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Phuket hammered again: Thai justice under fire

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket hammered again: Thai justice under fire | The Thaiger

PHUKET: One of the many interesting aspects of being a journalist in Phuket is observing the way that stories we break here are picked up by foreign media outlets – and the spin that these outlets put on them.

Smaller countries often adopt an ‘us-against-them’ mentality when one of their own gets arrested in Thailand, rushing to defend the suspect and seizing the opportunity to criticize the Thai criminal justice system.

The latest case, of course, is that of the glamorous bar mat bandit, Annice Smoel, arrested for the theft of a bar mat in Patong. Photos and a summary of her agonizing sojourn in Phuket appear here.

Another example is the case of fugitive murder suspect Sam Van Treek. He was arrested in 2004 and charged with the murder of Phuket-based female dive instructor Chompoonut Jeab Kobram, who was stabbed 48 times in Mr Van Treek’s Pattaya apartment.

Van Treek was granted bail and fled to his native Belgium. From there he launched an assault on the Thai criminal justice system that became a veritable feast for the Belgian media, who appeared far more interested in the fugitive’s account of how he managed to flee than the extremely serious charges and strong evidence against him.

Almost five years later, he remains at large, despite the efforts of the Attorney General’s office in Bangkok to have him extradited back to Thailand.

The Gazette’s latest report on that case is available here.

Foreign media perceptions and treatment of cases like those of Mr Van Treek and Mrs Smoel stand in sharp contrast to the current tale of a German teenager who, for the past three months, has been held in detention at the Phuket Juvenile Observation and Protection Center.

The youth, arrested as a minor, is charged with conspiring to molest young schoolboys with alleged British pedophile Dax Young.

Mr Young allegedly preyed on schoolboys as young as nine years of age – as well as the German youth himself, who appeared in pornographic images that the police found when they searched Mr Young’s residence.

Though the crimes reportedly committed by the pair are of an extremely serious nature, there has been little international press coverage or debate over the German youth’s incarceration, or over the critical issue of whether or not he is, in fact, a perpetrator or just another of Mr Young’s victims. (Our latest coverage, here.)

In comparison, most of the stories in the international press about the Australian woman’s brief stint in a Phuket prison exuded, and often seemed to actively market, sympathy for the mother of four.

Few indeed questioned why, if the Phuket police are to be believed, she was so insulting and dismissive toward them. Almost none queried why she was able to deride and scoff so openly at Thai law, or why, as a tourist, she should have enjoyed immunity from that law.

So she has departed the stage as a bit of a celebrity, and Thailand’s image as a tourist destination has suffered yet another major blow.



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North East

Swiss man accused of overstaying visa and theft charges

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Swiss man accused of overstaying visa and theft charges | The Thaiger

by Kamthon Kongsombat

PHOTO: Security footage from the Phuket jewelry store in December 2018 – Facebook

The Immigration Bureau says they’re going to blacklist and deport a Swiss man who overstayed his visa and is also accused of series of thefts in Nongkhai and Phuket.

The Nongkhai deputy immigration police chief Colonel Prasit Somjaiprasong says that Julien Andre Junior Cotting, a 25  year old Swiss national, was arrested yesterday at a guest house near the Mekong River in Nongkhai on theft charge.

He was arrested after 42 year old Sai-arun Konwan, the owner of the Chorfah Gallery Hotel in Muang district, filed complaint with police that a foreigner had stolen her bag that she left in the hotel’s lobby on January 8.

She told police that she noticed Cotting having coffee in the lobby. Security camera checked later showed the suspect picking up her handbag and leaving on a rented motorcycle.

The handbag contained 1,000 baht cash, an ATM and other credit cards as well as other important documents.

Sai-arun said Cotting was a regular customer at the hotel’s coffee shop.

After the complaint, police searched for the suspect and noticed a suspicious-looking foreigner at a guesthouse. His passport revealed that he was Cotting and he had overstayed his visa.

After Sai-arun identified the suspect it was found that he had an outstanding arrest warrant on a theft charge in Phuket province where he allegedly stole a diamond ring in December, 2018.

Cotting faces charges of theft and overstaying his visa and will be prosecuted and deported, immigration authorities said.

ไชยยศ ไชยพฤกษ์ covered the story in Phuket last year. Here’s one of the photos from that post…

Swiss man accused of overstaying visa and theft charges | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation

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Phuket

What to do if a pet tests positive for Rabies

The Thaiger

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What to do if a pet tests positive for Rabies | The Thaiger

PHOTO: PR Department

An announcement about animals in a Rabies Outbreak Zone.

These are things that pet owners must do when it has tested positive for rabies.

• Pet owners must follow Animal Epidemics Act 2015.

• No person may move an infected animal or carcass specified in such announcement into, out of, through or within such zone unless they have written permission from the veterinarian who is responsible for such area.

• Anyone who does not follow the guidelines shall be fined up to 40,000 baht or jailed up to two years.

In any event, follow the guidelines of your local vet and consult the authorities in such a situation.

A district livestock development office in Phuket province has announced a Rabies outbreak zone in the Chalong area yesterday.

Read more about the establishment of the ‘zone’ HERE and a response from the Soi Dog Foundation HERE.

 

 

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Phuket

Soi Dog Foundation responds to Rabies outbreak zone in Chalong

The Thaiger

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Soi Dog Foundation responds to Rabies outbreak zone in Chalong | The Thaiger

Following the announcement form the Phuket Livestock Development Office that a rabies outbreak zone was set in Chalong area yesterday (January 17), Soi Dog Foundation Co-Founder, John Dalley, explained about the incident as the dog, which was indeed infected with rabies, was sent to Soi Dog Foundation for treatment after it was found very sick. It is the first dog which was found positive for rabies after several years in the one and only ‘Rabies Free’ zone of Thailand – Phuket.

A district livestock development office in Phuket province has announced a Rabies outbreak zone in the Chalong area yesterday.

Read more HERE.

“A dog was brought into Soi Dog by our dog catchers after it was reported to be vomiting and unable to stand,” said John Dalley.

“It received treatment for several days but did not respond, and symptoms of staggering and being unable to open its mouth, and head tilted to one side led our veterinary staff to suspect rabies as these are classic symptoms.”

“The dog was euthanised and its body sent to the Government testing laboratory. The result indicated that the dog was positive to rabies, the first positive case seen in a dog on Phuket for many years.”

Right after the rabies was detected, Soi Dog Foundation has worked closely with the local Livestock Development Office in order to control the situation.

“Soi Dog are working closely with the Department of Livestock to vaccinate all dogs within a 5 kilometres radius of where the dog was picked up. Soi Dog will focus on strays and the DLD on owned dogs.”

He urged that people shouldn’t be panicked about the situation but be always aware about the importance of vaccination if they get bitten (or scratched or licked on an open wound).

“There is no cause for alarm. We see numerous positive cases in dogs in Bangkok, but no human cases have occurred there in the past 12 months. The traditional picture of a rabid dog foaming at the mouth and attacking people is not a true picture, as with this dog. Anybody being bitten by a dog at any time should always immediately wash the wound with soap and water and go along to their local clinic or hospital to receive the necessary injections.”

John also mentioned about the message that Soi Dog Foundation has been trying to tell government, entrepreneurs as well as people in general that importing unvaccinated puppies to the safe zone like Phuket can be the cause that brings rabies back in the area.

“Although this is likely an isolated incident it should be noted that Soi Dog has repeatedly, over the years, warned of the dangers and requested successive governors to stop the hundreds of very young puppies being imported to Phuket each year for sale at markets and pet stores, but nothing has ever been done. We hope the new Governor will take action. These puppies are generally coming from uncontrolled puppy farms in rabies endemic areas.”

“Puppies cannot be vaccinated against rabies until they are at least 12 weeks old and are reliant on the mother’s immunity providing she has some. The case of a puppy seller in Chatuchak market dying from a bite from a puppy shows the danger.”

“In addition, removing vaccinated sterilised dogs from the street increases the chances of rabies spreading. The World Health Organistion, The Food and Agriculture Division of the United Nations, The World Organisation for Animal Health and The Global Alliance for Rabies Control have issued joint statements advising that the way to eliminate rabies in humans is to eliminate it in dogs first as much cheaper and more effective to do that.

If 70% or more of dogs in a country are vaccinated and strict controls on entry imposed, then you will eliminate rabies.

If you remove vaccinated dogs and put them in a pound, then you are reducing the number of dogs on the street that are vaccinated which allows for others to take their place that may not be vaccinated.”

If a member of the public sees a dog that is staggering or unable to stand then they can call the Soi Dog Helpline on 076 681 029.

Soi Dog Foundation responds to Rabies outbreak zone in Chalong | News by The Thaiger

Rabies control in Chiang Mi last year

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