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Funding for tsunami victim ID “embarrassing’ – Interpol

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Funding for tsunami victim ID “embarrassing’ – Interpol | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Ronald K Noble, the Secretary General of the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), this morning lashed out at the lack of funding from the international community for work to continue in identifying victims of the December 26 tsunami.

“We, as a world community, should be embarrassed that the people in the DVI teams, who should be [regarded as] heroes, aren’t getting all the support they need,” Mr Noble said.

“These dedicated police officers and experts, who have come here to look at these remains and take DNA samples, are having to raise money [for their investigations].”

Mr Noble said that he had heard of DVI (Disaster Victim Identification) staff having to write up business plans to obtain equipment and funding, or having to contact friends and colleagues to source ink cartridges for printers.

The situation had become so bad that Mr Noble approved the establishment of a 5,000-euro (about 250,000 baht) petty cash fund to cover incidental expenses.

Since January, Interpol – which is based in Lyon, France – has been co-ordinating the efforts of DVI teams from around the world to reunite tsunami victims with their families.

At present, the work of each of the score-or-so DVI teams operating in Phuket at any one time is funded solely by its home country. But this system is “inefficient” said Mr Noble, as it can lead to duplication of some resources, but shortages in others.

“Individual countries can say they have been here from the very beginning and they have donated enough resources, but, really, that isn’t good enough for the family members. [They] want their relatives to be identified as soon as possible,” he said.

Mr Noble supported the Thai Tsunami Victims Identification center’s executive committee in its attempts to secure international funding for what is being done in Phuket.

He said this was particularly important because since the tsunami slipped off the front pages of the world’s newspapers and foreign victims were being identified, foreign governments are facing less pressure to continue contributing to the effort, even though it could be necessary for many years.

The need for an international disaster victims identification fund was one of three lessons Interpol had learned from the tsunami, said Mr Noble.

Another was the need for an international DVI team capable of working on large-scale catastrophes such as the tsunami.

The third lesson cited by Mr Noble was that it is crucial to have the full support of the government of the country in which the DVI operation is taking place, as had happened in Thailand, Sri Lanka and the Maldives following the tsunami.

Said Mr Noble, “We have never dealt with anything on this scale before. If Interpol deploys an incident response team to, for example, an aircraft crash, usually it will deploy three people for a handful of days.

“But we put people into Phuket on January 2 – 10 of them – and in Sri Lanka there have been between four and six people. And it’s now 144 or so days since the tsunami.”

Because each DVI team is being funded by its home country, no central agency involved in the DVI process has calculated how much the operation has cost so far – or how much it could cost.

Mr Noble, who was Chief Law Enforcement Officer of the US Treasury Department, said Interpol expects to spend 7 million euros (more than 350 million baht) before its involvement ends.

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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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