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Death sentences commuted to life in prison for Akeyuth murder

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Death sentences commuted to life in prison for Akeyuth murder
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The Criminal Court handed down the death sentence to two of six defendants for murdering high-profile and outspoken businessman Akeyuth Anchanbutr last year – but the penalty was commuted to life imprisonment because they had confessed.

The murder of Akeyuth was big news last year, capturing immense public attention and the media spotlight as he was a strong critic of then-prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her brother Thaksin.

There was huge speculation on who masterminded Akeyuth’s murder, when he disappeared and was later found dead in June last year. Finally, evidence submitted to the court nailed down six defendants with “money” as the motive for the attack. The court read out its verdict, based on the evidence, yesterday.

Two of the defendants, Akeyuth’s driver Santiparb Pengduang and Suttipong Pimpisarn, were convicted of pre-meditated murder and robbery. By detaining and killing Akeyuth, they managed to get Bt6.6 million in assets and cash from him.

Their punishment was commuted from the death penalty to life in prison on grounds that their confession during interrogation proved somewhat useful.

These two defendants were also ordered to pay Bt1.9 million in compensation to their victim’s family. Police have so far recovered just a little over Bt4.2 million after the defendants’ were arrested. Four other defendants also got guilty verdicts with lighter punishment.

Chawalit Wunchum, another suspect, was found guilty of violating the gun law and trying to hide Akeyuth’s body. He received a 13-month jail term, but because he had a previous suspended jail term from another case, Chawalit will have to serve 19 months in jail following yesterday’s verdict.

Driver’s parents also get jail terms

Tiwakorn Kua-thong was also convicted of trying to hide Akeyuth’s body. He got eight months in jail.

Santiparb’s parents, Master Sergeant Ittipon Pengduang and Jit-ampai Penguang, were found guilty of accepting crime-related money. They both received 16 months in jail.

After the verdict was read, Santiparp said he would consult his lawyers on how to appeal. Despite his conviction and serious punishment, he was still smiling.

Akeyuth’s son, who also showed up in the court, said he was satisfied with the verdict. “But I am going to consult my lawyer on whether to appeal,” he added.

Before his death, Akeyuth told his lawyer Suwat Apaisak that he felt someone wanted to kill him. Suwat also claimed he had talked to Santiparb during his detention and was told that a team of professional killers – not he – had murdered Akeyuth.

Akeyuth launched a website – Thai Insider – that published many reports and opinion pieces highly critical of Thaksin and Yingluck.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Thailand

Win driver allegedly ran red light, hits teenage motorbiker

Caitlin Ashworth

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Win driver allegedly ran red light, hits teenage motorbiker | The Thaiger
PHOTO: naewna

A Thai motorbike taxi driver, known as a ‘win’ driver, allegedly ran a red light and ran into a teenage student driving on Sukhumvit Road in Chon Buri’s Sattahip district. The 58 year old win driver and the 18 year old student were both taken to the hospital. Emergency responders did not report on the extent of their injuries.

The student, Chatwilai Laopanna, told police that she was driving through the green light when the motorbike taxi driver collided into her. The win driver, Tawin Samila, admitted to police that he drove through the red traffic light.

Na Jomtien Police are reviewing surveillance camera footage to determine what potential charges will be pressed on the win driver.

‘Win’ drivers are an indispensable form of public transport for people to travel short distances, or cut through the heavy traffic, especially around Bangkok. But they are notorious for protecting their ‘turf’, erratic driving and flouting the traffic rules.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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Business

Struggling airlines to get reprieve through small loans, extension to fuel tax cut

Maya Taylor

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Struggling airlines to get reprieve through small loans, extension to fuel tax cut | The Thaiger
PHOTO: TAT News

Airlines in Thailand are being offered a financial lifeline, as the Government Savings Bank announces soft loans for carriers left struggling as a result of the current Covid-19 ‘disruption’. Nation Thailand reports that the GSB is offering the loans over a 60 month period, with an annual interest rate of 2%. Chairman Patchara Anuntasilpa says the proposal will shortly be put to Cabinet for approval.

Airlines have been left financially devastated by the fallout from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, with countries closing their borders, passenger numbers plummeting, and carriers forced to slash the number of flights on offer. The services available, including the food services, were also curtailed early on as a preventative measure but that restriction has since been lifted. The effect is being keenly felt by all the airlines in Thailand, with the Kingdom’s borders closed to nearly all international traffic since March.

In a further effort to ease the financial crisis faced by Thai airlines, the Excise Department says it will extend the fuel tax cut for low-cost carriers by another 6 months from the end of this month. Patchara, who also serves as director-general of the Excise Department, says the tax may end up being abolished completely. In normal times, taxation on aviation fuel generates around 1 billion baht a year.

Air Asia has also cut some of its ground costs by using airport buses to ferry passengers from a cheaper aircraft parking area, back to the terminals, foregoing the costs of the airport airbridges. Flights from Phuket to Don Mueang, for example, are now a full ‘bus’ service, sometimes adding an additional 15 minutes at either end for the loading up of the buses and the trip to the planes or the terminal.

It’s understood the excise tax collected since October 2019 totals 503 billion baht, down more than 6.5% on last year’s figure. Most of the income comes from oil or oil products, cars, alcohol, and cigarettes.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Thailand

Navy divers find captain’s body after boat sank in weekend storm

Caitlin Ashworth

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Navy divers find captain’s body after boat sank in weekend storm | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook: @THAIMECC3

The body of a fishing boat captain trapped in sunken wreckage was found by Royal Thai Navy divers. The man’s boat sank during a weekend storm at the Surin Islands National Park, an archipelago of 5 islands in the Andaman Sea around 55 kilometres from the Phang Nga province coast.

The “Chan Udome Sombat 8” fishing boat reportedly sank around 9pm Saturday night from the storm’s strong winds and high waves. A Burmese crew member, Ammia Au, was able to swim to their nearby sister fishing boat “Chan Udome Sombat 6” and got help. The Third Area Thailand Maritime Enforcement Coordinating Center received a report from Khuraburi port officials about the incident.

Ammia told rescuers that strong wind and high waves caused the boat to take on water. He was sleeping and woke up as the boat was tipping over. He says he was able to grab a few things before jumping over.

The Navy searched the marine park the following day and found the body of the boat’s captain, Somchai Soonploy, trapped in the submerged boat. Divers came back yesterday and brought the man’s body back to the surface. The body was taken to a local hospital and the man’s family was contacted.

SOURCE: Phuket News

ศรชล.ภาค 3 ประสานการปฏิบัติ ช่วยเหลือเรือพลิกคว่ำ ในวันที่ 19 กย. 63 เวลา 21.00 น.ศรชล.ภาค 3…

Posted by ศูนย์อำนวยการรักษาผลประโยชน์ของชาติทางทะเลภาค 3 – ศรชล.ภาค 3 on Sunday, September 20, 2020

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