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Five more caught in police graft scandal

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Five more caught in police graft scandal | The Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Five more caught in police graft scandal
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Five civilians accused of involvement in the corruption scheme engulfing crime buster Lt Gen Pongpat Chayaphan have been apprehended and are going through the criminal process, National police chief Gen Somyot Poompanmoung said yesterday.

The five were identified as Nattapon, Sitthisak and Narong Akarapongpreecha, Sutthisak Sutthijit and Chakarn Phakphoom. They were wanted for armed intimidation, criminal conspiracy involving more than five offenders, restraint of freedom, and joint theft.

They are now in the custody of Phra Khanong police in Bangkok.

Gen Somyot said more people involved in this scheme – he didn’t specify the number – would be arrested if or when evidence implicating them became available.

He had earlier dismissed as rumor unconfirmed news reports that some 40 senior police would soon be summonsed for alleged involvement with Gen Pongpat, who is now in custody.

An investigation into this issue was underway. If or when the summonses were issued, it would be known publicly, he said, adding: “Don’t play up this issue so frequently that it disturbs police and distracts them from their work.”

One of the identified suspects, Nattapon, is a former Army major. Royal Thai Police spokesman Lt Gen Prawut Thawornsiri confirmed yesterday that Natthaphol had been stripped of his Army rank and was the same Natthapol among the new suspects in police custody.

Gen Somyot, meanwhile, said he would welcome “tell-all revelations” by former Rak Prathet Thai Party leader Chuwit Kamolvisit about police corruption – if he could back up his claims with concrete evidence.

Speaking at a press conference before Gen Somyot’s remarks, Chuwit said the systematic corruption and fee collection engulfing the former Central Investigation Bureau commissioner involved many more officers apart from CIB deputy chief Maj Gen Kowit Wongrungroj and two non-commissioned officers, all of whom had been suspended and placed in custody.

Somyot later called on Chuwit to fully identify two bureau commissioners he referred to as ‘Kor’ and ‘Jor’, saying it would be easier for police to probe further into their alleged crimes cited by Chuwit.

In Chuwit’s statement, he said a gambling den inside the Colonze massage parlor on Rama IX Road was operated by people who cited backing from the monarchy.

This den generated large profits from gamblers and was able to pay a daily “protection fee” of 20 million baht to the police for nine months of operation in 2001, before it relocated to Soi Ratchadaphisek 18, the same year.

It operated there for 24 days, starting August 1, before it closed down after being exposed by media reports.

He said Gen Pongpat, as CIB chief at the time, was supposedly unable – under a police culture of corruption – to extract the fee from this den without knowledge and approval of the Metropolitan Police Bureau chief at the time.

Chuwit, however, praised Gen Somyot, saying he believed the incumbent Royal Thai Police (RTP) commander was a good person who had good intent in tackling police corruption. The parlor tycoon-cum-politician said the information he released yesterday was based on a document he submitted to the RTP for further investigation. A finding later claimed that no involvement by police was found with this gambling den.

All items, contained in a large number of boxes, seized from various homes of Gen Pongpat, Gen Kowit, and Col Akkharawut Limrat – whose death was cited as suicide – were transported to a military barracks in northern Bangkok, pending identification from Fine Arts Department experts on artifacts.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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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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Economy

TAT says ‘all go’ for tourism discount campaign

Greeley Pulitzer

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TAT says ‘all go’ for tourism discount campaign | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Thailand Shopping and Dining Paradise

The Tourism Authority of Thailand’s governor says that the TAT will introduce two domestic tourism promotional measures – a 100 baht nationwide tourism campaign, and “shocking-price weekday” discounts.

The 100 baht campaign will offer some 40,000 products and services at only 100 baht each. Registration is required and will be open on November 11-12 and December 11-12, 2019, for up to 10,000 people each day on the the TAT website, starting at midnight each day.

The weekday discount campaign, valid Mondays to Thursdays will run from November 1 until December 3, offering up to 70% discounts on selected tourism products. The TAT will open an online store offering the same discounts. Eligible purchases made with the government’s wallet app will also receive a 15% VAT rebate.

The TAT says they are now ensuring the readiness of the system to accommodate registrations, after issues found during the previous ‘Chim Shop Chai’ campaign for Thais in a recent successful economic stimulus package from the government. In that campaign the government handed out 1000 baht gift to Thais with the stipulation it had to be spent in another province. 12 million Thais registered for the program.

The governor says he is confident these measures will provide an ongoing economic boost following the success of the Chim Shop Chai campaign, spiking revenue 10-20% during the campaign.

SOURCE: National News Bureau of Thailand

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Road deaths

Thailand road toll: 554 dead this month, 11,462 this year

The Thaiger

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Thailand road toll: 554 dead this month, 11,462 this year | The Thaiger

PHOTO: U-Turn crash in Bangkok – Daily News

Daily news reports fatalities at the scene of accidents yesterday claimed the lives of 21 people. Yesterday was a busy day on Thailand’s roads at the end of a long weekend.

They say the numbers reported are only those that die at the scene. In reality, when hospital deaths and all regions report their stats, the figures end up much higher.

So far this October 554 have died at the scene of accidents resulting in a yearly total nationwide of 11,462. Thailand is recognised by the World Health Organisation as the fifth highest road toll in the world, per capita.

Figures are reported daily by Daily News who highlight the need to be vigilant at U-turns in their story about this air-conditioned bus (above)on Route 29 that collided with the back of a container truck.

Seven passengers on the bus were injured in the accident on Pahonyothin Road near the Kesri 5 housing estate in Klong 1, Klong Luang district north of Bangkok. The truck driver was trying to execute a U-turn at the time.

SOURCE: Daily News | ThaiVisa

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