Connect with us


Ronald Fanelli update: Still no return to Phuket Prison

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: Legal proceedings against confessed killer Ronald Fanelli are on hold until the American returns to Phuket, the Gazette has learned.

Mr Fanelli is currently undergoing psychiatric examination at a facility in Surat Thani.

The former US Navy officer was taken to Suan Saranrom Hospital for examination on September 13, reportedly at his own request.

The case against him has been deferred until an evaluation report is issued and he is returned to Phuket Provincial Prison, a source at the jail told the Gazette.

More than two months after leaving Phuket he remains in Surat Thani.

Mr Fanelli has been charged with the murder of bar hostess Wanphen Pienjai, a 37-year-old mother of two who disappeared from the Sweethearts Bar in Kata on June 18.

The subject of a month-long police manhunt, Fanelli was arrested in a rented home in Karon on July 17.

During his confession at a press conference at Phuket City Police Station on July 18, Mr Fanelli described the killing as a “terrible, terrible mistake”.

The Gazette left a long list of questions with Mr Fanelli during a 10-minute meeting with him at Phuket Provincial Prison in early September.

However, he later returned the list with the questions unanswered and a brief note saying he needed to consult his lawyer first.

Meanwhile, a group of online poker players based outside of Thailand has raised about 30,000 baht for the surviving family of Ms Wanphen.

Before moving to Thailand, Mr Fanelli was a professional poker player on the London circuit, where he used to play under the name “MadYank”.

[Like most forms of gaming, playing on-line poker is illegal in Thailand, although authorities admit they lack the resources to effectively enforce the law.]

News of his arrest drew a great deal of attention from the on-line poker community who hope to increase that amount to 100,000 through a charity fundraiser.

Bill Rini, who visited the family in September with the first installment of the money raised, wrote on his personal blogsite:

“Sa-ard [Wanphen’s mother] brought down a letter sent to her by the Rotary Club of Patong Beach granting Wanphen’s children, Farm and Iang, scholarships amounting to 6,000 baht (about US$193) a year each while they stayed in school.”

“If either of the children wanted to attend university they indicated that they would review that with her when the time came.”

“Amusingly, everyone there translated ‘Rotary’ to ‘Lotary’ and thought it had to do with the lottery. I had to explain what the Rotary Club was and everyone seemed to do that embarrassed chuckle when they realized how far off they had been.”

Mr Rini’s website is organizing a charity fund-raising event in Bangkok in January in order to raise more money for the family.

The Phuket Gazette initiated the fund-raising effort with the Rotary Club of Patong Beach following reader calls for assistance to the family of Khun Wanphen.

— Atchaa Khamlo & Stephen Fein


Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand1 hour ago

Bangkok Airways extends flight suspension to August 11

Thailand2 hours ago

7 Jomtien Beach curfew breakers arrested

Thailand2 hours ago

Buri Ram pig stable converted into gambling den: 22 arrests follow

Sponsored1 day ago

Experience Phuket’s Islands with 5 Star Marine

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Thailand4 hours ago

“Fake news” banned, Thai media say order infringes on freedoms

Phuket4 hours ago

Precarious Phuket: open internationally, closed domestically

Best of4 hours ago

Top 5 tattoo parlours Bangkok

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
World4 hours ago

Duterte approves lockdown measures for Manila

Best of4 hours ago

The Best Pizza in Bangkok with Delivery

Thailand4 hours ago

Thailand News Today | worker camp woes, ‘fake news’ crackdown | July 30

Best of4 hours ago

Best Premium Hotel Buffets in Bangkok

Coronavirus (Covid-19)5 hours ago

CCSA considers extending restrictions in “dark red” zones for another 14 days

Thailand5 hours ago

Fake dead bodies used in Phuket protest, police plan real investigation

Best of5 hours ago

Top 5 adventure tours in Chiang Mai

Best of5 hours ago

Top 5 affordable hotels in Chiang Mai

Coronavirus (Covid-19)7 hours ago

Friday Covid Update: 17,345 new cases; provincial totals

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism5 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8