Bangkok Post


Le­gal woes mount for way­ward mogul


Too busy hav­ing fun

Way­ward hi-so busi­ness­man Ji­rat “Champ” Pet­nun­tha­wong’s le­gal prob­lems are mount­ing with po­lice want­ing to ques­tion him over a high­speed ac­ci­dent on Sa­mui is­land last week, and an out­stand­ing as­sault case in Pat­taya.

Champ and his pas­sen­ger friend, model Rak­na­pak “Namwan” Wong­tanatat, were in­jured in the crash on Sa­mui on Mon­day when his Toy­ota Vios rammed into a con­crete bar­rier by a bridge in Maret district.

He was tak­ing ac­tion to avoid a pickup truck but lost his grip on the ve­hi­cle. Wit­nesses said his car sped past be­fore skid­ding to avoid the pickup and hit­ting the bridge bar­rier. Po­lice found a 50m skid mark at the scene.

Champ and Namwan were taken to Bangkok Hos­pi­tal Sa­mui be­fore Champ was air­lifted by he­li­copter to see an orthopaedi­c sur­geon in Bangkok. Champ in­jured his left arm, right knee, and broke his right an­kle, while Namwan suf­fered a chest in­jury and scrapes to the arms and legs.

Me­dia im­ages showed Champ in a stretcher talk­ing to res­cue work­ers. Bo­phut po­lice, called to the ac­ci­dent scene, ad­mit­ted later they did not test him for drunk driv­ing as he was talk­ing co­her­ently. A hos­pi­tal blood test later found no signs of al­co­hol in his sys­tem.

De­spite that, ne­ti­zens lashed the po­lice for fail­ing to do their duty, say­ing they were giv­ing him le­nient treat­ment be­cause of his wealth. Champ’s mil­lion­aire fam­ily makes its money from ho­tels, as­set man­age­ment and spare air­craft parts.

Pol Cap Tham­pr­a­sit Yongyosy­ing, deputy in­spec­tor at Bo­phut sta­tion, said po­lice would call him in for ques­tion­ing once he re­cov­ers from his in­juries.

Both de­clared on so­cial me­dia they were safe and thanked those wor­ried about them. Ne­ti­zens, how­ever, re­call­ing the pair’s in­volve­ment in an as­sault in­ci­dent in Pat­taya weeks be­fore, were less than sym­pa­thetic.

Crit­ics joked they were more wor­ried about the bridge than Namwan’s state of health. “Is the bridge dam­aged?” they asked. The saga gave rise to the com­i­cal hash­tag on Twit­ter, #Save the bridge.

Namwan, af­ter ini­tially tak­ing the crit­i­cism in her stride, later re­torted with le­gal threats. “You’re cosy and warm in the on­line world...but you’ll be all alone be­fore the judge’s bench,” she grum­bled.

The pair’s rep­u­ta­tion had al­ready taken a drub­bing thanks to Champ’s as­sault case which pro­ceeds in Pat­taya with­out Champ’s in­volve­ment, as he has yet to re­spond to a sum­mons for ques­tion­ing.

Comic ac­tor Rusameekae “Kae” Fager­lund is pur­su­ing as­sault charges against Champ af­ter he glassed him at a Pat­taya nightspot on Sept 2. Po­lice is­sued a sum­mons on Sept 5, but Champ has yet to get in touch.

They are now pre­par­ing to is­sue a sec­ond sum­mons call­ing him in by Oct 1. if he fails to do so they will seek a war­rant for his ar­rest.

Champ, who has a lengthy his­tory of trou­ble with the law, struck Kae in the face in a fit of jeal­ousy af­ter he greeted Namwan, who ac­com­pa­nied the busi­ness­man to the nightspot, with a hug.

Champ, best known for his pub­lic scrapes with his for­mer wife and a long-run­ning le­gal dispute over a failed New Year con­cert he launched in 2012, mis­tak­enly thought Kae, who is gay, was hit­ting on Namwan. The at­tack left Kae with a bloody nose and re­cur­ring headaches.

Wit­nesses say he fled with­out of­fer­ing an apol­ogy, per­haps af­ter re­al­is­ing that Kae, who trains in muay Thai and calls him­self “Thai King Kong” was much big­ger than him.

Kae, a Thai-Amer­i­can mar­ried to a Swedish man, said he and Namwan had worked to­gether pre­vi­ously and he was of­fer­ing a sim­ple greet­ing. Namwan later of­fered an apol­ogy on Champ’s be­half, but ne­ti­zens rounded on the pair for Champ’s poor be­hav­iour.

Among the crit­ics were Champ’s for­mer wife, Nicole Patanapong, for­mer run­ner-up in the Miss Maxim beauty pageant, who said Champ caused noth­ing but trou­ble for her fam­ily. Out­spo­ken DJ Paranyu “Tack” Ro­janavudtit­ham, mean­while, chal­lenged Champ to a match on the TV show 10 Fight 10,a celebrity box­ing tour­na­ment.

Up­dat­ing fans on progress in the case last week, Kae said pros­e­cu­tors could take ac­tion against Champ, or his own lawyer sue for dam­ages. He said he had been in touch with the Swedish em­bassy in Bangkok ask­ing them to en­sure his safety, as he is wor­ried about reprisals.

De­spite lin­ger­ing pain to his nose stem­ming from the night­club in­ci­dent, Kae dis­closed he has also signed up for a celebrity box­ing match in the sec­ond se­ries of 10 Fight 10, in which he will take on ac­tor Thiti­nan “X” Suwan­nasak.

Re­spond­ing to the news, DJ Khe­marat “Oung” Soon­thorn­nont joked that Kae would have to distin­guish be­tween X and the per­son he would re­ally love to be hit­ting when he climbs in the ring in early Novem­ber. The saga con­tin­ues.

Keep­ing her head above it

Ital­ian-Thai model Sarah Cas­ingh­ini is com­ing un­der fire for the way she treats her six-year-old son with singer and ac­tor Pi­rat “Mike” Ni­ti­paisankul, who has launched a high-pro­file le­gal bid to gain joint cus­tody over the child.

Mike asked the Cen­tral Ju­ve­nile and Fam­ily Court to recog­nise his le­gal rights as the boy’s fa­ther, a move op­posed by Sarah, who said Maxwell should de­cide what he wants when he is older. Maxwell lives with Sarah’s fam­ily in Phuket. At present sole parental rights be­long to Sarah as the boy was born out of wed­lock.

Fans on both sides of the grow­ing split are dig­ging up ev­i­dence against each other since news of Mike’s court bid emerged. The ac­tor, who works in China, said he has paid al­most 10 mil­lion baht on Maxwell’s up­keep since he was born but is given lit­tle say over the child’s wel­fare. Sarah, he said, had for­bid­den him ac­cess to the child for months and sev­ered con­tact.

Mike was orig­i­nally seen as a re­luc­tant dad, amid re­ports soon af­ter the child’s birth that he in­sisted on a DNA test to prove his pa­ter­nity. How­ever, pub­lic opin­ion swung back in his favour af­ter rev­e­la­tions the test was sought by par­ents on both sides amid claims Sarah was play­ing around.

De­fend­ing her stance against Mike’s joint cus­tody bid, Sarah claimed that Mike wanted to cut cor­ners on main­te­nance which would di­min­ish the boy’s qual­ity of life. She de­nied ask­ing any­thing of Mike and said she was happy to raise Maxwell her­self. Mike’s lawyer, how­ever, re­leased a list of six de­mands in which she asks him to boost his child sup­port even as he asked her to cut costs mod­estly to help him dur­ing the Covid-19 slump.

In the past week, as the dispute rum­bled on, the young mother came un­der re­newed fire from ne­ti­zens, who ac­cused Sarah of coach­ing Maxwell to crit­i­cise his fa­ther pub­licly, ex­ploit­ing the child to sell goods on­line, and fail­ing to en­sure his safety. First to draw ne­ti­zens’ ire was an In­sta­gram live ses­sion with Maxwell in which Sarah was read­ing out mes­sages on so­cial me­dia to her son. “There are peo­ple here who say Daddy loves Maxwell very much,” Sarah says. Max, how­ever, de­murs, ask­ing “Re­ally?” She replies, “Re­ally”

But he coun­ters her again, say­ing: “Are you sure you’re not ly­ing? So why were we booted from our condo?” He was re­fer­ring to claims that Mike had them tossed out of their condo in Bangkok be­fore Sarah later moved the child to Phuket. Sarah rep­ri­mands the child, telling him not to talk that way about his fa­ther, but ne­ti­zens asked if she had coached him to say the words. Mike’s elder brother, Pichaya “Golf” Ni­ti­paisankul, said there was no way his nephew, a cheer­ful, lively child, would say such a thing.

“What did you in­put into his head? I feel sorry for my nephew, hav­ing to be in an en­vi­ron­ment such as yours. You’re a mother in what lan­guage?” he asked caus­ti­cally on so­cial me­dia.

“Be­fore you go to bed, take a good, hard look at your­self in the mir­ror. When you leave the home, are you ashamed each day? Ask your­self, ‘Is there any­thing left of me which I would still re­gard as hu­man?’

Later in the week, Sarah was en­gulfed in a new drama when ne­ti­zens un­earthed a clip of her with her son, who was ev­i­dently un­well, as she hawked cos­met­ics on­line. Ne­ti­zens said she was ex­ploit­ing the child for com­mer­cial pur­poses.

Her list of de­mands, which crit­ics say are ex­ces­sive, ask Mike to pay school fees at an in­ter­na­tional school or equiv­a­lent un­til Max is able to look af­ter him­self, up to “doc­tor­ate” level at univer­sity. His main­te­nance pay­ments should last just as long, she said.

Sarah had also asked for an in­crease in her al­lowance to 50,000 baht a month, and de­manded he buy Maxwell a condo in Bangkok so he would have somewhere to stay close to school. She also in­sisted he not try to make money from the boy’s name by hav­ing him work in the in­dus­try or post­ing his im­age to so­cial me­dia — an act she has now been caught out do­ing her­self, crit­ics say.

Most re­cently, fans have bri­dled at a clip taken from Sarah’s YouTube chan­nel from March last year in which a teenager has taken Maxwell for a swim. She plunged him un­der­wa­ter with­out warn­ing, prompt­ing him to cry for his mother, who was film­ing the episode. Rather than rep­ri­mand the teen, Sarah laughs and tells him to stop cry­ing or they will go home. This prompted an­other blast from Golf about Sarah’s par­ent­ing skills. The ac­tress has yet to re­spond to the lat­est dra­mas.

 ??  ??
 ??  ?? Rak­na­pak ‘Namwan’ Wong­tanatat
Rak­na­pak ‘Namwan’ Wong­tanatat
 ??  ?? Ji­rat ‘Champ’ Pet­nun­tha­wong
Rusameekae ‘Kae’ Fager­lund
Ji­rat ‘Champ’ Pet­nun­tha­wong Rusameekae ‘Kae’ Fager­lund
 ??  ?? Pi­rat ‘Mike’ Ni­ti­paisankul
Pi­rat ‘Mike’ Ni­ti­paisankul
 ??  ?? Pichaya ‘Golf’ Ni­ti­paisankul
Pichaya ‘Golf’ Ni­ti­paisankul
 ??  ?? Sarah Cas­ingh­ini
Sarah Cas­ingh­ini

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