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Korat News / More victims join fight against extortion by 'copyright agents'
« Last post by Johnnie F. on November 09, 2019, 11:20:19 AM »
About 90 people who were earlier fined for violating copyrights for Japanese cartoon characters on Friday sought the Justice Ministry's help to counter-sue the "copyright agents".

Lawyer Worakorn Pongthanakul took 10 of them to submit the requests to Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin through Samart Jenchajitwanit, vice minister of justice.

Mr Worakorn said the 90 were among about 300 people in greater Bangkok who had faced demands for payment from people claiming to be agents of Japanese cartoon copyright holders.

"Many of them were arrested in sting operations and were detained and pressured to pay 30,000 to 100,000 baht each. Some of them were ordered to deliver genuine products without packaging and others sold second-hand products featuring Japanese cartoon characters," Mr Worakorn said.

They decided to take action after news reports about the alleged extortion of 15-year-old schoolgirl "Orn"  in Nakhon Ratchasima province by a man and a woman, who later claimed to be copyright agents, who placed orders with her online for krathong floats featuring rights-protected cartoon characters.

"When they learned that legal loopholes had been abused in this case they got together to file legal complaints, because they had faced similar action and the people behind it may be connected," Mr Worakorn said.

Mr Samart, vice minister of justice, said he would forward the matter to the justice minister right away. The ministry had a fund to support people's legal action.

Two of the complainants who arrived with the lawyer said "copyright agents" had demanded 50,000 baht from each of them, but the sum was later negotiated down to 10,000-15,000 baht.

The 15-year-old girl in Nakhon Ratchasima was also fined 50,000 baht, but her relatives later managed to have it reduced to 5,000 baht.

Mr Samart said on Friday that Justice Minister Somsak had ordered provincial justice officials to protect the girl and her family, who had received threats after exposing her case.

Deputy national police chief Pol Gen Wirachai Songmetta said on Friday that 15-year-old Orn's krathong did not violate any copyright. The copyright agency responsible had confirmed cartoon characters on her  floats did not resemble rights-protected characters.


Even if they had looked alike, the girl would have received two warnings before facing legal action, Pol Gen Wirachai said.

Bangkok Post
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Scams & Crime / Re: Couple wanted for alleged B100m ponzi scheme
« Last post by Johnnie F. on November 08, 2019, 02:40:48 PM »
Police Arrest Mae Manee’s Mom As Scam Balloons to Billions in Damages

UDON THANI — Police on Thursday arrested the mother of an alleged ponzi scheme ringleader accused of scamming at least 4,000 people out of almost 1.4 billion baht in damages.

Police arrested Thawalrat Tippaveth, 47, on Thursday morning in Udon Thani. Investigators said she assisted her 28-year-old daughter Wantanee Tippaveth, aka  “Mae Manee” or “Dear,” in the massive scam – an allegation she denied. Wantanee and her husband Metee “Boss” Chinpa, 20, were arrested on Saturday on fraud and cybercrime charges

“I didn’t have anything to do with it,” Thawalrat said. “I was suspicious as to why she had so much money, but she never told me.”

Thawalrat then fainted While Police Maj. Gen. Nantachart Suppamongkol read the court warrant to her. She was sent to Udon Thani Hospital.

The Department of Special Investigation said that as of Wednesday evening, a more than 4,000 people lost over 1.3 billion baht in Mae Manee’s scheme.

Wantanee’s assets have been frozen, and police said they have been combing her financial records for people involved in the scam, such as recruiters in her downline.

Three other people were also arrested on allegations of assisting Mae Manee in the crimes.

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A BUDDHIST statue collapsed and killed the religious leader who had just unveiled it in a freak accident in Thailand on Monday.

Village chief Saman Chanthayothi, 52, was the guest of honour at the ceremony in Khon Kaen where the statue was unveiled.

The monument was intended to bring good luck and fortune to local residents.

But as the chief tugged away the cloth, the foundations cracked and the giant Buddha fell onto Saman's head, pinning him to the ground.

Locals scattered in panic but when the cloud of dust had settled, they gathered around and found the village leader trapped and already dead.

Residents were unable to lift the 16ft monument and waited for the emergency services to arrive to winch it away with a crane.

One resident, Surapol Thepboonma said: “I was standing beside Saman when he was unwrapping the statute.

“Suddenly I heard a crack and people were panicking. They ran in different ways.

“We gathered around the fallen statue after the dust had settled and we were shocked to find our village chief lying dead under the statue with his head crushed.”

District sheriff Supachai Leekhaosoong arrived at the scene with police, paramedics and rescue volunteers.

They discovered that the statue's concrete base was not strong enough, which caused it to fall while being unveiled.

The family took the body to the temple to be held there for a religious ceremony.

They accepted the explanation that the death was an accident and did not request further investigations.

New Straits Times
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Korat News / Fined krathong sellers strike back
« Last post by Johnnie F. on November 07, 2019, 10:19:07 PM »
About 30 sellers were preparing to file extortion charges on Thursday against "copyright agents" who ordered Krathong floats from them, insisting they feature rights-protected cartoon characters, and later demanded large fines.

Krathong makers from several northeastern provinces gathered at Muang Nakhon Ratchasima police station in Muang district of Nakhon Ratchasima to file their complaints.

They were being assisted by counsel from the Lawyers Council.

Their action followed news reports that two people who claimed to be copyright agents had lured a 15-year-old girl in Nakhon Ratchasima into making floats they insisted must feature copyrighted cartoon characters ahead of the Loy Krathong festival this weekend, ordering them from her online.

The girl was arrested when she delivered the krathongs. The "copyright agents" demanded she pay a fine of 50,000 baht, later negotiated down to 5,000 baht. A representative of the Japanese copyright-holding company later said no such legal action had been ordered or approved.

Lawyer Pornthep Charoenpong-anant said on Thursday the young teen filed her extortion complaint on Wednesday. Other float makers who had evidence to back their claims could file similar complaints with police right away.

By Thursday afternoon, 36 people had filed their complaints, indicating they paid more than 700,000 baht to  the so-called copyright agents, he said.

Deputy national police chief Pol Gen Weerachai Songmetta said investigation had been launched to find out if any police officers had been involved. If so, they would face serious action, he said.
Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin said on Thursday that his ministry would ask foreign copyright owners if they ever assigned any parties to take action on their behalf in Thailand.

His secretary Thanakrit Jit-areerat said that if the rights owners did not make such assignments, those who demanded fines from the krathong makers would be prosecuted for extortion.

Bangkok Post
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Home: Britain / Re: The Brexit
« Last post by Johnnie F. on November 07, 2019, 08:26:54 AM »
"Days after bowing out as Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow has described Brexit as the biggest mistake Britain has made since the second world war."



Definitely!
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Korat News / Two women claim extortion by 'copyright agents'
« Last post by Johnnie F. on November 06, 2019, 05:38:29 PM »
Two women claim extortion by 'copyright agents'

NAKHON RATCHASIMA: Two women have told police they were extorted by the same people who tricked a teenage girl into making krathong floats featuring copyright cartoon characters, and then arrested and fined her.

Meanwhile, Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin has ordered local officials to provide assistance to the schoolgirl fined for copyright violation, and a TV report identified the "agent" who led police to the young girl as a motorcycle taxi driver.

Meena Sapsarp, 25, and Pitchaya Kaesungnoen, 19, on Wednesday filed their extortion allegation with police.

Ms Meena said she was arrested on Oct 31 for making krathong baskets with famous cartoon characters.  She told police the man claiming to be a copyright agent had imposed a fine of 70,000 baht, but she did not have that much money. After negotiations, she paid a fine of 30,000 baht - which she had to borrow from a neighbour.

Ms Pitchaya said she was caught on July 13 in Sung Noen district for selling pirated Yeti coolers. The officers demanded she pay a fine of 30,000 baht. After negotiations, she paid 10,000 baht.

The two women said those who led police to arrest them were the same copyright agents who arrested a 15-year-old girl in Muang district, a case which grabbed news headlines on Tuesday.

The girl, identified only as “Orn’’, was arrested and, after negotiations, fined 5,000 baht for making krathong baskets featuring cartoon characters that were ordered online as part of a police "sting".

She was making and selling flower-pattern floats for this weekend’s Krathong Festival, to raise money to help with her schooling.

The girl's arrest sparked a public outcry.

T.A.C Consumer Plc, the representative of copyright holder San-X of Japan, later issued a statement saying the company had not assigned anyone to the operation that led to the arrest of the girl.

Amarin TV reported that the man who led police to arrest the 15-year-old girl is a  motorcycle taxi driver.

TV reporters went to his house in Nakhon Ratchasima, but he was not there.

Neighbours identified him only as "Nan". They said his wife sells grilled meat balls on sticks.

Bangkok Post
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Korat News / Re: Girl tricked into making pirate krathong floats, then arrested
« Last post by Johnnie F. on November 06, 2019, 05:30:49 PM »
Copyright Troll Demands 50,000 Baht From 15-Year-Old Cartoon Krathong Maker

NAKHON RATCHASIMA — A local copyright holder of Japanese cartoon character franchise said Tuesday it was not behind an alleged attempt to extort a 15-year-old girl of 50,000 baht for copyright infringement.

T.A.C. Consumer PCL, who holds a copyright for San-X products in Thailand, denies involvement with the sting operation in Korat, in which a man identified himself as a copyright agent and threatened the girl’s family to pay a damage fee of up to 50,000, or face prison terms. The news has sparked widespread anger on social media, where some business owners said they were also victims of a similar scheme.

The girl said the man ordered 136 krathongs, or traditional floats for the upcoming river festival, decorated with cartoon characters from her on Friday. But once the first batch of delivery was made, the customer identified himself as a copyright agent and called the police, according to her father, Thawatchai Polhaeng.

Once she was brought to the police station, Thawatchai said, the self-identified agent demanded a payment of 50,000 baht for copyright infringement or face criminal charges that could land her in jail. He said they eventually settled for a sum of 5,000 baht.

“This isn’t right. Though she might be guilty, but the agent should look at her intentions,” Thawatchai said. “She was just trying to raise some funds for her schooling. The agent should not rip off a kid like this.”

But in a statement today, T.A.C. Consumer PCL said it was not responsible for sending any complaint.

Korat City police chief Col. Kachen Setaputta confirmed police involvement in Friday’s sting operation, but maintained that they were merely following the law.

“The police carried out their duties according to the law. They have to arrest the girl, otherwise they might be guilty of neglecting their duties,” Kachen said.

The girl, who only identified herself to the media as “Orn,” said she intended to sell bread krathongs to help out her family with her tuition fees.

She normally produced flower-patterned krathongs and sold them on Facebook, but the customer who tricked her ordered them to be particularly adorned with copyrighted characters like Angry Birds, Garfield, and Japanese cartoon bear Rilakkuma.

“I didn’t intend to violate copyright law. I was just following the customer’s orders, which I didn’t know was wrong to do,” she said. “They wanted to trick me and extort me for hefty fines. After I went back home, I was crying all night because I never faced any charges like this before.”

But after her plight sparked a fury on social media, several other vendors said they were subject to the same ploy, which experts nicknamed “copyright trolling.”

In the scam, opportunists claiming to represent copyright holders would threaten to bring copyright infringement charges against unsuspecting business owners unless they agree to pay up “settlement fees.”

A popular Facebook page said it has received four accounts of such victims since Orn’s stroke made headlines– all of which occurred in Nakhon Ratchasima. One victim told the page, called Thailand’s Most Wanted, she has to pay 30,000 baht to avoid criminal charges after she made similar krathong with Rilakkuma face.

Legal experts say while these claims would most likely be dismissed by the court – since the complaints were not made by legitimate copyright holders – the vast majority of victims tend to pay up anyway to avoid criminal investigations.

Khaosodenglish

Maybe the copyright holders feel the outcry by less business now, and then do something about those illegitimate extortionists and the cops who went along with that scam!
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Korat News / Girl tricked into making pirate krathong floats, then arrested
« Last post by Johnnie F. on November 05, 2019, 05:08:06 PM »

The family of the 15-year-old girl who was arrested after being lured by police into making Krathong baskets with copyright-protected cartoon characters talks to a reporter at their house in Muang district of Nakhon Ratchasima on Monday. (Photo by Prasit Tangprasert)

NAKHON RATCHASIMA: A 15-year-old girl was arrested and fined after making krathong baskets featuring cartoon characters that were ordered by undercover copyright police.

The girl, who gave her name as "Orm", said that her family was shocked by the police sting operation.

She had intended to produce flower-patterned floats for this weekend's Krathong Festival to raise some money to help with her schooling, and offered the service via Facebook.

She had many customers, and then one customer specifically ordered cartoon characters on the floats. When she delivered them at a local department store last Friday it turned out the order was placed by copyright police, who were waiting for her.

"After receiving the order, I made krathong baskets from 8am to 1.30am the next day so that I could fill the order, only to be arrested," Orm said.

"Normally I do not make any basket with a copyrighted character. This customer stressed they wanted copyrighted characters. After being arrested I cried all night because I have never faced such legal action before.

"I want to know why they had to do this to me," the young teenager said.

Her father, Thawatchai Polhaeng, said the undercover agent ordered 136 krathong baskets with famous cartoon characters and his daughter delivered 30 baskets. The agent frightened his daughter and imposed a fine of 50,000 baht.

Her grandfather was a former policeman and later managed to negotiate the fine down to 5,000 baht, he said.

The chief of Muang Nakhon Ratchasima police station confirmed the incident occurred and that copyright agents and police were involved in the sting operation.

Media reported the girl priced her baskets at 17 baht apiece.

Bangkok Post

That definitely isn't the right way to "protect" copyright holders from losses! Neither is it "educational.
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Energy & Environment / Korat hard hit by water shortage
« Last post by Johnnie F. on November 04, 2019, 06:44:32 AM »
Korat hard hit by water shortage

NAKHON RATCHASIMA: Eight districts of this northeastern province have been hit by a water shortage, prompting the governor to instruct the local administrations and district chiefs of all 32 districts in the province to draw up drought prevention and mitigation measures, according to local media reports.

Suffering especially hard from shortages of water are 21 villages in 13 tambons of Non Sung, Chakkarat, Khong, Nong Bunmak, Muang, Pak Thong Chai, Si Khiu and Sung Noen districts.

Water supplies have been brought in from elsewhere to relieve the shortages in these localities.

Governor Wichian Chantaranothai has ordered the chiefs of all 32 districts as well as local administrations to draw up relief measures and report the situation to him on a weekly basis.

The waterworks plant in Dan Khun Thot district is running out of raw water for production as water in the Chiang Krai reservoir, its main source of water, has dropped to a critical level. Permission has been sought from residents in tambon Kut Phiman to divert 500,000 cubic metres of water from the Thanon Hai Yai swamp to the plant for tap water production.

The province has set up a command centre to coordindate efforts to cope with the drought and water shortage.

A provincial announcement has urged farmers to skip second-season rice farming and resort to growing crops that consume less water, such as various kinds of bean, sesame, sunflower, sorghum and vegetables.

Local administrations have been instructed to store water from various sources for tap water production in their localities and repair unused artesian wells to draw water for household use.

Bangkok Post
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Isaan News / Northeast sitting on oversupply of homes, says GHB official
« Last post by Johnnie F. on October 31, 2019, 03:28:29 PM »
Thailand currently has 220,000 residential units waiting to be sold, some sitting unoccupied for a considerable length of time, an official of the Government Housing Bank said at a seminar on the situation in the Northeast on Tuesday (October 29).

Vichai Viratkapan, an inspector at the bank and acting director-general of its Real Estate Information Centre, said there were 16,206 units available in Udon Thani, Ubon Ratchathani, Khon Kaen, Nakhon Ratchasima and Maha Sarakham in the first half of 2019, including 12,472 single-storey homes in housing estates, 3,496 condominium units and 238 villas.

Of those, 13,327 were unsold, a 0.9-per-cent drop from 2018, representing a Bt50.96-billion investment value.

The unsold units were in 316 projects, including 10,382 in housing estates and 2,779 condos, and most of them in Nakhon Ratchasima,” Vichai said.

 He expressed concern about the substantial supply remaining unsold from 2014 to early 2019, such as the 1,140 units waiting for buyers in Nakhon Ratchasima, Khon Kaen and Udon Thani.

“The worrying condominium stocks in Nakhon Ratchasima are in the area of Khao Yai National Park, where there are also 211 villas available. In two other provinces, there is stock remaining from three years ago – particularly condos in Udon Thani – and yet buyer demand still isn’t satisfied.”

Current supply is close to the average of the past five years of 13,000 units, suggesting that oversupply in the future will be no higher.

“The most worrying issue, though, is condos for sale at Bt2 million-Bt3 million that are being purchased at a lower rate than the average in the past,” Vichai said.

 He said the Northeast was projected to have 9,574 units available in 2020, including 7,233 in housing estates and 2,341 condos.

“Single houses will make up 45.6 per cent of the total, townhouses 24.5 per cent and semi-detached houses 14.2 per cent.”

Vichai predicted that the government’s stimulus package for the property market, which will reduce transfer fees and mortgages throughout 2020, will boost sales by end of next year.

“Around 180,000 units will be affected by the positive impact of this measure, allowing the overall market to turn positive in 2020,” he said.

The Nation

Who'll buy a home without good jobs near to pay off the mortgage? Maybe they should focus more on the infrastructure.
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