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Thaksin knows best what he can do

Posted by hasekamp on 27 February 2003 at 12:12 PM
Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has shrugged off a United Nations concern over Thailand’s drastic war on drugs, saying younger generation worldwide would be saved from narcotic threats due to the campaign. In his reaction to a UN website that noted rapid increase in the number of extra-judicial killings in the trail of the government’s war on drugs, Mr. Thaksin said the action should well reflect Thailand’s responsibility towards local and global societies.
The Prime Minister indicated that all the steps taken in the anti-drug crusade were in line with laws and the Constitution, and that he was willing to clarify every suspicious point. According to him, the police had already taken into custody 36 people suspected of involvement in murder cases.
He commented that news coverage in the media was only one-sided, causing public confusion. He urged all sides to accept the truth that there were seven to eight hundred thousand drug addicts in the country, 200,000 of whom had so far reported to authorities for treatment.
A Foreign Ministry Spokesperson said the Ministry would promote public understanding on the current war on drugs. He emphasized that Thailand attaches highest importance to its international commitment on human rights. But extra-judicial killings were inevitable to protect officers’ life in gunfire exchange with armed suspects. (Source: Public Relations Department)


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Another baby dies in war on drugs

Posted by hasekamp on 27 February 2003 at 11:46 AM
A 16-month-old girl yesterday became the second innocent child victim of the government's controversial drug war. The baby girl was in her mother's arms when she and her mother, 38, were shot and killed. It happened in the far South of Thailand. This time the child was not hit by police bullets, but police believe that the gunman had intended to silence the mother and hit her child also. The killings followed the fatal shooting of the mother's elder brother. The mother might have known the gunman, police said. Witnesses say she screamed when she saw the man and tried to run away with her daughter in her arms. (Source: The Nation)


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UN: The killings must stop

Posted by hasekamp on 26 February 2003 at 13:06 PM
Once more the UN have urged the Thai government to stop killing drug suspects. A special UN rapporteur has expressed deep concern at the many deaths in Thailand's war on drugs.
According to the UN law enforcement and security officials should carry out their duties in strict compliance with national and international human rights. No official government reaction to the UN statement has been publihed so far.
Up to this Monday, 977 people have lost their lives in drug-related killings (by police as well as by "colleagues")and 16 drug suspects have been killed by police in self-defense, according to the Interior Ministry's drug suppression center yesterday. Meanwhile 8,745 drug suspects were arrested and 36,277 have reported to authorities since the start of the war on 1 February.
Apart from the UN, the International press and Thai politicians demand an end to the killings now. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Nine year old victim in war on drugs

Posted by hasekamp on 25 February 2003 at 12:18 PM
The Thai war on drugs has completely got out of hand now, it seems. There has been much criticism already about the large number of killed suspects. Now a young child had s been shot dead. Three drug investigators have sprayed bullets at a car, killing a nine-year-old boy who was inside. City police have pressed murder charges against the three.
The three officers are accused of firing shots into a Honda Accord sedan owned by drug suspect. His wife and their nine-year-old son were in the car.
The man left the car to hand over the pills to a customer and police grabbed him. The woman saw her husband's arrest and tried to drive off. The three policemen, who had surrounded the vehicle, opened fire then. The boy was killed during that action. The woman then fled on foot, but –as said- her son had received fatal multiple gunshot wounds and died on the spot. As we said at the start of this item, this is going too far. New instructions to police and army officers are badly needed. (Source: the Bangkok Post)


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Forest poachers seized

Posted by hasekamp on 25 February 2003 at 12:06 PM
A 10-day crusade by forestry police on illegal hunting of protected species resulted in a total 19 arrests and the seizure of more than 3 million Baht worth of carcasses, a senior police officer said yesterday.
The best catch took place in Thung Yai Naresuan national forest in Kanchanaburi province, where seven suspects were arrested along with the carcasses of gaurs, tigers, barking deer, black bears and other rare species. The confiscated items were intended for the international market, police said. (Source: The Nation)


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Next crusade will be on CDs and DVDs

Posted by hasekamp on 25 February 2003 at 11:51 AM
After the –according to the government- highly successful recent war on drugs in Thailand, a new war will start on 1 April (Thailand does not celebrate April Fools Day). The government will launch a three-month crackdown on pirated VCDs, DVDs and CDs then.
The campaign will involve raids on areas and people suspected to be involved in producing pirated software and entertainment.
The Deputy Commerce Minister said police will be paid three Baht for every pirated disc seized, while informants will receive 10-20% of the (street) value of confiscated goods. Informants on illegal disc-copying equipment will receive one million Baht for each machine seized. So this new campaign will apparently mainly be based on citizens, tipping off each other.
Officials estimate that up to five million pirated discs can be seized during the campaign, costing about 15 million Baht in rewards, of which half has to be paid by local music and film companies.
The campaign will be fiercest in cities known for selling pirated discs such as Phuket, Chon Buri and Chiang Mai to explain the campaign to authorities and governors. We think that also Pantip Plaza in Bangkok will feel the campaign. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Afghanistan to follow Thailand

Posted by hasekamp on 24 February 2003 at 15:38 PM
Thailand's success in opium suppression will probably serve as a model for Afghanistan, members of a Afghan delegation visiting Thailand have said.
The coordinator of the Afghanistan Drug Control Office said his government wants to destroy opium poppy fields but the Afghan administration still had many other problems.
The secretary-general of the Mae Fah Luang Foundation and chairman of the Doi Tung Development Project hosted the visit by the five-member Afghan delegation to observe Thailand's drug eradication program. This program is based on the idea that it should be made attractive for farmers to switch to other crop. In the Doi Tung (Royal) project farmers have been stimulates to cultivate coffee, with the guarantee that the government would buy this coffee for a fair price. When you fly Thai Airways International, this coffee will be served.
The Afghan team spent three days in Chiang Rai and one day in Bangkok before returning to Kabul at the weekend. The delegation, comprising a government official and four scientists, was the first observation mission to Thailand from Afghanistan. Another delegation will visit royal-sponsored projects in April. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Buy one, get one free (updated)

Posted by hasekamp on 23 February 2003 at 14:39 PM
Thai Airways International (THAI) has launched a new promotional program to attract more passengers during the so-called low season. The president of THAI announced that the carrier has cooperated with the Hotels' Association to launch the special program between March 1 and October 31, considered as the low traveling season.
Under this program, passengers who buy THAI tickets for a trip will be given a bonus, consisting of being allowed to fly on board a THAI plane for another trip free of charge. The special offer will be for all first class and for business class passengers. So, not for economy cass passengers.
Now, the program is not yet completely clear to us at the moment: Does this apply to all fights or just internal flights? Does it only apply to full price tickets or to all tickets?
We have consulted the website of THAI (http://www.thaiairways.com), but we did not find any further information. (Source: Thai News Agency, updated with information from the Public Relations Department)


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New magnolia species discovered

Posted by hasekamp on 23 February 2003 at 13:39 PM
A new species of magnolia that produces small fragrant flowers has been discovered in Thailand by a researcher from the Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research (TISTR).
The new magnolia has received the name Magnolia thailandica Noot & Chalermglin. It recently been confirmed as a new magnolia species by the National Herbarium of the Netherlands, the world institute for classifying new plant species. It is the 215th species of the magnolia family.
The plant was discovered at Nam Nao National Park, Phetchabun, in 1998. Only 10 trees of the new species have been found in Thailand, in four areas: Nam Nao National Park, Phu Kradung National Park in Loei, Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary in Chaiyaphum, and Tung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary in Kanchanaburi. Scientists estimate that the 10 trees are older than 100 years. (Source: The Nation)


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Biggest fish lives in Ayutthaya

Posted by hasekamp on 23 February 2003 at 13:36 PM
Thailand is fully in the grip of the war on drugs now. Every day the newspapers publish several news items about the subject. One of the latest items is, that the country's most powerful drug dealer lives in Ayutthaya. He makes about one million Baht a day from methamphetamines, the provincial governor told a press conference yesterday. Earlier Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra told the same thing in a cabinet meeting last week.
Authorities have received a lot of information and tip-offs about this dealer but still had no solid evidence to make the arrest. It has not been disclosed whether the suspect is a man or a woman.
Officials are making further investigation in Ayutthaya, the governor said.
All 374 small-time dealers in Ayutthaya who surrendered to the police recently were under the control of this top suspect. The governor said, however, that illicit drugs were not being produced in Ayutthaya. He said that most methamphetamine supplies come from minority groups in border areas. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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War against drugs continues

Posted by hasekamp on 19 February 2003 at 15:41 PM
Whatever the rest of the world may think, the recently intensified war against drug in Thailand continues in full swing.
What does the rest of the world think? In most countries the press is worried –to put it mildly- about the hundreds of suspects that are being shot by police and are being shot by each other. In our home country, the Netherlands, the press is starting to report negatively about Thailand now, to give an example. We have reported before that the UN are worried too.
The only action against this problem suggested so far comes from the Interior Minister. He wants "subtler wording" used in describing the cause of death of drug dealers.
After careful consideration and weeks of thinking his suggestion is to describe dealers that are being killed by police and by each other should be described as "expired". The same word one uses in a supermarket for food that cannot be kept forever.
The interior minister reasons that the drug dealers' lives end because they have become involved in the drug trade.
Meanwhile almost 2,000 drug dealers and users have been arrested in Bangkok and more than a million methamphetamine pills, with a street value of more than 13 million Baht have been seized this month, police said.
The number of arrests of major dealers is 46 now and the number of arrested small-time dealers and users is 1,895. The difference between major dealers and small-time dealers has not yet been made clear in the media we read. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Girl admits theft of fetuses

Posted by hasekamp on 18 February 2003 at 15:01 PM
A 14-year-old girl turned herself in to the police yesterday in connection with the theft of preserved human fetuses from Siriraj Hospital, of which we reported. She said was lured into helping another girl commit the crime. The girl was accompanied by her mother. She told the police that she and a friend were paid a total of 1,000 Baht after stealing the fetuses.
Police said that the girl quoted did not think that stealing the fetuses was a very serious issue. She will be charged with theft and sent to a juvenile center. It is not clear to us what happened to the other two suspects, we reported about earlier. (Source: The Nation)


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Eco-tours by hilltribes

Posted by hasekamp on 18 February 2003 at 15:00 PM
Six hilltribes in Khlong Lan district are offering eco-tours and home stays to tourists who want to experience the lifestyle and culture of highlanders. They hope the tours will bring in enough money to encourage hilltribe people to give up drugs.
Sixteen guides have been trained in a project promoting eco-tours in Khlong Lan's 33 hilltribe villages where almost 10,000 people live.
The tourists are taken to visit local attractions such as hilltribe festivals, the Khlong Lan waterfall, Tao dam, Mae Wong forest and hilltribe villages.
Each tribe has its own food for which it is well known: the Karen tribe have their chicken soup boiled with turmeric and acacia, which is believed to help get rid of bad things.
Home stay tours allow tourists to learn about hilltribe culture and also promoted the sale of local fruit and vegetables, silver and wooden handicraft and woven clothing.
Tourists can (try to) keep villagers away from drugs by telling friends and family members to join the home stay and eco-tour programs. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Waste turned into artificial legs

Posted by hasekamp on 18 February 2003 at 14:59 PM
This is another example of the Thai inventiveness. The Pollution Control Department has started a campaign to collect aluminum can ring tabs, with the aim to turn them into artificial legs. In the future the Department aims at recycling of the whole cans.
In 2001 up to 276,000 tons of aluminum cans were in use nationwide, but only 49% were recycled. Tens of thousands of tons of cans consequently went to dumping grounds.
The vice-president of the Bangkok Can Manufacturing company said it was a good idea to begin with the can tabs, as his company was not yet ready to collect used cans, which required more cleaning before recycling.
All collected tabs will be sent to the Prosthesis Foundation, which makes artificial legs for disabled people. Aluminum is needed to connect three parts of the legs: the sockets, shin and feet. The foundation makes 2,000 artificial legs a year. The remaining aluminum goes into making other equipment like walking sticks. Is there a better aim for "pollution"? (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Peace marches in Thailand

Posted by hasekamp on 16 February 2003 at 19:40 PM
Like in many other countries, also in Thailand anti-war marches were held yestarday.
In the –Muslim dominated- south of the country, more than 10,000 protesters came together in Pattani.
Further demonstrations were held in Bangkok and some other places. In Banfgkok about 3,000 people from all walks of life went on the streets, chanting anti-war slogans. Starting from Lumpini Park, the crowd marched to the American Embassy to deliver an appeal to US President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
"We ask you not to forget that the people of Iraq do not wear Saddam's face. The children of Iraq have faces, names and dreams. They have already become the collateral damage of US-led sanctions that have taken some one million lives over the past decade," the letter said.
The demonstration was followed for the rest of the day by a program of speeches and music in Lumpini Park. (Source: The Nation)


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Two arrests in stolen fetuses case

Posted by hasekamp on 15 February 2003 at 12:33 PM
Often the Thai police can act fast and with success: Two suspects have been arrested in connection with the theft of fetuses and other objects from Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok, of which we reported recently.
One of two suspects has admitted conspiring to steal the items in the belief they would bring him luck and help solve financial problems, police said. The man, 28, said he had previously bought fetuses and skulls from a dealer in Ayutthaya, after which his business had improved.
He was arrested yesterday along with 23-year-old suspected accomplice, who stole the items between 23 and 27 January, while museum guards were taking lunch breaks. The thief received 5,000-8,000 Baht per item from the other suspect.
The suspect that stole the items graduated with honors from Asian University, and currently ran an antique shop. He has a wealthy family, so money was not his (first) reason to do this. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Valentine's Day in Thailand

Posted by hasekamp on 15 February 2003 at 12:31 PM
The Thais always get mad on Valentine's Day. Why? Don't ask us! Anyway, yesterday was THE day again. The following extreme wedding ceremonies were reported:
- Chiang Rai yesterday boasted 140 couples marrying in the hilltribe-wedding style on Doi Mae Salong.
- Off Koh Kradan in Trang, 36 couples took on wetsuits and scuba gear to get married 12 meters below the sea surface. It was the province's 7th underwater wedding, and this year's is said to be a world record.
- In Ayutthaya, 14 couples said their vows in the ancient Ayutthaya ceremony at the World Heritage ruins site. Nineteen elephants joined the occasion before the ceremony.
- In Prachin Buri, six couples climbed down the 60-meter cliff at Weruwan Waterfall in Thaplan National Park. Suspended in the air, the couples exchanged wedding rings.
- In Nakhon Ratchasima, led by the Rak Lam Takhong conservation group, a traditional northeastern ceremony was held to extend the life of the nine-kilometer Lam Takhong river, the province's lifeline.
But not only humans celebrate Valentine's Day in Thailand:
- Khao Khiew zoo in Chon Buri yesterday organized a wedding ceremony for a pair of great argus, a rare species of birds.
And, finally, to ends this nonsense: Valentine's Day is also an occasion for promoting safe sex.
A Bangkok senator joined the safe-sex campaign by distributing a Sex Manual for Valentine's Day.
And how about the Prime Minister? Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra welcomed Valentine's Day celebrations, but urged teenaged lovebirds to avoid sex.
Anyway, you will have to wait for another year to read more of this extreme stuff. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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What to do about Thai breasts?

Posted by hasekamp on 13 February 2003 at 13:58 PM
Some time ago we reported about the –quite strange- suggestion by Thai health officials, that Thai women need different bras, because Thai breasts are different (read: smaller) than Western breasts. One solution to the problem would be to make tailored bras in Thailand. The idea has come up, as we reported before.
A different approach would be to do such exercises, that Thai breast become more like Western breasts. This solution has also been chosen by some Thai women. Public exercise sessions therefore have been launched in Thailand to help local women to boost their breasts. The exercises are aimed at women who feel jealous by media images of big-breasted western women. Apparently the Thai media do not warn Thai women that many of these large Western breasts have been increased in volume by artificial means.
Organized by the public health ministry, the first exercise session in Bangkok attracted plenty of participants.
We wonder now which approach will win to solve the breast problem. Logic and common sense, which would mean to open bra factories in Thailand, or stupidity, which would mean to use any means to supply Thai women with larger breasts, from the not really harmful exercises to operations and implants. (Loosely based on a news item by Associated Press)


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Journalist gunned down in Patong

Posted by hasekamp on 12 February 2003 at 11:55 AM
A reporter for Thailand's largest newspaper, Thai Rath, who also worked for Channel 3 TV, was gunned down in an execution-style murder in Patong on the island of Phuket. Surapong Ritthi, 43, was shot twice in the head at close range early yesterday after he entered a convenience store on Phuket's Patong Beach.
Thai Rath said Surapong have angered powerful business interests in Phuket with reports last year on pornographic shows and other illegal activities on the island. Surapong's news reports in Thai Rath reportedly prompted police to raid several of the offending bars and nightclubs.
In addition to his work for Thai Rath and Channel 3, Surapong published his own Thai-language newspaper, Southern News, which circulated twice a month. He also ran a black-tiger prawn farm, a small restaurant and was involved in real estate. According to Thai Rath, Surapong's news reports have uncovered many dark corners in Phuket's business community, including the widespread distribution of illegal drugs.
As we reported some time ago in an editorial, Phuket has many dubious businesses, sometimes called "The mafia of Phuket". (Source: DPA)


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The shadow of the war on drugs

Posted by hasekamp on 12 February 2003 at 11:26 AM
As we have reported, a new war on drugs has recently started in Thailand. Many arrestrs have been made and dozens of suspects have been killed by the police. Also massive voluntary surrenders took place. However, this new massive war has also drawn attention abroad, and not only in a positive sense.
The UN High Commissioner on Human Rights has asked to send a special representative to Thailand following reports of a high number of extra-judicial killings of drug suspects. Bangkok, however, has replied the time is not appropriate.
A spokesman of the Thai human rights commission said the UN High Commissioner sent a letter from Geneva, proposing to send his special reporter to Thailand. The request came amid news reports worldwide about the high number of extra-judicial killings of suspects since the government's three-month nationwide drug suppression campaign began on Feb 1. So far police reported that 87 drug suspects had been killed in the first 10 days of the campaign. But only eight of the dead suspects were confirmed as having been killed by police, who said they fired in self-defense when the men resisted arrest.
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra yesterday expressed his displeasure with the performance of some officials in about 20 provinces in the crusade against drug abuse and drug trafficking. The governors and police chiefs of these provinces would get an official warning on Feb 15, the date set for preliminary evaluation of the progress of the campaign, Mr Thaksin said.
Mr Thaksin also expressed his satisfaction with the result from the first 10 days of the campaign that saw at least 87 drug suspects killed, 6,906 others arrested and 4.2 million methamphetamine pills seized. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Fetuses disappear form Siriraj Hospital

Posted by hasekamp on 10 February 2003 at 18:19 PM
As can be seen on our page with hidden attractions in Bangkok, Siriraj Hospital has a fine collection of rare medical things. It appears that these things are also interesting to thieves, as nobody in the hospital expected so far. Numerous preserved fetuses, including Siamese twins - encased in transparent resin - and a human skull were among objects recently stolen from Siriraj Medical School's Anatomical Museum. The objects had been displayed on shelves rather than behind glass.
The museum lacked tight security even though many of the objects on display were valuable.
Now that it is too late, the hospital will beef up security.
Electrical appliances and high-priced equipment had gone missing from the hospital before, but no one thought fetuses and a skull would catch the eyes of thieves. Entry to the museum is free from Monday to Friday, and it has only one security officer on duty, at the front gate. His duty is just to remind visitors - mostly Japanese and Western tourists - to sign a guest book.
Anatomy was the first subject taught at Siriraj Medical School, the oldest medical school in Thailand. King Chulalongkorn opened it in 1890.
The hospital had considered charging an entrance fee and using the money to upgrade security, but because of bureaucratic regulations it was prevented from doing so, the official said. Now this will have to be done. (Source: The Nation)


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Elephant born in conservation camp

Posted by hasekamp on 9 February 2003 at 13:56 PM
We had to publish some bad news about elephnats and their caretakers lately, so here is a piece of good news:
The staff at Mae Sa Elephant Camp in Chiang Mai are celebrating today after the birth of a male baby to 12 year-old elephant Nung Ning. Both mother and child are said to be in good health. The youngster is already toddling around its mother.
The baby has not yet been named. It is the ninth elephant to be born under the camp’s Thai Elephant Conservation Programme, overseen by veterinarian Ronchit Rungsri. Nung Ning’s mate was the 29 year-old Jumbo B. WE hope and expect that this elephant will have a good life. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Massive surrender expected

Posted by hasekamp on 6 February 2003 at 16:26 PM
We have reported several times on the new war on drugs, that started in Thailand a few days ago. The latest news is, that up to 20,000 drug dealers are expected to turn themselves in to police by tomorrow, less than a week since the war on drugs began. This number is based on the number of suspects that have contacted the authorities to help arrange their surrender. In less than a week more than 3,000 people have turned themselves in already. Furthermore 1,091 alleged dealers and producers had been arrested so far.
Among those who surrendered yesterday, five did so in Chiang Mai's Doi Saket area. They took an oath before the picture of His Majesty the King and Buddha images that they would never return to the drugs trade.
The round-ups caused chaos at various police stations. In Pattaya, for instance, the suspects were dispatched to other stations as there was no more room to hold them. It seems that this new war on drugs is a massive success! (Source: The Nation)


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"Drug dealers will have to run forever"

Posted by hasekamp on 5 February 2003 at 11:04 AM
The new war on drugs that has started in Thailand has intensified the hunt for drug dealers, but not just on a temporary basis. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has warned traffickers on the run from the government's war on drugs to think twice about returning to Thailand. Mr. Thaksin said he was happy with the first three days of the campaign, with prominent drug dealers having been arrested while many others were being hunted down. Any drug dealers who had fled Thailand would be arrested if they came back, he said.
"They have to run for the rest of their lives and not come back because we have details about all the important dealers." Mr Thaksin literally said. The campaign will be evaluated constantly and improved after three months.
Police has killed four drug dealers who tried to escape and will continue to do so. This will be done in accordance with the law. The police, however, will not put the safety of drug dealers above that of police.
In the first three days of the program police arrested 2,694 suspects, 80 of them major dealers, and seized 3.4 million methamphetamine pills. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Thaksin accepts apology

Posted by hasekamp on 5 February 2003 at 10:56 AM
Thailand has expressed satisfaction with Cambodia's response to Bangkok's protest over the riots near the Thai embassy and private businesses in Phnom Penh. Mr. Thaksin indicated, however, that the process of mending ties would be time-consuming and diplomatic talks would be needed for that. Mr Thaksin said the above after his one-hour meeting with Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Nam Hong, who flew into Bangkok yesterday to hand a personal letter of apology from Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.
The Cambodian foreign minister later delivered a letter expressing regret from Cambodian King Norodom Sihanouk to His Majesty the King at Klai Kang Won summer palace in Hua Hin. Mr Thaksin said Thailand was satisfied to a certain level with Phnom Penh's apology and explanation.
Phnom Penh has agreed to compensate Thailand for the damage to its embassy, but further talks would be needed to settle the damage to Thai businesses. Cambodia felt, however, that the damage, estimated at two billion Baht by a Thai assessment team yesterday, was too high.
The estimated damage is based on the total loss on the Royal Phnom Penh hotel, Nakhon Thai Pattana drug factory located in the hotel's compound, and Modern Plastic and Packaging Co. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Website by Customs Department

Posted by hasekamp on 5 February 2003 at 10:45 AM
The Customs Department has launched a new website, featuring details of procedures for importing or exporting goods, items prohibited in Thailand, and a range of online services.
The website is located at http://www.customs.go.th and is at the moment only available in the Thai language. An English version is expected to be on-line by the end of the year. This will certainly help tourists to get their questions answered.
The site further includes information about the payment of import duties, access to Customs port entry records, and the submission of forms, including declarations, manifests and applications for import or export licenses.
Phone numbers for reporting inappropriate behavior by Customs officials are also included. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Thai wine producers still have a lot to learn

Posted by hasekamp on 4 February 2003 at 11:33 AM
Thailand is trying to market its own wines since some time, and sometimes not without success. However, it is not all gold that glitters.
At least two rice-wine producers can expect a visit from the Public Health Ministry to see that they get rid of rats and other unwanted visitors.
The Science and Technology Minister alarmed health officials yesterday, asking them to look into the satho and krachae plants which are infested with rats, cockroaches and flies.
Some of the production houses that have been inspected had rats, cockroaches and flies all over the place. Some people did not even put on slippers or wash their hands and feet during the production process, which involves fermented rice and water. It appears that most satho and krachae drinks and their manufacturing houses are not up to standard, to put it mildly.
The Food and Drug Administration had been asked to set up mobile units to advise producers on the production process and to guarantee quality. Meanwhile consumers should look for FDA logos on the bottles. (Source: the Bangkok Post)


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Thai officials to look at damage

Posted by hasekamp on 2 February 2003 at 19:37 PM
Thailand will send officials to Cambodia this week to estimate the damage caused by recent anti-Thai riots that wrecked relations between the two countries. The officials will inspect the damage along with Cambodian colleagues in the first step to normalizing bilateral ties. Mobs stormed and torched the Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital, on Wednesday. Thailand was forced to evacuate more than 700 citizens by military planes as a result from the riots.
The Cambodian Foreign Minister is scheduled to arrive in Bangkok Tuesday for a two-day visit to mend fences with Thailand. Compensation and legal action against rioters are expected to top the agenda of his talks with Thai officials. He will possibly be granted an audience with His Majesty the King, in order to explain the cause of the riots to him. We fear that this will not be a pleasant task. (Source: Associated Press)


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New war on drugs starting

Posted by hasekamp on 2 February 2003 at 19:35 PM
The Thai government has started a new war on drugs, and on the first day already four suspects had been killed and over 200 arrested, while over a thousand members of the public have written to give leads and information. To remind our readers: His Majesty the King suggested this new war on drug.
A spokesman for the National Police Bureau said that police had arrested a total of 213 suspects, of whom four were killed during shoot-outs with the police. Apart from police have seized 727,742 amphetamine tablets. Ten of the suspects captured had been drug kings, while the rest were smaller criminals.
Yesterday’s operation saw thousands of villages and communities across the country being closed off and subject to police searches, mainly on the strength of tip-offs from members of the public. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Thaksin wants "remedies" from Cambodia

Posted by hasekamp on 1 February 2003 at 16:51 PM
The Thai-Cambodian ties could only be normalized if Phnom Penh meets Bangkok's demand for remedies for the pain inflicted on Thai people by the riots, earlier this week at the Thai embassy in Cambodia, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said yesterday. The Cambodian government has formally expressed its regret and agreed to full compensation for damage caused to the Thai embassy and Thai businesses in Phnom Penh, but Thaksin seems to want more. The Cambodian government still had to act swiftly and sincerely to punish the rioters, and correct misunderstandings among its people that Thailand wanted to steal the world-famous Angkor Wat from them. A Thai soap star allegedly said that Angkor Wat belonged to Thailand, but she later denied it, stating that only the character she played in a historic drama has said so. See our earlier reports.
Cambodia has admitted already that local politicians have stirred up anti-Thai sentiments.
The Thai government did not set a deadline for Phnom Penh to act.
However, Mr. Thaksin believed Cambodia would move without delay to save its economy from further damage.
Thailand has meanwhile downgraded diplomatic ties with Cambodia to charge d'affaires level, stopped technical and economic aid and closed its border. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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