ministry’s budget allocated to various centres to distribute to entitled low-income earners. The probe found that a part of the ill-gotten money was sent back to the ministry’s executives who then had others launder them to purchase 41 assets, such as land, condominium units and luxury cars, he said.

Wittaya said the graft took place in fiscal year 2016-17. He said that 30 per cent (more than 80 million baht) of the embezzled money was delivered in cash to the executives, making it difficult to probe the case due to the lack of bank money transfer records. However, the AMLO had received good cooperation from former officials and those involved in the graft in providing useful information that implicated the senior officials and led to the asset seizure, he said.

The AMLO transaction committee on Tuesday resolved to temporarily seize the assets from Puttipat, Narong and Theerapong as well as nine alleged accomplices for 90 days pending investigation, Wittaya said. The accused had 30 days to provide explanations about the origins of the assets, he said.

Romsit warned that any state official involved in graft would face asset seizure while those taking ill-gotten money or assets would be liable to face charges of money-laundering, which is punishable with a maximum 10-years imprisonment for every asset transferred.

88 million baht seized from ex-officials of destitute fund | News by The Thaiger

STORY: The Nation

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Pattaya

Pattaya bike rider injured after plunging into large construction hole in road

Maya Taylor

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Pattaya bike rider injured after plunging into large construction hole in road | The Thaiger
PHOTO: The Pattaya News

A motorbike driver has been injured after his bike plunged into a 2-metre deep construction pit in the Naklua area of Pattaya. The Pattaya News reports that the accident occurred around 4am on Thursday morning, with rescue workers arriving to find the bike at the bottom of the pit.

Pattaya bike rider injured after plunging into large construction hole in road | News by The Thaiger

The driver, 39 year old Wassapon Thataworn, had managed to climb out of the hole, despite his injuries, and was transported to a local hospital for treatment. His friend, who has not been named, says he was following Wassapon on another bike, when the accident happened. He claims the hole was not well-lit.

However, the police disagree with his assessment, saying there were barriers around the pit, as well as several neon white lights. It is not known if anyone will face legal charges over the accident.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Technology

Chinese probe heads back to Earth after spending 2 days on the Moon

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Chinese probe heads back to Earth after spending 2 days on the Moon | The Thaiger

A Chinese space probe, Chang’e 5, is now on its way back to earth after having flown to the Moon, landed, explored, collected soil samples and taken off again. It will bring the first lunar rock and soil samples back to Earth in over 4 decades. The probe is bringing a payload of some 2 kilograms of rocks back for testing and investigation.

The landing hardware included a powered descent system, which is now remaining on the Moon’s surface after last night’s blast off.

The Chang’e-5 Chinese developed and built probe, named after the mythical Chinese moon goddess, look off from the Moon at 11.10pm Beijing time last night. Everything was described as ‘routine’ by the mission control staff following the probe’s 2 days motoring around the lunar surface and collecting samples.

The probe was launched from China’s Hainan island, south of Hong Kong in the South China Sea. It will land in northern China’s Inner Mongolia region after its journey back to earth and the perils of an earth atmosphere re-entry. The arrival back at earth is at least a week away.

Scientists hope the samples will help unravel more about the moon’s origins and volcanic activity on its surface. The Chinese have poured billions of Yuan into its military-run space program. The program’s stated ambitions is to have a crewed space station by 2022, and eventually sending humans to the moon and establishing the first colony.

China is only the third country to have retrieved samples from the moon, following the US and the Soviet Union in the 1960s and early 70s. The last time a mission headed to the Moon was the Soviet Union’s Luna 24 unmanned mission in 1976.

The spacecraft was due to collect 2kg (4.5lbs) of material in a previously unexplored area known as Oceanus Procellarum (Ocean of Storms), a vast lava plain, according to the science journal Nature.

Beijing is looking to finally catch up with the US and Russia after years of belatedly matching their space milestones.

Another Chinese lunar rover landed on the far side of the moon in January 2019 in a first that boosted Beijing’s aspirations to become a space superpower. The mission of Chang’e 5 was on the side of the Moon that always faces the earth.

Chinese probe heads back to Earth after spending 2 days on the Moon | News by The Thaiger

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

150 Thai workers ask to be allowed home from Myanmar’s virus-hit Tachilek

Maya Taylor

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150 Thai workers ask to be allowed home from Myanmar’s virus-hit Tachilek | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

The Department of Disease Control says up to 150 Thai nationals have applied to return from Tachilek, as Covid-19 cases rise in the Burmese border town. The requests come as health officials attempt to trace hundreds who came into contact with a number of Covid-infected Thai women who crossed into the Kingdom illegally, bypassing health checks and quarantine. A man in Chiang Rai who had contact with the women has since tested positive for the virus.

A total of 10 women, all of whom were carrying the virus, are believed to have made the illegal crossing. 2 of them subsequently boarded flights to Bangkok and Phitsanulok. It’s understood most of the women worked at a hotel and nightlife complex in Tachilek, called 1G1. Nation Thailand reports that around 180 Thai nationals work at the establishment.

Thai health officials say over 1 million volunteers are now being deployed to homes in border areas, to check for anyone who may have entered the Kingdom illegally. The Thai military is working with other relevant agencies to block the border crossing at the second Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge, in the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai. At least 80 officials, accompanied by additional troops, are being deployed to check illegal border crossings.

Tachilek has reported 15 new cases of Covid-19, with the total number of cases in Myanmar now over 95,000.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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