A Swiss tourist has been arrested and charged with illegally importing e-cigarettes after he was allegedly detained for vaping on the street.
The news of the arrest comes from StattQualm, an e-cig manufacturer in Switzerland, who posted a message on their official Facebook page that a “close friend” of the company had been detained in Thailand.
The lengthy, and at times overly dramatic, statement claims the “close friend” was arrested on July 26th for vaping in public, led away, and jailed for six days.
It’s also claimed the Swiss man, who wasn’t named, was “completely cut off from the environment, without real contact and under degrading and humiliating conditions”.
According to the statement he is facing five years in jail as he is accused of illegally importing e-cigarette into the country.
The story was reported by Minuten, a free daily newspaper in Switzerland, who asked Chris Lusser, CEO of StattQualm, for a quote but he declined stating the privacy of the person involved had to be respected and anything he said may jeopardise legal proceedings.
The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (EDA) confirmed to Minuten the arrest of a Swiss citizen in Thailand. “The Swiss embassy in Thailand is in contact with local authorities and supports this Swiss in the context of consular protection.”
Since 2014 the importation, sale and production for sale of e-cigarettes is illegal with offenders liable to 10 year jail sentences and / or a fine of five times the value of the goods.
The five year sentence mentioned is linked to the import/export ban, so while there is no defined law forbidding the possession of e-cigarettes they fall into a category of goods that have not had tax levied on them therefore making possession illegal.
Chemical Engineer Caught Running ‘E’ And Meth Lab In Nonthaburi
A chemical engineer who turned to producing Ecstacy pills and crystal meth at his condo in Nonthaburi was arrested this morning by officers from the Narcotics Suppression Bureau.
The Saturday morning raid on a building in Bang Kruai District, Nonthaburi was led by Police General Manu Makemok, Deputy Commissioner General, Royal Thai Police and Police Lieutenant General Montree Yimyaem, commissioner of the Narcotics Suppression Bureau.
Inside the apartment, the prime suspect, 42-year-old suspect Patiwet “Heisenberg” Suwankiri was apprehended.
Drug production equipment and chemical precursors were seized along with 20,000 Ecstacy tablets and 50 grams of crystal meth.
Police General Manu said that the Narcotics Suppression Bureau got a tip that there was a group of pill producers who sold E tablets to entertainment venues in Bangkok.
A surveillance operation was set up and pinpointed Prayoon Thapinna as the dealer. He was taken in for questioning and soon after he folded like a deckchair telling cops who “Heisenberg” was.
During questioning “Heisenberg” was evasive saying he sold the drugs to tourists and that he imported the chemical precursors from online dealers.
Police dismissed both explanations as tourism in Thailand is virtually non-existent due to Covid-19 and the chemicals and tools needed to produce the E and meth have been on a banned list for many years.
He did admit to producing the drugs in his apartment saying he used the knowledge from when he studied chemical engineering
Investigators are working to find more people involved in the operation as the set-up was capable of producing around 3,000 tablets per day.
Photo Credit: 77kaoded
CCSA Overturn BMA Order To Reopen Parks, Other Businesses
The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration has overturned the plan by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to allow five types of businesses and venues, including public parks and beauty salons, to open June 1.
Following the BMA Communicable Disease Committee meeting on Monday it was announceed that restrictions on traditional Thai massage parlours, museums, public parks, botanical gardens, learning centres, spas, nail and beauty salons and tattoo parlours would be lifted.
The news was welcomed by many with business owners getting to work in preperation for the sudden rreopening.
Then came the infamous flip-flop by the government when it was reported the CCSA had put the plan on hold for at least a further 14 days.
No reason was given for the sudden change.
Public Parks In Bangkok Reopening Jun 1
This order was later overturned by the CCSA and the plan has been put on hold for at least a further 14 days.
Following a meeting of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration Communicable Disease Committee today, it has been announced that public parks in the capital can reopen from June 1.
The committee, chaired by Governor Aswin, also lifted restrictions on traditional Thai massage parlours, museums, botanical gardens, learning centres, spas, nail and beauty salons and tattoo parlours.
Other establishments currently shuttered are to remain closed until at least June 14, 2021.
The news comes despite the capital reporting over 1,300 Covid-cases on Monday, however, the current crop of clusters are in migrant worker camps and wet markets.
While most welcomed the news that parks will reopen allowing outdoor exercise again, dozens in the expat community continued to grumble that gyms and fitness centres will remain closed.