Both face charges of negligence causing death for the Phoenix disaster, which killed 47 Chinese tourists when the boat capsized and sank in storm conditions off Phuket on July 5.
Asked whether Woralak and Onchan had been denied bail, Capt Somkiat Sansithi, Chief of the Investigation Division at Chalong Police Station, late this afternoon told The Phuket News, “I don’t know, ask the court.”
However, Capt Somkiat’s reply to The Phuket News directly contradicts reports in the Thai media today (July 17) that openly cited Capt Somkiat as confirming that Woralak and Onchan had both been denied bail by the Phuket Provincial Court and were now being held on remand behind bars.
The Phuket News has yet to learn why the reply was different.
Regardless, if Woralak and Onchan have been denied bail, the pair are the first Thai nationals to be incarcerated over the Phoenix disaster, while police have yet to even publicly name any officials under investigation for allowing the unsafe boat to put to sea at all.
Asked if there were any other developments today, Col Somkiat said, “Nothing new today.”
The one thing Capt Somkiat could confirm today was that “no officials have been charged so far” over the Phoenix disaster.
The news today comes while Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Yuthisak today sat front and centre at a press conference where Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodthong delivered a full recount of the disaster and the ensuing rescue and body recovery operations.
Gov Norraphat extolled his praise for the efforts of those who provided assistance to the families of the dead, including Phuket arranging funerals for their now-departed loved ones, and how the province was taking concrete steps towards enforcing marine safety standards in line with direct orders from Prime Minster Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha.