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Paradorn out of Wimbledon

Posted by hasekamp on 30 June 2003 at 22:49 PM
Thai tennis favorite Paradorn Srichaphan (seeded 12) is out of Wimbledon. He lost in the fourth round from American Andy Roddick (seeded 5). Although the American needed four sets, Paradorn was only dangerous to Roddick in the second set. The score was 4-6, 6-3, 3-6 and 2-6 for Paradorn. So Paradorn will return home. We wish him better luck next year, although he reached the fourth round, which means that he was among the best 16. This is not a bad result at all. (Source: BBC TV)


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Chinese tourists expected to return

Posted by hasekamp on 30 June 2003 at 14:21 PM
With SARS danger lowering down, the Sports and Tourism Ministry expects to attract about one million Chinese tourists to Thailand in the second half of this year, when the Chinese government allows their citizens to resume to travel to Thailand. The ministry expects the tourism industry to be back to normal in the third quarter of this year. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said at the Apec Special Meetings on SARS last week that the Asian-Pacific region must be careful and prepared for possible new outbreaks of SARS, but now the threat seems over.
The outbreak of SARS has caused more dramatic economic damagefor Thailand than the economic crisis of 1997.
The Thai Finance Minister said earlier this month that SARS will slow down economic growth in the second quarter to 3.5 percent. The slow down was 6.3 percent in the first quarter.
The tourism industry has been severely hit by the SARS epidemic, as tourist arrivals have fallen by more than 40 percent since April. many Thai hotekls have special offers and some have (temporarily) closed their doors. (Source: Business Day, Thailand)


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Mass wedding in Phuket

Posted by hasekamp on 30 June 2003 at 14:09 PM
The Phuket Association of Woman’s Club (PAWC) will hold its annual mass wedding at Satree school in Phuket Town on 22 August 2003.
The marriage service is free, but couples must pay 50 Baht for each guest they bring in, to cover the cost of refreshments at the hall. There is no limit to the number of guests.
Thais who want to get married at the mass ceremony must bring the original and a copy of their household registration certificate, the original and a copy of their ID card, and two photographs of themselves.
Foreigners who want to be mass married will need to bring the original and two copies of their passports, a Ministry of Interior-certified letter of recommendation from their embassy, in Thai and English and two photographs of themselves. (Source: Public Relations Department)


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Suspect for murder of Monk held

Posted by hasekamp on 28 June 2003 at 13:24 PM
Police yesterday arrested a suspect in the murder of Phra Khru Nanthapiwat, the former Nonthaburi abbot who had more than 100 million Baht in his bank account when he was gunned down last week. We did not report about this case before.
The owner of the Krua Rimnam Restaurant in Nonthaburi was charged with conspiring in the premeditated murder. He has denied the charge. The man was arrested while helping local people clean the Wat Koo compound in Nonthaburi, which the killed Monk once ran.
Police said they had found the gun that has been used in the shooting, some cash, a wristwatch and a burnt bag. A gunman, for killing the Monk, used the weapon, according to the police. One of the three suspects arrested earlier, was yesterday morning briefly hospitalized in Nonthaburi, as he was suffering from stress.
Meanwhile the lawyer of Wat Koo, who was accused by the three suspects of being the mastermind in the murder, yesterday was set free. (Source: The Nation)


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Eat Thai food, get slim

Posted by hasekamp on 28 June 2003 at 13:23 PM
Thai women trying to slim successfully or not, now have a royal model to help them lose weight, thanks to HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn?s revelations today of how she managed to loose 12 kilograms in six months.
The disclosure came as a surprise at the Miracle Grand Hotel for a seminar, organized by the National Nutrition Association in conjunction with the Department of Health, which HRH Princess Sirindhorn was scheduled to open. Making her opening speech, HRH described Thai food as part of Thai culture. Urging Thais, including young people, to appreciate the value of Thai food, she warned against the increasing consumption of western food by Thailand?s youth.
Around 55 percent of Thai young people eat pizzas, hamburgers, and fried chicken, instead of Thai food.
The focus on Thai food was eclipsed when participants at the seminar praised HRH Princess Sirindhorn for how well she was looking. HRH said that over the past six months she had in fact lost 12 kilograms, and despite her weight loss had managed to retain a healthy body by jogging for five kilometers in the morning and 10 kilometers in the evening, and eating her evening meal at 16.00 hrs. And her meals consist of Thai food. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Paradorn easily to round 4

Posted by hasekamp on 27 June 2003 at 16:48 PM
Paradorn Srichiphan beat his opponent in the third round of the Wimbledon tennis championships, 17-years old Rafael Natal from Spain, in straight sets: 6-4, 6-4, 6-2, about an hour ago. This result is more in the line of a number 12 player than the former ones. Although his opponent made life difficult for Paradorn at times, Paradorn was the ruler of the court, during the entire match.
There was a relatively large delegation watching their favorite and several Thai flags waved after Paradorn had been declared winner. The proud parents of the Thai sportsman of the year, who carries a Thai diplomatic passport, were both present. (Source: BBC Television)


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Paradorn to the third round

Posted by hasekamp on 26 June 2003 at 10:18 AM
Thai tennis player Paradorn Srichaphan yesterday beat Frenchman Olivier Mutis in a breathtaking five-setter on Wimbledon. The Frenchman easily won the first two sets (4-6, 1-6) but after that Paradorn finally fought back. He probably realized at last that it would be far beneath his dignity as the number 12 to lose with such figures. The third set was (just) for Paradorn with 7-6 and after that he definitely broke trough, although he lost his concentration several times. Nevertheless he succeeded to win the last two sets 7-5, 7-5. The match had to be interrupted because of the rain for about 45 minutes, but that did not influence any of the players seriously.
So Paradorn is through to the thirdround, as he should be, but we fear that the rest of the tournament will be heavy for him. If one has to play five sets in the first and second rounds already, one hardly dares to think how one’s condition may fall if this playing of five-setters has to be continued much longer. (Source: Wimbledon website)


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Destruction of drugs

Posted by hasekamp on 25 June 2003 at 13:00 PM
Thailand is to burn nearly six tons of drugs tomorrow to mark the United Nations International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. The Ministry of Public Health will destroy a huge stockpile of drugs seized during the government’s recent anti-drugs campaign, the Public Health Minister announced yesterday.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is now overflowing with drugs, seized as part of the government’s three-month War on Drugs, which began in February. The FDA therefore now plans to destroy drugs twice a year.
Tomorrow will be the turn of 5.916.47 kilograms of drugs, worth 14.5 billion Baht, seized from 18,858 cases. The drugs will be burned using environmentally friendly pyrolytic incineration techniques at temperatures of over 100 degrees Celsius at the Centre for Public Amenities and the Environment in Ayutthaya Province.
The drugs to be destroyed tomorrow will consist of around 61 million methamphetamine tablets, 114,070 ecstasy tablets, 321 kilogrammes of heroin, 6.12 kilogrammes of cocaine, 16.75 kilogrammes of codeine, 217.44 kilogrammes of opium, 45.99 kilogrammes of cannabis and krathom, and 37.73 kilogrammes of other substances. The media, members of the public and foreign dignitaries have been invited to witness the event. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Paradorn through, Tamarine out

Posted by hasekamp on 24 June 2003 at 22:20 PM
Traditionally we report about the Wimbledon tennis results of the Thai players. In the first round Paradorn Srichaphan played Dominik Hrbaty from Slovakia. Paradorn won, but he needed five sets. Nevertheless he is through to the second round. Results: 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3. He will have now to play Olivier Mutis from France in the second round on wednesday 25 June.
The other Thai tennis star, Tamarine Tuanaporn, is out of the tournament in the first round. She played Akiko Morigami from Japan and lost in striaght sets: 4-6, 3-6. So, sad and good news for the Thai tennis stars. (Source: Wimbledon website)


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A very hot mind

Posted by hasekamp on 23 June 2003 at 16:33 PM
Thais can have, what they call, hot minds. This, however seems an extreme case.
A woman (37) from Nakhon Pathom, who is said to have had mental problems, hacked her husband to death, cut off his penis and boiled the organ. After that she hanged herself, police said. Police said the woman left a note saying she killed her husband, because she believed he intended to leave her and marry another woman.
The Thai press gives more details, but we are not really intersted in them. The treason why we publish this veryu sad story is, as said in the firts sentence, to illustrate how a Thai with a hot mind can react. We have never heard similar stories from elsewhere. Investigators said the evidence indicated that Preeyapha killed her husband while he was sleeping. (Source: The Nation)


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Economic growth 6%

Posted by hasekamp on 23 June 2003 at 16:23 PM
The western world fights against recession, but Thailand?s economic growth will reach around 6% this year, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra confirmed in his weekly radio address. Such figures have been substantiated by the first quarter?s economic growth which reached a surprise 6.7% and this year?s second half calculated to go up beyond 6%, the Prime Minister said. And this, despite the Iraq war and the SARS crisis in March, Mr. Thaksin said.
Next year?s economic growth could even surpass this year?s figure, Mr. Thaksin predicted. More importantly, he said, economic prosperity is to yield good results to the farmers across the country. He said the economy would not grow on debts but on increased outputs, just like a company which prospers by profit, not on borrowed money. According to the World Bank the Thai economy would grow by only about 4.5 percent this year. We will await who is right: Mr. Thaksin or the World Bank. Whoever is right, this seems a time to invest in Thailand. The Thai stock market is performing very well, with the SET index at 452 today. (Main source: Public Relations Department)


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Who teaches them English?

Posted by hasekamp on 23 June 2003 at 15:10 PM
The Harry Potter craze is worldwide. Also in Thailand every youngster wants to possess "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix", the fifth installment of the best-selling series. Yesterday morning it went on sale in Bangkok, at exactly the same time as in the UK. In Bangkok that means 6:01 am. Nine-year-old Jetro Pirasmepulkul, seems to be one the first to lay his hands on the book, at Asia Books' Sukhumvit branch. He waited since 4 am and waited until the store opened, together with around 70 other Potter fans. What we wonder now is how this champion boy will read the book? It is for the moment only available in the English language. And most youngsters aged nine do not yet read English. Nevertheless the boy feels very excited. He did not read the previous installments, so that gives him an even greater problem! He saw the first two movies, however. The mother of this lucky boy insisted that he was capable of reading the book on his own but she said she would be reading it with him.
More than 50,000 copies of the book went on sale in Thailand's leading bookstores yesterday. At Chulalongkorn University's bookstore, 3,000 copies were reserved. Booksellers expect The Order of the Phoenix to set a new sales record. Three versions are available in Thailand: The British edition, with different covers for adults and children, is 825 Baht while the US edition, with a different cover design and font, goes for 925 Baht. Now we get back to the title of this item: Who will teach all these children English? 800 to 8900 Baht is quite some money for a book, in Thailand. One should read it for that price!
Some figures about the worldwide Potter craze: 13 million copies have been sold the first day. British bookseller W.H. Smith sells 8 copies per second. As far as known until now the World record in fast reading goes to an English girl, Jennifer Gosling (15), who read the 768 pages in 104 minutes. Harry Potter is the most discussed topic in chatrooms on the Internet right now. (Several Thai and worldwide sources)


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Is there still tourism after Sars?

Posted by hasekamp on 21 June 2003 at 20:11 PM
A Thai travel agency, operating its business via the Internet, has shifted its target on domestic tourists. Foreign tourists stay away after the recent outbreak of Sars. Althougth there hardly have been any cases of Sars in Thailand, Thailand has been also affected by it, that is its tourism industry.
The new website http://www.kohthai.com offers tour services to Thai resort slands. It was launched recently to publicize the beauty of nature in Thailand. The Project Director of the website said that the site was originally aimed at attracting foreigners and Thai expatriates living abroad to come back home on holidays. That did not work, however. Now the site promotes packaged tours through Thai restaurants oversees. But also that too gave poor results.
Now she is focusing on the Thai market. However, she said, after the SARS outbreak, the website had re-focused on domestic market. The website mainly provides information on islands in the kingdom. Strangely prices are still quoted in US $$. We, at Hasekamp Net, never do any business with Thai companies that quote in other currencies than the good old Thai Baht, so they won't see us as customers. But who knows, some of our readers may be interested? (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Stray cats at Wat Phra Kaew

Posted by hasekamp on 19 June 2003 at 13:25 PM
About 50 stray cats are roaming naer Wat Phra Kaew (the Temple of the Emerald Buddha). hey have become such a nuisance, that closed-circuit television cameras have been installed to catch people who dump the animals at the complex. Offenders captured on camera will be banned from our compound, a temple official said yesterday.
The Temple officials are particularly worried because the cats could cause a distraction during royal ceremonies.
The temple is a restricted area and out-of-bounds to animals, but how to tell them? The only thing to do, and this has been done, is to call for public compliance and to ask people not to leave unwanted pets in or near the temple compound. Furthermore the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) will be asked to take away any stray cats. (Source: The Nation)


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Mangroves turned into shrimp farms

Posted by hasekamp on 18 June 2003 at 11:41 AM
Large areas of mangrove forest in Prachuap Khiri Khan have been encroached upon by local politicians and officials, who now have turned the area into prawn farms, a recent survey has found. A spokesman of the Prachuap Khiri Khan provincial administration (PAO) said the mangorove forest has simply be taken by prawn farm operators. Among these were local politicians, officials and investors. Some encroachers claimed they had obtained ownership documents to those plots, most do not even say so. The Klong Bang Nang Rom mangrove forest was the last piece of mangrove area located in this part of Thailand. Turning the mangrove forest into prawn farms badly affects the environment. The release of wastewater from the farms causes harm to aquatic animals, living in these areas.
An optimistic official said he would ask provincial authorities to order the prawn farm operators to move out from the public land but we do not expect much of this belated action. The mangrove forest has been destroyed anyway and we doubt if it could be restored at all. So any action will not lead to the aim required: restoration of the forest. This does not mean that the encroachers should not be punished, but the damage to nature has been done and will not be restored by that, we fear. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Dry season expected

Posted by hasekamp on 16 June 2003 at 22:10 PM
Roughly from May to September Thailand has its dry season. In many Western countries this is the holiday season, so many Western holidays to Thailand sadly end in lots of rain. This year there is good news, however:
A meteorologist from the Southwestern Regional Meteorological Center has forecast that Phuket will receive less rainfall than normal this rainy season. Residents of the island are even urged to conserve water and augment domestic supplies by collecting rainwater.
In an average May, the first month of Phuket's rainy season, the water level in the Bang Wad reservoir rises by about 260-280 millimeters. In May 2003, however, only 92 mm was stored. Recent rainfall added only about 15 millimeters. Will this shortage of rain be falling in the rest of the rainy season? This is unlikely, according to the Meteorological Center. A meteorologist said that Phuket's natural storage capacity has been reduced by real estate development. Water that would once have percolated into the water table to be available in the dry season now flows uselessly into the sea. He also said that rehabilitation of the island's natural water resources was the only practical, long-term solution to the ongoing crisis. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Fake goods in Patong

Posted by hasekamp on 16 June 2003 at 22:09 PM
Every visitor to the island of Phuket knows that if something is going on there, it will probably be in Patong. This news item describes no exception to this rule of thumb.
Almost 3,000 fake items with a street value of 1 million Baht were seized in stalls in Soi Kebsab and Thaweewong Road in Patong on Sunday afternoon.
The items, mostly leather goods, but also included were fake brand-name perfumes, clothes and pirated CDs. All these articles were seized in raids on nine stalls. The haul, which filled five police pickup trucks, was taken to a Police Station for destruction.
Two vendors, 20, and 23, were charged with selling imitation goods. They were released on bail later. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Ranong is a spa resort now

Posted by hasekamp on 16 June 2003 at 9:55 AM
People in Ranong are enjoying the benefits of the mineral waters at a public spa fed from the province's natural hot spring. Raksawarin (water therapy) Park in Muang district is the home of Ranong's hot spring. Studies have shown that bathing in the mineral water boosts metabolism, counters ageing and lowers blood pressure. The hot spring was originally contracted to a private company which charged visitors 50 Baht. Many years later, the municipality started billing the operators for use of mineral water.
A new policy wants to turn Ranong into a health-oriented tourist spot. The municipality developed Raksawarin Park, a hot-spring bath complex funded by the Tourism Authority of Thailand has opened in late January. The complex is divided into two parts. An open-air pool with a controlled temperature of 40C, which is offered free of charge and two bathing pools, each of which can hold 12 people, three smaller pools holding 3-4 people each, five individual pools and 10 sauna rooms. This part is run by a private company.
Apart from the public bath, the municipality has also built a health square made of concrete, with mineral water from the hot spring flowing beneath.
So next time when you plan to go to one of those fancy high-priced spa resorts in Germany, Switzerland or Austria, why not go to Ranong instead? It is doubtless cheaper and probably exactly as good for your health, it seems! (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Hong Kong woman faces more lawsuits

Posted by hasekamp on 15 June 2003 at 16:07 PM
We have reported recently about a woman from Hong Kong, who accused a tuk-tuk driver of rape. She later confessed that she had made up the whole story. The first person that said he would sue her was the Tourism Minister. Now more candidates to start a lawsuit are following: The Pavena Hongsakul Foundation for Women and the tuk-tuk Association also plan to sue the woman (So Leong-ying).
The Pavena Hongsakul Foundation is especially angry because the woman sought assistance from them in making an official complaint to the police.
Bangkok Governor Samak Sundaravej has suggested the tuk-tuk association should file a libel suit against the woman, who will now probably regret her behavior very much! The tuk-tuk association said that they would consult the Law Society about it first, and then file a lawsuit next week, according to the advice received.
One thing the association wants is that the woman (a journalist) publicizes a message through the Hong Kong media in order to restore the tarnished image of Thailand's tuk-tuk drivers. (Source: The Nation)


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Dancing the doctor away

Posted by hasekamp on 15 June 2003 at 16:06 PM
More than 2,000 residents from across Phuket Island joined the Public Health Minister and leading Phuket figures at Saphan Hin on Thursday to "dance the doctor away". The mass workout was organized as part of a Health Ministry fitness initiative to encourage people to exercise for at least 15 minutes a day. At the front of the health dancers were leading Phuket figures, including the Governor, the Vice-Governor and the Phuket Provincial Administration Organization President. Although only a 15-minute workout was planned, the aerobics-style dance session lasted for 30 minutes. Check the activities schedules, if you are in Phuket soon, to see if the healthy activity will be repeated. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Suspected terrorists arrested

Posted by hasekamp on 15 June 2003 at 16:04 PM
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said yesterday that Thai authorities arrested three Thai-Muslim terrorist suspects earlier this week. They were plotting to bomb foreign embassies in Bangkok during October's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders summit, at which US President George W Bush will be present. The premier said that the arrest of the suspects allegedly belonging to Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), a terrorist group linked to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network, had been based on credible information provided by Singaporean authorities.
The Chinese president, the prime minister of Japan and other national leaders are also due to attend the 18-nation summit in Bangkok.
According to police, the three were members of JI, which is believed also to have carried out last year's nightclub bombings on the Indonesian island of Bali.
A tourist map of Bangkok with apparent targets circled on it - reportedly including the embassies of the United States, Britain, Israel, Australia and Singapore - was among the evidence seized from the three Thai suspects. They were arrested in the southern province of Narathiwat. They are facing up to life in prison. We hesitate in publishing this message, because it might help to decide our visitors not to travel to Thailand, although we believe it is safe to go there. On the other hand messages liker this do prove that the Thai authorities are very much alert. Every potential visitor to Thailand has to make its own choice. We have decided to plan our coming trips to Thailand as usual. (Sources: The Nation, Associated Press)


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Phuket to get a facelift

Posted by hasekamp on 14 June 2003 at 12:08 PM
Phuket will get a 20-million-Baht facelift before the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference in September. Seven central government organizations will provide most of the funding, but the islands will also contribute self.
The budget covers improvements to scenic vistas, decorative archways, gardens and footbridge decorations. The archways will emphasize Phuket Town's Sino-Portuguese heritage, with colorful bougainvillea figuring prominently in the gardens.
APEC Finance Ministers and their assistants will meet in Phuket from September 3 to 6.
Every local district of Phuket will need to focus on problems such as criminal activity, traffic jams and accidents, and other social issues before and during the Phuket meeting. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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THAI promotion

Posted by hasekamp on 14 June 2003 at 12:08 PM
Thai Airways International plans to inject one billion Baht into a promotion campaign to attract European and American tourists back to the kingdom. The budget will partly pay for advertisements placed overseas to tell the rest of the world that Thailand is now Sars-free. Tourist numbers have dropped dramatically since Sars broke out in the region.
The budget will also fund 20,000 free THAI air tickets to bring lucky tourists to Thailand. The campaign will start next week and continue until September. (Source: the Bangkok Post)


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Plan for Phuket strays

Posted by hasekamp on 11 June 2003 at 14:38 PM
A plan to house all of Phuket’s estimated 11,500 stray dogs in a huge central pound until they die has been criticized by the leader of a group that is attempting to control the animal population with sterilization.
The Phuket Governor says the proposal, costing 2 million Baht, would finally solve the problem of soi-dogs and would, within two years, make Phuket the first province in Thailand to be free of strays.
But the founder of the Phuket-based Dogs in Distress in Thailand organization believes the plan will prove too expensive and is unworkable. "You can’t just house hundreds of animals together," she said, adding that the problem could more sensibly be solved by a long-term program of sterilization in the streets.
Tourists frequently complain about stray dogs in Phuket. The animals congregate in packs, are often mangy and underfed, and are sometimes the cause of motorcycle accidents.
Under the Phuket plan part of a forestry plantation in Thalang would be set aside as a pound where captured strays could all be sterilized, then fed and sheltered until they die. Aggressive and sick animals would be segregated from the rest.
We agree with the Dogs in Distress opinion. What kind of a life do dogs have when they have to live in a huge pound?
And as far as the accidents caused by dogs are concerned, we want to remind our readers that in Phuket an extreme number of motorcycle accidents happen. That in some of these accidents dogs are involved may be true, but is statistically nothing more than logical. It does not mean that stray dogs in Phuket are dangerous, it means that Phuket motorcycle drivers should drive more carefully. Not only dogs, but also humans are frequently involved in those accidents. Are the dogs to be blamed now? (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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German man arrested for raping girl

Posted by hasekamp on 10 June 2003 at 23:09 PM
A German man has been arrested in Pattaya on charges of repeatedly raping his neighbour's 11-year-old daughter over a period of two years. An informer told police that the girl was being kept for sexual abuse in a house on Thepprasit road, Pattaya. At the house police said they found a German man, Winkler Uwe Jergen (61) and the girl who is a student at a local primary school. The parents of the girl sell seafood along Pattaya beach. Jergen was their neighbour and they had known him for years. Jergen usually took her home on weekends, telling her parents he would teach her English. The parents agreed to leave her with him because they had to work. According to the girl, the man instead showed her pornographic movies and raped her.
We do hope that this man will get a proper punishement for destroying the life of this young girl. It is a shame that these low crimes are committed by foreigners in Thailand. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Minister will sue Hong Kong woman

Posted by hasekamp on 10 June 2003 at 23:02 PM
The Thai Tourism Minister has threatened to sue a Hong Kong tourist and freelance reporter if it is proven that she made up claims that she was gang-raped while on holiday in Bangkok. We have reported about this incident and about the clearance of the tuk-tuk driver, accused of the rape.
The Minister said the woman's allegations had harmed Thailand's image as a safe tourist destination. His remark came after doctors from the Police Hospital's Forensic Institute revealed they had found no evidence to suggest the alleged rape victim was actually raped. We fully agree with the Minster that the strange claims of the woman, if proven untrue, are a good reason to sue her. We repeat here that we find it a shame thyat the woman accused a hard working tuk-tuk driver of a crime that is punished severely in Thailand. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Tour submarine has arrived

Posted by hasekamp on 10 June 2003 at 19:36 PM
Phuket's first tourist submarine has arrived at the Phuket Deep Sea Port after a one-month journey on a cargo ship from Florida. The DS-48 submarine, bought by Phuket Submarine Co Ltd, is the first tourist submarine in Thailand. We have reported about the plans for submarine tours in Phuket before, but now the tours will become real!
The submarine will be ready to carry passengers on underwater tours around Koh Dok Mai around the end of this year.
The Director of Phuket Submarine Co said that the submarine will be moored at the Phuket Deep Sea Port for a few weeks while customs procedures are completed. After that, the company will spend the months before the launch of the tour service training its staff. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Surf the Web at Don Muang Airport

Posted by hasekamp on 9 June 2003 at 12:49 PM
Thailand is to get its very first wireless Internet access service this month, when Millcom Systems launches a new service for passengers at Bangkok?s Don Muang International Airport. The executive director of Millcom Systems said that the service would provide businesspeople and tourists with fast, reliable Internet access.
The equipment will be installed near exit doors of the domestic and international terminals, as well as in duty free shops. The new wireless Internet service will be called "W Land Net".
Passengers that want to access the service need a notebook computer with a Wi-Fi 802.11 b card, and a W Land Net card that can be purchased from various shops within the airport for 250 Baht for an hour?s usage. Not exactly the average rate in an Internet caf\E9, but some people need to check their mail every few minutes, and now they can!
Passengers will be able to access the Internet as they sit in the airport?s restaurants and cafes. One click on the Internet browser will lead to immediate connection to the Internet.
Millcom Systems, is planning to expand the service to cover leading hotels, and in the future the W Land Net card will also be valid in a number of other countries. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Thaksin goes to the US

Posted by hasekamp on 8 June 2003 at 14:14 PM
Contrary to what some observers think, next week's visit to Washington by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has little to do with Thailand's lack of public support of the US-led war against Iraq. According to those close to the visit, President George W. Bush and Mr. Thaksin, when they meet on Tuesday morning, will continue the relationship between Thailand and the US, which has stood since 1833 when King Rama II granted an audience to American envoy Edmund Roberts.
US relations with Thailand remain good, and Thailand is a treaty ally that the US work with closely, a US State Department spokesman said when asked about the visit.
The central theme of discussions with the US president will be issues such as the potential free trade agreement linking the two nations, leveraging Thailand's leadership of the October Apec sumit in Bangkok (an event President Bush will attend), Thailand's role in the war on terrorism and military ties. Also on the agenda will be confirming the Thai government's offer to provide humanitarian support for the reconstruction of Iraq. Mr Thaksin's trip will be followed by the arrival in Washington on Wednesday of HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn. His agenda has not been released yet, but it is believed he has requested meetings with US congressional leaders. Thai and US officials have said the Crown Prince's agenda is private and unrelated to the prime minister's. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Tuk-tuk driver suspected of rape (Updated)

Posted by hasekamp on 8 June 2003 at 14:13 PM
A Bangkok tuk-tuk driver (27), who is suspected of raping a woman from Hong Kong, yesterday agreed to undergo a DNA test to prove his innocence. Detectives have left for the Northeast to hunt for three other men suspected of taking part in the gang rape that allegedly took place in front of parliament late on Tuesday night. The woman said she fell asleep in a tuk-tuk and woke to find men were attacking her. Bangkok police yesterday brought the driver to the Forensic Science Institute for the test, the result of which will be known in a week.
The tuk-tuk driver denies having raped the woman. He said he has to take care of his family and care for his 60-year-old mother and is not interested in criminal proceedings. He was happy to be able to undergo the DNA test because that would prove his innocence.
The DNA test would be an important factor in the investigation as the Hong Kong woman had kept evidence of her assailants. A police source said detectives did not really believe that the tuk-tuk driver was involved. However, he had to be arrested and checked because the Hong Kong woman insisted he was among her rapists.
Later yesterday a 51-year-old tuk-tuk owner, who hires the tuk-tuk to the suspect, turned up at the Dusit police station to seek his release on bail.
We would be happy if the tuk-tuk driver can be cleared of the alleged rape. Most, if not all, tuk-tuk drivers are hard working people. we have never had any inconvenience with any of them. And above that, it seems strange that the HK woman fell asleep in a tuk-tuk (which we belive is an impossibility) and did not wake up before she was being raped. (Source: The Bangkok Post)
Update: On 10 June the Police made public that no signs of rape were found on the HK lady. It was confirmed hat she had sex at any mome, not too long ago, but no signs of involuntary sex were found, except in her own (not very consistent) declaration
In our opinion this clears the tuk-tuk driver. (Source: The Nation)


Category: Default

Prison to be turned into tourist attraction

Posted by hasekamp on 6 June 2003 at 12:35 PM
A century-old, now abandoned, prison in the ancient capital, Ayutthaya, will become a public park by early next year, municipal officials said yesterday. The will also house a corrections museum. The large Bho tree, the prisons wall, and parts of the prison facility will be preserved. A budget of 23 million Baht has been allocated for the development.
The land was given by King Rama V for construction of government offices. The complex later became a provincial jail, until the prison was relocated in 1997. Once completed, the new park is planned to be a new tourist spot. This will give the authorities in Ayutthaya a new object where tourists will have to pay a (far) larger entrance fee than Thais. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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US murderer to be tried in Thailand

Posted by hasekamp on 6 June 2003 at 12:34 PM
A US district court has ordered the extradition of a wealthy American, accused of masterminding a murder in Bangkok last year, to stand trial in Thailand. It will be the first time a US citizen has been extradited to Thailand to stand trial there.
James Muller, currently in custody in Atlanta, Georgia, is accused of masterminding the slaying of New Zealander Ian Travis, 41, his former associate in a boiler room foreign-exchange scam operating in Bangkok. Travis was shot five times while sitting in his Mercedes outside his Sukhumvit home.
One of Muller's lawyers said that he and his client a were disappointed in the court's ruling. Muller is also alleged to have committed millions of dollars in tele-marketing fraud in the United States during the 1990s. He moved to Thailand in the late 1990s, then flew to Costa Rica days before Travis was killed. He was arrested by US authorities when he flew into Atlanta in June 2002.
The ruling against Muller by the Atlanta division of the US District Court must still be approved by the US State Department for diplomatic and national interest.
The Thai government said it was very relieved and confident the extradition would go forward. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Thai women may keep their name at last

Posted by hasekamp on 5 June 2003 at 17:44 PM
Thai women will no longer be required to take their husband's family name when they marry. Thailand's Constitutional Court ruled this today. Thirteen out of 15 judges voted to declare invalid an article in a 41-year-old law forcing women to adopt their spouse's name, saying it caused inequality between the sexes.
The two judges who supported the old law claimed it was in keeping with Thai culture and traditions. The court ruled that the article of the 1962 Names Act takes basic rights from married women. It is an unfairand double-standard treatment as it is a basic human right to show one's family name and origins, the court said.
Local women's rights groups have campaigned for years for the law to be changed. Other laws still give married women fewer legal rights than their husbands. To give an example: A husband can leave his wife and then divorce her, but a woman needs the husband's consent for a divorce. (Source: Associated Press)


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