Gen Teeraphol delivered the news at a press conference held at Phuket Provincial Hall today (Aug 7) in the presence of local and national media as well as reporters from major news services in China such as People's Daily and state news agency Xinhua.
Gen Teeraphol opened his address with explanations of the current state of police action in the incident involving the Serenata tour boat, which capsized near Mai Thon Island also on July 5, but with no fatalities.
Gen Teeraphol named two suspects facing charges for that incident: Metha Limsakul, the 56-year-old boat captain; and Pang Daxian, the 26-year-old Chinese national working as the Assistant Manager of Lazy Cat Travel Co Ltd, which operated tours on the Serenata.
Metha has been charged with recklessness causing physical and mental harm to other people by committing an act by using a vehicle (boat), Gen Teeraphol said.
Pang has been charged with recklessness causing physical and mental harm to other people.
“Police investigators have pressed charges against both offenders and handed case files for both cases to the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Phuket Provincial Court on Aug 1,” Gen Teeraphol said.
“Today (Aug 7) at 10am, a prosecutor presented the case against Pang to the Phuket Provincial Court, while the case for Metha is still under consideration by prosecutors,” he added.
Gen Teeraphol named three people facing charges for the Phoenix disaster: Somjing Boontham, the 50-year-old boat captain; Onchan Kanhayote, the 56-year-old construction engineer for the Phoenix; and Woralak Rerkchaikarn, the 26-year-old Managing Director of TC Blue Dream Co Ltd, which operated tours on the Phoenix.
All three have been charged with recklessness causing death, physical injury, and serious physical injury to other people, Gen Teeraphol said.
Gen Teeraphol confirmed that the five facing charges in the two cases (the Serenata and the Phoenix) were already in custody, and that all five have been denied bailed.
Police have questioned 50 victims and relatives of dead tourists, 10 of the Phoenix boat crew, seven government officials and 12 outsiders, Gen Teeraphol said.
Gen Teeraphol said that he expected to hand the case file of the investigation to the Public Prosecutor’s Office by Aug 30.
Wiwat Chitchertwong, presented to the media today as the Chief of Phuket Marine Office*, said that the operation to recover the Phoenix was underway. The stricken tour boat lies on the seabed at a depth of 45 metres about 1.5 nautical miles off Koh Hei, south of Phuket.
Mr Wiwat repeated the entire update given by Marine Department Director-General Jirut Wisanjit in Phuket on Sunday (Aug 5), noting the preparations made, that the salvage operation was expected to be completed within the coming week and that the operator will be billed the estimated B10 million cost of recovering the Phoenix as the operator had failed to recover the boat within the 20 days given after it sank. (See story here.)
“If the weather is nice, we expect that the Phoenix will be recovered by August 12 (this coming Sunday),” Mr Wiwat said.
Once recovered the Phoenix will be taken to the Rattanachai Shipyard in Rassada, on the east side of Phuket Town, where investigators and experts will have 30 days to inspect it, Mr Wiwat reiterated.
* The official Phuket Marine Office website still lists Surat Srisaiyason as the Phuket Marine Office Chief. (See website here.)