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Fugitive Russian mafia boss to be extradited

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Fugitive Russian mafia boss to be extradited | The Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Fugitive Russian mafia boss nabbed in Chon Buri to be extradited
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Thai authorities are preparing to deport a Russian mafia boss whose name has been linked to more than 60 kidnapping and murder victims.

Alexander Matusov, 52, was arrested in front of a superstore in Thailand’s Chon Buri province on Monday.

He has been charged with involvement in four murders.

Pol General Wuthi Liptapallop, a chief adviser to the Royal Thai Police, yesterday told a press conference that Matusov was the leader of the Chelkovo (Desert Bandit) gang.

“The gang has more than 100 members,” he said.

According to Wuthi, the gang had committed crimes ranging from extortion to contract killings, torture and kidnappings. Many businessmen, state officials, and criminal gangs in Russia dreaded the gang.

Chelkovo was reportedly active from 1995 to 2009 in Moscow, Tula, Saint Petersburg, and Leningrad. In 1996, it killed four members of a rival gang. The murders led to the issuance of an arrest warrant for Matusov. If convicted, the Russian gang leader will face up to 15 years in jail.

Wuthi said the Russian embassy here had asked Thailand to help arrest the former mafia boss.

Matusov flew into Bangkok first on September 5, 2009 and later left for Cambodia via the Klong Yai checkpoint.

An arrest warrant for him was issued in 2010.

On November 28 last year, Matusov entered Thailand via the Ban Klong Leuk immigration checkpoint with a fake Armenian passport. It showed him as Suren Avetisyan.

“We have already contacted the Russian embassy to prepare the deportation,” Wuthi said.

At the same press conference, Pol Maj-General Warawoot Thaveechaikarn of the Immigration Bureau announced the arrest of two Nigerians. Both were nabbed at a restaurant in Bangkok’s Bang Na district on Monday on charges of using fake stamps on their passports in a bid to stay in Thailand longer than legally allowed.

“They are now charged with document forgery and overstaying,” he said. He added that police would investigate this case further to determine if anyone else was involved.

Warawoot added that a Finnish fugitive, Mika Petri Parianen, was arrested in Chon Buri’s Bang Lamung district on Tuesday. A court in Finland had convicted him in fraud cases totalling 151,877 Euro or about Bt6.68 million.

The Finnish court sentenced him to five years in jail. Parianen, however, fled Finland and came to live in Thailand.

“He is now charged with overstaying and we will prepare his deportation,” Warawoot said.

In another case, Kouanoulack Vonglorkham was arrested on Tuesday during an undercover operation in Nong Khai.

The arrest took place as the 50-year-old Laotian was carrying 189 counterfeit bank notes each with a published value of US$100.

Kouanoulack now faces charges of using the fake US dollar bank notes.

The suspect told police the fake banknotes were manufactured in China. He had bought them in Laos and sold them at Bt700 each to various customers.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Riot police officer in Bangkok tests positive for Covid-19

Caitlin Ashworth

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Riot police officer in Bangkok tests positive for Covid-19 | The Thaiger
Protest in Bangkok on February 28 / Photo by Thai News Pix

A riot police officer, who was deployed at the recent pro-democracy protests in Bangkok, has tested positive for Covid-19. His supervisor, chief of Wang Thonglang station Ekapop Tanprayoon, says the officer had visited Samut Sakhon, a coronavirus hotspot.

Riot police who worked closely with the infected officer, Somyot Nuamcharoen, are ordered to quarantine. The Wang Thonglang police station and any items the police officer handled are being disinfected, the chief says.

The officer had met up with friends during a visit to Samut Sakhon, just southwest of Bangkok. He travelled to the coastal province on February 18 and returned to Bangkok the next day.

On the 20th, he was deployed to a protest outside of parliament, just after returning from his trip to the “red zone” province. On Sunday, he deployed the protest outside the military barracks in Bangkok. The demonstration turned violent and numerous people were injured.

On Tuesday, his friend from Samut Sakhon tested positive for the virus. The infected officer was tested for Covid-19 that day and his result came back positive yesterday.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Transport

“Sealed route” set at Bangkok airport for international transfers

Caitlin Ashworth

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“Sealed route” set at Bangkok airport for international transfers | The Thaiger
Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok / Photo by Caitlin Ashworth

Thailand is now allowing international transits and transfers at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport by using a so-called “sealed route” arranged at the airport to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand has now set guidelines for passengers who have a layover at the Bangkok airport.

Passengers will not be allowed to leave Concourse E. A “sealed route” for the passengers will be set up at Gate E10 and E9, allowing passengers to enter the airport at Gate E10, go through security screening and then either board the transit aircraft at Gate E9 or go on a designated shuttle bus directly to an aircraft.

Social distancing is required for all passengers in waiting areas and a face mask must be worn at all times. The CAAT says food and beverage services will be available at the airport’s “sealed route” waiting area, but there will be “active oversight” on the services. Areas will also be cleaned and disinfected regularly.

Passengers must present required documents…

  • A fit-to-fly health certificate
  • Medical certificate declaring a negative Covid-19 result issued no more than 72 hours before departure
  • Travel health insurance that covers Covid-19 treatment expenses up to $100,000 USD

If demand increases, the airport will add Gates E5, E7 and E8 to the sealed route. If Concourse E is under maintenance, then Concourse F will be used under the same plan.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Thailand

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military

Maya Taylor

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Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook

Facebook has confirmed the removal of 185 accounts run by the Thai military and allegedly involved in information-influencing. The social media giant says the accounts were deleted for engaging in what it calls, “coordinated inauthentic behaviour”. In total, 77 accounts, 72 pages, and 18 groups have been removed from the platform, in addition to 18 Instagram accounts. It’s the first time Facebook has taken such action against accounts linked to the Thai government.

The accounts were associated with the Thai military and were targeting people in the southern provinces, Facebook said its regular report on coordinated inauthentic behavior. The south of the country has been the scene of decades-long conflict, with insurgent groups in the majority-Muslim, Malay-speaking region calling for independence. To date, around 7,000 people have died in the ongoing struggle.

Facebook says the deleted accounts were most active last year and used both fake and real accounts to manage pages and groups, both openly military pages and pages that hid their links to the military. Some of the fake profiles pretended to be people from the southern provinces.

The report mentioned a post by the now-removed account named “comprehending the operation” in Thai. The page posted the logo for Amnesty International Thailand and wrote “The NGO never cares about ordinary citizens because they have no role in society. Normal people are not famous. Any case is not big news. They are not worth the investment of foreigners so they will not do anything to help. This is why we don’t see anything from the NGO.”

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | News by The Thaiger

Image overlay translates to “The NGO never cares about ordinary citizens because they have no role nor money.”

On another now-removed account, named “truth about my home Pattani” in Thai, a post said “Muslim leader declares southern border is a peace zone. The southern separatists started a movement by spreading the idea that Thailand is under control by different believers so that people would come and fight for their religion. This was declared that the action clearly violates Islam faith.”

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | News by The Thaiger

Image overlay translates to “Southern border is not Jihad zone.”

When contacted by Reuters, the military had no comment on the removal of the Facebook accounts, with a spokesman saying the organisation does not comment outside of official press conferences.

The head of Cybersecurity Policy at Facebook, Nathaniel Gleicher, has confirmed the reasons behind the platform’s decision.

“This is the first time that we’ve attributed one of our takedowns to links to the Thai military. We found clear links between this operation and the Internal Security Operations Command. We can see that all of these accounts and groups are tied together as part of this operation.”

He adds that the accounts had spent around US$350 on advertising on both Facebook and Instagram. One or more of the pages had about 700,000 followers and at least one of the groups had 100,000 members. Gleicher says the accounts were removed because of their misleading behaviour and not because of the content being posted. The content included support for the military and the monarchy, with allegations of violence and criticism of insurgent groups in the south.

It’s not the first time accounts linked to the Thai military have been removed by a social media platform. In October, Twitter removed 926 accounts it says had links to the army and posted pro-military and pro-government content. The Thai army has denied any involvement with the accounts in question. In November, Twitter also suspended an account posting pro-monarchy content that was found to have links to the palace and to thousands of other accounts posting similar content.

To read the February 2021 Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior Report, click HERE.

SOURCES: Reuters| Facebook

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