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Six arrested in 10 million baht Andaman tour scam

Thaiger

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Police have arrested six female suspects linked to a tour company that allegedly swindled customers of 10 million baht for bogus tour packages, Deputy Tourist Police chief Maj-General Surachet Hakpan told a press conference in Bangkok on Monday.

The suspects named as executives of the tour company were Thanyarat Sansangwal, Nawanat Phosuk, Kwanreuthai Monkaew, Sathaporn Thongphrom, Thanipa Kanhachat and Monthathip Ployprapasmuk. All suspects were aged between 22 and 42.

The six women were arrested on Sunday under warrants issued on April 11 by the Satun Court over charges of public fraud and illegally operating a tour business resulting in damages to tourists.

The case also has two male suspects – company owner, 51 year old Thorn Kaewkrai who was arrested on March 26, and the elusive company manager, 43 year old Pratheep Kaewnont.
Surachet said the police investigation discovered that the company was owned by Thaworn.

They learned that Pratheep was wanted in a series of other public fraud cases and had served a 2014 jail term over fraud committed when he managed a Krabi resort.

Prathep served as the tour company’s manager and reportedly was the key player in this recent wrongdoing, Surachet said. The case at first stemmed from a police complaint filed on March 24 by 44 Thai tourists at Satun’s Koh Lipe police station. The complaint claimed that the tourists were allegedly duped into buying a tour package to visit Koh Lipe from Thai Alfa Andaman Co via its Facebook page but they didn’t get the services as advertised, Surachet said.

The police probe later found that up to 1,600 people (including the 44 plaintiffs) might have been victimised in the alleged fraud, resulting in damages worth 10 million baht, he said.

To date, 200 people have stepped forwards to file fraud complaints, resulting in the arrest being issued. One victim in her 30s, Benjaporn (last name withheld), recalled that she and four friends wanted to visit Koh Lipe. They found the tour company online with 150,000 “followers” and some 100 good “reviews” of services and so had bought a tour package for 7,990 baht with a “buy 1 get 1 free” promotion. The group paid about 20,000 baht in total for the March 23-25 visit, said the victim.

The group were picked up by a van at an airport and sent to a pier to board a ferry to the island and took in a diving session at Koh Khai, she said. Their hotel later told them that the company had not paid for their accommodation and they were therefore on the hook for paying from their own pockets, as well as the van and ferry fares, and diving service fee for a total 23,000 baht. This meant they had paid 43,000 baht for the trip, she said.

They found another five groups totally 39 people who had a similar experience with the company. Their inquiry to the company’s office received a reply that the company owner and executives had disappeared and not paid their employees, she said. Thaworn told her by telephone that he was experiencing financial problems and so was asking customers to cover the expenses and he would pay them back, she said. After that, they lodged the police complaint.

 

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Environment

Asia holds 99 of the 100 most environmentally at-risk cities

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Verisk Maplecroft's global risk assessment for environmentally vulnerable cities. (via Verisk Maplecroft)

If you live in 1 of the 100 most environmentally vulnerable cities in the world, then unless you live in Lima, Peru, we can guess what continent you’re on. According to a recent risk assessment study, 99 out of the top 100 most environmentally vulnerable cities are located in Asia with 80% of them in India or China alone. 1.5 billion people in 400 large cities worldwide are considered to be at high or extreme risk. Natural disasters and climate change, heatwaves, water shortages, and pollution that shortens the average life span are amongst the environmental risks facing people today.

City’s hold more than half the world’s population and are the financial drivers of a country’s economy, but most cities will continue to suffer worse and worse air quality, pollution, extreme weather, water scarcity, and other natural hazards. Asian cities are hard hit, with Karachi ranked 12th, Manila 71st, and Bangkok holding the 84th spot on the list of cities at risk environmentally.

Holding the uncoveted top spot on the list is the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, with frequent heatwaves, flooding, and pollution only increasing. New Delhi ranked second, joined by other Indian cities such as Chennai in 3rd, Agra in 6th, Kanpur in 10th, Jaipur in 22nd, Lucknow in 24th, and Mumbai in 27th. In total, 13 of the top 20 at-risk cities on the list are in India.

Indian cities also fill the entire top 20 list of urban areas housing over a million inhabitants with the worst air quality, with New Delhi ranking first. Every year a million people die in India due to air pollution with 7 million total deaths globally. A lot of the air pollution issues stem from burning coal and other fossil fuels.

Turning from the skies to the water, China holds 35 of the top 50 cities with the most water pollution plus 13 of the top 15 water-stressed cities. There is hope that China’s emerging middle class will push for a higher quality of life, rallying for cleaner air and water and persuading the government to act more environmentally responsible.

China’s government seems to be beginning to act, shutting down factories until they meet emission goals and taking other strong steps. India has a less cohesive economy and a government with a looser grip on industry, putting it at a disadvantage in tackling environmental issues.

The Middle East and North Africa are the regions most at risk of environmentally calamitous events outside of Asia. Focusing on global warming, sub-Saharan Africa holds 40 of the 45 most at-risk cities. Abidjan, Brazzaville, Freetown, Kigali, Mombasa, Monrovia and other large cities are vulnerable. Lagos and Kinshasa are the two cities in Africa with the largest populations and are included in the list of threatened cities.

Africa is in the unenviable position of being the continent that contributes the least to global warming and climate change but will suffer the most from the results which will bring heatwaves, increasingly bad droughts, flooding and more powerful storms. Large portions of the continent are not nearly prepared enough to deal with the resulting environmental disasters.

To compile the list of risk assessment environmentally for cities, researchers at Verisk Maplecroft looked at human vulnerability, the danger of extreme natural events, and how well the country could adapt to environmental change. They evaluated the livability and operational capacity of a city including its real estate assets and investment potential. The full report can be seen here.

SOURCE: Yahoo

 

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Phuket

Phuket tightens restrictions: No parties, no visits from friends

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo by PR Phuket

No, your friends can’t come over. No parties. No drinking with friends. No large gatherings. As part of Phuket’s efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19, local authorities have tightened restrictions and say friends are not allowed to gather at private homes.

“No parties of any kind allowed… No house party, no friends gathering in the residence.”

Along with temporary closures of some businesses and venues, the order says, parties involving alcohol are banned and gatherings of more than 30 people are banned. The only gatherings allowed are religious ceremonies like weddings and funerals.

Foreigners who violate any of Phuket’s disease control measures could be deported and lose their permission to stay in Thailand. On Sunday, 2 British men in Phuket were each fined 6,000 baht for having a “party.” Only 6 people were gathered at the home. Police from the Cherng Talay station came by the home after a call from a neighbour.

Phuket tightens restrictions: No parties, no visits from friends | News by Thaiger

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

3 organisers of Phuket’s Kolour superspreader event charged

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: 3 managers involved in the Kolour superspreader event have been charged.

As Thailand still wrestles to control the third wave of Covid-19, much of which stems from entertainment venues in Bangkok and a massive party in Phuket, Patong police announced that the managers of the Phuket venues that hosted the Kolour superspreader event will be charged under the Emergency Decree. The case report was filed with the public prosecutor yesterday according to the Patong police chief, confirming that 3 people will be prosecuted for the event.

The Kolour Beachside Festival was held April 2 and 3 with events at Café Del Mar Phuket in Kamala, and Shelter Phuket Dance and Night Club and Illuzion Nightclub, both in Patong. Before the festival, Phuket had gone more than a hundred days without any new Covid-19 infections, but by April 7 the Phuket provincial Public Health office announced 8 new infections, half of which had been at the Kolour parties. In the following weeks, officials plead for attendees to be tested as infections spread.

Charges were delayed in being filed to the Phuket Public Prosecutor’s office as a special investigation committee was ordered to be created to oversee the investigation at the request of Region 8’s Police Commander. That committee brought together officials from various law enforcement in the area including the Patong Police, Kamala Police, Phuket Provincial Police, and the Region 8 Police to investigate the Kolour event before anyone was charged.

The manager of Café Del Mar, along with the managing director and the manager of Shelter and Illuzion, which are under the same management team, will be charged for the Kolour festival violating Thailand’s Emergency Decree that was declared to help protect the country from Covid-19 outbreaks. A breach of the Emergency Decree can be held liable for up to 40,000 Baht and 2 years in jail under Section 9 of the Decree.

The latter 2 are also facing charges of operating an unlicensed entertainment venue. This carries the possibility of another year in prison and a fine of up to 60,000 baht, in accordance with Thai Law under Section 26 of the Entertainment Place Act.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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