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UFUN woman surrenders to police over alleged B20bn scam

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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UFUN woman surrenders to police over alleged B20bn scam | The Thaiger

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UFUN woman surrenders to police over alleged B20bn scam
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Another Thai woman accused of being involved in the allegedly fraudulent UFUN Thailand scheme surrendered to assistant national police chief Suwira Songmetta and the Consumer Protection Police Division yesterday.

Hansa Thara-bundit said she surrendered to express her sincerity and show she had no intent to flee. She said she had just returned from running errands in Surat Thani.

The 36-year-old is among 12 people facing charges of obtaining loans in a fraudulent manner that cheated the public. Six of the 12 are now in custody.

Ms Hansa claimed that documents indicating she was linked to UFUN was the result of her 41-year-old sister, Namonpan Thara-bundit, using a photocopy of her ID card to open an investment port in UFUN and registering her as a partner in the company.

She said she found out later but didn’t say anything because she didn’t think it would be a problem.

She admitted, however, that she was interested in the business and attended a number of related events with Ms Namonpan. She also opened a bank account in her name for Ms Namonpan to manage transactions.

“I didn’t get money from [the company] and wasn’t involved with the company,” she insisted, adding that 500,000 baht police had found came from her husband’s cell-phone business. She said they also sold medical equipment and had construction businesses.

After the scandal surfaced this month, four men were arrested and then Ms Namonpan was apprehended on Thursday while trying to leave Thailand via the border province of Nong Khai.

On Friday, Lt Gen Suwira led officials to search Hansa’s house in Pathum Thani’s Lam Luk Ka district and seized two cars and a safe box.

Police were yesterday scheduled to transfer 10 seized cars and seized assets worth Bt100 million to the Anti-Money Laundering Office so it cold further probe the case.

No plan to shut website

Gen Suwira said police wouldn’t close the UFUN website because the firm would use that as excuse to not pay its members.

The Criminal Court yesterday refused to grant Ms Namonpan bail after she offered 3mn baht as surety. She had 9,000 shares in the company, making her a key suspect in an alleged fraud that caused huge damage to others and an escape candidate.

Ms Namonpan, who denied any wrongdoing, will be held at the Central Women Correctional Institution in Bang Khen pending the police investigation until April 29 in her first 12-day detention period.

UFUN was registered to operate as a direct-sales company, but sold U-Token electronic investment units instead and allegedly swindled 100,000 people out of 20 billion baht, police said.

In related news, gay rights activist and UFUN member Natee Teerarojpong said he wanted to meet with national police chief Somyos Poompanmuang because the activist did not believe it was a fraudulent scheme. Mr Natee insisted the company’s trades were done on a voluntary basis and were still ongoing.

He urged the authorities to ensure proper treatment of the many Thais who were members of the company.

Mt Natee said he wanted to tell Gen Somyos that Thais applied for UFUN memberships because they were confident in the Office of the Consumer Protection Board’s decision to approve the firm.

He said members had been mentally scarred by the ordeal and did not deserve to be charged with fraud because they didn’t cheat anyone.

The firm was still operating and no one had been adversely affected, so it should not be called fraud.

Mr Natee also said UFUN executive chairman Dato Daniel Tay, of Malaysia, had affirmed via YouTube that the company didn’t operate a pyramid scheme and had no intention of cheating the public. So, police should give it a chance to prove that.

He said he began investing in UFUN last August and his portfolio with the company had expanded to 2.6 million U-Tokens worth 13mn baht after a capital outlay of 35,000 baht.

He said he could withdraw the money anytime but he didn’t because he believed in the business.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Crime

Woman’s charred remains found near northern Thailand rubber plantation

The Thaiger

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Woman’s charred remains found near northern Thailand rubber plantation | The Thaiger
Photo via Facebook/ หน่วยกู้ภัยพิษณุโลก มูลนิธิประสาทบุญสถาน (Phitsanulok Rescue)

The charred remains of a 19 year old woman was found near a rubber plantation in Phitsanulok, a province in northern Thailand. Police say the woman’s 18 year old boyfriend, a murder suspect, turned himself in.

Jularat Kongkaew was reported missing on February 27. She had left her home the previous afternoon with her boyfriend, a Mathayom 6 student (equivalent to a high school senior), who said he was taking Jularat to see a doctor, according to Jularat’s mother.

Police received a report about the remains of a woman’s body in the Ban Muang Hom district at around 7am yesterday. Along with the charred remains of Jularat’s body, investigators found 3 burned car tyres.

After the remains were found, the victim’s boyfriend turned himself in to the Kaeng Sopha police.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Second batch of China’s Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine to arrive in Thailand on March 25

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Second batch of China’s Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine to arrive in Thailand on March 25 | The Thaiger
Photo via Facebook/ อนุทิน ชาญวีรกูล (Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul)

A second order of China’s Sinovac Covid-19 vaccines are expected to arrive on March 25, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul announced today. 800,000 doses are set to be sent to Thailand later this month.

Along with informing the Thai government on the expected arrival date for the vaccines, Chinese officials also asked that the Thai government consider vaccinating Chinese nationals who are living in Thailand and establishing of a China Immunisation Centre for Overseas Chinese. Nation Thailand reports “Thailand will continue to seek support for the vaccine from China as a friend.”

There’s also talk of a travel bubble between the 2 countries for those who are vaccinated against the coronavirus.

The first batch of 200,000 doses arrived last month along with another shipment of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Altogether, the Thai government ordered 2 million doses of China’s Sinovac vaccine.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Travellers undergoing yacht quarantine to wear wristbands to track location and monitor health

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Travellers undergoing yacht quarantine to wear wristbands to track location and monitor health | The Thaiger
Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Foreign tourists travelling to Thailand by yacht and undergoing the mandatory quarantine period onboard the vessel will be asked to wear a smart wristband to monitor their health and track their location. The Digital Economy Promotion Agency teamed up with Advanced Info Service, known as AIS, and Phuket tourism operators to launch the so-called “Digital Yacht Quarantine” programme.

Apparently, tourist disappearances aren’t that uncommon and the digital tracking wristbands will help make sure tourists are safe. Here’s what the Bangkok Post wrote:

The use of the wristband also ensures the safety of tourists as about two tourists disappear from Phuket each month while travelling and it costs 4-5 million baht to search for each person.

Along with tracking location, the smart wristbands also monitor pulse, blood pressure and body temperature. If there is an emergency, an alert will be sent to authorities.

The yacht quarantine is expected to bring in 1.8 billion baht in tourism revenue, according to the Bangkok Post. About 100 yachts set to dock in Thailand with around 300 to 500 tourists are expected to undergo the onboard quarantine.

Since restrictions were imposed last year on international travel, tourism officials have been brainstorming ways to bring in foreign travellers safely, without risking the spread of the coronavirus, to help revive tourism dependent areas. Last year, Phuket lost 320 billion baht in revenue and the number of tourists on the island dropped from 40,000 to 50,000 visitors per day to just hundreds, according to the Post.

The agency’s president and chief executive Nuttapon Nimmanphatcharin says the island province is a “magnet” tourist attraction.

“Tourism is a key sector where technology can be used to address the problem and boost travel.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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