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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Gangs suspected in Bangkok blast; Red shirts, white masks; Tusks trimmed after fatal elephant attack; All silent on Bangkok F1 noise

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Police suspect gang rivalry behind Ramkhamhaeng blast
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Police suspect that conflict between gangs involved in extortion from roadside vendors was behind the small explosion on Ramkhamhaeng Road, near Ramkhamhaeng University, on Sunday night.

Police and National Security Council secretary-general Paradorn Pattanathabutr ruled out linking the blast with the insurgency in the deep South.

The explosion occurred at a roadside stall at the mouth of Ramkhamhaeng Soi 43/1, at 8.50pm. Seven people, including passers-by, were injured.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Pol Lt-General Khamronwit said that although a home-made bomb was used in the attack, the composition of the bomb was different.

He said the types of nails used in the bomb were different from those assembled in the southern border provinces. He said the bomb was apparently aimed at intimidating, not at taking lives like in the deep South.

Khamronwit said police would need more time to gather evidence and information before they could establish an exact motive of the attack. He added that police have not yet ruled out conflicts between gangs demanding protection fees from roadside vendors as a possible motive.

A bomb-disposal officer, who asked not to be identified, told The Nation that the maker of the bomb apparently wanted to make it look like attacks in the South. However, the bomb on Sunday night used less powerful explosives and it was stuffed with a lot of nails, in distorted shapes, the officer said.

He said bombs used in the southern insurgency attacks were more powerful and aimed at taking lives or causing serious injuries as the bombs used sharp and straight nails and pellets to harm victims.

Government Spokesman Teerat Ratana-sevi said Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was informed of the explosion on Sunday night and she had ordered security agencies to urgently investigate the incident.

Teerat said police were checking for possible motives. Investigators initially suspected business conflict as the motive for the blast. However, terrorism has not yet been ruled out, the spokesman said.

He said the PM had instructed the police to step up security around Ramkhamhaeng University. Teerat denied earlier reports that police had arrested a suspect.

Paradorn said he had evaluated the situation and believed that the explosion was not related to southern insurgency because the facts were different.

Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra said the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration will extract records from security cameras near the spot and give them to the Metropolitan Police. The records would come from cameras at the mouth of Soi Ramkhamhaeng 27, 41/1 and 53.

Red shirts join in cyber war of the masks
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Red shirts and pro-government supporters have kicked off a “red mask” campaign in opposition to the white masks of anti-Thaksin groups.

The campaign was born after Facebook users adopted the so-called Guy Fawkes white masks on Saturday to criticise the government and former prime minister and de-facto party leader Thaksin Shinawatra.

A Facebook user page named “Seu Moun Chon Khon Sua Dang”, (red shirt mass media), posted a message yesterday: “Please all red cyber warriors gather to attack an anti-government Facebook page at 9 o’clock every night by reporting on their page ‘It’s spam or a scam’. Please change your profile photos to ‘red mask’. Please send this message to your red-shirt friends to join in this campaign. War is started.”

“Seu Moun Chon Khon Sua Dang” postings on its target page included:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dislike-Yingluck-For-Concentration-Citizen/177571372320131?fref=ts”target=”

https://www.facebook.com/redbuffstupid?fref=ts”target=”

https://www.facebook.com/Yingluck.Dissolve?fref=ts”target=”

https://www.facebook.com/SaiTrongPhakSanam?fref=ts”target=”

https://www.facebook.com/poojidtakorn?fref=ts”target=”

https://www.facebook.com/RwmKhwamHaKhxngNaykYingLaksn?fref=ts”target=”

https://www.facebook.com/serithai.net”target=”

https://www.facebook.com/Watchred?fref=ts”target=”

An “Ultra Daeng Sayiew” page called for a red-shirt cyber attack on the Democrat MP Sirichok Sopha page at 2pm.

Sirichok said he didn’t worry about the red mask project because it did not have many people contributing to it. Also, he wasn’t concerned if the red shirts should report his page to Facebook because he did everything within the law.

Deputy Government Spokeswoman Sunisa Lertpakawat said no matter if it was white or red masks, in the social media and in the real world everyone had a constitutional right to express political opinions, as long as they conformed to the law.

Tusks trimmed after fatal attack
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The tusks of a 27-year-old elephant in the Ayutthaya Elephant Palace and Royal Kraal have been cut after the animal attacked tourists on Saturday, killing a woman.

The elephant palace’s owner Laithongrien Meephan said he would fully support the attacked tourists and warned visitors to refrain from getting close to animals without a mahout’s supervision or at night.

A rite to trim Plai Ngam’s metre-long tusks by 20 centimetres was held yesterday after the beast on Saturday evening attacked a Saraburi couple, killing the wife and injuring the husband’s leg.

Laithongrien said the rite was to free the slain person’s spirit that remained with the elephant after it had killed someone. Releasing the spirit would teach the beast a lesson about what it shouldn’t do because elephants are large mammals with the ability to think, he said. After the rite, Plai Ngam would be chained in a corral indefinitely.

Saying he was sorry for what happened, Laithongrien said Plai Ngam was a good-natured elephant that never harmed anyone before. As the incident took place in its den, it might have thought the tourists wanted to harm it, Laithongrien said.

Ayutthaya police investigator Pol Lt-Colonel Pimook Nakkhampan said officers interviewed the beast’s mahout and temporarily released him, pending interviews with witnesses and the injured victim.

They may later file a charge of recklessness causing others’ death and injury.

F1 noise doesn’t rattle Pollution Control Dept
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The noise of Formula One race cars should not ha

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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British tourists come forward about being attacked on Koh Tao in 2013

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo by Valeriy Ryasnyanskiy for Unsplash

Many continue to contend that Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo, the 2 Burmese young men convicted for the 2014 murder of 2 tourists on Koh Tao’s Sairee Beach, are innocent. Now 2 tourists who were attacked on the same beach, just a year before the murder, are now coming forward to help prove that the conviction could have been unreliable.

In September 2014, the bodies of British tourists 23 year old Hannah Witheridge and 24 year old David Miller were found on the beach. Police say Hannah had been raped and David had been hit several times on the head with a garden hoe.

Zaw and Wai were arrested soon after the killings. Some say the investigation was accelerated in an effort to gain back tourist confidence and keep visitors coming to the island. Numerous activists, criminologists, and others have spoken out against the conviction, saying the evidence was bungled.

Just a year before, British tourists Sam Venning and Carla Bartel survived an attack on the same beach. Sam, who was 22 at the time, was talking to Carla, who was 20, on the beach when 2 men wearing V for Vendetta masks attacked them, hitting Sam in the head with a rock.

Sam and Carla came forward to Thai officials after the killings to help with the investigation, but say no one got back to them. Sam says he had emailed the Thai Embassy in London, but no one contacted him. Carla says she contacted the UK Foreign Commonwealth Office who then passed her on to the UK National Crime Agency. She was told that the information was sent to Thai police, but officers did not follow up with her.

SOURCE: Mirror.UK

 

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Phuket

Fishermen find space debris off the coast of Phuket

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Facebook/ Phuket Andaman News

Local fishermen found space debris, possibly from a satellite or space shuttle, on the seabed just 6 metres below the surface by Koh Ael in Phuket. At first, no one knew exactly what it was.

Specialists from a Navy explosive ordnance disposal unit were first called to look at the round, hollow metal object which was about 45 centimetres in diameter. 3rd Naval Area commander Vice Admiral Choengchai Chomchoengpaet told reporters at a press conference that the team took photos of the object and found it appeared to be a rocket fuel tank, possibly used to launch a satellite or shuttle into space. He said it matched photos online.

Both the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency, or GISTDA, and the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand, agree that the object was most likely a fuel tank for a rocket.

Since the fuel tanks usually contain harmful chemicals like ammonia or hydrogen, divers examined the space debris to make sure there were no chemical leaks before bringing the object to shore and taken to the navy headquarters. The space debris will be taken to the GISTDA to be studied.

“If other objects similar to this one are found elsewhere, people should not touch them. They could contain hazardous chemicals. They should immediately inform Region 3 Thai-MECC or local officials.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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UPDATE: 2 Americans and a Thai arrested over Bangkok kidnap attempt, Thai policeman involved | VIDEO

Tanutam Thawan

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Screenshot: THAICRIME

UPDATE:

Following up from the earlier story involving 2 Americans, a Thai, a Taiwanese businessman, and an Israeli security goon, we have the following update (original story below)…

Police have examined CCTV from the restaurant in Thong Lor where the Taiwanese businessman was kidnapped. It’s also been revealed that a “senior Thai policeman” was involved in the alleged abduction case. The abduction took place on March 28.

The meeting had been called to “resolve” some disagreements over a large purchase of rubber gloves that had gone wrong.

After arriving at a meeting at the L’Oliva restaurant in Sukhumvit Soi 26, Mr. Wen Yu Chung was manhandled, put in a headlock and dragged out of the premises. Daily News reports that a “lieutenant colonel” ranked Thai policeman was also captured on the CCTV supervising the events as they happened inside the restaurant. He is reported as being a former traffic policeman.

Mr. Chung was then held to ransom at the condo NT Court. Attempts were made to contact Mr Chung’s family and business associates to extract a ransom – allegedly 1 and 2 million baht – but they refused to pay.

The 3 men have been identified as 41 year old Jeremy Hughes Manchester, 52 year old Louis William Ziskin, both Americans, and Ekbodin Prasitnarit, Thai.

Mr Louis Ziskin has a somewhat chequered history with his story catalogued on Wikipedia. Summarised…

Ziskin was taken into custody in December 7, 2000 and charged over transactions from November 1999 to December 22, 1999. Ziskin was convicted of smuggling 700 pounds of ecstasy into Southern California via FedEx and other various shipping companies, the largest-ever US government seizure of the drug. There was another indictment a year later.

Following his incarceration, Ziskin lost a double jeopardy appeal for the second indictment. The US government settled all claims against Ziskin for a 188 month sentence and a US$9 million fine.

Daily News also reported a man ‘Mike’ who allegedly invited the policeman to be involved in the incident. Earlier this man was described as “Mr. Michael Greenberg, an Israeli operating a detective company”.

Here’s video showing the arrest of Mr. Ziskin…

EARLIER STORY:

Thai police have arrested 2 American citizens and a Thai for the alleged kidnap of a Taiwanese businessman for ransom. 5 other arrest warrants are also waiting to be executed over the incident. Police allege a “business conflict” over the purchase of plastic ‘nitrile’ gloves as the motive.

The 3 men have been identified as 41 year old Jeremy Hughes Manchester, 52 year old Louis William Ziskin, both Americans, and Ekbodin Prasitnarit, Thai. All 3 have denied the charges including illegal assembly, attempted murder, abduction for ransom and extortion. They were formally charged at the Thong Lor police.

According to Bangkok Post, in late 2020 Mr Ziskin appointed the Collection Company to negotiate the purchase of a large quantity of plastic gloves with the Paddy The Room Trading Company.

Police allege that there was an ongoing conflict between the two sides which was responsible for Mr Ziskin accumulating 93 million baht in damages.. So, according to police, Mr Ziskin hired Mr. Michael Greenberg, an Israeli operating a detective company in Thailand to negotiate and retrieve the losses.

Police allege that Mr Greenberg hired Thai and foreign collaborators to plan an abduction as leverage in the retrieval of their losses. They contacted a 60 year old Taiwanese man from the Collection Company in Thailand to procure a supply of rubber gloves from Paddy The Room Trading Company.

They made an appointment to meet Wen Yu Chung at a restaurant in Bangkok’s in Bangkok’s Tong Lor are off Sukhumvit Road on March 28. Police allege that Mr Greenberg and hired associates arrived, handcuffed the Taiwanese businessman and then took him to the NT Place, 200 metres further south down the same Soi, Sukhumvit 36.

They then called Mr Chung’s boss demanding US$2 million, and then called the man’s family demanding another US$1 million. Both contacted police and did nothing to accede to the demands for ransom..

The abductors then headed to a restaurant in Soi 24, with Mr. Chung, eventually letting him go. The Taiwanese man went, first to hospital, then to Thong Lor police station to relate his story. Eventually 8 arrest warrants were issued over the alleged abduction. Soon after police arrested Mr Manchester, Mr Ziskin and Mr Ekbodin.

We’ll continue to follow this story.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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