Governor checks out mini-sub

PHUKET TOWN: Phuket Governor Charnchai Soontharamut, accompanied by the Phuket Harbour Master, officers from the Royal Thai Navy and local police officers, went to Koh Sirae this afternoon to examine the mini-submarine located by Gazette reporters. The visit came after K. Charnchai saw pictures taken by the Gazette and reprinted in an English-language daily newspaper. After taking photographs and measuring the vessel, the Phuket Harbour Master, Somchai Limthong, said, “The vessel is in two parts, which can be connected. One is the main hull, which is 3.6 meters long. The other is the tail, which has a rudder and looks like it’s designed to hold a propeller. That piece is 1.6 meters long. “The shape is like a big cylinder, 90 centimeters in diameter. The width, including the side wings, is 1.3 meters. The whole thing is made of rather thick steel. There is enough room to pack six people into it if you really try. “I can’t tell if this vessel is designed for terrorism. It’s too early to conclude just what it is, as it’s not finished. I can’t tell you now how it would dive or move,” he added. The mini-sub has two hinged lids, one on the top and one on the bottom. The top one has been fitted with a wheel to enable it to be closed watertight. There is also a small shelf, or step, right below the lid. The major owner of the Seacraft Co shipyard where the mini-sub was found is Christy Reginald Lawrence, understood to be a Tamil traveling on a Norwegian passport. He was arrested by Phuket Marine Police in April for smuggling, and is currently out on bail. Asked how the smuggling case is proceeding, Pol Col Chalit Thinthanee, Superintendent of Phuket Town Police Station, said, “All of the evidence and case files have been sent to Special Branch. They are handling the investigation right now.” Pol Capt Pailin Jamjamrat of Phuket Town Police Station, who was initially in charge of the case, revealed that, in addition to the smuggling charge, Mr Lawrence was also arrested for illegal possession of walkie-talkies. “I don’t know where he is right now, but he must be in Thailand because his passport has been stamped so that he is barred from leaving the country; he must wait at least until his two cases with us are settled. If he escapes, all of the assets put up for bail by the Norwegian government will be seized,” said Pol Capt Pailin. He added that it will be at least two months before the cases come to court in Phuket.

Phuket News
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