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Phuket toy boy murder suspect: ‘I acted alone’

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PHUKET CITY: The 21-year-old man suspected of murdering elderly Japanese citizen Yukiho Yamada and burning his body in Phuket continues to insist he acted alone, but police remain skeptical.

Suwit Maengsri told police his 50-year-old lover Tubtim Saehak – Mr Yamada’s wife – was not involved in either the killing or the disposal of the body.

Mr Suwit said he killed 75-year-old Mr Yamada out of anger over Mr Yamada’s treatment of Mrs Tubtim.

Police investigating the crime doubt Mr Suwit’s account of events, however.

They are charging both Mr Suwit and Mrs Tubtim with conspiracy to murder and dispose of a body, among other charges.

Chief among their reasons for doubting Mr Suwit’s story is the testimony of Wichit Mapan, who witnessed the burning of Mr Yamada’s body inside his Honda Civic car.

Mr Wichit claims he heard a voice say, “We can’t go any further, it’s a dead end,” shortly before the car was set alight.

Understood to have ruled out a friend of Mr Wichit’s as the accomplice, police now suspect Mrs Tubtim of being present when the car was torched.

Mr Suwit and Mrs Tubtim are believed to have met in July this year, while Mr Yamada was in Japan.

By the time Mr Yamada returned to Phuket in late October, the two accused were lovers, police said.

Mr Suwit has told police he resolved to kill Mr Yamada after hearing Mrs Tubtim’s stories of her appalling treatment at the hands of her husband.

Mrs Tubtim said the 75-year-old Mr Yamada still had a voracious sexual appetite, needing sex three times a day.

He sometimes ordered her to find him prostitutes; if they did not satisfy him he blamed her and beat her, she has alleged.

Mr Suwit said that about a week before the killing he told Mrs Tubtim of his plan to kill Mr Yamada.

He claimed Mrs Tubtim tried to persuade him not to do it, but he ignored her pleas.

At around midnight on Monday, having already scoped the house earlier in the evening, he sneaked inside.

He found Mr Yamada asleep on the sofa.

He said he grabbed a crowbar from the shoe cupboard and hit Mr Yamada twice in the face, knocking him unconscious.

He used some cloth to bind the old man’s wrists and feet and pulled him onto the floor.

When the victim woke up, Mr Suwit stabbed him in the leg with a knife, before stealing his cell phone and fleeing the scene.

Mrs Tubtim called him on Tuesday to say Mr Yamada was dead, he claimed.

He returned to the house to clean up traces of the killing, covering the body with a blanket but leaving it at the house, he said.

He went to meet Mrs Tubtim, who sold a gold necklace and gave him the proceeds, 30,000 baht, to escape with.

On Wednesday he returned to the house at 3am to dispose of the body.

He hauled Mr Yamada’s corpse onto the passenger seat of the married couple’s Honda Civic, driving it to a quiet lane in Chalong Village 7, he said.

When the car got stuck in mud, he became worried it would be seen by someone, so he set it on fire, fleeing the scene via a nearby rubber plantation.

Mrs Tubtim picked him up at 12pm that day, driving him to the Sarasin Bridge, he said.

His lover tried to persuade him to flee the island but he refused, saying he was worried about what would happen to her, he claimed.

Instead, he persuaded her to drop him off at The Valley housing development in Cherng Talay, Thalang.

He stayed there in hiding until his arrest on Saturday.

— Sitthipong Nongkeaw

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Phuket

Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment

The Thaiger

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Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment | The Thaiger

A man has been found hanged in Phuket Town apartment yesterday. Police are treating the cases as a suicide at the moment.

The man was found hanged from the apartment’s ceiling fan. His lifeless body was discovered around 11am after neighbours complained to the manager about the smell coming from the man’s room.

Police and the local Kusoldharm Foundation rescue workers attended the scene. Police later confirmed the incident happened in room on the 3rd floor of an apartment lock in Soi Phoonphol Soi 1, Talat Nuea in Phuket Town. Police said the man was 35-45 years of age and had a 29 year old girlfriend from Chumphon. He was paying 1,000 baht a month and had been renting the room for 2 months. Police estimate that the man had been dead for at least 3 days.

Police told media that the man had used, what appeared to be a dress, tied around his neck and then to the room’s roof fan. The apartment manager told police that he had been late on on his recent rent, speculating that the man may have been suffering financial hardship.

The man’s identity has not been released at this stage.

His body was taken to Vachira Hospital for an autopsy.

If you or anyone you know is in emotional distress, please contact the Samaritans of Thailand 24-hour hotline: 02 713 6791 (English), 02 713 6793 (Thai) or the Thai Mental Health Hotline at 1323 (Thai).

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Tourism

Bangkok Airways add 3 new local routes to their schedule

The Thaiger

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Bangkok Airways add 3 new local routes to their schedule | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Bangkok Airways' ATR72, servicing the re-introduced routes

Some domestic routes are being added as local routes continue to expand. This time Bangkok Airways has announced it’s resuming its Samui-Phuket, Phuket-Hat Yai and Phuket-Pattaya/Rayong (U-Tapao) flights.

The first additions to the schedule will be the Phuket-Samui flights resuming this Sunday, October 25, and the Phuket-Pattaya flights start again next Tuesday, October 27. The Phuket-Samui flights will be operating on Sundays and Wednesdays only on the airlines’ ATR72 turbo prop regional planes, same as before.

A casual search on the Bangkok Airways website, for a return flight from Phuket to Samui on November 1, then back to Phuket on November 8 indicates the cheapest fare (promo) is 2,430 baht. Coming back, the cheapest fare we found, again labelled ‘promo’, was 2,630 baht. Bangkok Airways operate as a “full service” airline and don’t compete with the country’s discount airlines. But they operate these three routes exclusively – like it or leave it.

Bangkok Airways say that the flights will be operated “with the highest preventive measures and standards”. Around the country the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand have eased a few of the onboard restrictions, including the start of catering services which were originally banned under the initial flight rules when domestic routes started flying again at the start of July.

The daily direct services between Phuket and Hat Yai are also being operated on the ATR72 aircraft. The flight to Ha Yai leaves Phuket at 8.40am and arrives at Hat Yai at 9:.45am. The return flights leave Hat Yai back to Phuket at 10.25am each day. The route was very popular for the airline before the ‘disruption’ when airlines had their fleets grounded in April.

The service between Phuket and U-Tapao, linking the party city with the party island, will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, again with the ATR72. Phuket to U-Tapao will leave at 12.10pm and then from U-Tapao to Phuket at 4pm on the three days. U-Tapao is about a 50 minute drive from Pattaya and the airport also serves the greater Rayong area.

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Phuket

4 billion baht medical hub planned for Phuket

Maya Taylor

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4 billion baht medical hub planned for Phuket | The Thaiger
Mai Khao beach in north Phuket. PHOTO: Booking.com

Phuket officials are setting aside around 4 billion baht to transform medical tourism in the southern province of Phuket, by developing a state-of-the-art treatment hub in the north of the island. The Bangkok Post reports that the Treasury department is planning to give the Public Health Ministry permission to use 141 rai of government land in the sub-district of Mai Khao, close to Phuket International Airport. It’s not the first time the proposal has come to light.

The concept is gathering support as Phuket battles to diversify its attraction beyond a tropical holiday island.

The aim is to develop Phuket as a world-class health and wellness destination, with facilities that will attract medical tourists from all over the world, as well as providing a high standard of treatment to the local population. It’s understood the facility will provide a full range of health services, including long-term care, and hospice and rehabilitation services.

The island already has a well-developed medical tourism market, but has been based around local hospitals and clinics linking up with foreign marketing companies in the past. “The International Medical and Public Health Service” has been conceived to create more long term financial security and diversification, and value-added tourism in Phuket, as the island has taken a heavy financial hit over the past 7 months.

4 billion baht medical hub planned for Phuket | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Phuket Andaman News

The plan was first suggested in 2017, by then governor, Noraphat Plodthong and confirmed by the director of Phuket’s Vachira Hospital, Dr. Chalermpong Sukontapol, in July. At that stage, the estimated budget was 3-4 billion baht. The director-general of the Treasury department, Yuthana Yimkarun, says the plot is being offered to the Health Ministry for free. The land is thought be worth around 1 billion baht.

Yuthana says the ministry will manage investment, with approximately 2 billion baht required for the first stage of the project. Construction of the facility is expected to be completed over 2 years.

Meanwhile, it’s understood that unused government land that is currently managed by various government agencies may be moved under the remit of central government, with a view to increasing its worth. According to the Bangkok Post report, just 4% of government land is directly managed by the Treasury. The other 96% is controlled by various government agencies. Yuthana says the plan is to increase the percentage of state-owned land under the Treasury’s management to 10% within 2 years.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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