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Suthep wants endgame this week

Posted by hasekamp on 24 February 2014 at 11:32 AM
Suthep Thaugsuban, leader of the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), announced yesterday that it will renew its fight against the government and the Shinawatra business empire as part of its "endgame" to uproot the Thaksin regime in the week ahead. In a move to get people to boycott Shinawatra businesses, PDRC will tomorrow and on Tuesday get its supporters to "purchase" homes built by SC Assets Corp; rally at Voice TV, which is managed by Thaksin's son Panthongtae; as well as disrupt businesses run by Thaksin's daughters Pinthongta and Paethongtarn. The PDRC aims to upset Shinawatra-owned businesses in a manner similar to the one used last week by PDRC co-leader Phra Buddha Issara, who booked into SC Park Hotel, which announced that that it was closing at 1pm on Thursday. Other protesters would be sent to lay siege to state premises. In the announcement, Suthep urged caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck to not run away or go in hiding, saying he knew that she has been living in a condominium on Ploenchit Road since Friday. "Don't be afraid that you will get assassinated or believe that I will hunt you down. Actually, I just want to talk you into stepping down to make way for reforms," he said. (Source: The Nation)


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UN calls for end of violence

Posted by hasekamp on 24 February 2014 at 11:29 AM
UN Secretary General Ban Kimoon is ready to assist in any way he can to end the political violence in Thailand. He called for an immediate end to escalating political violence and urged authorities to bring those responsible to justice. In a statement issued by his spokesperson in New York, Ban condemned the aggression, which included armed attacks this weekend against antigovernment protests and led to the deaths of three children. "The Secretary General strongly believes strongly that there is no place for violence by any side in resolving political differences and disputes," his spokesperson said, "Ban is ready to assist in any way possible." The top UN official has called on all sides to respect human rights and the rule of law, prevent any new attacks and "engage in meaningful dialogue" towards ending the crisis and advancing reform. (Source: The Nation)


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NSC: No foreign forces active

Posted by hasekamp on 24 February 2014 at 11:26 AM
National Security Council's chief Paradorn Pattanatabut on Monday dismissed as untrue a Navy warfare commander's claim that foreign forces were involved in the recent series of fatal attacks against anti-government protesters in Bangkok and Trat province. Paradorn instead accused extremists who joined the rally under the guise of protesters as being behind the attacks. Naval Security Warfare commander Vinai Klom-in had said that the random shooting and bomb attacks in border province of Trat which resulted in one girl dying, another remaining in a coma and many injuries were the work of "foreign forces." "The violent incidents were triggered by extremists pretending feigning to be supporters of anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) at rallies," Paradorn said. The grenade attack in the Ratchdamri area, near the Ratchaprasong rally site, on Sunday killed at least three including a four-year-old brother and hi six-year-old sister. Paradorn claimed the extremists' objectives were to pressure for a change in the country's administration and create misunderstanding among the public. (Source: The Nation)


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PDRC wants PM to take resposibility

Posted by hasekamp on 24 February 2014 at 11:23 AM
PDRC spokesman Akanat Promphan called on caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to take responsibility for the fatal attacks in Trat and Ratchprasong rather than expressing her opinions on her Facebook page. He added that Yingluck was creating rifts in the country and putting the blame on political factions in her Facebook statement, which called the violent incidents terrorist acts for political gain. The PDRC spokesman called on the prime minister to delete the statement, which could deepen differences and conflicts, adding that the authorities' failure to arrest culprits in the attacks could worsen the violence. (Source: The Nation)


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Toll of the peaceful protests

Posted by hasekamp on 24 February 2014 at 11:18 AM
The Erawan centre of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration's Medical Department on Monday put the accumulated toll frnm the political violence since Nov 30 last year at 19 killed and 717 wounded. The figures included the three people who were killed and 21 wounded in the explosion at the Big C department store at the Ratchaprasong intersection at 5pm on Sunday. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Yingluck harrassed

Posted by hasekamp on 24 February 2014 at 11:16 AM
Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinwatra was harassed by People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) supporters while visiting the One Tambon, One Product (OTOP) complex at tambon Phu Khae in Saraburi province on Monday, reports said. The pair arrived at the complex in a Bangkok-registered pick-up truck and used loud speakers to repeatedly ask the premier why she was in Saraburi instead of working in Bangkok.
They wanted to know why Ms Yingluck was there on "holiday" while people continue to be killed in protest violence on the streets of the capital. Another eight PDRC protesters meanwhile arrived at the scene and blew whistles, demanding that Ms Yingluck come out and talk to them since they are taxpayers.
Ms Yingluck arrived at the Phu Khae OTOP complex in Chalerm Phrakiat district, Saraburi at 11am. She was accompanied by caretaker Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt, caretaker Deputy Education Minister Sermsak Pongpanich and caretaker PM's deputy secretary-general Pol Maj Gen Tawat Boonfueng. They were received by Saraburi Governor Suthipong Julacharoen. The prime minister and her entourage left the complex at 12.40pm. Reporters who followed them from Bangkok were told the prime minister had cancelled her other functions for the day. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Take care with street food

Posted by hasekamp on 24 February 2014 at 11:12 AM
Fresh food vendors are facing criticism from the Ministry of Public Health for using formalin to keep their merchandise fresh. The ministry says the practice poses serious harm to both consumers and vendors due to severe side effects associated with the chemical. Formalin is a solution containing 40% formaldehyde. Narong Sahametapat, permanent secretary for public health, said ministry officials found the use of the corpse-preserving substance at five fresh and weekly markets in Nakhon Sawan province late last month. Staff at the Department of Health collected 275 food samples from two fresh markets and three weekly markets in Muang Nakhon Sawan, Tha Tako and Chumsaeng districts. Of the samples, 102, or 37%, contained formalin. At big, urban markets, formalin was found in as many as 59% of collected samples. Contaminated foods included shrimp, squid, chopped ginger, chopped finger root, straw mushrooms, grey oyster mushrooms, black mushrooms, long beans and oak-leaf ferns. Dr Narong said that formalin was prohibited from use on food. Its use posed dangers to both consumers and vendors because the substance was carcinogenic and a lethal substance. (Source:The Bangkok Post)


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Deadly attacks

Posted by hasekamp on 24 February 2014 at 11:08 AM
The People\92s Democratic Reform Committee has accused the caretaker government of being behind armed groups who launched a series of deadly attacks against anti-government protesters.(NOTE: Of course the others do the wrong things always.) Three people, including a five-year-old girl and a 12-year-old boy, were killed in attacks at PDRC protest sites in Trat province and in Bangkok\92s Ratchaprasong area on Saturday and late Sunday afternoon. Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra spoke on the violence last night. \93I would like to ask all sides of the political divide that we may see things differently and there are many ways to express those differences,\94 she said. \93But the use of violence leading to death is not the civilized way. It is not the way of life of Thais who are naturally considerate and empathetic to fellow citizens. "The violent incidents are terrorist acts for political gain without any regard for human lives. The government will not tolerate terrorism and has ordered a full investigation by authorities to find the culprits and bring them to justice without exception," Ms Yingluck said. PDRC co-leader Satit Wongnongtoey read out a PDRC statement shortly after the Ratchprasong bombing, claiming that the state is \93backing\94 armed forces who attacked the protesters. They believe the attacks were linked to the Civil Court\92s ruling last Wednesday prohibiting the government\92s Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO) to disperse protesters and enforce regulations that violate protesters\92 rights. \93These brutal attacks were the work of the servants of the Thaksin regime,\94 Mr Sathit said. (NOTE the tone of the accusations.) Five violent incidents occurred from Saturday night until yesterday evening. (Source (except the notes): The Bangkok Post)


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Tiger cubs for Chinese kitchens

Posted by hasekamp on 20 February 2014 at 13:44 PM
Thai police said on Thursday they have seized five wild tiger cubs along with hundreds of other animals being smuggled to neighbouring Laos, for apparent onward sale in Vietnam or China as delicacies. Highway officers on Wednesday stopped a pick-up truck in the northeast which was apparently headed for the Laotian border, a policeman told AFP. A search revealed the endangered tiger cubs, all of them around a month old. There were also hundreds of other creatures including monitor lizards and turtles, he said, adding traffickers use Thailand as a transit point to Laos and then to buyers in lucrative Asian markets. (Source: AFP)


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Abhisit describes the New Thailand

Posted by hasekamp on 20 February 2014 at 13:40 PM
Parts of a letter by Abhisit Vejjajiva:
Only someone credible and accepted by all sides can lead the reform process and manage the short transition to new elections in which everyone participates. Once more the world watches Thailand and what looks to be a never-ending stalemate: powerful protests, wanton random acts of violence, divisive and hateful content in our press and social media. The Thai people have been through this cycle of failed government for too long. Our future lies in the hands of the few, whilst the many continue to question where this will lead us. We deserve better. (...) It is the politics that has failed us. What is happening on the streets of Bangkok today is an irrefutable demonstration that the Thai people believe they deserve a better system. As the leader of the Democrat Party, I must share the blame for the failed politics, but at the same time I cannot shy away from my responsibilities to help lead the country from the current stalemate and I urge all political leaders including the current prime minister and all the political parties to do likewise. We must never forget that our claim to be "by the people and for the people" means our first duty is to serve the Thai people. We have a moral duty to "do the right thing". Despite our differences, we should all agree on some key principles. We want to preserve our democracy, so there must be no coups and all violence must be condemned and stopped. We must all demand progress in bringing to account the perpetrators of over 30 incidents of violence against protesters and opposition leaders in the last few months. And while we can agree on condemning voter obstruction, we must also protect the right of Thais to protest peacefully, for such a right is surely one of the hallmarks of democracy. (...) They can no longer tolerate "politics as usual" where an elected government abuses the democratic process and institutions to put itself above the law. Where else in the world have we seen a democratically elected government attempt to pass a law to whitewash corruption crimes of members of the leader's family? Where else can we find a government that publicly says it refuses to help people, denying them access to government programmes because they did not vote for the parties in power? (...) The current protest is not a Democrat Party protest. (...) Political leaders must be the first to move. It is time for the government to engage others. So many groups have been working on reforms - the business community, NGOs, the Political Development Council, to mention a few. The aforementioned Asia Foundation survey also found two-thirds of protesters are open to ideas of compromise. On our part, the Democrat Party is ready and willing to play a constructive role. It really is time to restart Thailand. (Source: The Nation)


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Suthep wants to stalk Yingluck

Posted by hasekamp on 20 February 2014 at 13:29 PM
Suthep Thaugsuban Thursday reiterated his threat to disrupt businesses of the Shinawatra family and warned red-shirt leaders of possible attacks by unknown gunmen. Suthep Thaugsuban told the Silom rally that the protesters would hound caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra no matter where she might go. He said the protesters would only surround the prime minister without touching her. "If she runs down protesters while trying to escape, we will sue her. Now her days are numbered," Suthep said. He said the protesters would also rally at all business sites of the Shinatwatra family, such as Mlink and Voice TV. He said the PDRC would spare the Rama IX Hospital and Shinawatra University. "But we will render other businesses of Shinawatras bankrupt because these businesses defy the people's power," Suthep said. He said the caretaker government could survive because of its money so the PDRC would try to disrupt its financial sources. (Source: The Nation)
And so on, And so on. Thailand, these are the methods of the man who wants to become your leader. Better think twice!


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Court helps protesters

Posted by hasekamp on 20 February 2014 at 13:22 PM
The Civil Court ruled on Wednesday the caretaker government has the authority to enforce the emergency decree, but issued a set of orders chiefly to prohibit dispersal of the anti-government protesters. Seen as a legal setback to the caretaker government that is struggling to handle the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) protest, the court barred the government from enforcing some of the regulations it had earlier issued under the emergency decree against the anti-government protesters. The emergency decree was declared for a period of 60 days, effective on Jan 22, in Bangkok, Nonthaburi and parts of Pathum Thani and Samut Prakan provinces, after the PDRC launched its "Bangkok shutdown" campaign on Jan 13. A set of regulations was issued afterwards in efforts to contain the protests. PDRC member Thaworn Senneam challenged the enforcerment of the emergency decree. In his lawsuit, he named as defendants caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, caretaker Labour Minister Chalerm Yubamrung, who is also Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO) director, and national police chief Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew, the CMPO's chief of operations. In yesterday's ruling, the court said a number of these regulations are in violation of demonstrators' rights and have no legal binding on the protesters. It cited an earlier ruling by the Constitution Court that the PDRC rally is peaceful and without weapons. It ordered the caretaker government not to enforce them. The prohibited regulations included a ban on gatherings of five or more people and on the use of certain roads by demonstrators. It also instructed the defendants not to order the use of force or weapons to break up a peaceful protest. The court said its order was to protect the protesters' right to hold peaceful demonstrations, citing massive mobilisation of security forces into Bangkok to break up the protest. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Up to the next location

Posted by hasekamp on 20 February 2014 at 13:17 PM
Anti-government protesters on Thursday afternoon ended their rally at Shinawatra Tower 3 on Vibhavadi Rangsit road, INN News Agency reported. Protesters led by People\92s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) co-leaders Anchalee Paireerak and Issara Somchai, who are also core leaders of the Dhamma Army and the People's Force for Democracy to Overthrow Thaksinism (NOTE: Who invents all these names?), moved out from the building compound after their rally successfully pushed down the share prices of Shinawatra family firms. Before leaving the premises, the protesters dumped a pile of rubbish near the fence of the building compound in a symbolic show of their desire to oust caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra from her post. Ms Anchalee vowed to lead PDRC protesters to once again surround Shinawatra Tower 3 next Monday, Feb 24, to pressure Ms Yingluck to step down. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Suthep now afgainst AIS

Posted by hasekamp on 20 February 2014 at 13:09 PM
Anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban has called on mobile phone users who oppose the Thaksin regime to stop using Advance Info Service (AIS) mobile phone products. Mr Suthep took the Silom stage on Thursday afternoon asking supporters "who love Thailand" to help protect the country by cutting every financial lifeline of the Shinawatra family. "You can't say that the Shinawatra family is holding little shares in AIS, since the family sold its stake to Singapore without paying taxes," said the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) secretary-general. "I ask my brothers and sisters to help, especially those using AIS. Regardless of its quality, return the SIM cards and use other brands. Please tell your friends and relatives about this and please spread the message using Facebook and LINE." (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Yingluck will fight

Posted by hasekamp on 20 February 2014 at 13:05 PM
Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said on Thursday she will present her case to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) and submit evidence and a witness list in her defence, and seek due process, on charges arising from the rice-pledging scheme. She also questioned the speed at which the NAAC is considering the case, claiming the 21 days it took from receiving the petitioner's case to deciding to proceed with it was a record. The NACC announced on Feb 18 there was sufficient evidence to proceed with the charge of dereliction of duty against the caretaker premier. The commission said Ms Yingluck knew about alleged corruption in the rice scheme but failed to stop it. The NACC has asked Ms Yingluck to answer the charge on Feb 27. The caretaker prime minister on Thursday also defended her role in the programme as strictly that of a policymaker with no mandate to order the executors what to do. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Suthep has a new target

Posted by hasekamp on 19 February 2014 at 14:11 PM
After deciding to dog caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) has now set its sights on business firms related to the Shinawatra family. PDRC leader Suthep Thaugsuban on Wednesday named SC Asset among the businesses to face protests and warned investors to withdraw their investments from those firms. Shinawatra family members led by Paetongtarn are major shareholders of the listed firm as of May 8, 2013, according to the Settrade.com website. Ms Yingluck was the SC Asset chief executive officer before stepping down to run under the Pheu Thai Party banner as the number one party-list candidate. Mr Suthep on Wednesday led about 20,000 protesters to block Ms Yingluck from entering the Office of the Defence Permanent Secretary at Muang Thong Thani, which she has been using for cabinet meetings. (Source: The Bangkok Post). When will this person be arrested at last?


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No online passports

Posted by hasekamp on 17 February 2014 at 22:39 PM
The online passport issuing service has been closed again following Friday's confrontation between anti-government protesters and police at the government complex on Chaeng Wattana Road. The service resumed nationwide last Monday after talks with protesters allowed officials to access the office at the complex to run the central server. But the service was suspended again on Friday as a precaution for staff safety, Consular Department director general Thongchai Chasawat said yesterday. As a result, Thongchai said the number of passports issued would be reduced as the required information could not be linked to the central server and passport printing would have to be done by back-up devices. The service will issue a new update on the situation today at www.consular.go.th. (Source: The Nation)


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Two killed in bank robbery

Posted by hasekamp on 17 February 2014 at 22:36 PM
A policeman and a suspected thief were killed in a gunfight that erupted after three men robbed a Krungthai Bank branch at Klong Ngae in Songkhla's Sadao district yesterday. The robbers shot and killed Pol Sub-Lieutenant Wanchat Chaipan before making off with an unspecified amount of cash. Police later caught up with the gang in tambon Khao Mee Kiat, which led to a gunfight, during which one of the suspects was killed. This is the second time this bank has been robbed. The first time was in May last year, when a man got away with Bt150,000 in cash. Nobody has been arrested for the first robbery yet. (Source: The Nation)


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Government will retake Government House

Posted by hasekamp on 17 February 2014 at 22:31 PM
The Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order still plans to retake Government House as the first target of its operation to reclaim five areas occupied by the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), even though anti-government protesters walled up the gates to the compound yesterday. For the sake of transparency, Labour Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung, the CMPO director, has instructed the Public Relations Department to produce a special programme called "Peace for Bangkok Mission" for live broadcast of the reclamation mission by channels 11 and 9, deputy government spokeswoman Sunisa Lertpakawat said yesterday. Chalerm said Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra had instructed him not to resort to violence. Depending on the situation, the CMPO would decide on whether to retake all of the five PDRC rally sites - Government House, Government Complex on Chaeng Wattana Road, Democracy Monument, Energy Ministry and Interior Ministry. Chalerm shrugged off the pre-emptive move by Suthep Thaugsuban to forestall the government's plan to return to work at Government House. (Source: The Nation)


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PDRC blocks return to Government House

Posted by hasekamp on 17 February 2014 at 22:26 PM
People's Democratic Reform Committee (PRDC) protesters on Monday joined another protest group in surrounding Government House to prevent caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's planned return to her office there. PDRC leader Suthep Thaugsuban led a march of thousands of demonstrators, mainly from the stage at Pathumwan intersection, to Ratchadamnoen Nok Avenue and from Makkhawan Rangsan Bridge to Miksakawan intersection around 9am. Some protesters had already moved into the area near the Education Ministry on Sunday night to await the main group. They are reinforcing the rally by the Network of Students and People for Reform of Thailand, which controls the Chamaimaruchet Bridge protest base on Phitsanulok Road, in preventing Ms Yingluck from re-entering Government House.
"Yingluck Shinawatra will have no chance to return to Government House in this life or the next," said Mr Suthep shortly after reaching the area and appearing on a makeshift stage set up nearby. The PDRC move came after the announcement by Chalerm Yubamrung, chief of the Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO), that the area around Government House would be cleared for Ms Yingluck's return by Wednesday. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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iPhone scam

Posted by hasekamp on 17 February 2014 at 22:21 PM
A couple have been arrested for allegedly swindling more than 30 people out of 66 million baht through a cheap iPhone and iPad mini investment scam. Police apprehended Manas Chotikhan and his wife Bussarin Yeenode, both aged 31, outside an auto care centre in Soi Chokechai Si of Bangkok\92s Lat Phrao district on Monday. The couple, who run an auto service centre, were accused of deceiving people into transferring money into their bank accounts by promising they could supply them with iPhone5s, iPad minis and other brand-name products at below market prices. The suspects would deliver the products as promised for the clients' first few orders, to convince them that they could really make high profits by reselling them at a big profit. After that, they would stop supplying the goods ordered, keep the money, and could not be reached by phone, said Crime Suppression Division (CSD) commander Pol Maj Gen Supisarn PhakdinaruenartSupisarn.
Many on-sellers had fallen prey to the scam since last August and January. After the first deal they had ordered large numbers of IPhones and tablets in the expectation of making high profits, and in the process had transferred millions of baht to the accused fraudsters. One group of business partners had lost about 24 million baht in the scam, Pol Maj Gen Supisarn said. A police investigation found Mr Manas opened two bank accounts to receive money from their clients. The money paid in at the beginning would be used to buy more products to be offered as a low-priced lure for their victims. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Lots of money withdrawn from bank

Posted by hasekamp on 17 February 2014 at 22:17 PM
Government Savings Bank (GSB) on Monday saw 30 billion baht cash withdrawn from branches in an apparent protest against its decision to indirectly help the caretaker government pay farmers owed money under the rice-pledging scheme. GSB president and chief executive Worawit Chailimpamontri said he assessed the situation after several branches reported unusually high rates of cash withdrawals by customers - mostly in greater Bangkok and the southern provinces. He said 30 billion baht was withdrawn from all GSB branches on Monday while 10 million baht was deposited. The withdrawals follow the bank's decision to loan five billion baht to the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC). Mr Worawit has said repeatedly that the loan is only intended to shore up the liquidity of the agriculture bank and has no relation to attempts to pay farmers owed money through the rice-pledging programme. But customers and critics have been unconvinced by the state-owned bank's reassurances. The GSB labour union demanded the bank immediately scrap recall the loan and rule out any future loans to BAAC in a statement released on Monday. The loan had created confusion among the public and customers, the problems of which are likely to spiral, the union said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Suthep: Decisive battle on Wednesday

Posted by hasekamp on 17 February 2014 at 22:15 PM
Anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban on Monday night announced he will lead a "decisive battle" against the caretaker government on Wednesday. Mr Suthep, People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) secretary-general, called on people countrywide to gather in a massive rally in Bangkok on Wednesday to oust caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her government. Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO) director Chalerm Yubamrung has announced the CMPO will reopen Government House on the same day for Ms Yingluck to work after over two months of shutdown because of the protests. "It will be a large gathering of PDRC supporters," Mr Suthep told demonstrators at the Silom rally stage. "We will fight together in a decisive battle." He did not explain the battle details. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Partly new elections by March

Posted by hasekamp on 17 February 2014 at 22:12 PM
The caretaker government has suggested the Election Commission (EC) reschedule voting at polling units where the general election was obstructed no later than March 30 - the day on which voting for provincial senators takes place. Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Pongthep Thepkanchana said on Monday that he and other officials held a meeting with EC member Somchai Srisuthiyakorn to explore ways of completing the election at polling units and in constituencies that encountered voting problems on Feb 2. Mr Pongthep said the government suggested the EC hold new elections where voting was cancelled within 30 days or by March 30, when Senate elections will be held. Voting should not be delayed until April as the EC earlier proposed, he said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Februari 2 elections valid

Posted by hasekamp on 12 February 2014 at 20:33 PM
The Constitution Court on Wednesday rejected a petition asking that it rule on whether the Feb 2 elections were constitutional. The petition was lodged by Wirat Kanlayasiri, a former Democrat MP for Songkhla. He asked the court to void the controversial general election, citing Section 68 of the charter, which penalises the exercise of rights and liberties to acquire ruling power through unconstitutional means. In his complaint, Mr Wirat argued that the poll did not take place on the same day nationwide as required by the constitution. He claimed the caretaker government's invocation of the emergency decree in Bangkok and nearby areas was an act that enabled the Pheu Thai Party to use administrative power to take advantage over its political rivals in the election. The court dismissed the petition, saying there was no credible evidence that the poll violated Section 68 of the charter. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Arrest warrant for 19 PDRC leaders

Posted by hasekamp on 10 February 2014 at 15:53 PM
A bit older piece of news: In a setback to the anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee, the Criminal Court yesterday approved arrest warrants for its chief Suthep Thaugsuban and 18 other leaders, under the state of emergency. The PDRC was dealt another blow when a leader, prominent Indian businessman Sathit Segal, faced the threat of deportation after being singled out by the government's Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order on Tuesday. In approving the warrants, the court said it had relied on evidence submitted by the police and believed that Suthep and 18 other PDRC leaders had collaborated to create an emergency situation, citing their violation of Articles 11 and 12 of the emergency decree. The court said 18 witnesses and evidence, especially video CDs, provided enough grounds to suspect that the 19 PDRC leaders had collaborated, instigated or supported actions that caused emergency situations. As a result, the police are authorised to apprehend and detain the 19 suspects until the state of emergency is lifted. The court ruling also stipulated that the 19 suspects, if or when detained, will be confined at Border Patrol Police Region 1 in Pathum Thani's Klong Luang district. The court said if police failed to make arrests within a year after the warrants were approved, the court may summon the officers for questioning, and may revoke the warrants. Meanwhile, rally leaders remain doubtful about the legality of the planned deportation of Sathit who has spoken on stage at the anti-government protests. (Source: The Nation)


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PDRC members to be registered

Posted by hasekamp on 10 February 2014 at 15:48 PM
THE PEOPLE'S DEMOCRATIC Reform Committee (PDRC) is refining the management of its army of protesters, including adopting a hotel-style system of "guest registration", checking protesters in and out to increase safety and improve the planning of rallies. Satit Wongnongtaey said yesterday that the new system will be applied first to the Pathumwan base after the big cleaning day on Sunday, when the demonstrators helped city crew tidy up the area from the King Rama VI statue to Silom Road. The rally site would be divided into zones of 50 people and about 20 tents each. Campers have to register and check in to receive a door key to their tent, which would be equipped with sleeping gear and eating utensils supplied by donors. The PDRC has also abandoned some protest sites and relocated supporters from some sites to others, for instance, withdrawing from Rama VIII Bridge to lay siege to the Education Ministry. Satit said PDRC secretary general Suthep Thaugsuban has sought meetings with professional groups, civil servants and educational institutions to brainstorm and draft the national reform blueprint. The PDRC must work on preparing the reform roadmap in parallel with its drive to oust the Yingluck government, he said. (Source: The Nation)


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Temporary passport office

Posted by hasekamp on 10 February 2014 at 15:44 PM
A temporary mobile office at Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre is being set up from Monday to issue passports, Foreign Ministry announced Thursday. The office will have the capacity to issue 600 passports a day. The mobile office has become necessary as anti-government protesters led by a senior monk continue to block a site near the Government Complex, which is adjacent to the Consular Department on Chaeng Wattana Road. The department is the main venue for issuing passports. The ministry has been forced to shut down computer servers for online passport issuance since January 13. The closing of the department and absence of servers has resulted in influx of people to passport offices at Pinklao and Bangna. In the latest development, the monk on Wednesday agreed that officials could re-boot the servers this weekend. (Source: The Nation)


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Another large protest announced

Posted by hasekamp on 10 February 2014 at 15:38 PM
The People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) will mobilise another major rally to force the resignation of caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in light of the latest attacks on protesters, PDRC co-leader Somsak Kosaisuk said on Monday. The bomb explosion late Monday (February 10) morning on Ratchadamnoen Avenue, which injured six city street cleaners, two seriously, underscored protest leaders' worries over the mounting attempts to intimidate the protesters, Somsak Kosaisuk said. The bomb exploded in an area that had only recently been vacated by protesters. There have been many other attacks on rallies. "The PDRC cannot dance the 'ramwong' all the time and a decisive campaign will be undertaken to end the Thaksin regime," he said on FM101 radio station. Mr Somsak said more bombings were likely as the PDRC would soon accelerate its efforts to oust Ms Yingluck. "The time is ripe, as messages about the evil of the Thaksin regime have been sent out across the country, even to people in remote areas," he added. The six wounded BMA workers were rushed to Vajira Hospital. Four of them were treated and later released. Two were reported to have been seriously injured. The bomb expoded on the median strip about 11.30am, at a site where the People's Democratic Force to Overthrow Thaksinism (Pefot) had earlier been encamped. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Rice farmers desparate

Posted by hasekamp on 10 February 2014 at 15:27 PM
Farmers' representatives stormed out of talks with the caretaker government after officials failed to give an answer on when growers can expect to receive money owed to them for produce sold into the state rice-pledging scheme. About 500 farmers rallied at the Office of the Permanent Secretary for Defence on Monday to demand a clear answer on when they will be paid for pledged rice. Rawee Rungruang, western province farming representative and leader of the negotiations, abandoned the talks at the Office of the Permanent Secretary for Defence after meeting with caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisarn, caretaker Deputy Commerce Minister Nathawut Saikuar and caretaker PM's Office Minister Varathep Rattanakorn. Mr Rawee insisted the farmers he represents have no political agenda, arguing that they are suffering as a result of the caretaker government's inability to pay them for pledged rice, and would return home immediately if and when they received their cash. Talks between the two parties went on for an hour. Mr Rawee realised that officials were unable to give an answer on when farmers could expect to receive their money so walked out. The farmers simply wanted to know when they would be paid for their rice, he said. Before leaving the meeting, Mr Rawee said he wanted the government to sell off the rice it is holding in stockpiles - at any cost - in order to get the money it needs to pay farmers. He added that the country needs a new administration with the full authority to solve the problem, since the caretaker government has no way of getting the money it needs to pay rice farmers. Farmers announced via loudspeakers that they would mobilise growers from across the country to seize rice warehouses, arguing that officials no longer have the legitimacy to handle the rice in stock. (Source: The Bangkok Post


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One caught, 18 togo

Posted by hasekamp on 10 February 2014 at 15:23 PM
Protest co-leader Sonthiyan Chuenruthainaitham has been arrested on a charge of violating the emergency decree and will also face a charge of treason, Department of Special Investigation (DSI) chief Tarit Pengdith said on Monday. The core member of the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) was arrested at Central Lat Phrao shopping complex on Monday on an arrest warrant approved by the court. He will be detained at the Region 1 Border Patrol Police headquarters in Pathum Thani's Khlong Luang district for seven days for interrogation, and police will then apply to the court to extend his detention for another 30 days, said Mr Tarit, who is a member of the caretaker government's Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO). He said Mr Sonthiyan's T-News agency and satellite television station will initially be charged with failing to comply with the emergency decree. A charge of treason would follow. Mr Sonthiyan was being detained under tight police security, pending questioning. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Protests go on

Posted by hasekamp on 8 February 2014 at 18:33 PM
Anti-government protesters led by the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) on Friday shut down three ministries and marched through Bangkok's downtown commercial area to raise money for rice growers who have not been paid for their crops by the caretaker government. About 10am, a group of demonstrators at Pathumwan rally site went to surround the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sri Ayudhya Road, demanding civil servants there\A0stop working and go home immediately. After a number of staff gradually left the Foreign Ministry, the protesters then marched to Rama 6 Road to rally outside the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Industry, making\A0the same demands. The PDRC is continuing its Bangkok Shutdown campaign to increase pressure on caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to resign to pave way for its proposed people's council and national reforms ahead of a new election. The protesters also marched through\A0business areas of the capital to raise money to help farmers in their fight for payment for crops pledged to the government's controversial rice mortgage scheme, a policy that helped the ruling Pheu Thai Party win the 2011 general election but has now run out of funds. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Foreign media worried

Posted by hasekamp on 2 February 2014 at 21:36 PM
International news outlets were concerned with the violence on the eve of the election day but yesterday they reported that the election itself is going smoothly except for a few scuffles. However, many expressed concerns of what will happen after the election yesterday, which seems to be what the political turmoil is leading up to. The BBC said that "Voting in 13 of Bangkok\92s 33 constituencies, and in 37 of 56 constituencies in the south was disrupted" by protesters from the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC). However, election in the north and northeast proceeded peacefully. Al Jazeera has expressed doubts that the current election will be successful at the first place. Al Jazeera reported that "The [election] commission has already voiced concerns that it would result in too few legitimately elected MPs to form a parliamentary quorum." Reuters said that even if the Pheu Thai party managed to win in an election, the victory would be far from celebratory. "With parliamentary seats unable to be filled, she [Yingluck Shinawatra] could find herself on shaky ground, exposed to legal attacks and unable to pass bills and budgets crucial to reviving the economy." CNN quoted Somchai Srisuthiyakorn, a member of the Election Commission, saying that a new parliament will take three to six months to form. Many news outlets also reported on the violence between pro- and anti-government supporters on Saturday at Lak Si intersection. The New York Times, along with many other media outlets, said that both sides of the conflict were armed. (Source: The Nation)


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And the winner is?

Posted by hasekamp on 2 February 2014 at 21:32 PM
DESPITE the government's claim of "victory" after voting was conducted in 89 per cent of the country's 375 constituencies yesterday, many factors point to the high likelihood that this election - marred by boycotts and a long rowdy protest - could end up being declared void. An unusually low voter turnout was reported in many provinces, even in part of the North and Northeast where the ruling Pheu Thai Party has enjoyed popularity. In southern provinces, voter turnout was estimated at 20 to 30 per cent, much lower than previous elections. Voter turnout was a little over 40 per cent in Chai Nat, less than 50 per cent in Phichit, about 50 per cent in Ayutthaya, according to local election officials. There were reports of a high number of "no votes" in many provinces, as eligible voters ticked the box at the bottom of the ballot paper to vote for "none of the above". No votes were mostly in Bangkok and urban areas of the provinces. Voting could be held without problems in 59 provinces, at 83,669 out of all 93,952 polling stations, according to EC secretary-general Puchong Nutrawong. The EC would unveil the voter turnout figure today, he said. In Bangkok, 516 out of 6,671 polling stations were closed. EC members will convene a meeting today to discuss ways to solve the election-related problems. (Source: The Nation)


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Suthep vs Yingluck

Posted by hasekamp on 2 February 2014 at 21:28 PM
Anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban has threatened to take legal action against caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra for wasting 3.8 billion baht of taxpayer money because her government could not hold a successful general election. Mr Suthep, secretary-general of the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), took to the stage at Lumpini Sunday and told protesters that there were not many people at the voting stations. "There were only 16 to 17 people at some stations, especially those in the southern provinces of Chumphon, Surat Thani, Ranong, Krabi, Phuket, Songkhla, Satun, Yala and Pattani," said the former Democrat Party MP. He said the Election Commission (EC) would not be able to announce the result because of the very low voter turnout. The PDRC had not obstructed anyone from voting and did not intervene at polling units. The "great mass uprising", or muan maha prachachon, only interfered with the places where ballot papers were kept, he said. "After the protesters emerge victorious, the PDRC will take legal action against Ms Yingluck for spending 3.8 billion baht without listening to other people who disagreed with holding this election," Mr Suthep said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Who won and who lost?

Posted by hasekamp on 2 February 2014 at 21:24 PM
Sunday's election, despite disruptions in certain provinces, was a loss for the anti-government People\92s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) and a show of defiance by Thais to reaffirm their basic rights, academics said. Since the general election had been completed in most of Thailand, the PDRC's next move would be the same - to thwart the electoral process by annulling it, but the basis of insisting on negating the will of the majority of the country would not be easy this time, said Worachet Pakeerut, a Thammasat University law associate professor. “The Election Commission (EC) remains the responsible party to complete the election procedure; in whichever provinces and constituencies that could not take part in the election on Jan 26 and Feb 2, the EC still has to organise polls until it can fill the required seats,” said Mr Worachet, a core member of the Assembly for the Defence of Democracy (AFDD) and the Nitirat group. He deplored the EC "for doing too little in campaigning for the election. An election commissioner scared people into believing the Sunday poll would see ballots being torn up, but there were no such incidents." It was the voters themselves who were eager to affirm their right to cast a ballot and even file complaints when blocked from doing so, he said.
"This election was not a contest between political parties. At stake here was the struggle between the democratic and counter-democratic forces. Having the Feb 2 election shows Thailand is still on the democracy track. In a way, it's a loss for the PDRC which claimed to shut off Bangkok and Thailand from having a democratic choice," said Mr Worachet. The EC should actually be able to do better in preparing for the supplementary election for those constituencies that could not open polls on the two Sundays, Mr Worachet said. He noted that the longer the election process continued, the longer the Yingluck caretaker administration remained intact. Asian Network for Free Elections (Anfrel) chairperson Damaso Magbual told the Bangkok Post that Sunday's poll mirrored the best and the worst that Asian nations normally experience. "The best aspect is the enthusiasm of the voters and the professionalism and duty-bound readiness of some election officers, but the worst is the violence that I saw from Rajathewi District in the morning, where there were gunshots and people running amok," Mr Magbual said. He noted that it was a pity as Thailand was normally one of the most peaceful election places in Asia. The international election watchdog could not deploy a full mission to observe the snap election due to time constraints. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Shooting at Lak Si

Posted by hasekamp on 2 February 2014 at 21:14 PM
Police on Sunday accused anti-government protesters of starting a shoot-out at Lak Si intersection on Saturday which left six people injured. The armed security guards will face arrest warrants after police secure court approval. There is solid evidence pointing to their involvement, said caretaker Labour Minister Chalerm Yubamrung, who directs the Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order. He did not give details of how many members of the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) were to be arrested. "The PDRC did it. Why did they do that?," Mr Chalerm said. Police are convinced that the evidence collected on Saturday night and Sunday morning was enough to implicate the PDRC. Forensic police experts went to the intersection to collect evidence at 9pm on Saturday and again at 11am on Sunday. They found 25 items, including a variety of bullet cartridges and ammunition - .38mm, .9mm, carbine, shotgun and .223mm. The last one is for M16 riffles. They found no evidence of hand grenades and believed that the sound of two big bangs on Saturday could have been giant firecrackers. Most of the evidence was found near a police booth at the intersection while the rest was discovered in front of IT Square, Pol Lt Gen Kamrop Panyakaew, chief of the Forensic Science Police Office, said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Elections over, problems not

Posted by hasekamp on 2 February 2014 at 21:08 PM
Voting in the national election ended at 3pm Sunday, but with a raft of provinces experiencing difficulties, the Election Commission (EC) still has a lot to tackle before an official result can be announced. Voting went ahead in 89% of 93,952 polling stations across the country, the EC concluded after the polls closed at 3pm. Not all provinces were able to take part in the election. Most of those which missed out were in the South. Vote counting was completed at other polling stations but the official results will not be announced as advance voting had yet to be concluded, EC chairman Supachai Somcharoen said. The new round for advance voting has been scheduled for Feb 23. The EC cancelled the poll in all stations in nine of 14 provinces in the South. The provinces of Songkhla, Trang, Phatthalung, Phuket, Surat Thani, Ranong, Krabi, Chumphon and Phangnga had no voting at all. They did not have constituency candidates, no party-list ballot papers and no officials to man the polling stations, EC secretary-general Puchong Nuttrawong said earlier. Another nine provinces, including Bangkok, were able to open polling booths in some or most areas - Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Satun, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Rayong and Phetchaburi provinces. The EC found no problems in 59 provinces, including all 16 in the North and 20 in the Northeast. Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said at the end of voting that she was satisfied with the election and thanked officials and people who came out to vote. The election was the starting point to solving problems through the democratic process, she added. The caretaker government was ready to support the new rounds of elections, she said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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