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'Recklessness causing death' among charges over actress Tangmo's drowning
NONTHABURI: Police pressed charges against six people in connection with the drowning of actress Nida "Tangmo" Patcharaveerapong, including recklessness causing death, giving false statements and concealing evidence to help offenders.
Detectives determined the actress fell from the stern of a speedboat and was hit by its propeller before drowning in the Chao Phraya River late in February.
Police held a press conference at the Provincial Police Region 1 headquarters on Tuesday to conclude their investigation into the death of the 37-year-old actress.
- Six charged -
Pol Maj Gen Paisan Wongwacharamongkol, commander of Nonthaburi police, said Tanupat "Por" Lerttaweewit (the speedboat owner) was charged with recklessness causing death, driving a boat without a licence, dropping objects into the river, giving false statements, failing to attach the boat name onto a vessel and driving a boat with an expired registration.
Phaiboon "Robert" Trikanjananun was charged with recklessness causing death, driving a boat without a licence, using a boat with an expired registration and dropping objects into the river.
Wisapat "Sand" Manomairat faced charges of recklessness causing death.
Nitas "Job" Kiratisoothisathorn was charged with concealing evidence to help offenders and dropping objects into the river.
Idsarin "Gatick" Juthasuksawat, Nida's manager, was charged with concealing evidence to help offenders and giving false statements.
Peam "Em" Thamtheerasri was charged with concealing evidence to help offenders and having others make false statements.
The first five suspects were on the speedboat with Nida on the Chao Phraya River on the night of Feb 24. The actress fell from the boat and drowned.
- 'Propeller-sized gash' -
Pol Maj Gen Wasant Techa-akarakasem, investigative commander of Provincial Police Region 1, said surveillance camera footage showed an object at the stern of the boat near Pibul 1 pier in Nonthaburi at 22.33pm on Feb 24. One minute later, the object had disappeared.
At the next moment, a person stood up on the boat, which then slowed down and circled in the river.
Police found that Nida's body sustained 26 wounds between her thigh and her ankle.
The biggest wound, on the inner side of her right thigh, was 7 centimetres wide, 26cm long and 1.5-4.5cm deep. It matched the dimensions of the speedboat's propeller blade.
"Tangmo did not [just fall from the boat], there was a reckless act that caused her death," said Pol Lt Jirapat Phumjit, commissioner of Provincial Police Region 1.
He said witnesses on the boat told police the actress was at the stern. He quoted experts as saying that a person falling from the stern of the boat would be sucked in by the propeller if the boat was moving slowly. Police found no trace of any assault on her body.
"When (Tangmo) was hit by a propeller, she would have cried out. Water would have filled her lungs and she would have drowned immediately. The big gash in her thigh would have prevented her from moving her leg so she could not swim," Pol Lt Gen Jirapat said.
He also said everyone aboard the boat was drunk, and someone told the five people who remained on the boat to delay meeting police to avoid being prosecuted for driving under the influence of alcohol. They were advised to tell police they had drunk only a little, Pol Lt Gen Jirapat said.
The actress fell into the river around 10.40pm on Feb 24. Her body was found on Feb 26.
Many hundreds of people showed up at the General Insurance Fund office on Monday to claim lump-sum payments for Covid-19 policies with two bankrupt insurers, greatly exceeding the number the office could handle.
Claimants had started to queue on Sunday night outside the claims office in Suan Lum Nite Bazar shopping arcade on Ratchadaphisek Road.
They wanted compensation due from Covid-19 policies taken out with Thai Insurance and Southeast Insurance. The Office of the General Insurance Fund is their liquidator.
Affected policy holders can file their documents in person at the office and at nationwide branches of the Office of the Insurance Commission (OIC), or online at https://rps-sev.gif.or.th/Login until July 15.
The Office of the General Insurance Fund can accept 500 compensation claims a day at its premises, and some people were left hanging on Monday.
According to the OIC, the accumulated value of Covid insurance claims with lump-sum payments reached nearly 60 billion baht at the end of March. Total premiums received from Covid insurance were 11 billion baht as of March 15.
Sixteen insurance companies, of a total of 52, offered Covid insurance with lump-sum payment.
Six or seven of the 16 firms recorded massive policy sales and four of them - Asia Insurance, The One Insurance, Southeast Insurance and Thai Insurance - were forced to shut down because they did not have sufficient premiums and capital reserves to pay out the claims.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) has informed airlines worldwide of new arrival rules to be imposed this Sunday, including an end to compulsory Covid-19 tests upon arrival.
The CAAT announced yesterday that from May 1 inbound passengers with full Covid-19 vaccinations can enter the country without an additional Covid-19 test. However, they will be advised to take antigen tests if they develop any suspicious symptoms.
300 Thai women forced into prostitution in Myanmar: escapee
About 300 Thai women have been forced into prostitution at a casino near the Thai-Myanmar border adjacent to Tak province, according to a 25-year-old woman who managed to escape.
The woman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, arrived at the Royal Thai Police Office on Thursday to file the complaint. She said early this year, a net idol had held a live broadcast programme online and invited women to apply for public relations and entertainment jobs in the border area of the neighbouring country. The net idol had insisted the jobs had nothing to do with sex services.
She accepted the invitation but when she arrived at the casino in Myawaddy, its staff told her that unless she worked as a prostitute she would have to pay a ransom of 25,000 baht.
The woman said about 300 Thai women are trapped there in the same circumstances.
Accompanying the woman, Ekapop Lueangprasert from the Survive network said that early this month, a woman had called for help. She was detained about 400 metres from the Moei River that separates Myanmar and Thailand, across from Mae Sot district of Tak.
On April 10, she and another Thai woman escaped from the casino late at night when Myanmar soldiers were changing shifts. They ran to the border and shouted for help as Myanmar soldiers pursued them. In response, Thai soldiers told them to swim across the river to the Thai side, Mr Ekapop said. Thai soldiers and his team were there to receive the escapees.
Meeting the woman at the Royal Thai Police Office, Pol Maj Gen Wiwat Khamchamnan, commander of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division, said police would question the woman before taking further action.
Heavy rains in Greater Bangkok from Tuesday night to early Wednesday morning caused flooding and paralysed traffic on many roads and a flooded school was closed.
Officials reported flooding at pavement levels and paralysed traffic on Srinagarind and Sukhumvit 107 (Bearing) roads in Samut Prakan province.
In Bangkok flooding occurred on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road, Kamphaeng Phet 2 Road, Phahonyothin Road in Bang Khen district, Ratchadaphisek Road near the Criminal Court, Ngam Wong Wan Road and sections of Lat Phrao Road including its intersection with Ratchadaphisek Road.
Some vehicles either stalled or were involved in traffic accidents while others avoided flooded lanes.
Traffic was also extremely slow on the inbound expressway heading for Rama IX Bridge and on Ramkhamhaeng Road including its section at Lam Salee intersection.
CHIANG MAI: Police on Thursday arrested 20 Chinese and four Thais for operating a romance and investment scam from a hotel in Fang district.
Police inspector-general Pol Gen Visanu Prasarttong-Osoth said the four Thais were local people.
The 24 suspects were all arrested at BK Resort in tambon Mae Soon in the morning. There were 22 men and two women.
He said the suspects were found busy working, with 10 notebook computers, 10 monitors, 10 desktop computers and 224 mobile phones.
Pol Gen Visanu said the gang created fake profiles on dating and LINE chat apps, using profile photos of beautiful women copied from the Internet.
The fraudsters then developed relationships with Thai and foreign men, many of them Japanese, and later lured them into investing in a bogus foreign exchange app named "metatrader".
The app showed fake forex data. After victims transferred their money to the gang, they were disconnected, Pol Gen Visanu said.
According to the police inspector-general, the suspects confessed that they received 25,000 to 35,000 baht a month for their illicit work seven days a week, and their workstation was an office building behind the hotel. They worked from 9am to 9pm on weekdays and from noon to 5pm on weekends.
They were charged with public fraud and computer crime. The Chinese suspects were also found to be in the country illegally.
Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai were used as bases by many foreign criminal gangs because the northern provinces were tourist destinations, Pol Gen Visanu said.
Pubs, bars, karaoke bars, massage parlours and all other similar night entertainment establishments will be allowed to reopen in 31 provinces from June 1 but they will still be required to close at midnight, the government said on Friday.
Before reopening on June 1, all night entertainment venues will have to win approval from the provincial communicable disease committee, he said, adding that only formally registered businesses will be approved.
And when allowed to reopen, these businesses will still be required to strictly follow the Covid-Free Setting measures set by the Ministry of Public Health, he said.
Covid-19 screening will be required daily for all staff, with antigen testing to be conducted once a week, he said.
"The wearing of face masks is required for services involving close contact between staff and customers, such as those offered in a massage parlour," Dr Taweesilp said.
As healthy customers visiting these night entertainment venues are required to show their Covid-19 vaccination certificates, people aged 60 and older, as well as those with underlying medical conditions, are advised to refrain from visiting them right now, he added.
Those identified as close contacts of confirmed Covid-19 cases and seen as having a high risk of contracting the coronavirus no longer have to go into five-day isolation and spend another five days closely observing their health, Dr Taweesilp said.
The new rule is for them to closely observe their health while going about their daily activities including going to work, he said, adding the only prerequisite is that they undergo an antigen test if they develop symptoms.
Chadchart headed for landslide in Bangkok governor election
Chadchart Sittipunt looks set to win the gubernatorial election on Sunday, leaving other candidates trailing by a wide margin.
The ongoing count confirmed all the opinion polls that showed Mr Chadchart ahead of other candidates from the beginning, including the pre-election Nida poll by the National Institute of Development Administration. That poll, conducted between Wednesday and Saturday and released after the voting time ended, showed Mr Chadchart supported by 50% of respondents.
Mr Chadchart refused to declare victory until the vote counting finished. "If the voters give me the mandate to be the governor, I will do my best," he said.
Mr Somchai said voters, including those casting a ballot for the first time, supported Mr Chadchart regardless of their feelings about his political background with the Pheu Thai Party.
"Votes for Mr Chadchart came from both Pheu Thai supporters and those who did not support Pheu Thai," he said.
He was the transport minister when Yingluck Shinawatra was the prime minister under the Pheu Thai banner.
While affirming no such cases have yet been found in Thailand, Dr Opas acknowledged the risk posed by the country’s reopening to travellers.
The DDC’s international communicable disease unit reported that from May 1 to 22, a total 13,142 people from the UK entered Thailand, along with 1,351 from Spain and 268 from Portugal. Monitoring of such arrivals has been elevated in light of the disease's spread in other countries.
Dr Opas urged close monitoring of developments and recommended people travelling to countries with known monkeypox cases to avoid contacting possible carrier animals, especially primates.
If contact occurs, they should quickly wash their hands with soap. Travellers should practice Universal Prevention and avoid coming into contact with the excretions of animals or undercooked animal products.
Government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said on Sunday that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha had instructed the Public Health Ministry to monitor developments in emerging monkeypox outbreaks in some 10 countries.
Gen Prayut wanted the ministry to provide information on the viral disease and ways to prevent transmission to the people so that they would stay informed and not panic, Mr Thanakorn said.