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Langkawi ferry bursts into flames – passengers safe – VIDEO

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by Bernama/The Star – Asia News Network

A passenger ferry travelling from the Kuah Ferry Terminal to Kuala Perlis in Langkawi island in Malaysia had to be evacuated after the passenger cabin filled with choking smoke. All the passengers were rescued by a nearby tour boat and local fishing boats.

“The ferry stopped in the middle of the sea and we saw smoke from the engine compartment filling up the passenger area.”

Nor Atiqah Norman Shah of Melaka, who was rescued after the ferry caught fire last night (Monday), says passengers saw three crew members running from the engine section to meet the captain.

“Three times I asked them why the engine compartment was filled with smoke, but they ignored me. Then the passenger area on the left side and near to the engine section caught fire.”

“The whole compartment was filled with smoke and that was when we were all ordered to go to the front and exit the ferry,” she told Bernama at the Kuah Ferry Terminal.

Nor Atiqah says she and her eight family members, as well as other passengers, started scrambling to save themselves.

“Some had time to wear life jackets, some didn’t. We were then transferred to two fishing boats and a tourist boat which had rushed to our rescue,” said Nor Atiqah, who works at a private firm in Gelang Patah, Johor.

Nor Atiqah and her family, who have been here since Saturday for holidays, said all their bags and purchases went up in smoke.

Meanwhile, Suhidah Suib said the whole thing happened so fast that she too did not have time to save any of her belongings.

“The moment the ferry left the terminal, there was already a strong smell of fuel. Then the ferry stopped and it seemed like it was going to go back to the Kuah terminal.

“There was thick smoke and the back of the ferry caught fire. We were told to get out and I got into a fishing boat.

“At that time, there was a huge fire on the ferry and we even heard explosions,” said Suhidah, who was visibly shaken by the incident.

At the Kuah Ferry Terminal, various government agencies like the Royal Malaysia Police, Fire and Rescue Department, Civil Defence Force, and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency assisted the victims.

They were also provided with food and drinks prepared by several hotels.

Langkawi District Civil Defence Force Training and Disaster Operations officer Lt Azamshah Aperal said 49 victims left for Kuala Kedah on the 6pm ferry while two more were being treated at the Sultanah Maliha Hospital.

 

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British tourists come forward about being attacked on Koh Tao in 2013

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Photo by Valeriy Ryasnyanskiy for Unsplash

Many continue to contend that Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo, the 2 Burmese young men convicted for the 2014 murder of 2 tourists on Koh Tao’s Sairee Beach, are innocent. Now 2 tourists who were attacked on the same beach, just a year before the murder, are now coming forward to help prove that the conviction could have been unreliable.

In September 2014, the bodies of British tourists 23 year old Hannah Witheridge and 24 year old David Miller were found on the beach. Police say Hannah had been raped and David had been hit several times on the head with a garden hoe.

Zaw and Wai were arrested soon after the killings. Some say the investigation was accelerated in an effort to gain back tourist confidence and keep visitors coming to the island. Numerous activists, criminologists, and others have spoken out against the conviction, saying the evidence was bungled.

Just a year before, British tourists Sam Venning and Carla Bartel survived an attack on the same beach. Sam, who was 22 at the time, was talking to Carla, who was 20, on the beach when 2 men wearing V for Vendetta masks attacked them, hitting Sam in the head with a rock.

Sam and Carla came forward to Thai officials after the killings to help with the investigation, but say no one got back to them. Sam says he had emailed the Thai Embassy in London, but no one contacted him. Carla says she contacted the UK Foreign Commonwealth Office who then passed her on to the UK National Crime Agency. She was told that the information was sent to Thai police, but officers did not follow up with her.

SOURCE: Mirror.UK

 

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UPDATE: 2 Americans and a Thai arrested over Bangkok kidnap attempt, Thai policeman involved | VIDEO

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Screenshot: THAICRIME

UPDATE:

Following up from the earlier story involving 2 Americans, a Thai, a Taiwanese businessman, and an Israeli security goon, we have the following update (original story below)…

Police have examined CCTV from the restaurant in Thong Lor where the Taiwanese businessman was kidnapped. It’s also been revealed that a “senior Thai policeman” was involved in the alleged abduction case. The abduction took place on March 28.

The meeting had been called to “resolve” some disagreements over a large purchase of rubber gloves that had gone wrong.

After arriving at a meeting at the L’Oliva restaurant in Sukhumvit Soi 26, Mr. Wen Yu Chung was manhandled, put in a headlock and dragged out of the premises. Daily News reports that a “lieutenant colonel” ranked Thai policeman was also captured on the CCTV supervising the events as they happened inside the restaurant. He is reported as being a former traffic policeman.

Mr. Chung was then held to ransom at the condo NT Court. Attempts were made to contact Mr Chung’s family and business associates to extract a ransom – allegedly 1 and 2 million baht – but they refused to pay.

The 3 men have been identified as 41 year old Jeremy Hughes Manchester, 52 year old Louis William Ziskin, both Americans, and Ekbodin Prasitnarit, Thai.

Mr Louis Ziskin has a somewhat chequered history with his story catalogued on Wikipedia. Summarised…

Ziskin was taken into custody in December 7, 2000 and charged over transactions from November 1999 to December 22, 1999. Ziskin was convicted of smuggling 700 pounds of ecstasy into Southern California via FedEx and other various shipping companies, the largest-ever US government seizure of the drug. There was another indictment a year later.

Following his incarceration, Ziskin lost a double jeopardy appeal for the second indictment. The US government settled all claims against Ziskin for a 188 month sentence and a US$9 million fine.

Daily News also reported a man ‘Mike’ who allegedly invited the policeman to be involved in the incident. Earlier this man was described as “Mr. Michael Greenberg, an Israeli operating a detective company”.

Here’s video showing the arrest of Mr. Ziskin…

EARLIER STORY:

Thai police have arrested 2 American citizens and a Thai for the alleged kidnap of a Taiwanese businessman for ransom. 5 other arrest warrants are also waiting to be executed over the incident. Police allege a “business conflict” over the purchase of plastic ‘nitrile’ gloves as the motive.

The 3 men have been identified as 41 year old Jeremy Hughes Manchester, 52 year old Louis William Ziskin, both Americans, and Ekbodin Prasitnarit, Thai. All 3 have denied the charges including illegal assembly, attempted murder, abduction for ransom and extortion. They were formally charged at the Thong Lor police.

According to Bangkok Post, in late 2020 Mr Ziskin appointed the Collection Company to negotiate the purchase of a large quantity of plastic gloves with the Paddy The Room Trading Company.

Police allege that there was an ongoing conflict between the two sides which was responsible for Mr Ziskin accumulating 93 million baht in damages.. So, according to police, Mr Ziskin hired Mr. Michael Greenberg, an Israeli operating a detective company in Thailand to negotiate and retrieve the losses.

Police allege that Mr Greenberg hired Thai and foreign collaborators to plan an abduction as leverage in the retrieval of their losses. They contacted a 60 year old Taiwanese man from the Collection Company in Thailand to procure a supply of rubber gloves from Paddy The Room Trading Company.

They made an appointment to meet Wen Yu Chung at a restaurant in Bangkok’s in Bangkok’s Tong Lor are off Sukhumvit Road on March 28. Police allege that Mr Greenberg and hired associates arrived, handcuffed the Taiwanese businessman and then took him to the NT Place, 200 metres further south down the same Soi, Sukhumvit 36.

They then called Mr Chung’s boss demanding US$2 million, and then called the man’s family demanding another US$1 million. Both contacted police and did nothing to accede to the demands for ransom..

The abductors then headed to a restaurant in Soi 24, with Mr. Chung, eventually letting him go. The Taiwanese man went, first to hospital, then to Thong Lor police station to relate his story. Eventually 8 arrest warrants were issued over the alleged abduction. Soon after police arrested Mr Manchester, Mr Ziskin and Mr Ekbodin.

We’ll continue to follow this story.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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British health secretary tells Brits to bypass Thailand for summer holidays

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Stock photo via Flickr

The British health secretary is telling Brits to bypass countries that are labelled amber, like Thailand, for their summer holidays. Matt Hancock, says those countries labelled by the government’s traffic lights travel guide include Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. The colours denote the Covid situation in each country.

He says, instead, for Brits to vacation at home or to choose one of the 12 green-labelled countries such as Portugal, Australia, New Zealand, or Singapore. But many of those “green” countries are not accepting tourists. Those Brits who insist on visiting Thailand face many obstacles including a certificate of entry from the London-based Thai embassy, health clearance, and Covid insurance worth at least 3 million baht. A 14 day, self-paid quarantine on arrival, along with restrictions for relaxing at beaches in the Kingdom, make it almost a no-brainer for Brits to book elsewhere. Other Southeast Asian countries are also being ruled out due to the expense of travelling to and from.

Thailand’s largest hopes for any sort of tourism to return this year lie in the Sandbox scheme, which was first announced by the tourist-laden province of Phuket. The next source of tourism for the Kingdom would be comprised of those taking part in travel bubbles with other Asian countries such as Japan and China. But, as Thailand’s vaccine rollout plan has only seen less than 2% of the population inoculated, the ideas to bring in more tourists seem far from materialising.

National and provincial safety measures also have deemed most bars, clubs, and entertainment venues to be closed until further notice. Dining-in is still allowed but alcohol is not, meaning a long trip to Thailand, paying for quarantine, and sitting in your hotel may not be the summer holiday Brits may be expecting.

Meanwhile, Bangkok and Thailand’s provinces have accumulated another 9,635 infections and 25 Covid-related deaths over the past 24 hours. 6,853 of today’s total is from Bangkok prisons. If you take the new prison cases out of the equation, there has been an additional 2,782 cases for the Monday report.

 

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