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Police corruption scandal: B1mn reward for ‘Sia Jo’

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Police corruption scandal: B1mn reward for ‘Sia Jo’
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: A bounty of 1 million baht has been offered for information leading to the arrest of a much-wanted Pattani-based businessman accused of trading in contraband petrol and bribing police.

Royal Thai Police spokesman Lt Gen Prawut Thawornsiri said yesterday the reward was offered by RTP chief Gen Somyot Poompanmoung himself, for Sahachai “Sia Jo” Jiansermsin, who had been charged with money-laundering and contraband petrol trading in the far South.

Gen Somyot earlier dismissed reports of 10 police generals being involved in the illicit lucrative business. He said lists of a large number of bribe-takers seized from Sahachai were being examined to identify the people, who were mostly referred to by nicknames or aliases.

Two former Army sergeants, accused of intimidation and corruption in association with former crime-buster Gen Pongpat Chayaphan and were expected to surrender yesterday, did not show up.

Bureau commissioner Lt Gen Sriwara Rangsiprammanakul said the Army had promised to secure both sergeants and hand them over to the police.

Twelve people associated with the corruption and intimidation racket involving Gen Pongpat are in custody while three others – the two former Army sergeants and Witthaya Theskhunthod – are still at large.

Police yesterday forced open two of the three deposit boxes seized from Gen Pongpat’s 11 homes and found nothing inside. The opening of the third box was underway as of press time yesterday. The two empty boxes had been handed to the Office of Police Forensic Science to inspect and extract fingerprints.

Gen Pongpat yesterday underwent medical examination at the remand prison. The results showed no signs of illness, said prison commander Aryut Sinthapphan. Pol Col Wutthichart Luensukhan, also in remand, had previously shown signs of distress, but he was now all right.

Meanwhile, National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) secretary-general Panthep Klanarongran said Gen Pongpat’s asset declaration was being examined and would be compared to a list he had submitted to the police to determine if they were accurate. An NACC probe on the unusual wealth acquired by Gen Pongpat would begin if details in the two reports were different.

Separately, a high-ranking Interior Ministry source said that district offices that had registered the family name Akkarapongpreecha had been instructed to remove it from a house registration database and to order people who had used it to revert to their original family names.

The royally conferred Akkarapong-preecha surname had been used by three detained suspects involved in Gen Pongpat’s alleged corruption rackets.

— 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.

Koh Samui

Koh Samui to start Covid-19 vaccinations early next month

Caitlin Ashworth

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Koh Samui to start Covid-19 vaccinations early next month | The Thaiger
Stock photo by Alexandr Podvalny for Pexels

Covid-19 vaccinations on Koh Samui will start early next month with 2,500 doses planned to be given to 1,250 people on the island, according to Surat Thani governor Wichawut Jinto. Island authorities are also proposing that foreign visitors be allowed to quarantine on their yacht, at a villa hotel or at a wellness centre.

The tourist island off the coast of Surat Thani in the Gulf of Thailand is deemed as an area of “economic significance” and is included in the first phase of the country’s immunisation plan. The first doses will be given to disease control officials and those in the tourism sector.

The vaccines, which just arrived from overseas yesterday, are expected to be delivered to the island before the end of the month and vaccinations are set to start in early March.

Half of the vaccines are reserved for those in the healthcare field as well as local government officials. Around 26% of the doses would be given to local health volunteers and the general public. 22% of the doses would be given to workers in the tourism industry, including airport employees and hotel quarantine employees. 2% of the doses will go to Covid-19 inspectors.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Pattaya

Another Thai man claims to have found a rare Melo pearl, shell was sold at a Pattaya market

Caitlin Ashworth

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Another Thai man claims to have found a rare Melo pearl, shell was sold at a Pattaya market | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thairath

Another Thai man is claiming to have found a rare Melo pearl. The Pattaya chef says he bought a shell from a local market a decade ago and had no idea the object inside was a rare pearl. After hearing the news about the man in Nakhon Si Thammarat finding what he believes is a Melo pearl possibly worth millions of baht, 57 year old Patipat Hatthadon took the pearl off his shelf and brought it to the Gem and Jewelry Institution of Thailand where it was declared a real Melo pearl weighing 90.10 carats.

The chef bought the shell at the Larn Poe Market in Naklua 10 years ago. He found the pearl inside, but didn’t realise what it was. At first he thought the orange pearl was just a weight, like a lead ball some market vendor put inside to make the shells heavier and up the price.

“I tried to use a knife to pierce the pearl and determine what it was but it didn’t work and I had left it on a religious shelf for the past decade, unaware of what I potentially had.”

Patipat obtained a certificate from the institution. He’s keeping the pearl at a bank and he’s filed a report with Banglamung Police for legal protection due to the value of the pearl. It might be worth millions of baht. He says he’s already been contacted by numerous collectors from across the world. He’s currently considering the offers, he says.

Earlier this month, a Thai fisherman found what he believes to be a Melo pearl possibly worth 10 million baht. He found the pearl in a shell on a Nakhon Si Thammarat beach in Southern Thailand. The news coverage, both nationally and internationally, caught police attention who say the man is a suspect in a drug case. He was arrested 2 weeks ago at his home by the beach.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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Drugs

Thailand law enforcement gets new “laser” narcotics analysers

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thailand law enforcement gets new “laser” narcotics analysers | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

Thailand law enforcement will now use a new “laser” narcotics analyser to test suspicious substances and chemicals in major drug busts. It’s apparently a more accurate method to identify illicit drugs than the current colour test. The new portable drug test happens to come a few months after Thailand claimed to have seized 11.5 tonnes of ketamine in the “biggest drug bust ever” and then discovered the substance was actually a cleaning agent.

In earlier reports, Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin said the mistake was a “technical error” and the testing fluid had turned “purple,” a positive sign for ketamine. Somsak didn’t mention the failed ketamine bust when announcing that a pair of “portable Raman spectroscopy analysers” had been delivered to Thailand from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. He says the new tool is more accurate than the colour test.

“The new portable analysers utilise the Raman spectroscopy technique to identify suspicious drugs and chemicals in less than 30 seconds, and more accurately than the colour test method that we currently use.”

Not only can the device detect drugs, but apparently its laser can also detect additives like colouring and flavouring agents, according to Office of the Narcotics Control Board secretary general Wichai Chaimongkhol.

“The machine can detect chemicals either in powder, crystallised, tablet, capsule or liquid form… Its laser can penetrate transparent containers or wrapping of up to 2mm thickness and read the scattering of light to identify the substance accurately, reducing the risk of officials handling harmful chemicals while also helping preserve the evidence.”

The tool is planned to be used to identify suspicious drugs and chemicals that are smuggled across the border as well as at airports and seaports.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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