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Key suspect arrested in 800 million baht bitcoin ‘scam’

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Key suspect arrested in 800 million baht bitcoin ‘scam’ | The Thaiger

Parinya Jaravijit, a key suspect in an alleged 800 million baht bitcoin investment scam, was arrested last night at Suvarnabhumi Airport when he arrived back in Thailand.

Parinya – who continues to maintain his innocence – was taken to Ratchadapisek Criminal Court today to apply for his first 12 day detention period (October 12-23). Police have objected to his bail release on the grounds that he was a flight risk and that the case has caused considerable damage.

Parinya’s relatives and his lawyer had prepared assets worth 20 million baht to apply for his bail release.

The 35 year old Parinya, who’s facing charges of colluding in money-laundering and colluding in fraud, was apprehended as he was going through the Suvarnabhumi International Airport’s Immigration Police checkpoint at 11.30pm.

He was then interrogated at the CSD head office throughout the night with his lawyer present.

CSD deputy chief Pol Colonel Chakrit Sawasdee said that Immigration Police in the US denied Parinya’s entry as his passport was revoked, so he was forced to return to Thailand.

Parinya, along with other family members, including his younger siblings – actor Jirapisit “Boom” Jaravijit, Thanasit Jaravijit and Supitcha – are suspects in the fraud case.

Police say the actors and relatives’ bank accounts showed millions of baht in deposits reportedly derived from the conversion of the cryptocurrency units transferred by Finnish owner Aarni Saarimaa for bogus investments in Thai stocks and other assets.

Initially, the suspects in the case included businessman Chakris Ahmad and well-known stock investor Prasit Srisuwan, both of whom maintained their innocence. But the damaged person later dropped the charges against the two men following settlement talks in September.

According to Chakrit, Parinya’s parents, Suwit and Lertchatkamon Jaravijit, were summoned to hear the charge of colluding in money-laundering on October 17.

STORY: The Nation


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Soi Dog Foundation responds to rabies and dog registration stories

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Soi Dog Foundation responds to rabies and dog registration stories | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Bangkok Thailand Soi Dog

Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation has sent The Thaiger a response to an article published on October 16. The story was sourced from our Bangkok partners ‘The Nation’ and, according to Soi Dog, contains some glaring inaccuracies. You can read the original article HERE.

We reprint the response from the Soi Dog Foundation below…

“The Department of Livestock Development (DLD) carries out a survey, twice a year, in an attempt to count the number of dogs and cats in the country, both owned and stray. In 2016, it counted 7.3 million dogs and 3 million cats in Thailand, excluding Bangkok. This year the number of dogs was recorded by the DLD as 7,770,969, excluding Bangkok.

We at the Soi Dog Foundation carried out a census of free roaming dogs in Greater Bangkok two years ago and came up with a figure of 640,000, so a realistic number for dogs nationwide is somewhere around 8.4 million, not – as your story states – 820,000.

Another figure given in your story is that 40 per cent of stray dogs in Thailand could carry the rabies virus. If this were true, there would be hundreds of human deaths a year, if not thousands, and the carcasses of dead dogs would be scattered all over the place.

A story published by The Nation on September 28 (“Expert says rabies still not under control and official statistics may be misleading”) gave a DLD figure of 15.3 per cent for the first nine months of this year.

But even that is highly suspect. It was based on a very small sample – just 8,472 dogs. And those were 8,472 dogs that had been caught by the DLD, and their brains examined post mortem for the virus because they were believed to be rabid.

Plainly, to base a percentage infection rate on a sample made up entirely of dogs that are already suspected to have rabies is utterly misleading. It would be like saying, “We checked a bunch of people thought to have diabetes and found that 15 per cent of them did indeed have diabetes.”

The real figure must be much lower. We believe it is between 1 and 4 per cent.

At the root of all the problems being discussed is, in fact, Thailand’s ineffective garbage disposal problem system, which allows a high number of dogs to survive and even get fat by scavenging from trash bins.

Trying to remove 8 million-plus dogs to “shelters” is futile, and carrying out culls (which would probably be illegal under the Cruelty Prevention and Welfare of Animals Act of 2014) would be equally ineffective. Here’s why:

  • The cost of building shelters to hold 8.4 million dogs would be astronomical and the annual budgets for running them would equally expensive. It would be a huge drain on the national treasury.

  • Dumping dogs in government pounds would probably lead to large scale suffering and death, as was seen earlier this year when, as a result of the rabies panic, 3,000 dogs were crammed into the government animal quarantine facility in Nakhon Phanom. In just weeks, around 2,300 died from disease, starvation and wounds from fighting.

  • Dogs that were not caught in this proposed nationwide roundup, or which avoided being killed in a nationwide cull, would swiftly move into the territories of the dogs that had been removed, breeding rapidly and replacing them.

  • A female dog can have up to three litters of pups a year, each litter averaging seven pups. This means that one female and her offspring – and their offspring and so on – can become 67,000 dogs in six years. This is why an extended campaign of “catch, neuter, vaccinate and release” is so effective.

  • Even if all the dogs could be removed, the garbage problem remains, Other species would take over, notably cats, who breed even more rapidly than dogs, and monkeys. If they, too, were impounded – and cats and monkeys are far harder to catch than dogs – then the country would see an explosion in rat and mice populations. Outbreaks of bubonic plague transmitted by rats and their fleas would be far more frightening than rabies.

As we have seen in Phuket, large scale sterilisation, coupled with vaccination, works, not only in reducing numbers but also in eliminating rabies. It does require large scale investment, though far less than sheltering would, and spread over several years.

As to the issue of compulsory licensing of pets, whether there is a fee or not, we believe this is not a viable solution. It has been tried by other countries and then abandoned because the majority of dog owners – numbering in millions – simply decided not to comply.

Does Thailand have the resources to find, arrest and bring to court millions of dog owners, in order to extract small fines from them, always assuming that the authorities can prove in the first place that the dogs actually have “owners”?

We doubt very much that the government will find this is an effective measure for controlling Thailand’s population of strays, reducing abandonments or reducing the spread of disease. Indeed, it is likely to have the opposite effect.

SDF Founder John Dalley, Soi Dog Foundation, Phuket

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Bangkok

“Customer is King” – Thai Airways union attacks first class pilots

The Thaiger & The Nation

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“Customer is King” – Thai Airways union attacks first class pilots | The Thaiger

The Thai Airways International worker’s union has attacked two pilots for demanding first-class seats from passengers in a standoff drama that delayed an October 11 Zurich-Bangkok flight by two hours even as airline executives vowed to reform the national carrier.

Airways executives pledged to nurture a “Customer is King” culture, pledging to use the controversy as an opportunity to revamp operations at the national flag carrier.

“The pilots were not violating any procedures by insisting that they should be given first-class seats in the 10-hour flight, but that’s not the end of the story,” president of Thai Airways Workers’ Union, Dumrong Waikhani, told a press conference yesterday.

Thai Airways pilots reportedly launched a protest yesterday at the airline’s headquarters, but media were kept away. Many employees were seen dressed in black at Thai Airways headquarters.

“An investigative committee will look into the controversy and they will release their results by the end of this week,” Dumrong said.

When asked about the pilots demanding the right to be seated in first-class, resulting in the downgrading of two passengers who had previously been upgraded from business to first class, Dumrong said they were not abusing their rights. At the same time, he suggested that under the circumstances, they were culpable for their actions.

“Pilots should have a ‘pilot’s conscience’. They should realise that customers come first, and that customers are Thai Airways’ source of capital and hence their very own source of income. If I were them, I would have been content with being placed in business class instead of grabbing first-class seats from passengers even if I had the right to do so,” he said.

Some people on social media argued that this was not an issue of privilege, but one of customer safety. Pilots are required to be seated in first class because they need to have sufficient sleep in order to guarantee customers’ safety in their next flights.

However, Dumrong did not see merit in the argument.

“If the pilots are active, that is if they have their next flight approaching soon after landing in Bangkok from Zurich, then this argument would be valid. However, the pilots in this case were travelling as passive off-duty pilots. So the argument does not stand,” he said.

“Moreover, I do not believe the difference between business and first-class seats in the aircraft significantly affects the quality of sleep. This issue has significantly damaged the image of Thai Airways both domestically and internationally.

Pilots within the union are split on the issue with some blaming the pilots and others insisting they had done no wrong, according to Dumrong.

“Thai Airways should use this instance as an opportunity to push for structural reforms. It should downsize some of its departments and increase efficiency. Pilot’s privilege will stay, as this is an international standard. Thai Airways pilots are not more privileged than pilots of other airlines,” Dumrong concluded.

Meanwhile, Thai Airways president Sumeth Damrongchaitham told Krungthep Turakij, a sister newspaper of The Nation, he had appointed a fact-finding committee to investigate the events. He also apologised to passengers on the flight. He admitted that there were shortcomings in the organisation, which have stacked up over the 58 years of the national carrier’s operations. He vowed to pursue reforms and promised to provide better services to customers.

Ekniti Nitithanprapas, the chairman of Thai Airways, said earlier that he would use this incident as an opportunity to reform the national carrier. He said he wanted to build a “Customer is King” culture in the organisation.

“There might be a resistance to change but reform is needed,” he said.

Thai Airways is among seven state enterprises undergoing rehabilitation process due to accumulated losses. It has been partly under pressure from fierce competition, especially from budget airlines and the current high oil prices.

Dumrong Waikhani,The President of Thai Airways Worker’s Union speaks at a press conference yeaterday about the Zurich -Bangkok TG971 controversy – PHOTO: The Nation

STORY: The Nation

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Bangkok

Chinese investment sets new records in property purchases

The Thaiger

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Chinese investment sets new records in property purchases | The Thaiger

The demand for property, especially in Bangkok, continues unabated. Despite a drop off in absolute tourism numbers, enquiries from Chinese real estate buyers remains strong, setting new records. Not only are the Chinese the most frequent tourists to Thailand, they are the most enthusiastic property buyers, stetting a new record for Q3 this year.

Number two in foreign investors into Thailand’s property market is Hong Kong citizens.

According to juwai.com, buyer enquiries from mainland Chinese buyers more than doubled, year-on-year and was nearly 30% higher that the previous quarter, Q2.

Juwai.com’s CEO Carrie Law says the enquiries for Thai property has never been so high.

“In part, the strong results are due to an unusual surge of inquiries in August. The overall effect has been to push inquiries in the third quarter more than twice as high as in the same quarter one year earlier.”

The success follows on from continued support from Chinese tourists, even during the Golden Week holiday. Despite lower figures than expected this year, the numbers still exceeded the 2017 visitation.

“Thailand ranks highly because of its many attractions, good links to China, relative affordability, and appeal to both group and individual travelers,” according to Carrie.

Another favorite China tourist destination, Japan, suffered a drop in number over the same Q3 period due Typhoon Trami and another earlier storm which cancelled many flights into the country.

The fallout from the Phuket boat tragedy in July seems to have affected Phuket’s tourist numbers primarily although the TAT has recently reported drop offs in Chinese visitation to Chiang Mai up to 50% in some sectors over the past month.

According to konradlega.com, the Chinese government continue to support investment in countries, like Thailand, participate in the “Belt and Road Initiative.” This type of investment is in line with China’s strategy of increasing the count of new infrastructures in its neighboring countries while encouraging cross-border trade activities in the same region.

“Though at present, only 9% of Chinese citizens have passports, it is expected that the figure will double in 2020 to 240 million people, all potential travellers and investors.”

Check out properties available around Thailand, in five languages, HERE.

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