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Phuket drug detectors under fire

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket drug detectors under fire | The Thaiger

PHUKET: The Science and Technology Ministry is set to test the effectiveness of the Alpha 6 ‘molecular resonance’ substance detector in use by anti-drug agencies in Phuket.

The move comes after tests on the similar GT200 bomb-detection device revealed it was ineffective.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said double-blind tests carried out by the Science and Technology Ministry showed the GT200 succeeded in detecting explosives in only four out of 20 tries.

“The result has no statistical significance. The performance is equivalent to random chance,” he told reporters last week.

PM Abhisit has ordered a review of the use of all ‘molecular resonance’ bomb and drug detectors following the test results.

“Scientifically speaking, dogs have already been proven to be more efficient than the bomb detectors,” he said.

Any agencies willing to continue using such detectors would do so ‘at their own peril’, he added.

Critics of such devices claim they are little more than dowsing rods.

Makers claim the devices are powered by static electricity from their user and can detect specific contraband substances from up to 300 meters away.

Thailand has spent between 700 and 800 million baht to acquire some 1,000 dowsing devices in recent years, Mr Abhisit said.

All agencies using such gear must report to him how many devices they have, how they use them and how much they spent for the discredited technology, he said.

The science ministry will test the Alpha 6, which sells for around 400,000 baht, with the same techniques used to examine the GT200.

Of the eight devices in use in Phuket, the Interior Ministry bought six and Phuket Provincial Office two. They are used by drug suppression units at a number of police stations on the island including Tah Chat Chai, Phuket City, Kathu and Thalang as well as by the Phuket Provincial Police.

Former Phuket Governor Preecha Ruangjan instigated purchase of the island’s first two devices in early 2009.

All eight devices have been in use for around two months, following a launch ceremony in late December 2009.

Police at Tah Chat Chai Checkpoint are using their Alpha 6 in an effort to detect drugs coming onto the island.

“Though I have never heard a report of officers finding drugs with this device, it is still in use at the checkpoint,” Tah Chat Chai Police Superintendent Sakchai Limcharoen said.

Wirote Suwanwong, who heads the provincial drug suppression unit, said his men have been using two of the devices and insisted they were effective.

The devices had been used in the recent seizure of 2,080 ya bah pills, Mr Wirote said, though he admitted the drugs were found in a small room.

“If they didn’t work I would have reported that fact to Phuket Governor Wichai Phraisa-ngop,” he said.

— Pimwara Choksakulpan

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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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