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Bank cards, deposits at peril in Phuket

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Bank cards, deposits at peril in Phuket | The Thaiger

PHUKET OPINION: Two recent fraud cases, and a third one currently under investigation by this newspaper, highlight the continuing need for personal vigilance in protecting funds deposited in local banks.

Last week a Phuket supermarket cashier admitted to buying a laptop computer using a credit card belonging to none other than the chief of Kathu District, Siriphat Phathakul. [See front page story, current issue of the Phuket Gazette. Digital Gazette subscribers: click to read.]

The ruse was simple. Neglecting to return Mr Siriphat’s card after a transaction, Sarayut Yunu passed it to a friend, who used it to buy the 16,000-baht notebook at the same store’s electronics counter.

A simple yet crucial safeguard – the signature check – was neglected.

This will come as no surprise to anyone who regularly uses a debit or credit card in Phuket or elsewhere in Thailand, where even a cursory glance at the card signature is a rarity. Mr Sarayut’s young accomplice, Sarina Doloh, knew there was no need to even forge the victim’s signature, signing the receipt with a made up name.

Until the chip-and-pin system is adopted universally, better training of counter staff is a necessity.

Two weeks ago, the Gazette reported the case of Frenchman Claude Prigent, a Phuket resident who fell victim to an audacious fraud by another man also bearing the name Claude Prigent.

The ‘offending’ Claude Prigent walked into the victim’s bank and asked for a new ATM card and bank book. He received both, and went on to spend at least 164,000 baht of his namesake’s money in a spree in Phuket, Pattaya and the Philippines.

The bank has since refunded the victim’s money, but the inconvenience caused the innocent depositor was considerable.

The bank’s employees made several mistakes along the way.

When the ‘bad’ Claude Prigent walked into a bank branch on Koh Chang, an employee there told him there was already an account in his name. Thurdsak Chusak, a vice president at the bank, suspects Prigent tricked the employee into giving out the location of the account branch and the amount of money in the account.

A simple check of the man’s passport number would have told the bank clerk that this man had no right to such information.

The fraudster was then able to walk into the victim’s branch in Phuket (Chalong) and walk out with an ATM card for the account.

Again, an inspection of the man’s passport would have prevented the trouble that followed.

Nevertheless, it’s worth pointing out that it took the swindler about two months to spend Mr Prigent’s savings.

Had the victim paid more attention to his dwindling bank balance, the alarm could have been raised on the errant Claude Prigent before he made it out of Thailand, to Manila.

The lesson learned in both cases? A little personal vigilance can go a long way.

— Gazette Editors

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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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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People

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people

Nattha Thepbamrung

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‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | The Thaiger

On October 18, the ‘Always Smile Journey’ group and its partners will host an exhibition with plenty of fun activities at the Yak Yai Market, near Chalong Circle, in Phuket. This event was designed to raise funds to provide free English classes for underprivileged people on the island of Phuket on Saturdays and Sundays. The group does not accept donations but aims to raise money through the sales of the products available at the event.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

From 2 pm to 8 pm, there will be a number of artists, musicians and performers who will keep the attendees entertained along the way. There will be a short film about His Majesty King Rama 9 as well as fun activities and games for kids and families, which are all free of charge.

The big bike crew is also a part of this event. They will ride a parade from Rawai Beach heading to the market and showcase their gorgeous two-wheel buddies.

One of the highlights of the Always Smile Journey exhibition is the ‘Happening’ artists group, who will draw and paint a picture of the His Majesty King Rama 9 under the name ‘Street Art King Bhumibol’ on a 4×10 meter sign live at the event so the guests will experience this large-scale art in action. The Happening will also offer portrait sketching for the participants.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

One of the works created by the Happening team; a painting of HM the King Rama 9 on a huge wall (Photo credit: Chawat Chumpasan)

There will also be some western menus available at the event which will be donated to underprivileged children.

This free English class project has over seven years of experience through its cooperation working with individuals and other charity organizations. Throughout the years, the group visited several areas such as Ban Laem Hoy School, Ban Bopud School and Ban Angthong School in Samui, Surat Thani province, Ban Bueng Ao Oun School and Ban Kakoh Rayong, in Surin province, Jalae Village of Lahu (Muser) in Chiang Rai province, as well as community education centers in Siem Reap, Cambodia and in Luang Prabang, in Laos.

This event is a cooperation between several groups, including Happening, Yak Yai Market and Arrow Media, Tattoo artist group, Thonburi Art School Alumni, International School of Tourism, Suratthani Rajabhat University, big bike group from Phuket, artists/performers/musicians from many provinces as well as several businesses across Phuket.

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