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American Fanelli sentenced to 10 years for Phuket bar girl murder

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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American Fanelli sentenced to 10 years for Phuket bar girl murder | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: American Ronald “Mad Yank” Fanelli has been sentenced to 10 years and three months imprisonment for the stabbing murder of bar hostess Wanphen Pienjai last year.

Phuket Provincial Prison Director Rapin Nichanon today confirmed that the court’s decision was handed down on Tuesday.

The sentence will be reduced by the 471 days Fanelli has already been detained, he added.

Fanelli has the right to appeal the decision, although details of the conditions of an appeal have yet to be announced.

“Under policy, Phuket Prison accommodates prisoners serving sentences up to 15 years, so he can stay here if chooses to.

“However, he has the right to contact his embassy and apply to be transferred to another prison, such as Klong Prem Prison in Bangkok, which would be more convenient for him if he wants to stay in regular contact with embassy officials,” Chief Rapin said.

“He returned from Suan Saranrom Hospital in Surat Thani only a few days ago. This was the second time he was sent there for psychiatric treatment. The first time he spent many months receiving treatment there,” he added.

In March this year, Fanelli told the Phuket Gazette in an exclusive interview that conditions at the overcrowded Phuket Prison were making him ill.

Phuket Prison is currently home to nearly 1,600 prisoners. The facility was originally designed to house about 1,000 inmates.

During the interview, Fanelli said that overcrowding at the prison had led to a lack of cleanliness that caused him to contract scabies and other infections.

He added that he continued to suffer from “the stress of having to watch out for my own physical safety as well as that of my friends who are weaker than me.”

At a press conference in July last year, Fanelli confessed to killing Miss Pienjai by stabbing her, but said it was an “accident”.

Presented by police at the same press conference were items to be used as evidence to show that Fanelli disposed of Miss Pienjai’s body by stuffing it into a large suitcase – posthumously breaking both of her legs.

He carried the suitcase by motorbike and dumped it in a remote part of Phuket’s Wichit sub-district, several kilometers from his rented home.

Fanelli, who was a professional poker player, earned the name “Mad Yank” among fellow players for his often boisterous demeanor.

Columnist Victoria Coren wrote an article in the British newspaper The Guardian, about her friendship with Fanelli when he was participating in poker competitions.

To see video of Ronald Fanelli confessing to the killing of Ms Pienjai, click here.

— Atchaa Khamlo

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

Thailand

Thai Airways to resume flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Phuket

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai Airways to resume flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Phuket | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai Airways

After nearly 9 months on the ground due to the coronavirus pandemic, along with problems balancing their accounts, Thai Airways will resume flights between Bangkok and Chiang Mai as well as Bangkok and Phuket later this month. The flights will start back up on Christmas day.

Flights from Bangkok to the 2 key tourist provinces have been grounded since April 1. Starting December 25, the airline will run 3 flights a week on both routes. A source told the Bangkok Post that the new schedules will run until at least February 28.

Thai Lion Air, Thai Air Asia, Nok Air, Thai Smile, VietJet Air and Bangkok Airways have returned to the domestic skies since July and slowly adding frequency to their routes.

In addition to resuming the domestic flights, the Thai Airways is relaunching some international flights from January 1 to March 27 including weekly flights to Frankfurt, London, Copenhagen, Sydney, Seoul, Manila, Taipei and Osaka. Flights from Bangkok to Tokyo will be available 3 times a week and flights from Bangkok to Hong Kong will be available every day.

Thai Airways has been tackling bankruptcy throughout the lockdown and trying to make up for more than 300 billion baht in losses. Since many flights were suspended due to travel restrictions, Thai Airways has tried to make money by business ventures on the ground, like a pop-up restaurant serving in-flight meals and selling off unwanted equipment from their warehouse. There also disposing of much of their older fleet, including all of their Boring 747-400s.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

97 police officers investigated for fiddling Covid-19 payments

Maya Taylor

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97 police officers investigated for fiddling Covid-19 payments | The Thaiger
PHOTO: www.newsbeezer.com

97 police officers, from 41 police stations, are currently being investigated for an alleged scam involving Covid-19 payments meant for officers who worked extra shifts during the crisis. The case was assigned by national police chief Suwat Jangyodsuk in November, when it came to light that some officers may have fraudulently claimed allowances meant for others.

In one incident, an officer responsible for transferring extra payments to police on the southern island of Phuket transferred the money to his own accountant instead. At the time, the transfer was dismissed as a mistake (in his favour), with the officer in question receiving a warning, and payments then made to the qualifying officers.

Wissanu Prasatthong-Osot from the National Internal Affairs Police says the investigation should reach a conclusion within the next 10 days.

“The result of the investigation should be ready in 10 days. Currently, 97 officers in 41 police stations ranging from non-commissioned to generals are under investigation for being involved in the swindle. The bureau aims to provide justice to all policemen involved. After the investigation concludes, the victims will receive their full allowance, while the offending officers will be punished under the law and disciplinary standards.”

Nation Thailand reports that a full list of alleged offenders has been sent to Suwat, with Wissanu promising that none will escape prosecution.

“The National Police chief had also ordered the transfer of offending officers at the commander and sub-commander levels out of their areas as per the investigation procedures.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Tourism

Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce to propose Guangzhou-Phuket tourism route

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce to propose Guangzhou-Phuket tourism route | The Thaiger
PHOTO: 77 kaoded

A tourism route from Guangzhou, China to Phuket could help the island province recover from the recession brought on by the pandemic and lack of foreign travel, according to the Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce. The president of the organisation, Narongsak Puttapornmongkol, says they plan to submit a letter proposing the route under a travel bubble scheme to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

The Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce is proposing a travel bubble with around 20 cities in China with no recent coronavirus infections and considered to be at a low risk of spreading the virus. Travellers from Guangzhou recently entered Thailand on the new Special Tourist Visa. It was the second flight of international tourists since travel restrictions were imposed in late-March.

“We believe that the Travel Bubble and the quarantine reduction will resolve the tourism business, which is a huge economic opportunity to recover.”

Once a vaccine is widely available, Narongsak suggests that those who wish to Thailand could also present their vaccination certificate or examination reports from the place of origin. He adds that the mandatory state quarantine period is likely to be reduced.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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