22 Jul 2017
5:55 pm

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has written another poem to urge the Thai people, particularly those in the agricultural sector, to use the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s initiatives under his sufficiency economy philosophy in their daily life, government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said on Saturday (July 22).

Lt Gen Sansern said that in his poem, written on July 19, Gen Prayut advised farmers to study about marketing, grow plants which are suitable to geographical terrains and yield produce that meets the market’s demands.

In the poem, entitled “Lak Kid Pracharat” (Principle of people-state partnership), the prime minister also asks farmers not to encroach on national forests because doing so will affect their life and livelihood in the long run.

He also promises to lead the country to the betterment, regardless of obstacles.

Lt Gen Sansern asked the people and students to share the prime minister’s poem in the social media.

This is not the first time Gen Prayut communicate through poems. He recently wrote poems to explain the government’s Thailand 4.0 policy, to give the Cabinet members moral support, and to encourage Thai people to appreciate their motherland.

22 Jul 2017
5:25 pm

A majority of people are still uncertain when asked about news on a possible cabinet reshuffle, according to the result of an opinion survey by Suan Dusit Rajabhat University, or Suan Dusit Poll.

The poll was conducted on July 18-21 on 1,236 people throughout the country to gauge their opinoins on news on a cabinet reshuffle which has been reported this month.

In responding to the news, 68.20% said it is still uncertain whether there will be a cabinet reshuffle; 58.74% said they don’t care whether the cabinet will be reshuffled or not, as long as it works for the majority; 53.64% said if there is a reshuffle it should be to improve work efficiency and do away with shortcomings; 48.87% said the cabinet should be reshuffled if it underperforms; and, 41.91% said frequent changes can cause discontinuity of government work.

Asked whether it is now the right time for a cabinet reshuffle, 45.15% are uncertain whether the cabinet would turn out to be better or worse after the reshuffle, saying that it is a matter for the prime minister to decide; 29.0% said it is now time for a reshuffle because problems have accumulated and left unsolved while several ministries have underperformed; and, 25.85% said the time is not yet right for a reshuffle because the government is working under a roadmap and a change may disrupt its work.

22 Jul 2017
12:49 pm

Exports for June enjoyed sustained growth expanding by 11.7%, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Pimchanok Vonkorpon, director-general of Trade Policy and Strategy Office (TPSO), said on July 20 that exports for June rose by 11.7% which amounts to US$ 20.282 billion.

She said the satisfactory growth is a direct consequence of the improving global economic situation and the sustained expansion of exports for the majority of products from Thailand as well as increased demand from its major trading partners.

Overall, it said this means that for the past six month period, the country’s exports grew by 7.8% contributing to balance of trade surplus of US$6.971 billion.

Correspondingly, the TPSO is confident that this year’s exports will be able to meet the 5% growth target, she noted.

Ms Pimchanok warned, however, that important factors such as uncertainty over trade restrictions and exchange rate volatility could still result in the export sector failing to meet that target.

21 Jul 2017
7:10 pm

The Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions has set Aug 25 for the delivery of its final ruling on the rice-pledging case against former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra and dismissed her petition to seek a Constitutional Court’s ruling on the constitutionality of the proceedings of her case.

The court has also scheduled Aug 1 for Ms Yingluck to deliver her closing statement.

In addition, the prosecutors and Ms Yingluck are allowed to submit their closing statements in writing to the court on Aug 15, before the final ruling on Aug 25.

The dates for Ms Yingluck to deliver the closing statement and for the court to deliver the verdict were set after the last batch of three defence witnesses in the case testified today (July 21), ending the trial.

The witnesses outlined steps taken to distribute rice from warehouses to clear doubted that the rice had been adulterated with rice brought from neighbouring countries.

After the trial, Ms Yingluck walked out of the courtroom to meet her supporters.

To a throng of news reporters waiting outside to interview and take pictures of her, Ms Yingluck said briefly that she would from now not talk to the press about the case to show respect to the court, which has completed the examination of defence witnesses and is in the process of deliberating the case.

The former prime minister said she would speak out in details about the case when she delivers the closing statement on Aug 1.

The Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions on Friday also dismissed Ms Yingluck’s petition for it to ask the Constitutional Court to rule whether the proceedings of her case under Section 5 of the 1999 law on the criminal procedures for political position holders contradicts with the current constitution.

In rejecting her petition, the court reasoned that both the constitution and the law on criminal procedures for political position holders allow for the Supreme Court to conduct more investigation and gather more evidence as necessary.  In the proceedings of Ms Yingluck’s case, the court has allowed both sides to bring 45 additional witnesses, who testified on altogether 26 hearings.

On Aug 25, the judgement day for Ms Yingluck’s case, the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions will also give its ruling on a related case against former commerce minister Boonsong Teriyapirom and 27 other individuals and juristic entities for the alleged fake government-to-government (G-to-G) rice sales to China.

21 Jul 2017
6:03 pm

Thailand’s under 15 football team will meet Vietnam in the championship match of the 2017 Asean Football Federation U-15 Championship tournament tomorrow (July 22) at the Chon Buri Stadium.

In a semi-final match, the Thai team, the Group A leader, beat Malaysia, the second of Group B, with the score of 1-0 at the Chon Buri Stadium con Thursday (July 20).

In this match, Suppanat Muanta, the Thai ace striker who made four goals in previous matches, was sidelined, while Kittipong Khetpara was put to play in the forward.

The Thai team led 1-0 in the 17th minute with a corner kick by Thanarin Thumsen for Jakrapong Saenmahung to head the ball past the goal mouth.

The Thai players had many other chances to score but were not successful.

The game ended with Thailand’s 1-0 victory over Malaysia.

The Thai team will meet Vietnam, which beat Australia 2-0 in the other semi-final match, in the final.

The championship match will be held at Chon Buri Stadium tomorrow, starting 6.30pm.

21 Jul 2017
2:29 pm

The police investigating the May 22 Phramongkutklao hospital bombing in Bangkok will prosecute the lone bomb suspect within two weeks after evidence collected and accounts by witnesses did not link more suspects to be involved.

The decision to wrap up the hospital bombing investigation and pursue court action against the lone perpetrator, Wattana Phumares, a retired engineer of the state-owned Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, was reached at the meeting of investigation team chaired by Royal Thai Police deputy commissioner Pol Gen Srivara Ransibrahmanakul on July 20.

The meeting agreed to file charges against the 61-year-old suspect in seven bombing cases he admitted to have been responsible for during 2007-2017.

Tentative date for his prosecution in these bombing cases will be in two weeks or before August 8, he said.

The seven bombing incidents he admitted to have committed alone include bombings in front of former lottery office, at the National Theatre, and in Ratchayothin road and Soi Ratchavithi 24 in 2007.

Charges that the police will file against him include premeditated murder attempts, causing explosions that injured others, illegally possessing and using explosives, and having military weapon in possession.

The deputy commissioner said investigators are asking a private company on whether they would allow the police to also charge Mr Wattana for private property damages caused by the bomb or not.

Although the damage was caused to the private sector’s property, the police would have to consider if this also caused damage to the state, he said.

Mr Wattana was arrested on June 15 this year after he was seen in the hospital’s CCTV camera carrying a bag with a flower vase into the Phramongkutklao hospital’s dispensary for commissioned officers.

The flowers vase later exploded leaving 20 people injured.

21 Jul 2017
11:34 am

The government will hold a grand merit-making ceremony on July 27-28 as a tribute to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej and to bless Her Majesty the Queen as well as His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun on the occasion of his 65th birthday anniversary on July 28.

Prime Minister’s Office deputy permanent secretary Patcharaporn Inseeyong said the government had already sought permission from HM the King to hold a grand merit-making ceremony and alms-offerings in Bangkok and all provinces across the country, at Thai embassies and consular offices and temples abroad.

On July 27 at 6 pm, merit-making ceremony will be held at the front lawn of Dusit Palace with the Supreme Patriarch as chairman of the clerics while Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha as chair of the lay people. Altogether 241 high-ranking monks are to attend the ceremony.  

The government will print 100,000 copies of the prayers for this ceremony to be distributed to people participating the event in Bangkok. More copies of the prayers will be printed by the private sector for wider distribution.

The event will be televised live by the Public Relations Department and TV Pool for nationwide audience.

At 7 am on July 27, the prime minister will preside over a merit making ceremony involving five religions at the Government House.

On July 28 at 7am, the prime minister will preside over an alm-offering for monks at Dusit Palace.  Similar activity will also be held in all provinces, Thai embassies and consular offices and temples abroad.

Members of the public are invited to participate in these religious activities.

20 Jul 2017
10:05 pm

His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun on Thursday designated Trang governor Mr Siripat Pattanakul to preside over the Royal cremation of 19-year old Mr Khanti Yotharak who drowned after he helped save a girl from drowning.

The Royal cremation was held at Wat Kokpikul in Muang district of Trang and it was attended by the victim’s family members, friends, local government officials and many local residents who appreciated and praised the sacrifice made by the young man.

A motorcycle mechanic, Mr Khanti was resting beside a pond in his village when he heard shouts for help from several girls.  He saw a girl struggling in the pond and jumped into it to help pluck her to safety.  However, he himself was unfortunate and drowned after being sucked by quicksand-like mud.

After having heard about the young man’s heroic stunt and sacrifice, HM the King sponsored Mr Khanti’s funeral and cremation.

Mr Khant was the youngest of three siblings born to Mr Chansaeng and Mr Veera who went missing without traces. He finished primary education at Pohpanya school in Muang district and entered monkhood.  After leaving monkhood, he got a job in a motorcycle repair shop.

 

20 Jul 2017
9:40 pm

The Criminal Court on Thursday dismissed a case against six core members of the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) for double jeopardy and suspended its ruling on three others for two years.

The case was filed on Dec 30, 2015 by the prosecutors against nine PAD leaders — Maj Gen Chamlong Srimuang, 79, Sondhi Limthongkul, 67, Phibhop Dhongchai, 69, Somkiat Pongpaiboon, 64, Somsak Kosaisuk, 69, Suriyasai Katasila, 42, Chaiwat Sinsuwong, 65, Amorn Amornrattananond or Ratchayut Sirayothinpakdi, 58, and Therdphum Jaidee, 73 — for leading protests at various locations in 2008 to seek the ouster of the then government of Samak Sundaravej in violation of Sections 116, 215 and 216 of the Criminal Code.

The protests led by the nine defendants were held at many government installations including the Foreign Ministry, Office of the Election Commission, Interior Ministry, Royal Thai Police, Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry, Finance Ministry and the Office of the Attorney General.

The PAD protesters also rallied at Government House from May to October 2008.

The court examined the last witness on April 27 this year and set July 20 for a ruling.

The court today ruled that the prosecutors had no authority to sue six of the PAD leaders — Maj Gen Chamlong, Mr Sondhi, Mr Phibhop, Mr Somkiat, Mr Somsak and Mr Suriyasai — as doing is considered double jeopardy, because a separate lawsuit had been filed against them for trespassing Government House and the Criminal Court sentenced them to two years each in jail.

Therefore, the court dismissed the case against the six.

As for the three other defendants — Mr Chaiwat, Mr Amorn and Mr Therdphum — the court found them guilty of Section 215 of the Criminal Code.  However, the court suspended its ruling on the three for two years.

 

20 Jul 2017
9:12 pm

Sixty-two government and local officials and civilians were found guilty of human trafficking and sentenced to imprisonments ranging from 4 to 94 years in one of the most lengthy verdict reading session.

Key suspects in the human trafficking network involving Rohingya migrants were given heavy jail terms by the Criminal Court. These include Lt-Gen Manas Kongpaen, former special advisor to the Army and for ISOC head in the South, who was given 27 years; former mayor of Satun provincial administration organization Patjuban “Ko Tong” Aungchotepant was given 74 years; former Padang Besar mayor Banchong “Ko Jong” Pongphol received 78 years jail term and Zaw Niang Arnu received 94 years.

Forty defendants were acquitted due to lack of evidence against them. But 28 of them were detained by the order of the court pending an appeal by the prosecutor.

All the convicts were also ordered by the court to collectively pay 4.4 million baht in compensation to 58 victims.

The court convened at 8.30 am and spent more than 13 hours, with a few breaks in between, to read the verdicts for all the 103 defendants. The 104th defendant died during the trial and his case was dismissed.

Initially, the case was supposed to be tried by the Nathavee provincial court in Songkhla.  But because of the influence of some of the suspects and worldwide interest in the case, it was transferred to the jurisdiction of the Criminal Court’s human trafficking section in Bangkok.

The influence of some of the suspects forced the transfer of Pol Maj-Gen Paween Pongsiri, former deputy commissioner of Provincial Police Region 8 who headed the investigation of the case.  He later quit the police service and sought refuge in Australia claiming he was victim of intimidation.