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Thai banks to report B500k transactions to counter money laundering

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Thai banks to report B500k transactions to counter money laundering
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Financial institutions are ready to cooperate with the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) in reporting cash transactions exceeding Bt500,000 per transaction and property transactions by politicians and government offices that exceed Bt1 million.

This follows an aggressive action by the anti-graft body to tackle money laundering. It will issue a list of transactions that financial institutions are required to report to the NACC in the next few months. The move is in addition to the work carried out the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO).

The NACC on Wednesday held its annual meeting with representatives of financial institutions and other agencies relevant to the body’s investigative powers.

NACC chief Panthep Klanarongran said it was looking at changing regulations to be more effective in preventing corruption.

Currently, national and local political office holders as well as senior government officials are required to declare their assets to the NACC only when they take and leave a post and one year after they take and leave a post. The NACC cannot examine transactions that occur while someone is in a job.

Kasikornbank executive vice president Surasak Dudsdeemaytha said the request by the NACC was no trouble for the banks, as they generally reported individuals’ cash transactions in excess of Bt2 million and property transactions exceeding Bt5 million to AMLO.

Currently, bank clients who do a transaction in line with the aforementioned amounts are also required to provide sufficient identification, according to financial institutions.

A positive step

“If the NACC requests it, we can report the transactions of those [politicians and government officials],” Surasak said “However, it will be better if the NACC sends ID cards to banks, as it will be quicker for banks to report the transactions that way,” he suggested.

Asking for the cooperation of banks in this matter is a positive step as the banking business is one mechanism to help the state monitor financial transactions, he said.

Kittiya Todhanakasem, first senior executive vice president at Krungthai Bank, said the bank was ready to cooperate with the NACC as it had previously reported suspect transactions to the AMLO.

NACC deputy secretary-general Warawit Sukboon said the graft fighter would reconsider the amount of money set as the ceiling.

“Because there are concerns from some financial organisations that the amount of money is too low [meaning too many transactions will have to be reported], the NACC is ready to listen to all opinions and adjust it so that the financial institutions’ burden is not too much,” Warawit said.

“However, it must be the best solution for the country at the same time.

“The NACC sees the amounts as suitable as the political office holders and government officials have a maximum income of Bt100,000 monthly.

“But for property, we agree the ceiling should be increased from Bt1 million. We will discuss this with financial institutions and find a solution. It is expected that the new regulation should be announced within three months.”

Democrat Party secretary-general Chuti Krairiksh supported the decision to lower the ceiling for the reporting of financial transactions involving political office holders.

The decision aims to impose stricter rules for politicians, he said, though he is personally not worried and will follow the new rules.

Chuti suggested that the new rules should be applied to senior government officials.

However the NACC and AMLO will have to work harder as the documents involved are expected to increase 50-fold, he said, adding that both agencies should recruit more officers.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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

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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

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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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