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Prayut talks about elections

Posted by hasekamp on 30 November 2014 at 10:54 AM
Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha insisted yesterday on his intention to hold an election within one year as per his initial road map but said it depends on how ready the country is. However, the premier then burst out after being pressured by questions from the media on the junta's plans and election schedule. "If you really want the election to be held tomorrow I will be ready. But do you really want it? I don't understand what you want from me. The country has a lot of problems to be solved but you [media] keep finding fault with me," he said. Many things needed to be done before an election is held, he said. The new charter was not completed yet and they also needed to draft organic laws. Late on Wednesday, Finance Minister Sommai Phasi gave an interview to the BBC in which he said that general elections may be delayed by a year and a half. But Prayut said that was just Sommai's personal evaluation. The premier pleaded for sympathy from the public and media, saying that everybody should give him some hope and suggestions. "They [public] should not put pressure on me over when my government tasks will be finished or if our performance is poor. You shouldn't ask me when the election will be held or when we will leave. What am I?" he said. Speaking to reporters on his return to Bangkok from Vietnam, Prayut spoke with an apparently angry voice while hitting the podium all the time. He also told reporters that the media would write that he was upset after returning from abroad. Prayut then went on to explain why the Human Rights Watch website had been blocked, saying that the decision was up to the Information and Communications Technology Department, whose duty it is to enforce certain rules and regulations. "How is this a restriction or censorship? Go and read what they wrote. If you think anybody can say anything at all, then the country won't survive," he said. (Source: The Nation)


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PM: Elections within one year

Posted by hasekamp on 28 November 2014 at 18:48 PM
Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha Friday affirmed his intention to hold the next election within one year from now accordance with his initial roadmap but it will depend on how ready the country will be. During the talk to the media, Prayut appeared angry he was pressured with questions from media on the junta's roadmap and election schedule. (Source: The Nation)


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First Thai tablet

Posted by hasekamp on 26 November 2014 at 15:02 PM
Computer System Connection International yesterday premiered the country's first local-brand tablet computer, the CSC Wisebook, with a first-year sales target of 350,000 units worth Bt2.5 billion. "The 350,000 units are for Thailand this year. We will not stop only with the Thai market. We're looking to ship CSC Wisebooks to Asean countries in the future," Pichai Neranartkormol, chief executive officer of CSC, said yesterday. The company has joined forces with Microsoft and Intel to equip the hand-held devices with the Windows 8.1 operating system and Atom Z3735 processor. It is the first local brand built to international standards in both specifications and design. It is also the first time for a local information-technology firm to partner with the two technology giants in creating a smart device. WISE is short for Windows, Intel, smart and easy. (Source : The Nation)


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Partial amnesty?

Posted by hasekamp on 26 November 2014 at 14:55 PM
Members of the Democrat and Pheu Thai parties insisted yesterday that an amnesty bill should cover only ordinary protesters - not the leaders of political groups, parties or colour-coded groups. The justice system, they said, should be allowed to play an important role in solving many issues and prolonged disputes in the country. The proposal for an amnesty bill was discussed by a charter drafters' subcommittee on Monday, as a way of accomplishing true reconciliation. Anek Laothamatas, chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC)'s sub-panel responsible for chapters on national reforms and reconciliation, suggested an amnesty covering political protests going back to 2005, and possibly including protest leaders and military officers. Former Democrat MP Nipit Intarasombat said he disagreed with the suggestion as it could lead to another rally and protests. "Perhaps CDC members were not in the rally and do not understand the importance of the previous protest against the blanket amnesty bill," the Democrat member said. Nipit explained that the previous protest covered two big issues including a blanket amnesty bill - for wrongdoers and for the previous government that sought to amend articles in the previous charter. He said if the country went back to the proposed amnesty bill, it could ignite more demonstrations. "However, I agree with Anek on granting amnesty for ordinary people who participated in rallies because most came forward and protested peacefully," Nipit said. However, leaders whose followers lost their lives in the unrest could be seen as having broken criminal laws, he said, and they had to face charges and defend themselves under the justice system. Asked whether the red-shirt leaders should also be included in the amnesty bill or not, Nipit said "I heard those red-shirt leaders had insisted on not being included in the bill and they insisted on proving themselves in court for the cases they faced." (Source : The Nation)


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The minister will explain

Posted by hasekamp on 24 November 2014 at 22:00 PM
The Foreign Ministry plans to invite the United Nations' top human rights officer for the region to hear its explanation over why it arrested demonstrators who flashed the "three-finger salute", the ministry's spokesman said Sunday. The ministry was responding to remarks by Matilda Bogner, the Southeast Asia representative for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, condemning the detention of students displaying three fingers, inspired by the rallying gesture of anti-dictatorial rebels in The Hunger Games Hollywood blockbuster franchise. Ms Bogner said the junta's clampdown violates human rights and freedom of expression. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Flashflood in Samui

Posted by hasekamp on 24 November 2014 at 21:51 PM
Flashflood hit the Chawaeng town on Koh Samui at 7:20 pm Sunday following torrential rains throughout the day. Officials said the rains were measured at 70 millimetres. The roads in the beach town were impassable for small vehicles. All entertainment venues had to be closed because of the flooding. (Source: The Nation)


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Prayut says he is not a dictator

Posted by hasekamp on 23 November 2014 at 11:07 AM
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha asserted yesterday that his government was not dictatorial although he admitted that it "may not be 100 per cent democratic". He reiterated that he had no plan to set up a pro-military political party that would inherit power from his post-coup administration. "Did I do anything wrong? Have I done any damage or wasn't the situation already bad when I took over?" Prayut said. "I may not be 100 per cent democratic. But I want to ask if being 100 per cent democratic did anything good to the country? Find the answer for me," he added, appearing tense. General Prayut, who led the coup of May 22 while serving as the Army chief, also urged anti-coup activists not to obstruct his government's work on national reform. "I am ready to listen to any problem. They should tell me. But don't ask for democracy or an election now. I can't give it to you," he said. (Source: The Nation)


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Prayut sees obstacles

Posted by hasekamp on 23 November 2014 at 10:59 AM
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha says his government is trying to end the country's deadlock but obstacles remain at different levels. Speaking at the end of a week in which small but symbolic protests against his government dominated the news, Gen Prayut said he would like people to channel their energy into constructive work for the country. He also warned members of the media that "freedom of the press" had its limits, and said some social media commentary in particular was hurting the cause of reconciliation. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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PM not happy with martial law

Posted by hasekamp on 21 November 2014 at 10:21 AM
Prime Minister Prayut Chanocha on Thursday admitted that he is unhappy that Thailand is still under the martial law. Prayut was giving a special lecture at the National Defence College of Thailand. "The longer it is enforced, the less happy he is, he said, adding that it however remained necessary for the time being," he said. He also asked the media not to ask him everyday when this special law will be lifted because he will not answer it. (Source: The Nation)


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Next constitution better?

Posted by hasekamp on 21 November 2014 at 10:18 AM
Kamnoon Sidhisamarn, a key member of the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC), says he is determined to help create a charter that does not just serve this generation but also ensures security and happiness for future generations. He also admitted that though he cannot deny his anti-Thaksin Shinawatra sentiments, which he is known for, he will try to be very neutral when drafting this charter. "I cannot change people's minds or what they think of me. I can't deny being anti-Thaksin either, but would like to call on the public to see me as a human who has two children. I pledge that this constitution will be a neutral one that ensures our children have better, secure lives," the political columnist turned lawmaker said. A former law graduate who also oversees legal affairs for the National Reform Council (NRC), Kamnoon said there have been many cases in which previous constitutions have been wrongly interpreted in the legal sense and many articles have been misunderstood and wrongly implemented. Therefore, he said, working on "intent of law and literature" is very important for this charter and how it is implemented in the future. Kamnoon is also chairman of CDC's subcommittee in charge of Intent of Law and Literature. (Source: The Nation)


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Corruption rating for government offices

Posted by hasekamp on 19 November 2014 at 10:49 AM
The Land office is the most corrupt agency in the Thai bureaucracy, while police are ranked second in this dubious list where households needed to make illegal payments to facilitate their service, according to an academic survey. The survey titled "Corruption in the Thai Bureaucracy in 2014: A Survey of Attitudes and Experiences of Heads of Households" by Chulalongkorn University's Pasuk Phongpaichit found that 7.2 per cent of 6,048 heads of Thai households said they were asked for a bribe by officials at land offices whenever contacted for a service, while 6.1 per cent said police personnel asked for money from them. Land offices, which come under the Department of Lands, are the key agency for all transactions and documentation involving sale or purchase of land. The office is authorised to charge a fee but officials demand extra money to speed up work or legalise some grey documents, the survey revealed. The Departments of Customs and Land Transport also took bribes, but only 2.4 and 1.9 per cent respectively of households in the survey said they needed to offer bribes to officials for their services, Pasuk said. (Source: The Nation)


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More tourists in October

Posted by hasekamp on 19 November 2014 at 10:44 AM
Foreign tourist arrivals to Thailand rose in October for the first time this year, helped by a huge spike in Chinese visits and improvements from Asean. Total arrivals in Octover totalled 2.18 million, an increase of 6.1% from October last year. For the first 10 months of 2014, arrivals totalled 19.74 million, a decline of 8.7%. The figures offer some hope to an industry that had been expecting a much faster recovery after seeing dismal numbers in the turbulent months prior to the May 22 coup. Arrivals in June alone fell 24.4%. The October figure was also a big improvement from September, when arrivals were off 7% year-on-year. Arrivals from East Asia, which accounts for 58.4% of all visitors, were up 15.1% from the same month last year. However, the figure for the first 10 months is still down 12.9% from a year earlier, according to data compiled by the Department of Tourism. Arrivals from China, the country's biggest tourist market with a 23% share of all visitors, jumped 67% in the month, to 501,043 from 299,982 a year earlier. The reason for the large increase was not clear, and Chinese arrivals are still down 11.1% for the January-October period.


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Thai export down

Posted by hasekamp on 17 November 2014 at 13:16 PM
Thailand is heading for a second straight year of slumping exports, something the one-time tiger economy hasn't experienced in at least two decades and a loss that magnifies challenges for the military-run government. Shipments abroad, which make up the equivalent of about 70% of the economy, have shrunk in six out of nine months this year and will probably contract in 2014, according to the central bank. That's in comparison to an annual average pace of growth of about 13% in the period 2002 to 2012. While Thailand has grappled with political instability and record flooding in recent years, rivals including Vietnam and the Philippines have seen exports climb. Investment proposals for infrastructure have been delayed for months by violent unrest that ended when Prayuth Chan-Ocha, the former military chief, seized power in a May coup. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Time to srop tv ban?

Posted by hasekamp on 16 November 2014 at 12:36 PM
The army chief has denied news the military has pressured for a ban on a TV programme on a state-run channel. Gen Udomdej Sitabutr on Saturday said soldiers had never forced the management of ThaiPBS to replace the news anchor of the "Voice of the People" programme. "We've never asked anyone to stop doing anything. But if we find out someone has an attitude that indicates he doesn't understand the situation, we need to talk to him. In fact, we talk with [the executives of] some channels regularly," the army chief said. The situation has improved significantly from May 22 but talks are still necessary, especially when something paints a negative picture, said Gen Udomdej, who is also deputy defence minister. (Source:The Bangkok Post)


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Flood warning

Posted by hasekamp on 14 November 2014 at 10:33 AM
Four southern provinces were warned yesterday of floods and high waves during the next couple of days. People in Chumphon, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat and Phattha-lung were told to prepare for heavy downpours, flash floods, landslides and high waves. Chotnarin Keidsom, a director of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department's centre, said even though rain had eased in these provinces, the situation still had to be monitored. In Surat Thani, the river might overflow, deluging areas in Chawang, Thung Yai, Phrasaeng, Khian Sa and Phunphin districts. Officials reached out to locals living in flooded lowlands in Phrasaeng district, distributing relief kits and medical supplies. Tambon Eipun, Sakoo and Sinpun of Phrasaeng district usually suffer flooding for months during the rainy season. (Source: The Nation)


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Fake marriages

Posted by hasekamp on 14 November 2014 at 10:29 AM
The Udon Thani Immigration Office has identified 193 foreign men who have faked their marriage with Thai women to be eligible for one-year resident visa. Most of them are Indians and the rest came from Nigeria, Nepal, Cameroon and Iran. An official from the office said these 193 foreigners would see their visa revoked soon. (Source: The Nation)


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At last some animal protection?

Posted by hasekamp on 13 November 2014 at 16:45 PM
UNDER A newly passed law, eating live animals, feeding mammals to predators without a reason or having sex with animals will result in a year in prison and/or a maximum fine of Bt20,000. The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) passed this much-awaited law in an overwhelming 188:1 vote, with four abstentions. The assembly also passed a law related to the operation of veterinary clinics in a 185:0 vote, with four abstentions. The 2014 Prevention of Animal Cruelty and Provision of Animal Welfare Act also outlaws beating, burning, or torturing animals to death; using them in illegal activities or hard labour; detaining them in narrow enclosures; keeping aggressive species together; pitting animals against each other without authorisation; deforming or disabling them; and poisoning or using chemicals to cause injury or death. Those failing to take care of ill animals or transporting them in unsuitable vehicles leading to death or injuries can also be charged. The fine will be imposed on violators on a daily basis until the actions stop. Rescued animals will be taken under the care of the Livestock Development Department. (Source: The Nation)


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King better but still in hospital

Posted by hasekamp on 13 November 2014 at 16:39 PM
His Majesty the King's general condition has improved after receiving new antibiotics to treat a recurrence of an inflammation of the diverticulum of the large intestine, the Royal Household Bureau says. In its ninth statement issued on Thursday night, the bureau said His Majesty had developed a fever and experienced pain in the abdomen again, while his breathing was faster. Doctors at Siriraj Hospital conducted a chest X-ray examination which showed his lungs are normal. However, blood tests and an ultrasound examination of his abdomen showed signs of a recurrence of inflammation of the diverticulum of the large intestine. The doctors then administered new antibiotics and saline solution intraveneously to treat the swelling. His Majesty's fever is easing, the doctors said. The doctors will continue to prescribe antibiotics longer than previously.(Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Forbidden book

Posted by hasekamp on 13 November 2014 at 16:35 PM
Police Commissioner General Pol Gen Somyos Pumphanmuang Thursday invoked the 2007 Printing Act to ban the import and distribution of 'A Kingdom in Crisis' book in Thailand. The book written by David Eimer was deemed lese majesty and detrimental to the national security and good morality of the people, the ban order said. (Source: The Nation)


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Chinese railways

Posted by hasekamp on 11 November 2014 at 14:54 PM
THAILAND is more than ready to cooperate with China to develop the road-transport network that is part of the economic quadrangle linking Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and China, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha told China's President Xi Jinping during a meeting in Beijing yesterday. Prayut, who arrived in this Chinese capital yesterday to participate in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit, met Xi and told him that Thailand appreciated China's strategies in developing the R3A route - which when constructed could become one of the world's prominent economic routes. China has been hailed for initiating the land and sea 'Silk Roads'. The route would link China and Thailand through Laos. (Source: The Nation)


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Bangkok #22 for fun

Posted by hasekamp on 11 November 2014 at 14:37 PM
Among 1,830 cities across the world, Bangkok earned the 22nd place out of the 25 most fun cities for travel, scoring well in the "Adult Entertainment" category, according to a survey. To define what exactly makes a city fun for travellers of different age groups and interests, the survey by GetYourGuide and GoEuro covered 11 factors, from visits to clubs and bars, to shopping, adult entertainment, museums and concerts. Among the top 25 cities, Bangkok scored the highest points in the adult entertainment category. Yet, it still lags behind several cities in other categories, particularly shopping, museum and concerts.While the averge beer price in Bangkok is 1.43 euro, that nearly doubles the 0.82 euro ones have to pay while in Berlin - ranked the No.1 in the survey. Yet, the number and quality of bars and clubs as well as provided activities in Berlin is considered the best. In the top 10 list include London, Paris, New York, Tokyo, Hamburg, Rome, Vienna, Barcelona and Istanbul. (Source: The Nation)


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Belgian drug dealer caught

Posted by hasekamp on 10 November 2014 at 16:27 PM
Immigration officers arrested Belgian national Patrick Lagrou, 55, who was wanted on an Interpol notice as a fugitive drug dealer, as he was attempting to leave Phuket on Saturday night. Lagrou is renowned as the biggest marijuana grower in Belgium's history, amassing a fortune of 25 million euros - more than a billion baht - in assets before he fled to Thailand, said Phuket Immigration Superintendent Sunchai Chokkajaykij. (Source: The Nation)


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Bad weather in the south

Posted by hasekamp on 9 November 2014 at 19:33 PM
Strong winds, forest runoff and heavy downpours wrought havoc in Nakhon Si Thammarat on Saturday, causing power transformers to explode in several areas. Hours of heavy rain left parts of Muang district under water, forcing local residents to rush to move their belongings to higher floors. Conditions began to ease after officials and volunteers drained water from some flooded parts of the town, said Chatchai Promlert, the head of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department. Flood alert for 16 provinces. However, Jetsada Wattananurak, head of the department's provincial office, cautioned residents living in areas prone to flooding and mudslides to closely monitor water levels and accumulated rainfall. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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To prosecute or not?

Posted by hasekamp on 9 November 2014 at 19:28 PM
Some issues agreed upon; NACC, OAG lawyers differ on interrogating more witnesses. The anti-graft agency and public prosecutors failed for a third time yesterday to reach agreement on whether a criminal case should be filed against former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra in relation to her government's controversial rice-pledging scheme. This repeated failure has prompted speculation that the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) might decide to take a case against Yingluck itself to the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Political Office Holders. An NACC source said that without a clear conclusion from the meeting between senior prosecutors from the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) and NACC officials, it was likely that the anti-graft agency would take the case to court if the prosecutors continue to refuse to do so. The NACC has previously taken criminal cases against political-office holders to court without the Attorney General's consent, including the one against Yingluck's older brother, former PM Thaksin. The anti-graft agency has called on the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) to impeach Yingluck for dereliction of duty for allegedly failing to end the corruption-plagued rice-pledging scheme, which is estimated to have cost the state at least Bt600 billion. Both sides met for about three hours yesterday at the NACC headquarters in Nonthaburi to discuss the case. (Source:The Nation)


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Japanese investors may leave

Posted by hasekamp on 9 November 2014 at 19:17 PM
At least half of all Japanese companies operating in Thailand would be forced to surrender operational control or relocate if proposed changes to the Foreign Business Act go ahead, a senior diplomat has warned. Mitsugu Saito, minister and deputy chief of mission of the Japan Embassy, said an amendment restricting foreign control over joint-venture companies like the one proposed in 2007 would have a serious impact on existing and future investment. "The embassy is quite seriously concerned about the draft amendment," Mr Saito told the Bangkok Post Sunday. "If the law is changed, the ownership of a joint venture has to be a Thai national, and they [the Japanese] will have to decide to give up foreign ownership or withdraw their business from Thailand." Some 45% of 5,000 Japanese companies in Thailand are in the service sector, and the proposed changes to the law would affect 99% of them, Mr Saito said. It wasn't clear how many of the remaining 55% of firms would be affected. Japanese investment in Thailand is valued at US$57 billion (1.8 trillion baht), according to the Bank of Thailand, contributing to more than half the country's foreign direct investment. Japan's concern comes after last week's revelation that the Commerce Ministry planned to amend the FBA so that a company would be classified as "foreign" even if foreigners hold 49% or less of the shares but have control of the board and "company direction".(Source : The Bangkok Post)


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His Majesty treated in hospital

Posted by hasekamp on 5 November 2014 at 10:33 AM
His Majesty the King undergoes treatment for diverticulitis and is being administered relevant antibiotics,the Royal Household Bureau announced on Tuesday. In the eighth announcement after His Majesty's admittance to Siriraj Hospital, the bureau said the monarch had been suffering from stomachache, an increased rate of breathing and a slight fever. After finding no problems with His Majesty's heart, a team of doctors conducted blood tests and X-rayed the stomach to find signs of diverticulitis. The doctors then administered antibiotics, which have eased the pain and helped bring down the fever. His Majesty's condition is being closely monitored and he will be provided with suitable meals until the condition is cleared.The statement said doctors detected diverticulum on His Majesty for the first time in 1999 and His Majesty developed diverticulitis in 2007, 2011 and 2012. (Source:The Nation)


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PM: Do not write about Thaksin

Posted by hasekamp on 3 November 2014 at 16:47 PM
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Monday urged the media to avoid reporting the moves of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, saying he is a fugitive on the run from lawsuits. He said the reports of Thaksin's moves could cause his supporters to continue their political moves. Some newspapers and TV stations have been reporting Thaksin's visit to China along with his sister, former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra. "The media should not publish pictures of anyone who has violated the law. Why have they reported it?" Prayut said. "If someone is facing lawsuits, the media should avoid reporting anything about him because when they do, questions arise as to why the government would not take action against him." (Source: The Nation) PM, Thaksin, censorship


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Prayuth richer than Thailand thought

Posted by hasekamp on 1 November 2014 at 20:37 PM
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has assets worth Bt102.3 million and his wife has asset worth Bt26.3 million in his financial statement submittted to the National Anti-Corruption Commission upon taking the post of premier on September 4. Prayut reported that he has a debt worth Bt654,745 so the first couple have net assets worth Bt128 million. (Source: The Nation)


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