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Phuket throat slasher arrested in Patong

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: Police have arrested one man for the murder of Phuket construction worker Than Zaw, 24, a Myanmar national whose body was found dumped in a pond near the Patong Municipality offices on Sunday.

Mr Than’s throat had been slashed and his torso had been stabbed at least 17 times (story here).

Patong Police arrested Myanmar national Aung Htre, a 27-year-old foreman, at a construction workers’ camp on Phisit Gorani Road (map here) on Tuesday morning.

The arrest followed Mr Than’s employer contacting police on Monday after he was told by one of Mr Than’s friends that there were blood stains in Mr Than’s room.

“It was the same morning the body was found,” Lt Col Somsak Tongkliang of the Patong Police told the Phuket Gazette.

Officers called in the friend, Mr Nai, for questioning.

Mr Nai gave a statement testifying that Mr Than had an argument with two other Myanmar nationals in the construction camp, Col Somsak said.

“On Saturday night, Than was drunk. He went to Aung’s hut to borrow 200 baht. When he arrived, Aung was in front of his room chatting with his friend Ji Meng,” Mr Nai told police.

“Aung refused to give him the money. That made Than very angry and they argued over it. I saw the fight brewing and I tried to stop them by taking Than back to his hut,” he explained.

“After Than was home, I went back to Aung’s, where he was stilling hanging out with his friends. I told them than Than was very angry and he said that he wanted to cut their throats,” Mr Nai recalled.

“After that, I went to my hut and went to sleep,” he added.

“I went to check on Than in the morning. I didn’t see him and there were blood stains in his room and things knocked over like there had been a fight,” Mr Nai said. “So I told my employer what had happened.”

After hearing Mr Nai’s story, Col Somsak called in Aung’s wife, Than Than, who told police that her husband had confessed to killing Mr Than.

“At about 11pm on Saturday, my husband left the house with two friends. They came back in about an hour to get a bucket and left,” she said.

“They came back 15 minutes later. Aung told me that they had killed Than and dumped his body in a pond. Aung told me that he was the one who cleaned the blood stains in Than’s room,” Ms Than Than added.

Plainclothes police reported seeing Mr Aung in a convenience store on Phisit Goranee Road near the worker’s camp at about 11am on Tuesday. Officers moved in and quickly placed Mr Aung under arrest.

“Mr Aung confessed that he was involved in the murder of Mr Than, but he claimed that Mr Than had threatened to kill him,” Col Somsak said.

“We are now seeking two other men, who we know only as ‘Ji Meng’ and ‘Sia’,” Col Somsak said.

Both fugitives also lived at the same worker’s camp, where Mr Aung and Mr Than lived, he added.

— Kritsada Mueanhawong

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

Phuket

Female prisoner on the run after escaping from Phuket Hospital

The Thaiger

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Female prisoner on the run after escaping from Phuket Hospital | The Thaiger

A female prisoner is on the run after escaping from Vachira Hospital in Phuket during a doctor’s appointment. 58 year old Siri Phodam allegedly escaped after asking her prison escort officer to use the toilet. But she took a long time to come back, and was found to have escaped. CCTV cameras caught her dressed in a blue hospital patient shirt and a sarong leaving the hospital quickly. A Phuket prison officer says the woman is 158 centimetres tall and has dark skin.

“Some of our own officers are searching for her, and we have also sent the prisoner’s description to all Phuket police stations. However, at this stage we have not found any clues.

Female prisoner on the run after escaping from Phuket Hospital | News by The Thaiger

“If anyone finds a person matching the prisoner’s appearance, please inform us by calling 076 212 104.”

Siri was imprisoned after being charged with posessing illegal drugs and lived in Moo 2, Rawai.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Phuket

Phuket’s annual vegetarian festival gets the green light – VIDEO

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket’s annual vegetarian festival gets the green light – VIDEO | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Caitlin Ashworth

WARNING: The content below contains photos and videos of self-mutilation that some may find disturbing.

Somehow Phuket’s annual vegetarian festival is to go ahead next month, but officials say they will ask participants to strictly observe social distancing. Good luck with that! For those who don’t know, the festival isn’t exactly known for the food. It’s known for blood, body mutilation and more blood.

During street processions for the weeklong event, also known as the Nine Gods Festival, so called “mah songs” are known to practice self-mutilation and are said to enter a trance-like state, channeling spirits through their body. “Mah” means horse in Thai, and many suggest the mah song acts like a horse for the spirit to ride.

Many mah songs pierce their checks, ears and lips, some with large swords and thick needles. Some slice their tongues continuously for hours, blood dripping down on the street. Others appear to be in a trace walk barefoot as firecrackers explode on the ground.

Mah songs march down Phuket’s streets for hours with a team of devotees to help tend to their wounds, adjust the piercings, wipe away drool and blood, and keep them hydrated. It’s understood that devotees wear white as a symbol of purity. It’s also reported that they abstain from eating meat, drinking alcohol and having sex during the weeklong festival.

It seems gruesome, but it’s actually very spiritual. Business owners and locals line the street, some setting up altars. Mah songs stop at each one and do a quick ritual. Some mah songs carry a black flag, waving it over onlookers who bow their heads and place their hands in the “wai” position. Some spend time blessing the elderly and handing out bracelets to children. During a procession last year, a woman held up a bracelet as said “the ‘Spirit’ gave this to my mother.”

This year, the festival will have to be a little different to abide by coronavirus prevention measures. The Bangkok Post says it’s the first festival since the outbreak. The head festival organiser Prasert Fukthongphol says “we will seriously enforce social distancing measures and require all participants to wear face masks.”

The grotesque piercings, noisy parades and visits to the shrine, are good news for Phuket’s tourism and bad news if you’re a vegetable. Many adherents to the Chinese-heritage local festival will go without sex, alcohol and meat for the week of so of the festival. The week of events and ceremonies hopes to scare away the bad gods again but, especially this year, attract some extra visitors to the festival.

Another Vegetarian Festival in Chon Buri has also been given the green light. The event is planned for October 16 to the 26. This year’s main event for the festival will be in Naklua at Sawangboriboon Thammasathan Foundation at the Sein Sua Chinese Temple, but many other events will be around the city throughout the week.

Phuket's annual vegetarian festival gets the green light - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

Phuket's annual vegetarian festival gets the green light - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

Phuket's annual vegetarian festival gets the green light - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

Phuket's annual vegetarian festival gets the green light - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

Phuket's annual vegetarian festival gets the green light - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | Pattaya News

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Phuket

Officials says no illegal land encroachment at Phuket’s Sri Panwa resort

Maya Taylor

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Officials says no illegal land encroachment at Phuket’s Sri Panwa resort | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Sri Panwa Phuket Resort - Sri Panwa Phuket

After coming in for some negative online attention recently, the land title deeds of the Sri Panwa Phuket resort have been investigated and found “to be in order”. The 5-star hotel first attracted the attention of netizens when its owner, Vorasit Issara, publicly criticised anti-government activist Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, calling for her arrest. He also claimed she wasn’t Thai, a factually wrong and inflammatory statement.

His Instagram tirade prompted outrage from those who support the current protest movement, with netizens calling for a boycott of his property and leaving several negative comments on various review sites. Trip Advisor suspended the hotel’s account due to the online attack.

Shortly after, the Civil Society for State Welfare called on the Social Security Office to clarify its investment in the resort’s trust fund. This was echoed by at least one opposition MP and anti-corruption activists.

Responding to the land rights issue, the Phuket Land Office has issued a statement to say the hotel does not occupy state land. The resort stands on 56 rai of prime real estate, overlooking Phuket’s south-eastern coast. The land office has confirmed its paperwork is all in order.

Meanwhile, it’s understood Charn Issara Development, owners of the property, have threatened to sue the resort’s critics for defamation.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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