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Woman held over court attack may be key operative

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Woman held over court attack may be key operative
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Police believe a suspect arrested for her alleged role in the March 7 hand-grenade attack on the Criminal Court is a key operative coordinating with a high-profile US-based suspect who has been financing an anti-government movement.

A senior police investigator said Suphaphorn “Dear” Mit-arak was coordinating with fugitive Manoon “Anek” Chaichana to plan attacks on five locations in Bangkok last month. Mr Manoon is said to be living in San Francisco.

The two made contact through the chat application LINE and social media, and details were discussed with other operatives at a meeting in an area that comes under the jurisdiction of Chok Chai police, Pol Maj Gen Chaiyaphol Chatchaidej said.

Both suspects had initially contacted Suraphol Iamsuwan, a self-proclaimed bomb maker, to carry out the first of five planned attacks. Mr Suraphol later aborted his role, after receiving 15,000 baht. This prompted Ms Suphaphorn to turn to fugitive Wirasak Towangjorn, alias Yai Pattaya, who had contacted taxi motorcycle Mahahin Khunthong and hand-grenade thrower Yutthana Yenphinyo, the officer explained.

National police chief Somyot Poompanmuang later confirmed Ms Suphaphorn’s confession, saying details on the roles of each of the 16 suspects, including Mr Manoon and Mr Wirasak, who are on the run, came from their own accounts.

He said Ms Suphaphorn was a core leader of a political movement, which as of now cannot be named, and that her name was on a watchlist of security agencies – but there was no clear information about her activities until her role surfaced as a main coordinator in the hand-grenade attack.

The four other locations marked as sites for the attacks, according to Gen Chaiyaphol, were Lumpini Park, an MRT station in Chatuchak, the 11th Infantry Regiment compound in northern Bangkok, and the Siam Kempinski Hotel car park.

A police source said later that Ms Suphaphorn and Natthathida “Waen” Meewangpla – who was apprehended on Monday – face additional charges of planning bomb attacks as well as the charges of terrorism and criminal conspiracy, which have been pressed against all 16 suspects.

Ms Natthathida, like Mr Manoon, also faces lese majeste charges, the source said, without providing details on exactly what she did that violated the law.

Police spokesman Prawut Thawornsiri said police were seeking to bring Mr Manoon back with Interpol’s help to face terrorism charges. This is the first time that Thailand is seeking extradition of someone on terrorism charges.

Asked whether the hand-grenade attack would be considered a political case, which could result in the United States turning down the extradition request, Gen Prawut said people with different political stances should seek solutions peacefully, not through violence or bomb attacks.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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Pattaya

Pattaya fisherman surprised by friendly whale shark visit

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: A friendly whale shark approved a surprised fisherman this week in Pattaya. (via Facebook ไม่หยุดอยู่นิ่ง นาเกลือ)

A local Pattaya fisherman had a shocking surprise visitor and was conscious enough to record a video to share with the world. The man, a fisherman for 10 years, posted 2 videos to Facebook on Wednesday of what appears to be a friendly whale shark casually visiting his fishing boat. Sightings in Pattaya of the majestic sea creature are relatively rare.

Whale sharks are the largest known fish species still living on Earth. They average from 5.5 to 10 metres in length, but the largest shark ever confirmed had a length of 18.8 metres.

The man, who goes by Mai Yud Yoo Ning Naklua (ไม่หยุดอยู่นิ่ง นาเกลือ) was sailing near Pai Island when the shark approached. The shark spent several minutes floating just inches from the boat and could be seen with shark suckers flanking it. The whale shark swam around the back of the boat and the man was able to capture a 3-minute video of the shark and another 49-second video where he can be seen getting up close and personal with the sea creature as it surfaced.

The Facebook video can be viewed on his original post, seen here. The man’s post showed his excitement, as he described that it was his first time experiencing this in his 10 years on a fishing boat.

“This is my first time seeing a whale shark. I have been a fisherman for ten years and have heard many stories but this is my first opportunity to see one and share it with the world.”

Locals in the Koh Larn area believe the appearance of this friendly fish is a sign that the environment is thriving. Covid-19 has prevented the throngs of tourists that normally flood the area, and with the reduction in traffic and boats churning the water, marine life such as whale sharks can safely return. In the waters off the coast of Pattaya, it appears that nature is healing.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

 

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Weather

Pattaya fishing boat capsized in storm, 2 crew rescued, 2 missing

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: A Thai fishing boat capsized with 2 crewmembers rescued and 2 still missing at sea. (via Snappy Goat)

2 members of a fishing boat crew are still missing after a strong storm that capsized their boat off the Pattaya coast. Yesterday morning 2 people on board the boat were rescued after it was flipped in the high waves but confirmed that 2 more crew were aboard the ship and have not been found. The accident took place off Nongprue near the island of Pai.

The unnamed boat captain and another crew member were picked up by another local fishing boat in the area, but they were reported to have spent quite a while in the open water first, clinging to debris to stay afloat about 1.6 kilometres from the shore. The two crew members missing in the storm were a 60 year old man and a 31 year old man.

The captain of the boat that rescued the 2 men recalled rough waters and torrential downpours with a huge wave that capsized the fishing boat. He found the men shouting for help, holding on for dear life to big empty water jugs floating on the sea surface.

The Royal Thai Navy was contacted about the capsizing yesterday morning and naval officers searched all day for the 2 missing crew members without any luck. They continued the search this morning.

About 50 kilometres away, Rayong saw a similar tragedy in the same heavy storm, while rains pounded many parts of Thailand. A fishing boat there was also capsized in the storm with one crew member rescued. A second crewman was later found dead and a third is still lost at sea as rescue workers search.

Chon Buri has been particularly hard hit in the recent stormy weather in Thailand with high wind alerts and heavy rain. The Thai Meteorological Department is forecasting many more storms to come and is advising all local fishermen on small fishing boats to stay on land, especially overnight when the storms have been intensifying.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

 

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Pattaya

Owner of 2 unsupervised pit bulls warned by mayor

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: 2 pit bulls wandering unsupervised spark debate about strays in Pattaya

An unidentified owner of two pit bulls who reportedly allows them to wander freely near a public beach in the Bangsaen area of Pattaya has received a warning from Sane Suk Mayor Narongchai “Tui” Khunplome. making statements through his public relations accounts on social media and in local news outlets, the mayor stated that he had received multiple complaints from residents about the two pit bulls wandering around. They feared for the safety of the children and elderly people in the area, wanting to avoid attacks after the recent death of a pit bull owner who was mauled to death by his own pet. Residents also mentioned the possibility of a car or motorbike crash injuring or killing the pit bulls and possibly people.

The dogs were originally thought to be strays but were later determined to have an owner who allows them to wander freely, unaccompanied by a leash or any supervision. Local law forbids pets to be in public without an owner and also requires that owners clean up any droppings that their pets leave.

The owner of these pit bulls was singled out but not name publicly. The dogs were not reported to have attacked anyone or been aggressive in any way and the majority of complaints were just concerned citizens. The mayor’s post on social media garnered 900 responses both for and against the wandering pit bulls and received more than 7000 likes.

Stray animals are a common problem in Thailand and around the Pattaya area. It is feared that the Covid-19 pandemic created more abandoned animals as people moved out of Chon Buri. Many strays have settled into areas vacated by tourists, and several areas around Pattaya are dealing with the surge in stray animals, especially Banglamung.

It is against Thailand’s religious and cultural beliefs to put down strays, but there’s a lot of debate over a solution. Soi Dog Foundation advocates for spaying or neutering animals and also vaccinating them before releasing them back into their natural habitat. This avoids animal shelters where conditions can become inhumane due to overcrowding, and also may prevent more aggressive dogs from claiming local territories. It is agreed that aggressive dogs should be removed from the public.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

 

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