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“The Thai military wants us dead” – Phuket Seastead owner

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“The Thai military wants us dead” – Phuket Seastead owner | The Thaiger
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American Chad Elwartowski and his Thai partner, Nadia Supranee Thepdet, say they are on the run from police in Thailand after the government has accused the couple of trying to lay claim to Thai maritime territory with their ‘seastead’, a maritime house considered to be a permanent dwelling at sea off Phuket.

The ‘seasted’ is located to the south east of Koh Racha Yai, approx. 12 nautical miles off the mainland.

Chad says he fears for their lives and are now in hiding.

Chad told 7 Action News in Detroit reported… “The Thai military wants us dead,” in an email communication.

“The way things work here in Thailand is that they set the narrative in their media then execute it. The narrative is that we are a threat to national security and we face life in prison or death. They did not want us to survive to get our side out.”

Chad is a graduate of Michigan State University, was an IT specialist for the US government and is now semi-retired after being a successful early adopter and investor in Bitcoin.

Chad says the couple had been living on the seastead on and off for about two months.

Chad’s sister, Nancy Elwartowski-Cooper says she feels sick over the whole issue.

“I just want him home,” she told 7 Action News.

One of Chad’s longtime friends, Matt Francisco, said everything seemed fine with Chad earlier this week with his light-hearted posts on Facebook.

“But then all of a sudden it changed to where he became a fugitive,” Francisco said.

“It was like you were reading something out of a movie.”

It’s unclear where Chad and Nadia went after fleeing the seastead. But he said they needed help, asking for people to help them get in touch with top government officials in Thailand to “talk some sense into your military leaders,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

“Someone high up in the U.S. that can help. I need to be able to go to the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok or some place near Phuket to get me out of the country. I need ideas for helping Nadia, a Thai citizen. She needs an embassy in Bangkok where she can seek asylum.”

The seastead was built by Ocean Builders more than 12 nautical miles off the coast of Phuket in what the company claims is international water.

The Phuket Marine Department says they are going to demolish and remove the seastead from the Andaman Sea waters.

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Ocean Builders had been eager to begin the process of building additional seasteads for others, but, at least for now, they’ve halted the project.

“Chad and Nadia are safe for now but understand that Thailand is currently being run by a military dictator.”

In a video posted to Youtube by The Seasteading Institute in early March, Chad said, “They have a monopoly on land, but they don’t have a monopoly on sea.”

From Chad’s Facebook page…

Nadia and I did not design, construct or pay to have the seastead constructed. We promoted it and lived on it. We helped out by giving the builder updates and we participated in the launch. We did not decide where to put the seastead.

“We are enthusiastic supporters of the project who were lucky enough to be the first ones to stay on it. Hunting us down to our death is just plain stupid and highlights exactly the reason someone would be willing to go out in middle of the ocean to get away from governments.”

Here is a statement posted by Ocean Builders, reprinted in the interests of accurate reporting (edited only for spelling errors). The views expressed are those of the writers of the website article…

We at Ocean Builders would first like to thank all of the people who have sent their support and help. We do appreciate it.

It has been reported that the first seastead, XLII, has been or is in the process of being demolished by the Thai navy. It is also being reported that our first residents, Chad Elwartowski and Nadia Summergirl are being held responsible for building the seastead and putting it in its current location.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Chad and Nadia were volunteers excited about the prospect of living free. They took pictures and videos of the whole process and posted it on social media. They spent a few weeks on the seastead and documented their adventure.

They were in no way involved in the design, construction, decision on where it was located or any funding for the construction of the seastead.

The team surrounding the project were early adopters of bitcoin, and with wealth acquired that way it has spent around US$150,000 on the project.

Other news articles took this to mean that Chad Elwartowski funded the project because he was also an early adopter of bitcoin. Chad did not spend any of his own money on the project other than perhaps some sheets for the bed and he brought all of his own kitchenware when he moved in.

Chad and Nadia are safe for now but understand that Thailand is currently being run by a military dictator. There will be no trial if they are caught. They already demonstrated that by being judge jury and executioner of the historic very first seastead.

The reason Thailand was chosen was due to the large amount of tourism, its relatively calm seas and also because all of those involved love the Thai people and their culture.

It is claimed by the Thai navy through their media mouth pieces that the seastead is in a shipping lane. This makes it sound like there is heavy cargo traffic coming to Phuket.

If anyone knows Phuket, they have one cargo port that gets maybe one or two cargo ships a week. They also admit that the seastead is in international waters, at least 12 nautical miles from land. This would infer that they are 12 nautical miles from land on either side of the seastead which would put the shipping lane at at least 24 nautical miles.

The seastead is 6 metres wide. It has a very bright anchor beacon and has a registered AIS beacon which can be detected by any boat with any sort of navigation in the vicinity.

The area is a heavy fishing area with many many fishing boats trawling the water there daily. The fishing boat captains used to wave at Nadia and Chad as they passed by. They were in no way bothered by the floating home. The seastead takes up less space in the shipping lane than a fishing boat.

Needless to say. This event has doubled down our efforts and we can all clearly see that seasteading needs to happen now as tyranny creeps ever more deeply into our governments to the point that they are willing to hunt down a couple of residents residing in a floating house in middle of nowhere.

We hope this issue can be resolved diplomatically with the Thai government and are ready to talk to anyone in charge at any time. We have tried several times to talk to anyone but were always told that we have nothing to worry about because we are legally in international waters.

The April 15th sale of seasteads is to be postponed until we can get everything straightened out and figure out the best path forward for everyone.

SOURCES: WXYZ.com | ocean.builders

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Crime

2 shot dead at Phuket Bus Terminal Saturday night

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2 shot dead at Phuket Bus Terminal Saturday night | The Thaiger
PHoTO: Nashaplaneta.net

Police say 2 men were gunned down at the Phuket Bus Terminal by a colleague at the terminal along the stretch of Thepkasattri road heading into Phuket Town last night. The incident happened at about 10:15pm with the local police chief arriving along with medical staff from Vachira Hospital shortly after the incident.

60 year old Wian Iadchuthong, the alleged gunman, was waiting to surrender at the scene when police arrived. Police say Wian appeared to be drunk and told them he had a serious argument with the 2 men and decided to take their lives with the gun. Police say they found 50 year old Yod Sae Lee lying on the ground in front of a taxi service stand, badly wounded. He was given CPR before being rushed to Vachira Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

54 year old Prakob Chuthong was also found lying dead by the counter of a 24 hour car park service kiosk. Police say he had been shot 2 times, once in the left side of his head and once in his left rib cage, according to Bangkok Post.

Witnesses say before the shooting, Wian was quietly drinking alone. But after getting drunk, he walked to the counter of the car park service kiosk and allegedly fired 2 shots from a 9mm gun at point-blank range, killing Prakob instantly. Wian then ran towards Yod, who was sitting in front of the taxi service stand. Yod saw Wian coming at him with the gun and he ran away to 1 side of the terminal building, only to be intercepted by Wian who allegedly fired 5 shots. Yod was hit 1 time in the head, 2 times in the torso and 2 times in the legs. Yod was also rushed to Vachira Hospital where he later died.

An initial police investigation found that the 3 were close colleagues at the workplace, but often engaged in heated fights over motorcycle taxi and taxi services at the bus terminal.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Tourism

Phuket lifts mandatory quarantine restrictions for ‘high risk’ arrivals. But were they ever applied?

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Phuket lifts mandatory quarantine restrictions for ‘high risk’ arrivals. But were they ever applied? | The Thaiger

Culminating 2 weeks of mass confusion over the apparent mandatory self-quarantine for arrivals to Phuket from Bangkok and other high risk provinces, Phuket’s provincial communicable disease committee has agreed to lift the mandatory 14 day quarantine “to help boost the local economy hit by the Covid-19 pandemic”.

But for the vast majority of arrivals from Bangkok (DMK and BKK) to Phuket there wasn’t even any mention of quarantine. Over the past 2 weeks, since Phuket’s Governor released a 3 page announcement about new restrictions for the island, people have mostly been coming and going as usual. The only additional impediments were all arrivees having to download and fill in the Mor Chana app and registering with gophuget.com.

In 2 weeks not a single person has reported to The Thaiger that they had been forced to self-quarantine. Last night, when checking in at Suvarnabhumi airport for a Thai VietJet flight to Phuket, the person at the Check-In counter told the passenger (we’ll call them Mic to protect their identity) they would have to serve 14 days in state quarantine upon arrival in Phuket. Mic, surprised, asked for some sort of confirmation of this from airline management or information from the Phuket Provisional officials. None was forthcoming. Nothing more was said or communicated to the passengers.

When the plane landed in Phuket officials checked that passengers had completed the Mor Chana app and scanned their phones after they’d completed the gophuget.com registration. And that was it. No mention of quarantine.

The situation has been repeated by other Thaiger staff over the past 2 weeks as well, but without any mention of quarantine during the check-in or boarding procedures with various airlines. In all cases they flew from Suvarnabhumi or Don Mueang airports.

Phuket’s Governor Narong Woonciew says the decision to ease the Covid-19 restrictions for visitors followed calls from the business community seeking to lure visitors to Phuket. (The Thaiger wonders if any of these officials had actually travelled over the past 2 weeks)

Local businesses met with provincial authorities on Friday proposing an end to the mandatory quarantine period “for people travelling from certain high-risk areas” in the hope of “stimulating the tourism industry”. The proposal was less about stimulating and more about raising the industry from its current flatline.

But whatever mandatory quarantine they were asking to be lifted appears to be have been, at best, loosely applied anyway.

Phuket has has a triple hit. The first when the borders were closed in April and the international airport closed. The second was when December arrived, the start of the busy tourist high-season. The third was the new restrictions added 2 weeks ago in response to the 2nd wave of clusters that started on December 20, tripling the total number of Covid infections in the country in just over a month.

According to Bangkok Post, Sarayuth Mallum, president of the Phuket travel industry council, says… “strict disease control measures remain necessary to protect local people and tourists from contracting the virus”.

Somehow, the mandatory quarantine requirement instructions never reached the airport officials. But, for now anyway, the “restrictions” have been lifted anyway. What was you experience arriving in Phuket over the past week? Were you asked to conduct a mandatory 14 day self-quarantine?

In the meantime the struggling domestic airlines have been forced to massively cancel or reschedule flights. Over the past 2 days most airlines only had 1 or 2 flights to and from Phuket and Bangkok, down from the 4 – 10 daily flights some airlines were offering.

More about the Mor Chana App here…

More about the direct effects on the island of Phuket…

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Crime

Phuket national park officer fired over peeping Tom incident

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Phuket national park officer fired over peeping Tom incident | The Thaiger

A national park officer has been fired after being accused of spying on a woman in the public toilet on January 17 at Phuket’s Sirinath National Park. 28 year old Abdulrama Mahaderi, was accused by a woman named Sopita and her boyfriend Panupong Rungrueng of climbing a wall that separates the men’s and women’s sections of the toilet at Nai Yang beach in order to look at Sopita. Abdulrama allegedly also had his mobile phone in his hand.

Sirinath National Park Chief Pramote Kaewnam confirmed that an investigative committee had spoken to witnesses and determined that Abdulrama was guilty of “misbehaviour and improper actions.”

Pramote confirmed that Abdulrama’s employment contract was then terminated, effective last Wednesday, 3 days after the incident allegedly took place. On its Facebook page, the Sirinath National Park made a post about the incident.

“It has caused disgrace to the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation and affected the image of the overall department.”

Sura Lertthaisong of Sakhu Police confirmed that Abdulrama would be facing charges and that he was currently investigating whether a charge of “bullying in public” under Section 397 of the Criminal Code would be appropriate.

Abdulrama had previously posted on the official Sirinath National Park Facebook page that his understanding was that no charges would be pursued by Sopita and Panupong.

“The tourists told me that they did not want to press charges. They just told me that they did not want me to do anything like this again.”

But after Panupong posted a photo of Abdulrama, detailing his alleged indiscretion on social media, others came forward with similar accusations.

“One group of women said that they were also spied on by this man on the toilet wall 2 months ago, but they did not report it and did not press charges – and the truth faded away as if nothing ever happened.”

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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