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Phuket

Phuket Police chasing ‘missing money’ from currency exchange haul

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Police chasing ‘missing money’ from currency exchange haul | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Phuket Police are still investigating where the remainder of the two million baht in foreign currencies has disappeared to from the robbery of a currency exchange booth in Karon in November.

At a press conference at Chalong Police Station yesterday, Phuket Provincial Police Commander Chonasit Wattanavrangku said his officers were still investigating where most of the money had gone, though they already had confirmation that some of it had been used to fund a spending spree.

The press conference was called to present to the media the two suspects who were arrested for the crime on Sunday.

Amnard “Tor” Ponpramun, 21, and Kriangsak “Jae” Jintaphakul, 25, were both arrested after a traveller’s cheque marked as stolen in the robbery was presented at the Siam Commercial Bank branch at the Tesco Lotus supercenter on the bypass road.

Amnard, an employee of the bank, was on duty at the currency exchange booth when the robbery was carried out.

Both men have been charged with conspiracy to commit armed robbery at night.

Chalong Police seized foreign banknotes with a total value of about 30,000 baht from Kriangsak’s house, said Maj Gen Chonasit.

“We are still investigating where the rest of the two million baht has gone,” he said.

Chalong Police Superintendent Krittapad Dej-intorrasorn said, “We will find the rest of the money. We will check bank accounts and any other way they may have hidden it.”

However, Col Krittapad quickly added, “We suspect that some of the money has already been spent on a variety of things, such as a Honda CBR motorbike costing more than 100,000 baht, four BB guns and ya ice [crystal methamphetamine], which our investigation has revealed that Kriangsak was a regular [user] of.”

He added that Kriangsak also bought two gold-plated rings, a Nokia mobile phone costing about 8,000 baht, and new computer costing 24,000 baht – paid for in cash.

In front of the press, Amnard confessed to Maj Gen Chonasit that the robbery was a spur-of-the-moment idea, because they both needed money.

Col Krittapad explained that a combination of factors pointed police to the two suspects.

“On the day the booth was robbed, a lot of money was kept in the safe. It had not been transferred to the head office for many days. That money should have been taken to the head office every day.

“Also, just seconds before Kriangsak broke into the booth, the light was turned off by Amnard. Actually, it was his colleague Wilaiwan Khao-ong, 22, whose regular duty was to switch off the light,” he said.

Kriangsak hid his face from Wilaiwan and covered her eyes with tape, but he was not afraid for Amnard to see his face, said the colonel.

“Other factors included that Amnard did not seem to make make any attempt to dissuade Kriangsak from opening the safe, and during police questioning on the day, Amnard seemed very nervous, so the investigating officers kept an eye on him,” he said.

In the end, however, it was not until Kriangsak’s sister-in-law on Saturday presented a traveller’s cheque marked as stolen that police could move in and make their arrests.

The sister-in-law, whose name was not reported, presented the cheque for cashing at 2pm.

When she returned at 4pm, Chalong Police officers were waiting for her.

“During questioning by police, she confirmed that her brother-in-law had given her the cheque and she confirmed that he looked similar to the police sketch of the suspect,” said Col Krittapad.

Following this confirmation, his officers moved in and arrested the two suspects, he added.

— Atchaa Khamlo



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Phuket

Phuket seastead will be removed today

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket seastead will be removed today | The Thaiger

The Third Naval Area Command will remove the seastead stationed off Phuket south-east coast today, belonging to an American bitcoin investor and seasteading innovators Ocean Builders.

Thai authorities plan to seize the structure as evidence in a criminal case. They fear the structure will continue to be a navigation hazard if left there.

US national Chad Elwartowski and his Thai girlfriend, Supranee Thepdet (aka Nadia Summergirl), are facing charges of threatening the Kingdom’s sovereignty. Last Sunday officials from the Royal Thai Navy and Phuket Maritime boarded the structure saying it violated Article 119 of the Criminal Code and also posed a navigational hazard.

The couple launched the ‘Ocean Builders’ seastead on February 2 off the coast of Phuket. The structure is located to the southeast of Koh Racha Yai, approximately 12 nautical miles (22.2 kilometres) from the mainland.

Elwartowski has claimed that his seastead is outside Thailand’s territorial waters, but Thai authorities insist that it violates Article 119 and challenges Thailand’s territorial rights.

“The Royal Thai Navy has full authority and duty to protect national interest and marine sovereignty in the area,” according to a Navy spokesperson.

Regarding the couple’s claim that they feared for their lives, Vice Admiral Sitthiporn Maskasem, commander of the Third Naval Area, said that authorities had followed the legal procedures.

“We are neither hunting them down nor threatening them,” said the commander.

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North East

Forecast drought will weaken the Thai economy

The Thaiger

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Forecast drought will weaken the Thai economy | The Thaiger

Thailand suffers calamities at both ends of the annual weather spectrum – both drought and flood. But as the demands on agriculture grow, with a growing population and the rise of tourists and development, the effects of these two extremes are becoming more apparent.

Which leads us to this year’s outlook of lower rains which is exposing the poor management of the Kingdom’s water resources. Greater development and growing population bases hasn’t been met with more or larger water catchments.

So Thai farmers are expected to face a tough 2019 as forecasters say the drought will be more acute than usual, lowering the water levels in reservoirs in the central and northeastern provinces especially.

Int eh south, Phuket, Thailand’s largest island and surrounded by water, has an acute water shortage as of Songkran and, without adequate monsoonal rain between now and November, will be facing a water crisis if it has to rely on its own island resources.

The Director General of Department of Agricultural Extension Samran Saraban says the drought this year is exacerbated by El-Nino weather cycle which causes temperature to rise 1-2 degrees higher than normal and cause the water levels in major reservoirs to drop to worrisome level. Higher temperatures mean more evaporation and more usage of reserves.

The Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has called for farmers not to grow off-season rice as drought is predicted to spread into northeastern and eastern regions. That there will likely be a new administration coping with political instability will not help leaders focus on the country’s looming water shortage.

The long dry season will lower certain farm outputs, pushing up their prices. However, an overall farm income is set to decline because the drought will leave other negative affects to farmers who are also the consumers as well. This will affect the purchasing power of farm households, which account for one-third of Thais.

Etc, etc, etc.

Economists estimated the damage from the drought on the economy this year could be high. Kasikorn Research Center estimate the drought could cost at least 15.3 billion baht. Whilst Anusorn Tamajai, Dean of Economics Faculty, Rangsit University, estimates the drought to cost even more – 20-30 billion baht -because it would affect the outputs of off-season rice, sugarcane and tapioca.

“It will dampen the purchasing power of farmers in the second quarter.”

Siam Commercial Bank’s Economic Intelligence chief Yanyong Thaicharoen said that the lackluster farm income can slash the growth rate of domestic consumption this year to 3.5% versus 4.6% growth last year, in addition to other factors, namely, high household debt and slower demand for durable goods.

Spending power from farmers, according to SCB, is crucial to sustain the growth of the economy. However, the grassroots economy is bracing for negative outlook this year.

There will be intense pressure on this season’s management of Thailand’s valuable water resources, through the remaining hot season and as the catchments gather water during the monsoon.

Forecast drought will weaken the Thai economy | News by The Thaiger

SOURCES: Thai PBS | The Thaiger | Wikipedia

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People

Patong’s trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal

The Thaiger

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Patong’s trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Patong Police / Theeraphong Penmit / Newshawk Phuket

A Phuket boy has been rewarded after setting an excellent example for the rest of the Patong community.

8 year old Kosin Ta-ngam, who is studying at Sai Nam Yen School in Patong in Pratom Suksa Three, has been collecting garbage in the filthy Pak Bang Canal and along Patong Beach since the beginning of this year.

He lives with his grandmother and other relatives. His grandmother has been looking after Kosin since he was 10 months old.

A certificate, scholarship and life vest have been awarded to Kosin by the Patong Police Chief Col Anothai Jindamanee for displaying excellent citizen for the community as a youth volunteer and being an active part of keeping the city clean.

The Pak Bang Canal, running through the back of Patong into Patong Bay, has been a dark, dirty mess for decades. Many promises have been made to clean it up but it remains a disgraceful waterway flowing through Phuket’s main tourist town.

The tiny eight year old seems to be able to achieve a lot more than the local municipality with all their money and machinery.

Kosin, you are the Thaiger hero for today and we salute you!

Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger

Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger

Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger

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