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338 bodies sent home from Mai Khao

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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338 bodies sent home from Mai Khao | The Thaiger

PHUKET: A total of 338 tsunami victims buried temporarily at Mai Khao Cemetery have been identified and returned to their families.

Thai Tsunami Victim Indentification Centre (TTVI) head Pol Gen Noppadol Somboonsab says he expects all 1,890 bodies at Mai Khao to be identified within three or four months.

All but two of the bodies identified so far were foreigners, said Gen Noppadol, who added that the identification process had moved much faster since Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) officers had started to run information about the bodies through the Interpol database.

And he said that of the 1,703 bodies at Wat Yan Yao, Phang Nga, just 21 had been identified so far, largely because information from the bodies there was not on the Interpol database.

Gen Noppadol revealed that dental checks, fingerprints and physical characteristics rather than DNA have been the main methods of identification, especially at Mai Khao.

He said, “In 95% of cases, we have used dental records for identification, and 5% have been identified from their fingerprints. We have used DNA for matching in just one case so far.”

DNA identification was the most difficult method to use, Gen Noppadol explained, mainly because the TTVI computer cannot handle the very large amounts of data involved.

He revealed, too, that his staff will re-examine bodies at Wat Yan Yao – where bodies of victims from Phang Nga who are believed to be Thai are being kept – and re-recording information about them, such as their height, and re-taking fingerprints.

Earlier this month, the mortuary wat was closed and controversial top forensic scientist Dr Khunying Pornthip Rojanasunan, who had been in charge there, returned to Bangkok.

Just days later, the mortuary was re-opened, but Dr Pornthip was told she could not resume her work there.

Gen Noppadol said he expected it would take around two weeks for the data to be re-collected, although it would probably be months before the bodies there were identified.

Relatives of the missing – Thai or foreign – are being asked to provide details of any identifying marks or characteristics – from amputations and operation scars to birthmarks and tattoos, that could help identify the bodies remaining at Mai Khao and Wat Yan Yao, said Gen Noppadol.

“If the families can supply this information, the identifications will proceed much faster,” he said.

The general expects the identification of bodies at Wat Yan Yao to be more complicated than at Mai Khao, partly because some corpses there are too decomposed for identifying marks to be detectable, and partly because it is unlikely there will be dental records for some of the bodies there, particularly if they are of poor Thais.

So, he said, DNA analysis would have to be used, rather than physical characteristics.

Gen Noppadol urged the relatives of missing Thai people not to go to Wat Yan Yao, but instead to contact their local police for information.

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Hua Hin

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain

May Taylor

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Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | The Thaiger

The Thailand Meteorological Department issued a weather warning for southern Thailand with torrential rain forecast to hit the region throughout the weekend. The heavy monsoon over the Gulf of Thailand and south of the country is being blamed for the rough weather, with the TMD predicting flash flooding in many areas.

(Phuket, Hat Yai and Hua Hin’s forecast below)

“Waves are expected to reach 2 metres in height in the lower Gulf of Thailand and possibly higher at the height of the storm. Ships are advised to proceed with caution.”

For the north and northeast of Thailand, the TMD forecasts strong winds and cooler mornings as the arrival of the “winter” season, coupled with a moderate high-pressure system, causes temperatures to dip.

Hua Hin’s five day forecast

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | News by The Thaiger

Phuket’s five day forecast

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | News by The Thaiger

Hat Yai’s five day forecast

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation | weather.com

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Crime

Now you see him, now you don’t… Patong Police hunt foreigner over $30k theft

Greeley Pulitzer

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Now you see him, now you don’t… Patong Police hunt foreigner over $30k theft | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Patong Police

Patong Police have yet to develop any tangible leads tracking down a foreigner who made off with US$30,000 in cash from a currency exchange booth in Kalim, north of Patong in Phuket, last Tuesday.

The man is about 168 centimetres tall with grey hair and around 60 years old, Patong police told The Phuket News.

“We have no clue what nationality he is.”

He was last seen at the currency exchange booth wearing a purple polo shirt, blue jeans and black cap. Police have checked hotels in the area, police stations across the island and Phuket Immigration, but have yet to join the dots and come up with firm leads.

“Investigators have checked CCTV in the area and collected what evidence we have but we still do not know the man’s name or where he was staying.”

The man had visited the booth several times before Tuesday, when he disappeared with the $30,000 in US banknotes, according to police.

“It was always small amounts”, he added, noting that the amounts didn’t warrant staff at the exchange booth to check the man’s passport before making the exchange.

The man arrived at the booth again at about 1pm on Tuesday, saying that he had 900,000 baht cash to exchange.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Crime

Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room

The Thaiger

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Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Phuket Hot News

The security guard of a hotel in Nai Yang, northern Phuket, 52 year old Yingyot Butsabong, from Maha Sarakham province, was found dead yesterday (October 16) in his room. Police remain mystified how the man came to grief.

A woman named Supattra received a call from the hotel he worked at and was informed that he didn’t show up at work yesterday, so she went to his apartment to check on him.

She saw that his room was locked from the inside, so used the key she had in her possession to open the room and found Yingyot laying on the floor, face down. She thought he was just sleeping so she tried to wake him up but once she flipped him, she found that he already passed away.

She immediately called Saku police, and once on the scene, police found that there was some blood on the floor. The man had a 2 centimetre wound on his left eyebrow which was deep into his skull. There was also a wound on his chin about 1 centimetre long and about a centimetre deep. His left eye had a bruise which looked like he was attacked by a hard object.

Police report that he had been dead for around four hours in the room.

The room was not ransacked and there was no sign of fighting or theft. His body has been sent to Thalang Hospital for a detailed autopsy and to look into the cause of death.

SOURCE: Phuket Hot News

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