Phuket manager arrested after ‘years of bullying and cheating’
- Published: 22/01/2013 at 10:34 AM
- Online news:
PHUKET: The developer and manager of a condominium in Wichit has been arrested on a variety of charges after tenants complained about a reign of fear he conducted against them as he allegedly pocketed money that should have been used to pay bills or for repairs.
Pol Lt Col Sakon Trainara of Wichit Police Station said the manager was arrested on Tuesday evening (January 15) in an apartment at the condominium.
He noted that the manager was living in the apartment without permission from the owner. It is understood that the owner had tried to get him out, but without success.
He was charged with a variety of offences including criminal trespass, fraud, uttering threats, and physical violence.
His arrest came soon after tenants met with Vice-Governor Sommai Preechasilpa to ask for her help after power to the apartment block was cut off eight days ago for non-payment of a power bill of B200,000. The tenants complained that they had paid the manager for power, but the money had apparently not been used to pay the bill.
Water supplies had also been cut off, they told V/Gov Sommai.
Police had to smuggle the nervous-looking manager into the police station through the kitchen after angry tenants and owners, having heard about his imminent arrest, gathered outside.
Col Sakon told The Phuket News that the manager appeared in court on Wednesday morning (January 16) for a preliminary hearing, and admitted that he had hit a woman living in one of the apartments in the condo. However, he denied the other charges.
The court ordered him confined in Phuket Prison until his case is heard.
Col Sakon added, “Someone came to the police station last night to bail him out, but I did not allow that.” Asked who that person was, he said, “I cannot tell you.”
Resident owners and tenants say they have put up with the bullying of the manager for years but things finally came to a head when power to the whole condo was cut on January 8. Checking with the electricity company they found that this was because of an unpaid power bill of B200,000.
Several of them went to Phuket Provincial Hall to complain. When they came back one of them found a window of his car had been smashed and acid had been poured on the seats. Several other cars and motorbikes of people who had gone to the hall were also damaged.
All believed the manager had done it to cow them into silence.
An Englishman, who asked not to be named, said that he bought a unit in the building six years ago and has lived there since.
“He has cheated many people who live in the building. Everyone has had the same problems with him for many years,” he told The Phuket News.
He said that the manager had taken money for repainting the building and hiring a security guard but had done neither. He had not taken proper care, either, of trash disposal and water supply facilities.
On a visit to the condo, The Phuket News was told that there used to be a water tank and pumps at the back of the building, but they had gone.
The manager did not take kindly to criticism, the Englishman said.
“Last Friday (January 11) I was punched and kicked by him. I have been waiting for my land deed ever since I bought the apartment. I met him unexpectedly in the building and I asked him for the land deed.
“We got into an argument, during which I took a picture of him with my phone. He got angry and rude, and threatened me. He pushed, punched and kicked me and demanded that my friend delete his photos. I was hurt but I am okay now.”
(The Phuket News understands that the manager claims he himself was cheated over the land and there is some question as to ownership, which is why he was unable to transfer title to condo owners.)
A Thai owner, also requesting anonymity, told The Phuket News, “He frightened me and others in the building. He acts like a gangster. Before I bought the condominium, I didn’t know he was like this.”
The Englishman said that people living in blocks A and B of the condominium were bound to pay the manager B700 a month for power. Those in Block C paid B1,800. “But on January 8, we found that he had not paid the electricity company.”
The Thai owner said, “Now, we are setting up a condominium committee to take over the management.
“I have written to Vice-Governor Somkiet Sangkhaosutthirak asking him to help us find solutions.
“[We] are still scared, and have written to the Phuket Provincial Office asking for help in ensuring he gets no bail [until his trial].”
On Wednesday, when The Phuket News visited the condo, owners and tenants were reluctant to talk. One said, “Did you come alone? You are walking into the tiger’s cave. His employees are still here. Please be careful.”
About the author
Writer: Tanyaluk Sakoot