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Survey shows that Thais feel “less safe”

Greeley Pulitzer

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Survey shows that Thais feel “less safe” | The Thaiger
PHOTO Paramedics help a man wounded during the Aurora gold shop robbery in Lop Buri on January 9. - AFP
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A recent survey by Suan Dusit Rajabhat University, the Suan Dusit Poll, shows that Thais are more concerned about their safety than ever before, citing the country’s economic woes as the reason.

The poll was conducted from January 15-18 on 1,365 people throughout the Kingdom of varying education levels and occupations. The survey followed a spate of serious crimes in the news, including rapes, robberies, shootings and drug dealing, culminating in the high-profile Aurora gold shop robbery in Lop Buri province where three people died.

On January 9, a man shot and killed three people and injured four others during a gold shop heist in Lop Buri.

Numerous CCTV cameras captured the man’s brief rampage, during which he casually strolled into the shop and shot customers and staff. One of the victims was a two year old boy who was shot in the head while walking past the shop with his mother.

67.6% of those polled say that they’ve become more serious about their personal security over the past year as a result of the economic slump, deteriorating social conditions and low moral standards.

In August the Government revealed that the country’s economy grew at its slowest rate in nearly five years in the second quarter of 2019. It cited slowing exports, a struggling farm sector and US-China trade tensions, saying all had taken their toll on Thailand.

The Government also blamed falling domestic demand and weakening export performance, due in part to the strong baht. The Thai baht was one of Asia’s strongest performing currencies in 2019, which hurt Thai exports and the key tourism sector, which generates more than 20% of the Kingdom’s gross domestic product. To make matters worse, the farming sector is currently in the grip of the worst drought in decades.

When asked what causes risks to their personal security, 53.8% pointed to the poor economy; 24.4% cited “deteriorating social conditions, social disparities and a low standard of living”; 21.3% cited the government’s inability to solve economic problems, forcing people to help themselves; 18.2 percent said it was caused by low public moral standards, and 14.5% cited poor law enforcement.

(Figures are rounded to to the nearest one tenth of a percentage point)

When asked to identify what they feared most, 67.5% pointed to robberies and banditry; 32.7% said the use of violence and weapons such as guns and knives; 25.1% cited the spread of drugs; 21.3% pointed to sex crimes and 15.1% said they fear toxic smog.

Survey shows that Thais feel

SOURCE: Suan Dusit Poll

Whether a slowing economy leads to crime or increases it remains a topic of debate. In 2015, the World Economic Forum published an article titled “Do Recessions Increase Crime?” which quoted American economist Gary Becker’s seminal 1968 work on criminal choices, saying low expectations on returns for legal activity may lead to initial involvement in crime and subsequently to a first encounter with the criminal justice system.

Whether an economic slump inevitably leads increased crime is still up for debate, but the recent poll shows many Thais believe it does.

SOURCE: The Asean Post

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Crime

Drink-driving professor crashes, injures 2 police and elderly woman

Greeley Pulitzer

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Drink-driving professor crashes, injures 2 police and elderly woman | The Thaiger
PHOTO: - Police examine the scene of the incident - Chiang Rai Times

A university professor has been arrested for drink driving in Samut Prakan, just south of Bangkok, after he crashed into a police motorcycle. Two police officers and an elderly woman were injured in the incident. Police and a rescue team were called to the scene and discovered a police motorbike lying on the road and 2 injured officers.

The injured woman was a 70 year old roadside foodstall owner. She says was working as usual when the car drove into her. Police say the car drove directly into their police bike from behind. The motorbike was thrown 20 metres away, while the two officers fell to the ground.

Officers asked the professor to step out of his car but he appeared drunk and refused. When he eventually came out officers took photos of the scene and checked security footage before removing his car to the station.

Police invited him to the station but the professor insisted on waiting for his sister. Officers asked him to take a breathalyzer test, but he refused and tried to drive away using his sister’s car. An officer tried to stop him as he was still drunk, sparking a heated argument with the sister.

Drink-driving professor crashes, injures 2 police and elderly woman | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Chiang Rai Times

Police reported the professor alcohol level was roughly three times the legal limit. He was charged with drink driving causing injury to 3 persons and other damages.

The professor’s sister filed a report alleging that officers abused her during her brother’s arrest.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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Crime

Death penalty sought for Lop Buri gold shop shooter

Greeley Pulitzer

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Death penalty sought for Lop Buri gold shop shooter | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Prasittichai Khaokaew at the time of his arrest - Bangkok Post

Thai Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for a school director who killed three people, including a two year old boy, in a gold shop robbery in Lop Buri last month. Prasittichai Khaokaew will face execution for his “horrific actions,” prosecutors say. The Thai Criminal Court was asked yesterday to try the 38 year old for premeditated murder over the armed robbery at Aurora Gold Shop in Robinson shopping centre on January 9, which also wounded four other shoppers.

Prasittichai originally claimed he robbed the shop for “some excitement,” but a source close to the investigation revealed he desperately needed money to settle gambling debts of some two million baht. Investigators say Prasittichai used a CZ P-01 gun borrowed from his father’s house, fitted with a silencer which he later threw into a river. He made off with gold worth about 635,000 baht.

Deputy Criminal Litigation Department chief Phonchai Chonwanitkun was frank in his assessment:

“We have to convince the court his confession doesn’t mean he has repented. It simply means he gave in to the weight of evidence. More importantly, his cooperation does not benefit the trial. But whether he receives harsh penalties will depend upon the court.”

The Bangkok Post reports that prosecutors studied a police report from February 11 and decided to charge Prasittichai with nine crimes, including killing a person in the commission other offences, robbery, illegal firearm possession, and firing a weapon without sound reason.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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Crime

Abbot who embezzled 69.7 million baht gets fines, suspended sentence

Greeley Pulitzer

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Abbot who embezzled 69.7 million baht gets fines, suspended sentence | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thongchai Sukkho, former abbot of Golden Mount temple, arrives at the Central Criminal Court in Bangkok yesterday - Somchai Poomlard, Bangkok Post

An ex-abbot of Wat Sa Ket (Golden Mount Temple), found guilty of embezzling 69.7 million baht in temple funds, has been fined 27,000 baht and given a jail term of 36 months, suspended. The sentence was handed down at the Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases yesterday. The court found 64 year old Thongchai Sukkho guilty of “malfeasance.”

Prosecutors told the court that Thongchai conspired with former officials of the National Office of Buddhism (NOB), funneling 69.7 million baht to Wat Sa Ket, the only temple to receive such an amount from the office’s 5.36-billion-baht budget in 2016. The court found that the money was embezzled for personal use.

However, the court suspended the former abbot’s jail term for two years because he “had promoted Buddhism” and had “never previously breached Buddhist rules.”

Thongchai was among several former members of the Sangha Supreme Council arrested in 2018 for temple fund embezzlement, according to the Bangkok Post. The same case also involved four other defendants, all executives of the NOB: former director Phanom Sornsilp; former deputy director Chayapol Pongseeda; former director for Buddhism promotion Narongdet Chaiyanet, and former academic official Pattana Su-ammatmontree.

Phanom was sentenced to two years and 12 months and the three other defendants got three years and 18 months.

COURCE: Chiang Rai Times | Bangkok Post

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