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COMMENT: The fall of the Emerald Development Group

Tim Newton

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Today is Mai Sawit Ketroj’s birthday. He’ll be spending it behind bars after being questioned by police about alleged fraud involving the Emerald Development Group.

In a packed media conference yesterday Tourist Police Deputy Commander Maj Gen Surachet Hakpan outlined the unravelling of the prominent Phuket property development company.

“The suspect admitted that he has a lack of financial resources and that the construction can’t commence. There are many other projects that might be in the same situation. There are more than 300 victims, most of them are foreigners. Embassies have been informed to warn their citizens about the situation. The cost of damages from this case is now estimated at a billion baht.”

Having known Khun Mai for four years I was aware he was a bit of a property ‘cowboy’, leaning on deposits as collateral to establish other properties and fund the growth of his Emerald Development Group. A prominent Phuket lawyer has described the scheme as a property ponzi scheme.

“Ponzi Scheme. A fraudulent investment operation where the operator provides fabricated reports and generates returns for older investors through revenue paid by new investors, rather than from legitimate business activities or profit of financial trading.”

I was more naive figuring he probably had things ‘under control’. Anyway, property is not my expertise and he wasn’t advertising with my company.

COMMENT: The fall of the Emerald Development Group | News by Thaiger

Whether or not this case unravels as a ponzi scheme, calculated fraud or simply poor business is a matter for the Thai courts. In the meantime people are waking up today to the news that they may have lost their deposits and milestone payments for property developments that were never started.

One of the litigants contacted The Thaiger yesterday with this message…

“I told you and everyone that this was a billion baht fraud case. Fortunately persistence got this piece of s**t arrested. But I have no faith in Thailand doing the right thing.”

In other allegations from potential litigants….

“I have spoken to dozens of people, some even Thais living in Phuket, who have lost money, and are too poor or stupid to pursue this guy.”

“I gave Sawit Ketroj, Phuket Future Group, a subsidiary of Emerald, 20 million Thai baht. He said the purpose of that money was to purchase land and build my Jade D villa.”

“Land was never legally transferred to my wife, nor was anything built, causing multiple breaches of contract.”

“Sawit Ketroj borrowed 450 million Thai baht from a publicly traded Thai bank called **** to purchase the land he had already sold me.”

As of today, litigants have filed civil and criminal charges against Sawit Ketroj. Contractors have also filed criminal charges against him for default on payments. And now the Thai Government have filed fraud charges against him with the police investigation ongoing.

Under an increasingly regulated market the fall of the Emerald Development Group, and it’s smiling CEO Mai Sawit Ketroj, is a bitter pill to swallow. The vast majority of local property developers are good, honest people who are building some great new properties for the island.

For Khun Mai it won’t be much of a birthday and 300 (we predict many more) litigants won’t be sending birthday cards.

COMMENT: The fall of the Emerald Development Group | News by Thaiger

 

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Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Phuket. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2012. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for nearly 40 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program, presented 3,900 radio news bulletins in Thailand alone, hosted 450 daily TV news programs, produced 1,800 videos, TV commercials and documentaries and is now the General Manager and writer for The Thaiger. He's reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue.

Phuket

Phuket sets quarantine requirement for those entering the province, some exempt

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Photo via PR Phuket

A 14-day period in quarantine is required for those entering Phuket who are either not vaccinated against the coronavirus or have not been tested for Covid-19 within 72 hours of arrival.

Phuket Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong made the announcement yesterday, adding they will no longer require Covid-19 tests on arrival. Phuket News notes that the required tests were problematic, particularly for truck drivers who were delivering essential items to the island on a regular basis.

“If you stay in Phuket shorter than 14 days, then you will be in quarantine as long as you stay on the island… From today on, no rapid tests anymore. Arrivals without any documents must get the quarantine order at the checkpoint.”

Piyapong says staff from the Phuket Public Health Office will hand out quarantine orders to those entering the province. The a copy of the order will be sent to the Emergency Operation Centre, which will follow up with those who are in quarantine at their homes or hotels.

The main Phuket checkpoint will only be open from 8:30am to 8:30pm. Only delivery vehicles can enter outside of those hours.

Those only entering Phuket for a short day trip are exempt from the quarantine rule, according to the Phuket News.

SOURCE: Phuket News

 

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Pattaya

20 people arrested at Pattaya restaurant for allegedly violating alcohol ban

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Stock photo by Bence Boros for Unsplash

Police in Pattaya arrested 20 people last night at a local restaurant where alcohol was reportedly being sold. While Chon Buri recently eased disease control restrictions, now allowing restaurants in the province to offer dine-in services again, alcohol sales and consumption at restaurants are still prohibited.

Saewana restaurant was raided at around 11pm last night by officers from Pattaya and the Banglamung district station. Alcohol was served in glasses and the bottles were hidden, police say.

Pattaya News says all 20 people at the restaurant were arrested, including the owner. They face charges for allegedly violating the provincial disease control order. Those who violate the Emergency Decree could face a hefty fine or even imprisonment.

A police officer who spoke to a Pattaya News reporter said that there is a zero-tolerance policy for alcohol consumption at restaurants as the policy has been made clear to the public.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

 

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Thailand

Thailand News Today | Releasing 50,000 prisoners, Covid sniffer dogs, bungled kidnap | May 18

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Following an abortive attempt at a kidnap for ransom at the end of March, 3 people are currently under arrest, National vaccine rollout could finally get underway next week, pecially trained sniffer dogs will soon be deployed on the streets of Bangkok to sniff out cases of Covid-19 infection, Koh Samet reopening to visitors after being closed for 3 weeks and Local fishermen have found space debris, possibly from a satellite or parts of a used launch rocket.

 

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