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Phuket raids land 15mn baht in pirated goods

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket raids land 15mn baht in pirated goods | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Two separate raids in Phuket over the past week have netted pirated copyrighted goods with a combined street value of more than 15 million baht.

Prayut Maneechote, director of the Customs Bureau regional head office in Haad Yai, on Monday announced that a team of his officers had traced an illegal importing network of pirated goods to a warehouse in Phuket.

Officers conducted the raid,on December 23, and among the goods seized were items of clothing, including jeans, socks, shoes and hats, as well as luggage and glasses all of well-known brand names such as Gucci, Prada, Adidas Polo and Diesel, said Mr Prayut.

“We have been following this gang. We believe they are part of a large operation importing pirate goods into Southern Thailand,” Mr Prayut said.

However, despite the huge haul in goods seized, not a single arrest was made.

“On the day we carried out the raid, they were tipped off before we got to them. We seized all the goods and sent them to Sadao checkpoint [on the Malaysian border] for further investigation,” Mr Prayut said.

The regional Customs chief warned that his officers will be especially vigilant at border checkpoints over the new year.

“The smuggling of pirated goods into the Kingdom is an ongoing problem. I have ordered officers to be strict in every area, especially during the new year.

“I have asked officers to be on the lookout for items such as foreign cigarettes and alcohol, which are very popular items smuggled in at this time of year,” he said.

Meanwhile, on December 25 the Economic Crime Division Police Unit Deputy Commander Col Kitthi Sampaothong joined Patong Police in a raid of three stalls on Soi Bangla.

On hand to identify the imitation brand-name items on sale was Kriangsak Sukitanon, a representative of Louis Vuitton Malletier in Thailand.

Led by Patong Police Crime Suppression Unit chief Lt Col Thammasan Boonsong, officers seized items, including clothing, watches, hats, glasses, purses and handbags, with a combined street value of more than 500,000 baht.

The three people found operating the stalls were arrested and charged with possession with intent to sell of registered trade-mark goods of another person.

Police named the suspects as Itthipan Saetua, 30; Thanachote PreedeePhattakul, 32; and Ketsarin Saeong, 30.

“They all confessed that they sold pirated goods,” said Capt Pathapee Srichai.

“However, we have yet to determine whether they are actually the real owners of the stalls.”

The three suspects were taken to Patong Police Station for further questioning, he added.

— Warisa Temram



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Phuket

Body found off Saphan Hin on Koh Tapao Noi, Phuket

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Body found off Saphan Hin on Koh Tapao Noi, Phuket | The Thaiger

An unidentified body has been found on Koh Tapao Noi off Saphan Hin along Phuket’s east coast yesterday afternoon.

Wichit Police were notified that the body was found on Tapao Noi beach at 5 pm.

Police and Kusoldharm Rescue workers arrived at Saphan Hin in Wichit and four rescue workers headed out on a an inflatable dinghy to Koh Tapao Noi, about 3 kilometres south east of Saphan Hin. They arrived at the island and brought the body back to Saphan Hin. The body was taken to Vachira Phuket Hospital for examination.

Police speculate that it was the body of a man who had died at least two days before before the body was located. On June 14 Phuket Marine Police were notified of a missing boat crew. Police are checking into the man’s ID.

Body found off Saphan Hin on Koh Tapao Noi, Phuket | News by The Thaiger Body found off Saphan Hin on Koh Tapao Noi, Phuket | News by The Thaiger

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Phuket

Burasari opens second Phuket hotel on Coconut Island

Bill Barnett

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Burasari opens second Phuket hotel on Coconut Island | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Original Vision

Island Escape by Burasari, the second Phuket hotel from the Thai-based group, will have a soft opening this September.

Located on Koh Maphrao (also known as Coconut Island), the initial product will be 15 villas. By December this year, the full inventory of 180 rooms and 40 villas will be operational.

With Island Escape, Burasari Group will operate eight properties in Thailand and Laos.

The Koh Maphrao hotel has been designed by Original Vision.

Burasari opens second Phuket hotel on Coconut Island | News by The Thaiger

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Bangkok

US Navy veteran locked up in Thai prison, family pleas for help

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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US Navy veteran locked up in Thai prison, family pleas for help | The Thaiger

by Lauren Talarico

A US Navy veteran from Texas remains locked up in a Thai prison for something his family says he didn’t do. Derrick Keller was arrested on August 20, 2018. But his family says the allegations against him are not true and they desperately want him home.

Derrick Keller’s family doesn’t know what to do next after their cries for help from politicians and lawyers have gone unanswered. They fear if something doesn’t happen fast Keller could spend the rest of his life in a Thai prison. 44 year old Derrick Keller is from Richmond, Texas. He is a son, a husband, a father to two kids and a Navy veteran.

“He was always a jokester,” his father said. “Always liked to make people laugh.”

“He’s the best man I’ve ever known,” said his 19 year old son Mark Keller.

But Derrick is 16,000 kilometres away behind bars at the notorious Klong Prem Prison in Bangkok.

“We are still in shock,” said Debra. “We still can’t fathom what’s taking place”

In 2015 Keller and his wife Tanya moved to China with their children. Tanya was offered a job she couldn’t pass up as the lead dance instructor at Shenzhen Dance Academy.

Derrick gave up his trucking company in East Bernard and worked odd jobs in China. He tended bar, coached a baseball team and perused acting, a childhood passion. In 2016 the family says a recruiter reached out to him about a company looking for a “Western face.” It was called Eagle Gates Group.

“The company was represented as completely legit,” his brother-in-law Ryan Murray explained. “Totally legal. It would just be an acting opportunity.”

Over six months, Keller acted in several corporate videos. His family says he was paid $15,000 to do so. After the job was complete, he told family he never heard from the company again, until a vacation to Thailand last August. Keller was arrested after he and his wife landed in Thailand for a vacation.

“They got off the plane and had a lot of Thailand police officers waiting for them,” Murray explained.

Thai media reported his arrest and claimed he was part of a Ponzi scheme which defrauded investors of millions of dollars.

“An American actor staying in Phuket as a tourist has been arrested in connection with a multinational scam operation based in Singapore that has allegedly defrauded Thai investors of 235 million baht.”

“I think at first they thought it was just a misunderstanding,” Murray said. “And it turned out to be something much worse.”

Keller was arrested on August 20, 2018. One day later he called his father to tell him he was being detained.

“That’s the last I’ve heard from him,” his dad said through tears. “That’s the last time I heard his voice. Been bad. Horrible. Absolutely horrible. I mean, like I said, I haven’t heard him. God knows I love my son.”

Watch a Texas TV report about the story HERE.

US Navy veteran locked up in Thai prison, family pleas for help | News by The Thaiger

No family member has seen or talked to Keller since he has been in prison.

“I’m always scared that I’m just going to wake up to the worst information I’ve ever heard,” cried his son, Mark.

“That something beyond horrific about this has happened to my dad like maybe he’s died in incarceration or something. It’s the uncertainty that really kills me.”

“The prison that he’s in is notorious for human rights violations,” Murray explained.

“There’s a lot of bribery. It’s very corrupt. He’s sleeping on concrete, sharing a cell with 50 other people.”

US Navy veteran locked up in Thai prison, family pleas for help | News by The Thaiger

Deputy DSI chief Songsak Raksakskul (left) and DSI chief Paisit Wongmuang brief the media on the arrest of 10 suspects in the alleged Eagle Gates Group investment fraud, at the DSI offices in Bangkok.

Missionaries have related to the family that Derrick’s lost 30 kilos in 10 months. The family says they’ve provided proof that Derrick is innocent and was simply an actor in a corporate video. They claim they’ve reached out to President Trump, Senator Ted Cruz, Senator John Cornyn and a long list of other local politicians but haven’t been offered any help.

“The country called… he answered,” said his father, a Vietnam veteran.

“When the country called… I answered. And now we call and we don’t get an answer.”

Derrick Keller’s trial date is set for July. He’s facing 35 years in prison.

“During questioning, Keelor told officers that he was an actor working in China, and was hired by a Singaporean to be Executive Director of Eagle Gates Group Co Ltd in order to build credibility and reputation for the company. The DSI noted that they would investigate Kellor’s role further.

The DSI also reported that their investigations had discovered more than 1 billion baht in investment had been transferred out of the victim’s bank accounts.” – Bangkok Post

“The court itself, from what we’ve been able to find out from lawyers and our own research, has a 95% conviction rate,” Murray said.

“We’ve been told that if he admits guilt they will be easier on him and that it’s not worth fighting against. Derrick is a man of integrity… I do not see him admitting to a crime he didn’t commit so that has me worried.”

A change.org petition has been started. To help, click HERE.

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