Who is Mae Moo?

Sunday 19 February 2017

Speedy delivery, rules of engagement, staying mum

Racer, wife, celebrate newborn

Benz, Patt, and newborn 

Actress Napapa “Patt” Tantrakul and her troubled speed racer husband, Akarakit “Benz” Worarojchroendet, are celebrating the birth of their first child, even as Benz is dragged deeper into a police probe of his alleged links to a Lao drugs ring.

The child’s birth, normally a joyous occasion, has been overshadowed by police revelations that Benz is likely to face money-laundering charges stemming from their probe into Lao drug kingpin Xaysana Keopimpha. 

The couple’s son, “Nong Racing” was born on Monday by caesarean section at Bangkok Christian Hospital, weighing 3.6kg. The pair promptly took him before the media while playing down their fears.    

“We are trying to focus on our son, as he is important and the closest thing to us. Benz has never taken out any of his stress on me; he takes good care of us,” Patt said.

As well as probing the speed racer’s auto repairs and trade business, Narcotics Suppression Bureau police also have seized a Lamborghini which they believe Benz bought with drugs money, and more recently his high-speed big bike.

Making the best of a bad situation, Benz playfully posted a picture of his new wheels on social media last week: A beaten Toyota Corolla, with a “Benz Racing” sticker attached to the rear window.

On Thursday, the day after he and his wife went before reporters at the hospital, Benz took more than 120 pages of evidence to the NCB, his second visit since the bureau raided his auto repair and sales shop in Din Daeng on Feb 2.

Benz was fingered by arrested suspect Natthaphol “Boy” Nakkham, thought to be linked to the drugs network, who named the speed racer as among celebrities allegedly hiding and laundering assets for the drugs ring.

Benz admits buying the 20 million baht luxury car from Boy, but denies any link to the drugs trade. Police have questioned why the loan was unsecured, and also why Boy has been paying 300,000 baht a month into Benz’s business account.

As they took their baby boy before the media on Wednesday, Patt acknowledged the couple were under stress, but said they can only take problems as they come.

She also claimed life had started to improve since the child’s birth despite her husband’s problems.

“Many things started to fall into place after we saw him for the first time. Both of us have passed through many things; we can but hope for an improvement,” she said.

Benz, who denies owning the car on behalf of the gang, declined to comment on the probe.

“We have waited nine months for this moment, so I want to forget about the other stuff for now. I enjoyed seeing his face for the first time. I wanted to know is our son cute, who does he look like?” he said. 

Benz was present for the birth and helped prepare his wife for the procedure. Patt said they were both scared as they waited for the doctor to begin.

“Benz spoke to me constantly, trying to make me focus on things ahead; he reassured me, and it was over in a flash,” she said.

Benz said he would have to take fewer risks as a speed racer now he is a family man. 

However, Patt said she hopes her husband does not change his lifestyle just because they have a child.

“He should ride his bike, go racing as usual. When our child sees his dad, it will serve as his inspiration because he will see his father as an expert,” she said.

Putting a dampener on the baby talk, Narcotics Suppression Bureau spokesman Pol Maj-Gen Sunthorn Chalermkiat told reporters late last week Benz is likely to face charges of money-laundering.

Police plan to call the speed racer in for another round of questioning. -

2. May ‘willing to consider marriage’

Jay, May
Actress Pitchanart “May” Sakakorn says she is willing to consider any engagement proposals from her football star boyfriend, despite his almost forgetting her on Valentine’s Day. 

Her boyfriend, football star Chanathip “Messi Jay” Songkrasin, last week went down on bended knee to slip a companionship ring onto her finger. 

The image, which May posted on social media, was taken atop a city high-rise where Jay, May and a group of friends dined at a fancy restaurant to celebrate the day of love. 

They almost didn’t make it, after Jay forgot to pick up May at her condo. “He agreed to come and get me there, but in the end went to the restaurant first,’’ she said.

May said she asked her make-up artist to take her instead. “Jay apologised and was sweet about it,’’ she said, adding she was used to such lapses by now.

Earlier, May and Jay went before the cameras to reveal their choice of Valentines gifts to each other: a pair of shoes, with May spending much more on her purchase than Jay.

Claiming it’s the underlying feeling that counts, not just the item itself, Jay joked May was too keen on buying expensive shoes, so he bought her a cheap handmade costing less than 1,000 baht. 

May said her boyfriend owned mainly football shoes, and he could hardly go out in those.
The diminutive Jay, younger and shorter than May, is a member of the national football team, and also plays on loan to the Japanese football club, Consadole Sapporo. 

May says when they first started going out, she was sensitive to criticism about their differences, but now brushes them off.

“I don’t care what other people think,’’ she said.

Jay interjected before reporters: “If I get married, it has to be her.’’ He was saving for the hig day, and would have to enter the monkhood briefly before tying the knot.

Jay’s sudden declaration of intentions surprised May, who laughed. 

Later, she said:  “He’s a good talker, and sweet. Sometimes I am not sure if he is being serious or just kidding. If he asks to get engaged, I am OK with that. We are happy at the moment. I am not thinking much beyond this; if he gives anything, I will take it,’’ she said. -

3. Mother ‘love’ draws ire

Esther, Ken

Actor Phupoom “Ken” Phongpanu is putting a brave face on criticism he has drawn too close to the mother of his love interest, with netizens pouring scorn on a photograph of him sitting in her lap. 

Carney Supreeleela, mother to actress Esther, published the image of Ken sitting in her lap earlier this month as a show of strength to the young couple as they faced down a media storm centred on actor Sean Jindachot.

Sean was accused of refusing to appear at the same city function as Esther, despite their earlier appearing in a soap opera together, and being widely hailed as a “dream couple’’ by fans.

The image of lap-sitter Ken drew controversy in its own right, with netizens asking if Ken fancied Esther or her mother, 50, for sure.

Capping that, Ken revealed he took Ms Supreeleela and her daughter out for dinner on Valentine’s Day, rather than taking out Esther alone. 

Brushing off the mother love controversy last week, Ken insisted the picture was an innocent expression of platonic feeling, but admitted he was worried about the effect on Esther’s mum. 

“I love her like I love my own mum. People who criticise must have a poor outlook on life. I think it’s actually incredibly sweet, but her mum is stressed over it. I am worried about her,” he said.

Referring to Mrs Supreeleela in an endearing sense as his own mother, he said: “I don’t think it’s anything much, anyone can sit in the lap of their mum. We were just playing around, as we are really close; I didn’t sit in her lap all day, just a couple of minutes.

“Some of the criticism is intrusive, it goes over the line,” he said. “I didn’t sit in the lap of some girl; I sat in mum’s lap instead. I won’t sue the critics, but urge them to think again.”

Asked about his Valentine’s date with Esther and her mother, he said they dined at a high-rise restaurant. Media outlets published an image of Ken and Esther embracing and kissing Ms Supreeleela, one in each arm. 

“Valentine’s Day is not just for girlfriends, but for everyone to show their love,” he insisted. “If we go for a meal, we would like Esther’s mother to enjoy herself too.”

He likened Esther’s mother to a fun-loving teen. Esther, however, said her mother was now getting on.

“Mum is old and sees us as kids. It’s just an expression of love between us. It’s not bothering anyone or causing any harm,” she said, adding some critics would dream up any excuse to be mean.

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