Thursday, 27 October 2011

Tens of thousands flee as floods sweep Bangkok


Tens of thousands of Thais are fleeing flood-threatened Bangkok after the city's Governor ordered official evacuations for the first time since the crisis began. Floodwaters bearing down on the city have killed 373 people nationwide since July, causing damage that will cost billions to repair and shutting down Bangkok's second largest airport. Satellite maps of Bangkok last night showed a city almost entirely surrounded by water.

Monday, 26 September 2011

The Teewave AR.1 uses Toray carbon fiber for its chassis, crash structures, body, and interior.

Teewave AR.1 concept

This concept sports car was built, from initial sketches to working prototype, in just nine months.

(Credit: Gordon Murray Design)


Creating a new car can take years of development, but Gordon Murray Design put together a running prototype electric sports car in just nine months. The Teewave AR.1 was commissioned by Toray Industries to show off its carbon fiber production.

Toray says that its process can make carbon fiber components in just 10 minutes. The Teewave AR.1 uses Toray carbon fiber for its chassis, crash structures, body, and interior. Other Toray materials make up interior surfaces and components of the car.


Teewave AR.1 concept

Gordon Murray Design opted for a modest electric powertrain in the Teewave AR.1, meaning sluggish acceleration.

(Credit: Gordon Murray Design)


Those light carbon fiber elements make the overall weight of the Teewave AR.1 just 1,874 pounds. The lithium ion battery pack for the car makes up 530 pounds of that weight.

Gordon Murray Design did not specify the supplier of the electric power train, but its specifications are fairly standard for new electric cars hitting the market. Range is listed as 116 miles using the New European Driving Cycle test procedure, and charging time is 6 hours.

The Teewave AR.1 does not push the boundaries of electric car performance. Its electric motor, driving the rear wheels, only produces 63 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. That means acceleration of 11.4 seconds to 62 mph.

You won't be able to buy a Teewave AR.1 anytime soon. The car will be used by Toray to demonstrate its carbon fiber capabilities. But Toray says its carbon fiber components will scale from a car as small as the Teewave AR.1 to any other size of vehicle.

What this concept also demonstrates is how quickly a new car can, from sketches to a working prototype, can be built. Components such as the electric drive train and suspension are modular, while the carbon fiber can be formed from molds rather than the more time-consuming stamping process for steel, which involves more tooling.


It was quite a good idea for Mini to make a coupe version as the fifth body derivative in the model line-up because the earlier variations basically covered the widest customer expectations possible.

If you loved the Mini for what it has always been, you'd easily go for the classic Hatch. Want more fun and there's the Convertible. Need to be a little pseudo and the Clubman awaits you. Crave for family practicality and the Countryman's yours.

But if you needn't any of those values but want a genuinely good looking and driving Mini for yourself, the Coupe is the perfect choice.

The removal of the compartment for rear passengers has allowed Mini to put in place a three-box profile to give the Coupe a nice coupe profile. Adding more fun is a helmet-style roof distinctively coloured from the body.

But that's just about it when it comes to the cosmetic test because the rest of the Coupe is plainly a Mini.

There's no differentiation when it comes to the lights or front grille. Simply, it's the roof that holds the key to your liking of the Coupe.

The fascia is just like in any other Mini: fun but flawed to use.

Despite the booted appearance, the Coupe's boot lid opens in a hatch manner (together with the rear windscreen) which, in essence, makes the Coupe more of a liftback.

No rear perches means that the Coupe has that kind of boot space rarely seen in any Mini. Mini has also taken the opportunity to design the interior boot cover with stylish twin cowls. In functionality terms, the Coupe is all what two people at most would ever need.

And turning to aesthetics again, the interior reaches the same dead end as the exterior in which distinction is only confined to the rear bit. The front seats, steering wheel and fascia are like in other Minis, with the latest aspect being fun in appearance but flawed in ergonomic terms.

But you really can't blame Mini for the vast similarities the Coupe bears to its other siblings.

It's a diversification of a specific model, in the first place, and not entirely all-new on its own. Hence, the need to share as many parts as possible.

The pop-up spoiler has both visual and dynamic benefits.

So if you're expecting the Coupe to feel distinctively special on the move, prepare to frown because it doesn't. However, that can never be considered a bad thing since Minis have always been known to be cars that are great to drive.

The running gear of the Coupe is predictable enough: the engines and transmissions are the ones you have seen around since the Mini's facelift in second-gen form with no changes in power and torque outputs.

The one highlighted here for the Coupe test drive in Germany this month is the range-topping 211hp 1.6-litre petrol-turbo and six-speed manual gearbox for the so-called John Cooper Works guise.

The chassis setup is basically just like in other Minis including a sporty tuning. Absence of rear seats has also allowed engineers to place a cross-member in their place to further increase body rigidity for even better handling.

With this in mind, the Coupe drives very much like the Hatch. Performance is brisk in a straight line and impressive when picking up from low engine revs and when exiting corners.

There's no doubting the Coupe's handling, too. This is as sporty as a car of this small size gets, and the way it grips at high speeds when slamming down the autobahn to its top speed is quite amazing. Special thanks go to a new rear spoiler that pops up at over 80kph (and disappearing again when dipping below 60kph).

Ah, that spoiler, the item much talked-about in the Coupe which many critics have described as more a cosmetic gimmick rather than one for dynamic reasons. But as things turned out during the international driving trials, there seems to also be much weight leaning towards the latter factor.

The Coupe also goes around into corners with the same conviction as the Hatch: superbly agile, finely balanced and virtually free of understeer. It's equally as capable as a rear-drive sports car like the Mazda MX-5, unless your idea of looking out from the car is through the side windows.

There’s some stow space behind the front seats... and more of it in the boot.

Speaking of the driving view, the Coupe does feel different from the Hatch in the sense that the front windscreen is more slanted and not as upright as in the Hatch or Clubman. And the Coupe's rear view is limited, although the view of the spoiler (and the stripes painted on it) looks cool.

A more serious downside (in terms of marketing and not engineering) is the unavailability of an automatic gearbox. Mini still insists that JCW cars must be manual. This means that Thais won't be getting this powerful JCW, unless they order it.

Instead, the Cooper S and Cooper variants will come at the year-end with six-speed slushers, the prior spec having steering-mounted paddle-shifters. There wasn't the chance to sample the Cooper S, but it's fair to say _ based on previous driving experiences of other Minis _ that the Coupe with this power treatment will still be a fast car to drive.

You need not have suspicions about the Coupe's ride: the underlying firmness of the chassis makes for a stiff ride, even on the slightest of potholes on German roads. We'd easily say that the ride on Bangkok streets would be terrifyingly hard.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Thailand launches new campaign to fight drug crimes


The golden triangle region where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar join has been the centre of drug production and trafficking for a long time. Drug situation in Thailand has deteriorated since 2007 when about 400.000 were arrested on drug related ground. National statistics show that in 2011 the number of persons implicated in narcotics has attained 1.3 million across 80.000 villages. A reason enough for the new government to approve a new anti-drugs campaign that pledges to be inflexible with traffickers and help addicts through rehabilitation programs. Few days ago, a military border force seized 3.4 kilograms of heroin and 95 kg of crystal methamphetamine, worth US$33 million, the drugs were smuggled from Myanmar, where it is believed that ethnic minorities are major heroin and methamphetamine traffickers. In order to stop narcotics production, Thai businessmen will be encouraged to rent plots of land and invest in agriculture projects and then hire hill-tribe people to work on the farms so that they make a decent living. Border checkpoints will be intensified along the Thai-Burmese border to discourage drug smuggling. Prisons are over-crowded with drug convicts, to prevent them from going back to drug trafficking after being released, they will be encouraged to learn new skills in the final year of their jail terms. Children remain an easy target, therefore the armed force will act as a role model and promote sports and healthy life. Opening military camps and stadiums and donating sports equipment to needy youngsters will be their priority. For the past decade, Thai government has been far from successful in its fight against drug trafficking, but Yingluck Shinawatra by joining force with neighboring countries wishes to stop the problem at the root.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

British expat arrested in Phuket today was on a list of fugitives wanted by an international division of the UK’s Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA)

Paul Ridden in detention in Phuket. Photo: Lars Goran Dikander.
Paul Ridden in detention in Phuket. Photo: Lars Goran Dikander.

PHUKET: A British expat arrested in Phuket today was on a list of fugitives wanted by an international division of the UK’s Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA), the Phuket Gazette has learned.

Paul Ridden, 58, was arrested today after being fooled into meeting a friend in front of Chalong Police Station.

When he drove into the police station car park, his exit was blocked by other vehicles behind him.

“When he pulled up, Tourist Police volunteer Gary Halpin reached in and removed the key from the ignition,” said fellow volunteer Jum Ali Khan.

The move to lure Mr Ridden to capture today follows a Chalong Police attempt to bring him in for questioning yesterday after a fellow expat complained of being cheated out of 75,000 baht.

Sussex Police in the UK appealed to the public for help in finding Mr Ridden in June after he jumped police bail in April.

The appeal, which said Mr Ridden was wanted for “numerous fraud offenses”, was carried nationwide, including on the BBC website.

The appeal was issued by Detective Constable Rick Kent, Senior Officer, Operations, of SOCA’s Middle East and Asia division.

Speaking to the Phuket Gazette tonight, Mr Ridden confirmed that he had been contacted by the British Embassy in Bangkok, but he declined to answer any questions related to why he was wanted by the UK authorities.

After taking Mr Ridden into custody, Police Col Boonlert Onklang noticed that the Eastbourne native had overstayed his visa.

Mr Ridden will spend tonight in detention at the station, and will be presented in court tomorrow to face a fine for his immigration infraction.

However, that may not be the end of his problems in Phuket.

At least six people were lining up at Chalong Police Station tonight to file complaints against him.

All the complaints related to Mr Ridden having allegedly deceived or cheated the plaintiffs out of money.

One woman told the Gazette that he borrowed her motorbike and then rented it out to tourists.

Mr Ridden also hired cars from local rental operators, then rented them out to tourists, “like subletting,” one man said.

“There are eight cars in total,” he added.

Another person ready to file a complaint said he rented a car from Mr Ridden and was still waiting for his deposit to be returned. “That was two weeks ago,” he said.

Yet Mr Ridden claimed that he himself was a victim of deceit.

“I was just trying to run a business in Thailand. What happened was that the guy I came to work with said he would get me a work permit, so I gave him 65,000 baht. That was three months ago," he said.

Mr Ridden said that he was working with a local firm that installs CCTV systems.

“I was like a sub-agent. I was getting the job and they were fitting it. Their manager told me that he could get a work permit for me if I worked for them for a year, so I gave him the money. But the boss never knew about it,” he said.

“The paperwork that was signed – which I still have – was all forged by the manager. And they know about it. That’s how it all started,” he said.

Mr Ridden said that the 75,000 baht involved in the original Phuket complaint was saved in a bank account.

“The money was for getting the man a visa, but he found a cheaper way and decided to do it himself. But to get the visa [the man wanted], he needed to have money in a bank account, and that’s where it is. I will give it all back,” he said.

He also said that he had been in touch with several people – and in front of the Gazette he specifically asked for certain people to come and see him – so he could give the car registration books back.

Mr Ridden also asked that the Thai man he had hired to help him to run his business not be involved, especially since the Thai man’s wife was one month pregnant.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Google closes 10 services in 'spring clean'


The services being closed by Google include Aardvark, a social network-powered question-and-answer search tool, Fast Flip, an experiment in displaying news content online, and Notebook, a note-taking and URL-clipping service. In a post on Google’s blog, Alan Eustace, senior vice president, said: “Over the next few months we’ll be shutting down a number of products and merging others into existing products as features. [...] This will make things much simpler for our users, improving the overall Google experience. It will also mean we can devote more resources to high impact products—the ones that improve the lives of billions of people.” He added: “We’ll continue to take risks on interesting new technologies with a lot of potential. But by targeting our resources more effectively, we can focus on building world-changing products with a truly beautiful user experience.” Other services being discontinued by Google include Desktop, which the company says has been superseded by cloud computing, Google Pack, the company’s bundle of downloadable software, and Sidewiki, a collaborative approach to annotating websites. Google Maps API for Flash, Google Web Security, Image Labeler and Subscribed Links are the other services to be closed. Aardvark founders Max Ventilla and Damon Horowitz said that Google+ had taken on some of the role performed by their service. In a blogpost, they wrote: “We’ve been excited to share these lessons within Google over the past year, especially as part of the effort behind Google+. “It has been gratifying to see how well this project is doing — even in these early stages, Google+ has already become a great place to share knowledge online, eclipsing the original! — and there is much more to come very soon.”

Giant saltwater crocodile weighing more than a tonne was captured in a remote Philippine village following a spate of attacks on humans

 Giant saltwater crocodile weighing more than a tonne was captured in a remote Philippine village following a spate of attacks on humans and livestock, officials said Tuesday.

The 21-foot (6.4-metre), 1,075-kilogramme (2,370-pound) reptile may have eaten a farmer who went missing in July, along with several water buffaloes in the southern town of Bunawan, crocodile hunter Rollie Sumiller said.

A crocodile also bit off the head of a 12-year-old girl in Bunawan in 2009, according to the environment ministry.

Josefina de Leon, wildlife division chief of the environment ministry's protected areas and wildlife bureau, said it was likely the biggest crocodile ever captured.

"Based on existing records the largest that had been captured previously was 5.48 metres long," she told AFP.

"This is the biggest animal that I've handled in 20 years of trapping,"

Sumiller added, estimating the male to be more than 50 years old.

"The community was relieved," he told AFP, but added: "We're not really sure if this is the man-eater, because there have been other sightings of other crocodiles in the area."

The team, employed by a government-run crocodile breeding farm, began laying bait using chicken, pork and dog meat on August 15, but the reptile simply bit off both meat and line the it was skewered on.

An eight milimetre (0.31-inch) metal cable finally proved beyond the power of its jaws and the beast was subdued at a creek on Saturday with the help of about 30 local men.

The local government decided against putting down the reptile and will instead use him as the main attraction at a planned nature park in the area.

"He's a problem crocodile that needs to be taken from the wildlife so that it can be used for eco-tourism," Sumiller said.

Crocodylus porosus or estuarine crocodile is the world's largest reptile that usually grows to five or six metres long and can live up to 100 years.

While not considered an endangered species globally, it is "critically endangered" in the Philippines, where it is hunted for its hide to feed the fashion industry, de Leon said.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Drug couriers killed in Chiang Rai


Two drug traffickers were killed and 22,200 methamphetamine pills seized late on Sunday night in a clash with a combined force of police and para-military rangers of the Pha Muang Force in Thoeng district of Chiang Rai province, police said. Pol Maj-Gen Songtham Alapach, the Chiang Rai police chief, said the combined police-ranger force laid in wait near Rom Pho Thong village in tambon Tap Tao of Thoeng district between kilometre markers 56-57 on the road to Phu Chi Fa mountain near the Thai-Lao border after learning that a drug gang would transport speed pills across the border from Laos. Late in the night, the combined force spotted five men carrying backpacks and AK47 rifles walking down from the mountain and ordered them to stop for a search. The smugglers opened fire and a 10 minute gunfight followed. After the clash, the police and rangers examined the area and found the bodies of two men who were killed in the fight.  One of them was identified as Laopho sae Wang, 50, a villager of Rom Pho Thong village, and the other was an unidentified Hmong from neighbouring Laos. The three other smugglers fled back across the border. A backpack containing 22,200 methamphetamine pills and a 9mm pistol were also found at the scene.

Taiwan busts massive drug smuggling ring


TAIWAN police say they've busted a drug smuggling ring responsible for transporting $66.06 million worth of narcotics to Australia, New Zealand and Japan. A total of nine suspects have been arrested, including the suspected leader of the ring, 40-year-old Fan Chu-lin, the Criminal Investigation Bureau said on Monday. "This is definitely one of the largest smuggling rings to be uncovered in many years," bureau official Yang Ming-chang said. Over a 10-year period, the group allegedly smuggled hundreds of kilograms of ecstasy and amphetamines from Hong Kong and China to Japan, New Zealand and Australia. It also smuggled large amounts of marijuana from Thailand and Holland into Taiwan. According to preliminary estimates, the drugs smuggled by the group over the 10-year period totalled at least $65.5 million, Yang said. If convicted, Fan could face a minimum 20 years in jail under Taiwanese law.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Kickboxer Lee Aldhouse is to be extradited to Thailand to face trial for the murder on Phuket of former US Marine Dashawn Longellow,

Kickboxer Lee Aldhouse is to be extradited to Thailand to face trial for the murder on Phuket of former US Marine Dashawn Longellow, a British newspaper is reporting.

The Daily Mirror says a government source told them: ''The only way he could have realistically avoided extradition is if he would have faced the death penalty if found guilty. But the Thai Government have assured us that he will not.''

Aldhouse, 28, has 14 days in which to appeal.

The stabbing murder of Longfellow, 23, became a notorious case on Phuket as a manhunt was launched for his suspected killer.

Aldhouse was arrested at London's Heathrow airport a few days after the mid-August murder, having made his escape via Cambodia and a flight from Singapore.

Prosecution authorities in Bangkok are likely to be delighted with the precedent-setting decision by British Home Secretary Theresa May.

Once it is officially confirmed, Longfellow's family and friends in the US and on Phuket will be vastly relieved.

Prison conditions in Thailand were believed to be what caused the decision to run past the normal two months for a Home Secretary to decide whether an extradition is appropriate.

Phuket Prison is overcrowded with conditions well below international standards.

Authorities in Thailand will be anxiously awaiting a decision on whether Aldhouse chooses to appeal, a move that could mean a delay in the process or worse, extradition being refused.

Aldhouse, known as the Pitbull, picked a fight with Longfellow at the Freedom Bar in Rawai, a southern beachside spot on Phuket. Having lost the fight, Phuket police believe, Aldhouse collected two knives from a nearby 7-Eleven store and ambushed the former Marine when he returned to his apartment.

Did Lee Aldhouse Do It?

Phuketwan has posted dramatic footage of a man who looks like Lee Aldhouse obtaining two knives from a 7-Eleven store shortly before Mr Longfellow was stabbed to death

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Pattaya police catching methamphetamine dealers. Latest drug seller arrest: Middle-aged Frenchman and Thai couple in Soi "PP".

Pattaya August 21, 2011,( PDN) Police Lieutenant Vitsanu Chaisuwan and his team arrests Mr Philipot Vincent, age 40 French citizen in possession 2,000 THB, methampetamine in a clear plastic bag plus drug paraphernelia. Also arrested: Miss Supaksorn Yoriya age 31, address: 71 Moo 5, Tambon Nakornjadi, Lampoon province together with her husband Mr Kampol Kongdaeng, age 32 years old from 37/1 Moo 2, Tambon Lumlukka, Pathumthani province. The suspects were carrying cash 2,500 THB, ya-ice packed in a small clear plastic bag, weight 0.57 grams. They were both detained for further investigation.

Police Lieutenant Vitsanu Chaisuwan said since some time they had planned to arrest Mr Philipot Vincent a suspected drug dealer.

The plan to capture Mr Philipot to was use under cover police agents pretending to buy ya-ice worth 2,000 THB from Mr Philipot at an apartment in Soi Jeerapol (Soi PP).

Later Mr Philipot was caught red handed with ya-ice and cash for the drugs. After inspecting the room various drug paraphernelia were found.

Further arrests were made . First: Miss Supaksorn in front of the 7-11 at Soi Jeerapol in Soi Bua Khao carrying methampetamine and 2,500 THB in cash. Thereafter in a nearby rented room the police found Mr Kampol her husband in the room together with ya-ice and drug paraphernelia.

Upon investigation Miss Supaksorn confessed that she was a prostitute working on Pattaya beach and her husband a motorcycle-taxi rider in Soi Bua Khao. In need of more money the couple bought ya-ice from a dealer for 20,000 THB which they divided it a small portion to sell to foreigners and Thais. This had been going on for a long time and they were also addicted to ya-ice. The urine drug test found them both positive. The three suspects confessed that they both sell and take ya-ice. All three were detained for further investigation

Phuket drug tip-offs lead to four arrests, 6,000 pills seized

anti-drug squad in Thalang District, which covers most of the north of Phuket, last night nabbed four people for drugs, culminating with the arrest of an alleged dealer with more than 5,000 pills early this morning.

The squad, comprising four Thalang Police officers and officials from the Thalang District Office, began the night’s work with the arrest of an 18-year-old at a house in Moo 9, Thepkrassattri sub-district, at about 8pm.

The young man was charged with possession of four ya bah (methamphetamine) pills and handed to the Phuket Juvenile Observation and Protection Center.

In his statement, the teenager claimed that he bought the drugs from Somboon “Tuck” Pinit, 45.

The team moved to arrest Somboon, but while doing the rounds the officers arrested Chanchai “Eak” Phirom, 28, on the Na Nai–Pakrongcheep Road in Thepkrassattri at about 9:30pm.

Chanchai was charged for possession of three ya bah pills, with intent to use.

The team later arrested Somboon at a house in Baan Khanaen village in Thepkrassattri, at about 12:40am.

Somboon was found in possession of 5,800 ya bah pills as well as a rifle with 25 bullets and 3,510 baht in cash.

Charged with possession of drugs with intent to sell, Somboon told police that he sourced his ya bah from Pongsathorn “Nui” Mangka, 40.

Somboon’s statement led to the arrest of Pongsathorn in front of his house at Baan Suan Neramitra 3 in Srisoonthorn sub-district at about 4:30am today.

Pongsathorn was found with 50 ya bah pills on his person.

A search of his house uncovered 300 more ya bah pills as well as 0.7 grams of ya ice (crystal methamphetamine) and 6,500 baht in cash.

Pongsathorn was charged with possession of drugs with intent to sell.

At a press conference at the Thalang District Office this morning, Phuket Vice Governor Weerawat Janpen thanked the community for the tip-offs.

“I would like to thank the people for the information that led to these four arrests,” he said.

“Thank you for having eyes on crime. It is very useful,” he added.


Monday, 25 July 2011

Busted Phuket Drugs Gang Linked to Bangkok Prison 'Mastermind

series of arrests on Phuket last night has involved the exposure of what appears to be two drugs gangs who were handling thousands of yah ba methamphetamine tablets and in possession of several handguns.

It is believed a man who was arrested on Phuket in 2004 and is now serving time in Bangkok's Bangkwang Prison was the mastermind behind one of the gangs.

Following on from the arrest in May of a man on Phuket in May with 30,000 yah ba tablets, governor's officers raided a room occupied by Praphan Nammali, 36, finding 17,000 tablets and 150 grams of yah ice.

Khun Praphan told them the original size of his cache was 30,000 tablets and 1000 grams, but he had sold much of it at 3500 baht a gram.

It is believed he replaced the man arrested in May as a distributor for a drugs network overseen by ''Khun Ae'' in the Bangkok jail.

The raid on the room at Saphan Hin community village was preceded the previous day by a series of inter-connected Phuket police raids, some nearby, that netted three men and a woman and a haul that totalled 5000 yah ba tablets, 590 grams of yah ice, five ilelgal guns and 218 bullets.


Two major drug dealers were arrested

Two major drug dealers were arrested last evening (July 24) and a total of 22,300 pills of ya-ba (methamphetamine) and three quarters of a kilo of ya-ice (crystal methamphetamine), with a total street value of about B7 million, were seized.
The first major dealer, Prapan Nammali, 36, had been under suspicion for some time, police said. His arrest at about 8:30 pm came after an undercover policeman posing as a buyer managed to trap Prapan into selling drugs to him.

The subsequent search of Prapan’s house in the Sapan Hin area uncovered a haul of 17,300 ya-ba pills and 150 grams of ya-ice.

Under questioning, Prapan confessed that he had replaced another dealer at the Phuket end of what appears to be national drug ring. The other dealer, Odd, was arrested on May 12.

Odd and he had both received their orders from a man Prapan named as Ae, currently incarcerated in Bangkwang prison in Nonthaburi Province.

On Ae’s orders the drugs were brought from Bangkok to Phuket by a man Prapan named as Bas. The drugs were delivered to him during a rendezvous outside the Siam Commercial Bank branch on Thepkrasattree Road, close to the Rajabhat University intersection, he said.

Phuket City Police said they will collaborate with Bangkwang Prison officials to identify Ae and arrest him.

On the same evening, around the same time, police began a rolling series of arrests with Yotin Innipat, 32, who was found in illegal possession of a .38 revolver and 12 rounds of ammunition.

His responses to questions led police to the nearby Saphan Hin home of Ekachai Saekor, 28. A search of his home uncovered 1,500 ya ba pills and 90 grams of ya ice, along with a 9mm pistol and 28 rounds of ammunition.

Using information they got from questioning him, police next went to the home of Ekachai Naamkanthi, 25, and On-anong Leesakul, 21, in Phuket Villa 1 in Sam Kong. There, they seized 3,500 ya ba pills and half a kilo of ya ice, along with a pistol and 190 bullets of varying calibres.

All are now locked up awaiting their date with the judge

Sunday, 24 July 2011

British Tourist Complains Police Will Not Investigate His Ladyboy Masseur

Briton who was robbed in a hotel in Bangkok says he was told by Thai police to claim on insurance as they were not going to investigate – despite the fact that the thief, a lady boy, was not only caught on CCTV but also left a copy of his ID with reception.

Kevin M (name withheld) was robbed on the first night of a Thai holiday in Thailand.  To cap his holiday, shortly before his return home he and his friends were victim of a shakedown by Thai police in Pattaya while riding their hired motorcycles.

The young engineer from Manchester had for a long time been a ‘Muay Thai’ enthusiast and came to Thailand to find a ‘Muay Thai’ school.

He arrived on June 6th and checked into City Lodge Hotel in Sukhumvit Soi 19 and that night went out with his friend on the town.  They got home in the early hours.

He decided to go out for one more drink and was directed by hotel staff to a mobile bar on the corner of Sukhumvit and Asoke.  A ‘girl’ there kept offering to go back to his room for sex, but he declined, he said.  He said he had successfully been fighting/fending women off all night while inspecting a nearby infamous red light area. Eventually, he says, he agreed to a massage at 500Thai baht (just over £10)

On returning to the room he gave the ‘girl’ 500 baht in advance and locked his belongings in his safe, or last least thought he had. He had an unimpressive massage and then asked 'her' to leave.  She begged a drink from the hotel mini-bar and he says he must have fallen asleep in the meantime.

On waking up in the morning he found that two credit cards, his mobile phone, and £600 cash was missing.

He rushed to reception and eventually found out that staff had not only caught the culprit on television but also had a copy of ‘his’ ID. 

Kevin says he was shocked to find out that his masseuse was a masseur and that he had had a man in his room that night but said he also actually felt relieved that he had not been murdered as he had heard stories like this. It was a salutary first night.

He then rushed to the police station at Lumpini to report the theft, together with a copy of the ladyboy’s ID.  But police would not accompany him back to his hotel to see the CCTV footage.

He said he found police were not interested in investigating the lady boy but more interested in finding out what he actually did with the lady boy in the bedroom.  'Nothing!' he insisted.  Translation of the police report however has him saying that he invited the lady boy back for sex.

(One good reason perhaps never to give a statement to Thai police without a translator. Had he said he had actually done something with the lady boy, from past cases its seems there's a good chance there would be a queue of police lining up to hear the details)

Police, he said, told him there was little they could do.  He should make a statement to claim against insurance. ‘Can I call the credit card company?’ he asked.  No. The police did not have this facility.

While this was going an Asian Kevin M with black hair, a strong jaw line, but wearing woman’s clothes, turned up at Bliss-Tel on the ground floor of Seacon Square and made purchases totaling over £900 (44,000 Baht) I would guess more than half the shop's monthly wage bill. The most expensive mobile phone in stock was about 15,000 baht.


Dangers of Pattaya today.

Pattaya now unfortunately has become a war zone of criminal activity. It is not the Pattaya of long ago where the only thing you worried about was the occasional overcharging at entertainment or Food establishments.

Today there are many criminal gangs who operate in Pattaya with the sole purpose of robbing Farangs/Tourists of Money or anything of value such as rented Motorbikes, Jewelery, cash, e.t.c
These criminals come from far and wide from many parts of Thailand for these purposes alone.
In the process of the many many Robberies that have been committed against Tourists, people have been killed, seriously injured, and left with serious injury and trauma.

There are many Robberies of Tourists daily. Tourists often get approached with knives or guns so that they hand over their valuables and the perpetrators have no qualms about using their deadly force.

If you must go to Pattaya do not wear any Gold or Jewellery that is of value because most likely you may well be targeted by thieves. They will rip the Gold chain from your person without a thought. Resistance to the thieves in many cases has ended in serious injury or death.

The situation is not getting better, but worse and worse daily. Crime is in Epidemic proportions. Foreign embassies do not offer a travel warning about Pattaya which is wrong considering the very high amount of crime in the city. You do not need to take my word about this but read what is going on in print.

There are three excellent newspaper publications published in Pattaya today and they are available to be read online without cost. They are Pattaya Mail, Pattaya people newspaper, and Pattaya city news.

All back issues are available and offer a sample of the many crimes committed in Pattaya today and related problems. They are a warning to anyone who may think that Pattaya is one big entertainment where one can go about there daily routine without being extremely wary of what is going on around you.

Despite the Billions in Foreign currency being poured in to Pattaya by Tourists, the issue of crime against Tourists and locals has not been treated seriously enough by the authorities just by going by the plague proportions of crime in Pattaya today which is very, very sad.

Two Men Arrested for Sex Crime

Two men, Toi and Koh were brought into Pattaya Police Station on the afternoon of the 16th July, after being arrested and accused of sexually assaulting a young girl under the age of 13.

According to the girl’s parents, they had kidnapped the child and molested her at an apartment room in Huy Yai.


In the 1980s, the Costa del Sol was the destination of choice for many British criminals. Today they head to Thailand

The recent case of the slaying of two young Russian women in Pattaya has highlighted once again Thai culprits involved in crimes against farang.
The problem is that it’s very easy to loose perspective in these cases and slight the Thais as being ruthless. However, as this article will show there have been numerous cases of farangs acting badly, among themselves and against Thais. And not just farang troublemakers from the prominent countries, but from virtually every farang country in the West. The farang crimes range all the way from abusive behaviour to murder. Very often, in cases of murder, however, it is a crime of passion, caused not least because of cultural disparity and communication breakdown

The first three cases involve Russians acting badly.
Recent reports in the local newspaper, Pattaya Today tell how 5 alcohol-affected Muscovites were involved in a violent scene with a larger group of Thais on Second Road in front of Planet Food. The quarrel apparently started when a Thai man accused all Russians of being violent idiots. As the fight developed, a police volunteer was assaulted by one of the Russians and the ringleader of the Russians was struck on the head by a plank of wood. The group escaped stage-left.

The next case describes how a group of Russians, disgruntled by their expectations regarding one of the ladies employed by Relax Massage Parlour, nearly started a riot at 3 am. The group had originally left, but returned after partaking of Dutch courage. When refused entry, they started becoming abusive and heavy handed with the property, leading to their arrest. Later, at the police station, one of the Russians arrested said he couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about as apparently such behaviour is normal in Russia.

The final story Russian involves an Anglo-Irishman who picked up two Russian women for casual sex, but had been given a Mickey Finn and robbed of his valuables to the tune of four million Baht: two diamond rings, a gold cross and chain, a necklace, a laptop computer and other valuable items. These items, along with the women, had mysteriously disappeared.

The British are also prime offenders and not only their infamous football hooligans:
English Man Stabs Wife Follow-up and Final.
British man charged sexual harassment
A British man has been arrested with the murder of his girlfriend.

The Irish are also implicated
Taxi Heroes, helped in hunt for Irishman after Thai girl‘s murder.

Other Europeans are equally prominent, especially gangs:
Italian convicts arrested by Pattaya Immigration
Pattaya Tourist Police caught young German man who has escaped fraudulent lawsuit

This case refers to a Yugoslavian gang of ATM robbers.
police officer arrested gang convicts of ATM machine robbery

The Scandinavians have a large percentage of foreign national living in Pattaya:

Next comes instances of a French-Arab connection:

After that, comes the Australians:
Aussie arrested for threatening a waitress
The following case refers to an Australian victim robbed by foreign Mafia with Thai collusion.
Iran’s Mafia and Thai gang carried and robbed young Aussie owner of Diamond Shop

Latin Americans also feature:
Brazilian Youth Mobile Snatcher Caught in the Act

Another case of credit card fraud relates to Koreans, (who are obviously not farang):
Credit card fraud (Korean)

What all the above incidents indicate is that foreign nationals are also involved in criminal acts in Pattaya, not just Thais. The British newspaper The Guardian reported on Monday April 11, 2005 that British criminals were forsaking the Costa del Sol in favour of Thailand.

“In the 1980s, the Costa del Sol was the destination of choice for many British criminals. Today they head to Thailand”

No-one is denying that Pattaya has absorbed more than its fair share of foreign criminals, but lest the situation becomes blown out of all perspective, let it be said that the Thai police are doing their utmost to uncover the culprits in the Russian slaying incidents, with road blocks and increased police and marine presence on the streets of this popular holiday resort. It also needs to be pointed out that Pattaya is far from being a hot-bed of crime.

On rarely hears police sirens on the streets, most incidents are isolated and happen more in side streets than on the main streets of Pattaya. Essentially, there is very little visible crime in this city and no “no-go” areas, unlike in many American and British cities.

Pattaya Sex, Crime and Suicide Capital of Asia

Pattaya Sex, Crime and Suicide Capital of Asia

Immigration Pounce on Prostitute Ring

Chonburi Immigration announced the arrest of an Australian expat and his Thai wife in the early hours of Thursday morning.  Mr. Greg Johnston, aged 54 from Australia and 32 year old Mrs. Yaonita were caught red handed by an undercover agent for operating a prostitution service at a bar in South Pattaya.  After receiving information about the couple’s antics, Immigration set up the operation to catch them in the act.  At the bar, one bargirl Miss Pigoon, fell right into the trap and was arrested, and so after officers identified themselves, all three were taken away for further questioning.


Surprise Surprise for Auntie Som

Mrs. Sompaen, affectionately called Auntie Som by local residents in Soi Chaiyapruek in the Jomtien area, after receiving a phone call, agreed to visit someone waiting for her near her house to give her some money.  When the 61 year old woman went outside she got the surprise of her life, the young man she met handed her some money and as a thank you she gave him some yaba tablets in return.  Little did she realise it was a set up sting operation by local police.  This not so nice Auntie Som was in fact a local drug dealer, and quite often went about carrying a loaded Remington gun – which was impounded when she was arrested and taken back to the police station for further questioning.


Police Begin to Crack Credit Card Fraud Network

Pattaya Police announced on Wednesday the arrest of an Algerian man, Abdelmalek Boukemara, for possession of fake credit cards.  The 35 year old Algerian had been a part of a network in France that organised a system of hacking online banking and credit card information from unsuspecting victims.  He had accumulated hundreds of cards, and when he was caught he was in possession of 114 fake cards.  The arrest was made after an investigative Police team got wind of the man’s suspicious movements with withdrawing money and sending large amounts of money abroad. His bank records showed that on a regular basis, he was sending nearly a million baht out of the country without any reasonable income source in the country.  The Algerian was apprehended after withdrawing money from an ATM in Soi 7 off Pattaya Second Road. Police accompanied him to his residence in Soi 17 where they found over 100 cards.  He confessed to being part of a network and came to Thailand believing its technology was not up to date in tracing him. From his first days in Phuket to his last in Pattaya the man is believed to have accumulated well over 10 million baht.  He was detained for further investigation and a search is now on for his fellow conspirators also believed to be residing in the area.


Tour Company Raided for Operating Counterfeit Empire

ongoing investigation about a long established Tour Company operating illegally by selling prohibited drugs and pirate products, Pattaya Police set about with a warrant to search the premises in question on Tuesday evening.  They entered the Malis Travel and Laundry Service 3 storey building on Soi Buakhao and detained Mr. Nadeem from Pakistan and his employees.  After an intense search of the premises officers found a concealed locked store room, where they discovered a large quantity of drugs such as Viagra, Kamagra and prohibited steroids and contraband cigarettes. At the same time, another team of officers and volunteers were searching another of the Pakistani’s businesses and found 10,000 pieces of counterfeit designer clothing and accessory goods. Now under a full investigation, it is estimated that the network being operated out of Pattaya and Bangkok, were in possession of fake products and illegal substances worth over 10 million baht.


arrest of an American man wanted for crimes committed in the USA.

Superintendent Police Colonel Chusak Panutamporn announced that 60 year old teacher Mr. Dennis Catron from Illinois had fled the country after being bailed for 500,000 US dollars by the US Court.  He had been convicted of paedophilia acts with young boys.  Catron was subsequently sentenced (in abstentia) to 36 years in jail.  It was believed that he had fled to Thailand where he worked as a teacher at a number of schools in the past.  The Royal Thai police were notified and asked to help find the fugitive.  After an investigation and collaboration between the police and the US Embassy in Bangkok, it was revealed that Catron had applied to be a teacher at a few schools in the area and he was eventually traced to two residences, one in Bangkok and the other in Soi Buakhao in South Pattaya. He was subsequently arrested by Chonburi Immigration officers outside his apartment in Bangkok. Catron confessed that he was indeed the wanted man in question. As a result his Thai visa has been revoked and he now faces extradition back to the US to face trial.

Expat Arrested for Growing Pot

Police raided the home of a dual nationality expat on Saturday night and seized a quantity of marijuana plants growing in the back garden, a loaded gun and other narcotics, and arrested 28 year old David Alexander.   The man was the holder of both French and British passports. He had recently moved to Pattaya from Phuket and after police received information that he was indeed a drug dealer, a court warrant was issued to search the rented house off Thappraya Road.  He claimed that he bought the gun and marihuana seeds from a friend in Phuket and that the yah ice was for his own personal use.  All evidence was impounded and the young man was taken away to face legal proceedings.


Thai police asked to probe Kirsty Jones murder

Thai Police have been asked to investigate a man named on a Youtube video as a possible suspect in a Welsh backpacker's murder 11 years ago.

Kirsty Jones, 23, from Tredomen, near Brecon, Powys, was raped and strangled at a guesthouse on 10 August, 2000.

Her murder is unsolved but a video has been posted on the internet naming a man allegedly seen near the guesthouse.

Dyfed-Powys Police said it and the Foreign Office had asked Thai authorities to investigate the claim.

Despite a number of arrests, no charges have ever been brought over Ms Jones' death.

Ms Jones, a Liverpool University graduate, was found dead in a room at the Aree guest house in Chiang Mai, which is north of Bangkok.

She was three months into a two-year around-the-world trip.

"It's painful. We still miss her, always will miss her terribly”

Sue Jones
Mother of Kirsty Jones

Kirsty's mother Sue Jones said the family "still miss her terribly"

Her mother Sue Jones said: "It's something we have been aware of for quite a while now...we are still awaiting the Thais to DNA [him].

"Obviously if it is him that will be a good thing. If it isn't, it eliminates him from the investigation."

The family want a representative from the British authorities to be present at the DNA test "so that we could be absolutely sure it is done properly," she said.

Mrs Jones added that "the memories of Kirsty will always be there".

"It's painful. We still miss her, always will miss her terribly," she said.


Dyfed-Powys Police have assisted the Thai Police with the investigation in the past.

Det Ch Supt Steve Wilkins said the force was aware of allegations made in the video.

The information has been passed to the Thai authorities ”

Det Ch Supt Steve Wilkins
Dyfed-Powys Police
He said: "This allegation, and its source, has been subject of discussions between Dyfed-Powys Police and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for some time, with a request to the Thai authorities to thoroughly investigate.

"The information has been passed to the Thai authorities as they retain primacy in the investigation.

"We are continuing to liaise with them, via Interpol and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in relation to this information and other lines of inquiry."


Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Two Melbourne school teachers have had a narrow escape after armed bandits fired upon their car in Thailand.

The female teachers from Ringwood Secondary College were on a school trip to the northern city of Chiang Mai when their vehicle was sprayed with bullets on Sunday.

A Department of Education spokeswoman said one of the teachers suffered a small cut in the shooting and was taken to hospital for treatment.

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''The teacher underwent tests and has been given the medical all-clear,'' the spokeswoman said.

She said the students were at their home-stay accommodation in Chiang Mai at the time and were not under threat.

The teacher who was injured in the attack is believed to be Lynda Cody, the international student coordinator at Ringwood Secondary College.

The assistant principal at Ringwood Secondary College travelled to Thailand yesterday to provide support to the teachers, while the students will return to Melbourne tomorrow as scheduled.

According to its website, Ringwood Secondary College is a sister school to Montfort College in Chiang Mai, and trips to Thailand take place regularly.

Mrs Cody has coordinated trips between Ringwood Secondary College and Montfort College for the past four years.

She and her colleague had been attending an education event at Montfort College without the students, and were travelling in the vehicle with a teacher from their school's sister school when their car was fired upon.

The Department of Education spokeswoman said Ringwood Secondary College was offering counselling to the teachers and students.

''A Department psychologist has already spoken to the teachers and is providing ongoing support,'' she said.

Police in Thailand are investigating the shooting.

A Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson said one of the teachers suffered a minor head wound.

''Australian consular officers are keeping in close contact with Thai authorities about the matter and are providing consular assistance to the teachers and students,'' the spokesperson said.

''Consular officers in Canberra are contact with the women's family in Australia.''

Friday, 1 July 2011

1 injured in drive-by shooting at East Pattaya Internet cafe

One woman was injured in a drive-by shooting at a Soi Nernplabwan Internet cafe.

Kuladee Sainak, 26, suffered a cut to the cheek when a teenager on a motorbike fired into the NOS Online shop around 3 a.m. June 21. She was treated at Banglamung Hospital and released.

Naruepol Yimyai, 19, said he and some friends were taking a break from late-night online gaming when a teen identified only as “Pon” drove up. The cyclist inquired whether one of Naruepol’s friends nicknamed “Ae,” was inside. When Naruepol replied that he wasn’t, Pon drove away.

Sometimes it not even safe inside an Internet cafe.

However, the cyclist returned 10 minutes later with a gun and fired once through the Internet shop’s plate-glass window. Teenagers inside scattered while the owner called authorities to tend to Kuladee, who was also playing an online game.

Owner Amornwat Rungratpan, 28, said his store did not have a security camera and that he had never had any trouble previously.

Police suspect revenge was a motivation for the shooting and pledged to hunt for the gunman. In the meantime, however, they fined Amornwat for allowing minors to continue paying online past a legal curfew.


Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Ukrainian and two Turkish nationals, accused of being part of a gang of credit-card thieves, were arrested in Bangkok's Siam Paragon shopping mall yesterday.

Police say Andrew Salkosky, 40, from Ukraine, and Kardial Karamen, 33, and Oske Gildiarim, 28, both of Turkey, were taken into custody along with 40 credit cards and some brand-name products. They are accused of belonging to a criminal gang that stole credit-card information and copied it on to blank cards, some of which they sold on the black market.
Police allege the three men also carried the cards to buy brand-name goods in various countries to resell products for cash. Police said the credit cards had details for cardholders in Spain with Bt300,000 on each card - a potential loss to banks of Bt12 million.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Three young Frenchmen were arrested in Pattaya on Friday for "stealing several ATM cards"

Three young Frenchmen were arrested in Pattaya on Friday for "stealing several ATM cards" and allegedly withdrawing more than five million Baht from many ATM machines around Pattaya. The police identified the three suspects through surveillance cameras at the ATM locations.
After police tracked the trio down, Kasmi Ali Faycal, 33, Beldilala Nabil, 21, and Khayyou Fares, 22, were arrested at the Sheraton Pattaya resort in Pattaya. Police also seized "several items at the resort including ATM cards ... and T-shirts as recognised on surveillance cameras."
The three suspects were charged for "stealing and using stolen ATM cards, although they denied all accusations


Indian Tourist Drugged, Robbed After Last Night Out in Pattaya

An Indian tourist who was due to return home on Wednesday was drugged and robbed by a Thai woman he had met at a South Pattaya disco during his last night out on Walking Street.
In the early hours of Wednesday morning, Mr. Sarath Chandra Karroti, 28, and a friend had gone to Mixx Discotheque at the Bali Hai Port in South Pattaya, where they met two unidentified Thai women who later accompanied them back to their separate rooms at the Markland Hotel in North Pattaya.
The Indian tourist reported "consuming many cans of beer" in the room but remembered "nothing else until he woke up just after midday and realized his female companion had stolen his money and other valuables." The stolen items include two gold necklaces, 15,000 Indian Rupees, 1,500 US Dollars and 1,000 Baht in cash. His friend reported no problems with the second woman who he had taken back to his own room.
Security cameras at the hotel were found to be broken and staff at the reception had not taken a copy of the suspect's ID card which is standard practice at most hotels.


Drug dealers arrested in Rayong

The Royal Thai Navy Narcotics Unit, based in Sattahip, busted yet another mid-level drug dealing gang, centred on Rayong, in a couple of raids which took place on Wednesday afternoon and evening. As per usual, the operation began with the arrest of a drug user at his residence in Rayong. He was told to phone his supplier and request a delivery of 50 Yabba tablets, a prohibited Class 1 narcotic. The main dealer, aged 26, arrived in a late-model sedan and was accompanied by a 30-year-old male. After entering the premises of the user, the dealer and his friend were arrested by the undercover drug squad officers. A search of the man’s vehicle uncovered the 50 Yabba tablets. The arrested man was then instructed to take police back to his residence. Here, a further 110 Yabba tablets and 40gms of crystal methamphetamine were discovered. The crystal meth was hidden inside tubes of toothpaste. The arrestee said he would send the drugs into Rayong prison for the use of a number of inmates. Continuing further up the chain, the 26-year-old was told to call his supplier and order 400 Yabba tablets. The undercover officers then drove to a pre-arranged location where a 24-year-old Thai male arrived on a motorbike and was immediately taken into custody. He wasn’t looking too happy when police found the 400 tablets as he realized he might be spending a lot of time in the company of his friends inside Rayong prison.


Suspected drug dealer caught with loaded firearm in Jomtien

A random check on a man acting suspiciously in Jomtien late on Tuesday Night resulted in his arrest and the seizure of a loaded firearm and narcotics. Police were on routine patrol in Soi 5 off the Tepprasit Road when they spotted the man sitting in his Black Chevrolet pick-up truck. He saw Police and appeared nervous which prompted the check. Khun Boonkon aged 21 was taken to Dongtan Police Sub-Station on Jomtien Beach where he reportedly confessed to possession of the firearm and 20 Yabba Tablets which he intended to sell-on to customers around Pattaya. Because of this admission he was charged with possession of a firearm and possession with intent to supply a class 1 drug and is currently on remand pending court proceedings.


Thai 'Girlfriend' Masterminds Armed Robbery of South Korean 'Boyfriend'

Following the "carefully planned" car-jacking of a vehicle owned by a South Korean expat living in Pattaya, police were able to quickly arrest two of the suspects. One of them was found to be the victim's 27-year-old so-called Thai "girlfriend," identified only as Miss Benjapan, who is thought to be the mastermind of the robbery, and to have "planned everything." The 19-year-old accomplice, Khun Komsan, who is thought to have carried out the car-jacking, was also arrested. However, a 13-year-old girl also involved in the robbery plot was able to escape.
Pattaya police explained that Mrs Benjapan had "devised a plan to steal Mr. Jun Hak Baer’s [the South Korean expat's] car." Mr. Komsan was used to "intercept the car in a remote area and - at gunpoint - Mr. Baer was forced out of his car which was driven away by Miss Benjapan," his Thai "girlfriend."
An unidentified 13-year-old girl had earlier been "picked up by Mr. Baer." But "along the way, she claimed to be feeling sick and asked Mr. Baer to pull over. At this point a motorbike [carrying Mr. Komsan] appeared."
Police found a laptop computer in the car, a set of golf clubs and 4,000 Baht in cash, which were all returned to the victim after police were able to locate and arrest the two suspects in the stolen car. The gun used in the robbery was also recovered. Both suspects have now been charged over the incident and are being held on remand pending court proceedings.


Thai Police Arrest Two Germans Wanted for Fraud, Tax Evasion

Thai police have arrested two Germans, one of them in Pattaya, who face arrest warrants in their homeland on fraud and tax evasion charges, media and diplomatic sources confirmed Friday.
Acting on a request from the German Embassy in Bangkok, Thai immigration police arrested the two fugitive men, Elmar Anton Schorosch, 50, and Ralf Dotterweich, 51, in two separate raids on Monday, the Manager newspaper reported.
Mr Schorosch was arrested in his home in Si Sa Ket province, where he had been living for years with his Thai wife. He faces an arrest warrant issued by a Wuerzburg court for fraud.
Mr Dotterweich, who faces an arrest warrant in Wuerzburg in connection with a 500,000-Euro tax evasion case, was arrested in Pattaya.
The arrests were the latest of several involving German nationals wanted for crimes committed at home. "Our cooperation with Thai immigration police has really improved over the past year," the German embassy said.
Thailand's incumbent Immigration Police Chief took up his post last year with a promise to crack down on pedophiles and other foreign criminals and living in Thailand, once seen as a safe haven for expatriates fleeing criminal charges in their homelands


Thai police have arrested five Iranians and charged them with drug smuggling and trafficking, an offence that carries a maximum punishment of death

Thai police have arrested five Iranians and charged them with drug smuggling and trafficking, an offence that carries a maximum punishment of death, officials said Thursday.
Authorities said a total of 5.8 kilos (12.8 pounds) of "ice" crystal methamphetamine, worth about half a million dollars, was found in the luggage of the suspects, who arrived on the same flight from the United Arab Emirates.
"We believe that they are in the same gang but we cannot prove it," said Police Major Ronnakorn Sukmongkol.
The suspects -- three men and two women in their 20s and 30s -- all admitted that they were paid to take the drugs to Malaysia, police said.
Thailand, along with other countries in the region, has seen a marked increase in seizures of methamphetamine as the world opiate trade declines.
Although drug trafficking can result in the death penalty in Thailand, executions are now rare.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Patong Gangland Slaying Adds to Spate of Phuket Shootings

Patong gangsters knocked two Mafia loan sharks from a motorcycle in Patong early today then opened fire with a handgun, killing one man and putting the other in hospital in a coma, police say.

The blazing volley of shots at 3.10am in Soi Nanai was the third savage killing involving gangs on Phuket in as many weeks.
It was the climax of a feud between groups that hated each other, said Patong Superintendent Colonel Arayapan Pukbuakao, of Kathu police station.

He said that earlier in the evening, Nart Narkpecht, 33, the owner of Nina Karaoke, spotted two of his bitter enemies on a motorcycle outside his karaoke and figured they were going to kill him.

So he hopped on his own motorcycle and sped off to recruit pals Somnuk Suwamthanu, 29, and Bhuchit Bhukam, also 29.

The three men returned to the area in a Chevrolet saloon, looking for sworn enemies Hatchakorn Perkpon, 31, and Somkid Klongsingkram, 31. The pair were loan sharks who also controlled many of the street vendors in Soi Bangla, Patong's famous walking street, said Colonel Arayapan.

The Chevrolet came up behind the pair on their Fino motorcycle and knocked it from behind, throwing them to the street. Khun Nart jumped out of the car, gun blazing.

Khun Hatchakorn, hit four times including shots to the head and the heart, did not survive. He died on the way to Patong Hospital.

Khun Somkid took lead in the stomach, the ribs and a leg and was tonight still in Phuket City's Vachira Hospital, fighting for his life in the intensive care unit.

Police, called to the scene of what residents initially thought to be a motorcycle accident, quickly deduced there was more to it.

The three men were arrested later in the morning in Phuket City. Khun Nart admitted his part in the killing, while Khun Somnuk denied Khun Nart's claim that he had fired at least four shots. Khun Bhuchit had been the driver.

The three men were today being held in the cells at Kathu police station, which oversees Patong.


Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Phuket a haven for addicts

Although illegal, over-the-counter sale and purchase of benzodiazepine derivative drug like diezapam (Valium) and alprazolam (Xanax) is common in Thailand, and is even tacitly accepted by many local authorities. However the practice exposes buyers to health risks including addiction or overdose.

Last year, a high-ranking source in the Phuket Public Health Office (PPHO) admitted to The Gazette that his department permitted pharmacies to sell prescription drugs over the counter, despite the fact that it is prohibited under Thailand’s Psychotropic Substances Act of 1974, which outlaws the possession of ‘Schedule IV’ drugs without a prescription.

“In Phuket we’re not so strict as this is a tourist place,” he said. “We grant permission to pharmacies to sell the drugs, but they need to report to the PPHO first.” This attitude has led to Thailand becoming a prescription drug haven of sorts, where people are able to self-medicate, without being prescribed proper dosages or having the risks explained. Many tourists also buy in bulk and smuggle drugs into countries where laws are more seriously enforced.

Mr Peter Davison, Manager of International Services at Phuket International Hospital, acknowledges this problem.

“You get gray areas in Thailand, where some medications which are restricted are still dispensed without following the law,” he said. “But the requirement of a prescription is for the safety of the person taking the drug. It needs to be monitored by a doctor for things like side effects and addiction.”

The lack of such monitoring has caused many a Phuket resident to fall into the downward spiral of drug addiction.

“We have treated people who had issues with being addicted to these drugs, there’s no doubt about that,” Mr Davison said.

One such person, who lives in Phuket but wishes to remain anonymous, experienced this first hand.

“At first I would only take them if I couldn’t sleep, or was going on a long bus journey,” she said, “but later it became a daily thing I did to deal with stress and anxiety.”

Before she knew it, she had been taking Valium every day for six months. “I became completely reliant on it. If I didn’t take it, I would be awake all night and have anxiety attacks,” she said.

It was the widespread availability of Valium that kept her from breaking free of her dependence, she said.

“It is very easy to get them from the pharmacy, they don’t ask any questions. I alternated between five pharmacies in Chalong every week to get bags of 10 pills of 10mg for just 100 baht. I never encountered any problems at all.”

Eventually, she had to go back to her home country in order to wean herself off the pills. “I experienced withdrawals, I felt anxious and not myself. I also did not sleep at all for many weeks,” she said.

But the self-imposed exile was worth it. “If I hadn’t have gone back home and stayed here it would have been a lot harder because I just knew they were there – easy to get and cheap.”

Aside from addiction, overdose can also be a potential issue. “Overdosing on Valium can be a big problem, because the dosage depends on how big your body is. For example, 10mg would be a large amount for a child whereas it wouldn’t be a lot for an adult who weighs 100kg. On top of that, every individual body is different,” Mr Davison explains.

The Phuket resident who struggled with Valium dependency was quick to point out that tolerance to the drug increases over time.

“After a while it was not having as much of an affect as it did in the beginning. There were times I took them and still couldn’t sleep, so I had to take more.”

“I think it can be very dangerous if people aren’t aware of what they are taking – if they think that because they’ve got them from the pharmacy that means they can take five,” she warns.

The availability of these drugs also keeps people from exploring other treatment options. “If you are using it to sleep or ease anxiety, maybe you should be looking at non-pharmaceutical options with assisting you sleep. There are other avenues, don’t become reliant on using this medication,” Mr Davison says.

The former addict agrees: “Now I eat healthily and exercise to cope with stress – and I feel a lot better than I did on the medication,” she said.


Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Thai police launched a murder inquiry into the death of a Briton on a Thai holiday island

Police on the Thai island of Koh Samui ruled that Kevin Attew, 57, from Aldershot, Hants, had committed suicide after his Thai girlfriend said that was what he planned to do. Police said he drowned himself in a lake behind the resort area of Chawaeng.
Attew's body was found last Tuesday.
But today a murder inquiry was launched after pictures taken by his best friend showed that he had been beaten to death first. Also, as the man-made lake was less than 30 centimetres deep – it seemed a poor venue for an allegedly suicidal man when the Gulf of Thailand was only yards away.
Londoner Crispin Paton-Smith, a friend of Attew, said: "I was appalled to hear the verdict of drowning. It was a no brainer. Kevin was beaten to death and his body was left on dry land for quite a while before being put in the lake."
Paton-Smith a former gunner in the Royal Artillery said: "I have spoken to his girlfriend and she continues to insist he committed suicide. He did not unless he beat himself to death. He would have had to dig a hole to drown himself.

"Kevin ran a very successful bar and was the sweetest man in the world. He had no enemies." Police on Koh Samui tend to play down all crime on the island for fear of upsetting its lucrative tourist industry.
A spokesman for the Regional Police in Surat Thani on the mainland in southern Thailand said: "We are treating this as murder and have asked for the body to be sent here for a full autopsy."


Monday, 30 May 2011

epidemic of car break-ins is alarming police in the inner city.

As many as seven gangs, all of them connected, are thought to be breaking into high-value cars parked in inner Bangkok, and robbing them of their valuables.

The problem has become so bad that restaurants in well-off suburbs such as Ekkamai and Thong Lor, where many of the thefts have occurred, now place signs in their windows warning patrons that smash-and-grabs from cars parked in the areas was rampant and not to leave valuables in their vehicles.

Apiprat: Fell victim to car break-in

Police are still assessing the extent of the problem, but believe the gangs are stealing millions of baht worth of goods every month.

Car break-ins were once lumped in with robberies, but police are now thinking of separating these cases and giving them special attention. They say thefts in this category are taking place almost every day.

Investigators say the gangs are highly organised and can deceive passersby into thinking they are witnessing an ordinary transaction on the street rather than a break-in.

Some of the break-ins take place in broad daylight, and the owners of the vehicles which are robbed may have been tracked for days in advance.

Apiprat Pattanadee, a deputy superintendent of the Crime Suppression Division, has fallen victim to the gang.

On March 17 he parked his Mercedes Benz at Navamin City Avenue, a small shopping mall on Kaset-Navamin Road.

Thieves broke into his car and stole 33 items of valuables including four Rolex wristwatches, gold necklaces and Buddha amulets in gold containers worth over 4 million baht.

"I parked my car around 10pm to do some shopping. I returned less than an hour later to find that someone had broken into my car and stolen my belongings.

"I took the usual precautions, such as parking in a well-lit location. I was also only 20 metres from a McDonald's.

"The restaurant was crowded but they went ahead anyway," Pol Lt Col Apiprat said.

A security camera which caught the action showed the theft took just two minutes.

On April 29, a team of CSD investigators found the gang of three that allegedly broke into his Mercedes Benz.

The gang members were identified as Sompong Klinkliang, 71, and his two sons: Chotewat, 34, and Bodinpat, 31.

A warning sign alerts customers in a food shop in Ekamai that car break-ins are rampant, and not to leave valuable goods in their vehicles. 
Sgt Maj Sompong is a former military officer who was based at a special force unit in Lop Buri.

Police say Sgt Maj Sompong is the elder brother of a well-known villain, Dam Dasakorn.

Police seized from the gang 560,000 baht in cash, Buddha amulets in gold containers, digital cameras, mobile phones, Rolex wristwatches and other valuables worth altogether about 10 million baht.

A Rolex watch belonging to Pol Lt Col Apiprat was among the seized items.

Police thought the arrest of the gang would reduce the number of car break-ins, but they were wrong.

Teeradej Thamsuthee, another deputy superintendent of the CSD, heads the team of detectives that tracked down the gang. He said that contrary to police expectations, the thefts continue, especially in Thong Lor, Ekamai and on Kaset-Navamin Road.

"We believe that at least seven gangs are behind the break-ins, and they are working together," he said.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Thailand arrests American for alleged king insult

Thai authorities said Friday they arrested an American citizen on charges he insulted the country's monarchy, in part by posting a link on his blog four years ago to a banned book about the Southeast Asian nation's ailing king.

The man is also suspected of translating, from English into Thai, portions of "The King Never Smiles" -- an unauthorized biography of King Bhumibol Adulyadej -- and posting them online along with articles he wrote that allegedly defame the royal family, said Tharit Pengdith, who heads the Department of Special Investigation, Thailand's equivalent of the FBI.

The American has denied the charges, according to the Thai-language news website, which tracks cases of lese majeste, as the crime of insulting the monarchy is known.

The 54-year-old Thai-born man lived in the U.S. state of Colorado for around 30 years before returning recently to Thailand for treatment for high blood pressure and gout, the website said. If the allegations are true, the infractions would have been committed while he lived in America -- where they are legal -- raising concern about the reach of Thai law and how it is applied to Thai nationals and foreign visitors.

Tharit said the man's Thai name was Lerpong Wichaikhammat. Walter M. Braunohler, the U.S. Embassy spokesman in Bangkok, identified the American as Joe Gordon and said a consular officer visited him on Friday morning. He declined comment further, saying only that officials were following the case "very closely."

"We're still looking into what the exact charges are," Braunohler told The Associated Press.

Thailand is a constitutional monarchy but has severe lese majeste laws that mandate a jail term of three to 15 years for any person who "defames, insults or threatens the king, the queen, the heir to the throne or the Regent."

Critics say the lese majeste laws -- used with alarming frequency over the last several years -- are often a weapon of political harassment and calls have grown recently to amend or abolish them.

Thai-based media routinely self-censor coverage of the royal family, but the Internet has tested the taboo. Thai authorities have responded by trying to block thousands of websites considered subversive, arguing that defending the monarchy is a priority.

Tharit said the man was arrested Tuesday and is facing charges that include inciting public unrest and violating Thailand's Computer Crimes Act. Gordon appeared before a Thai court Thursday, which denied him bail.

A DSI spokeswoman, speaking on customary condition of anonymity, said the American was arrested in the northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima and is being held in a Bangkok prison. said police arrested the man at his home and seized a computer and cell phone.

Sensitivity over criticism of the monarchy has increased in recent years as the poor health of the country's 83-year-old king has elevated concern about a smooth succession. At the same time, sharp partisan political battles in the wake of a 2006 military coup have unleashed unprecedented questioning of established institutions, including the palace.

Thailand's freedom of speech reputation has taken a battering in recent years, as successive governments have tried to suppress the opposition. Its standing in the Press Freedom Index issued by the Paris-based group Reporters Without Borders slid to 153 last year from 65 in 2002, when the ratings were initiated.

The number of lese majeste cases has grown dramatically in recent years. Between 1990 and 2005, an average of five per year made their way through the Thai court system. Since then, however, there have been at least 400 cases -- an estimated 1,500 percent increase, according to David Streckfuss, an American scholar who wrote a recent book studying the harsh laws called "Truth on Trial."

In March, a Thai court sentenced Thanthawut Taweewarodomkul -- the operator of an anti-government website -- to 13 years on charges of defaming the monarchy and three more years for violating the Computer Crime Act. The 38-year-old ran a website affiliated with the anti-government Red Shirt movement whose aggressive street protests last year deteriorated into violence and were quashed by the army.

The 2007 Computer Crime Act addresses hacking and other traditional online offenses, but also bars the circulation of material deemed detrimental to national security or that causes panic. It carries a penalty of up to five years' imprisonment and a fine of 100,000 baht ($3,285).


Friday, 27 May 2011

Gunmen attacked the house of a canvasser of a Democrat Party poll candidate in Bangkok's Bung Kum district last night

Gunmen attacked the house of a canvasser of a Democrat Party poll candidate in Bangkok's Bung Kum district last night. The attack is believed to have been politically motivated. Nobody was killed or injured, police said.

About midnight yesterday, unidentified gunmen sprayed bullets at the house of Charoen Jaesaman in Klong Rahas community on Serithai Road in Bung Kum district. The assailants escaped after the attack.

Mr Charoen is a canvasser for Panich Vikitsreth, the Constituency 16 candidate of the Democrat Party.

Mr Charoen, along with his son and his grandson, were sleeping on the second floor when the attack took place. They were unhurt, police said.

A number of spent bullet cases and an M16 ammunition magazine were found at the scene.

Meanwhile, the Royal Police Office yesterday issued a list of another 25 professional hitmen bringing the number wanted on arrest warrants to 75.

Police had previously distributed a list of 50 gunmen for hire in all regions as part of measures to prevent politically related crimes during the run-up to the July 3 general election.

National police chief Wichean Potephosree said 29 of them are hitmen who have committed many serious criminal offences in 10 provinces where election competition is expected to be tough and may involve violence. A 100,000 baht cash reward would be offered to anyone providing information leading to the arrest of each of the hitmen.

The 10 so-called "red zone" provinces are Bangkok, Khon Kaen, Chon Buri, Chiang Mai, Nakhon Ratchasima, Buri Ram, Roi Et, Udon Thani, Samut Prakan, and Ubon Ratchathani.

The other 46 hitmen have committed less serious crimes and a reward of 50,000 baht would be given to anyone providing tips leading to their arrest.

As for measures to provide protection to election candidates, Pol Gen Wichean said one or two police officers are usually sent to escort candidates, but more officers would be assigned to protect candidates in areas where election competition is expected to be fierce.

Pol Gen Wichean also stressed the need for police to maintain their neutrality in the election. Officers would face disciplinary action and could be transferred to inactive posts if they are found to have helped with politicians' campaigning, he said.

Pol Gen Wichean said anyone who vandalised election campaign posters would face a jail term of up to three years and/or a fine of up to 6,000 baht.

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police Division 5 has also offered cash rewards to anyone providing information to support a police crackdown on crime in Bangkok in the run-up to the election. Rewards will also be given to police officers who arrest criminals.

Officers at the division have agreed to pool money for rewards in a bid to reduce crime and boost police morale.

Ten thousand baht will be offered for the arrest of people involved in serious offences not related to politics. 50,000 baht in cases involving politically related serious crimes, 5,000 baht in cases of physical and sexual abuse unrelated to politics while 20,000 baht will be offered in such cases which are linked to politics.

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