Charges laid in Tangmo death case

Charges laid in Tangmo death case

Boat owner, driver on negligence rap

The owner and driver of the speedboat on which TV actress Nida "Tangmo" Patcharaveerapong was a passenger before her death in the Chao Phraya River on Thursday have been charged with negligence and operating an unauthorised vessel.

Pol Lt Col Uthen Hongthong, chief interrogator at Muang station in Nonthaburi, said police on Saturday night formally charged Tanupat "Por" Lerttaweewit, who owned the speedboat, and Phaiboon "Robert" Trikanjananun, who was driving the vessel when Tangmo plunged to her death on Thursday.

The men, held under arrest warrants issued by Nonthaburi Court, were charged on two counts: operating an unauthorised vessel and negligence leading to death.

The latter carries a maximum fine of 200,000 baht, up to 10 years in jail or both.

Mr Tanupat insisted on Saturday his boat was licensed but admitted that the vessel's tax payment had been overdue by a few days.

The others on the boat were Idsarin "Gatick" Juthasuksawat, Tangmo's manager; Wisapat "Sand" Manomairat, and Nitas "Job" Kiratisoothisathorn.

Police interrogated Mr Tanupat and Mr Phaiboon late into the night at Muang station, and police experts were called in to check their mobile phones to substantiate the allegations in the presence of their lawyers.

The two were granted bail yesterday.

Police have questioned at least eight people so far: all five on board the boat, two ship warehouse owners and another person whose name was not disclosed.

The boat owner told an army of reporters on Saturday that although he and the others were not wearing life jackets, the boat had lifebuoys in case of an emergency.

Ms Wisapat was at the rear of the boat when Tangmo fell into the river, Mr Tanupat said.

The actress reportedly went to the back of the boat to relieve herself.

Ms Wisapat said she was looking at her mobile phone while Tangmo held on to her legs at the rear of the boat before slipping into the river.

Ms Idsarin, Tangmo's manager, said she was gazing at the river when the accident happened and had not wanted to wear a life jacket while she posed for photos in her bodysuit.

The 37-year-old actress fell into the river at about 10.40pm on Thursday. Her body was found at 1pm on Saturday.

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