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Coral thieves escaped

Posted by hasekamp on 23 January 2002 at 17:05 PM
In Rawai, on the island of Phuket the police yesterday saw a group of men unloading stolen coral from a boat. Ther stolen coral was worth 100,000 Baht at least. The coral could be confiscated, but the men (10 of them) escaped. The coral they left behind consisted of 340 pieces, packed in polystyrene containers. The police acted on a tip-off. Police believe this group has been operating in the area for a long time and they are probably known to the Phuket Provincial Fisheries Office. In that case they still might be caught. There are about four dealers in the Rawai area who sell coral to foreigners. It appears to be difficult to catch them. Police estimates 40% of the coral that once existed in Phuket's waters has disappeared, mostly due to coral thieves, fishermen using explosives, and tourists taking souvenirs. The seized coral has been sent to the Phuket Marine Biological Research Center. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Government wants to start news center

Posted by hasekamp on 22 January 2002 at 22:21 PM
Despite criticism from the public, the Prime Minister's Office is determined to set up a center to manage the news. The planned Information Management Center will be known as the Information Service Center for Public Interests. The government is aware of the criticism from academics and the media, but wants to continue.
Critics see the new center as a governmental move against the existing media, saying the center will be an infringement of the people's right to get information. In a joint statement, several groups of Thai journalists have demanded the government to clearly state its position regarding freedom of press. The government has a duty to promote and protect media freedom, the statement says.
The government says that a panel of representatives from academic circles, media outlets, the private sector and the general public will be set up to run the center, which would be a guarantee for a free news center.
The plan is in line with the prime minister's policy to strengthen state-controlled media, particularly the Thai News Agency (TNA), he said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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US want Thailand to stop piracy

Posted by hasekamp on 22 January 2002 at 22:19 PM
We have written numerous times about the shameless piracy of IP rights in Thailand, that is, as far as foreign IP rights are concerned. Now the US once more has warned Thailand. The country is unlikely to enjoy further economic preferences from the United States until the government stops the massive breaches of intellectual property violations, the US assistant secretary of commerce warned yesterday. The US says that copyright and trademark violations remain a serious issue that requires immediate action.
The US spokesman said "The current administration have taken some positive steps, but nonetheless you can simply stroll down to Pantip Plaza and see that piracy is not only alive and well in Thailand, but that it's practically booming,". We do not have to add much to these true words. We wonder when Thailand will take serious action at last. Of course it is nice to be able to but expensive software packages for maybe 100 Baht, but no large software and movie producer will let it happen much longer that massive violations of their rights take pace. The Thais have proven with their movie "Suriothai" that they are able to suppress piracy effectively, if they want to! (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Red Wa will boost drugs production

Posted by hasekamp on 20 January 2002 at 19:58 PM
However good he relations between Thailand and Burma may be or seem, the drugs problem between the two countries is far form solved. The infamous Red Wa is expected to increase production of methamphetamine pills to 800 million this year.
It is estimated by the Thai military and anti-drug and security agencies that the drug situation will only get worse with the Red Wa's increased production capacity. The main reason seems to be the suppression activities by the Thai military near the border. And in this way we will never get out of the drugs spiral. Burma has promised to do something about the problem, but when their Red Wa friends only increase production because of the suppression activities, the problem can never be solved in such a way that drugs will disappear form Thailand. The Red Wa has 61 drug factories near the Thai border. Furthermore 200 million pills lie hidden in border areas awaiting distribution. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Dutchman missing

Posted by hasekamp on 20 January 2002 at 19:57 PM
A Dutch tourist has been missing since 5 January on Koh Samet. So far investigations have given no result at all. Therefore now a group of Dutch police, reporters and six police dogs have flown in from the Netherlands to search for the Dutchman. This is the second time in a short period that foreigners take over the search for a crime where Thai authorities fail. The other recent case is the Kirsty Jones case. For that case detectives flew in from Britain.
The wife of the missing tourist has alerted the local police, but to no avail. Then she turned her hopes to her countrymen, who recently arrived. The Dutch search party will go straight to Samet along with officials from the Dutch embassy. The missing man and his wife arrived in Thailand on 31 December 2001. They spent two days in Bangkok before traveling to Koh Samet. As far as known, the missing man just carried 200 Baht in cash. (Source: The Nation)


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Gold digger sent away

Posted by hasekamp on 19 January 2002 at 18:04 PM
We have reported several times during the past year and a half about treasure hunting by people, who believe that a Japanese treasure from Wolrd War II is still hidden in s cave in Kanchanaburi province. Some time ago it was a Senator and friend of PM Thaksin Shinawatra, now it was a monk who was trying his luck there.
Local residents have driven the gold digging monk out of their Thai village, having had enough of all this treasure hunting. Phra Viechien, 55, of Prang Kasi temple is accused of digging at his temple for 15 nights in a row. The village headman says that the monk was expelled from the village for behavior unworthy of a monk. The monk has left behind him a two meters deep hole that he had dug with a shovel, working every night since New Year's Day. We wonder who will be next in this never ending story of guild digging in Kanchanaburi! (Source: Ananova)


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Forestry official shot dead

Posted by hasekamp on 19 January 2002 at 17:55 PM
A Forestry official was found shot dead yesterday morning, with about 20 bullets in his body. He had been shot in the back The police believe that it was a revenge killing. The Forestry official, Sornchai Piboon, 31, was harvesting on a rubber plantation when he was gunned down. Sornchai was probably murdered because he had alerted police about illegal logging of fragrant wood. Sornchai's information led to the seizure of a large amount of wood and the prosecution of an influential gang.
This proves in the first place that illegal logging still is big business in Thailand. Furthermore it proves once more that these activities are in the hands of heavy criminals who are not shy to kill people who try to enforce the law by preventing their illegal logging activities. It is a mad world, in which criminals are able to take over more and more parts of our lives. (Source: The Nation)


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Policeman was probably not killer of Kirsty Jones

Posted by hasekamp on 17 January 2002 at 14:54 PM
The British detectives investigating the murder of Welsh backpacker Kirsty Jones dismissed the allegation that a Thai policeman killed her, the British Press Association reported yesterday.
The British detectives have returned to the United Kingdom from Chiang Mai on Monday with the results of forensic and DNA tests.
A source close to the Royal Thai Police was believed to be behind reports (or should we now say rumors?) that a Thai tourist policeman killed the backpacker, the Press Association reported. Now police in Wales, where Kirsty Jones lived, have denied they know the identity and occupation of the murderer and have scotched speculation it was a Thai policeman.
The Thai police said they would try to speed up the investigation into the case because it affected the relationship between England and Thailand. They said that the British Embassy had offered to provide high-tech equipment and send British officials to provide information about the evidences to Thai police. But the British detectives have no authority to join the investigations. So the clue that was though to be three suddenly a few days ago seems not to be there after all. (Source: The Nation)


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Thousands of snakes found

Posted by hasekamp on 17 January 2002 at 14:53 PM
We have reported just a few days ago about the seizure of rare anteaters in Northern Thailand. Our ink has hardly dried up or we have to report another case of illegal possession of protected animals.
A man was arrested in Khong district yesterday with thousands of snakes destined to be consumed in restaurants in Khon Kaen. Highway police caught a 34 years old man, after finding 376 bags containing more than 3,000 snakes in the back of his six-wheel truck yesterday. The snakes included cobras, king cobras, boa constrictors and pit vipers.
The suspect told police that a businessman had paid him 5,000 Baht per trip to deliver snakes caught from Nonthaburi to a man in Khon Kaen. The man's elder sister was also arrested and charged with bribery after she offered to pay police 30,000 Baht for her brother's freedom. It appears that animal protection in Thailand needs much more attention. This time the animals were meant for consumption and not to be turned in to sex drugs. Nevertheless this case is reason for great concern. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Secondary schools will get more IT knowledge

Posted by hasekamp on 17 January 2002 at 14:53 PM
The Department of General Education is planning to give all 2,668 secondary schools facilities and education in computer technology. Under the plan 60,000 of the 130,000 secondary school teachers will be trained in computers and the Internet this year, while the remainder will be trained next year. In addition, about 5,000 teachers will be trained this year to supervise computer networks and create computer-based teaching media and database in their schools.
The Department also aims to give all students basic IT literacy by the end of 2004. From 2004 on all students finishing secondary schools must pass at least three computer courses. They include word processing, spreadsheets and Internet applications.
This shows once more that Thailand takes IT technology serious and is eager to play a part of importance there. Earlier we reported that all Thais will get an email address, that all tambons will be connected through the Internet and that many governmental institutions, like provinces, will get websites (if they don’t have them already). These are just a few of the IT related measures by the government in order to let Thailand play a role of some importance in IT technology. (Source: Public Relations Department)


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Chuan Leekpai safe after heart surgery

Posted by hasekamp on 16 January 2002 at 16:35 PM
Former Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai is safe, after undergoing a heart operation unexpectedly at a hospital yesterday. Mr. Chuan was admitted to a hospital in Nonthaburi province yesterday evening for a leak in his heart valve. He then underwent a heart operation to repair the leak, which was successfully done.
Mr. Chuan, 63 now, is safe, although he will have to remain in hospital (in the intensive care unit) for a few days and he will have to stay in the hospital for about one week. Then the former premier will have to rest for another three weeks at home before being allowed to go back to work.
A flower basket from Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was delivered to the former premier. Mr. Thaksin will visit Mr. Chuan soon. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Make money with herbals

Posted by hasekamp on 16 January 2002 at 14:07 PM
The local herbal cosmetics market grew by 30 percent last year as a result of the increasing popularity of natural products. This was reported by the Thai Farmers Research Center. Growing public awareness concerning health issues has altered consumer behavior. People are turning to naturally extracted products instead of using products that are chemically based.
It appears that the total herbal cosmetics market in Thailand in 2001 was worth around two billion Baht. So the economic slowdown seems to have no influence on this branch. According to the Center the market can and will, still grow in coming years. So, if you want to make money in Thailand, go herbal. (Source: Public Relations Department)


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More VAT to be returned

Posted by hasekamp on 15 January 2002 at 16:35 PM
Foreign tourists who visit Thailand will be able to get more VAT back at the Bangkok International Airport, according to a Finance Ministry official.
The cabinet approved this at its weekly meeting today. The maximum amount possible of VAT to be returned will be risen from 10,000 to 30,000 Baht.
This move, proposed by the Revenue Department, is part of the tourism promotion measures by the government. The idea is to boost the number of tourist arrivals in the country.
The cabinet also approved an increase of the number of spots for VAT return at Bangkok International Airport. We think that especially the last mentioned measure is highly necessary. We one have tried to get VAT back. On that occasion we had to walk until our shoe soles were worn out and when we arrived at the sole counter at last, it appeared that a fee of 100 Baht was deducted from the VAT to be returned. If we take into consideration that we also had to buy new shoe soles, the revenue could be neglected. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Kirsty Jones case to be reopened?

Posted by hasekamp on 15 January 2002 at 16:35 PM
In August 2000 British backpacker Kirsty Jones was found raped and murdered in a guesthouse in Chiang Mai. We have reported extensively about the case, that was never solved. There have been arrests, but no suspect ever went to court. Use our search box to find all the details about the case.
The latest development in this case is that police have reopened their investigation into the case. The tourist police said that its police officers in Chiang Mai will have to undergo DNA tests following fresh allegations. British detectives who came to Thailand to look into the case have informed the authorities of their findings, which link at least one Chiang Mai tourist policeman to the murder. Police say that the case will be formally reopened if there were grounds to support the new allegations. The police is still positive about the main evidence of the previous investigation, that a Western man was present at the crime scene. This seems more or less contradictory to the new allegations. The information points particularly to a Thai tourist policeman who speaks English fluently, who has a bar visitor.
The police is willing to force the Chiang Mai officers to undergo DNA tests if necessary. The Welsh detectives are said to have provided a complete DNA profile of a man who had sex with Jones on that day. They believe if Thai police now follow their guidelines they will find the murderer. (Source: The Nation)


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Traffic rules with point system

Posted by hasekamp on 14 January 2002 at 14:50 PM
Drivers face new traffic rules and a points-based license suspension regime from Wednesday on, with about 3,000 volunteers mobilized to help the police to enforce the new rules.
Motorists who collect more than 60 points will have their license suspended for up to 90 days and face a fine or a jail term if caught driving during that time.
The volunteers that will help the police come from various private disaster relief organizations and radio stations. They received an orientation program yesterday.
Polluting vehicles and motorists who might cause serious accidents by violating road rules are the campaign's primary targets. The general public can also help by sending information about traffic violations to police or radio stations participating in the campaign. We wonder if thios system of betrayal will find large acclaim, but who knows.
Bangkok police records show that more than 1.8 million motorists violated the traffic rules last year but only 57.8% of them paid their fines. Under the new regulations motorists will be given points for 16 violations. To give some examples: Ten points will be given motorists who drive in a way that impedes traffic flow or park on the footpath without good reason. Twenty points will be given to motorists who dangerously overtake other vehicles on a left-hand lane, on an uphill section of road, on a bridge or at a curve. Parking in a traffic lane or on a poorly-lit road shoulder will also attract 20 points. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Storm worse than thought initially

Posted by hasekamp on 14 January 2002 at 14:42 PM
The hailstorm we reported about yesterday was worse than reported at first. The storm damaged more than 5,000 buildings, homes, hospital buildings, schools as well as temples and –as we reported already- devastated several thousand rai of crops. Estimates of the damage now come to 100 million Baht. The 30-minute hailstorm was part of storms which hit villages in Muang, Chiang Saen, Mae Chan, Wiang Chai and Phan districts on Saturday. Villagers said they saw hailstones as big as oranges. The Governor visited the districts that were hit yesterday. This is what was reported afterwards:
In Muang district the storm uprooted trees and the hailstones tore holes in the roofs of houses, temples, schools, health stations and hospitals. A total of more than 2,000 homes in 13 villages were damaged. In Mae Chan, more than 1,000 houses were damaged, as well as crops.
In Chiang Saen, more than 100 patients were moved to Mae Chan and Chiang Rai hospitals after the roofs of two buildings at the district hospital were left full of big holes. Ten houses of hospital staff were also damaged. Villagers hit by hailstones were treated in a tent, erected outside the hospital. More than 2,000 houses and tobacco, banana and lychee plantations were heavily damaged in the hailstorm.
A total of about 1,000 houses in Wiang Chai and Phan districts were also damaged.
Th Governor said that the province will initially use money from its emergency disaster relief fund to buy roof tiles for villagers. Help will also be sought from the Public Welfare Department. Agriculture officials will examine damage to crops and plantations.
The farmers are now unlikely to be able to repay loans. All figures have been taken from the source mentioned. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Large hailstones in Chiang Rai province

Posted by hasekamp on 13 January 2002 at 17:46 PM
It can be very bad weather in Northern Thailand in this winter season, at times. This appears to be such a time. There has been a very bad hailstorm in Chiang Rai province yesterday. Hailstones as big as oranges –they say- were seen by villagers and these hailstones destroyed some 2,000 houses and crops in five districts. One should keep in mind –by the way- that oranges in Thailand normally are smaller than in Southern Europe or in the US. Nevertheless the hailstones must have been of respectable size. The storm lasted for 30 minutes.
The hailstones made holes the roofs of hundreds of houses and some villagers were hit on the head and injured slightly. (Sources: The Bangkok Post, The Nation)


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Today is Children's Day

Posted by hasekamp on 12 January 2002 at 13:07 PM
Today is Children's Day in Thailand. This special day on which special attention is paid to children is unique for Thailand, as far as we are aware of.
A survey has been held for this occasion about what children would want most as a present for this day and it appears that children in the first place want their parents to stop fighting and love each other more. Love, care and understanding from parents were cited by 26.5% of respondents, while 10.8% said they wanted the family to spend more time together. A smaller percentage of the young respondents wanted their parents to quit smoking, drinking and gambling. The poll was held among children between 5 and 15 years old.
Asked what they wanted most from their teachers on Children's Day, 31.5% of respondents said understanding and care, with 26% saying they want teachers to be fair to all students.
Asked what they wanted most from politicians, 42.4% of respondents said they wanted them to stop fighting and show unity. Stopping corruption was also high on the list. In principle these results loom promising for the future generation in Thailand or will all these children still be spoilt between now and the moment they become adults? (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Thailand will use lethal injections

Posted by hasekamp on 12 January 2002 at 13:06 PM
Thailand plans to use the lethal injection next year for convicts on dearth row, instead of the fire squad it uses now for executions. The Director-General of the Department of Corrections said that preparations are underway, including legal procedures. A medical team is now studying which chemicals should be used in the new lethal cocktail. The Department of Corrections is also considering using pepper and garlic sprays, and rubber bullets against attempted jail-breakers, instead of guns, they are using now. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Visit of Japanese PM

Posted by hasekamp on 12 January 2002 at 13:05 PM
The visit of the Japanese PM to Thailand has begun with an agreement on close economic partnership. Japan and Thailand agreed in principle to be close economic partner. The agreement was reached between Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his Japanese counterpart Junichiro Koizumi yesterday and will cover strengthened bilateral cooperation in trade and other economic affairs. It will also cover the planned establishment of the Japanese-Thai Free Trade Area.
The Japanese leader is paying a two-day official visit to Thailand, starting yesterday, that will end today. The Japanese PM will also visit other ASEAN countries. Tokyo said that it would assist Burma as well through supporting its security, stability, and reconciliation policy.
Tokyo also plans to cooperate with Rangoon in narcotic suppression, including the setting up of drugs-free villages, he disclosed. The Thai government recently approved a 20-million Baht budget to support the drugs-free village project of Rangoon.
Japan in principle wants to forge for closer ties and cooperation between Japan and ASEAN countries. We believe that cooperation with Japan gives Thailand a chance to boost its still ailing economy. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Rare mammals saved from becoming sex drugs

Posted by hasekamp on 10 January 2002 at 13:51 PM
About 400 smuggled pangolins, an endangered species of anteater, destined to become ingredients in Chinese sex drugs, have been seized by Thai customs officials from a truck in Chumphon province. The driver and other people with the truck fled before the authorities arrived. The shipment would have had a value of about 800,000 Baht on the Chinese market, a customs official said.
The pangolins were apparently smuggled from Malaysia. Many Chinese believe that medicines containing parts of these animals increase sex drive. We had to report about a similar case last year. The only difference was thet the endangerd species were different.
So, according to these people, one may use endangered animals to transfer them into drugs that should give a drive that the "patient" does not have any more, and therefore can be considered as unnatural. The result of the works of these shortsighted people is that endangered species will become extinct and –if the drugs would have any effect on the sex life at all- the sex life of these people will become extinct as well. So what do they expect anyway and what gives them the right to violate other living species for their non-existing needs? (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Burma invites Thai King

Posted by hasekamp on 10 January 2002 at 13:49 PM
The Burmese government has invited His Majesty the King to visit Rangoon. Burmese delegates, including the Foreign Minister, made the invitation at the Sixth Joint Thai-Myanmar Commission, that is being held in Phuket. The Burmese delegates further said that Rangoon would also pleasantly welcome Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn as a personal representative of His Majesty the King. There has not yet been a reaction to the invitation from the Palace. We wonder if His Majesty will accep the invitation to go to Rangoon, with the military government in charge there. On the other hand the Thaksin government, that wants good relations with Burma, will try to persuade His Majesty. But we all know by now that His Majesty is a very wise man with his own opinions. Therefore we predict that a Royal Visit to Rangoon will not take place in the near future.
At the meeting in Phuket Myanmar and Thai authorities agreed on bilateral cooperation in various areas, including two-way trade, fishery, development of land networks, narcotic control, and cultural exchanges. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Drug test for all students

Posted by hasekamp on 10 January 2002 at 13:45 PM
As we have reported repeatedly, the Thai government does what it can to get rid of drugs (in the first place methamphetamine tablets) in the country. The latest plan within the scope of this policy is to make students nationwide undergo urine tests to check for drug use. This includes schools, colleges and universities. Consent from parents will be asked for the test. Students found to be abusing drugs will be treated confidential, the Interior Ministry said.
Most –if not all- of the methamphetamine tablets are smuggled into Thailand from Burma.
The Interior Minister has expressed particular concern after media reports that nightspots have drawn young people into a depraved lifestyle of illegal drugs and promiscuous sex. Data based on the number of drug seizures by the authorities indicate that 700 million methamphetamine tablets are smuggled into Thailand each year. (Source: Associated Press)


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More opium production due to Afghan war

Posted by hasekamp on 9 January 2002 at 11:56 AM
Falling opium production in Afghanistan has prompted boosted opium production in the Golden Triangle, in order to supply to the needs of the wold market for heroin, the Thai Army said on Wednesday. This is in favor of the heroin addicts, who almost faced less supply and therefore with higher prices. This would be disappointing for them, because they would have to steal more money from their fellow citizens all over the world. And stealing by heroin addicts is tolerated by the authorities in many countries, who are faced with the heroin problem, but do not want to do anything serious about it. In that way you and I pay for the heroin of the addicted, if we are so unwise not to have turned our houses into fortresses.
Now opium supply in Thailand and Burma is rising to fill a shortage caused by war in Afghanistan and an earlier Taliban ban on production. The drug lords in the Golden Triangle have supplied opium growers with new technology to boost their efficiency despite constant suppression by authorities. A water sprinkler system helps opium farmers in some areas in Thailand to raise their crops to three a year from just one in the past.
Satellites have found around 2,800 acres of poppy fields in Thailand last year and troops destroyed around 75 percent of them.
Until 2000, Afghanistan was the world's main producer of poppies. Burma is now the biggest opium producer, but Thailand might come back in the top five again. (Source: Reuters)


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Relations between Thailand and Burma

Posted by hasekamp on 9 January 2002 at 11:55 AM
Thailand and Burma have restored relations beyond the state of normalcy, the Foreign Minister said yesterday. From the start it has been the policy of the Thaksin government to improve relations with Burma. Relations boosted after the visit of Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra to Burma, last year.
The foreign ministers of the two countries presided over the formal opening yesterday of the Thai-Burma Joint Commission on bilateral cooperation. The Burmese minister said that bilateral ties had improved over the past year as some serious misunderstandings and obstacles had been removed. As an example he mentioned co-operation in narcotics suppression. According to Burma exchanges of information and intelligence had led to the arrests of some leading drug traffickers in Rangoon last October. Thailand agreed that an agreement on co-operation in narcotics control had resulted in arrests. There also seems to be some progress on matters of trade, fisheries and illegal workers.
We still have our reservations about the closer relationships between Thailand and Burma, as long as the Burmese government, that refused to make place for the winners of the elections, can be considered to be illegal. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Illegal wood mill found

Posted by hasekamp on 9 January 2002 at 11:53 AM
A group of local furniture importers in Northern Thailand has threatened to mobilize 1,000 people to protest against a ban by the Forestry Department on the import of wood from Burma.
The reason for the ban is the discovery of teak wood, furniture parts and more than 200 items of equipment in an underground factory hidden beneath a closed restaurant in the North of Thailand. Checks showed that most of the wood and furniture parts found at the factory were made of illegal Thai wood. The makers were Burmese, however, who had escaped from refugee camps.
The Forestry Chief said that in his four years in office he had never seen such a large illegal sawmill. It is worth at least 5-6 million Baht. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Chiang Mai brand products

Posted by hasekamp on 8 January 2002 at 15:26 PM
The province of Chiang Mai wants to promote its products as a brand name. For this aim the province launched its very own Chiang Mai Brand logo. The Chiang Mai Governor said the blue Chiang Mai Brand logo is the first ever logo, launched by a province of Thailand. He said the initiative was aimed at adding value to local products. The logo would guarantee a good quality and therefor would benefit consumers as well as producers. Consumers get a guaranteed quality, whereas producers have to manufacture according to the quality standard. To be allowed to use the logo the production facilities have to be located in Chiang Mai province.
The provincial government has held a design contest and has selected the Chiang Mai Brand logo from the 480 entries. The logo chosen is of great beauty and it best represents Chiang Mai best, the governor said.
The traditional Northern roof decoration is incorporated in the logo, with elephants wrapping their trunks around each other. The logo is dominantlt of blue color, the being the color of Chiang Mai, while some golden yellow color symbolizes prosperity.
We wonder if the provincial authorities have thought of registering the logo as a trade mark. Otherwise the (for Thailand) usual IP right violations will make the logo valueless in no time. (Source: The Nation)


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Government performance evaluated

Posted by hasekamp on 8 January 2002 at 15:22 PM
The secretary to the Prime Minister stated that the progress and performances of the government in the past ten months have shown satisfactory results. Evaluation results will be published in the third quarter of this year. The work of the government, for this eveluation, has been divided into five categories.
The first category is formed by the policy issues meant to alleviate poverty, namely the Farm Debt Suspension Scheme and the National Urban Community and Village Fund Project.
Furthermore the first category includes the People’s Bank and the One Tumbon, One Product Project.
The second category is about the solving of financial and economic issues by developing monetary institutions in managing national assets, drawing up measures to promote the tourism industry, and establishing the economic stimulus packages.
The third category involves resolving social issues, such as drug prevention and suppression, the social order policy, the health care scheme and counter-corruption schemes.
The fourth category involves building international relations to assist in the development of the Thai economy. We remind our readers that Mr. Thaksin has visited more than ten countries since he entered office, strengthening stability in Asian countries.
The fifth category is about enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of top management by reengineering the structures of ministries and departments, and shifting authority from the national government to the regional authorities.
We hardly can wait to see the results of this evaluation but, knowing Mr. Thaksin a bit buy now, we think that we can predict that the results of this evaluation –performed by the government itself- will be more than just satisfactory, as stated in the first sentence of this message. (Source: Public Relations Department)


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Noodle boats to go?

Posted by hasekamp on 7 January 2002 at 14:48 PM
Along the Rangsit canal, at the Rangsit-Nakhon Nayok road there are lots of floating noodle restaurants. The canal exists 100 years now, and restaurant owners want to celebrate this memorable fact. The (57) floating restaurants have been popular for 100 years now. Klong Rangsit and the town of Thanyaburi were established 100 years ago after an initiative by King Rama V himself. The 100th anniversary celebrations should take place on March 13, but the authorities have a problem with the restaurants. The restaurants were told to stop selling from the first working day of this year (2002) and no-parking signs were posted in front of many shops from Klong 1 to Klong 14. Police say the parking has caused traffic congestion near the place.
The owners of the restaurants have persuaded the authorities to grant a 30-day reprieve, but this is not enough to save the popular restaurants. Police also have relaxed the parking rule, but a police officer admitted he did not know what will happen after 30 days.
Restaurant owners now have pleaded for understanding and insisted that they have always obeyed the law. The owners said the province once wanted to make boat-noodles a tourist attraction and then has asked them to clean up and decorate their restaurants, which they did. And now the restaurants should be closed? We hope the authorities will reconsider their premature decision and that they will come to terms with the restaurant owners. Otherwise an age-old tradition would come to its end. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Biggest speed pills seizure ever

Posted by hasekamp on 5 January 2002 at 19:15 PM
Police in Bangkok have seized more than 2 million methamphetamine tablets yesterday from a pickup truck, parked near Lard Phrao. This is the biggest haul ever in Bangkok.
A preliminary count found at least 2,040,000 pills in 18 boxes labeled as oranges in the back of the vehicle. Witnesses suggested that another batch of another 2 million tablets had already been loaded off the truck.
A security guard called in the Police. He became suspicious of the vehicle. He told the Police that the truck had been there the day before with more boxes loaded all the way up to the roof.
The pickup displayed a sticker identifying it as belonging to a member of the military along with (fake) military number that could be viewed from the outside. The vehicle also carried military license plates with a five-digit number, but according to a police official these must have been fake as well. Military plates usually only have four numbers.
Most methamphetamine comes from northern Thailand (and mostly comes there from Burma). (Source: The Nation)


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Japanese PM will visit Thailand

Posted by hasekamp on 5 January 2002 at 19:14 PM
Next week the Japanese Prime Minister will visit Thailand. Thailand hopes that this will strengthen the strategic partnership between Japan and Thailand further.
The Japanese Prime Minister will pay an official visit to Thailand as the guest of the Thai government between 11 and 12 January. The visit follows an official visit by the Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to Japan between 18 and 21 November 2001.
Japan and Thailand traditionally have good relations. The two countries have developed cooperation in many areas, in particular politics, socio-economics and culture. Japan has also become Thailand's largest trading partner and investor.
Thailand still wants closer ties and cooperation with Japan in all fields, like it now has with China. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Watch the name of Bangkok in full

Posted by hasekamp on 4 January 2002 at 19:43 PM
The tourism authority of Thailand (TAT) plans to take advantage of Bangkok's full name, which ranks as the world's longest place name in the Guinness Book of Records.
Visitors to Bangkok will soon be able to take photographs with a signboard or monument containing the capital's full name in the background, a senior officer of TAT said yesterday.
The director of the Bangkok tourism promotion center said the sign or monument would be placed in an area in front of City Hall, where tourists can use it to pose for photographs.
TAT is working on the design of the signboard which will probably be made of granite.. Tha Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) will be consulted on its design.
For those whoi have never seen it: Bangkok's full name is: "Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amorn Rattanakosin Mahinthara Yudthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasatharn Amorn Pimarn Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukram Prasit." (Source: The Nation)


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UK firm registers "tuk-tuk" as a trademark

Posted by hasekamp on 4 January 2002 at 19:42 PM
Thailand has some bad Industrial Property issues to solve. First an American wants to patent (a variety of) Thai jasmine rice (as we reported intensively) and now a British company registers the famous Thai tuk-tuk as a trademark! How bad the world can be!
On the other hand, now that Thailand has treaded other person's IP rights (in particular trademarks and copyrights) with its feet for decades, this crying does not catch us as real and justified. Nevertheless the whole legal part of the country is on its feet again. What exactly is happening?
A British company is importing Thai three-wheel vehicles into Britain and is selling them as the "MMW Tuk Tuk"®. Thai lawyers have said that the word tuk-tuk is a generic description, just like motorcar, and that therefore the trademark is invalid. The major Thai manufacturer of tuk-tuks now wants to push the Thai authorities into protecting the national symbol, which –by the way- has its origins in Japan.
The managing director of MMW Import does not understand the commotion in Thailand. He said that none of the Thai tuk-tuk manufacturers, neither the Thai government, have made any effort to try to break into the European market yet, so why couldn't he be the one to bring the tuk-tuk to Europe? He said that he sells them sell them as a Thai product (wow, that hurts too!) and he even uses Thai flags on the tuk-tuks. (Wow, another stroke under the girdle!)
Three of Thailand's ministries (the Industry, Foreign Affairs and Commerce ministries) have threatened action to have the British company's registration of the name MMW Tuk Tuk revoked, but the chances that they will succeed range from none to slim, according to the Thai lawyer.
We want to repeat our opinion that he who denies other persons' IP rights can face the same thing from those others. Thailand has never taken trademarks and copyrights serious, only if they were off Thai origin. See for instance what happens around the recent Thai movie "Suriothai", He who violates its copyright faces several years in jail, but all the latest US movies are freely pirated and sold almost literally on the doorstep of the Thai Department of Intellectual Property. We bet that illegal copies of "Harry Potter" are on sale already for around 100 Baht. (Source for the facts: the Bangkok Post)


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War against drugs to be intensified

Posted by hasekamp on 4 January 2002 at 19:42 PM
The Thai government has announced on Thursday, through the Interior Ministry, that it has once more declared war against narcotics.
The Interior Minister presided over a ceremony, held in the province of Nakhon Pathom, in which the official war declaration was given.
The declaration was one of the measures under the government's strategy on narcotic suppression. At the ceremony, lists of targeted drugs rings and traffickers were handed out to all authorities concerned. Suppression forces were then sent out to trace for and crack down drugs rings and traffickers nationwide. The Thaksin government has, from its first day in office, declared war against drugs and has been reasonably successful with it. We recently published figures about the amounts of drugs seized and about drug offenders seized. These figures show that the government is on the right track, but far from ready with its war. Therefore this new war declaration was useful and necessary, in our opinion. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Final holidays death toll: 541

Posted by hasekamp on 2 January 2002 at 18:26 PM
A total number 541 people were killed across Thailand, mostly in road accidents, during the six days of the New Year holiday (27 December to 1 January), the Health Ministry said this morning. The holiday death toll was 18 percent higher than expected, the Ministry said in a statement. Some 391 deaths were the result of road crashes.
A total of 46,375 people were injured, with 23,623 of them hurt in road accidents, which makes an average of 219 accidents and four deaths per hour. On New Years Eve alone, there were 6,657 injuries and 107 deaths, compared to 5,095 injuries and 80 deaths on the same day last year.
Nakhon Ratchasima topped the list of injuries, followed by Chiang Mai, Buri Ram, Surin and Khon Kaen.
The Health Minister said drunk driving was the biggest cause of injuries, accounting for 49% of the total number. Sadly we predicted this already, because we are aware of the fact that (heavy) drinking is part of every Thai celebration.
In sharp contrast to the high road death toll around the country, only two fatal accidents were reported in the Southern province of Phuket between December 27 and January 1. Four people died in the province the same period last year.
In Bangkok the counting down for 2002 went smoothly before the Bangkok World Trade Center. So far no confirmations of the predicted (by others!) presence of pop star Michael Jackson in Southern Thailand has reached us. (Main source: The Phuket Gazette)


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High aspirations

Posted by hasekamp on 1 January 2002 at 19:15 PM
The Thai government will nominate leading social activist Prawase Wasi for the position of secretary-general of the United Nations.
To be honest, we are not aware of the fact that this post is vacant or will be really vacant soon, as we believe to have read that Mr. Kofi Annan will remain on duty for another term, but here is the news as published in Thailand. As may follow from our last remark, we do not estimate the chances of Mr. Prawase very high.
Mr. Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, the deputy premier, said the top UN post would be vacant next year and would rotate among countries in each continent. As it is Asia's turn next, Thailand is among Asian countries with a very good chance of securing the UN position, he said.
Mr. Prawase will be nominated because he is politically neutral, resourceful and active in raising awareness of world peace. The government will launch an intense campaign for Mr. Prawase's nomination. Among the activities to be organized will be a concert for world peace. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Book by HM King to become a film

Posted by hasekamp on 1 January 2002 at 19:14 PM
A book by His Majesty the King will be made into a animation movie, with Chatreechalerm Yukala -who directed the Thai epic "Suriyothai"- as a possible candidate as director, said the secretary-general of the National Youth Bureau.
The bureau plans to produce a feature-length animated film based on HM the King's book, "Phra Mahachanok", which is about the moral of being good and persistent in one's actions.
The production is intended to commemorate the 60th anniversary of HM the King's ascension to the throne, and also to spread the story's message to young people. Permission had already been given to the bureau to produce the animation by HM the King, and he will be constantly informed on the progress of the production.
The film is planned to bee about 90 minutes long, with production standards comparable to Disney animated features. The project should be completed in 2006.
When the Thai epic "Suriyothai" was released, we were quite reserved about the high aspirations the makers had, with things like OscarĀ® nominations and a world wide relaese in their minds. Now that we read about "Disney standards" in a country with hardly any experience with animated films, we feel a similar reserve, but of course we hope that this project will become successful. (Source: The Nation)


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