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Nigerian arrested as police track down ‘romance scam’ gang

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Nigerian arrested as police track down ‘romance scam’ gang | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: The Nation

Tourist police are hunting for conspirators in a “romance scam” gang after they arrested a 32 year old Nigerian who allegedly lured a Thai woman in Lampang province into wiring him nearly 100,000 baht.

Pol Maj-General Surachet Hakparn from the Tourist Police Bureau says that the suspect, Emery Henry Ogba, was a member of a gang believed to have a monthly income of 1 million baht from illicit operations.

Ogba was arrested under an arrest warrant issued by a Lampang Court back on March 29 on charges of fraud and overstaying his visa. He was nabbed at a department store in Nonthaburi province on April 21. Police seized 42,700 baht in cash, some ATM cards, bank books, and four mobile phones.

Surachet said that one of the conspirators was a Thai woman.

“On February 21, a 41 year old woman filed complaints with police in Lampang that a man who identified himself as ‘Mark Westwood’, an American millionaire, befriended with her via Facebook conversations,” he said.

The suspect used the Facebook photo of another man. After about two months, he said he wanted to send her a large sum of money and some other items, but he asked her to send him some money to pay tax. A Thai woman then called the woman and convinced her that she was a government official and that she should do what “Westwood” requested.

The victim wired him money twice, totalling about 97,000 baht. The next time the so-called government office rang her trying to convince her to wire more money, the sound of a baby crying was heard during the telephone conversation.

“That made the woman realise that she was being cheated, as a government office should not have a crying baby. Therefore, she alerted police,” Surachet said.

Deeper investigations showed that the Nigerian was a member of a “romance scam” operating on Facebook. He variously identified himself as Thomas Anderson, Mike Dave, Bob Frank, Ivan Stogan, Luca Perozi or Chris Benson.

Claiming to be a millionaire, he befriended Thai women online and then cheated them out of their money.

Surachet said that victims of the Nigerian suspect included the woman in Lampang and three others in Nonthaburi. They said the suspect sneaked into Thailand via Malaysia and had lived here illegally for more than eight years.

He had in his possession three fake passports – two from Northern Ireland and one American.

Surachet said that the Thai woman who worked alongside the suspect opened bank accounts and helped generate about 1 million baht in monthly income for the gang.

Nigerian arrested as police track down ‘romance scam’ gang | News by The Thaiger

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30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands

Greeley Pulitzer

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30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands | The Thaiger

Tourists were treated to the sight of a school of dolphins in the Similan Islands off the Phang Nga coast on Sunday.

Tour organisers said that around 30 dolphins swam close to the boat six or seven miles offshore, creating excitement for passengers. It was the first time dolphins had been seen in the vicinity since October 15.

The Similan Islands National Park director said they were bottlenose dolphins and were among several species now returning to the area following a five-year closure of the park for environmental rehabilitation. Food is again plentiful there for them, he said.

Tourists are forbidden to feed wildlife lest the free handouts alter the animals’ natural behaviour, and the park’s waters are also very sensitive to contamination from human disease and marine debris, according to the director.

SOURCE: nationthailand.com

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Asia leads the world in medical tourism

Greeley Pulitzer

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Asia leads the world in medical tourism | The Thaiger

Over the past ten years, Asia has become a favourite destination for medical tourism for people from around the world. Besides the white sand beaches, historic monuments and rich cultural legacy, healthcare in Asia is now a major attraction. From transplants and surgeries to dental procedures and botox, people are turning to Asia.

But what makes Asia the most popular destination? Some say lack of specialised treatments in their home countries or the affordable cost of treatment in Asia: these combined with ease of travel and lax visa rules for medical treatment have opened vast avenues for the region.

In 2017, some one million medical tourists visited Malaysia and 3.3 million visited Thailand. India too saw a surge from 4,27,014 medical tourists in 2016 to 4,95,056 in 2017.

Here’s a look at the top Asian countries for various medical treatments:

Thailand is popular for breast implants and gender reassignment surgeries. Since 2003, the Thai Government has taken steps to make Thailand a global centre for medical tourism through its Centre of Excellent Health Care of Asia initiative, and now has 37 Joint Commission International (JCI) accredited hospitals.

A 2016 WHO study revealed that medical tourists visiting Thailand were more likely to be residents of the eastern Mediterranean or south-east or south Asia. However, what makes the country a preferred destination is its world-class hospitality, highly specialised care and tailored care packages.

India is a favoured destination due to its its advanced technology, world-class surgeons and cost-effective treatments. Patients visit India not just for specialised treatment and surgeries but for routine check-ups as well.

India amended e-visa rules for 150 countries in 2016, making visa procurement easy for foreigners. India’s National Health Policy specifies that the government supports medical tourism and issues visas patients’ accompanying spouses.

Singapore is a choice for patients seeking state-of-the-art facilities, well trained doctors and quality care. Although it is one of the most expensive cities in the world, the city-state has more than 15 hospitals catering to medical tourists. Singapore was ranked the most attractive among seven Asian countries in terms of “patient experience”, but was also one of the least attractive in terms of cost-effectiveness.

Malaysia is picking up the pace and is a preferred destination for people from other Asian countries, especially Indonesia. Of one million medical tourists who visited the country in 2017, 600,000 were from Indonesia.

According to the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council, Malaysia has set a target of at least one million medical tourists from Indonesia by 2020. Since the health ministry regulates the prices that private hospitals charge in Malaysia, quality care at affordable prices lures patients from across Asia and the world.

World-famous for its beauty clinics, South Korea’s ambitions go beyond cosmetic surgery. According to the South Korea Ministry of Health and Welfare, about 3,64,000 foreign medical tourists visited the country in 2016, including patients from Canada, the USA, UAE, China and Japan.

South Korea’s healthcare system is considered one of the best in Asia and has established a niche in the medical technology industry. To promote medical tourism, the government offers a special visa to medical tourists and insurance that covers both injury and death resulting from medical treatment or procedures.

SOURCE: nationthailand.com

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Bangkok

10 billionaires among Thailand’s 500 MPs

Greeley Pulitzer

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10 billionaires among Thailand’s 500 MPs | The Thaiger

Thailand has 10 billionaire MPs, while the poorest MP has just 5,064 baht in his bank account, according to reports from the Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission.

Of the 10 billionaire MPs, Mrs. Nathee Ratchakitprakarn, of the Bhumjaithai Party, wife of Tourism and Sports Minister Pipat, is the richest, with declared assets of about 4.675 billion baht.

The other nine billionaire MPs are:

Mr. Anutin Charnvirakul, Bhumjaithai party leader, deputy prime minister and public health minister, with 4.249 billion baht (including two planes, two boats, Buddha images worth 121 million baht and 395 million baht in bank deposits)

Bhumjaithai MP for Satun province, Mr. Piboon Ratchakitprakarn, with 2.342 billion baht

Mr. Suriya Juangroongruangkit, industry minister and Palang Pracharat MP, at 2.198 billion baht

Mr. Apichaiubon, Democrat party-list MP, with assets of 2.048 billion baht

Mr. Nataphol Teepsuwan, Palang Pracharat party-list MP and education minister, with 1.985 billion baht

Khunying Kalaya Sophonpanich, deputy education minister and Democrat party-list MP, with 1.785 billion baht

Ms. Supamat Issarapakdi, Bhumjaithai party-list MP, who has 1.609 billion baht

Mr. Kittisak Khanasawat, Pheu, Thai MP for Maha Sarakham, with 1.529 billion baht

Democrat party-list MP Korn Chatikavanich, with 1.097 billion baht

PM’s Office Minister and Chart Pattana party-list MP Tewan Liptapallop, who has 1.03 billion baht

House Speaker Chuan Leekpai has assets of about 8 million baht

Of the 500 MPs, it appears that Mr. Phisanu Polatee, Bhumjaithai, MP for Pathum Thani province, has the least assets. There was, at the time reporting, only 5,064 baht in his bank account.

Earlier, he reported that he earned 14,000 baht a month from the Provincial Administration Organization. His earnings as an MP since May totaled 829,700 baht. He said he is living in the house of his mother and the car that he has been driving belongs to a friend.

Several MPs have not yet declared their assets to the NACC’s Office, including Future Forward party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit and Future Forward MPs Pannika Wanich and Pitha Limcharonrat.

SOURCE: thaipbsworld.com

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