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Sunday 30 October 2016

Art attack, tum's plea for peace, fluke for yingluck

Actor lashes freeloaders

Actor Pasut "Art" Banyam has joined criticism of mourners at Sanam Luang who seem keener on picking up goods for free rather than grieving for the King.

Art, who has joined celebrities giving away goods to the crowds, and also offered rides to mourners on his motorcycle, said people donating goods should watch out for those who claim more than their fair share.

Some mourners turn up with large bags, carting away free boxed food, snacks, and drinking water, he said.

"I saw a small truck turn up full of goods to donate to one of the tents near me," he said. "It was cleaned out in a moment, as these people wander around from tent to tent. They carry bags as large as sacks, and fill them with free goods.

"These people should not be encouraged, as there are still mourners genuinely in need out there."

Earlier, Art demanded an apology from a critic at Sanam Luang who accused him of offering free rides on his motorcycle merely to seek publicity.

Art has joined a group of friends offering mourners free rides to and from the Grand Palace and Sanam Luang, often staying late into the evening.

The actor said one visitor turned up at their motorcycle stand and asked if there were any celebrities among the volunteer drivers.

"I had my helmet on and knew I was the only public figure present at the time. The man had seen me there previously and had helped me flag down vehicles. He declared 'No dara [celebrity] really wants to pick people up; they are just doing it to look good'," Art said.

Art, who lost his cool and abused the man in front of his friends, some of whom tried to restrain him, said he resented the suggestion.

"People would have seen the devil in me come out. But I just wanted an apology, which he gave."

Celebrities are starting to fight back after doing good work in the name of the King, only to run into criticism for their motives or even their appearance.

Last week a net idol came under fire for wearing white training shoes as part of her mourning attire, while an actress was criticised for her bright red nail polish while handing out goods to the crowds.

Net idol Rungtawan "Munkaw" Chaiha posted an image of herself in a white tank top, black miniskirt, and white track shoes with black trim. One netizen said the outfit was insulting to herself and to grieving Thais nationwide.

"Those shoes are not appropriate for mourning. I think you should leave them on the shelf," he wrote. Munkaw's reply was brief: "Settle down, uncle."

Actress Chotika "Noey" Wongwilas also came under scrutiny after a netizen complained about her red nails.

"Sorry, kha ... I didn't mean to say anything, but I couldn't help but notice your nails. They are very red [and not appropriate for mourning]. Change them."

She replied: "I did my nails before learning of the King's passing. I would have to go to a nail clinic to get the polish removed. I thought I would give something back for the King first, as it is more important."

Actor Kawin, or Porama "Panjan" Imanothai has joined calls on mourners to behave better.

"Some people are dressed in black but with their faces done up to the nines. They come looking for free food, or give away goods so they can take selfies and pull in a few 'likes' on social media," he said.

"We have more than enough donated stuff now. I understand the desire to give, but if you doing it because you're on a day out, let me say it's not the right occasion.

"If you went to a relative's funeral, would you be taking as many pictures as you are now, grinning away broadly?"

Meanwhile, actresses Pitchanart "May" Sakakorn and Patcharapa "Aum" Chaichuea are warning fans after a bogus Instagram post solicited cash in their name, supposedly to feed the crowds at Sanam Luang.

The pair, who joined mourners at the public ground last week, said they were not behind the cash-raising drive. The post asks their fans to donate cans of food or send cash to a bank account number.

"Watch out. Some people are trying to make money out of others' grief," May said. -

2. Socialite says she 'deserves a break'

A wealthy socialite who accused a high-profile policewoman of stealing her boyfriend has urged internet critics to give her a break after a court fined her in a third case arising from their dispute.

The Criminal Court in Ratchada last week sentenced socialite Wichuda "Tum" Leenuthapong to six years in jail, suspended for two years, and fined her 100,000 baht after she admitted charges of defamation.

Anchalee "Mor Air" Teerawongpaisal laid police complaints against Tum last year after the socialite accused her of breaking up Tum’s relationship with her policeman lover.

Mor Air laid two complaints against the socialite, and prosecutors filed a third for a breach of the Computer Crimes Act, after Tum attacked Mor Air on social media.

The saga started when Tum declared in February last year she had broken up with her policeman lover, Pol Lt Col Attapol "Aun" Ittayorpasakul, a one-time social media icon, after he asked her for money allegedly to buy a police promotion, and started seeing Mor Air.

Mor Air, who works at Police Hospital in the psychiatry and drug addiction unit, laid a police complaint the same month. She said Tum kept up her attacks on Facebook, so she laid a further complaint in March.

Tum initially denied the charges, but in June decided not to contest the case, and offered 100,000 baht in damages.

Sentencing her, the court said Tum had broken the law on six counts, with a total penalty of 12 years in jail, and accumulated fine of 600,000 baht.

However, it halved the penalty in recognition of Tum's guilty plea and the compensation offer, and also suspended the jail term.

In the two previous cases arising from the dispute, the court imposed a jail term of one year, suspended for two, and fined her 50,000 baht.

Speaking after the ruling, Tum said internet critics should stop hurling abuse.

"There's no need to make fun of me for losing, as the country is in mourning and it looks ugly. I still live my life as normal. I am not going to jail, although the fines are mounting up," she said.

Her lawyer, Praphanpong Thammachat, said her client might appeal against the court's decision to penalise her count-by-count. "We don't agree, as the charges stem from the same offence," he said. -

3. Singer offers to help embattled ex-PM

Singer Patchara "Fluke" Thammon has renewed his offer to help former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra pay for losses under the rice scheme, but says her successor should also help pay for the cost of the coup.

Fluke last week renewed his pledge to send Ms Yingluck 100,000 baht to help in her legal battle over the scheme.

The government has told Ms Yingluck to pay 35.7 billion baht for dereliction of duty after the 2012-13 and 2013-14 crops ran up losses.

Writing on social media, Fluke, a red shirt sympathiser who first made the offer a year ago, said he would like Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to open a channel so supporters can send her money.

However, he said Gen Prayut also should consider paying up himself, as his coup which deposed the Yingluck government had cost the state more dearly. Unlike the rice scheme, which had helped farmers, the coup had done nothing for the public.

"We have less than 30 days to help before the payment deadline. We have figure out a way to get the money to her. We might need to forward a letter to the PM," Fluke wrote.

The government has yet to respond to the challenge.

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