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Entertainment » Entertainment Scoop


  • Published: 6/12/2009 at 12:00 AM
  • Newspaper section: News

In the tom yum goong A Korean businesswoman is taking Thai martial arts actor/director Tony Jaa to court for failing to repay a one million baht loan.

Tony Jaa.

Eunhee Park, a shareholder in a film production house, says Jaa borrowed the money last July to help him finish making his troubled big-budget martial arts film, Ong Bak 2.

His backers, Sahamongkol Film (SF), cut off financing for the film after he went drastically over-budget. He walked off the set for two months in protest, to meditate in a jungle cave. Although Jaa and SF eventually reconciled, Jaa borrowed money from Ms Park in the interim, which she now wants back.

Lawyer Jaruporn Reuangkeht last Thursday filed papers on Ms Park's behalf with the Civil Court in Bangkok, accusing Jaa of failing to abide by his loan contract. Jaa had promised he would repay the money as soon as the film was released, he said, but so far his client had seen nothing.

Mr Jaruporn said that if Jaa (Thatchakorn Yirum) still failed to pay, Ms Park would seek to have him declared bankrupt. His relationship with Ms Park was complicated, he said, and further legal action was possible. The court has called the parties together for a meeting next January.

Evidence included a loan contract, hand-written and signed by Jaa, and a bank transfer slip.

Mr Jaruporn contacted Jaa on his client's behalf. Jaa had told him by text message that he would send his younger sister to clear up the matter. When she failed to show, Mr Jaruporn says he wrote to Jaa requesting return of the money.

Jaa's father replied in August, saying he would clear up the matter, but again nothing happened.

Taksaorn ‘Aff’ Paksukcharern, top, and Songkran Techanarong.

"Jaa has been promising to return the money since last year, but still we have heard nothing," he said.

Ms Park and Jaa once went into business together, he said, while declining to give detail. She also wants him to pay 7.5% interest on the loan.

Director/star Jaa, who failed to show up at court this week, walked off the set of his movie in June last year with production of the film 80% complete. It was his first time behind the director's chair.

SF stopped financing for the film, after Jaa overran the 100 million baht budget by three times. The company said it used to send the money direct to Jaa's account, but some went missing.

When Jaa walked off the set, he disappeared for days. By late July, with SF wondering if the film would ever get finished, and even family still unable to reach him, Jaa agreed to meet a reporter at a safe house in Khao Yai, Nakhon Ratchasima, to give his side of the story.

Jaa claimed that after SF pulled the plug, he was forced to use his own money to pay workers on set, until his savings ran out.

In August, Jaa re-emerged with a seven-point list of demands for his boss.

He wanted SF to give him 20 million baht more to finish the film, and double his share of net proceeds. He also proposed tearing up his 10-year acting contract.

SF boss Somsak "Sia Jiang" Techaratanaprasert tore up the demands, but the two sides later reconciled.

Jaa went back to work on the film, which was released in December that year. A third instalment is now planned, with Jaa again directing, though Sia Jiang said he does not want Jaa directing the fourth part.

During his troubles last year, Jaa's lawyer was Jarupol Reuangkeht - the same man who has now emerged to represent Ms Park, who is in Korea. Mr Jaruporn said he is a lawyer for hire, and his new client is Ms Park.

Jaa's elder brother admits Jaa took out the loan, but said he had sent a lawyer to negotiate. Jaa was still waiting for his share of the proceeds from Ong Bak 2. As soon as he received the money, he would repay the loan.

Just good friends Socialite Songkran Techanarong denies reports he was spotted cuddling his new "friend", Channel 3 star Taksaorn "Aff" Paksukcharern, as they took in a concert at his family's resort in Khao Yai, Nakhon Ratchasima.

Jetsadaporn ‘Tik’ Poldee.

Photographers snapped Songkran with his arm over Aff's shoulder. Headlines claimed they were sharing a cuddle.

The Songkran-Aff cuddle, shoulder-hug or whatever it was, occupied the unlikely spot as the week's top entertainment news story, judging by the amount of space devoted to covering it.

Songkran said the headlines were too strong, as he merely placed his hand over her shoulder. He also denied claims he had instructed a guard to get heavy with reporters who had taken those prying photographs.

"I've tried to cheer her up and console her. She's a little stressed, as the headlines do not reflect what took place," he said.

"I may be new, but journalists must know that I wouldn't send in security men to bully them," he added.

Aff insisted she and Songkran were merely friends, though they are "talking" and have met each other's families.

She started seeing Songkran, heir to the Bonanza Khao Yai Hotel resort, after ending a 13-year relationship with Yuthawun "Or" Rathanaporn, a policeman.

Songkran, who has a reputation as a lady's man, took advantage of the fuss over the shoulder hug to "reach out" to Aff's parents, apologising for any distress the media coverage may have caused.

If you go down to the woods today "Tik Jetsadaporn comes out of the forest!" proclaimed one headline.

"Scraping off the rust, Tik prepares for a comeback role in a soap opera," said another.

Channel 3 has coaxed sex symbol Tik out of the woods to star in a remake of the classic lakorn, Wanida.

Tik, widely regarded as Thailand's sexiest male celebrity, last appeared in a television drama three years ago. He and other cast members gathered in Bangkok for a buang suang ceremony to start production.

He looked a little worse for wear, some fans remarked, as if he had been spending too much time exposed to the elements. However, Tik said he was ready to take on the acting challenge, even if he has to shake off some dust.

A rugged adventuring type, Tik hosts The Navigator, an outdoors adventure documentary set in wild, remote parts of the country.

Tik married socialite Sitamon "Peach" Taengsuwan in a lightning ceremony five months ago. Asked if he has ever taken his wife with him into the forest, Tik said he preferred to leave her at home, as life in the woods was too rough. He could be away for days at a time.

Asked if married life had forced him to slow down, Tik said nothing had changed. If anything, he was spending more time in the wild than before. "Even if we don't see each other, we still stay in touch by phone," he said. "Peach understands, so there is no problem. Love is about understanding; that's all it needs."

Peach owns a furniture store, and is a shareholder in the Doll House, a shop selling Blythe dolls, with actress friend Araya "Chompoo" A Hargett.

Peach said Tik may not have changed his ways to accommodate married life, but she is too busy to notice. "I have my own work, which keeps me busy. I rarely get lonely, even when he's not around."

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