18 Aug 2017
10:32 pm

The Central Administrative Court on Friday (Aug 18) held the last hearing on a petition by former Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom, former Deputy Commerce Minister Poom Saraphol and three other ex-commerce officials for a stay of execution of a Commerce Ministry’s order freezing their assets to compensate for the loss in the G-to-G rice deals estimated at about 20 billion baht.

The court is yet to rule whether to accept their petition or not.

Mr Boonsong’s share of the compensation amounts to 1.77 billion baht while that of Mr Poom amounts to 2.3 billion baht.

The other three ex-commerce officials held accountable for the compensation payment are Mr Manas Soithong, former director-general of Foreign Trade Department; Mr Tikumporn Nartvoratat, former deputy director-general of FTD; and Mr Akkarapong Teepwatchara, former director of Foreign Rice Trade Office.

Boonsong told the media that he and the others decided to petition the Central Administrative Court again for the stay of execution of the order to freeze their assets because, in his case, the Legal Execution Department has impounded eight more bank accounts of himself and his wife after one bank account of his wife was impounded some time ago.

He said he questioned the legitimacy of the order to freeze his assets because the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Offices has not ruled on the G-to-G rice deal in which he and 27 other people were charged by the public prosecutor with corruption.

The court is scheduled to rule on the G-to-G rice case on Aug 25 – the same day that the same court will decide on the fate of former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra on the rice pledging scheme.

18 Aug 2017
8:34 pm

Seven Chinese nationals were arrested in Pattaya City of Chon Buri province on Thursday (Aug 17) for illegally operating transnational online gambling with several hundred million of baht in circulation, police said.

Pol Lt Gen Jitti Rodbangyang, the Provincial Police Region 2 commissioner, said at a press conference today (Aug 18) that police also seized a number of computers, credit card pay slips and playing schedules of several kinds of sports in the raid.

He said the raid followed a police investigation which found that a group of Chinese people had operated transnational online gambling on various kinds of sports from a rented house in a housing estate in Bang Lamung district.

The online gambling was operated by bankers based in China, with several hundreds of millions baht in circulation.

Pol Lt Gen Jitti said gambling bankers like to operate online gambling from Thailand because the penalties on illegal gambling in this country are lighter than in China.

Moreover, it is easy for the gambling operators to slip out of the country once they know they have been suspected by police.

18 Aug 2017
6:42 pm

Two Russian men were killed when a car in which they were travelling broke the red light and collided with a pick-up truck in the middle of an intersection in Tha Chang district of Surat Thani province late on Thursday (Aug 17) night.

After the accident, Thaworn Pornchim, the district chief, and Pradit Chanchaem, president of Tha Khoey tambon administration organisation (TAO), examined the footage of closed-circuit cameras at the intersection of Phun Phin-Phra That road in Tambon Tha Khoey.

The footage showed that a car with the two Russians — Mr Dmitry Semenov, 31, and Mr Ivan Sorokin, 32, — on board broke the red light and collided with the pick-up truck in the middle of the intersection at about 9pm.

Two people in the pick-up truck were injured.

Uaychai Innak, the Surat Thani governor, has instructed officials concerned to coordinate with tourism police to inform the Russia embassy in Bangkok and their relatives of the deaths of the two Russians.

Two Russians killed in Surat Thani accidentใ Read more: http://bit.ly/2w8oAHh #ThaiPBSenglishnews

Posted by Thai PBS English News on Friday, 18 August 2017

18 Aug 2017
3:54 pm

Three students at the Pathumwan Institute of Technology (PIT) turned themselves to Pathumwan station police yesterday (Aug 17) after they are wanted for the fatal brawl on the skywalk at BTS national stadium station in Aug 1.

The violent fight resulted in one dead and two seriously injured.

The three students are Pattarapol Poolkasem, 22, Visarut Sarim, 20, and Tritip Sapsophon, 23.

They denied all the charges and said  they would defend themselves in the court.

They were later granted temporary release on a 200,000 baht cash bail each by the police with reason that they had no behaviour that showed they would escape.

Earlier another student also turned himself up to the police to defend the charges.

All are among a group of 10 students engaged in the fatal brawl on the National Stadium skytrain station’s elevated bridge.

One student of the Rajamagala University of Technology Tawan-ok (Rmutto), formerly Uthen Thawai Vocational College, succumbed to a fatal stab wound in stomach, while two other schoolmates were in  critical condition.

The brawl happened on the PIT’s founding day celebration on Aug 1. The institute was closed for five days following the fatal.

Metropolitan Police Bureau commissioner Pol Lt Gen Sanit Mahathavorn said after the fatal student brawl, the police have formed a joint committee with the two institutes to take care of the students and declare risk areas  where  student movement would be kept under close monitoring.

18 Aug 2017
2:46 pm

Thai Broadcast Journalists Association (TBJA) has issued a statement strongly opposed what it called “media interference” by the government over its request for the broadcast media to do scoop for each cabinet minister during the mobile cabinet meeting in Nakhon Ratchasima during Aug 21-22.

The Aug 17 statement by the broadcast media association came after the government spokesman Lt Gen Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd, also acting director-general of the Public Relations Department on Tuesday (Aug 15) detailed guidelines for media’s coverage of the mobile Cabinet meeting during Aug 21-22.

He invited representatives from TV stations to a meeting where he asked each station to provide scoops on each minister’s activities during the trip.

TBJA said that such request is tantamount to an interference of the work of the broadcast media .

It also is very inappropriate for the media to work under its order and under the control of the government.

TBJA said the broadcast media has no duty to provide publicity for government’s performances or any cabinet minister. Instead its duty is to produce and broadcast only news of public interest.

It voiced concern over the behaviour of the PRD director-general which might be considered a threat and interference of the media’s right and freedom.

It strongly disagreed with his request for scoop for each cabinet minister.

However Lt-Gen Sansern made clear that as media representatives have already followed Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha regularly to report his activities, the government therefore would like them to provide publicity for all cabinet ministers performing their duties during the trip.

He claimed that the task could not be undertaken and achieved only by the PRD.

He reiterated that his request for cooperation was not to regulate the media.

Commenting on the PRD’s request, Prof Parichart Stapitanont, dean of the Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University, said request for cooperation might be considered a restriction of the media freedom as the media contents never come under supervision in the past.

18 Aug 2017
1:12 pm

Pig-raising associations throughout the country are protesting against what they alleged as “forced” import of pig meat from the US which Americans do not eat into Thailand.

A letter of protest was on Thursday (Aug 17) sent to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha through Pol Lt-Gen Chinpat Sarasin, a coordinator of Prime Minister’s Office and the Interior Ministry.

Mr Surachai Sutthitham, president of Thai Swine Raisers Association, alleged the USTR had put pressure on the Thai government to narrow US trade deficit with Thailand by exporting pig meat such as intestines and pig heads which the Americans do not eat into Thailand.

However, he noted that since most pig raisers in the US use red meat enhancers such as ractopamine which is banned in Thailand, the imported US pig meat may pose a health hazard to Thai consumers.

He also said that most countries in Europe, Russia and China ban the use of red meat enhancers whereas the substances are widely used in the US.

Mr Surachai said pig raising in Thailand has substantially developed and the country produces more than enough of pig meat for consumption and there is no need to import pig meat from the US.

According to the association, the current pork supplies come from about 15 million pigs, which is enough for domestic consumption with only about 4-5 % surplus.There are about 300,000 pig farmings nationwide,

He warned that not only pig raisers would be affected if pig meat from the US is allowed to dump the Thai market, but maize farmers and animal feed producers would also be affected too.

18 Aug 2017
9:34 am

Police expect to seek the court’s warrants for the arrest of four of the six remaining southern militants who robbed six pickup trucks from a second-hand car dealer’s shop in Na Thawi district of Songkhla on Wednesday (Aug 16).

Seven militants – two of them covered up their faces while the rest did not – were involved in the daring robbery for the pickup trucks to be used as car bombs.  They stole six trucks and took the shopowner and three employees hostage.

Police said that the four suspected militants were identified by three witnesses, including the car dealer’s shopowner and two employees, one of the injured by gunshot wound.

The three witnesses told police interrogators that they believed their captures intended to kill them all because they had seen the faces of most of them.

They said the seven militants arrived at the Wang To Car Center car dealer’s shop in a pick-up truck and they rushed toward the owner and three staff members and bound them up.

One suspect who was later shot dead in a stolen pickup truck by security forces beat up Mr Prasartporn Nuanlamoon to force him to hand over six car keys which they used to drive six trucks away with the four hostages being put in the same vehicle.

After a while, the driver stopped the vehicle in a rubber plantation in Tambon Wang Yai, Thepa district of Songkhla and forced all the four hostages out of the truck.

According to the three witnesses, the suspected militant strangled Mr Prasartporn who played dead.  Then he shot once at Mr Prasartporn hitting his shoulder and then turned the same gun on the head of Mr Saharat and pulled the trigger.

Both the owner and the other staffer then ran for their lives.  

Fortunately, villagers in the rubber plantation emerged to find out what was happening, forcing the suspect to speed off.

Police found the stolen Mazda Thunder pickup truck left abandoned in a rubber plantation in Saba Yoi district after they were tipped off by villagers.

17 Aug 2017
11:25 pm

The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) on Thursday (Aug 17) unanimously endorsed by 199 votes the National Human Rights Commission Bill.

Under the bill, the term in office of all the commission members, including the chairman, will end as of the date of the enforcement of the bill. But they will stay on to perform their duties on temporary basis until their replacements are appointed.

Section 60 of the bill regarding the term in office of the existing NHRC members was widely debated among the assemblymen who were split in three sets of opinion.

The first opinion which was spearheaded by Mrs Juree Vichitvadhakarn, advocates the disbandment of the entire incumbent NHRC upon the enforcement of the bill, but they will continue to function in acting capacity until their replacements are appointed.  This group of assemblymen feels that the incumbent commissioners lack diversity which does not correspond with the Paris Principles.

The Paris Principles is a set of international standards which frame and guide the work of National Human Rights Institutions. They were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993.

The second opinion which was spearheaded by Mr Klanarong Chantik and Mrs Pirom Sriprasert, secretary-general of the NHRC, advocates that the current commissioners continue to function until the end of their terms as they were appointed by an order of the National Council for Peace and Order.

The third opinion which was spearheaded by Admiral Wallop Kerdphol calls for the current commissioners to remain in the office until the completion of three years as of the date of their Royal appointment.

Because of the split opinions, it was reported that the NLA could not reach a consensus on the contentious section, forcing the NLA president  Pornpet Wichitcholachai to call a 15-minute break to work out a compromise.

However, when the assemblymen returned to the chamber for a vote, they unanimously voted in favour of the original version of Section 60 which was written by the Constitution Drafting Committee.

The original version mandates that all the NHRC commissioners, including the chairman, will continue to function until the new set of commissioners is appointed within 320 days.

17 Aug 2017
10:26 pm

The Meteorological Department warned of flash flood, mudslide and overflowing of rivers in the northern, central, eastern and southern regions from today until Monday (Aug 21) as a result of widespread rain and heavy rain.

But people living in the western coast of the South such as Ranong, Phangnga, Phuket, Krabi, Trang and Satun were warned by the Weatherman to be specially cautious because of the intense rain as well as the topography of the region which is vulnerable to immediate flash flood and overflowing of rivers.

In Trang province, officials said that runoffs continue to gush downhill from Banthad mountain range. All waterfalls in the province have been declared off-limits to visitors for their own safety.

Phangnga deputy governor Ekkarat Leesen said local leaders in eight districts had been instructed to be on the alert for flash flood and mudslide due to heavy rain in the province.

The Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department has instructed its units in the northern, central, southern and eastern provinces to brace for flooding from today until Monday (Aug 21).

Northern provinces under threat include Mae Hong Son, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phayao, Lampang, Lamphun, Phrae, Nan, Uttradit, Phitsanulok, Kamphaeng Phet, Phichit, and Petchabun.

Central provinces vulnerable include Nakhon Sawan, Uthai Thani, Chai Nat, Suphan Buri, Kanchanaburi, Ratchaburi, Sing Buri, Lop Buri, Saraburi, Ayutthaya and Bangkok.

17 Aug 2017
10:08 pm

The Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department said Thursday (Aug 17) that massive flooding in 44 provinces since July 5 to August 16 has claimed 34 lives.

Departmenr’s director-general Chatchai Promlert said heavy monsoon rains from July 5 to August 16 have resulted in massive flooding in 44 provinces, 302 districts, 1,689 Tambon, 13,673 villages, and 43 communities.

The massive flooding has wreaked havoc to 583,448 households, comprising 1,850,403 people.

Thirty-four people have died from the flooding, and 2,754 houses were damaged, 2,401 roads submerged, and 111 bridges damaged.

For the farming sector, he said,  21,732 fishing ponds, 801,943 heads of livestock and poultry, and over 4,055,227 rai of farmland were damaged.

He said at present the flood situation has improved with now the flooding in 37 provinces has eased.

But flooding remains in 7 province, 32 districts, 200 Tambon, and 1,237 villages.

He said 43,980 households with 136,616 people are still affected by flooding.

He added that disaster officials were dispatched to the affected areas to assess the damages so that primary aids could be delivered to the people in trouble in time.