Who is Mae Moo?

Sunday 21 April 2019

Ball denies hush money claim, fancy boy Ton's lost his sheen

Tussle over fire victim worsens
Former Bangkaew singer Pongpet “Ball” Sinsuwan denies paying the father of his former girlfriend, killed in a fire at his family home late last year, 1 million baht as “hush money” in return for his withdrawing legal action claiming Ball killed her.

Ball and his family are once again at odds with the father of his former girlfriend, Supanee “Benz” Sin-anantrakul, 27, who died in a blaze which broke out at Ball’s two-storey family home in the Thanya Thani housing village, Lum Luk Ka, Pathum Thani, late on Dec 16.

Her father, Mr Banyat, said the two sides agreed that Ball’s family would pay him 3 million baht in compensation for her death, in return for which he would withdraw a police complaint against Ball claiming he had lit the fire which killed his daughter. 

However, he claims he received only a third of that amount, and as a result has refused to hold the funeral.

“They were happy once I agreed to withdraw my police complaint, and forgot about the rest. They don’t care about my feelings as the father,” he said.

Ball agrees he paid Mr Banyat 1 million baht in late Febuary, but says he offered the sum to help meet the cost of Benz’s funeral, and also out of compassion, as Mr Banyat had fallen on hard times since his daughter’s death. 

He did not offer the money in return for his withdrawing the complaint, as the case pursued against him by police, of carelessness causing her death, is a criminal matter which cannot be withdrawn legally by either side.

The saga erupted last week after a media outlet approached Mr Banyat about the case. He claimed Ball and his family turned up invited at his home in early February to talk about Benz’s death. He claims Ball’s mother asked him if they could offer compensation, and if so how much he would accept. “I told them I had never asked for money, I just wanted to get to the truth.

“They called back four days later with an offer, which angered me. I told them my daughter was a human, not an animal, and her life was worth more than that,” Mr Banyat said.

Mr Banyat said Ball’s family turned up again at his home a week later when he presented them with an “example” which valued his daughter’s life at 9 million baht, based on what she stood to earn, had she lived, until retirement. “They said I was asking too much and two days later we agreed on a figure of 3 million baht, which I accepted as Ball’s family was implicitly accepting responsibility for her death.”

Ball’s account of what happened is dramatically different, and centres on the offer of 1 million baht. Mr Banyat had refused to cremate her body until the police probe into her death was complete. He also refused to let Ball see the body.

“We went around to see him to pay our respects and talk about the funeral, not the case ... but he had us go back and think about how much we could pay by way of help. If we could agree on a figure he would go ahead with ceremony. I returned home feeling terrible,” Ball said.

Police charged Ball in early January with carelessness causing the death of others in relation to the blaze. Ball said forensic tests and the post-mortem showed the fire was an accident which started due to an over-heating air purifier.

However, Mr Banyat had earlier gone before the media and police claiming Ball was a “murderer” who had lit the fire deliberately. His campaign was aided by activist Atchariya Ruangrattanapong, who alleged possible police tampering with the probe.

Ball said this falls way short of the murder charge Mr Banyat wanted, and when he realised his complaint had gone nowhere, in a new ruse proposed he go before the media and tell them he had misunderstood Ball and he was really a good person. “I said I had no need to prove myself, as the post-mortem showed it was an accident. However, we were happy to offer further help if he needed it in future,” Ball said.

Ball’s family drew up an agreement where they said they offered Banyat help, in return for which he accepted that his daughter’s death was an accident, agreed to withdraw complaints he had made alleging it was “murder”, and agreeing not to take further legal action.

However, Ball said Mr Banyat was unhappy with that agreement and came up with a hand-written one of his own in which he said he had received 1 million baht, with further “help” to be made available subject to talks.

Ball said he signed the agreement, but opted not to attach it to the case file, even though it would have helped his case with police. “I reckon we were fair, because he agreed to hold the funeral ceremony on March 5, but once he received the money he went back on his word,” Ball said.

The ex-singer said he doesn’t know where the figure of 3 million comes from, but Mr Banyat had tried to pressure him into paying more because he was a celebrity with a name to protect. “He threatened to take legal action to stop me coming to the funeral. The father took my girlfriend’s body and used it as leverage to get money,” Ball said. The dispute continues.

Toy boy falls out of favour

Ton, Jax
A former security guard who left his job at a city department store after a stand-off with a media celebrity has now lost his new job with a high-profile hair stylist, after he invited a kathoey back to her place while she was away.

The story of Yordkwan “Ton” Pengsakul (ยอดขวัญ เพ็งสกุล), 20, a former security guard at a Siam department store who quit after he was publicly upbraided by personality Leena Jung when he tried to search her bags, has riveted the Thai media for weeks.

He later left to work for hair stylist Jax Phoenix who, feeling sorry for his plight at the hands of Leena Jung, offered him a job as her “personal bodyguard”, complete with help in entering the high society which had eluded him as a poor boy from the provinces.

The Twittersphere lit up again last week as news emerged that Ton had since lost his job with Jax as well, after he quietly took a young kathoey back to Jax’s condo while she away during Songkran.

Ton, a typical lad from the provinces with few graces who finished school at Mattayom 6, has now returned dejected to his home in Surat Thani to resume his life yet again, after sending his mother to apologise to the hair stylist for his latest public humiliation.

Jax said she lavished up to 30,000 baht on giving the young man a new life while in her employ, teaching him manners, grooming him to enter society, and giving him a new look. 

This included fancy clothes and a smart hair-do, dental work, a face job and personal fitness trainer. She even gave him a new name, “Fa Mai”. Evidently proud of her new creation, Jax paraded the young man about on social media and television to show the world how much he had changed since he joined her employ on March 26.


Apologising before Leena Jung
The stylist insists she was merely trying to give the young man a break rather than cultivating him as a potential lover, but he rewarded her by betraying her loyalty. As well as helping Ton, she had given him several cash advances against his wages to help his mother back home, who did not have enough to eat.

During Songkran, he had declined her offer to accompany her to the provinces, and insisted he wanted to carry on working at the salon to earn extra pay. However, later he asked for April 13-14 off to play Songkran with friends.

Jax said a young man she raises as her son found Ton and the kathoey together in her room one morning during Songkran and filmed the encounter on his phone, which she later posted to social media. 

Leena Jung
Ton said he took kathoey back to Jax’s condo because she had nowhere else to sleep. However, the stylist later gave him his marching orders, as she had asked him earlier not to take anyone back to her place.

“I gave him a chance to meet good people, resuscitate his life. I cleansed the mud off him, but he went back for another mud bath. I am at the end of my wits now, that’s all the help he’s going to get from me,” she vowed.

Jax said she was particularly upset with claims on social media that she had hidden motives in helping the young man. “I have plenty of good looking young people around me, and he is just one of them. I was not jealous that he took a kathoey back, and nor did I fancy him as a potential mate. I have a boyfriend of my own,” she said.

Jax swooped in to help the young man after his brush with media personality and ex-politician Leena Jung, who dressed down the young man for asking to search her bags as she entered a Siam department store last December. Ton had started working for the store as a security guard just 15 days before.

Leena Jung, 60, who made the young man stand in front of her and give a wai of apology as she filmed the encounter on FB live, reminded her fanclub that she was worth millions of baht, wore only brand name clothes, was a lawyer, “net idol” and former politician of fine standing. “Don’t you know who I am? A hundred people walk past, but you chose me for a search. I am no thief!” she exclaimed.

Ton, who went on television to recount his ordeal, said he was just a simple kid from the provinces. He did not know who Leena Jung was, and nor did he speak rudely. In tears, he said the resulting publicity changed his life. He quit his job rather than face the teasing which followed on social media. Back home, he took low-paying work lifting palm trees.

On the back of the publicity, Jax later offered him a job at her salon. Since losing his job there, Jax said Ton had contacted her to apologise. “I told him not to do it again, but want nothing more to do with him,” she said. Netizens including director Poj Anon have since offered words of caution about the danger of helping strangers.

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