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Arrested after 7 years

Posted by hasekamp on 31 January 2013 at 15:25 PM
After seven years on the run following convictions for murder and corruption, Chon Buri-based influential figure Somchai Khunpluem, better known as Kamnan Poh, was arrested early yesterday while travelling in his vehicle in eastern Bangkok and placed in custody, where he was to begin serving his sentences of more than 30 years in prison. The shock arrest has sparked speculation over the political consequences for the Pheu Thai-led government, as Somchai is the father of Culture Minister Sonthaya Kunplome, the leader of the Phalang Chon Party, which is a member of the Pheu Thai Party-led ruling coalition. However, Deputy Prime Minister and Pheu Thai party-list MP Chalerm Yoobamrung dismissed the speculation as hype, saying no political bargaining or internal rifts played a role in Somchai's arrest. Somchai, travelling with a kamnan based in Chon Buri's Muang district, a woman doctor and a male driver in a black Lexus SUV, was arrested by a team of fully armed police commandos when his vehicle stopped at the Lat Krabang toll plaza on the outbound motorway in eastern Bangkok. He was taken under heavy security to a Crime Suppression Division (CSD) commando unit off Lat Phrao Road for processing and registration of his arrest. The commando team leader, Pol Colonel Athip Thaennil, said the arrest was made possible by "a citizen's tip-off" provided a year ago to Pol Lt-Colonel Phongphat Chayaphan, the commander of the Central Investigation Bureau. According to the tip, Somchai remained in Thailand for most of his seven years on the run. Athip said police had not acted under any political pressure to arrest Somchai. (Source: The Nation)


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Homeless of Bangkok

Posted by hasekamp on 31 January 2013 at 15:22 PM
At least 49 homeless people died on the streets last year, some of them due to HIV-Aids, and the number of people living in Bangkok's public spaces is on the rise, the Issarachon Foundation reported Thursday. The foundation, which provides assistance to the homeless, especially those with HIV and Aids, found many homeless with symptoms that were sometimes too advanced to treat. Some of the homeless, for example, had lived with HIV for years, but had no access to the life-saving drugs. Although the country's healthcare schemes are supposed to cover the homeless, the Issarachon Foundation found that they are tacitly being turned away. The number of homeless in Bangkok's public spaces increased last year to 2,846, including 382 children, up from 2,451 two years ago. Many have lost their homes due to various circumstances while others have run away due to family problems or other reasons. (Source: The Nation)


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Two kinds of red-shirts

Posted by hasekamp on 31 January 2013 at 15:19 PM
Within the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorships (UDD) there are red-shirts who believe the struggle is more than just about one man. But there are also red-shirts who know only how to dance at the end of the string dangled by that one man. Fake red-shirts are tools of the billionaire political machine – they yell and scream about power to the people as a marketing gimmick, but actually serve the interests of the political machine above all else. They include both the peaceful and the hardcore. Real red-shirts include human rights activists, democracy advocates and even proponents of republicanism. They fight for what they perceive as the power of the people, rather than as puppets dangling at the end of the string of a political machine. They include both the peaceful and the hardcore. Fake red-shirts are those who condone and make excuses. They are the ones who conveniently ignore Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung’s open support for the lese majeste law. They are the ones who not only sit idly by but in fact profer excuses why the Pheu Thai government is not fulfilling promises made to its support base. Real red-shirts, meanwhile, continue to make demands and put pressure on the Pheu Thai government to fulfill its promises. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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A bit less corruption

Posted by hasekamp on 31 January 2013 at 15:15 PM
The Corruption Situation Index, a survey carried out by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) on graft, improved slightly in December but the overall position still indicates rampant corruption in Thailand. Sauwanee Thairungroj, the university's president, said the index rose slightly to 3.9 points in December compared to 3.5 points in the previous survey in June, 2012. However, graft remains serious as the points are below 5 out of 10. According to the survey, "tea money" still persisted in the last fiscal year at 30 to 35% of government spending, with a potential leakage of as much as 330 billion baht. TCC has conducted the survey since 1999, when tea money averaged about 10% of the budget, but the rate has risen to 30% in the past 3-4 years. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Natural solution for pollution?

Posted by hasekamp on 28 January 2013 at 11:54 AM
Environmental experts are concerned by a suggestion from the Pollution Control Department that the lead-contaminated Klity Creek could be cleaned up by "natural rehabilitation" rather than by active measures. Fresh from a four million baht compensation victory over the department for allowing lead contamination of the creek that almost destroyed their lives, the villagers and environmental activists slammed the natural rehabilitation idea as just an excuse to do nothing. After battling the department for nine years to get compensation, the villagers were hoping that the next step in their fight would be an immediate court order for the department to restore the creek and remove the threat to their lives. Instead, they have been told that the department may opt for the long-drawn out process of natural rehabilitation. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Better weapons for Ayutthaya police

Posted by hasekamp on 28 January 2013 at 11:50 AM
Ayuthaya police have a new weapon in the fight against crime. They have set up a new crimebuster unit of 12 heavily-built men carrying M16 assault rifles to patrol the streets. While Bangkok has opted for ja choey _ dummy police officers who look like the real thing to serve as a deterrent against crime _ their counterparts in Ayutthaya have taken the intimidatory factor a step further. Officers from the unit go on daily patrols, making frequent appearances in areas prone to criminal activity. Ayutthaya police chief Kon-ek Phetchaiyawet said the stern-looking image of the men from the crimebuster unit appears to be working. "Since the crimebuster unit went out on the streets for the first time in October, the number of crimes has fallen dramatically," Pol Maj Gen Kon-ek said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Missing student free in bail

Posted by hasekamp on 24 January 2013 at 22:47 PM
A Swiss national held by Ranong Immigration since December 25 on charges of stealing an officer’s camera (see our former posting) was released on bail yesterday after her mother appeared in Ranong Court to post 130,000-baht bail bond. Tscherina, 22, must present herself in court every 30 days and is not allowed to travel out of Thailand until her case is settled. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Missing tourist found in Thai cell

Posted by hasekamp on 24 January 2013 at 22:44 PM
A 22-year-old Swiss student tourist reported missing while on holiday in Thailand has been found alive and well. She’s being detained in Ranong Prison for allegedly stealing a camera belonging to an immigration officer. The search for Tscherina Nora Janisch, a foreign-exchange student studying at the National University of Singapore, began on January 15 when her mother, Elizabeth, posted a concerned note on the popular travel website Travelfish. Mrs Janisch became worried after she had not heard from Tscherina since December 22. Her daughter habitually contacted home once a week. The Travelfish posting was quickly carried across many websites and was picked up by mainstream media across the region. Cpl Rungroj Somjai of the Ranong Tourist Police saw a report in a local newspaper on January 19 and quickly reported to the Swiss Embassy in Bangkok that had seen Tscherina weeks earlier. In a bizarre twist of protocol, the Swiss Embassy reported the news to Tourist Police Commander Roy Ingpairoj in Bangkok, who informed the Phuket Tourist Police, who in turn reported the news to the Ranong Tourist Police, who investigated the claim and found Tscherina incarcerated in Ranong Prison. Tscherina presented herself to Ranong Immigration on December 25 while trying to exit the country to do a “visa run” to Myanmar. She had entered Thailand on December 8 with a tourist visa, which allowed her to stay for 15 days, explained Cpl Rungroj, who was called to aid Ranong Immigration as an interpreter. “She refused to pay the fine [500 baht per day] for the three-day overstay, so the officer had to charge her. While the officer was typing the arrest record, she asked to go to the toilet,” he said. “A few minutes later, one of the immigration officers noticed she went into the investigation room and walked out acting suspicious. The officer asked to search her and found in a pocket of her shorts a Canon PowerShot A640 from one of the immigration officers’ desks in the investigation room,” Cpl Rungroj said. “She was charged with overstaying her visa and with theft. She confessed to the overstay, but denied stealing the camera. She was then transferred to Ranong Prison while awaiting her case to be heard in court,” he added. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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His Majesty enjoys monkey show

Posted by hasekamp on 24 January 2013 at 22:39 PM
Since learning of His Majesty's interest in his famed monkey show, named after its simian star "Khun Prakit", troupe leader Watchara Kanrobroo says he's been so thrilled at his "dream chance" to perform before the King on February 1 that he's been losing sleep.
"It's been my biggest dream, despite the slim chance, that one day I and my monkey troupe would perform before His Majesty, especially given the fact that this kind of show is becoming less and less popular nowadays. "And now it has come true. It is an honour to perform for royalty from any country, but to do so for our King is very special," he added. The final decision over whether the venue for the show will be Siriraj Hospital or Chitralada Palace will be announced by the Royal Household Bureau. Watchara said he had learned of His Majesty's interest in the show on January 12, before being told on Tuesday that he would be performing for the King. (Source: The Nation)


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Cool weather

Posted by hasekamp on 24 January 2013 at 22:37 PM
Bangkok will enjoy a relatively cool spell until the end of next month, according to the Meteorological Department's deputy director-general Somchai Bai-muang. Temperatures in Bangkok's Bang Na district, where the department is headquartered, hovered around 19.3 degrees Celsius on one day recently. It was the lowest level for this year to date. "Other parts of the country, except the South, will also stay cool until the end of February," Somchai said. He explained that this was because the cool season had started rather late this time. "Normally, the weather starts getting cool in late November, but this time it started in late December," he explained. (Source: The Nation)


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PM gives Thai strategies

Posted by hasekamp on 22 January 2013 at 9:37 AM
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Tuesday announced a package of national strategies to move the country forward for sustainable growth and readiness to be integrated into the Southeast Asian economic region. She met with provincial governors and senior officials to confer the government's policy and work on budget allocations for the 2014 fiscal year, Thai News Agency reported. In a four-point strategy to herald Thailand’s arrival at a new era, Yingluck urged the public sector to strengthen Thailand's competitive edge to lift the country from low-income to middle-income levels, and minimise disparity in society to create equal opportunity. She said the government emphasises growth on the quality-of-life and environmentally-friendly basis, as well as development of state administrative system. The strategies will sustainably move the country in accord with His Majesty the King's sufficient economy initiatives, she said. The premier said taking the helm of Thailand in over a year has been challenging given internal and external factors, including volatile economy and international relations particularly with Europe which signifies democracy and equality. (Source: The Nation)


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Car sales record high

Posted by hasekamp on 22 January 2013 at 9:34 AM
Thailand's vehicle sales reached 1,436,335 units last year, up 81 per cent, boosted by tax waivers for first-time buyers, industry sources said Monday. Kyoici Tanada, president of Toyota Motor Thailand Company, attributed the surge to strong economic growth in 2012, a backlog in orders after the 2011 floods that knocked out several car factories for months, and to the government’s so-called first car scheme. The scheme, one of the populist policies that won the Pheu Thai Party the 2011 general election, offers tax rebates of up to Bt100,000 for first-time vehicle buyers. The waiver ended on December 31, leading to a surge in car sales before the deadline and "a new highest record in Thailand" for the year, Tanada said. Toyota, the traditional market leader in Thailand, sold 516,086 vehicles in the country last year, a 78-per-cent annual increase, and exported 405,892 units from its production units in the kingdom, up 62 per cent. (Source: The Nation)


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US: duty on Thai shrimps

Posted by hasekamp on 22 January 2013 at 9:30 AM
The US Commerce Department said Sunday it may impose duties on $4.2 billion a year in shrimp, more than half of it imported from Thailand, for allegedly getting unfair government subsidies. Shrimp in the US now typically comes frozen, in a bag or box, from Thailand, with labelling in several languages for sale in Chinese-owned supermarkets and in Canada. China, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, and Malaysia also are subject to possible penalties for "dumping" - selling shrimp in the US at prices below local markets. But Thailand, which supplies more a quarter of the US shrimp market, stands to suffer the most. Thailand has been the biggest producer of shrimp to the US market for years - bigger than the US shrimp industry. The International Trade Administration said Thailand was the leading exporter of the seven, shipping $1.6 billion worth of shrimp to the US in 2011. The Commercial Affairs of the Royal Thai Embassy in Washington reported last week that from January to October of last year, the US imported $973 million worth of shrimp from Thailand - 28.92 billion baht, representing more than a quarter of all shrimp imports by the US. Subsidised imports since 2009 have "suppressed and depressed domestic prices," undercutting US sales and destroying jobs, the Coalition of Gulf Shrimp Industries said in a Dec 28 statement announcing its request for an investigation. (Source: The Bangkok Post)
Note from Hasekamp Net: For most shrimp producing farms in Thailand mangrove forest has been destroyed. So we would not mind if the Thai shrimp industry would be harmed inj return by tax measures!


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Many candidates for Bangkok Governor

Posted by hasekamp on 22 January 2013 at 9:20 AM
A total of 18 people entered their names to run in the March 3 election for the job of Bangkok governor when candidacy registration opened on Monday. Sixteen candidates registered at the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration before office hours so they could get in the queue early to draw a number for the order in which they will later draw a candidate number for the ballot paper. Former Bangkok governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra, who will run for reelection under the opposition Democrat Party banner, drew number 16. His main rival Pol Gen Pongsapat Pongcharoen from the ruling Pheu Thai Party got No 9.
Pol Gen Pongsapat was the last person to take the draw so he got the only remaining number. The number nine is considered lucky by many Thais. Only MR Sukhumbhand and Pol Gen Pongsapat are running under the banner of a political party. The others are all standing as independent candidates. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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THAI labour conflict, strike of ground workers

Posted by hasekamp on 22 January 2013 at 9:17 AM
The labour union of Thai Airways International (THAI) wants the airline's board to quickly approve increases in the salaries and performance bonuses of operational level staff. Ground personnel of THAI has been on strike for several days. Jaemsri Sukchoterat, chairwoman of the union, said it wanted the THAI board to consider salary and bonus increases this month instead of at its next meeting, scheduled for Feb 8. She discussed the union's demands with THAI president Sorajak Kasemsuvan yesterday. The negotiations followed a strike by about 400 of THAI's ground service staff at Suvarnabhumi airport on Saturday. The work stoppage delayed dozens of flights and affected hundreds of passengers. After the meeting, Ms Jaemsri said she saw details of the airline's operating result and agreed with a one-month bonus instead of the union's earlier demand for two-month bonus. However, she is demanding the airline management boost its budget for performance bonuses from 200 million baht to 500 million baht and share the sum equally among all staff, who number about 26,000. The union also wants a 7.5% pay rise for operational staff from Level 1 to Level 7. Their present monthly salaries do not exceed 30,000 baht. Ms Jaemsri said her union would rally again if the THAI board failed to agree to their demands. She also demanded the resignation of THAI chairman Ampon Kitti-ampon. She said Mr Ampon had told staff that THAI posted a profit of 7 billion baht. The information had arrived from him before it was reported to the Stock Exchange of Thailand, she said. Ms Jaemsri said that later Mr Ampon said airline management would pay a one-month bonus and boost staff salaries by 4%. THAI president Sorajak said management agreed not to punish the staff who had gone on strike. However, if THAI ground staff stop working again, the management will resort to outsourcing which meant flight delays would be be limited to 15 minutes only, he said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Software piracy top be handled with

Posted by hasekamp on 19 January 2013 at 17:24 PM
The government plans to cut Thailand's software piracy level to 68% this year in a bid to persuade the United States to remove the country from its Priority Watch List (PWL) of the most serious intellectual property rights (IPR) violators. The US has put Thailand on its PWL every year since 2007. The list carries no threat of sanctions but is aimed at shaming governments into fighting piracy and updating copyright laws. The government is also working on a plan to discuss volume licensing for the state with Microsoft, seeking special discounts of up to 80%. Pajchima Tanasanti, director-general of the Intellectual Property Department, said the government is moving aggressively to combat software piracy. The recently established National Intellectual Property Bureau combines 25 IPR and 40 legal agencies in a single task force. IPR violations will be pursued under money laundering laws, meaning the state could seize money from offenders and IT malls that allow vendors to sell illegal products. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Baht strongest in Asean

Posted by hasekamp on 18 January 2013 at 23:05 PM
The baht hit its strongest level in 16 months after it was traded at less than 30 per US dollar, the Export-Import Bank of Thailand said on Thursday. The Thai currency strengthened to almost 29.70 baht to the dollar, an increase of 2.8% since the beginning of this year. The baht is now the strongest currency in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), followed by Malaysia’s ringgit, the Exim Bank said. Exim Bank president Kanit Sukonthaman said on Thursday that the substantial appreciation in the value of the Thai currency would increase risks for Thai manufacturers. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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400,000 get flu injections

Posted by hasekamp on 16 January 2013 at 20:42 PM
The Public Health Ministry is preparing to vaccinate 400,000 people in risky groups against the strain of influenza that has recently spread widely in certain parts of United States. "We will vaccinate about 100,000 people this month," Public Health Minister Pradit Sinthawanarong said yesterday. He explained that up to 400,000 people should be vaccinated by March, especially those in the high-risk group such as pregnant women, people with chronic diseases and medical workers. Pradit said the vaccination would be able to deal with flu strains of the H3N2 type, which is not as virulent as the bird flu. (Source: The Nation)


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Concert broken off

Posted by hasekamp on 16 January 2013 at 20:38 PM
The 'Light of Hope' charity concert on Monday night had to be brought to an abrupt end because a brawl broke out between students from a technical college and local youngsters and left four people slightly injured. Concert organiser Chaiyuth Limlawan apologised for cutting the concert short, saying it had to be done to ensure people's safety.
The concert, featuring Sek Loso and Ad Carabao, was being held at the Thai Port Football Club stadium in Bangkok's Klong Toei district in front of an audience of about 1,000 people. (Source: The Nation)


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Women arrested for luring girls

Posted by hasekamp on 16 January 2013 at 20:34 PM
Two Thai women who allegedly lured nine girls aged 14 to 16 into prostitution have been arrested and charged with human trafficking, said city police chief Pol Lt-General Kamronwit Thupkrajang at a press conference yesterday. A 17-year-old suspect identified as Bee was arrested in a police sting at an unnamed dormitory in Bangkok's Thung Khru district along with the nine girls. Police later nabbed Nok Thonglek, 23, as the suspected mama-san. The gang reportedly charged customers Bt1,500 for each girl's services, with Bee pocketing Bt200, Nok Bt300 and the girl the remainder. Kamronwit said police would extend arrests to the gang's customers because their actions constituted statutory rape of minors. Police say they also found that some of the girls were drug addicts. Kamronwit said police would crack down on human trafficking gangs in line with the policy of the national police chief. (Source: The Nation)


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Favorite books

Posted by hasekamp on 12 January 2013 at 12:12 PM
On the occasion of Children's Day this year, The Nation gathered information on the favourite books of people when they were young, through social media like Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus.
"Nick Kub Pim" is the favourite book of many people like @prajuk1980, @nuttaputch, and @Angtida. "When grandparents were young" is the favourite book of @doctorpisek, @boomy_NT, @pompoko35, A Japanese children's novel "Totto-Chan" by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi was the favourite book of @kejuliso, @ptmkt, @pompoko35, @Aim_NT and @imboon. @pompoko35 said "When grandparents were young" and "Totojung" were her favourite books when she was a child. "I loved to be in the library, love to read," said @pompoko35. Meanwhile, the famous Japanese cartoon classic "Doraemon" was the favourite book of many people when they were young, including @nuttaputch, @nares_bizweek, and @TonAwe. "My Sweet - Orange Tree", written by Jose Mauro De Vasconcelos, is one of their favourite children's novels of many people such as @Angtida. @imsakulsri liked the Sherlock Holmes novels when he was young. "James & The Giant Peach" is a book that @AKunrojpanya was impressed with when she was young. @RimaT777 loves "Lo Bai Nee Ko Jorn Rob Krata Kub Moa Lek" (Lae Tonmai). Chinese books were also the favourites of people like @KTBnetbank when they were young. "You Kun Koong", a Thai children's novel, is the favourite book of @yokekung and @boomy_NT. @dr_mana loved the "Little Prince", "Phra Apai Mani", "Butterfly and Flowers", "My Sweet - Orange Tree", and "Charlotte's Web". (Source: The Nation)


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Politics not popular

Posted by hasekamp on 12 January 2013 at 12:03 PM
Prime minister and politician is the least popular occupation among Thai children, according to the latest survey ahead of Children's Day.
Only 4.2 per cent of 1,115 children surveyed between Tuesday and Thursday selected "prime minister/politician" as their "dream career when I grow up", according to results of the survey by Bangkok University's Bangkok Poll. The respondents are children aged six to 14 who live in Bangkok and the surrounding provinces. The largest group of respondents, 16.6 per cent, picked "doctor" as their dream career. The second most popular career among the children is teacher (14.1 per cent), police (11.5), soldier (11.2), actor/singer (10.8), entrepreneur (7.5), nurse (5.7), engineer/architect (4.8), and programmer (4.4). (Source: The Nation)


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Tourist safety campaign

Posted by hasekamp on 12 January 2013 at 11:54 AM
Royal Thai Police stormed Phuket’s party street, Soi Bangla, with an 800 officer strong parade yesterday to highlight a 30-day safety campaign aimed at slashing the criminal activity in Phuket and Pattaya. “We expect the 30-day project to decrease the criminal activity in Phuket by 50 per cent, and significantly increase how safe tourists feel on our island,” Phuket Provincial Police Deputy Commander Arun Kleawwatee said. By making a significant effort to boost safety in both Phuket and Pattaya, the Royal Thai Police hope to improve the overall image of these two important tourist destinations, Col Arun said. “In the past there has been a great deal of negative news about incidents happening to tourists in Phuket and Pattaya. To counter this, the Royal Thai Police decided to send more police officers and police volunteers into these areas,” Col Arun explained. Issues to be addressed included a crackdown on drugs, prostitution, burglary, sexual assault and any illegal operations by local government officers, Deputy National Police General Pansiri Prapawat said. “We will also be patrolling the high risk areas, as well as checking restaurants and entertainment venues for drugs, prostitution and teen gangs,” he added. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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From 70 to 2 rai mangrove

Posted by hasekamp on 7 January 2013 at 19:31 PM
The 70 rai of protected mangrove forests investigated on Phuket yesterday in fear it was being illegally encroached on was whittled down to only two rai after a followup probe this morning. “After I examined the Klong Mudong area in Chalong again today, I was able to determine that only about two rai of the land being reclaimed by developers is actual mangrove area,” Pongsapak Aiabsakul, chief of the Mangrove Forest Resources Development Station Phuket office, told the Phuket Gazette today. Land documents for the rest of the area in question do exist. However, Mr Pongsapak said the documentation would have to be examined to ensure that they were legally obtained. “I have already filed a complaint over the two rai of mangrove forest destroyed to Chalong Police,” he added. Vice Governor Somkiet Sangkaosuttirak, who led the inspection yesterday, tasked Phuket Marine office chief Phuripat Theerakulpisut with charging any developers found illegally encroaching on the mangroves. “Muang District officers will be ordered to stop people from further dumping trash in the area. They will also be asked to remove the rubbish already present and take it to the incinerator at Saphan Hin,” V/Gov Somkiet said. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Russian tour counters closed down

Posted by hasekamp on 7 January 2013 at 12:48 PM
All Russian tour counters in the Kata-Karon beach areas have been ordered to close until further notice and the local Labor Office has been requested to investigate them for possible breach for foreign worker regulations. The news came at a meeting at Kata-Karon Municipality yesterday, held to resolve the ongoing dispute between local tuk-tuk and taxi drivers and Russian companies operating tour counters in the area. Yesterday, scores of local taxi and tuk-tuk drivers, and operators of other local businesses that rely on tourism, crowded the meeting room at the Kata-Karon Municipality offices. Many of them brandished placards with slogans such as “Russians [are] stealing Thai jobs” and “We don’t want Russian businesses”. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Four drug couriers killed

Posted by hasekamp on 7 January 2013 at 12:39 PM
Four Muser tribesmen were killed in a clash between a team of drug couriers and rangers from the Pha Muang Task Force in Chiang Rai's Thoed Thai district early on Sunday morning. About 230,000 methamphetamine tablets were seized after the clash. The exchange of fire occurred at about 7.55am when a 15-strong team of rangers from the 31st Rangers Regiment of the Pha Muang Task Force was on patrol in a valley near Ban E-kor Armae village at the Thai-Myanmar border in Thoed Thai district. The rangers had been sent to the area after information was received that a group of drug couriers would cross the border into Thailand with about one million speed pills. At a spot about 2km north of the village, the patrol spotted the group of about seven armed men, each carrying a backpack. When ordered to stop for a search, the men opened fire and a clash went on for about 15 minutes. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Top wish from Thais is healthy King

Posted by hasekamp on 3 January 2013 at 15:07 PM
The Defence Ministry Wednesday revoked Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva's commission, removed his rank and expunged his records as if he had never served in the military. According to the order, the commission given to Abhisit in 1987 as instructor at the Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy was unlawful because he had supplied forged documents to exempt him from Army conscription. Abhisit's rank as a sublieutenant granted in 1988 was deemed unlawful as well. The ministerial order also deprives Abhisit of any benefits he might receive from his military service. (Source: The Nation)


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New Year death toll now 365

Posted by hasekamp on 3 January 2013 at 15:05 PM
The number of deaths caused by road accidents during the so-called seven dangerous days spanning the New Year holiday period has risen by more 8 per cent to 365 and the number of accidents has also increased by 2.68 per cent compared to the same period last year. Every year, the government declares December 27 to January 2 as the "seven dangerous days" in a bid to promote road safety and reduce road casualties at a time when a lot of people hit the road during the New Year holidays. Yet despite the authorities' allout efforts, only the number of injuries has dropped by 1.36 per cent this year, and only six out of 77 provinces have not encountered any fatal road accidents during the period. The provinces are Trat, Nakhon Nayok, Phang Nga, Ranong, Nong Khai and Uttaradit. (Source: The Nation)


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King calls for unity

Posted by hasekamp on 3 January 2013 at 15:03 PM
His Majesty The King said in his New Year's message that he desires very much to see his subjects remain steadfast in showing compassion and looking after one another and giving each other moral support. This binds the people together, as relatives and as friends, the King said. The people have come together to create happiness and prosperity for themselves and for the nation, His Majesty said. The King conveyed his New Year wishes and also spoke of his appreciation for the support shown in the mass gathering for his birthday celebration at the Royal Plaza on Dec 5. "I thank everyone very much for coming out in a mass display of moral support for me on my birthday. It was done with kind and genuine wishes," His Majesty said. The King said the moral support expressed by the people on that day was unforgettable. The broadcast followed the issuing of His Majesty's New Year greeting card by the palace on Monday. The card features His Majesty the King in casual dress, flanked by his favourite royal pet dogs, Khun Thongdaeng and Khun Mali. It contains a poem bearing a royal message, and a royal blessing to the King's subjects. The issuing of the card is a royal tradition which the King has bestowed on Thais for the past several years. Later New Year's morning, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra arrived at the Grand Palace to sign the New Year wishes book for Their Majesties the King and Queen and other members of the royal family. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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