THE PAVILIONS PHUKET BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET
THE PAVILIONS PHUKET BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET Kata Rocks
The Phuket News Novosti Phuket Khao Phuket

Police open door to no death penalty charge over Phuket seastead case

Police open door to no death penalty charge over Phuket seastead case

PHUKET: The police investigator tasked with the Royal Thai Navy complaint against American Chad Elwartowski and his Thai partner Supranee Thepdet over the ‘seastead’ built south of Phuket told The Phuket News today (Apr 19) that he will not move to charge the couple under Section 119 – which may incur the death penalty – if he finds no evidence that the structure threatens national security.

militarymarineconstructioncrimepolice
By The Phuket News

Friday 19 April 2019, 08:36PM


Lt Col Siriwat Inyim, Deputy Chief of the Wichit Police told The Phuket News this evening (Apr 19), “This is my case to investigate, and I have received a complaint asking police to press charges under Section 119 of the Criminal Code.”

“However, although I have yet to conclude my investigation, if I do not find any evidence that this seastead threatens national security, I will not ask the Public Prosecutor to move ahead with that charge,” Col Siriwat said.

“Instead, I will ask the Public Prosecutor to file a much lesser charge, one that very likely will not include the death penalty,” he added.

However, Col Siriwat noted that even if he requested the Public Prosecutor to move ahead with a lesser charge, “I will have to still attach the Navy complaint to my recommendation as that is required by standard procedure.”

The public statement by Col Siriwat to allow for a much lesser charge that will likely not include the death penalty follows Rear Admiral Kritsana Kultiya, Chief of Staff of the Royal Thai Navy Command Third Area Command, which is based in Phuket, today denouncing claims made in posts online that the Navy is hunting Mr Elwartowski and Ms Supranee “to end their lives”.

“We are not hunting them ‘to end their lives’. That is not true,” R/Adm Kritsana said.

“We just want them brought to justice, and we have handed the search for the couple over to the Royal Thai Police and the Immigration Bureau as that is their job to do. We are the Navy, our areas of concern are out on the water,” he added.

“We have already filed a complaint of their crime under Section 119 to Wichit Police Station (see story here). I repeat that we have power to take action on the water, but it is the police and immigration police’s job to find, arrest them, not us,” R/Adm Kritsana explained.

R/Adml Kritsana ’s comments came in response to reporters’ questions at a press conference held at Provincial Hall today over the seastead case, which has made international headlines after Mr Elwartowski and Ms Supranee went into hiding, reportedly fearful that they may face the death penalty for the structure. (See stories here and here.)

Zest Real Estate

Mr Elwartowski and Ms Supranee and the Ocean Builders project (see website here) have repeatedly denied that the couple were involved in the construction and placement of the seastead. They were just the volunteers who lived first on the platform to assess it, they said.

Maj Tossapon Kitilap, an investigator with the Phuket Immigration Police, told the press conference, “We still have not found them. We are still looking for them, but we are watching out closely for both of them now.”

Vice Governor Supoj Rotreuang Na Nongkhai urged sensitivity in following due process in the case.

“Wichit Police is investigating the case and reviewing the evidence carefully because the penalty foe the charge under the complaint filed is so serious.”

“The next move is to have the structure removed. We have drawn up a plan together with the Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command already. The seastead will be seized and removed from the water because the seastead it is in a location that is dangerous for itself and for boats passing through the area,” V/Gov Supoj said.

Meanwhile, Phuket Industry Chief Siwat Rawangkul accompanied by a host of other officials inspected a boatyard in Mai Khao on Wednesday (Apr 17) that Mr Siwat said had been confirmed as being hired to build the seastead and install it at its current location, some 42 kilometres south of Phuket.

In a very brief report, Mr Siwat said that the boatyard’s company documents were all in order. However officials had yet to examine the facility’s permit to operate as a place of production as required under the Factory Act 1992, he added.

No charges had yet been brought against the boatyard operator, but officials were continuing their investigation, Mr Siwat said.

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

CAPTCHA

Discover Thainess | 20 April 2019 - 13:47:30

Unless he is in there stroking a white cat and hiding a secret laser (like the one that’s inside James Bond Island) I think it’s fairly safe that a floating tent is not much a threat to any nation’s national security, what a farce. 

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
Powerful motorcycles to face tougher regulations

What a joke !!! Try improving your stupid & what appear to non existent helmet laws in the first...(Read More)


Japan resumes commercial whaling for first time in 30 years

Long Live The Japanese Whaling Industry ! Greens Cost Jobs & The Only True Wilderness is Betwe...(Read More)


Police begin hunt for foreign man over attacking dog

Agree this is not on. The poor animal can't be blamed for doing what comes naturally. But the pu...(Read More)


Police begin hunt for foreign man over attacking dog

freaking out people running around angry with long knife or any other weapon should not be accepted....(Read More)


Police begin hunt for foreign man over attacking dog

I would like to volunteer,-giving this deranged POS exactly the same treatment !...(Read More)


Running Empty: Water officials to splash B277mn on private sources as reservoirs fail to fill

A lot of water contract talks ( including 30% arrangements?). However, that will not grand Phuket wa...(Read More)


Running Empty: Water officials to splash B277mn on private sources as reservoirs fail to fill

Bang Wad water reservoir is ready for making it a beginners drive for golf players. The grass just n...(Read More)


PHUKET XTRA: VIDEO: Second Phuket water crisis? ’Peace walk’ monk returns! Dangerously sweet! || July 12

No, not a second water crisis. Phuket still remains in it's 'first' water crisis, as not...(Read More)


Surin Beach’s temporary lifeguards on hold until further notice

This article shows plainly that as long Cherng Talay Tambon Administration not gets a good Chief/May...(Read More)


After Phuket student killed by electrocution, officials assure public park areas are safe

The PEA always insist that the neutral wire be earthed at the breaker, that way any leakage will tri...(Read More)