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Kasikorn client? Get free condoms

Posted by hasekamp on 30 September 2012 at 11:56 AM
Kasikorn Bank in Thailand hands out free condoms to their customers. They are packed in a packing with the Kasikorn logo. It is still unclear why they chose condoms as a free gift. Do other banks also do this? The popular Cabbages & Condoms restaurant in Bangkok also hand out free condoms. Maybe it is a growing trend. (Source: Richard Barrows Blog)


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Patong Road again washed away

Posted by hasekamp on 30 September 2012 at 11:51 AM
The section of road on Patong Hill that was washed away by heavy rain last year has suffered another landslide, in the same place, after days of heavy rain soaking Phuket this week. The section of road, just west of the Chinese shrine at the top of the hill, first collapsed during heavy rains last October, then again in early May with the advent of this year’s monsoon season. Thursday night, the same site suffered another landslide, with the dislodged earth tumbling into a rubber plantation below. Phuket Highways Department workers have marked the danger area with warning signs for motorists. Vehicles heading from Patong to Phuket Town can still pass, but the road at that location is yet again closed down to just one lane. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Moon Festival in Phuket Town

Posted by hasekamp on 30 September 2012 at 11:47 AM
Phuket City Municipality together with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Phuket Office, Old Phuket Cultural Foundation, Phuket Peranakan Association and the Old Phuket Town Community, Friday held the opening ceremony of Phuket Moon Festival 2012. The Moon Festival, also known in China as the Mid-Autumn Festival, started on Friday at Queen Sirikit Park in Phuket Town will run until Sunday evening. “The Moon Festival has existed for centuries. This festival is important to Chinese people because many of their celebrations are connected with the moon,” said Phuket City Mayor Somjai Suwansupana in opening the festival yesterday. “This year the event falls on Sunday. People will pay respect to the moon with fruits, peanuts and moon cake,” she added. In Chinese culture, apart from the practice of giving mooncakes to family and friends, there are other regional traditions. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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More heavy rain

Posted by hasekamp on 30 September 2012 at 11:42 AM
Forest runoff caused by heavy downpours inundated many areas of Kanchanaburi yesterday as the Meteorological Department warned of heavy to very heavy rain over much of Thailand. Members of 300 families in tambon Salongrua in Kanchanaburi's Huai Krachao district were evacuated to higher ground. The tambon was badly hit by the forest runoff, with flood water levels reaching 1-1.5 metres in some areas. Around 7,000 rai of agricultural land has been damaged and 10 roads have been cut off, according to the district chief, Thotsaphon Chaiyakomin Tharot. Reports yesterday said other flooded districts included Tha Maka, Tha Muang and Dan Makham Tia. However, the situation in these districts was not deemed to be critical. According to a warning issued at 4.30pm, torrential rain and isolated heavy to very heavy downpours were likely in the lower Central region, upper South and in the East. This was due to an intense monsoon trough in those areas, while the strong southwest monsoon prevails over the Andaman Sea, Southern Thailand and the Gulf of Thailand. The department urged people in at-risk areas to beware of severe conditions for the next one to two days. (Source: The Nation)


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Still illegal drivers at Bangkok airport

Posted by hasekamp on 30 September 2012 at 11:37 AM
When Suvarnabhumi airport was opened on Sept 28, 2006, illegal tour guides and taxi drivers moved from Don Mueang airport to the new airport. They still frequent the passenger terminal and departure floor. Illegal tour guides and taxi drivers are often in league with each other. Tour guides bring travellers from inside the passenger terminal and send them to taxi drivers outside the building. The guides receive 100 baht to 500 baht per passenger from taxi drivers, who then charge fares that are five to 10 times higher than standard fares. Drivers also take travellers to guesthouses, hotels and shops where they receive commissions. They even drop en route passengers who try to bargain for lower fares. Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) started serious suppression on Aug 9, 2009. Punishment was intensified from a fine of up to 1,000 baht to 2,000 baht and one-year imprisonment as culprits are now also charged with trespassing. If wrongdoers coerce or threaten travellers, they will be liable to five years in jail and fines of up to 10,000 baht. Serious suppression saw the mobilisation of police from Region 1 Provincial Police, tourism police, local police, land transport officials and AoT guards. They initially formed three teams of 39 officials who took turns to stand guard at Suvarnabhumi airport around the clock. There were also rapid movement teams of AoT who arrested culprits swiftly. AoT installed more surveillance cameras to monitor crimes at the passenger terminal. In the first four months of the suppression, more than 4,000 illegal tour guides and taxi drivers were arrested. Despite the campaign, Suvarnabhumi airport director Somchai Sawasdipol admits the presence of illegal guides and taxi drivers continues at the six-year-old airport. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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New skytrain stations are built fast

Posted by hasekamp on 28 September 2012 at 15:32 PM
Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra yesterday inspected the progress of construction at the BTS Pho Nimit Station on the Skytrain's Taksin-Phetkasem route. Pho Nimit and Talad Plu stations are due to begin service on December 5. Commuters will enjoy free rides until May next year. Pho Nimit Station is 75 per cent complete and Talad Plu 71 per cent, the governor said. Wuttakat and Bang Wa stations will be complete and ready for operation by August 12 next year, he said. Deputy Governor Theerachon Manomaipiboon said the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) couldn't start construction of Bang Wa Station until the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) finishes building the mass-transit system's Blue Line. The BMA aims to work with the MRTA to ensure the project is completed on time, Theerachon said. (Source: The Nation)


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Bangkok traffic app

Posted by hasekamp on 28 September 2012 at 15:29 PM
Bangkok motorists can use their mobile phones and tablet computers to see near real-time traffic conditions on an application that was launched yesterday for the iOS and Android platforms. The "BMA Live Traffic" app gathers images from 200 CCTV cameras, 50 of which are operated by the non-profit Intelligent Traffic Information Centre (iTIC). The app has been developed by True Online and funded by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, which operates the remaining 150 cameras. True also provides a high-speed datalink between all the operation centres plus servers to store information and run the app, True Online managing director Nont Ingkuthanont announced yesterday in a joint press conference with Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra.
In the initial phase of the app's launch, images will be uploaded every one minute but will become real-time by the end of December, when the current 20-MBPS bandwidth from True will be increased fivefold, Sukhumbhand said. (Source: The Nation)


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To flood or not to flood?

Posted by hasekamp on 28 September 2012 at 15:27 PM
Flawed water-drainage management, not heavy rain, is the likely culprit in the repeated hours-long flooding of Bangkok's major roads, Hydro and Agro Infomatics Institute director Royol Jitdon hinted yesterday. "It's not about too much rain. It's about the fact that there are no systems to push rainwater quickly into water-drainage tunnels or canals," Royol said in his capacity as a member of the Strategic Committee for Water Resources Management (SCWRM). He also dismissed the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration's claim that the capital could deal with no more than 60 millimetres of rainfall a day. "The water-drainage pipes in the capital clearly should be able to deal with 60 millimetres of rainfall per day," he said. "Problems should arise only if rainfall is well over 60 millimetres per hour." And even if the rainfall exceeded 60 millimetres per hour in some spots, Royol was still convinced that the water-drainage system spanned a wide area and with the shared capacity, the system should be able to function well enough to prevent floods. Earlier this week, the BMA called for patience and understanding from city residents, saying temporary flooding would be unavoidable in the face of hours-long cloudbursts because the capital's water-drainage system was designed to deal with up to 60 millimetres of rainwater only. Officials were quite evasive at first about whether it was 60 millimetres per day or per hour. When pressed, the BMA confirmed it meant 60 millimetres of rainfall per day. (Source: The Nation)


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Missing couple. No DNA match

Posted by hasekamp on 28 September 2012 at 15:22 PM
The whereabouts of a married couple missing since 2009 remains a mystery after DNA tests on human remains exhumed at an abandoned pineapple farm did not match those of the wife and husband. Tests have revealed that the first skeleton dug up at the pineapple farm in Phetchaburi, owned by suspect Pol Col Supat Laohawattana, was that of a young man. The man was 17 or 18 years old, 169 to 174 centimetres tall, and had been dead for over a year, Pol Lt Gen Jongjet Aoajenpong, director of the Police General Hospital, confirmed on Thursday. Police will release the examination results of the remaining skeletons on Friday. The Institute of Forensic Medicine has already collected genetic samples from relatives of the presumed victims to aid the investigation, Pol Lt Gen Jongjet added. Three skeletons were found in the orchard on Sept 22 as police searched for Samart Noomjui and Orasa Kerdsap, who have been missing since 2009. The human remains were later sent to forensic experts for DNA tests. The experts mainly tested DNA from the femur bones. Pol Col Dr Supat was apprehended at a resort in Puk Tian beach in Cha-am district on Sept 22, just hours after the third corpse buried in his orchard in Tha Yang district of Phetchaburi province was found. The bodies were discovered after Suthep Laohawattana, an elder brother of Pol Col Supat, told police about their possible location. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Phuket launches 1-year pemits

Posted by hasekamp on 26 September 2012 at 5:02 AM
Phuket Immigration currently has no plans of launching an online queue system for re-entry permits similar to the one recently launched by Immigration Division 1 on Cheng Wattana Road in Bangkok, the busiest Immigration office in Thailand. However, Phuket Immigration has quietly launched a queue system for people applying for one-year permits-to-stay. "Even though we don’t have an online queue service for re-entry permits like in Bangkok, we do have our one-year 'visa' online queue service," Phuket Immigration Superintendent Lt Col Napat Nusen told the Phuket Gazette. Using the online queue system, foreigners who have already obtained visas such as business visas, education or “study” visas, or visas issued on the basis of marriage to a Thai national, can obtain a queue number without going to the Phuket Immigration Office in person. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Phuket wants to clean up reefs

Posted by hasekamp on 26 September 2012 at 4:59 AM
Qualifiers keep dropping with Go-Eco Phuket as the environmental group prepares for its official launch on September 30 with the biggest reef cleanup of any kind in the world. "On September 30, the eyes of the world will be attracted to Phuket," Tony Andrews, Thailand’s West coast PADI Regional Manager and Project AWARE Ambassador, said at a press conference with Phuket government officials at Kata Beach Resort today. The Go-Eco Phuket, PADI and Project AWARE-sponsored "Dive Against Debris" event has 14 PADI dive boats and more than 450 participants signed up to sweep the reefs off Koh Racha Noi, Koh Racha Yai, Phi Phi Island, Koh Khao Nok and Koh Hei ("Coral Island") clean of marine debris. Of those participants, more than 280 are divers prepared to tackle the underwater debris, while the rest have volunteered to either help as snorkelers or with beach cleanups on Koh Racha Noi. "The government officials were interested as soon as we met them. They thought it was a great idea and were proud of the dive companies and community," Narong Chaimo, who acted as liaison between Thai officials and the Go-Eco Phuket group, told the Phuket Gazette today. More than 12 government offices and departments have pledged support for the project, from Chalong Municipality providing waste management for all the debris from the pier to the Royal Thai Navy sending three warships to maintain a perimeter to protect divers from speedboats that frequent the islands. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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More than 10,000 fake goods seized

Posted by hasekamp on 26 September 2012 at 4:54 AM
Police yesterday put on display about Bt2.5 million worth of fake products, mostly bags and clothes, that they seized as part of a joint operation in four provinces last week. A total of 10,419 items were seized at sites in Pathum Thani, Ayutthaya, Nakhon Pathom and Saraburi last Friday. Police also arrested Anan Phopibarn for allegedly possessing and trading in fake products. (Source: Thee Nation)


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And even more ...

Posted by hasekamp on 26 September 2012 at 4:50 AM
Bangkok residents will be facing more downpours and likely flooding over the next few days. According to the Meteorological Department's forecast, thunderstorm will cover most parts of Bangkok and its adjacent provinces until next Monday. Cloud-bursts are expected in many areas too. (Source: The Nation)


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Pak Klong talat gets facelift

Posted by hasekamp on 26 September 2012 at 4:49 AM
The Marketing Organisation (MO), a state enterprise under the Interior Ministry, is modernising itself by giving new looks to markets under its supervision, including Pak Khlong Talat, a wet market in Bangkok famous for fresh-flower and produce wholesaling. The move aims to increase the efficiency of the low-profile 59-year-old organisation, of which roles and mission are not very well-known to the public, and to cope with changes once the Asean Economic Community is formed in 2015, said director-general Titus Sukasard. The first thing the MO has done since last year is rebranding itself and expanding its reach. Mr Titus, who took the helm 20 months ago, said he has tried to gradually change the mindset of staff and encourage them to improve efficiency amid the changing business environment. Most of the MO's revenue of 2 billion baht a year comes from supplying rice and food to more than 80 prisons nationwide. Its food supply monopoly has been challenged recently when some prisons open bids to other suppliers. The MO has lost some locations to other food suppliers so far. The MO is now approaching public hospitals, public schools and army bases as well as provincial and tambon administrations to supply them food. Some deals are expected to be concluded by the end of this year or early next year. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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It is happening again

Posted by hasekamp on 26 September 2012 at 4:44 AM
Many areas of Bangkok were heavily flooded following heavy rain on Tuesday, as Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra said the giant tunnel does work and floating debris does not obstruct the draining process. Traffic police said the flood levels in parts of Bangkok such as Sutthisarn, Din Daeng, Don Muang, Pracha Rat Bamphen and Phaya Thai were as high as 80 centimetres. The flooding caused heavy traffic congestion in many areas of the capital city. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration posted a message on the social networking site Twitter apologising for the delay in its drainage effort. "All workers are doing their best to alleviate the problem for the people of Bangkok," the BMA said. Bangkok Grovernor Sukhumbhand said all the water pumps and the giant drainage tunnel in the Rama IX and Ramkhamhaeng areas had been operating at full capacity during heavy rain. MR Sukhumbhand said the giant tunnel is effective in draining water from the city into the Chao Phraya River and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) plans to build three more similar tunnels. He said this while inspecting the giant tunnel on Tuesday morning. (Source: The Bangkok Post)
Our advice remains, ask the Dutch, not the Chinese or the Koreans, to solve this problem once and for all!


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More water from dam?

Posted by hasekamp on 22 September 2012 at 10:29 AM
The Meteorological Department yesterday recommended the discharge of more water from the Chao Phraya Dam ahead of expected downpours in the Lower North and Upper Central regions this weekend. "The coming downpours mean the water volume will increase," it said. To date, Northern provinces such as Sukhothai and Phitsanulok have been struggling with flood water. According to the Royal Irrigation Department, flooding has ravaged 63,600 rai (10,175 hectares) in Phitsanulok. In the Central region, the Chao Phraya River overflowed in six districts of Ayutthaya. Overflow also hit Suphan Buri, Angthong and Nakhon Pathom. In the Eastern region, the Royal Irrigation Department expects flooding in Sa Kaew's economic zone to end within the next few days. As of press time, the flood-water level there had already dropped to between 30 and 100 centimetres. However, before the floods subsided, they claimed one life in the province. An elderly man was found dead yesterday in Aranyaprathet district after a strong torrent of flood water swept him away as he was walking home after collecting relief items. Serious flooding hit Sa Kaew several days ago. Even after the flood began to subside, the water level was still at least 30cm in Aranyaprathet municipality. At some spots, the flood water was still a metre deep.
Meanwhile, the government yesterday officially dismissed Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra's claim that it was withholding the budget meant for use as compensation to some flood victims in the capital. (Source: The Nation)


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Seven candidates for flood managament

Posted by hasekamp on 21 September 2012 at 19:42 PM
A shortlist of seven plans has emerged from the initial 34 bids submitted for the government's Bt350-billion flood prevention projects. The seven short-listed bidders will submit draft plans with cost and construction details by November 23, with the final selection to be announced on January 31, 2013. The seven bidders:
1 Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-water) - worked on projects worth Bt68.2 billion.
2 ITD-PowerChina JV (Italian-Thai Development, Power Construction Corporation of China, China Gezhouba Group, China International Water and Power Corporation, and Panya Consultants) has worked on projects worth Bt39.5 billion.
3 Summit SUT Joint Venture (Samprasit Partnership, SKY Construction and Union Infartech) has worked on projects with a combined value of Bt20.5 billion.
4 Team Thailand Joint Venture (CH Karnchang, CH Karnchang (Laos), Team Consulting Engineering and Management, Christiani & Nielsen (Thai), Ch Thavee Construction, Serm Sanguan Construction, Tipakorn, and Rojanasin) has worked on projects worth Bt67.1 billion.
5 China CAMC Engineering - worked on projects worth Bt19.7 billion.
6 Japan-Thailand Joint Venture (CTI Engineering International, Obayashi Corporation, Taisei Corporation, Kajima Corporation, Shimizu Corporation, CTI Engineering, Sunyu Consultant Incorporated, Pacific Consultants, Yachio Engineering, One Water Agency in Japan, and Unique Engineering And Construction) has worked on projects worth Bt1.14 trillion.
7 Consortium TKC Global comprises 16 companies - Pyunghwa Engineering Consultants, Dong Ho, Soosung Engineering, Sunjin Engineering and Architecture, Hyundai Architects and Engineers Associates, Woongjin Coway, Thai Engineering Consultants, Roge and Associates, Professional Project Management, Lotus Park Corporation, King Mongkut Institute of Technology Ladkrabang, King Mongkut Institute of Technology Thonburi and CM Grand Development. They have carried out projects with a combined value of Bt43.3 billion. (Source: The Nation)
In our honest belief the job will never be done properly if the Dutch will not be involved, so we have little hope that Bangkok (and Thailand) will survive the flooding.


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Flooding spreads

Posted by hasekamp on 21 September 2012 at 19:38 PM
Heavy rain in Prachin Buri in the early hours of Friday flooded Si Maha Phot market, and local authorities are closely monitoring rising water levels in the Prachin Buri River, which have already passed the critical level. Continuous heavy rain and floodwaters flowing from Kabin Buri district have added more water, with flooding reaching Tha Prachoom, the Si Maha Phot municipality market, where the water level exceeded 40 centimetres. Traders in the market rushed to pack their goods for fear that they would be damaged by the water. Si Maha Phot municipality officials are closely monitoring the water situation, particularly the earth embankment along the Prachin Buri River at Wat Mai Krong Thong. If the dyke fails, the market would be totally flooded. More than 20 pumps ran all night to drain water from the municipality, where some 100 homes were affected. Meanwhile in Phitsanulok province, the flooding situation is still serious in many districts particularly Bang Rakam, Bundit Inta, the director of the Phitsanulok Irrigation Project said. The district has been hardest hit by overflowing water from Yom River, he said. The water level of the river on Friday was 8.37 meters, higher than yesterday, when the recorded measurement was 8.17 meters. It is likely that the level will continue to increase over the next two days. The district is at risk of inundation as floodwater from the districts of Muang Sukhothai and Prompiram will run off to Bang Rakam in the near future, an area that already has 50,000 rai of land under water. If there is no rain in the meantime, the flooding level in Bang Rakam will reach its peak in the next two days before gradually decreasing, Bundit said, because the water will flow through Yom River to Phichit province and to the Nan River. (Source: The Nation)


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Don Mueang almost ready

Posted by hasekamp on 21 September 2012 at 19:35 PM
Don Mueang Airport is 95 per cent ready to serve low-cost airlines and passengers when it is fully relaunched on October 1, Airports of Thailand (AOT) said Friday. Paranee Vatanotai, director of the airport, said it had arranged with relevant parties to prepare transport service between Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi Airport. AOT conducted a readiness check of Don Mueang Friday. The test used 135 people to act as passengers with luggage preparing to board an AirAsia flight from Bangkok to Singapore departing at 1.10pm. According to AOT, the test ran smoothly. (Source: The Nation)


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Now five provinces inundated

Posted by hasekamp on 17 September 2012 at 17:35 PM
Key provinces in the Central region are now battling floods, according to the Royal Irrigation Department. At press time last night, the latest information was as follows:
Phitsanulok: About 42,300 rai of farmland in Phrom Phiram, Muang Phitsanulok and Bang Rakam districts were now inundated. The floodwater level was also continuing to rise in Phrom Phiram.
Nakhon Sawan: Flash floods swamped many areas in Lat Yao, Krok Phra and Muang Nakhon Sawan districts. In some areas, water was nearly 90cm deep. The level of water in Nakhon Sawan town was also rising.
Chai Nat: Overflows caused floods in low-lying areas in Tambon Wang Man in Wat Sing district. Floodwater was 50- 60cm high. But the situation was expected to return to normal within a few days if there is no more rain in the area.
Ayutthaya: The Chao Phraya, plus the Noi River and Phongpheng Canal all overflowed and flooded Muang Ayutthaya, Bang Ban, Phak Hai, Sena, Bang Sai and Bang Pa-in districts.
Ang Thong: Riverside communities in 12 tambons in Pa Mok, Muang Angthong, Wiset Chai Chan, Chai Yo, and Pho Thong districts were inundated because the Chao Phraya and Noi rivers overflowed. (Source: The Nation)


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Police needs hiv and aids education

Posted by hasekamp on 17 September 2012 at 17:32 PM
Up to 10,000 junior police officers will be educated each year on HIV/Aids stigma and discrimination. The move is part of a training programme signed Monday by the National Police, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Foundation for Aids Rights and the Justice Ministry's Department of Rights Protection. "This training will help our officers become a resource and a helping hand for people living with HIV/Aids and key affected people," Pol LtGeneral Chanin Preechaharn said. A course for 40 trainers kicked off right after the signing. A pilot exercise to refine the curriculum is due in the near future. (Source: The Nation


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Court:Taxi driver killed by army bullet

Posted by hasekamp on 17 September 2012 at 17:23 PM
Thailand’s Criminal Court ruled today that Pan Kamkong, a taxi driver from Yasothorn who died during the March-May political disorder in Bangkok in mid-2010 was shot dead in a military shootout while on a peace-keeping mission at the order of the now-dissolved Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES). The court said an autopsy concluded that the .223 or 5.5mm bullets found in Pan’s body could be used in military weapons such as a light machine gun, or M16 and HK33 assault rifles. According to witnesses, Mr Pan ran out of a condominium near the Airport Rail Link Rajprarob station on May 15, 2010, to see the army’s action when a van was stopped by the army for fear it might be loaded with bombs. The authorities reportedly opened fire at the van when its driver, identified as Samorn Maithong, failed to stop. Mr Pan was accidently shot and killed in the firing which took place in a military-controlled zone. (Source: MCOT Online News)


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Floods now in Pathum Thani

Posted by hasekamp on 17 September 2012 at 17:17 PM
Overflow from the Chao Phraya has flooded communities on both sides of the river in Pathum Thani's Muang district. Flood waters on Monday inundated houses, schools and Buddhist temples on the east and west sides of the swollen river near Pathum Thani Bridge 1 in tambon Ban Krachang, especially at Wat Pho Luan where water almost submerged the first floors of its buildings, reports said. The situation also forced Wat Pho Luan Primary School located in the same neighbourhood to relocate about 30 kindergarten pupils to study at its multi-purpose building for safety after their classrooms had been flooded by 40 cm of water. (Source:The Bangkok Post)


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Standard taxi fares in Phuket

Posted by hasekamp on 16 September 2012 at 11:55 AM
More than 50 representatives from taxi organizations across Phuket have agreed to a schedule of standard fares to be charged island-wide. The benchmark agreement, which is expected to resolve many of the issues – and violent conflicts – related to fares charged, was forged at a meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall on Wednesday. The schedule of standard fares will be posted on notice boards at main taxi ranks in six major tourist areas across the island, including at Central Festival Phuket on the bypass road, on Thaweewong Road (the beach road) and Rath-U-Thit 200 Pi Road in Patong, and along the beach road in Kata-Karon. “Each main tourist area, including Kata-Karon, Patong, Kamala, Rawai, Phuket Town and Phuket Airport, will have these fares posted at main taxi ranks so people can see the fares before getting into the taxi,” explained Jaturong Kaewkasi of the Phuket Land Transportation Office (PLTO). “The fares must be listed in English and Thai, but operators can add other languages, such as Russian and Chinese at their discretion. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)
Our comments:
- The standard fares are only for taxis, not for tuk-tuks.
- A list has been published of these standard fares, and we can conclude that they are 2 up to 5 times as high as in Bangkok. So, don't be happy (yet).
- We still maintain our opinion that Phuket taxi- and tuk-tuk drivers are definitely the most irritating individuals on this planet.
- Once we (my Thai wife and me) bargained for fifteen minutes about the price for a short taxi ride within Phuket Town, we agreed upon a price, but when we arrived at the taxi, the driver had already changed his mind and refused to bring us to the place after all. Irritating or not?


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How about Bangkok?

Posted by hasekamp on 16 September 2012 at 11:44 AM
Run-off water from upstream zones will raise the level of the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok by just 3-4 centimetres, a prominent water expert working for the government said yesterday. To Royol Chitdon, director of the Hydro and Agro Infomatics Institute, continued downpours over Bangkok are clearly more of a threat than the run-off. "Bangkok residents should be worried about rainfall rather than the run-off water," he said. Royol sits on a sub-panel of the Water and Flood Management Commission (WFMC). The Meteorological Department forecast rain and downpours for many areas of the country, including the Central region, from yesterday through next Tuesday. Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra said separately that the capital's drainage system was capable of dealing with heavy downpours and river overflow. (Source: The Nation)


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Flooding, flooding, flooding

Posted by hasekamp on 16 September 2012 at 11:42 AM
The northern province of Phrae became the latest area to be hit by widespread inundation as Thailand battles another rainy season. More than a third of the 2,000 families in Phrae's Wang Chin district had to flee their homes late on Friday and early yesterday after being hit by a heavy flood. Huge forest run-off swamped 700 homes in two tambons - Naphun and Wang Chin. Reports said many brooks in the district had overflowed. Some areas were under water a metre deep, which prevented villagers travelling outside their areas. The district office gave them meal boxes and was giving them bags of relief. Soldiers were deployed to deliver assistance.
The first mass of floodwater that swamped Sukhothai town a few days ago has receded, but provinces downstream have also been hit - Phitsanulok, Phichit and Nakhon Sawan. Yesterday, a second mass of water inundated the northern province of Lampang.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said yesterday the government's preparations were on target for this year's wet season after last year's crisis - the worst flood in five decades. To prevent a repeat of the Sukhothai flood last week, the Royal Irrigation Department would install water level gauges in areas prone to disasters. Royal Irrigation Department director-general Lertwiroj Kowattana said economic zones would certainly be protected. He said agriculturists would be informed in advance before the authorities released water through farming areas. The department would carefully release water and manage the level in dams.
Although the flood situation returned to normal in Sukhothai, forest run-off caused by heavy rain affected 11 villages in Si Satchanalai district's tambon Maetuk yesterday morning. (Source: The Nation)


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Anti-drug policy successful

Posted by hasekamp on 14 September 2012 at 10:49 AM
The secretary-general of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board, Pol General Adul Saengsingkaew, yesterday announced the achievement record of its anti-drug policy. In one year, police arrested 369,841 drug suspects and seized more than 26 million yaba tablets, 1,408.78 kilograms of "ice", 254kg of heroin, 1,600kg of marijuana and 4.5 million pseudoephedrine tablets. He said they also seized assets worth Bt1.663 billion from 4,700 cases, while the drug-rehab programme had rehabilitated 580,000 addicts. (Source: The Nation)


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PM: Sukhothai dry in two days

Posted by hasekamp on 14 September 2012 at 10:45 AM
The floods in Sukhothai should subside in two days and remedial action will be reaching those affected very soon, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said Thursday. She was speaking during a working trip to the flooded province Thursday. Yingluck and her team waded through kneehigh brownish water in the heart of the provincial capital to hand out food and other relief items. The prime minister said she was confident that the situation would soon return to normal after relevant officials were successful in blocking water from the Yom River from seeping through the barriers. It is because of this leakage that Sukhothai was flooded, even though the river did not overflow. (Source: The Nation)


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Trying to control the flood

Posted by hasekamp on 14 September 2012 at 10:43 AM
Water is being diverted from the Yom River basin to the Nan River in a bid to prevent heavy flooding in areas downstream on the Chao Phraya River, Wim Rungwattanachinda secretary to Prime Minister's Office Minister Niwatthamrong Bunsongpaisal, said on Thursday. Mr Wim said there is now a large volume of water in the Yom River basin because of continuous rain in the upper North and there are no reservoirs to take the excess water in that part of the country, unlike in the Wang, Ping and Nan river basins. Bhumibol Dam in Tak province takes water from the Wang and Ping river basins, while Sirikit Dam in Uttaradit and Naresuan Dam in Phitsanulok province can absorb water from the Nan River basin. Therefore, it was necessary to divert water from the Yom River basin to the Nan River basin to reduce the quantity of water flowing southwards. Mr Wim said the water is now being diverted through Khlong Hok Bat passing rice and lotus fields in Phichit and Phitsanulok provinces to swamps already prepared for this purpose with a budget of 120 billion baht. They include Bung Rakam, Bung Takhreng, Bung Raman and Bung Khi Raeng in Phitsanulok province. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Bangkok to inundate?

Posted by hasekamp on 14 September 2012 at 10:40 AM
People in low-lying provinces by the Chao Phraya River including Bangkok have been told to brace for floods. Water from the North is surging toward the Central Plains despite attempts to curb its volume.
The Royal Irrigation Department yesterday said Chai Nat, Sing Buri, Ang Thong, Ayutthaya and Pathum Thani that are situated downstream from the Chao Phraya dam in Chai Nat stand to be affected by the Chao Phraya overflowing. Yesterday, the Chao Phraya River started to overflow in the tambon Jampa Lor area of Muang Ang Thong district, Ang Thong province, and in the tambon Ban Ngew area of Sam Khok district, Pathum Thani province. Overflow has continued in Bang Ban district of Ayutthaya for a week. Sujarit Khunthanakulwong, head of the Department of Water Resources Engineering at Chulalongkorn University, said water would reach Bangkok in seven to 10 days and it may cause problems in the capital if it rains heavily from today until Monday as the Meteorological Department has predicted. Heavy rains are the key factor for determining whether there will be flooding in the capital because this may exceed the city's drainage capacity. In some areas, it may take six to 10 hours to drain the water. Otherwise, Bangkok will stay safe, said Assoc Prof Seree. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Phuket also to be inundated?

Posted by hasekamp on 12 September 2012 at 12:57 PM
The Thai Meteorological Department (TMD) has issued a "heavy" to "very heavy" rain warning for all regions of Thailand, including Phuket, for the next five days. Thunderstorms and monsoonal winds are expected to intensify over Phuket and the Andaman Sea. The Andaman region will most likely see waves reaching two meters in height, but areas where thunderstorms are occuring waves may exceed two meters in height, with southwesterly winds ranging between 20-40kmh, the warning said. The TMD also reported that tropical Storm “Sanba”, which was centered east of Philippines with sustained wind reaching 85 kilometers per hour, is expected to move towards Taiwan. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Government: No repeat of 2011 flooding

Posted by hasekamp on 12 September 2012 at 12:54 PM
Key figures on the Water and Flood Management Commission are trying their utmost to allay mounting fears the flood season this year, which has caused widespread chaos in many provinces already, will turn into a replay of last year's massive crisis. "Flooding may hit some areas this year but definitely not on the scale seen in 2011," Royol Chitradon, director of the Hydro and Agro Informatics Institute and a member of a WFMC committee, said yesterday. "The number of storms will be fewer than that in 2011," he said.
The heart of Sukhothai is already ravaged, while Phichit, Phitsanulok and Ayutthaya are also struggling with flood water.
Science Minister Plodprasob Surassawadee, head of the WFMC, said authorities would try today to plug all holes in the floodwall in Sukhothai that allowed the town centre swamped. (Source: The Nation)


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Ayutthaya and North seriously flooded

Posted by hasekamp on 12 September 2012 at 12:50 PM
Six districts of Ayutthaya province have been hit by flooding, governor Witthaya Phiewphong said on Tuesday. They are Bang Ban, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Sena, Phak Hai, Bang Pa-in and Bang Sai districts. Mr Witthaya said he had sent an urgent order to district chiefs and local administrations to watch and provide assistance for affected riverside communities as needed. Overflows from the Chao Phraya river have swamped Wat Boonkannawas in tambon Sai Noi of Bang Ban district where construction of a floodwall around the temple has not yet been completed. A camp area for construction workers and heavy machinery has been inundated. Royal Irrigation Department director-general Lertviroj Kowattana said the high water level in the Chao Phraya River is caused by days of continuous heavy rain but the situation is still under control. At its peak on Tuesday morning, the water level of the Chao Phraya in Kamphaeng Phet province was measured 161.40mm. The water flow rate from the Chao Phraya dam towards Chai Nat province was 1,800 cubic metres a second, Mr Lertviroj said. Science and Technology Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi said he, as chairman of the government-appointed Water and Flood Management Commission, wanted to apologise to the people of Sukhothai after the flood swollen Yom River broke through eroded levees beneath flood walls and swamped parts of the city. "I would like to say sorry to the Sukhothai people as I was not able to know about the eroded levees," Mr Plodprasop said. "I've ordered officials to quickly repair them." The flood situation in Sukhothai was stabilising and the water level should begin to recede over the next couple of days, the minister said. He said Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra had instructed officials to inspect old flood walls to prevent a recurrence of the problem in Sukhothai. State Railway of Thailand deputy governor Kamol Tangkijcharoenchai said repairs have been completed on the flood damaged rail track in Lamphun province. Full services on the line north to Chiang Mai resumed on Tuesday afternoon following tests on the safety of the repaired track. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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And more flash floods

Posted by hasekamp on 9 September 2012 at 19:57 PM
Flash floods have hit several provinces in the lower North and upper Central regions after days of heavy rain. Many urban areas are still inundated, with two districts in Uttaradit hit the hardest. More than 300 households in Muang and Laplae districts have been affected, with a number of residents isolated, as a 100-metre stretch of road to a key bridge collapsed after being hit by strong currents. About 100 soldiers helped evacuate residents in the 300 homes, and gave relief supplies to them and others flood victims. Panic reigned in five communities in Muang Uttaradit, which suffered a flash flood up to 50cm deep. Soldiers and relief workers provided assistance and supplies in the two districts, where water was about a metre deep. A flood washed away the clay foundation under a 50-metre rail section in Lamphun's Mae Tha district, causing a halt to local services and delaying trains between Bangkok and the North from Saturday. (Source: The Nation)


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Flooding in Lampang

Posted by hasekamp on 9 September 2012 at 19:54 PM
Thailand’s northern province of Lampang declared seven districts disaster zones from flashfloods on Sunday. Lampang governor Tawatchai Terdpaothai announced disaster zones covering 81 sub-districts in the provincial seat, Mae Mo, Mae Tha, Mueang Pan, Wang Nuea, Ngao, and Chae Hom districts. Over 15,000 residents of more than 6,000 households were affected by last week’s natural disasters. Another 150 households and one school were impacted by flash floods on Saturday. The two incidents are considered the most serious of the year, covering almost the entire province, and causing damage of at least Bt30 million. (Source: MCOT online news)


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Too much rain for drainage test ...

Posted by hasekamp on 9 September 2012 at 19:51 PM
The government's water drainage test scheduled for eastern Bangkok yesterday was called off after several days of continuous heavy rain in the capital and nearby provinces. Royol Chitradon, chairman of the subcommittee that monitors and analyses water management for the Water and Flood Management Commission (WFMC), said his committee, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) and the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation had jointly decided to cancel the drill. Some low-lying areas of Bangkok and neighbouring provinces, such as Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani, had been hit by flash floods caused by the heavy rains, Mr Royol said. Although the government had called off the drill, water-pushing machines were still in place to help speed up water drainage in canals. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Flood drill successful

Posted by hasekamp on 7 September 2012 at 12:08 PM
Government officials have declared the water drainage tests conducted yesterday in the capital were a success. They said the acceleration of water flow without causing floods to low-lying areas along the canals will provide the basis for a water management system. Royol Chitdorn, director of the Bangkok Drainage Drill Operation Centre, said he was confident the lessons learned from the exercise will enable officials concerned to tackle flood management work more effectively. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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One million cctv cameras

Posted by hasekamp on 7 September 2012 at 12:06 PM
One million more closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras will be installed all over the capital city to improve public safety, Metropolitan Police Bureau chief Kamronwit Thoopkrachang said on Thursday. Mr. Kamronwit said this would be carried out under the "Miracle Eyes" project aimed at using security cameras for crime prevention and suppression. It will be a joint operation by the Metropolitan Police Bureau and TOT Corporation. Pol Lt-Gen Kamronwit and Monchai Noosong, acting manager of TOT, on Thursday signed a cooperation agreement in a ceremony at the Metropolitan Police headquarters. The city police chief said the project is aimed at boosting safety for the people. Footage of surveillance cameras can help prevent crimes and facilitate police investigation of crimes. They can also help police reduce accidents. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Rangsit not flood-proof

Posted by hasekamp on 7 September 2012 at 12:01 PM
Minor flooding occurred in the Rangsit area of Pathum Thani yesterday as the government directed water through the province to test drainage in the eastern part of Bangkok today. Khlong Rangsit Prayoonsak overflowed slightly near the mouth of Khlong 1 yesterday. It flooded the compound of the Pun Thao Kong shrine there. Decha Klinkusum, deputy mayor of the Rangsit municipality, said the flood might have resulted from persistent rain and the increasing discharge of water into the khlong by the Irrigation Department. He ordered municipality workers to tell people living by the canals to move their belongings to higher places. Thongpleaw Kongjan, director of the Irrigation Department's Hydrology and Water Management Bureau, said his bureau directed water to Khlong Rangsit Prayoonsak yesterday to prepare for the government's drainage test in the eastern part of Bangkok today. The test in the capital will take place in the Khlong Lat Phrao, a drainage tunnel and the Khlong Saen Saep. Mr Thongpleaw said the government and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration would test the capacities of propellers that push water into the drainage tunnel that adjoined Khlong Saen Saep as draining into the tunnel had failed last year. Nineteen propellers have been installed in Khlong Lat Phrao and Khlong Bang Khen in Bangkok. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Royal ambassador

Posted by hasekamp on 4 September 2012 at 15:31 PM
Her Royal Highness Princess Bajrakitiyabha has been appointed to the Foreign Ministry and made Thai ambassador to Vienna, Austria, effective from Oct 1, government spokeswoman Sansanee Nakpong said on Tuesday. The princess is currently a provincial prosecutor attached to the Office of the Attorney General. Her transfer, proposed by the Foreign Ministry, was approved by the cabinet on Tuesday. She will continue to serve as chairwoman of the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice until the end of her term in December this year, the spokeswoman said. The princess will replace Somsak Suriyawong as ambassador to Austria. At today's meeting, the cabinet also approved the appointment of Mr Somsak as ambassador to Paris, France, replacing Veerapan Vacharathip, who retires on Sept 30. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Ayutthaya protects ancient remains

Posted by hasekamp on 2 September 2012 at 16:22 PM
Ayutthaya authorities have been busy protecting ancient remains from inundation after last year's massive floods badly affected the province. Saharat Poomtitirat, a senior official with the Thai government's Fine Arts Department in Ayutthaya, said on Thursday that flood prevention work for 96 historic remains are 80 per cent complete. If this year's floodwaters do not exceed 2.2 metres, Ayutthaya should be safe, he said. With a budget of Bt167 million, workers have strengthened the bases of the 96 designated historic remains, especially at major temples such as Wat Chai Wattanaram, Wat Mahatat, Wat Phra Sri Sanpetch and Wat Rajburana. At the revered Wat Chai Wattanaram, a concrete wall has yet to be erected on the west side. During last year's massive floods, the temple suffered an influx of water after the previous wall was damaged by floods. Ayutthaya Governor Vittaya Piewpong led a group of officials on a cruise along the Chao Phraya River to inspect dredging, which is now 80 per cent finished. Completion is scheduled for September 15. (Source: The Nation)


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