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Police free bar owners and look for ex-village headman’s son

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Police free bar owners and look for ex-village headman’s son | The Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Police free bar owners and look for ex-village headman’s son
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Police are looking for the son of a former Koh Tao village headman in their pursuit of the killers of two British backpackers on the night of September 14, after learning that the man left the island the following morning.

A police source said the man they want to find landed on the Surat Thani coast and disappeared. Police say they want to interrogate him first.

The police last night released two men, who own Intouch Bar and AC Pub on the resort island, after interrogating them for three hours and finding no evidence linking them to the crime.

One of the two men released last night, who reporters did not identify, said he was unable to contact his son and did not know if he had a hand in the killings.

Another man, the younger brother of the former village headman, who is believed to be the man seen on a security camera near the crime scene, is still in custody.

Pol Lt-General Panya Mamen, who is overseeing the investigation, said yesterday that the headman’s son is believed to be hiding in Bangkok. Panya refused to reveal the suspects’ names, saying police were questioning one man and expected to arrest another in Bangkok today.

Today marks the 10th day since David Miller and Hannah Witheridge were brutally murdered on the island. Both suffered serious head wounds, while police said Witheridge was also sexually assaulted.

“We expect results within 48 hours as DNA samples have been sent out for testing, and we are confident in this latest turn in the investigation,” he said.

All sides should have confidence in the police investigation and believe that no scapegoats will be arrested so that the case can be closed, he said.

“The world has been watching the case and police have been doing what they can to ensure that the evidence obtained is strong and tight enough to arrest the killers,” he said.

Panya also promised that the investigation would not be influenced by reports that some influential persons on the island might try to obstruct police work.

The chief investigator was speaking after police had summoned the owner of the Intouch Bar for questioning after investigators discovered that both victims had visited the bar and had had an altercation before they were found dead. Another person summoned was the owner of AC Pub, who local residents say is an influential person and the older brother of the man who owns Intouch Bar. Panya led the interrogation of both individuals.

Local people and tourism operators on the island yesterday attended an annual religious rite to make merit for their deceased loved ones. They also made merit for the slain Britons and prayed that the police would be able to arrest the killers.

Meanwhile, a police source said it was not possible that people on the island did not have any knowledge of what might have happened on the night of the murder. The source said maybe they don’t want to talk to police, as they do not want to have problems with an influential group.

Udom Tantiprasonchai, an executive with Orient Thai Airways, said he will add Bt500,000 to the bounty placed for arrest of the killers, Senee Puwasettathaworn, president of Koh Samui Tourism Association, said.

This sum will bring the total bounty up to Bt713,000.

Though the murders took place more than a week ago, and police have yet to charge anyone, tourism has not been affected too badly as it is still the low season. Local tourism operators, meanwhile, said they would not put any pressure on police, leaving them to focus on the job at hand.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Thailand

Her Royal Highness Princess Sirindhorn hospitalised for infection

May Taylor

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Her Royal Highness Princess Sirindhorn hospitalised for infection | The Thaiger

The Bureau of the Royal Household confirms that Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn is being treated for an infection and inflammation of the digestive tract at King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital in Bangkok.

The Palace has reported that the princess was admitted yesterday on the recommendation of a medical team caring for her. She had been suffering with stomach pains and a fever.

The hospital has diagnosed an infection and inflammation of the large intestine, and is now being treated with antibiotics.

Her Royal Highness has been advised to remain in hospital for the duration of her treatment and postpone any official engagements.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post | Thai PBS World

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Crime

Convicted human traffickers ignore 99% of court orders in Thailand

Greeley Pulitzer

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Convicted human traffickers ignore 99% of court orders in Thailand | The Thaiger

Human traffickers in Thailand have ignored court orders to pay compensation to victims in more than the 99% of convicted cases in recent years. The flouting of the court orders is fuelling fears that many survivors could be victimised again.

Thai courts have ordered traffickers to pay their victims more than $4.3 million for damages caused in about 1,335 cases since 2014, but the compensation was paid in only five cases, excluding cases settled out of court, according to Reuters.

While Thailand has rescued a record-breaking 1,000+ trafficking victims this year along, activists are concerned that the failure to pay compensation leaves them in fresh danger. A spokesman for the Human Rights and Development Foundation says… “It’s an important issue that is unfortunately being neglected.”

The Human Rights and Development Foundation provides free legal aid to migrant workers and trafficking victims.

The Thai government is considering amending its 1999 anti-money laundering laws to allow offenders’ assets to be seized to compensate victims. Seized assets are currently state property but it’s unclear when this will be reviewed by the cabinet.

“This money will enable victims to start a new life and prevent them from being re-trafficked. However the government’s role in assisting victims in pursuing the claims is still not clear.”

Thailand is home to about 610,000 modern ‘slaves’, according to the Global Slavery Index published by the rights group Walk Free Foundation. This means that about one in 113 of its 69 million people is enslaved – forced or blackmailed into working against their will, often with little or no pay.

Trafficking victims are automatically compensated through a government fund which provides living and rehabilitation expenses and lost wages. But the Human Rights and Development Foundation says these sums are insufficient for victims to rebuild their lives.

While Thai law allows victims to claim compensation from convicted traffickers, offenders have refused to pay in more than 1,000 cases.

The US called on Thailand in June to increase compensation to victims in its annual Trafficking in Persons report. They ranked Thailand as a Tier 2 country, meaning it is making significant efforts to combat the crime.

SOURCE: Reuters

Convicted human traffickers ignore 99% of court orders in Thailand | News by The Thaiger

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Economy

Twin TAT campaigns will boost domestic travel

Greeley Pulitzer

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Twin TAT campaigns will boost domestic travel | The Thaiger

In November the Tourism Authority of Thailand plans two campaigns – “Visit Thailand with 100 Baht” and “Shocking Price Weekday Travel”, – aimed to generate 400 million baht in local tourism revenue before the end of the year.

The TAT’s executive director of product promotion said “Shocking Price Weekday Travel” would encourage upper and middle-class Thai tourists to travel more on weekdays, enjoying discounts of up to 80% on high-end tourism products, including five-star hotels, airlines, spas, yachting, Michelin-star restaurants and other privileges from online travel agents. The TAT says at least 4,000 tourism operators and members of tourism associations have registered to take part in the scheme.

A second campaign, “Visit Thailand with 100 Baht”, will feature 40,000 tourism products priced at just 100 baht, offering 10,000 products per day on November 11-12 and December 11-12. You’ll need to be 18 or older and have e-banking and a mobile phone number to join the campaign via the TAT’s website, and can shop for only one tourism product outside their hometown.

Registration will run from 6am until midnight or whenever the 10,000 products for that day run out, the TAT said. The campaign will offer air and bus tickets, hotels, food and drink, tour packages and attractions.

The TAT’s governor said 116 million baht will be used for the two additional programs, above the government’s 1,000 baht cash giveaway Chim-Shop-Chai (Taste-Shop-Spend) scheme, and a 15% cash rebate for spending on tourism products. He expects the new campaigns should add about 400 million baht in tourism revenue and increase the number of Thai tourists travelling domestically by 10-20% .

“The new campaigns, are expected to raise domestic tourism revenue to 1.12 trillion baht this year.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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