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Ex-rector charged in B1.5bn KMITL embezzlement scam

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Ex-rector charged in B1.5bn KMITL embezzlement scam | The Thaiger

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

Ex-rector charged in B1.5bn KMITL embezzlement scam
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Thawil Phuengma, the former rector of King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Latkrabang (KMITL) and a suspect in the high-profile siphoning off Bt1.5 billion from KMITL bank accounts, yesterday morning reported to police to hear five serious charges against him.

Pol Lt-General Prawut Thavornsiri, National Police spokesman, said the charges were theft, forgery of official documents, embezzlement, negligence and money laundering.

Another former KMITL executive, Sarut Ratchaburi, who also went to see police a few hours later, was charged with embezzlement, negligence and money laundering.

A third former KMITL executive, Sappasit Limnorarat, postponed his surrender to later today.

Police took Thawil and Sarut to Min Buri Court to seek permission to detain them for interrogation. The court later approved the bail release for Thawil at Bt5 million while Sarut had to remain in custody because he didn’t have enough to pay the collateral.

Prawut told reporters that KMITL had agreed with Crime Suppression police taking legal action on its behalf against the three former executives, who allegedly formed the “big boss” group behind this scandal.

Police believe there were more operatives.

Thawil had allegedly done some suspicious things, like providing a guarantee of the conduct of Songklod Sriprasong, a Siam Commercial Bank branch manager whom the bank was considering transferring after detecting unusual withdrawals.

This revealed Thawil’s alleged unusual close relationship with Songklod, who was a key suspect in this case.

According to Prawut, Thawil opened bank accounts for KMITL, even before his appointment as rector was endorsed, and closed the accounts after he left office. He also sent a letter to the bank saying he didn’t want the bank to audit these accounts or their financial condition, Prawut said.

Thawil told police he had nothing to do with the embezzlement and did not remember which documents he had signed or when.

Prawut said the police forensic team was examining the 300 signatures – including those of five former and current KMITL executives – to compare them with those on the forms authorising transactions. The examination was to be completed and submitted to case investigators this week.

Sarut, the other suspect, brought documents along to show to police and denied all three charges against him.

He said all KMITL lecturers knew Songklod, as he was a bank manager who was good at talking and making friends with people. Songklod had invited him to invest in high-yield funds so he wired money occasionally to Songklod until the banker became noticeably slow in wiring the returns to his account in 2009.

He said he had just learned that the Bt5 million in total that Songklod had transferred to him was actually from KMITL’s accounts, so he plans to sue Songklod after this case is closed.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Expats

Thai app will ease expat immigration woes and make 90 day reporting simple

May Taylor

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Thai app will ease expat immigration woes and make 90 day reporting simple | The Thaiger

The “OSS Foreigner” app is coming, and you will be able to use it for 90 day reporting, according to the Secretary-General at the office of the PM.

Dr Kobsak Pootrakool says the planned app can be used for all immigration reporting, including 90 day reports, adding that typing in the required data and uploading a selfie will accomplish the same result as filling out paperwork at the local immigration office but without having to make the trip there.

Dr Kobsak has been given responsibility for sorting out the TM30 debate and says the immigration app, called OSS Foreigner, is nearly complete and should make all those who live and work in Thailand feel more welcome and make compliance easier and more convenient.

The TM30 form, and its companion, the TM28, have been a source of expat displeasure over the past five months since the immigration department decided to enforce a little-used 1979 law that required foreigners to report their whereabouts if they had stayed overnight at an address different from their registered address.

This latest move comes as part of a wider program to make Thai public services more efficient, with Dr Kobsak making the announcement while outlining plans for all Thai government departments to embrace digital technology by as early as 2022. Meanwhile, the Deputy PM Somkid Jatusripitak is championing a programme to improve Thai public services for both Thai citizens and foreigners.

“The government’s new approach to IT and digital technology is designed to deliver a smarter, easier service as part of the Thailand 4.0 economic model.”

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Crime

Karaoke premises raided in central Thailand, 3 underage sex workers rescued

May Taylor

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Karaoke premises raided in central Thailand, 3 underage sex workers rescued | The Thaiger

The Nation reports that 3 underage sex workers have been rescued after raids on a karaoke restaurant and a karaoke massage parlour in Ang Thong, central Thailand.

The raids were confirmed at a press conference held by Ronnarong Thipsiri, Head of the Department of Provincial Administration’s investigation and suppression division, along with Sakda Bandasak, sheriff of Ang Thong’s Muang district. Ronnarong alleges both premises were using the underage girls as prostitutes.

“We collaborated with Damrong Dhama Centre and anti-human trafficking organisations and learnt that two karaoke joints in Ang Thong were employing underage sex workers. These were the Chil Chil Karaoke on Highway No. 3064, Pa Ngiew sub district of Muang district, and Jittra Karaoke on the ground floor of a hotel in Muang district.”

During the raids, police identified 6 sex workers offering services to a group of customers. Four of the girls were Thai and two were from Laos. Three were under the age of 18, with the youngest being 15 years old. A large number of used condoms were also found.

Somjit Phetwijit and Aphirom Pheungpracha, the owners of Chil Chil Karaoke and Jittra Karaoke respectively were arrested and charged with human trafficking, solicitation of prostitution, prostitution of an underage person, and opening an entertainment facility without a licence.

A 17 year old girl from Jittra Karaoke told the press she was hired to sit and drink with clients and was paid 50 baht each time a client ordered a drink.

“Clients can buy sex for 1,500 baht a time or pay 3,500 baht for a whole night. They can either use massage rooms in the back or bring the girls to other hotels of their choice.”

SOURCE: The Nation

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Business

Singha grabs a 90% stake in Thailand’s Santa Fe restaurant chain

May Taylor

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Singha grabs a 90% stake in Thailand’s Santa Fe restaurant chain | The Thaiger

(…or is that a 90% ‘steak’?)

PHOTOS: Wongnai

DealStreetAsia, an investor news site reporting on Asian business, confirms that Singha Corporation has purchased a majority stake in the Thai restaurant chain, Santa Fe. It’s understood that Singha purchased the shares held by Lakeshore Capital for approximately US$50 million or 1.53 billion baht, giving it a 90% stake in the chain seen in most Thai shopping centres.

The Nation reports that Singha will now oversee over 110 restaurants across Thailand in one of the country’s biggest food industry deals of the year. The company first turned its attention to the food industry two years ago, launching Food Factors Company under the Boon Rawd Brewery group.

WongnaiFood Factors aims to make 5 billion baht over 3 years under the stewardship of Piti Bhirombhakdi. The company has an ambitious long-term target of 10 billion baht a year, along with plans to be listed on the stock exchange.

The Santa Fe chain was established in 2003 by Surachai Charn-Anudet’s KT Restaurant Company, with the aim of becoming a major competitor to Sizzler, the American chain brought to Thailand by Minor Food.

SOURCE: The Nation

Singha grabs a 90% stake in Thailand's Santa Fe restaurant chain | News by The Thaiger

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