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Songkran death toll over 300

Posted by hasekamp on 21 April 2015 at 22:12 PM
A bit late, due to circumstances beyond my control, but here it is: As Songkran holiday makers started their journey back to Bangkok and officials intensified safety measures on highways, the Road Safety Centre yesterday said that the first six days (April 9-14) of Songkran had seen 2,915 road accidents. They claimed 306 lives and left 3,070 injured. This was an across-the-board increase from the previous Songkran's six-day period when 2,754 accidents killed 282 people and hurt 2,926 others, said Deputy Interior Minister Suthee Makboon. Phitsanulok and Surin had the most accidents at 109 each, while Surin reported the highest deaths at 15 and the highest number of injuries at 124. Only seven provinces recorded no road accident fatalities: Trang, Bung Kan, Phuket, Mae Hong Son, Yala, Samut Songkhram and Samut Sakhon. On Tuesday alone, 509 accidents killed 55 people and injured 538 others. Phitsanulok recorded the most accidents at 24 cases, while Surin had the most casualties at six deaths and 31 injuries. Police said most accidents stemmed from drunk driving at 47.15 per cent and speeding at 22.4 per cent, while a motorcycle was involved in most accidents (78 per cent). (Source: The Nation)

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Phuket drugs dealer seized

Posted by hasekamp on 21 April 2015 at 22:08 PM
A major Phuket drug dealer was arrested with more than 7 million baht of drugs in Phuket Town on Friday night after police were tipped off by one of her sellers. Thammarat 'Ken' Matte provided police with the nickname and clues to the location of his supplier after he was arrested with 400mg of ya ice (crystal methamphetamine) earlier that day. Police soon arrested Amporn 'Mem' Krasorn, 27, from Phuket in possession of 20g of ya ice. However, they suspected that she had more. After about five hours of questioning, Ms Amporn confessed that she had more drugs hidden in a house on Narison Road, said Phuket Provincial Police Commander Patchara Boonyasit. When police searched the house they found 36,000 ya bah (methamphetamine) pills and 850g of ya ice. "Ms Amporn confessed that she was in charge of distribution, and named her supplier, but said she only knew him by the name 'Mr Art', Maj Gen Patchara added. Ms Amporn was arrested in 2007 for possession of drugs, and in 2011 courts ordered an investigation of her assets, as she was in possession of 3mn baht. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)

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Europe warns Thai fishers

Posted by hasekamp on 21 April 2015 at 22:02 PM
The European Union has threatened to impose sanctions on Thailand's seafood exports to its lucrative 28-country market if the Thai government fails to take urgent action to eradicate illegal fishing and related practices. The country has been given six months to address the issue - or face an import ban likely to cost Bt19-25 billion a year. According to a statement from the EU, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha's government is expected to come up with concrete policies to counter illegal fishing and labour abuses. As a major exporter of seafood, Thailand's annual revenue from the industry is about 5 billion euros, or nearly Bt 174 billion. The European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs, and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella said: "I urge Thailand to join the EU in the fight for sustainable fisheries. Failure to take strong action against illegal fishing will carry consequences." The Thai Foreign Ministry said yesterday that "Thailand is deeply disappointed at the EU's decision". The decision reflected its failure to recognise the longstanding cooperation between Thailand and the EU's competent authorities, a ministry statement said. The government was now seizing the issue firmly, it said. It would match words with deeds through structural changes, law amendments and the passing of new laws, prosecution, and preventive measures, it said. "Thailand will continue to cooperate with the EU to combat IUU (illegal fishing) activities and promote sustainable fishing," the ministry said. (Source: The Nation)

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Electricity critical

Posted by hasekamp on 21 April 2015 at 21:57 PM
The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) said demand for electricity hit a record high as temperatures soared across the country Tuesday. Surpassing a record hit only two weeks ago, Egat recorded usage of 27,139 megawatts. On April 7, 27,056 MW were consumed. Tuesday's demand also surpassed last year's peak of 26,942 MW, and it is expected to rise further. The Meteorological Department reported the average temperature today at 38.3 degrees Celsius. Deputy energy permanent secretary Twarath Sutabutr said the ministry expected electricity demand during this year's hot season would hit new highs several times as seasonal temperatures continue to rise, according to the Meteorological Department. Power demand usually reaches its peak in April or May each year. The highest temperature recorded in Thailand came on April 27, 1960 in Uttaradit province at <strong>44.5C</strong>. The Meteorological Department warned in March that temperatures during this dry season could match the record of 55 years ago. Mr Twarath urged the public to use power effectively even with sufficient supplies of power available. Ways to save power include cleaning air-conditioner filters and turning off unused lights. "Let's set the aircon temperature at 25 degrees Celsius. And every 1 degree increase in your air-con temperature can help you save electricity by 10%," Mr Twarath said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)

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Less road accidents?

Posted by hasekamp on 13 April 2015 at 13:47 PM
SOME 121 people have been killed and 1,281 injured on Thai roads after three of the 'Seven Dangerous Days' linked to the current Songkran break. Second Lieutenant Cherdsak Champathet, adviser to the Justice Minister, held a press conference at the Road Safety Directing Centre yesterday to reveal the latest casualties, which came from 1,215 accidents. Two provinces have been free of reported accidents - Samut Prakan and Amnat Charoen - while 24 provinces have reported no deaths. Surat Thani reported the highest number of accidents - 49 - and the highest number of injuries - 59. Nakhon Ratchasima and Roi Et have recorded the highest number of deaths so far - seven. Drunk driving and speeding were the major causes of road accidents. Cherdsak said statistics showed the number of road accidents over the three days was lower than last year, with 324 fewer accidents, or a 21-per-cent drop. Motorcycles were involved in most accidents. The period that accidents occurred most was from 1pm to 9pm. Deputy government spokesman Maj-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd said the government had increased the number of buses and vans to cater for 24 million Songkran revellers. He said the government was allowing free use of motorway number seven from Bangkok to Ban Chang for motorists travelling to Chon Buri and Pattaya. Motorists are also exempt from having to pay toll fees for motorway number nine from Bangkok to Bang Pa-in and Bangkok Bang Phli until Sunday. (Source: The Nation)

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Before Songkran already 25 dead

Posted by hasekamp on 10 April 2015 at 22:50 PM
ACCIDENTS claimed 25 lives and left 348 people injured on Thursday - the first of Songkran's so-called seven dangerous days on roads around the country. All up, there were 324 road accidents on Thursday. As millions of Thais hit the road to celebrate the traditional Thai New Year, the number of accidents and casualties during this period is particularly high each year. In a bid to reduce the toll, relevant authorities have launched the "Seven Dangerous Days" of Songkran campaign to remind road users of the need to be particularly careful. The Road Safety Directing Centre yesterday announced that drunk driving and speeding were the most common causes of accidents. "And most accidents involve motorcycles," it said. Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra yesterday kicked off a campaign to strictly adhere to traffic laws. The campaign reminds people not to go beyond speed limits, cut in front of other vehicles, run red lights, and to avoiding drinking and driving. "We hope to minimise road casualties," Sukhumbhand said.

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Phuket taxi drivers angry

Posted by hasekamp on 7 April 2015 at 14:18 PM
A sortie of about 30 taxi drivers arrived at Provincial Hall today to plea for intervention into an eviction order forcing them to cease operations at Phuket's main bus terminal in Rassada. The drivers, led by Yod Sae-Lee, carried banners saying: "We formed a legal taxi co-operative more than 10 years ago. We are forced to leave by Rassada Municipality. What are we, more than 50 drivers, supposed to do? Phuket Governor please help us." Mr Sae-Lee handed Governor Nisit Jansomwong a formal complaint detailing the eviction order that was issued by Rassada Municipality on Friday. "Rassada Municipality has taken over the Bus Terminal from the Phuket Land Transport Office [PLTO], effective March 11. Taxis are not permitted by the municipality to operate at the bus station," read the order. Mr Sae-Lee explained to Governor Nisit that the drivers who have been working at the bus terminal in Rassada have done so at the request of the PLTO since the terminal opened three years ago. "We used to operate at the old bus station in Phuket Town, but when the new terminal [in Rassada] opened in 2012, the PLTO asked us to move there," he said. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)

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Fortune teller should stop telling the future

Posted by hasekamp on 7 April 2015 at 13:34 PM
Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered a popular fortune teller to stop predicting his future after a weekend prophecy over the length of the prime minister's term in office stirred controversy. Gen Prayut said on Tuesday that he had "sent a signal'' to Warin Buawiratlert to end his prognosticating about his future after the astrologer forecast on Sunday in Chiang Mai that the junta leader would remain in power for three more years. The controversy grew yesterday when the government's deputy spokesman said the prediction dovetailed with the military-led government's intent to stay in power until its goals were accomplished and subversive plots ended. The prime minister shrugged off the astrologer's prediction and reiterated that he continued to follow the timeline in the roadmap to restore democracy and general elections. "I don't know. (You) should ask him," he told reporters at Government House when asked about the prediction. "I have my own roadmap and I've sent a signal to fortune teller Warin that he should not make any more prediction. And I hope he won't." (Source: The Bangkok Post)

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Russian PM arrives

Posted by hasekamp on 7 April 2015 at 13:27 PM
RUSSIAN Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is to arrive in Bangkok today to cement ties with Thailand in various domains including politics, economy, security, energy, science and technology, education, tourism and culture. Foreign Minister Tanasak Patimapragorn said seven agreements would be signed for energy cooperation and cultural exchanges with Russia. In the meantime, Thai and Russian private companies will sign four memoranda of understanding, which will pave the way for cooperation in business and to increase the level of Russian-Thai trade and investment in the future. This is an official visit after a formal invitation by Prime Minis-ter Prayut Chan-o-cha. Medvedev's plane is to arrive at Don Mueang International Airport this evening. Prayut and his Russian counterpart will meet tomorrow at 10am at Government House to discuss issues of common interest. They include increasing the value of trade between the two countries, the expansion of markets for agricultural products, food, fish, and industrial products, and encouraging more bilateral business activities. (Source: The Nation) Note that Russia is boycotted at the moment by Europe and the US and that therefore there is hardly any trade between Russia and the EU and the USA. Also note that the Russian currency has fallen deeply due to the boycot and that many Russians with a business in Thailand are in problems now, because they are unable to pay their rent and other costs because of the low value of their currency.

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Bus overturned

Posted by hasekamp on 4 April 2015 at 13:55 PM
A bus travelling from Bangkok to Phuket overturned in Krabi early this morning, leaving at least one woman seriously injured. Officers arrived at the scene of the crash, in the Khao To area in Krabi's northernmost district Plai Praya, at about 6:30am. "The driver had fled the scene," said Capt Prasert Jamsai of Plai Phraya Police. (NOTE: This is the usual situation when a driver causes an accident). "The bus belongs to Phuket Central Co Ltd. There were 33 passengers on board, all Thai. About 20 of them suffered minor cuts and bruises." Wipawee Sriracha suffered a head injury and was conscious when she was taken to hospital, he added. "The injured passengers were taken to Plai Phraya Hospital and Thap Put Hospital," Capt Prasert said. "We have contacted the bus company so we can locate and arrest the driver." (Source: The Phuket Gazette)

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Bears removed from Temple

Posted by hasekamp on 4 April 2015 at 13:50 PM
FOREST RANGERS and wildlife protection officials yesterday retrieved six moon bears - a protected species - from dens at a famous temple in Kanchanaburi province known to tourists as the Tiger Temple, despite resistance by resident monks and their followers. The animals were sedated before being hoisted by a crane onto trucks carrying cages and taken away unbeknown to the many protesters, who had blocked the temple's entrance. The bears are now at a wildlife breeding facility in Chon Buri's Bang Lamung district. Action will also be taken in response to 143 or 146 Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation-registered Bengal tigers being kept at the same temple, Wat Pa Luangta Maha Bua, which also serves as a zoo, said senior department official Kraiwut Iamnont. After the dramatic retrieval of the bears, which was carried out by a 400-strong team made up of department staff, police and soldiers, a petition was filed with local police accusing people of keeping a protected species without permission. No forestry or department officials discussed what action will be taken in the case of the tigers. (Source: The Nation)

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Bangkok under tight security

Posted by hasekamp on 4 April 2015 at 13:46 PM
The government has tightened security in public spaces across the capital, as officials attempted to play down fears that violent attacks will target up to 100 locations Sunday. One of the suspects in the Criminal Court grenade attack last week alleged that a wave of attacks would be unleashed today across Bangkok. National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) spokesman Winthai Suwaree said the suspect's statement held no weight, adding that intelligence from security agencies had not uncovered any irregular activities. But security officials were deployed to public areas across the capital, particularly train stations and bus terminals, on Saturday. Col Winthai said the relevant authorities were doing their best to keep the public safe in the face of threats. "Let me assure you that the police and the military are monitoring the situation closely," he said. "Security measures may be adjusted or intensified as required. "Searches of vehicles and personal belongings may be increased as the authorities see fit." He added that key locations were being monitored by uniformed and plainclothes officers. (Source: The Bangkok Post)

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Martial law withdrawn, but.

Posted by hasekamp on 3 April 2015 at 22:16 PM
Here is a summarised version of the 14-point Order on Maintaining Public Order and National Security, issued on Wednesday night by Prime Minister and National Council for Peace and Order head General Prayut Chan-o-cha, to replace martial law. Item 1: This order shall come into force from the date of its publication in the Government Gazette. Item 2: A "peace and order-maintaining officer" refers to a military officer with the rank of sub-lieutenant and a pilot officer or above appointed by the NCPO head to act in accordance with this order. An "assistant peace and order-maintaining officer" refers to a military officer of a lower rank than sub-lieutenant or a pilot officer appointed by the NCPO head to act in accordance with this order. Item 3: Peace and order-maintaining officers shall act swiftly to prevent and suppress offences against the monarchy and state security, and offences under the laws on weapons and announcements or orders by the NCPO. Item 4: Peace and order-maintaining officers have the power to summon persons and documents, make arrests, help or take part in investigations of offences under Item 3, conduct searches, seize or freeze assets, and carry out other acts assigned by the NCPO. Item 5: Peace and order maintaining officers are empowered to issue orders prohibiting the distribution of news, publications and other media deemed to cause fear, contain distorted facts, or likely cause public misunderstanding that affects national security or public order. Item 6: Peace and order-maintaining officers are empowered to detain suspected violators summoned for questioning for no more than seven days. Such detention must be carried out on premises other than police stations, detention facilities, or prisons, and the detainee shall not be treated as an accused person. Item 7: Assistant peace and order-maintaining officers shall perform duties as ordered or assigned by peace and order-maintaining officers. Item 8: Peace and order-maintaining officers and their assistants shall be regarded as authorised officers under the Penal Code, and as administrative officers or police officers under the Code of Criminal Procedure. Item 9: Any person who contravenes or fails to comply with orders issued by a peace and order-maintaining officer or an assistant on duty shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding one year or a fine of no more than Bt20,000, or both. Item 10: Any person who resists or obstructs a peace and order-maintaining officer or an assistant on duty shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding one year or a fine of no more than Bt20,000, or both. Item 11: Peace and order-maintaining officers may allow the release of individuals detained under this order, with or without conditions. Conditions for release include not leaving the country. Those who fail to comply with conditions of release shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding one year or a fine of no more than Bt20,000, or both. Item 12: Political gatherings of five or more persons shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding six months or a fine of no more than Bt10,000, or both, unless permission has been granted by the NCPO head or an authorised representative. Offenders who voluntarily agree to receive corrective training for no more than seven days may be released with or without conditions. Those who fail to comply with the conditions of release shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding six months or a fine of no more than Bt10,000, or both. Item 13: Actions under this order are not subject to the laws on administrative procedures and the Law on the Establishment of the Administrative Court and the Administrative Procedures Code. Item 14: Peace and order-maintaining officers and assistants shall be protected under the 2005 Decree on Public Administration in Emergency Situations, although a damaged party still has the right to seek compensation. (Source The Nation)

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No criticism wanted

Posted by hasekamp on 3 April 2015 at 22:11 PM
Thailand's junta chief Friday vowed to shut down critical media outlets as he faced a growing international backlash against his decision to replace martial law with new powers retaining his absolute authority. Bemoaning critics of his regime, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha ordered the media to toe the regime's line or face consequences. "I will shut them down only when they don't say good things. I have not yet shut down any publications but please write in a good way. If it is not good, then I will need to do that," a stern-faced Prayut told reporters during a visit to a military college in Bangkok. Prayut officially lifted martial law on Wednesday, 10 months after seizing power in a May coup. But the controversial law was replaced with a new executive order retaining sweeping powers for him and the military. Among the new rules in the order is a provision allowing military officers to stop the publication or presentation of any news they deem to be "causing fear or distorted information". (Source The Nation)

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