The women – Russian university student Liliya Karmanova, 20, and her friend Polina Likman, 21 – were arrested by the Karon Police and then taken to be detained at the holding cells at Phuket Provincial Court on Feb 1 following a complaint filed by the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) Phuket office.
The complaint was filed after a tip-off – from a person who the DMCR and the Karon Police at the time identified as a “neighbour” who saw Ms Karmanova pouring toilet bleach onto the corals at their rented bungalow in Karon.
However, the “neighbour” ended up being the landlady of the units where the Russian women where staying. The landlady objected to the smell of the corals and shells, hence the dousing of bleach on them. (See story here.)
Both women were later released on what the DMCR said was B40,000 bail – but later clarified by the women themselves as B150,000 (see story here) – and had their passports held pending their case being heard at Phuket Provincial Court.
If found guilty, the women each face a fine of up to B20,000 or up to a year in jail, or both.
Yet more than a month after their arrest, the women have yet to have their case heard in court for no other reason than the police have yet to hand the case file to the Public Prosecutor.
Capt Channarong Prakongkue of the Karon Police admitted to The Phuket News today (Mar 5), “Police have yet to hand the case details to the court. I am checking the criminal records of the two Russian women.”
With any luck Ms Karmanova and Ms Likman will soon have their forced extended stay in Phuket draw to a close.
“It (having the women’s criminal records checked) will take about two more days. Then the case will be good enough to send to prosecutor,” Capt Channarong said today.
However, Capt Channarong did not elaborate on what prompted the criminal history check, or if the check uncovered and criminal history at all.
Meanwhile, in addition to fear of going to prison, Ms Karmonova has expressed her concern about her university studies, as she will need to prove why she has been unable to attend classes.
Further, Ms Polina’s father claims that both families have had to take out bank loans in order to cover all legal expenses and rising costs of the two students’ forced extended stay in Thailand.
“Polina and I are so grateful to our parents for their help and support. We miss them greatly,” Ms Karmonova said. (See story here.)