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Debt collectors arrested in police corruption scandal

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Two civilians arrested in CIB chief graft case
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The roundup of accomplices of the former Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) chief facing corruption probe continues with the arrests of two civilians yesterday and the scheduled surrender today of two soldiers to face charges of lese majeste, extortion and kidnapping for claiming royal connections to collect debts by force.

The two civilians were identified as Charat Photiraj and Natthanan Thanavej. They, and a man named Chakarn Phakphoom who was arrested days earlier, had arranged talks in June to settle a 120 million baht debt. They forced the lender to write it down to only 20mn baht.

Charat said he knew nothing about the deal, as he was just the driver. He took the debtor and creditor as well as his boss to the negotiation venue and did not know what they did after that. Natthanan said he was a messenger boy.

Police spokesman Gen Prawut Thawornsiri said there were five members in this debt-collection gang, which was a cog in the alleged crime machine of former CIB chief Gen Pongpat Chayaphan.

With the arrest of the two, the number of those detained in this case has risen to 19 police and civilians.

However, the investigation is more complicated than a normal corruption case involving a police bureau, as many of the suspects maintain they have strong ties with the palace.

At least three of them have been stripped of their royally granted family name – Akharapongpreecha.

Gen Prawut has said the Akharapongpreecha men – former major Nuttapon, former sergeant Sitthisak and former Royal Household Bureau official Narong – lost their ranks and titles, while the other two, Sutthisak Sutthijit and Chakarn Phakphoom, have been in military custody since Tuesday.

Nuttapon and Narong, who now used Suwadee as their family name, as well as Chakarn were the key persons who forced the creditor to write down the huge debt, while Charat and Natthanan were standing guard outside, said Kiartnarong Chalermsook, superintendent of Prayakrai Police Station.

The suspects claimed that they had done the job on behalf of a person in a highly placed institution, police said.

They were charged with lese majeste for saying that.

Kiartnarong said the two sergeants, Thanathakorn Yasri and Theeraphong Chorchampee, would turn themselves in to the police today, but declined to say what the grounds were for them to need to report themselves.

Another suspect, Witthaya Thetkhuntod is still on the run and is armed, he said.

Spokesman Gen Prawut called on Lt Col Songrak Khunsri to report to his superior to give more information about the syndicate that he may know or is involved with.

“The officer once contacted us but has gone silent now. He might fear for his safety, but it’s better for him to report to the authorities,” he said.

Gen Pongpat faces many charges, including lese majeste and colluding with fuel smuggling.

Police have informed the mass media that he and his syndicate took bribes from a major oil smuggler in the South.

A man named Sahachai Cheasermsin is wanted by police in connection with the tax-dodging operation. He had allegedly paid for protection to Gen Pongpat for a long time.

However, many officials from the Marine Police, Department of Special Investigation and the Army, as well as attorneys, judges, officials in the judicial branch and even journalists were involved in the smuggling racket, according to a police report.

The payoffs were in kind and cash. The amounts paid to officials ranged up to 12mn baht each time. Sometimes officials were treated to meals and entertainment.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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Pattaya

20 people arrested at Pattaya restaurant for allegedly violating alcohol ban

Tanutam Thawan

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Stock photo by Bence Boros for Unsplash

Police in Pattaya arrested 20 people last night at a local restaurant where alcohol was reportedly being sold. While Chon Buri recently eased disease control restrictions, now allowing restaurants in the province to offer dine-in services again, alcohol sales and consumption at restaurants are still prohibited.

Saewana restaurant was raided at around 11pm last night by officers from Pattaya and the Banglamung district station. Alcohol was served in glasses and the bottles were hidden, police say.

Pattaya News says all 20 people at the restaurant were arrested, including the owner. They face charges for allegedly violating the provincial disease control order. Those who violate the Emergency Decree could face a hefty fine or even imprisonment.

A police officer who spoke to a Pattaya News reporter said that there is a zero-tolerance policy for alcohol consumption at restaurants as the policy has been made clear to the public.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

 

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Thailand

Thailand News Today | Releasing 50,000 prisoners, Covid sniffer dogs, bungled kidnap | May 18

Tanutam Thawan

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Following an abortive attempt at a kidnap for ransom at the end of March, 3 people are currently under arrest, National vaccine rollout could finally get underway next week, pecially trained sniffer dogs will soon be deployed on the streets of Bangkok to sniff out cases of Covid-19 infection, Koh Samet reopening to visitors after being closed for 3 weeks and Local fishermen have found space debris, possibly from a satellite or parts of a used launch rocket.

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Active Covid-19 clusters reported in 16 Bangkok districts

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Facebook/กรุงเทพมหานคร โดยสำนักงานประชาสัมพันธ์

Bangkok residents living in any of the 16 districts in the capital with active Covid-19 clusters are being advised to strictly follow disease control measures. Spokesperson Taweesilp Visanuyothin made the warning during today’s Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration briefing.

In the latest wave of Covid-19 infections, more than 28,000 cases have been reported in Bangkok. Taweeslip says there have been 29 clusters. 8 of those outbreaks have been controlled while the other 21 clusters are still active.

Some of the clusters include…

  • Construction workers’ camps in Khlong Toey, Laksi and Watthana
  • Khlong Toey slum communities
  • Huai Khwang market
  • Prisons in the Chatuchak district

The outbreak at a construction site in Laksi is one of the largest clusters with 885 cases reported yesterday and another 1,107 cases were confirmed today.

Active Covid-19 clusters reported in 16 Bangkok districts | News by Thaiger

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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