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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Korea evacuation plan at the ready; Soldier abducted in South; Charter debate rages on

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

North Korea on Friday issued a new threat to attack the US, reacting to a show of force by two US B-2 stealth bombers that dropped inert munitions on to a South Korean training ground not far from the North’s border.

Pyongyang said its targets were the US mainland as well as bases in Hawaii, Guam and other areas of the Pacific as well as South Korea.

There are about 43,000 Thais living in South Korea, according to the Foreign Ministry.

Soldier seized in suspected revenge raid in South
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Eight armed men, wearing military-style clothing, abducted a soldier from his home in Narathiwat’s Reu Soh district, the soldier’s wife told police yesterday.

She said her husband had taken part in a base-protection operation on February 13, in which 16 suspected insurgents were ambushed and died.

Dareesoh Sorpee, 22, accompanied by her husband’s parents, told Reu Soh police that Private Ma-ela Tohlu, 24, who had served at the army base in Ba Cho district that was raided by the insurgents on February 13, was visiting his home on vacation.

On Monday night, when Dareesoh went out to buy food, leaving Ma-ela and her younger brother Yakariya, 20 at home, eight men on a pickup truck raided the house and abducted Ma-ela at gunpoint, but left her brother unharmed.

Dareesoh insisted Ma-ela had no conflict with anyone, but he had told her that he and fellow soldiers had been cautioned of an insurgent retaliation and rumors that insurgents aimed to slay 32 officials to avenge the 16 deaths.

Meanwhile, two border patrol policemen, on their first day of duty after transferring from Chiang Mai to the restive region, were seriously wounded by a motorcycle bomb in Tambon Pitumudi of Pattani’s Yarang district yesterday morning.

The injured were Pol Sen Sgt Major Niwet Luereung and Pol Sen Sgt Major Pornthep Waiwong, who rode a motorcycle leading the 10-strong team on motorcycles and a pickup truck patrolling a local road. An initial probe found the Honda Wave motorbike was reported stolen years ago, while the licence plate it carried was also from another stolen vehicle.

In Songkhla, security officials are beefing up measures for public safety ahead of the Songkran Festival, after news the city might be targeted, while Hat Yai police station chief Col Adirek Beuraheng urged residents and tourists to have confidence in their security measures.

Meanwhile, Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) Region 4 Front spokesman Col Pramote Phrom-in affirmed that security on trains and southern buses had been strengthened while officials would help accommodate Songkran travellers. He added that the change in the Army region 4 top post – from Gen Udomchai Thammasarotrat to Lt Gen Sakol Cheuntrakul – celebrated in a ceremony yesterday, would be seamless and pose no obstacle to operations.

Sakol expressed hope that the National Security Council’s dialogue with separatists on March 28 would take them on the path to peace in the region and his agency would be willing to offer both information and expertise to the government’s talks.

Islamic Culture Foundation president Chamroon Den-udom said the public was interested in the NSC’s dialogue with separatists and hoped the violence would end soon. The Malay-language TV and radio committee which he chairs would also help provide information to the public and promote peace.

In related news, a “misguided” person Adeunan Pasae, 31, who was wanted for the attempted murder of a local resident on October 7, 2001 and for draft dodging, surrendered himself to police in Narathiwat’s Ra Ngae district yesterday after hiding in Malaysia.

Kittiratt to head loans-bill scrutiny panel
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong was yesterday appointed chairman of the House special committee scrutinising the Bt2-trillion loan bill.

At a meeting temporarily chaired by Bhum Jai Thai party-list MP Chai Chidchob, the panel also appointed six deputy chairmen:

– PM’s Office Minister Varathep Ratanakorn
– Pheu Thai Party member Chaturon Chaisang
– Science and Technology Minister Woravat Auapinyakul
– Democrat MP Korn Chatikavanij
– Pheu Thai Party Nakhon Panom MP Paijit Srivarakarn
– Democrat Nakhon Si Thammarat MP Withaya Kaewparadai.

Pheu Thai MP Pichit Chuenban was appointed secretary to the committee.

Three spokesmen were also appointed: Pheu Thai Chiang Mai MP Chullapan Amornwiwat, State Railway of Thailand Governor Prapat Chongsanguan and Democrat party-list MP Samart Ratchapolsit.

Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt, Democrat MP Phirapan Salirattawipak and Thewan Lipta-panlop were appointed as advisers.

The committee will meet every Monday and Tuesday from 1:30pm to 9pm. It will first check the legitimacy of the draft bill before the Council of State is invited to assess it.

Representatives of the National Economic and Social Development Board, the Fiscal Policy Office and the Office of State Enterprise Policy will then be summoned to explain why the government needs to borrow money for infrastructure development, its readiness to embark on the projects and expected economic benefits.

The Bank of Thailand, the Budget Bureau and Comptroller General’s Department will be invited to explain the procedures for checking the use of the funds, source of funds, and financing procedures. The Transport Ministry will be asked to explain the projects. The next meeting is set for next Tuesday.

Senator asks court to rule on move to change Article 68
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: A senator asked the Constitution Court yesterday to prohibit any change to Article 68 of the charter and suspend the deliberation in Parliament pending a ruling on the move.

The court has scheduled today to discuss whether to accept the case, court secretary-general Chaovana Traimas said. Somchai Sawaengkarn, a member of the so-called Group of 40 Senators, said he invoked Article 68 itself to seek a ruling from the top court on the bill to amend the article.

The government-backed bill seeks to amend Article 68 so that people are required to submit petitions only via the Office of the Attorney General if they want to file complaints to the Constitution Court against moves they regard as seeking to overthrow the constitutional monarchy.

In his petition to the court, Somchai alleged that Parliament President Somsak Kiartsuranond collaborated with 311 coalition MPs and senators to violate the charter and abused his authority by allowing debate on the bill to amend Article 68 to proceed.

Somchai said in his petition the amendment would restrict people’s right to participate in upholding the democratic system. He said the amendment would also go against the Constitution Court’s earlier ruling that people could invoke Article 68 to seek a ruling from the court directly.

The petition asked the court to order Somsak and coalition MPs and senators to stop the debate on the Article 68 bill.

The senator also asked the court to order the dissolution of the Pheu Thai, Chart Thai Pattana, Chart Pattana, Palang Chon, Mahachon and New Democracy parties for jointly sponsoring the A

— 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.

Thailand

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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