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Phuket Media Watch – Bounty offered in Sophoth theft case

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Bounty for fugitive in Sophoth case
The Nation
A 200,000-baht bounty has been offered for the capture of the alleged ringleader, reportedly on the run in Laos, who took millions of baht during the burglary at Transport Ministry permanent secretary Suphoth Sublom’s house.

A senior commander, Police-Col Yanyong Wej-osoth, said “wanted” posters for Weerasak Chuelee, featuring the 200,000-baht bounty, had been distributed in the Tha Khaew area along the Mekong River. Six teams of Thai police working with Lao police expect to apprehend Weerasak soon.

The National Anti-corruption Commission (NACC) will reveal details of assets found in Suphoth’s home after an inspection is completed, said senior NACC official Methee Krongkaew. A large number of documents, bank transaction slips and a computer were seized for inspection from Suphoth’s home.

Previously it was reported that police had summoned Transport Ministry permanent secretary Suphoth Sublom for further questioning about the burglary of his Bangkok home, particularly about exactly how much money was stolen from him.

The November 11 break-in, in which the suspects reportedly got away with some 200 million baht in cash, resulted in the arrest of nine suspects and the recovery of some 18 million baht in cash.

Three suspects remain at large: alleged gang leader Weerasak Chualee, Pongsak Namwong and Kamnuan Meknoi.

Metropolitan Police Bureau commander Winai Thongsong said that local police had contacted their Laotian counterparts to help locate Weerasak, who is reportedly hiding in that country.

Winai dismissed news reports that Weerasak had contacted police to arrange a surrender. The officer said he had sent police to check Weerasak’s home in Kanchanaburi upon learning that the suspect had stopped there, but they found no cash.

After an initial delay to allow police to determine how much money had been seized from the suspects, Winai said Suphoth was summoned and asked to supply additional information – including the precise amount of money stolen – as the amount police seized from suspects did not match the amount Suphoth had initially told police he had lost.

Winai said Metropolitan Police Colonel Banleusak Khlib-ngern had applied for a court order to search nine locations in which suspect Prapan Ruangkrua, who earlier turned himself in, might have hidden stolen cash. Seven locations were in Pathum Thani, one was in Nakhon Nayok and one was Prapan’s former workplace at Suvarnabhumi Airport.

— 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.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Public Health Minister gets first Covid-19 vaccine shot in Thailand

Caitlin Ashworth

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Public Health Minister gets first Covid-19 vaccine shot in Thailand | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook/ Anutin Charnvirakul

Thailand’s Covid-19 vaccine campaign started with Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul who was jabbed with China’s Sinovac vaccine. PM Prayut Chan-o-cha was initially planned to be the first to kick off Thailand’s immunisation plan with the AstraZeneca vaccine, but due to problems with paperwork, the prime minister’s injection was postponed. Doctors advised Prayut to get the AstraZeneca vaccine due to his age. Prayut is 66 and doctors say the Sinovac vaccine has been declared safe for people ages 18 to 59.

Both shipments of the Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines arrived last week, the AstraZeneca vaccine still needs to be endorsed by the Medical Science Department. Anutin says the pharmaceutical company has not submitted documents and samples needed for the endorsement.

Along with Anutin, a number of other government officials and health professionals were vaccinated against the coronavirus. Anutin’s shot was administered by Thailand’s top virologist Yong Poovorawan.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Bangkok

Royal Thai Police accused of “ticket” promotion system to buy senior positions

Caitlin Ashworth

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Royal Thai Police accused of “ticket” promotion system to buy senior positions | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

The Royal Thai Police are being accused of using so-called “elephant tickets” to buy their way into promotions and pay their way up the police force’s chain of command. The corruption among the police force and the buying of positions without meeting the requirements for a promotion has been a longtime problem, according to the Bangkok Post.

The “elephant ticket” issue was recently brought to light by an opposition MP at a censure debate who said it fast tracked the promotion system and allowed some people who were unqualified and undeserving to raise their rank. Some Thais have protested the “elephant ticket.” Many gathered in front of the Royal Thai Police headquarters in Bangkok last week, including one person who dressed up as an elephant.

At the censure debate on February 19, Move Forward Party MP Rangsiman Rome called out PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, who chairs the Police Commission overseeing the Royal Thai Police, and said the prime minister allowed the “elephant ticket” promotions. Prayut later said there were problems within the police force and that he would handle it.

Police who want a promotion need a ticket, which is basically just a reference or a stamp of approval from a senior officer or even a politician or business person. To get an “elephant ticket,” some can pay for the ticket. A source told the Post that positions for police superintendents cost between 5 to 10 million baht.

Others can get a ticket by doing favours for their superior or even just serving their superior for a long time, sources told the Bangkok Post. The higher the position a senior officer has, the more tickets they have to give out.

To read the full special report by the Bangkok Post, click HERE.

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Crime

Woman talks about the life of a Thai “pretty” after model’s death

Caitlin Ashworth

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Woman talks about the life of a Thai “pretty” after model’s death | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Instagram/ wawa_manika

Following the news of a model who died after working as a hostess at a Bangkok party, Thai media spoke with a woman, known in Thailand as a “pretty,” about what it’s like to work in the lucrative, yet shady Thai model entertainment industry where many work as hostesses at parties and events that often involve alcohol, drugs and sex work.

“Miss Cake” told the Thai news outlet Daily News that pretties are sent to parties by “modelling agencies.” The parties are even categorized depending on if drugs or sex are involved. Apparently the parties are either “En-Up,” “En-V” or just “En” for entertainment. En-Up means drugs are involved, while En-V means the pretties will offer sexual services. Other pretties work at promotional events like auto shows. Since nightclubs and other entertainment venues in Bangkok have been closed due to the pandemic, many of the parties are now held at private homes.

If a pretty is working at an En-Up party, Miss Cake says that means there will be ecstasy, known as “khanom,” the Thai word for a dessert or snack. She says good “khanom” shipped from overseas costs around 900 to 1,000 baht while the poor quality, Thai-made drugs cost 500 baht. Just about every pretty takes drugs, she says. If mixed with ketamine, Miss Cake says it can be dangerous.

Daily News spoke with Miss Cake following the death of a 33 year old Witchayaporn “Wawa” Wisetsombat who worked died in a hospital after working as a hostess at a party in Bangkok’s Chatuchak district. She had been hired by a modelling agency to serve drinks at a private party. Her younger sister told the Bangkok Post that Wawa was a product presenter and never sold sex or used narcotics. Doctors told the Post Wawa died from respiratory and blood system failure. They are still waiting for the results for a toxicology test.

The death of another model back in 2019 shed light on the abuse and danger many pretties face in the industry. 25 year old Thitima “Lunlabelle” Noraphanpiphat died from “extreme alcohol intoxication,” according to an autopsy report. Her dead body was found in the lobby of a Bangkok condominium. 6 people were found guilty for involvement in Lunlabelle’s death.

Abuse is common in the industry and many women working as pretties are often pressured into drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. The work of pretties is looked down upon in Thai society. Due to the stigma, many due not file complaints when they are abused.

SOURCE: Thai Visa

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