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MediaWATCH: Three 'Guilty of Expat's Murder'

Friday, August 28, 2009
Phuketwan MediaWATCH

A daily wrap of Thailand news, with a Phuket perspective and reports from national and international media.

All three people implicated in the shooting death of a Canadian in Ranong have been convicted and sentenced to life in prison, according to a relative of the victim, the reports. Richard Henry, whose brother, Dale, 48, was killed in Ranong province, north of Phuket, in February 2008, said that the three convicted of murder were Maneerat ''Nee'' Henry, Dale's wife; Khun Nee's boyfriend; and a man who acted as the hit man in the shooting.

The judge, Henry said, found it was suspicious that Khun Nee failed to call police until roughly 30 minutes after the discovery of the body. Mr Henry will look to a civil court to recover his brother's assets, including a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and US$22,000 in a bank account that was drained shortly after Dale's death. ''Everybody in court was saying we won. But really, can you call it winning? I don't feel like I won. No one won.''

Bangkok Post Dusit Palace, Government House and Parliament are being placed under security lockdown and kept clear of street protests when red shirts hold their mass rally in Bangkok on Sunday, a military source says. About 3500 troops and 1950 police would be deployed to maintain law and order. The measures would be proposed at today's meeting of the Internal Security Operations Command.

Today's Must Read Headline: Orange anyone? To err is human; to forgive, divine, was the pithy view of Alexander Pope. In three years of political turmoil and economic drift, Thailand has seen plenty of error. But forgiveness is in short supply. Some politicians are calling for an amnesty for the rival street demonstrators who have brought Bangkok to its knees in recent months and the security forces who cracked down on them. Others insist that any amnesty must include MPs who were barred from public office by the courts. Almost everyone agrees that Thailand can move beyond its impasse only when the warring sides call it quits.

AFP An American jailed and later freed by Burma's military junta for swimming to the home of pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi says he ''wept every day'' in prison. John Yettaw was sentenced to seven years hard labor for swimming to Suu Kyi's home in May using a pair of homemade flippers but he was freed after a visit by Senator Jim Webb this month. ''Little did I know they were going to arrest her and put her on trial,'' Yettaw told CNN ''I wept every day. I suffered every day.'' Malaysia has forbidden Muslims to attend a concert by the Black Eyed Peas next month because the performance is sponsored by Guinness, Associated Press reported. The show is to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Guinness brewery in Dublin. Of Malaysia's 25 million people, 60 percent are Muslim; Islamic law forbids the consumption of alcohol. An official at the Ministry of Information, Communication and Culture in Malaysia said government regulations normally prevent alcohol companies from staging concerts, but that an exception had been made in hopes of increasing tourism. ''Muslims cannot attend,'' the official said. ''Non-Muslims can go and have fun.''

Associated Press The US welcomes Malaysia's crackdown on human trafficking, but wants to see ''results rather than rhetoric'' before it can remove the nation from a blacklist. Several alleged traffickers, including government officials colluding with them, have been arrested and charged in recent weeks after Malaysia was labeled one of the world's worst offenders in a State Department report. Prosecutions were ''heartening,'' a top State Department official told reporters after a three-day visit to Malaysia but ''we are looking for sustainability.'' A convicted sex offender pleaded not guilty in Newark to running a brothel in Thailand that authorities say catered to American tourists looking for sex with young boys. John Wrenshall appeared shackled for a brief hearing. The 62-year-old Canadian was arrested in December at London's Heathrow Airport. Wrenshall drew the attention of federal investigators after actor Wayne Nelson Corliss was arrested in 2008 for traveling to the brothel, where some victims were as young as six, authorities said. A Qantas Boeing 747-400 from Bangkok to Sydney was descending towards Sydney when a passenger attempted to open one of the overwing emergency exits in flight. Cabin crew and fellow passengers intervened, so that the unruly passenger could not reach the door. The airplane landed safely, the passenger was taken into custody by police. Police reported that the man was delivered to a hospital for a medical examination but was released from custody with no charges filed. Qantas said, the passenger did not handle the door although being close to the door.

Bangkok Post Chikungunya fever could have a huge impact on regional trade and tourism if it is not stopped, a World Health Organisation expert warns. Steven Bjorge, technical officer of malaria and vector-borne diseases at WHOs Southeast Asia Regional Office, told a technical meeting on the virus in Phuket there was a hypothetical risk not just to public health but also to regional tourism and the economic sector: ''There is an increasing frequency of outbreaks now and more to be expected in the future.''

Xinhua Phnom Penh Municipality has advised authorities to crack down on male and female Cambodian gangsters including those under 16 years of age. Among new orders, young girls under 16 years old must be banned from entering night clubs, karoke, bars, guest houses or hotels after 8pm. According to police, most of the young Cambodian gangsters are the children of the powerful and rich people.

AFP Indonesian police are pursuing an Al-Qaeda connection to the twin suicide attacks on Jakarta hotels after confirming that a suspect in custody had been a follower of Osama bin Laden. The suspect, Indonesian publisher and Islamist blogger Mohammed Jibril Abdurahman, known on the Internet as the Prince of Jihad, was once a member of Al-Qaeda. Mohammed Jibril was arrested this week on suspicion of channeling money from abroad to finance the July 17 attacks which killed nine. Five years ago pro golfer Joanne Lefson saved Oscar the mutt from euthanasia and she now travels the world with her dog to urge street stray adoption from shelters. To make it easier on Oscar, Lefson does most traveling overland. ''He's my best friend and we're very close,'' she said during a stopover in Bangkok before leaving for Vietnam, then China and the Americas.

Reuters A renewed Indonesian police crackdown on illegal tin mining is cutting ore supplies, with an industry official saying seven small smelters in the main producing Bangka-Belitung islands have had to temporarily shut. The seven smelters have combined capacity of around 2800 tonnes a month. A spokesman for the national police said that a new crackdown on illegal tin mining had been launched following reports of renewed activity. Some international airlines are making arrangement to extend their flight services to Burma in the coming open season from October to March, the local Yangon Times quoted airline sources as reporting. The four days a week flight services between Yangon and Singapore of Jetstar will be rescheduled to daily services. Myanmar Airways International will change its Yangon to Bangkok service from five days a week to daily, the report said, adding that it will also operate the new route of Yangon-Gaya on every Wednesday and Saturday, with the other five days to Kuala Lumpur. Some tourism sector heavyweights have concluded that now is the right time to restructure themselves, improve service quality, and launch marketing campaigns. Vietnam's luxury hotels have been particularly hard hit by sharply lower tourist arrivals. International arrivals dropped 19 percent, year over year, in the first seven months of 2009. However, managers in the elite hotel sector are looking to the future rather than moaning about the present. The five star Movenpick Saigon is spending $25 million on an 18 month upgrade. Interval International, a leading global provider of vacation services and an operating segment of Interval Leisure Group, announced the addition of West Sands Phuket Beach Club to its vacation exchange network. The resort ''seamlessly blends state-of-the-art development with a commitment to green building practices and consequently was honoured with the prestigious Green Development Award in 2007 and 2008 at the Thailand Property Awards.'' Facebook will enhance its social-networking site's privacy features over the next 12 months as a result of a set of recommendations from the Canadian government. Facebook will increase the information it provides to its users about its privacy features, as well as make technical changes to tighten privacy controls. The changes come as a direct result of a review of Facebook's privacy policies and controls conducted by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

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