Sunday, 13 June 2021

Stolen phone sleuth, friend in need, rapper’s ganja rap

Food trader turns detective

 Pimnipa Sanguanrat

A parcel delivery company is apologising after a customer was forced to track down eight iPhone 6 devices stolen by a member of its own staff.

Flash Express was forced into an embarrassing climb-down after earlier refusing to help its customer who complained her order of second-hand phones and a phone charger had been diverted while en route from Kamphaeng Phet to her home in Pak Tho, Ratchaburi.

Pimnipa Sanguanrat, 43, who makes food to order in Ratchaburi, had asked her relatives in Kamphaeng Phet to send her the devices. When the parcel arrived three days later, sent via Flash Express, it contained a single mango fruit, stuffed inside in place of the phones.

She suspected the phones had been stolen as the box showed traces of having been forced open. Ms Pimnipa, who contacted the company and later wrote about her plight on Facebook, said Flash Express refused to help, claiming second-hand devices were not covered by insurance, and the outlet which sent the parcel was not a licensed dealer.

The outlet, meanwhile, confirmed that when the box left its shop it weighed 1.04kg. The box which arrived at her home containing the mango weighed not even half that amount.

Undeterred by the company’s stance, Ms Pimnipa contacted turned to Apple and with the aid of its remote tracking app on iCloud, traced the stolen devices initially to Flash Express’s sorting centre in Bang Rakam, Phitsanulok.

As the phones were switched on one by one by whoever had taken them, she was able to pin them on a map via their GPS signal. Ms Pimnipa said the tracker also showed some of the phones being switched on in Muang district.

Police inquiries were later to show that a staff member at the centre had stolen the devices and replaced them with the mango. Before Ms Pimnipa and the police were able to catch up with him, however, he sold three of the devices to a friend in Muang district, who sold them again to a contact in Rayong.

Having found the location of the devices, Ms Pimnipa and her younger brother on June 4 alerted Bang Rakam police. Since she first found them, the tracking app had pinpointed areas close to local temples: Wat Yang Khwaen U in Bang Rakam, and Wat Chulamanee in Muang district.

The police and Ms Pimnipa set out together with the tracking app, which apart from pinpointing the location also sets off a high-pitched ringing tone to help find missing or stolen devices.

Police found five of the devices at a house about 10m behind the first temple. The occupant, Pornthep Bunchuay, 26, initially denied any connection, but when police hit “play sound” on the app, and the phones started ringing nearby, he was forced to confess. They found the phones and a charger in the back of a Mitsubishi pickup parked under a lean-to on the property.

Mr Pornthep said he was sorting parcels at the Flash Express centre on June 1 when he noticed the parcel intended for Ms Pimnipa had broken open and contained phones. Seized by greed, he switched the phones for a stray mango fruit he had spotted in a delivery vehicle.

He had since sold three of them to a friend in the district, Thawatchai “Ekk” Choksuriyasakul. When police found him at his apartment, close to the second temple pinpointed on the tracker, he said he had already onsold the devices for 500 baht each. Police are tracking down the devices and in the meantime have charged Mr Pornthep with theft.

Ms Pimnipa said she was delighted to get her phones back, and said Flash Express had started talks about compensation. She was disappointed with their initial response, which forced her to take on the role of detective herself. “Even when I found someone at their sorting centre had done a switch, they still did not help as much as they should have done,” she said. When she accompanied police to Mr Pornthep’s house on the day of the arrest, she returned the mango which he had stuffed in her parcel.

Flash Express has offered its “deepest apologies” for its handling of the matter. “We have taken a look at the CCTV and sacked the worker concerned,” it said. The firm also would impose tougher security measures at its sorting centre to make sure there would be no repeat.

Vagrant gets new chance
Jakkarin ‘Golf’ Seungcharoen, right, and Bank

A tattoo artist is winning praise for helping a former school friend he found wandering around in a drug-induced haze.

Jakkarin “Golf” Seungcharoen, 27, came across his friend, Bank, his long hair dishevelled, barefooted and wearing tattered jeans, wandering along the road on May 7. He and Bank were friends in primary school but had lost contact over the years.

He recalled Bank as polite and reserved and said he could not accept the state he found him in. Golf, known as golftheband on TikTok, decided to help him, gaining the young man’s trust, contacting his mother, and arranging for him to enter rehab.

He recorded their journey in a series of clips which have since been widely shared by Thais, moved by Golf’s efforts to help his friend. “You are one in a million — a true mate,” they enthused.

Bank, before treatment
Golf said the Bank he found was living the life of a vagrant. He visited his mother in Thanyaburi, Pathum Thani, who said Bank had been mentally unwell for four years. He took drugs, was prone to rages and had hit her.

He had been treated for his drug habit before but refused to take his meds, leading to a relapse.

Golf said he arranged for Bank to enter rehab at Srithanya Hospital in Nonthaburi. Bank, his mind still befuddled by drugs, was a reluctant patient and had to be lifted to an ambulance, where he was strapped down for the journey.

His treatment was delayed several days when the hospital insisted he get checked for Covid-19. After testing negative he spent the next two weeks in care. Golf said that as his friend improved, they spoke regularly by video call.

On the day of his release on May 31, a smiling Bank is seen offering Golf a wai as he leaves the ward. A clip shows him embracing Golf and greeting his young son. Doctors said he was 70 per cent recovered.

By late last week, thanks to publicity about his recovery, Bank was emerging as a minor public figure. A TV show invited him on, when Bank said the thing he wanted most in life was an acoustic guitar. The host offered to buy him one if he stayed on his meds.

Golf said his mate, as he gets better, was hoping to start a fried pork stand. He was making his own plans to set up a shop offering his tattoos. The cost of caring for Bank, which Golf raised from friends and family, came to 12,800 baht.

Thais were moved by the saga, which at one point had Golf almost in tears as he battled with obstacles in the health system. “I don’t want to be famous, I don’t want money, and I don’t want to make merit...I just want my friend back the way he was,” he wrote. “Thanks you to everyone who gave him a morale boost. Thanks also to the obstacles which made me realise how important friends are.”

An arresting tune
Tak ‘Note’ Phasuk, performing
A young drug suspect arrested in Songkhla impressed police with his ability to compose rap lyrics capturing his plight.

A clip of Tak “Note” Phasuk, 26, composing a rap-style ditty on the fly aired widely in the media. Mr Note, wearing a smile throughout, extols the benefits of cannabis and takes a pot shot at police for being “ignorant” for charging him.

Border Patrol Police Division 43, Narcotics Suppression Division troops, and Tourist Police, who made the arrest, say the young man and his supplier, Wanchai “Win” Athiphatpong, 25, whom they also nabbed, were buying and selling cannabis over the internet.

After catching Mr Note at his apartment, where they seized two bags of dried cannabis, weighing 18.5 grammes, and drug taking gear, they had the young rap fan call Mr Win to make a bogus order. Mr Win told his mate he could spare him “only” half a kilogramme for 4,000 baht. They arranged a time to meet at a condo in Hat Yai, when police pounced.

Police later took Mr Win to his apartment where they found three lumps of dope, weighing 67 grammes, 16 grammes of fresh leaves, and six hydroponic marijuana plants, 30-150cm tall, on his balcony.

However, his arrest drew less attention than that of his musical mate, Mr Note, who as police were processing his case made up a song about ganja and his new status as a drug suspect. As an officer sorts through bags of dope behind him, Mr Note performs rapper-style for the benefit of police filming him.

He extols the health benefits of the drug and asks why police, whom he likens to a tall, hungry ghost in Thai mythology, or Pred, are arresting him. In rhyming Thai lyrics, and jabbing at the air rap-style, he sang:

Welcome...today we are here to talk about cannabis plants,
Ganja...many plants...which police have seized,
Seize, why? they are medicinal plants...herbal plants of Thailand,
(repeat)
Herbal plants which we raise to treat diseases,
To make money...or take as drugs,
They export it all over the country
But some Thais are still ignorant like Pred.


Far from being upset, police egged him on, interposing with rapper-like chants of “Yo, Yo!”

Frivolity aside, Mr Note was charged with possessing dried cannabis, and Mr Win with possession and cultivating the drug, both of which are still illegal despite recent changes to the medical cannabis law.

Sunday, 6 June 2021

Slain student mystery, airport mafia strike, toothy promise

No sugar daddy needed

Amnat Saetung

A middle-age man who killed a first-year university student in a hail of bullets as she was heading to school insists the pair were in love but fell out over money.

Her grieving parents, however, know nothing about the relationship and have challenged the killer to own up about his real motives. They say they are hardly poor and their daughter, victim Kanokpath “Nam Fon” Sukkasem, 19, had no need of his support.

Tha Kham police arrested Amnat Saetung, 53, near the Big C on Rama II Road in Bang Khun Thian district on May 26 after he shot Nam Fon seven times inside a taxi where she had sought shelter from his wrath just moments before.

After shooting Nam Fon, whom he pursued from a bus which had arrived shortly before, he walked into a nearby market still holding his unlicensed 9mm Glock until being overpowered by good Samaritans.

Nam Fon, a scholarship student studying microbiology, had taken the bus that morning as she did every day on her way to class. Mr Amnat, who was lying in wait, having travelled from his nearby home in Samae Dam, boarded the bus as soon as it arrived and the pair started arguing.

Nam Fon fled the bus and climbed into the back of a taxi, with Mr Amnat in hot pursuit. As he tried to pull her from the vehicle, Mr Amnat warned Nam Fon that if she didn’t cooperate, he would shoot. She managed to kick him as she tried to free herself. In response, Mr Amnat took the pistol from his hip and fired off a rapid volley, killing the young woman.

CCTV footage shows Mr Amnat walking calmly into the market, still holding his weapon. While many passersby fled, a plainclothes policeman who was making merit nearby and a brave trader approached Mr Amnat and he peaceably laid down his weapon. The footage shows him being pinned down until police arrived.

Speaking to police, Mr Amnat, a former taxi-driver and messenger who says he lost his job during Covid-19, said he and Nam Fon met online and had been seeing each other since 2014. They started having sex when she was in Matthayom 6.

“We went everywhere together. I supported Nam Fon, including her school fees; it was genuine love, I didn’t imagine it,” he told reporters as police took him to Thon Buri court two days after the shooting to seek another spell in detention.

If the couple did go everywhere together, no one else saw them. Amarin TV spoke to a bunch of her friends, none of whom had heard of Nam Fon seeing anyone.

One close friend said she was single “for sure” at least until she finished school. However, she was aware that Nam Fon in February had complained to Rat Burana police about a man pestering her. Mr Amnat admits that man was him.

Mr Amnat said he and Nam Fon had argued in late December. She said if he didn’t agree to buy her a bracelet she wanted, she would call it off.

“I sent her 50,000 baht for the bracelet and hoped we could carry on seeing each other. But the day on the bus she said I was stupid to send it so I killed her. However, I regret what happened and feel for her parents. I am happy to accept society’s punishment.”

Asked about her complaint to police, Mr Amnat said he had threatened to release a clip of them having sex if she refused to see him.

The victim’s father, Wiroj Sukkasem, 58, said he didn’t know his daughter was seeing anyone, and didn’t believe the killer’s claims they had been together for seven years.

“I have never seen the guy before and want to know why he really killed her,” he said from her funeral at Wat Bang Bon.

The family was not poor, he said, and he doubted she would need to turn elsewhere for support. Her term fees were 37,000 baht but her scholarship paid for all but 12,000 baht.

As far as general expenses were concerned, he gave her 150 baht a day, which she topped up with earnings as an online teacher making 250 baht an hour.

A nephew of the killer’s, Keht (assumed name), said he was shocked to hear his uncle was involved. Although he did not see him much, he knew Mr Amnat was supporting a woman, though he never met her.

Police have charged Mr Amnat with intentional killing, having an unlicensed firearm in his possession, and taking it into a public place.

Airport rogues meet match
The taxi driver’s scout
An Udon Thani man has complained about “mafia types” who overcharged him for a fare to Samut Sakhon when they picked him up at a city airport.

Team Chavala said he took a flight to Don Muang on May 30 and was heading for the taxi stands with his girlfriend when a stranger called him over. A woman in white asked if they wanted a cab and offered to arrange it for them. She borrowed his girlfriend’s phone to call a taxi.

As they left the airport, another cab approached, but the woman shoo-ed it away. When the yellow and green cab she wanted pulled up, Mr Team and his girlfriend climbed in the back, while the woman in white joined the driver in front.

“I assumed she would get out as soon as we cleared the airport, but no...the driver was taking along his missus for the ride,” he said, referring to the woman.

Team
The woman started chatting to them, asking what he did and how much he earned. “We were distracted and didn’t notice the driver had not put on the meter,” Mr Team said.

“When we asked how much the fare was, he replied 800 baht, and told us that all the cabs charge the same on that route.

“She must have assumed I had never taken the trip before, but in fact I had. The last time it cost less than 500 baht,” he said.

When he asked the driver to turn on the meter the pair grew upset, and the woman abused him. When Mr Team asked the pair to let them out of the cab, the driver refused.

Mr Team picked up his phone as if to call the police, when the driver finally relented. In a clip which Mr Team posted, he is arguing with the woman, who has left the cab and is demanding 200 baht. They are outside Vibhavadi Hospital, having barely cleared the airport precinct.

Mr Team filmed the vehicle’s registration plate and after the pair drove off, visited Don Muang police to complain.

Airport police, who also made contact, said the couple were mafia types who had been fined repeatedly for over-charging and warned to stay clear of the airport. However, they keep coming back.

Mr Team posted another clip later in the week of the Land Transport Department hauling in the driver and the woman in white for a dressing down.

Officers said the driver, “Veera”, admitted driving a taxi for which he was not licensed. He had borrowed his dad’s taxi on the day of the encounter with Mr Team, he said.

He was fined 3,000 baht for charging a fare in excess of guidelines, and will also face legal action for driving a taxi without being licensed. His father will be fined 2,000 baht for lending him the vehicle.

Hooked on a smile
Surat and Thong Kam
A Chai Nat man who sprang to fame for his friendship with a “smiling buffalo” has entered the monkhood to say thanks after the beast was stolen from him and then recovered again.

Surat Phaewket, 37, has donned the saffron robes for 15 days after the safe return of the water buffalo, Thong Kam (“Gold”), a couple of weeks after the animal was stolen from its pen in tambon Suk Duean Ha of Noen Kham district.

Mr Surat and the water buffalo he cares for came to fame in late 2018 when Mr Surat posted images of the beast, which appears to smile before the camera, as he appealed for public donations to help him buy the animal. Thong Kam’s owner, he said, had threatened to sell it to the slaughterhouse.

Public donations of 100,000 baht poured in, with Thais taken by the buffalo’s toothy smile and attractive appearance, and Mr Surat’s sad tale. However, he ended up facing fraud charges when the owner, who pays him to care for the beast, came forward to deny he intended selling it.

A celebrity lawyer, among those who donated money, claimed Mr Surat set out to dupe the public and complained to police.

They seized the animal and took it to Bangkok briefly as evidence. Mr Surat insisted the saga had arisen from a misunderstanding and he did not mean to pocket the funds.

On May 17, long after the pair had been reunited in Chai Nat and had dropped out of the news, Mr Surat said he was startled to find Thong Kam had been taken from his pen.

He followed the beast’s footprints leading from the pen for hours the first night, without success.

After he contacted police and posted about the saga, a farmer came forward to say he had seen a pickup carrying a buffalo carrier pass by his place. He noticed the buffalo was a good-looking beast and CCTV footage suggested it was Thong Kam.

Mr Surat said police tracked down the animal to Wat Sing district and found it had been re-sold to a farmer for 60,000 baht. They have issued a warrant for the thieves, locals whom Mr Surat said he knows.

Thong Kam has since been returned to his field and reunited with his buffalo friends. A grateful Mr Surat said the last time he and Thong Kam were in the news, he made a votive promise to the spirit of a famous monk that he would enter the monkhood if he surmounted his case.

However, he did not get the chance as his legal troubles lingered and then Covid-19 struck.

This time around, after the beast was stolen, he made another votive promise to enter the monkhood if Thong Kam was returned. After police found the beast, he decided he had better redeem his promise.

After taking Thong Kam for a quick dip at a nearby stream, Mr Surat took part in an ordination ceremony at Wat Kositaram in Sak Buri district on May 29.

“He gave Thong Kam a quick peck as he left,” news reports said.

Sunday, 30 May 2021

Deadly four-way affair, bogus mall monk, unlucky thief

Twisted murder tale

Fai

A Nakhon Sawan electrician who killed the married woman he had been seeing for 12 months said he was furious when she started seeing a third man as well.

Sompop “Kang” Raksalert, 30, who is himself married with a family, carried on an open relationship with the victim, Monchaya “Fai” Setwaree, 27, in Takhli district. Her husband and family knew but put up with it. However, not content with two men in her life she sought out a third.

This was too much for Kang, who supported her financially and had beaten her up out of jealousy a couple of days before.

Fai went missing on May 17. After killing her near a local irrigation canal he slipped back home. Her body went undetected in the reed grass for three days before it was finally found, supposedly with the help of a fortune teller who told a family member her body would be found near water.

When police finally laid siege to Kang’s home on May 21 following the gruesome discovery of Fai’s beaten body, he threatened to kill himself.
Kang


Relatives, some of whom travelled from Bangkok during his standoff with police, were able to talk him down from that. When he surrendered after the five-hour ordeal he admitted killing the young woman, in what police said was a case of a four-sided affair gone wrong.

Kang said he lured Fai to an irrigation canal about 200m from the nearest village and beat her when she refused to carry on seeing him. He also disguised her death to make it look like a robbery, police said.

Police earlier called in Fai’s husband Supachai Thongkam, 27, who said Fai left home on May 17 saying she was going to see village health volunteers about getting a Covid jab. He searched for his missing wife for three days. Her body was found after a family member consulted a fortune teller in Sing Buri, who said Fai was dead but they would find her body near water.

Police said Fai’s shirt had been pulled up above her chest and her jeans opened. The killer had also beaten her with a hard object. Fai’s bag and motorbike were missing, the killer, they discovered later, having ditched them in the canal.

Kang, who filled in further details after the aborted siege at his home, said he lured Fai to the roadside spot by the Chainat-Pasak irrigation canal in Takhli district. Fai, still upset after he beat her, refused to keep seeing him, despite his entreaties.

The electrician, angry he had supported her financially over many months, lost his temper and struck her with a piece of wood. When she came to, she pleaded for her life but still asked to leave him.

Unhappy with that, he kept hitting her until she was dead and dragged her body into the reed grass.

Kang stuffed her bag under the motorcycle seat and pushed the bike into the canal. He also burnt her phone and threw it into the water. Police divers, who were able to recover both items, said the bag contained drug taking gear. Family members say both were methamphetamine users.

Meanwhile, police say they had to question Fai’s husband Mr Supachai for hours before he revealed his wife had been seeing Kang. “I knew from the outset it was probably Kang’s handiwork,” he told them.

“He beat up my wife only days before and when he brought her back, spoke brusquely: ‘I’m bringing back your wife...don’t let her meddle with me again. If not, I will kill her.’”

Mr Supachai said he wasn’t happy with his wife’s infidelity but put up with it. “I was angry when he attacked her but Fai didn’t want to take action so I had no choice but to go along. I would have done anything for her,” he said.

He and Fai had been together 10 years and had two children, a boy aged 11 and a girl, 6. The little girl died after spending years in a coma following an accident. Her funeral was held earlier this month.

When police surrounded his home in the early afternoon of May 21, Kang locked himself in the bathroom with a gun. As relatives tried to talk him down, police laced his drinking water with sleeping pills in the hope of sending him to sleep. They were preparing to lob in tear gas when a relative persuaded him to lay down the weapon about 7pm.

An aunt, Toy (assumed name), said Kang is friendly, hard working, and good at making money. “When he is free he helps out on the family fruit farm. His mother and I are shocked and didn’t think he would do such a thing,” she said.

Teerachan, 23, a friend of the victim’s, said Monchaya was a lively, cheerful person. “Everyone knows their relationship was wrong, as both have families, but I didn’t dare warn her as it was a personal matter,” he said.

Police left Kang in the custody of the Nakhon Sawan court, initially on gun possession charges, as they build their case.

The shopping mall monk
Sitthichok
Udon Thani police have nabbed an elderly man posing as a monk after shoppers complained they had spotted him changing in the toilets into civilian gear.

Police from Muang district found Sitthichok Noisuwann, 66, dressed in saffron robes while sitting outside a mall. Even though on this occasion he was wearing monk’s robes, shoppers had complained repeatedly of spotting the monk in the mall toilets changing into ordinary clothes.

When police asked Mr Sitthichok for his monk’s ID card he could not supply one. He said he entered the monkhood at a funeral and had never left. However, after questioning he agreed he wasn’t in fact a monk and liked to don monk’s robes to gain an advantage.

Mr Sitthichok said he would leave home wearing civilian gear and duck into a toilet to change into monk’s robes. He would wander through the market where locals, thinking he was a monk, would offer him food and other supplies.

He was also able to cut the queue to see the doctor at hospital when he needed medical attention. In the evening, he would change back into civilian gear before heading home.

He kicked up a fuss when police nabbed him, asking what he had done wrong. Officers said they had received a complaint two weeks before about him changing in the toilets and let him off with a warning.

However, this time he would be charged with impersonating a monk. He was carrying a bag with discarded gear, including an old battery.

A Thai Rath report from April 2015 said Mr Sitthichok was booted from the monkhood after being caught drinking.

Police, the report said, were called to Sompongchaiwararam temple in Mak Khaeng sub-district after a drunken monk went on a rampage.

Phra Sitthichok, the temple’s elders said, would invite his relatives to the temple for a drink, scaring merit-makers. When monks asked him to move on he started abusing and hitting them.

The angry monk, who was spending Lent at the temple, admitted he had been on a four-day drinking bender to relieve stress. He would ask temple boys to fetch 40-proof alcohol from a shop nearby.

Cops said his monk’s ID card showed he had entered the monkhood in 2012 but was defrocked after he was caught drinking. The temple which admitted him over Lent not checked the details properly.

Gutsy shopkeeper tackles thief
Phattharawadee 
A Rayong woman who put up a fight when a thief stole her necklace and Buddha amulet says she didn’t think about the danger but warned others against following her example.

Phattharawadee Panklang, 34, was alone at her roadside shop in Ban Khai district on May 22 when the thief ordered a soft drink. While she was getting his 30 baht change he snatched the items.

CCTV footage taken from the outside of the open-sided shop shows her trying to wrest back the necklace and amulet, which he grabbed along with his change.

The thief, identified later as Manoj Ubonprasert, 29, from Klaeng district, yanks her to the ground as he tries to get a grip on the necklace, which at first refuses to open. He kicks her in the stomach as she puts up resistance.

After a brief skirmish, Ms Phattharawadee chases him as he jumps on his motorcycle.

At first Mr Manoj can’t start the engine. Ms Phattharawadee leaps across the handlebars and sits there facing the thief as he moves the bike along with his feet.

When the vehicle starts she is carried along for a few metres. Finally she is able to wrest back her necklace and jump off the bike.

No one has since been able to find the amulet, as Mr Manoj, arrested later by police, claims he dropped it. He also dropped his phone in his haste. Police called to the scene found the phone, which led them to the suspect.

Ms Phattharawadee, who was left with bruised legs, said that while motorists passed by, no one came to her aid. The shop, selling fried bananas and coffee, is in front of her home. “I did not think of the danger to myself, I just wanted my necklace back. However, I would warn others against taking on thieves as next time they could be carrying a weapon.

“These are tough times and people might be more inclined to steal. I have worn jewellery for six years without problem but won’t wear it in the open again,” she said.

As police surrounded Mr Manoj at his home, footage taken by the officers shows him trying to escape over a fence. He changes his mind when they threaten to shoot. He admitted taking the goods, saying he was seized by a sudden impulse.

However, he ended up with nothing, he insisted, as he yielded the necklace to a determined Ms Phattharawadee, and dropped his phone and the amulet on the road as he made his escape. He doubled back later looking for both but couldn’t find them. Officers charged him with theft.

Sunday, 23 May 2021

X gets son to pull trigger, love triangle row, tradie’s pride

Dad puts up son for kill

 Wacharin ‘X’ Seemongkolrat
A young ex-con has admitted killing his stepmother on his stepfather’s orders, saying he was afraid his father would beat him if he didn’t carry it out.

Narin “Mack” Seemongkolrat, 23, and his father Wacharin “X” Seemongkolrat, 40, are charged with jointly murdering Charintorn “Amm” Boonnak, 25, outside X’s family home in Bang Khun Thian on May 13, with Mack saying his father handed him the gun and ordered him to pull the trigger.

Bang Khun Thian and Metropolitan Police Division 9 police say they questioned X for hours after the killing in the Wat Sai slum community, soi Ekkachai 77 in Bang Khun Thian, before he finally confessed late on May 14.

Subsequent media reports said he declined to help further, saving his testimony for court. His stepson was more forthcoming, agreeing to take part in a crime reconstruction. Both had earlier denied involvement.
Charintorn ‘Amm’ Boonnak
Police say Amm had agreed to meet the pair after work, and moments later was found behind X’s house with a bullet wound to her temple. While there were no witnesses to the shooting, father and son were seen arriving on their motorcycles and leaving in separate directions shortly after.

In his confession, Mack told police that his father had given him a modified .38 pistol which he had bought for 6,500 baht. Mack is the son of X’s ex-wife and regards X as his father.

He said X ordered him to kill Amm and when he had shot her, told him to quickly dispose of the weapon. He later helped him bury it.
Narin ‘Mack’ Seemongkolrat

Mack said he gave Amm’s body a wai of apology moments after shooting her. “My father said if I didn’t do it, he would shoot her himself but then attack me,” Mack said. “I had no intention to kill her and would like to apologise to Amm and her relatives.”

His father, he said, beat him frequently and he was afraid of being hurt again. However, some media reports say Mack also pulled the trigger out of sympathy for his father, after Amm left X and found a new man even though she and X were not yet divorced. X and Amm have two children of their own, aged 10, and 12 months.

Bang Khun Thian police say Mack is a repeat drug offender and convicted thief. In January 2018 he and his teen gang were nabbed for stealing a safe from Wat Ratchaorotsaram. He had only recently been released when he shot Amm.

Following the shooting, Mack said he and his father, a drainage worker for the BMA, buried the weapon close to where he works, a BMA pumping station in soi Petchkasem 81. They returned home as if nothing had happened, having left Amm lying on the ground for the neighbours to find, until police called them in.

Later, as he was called in for questioning, X told reporters that he still loved Amm and would not dream of harming her.

“I am not jealous. In fact, I go after her every day to try to make things up to her. If I had wanted her dead I would have done it before now,” he said.

Before his confession, Mack, like his father, admitted turning up at the house, but said he left before his father arrived.

He admitted having spoken to his father about “what to do” about Amm, after she started seeing another man.

Amm’s mother said she was sure X was behind the murder, as he had beaten up Amm for years.

Speaking at her daughter’s funeral at Wat Sing in the district, La-ongduan Muangkehtma said she complained to police about the beatings, to no avail.

“She also tried fleeing her abusive husband with my help, but that didn’t work either. So I asked them to divorce. X wouldn’t agree, and I reckon laid a plan to do the whole thing.”

She claimed Mack and her daughter were close, often heading out on errands together. “They loved each other. I hope X gets death for what he did.”

Somkit Muangkehtma, X’s mother, said she is saddened by Amm’s death, as she was not just her daughter-in-law but a relative as well.

“She has a new man, but often turns up at our place because the baby is with us there. But if my son did wrong I won’t take his side and nor will I forgive him because he has gone too far,” she said.

The night before the killing, she said X had called Amm and abused her after Amm missed a repayment on her motorcycle, which she had bought in his name.

Police charged the couple with jointly killing Amm and being in possession of an unlicensed weapon. They were remanded in the custody of the Thon Buri court where police were planning to oppose bail.

Girl at centre of fatal stabbing
Kamol Tientabtim
A Samut Songkhram teenager killed his older friend and workmate in a bitter love triangle dispute after he started seeing his ex-girlfriend.

Kamol Tientabtim, 19, admitted stabbing Sitthipol Teerapunyachai 27, outside his home in Thai Had, Muang district on May 14. He stabbed Sitthipol six times with a pocket knife after his older friend hit him in a row over a girl.

Police said they also found the young woman, Jenjira, 17, at the scene nursing a bruised knee. She had tried to stop the two men fighting over her but was pushed to the ground.

Kamol said Sitthipol was seeing Janjira previously and when the two broke up she started seeing Kamol, which led to the row.

Sitthipol Teerapunyachai
Before their fight he took her to his place, where they also bumped into Sitthipol. When he saw them together he started arguing with Kamol.

Kamol said he had apologised to Sitthipol many times for seeing his ex-girlfriend, but he would not let up. “I told him if you hit me, I will hit you back.”

Sitthipol punched him and Kamol, who realised he could not defend himself against the older lad, pulled out the knife and stabbed him until he fell to the ground.

Reporters spoke to Kamol’s father, Winai Tiantabtim, aged 75, who said he was taking a nap about 8pm when he heard arguing.

“I took a look and saw Sitthipol lying in a heap on the ground, and my son with blood on his hands.”

His son said: “I did it, I own up, Dad. Please look after my kid.” Kamol has a son aged about 12 months.

Mr Winai said he didn’t know Jenjira or Sitthipol, and would not bail out his son as he had no money. “I will let him meet his fate as he has done wrong. Nor will I go to say sorry to the victim’s family as I don’t know anyone,” he said.

Wanlapha Teerapunyachai, 47, the victim’s aunt, said Sitthipol and the girl had gone out just two weeks. She had come to the house a few times.

“We didn’t get along as I feel as if she behaved like a girl beyond her years. Two days before, she and Sitthipol argued and I broke it up, asking the girl to leave the house. She went and sat outside. Someone came to pick her up, I am not sure who,” she said.

Kamol, who worked with Sitthipol at a local hotel, often came to their place for a meal.

“I believe the girl caused it because she was the one whose actions led them to fight. I would like her to take responsibility for what she did. Thanks to her, I have lost my nephew,” she said. Police have charged Kamol with intentional killing.

Too pretty for a building site
Praphatsorn ‘New’ Chinsri at work
A “pretty” product presenter has turned to the building trade to pay the bills after her regular work dried up during Covid.

Praphatsorn “New” Chinsri, 32, is winning praise on the internet after a clip surfaced of her working on a building site, helping out relatives who have a construction business.

New said she does putty work, lays bricks, mixes cement, ties up and bundles iron, drills holes, and paints. She is paid 400 baht a day not including overtime, which she says is just enough to make ends meet, though it cannot compare with the 30,000-40,000 baht a month she earned as a “pretty” product presenter.
Headshot of Niw

Her work as an MC, presenter, and running a shop repairing smartphones fell by the wayside as Covid forced department stores to close and customers stayed away. “I had no work for three months but decided I had better find something,” she told reporters.

She was able to draw on previous work experience as a 17-year-old when she helped relatives as a builder during the term holidays. “I can pour cement, do plastering, build a wall, bundle iron...I can do everything except for the welding,” she said.

“It is tiring work as I am in the sun, but I have to do it to keep myself fed. I tell myself that one day we will get through this.”

New admits some people have given her condescending looks when they see her looking grubby in her worker’s gear. “However, I would urge others in my position to ignore the bad looks and just give it a go.”

Sunday, 16 May 2021

Thief out for a spin, online loan threats, tombstone drinks

 Smile, you’re on CCTV

Chainarong Krajangjai during his arrest

A serial car thief who took a car from a Don Muang company after hours claims he was just out for a joyride and had no intention to steal. His “joyride” took him all the way to Nonthaburi where he left it at a temple carpark overnight.

On Sunday, Don Muang police arrested Chainarong Krajangjai, 38, at the temple when he came back for the vehicle. Media images showed him handcuffed and seated next to a Toyota Yaris which he stole from the Nawong Pracha Phatthana Road firm on May 7.

Chainarong, who initially told police he took it for a spin, drove to Wat Koh Paya Jeng in Pak Kret, Nonthaburi. After the owner reported it missing, police followed the route he took via CCTV cameras positioned across the city and lay in wait until his return.

The owner, whose company makes parts for the skytrain and reported the theft early on May 8, said a laptop housing software for the firm’s CCTV cameras, a hard disc and a computer monitor were also stolen. “I have been renting the place for a year. It is a company car and I hang the keys where anyone can grab them easily,” the owner, who was not named in news reports, told police.

“When I noticed the car had gone that evening I went looking for our CCTV but discovered that had vanished as well. When I asked to look at cameras nearby I saw the thief enter the premises and take the vehicle,” he said.

Chainarong, who has a history of stealing cars going back to 2013, left the vehicle at the temple’s carpark and took off in a taxi. That, too, was captured on CCTV.

Talking to police after his arrest, Chainarong insisted it was his first offence and occurred almost inadvertently. He said he used to live on the Don Muang company premises some years back when the building was a car repair yard with rented rooms. He found the place empty that night so let himself in.

“I was walking past, saw the gate open and went in for a look,” he told police. “I spotted a set of car keys hanging in the carpark and the Toyota. I was surprised to find the key opened the vehicle. I decided to go for a drive and as I was leaving noticed the CCTV camera.

“I worried someone might think I was stealing so decided to take the laptop as well. However, I always meant to return it,” he said.

Contrary to Chainarong’s claims it was his first offence, police say a check on his record found he was in fact a serial offender, having served lengthy time for car theft in Pak Kret, in 2013, and Don Muang, in 2016.

He spent four years in jail for the 2016 crime and was released in the middle of last year. When asked about the 2016 conviction, Chaina­rong abandoned his claim he was a first-time offender and admitted it was him.

Police, who have once again charged him with car theft, say they believe Chainarong, far from taking the Toyota out for a ride, wanted to sell it on the black market.

He left the vehicle at the temple for safekeeping while he tried to find a buyer. “Otherwise why would he leave in a taxi when he already had the Toyota to get out and about in,” one investigator said.

Loan sharks heavy mum
Khangguy Areyasakul
A social media influencer has gone to police after an online lender threatened her young son over a loan taken out by his teacher.

Khangguy Areyasakul is warning Thais about instant loan apps, after she ended up at the centre of a dispute between the lending company and her son’s primary school teacher, “B”.

She has gone to Phra Khanong police, after the lending company threatened to kill her son if she did not get him to pay up.

The teacher, she said, took out a 8,000 baht loan via an online lending app, and missed payments for eight days.

Khangguy said she knew nothing about the loan until the company behind the app called and demanded she arrange repayment. They had obtained her contact details from his phone.

Khangguy said the lenders obtained a list of B’s contacts including her own number via the app. “A man called on May 8, abused me and told me they would kill my young son, Sunny, if I did not contact B and demand he pay up,” she said.

“I was stunned when he started abusing and threatening me but regained my composure enough to ask who is B, and what does my son have to do with it,” she said.

“What are you, stupid as well as being a liar,” the caller replied. B, he said, was her son’s form teacher, and he had an outstanding balance of 3,500 baht. “We know where your son goes to school. If we don’t get out money he will die,” the man said.

If B failed to be persuaded, they were just as happy for her to pay on his behalf. The caller, she said, claimed B had listed her as a referee whom the lending company could contact in the event he failed to pay.

“I was scared as my son is just five years old, so I pretended I was willing to pay. They gave me an account number where I could send the money, and the account owner’s name, which I have now handed over to police,” Khangguy said.

“Once I found out what I needed, I hung up and contacted the school. B called and apologised, though he insists he did not give my name as a referee.” He had merely listed her in his contacts as “Sunny’s mum”, along with her number.

Khangguy said she felt sorry for the teacher, who since the saga came to light has been hauled over the coals by the school head.

“The app gains access to contact numbers itself, as borrowers agree to share their personal details as a condition for being granted the loan,” she said.

Khangguy, who posted about the encounter on FB, claims she gave the loan shark caller a warning of her own.

“Before you threaten people you should do a little homework and find out if the people you are calling can do you any harm. Look up my details on the internet and you’ll find out for yourself,” she told him.

She claims the man later called back to apologise when he realised she was a public figure, but she told him the damage was done.

She had looked into instant loan apps since the drama unfolded and would like to warn Thais to be careful when borrowing from them.

Responding to her FB post, Thais shared similar encounters they had had with unscrupulous online lenders. Nuy Jindasri, who took out an online loan and missed a repayment, said the company called people on his phone contacts list to chase up the money. “My contacts called me back and abused me for giving their names as referees,” Nuy wrote.

Prakarn Alpha, meanwhile, said a youngster he knows had borrowed from an app and given Prakarn’s number in the event he could not be reached.

“Someone called me, asking me to arrange repayment. They didn’t abuse or threaten me. But when I told the caller about my family background — we’re from the police — they didn’t bother me again.” Police are looking into Khangguy’s complaint.

Ghosts get thirsty, too
Sittichai ‘Boy’ Muangnil
A food delivery guy says he was surprised to get an order from a cemetery in Chai Nat.

Food Panda rider, Boy Chainat or Sittichai “Boy” Muangnil, last week shared a brief clip on TikTok of him taking a delivery of two bottles of fizzy drink to a location overlooking an overgrown cemetery which a customer had pinned on a GPS map.

When he arrived at the cemetery behind Wat Khao Tha Phra in Muang district he looked puzzled and called the customer, who did not answer. This hardened Boy’s suspicions that he had fallen victim to a prank — that, or GPS had led him to the wrong spot. “So, which grave is it,” he muses to his phone camera. “Please put up your hand.”

The overgrown cemetery 
He asked whether he had been tricked into making the delivery by a local ghost. The post was widely shared in the media. “I don’t believe in ghosts but am still pleased I was called there in the daytime and not the middle of the night,” he told reporters.

The mystery unravelled when the customer eventually called back. She said she had pinned the location wrongly, and her home, where she wanted him to make the delivery, was actually another 500m away. He found the customer and delivered his goods.