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Phoenix tour boat owner to fight charges, renounces confession

PHUKET: The lawyer representing the owner of the Phoenix tour boat, which capsized and sank in a storm off Phuket on July 5, killing 47 Chinese tourists, made a public statement today (Aug 14), vowing to fight the recklessness causing death charge in court and renouncing any testimony already given to police.

By Eakkapop Thongtub

Tuesday 14 August 2018, 07:04PM

Lawyers Nalin and Nipit Intarasombat (left and right), representing the owner of the ‘Phoenix’, 26-year-old Phuket resident Woralak ‘Yui’ Rerkchaikarn, meet the press in front of Phuket Provincial Polcie Station today (Aug 14). Photo: Eakkapop Thongtub

Lawyers Nalin and Nipit Intarasombat (left and right), representing the owner of the ‘Phoenix’, 26-year-old Phuket resident Woralak ‘Yui’ Rerkchaikarn, meet the press in front of Phuket Provincial Polcie Station today (Aug 14). Photo: Eakkapop Thongtub

The boat owner, 26-year-old Phuket resident Woralak ‘Yui’ Rerkchaikarn, remains in custody at Phuket Prison after the court denied her bail on the charge of recklessness causing death.

Speaking in front of Phuket Provincial Police Station, the lawyer, Nipit Intarasombat, told the press that Ms Woralak made every effort possible to provide assistance to victims and those affected immediately after the disaster.

“She did much to help victims and relatives, and to support volunteers and support rescue teams,” he said.

Regardless, Ms Woralak has been charged with recklessness causing death, he said, adding that Phuket Provincial Court had denied her to post bail.

“We are working on an appeal to allow her to post bail, but the court has declined,” he explained.

“We appreciate that police are working in a clear, straight-forward manner, and that police have disagreed with filing a charge that the company used nominee shareholders,” Mr Nipit added, referring to initial allegations by Tourist Police that TC Blue Co Ltd, which operated tours on the Phoenix, had used nominee shareholders.

“Investigators from the Tourist Police questioned her and later said that she had confessed… but every conversation has been recorded – and this is important as evidence to present to the court and the NACC (National Anti-Corruption Commission), he said.

“A letter has been sent to today to Phuket Provincial Police Commander Maj Gen Teeraphol Thipjaroen to inform him that anything that the owner has done to assist police with their investigations is void.

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“From today, the owner of the boat will not give any testimony to investigator anymore. Any testimony from investigation will be considered inadmissible (in court),” Mr Nipit warned.

“Regarding any aspects of the boat that are deemed to be not meet standards, you have to check who registered the boat. You have to clarify who has been ‘reckless’ or caused the accident,” he added.

“We are confident that this boat is legal. On that day, it was a severe storm that was a critical factor in the accident.

“We will fight all charges in court, and please let the court decide who is guilty,” Mr Nipit said.

The announcement today came while a contracted salvage team were hopeful of recovering the Phoenix from the seabed some 1.5 nautical miles off Koh Hei (Coral Island), south of Phuket. (See story here.)

Late this afternoon came confirmation that efforts to recover the boat today were again hampered by the weather, but the salvage team will try again tomorrow.

Once the boat has been recovered, it will be taken to the Rattanachai Shipyard in Rassada, where investigators will have 30 days to inspect it. (See story here.)



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vegasbaby | 16 August 2018 - 06:50:59

Don't worry about it...all the correct people have been paid off and justice has been done. 

Kurt | 15 August 2018 - 14:19:10

I would be nice when thai Authorities tell public who the real owner of the Phoenix is. That 26 year old girl just looks to me being a scape goat.

CaptainJack69 | 15 August 2018 - 12:19:35

Mr Nipit has some funny ideas about the law. Actions after the event do not mitigate responsibility for causing the event. 'yes I murdered your son, but I was nice to you afterwards'. Also he does not get to decide what evidence is admissible in court, that's up to a judge. And as for this 26 year old "owning" the vessel, she was just a nominee, it was owned in China.

Pauly44 | 15 August 2018 - 07:40:50

The Thai judicial system is under the microscope on this one as it's high profile the police, laywers, judges can't get away with their usual shenanegans, who cares if she was "nice" afterwards that's irrelevant, she is totally negligent as she wouldn't have given any consideration to safety, only the money rolling in, as dumb as she looks, throw away the key along with t...

Timothy | 15 August 2018 - 07:39:40

It really doesn't matter how much assistance she provided to the survivors. What about the 47 dead? The fact is that there was a weather warning and the boat was allowed to load with passengers and sail into a storm. She was greedy and didn't want to lose the income.  

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