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Phuket gov’s social media imposter sparks security concerns

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket gov’s social media imposter sparks security concerns | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Cyber security and Facebook seem to be the hot topics this week as Phuket police hunt for a Facebook user who made a fake profile with a name closely resembling the Phuket Governor’s and used his picture to impersonate him.

The suspect also asked several high-ranking Phuket officials to transfer money to his account.

The Facebook account was set up under the name Nopparat Nonthong, which is similar to the governor’s name, Norrapaht Plodthong. The user also added many local officers and some media outlets to his profile.

Last week, the user added Srisoonthorn Mayor Worrawut Songyot and asked to ‘borrow’ 25,000 baht for his daughter’s friend. He also provided an account number and promised to pay the money back later.

The mayor got suspicious and called the governor to confirm, which is when he found out about the fake profile.

“Even though the user did not end up getting any money, we cannot ignore this kind of case,” said Governor Norraphat.

“This person is using my name for a scam, which is very risky for me as well as the other party. We are doing everything in our power to find the perpetrator,” he added.

The governor ordered his representative, Suthee Kiridej, to file a complaint at Phuket City Police Station.

“Beside taking action on my case, I have asked police to keep a closer eye on all such cases. I also urge the public to be careful when using social media,” said Gov Norraphat.

Lt Col Somchai Nooboon of the Phuket City Police accepted the case and vowed to do his best to find the suspect.

“We are now checking the bank account number that the user sent, the IP and every detail that we can get from Facebook. We will also call Mayor Worrawut to question him further,” said Col Somchai.

Phuket City Police Superintendent Komol Osiri warned the public to be careful when using social media.

“Make sure that the person you are talking to is really who he or she says they are, especially when money is involved,” said Col Komol.

“We can always help you if you file a complaint, but the best thing to do is to prevent such incidents from happening by being smart and vigilant when using social media,” he added.

Facebook has made the headlines in Thailand lately as the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications authority (NBTC) last week gave Facebook Thailand until 10am on May 13 to take down 131 URLs with content deemed insulting to the monarchy or threatening “national security”.

Prime Minister Gen Prayuth Chan-o-cha later said that his government had no authority to suspend the operation of Facebook in Thailand and that the only thing they could do was to seek court orders addressing the specific URLs and have social media providers cooperate by blocking those web addresses.

So far, the URLs have not been taken down and Facebook remains accessible to Thai users.

Additionally, a global cyber security threat that affected 200 computers in Thailand has also impacted more than 200,000 users in 150 countries worldwide. Europol revealed that the ransomware, named ‘WannaCry’ , presented a cyberattack that was ‘unprecedented’.

Surangkana Wayuparb, chief executive officer of the Electronic Transactions Development Agency said that the basic problem on all the infected computers had been fixed and all were functioning normally after technicians followed the advice provided by Thailand’s Computer Emergency Response Team.

Additional reporting by The Nation.

— Kritsada Mueanhawong

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

Phuket

Phuket workshop helps residents cope with high stress brought on by the economic crisis

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket workshop helps residents cope with high stress brought on by the economic crisis | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook: ประชาสัมพันธ์ เทศบาลตำบลวิชิต

Hundreds of residents in Phuket’s Wichit subdistrict attended a workshop focused on reducing stress from to the pandemic-induced economic crisis. A psychologist was even on site to help those who had extreme mental stress and a Buddhist monk taught meditation techniques to reduce physiological effects of stress.

The event was planned in response to an online survey conducted by the municipality asking residents about how much stress they were experiencing from the economic climate. They found that some residents had serious stress issues brought on by the pandemic and financial problems, according to Wichit Mayor Kreetha Chotiwichphiphat.

“The loss of income due to the economic crisis brought on by the Covid-19 situation has resulted in some people in the area suffering serious stress, which can lead to serious mental health issues.”

Around 350 people attended the event. The mayor says it was the first step in caring for the residents’ mental health. Local officials plan to hold similar workshops in the future.

“It was a good opportunity for people to realise the importance of mental health and to learn techniques of how to deal with stress, which will help people to maintain their physical health and avoid developing mental health problems.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Phuket

Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter

The Thaiger

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Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | The Thaiger

The Soi Dog Foundation has officially opened its Humane Education Centre, the first of its kind in Thailand dedicated to the welfare of stray animals. The centre, located at the Soi Dog shelter in northern Phuket, forms part of the foundation’s Humane Education program. Rolled out in 2017, the program sees a team visit Thai schools to teach the next generation the basic principles of animal welfare and promote empathetic attitudes towards both owned pets and free-roaming strays.

The program has reached a total of 15,058 students and 861 teachers to date. With a dedicated classroom as well as educational tools and resources now on site at the shelter, Soi Dog will be able to expand the programme and reach an even greater number of young minds.

Co-founder and president of Soi Dog Foundation International John Dalley said, “The cornerstones of what we do – what I believe very firmly are the answers to the stray dog problem throughout Asia – are large-scale sterilisation of stray dogs and cats and education of, particularly, the next generation.

“We see all the time the problems that are being caused through us not respecting the environment and not respecting the other animals with whom we share this planet. That’s why education is so important.”

John also thanked the supporters and donors who made the construction of the centre possible. After cutting the ribbon, the students filed into the brand-new facility for the very first on-site class – a fun and interactive hour of roleplaying, brainstorming and problem solving.

Humane Education Manager Nuttawut “Film” Kumngern. said… “We want to encourage kindness toward animals, especially free-roaming dogs and cats, and teach youngsters to be responsible pet owners. This will sustainably reduce animal cruelty and pet abandonment.”

“We hope to one day see animal welfare incorporated into the curriculum in Thai schools, and our education centre is a great start.”

Soi Dog is ready to welcome school groups from Phuket and other provinces to the centre which can accommodate up to 40 students at any one time. Schools interested in participating are encouraged to email film@soidog.org

Phuket's Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | News by The ThaigerPhuket's Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | News by The Thaiger

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Police have yet to investigate illegal hiring of foreign teachers at international school in Phuket

The Thaiger

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Police have yet to investigate illegal hiring of foreign teachers at international school in Phuket | The Thaiger

Chalong police in Phuket say they have yet to start investigating the illegal hiring of foreign teachers at an international school in Rawai, south of the island. Palm House International School allegedly hired foreign teachers illegally in which 2 were arrested by Phuket Immigration police on November 4.

Somkiet Sarasin, the leading investigator of the case, says the 2 Brits were informed that police were processing a charge of working illegally in the country against them, in which both denied the charges. Somkiet says the 2 were released on bail, but did not confirm the amount of bail that was set by the police.

“They are still staying in Thailand. I am not worried. I have their passports. I am not available to explain [any details] because the investigation is still ongoing.”

“This is normal for an investigation when the suspects deny the charge against them. I have to check more information against their claims. This case will probably be concluded next month.”

However, the investigation has yet to begin, with Somkiet saying he has not even questioned the owner of the school, despite his claims the case would be finished next month.

“The investigation into the school will take time. The investigation into the two British people must be finished first.”

Such allegations of foreign teachers working illegally have recently been in the news after Sarasas Witaed Sainoi Pitiyakarn School, in the central province of Nonthaburi, saw 7 foreign teachers probed for being hired illegally. That school, along with others in its private network, made nationwide news after CCTV caught a Thai teacher hitting, pushing and dragging a young student in the classroom. Such widespread violence against students has long been a sad component of many Thai schools, in which some of the teachers are unqualified and unlicensed to teach, but are hired anyway.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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