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Thailand News Today | Bangkok Police crack down on ‘Gentleman’s clubs”

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The five boating buddies of the Thai actress Tangmo should take lie detector tests — again. That’s the recommendation of Senator Somchai, head of the Standing Committee on Human Rights, Rights, Liberties and Consumer Protection.

 

He made the statement to the media after a meeting on Monday, in which he heard reports from the police and forensics pathologists involved in the ongoing investigation.

Somchai recommended the polygraph tests because the witnesses have made conflicting statements to police and the case has seen very little progress, after nearly a month of investigation, while the media circus surrounding them plays on.

The senator said he also suspects that the five boat buddies might have received coaching from someone before they received police questioning. And he suggested that the police try to locate the actress’ skirt, saying it might provide an additional clue.

Notably, Tango was shown wearing a white skirt around her waist in photographs taken on the night of her death. The garment was not found on the actress’ body when it was recovered from the Chao Phraya River two days after the incident, but the garment has yet to be located.

Somchai also said that police will be asked to re-examine some details of the ongoing investigation, including Tangmo’s skirt, a bruise on her chest, the deep wound on her thigh, and a blood sample.

The late actress’ mother reportedly petitioned the senator to keep a close watch on the investigation into her daughter’s death.

This is not the first time lie detectors have been mentioned in the investigation. Last month, National police chief Pol Gen Suwat Jangyodsuk said police would use lie detectors during questioning of the boating five to facilitate the investigation.

Since then, there’s been no news on whether the five witnesses were actually given lie detector tests and, if so, what the results were. It’s unclear why they would have to undergo a second round of lie detector tests if the police had already used them once before.

Police also conducted five days of boating reenactments with each of the witnesses, to determine the events that took place on the speedboat that night. But police say the witnesses have made conflicting statements, leading them to believe they have lied.

Police have previously said all five will likely face charges of giving false statements and recklessness leading to death.

It’s been almost a month since Tangmo drowned in the Chao Phraya River, but police have yet to determine why she fell from the boat and who is to blame.

Last week, the Justice Ministry set up a panel of forensic experts to review the re-examination of the actress’ body.

Notably, Senator Khunying Pornthip, a member of the Senate committee and a forensic expert, says that existing evidence in not sufficient to determine that actress’ death was an act of premeditated murder, rather it was more likely to be a “homicide.”

 

———

Health officials plan to administer booster vaccine doses to 70% of Thailand’s elderly population ahead of the Songkran holiday in April.

The Department of Disease Control says it doesn’t want to see a repeat of last year, when infections and deaths rose significantly after the Thai New Year holiday, due to the inability to procure enough vaccines.

Wicharn says a third dose of a Covid-19 vaccine can help reduce the risk of serious illness and death and urged those who have not already done so to come forward for vaccination. Provincial public health officials have been instructed to check the vaccination status of residents in their jurisdiction and to offer a booster dose to all senior citizens. Wicharn says other relevant agencies, along with the private sector, are being asked to work with the government to ensure the 70% target can be met on time.

Police are shutting down three bars for five years in the Thonburi area of Bangkok without much explanation.

The three so-called “service venues”, which is code for you know what, have been closed down for committing offences that violate Thailand’s “Entertainment Act” of 1966 and a government order from 2015.

The venues are named Poseidon Pub, New Jazz, and Lan-Lao. Poseidon Pub had reportedly been closed in the past and was raided by police in 2019 with 38 people testing positive for drugs in on-the-spot tests.

The 2015 document on measures to control “service venues” issues guidelines that include refusing service for people under 20 years of age, operating and selling alcohol within legal hours, and disallowing the use of weapons or narcotics in the venue.

The court has given the final verdict that the three bars have committed an offence violating these acts but it is not clear which rules the bars were breaking. Deputy Police Chief has signed an order to close down the three venues for five years.

The deputy chief added that the CCSA does not have a special policy for “service venues,” which are classified as entertainment venues and must remain shut under Covid regulations.

—-

Officers in Southern Thailand found hundreds of kilograms of crystal meth hidden in electronic deep fryers packaged to be shipped overseas.

A couple was arrested after officers raided a home and a motorcycle repair shop, seizing methamphetamine from both locations, which, in total, weighed more than half a tonne with a street value of 117 million baht.

A 43-year-old man and 28-year-old woman were arrested. Officers also seized an Isuzu pickup truck, a shotgun with three rounds of ammunition, and six mobile phones.

When questioned by police, the man allegedly told officers that the drugs were to be shipped out of Thailand. He also named two other suspects involved in the operation. Acting on the information, officers raided a home where suspects were staying. No one was at the home, but police found another 108 kilograms of meth hidden in electric deep fryers, just like at the repair shop, and another 100 kilograms waiting to be packaged.

—-

The family of the noodle vendor who was shot by a drunk, off-duty police officer last year on Phuket’s บางลา Road is seeking compensation of 15 million baht.

The 25 year old vendor was shot in the stomach with the bullet lodged in his spine, paralysing him from the waist down. The officer is now on trial for attempted murder, carrying a firearm in a public area without necessary reason, and firing a weapon in a public area.

Back in February of last year, the vendor was shot in the stomach by the intoxicated officer as he was walking, tending to his customers late at night on the popular walking street. Video footage shows the officer then approaching the vendor, who had fallen to the ground and then shooting at him again at a close range. The officer then slapped the vendor in the face, picked him up, shoved him over, and then kicked him before walking away.

The officer had reportedly been drinking for hours and ended up in a heated argument with another man. Reports say he accidentally fired the gun at the vendor walking by.

Surgeons were able to remove the bullet that was lodged in the man’s spine, but he was left paralysed from the waist down. His wife has been caring for him as well as the two children.

After some delays, Phuket Provincial Court held proceedings last week, hearing from witnesses. The court will hear testimonies from the last two witnesses on April 7. A lawyer for the family says the CCTV footage is important evidence that could lead to the sentencing.

The tradition of scattering a loved one’s ashes into a river in the Isaan province has been banned in a popular area after locals reported that service was dumping not only the cremated remains, but also ritual items and personal possessions of the deceased. Sometimes even mattresses and pillows were thrown in.

In northeastern Thailand, known as Isaan, some families will travel far to scatter ashes into the Moon River in Nakhon Ratchasima. It is common for boats to be docked by popular spots, like temples, to take families out to the river to scatter the ashes.

One boat service was reportedly taking up to five families out to the river each day and allowed them to dump ceremonial items, like candles and incense sticks, as well as the deceased’s personal items.

After locals in seven villages in Chalermprakiat district complained about a boat service, the provincial governor banned the ritual at the public park along the river. He also ordered officers to monitor the riverside and for district officials to press charges against the boat service for violating health regulations, saying they could face up to three months in prison and an up to 25,000 baht fine.

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