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PM vows crackdown on Koh Tao scourge

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PM vows crackdown on Koh Tao scourge
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: N THE WAKE of the murder of two British citizens on Koh Tao, off Surat Thani coast, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday vowed to tackle influential rackets and illegitimate businesses on the tourist island, and pledged to punish soldiers or police patronising these people or their activities.

A fact-finding probe is needed to identify those involved but assigning soldiers to spearhead the crackdown would have been deemed a bit draconian, he said. However, this is the right time to launch the crackdown, as military personnel had been deployed on the island to assist the police in probing the murder, he added.

The Interior Ministry yesterday ordered provincial authorities across the country to work out urgent measures to ensure extra safety for tourists, including surveillance at tourist sites during the risky hours, setting up of road checkpoints and monitoring of people involved in suspicious activities.

The measures and the surveillance will be conducted jointly by the police, soldiers and civilian authorities, Interior permanent secretary Wibool Sa-ngaunphong said. Long-term measures would involve the installation of more surveillance cameras and lights in vulnerable areas.

Meanwhile, a man who had allegedly left the island on September 14 morning after the double murders, spoke to Kom Chad Luek daily yesterday and pleaded his innocence. “I am not afraid [of being implicated], as I have done nothing wrong,” said the unnamed man, 22, who is said to be a son of a village head and owner of a resort where the victims were seen drinking until late at night before they were found killed at Chor Por Ror beach at dawn.

Suspect ‘not on the run’

The man was identified yesterday in media reports as Warot Toowichien, a son of AC Resort owner and former village headman Worraphan who has been cleared by the police. Warot came under the scrutiny of police, because he had allegedly left Koh Tao on the morning of the double murder.

Speaking to the Thai-language newspaper yesterday, Warot denied that he was on the run, but was in Bangkok – where he studied at a university – on Sunday when the crime took place.

“I have witnesses – university friends and lecturers who saw me at the apartment where I reside. They include the apartment residents. They are all ready to testify to help me. Also there is surveillance camera footage showing me staying at the university and the apartment,” he added.

He added that he “could not comprehend” why his father had been interviewed and initially suspected by the |police, despite his cooperation and even assistance in providing police with leads and tip-offs.

Police have collected DNA samples from 300 Thai, foreign and immigrant men based on the island in an effort to match theirs with either semen found on the female victim’s bodies, or other evidence found on the murder weapon or at the crime scene.

Deputy national police chief Pol General Somyot Poompanmoung said Worra-phan and the other man, owner of Intouch Pub, were interviewed and had never been apprehended as suspects. He said police investigation into the murder had been plagued by rumours and unauthorised information spread on the social media.

He asked reporters to follow up progress into the investigation or seek interviews with Police Region 8 chief Pol Lt-General Panya Mamen, as the area commander directly supervised the police’s work. Somyot added that there were certainly no influential figures on Koh Tao, as residents and business owners had been helpful in the police investigation.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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News of American sued over bad Koh Chang hotel review has everyone talking

The Thaiger & The Nation

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News of American sued over bad Koh Chang hotel review has everyone talking | The Thaiger

After news hit of an American being arrested and sued for defamation over leaving a bad review about a Koh Chang hotel on TripAdvisor, many are taking to the internet to voice their opinions on the issue. The Sea View Resort owners say it tried in vain to negotiated with Wesley Barnes after he posted the reviews, but he continued to post completely untrue comments.

The owners released a five-page statement after the news of it suing the American gained widespread attention. You can read their response HERE. Then, Barnes submitted his own response detailing the situation which was also published online.

News of American sued over bad Koh Chang hotel review has everyone talking | News by The ThaigerNews of American sued over bad Koh Chang hotel review has everyone talking | News by The Thaiger

Now, the story has gained even more attention as netizens have begun posting their opinions on the controversial issue of Thailand’s defamation laws. Below, are some of those posts on The Thaiger’s Facebook page.

“Can someone clarify for me Thailand’s position on people leaving honest bad reviews as my girlfriend says it’s fine to leave a bad review of a business and it’s not defamation if honest of course? I have heard people say that you simply can’t leave bad honest reviews at all here but that sounds ridiculous. The thing about many Thais is that they think they’re beyond reproach. They can’t accept criticism because it’s not aligned with their grandiose self-image. Many also have a torrid time when it comes to ownership of their own actions and decision making.”

“OMG! He is arrested for a review.?! I know of an expat in Malaysia that wrote a bad review about a Thai-owned resort in Penang and he was sued as well. Be careful with what you share in that neck of the woods.”

“It’s one thing to leave a bad review but to throw in “modern slavery” remarks escalates to thai defamation law. He shouldn’t be arrested for his comments but you need to respect the country laws no matter how crazy they seem compared to your own country. This press is going to negatively affect the business way more than that review would have done though.”

“The owner should have settled with the review platforms privately and move on. I would hardly hold up Trip Advisor as a beacon of truth, however some people write extremely personal and vindictive comments that go beyond a review, in an attempt to gain product or refunds in return, this is an absolute fact, and hopefully this might make people think before they start writing reviews that are not exactly honest, I have read stories critical of the General Managers because they didn’t contact the guests, some really petty reviews by rather petty people.”

If Barnes is indeed found to be guilty of defamation, he could spend up to 2 years in prison and pay up to a 200,000 baht fine.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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Phuket police arrest 6 after finding large amounts of methamphetamine in raid

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Phuket police arrest 6 after finding large amounts of methamphetamine in raid | The Thaiger

Phuket Provincial Police have arrested 6 people after finding large amounts of methamphetamine and other drugs during a raid. One suspect alone allegedly had 7.6 kilograms of crystal meth (ya ice) and over 12,500 methamphetamine pills (ya bah). 29 year old Surasak ‘Bank’ Wijit and 27 year old Panida ‘Mei’ Saeyang were arrested at an apartment car park in Soi Lookkaew, Moo 6, Rassada, in eastern Phuket, after they were found in possession of the drugs.

Police also found 2 mobile phones and a red Honda PCX, registered in Phuket, as evidence. Both suspects have been charged with posessing a Category 1 drug with the intent to sell.

Other suspects arrested at the same time include 36 year old from Chiang Rai, 42 year old Sarawut ‘An’ Srichanon, from Ranong and 31 year old Pornthep ‘Iew’ Thepchampa, who were charged with the same crimes in Chalong after police found more drugs in their possession. 33 year old Kamon ‘Kung’ Sae-ngow, was arrested as well after police found kratom juice and leaves at a house in Rassada. He was taken to Phuket City Police station and was charged with a Category 5 drug possession.

SOURCE:The Phuket News

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Phuket Muay Thai fighter is the first Thai national to compete in UFC

The Thaiger

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Phuket Muay Thai fighter is the first Thai national to compete in UFC | The Thaiger

The upcoming Ultimate Fighting Championship Fight Night event in Abu Dhabi will feature Thailand’s only national marking her third fight with the UFC, the world’s largest mixed martial arts competition. 24 year old Loma Lookboonme, from Burirram in northeastern Thailand, will fight in the event on October 3, 2020.

Loma is a Muay Thai fighter who has adapted her MMA skills to fight in the UFC where she currently trains at the Tiger Muay Thai gym in Phuket. Loma qualified for the national team at the age of 19 and has fought in over 12 nations worldwide. She currently trains 6 days a week starting daily at 6:30am with a 3 kilometre run. In the UFC, she will be competing against China’s Angela Lee who is the undisputed champion of the 52 kilogram fist weight category.

Phuket Muay Thai fighter is the first Thai national to compete in UFC | News by The Thaiger

Loma’s parents are former Muay Thai fighters and her 2 sisters currently compete as well. She reportedly started training at 8 years old after being inspired by her father, whom she describes as her “hero.”

Like most Thais in such fighting sports, Muay Thai offers a way to rise out of poverty-and fighting for the UFC can be financially lucrative. But Loma says her only Thai sponsor is the gym where she trains, with the rest of her sponsors being from foreign brands. She says she is trying to get more Thai sponsors but feels that maybe she needs to win the UFC first before Thai brands notice her.

Loma lost her last fight and says her new opponent gives her nothing to lose. She says her goal is to get into the Top 10, but is not sure when it will happen. Loma says for now, it would be good to fight against someone in the Top 10 to help her prepare for her future.

FULL INTERVIEW: Thisrupt.co

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