Thailand News Today | Suspicions over Thai actress drowning
Many Thais are speculating that the drowning of the Thai TV actress Tangmo in the Chao Phraya River was not an accident and police now say they are going to use a lie detector during interrogations.
Reports say the 37-year-old woman had gone to the back of the speedboat to urinate but had fallen in at around 10:40 pm Thursday night. She was not wearing a life jacket and her body was found at around 1 pm on Saturday. Reports say her mother also does not believe it was an accident.
Forensic experts have dismissed reports that Tangmo went to the back of the boat to urinate. The experts say she was wearing a bodysuit, which would have made this difficult. A preliminary autopsy showed Tangmo had sand in her lungs. Toxicology results are expected to take about seven days.
The driver of the boat Tangmo and five other people were on, and the boat’s owner, face charges of death by negligence. A police lieutenant colonel said the two suspects went to the Muang district police station yesterday with a lawyer to acknowledge the charges, and applied for bail. The boat’s driver, Paibul, also faces the charge of driving a boat with an expired licence.
The evacuation of Thai citizens from Ukraine is now underway, with 47 Thais having arrived at a dedicated facility in the Ukrainian city of Luview.
The Thai embassy in Warsaw, Poland, is managing the evacuation, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The embassy has opened a help centre in Luview, with a chartered bus departing from the centre to transport Thai nationals to Warsaw.
The embassy says Thais in other cities in Ukraine have confirmed they are safe, but there are around 100 who are confined to their homes as a result of lockdowns in other cities. Ukraine continues to defend its second largest city Harkiv against the Russian incursion, which is now entering its fifth day.
According to the Thai embassy in Warsaw, 102 out of 148 Thai nationals living in the capital, Kiev, have now left, but around 40 have chosen to remain with their families. Most of them are women who are married to Ukrainian men, who have been enlisted to fight against the Russian invasion.
The family of the young South African woman incarcerated at a Thai prison for accepting a package of drugs has been working on an appeal.
22-year-old Ashley Oosthuizen was sentenced to life in prison after she accepted a package of MDMA at the Koh Samui restaurant “Hot in the Biscuit” in late-2020. Her mother, Lynn Blignaut, told The Thaiger she has faith that the situation will be sorted in time.
Over the past month, calls for her release have been renewed and several South African media outlets have reported on the case after Tristan Nettles, an American who was dating Ashley at the time of her arrest, made a website outlining what he says are details on the drug operation. He claims that Ashley was not involved.
Tristan has been outing himself as the one behind the importation and trafficking of MDMA on Koh Samui, calling himself an “international dark web drug dealer” and even going as far as to say that packages of drugs had been delivered to a school on the island for years. Tristan is not in the country, and would not give away details on his current location, just saying he was in the “Pacific Time Zone.”
Ashley was a friendly face on the island and had also worked as a teacher. Many expats on the island have been calling for justice, sharing hashtags and links to donate. After crowdfunding links popped up, Ashley’s mother asked that donations only be made to an official trust fund account once the family has finished settling it up.
Tristan made some crowdfunding accounts but says he has since taken them down. Some have even started using other hashtags to support the mother’s efforts rather than Tristan’s.
According to a report, recent pleas to have Ashley extradited to South Africa were rejected as Thailand and South Africa do not have a treaty for transferring prisoners. For the appeal, Ashey’s mother Lynn says it is a process, and she has faith that it will be sorted in time. She added that the South African embassy has been supporting them in “all the ways they are allowed to.” Embassies can offer information and resources, but cannot get directly involved with the judicial process.
She says Ashley is in good health and high spirits, adding that “the Lord is sustaining her and providing for her in all ways.”
The first direct flight from Saudi Arabia to Thailand will land at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, a significant step after bilateral ties between the two countries were patched up.
The Saudi Arabian Airlines flight from the Saudi capital of Riyadh will arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport at 6:05pm today. The airline will operate three flights per week between Riyadh and Bangkok, with more flights to follow.
The restoration of commercial air services with Saudi Aradia follows PM Prayut Chan-o-official cha’s visit to the Middle Eastern country in late January where he fostered ties. Diplomatic relations between the two countries have been tense for the past three decades due to the 1989 Blue Diamond Affair where a Thai cleaner stole gems from a Saudi prince and several Saudi diplomats who were investigating the case in Thailand were killed.
Now that diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia have been mended, Thailand’s tourism officials hope to draw in more than a million Middle Eastern tourists this year. According to a government spokesperson, Thai tourism companies will start looking for partnerships in Saudi Arabia to help the tourism industry recover from the Covid outbreak.
In related news, Tourism minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation between the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Emirates Airlines. Under the agreement, Emirates will promote Thailand to its customers, under the TAT’s “Visit Thailand Year 2022: Amazing New Chapters” campaign.
Etihad Airways, the UAE’s second carrier, has also signed the Memorandum and will promote the campaign to its customers.
Six people have been reported dead and one missing after a bridge collapsed due to heavy rains and strong currents in the Deep South province of Narathiwat.
The bodies were found in a submerged pickup truck. Investigators are still searching for another body.
Flooding from heavy rain over the past week has hit several provinces in Thailand’s southernmost region including Narathiwat, Yala, Pattani, Songkhla, and Phatthalung.
In Narathiwat, floodwater has spread over houses, roads, and plantations. Residents affected by the flooding are facing a lack of food and supplies. Locals are being advised to closely watch the weather as more rain could worsen the situation.
Yesterday, a spokesperson announced that the Thai Prime Minister has advised authorities to take care of the residents as soon as possible. The Provincial Office of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, military troops, volunteer groups, and rescue teams already went down to each area to evaluate the situation and help the residents.
A cinema in Bangkok’s Ekkamai area caught fire early this morning, with flames spreading on the fourth and fifth floor of the theatre.
Major Cineplex Sukhumvit was closed when the fire broke out at around 4:43 am today. Firefighters are investigating to determine exactly what caused the fire.
Early this morning, a vendor outside the cinema was preparing to set up shop for the day when she smelled something burning. The smell got stronger and she looked up and saw smoke billowing out of the upper floor of the building.
Authorities from the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department were called to the scene and said the fire started on the fourth floor and was about to spread to its neighbouring floors. The officers sprayed water from outside using a cabin crane and were able to control the blaze within an hour.
Firefighters suspect the fire was started by an electrical circuit from a shop on the fourth floor, but they are still investigating.
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