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Phuket scam artists boost another 14 cars

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket scam artists boost another 14 cars | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Following the recovery of 17 stolen cars from a “car pawn yard” in Nakhon Sri Thammarat earlier this week, a host of Phuket car rental agents gathered late last night to highlight the extent of scam operation.

Collectively, the group claim that at least 14 more cars have been stolen by the alleged scam artists, identified as Sukanya Janthanarak (also see here), 40, and Supaluck Krutmanee, 44.

One Phuket rental car agent’s Toyota Fortuner was caught by Customs officials at Mae Sai as three men tried to take the car out of Thailand and into Myanmar.

Another rental operator said she had lost eight cars to the scammers.

Yet another rental agent said she was challenged by Sukanya to deposit 300,000 baht into a government bank account if she wanted to get her car back after Sukanya claimed she lost it to a casino over a gambling debt.

Speaking at the Phuket Press Club office at Phuket Provincial Hall late last night, Anan Jutamas said he rented his car out through his friend’s business, Phuket Kuya Car Rent.

“My friend told me that customers wanted to rent my two cars. I found out later that the customers were Sukanya and Supaluck, and they rented the cars on March 19,” said Mr Anan.

“I installed GPS on one car [a Toyota Fortuner] and I kept checking the signal to see where it was. Then when I checked again, the signal said the car was at Mae Sai, in Chiang Rai province, so I thought something was wrong.

“The GPS system I installed allows me to shut off the ignition from home. So I did that and reported my car as stolen to the Mae Sai Police,” he added.

“By the time they found my car, it had been impounded by Customs officers who seized it from three men trying to take it into Myanmar. They didn’t have the ownership book to prove they owned the car, so they were arrested and now my car is being held by Mae Sai Customs.

“Meanwhile, my other car has no GPS installed and it is still missing,” Mr Anan said.

Mr Anan’s friend Kuya Kumuda, who owns Phuket Kuya Car Rent, also had cars stolen.

“Miss Sukanya and Miss Supaluck said they wanted to rent three cars for their foreign customers. Since I had GPS installed on all three cars, I wasn’t scared to rent them out,” he said.

Two of the cars were recovered from the raid on the Nakhon Sri Thammarat “pawn yard”, but his Fortuner is still missing.

“The GPS showed the vehicle was being driven around Ao Luek in Krabi, but the signal stopped on March 13,” he said.

“I went there myself and asked around. I found the house where people said my car was parked each day, but the house belongs to a person named “Nong”, who said she knew nothing about Sukanya and Supaluck,” he added.

“I also talked to local residents and some car rental places in that area, and they said the last time they saw my car it was marked for sale at 350,000 to 370,000 baht. But no one wanted to buy it since the car didn’t come with the ownership book,” Mr Kuya said.

No one has seen his car since.

Lakana Omchompu, owner of Ice Fashion car rental in front of Surakul Stadium, said she lost eight cars to the pair.

“The first time Sukanya rented a car from me was in August last year. She said she wanted to rent my cars to other people and that I would have guaranteed monthly income if I rented cars to her.

“I trusted her because she gave me 30,000 baht in advance plus 30,000 baht as a guarantee deposit, but after paying this money she never came back. I never thought about installing GPS in any of my cars, but I might consider it now,” she added.

Ms Lakana said another woman had recently rented a car from her, and that she was wary of being caught out again.

“Another person came to rent another car. She identified herself as Miss Janthip Saeheab. I think they are all related,” she added.

Kwanjai Kaewsapab, who so far has lost a Toyota Fortuner and a Proton sedan to the scam, has likely had the most success in tracking down the tricksters.

“On March 6, a friend contacted me saying a woman wanted to rent a car from me. So I met this woman at the Tesco Lotus store in Cherng Talay. The woman identified herself as Miss Duangporn Suwan,” she said.

“I agreed to rent my Fortuner to her at 45,000 baht a month, from March 6 to April 5. Two days later she called me back and said she wanted to rent my Proton at 18,000 baht for one month, from March 8 to April 7.

“Then on March 10, I called her just to tell her that the registration sticker was in the glove box, but she didn’t answer my phone,” she said.

Sensing something was wrong, Ms Kwanjai double-checked the photocopy of the ID card she was given by “Miss Duangporn” and then returned to the Tesco Lotus in Cherng Talay to check CCTV footage of the day she met her.

“That’s when I realized that the woman I met and rented my car out to was not the Miss Duangporn Suwan I have the photocopy of the ID card for.

“I reported this to Cherng Talay Police, and while I was literally sitting in the police station, this woman [Sukanya] called me and told me that both of my cars were at a casino.

“She said she had lost them gambling and had to leave the cars there. She also said that if I wanted my cars back, I would have to transfer 300,000 baht to her bank account,” Ms Kwanjai said.

Ms Kwanjai handed the phone over to a police officer, who pretended to be a bank teller.

“She gave the number of her account at the Government Savings Bank, then the police officer and I went to the bank. The branch manager printed out a copy of the ID card provided to open the account and that’s when I learned that the person I dealt with was Miss Sukanya Janthanarak,” she added.

Ms Kwanjai may have finally come up with a photo and ID card details of the wanted scam artist, “but I still haven’t got my cars back,” she said tearfully.

Taxi driver Jeerasak Kakate also lost a Fortuner to the scam.

“I had one extra car, which I rented out from in front of Ao Po Marina. I only let foreigners rent my car because they are easier to deal with,” said Mr Jeerasak.

“A friend contacted me on January 20 saying that a woman with a foreign boyfriend wanted to rent my car. Her name was Sukanya Janthanarak. So I let my friend deal with it. I agreed to rent my car to her for one month,” he added.

“After the month had passed, my friend called her and she said she wanted to rent the car until February 28. Then when that day came, she came to see me herself and told me she want to rent the car for even longer.

“She came all by herself. She said the car was in Nakhon Sri Thammarat and she paid the rental fee – that’s why I trusted her,” he explained.

“But after that, I tried for a week to contact her, but I couldn’t reach her,” he said.

He’s still waiting to hear from her.

All car rental operators present last night said they wanted the media to raise this issue with the public since the police officers have not been able to find their cars.

“We will be back to file a complaint about this to the Phuket Governor,” Ms Kwanjai said.

— Chaiyot Yongcharoenchai

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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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Phuket

Rawai beachfront water shut-off tomorrow for mains works

The Thaiger

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Rawai beachfront water shut-off tomorrow for mains works | The Thaiger

The Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority says Rawai’s mains water supply will be shut off tomorrow (Tuesday, October 15) as new water pipes are fitted in front of The Title Beach Front condo resort complex on the town’s beachfront.

The mains water supply will be shut off from 9am until 4:30pm along the beachfront strip.

The PWA says the areas affected will be along Wiset Road along the Rawai beachfront road, as well as Soi Yanui and Soi Ruafaed.

Residents and businesses are being urged to collect water for use during the day today, before tomorrow morning’s shut-off.

As usual, the PWA say…“We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

Contact the Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority on 076 319173 or 082 7901634 for more details.

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Top 10 spas and massages in Phuket

Donna Toon

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Top 10 spas and massages in Phuket | The Thaiger

One of the best things about living in Asia, and in particular Thailand, is the abundance of fabulous places to have spa treatments. From the true local experience on the beach, to the ultra chic five star luxury treatments here is, in no particular order, our Top Ten Phuket Spa Experiences.

1. Let’s Relax (Boat Lagoon)

Let’s Relax’s latest addition to their Thailand spa portfolio is located in the residential area of Boat Lagoon in Koh Kaew and by accounts a winner in our books! It is a beautiful space with the natural light also bringing a sense of calm as you walk down the long entrance. With multiple treatment rooms as well as a well appointed foot massage space that can accommodate a large gaggle of girls it is has become popular very quickly with the local ladies.

Being brand new it also is a treat to sit in lush white comfy chairs while having your foot massage and a chat to your girlfriend or boyfriend. Priced on the lower end of the market, but higher than the local spas on the side of the street and well worth the extra baht, Let’s Relax is fabulous new addition to the flooded spa market.

Top 10 spas and massages in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

2. Oasis Spa (Kamala)

Oasis Spa Group has a few little gems around the island including one in Laguna and also another great one on the beach road in Kamala, however this hidden sanctuary located on the back roads in Kamala is our pick of the bunch. From the main street you would never know there is a tranquil ten treatment room spa and delightful pool setting behind the single wooden door. With an impressive and consistent list of treatments, positioned above the street-side prices but below the five star offerings, Oasis Spa is wonderful place to pamper away your day.

Top 10 spas and massages in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

3. Kata Rocks Infinite Luxury Spa

Winning the World’s Luxury Spa Awards for 2015, 2016 and 2017 we couldn’t put together a top ten spa list without including the very modern and chic Infinite Luxury Spa at Kata Rocks.

The spa blends the beyond organic philosophy of ILA spa products with its own “Me Time” philosophy, the latest spa massage technology in its eight luxury treatment rooms and suites, each designed around specific treatments. This includes two rooms for couples complete with luxurious his and her bathtubs, a chromotherapy room for coloured light therapy, a waterbed room equipped with Italian-made Iso-Benessere, a water massage bed for aiding spinal integration, a sleeping pod room with Metronap rest pod, traditional Thai spa massage treatment room, consultation and treatment room, pedicure and manicure treatment room and a contemporary tropical relaxation patio for after treatment chill down.

Positioned in the very high end of the spa market, Infinite Luxury Spa is an impressive and fabulous space to spend your day, worth every baht!

Top 10 spas and massages in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

4. 4th Floor Central Festival Phuket

‘It’s not a very accurate location’ I hear you say, but I love this spa, and whenever I am at Central I always try and allow at least 60 minutes extra to escape the crowds and enjoy a foot massage while reading my book. Located on the top floor of Central on the left hand side as you head towards Central Department Store (sort of above McDonalds), it’s hard to miss it but the staff are always outside greeting you and encouraging you to come in and take a load off. Priced perfectly at 300 baht for a 60 minute foot massage (plus tip of course), the experience is consistent and friendly. Full body treatments are also available behind the traditional curtain.

Top 10 spas and massages in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

5. Amatara Wellness Resort

Located at the very South of Phuket at Cape Panwa, Amatara Wellness Resort as the names suggests has an incredible spa perched high on the cliffs overlooking the Andaman Sea. One of the largest spas in Asia with over 2000 square metres of dedicated spa bliss, paralleled by the extensive menu and holistic and wellness packages, it really is an experience not to be missed.

Amatara has also just opened a new spa wellness experience, the exquisitely designed Thai Hammam brings together traditional Turkish and Moroccan bathing practices with the wisdom and gentleness of Thai spa therapies. Soak your worries away.

Make a whole day of it, indulge in their fabulous Sunday Brunch and then move through to the spa! Perfection!

Top 10 spas and massages in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

6. Banyan Tree Spa

A market leader for many years not only in Phuket but around the world, Banyan Tree is has provided us with professional and impressive spas for decades. Banyan Tree Phuket Spa with it’s impressive 24 treatment rooms hidden in lush surroundings within the gardens of the resort has well trained and dedicated therapist giving you the ultimate in spa experiences. The attention to detail which is synonymous with the spa philosophy of the group together with the consistency and surroundings makes it one of the best spa experiences certainly in Thailand. I can highly recommend the three hour Royal Banyan package, which included a cucumber and coriander scrub, Banyan Tree herbal pouch massage, jade chilled facial and flower bath. My girlfriends and I indulged just last week, and it was such a treat.

Top 10 spas and massages in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

7. Beach Shack next to Dream Beach Club on Layan Beach

We are creatures of habit in our house, we have been in Phuket for ten years now and when we like something we tend to go back regularly. Sunday’s are for chilling and we tend to either head to brunch or down to the local beach at Layan, away from the larger more commercial eateries and clubs we like eating and massaging with the locals.

Purely bang for your buck, the full body oil massages on the beach for 300 – 400 baht are an absolute must. I would love to say head to “Phung’s Massage Shack” next to Dream Beach Club but to be honest it doesn’t have a name but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t get a mention and make our list. Head to the top end of Layan and facing the beach next to Dream go left, it’s worth the trip!

Top 10 spas and massages in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

8. JW Marriott Mai Khao Spa

Mandara Spa at JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa is an oasis within an oasis, the resort itself sits on 27 acres of lush gardens and beach side bliss just North of the airport in Mai Khao. Within it’s tropical gardens is the king pin for many years on the island Mandara Spa, its an icon in the local spa industry.

Tranquil, exotic and extremely relaxing, the Mandara Spa at JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa features a full service beauty salon, separate steam rooms for male and female guests, five double luxurious spa suites and eleven double deluxe rooms. The spa suites are well fitted out, with some enjoying outdoor bathrooms, but the most impressive aspect of the spa itself is the staff. They are incredibly well trained, and efficient in their craft, professional yet approachable and deliver every time.

The JW Marriott Wellness Retreat (bi yearly) is a highlight every year in my calendar, hosted and facilitated by Linda and her team, as well as the best wellness experts on the island, including Hayden Rhodes, Kim White and Andrew Stanndard. The four day program has informative workshops, wellness consultations, spa treatments, healthy meals, hands on activities, yoga, cooking classes and so much more.

Top 10 spas and massages in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

9. Atmanjai Wellness Retreat

Located on the South of the island just past Chalong circle Atmanjai Wellness Retreat at Friendship Beach offers a friendly and relaxed haven where guests can participate in detox, yoga or wellness programs that help restore your vitality, happiness and health. The cute bungalows located around the pool and on the beach side are a perfect excuse to indulge just a little further and stay on location while doing your retreats.

Top 10 spas and massages in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

10. Coqoon Spa at The Slate

Unlike anything else in Phuket, Coqoon Spa at The Slate is tranquil and idyllic space nestled in the lush green trees of the resort. It has a “cocoon” tree house made from bamboo and other natural products located high off the ground in true robinson crusoe style. Being in the trees is a unique experience matched perfectly with the highly trained and efficient practitioners. Subtle touches throughout the spa together with the extensive well thought out menu make Coqoon a special occasion treat.

Top 10 spas and massages in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

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Phuket

Phuket Town – In CNN Travel’s “Asia’s most picturesque towns”

The Thaiger

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Phuket Town – In CNN Travel’s “Asia’s most picturesque towns” | The Thaiger

“Though most famous for its beaches, the Thai island of Phuket offers ample opportunities for cultural immersion as well.”

Phuket’s Old Town was listed as one of Asia’s 13 most picturesque towns by CNN Travel.

The article mentioned, that whilst the island is renowned for its world-class beaches and leisure, offshore and adventure tourism activities, Phuket Town delivers on romance, history and cultural beauty in the island’s main commercial centre.

Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Yuthasak Supasorn says the article correctly highlighted Phuket’s cultural diversity and history; things that are often eclipsed by its beaches and Patong nightlife.

“Phuket Town retain its charm and unique identity that comes from the influence of the Baba-Peranakan culture, which started when Chinese families migrated to Phuket. We are seeing more fully independent tourists with discretionary spending power who want the unique experiences that Phuket Town is rich in.”

The pocket-sized town welcomes a large number of foreign tourists each year, a significant number of who come from China and are interested in exploring the area and its Chinese influences.

“The historic old quarter of Phuket Town, located in the centre of the island, is lined with Sino-Colonial style shop houses, built during the island’s tin-mining boom of the 18th and 19thcenturies.

“There are plenty of hip shops, cafés, restaurants and bars, including the batik shops along Thalang Road run by ethnic Malays and Indians. The area is also filled with Chinese temples, crumbling mansions, cultural museums and a nunnery.”

CNN also recommended that one of the best ways to soak up Phuket Town’s rich culture and bohemian atmosphere was to find a local company that specialises in walking tours of the Old Town.

In addition, CNN noted that Phuket Town is where travellers can indulge in some of the island’s best restaurants, ideal for those visitors who have had their fill of the same old tourist fare served in beach areas. Top picks according to CNN include Southern Thai specialist Raya, Tantitium and One Chun.

SOURCE: TAT News

Phuket Town - In CNN Travel's

Phuket Town - In CNN Travel's

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