24 Apr 2018
9:20 am

Officials of the Business Development Department will help farmers to team up together to form companies or other business entities to take advantage of Alibaba’s online super-market to sell their agricultural produce.

Commerce Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong said Monday (April 23) that with the launch of Alibaba’s Tmall online supermarket in Thailand, Thai entrepreneurs and agriculturalists must adapt themselves with the new marketing platform so they can have access to new markets and new consumers.

He disclosed that, so far, over 100 durian orchard owners have registered to sell their durian online via Tmall.com, adding that more Thai fruits besides durian would be available on sale online to Chinese consumers such as mangosteen and longan.

The first online order of 80,000 durian shortly after the Thai durian was put on sale on Alibaba’s Tmall.com on Thursday (April 19) and Alibaba’s pledge to buy Thai durian worth over 10 billion baht in three years have driven the price of durain at the orchard from an average of 60-70 baht per kilogramme to 79 baht/kg for Grade A durian.

Mr Sontirat urged Thai people not to be panic with the first online sale of durian to Chinese consumers in China via Tmall.com, noting that the 80,000 durian sold amounts to just a fraction of durian output this year which was estimated to be around 760,000 fruits.

Despite the good prospect from Alibaba’s online supermarket, a few farmer’s group leaders expressed cautious optimism.

Mr Chotichai Buadit, leader of the Rayong’s agri-tourism group, warned of possible Chinese trade monopoly and price suppression in the future.

He said durian orchard owners should not be over-excited with the first big lot sale of durain by Alibaba, saying that the orchard owners should explore other markets besides China.

Mr Suvit Saeng-arkart, another farmer leader in Rayong, said farmers should focus on improving the quality of their fruits while, at the same time, should familiarize themselves with e-commerce or online sale.

An environment and health expert, Mr Somnuck Jongmeewasin, warned that online sale of Thai fruits could encourage farmers to turn to mono-culture to meet market demand.

23 Apr 2018
6:12 pm

Three people, including a girl, were injured when a LPG gas cylinder exploded inside a townhouse in Samut Prakan province on Monday (April 23).

Quoting eyewitness accounts, police said that the houseowner in Poomjai Nives housing estate ordered a LPG gas cylinder to be delivered to the house to replace an old one which has run out of gas.

But as the delivery man was testing whether the new gas cylinder works properly or not after it was connected with the gas stove, the cylinder exploded injuring the delivery man who suffered burns.  Two children who were in the house at the time were also injured.

The force of the explosion also brought down the roof of the house.

Rescue workers who later arrived at the scene rushed to the three injured to the nearest hospital for treatment.

Mr Tassanasak Jiewcharoen, a public disaster prevention and mitigation chief of Klong Bang Plakod Tambon Administration Organization, said he suspected gas leak as the delivery man was testing the gas stove.

23 Apr 2018
1:47 pm

A 25-year-old man who allegedly beat up his girlfriend and broadcasted the act live on Facebook yesterday (April 22) has been initially pressed with four charges, ranging from assault, drug abuse to computer crime.

Chaichana Sirichart was arrested at a condominium in Bangkok’s Bung Kum district last night shortly after video clips of him allegedly beating and threatening to kill a woman went viral on Facebook.

Royal Thai Police deputy spokesman Pol Col Krissana Pattanacharoen said the victim’s sister and Facebook users alerted the police after seeing the livestreamings on the social media.

Police and rescuers managed to talk the man to allow them inside the room and rescued the woman who sustained serious injuries.

Deputy police chief Pol Gen Wirachai Songmetta went to Bung Kum police station to interrogate the suspect, who told the police that he beat up his girlfriend with a broom and a facial massager after learning that she was cheating on him.

Mr Chaichana also tested positive for methamphetamine.

Pol Col Krissana said the man was initially charged with physical and mentally assault, detention, drug abuse, and violations of Computer Crime Act.

The man allegedly confessed to all charges, Pol Col Krissana said.


23 Apr 2018
12:34 pm

Search and rescue team continue to search for the 82-year-old Japanese tourist who went missing at Doi Inthanon National Park in Chiang Mai province two weeks ago.

Kinya Nakamura got separated from his son, Shinya Nakamura, a mixed Thai-Japanese man who lives in Thailand, as they were visiting Phra Mahathat Naphapholphumisiri on April 9.

Doi Inthanon national park chief Rung Hirunwong said the search team which had sniffing dogs to join the search, separated in two groups, with the first group setting  foot from Phra Mahathat chedi along a 1.5 kilometre long track to look for Mr Kinya.

The second group headed on the top of the hill behind the Phra Maha That chedi on a one kilometre track.

But until late in the evening yesterday (April 22), the two teams still could not find any trace of the tourist, and therefore decided to call off the search, leaving only park officials to continue the search, he said.

Both search teams viewed that the tourist might not be in the vicinity of Phra Maha That chedi where he first went missing, he said.

22 Apr 2018
11:34 pm

Two people were killed and five others seriously injured when a pickup truck crashed into a motorcycle with a sidecar and turned over on a road in Singha Nakhon district of Songkhla province on Sunday (April 22).

Quoting eyewitness accounts, Singha Nakhon district police said that the sidecar which carried five people of the same family, including the driver, tried to make a U-turn to the other side of the Songkhla-Ranot road and then a pickup truck which was following the side car in close range failed to stop and slammed into it.

The force of the impact flung all the five family members out of the sidecar onto the road in different directions.  Two people in the sidecar, Atthapol Tohmud, 21 and Thirapong Poodpong, 10, died at the scene. Three others identified as Mrs Wanna Poodpong, Ms Thananan Poodpong, 23 and Ms Kanokwan Petcharat, 3, were seriously injured.

The pickup truck turned over before it smasked into a power pole which collapsed.  The couple in the vehicle, Mr Kamsing Tapsong, and his wife, Mrs Prathum sustained serious injuries.

All the injured and the dead victims were later rushed to Singha Nakorn district hospital.

22 Apr 2018
10:07 pm

Lao chief of general staff Lt-Gen Suvon Luongbunmi has assured that Thai fugitives, including red-shirt supporters, taking refuge in Laos will not be allowed to conduct any activity which will pose a problem for the Thai government, Post Today reports.

“Have confidence with (us), don’t be worried, have confidence with (us),” said Lt-Gen Suvon in response to a question raised by the Thai media accompanying Supreme Commander Gen Tarnchaiyan Srisuwan on his four-day visit to Laos starting Sunday (April 22).

Gen Tarnchaiyan and Lt-Gen Suvon and military officers of the two countries participated in a Thod Pha Pa robe-offering ceremony to present saffron robes to monks at Wat Ongtue Mahavihara in Vientiane.

The Thai military also joined in the renovation of the temple which is the oldest temple in the Laotian capital.

Lt-Gen Suvon described the joint robe-offering ceremony as an important activity that symbolizes the relationship between the two armies.

Thailand and Laos had close military relationship and had been helping each other all along to maintain peace, Post Today quoted Lt-Gen Suvon as saying.

22 Apr 2018
8:50 pm

The Government Savings Bank (GSB) and the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) have collectively extended emergency loans amounting to 10 billion baht to some 220,000 people so they do not have to seek loans from “loan sharks” and fall into unorganized debt trap.

Pornchai Theeravet, spokesman of the Fiscal Policy Office, said that the two state-owned banks also extended another 670 million baht in emergency loans to 15,000 low-income earners who have registered to be eligible to receive state welfare.

He said that, so far, the two state-run banks had lent over 10 billion baht to some 240,000 low-income earners to prevent them falling into the unorganized debt trap.

Mr Pornchai disclosed that, as of March this year, there were altogether 458 applications from 66 provinces to operate Pico financial service.  Of these, 201 of them in 54 provinces have become operational, with most of them in Nakhon Ratchasima, Bangkok and Roi Et.

The Pico finance operators have, so far, extended loans amounting to 313 million baht to 165 borrowers.  The number of NPLs or unpaid debts over three months in a row has dropped to about 3.96 percent of the total debts owed.

Pico Finance is a retail loan business with registered capital of more than 5 million baht. The Pico Finance provides loans of not exceeding 50,000 per person with interest rate of less than 36% per year. Each operator is able to extend loans only in the registered province.

22 Apr 2018
2:43 pm

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will announce cabinet reshuffle next week which will involve all 16 ministries, The Straits Times Online reported on Saturday (April 21).

However, he said in London that not all the ministers would be moving to new ministries, but for some key ministers, their portfolios will be adjusted, but basically staying in the same places.

Analysts and Singaporeans alike have been watching for signs which office holders will be moved or promoted.

The Straits Times earlier reported that three veteran ministers, Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang, 64; Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say, 63; and Information and Communications Minister Yacob Ibrahim 62, are expected to step down.

Asked about who will be the next prime minister, PM Lee said he was confident that the fourth-generation ministers were making headway in choosing a leader.

“I am quite confident that gradually they are beginning to have a sense of one another and who they would like to have to lead them,” he said.

The 4G leaders have been tasked to draft President Halimah Yacob’s inaugural address at the opening of the Parliament on May 7, which sets out the government’s agenda and policies for the remaining years of its term.

22 Apr 2018
11:41 am

Construction of the 5th Thai-Lao friendship bridge linking the northeastern province of Bueng Kan with Laos’ western township of Pakxan in Bolikhamsai province is likely to commence this year-end with the Ministry of Transport expecting to seek budget from the government in October.

Land clearing for the construction of a road heading to the site of the 3.6-billion-baht bridge project in Bueng Kan province has already started with land along the road being expropriated and landowners compensated.  Rubber trees along the route have also been felled for the road construction.

Bueng Kan governor Phisut Busayapanpong said that Bueng Kan has the logistic capacity to cater to the increased passenger and cargo traffic in Nong Khai and Nakhon Phanom once the two provinces are linked by dual track train system and high-speed train system with Bangkok.


He said the people of Bueng Kan had the expectation that the new friendship bridge linking the province with Pakxan in Laos would boost trade, investment and tourism in the province and help improve its economy.

The bridge will also facilitate the flow of goods and people from northeastern Thailand through Laos into Vietnam and southern China and vice versa.

The volume of border trade in Bueng Kan for the first six months of this fiscal year amounted to 4.7 billion baht with Thai exports accounting for 3 billion baht.

With the completion of the bridge, Bueng Kan Customs Office expects that border trade will multiply to about 30 billion baht per annum.

21 Apr 2018
7:53 pm

Royal Thai Police commissioner Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda insists that anyone who are found to commit crimes would not be spared even they are monks.

Comment from Pol Gen Chakthip came after the National Office of Buddhism (NOB) lodged complaint with the Counter Corruption Police Division against five senior monks–three of them are members of the Sangha Supreme Council–for alleged embezzlement of fund to support Phra Pariyattidhamma Schools.

Pol Gen Chakthip made clear that the police would deal with the case according to the law and was confidence that police had sufficient evidence to indict the accused.

He also assured that the police were ready to maintain public order should there be any movement from disciples and followers of the accused monks.

The law does not forbid the police from arresting monks, especially bad monks, he said.

Meanwhile, Phra Dharma Kitti Methi, the chairman of the Buddhism Protection Center of Thailand, stated that he believes Pol Lt Col Pongporn Pramsaneh, the NOB chief, had only part of the details when he filed the complaints against the monks. As such there were misinterpretations on the handling of monastic funds.

According to the monk, once the funds are received from the government, it was the prerogative of the Sangha Supreme Council to allocate them for activities they deem necessary.

Phra Dharma Kitti Methi admitted that the allegation against the senior monks could stir up dissatisfactions among some Buddhists, especially disciples of the senior monks.