Sunday, July 10, 2016

S’pore taxi uncle returns laptop bag with $235,500 cash to drunk Thai passenger

Update as of 15/07/2016: Thanks to the feedback of a reader from this blog, I have rebuilt the timeline of this incident and we may have caught a person impersonating as taxi passenger via fake Facebook profile to give credits to taxi driver. All in Update 10 and 11.

When the news broke out regarding a taxi driver returning $230k cash back to the passenger, it spreads like wildfire. Being a cautious person, I normally click on the source to verify the facts. I chanced upon the comment made by the so called taxi driver on the original posting. My instinct led me to his Facebook profile and subsequently scrolling down on his public wall. If one were to read the whole story posted by the drunken Thai businessman, he claims he doesn't know the taxi driver. But if one were to read the Facebook wall and scroll until the last page of the taxi driver Lee Kenny, you will discover that the Thai businessman in the story named Chukamon Khammat were actually friends with the taxi driver since 2010 and they had been talking with each other (update: other netizens have reported and took screenshots of the conversations too). I have also reported the facts to the original source at BehChiaLor, but to my surprise, they removed all my evidence and even blocked me from their FB. So now the questions are: who created this fake news? And why? If by the taxi driver himself, is it for trolling purposes or for service recognition medal? And if it was created by the source itself, was it to generate fake traffic to their FB to earn revenue? You'll be the judge and to believe whether this is real or fake after reading the excerpt and evidence pictures below.

I hope SMRT can come up with a conclusive investigation by tracing the FB account of Lee Kenny with the hp number of 90852212 to match if it does belong to taxi driver named Lee Koh Wee. If it is, then it is conclusive Lee Kenny=Lee Koh Wee and from their FB accounts we can conclude they know each other since 2010 prior to this incident instead as claimed in the story.

Another method is to trace back the date, time and fare based on the story. CCTV footages are abundant in MBS.

Third method is to ask BehChiaLor to give Mr. Chukamon's contact since he was in direct communication with BCL and even gave them a picture of the taxi driver ID before boarding the flight. SMRT can then get in direct contact with Mr. Chukamon to verify the story.

There is no malicious intention of me by posting up this post. I just lay out the facts for everyone to judge if this is real or not. I do hope the story is real and the taxi driver is to be commended for such honest action.

Update 1: SMRT shared the post on their FB. After reporting to them with the facts, they have now removed the posting.

Update 2: FB statement from SMRT FB

  
Update 3: It may seem Singapore Taxi Driver Facebook page is in the same cahoot with BehChiaLor. A few comments in the space of few hours to inform them about the possible fake news are all met with secret deletion. The admins were working so hard to delete at 2.50am in the morning the very moment I posted it up. Update as of 12/07/16 6pm: Singapore Taxi Driver had come out to set the record straight. According to them, they had the story way before BehChiaLor. Perhaps they can shed some light what "message" was this to clear the air?


  
Update 4: The so called taxi driver named Lee Kenny on FB finally deleted the evidence post from Mr. Chukamon dated from year 2010; after a good 6 hours being exposed. Luckily I have made screenshots and you can see the evidence below. Update as of 12/07/2016 7am: I have been informed by other netizens that the conversations can still be seen. So I may be the only one blocked. You can view their conversations via this link: https://www.facebook.com/friendship/sunny.dip.3/k3nny8131/. If it doesn't work, more evidence pictures can be seen below.

Update 5: I did a Google Reverse Image check on the momey picture used by BehChiaLor. It turns out this picture is already on Internet circulation since year 2012!


 

Update 6 (MAJOR REVELATION and EVIDENCE): This is the final nail into the coffin after other netizens reported and also took screenshots of conversations between Lee Kenny and Chukamon dated back to year 2010. One particular netizen even found the Twitter account named Kenny Lee Koh Wee. We can now conclude that FB Lee Kenny is taxi driver Lee Koh Wee, whom knew and had been having conversations with Chukamon Khammat in FB since year 2010. All the evidence pictures below are reproduced from the conversation made on SMRT official FB page.




These are the screenshots taken by other netizen, proving that Lee Kenny did in fact knew and were in conversations with Chukamon since 2010. The link to their conversations can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/friendship/sunny.dip.3/k3nny8131/





This is the picture to his Twitter account under the name Kenny Lee Koh Wee.


This is the money picture used by BehChiaLor; found circulating on the internet.


Update 7: This is the 2nd nail to the coffin. Assuming BehChiaLor doesn't know passenger and taxi driver; passenger doesn't know BehChiaLor; and taxi driver doesn't know BehChiaLor: We can assume BehChiaLor published the "genuine" letter from passenger signed off as Chukamon Khammat. Only after this expose, taxi driver now claims he knew Chukamon since 2010 but the passenger he fetched that day is now a different passenger with different name. So who among the 3 is lying? Let's catch the liar. See pictures below:



Update 8: Try clicking on the edit history at BehChiaLor and read the first version. I ran out of breath halfway through the story. And it was not only me. Readers of the first version commented the same. Now let's see who has the similar writing style like the first version. Have fun CSI.




Update 9: Thank you to Mothership.sg for their own incredible CSI skills. Read their articles here especially the last part. This was from my update 7 which I claim either one of the 3 may have been lying. The gist of the story: when this news broke out from BehChiaLor and even other sites like Roads.sg, the taxi driver so conveniently go claim credit by posting his comments/hp number for the whole world to see. After the expose, he admits he knows Chukamon since 2010 and now claims all the news channel got his passenger wrong. Mothership.sg then highlighted this: "Meaning, if he had read the post, he might have been aware of the wrongful attribution of the letter to his ex-brother-in-law, but for whatever reason chose not to correct the falsehood."

Excerpt from Mothership.sg:

And here Mr. Lee Kenny claiming credit in various sites the very moment this news was published:



Update 10: Uh-oh...passenger identity change is in progress. A good 5 days after taxi driver so conveniently claims credit in many news postings, knowingly the original passenger signed off as Chukamon. And how convenient it is for the newly revealed passenger to go missing now and even deactivated FB account. And yes, I agree with BCL. Let's share this until Thailand now to find the new taxi passenger. Appreciate to have Thais to join in this CSI.

p/s: Take note of that timestamp on the top right hand corner of the message (picture below) and also the writing style for future CSI evidence. Compare the timestamp to the article first published. Any messages within a week will show which day (i.e: Monday, Saturday) instead of dates for messages more than a week old.

In the meantime, have fun searching FB with this แอปเปิ้ล (Apple) and ogle on all the pretty mei mei. Remember, transformation is from Chukamon (businessman) to แอปเปิ้ล (pretty mei mei) to P Phen.



Update 11: This is also an expansion to update 10 regarding the message timestamp. Let's rebuild the timeline here:

On July 9th 2016 9:42pm, BehChiaLor published the story of an honest taxi driver returning money to passenger.




The very next morning on July 10th 2016 2.34pm, BehChiaLor published another picture of taxi driver ID claiming it was contributed by passenger with the following statement: "Before Mr Khammat flew off this evening, he left with us a photo he took of SHB1881L driver's taxi id pass whom he had a private booking yesterday evening."

 

That very same one hour later, taxi driver came in and left a comment claiming credit to the news, knowing fully well that the story and passenger signed off as Chukamon.

Based on this we can conclude passenger left Singapore on July 10th evening and the incident most likely occurred on the 9th Jul or earlier.

Few days after the expose, taxi driver made a u-turn claiming passenger is not Chukamon now but called P Phen.
This was also followed up by a new revelation by BehChialor on Jul 13th, showing a heavily edited and censored message purportedly from the passenger. This time also claiming not from Chukamon but a Thai FB account with the name แอปเปิ้ล (Apple).







Now this is where we catch the inconsistencies. Take note how timestamp in FB works. All messages within a week old will show day (i.e: Monday, Saturday) and for messages older than a week old, it will show the actual date. So we can conclude the message was received on Saturday 9th Jul 8:56pm. Everything looks perfectly fine up to this point. BCL received FB message at 8:56pm, one hour later at 9:42pm, they released the story. But wait, Singapore Taxi Driver FB revealed on their wall that they have received the message way before BCL. This is what they said on their wall: "For information, we had received the message very early, way before BehChiaLor published the articles."




So what does this mean? We may have here a case of someone impersonating as passenger, created a fake FB account and then sent in all these messages trying to claim credits for the taxi driver. Singapore Taxi Driver received this message way before BCL. But due to unknown reasons, never published this story. So the fake passenger then may have send it to BCL instead. BCL played along and published it, the next day with another update which clearly portrays the incident happened on 9th Jul and the Thai passenger flew off on the 10th evening. But if you read Singapore Taxi Driver's claims, if this incident did happened, will be way earlier than 9th Jul and the passenger message timestamp of Sat 8:56pm.

Now the passenger FB account is claimed by BCL to be deactivated; compounding it with passenger identity change attempts by BCL and taxi driver, this just adds more fuel to the fire. Remember I mentioned about the writing style of the message in update 8 and 10? You may have found your answer to who faked the passenger FB account and stories. Whether BCL is complicit in this hoax, that remains to be seen once they release the full unedited message from the passenger.

And Singapore Taxi Driver FB is holding the trump card now; if what they claimed that they received the message way before BCL is true. So for SMRT, you know who and where to find your answers to your investigation.


This expose CSI is now longer than the story of taxi driver returning the cash. I have laid out facts readily available to the public as it is. There are just so many contradictions and red flags in the stories; it's incredible no one has the guts to come clean and clear this once and for all. No wonder there is a saying: To cover one lie, one has to create another 100 lies.


The main story:

SMRT SHB1881L taxi uncle returns $235,500.00 to Thai businessman who left them in his taxi. Read what Mr Chukamon Khammat wrote to us which we reproduced every single grateful word that comes from his heart:
"I boarded this SMRT TAXI SHB1881L at clarke quay about 4am after a drinking seesions with some of my business partners and i am kind of drunk at that point of time. And has told the driver to go to Marina Bay Sand Tower 1 where i am staying currently. I safely reached but i forgotten my laptop bag,i immediately turns sober because that bag contains of CASH S$235,500.00 in it.
This money is given to me by investors in singapore for a business plans carried out in thailand. And i suppose to be remitting it today morning. My worries of my consequence of losing this money lead me to a breakdown and i cried in a totally lost manner in my suites.
My wife woke up in a shock as she sees me breakdowns.Upon knowing what happen she says gone...surely we need to bear this sum of money and we are dead because SGD $235k converted to thai baht is 6 million over . i suddenly say i think i go down to the taxi lobby to see if the taxi driver will deliver back the bag of mine..and my wife screamed at me saying "dun waste your time,its $235000 and not $23.50 ,if you are the driver will you return back the bag to the owner?" I kept quiet without a word but duno why my feeling tells me that i must go to the lobby to lookout for the taxi . But the problem i facing is actually i dun even remember the taxi number as i am totally drunk just now.
So my wife seeing the deep shit i have caused she got no choice but to followed me down to the lobby in a mindset that i am obviously wasting my time coming down to the lobby and i should think of alternative ways to raise this sum and we even think of mortgage our house at thailand and even sell off all our assets. But when the lift door open upon reaching lobby i saw a man coming in from the glass door panting and anxious going towards the reception and actually i dun recognise him but i recognise what he is holding onto. Its my laptop bag!
And i and my wife ran towards him and shouting for him and when he saw me he took a deep breath and says thank god...i found you sir.....at that time about nearly 5.00am we are like making a commotion in the lobby. I asked my wife bring up the bag and i urged the exinct kind hearted driver to wait as i need to buy him a drink and offer my appreciation .But we ended up with a short chat in my suites .the driver did not request for any monetary but only asked if i could give him a ice cold mineral water and my wife immediately get it from the hotel bar fridge.and i offered him $1000.00 cash for appreciation of returning this money .because seriously i ask myself if is me i found this money i dun think i will give back too.
And furthermore i get to know from this driver that he just started driving taxi and was a bankrupt in 2014 ,he starts all over from scratch of what he lost and is repaying his debts , this makes me more surprised because if i were him,i found this big sum of money i can start afresh and repay my debts..but the driver replies of why he comes back searching for me is because,he says he intends to go home after dropping me and he has drove off going towards petrol kiosk before going back home but upon reaching he saw a bag at the passenger seat and he said he immediate open the bag hoping to have my particulars so that he can returned to HOTEL to me.but he said he was shocked when he saw the whole bag cash and first thinking is that oh dear this man will surely goes mad if he lose this bag of cash.and even cost life..so he immediately rush to MBS hoping to get the hotel help by asking mbs staff can trace the cctv footage of the guest just now.
I am sincerely grateful and other than being thankful i duno what to say to this kind soul.so i hope i can make everyone knows and can learn from this driver kind deeds. And indeed there is still kind soul in this world.i am sure this driver will surely make a comeback after he earns and repays all his debt. Because his heart is Righteous and his failures previously is also a framed up and trusted too much on business partners.sorry if my english isnt so good you guys may help me rephrased the story.thanks."
sincerely
Chukamon Khammat











SMRT ID vs FB profile pictures, you'll be the judge.




Sunday, June 05, 2016

Vivid Sydney 2016

So many cities in the world tried to organize a successful light festival, Sydney in my opinion is the only city that managed to hit the right note. This is by no means a simple feat. It requires city wide planning, coordination and cooperation. Vivid Sydney 2016 managed to bring together the whole city to participate in this grand light festival. Almost every building, streets and parks are lit up in dazzling light projections and exhibits.

All the light shows start from 6-11pm and each sequence lasts for about 10-15 minutes, then it will loop again. You will have ample time to hop around the city to catch other shows. Some light shows are outdoor projections onto buildings like the Opera House, Harbor Bridge and over the waters at Darling harbor. Some are exhibits at parks. Some streets are also turned into a fiesta zone with lights and exhibits. You may also find yourself walking unsuspectingly into some shopping malls with light shows inside as well. Do check out the official website Vivid Sydney for a list of locations and timetable. Vivid Sydney light festival for this year runs from 27th May to 18th June 2016.

Click on the image for picture gallery



Friday, June 03, 2016

Mini Travel Log: New York, USA (2)

Well, if you have done a basic day tour of the Statue Liberty, Wall Street, Freedom Tower, Times Square, Empire State and Rockefeller, then perhaps you can refer to this alternative one day itinerary for your extra days in New York.

You can start off the morning by heading to Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. This is the decommissioned USS Intrepid aircraft carrier that served in World War 2 and Vietnam War. It opens at 10am. The visit can include the submarine USS Growler. The aircraft carrier itself is huge with open deck, control tower and hangar. You can find all kinds of exhibits and aircraft on display. Notable ones are the SR71 Blackbird, F15 Tomcat, Concorde and even the Enterprise Space Shuttle. Your visit should be done by noon time just in time for a good lunch.

After lunch, you can head off to Central Park. You should start from Columbus Circle. Walk east direction along the edge of the park to warm up until you reach the Gapstow Bridge for a beautiful view of the lake and city buildings reflection. From here, walk north direction along The Mall pathway. This pathway is lined with trees on both sides and it should be a wonderful sight during autumn. You will reach Bethesda Terrace, fountain and another lake. Another famous spot in various films and games. On a good day, you can rent a boat to row in the lake. From here, you can continue to walk north across another beautiful bridge called the Bow Bridge and then reach Belvedere Castle. This is almost halfway point of Central Park. Time check: it should be around 4-5pm now. Walking either east or west from here will bring you to the museums on both sides of the park. The east side is Metropolitan Museum of Arts and the west side is American Museum of Natural History. You may save this visit for your next day or trip.

By 5pm, it is the perfect time to exit the park on the east side and hop onto subway 4 or 6 along Lexington St by 77th St. Take the southward bound train to Brooklyn Bridge, City Hall. From the station exit, you should be able to see the bridge and start your walk across this iconic bridge. The city skyscrapers and sunset will be behind you as you walk across. Once you're over the Brooklyn side, look for pedestrian exit on the left side. The staircase should lead you into Washington St. Walk back up north to the riverside park and a little distance to the left. You should reach Jane's Carousel. If you bring along kids, they will surely love the merry go round ride. Else, find a bench and enjoy the sunset here and watch the Manhattan skyscrapers light up once the sun is down. During summer, you may need to stay until 8-9pm here to see the golden view. So it is best done during spring or autumn when the sun sets earlier and you don't have to wait too long.

After a long day walk, you may now hop onto either trains from High St or York St which is not far from the park to take you back to Manhattan. If you have energy left and keen on supper, you may also walk back via Brooklyn Bridge and head to Chinatown for a good meal before calling it a day.

Click on the image for picture gallery





Related link: Mini Travel Log: New York, USA (1)

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Mini Travel Log: Narita, Japan (2)

It was an unexpected call up for me to operate a flight from Narita. I expected there isn't much sakura bloom for me to see in Narita so I did not bring my DSLR. I regret that decision after I visited the temple up on the hill and the adjacent Narita park. Little did I know there is such a beautiful garden on top of the hill and best of all, there are quite a number of sakura trees in the park which are already in 60-80% full bloom. Nevertheless, I whipped out my trusted Samsung S6 Edge to take some pictures. The quality turned out so well. Handphone technology has improved tremendously in just short period of time. If you were to compare pictures of Narita taken 5 years ago with my D90 DSLR and now, you would have thought the former was taken using a handphone instead.

Click on the image for picture gallery

Related link: Mini Travel Log: Narita, Japan (1)

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Mini Travel Log: New York, USA

This is my first time in New York and like any other tourists, I tried to maximize my time here because there are just so many things to do and see here. Is it possible to see the entire New York with 2 day itinerary? No it isn't. But 2 days are enough to warm up to this city and prepare you for your future visits.

My hotel is at Times Square which has the best location and starting point for sightseeing. As I arrived in the afternoon and needed a quick nap, I woke up close to evening time around 5pm. A quick recce at Times Square and then off I go to the Rockefeller Center; few blocks away from where I started. I went up to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck to catch the best sunset and night view of New York City. Entrance fee is not cheap. It costs $32. So plan your trip wisely if you want to see the best sunset view. Choose a clear day to go up. I was short on time so I had no choice but to go up even on a cloudy and drizzling day. I still had a great time up there but I'd probably return again in the future on a clear day to capture more breathtaking shots of the city.

After that, I returned to Times Square for some night shots. I couldn't stay awake much longer due to the jet lag so I called it a day afterwards. For info, Rockefeller Center is along 5th Avenue so you can actually do some night shopping there or save it for another day.

My second day was burned due to rain. The only place I managed to visit was the Central Station. After Central Station, I walked along 5th Avenue for some window shopping while trying to avoid getting soaked now and then.

Third day came with clear blue skies but chilly. I woke up early to rush down to Battery Park for the ferry to Liberty Island. From Times Square, I hopped onto subway no.1 at 50th St, South Ferry Loop. I didn't go down straight to South Ferry Station but made a detour by alighting at Chambers St. Reason being it was around 7am so I decided to see the 9/11 memorial and the new Freedom Tower. Bear in mind the memorial and tribute center only opens at 10am. I just wanted to see the 2 pools which was the former Twin Towers. It was a very sad feeling seeing the names of those sacrificed etched on the plaque around the pool.

I continued to walk south along Broadway and reached the Wall Street area. This area is heavily guarded now but is still accessible to pedestrians. The iconic New York Stock Exchange is not to be missed. Back to Broadway and continuing south, I reached the Charging Bull. Touch it for a dose of good luck perhaps? Another reason I advise others to reach here early is for you to have the whole bull to yourself. If you're here late, the Chinese armies will reach here in bus loads and I guarantee you will not have any space left to touch the bull, let alone taking pictures.

The Bull is just before the entrance to Battery Park. I bought my ferry ticket from Castle Clinton around 8am. Ferry departs at 8.30am and after going through airport styled scans, it is just about the right time. So my advise to you is to stick to your time schedule tight if you plan to do the 9/11 and Wall Street detour. Give yourself an hour for the detour starting from 7am and be at Castle Clinton ticket counter by 8am.

Do take note that normal ticket to Liberty Island and Ellis Island includes both return ferry rides. It costs $18 and includes entrance to the Pedestal only. If you want to climb to the crown of Statue of Liberty, 99.9% you won't be able to buy it at the ticket counter. Buy it online from the official operator Statue Cruises and it runs 2-4 weeks in advance reservations. Meaning anything less than 2 weeks, tickets to the crown are most likely sold out.

Also a word of caution. There are many touts operating around Battery Park entrance and South Ferry terminal station. They are trying to hard sell you tickets to the Liberty Island. My suggestion is avoid them at all costs. The only official operator is Statue Cruises and the ticket counter is right there in Castle Clinton at Battery Park.

I only spent my time on Liberty Island but skipped Ellis Island. The latter island was a former immigrant processing center which has its own histories. If you have the time, by all means visit this island after Liberty Island. It was included in the ticket anyway. By skipping Ellis Island, I was back in Manhattan by noon time.

As time was not on my side, that wraps up my short sightseeing trip in New York. As you can see, 2 days are not enough to cover this metropolis. But it does get you to the important landmarks around New York.

Click on the image for picture gallery


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Mini Travel Log: Paris, France

* Last entry for the year 2015. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Undeterred by the gun attacks in Paris, I ventured out to see the Christmas lights and decorations in Paris. It was indeed a rewarding and wonderful experience. With more presence of police, soldiers and more stringent checks, it may cause a bit of inconvenience but I felt much safer and it is necessary at times like this.

I found a place with the best view of Paris during sunset and night. It is at the top of the Arc de Triomphe. Ticket price is at 8 euros per person. Queues can be quite long just before sunset so do arrive at least half an hour to one hour earlier. Currently, the lift is out of order so you have to climb 384 steps to the top. As tripods are not allowed (probably to deny commercial photography and copyright reasons), remember to bring a high ISO and fast camera along or else you will need a very steady pair of hands to take the impossible night shots.

Click on the image for picture gallery


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Mini Travel Log: Zurich, Switzerland

Now that I'm flying the A380, I'm going to a few more new places. I came back to Switzerland after my Swiss Mega Tour 5 years ago. This was a short 2-night stay and I couldn't venture to places further than Zurich itself. I took the opportunity to revisit the old town section along the river and walked towards Lake Zurich. It was a Sunday and unfortunately all stores in that section were closed. So a reminder to others visiting Zurich: do not visit the town on Sundays.

Click on the image for picture gallery

Related link: Swiss Mega Tour

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Mini Travel Log: Oxford, UK

When one mentions Oxford, the oldest and prestigious Oxford University and the list of famous graduates comes into mind. The old town itself houses the university with various faculties, colleges and departments spread all over the town; or you could say the whole university compound is the town itself; whichever way you want to see it. It is amazing that while you are walking in the town, you are actually walking inside the university. Many old and majestic medieval buildings are actually part of the university itself. Some colleges do charge a visitor fee for entrance and visiting time after 2pm. Famous colleges like the Christ Church and Merton College charge an exorbitant entrance fee of 5 pounds while some lesser colleges do have free entrance. I do recommend you to visit the Radcliffe Camera (restricted access library) and climb the tower of The University Church of St Mary the Virgin to have a fantastic 360 view of the town. You can check out the Botanic Garden east of the town next to the river. For a 5 pound entrance fee, I would suggest you visit the garden only in spring or summer time. As I visited during autumn, the garden was mostly neglected awaiting winter and I still had to pay the entrance fee. The river is alive with boat rides and punting during summer time.

Oxford is easily accessible from London either by trains or buses. Many would have thought it is cheaper and faster by train. But this is not the case. If you choose train option and travel before 9am, you would have to pay 60 pounds for a same day return ticket! Trains after 9am cost 24.80 pounds and it is still expensive. Moreover, the train stops at Oxford station which is actually outside the town and you need another 5-10 minute walk to the town. The cheaper and hassle free option would be the direct London-Oxford buses. Currently there are 2 operators departing from different locations in London. One is the X90 and the other Oxford Tube. You can check out their websites to choose where to board from bus stops nearest to your hotel. I chose the Oxford Tube because I stay at Hilton Kensington nearby Sheperd's Bush. The bus stop is right outside the hotel. The bus runs at a frequency of 20-30 minutes. Ticket can be bought from the bus driver and it only costs 18 pounds for same day return. Journey time is just an hour, which is about the same as train. The best thing is that the bus stops inside the town at the old cinema. You can explore Oxford right away once you alight from the bus.

Click on the image for picture gallery