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MediaWATCH: Aussie Mother's Patong Arrest Limbo

MediaWATCH: Aussie Mother's Patong Arrest Limbo

Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Phuketwan MediaWATCH

A new daily wrap of Thailand news, with a Phuket perspective. Reports from national and international media, with translations into English from Thai.

Today's Must Read

news.com.au An Australian mother is facing up to five years' jail over the alleged theft of a bar mat from a popular Patong bar. Melbourne mother-of-four Annice Smoel, 36, was drinking in the Aussie Bar in Patong in early May with friends when they played a prank on her, putting a bar mat in her handbag, says a newspaper report based on a radio interview. Ms Smoel said undercover police in the bar stopped her on her way out. She was then arrested and spent two nights in a cell. ''They came up to me and said 'show us in the bag'. I had only just picked it up . . . had a quick look inside and saw there was something in it,'' she told Melbourne radio station 3AW. ''I was nowhere near the handbag. One of the girls involved went down to the police and confessed and apologised and they told her to go away.'' Police have confiscated Ms Smoel's passport and she has been stranded in Thailand for 17 days. Ms Smoel, who was in Thailand with friends celebrating her mother's 60th birthday, has four children aged six, eight, 11 and 12.

Bangkok Post: The cost of local cigarettes will rise following House of Representatives approval of an increase in the excise tax on tobacco products. The increase follows a large rise in the excise tax on alcoholic beverages, which is aleady hurting drinkers' wallets, and precedes promised increases in fuel taxes. Cabinet has opted to raise consumption taxes amid predictions that projected revenue for the 2010 fiscal year could fall by 200 billion baht at a time of boosted government expenditure to offset the impact of the global economic slump on the domestic economy.

The Nation: Interest centres on whether the containers on the seabed off Chon Buri's Sattahip district contain skeletons or industrial waste. As plans to examine the contents continue, Customs Department director-general Utid Tamwatin said if officials could see the serial number of the container, they would be able to identify its contents and origin. Meanwhile, the chairman of the Committee of the May 1992 Heroes Relatives, Adul Khiewboriboon, has submitted a letter urging the army to return the remains of protesters. He said three generals should know where the remains are located. ''The three generals were involved in the Black May incident. They should know the answer.''

bloomberg.com: The spread of swine flu in Japan may prompt the World Health Organisation to raise its pandemic alert to the highest level. Health officials are trying to gauge whether swine flu, known as H1N1, is spreading widely enough for the WHO to declare the first pandemic since 1968. The WHO pandemic alert is at phase 5, the second-highest level, meaning the organisation believes ''a pandemic is imminent.'' The outbreak extends to 8829 infections in 40 countries, including 74 deaths.

voanews.com: (voice of america) The first day of trial for Burma's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi ended with testimony from one of 22 witnesses. The witness, Police Lieutenant Colonel Zaw Min Aung, was the officer who signed the original complaint against the Nobel Peace laureate. Security was tight outside Rangoons Insein Prison, where the trial is taking place. Riot police and barbed wire lined the facility, while dozens of her supporters were reported to be outside the prison. Aung San Suu Kyi's lawyer said the trial, which could last three months, will continue Tuesday.

smartbrief.com: The trial of Aung San Suu Kyi began with diplomats being refused entry into the courtroom, street protests and rising fears the charges against her signaling the beginning of a renewed crackdown against pro-democracy elements ahead of 2010 elections. The ruling junta revoked Suu Kyi's house arrest and brought her to trial after an American allegedly visited her house without invitation or government permission.

smh.com.au: France's first lady called on Burma's ruling military junta to free Aung San Suu Kyi. In an open letter, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy said that Suu Kyi's poor health meant that her life could be at threat if she was sent to prison. ''It's a question of simple humanity to allow a sick woman to be freed so she may get herself treated properly,'' said the letter. ''To imprison her, and all of the regime's opponents, is to smother any hope for democracy in Burma,'' said the letter.

Bangkok Post: Imtiaz Muqbil writes that Australia's slow economy, domestic tourism and extensive competition makes improvements difficult for the Tourism Authority of Thailand in roadshows. Most of the Australian buyers came hunting for deals. While there was a consensus that the Songkran riots were a thing of the past and had little impact on confidence, TAT figures showed that Australian arrivals to Bangkok slumped by 20 percent year-on-year in Q1.

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Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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OK, I get the hint. Phuket officials do not want tourists. The headlines in Australia this morning tell us of a mother of four facing five years in jail for the theft of a bar mat from the Aussie Bar in Bangala Road. After the Simon Burrowes affair and now this the Bali tourist industry must be rubbing their hands with glee!

Posted by Terry on May 19, 2009 07:40

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I wish someone would post a photo of the item that was stolen. What precisely are we talking about here? The S.M.H. is reporting it's worth $60.

Editor: It's a bar mat . . .as posted on the radio station 3AW site. We are told the price seems high because they are specially made in Australia

Posted by Philip on May 19, 2009 10:16

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I guess I should say "allegedly" stolen.

If anyone has a photo of it please post a link.

Posted by Philip on May 19, 2009 10:51

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Go to the Aussie bar web site, a picture is under "Merchandice".

Posted by Terry on May 19, 2009 11:15

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It's not the so called stealing that was the problem OK it was the abuse hurled at the officials all the way up to and including the police chief. Learn some manners.

Posted by Mouse on May 19, 2009 11:32

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Ah, thanks. It's a nice item, I'm not sympathetic to this so-called "prank". Still, the punishment must fit the "crime".

Posted by Philip on May 19, 2009 11:57

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Hey, does the Aussie Bar have any say in this? Can they ask for charges to be dropped? I personally won't go back to that bar if it doesn't intervene. As for the woman's rudeness, well, we Aussies get a bit out of hand and she should have kept her temper if that is what really happened.

Posted by Liesl on May 19, 2009 14:54

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1: simon burrowes, 3 months of near hell for swearing.
2: Aussie lady jailed for stealing a beer mat .
3: German man arrested for murder released on bail and now police do not know where he is .
4: tourists die after severe vomiting .
what is happening ?

Posted by elizabeth on May 26, 2009 18:00


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