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Prostitute arrested after having robbed tourists

Posted by hasekamp on 30 September 2000 at 11:50 AM
The visitors of this site must be familiar with the fact that we are strongly opposed against sex tourism and everything related to it. We think that this is a very low way to abuse people in developing countries by having "budget sex" and in some cases bringing the women in these countries in danger by transferring deadly diseases like AIDS. Sadly Thailand still has many of these sex tourists, coming from Europe, the US and Japan in particular.
Now another side of sex tourism shows up once more: A prostitute has been arrested in Bangkok for robbing men, after having drugged them in their hotel rooms. We do not want to say that this is a right punishment for these men (although we are tempted to do so), because we find stealing a crime as well. Nevertheless we report this here, in the hope that it will prevent al least some sex tourists from abusing Thai prostitutes.


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Thailand in the ban of Wijan. Somluck almost forgotten

Posted by hasekamp on 30 September 2000 at 11:29 AM
Thailand can't wait until tomorrow, when Wijan Ponlid will box his match in the finals in the Sydney Olympics, in which it will be decided if he brings gold or silver home.
He can expect an 18-million-baht reward if he brings home gold, said the president of the Thai Amateur Boxing Association.
Wijan's empoyer (he is working with the Police Force since 1995) has said he will be promoted as soon as he completes his University degree. He will be given a pay rise immediately as a reward for his achievements in the Olympic tournament so far.
All this must be painful to Somluck Kamsing, who lost his match in the quarter finals so painfully. He went to Sydney as Thailands big favorite, receiving the honor to bring in the Thai flag in the stadium at the opening ceremony, and leaves Sydney as a forgotten hero, with hardly has any hope for future recognotion in Thai boxing.



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Thaksin assets to be investigated. First anti-Thaksin websites.

Posted by hasekamp on 29 September 2000 at 15:28 PM
As a follow-up to our posting of a few days ago, we can report now that the National Counter Corruption Committee (NCCC) will make an investigation into the assets of Thai Rak Thai Party leader Mr Thaksin Shinawatra, who is widely believed to make a good chance to become Thailands next Prime Minister, that is if this investigation ends in his favor!
The Finance Minister has emphasized that the investigation has no political motive, but that "the taxman must do his duty".
Mr Thaksin is a telecom tycoon, worth billions of Bahts, mainly in stocks, and many of them in companies based in exotic tax-friendly environments. He has made large donations to relatives and employees.
This in itself is no crime, of course, as long as everything has been neatly declared to the proper offices. The main two offices involved are the Thai Ministry of Finance and the NCCC, mentioned above.
It seems bit strange to us -at first sight- that Mr Thaksins nanny, bodyguard, housekeeper and car driver received hundreds of millions of Bahts. The investigation will concentrate on the questions if tax and corruption regulations were properly followed in the declarations of Mr Thaksin to these offices.
The lucky persons mentioned above, who were so well provided by their employer, will be heard by the Commission, if need be.
One former politician, Mr Sanan Kachornprasart, did not survive a similar investigation politically.
Mr Thaksin is very optimistic and has asked his followers to trust their leader. He said he had done nothing wrong and had never made a secret of hids wealth. So far he has not yet explained his generosity in public.
If you understand and can read Thai, you can visit one of the first anti-Thaksin websites on NoThaksin.com. The site has a message board, a "gossip and news" page and more and is well dsigned. Many more similar sites are under construction, it seems. It is unknown who is the webmaster of NoThaksin.Com. No doubt Mr Thaksin will try to get this site out if Cyberspace!
His friends have opened a different website on Thaksin net.
Let us hope that the investigation will lead to a clear result so that Thailand will know if the man they seem to want as their next Prime Minister can be trusted with money. And we hope that it will also become clear why every Thai should apply for a job in Mr Thaksin's household!
The Democrats of current Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai are not so popular at the moment, because they have proven not been able to give the Baht a boost (you still get 42 Baht for one US$), although they started an era of openness in Thai politics.
The integrety of Mr Chuan Leekpai has never been in question and very recently he ordered an investigation into the alleged corruption practices in large construction projects, of which we reported earlier.


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US to assist Thailand in fighting drug factories?

Posted by hasekamp on 29 September 2000 at 15:27 PM
Admiral Dennis Blair from the US Pacific Command has visited some places in Northern Thailand near the Burmese (Myanmar) border, where the drug factories in Burma are located. He could clearly see one of the many factories and was satisfied with this result, he said. Talks between Thailand and the US will start to see if the US can help Thailand to fight the drug problem. This is diplomatic language, of which you should try to understand the practical meaning yourself.
Mr Blair said "Thailand could not wait for Burma". Burma (Myanmar) has said -as we remind our readers- it will eliminate the drugs problem in the next 15(!) years.
Of course what Mr Blair said is another piece of diplomatic language, meaning that the US (like Thailand) have not the slightest confidence in the Rangoon military government to solve the drugs problem -in which this government is deeply involved itself- ever, at all. Somehow, however, diplomats are not allowed to say what they really mean, so we try to help our readers a bit here.
In the meantime it was made public that the Thai border troups have arrested more than 400 drug suspects in the past three months.


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Pornchai out, Wijan in the final

Posted by hasekamp on 29 September 2000 at 13:10 PM
The latest results of the Olympic boxing tournament (as far as Thailand is concerned) are:
- Pornchai Thongburan lost his SF fight from Romanian Marin Simion, 26-16. He will return to Thailand with a bronze medal now.
- Wijan Ponlid beat Vladimir Sidorenko 14-11 and goes to the final, which means that he has at least a silver medal! He will have to meet Bulat Jumadilov from Kazachstan in the final.


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Thailand is licking its wounds but still hoping...

Posted by hasekamp on 28 September 2000 at 10:52 AM
The loss of boxing idol Somluck Kamsing has hit hard in Thailand, as can be seen from the Thai media. Many Thais could be found in, or near to, tears after Somluck came blooded out of the arena. Even high Government officials had trouble not to show their emotions.
Now all hopes are with Wijan Ponlid and Pornchai Thongburan, who both have reached the "medal rounds" now. The word "gold" is becoming part of the Thai Olympic vocabulary again. Even HM the Queen has -according to newspaper The Nation- given her moral support to the two medal candidates.
In the next round Wijan has to fight Vladimir Sidorenko from the Ukain and Wijan has to fight Marin Simion from Romania.
We at Hasekamp Net have always been strong supporters of the Thai athletes, especially the boxers, as can be seen from our former Olynmpic round-ups. So we wish the "last two of the Mohicans" the best of success. If they win their next rounds, they both are certain of a medal anyway.


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Suspect in Kirsty Jones murder case remanded in custody

Posted by hasekamp on 27 September 2000 at 21:29 PM
After a long silence, there is news again about the Kirsty Jones murder case. Mr Andrew Gill (32), who has been arrested in connection with the case, will remain into custody for another 12 days. He appeared in Court in Chiang Mai.
Soon the public proscecutor has to decide whether the case against Mr Gill is strong enough to bring into Court. He has 72 days -according to Thai law- to make that decision.
Frequent visitors of this page will remember that Ms Jones was found raped and murdered in her guesthouse room in Aree Guesthouse in Chiang Mai on 10 August. Mr Gill, so far the only arrested person, is the owner of that guesthouse. Police believe that there is another person involved, although they believe that Mr Gill may be the murderer. No second arrest has been made so far.


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Bus service for the blind to be terminated?

Posted by hasekamp on 27 September 2000 at 17:18 PM
About one year ago a trial with "talking buses" started in Bangkok. NECTEC (National Electronic and Computer Technology Center), together with the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) placed so called "voice boxes" in some buses, as a service to the blind. These "voice boxes" can call the number of the bus when the door is being opened, so that the blind can hear if they should get into that bus or not.
After a one year trial, BMTA wants to end the service.
The Thailand Association of the Blind is protesting against this proposed termination of the system. It has written a letter to BMTA to start talks about the subject, but BMTA did not reply so far.
We find this "voice box" system a very useful tool to help the blind and we see no reason to stop it. The Association of the Blind says the boxes cost just 1000 Baht each, while maintenance costs only 14 Baht per box per day. Certainly not an amount of money that should prevent the City of Bangkok from giving a bit of extra service to its less fortunate citizens!
We wish to appeal here to the Governor of Bangkok -of whom we reported earlier that he wants to transfer Bangkok into a "Metropolis"- to maintain in this Metropolis a simple and cheap service that can help the blind to find their way! We cannot find any reason why the service should be stopped. Certainly the reason can't be money!


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Olympic round-up for 27 September

Posted by hasekamp on 27 September 2000 at 12:10 PM
A black day in Thai Olympic history!!. The quarter final match between Somluck Kamsing and Ricardo Juarez (US) was lost by Somluck! And it was a bad loss too: "Referee Stopped Contest - Outclassed in the fourth round at 1:52" was the verdict of the judges for the defending Olympic Champion in the 57 kg class.
We are disappointed, although we have informed our readers before, that Somluck has not been training all the time he should have. He preferred to act in Thai TV-soaps instead for some time. Nevertheless Somluck started the Games in a positive mood and he won his first fights were good.
Two Thai boxers are still in the Games: Wijan Ponlid (51 kg class) won his QF match 19-8 and Pomchai Thongburan (71 kg class) won his QF match 15-8. Do they have any medal chances? We hope so. Boxing is the sport in which the Thais have always been good, although so far there has just been one Olympic champion!


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"Intended Prime Minister" in legal trouble

Posted by hasekamp on 26 September 2000 at 16:55 PM
Although we had planned to inform our readers later about the elections, probably to be held in December in Thailand, there is a reason to start this subject now.
Favorite for the post of the new Prime Minister so far is Mr Thaksin Shinawatra, of the Thai Rak Tai (Thais love Thais) party. However, this Mr Thaksin seems to be in legal trouble.
Mr Thaksin was a Cabinet Minister during the Chavalit Yongchaiyud Government. He left this Office in 1997. The 1997 Constitution demands of every Cabinet member to submit his assets and liabilities to the National Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC) when he leaves Office.
During his post as a Cabinet Minister Mr Thaksin transferred large amounts of shares to some relatives and household personnel. We are talking here about hundreds of millions of Bahts!
Did Mr Thaksin make a correct statement to the NCCC in 1997? Did he transfer the funds just temporarily to cover up part of his wealth? Who would give his household employees hundreds of millions of Bahts anyway? These are a few of the questions that now arise.
If Mr Thaksin indeed made a false statement about his financial situation to the NCCC, he can forget about a career as Prime Minister. In that case he will be banned from politics for five years, according to the Constitution.
The NCCC is expected to look into the matter soon and will probably set up an investigation committee today.
Mr Thaksin simply states that he will have no problems explaining everything to the commission, but others say he will need some of the best lawyers to save his political skin.
As our readers will understand this is a hightly complicated legal matter. We have tried to explain the problem in a few words here, in order to give our readers some information with which they hopefully can understand the developments around Mr Thaksin in the near future.


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Olympic round-up for 26 September

Posted by hasekamp on 26 September 2000 at 11:13 AM
Today there are no results to mention for the Thai athletes.
Nevertheless there are two news items:
- Khassaraporn Suta ("Khas", the attractively looking woman weightlifter and the first Thai woman ever to win an Olympic medal, has returned to Bangkok. She was welcomed by a large crowd on Don Muang Airport. As we mentioned before, she will get a pay rise from her employer (the Royal Thai Navy) Now we also learn that she will recieve a bonus in money from the Sports Authority of Thailand. The young lady (29) told to the press that she is very happy with her medal "even if it only bronze".
- The Australian Embassy in Bangkok received a huge amount of phone calls yestarday (their phone central went down!) from angry Thais who are still unsatisfied with the result of Thai boxer Chotipat Wongprathes, who lost his match against an Australian opponent last Thursday with the result 15-13. The Thais still believe that the judges were partial in favor of the Auistralian.
Tomorrow we should know how Thailands last hope for a medal, Somluck Kamsing, performs against his US opponent and World Champion Ricardo Juarez in the next boxing round.


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Many City workers in Bangkok use "speed pills" to be able to earn more money

Posted by hasekamp on 25 September 2000 at 15:35 PM
The United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) reports a study by the Thai Farmers Bank, which reveals that of 700 Bangkok City workers 88% use some means or another to get the necessary physical strength for their work and 20% use methamphetamine ("speed pills") for that purpose and to to prevent exhaustion.
On the basis of the report mentioned, UNDCP concludes that 200,000 to 300,000 City workers in Bangkok use "speed pills", with a total street value of one billion Baht a year! The workers questioned were not aware of the addictive power of the pills. By using them, they say, they can work longer and so they can earn more money. The Thai Farmers Bank Research Center calls for a program to fight this dangerous situation.
We have reported before about the selling of pills to workers in Bangkok, but we had not expected such a wide use of these pills among City workers.
If the Thai Government wants to stop trafficking of these pills from Burma (Myanmar) into Thailand, it certainly also should try to see that there is no market for these pills. If the market can literally be found in the street, something is definitely wrong!


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Olympic round-up for 25 September

Posted by hasekamp on 25 September 2000 at 11:56 AM
While the Thai newspapers are still praising the Thai ladies double tennis players Tamarine Tasanugarn and Benjamas Sangaram for reaching the third round, we have to report that today they lost their match in the third round (quarter finals). They were beaten by the Dutch ladies Kristie Boogert and Miriam Oremans. The Thai ladies did not perform bad at all. They lost in three sets with the scores 4-6, 6-3 and 5-7.
We are not aware of any more Olympic news for the Thai athlets for today.
This Wednesday the next important Olympic event for Thailand will take place. On that day Thailands great hope for a (gold) medal Somluck Kamsing has to fight American World Champion Ricardo Juarez. As soon as we can get hold of the results of that match we will report it here.


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Exchange of fire near Thai-Myanmar border (revised)

Posted by hasekamp on 24 September 2000 at 22:38 PM
Four foreign soldiers, coming from Burma (Myanmar) were killed in an exchange of fire with Thai soldiers at the Thai-Myanmar border yesterday. One Thai soldier is said to be hurt.
The soldiers, identified as belonging to the Karen National Union (KNU), were told to halt when entering Thai territory. They started to shoot instead. An exchange of fire that lasted for about 15 minutes started, in which -as said- three or four foreign soldiers were killed. The rest of the foreign troops (five more) fled into Burma then.
As will be known to the readers of this page, the Karen -and other- Armies operating from Myanmar, near the Thai-Myanmar border, are supported by the Government Rangoon. In the area "speed pill" factories arise by the dozen. About 90% of the drugs produced there are brought into Thailand. This drug trafficking situation is getting more and more difficult to control.
Last week four million "speed pills" were found near Lampang. The investigation into that case resulted in a suspicion against a construction and furniture company, the Samut Prakan Company, that is thought to be under control of the United Wa State Army, another of the armies, operating from Myanmar and active in the drugs trade. An investigation against the company is in progress.


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Vegetarian Festival in Phuket to start this week

Posted by hasekamp on 24 September 2000 at 19:41 PM
This Wednesday (27 September) the Vegetarian Festival in Phuket starts. The Festival lasts ten days, that is until 6 October. It is a yearly event from Chinese Religious origin and takes place during part of the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar.
During the 10 days of the Festival there are processions (almost) every day in the mornings as well as in the evenings. Many participants of these processions will pierce their bodies (especially their faces) and will hang fruit at the metal objects they put through these piercings. People who participate in the processions are always dressed in white.
During the processions tremendous amounts of fireworks are being lit (to frighten the gods) and it is impossible to watch these processions with unprotected ears. The processions pass all the main the streets of Phuket Town.
Other attractions during the Festival are walking over a path of glowing coals and climbing ladders made out of knives. These attractions take place in the stadium, just outside Phuket Town.
Devotees should keep a (very strict) vegetarian diet these ten days. But knowing the Thais, you can reckon on delicious vegetarian food!
We are no vegetarians, but when we are in Phuket Town during the Vegetarian Festival, we always keep a vegetarian diet and we have never regretted it!
This year a special Ceremony will be held during the Festival to honor HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
We hope (and expect) that these important ten days in Phuket will be as great and festive as they have always been.
We had to publish some days ago that two commercial companies plan to make the Festival a commercial event for their own benefit.
We hope this will not show too much. It really is a shame -we repeat this here today- to abuse a (Chinese) Religious Ceremony for commercial purposes.
We hope to be able to report more about some highlights of the Festival later.


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Olympic round-up for 24 September

Posted by hasekamp on 24 September 2000 at 13:23 PM
Today two successes can be reported by the Thai Olympic athletes:
Boxer Wijan Ponlid boxed his way to the third round and ladies double tennis players Tamarine Tasanugarn and Benjamas Sangaram passed to the third round of the tennis tournament.
In the meantime all the Thai media are more than lyrical about the boxing match of -expected medal winner- Somluck Kamsing. But we all (including the Thai media) should realize that the further he gets, the tougher his opponents will be! Nevertheless: We support him and we still are impressed how he honored his beloved King when he won gold in Atlanta. We are certain he will do the same thing if he wins this time. Keep your fingers crossed for him!
Did you fill out our small poll at the top of this page already? Do you think Somliuck can do it again?
The Thai media also are still lyrical about the bronze medal of the women weigtlifters team. One can read that now at last weightlifting in Thailand has to be taken seriously again.


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Olympic round-up for 23 September

Posted by hasekamp on 23 September 2000 at 15:19 PM
There is good news about Olympic boxing today: Somluck Kamsing is through to the third round. He won his second round match convincingly, and especially his footwork was praised. Will he be able to win gold again? Fill out our quick poll at the top of this page!
Furthermore boxer Pornchai Thongburan is also through to the third round.
There are no further successes for the Thai athletes, as far as we are aware of.
We keep emphasizing, however, that our round-ups are no more that a good try to give you what can not easily be found elsewhere on the Web: The results of the Thai athletes, in compact form.


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Is the Forestry Department loosing its sense for reason?

Posted by hasekamp on 23 September 2000 at 11:26 AM
The Royal Forestry Department (RFD) is to raise its entrance fee for Sirinath Marine National Park on Phuket Island from 10 baht to 200 Baht a person for foreigners. The rates for Thais will remain at 10 Baht.
We believe that this giant raise in entrance fee is a very bad and not well-thought decision. One of the arguments by the RFD is that National Parks elsewhere (in other Countries) ask even higher fees. That may be true, but is that a reason to raise the fees twentyfold in Thailand, just for foreigners? Should a Thai guesthouse charge the same price to foreigners as the New York Hilton?
We honestly believe that Thai Governmental institutions should set a better example and that they should try not to give commercial companies, like hotels or shops, bad ideas. We have expressed our strong disapproval of different fees or rates for Thais and foreginers in -for instance- hotels on this page before. (An extreme case is the Golden Horse Hotel in Bangkok, with three different rates!)
We hope that the appeal by Phuket travel agencies, of which we wrote earlier this week, will be successful and that tha RFD will be forced to come back to its latest -unwise- step.


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Car free day???

Posted by hasekamp on 23 September 2000 at 11:01 AM
The car free day in Bangkok did not have a great support from motorists, to put it mildly. It is said that car traffic was reduced by (just) 10%, as was expected (see our former posting about this item). However, it is said that one could feel that the air was cleaner.
Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai has said he wanted to appoint more car-free days as he has some support within the Government for that.
We hope he gets some support from the Bangkokians too, but as long as car drivers simply ignore car-free days -and seem to be able to do so unpunished- we are not too optimistic about future initiatives!


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Olympic round-up for 22 September

Posted by hasekamp on 22 September 2000 at 10:30 AM
Tree more boxers are out of the tournament. Phongsit Wiangviset did not make it from the second to the third round.
Chotipat Wongprathes, who had received a "bye" in the first round, lost his fight in the second round. The difference in points was very small. Thai officials were furious, because they thought the judges were not impartial, the opponent of Chotipat being an Australian.
Suban Punnon also is out of the boxing tournament. That really leaves all our hopes to Somluck for boxing, we are afraid!
One bit of good news: Ladies double tennis players Tamarine Tasanugarn and Benjamas Sangaram went to the second round.
We remind you (again) that it is almost impossible to make these round-ups complete. If we missed some results, we hope we missed the positive ones!


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Tomorrow "car free day"!

Posted by hasekamp on 21 September 2000 at 21:11 PM
Tomorrow is "car free day" in Bangkok. The idea is to save fuel, in order to be less dependent on imported oil.
The campaign is voluntary, however, and (only) 10% of the Bangkok car-commuters are expected to leave their cars at home. In that case still 450,000 liters of fuel, representing 7.2 million Baht, will be saved.
Some Cabinet Minsters have promised to set the good example and to go to Government House by bus, skytrain or boat.
And also Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai has announced to use his bicycle or his feet to go to work tomorrow.
Altough bicycles are not so widespread as in other Asian countries (in our opinion one even plays with one's life while cycling in Bangkok) a group of students has announced to make a demonstrative cycle tour to promote this means of transport.
The skytrain, that can use some extra promotion, is randomly giving away 10,000 tickets. Extra buses will be used in order to be able to cope with the larger number of commuters.
Taxi drivers (who are allowed to drive) will give 10 Baht reduction on the meter fee. They hope to promote their vehicles in that way.


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Olympic round-up for 21 September

Posted by hasekamp on 21 September 2000 at 11:28 AM
Weightlifter Khassaraporn Suta, who won the first, and so far only, medal for Thailand, will receive a pay rise from her employer!
Furthermore there was only bad news today: Boxer Sontava Wongprates is out of the tournament in the second round, and tennis player Tamarin Tanasugarn is also out in the second round. She had the bad luck that she had to play Venus Williams in that round, and she was chanceless against this manyfold champion. Also male tennis player Paradon Srichapan is out in the second round.
We are now waiting for the further performance of boxer Somluck Kamsing. He is our only hope left for a high ranking of Thai athletes.


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Floods moving South to Central Thailand (revised)

Posted by hasekamp on 20 September 2000 at 17:15 PM
The floods that have been terrorizing North an North-Eastern Thailand since May are now moving Southbound. In the Central planes of Thailand -where also paddy (rice) fields are- crops are lost partially due to the flooding. Lots of paddy fields were already damaged in the Northern and North--Eastern Provinces.The rivers are overflowing at sebverel places and dams may burst. More rain is expected to fall and it is feared that more of the rice crop will prbably be lost.
The Ministry of Agriculture estimates that since May six million rai of paddy fields were damaged and 600,000 cattle were killed between May and now in the North, the North-East and Central parts of Thailand. In total 40 Provinces have been hit so far.
This means that the farmers have been hit very hard. Total damages so far are estimated to be 8.8 billion Baht. The Government has already reserved a buget of 244 million Baht (as reported earlier), and an extra 696 million Baht is awaiting approval. Even the sum of these amounts is- as simple arithmetic shows- far from sufficient to cover the whole damage. wed wonder hoew tne rest of the damage of the -mostly poor- farmers will be covered. The farmers that have been hit hardest will recieve cash from the Government. Further funds are spent to buy seed, fertilizer and cattle.
There is heavy flooding all over Sout-East Asia now, not just in Thailand. Vietnam seems to be hit the worst, but Cambodia and Laos have been hit too.


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Tenfold rise in entrance fee for foreigners?

Posted by hasekamp on 20 September 2000 at 12:20 PM
The Forestry Department has decided to raise the entrance fee for National Parks from 20 to 200 Baht. This raise has already gone into effect from August 15 on.
We have always found it a bad system to ask different fees from foreigners and Thais for attractions (and sometimes for hotels too!). It has prevented us to enter some attractions for principal reasons when the difference in fee was extremely lage. We find that we are not visiting Thailand in order to provide Governmental and private organizations with compulsory donations, although we gladly give voluntary donations to Thai charities every year.
We now are happily surprised to read that some 130 travel agencies from Southern Provinces (Phuket, Pang Nga and Krabi) have decided to appeal against the above mentionesd decision of the Forestry Department.
The motives of these travel agencies are not of a very principal nature, but "it's the result that counts" is our motto here. The travel agencies have seen a negative impact on their income as a result of the rising entry fees. In other words tourists seem not willing top pay much higher fees for trips that were (substantially?) cheaper before. The appeal will be dealt with by Mr Plodprasop Suraswadi of the Forestry Department.


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Olympic round-up for 20 September

Posted by hasekamp on 20 September 2000 at 12:01 PM
We can be very short in the round-up for today:
Boxer Pongsak Hrientoungthong lost his fight and is out of the tournament.
In other disciplines no good results can be mentioned for the Thai athletes. In yesterday's swimming numbers no successes were made.
Our hopes are still for the boxers, with Somluck Kamsing as our favorite. And we have some hope fro Tamarine to get some roujhnds further in the tennis tournament. Keep your browser pointed at this page for the latest Olympic news about the Thai athletes!.


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SET and Baht sink further...

Posted by hasekamp on 19 September 2000 at 13:22 PM
The SET-index (Stock Exchange of Thailand) has fallen again and is now far below 300, as it was last year and earlier this year. Yesterday the SET closed at 286. We wonder how low it can go. After some positive movements earlier these months, it is going back to "familiar territory"! Of course we realize that the US stockmarkets also are moderately weak at the moment and this doubtless has its influence on the SET too. But performance of the SET remains probably the worst in the region.
In the meantime the "stock market restructuring program" is to start soon now. Part of it is the corporatization of the Stock Exchange of Thailand. This should enhance the efficiency in operation of the Thai stock market in the hope that it will be able to compete with stock markets in other countries. We will try to follow this subject further.
The Thai Baht has now fallen below 42 against the "greenback" (as the US$ is often called). Some Thai bankers believe it has to go as low as 43 Baht for one US$ before it will rise (slowly) again. Here too the strong US$ is partly the cause. Thai financial experts do not expect a second Economic crisis, but is the first over already then? The only positive side of the sinking Baht is that exports rise.
The World Bank was -given the facts related above- quite optimistic, when it said yesterday: "Thailand's economic recovery is on track but remains fragile, volatile and uncertain".
As everywhere else, many blame the Government for the poor performance of the Baht and the SET, but in our opinion nobody can believe in earnest that a new Government (to be expected early next year) can easily bring back the Baht to the 38-level -or even better- against the "greenback"!
As we wrote a few days ago, we are not very optimistic about the prospects for the performance of the next (expected) Government. We will come back to this issue later.


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Olympic round-up for 19 September

Posted by hasekamp on 19 September 2000 at 12:56 PM
Boxing is still the sport where Thailand has the best chances to win medals. Today Wijan Ponlid went to the next round with a "RSC" (Referee Stopped Contest).
There were no new successes for the Thai women weightlifters. Two of them are out of the contest now.
Also the ladies doubles badminton players are out now.
Another -yet small- success is that Tamarine Tanasugarn (our favorite tennis player from Thailand) easily reached the second round. But would you have expected else after she reached the fourth round at Wimbledon? The harder rounds have still to come! In the meantime you can visit the website of her fanclub.
We realize that these Olympic updates are not complete, but we will try to give some highlights when appropriate.


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Should Thailand become a "first class film shooting location"?

Posted by hasekamp on 18 September 2000 at 13:51 PM
Minister to the Prime Minister's Office KHUNYING (meaning something like Mrs.) SUPATRA MASDIT has said that Thailand could become a world-class film shooting location. She stressed that this would bring the need to "revise some regulations". Of course the regulations that needed to be revised are environmental reguations. And which way do you expect should they be "revised" if you want to bring in more money from foreign film makers? Indeed! And that is why we regret the wish of the Mrs. Minister so much. Thailand is a very beautiful Country. But we all know what damage has been done to Phuket by shooting "The Beach" in that area. It is a shame that the Thai Government is so shortsighted to wish to become a major film shooting location by "selling out" its beauty! We hope the new Government (after the General Elections, probably to be held in December) will have a better eye for the environment. But we -sadly- are not confident about that, as the "Thai Rak Thai" Party, that is widely believed to win those elections, is a party of -let us say- businessmen. That could only worsen the prospects of the beautiful Thai nature. Money seems to be over-important everywhere.


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Ban Kruay Expressway troubles continue..

Posted by hasekamp on 18 September 2000 at 13:28 PM
We have reported twice before about an Expressway ramp, that was planned to be constructed in (or very near past) Ban Kruay, a nice quiet villge North of Bangkok. The former postings should be available through the search box of this page.
The situation is thus, that the Bangkok Expressway Co Ltd (BECL) is not intersted any more in building the Expressway ramp near Ban Kruay. But legally it is a bit more complicated: BECT had won quite some time ago the contract to build this new Expressway from the Expressway and Rapid Transit Authority (ETA). But -as also follows from our former postings- it appaers impossible for ETA to deliver the land to BECL, because of the successful protests of the Ban Kruay Community.
And BECT, knowing this situation, is now more interested in financial compensation than in building the Expressway ramp, which probably never can be built.
This means that ETA has to pay a large sum of (taxpayers') compensation money to BECT.
Now -if you can still follow this complicated legal battle- villagers of Ban Kruay will be asking the Parliamental Ombudsman to investigate this matter. ETA is accused by the Ban Kruay Community of having signed a contract with a private contractor (BECT) by which the Thai state is at disadvantage (if the compensation sum is paid with taxpayers' money). The villagers think ETA should pay the compensation fee from its own purse, not with taxpayers' money! As the legal fight of Ban Kruay villagers has been going on for more than 12 years now, we are anxious to hear (and report) how this dispute will go on and eventually will end...


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Short Olympic round-up of Thailand results. First medal won!

Posted by hasekamp on 18 September 2000 at 12:51 PM
Boxer Somluck Kamsing easily reached the second round of the Olypic boxing tournament. The referee stopped the contest, because of the large "overweight" of Somluck. This will be good for his morale and he can confidently start his match in the next round!
Another Thai boxer, Suban Punnon also easily went over to the second round. Although he was not very convincing during the first two rouds, he was came back overwhelmingly in the last two rounds.
The ladies double badminton players also passed over to the next round.
The first (bronze) medal for Thailand was won by woman weightlifter Khassaraporn Suta, by lifting 210 kg. Our congratulations to this lady!
Less luck for the ladies rowers, the ladies swimmers and boxer Somchai Cimlum. They are out of the games (as far as we are aware of).
We regret that is is very difficult to find a complete overview of the results of the Thai athletes, so we have to do what we can. But we fear that these round-ups can never be complete!


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Longneck dispute settled

Posted by hasekamp on 16 September 2000 at 21:07 PM
The road blockades near a "longneck" village in Mae Hong Son Province have been stopped, after the long-necked Karen agreed to pay Pang Moo tambon administration organisation 10,000 Baht a month.
We reported earlier that the neighboring villagers of the longnecks were unsatisfied, because the Karen did not pay threm a part of their income from tourism. In the opinion of the neighbors the tourists used their roads and other facilities while going to the longneck "human zoo" (our qualification).
So -although we won't stimulate you- you can go to see the longnecks again if you buy a 250 Baht "visa" to enter the village. Part of this 250 Baht will now flow to neighboring villages.


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Villages sweeped for drugs. Deadly disease in Myanmar drug area

Posted by hasekamp on 16 September 2000 at 12:39 PM
Thai military border forces have sweeped out several villages in the Northern Provinces of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son and Tak. Small villages, where drug traffickers and their "stuff" were expected, were searched, in some cases door to door.
Although in that operation no drugs were found, some "interesting documents" were found. Also the authorities failed to find Wei Xia-Thang, an important Wa leader, but they were able to search his house. All in all the authorities are satisfied with the result of this large operation. More than 1000 military were involved.
Drugs were found in Lampoon, not so far South of Chiang Mai. There a fertilizer sack was found, containing four million speed pills. A man was arrested. Two other men, believed also to be involved in this trafficking, were arrested elsewhere.
Early this week sources in the North said that a disease has broken out in the border districts with Myanmar -on the Myanmar side of the border- where all the new drug factories have been founded recently. Up to 10,000 people may have died of this disease since July. The Thai authorities are watching the infected area as closely as possible, to prevent the disease to be transferred to Thailand by people seeking medical assistance in Thailand or by drug traffickers.
Two high Wa leaders are said to have fallen ill too. It is not clear if they suffer from the same disease as the thousands who have died in the past few months.


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Thailand in Olympic Opening Ceremony

Posted by hasekamp on 15 September 2000 at 13:30 PM
The Thai Olympic team is seen here entering the Olympic Stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney Olympics. The total number of athletes from Thailand is 64.
The Thai National flag was carried by Somluck Kamsing, who won the first gold medal ever for Thailand (in boxing) during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
We have reported before that he has done several other things than boxing training during the past four years. Therefore some think that he will not be able to repeat his Atlanta success. Nevertheless we wish him and all his fellow athletes from Thailand the best of success during this major sport event!

"Thai


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Phuket Vegetarian Festival to be Commercialized?

Posted by hasekamp on 14 September 2000 at 21:16 PM
Two private Companies, The Vision Zone Co Ltd and Phuket Creation Co Ltd, want to use the Phuket Vegetarian Festival (held in October every year in Phuket Town) as a marketing tool for their own profit. They want to "sponsor" the festival and want to have their logo's displayed all along the streets where the daily (quite spectacular!) procession passes. The companies sell food products like soybean milk, instant noodles and soy sauce.
Phuket Creation is also trying to register the copyrights to the Festival's history for use on their website and has bought the domain name http://www.phuketfestival.com for that purpose. We have visited the site and noticed that when you visit it now, you only see the logo of the company. By clicking the tracker symbols at the bottom, a number of daily visitors not surpassing 10 is noted.
But that could change of course when there is something more to be seen on the website. We stongly oppose these attempts to commercialize an ages old Festival, with a (Chinese) Religious meaning. In Phuket many Chinese or partly Chinese people live, and for them this Festival has a true and serous meaning. The daily processions are attended by thousands. We find it a big shame that these companies try to devaluate this meaning, just for profit.
So hereby we invite our visitors to ban all the products of "The Vision Zone" and "Phuket Creation"! If necessary, visit the site, linked above, to see the logo of one of the companies in order to recognize the products to ban.


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Flooding in Thailand has worsened

Posted by hasekamp on 13 September 2000 at 16:32 PM
The flooding in the Northern, North-Eastern and Central Provinces of Thailand has worsened during the past few days. In Petchabun Province (in the North) five or maybe even more people have been killed as a result of the heavy flooding. In this area most streets have been declared impassable now and more rain is expected.
Furthermore in Prae a school was flooded in almost no time, while the pupils -luckily- were standing outside and were singing the National Anthem.
According to the authorities the situation in Phitsanuloke, Sukhothai and Phichit is even worse. Phitsanuloke has been completely cut off from other provinces after two days of extremely heavy rain. The schools there are closed now and many people had to be evacuated. The town is situated in alow area.
Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai has inspected hit areas in Si Sa Ket and Surin. He remembered the situation in Petchabun is his address.
The Cabinet has approved a fund of 526 million Baht for relief of the victims of the flooding during this year. As you might know, the flooding has begun some time ago this year.
In the meantime inhabitants of Bangkok are being warned for expected flooding of the Capital. Especially the low areas near the Chao Phraya River are in danger in the next few weeks.
The Government wants permanent dikes to have build during the next years, to prevent flooding of Bangkok in the future.
Reckon with some inconveniences if you are visiting Bangkok later this month or during next month and consult the Thai newspapers if you want to go upcountry now or later. It may be advizable to change your destination!


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Arrest made in Kirsty Jones rape and murder case

Posted by hasekamp on 13 September 2000 at 13:09 PM
Police in Chiang Mai have arrested Mr Andrew Gill (32), a British national, who is the owner of Aree Guesthouse in Chiang Mai, where British backpacker Kirsty Jones was found raped and murdered on 10 August of this year. Mr Gill is married to a Thai wife and has lived in Thailand for around four years now. The charge against Mr Gill -who was already in detention for staying in Thailand on an expired visa- is "conspiring with others to commit rape and murder".
This means that the Police still believe that another person was also involved. This second person is supposed to be one of the former (Thai) suspects in the case. However, the case against the guesthouse owner (not to be confused with the Thai manager who was suspected first) seems strong enough now for his arrest.
The Police believe that the second person involved raped Ms Jones first, and that Mr Gill -who wanted to do so next- strangled her when she resisted. Ms Jones was found with a piece of cloth, belonging to Mr Gill, round her neck. Some sources also mention the fact that human tissue that was found under Ms Jones' fingernails, matches the DNA test, carried out on Mr Gill.
So, we can conlude that the investigation -that was under harsh criticism, especially from the British Embassy- still is not finished but that the rope is tightening. Given the importance to find the second person involved, we are happy that we are not standing in Mr Gill's shoes. His interrogation will doubtless aim at a soon arrest of the second rapist.
Mr Gill so far has denied the charge against him. He was not presented to the press at the press conference, given by the Chiang Mai Police. Normally when an important arrest has been made in Thailand, the person arrested is being presented to the press.


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Government helps Bangkok bus companies with subsidy

Posted by hasekamp on 12 September 2000 at 10:55 AM
Not only in Europe the high fuel prices lead to protests by drivers of large vehicles, but also in Thailand. Hundreds of (mini)bus drivers have been demonstrating at the Royal Plaza in Bangkok to demand an increase in fares on Sunday. The Government has agreed thereupon to subsidize the Bangkok private bus and minibus operators with 25 million Baht per month during three months, to compensate high fuel prices for non-airco buses. This subsidy will consist of two components.
Fares will not rise, but instead the bus operators do not have to pay their concession fees to BMTA (Bangkok Metropolitan Transport Association) for three months. The government also will pay an amount per day per (mini)bus. In Bangkok there are almost 1200 minibuses and almost 1800 buses operated by private compenies. The minibuses are the (mostly) green colored small buses, not the "microbuses". If you would like to see the difference beteen the various buses in Bangkok, you can visit the pages on this site about public transport in Thailand.
Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai has warned the rest of the World that a worldwide economic crises, as a result of the hight fuel prices, might be at hand.


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Some progress against drug traffickers. ASEAN meeting.

Posted by hasekamp on 11 September 2000 at 23:32 PM
This year there has been some progress against drug traffickers. Of the 1,310 suspects on drug trafficking cases, action had been taken against 1,167 of these suspects. Out of these 1,167, 452 suspects have been arrested, 47 were killed, 109 have given up the trade, 111 have fled the country, 16 turned themselves in to authorities, 100 were released for lack of evidence, 316 were being investigated, 8 have disappeared and 8 were found not guilty of trafficking.
These figures have been made public by the Prime Minister's Office Minister Jurin Laksanavisit.
Today and tomorrow there will be a meeting of the ASEAN countries in Bangkok, with the drugs problem high on the agenda.
Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai said that not only Thailand, but also the surrounding countries suffer from drugs. As we have reported time after time, Myanmar (Burma) has the highest drugs production (mainly "speed pills") in the region. According to Mr Chuan 90% of these drug are brought into Thailand.
The aim of the ASEAN meeting -of which Myanmar is part- today and tomorrow is to make the region drug-free in the next 15 years. This seems a long time to us, but we realize that Myanmar is supposed to participate in this ASEAN action.
In the meantime the Thai Government has asked the Myanmar authorities an explanation for the 40-50 new drug plants that have been founded recently along the Thai-Myanmar border.



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TAT wants to explore new markets. It should build its image instead...

Posted by hasekamp on 11 September 2000 at 11:33 AM
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) wants to concentrate on new markets for its campaign for next year. They think of China, India and the Middle East as spearpoints. They even want permission from the Government to open an Office in Bejing.
In principle this is not very shocking news. However, on this site, when you go to our Thailand index page, a "quizlet" pops up. If you visit the page, don't close the pop-up immediately, because it still contains an advertisement, but it is not an advertisement. The question asked is: "Where do you find the best information about Thailand?". One of the possible answers is TAT. After 110 answers, only 2% of the respondents have chosen TAT as their best source for Thailand information! So far non-commercial websites and travel guides are favorites.
So we wonder if TAT's money should not be spent in a different way. It appears that hardly any people -that is Internet users looking for Thailand information- find their way to TAT. We think that TAT should see that this changes! We will send the final result after 300 or more replies to TAT, hoping that they will be surprised as much as we are and that they will do something about their image then! Until this happens, new markets should not be their first priority of TAT, in our opinion!


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Fighting for "longneck" money

Posted by hasekamp on 10 September 2000 at 17:49 PM
Villagers of Ban Naisoy, neighboring Ban Mai Naisoy, one of the three villages near Mae Hong Son, where the "longneck" Karen live, have blocked the road to the longneck village. They are not happy that they don't get a fair share of the income of the longnecks.
The situation is thus, that tourists, who want to visit the longnecks, have to buy a "visa" to enter the longneck community. Such a visa costs 250 Baht. Neighbors of these villages think they also should have a share of that money, because the roads (going over or past their ground) are destroyed by the cars that bring the tourists in. Well, shall we just call it jealousy?
Anyway, due to the blockade now 5-10 tourists per day come to see the longnecks, compared to 100-400 during better times (before the blockade).
If you go to a longneck village and you have paid for your "visa", you are free to take pictures, or you can buy postcards and other souvenirs. A postcard from a longneck lady will cost you 20 Baht, in any other place in Thailand it will cost 5 Baht the most.
So on one hand one can understand the jealousy of the neighbors, but on the other hand one could (and should) wonder if this longneck business, where these Karen expose themselves as if living in a "human zoo", and where an entrance ticket is called a "visa", should not be ended.
And, finally, with the Burmese Armies (Including a Karen Army) just over the border of Myanmar (Burma) -see some former messages- one might ask oneself if the money of these "visa" does not flow to Burma to the fellow-Karen drug producers and traffickers. Our advice is not to visit the longneck zoo's! There is a very good animal based zoo in Chiang Mai. Did you ever consider to visit that one instead of the longneck zoo?


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Genetically manipulated rice or not?

Posted by hasekamp on 10 September 2000 at 12:37 PM
The Thai Government wants to promote Thai rice, as we reported some time ago, and wants Thailand to remain rice producer and rice exporter number one in the World. Because the demand for rice is ecxpected to grow in the coming decades, this would mean that looking for new crops, if possible with less chance for diseases and with higher yields. Logically one would be thinking then in the direction of genetically manipulated rice.
Rice farnmers in Thailand think different. They have been highly dependent on foreign agricultural chemicals during the past years, that have become very expensive for them because of the economic breakdown. In fact these chemicals have become so expensive, that the farmers were forced to switch to organic compost instead (which we support as environmentalists!)
Now, should "biotech-rice" be used in Thailand, then farmers would become dependent once more on foreign capital. Biotechnological processes and product are patented, if interesting at all, and mostly by foreign companies, So Thai rice production would -economically spoken- come into the hands of foreigners, which is the last thing the Thai farmers want. Better be the second -or even third- rice producing Nation under your own control, than the first under foreign control, is their (right) thinking.
We understand and support the point of view of the rice farmers and we do not understand the ambition of the Government, given the consequences. Rice is basic food in Thailand and one should control this by oneself.
In situations like this HM The King has brought a solution sometimes in the past. But HM is not so young any more, so we wonder if the definite solution (which in our humble opinion would be in favor of the farmers) can be expected from that side. But history has shown that whatever HM has suggested in cases of internal disputes, has always been accepted by both parties.


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Bangkok underground train contract signed

Posted by hasekamp on 8 September 2000 at 13:03 PM
Bangkok Metro Co Ltd, concessionaire of the subway system, has signed yesterday signed contract with a Japanese-French consortium for the supply of subway trains and electrical and mechanical equipment fort the Bangkok subway system. The contract is worth 16 billion Baht. Remembering a recent article on this page, we hope that all this money will indeed be spent on the subway system. It is too late now to start a new discussion if Bangkok is helped much by this underground train. The subway is planned to open in 2002.
The new subway train will run from Hua Lampong Railway Station, via Queen Sirikit Convention Center to Bang Sue, which is a district, not too far from Chatuchak. Although we have not yet seen the exact route, it looks as if the subway will not run too far from the existing Skytrain route! The contract is for 25 years.


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Somluck to appear at Olympics in Sydney

Posted by hasekamp on 6 September 2000 at 23:16 PM
Thai boxer Somluck Kamsing, who won a gold medal in featherweight boxing four years ago ion Atlanta is to appear again at the Sydney Olympics, later this month.
Although his training habit has not always been too good, he wants to try to repeat his success of four years ago. "I promise to train hard because I want to win the gold for the Thai people," he recently said. He now is a Naval Officer.
Soon after the Atlanta Olympics of 1996 Somluck appeared as an actor in a Thai soap series, with moderate success. We watched him in his new role (in which he had to do some fighting too) but we were not impressed too much. However, TV soap pays better than boxing, it seems, in Thailand, and so he neglected his training and many Thais did not expect him to appear again at the Sydney Olypics. But it has been announced that he will appear. We will wait and see how well he still can box.
Hasekamp Net wishes him the best of success. He seems to have the best chances to win an Olympic medal for Thailand. Other athletes from Thailand are not seen as possible (gold) medal winners, but of course we can never know in advance. Tennis player Tamarine Tanasugarn will also try her luck in Sydney.


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Billions of Bahts flow away in projects by corrupt payments

Posted by hasekamp on 6 September 2000 at 11:24 AM
The Thai Government loses tens of billions of Bahts in projects as a consequence of bribes paid, in almost every stage of the projects. This was stated yestereday by the head of the Thai Construction Development Committee.
This bribe money is paid -in the different stages- to many different people such as State Agencies and politicians, before implementing the projects, architects, engineers and consultants during implementation, inspectors who accept the finished project, contractors who are willing to "buy" pojects.
Now, do not say too easily that the Thais are corrupt, because -as you can see from the above list- much, if not most, of the money lost in bribe sums is being paid to foreigners, involved in the projects in any way. They certainly should be ashamed of themselves that they are not able to give the right example to the Thais, who are involved. This does not mean that we try to plead the Thais free from guilt, but we would have expected a more sensible attitude from the foreign people involved. Now we have to wait and see if this huge form of corruption will be proscecuted and punished. It is a shame that so much money flows away in Thailand, that still is deeply involved in an Economic crisis. It gives us hope that these practices have been made public by a Thai Committee, and not by some foreign institute or person.


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Traditional Thai massage to be promoted as an export product

Posted by hasekamp on 5 September 2000 at 11:08 AM
Some time ago we reported that traditional Thai massage will enter the Thai hospitals as an official healing method. Now the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Commerce will do what they can to "upgrade" Thai traditional massage to international standards and promote it as an "export product", in other words promote is as a healing method abroad.
Those who want to set up a massage practice abroad will need a licence from the Ministry of Public Health. This to avoid obvious confusion with patients who might expect a different treatment than a good massage! (If you want to experience a real good traditional Thai massage, go to Wat Pho in Bangkok. There is a school for traditional Thai massage there, where (advanced) students can practice on you).
Traditional medicine is becoming more and more popular in Thailand anyway since some time. For some because medicines based on herbs are much cheaper than modern medicines (health insurances are not as good in Thailand as they are in your country), but to others because they have more confidence in ages old practices.


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Burmese drug armies join forces at Thai border

Posted by hasekamp on 4 September 2000 at 22:16 PM
In Myanmar (Burma) the feared United Wa State Army and the -also feared- Shan State Army have united forces, in order to prosper more from drugs production and trafficking. The route of the traffickers goes right through Thailand, as we had to report several times already. And the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (supported financially directly by the Rangoon Military Government) has joined this new "coalition". Sources in Thailand say that Rangoon also supported the two other Armies, in order to let them join.
The consequences for Thailand are grave. Drug factories are being founded all around the Thai-Myanmar border, it is reported.
In the meantime more and more speed pills are already appearing in Thai schools. The Thai Government does what it can to fight this drug business, officially supported by the Myanmar Government.
The facts reported here are high on the agenda of the Thai Office of the Narcotics Control Board. We hope that they will be able to keep the situation under control.
In the meantime we advise our visitors to realise what they are doing when they plan to go "off the beaten track" in Northern Thailand. We also advise our visitors not to choose holiday destinations close to the Myanmar borders!


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Environmentalist remembered

Posted by hasekamp on 4 September 2000 at 13:46 PM
In September, every year, Thai environmentalist Sueb Nakhasathien is remembered, by organizing activities concerning nature preservation in Thailand. Sueb was chief of the Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Reserve. He tragically killed himself on 1 September 1990. It is assumed that he came to this act, because he found that he had failed to stop illegal logging and hunting in the Reserve where he was responsible for. However, he was heavily understaffed and badly equipped and so he hardly could help this "failure". His tragic death drew much attention and speeded up some things. Within two years after his death the Reserve he had been responsible for was adopted as World Natural Heritage by UNESCO. Furthermore a Sueb Nakhasathien Foundation was founded, with a starting fund, donated by HM Queen Sirikit.
We have never made a secret of the fact that we at Hasekamp Net are strong supporters of Nature Preservation. We want to honor Sueb by publishing this short message and we sincerely hope that not only Thai environmentalists will remember him this month, ten years after his tragic death, but that also foreign visitors to Thailand will show their respect to Thai nature. In that way his death may not have been in vain.


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Short roundup on the Kirsty Jones case. No remarkable results...

Posted by hasekamp on 3 September 2000 at 16:13 PM
The rape and murder on British backpacker Kirsty Jones on 10 August are still unsolved. The only thing that was released last week, was that the DNA samples taken from the suspects, did not match the samples found on Kirsty's body. We did not publish this poor result, because we were still hopeful that we could publish more results of the investigation later last week. Now this appears not to be the case, we publish this result -a bit late- as a weekly round-up on the case. Police say that they still suspect the manager and the (foreign) owner of Aree Guesthouse to be involved, now by assisting the killer. However, the police still is silent about the way in which they are investigating this. We fear that the investigation on the case is on dead trail now.


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New death sentences for traffickers. Other drugs news.

Posted by hasekamp on 2 September 2000 at 18:17 PM
Five farmers, who had been arrested for the trafficking of speed pills have been sentenced to death recently by the Criminal Court. They were caught with more than 100,000 pills in Chiang Rai District, last September. The five did not show any remorse on the trial.
The Court ruled that the sentences could not be mitigated, because the five possessed such a large amount of pills, that they were a danger to Society.
In the meantime 12 Police officials in the North were suspended last week on suspicion of being informers to drug traffickers. Since some time planned actions against drug traffickers had been unsuccessful. The twelve are suspected to have informed the traffickers.
And more drugs news: Two University students in Bangkok have been arrested while selling 8,000 speed pills in a parking lot in Bangkok. Further investigations in rooms in a condominium resulted in a catch of 170,000 pills.
And one more news item in this section: The Permanent Secretary for the Interior has said that probably 70,000 villages Nationwide are in the grip of drugs now. All religious Organizations (Buddhist, Muslim and Christian) have been asked to assist in implementing a number of anti-drug measures. (This item is based on news from several sources)


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Thai Institute invents shooting robot

Posted by hasekamp on 1 September 2000 at 15:31 PM
At the King Mongkut's Institute of Technology in Bangkok, a robot, that can fire on command has been presented. It was demonstrated using an air gun and shooting on balloons, but it can also operate other shooting devices.
The robot has a manual mode, in which the shooting can be commanded from all over the World, via the Internet. It also has an automatic mode, under which it shoots when it tracks movement through infrared sensors.
To us this seems a quite dangerous tool, with hackers all over the Internet and not only criminals transmitting infrared signals.
On the other hand we have to admit that here, at last, Thailand is the very first to present this kind of robot, which not even has been demonstrated in movies by "people" like James Bond. A World novelty, we would say.
But ... while in Thailand, watch your movements. One of these robots could start shooting at you, at any time, as soon as it finds your movements suspicious, or simply because a hacker is trying his tricks over the Internet!


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