23 Jan 2018
6:09 pm

Eight long marchers of the People Go Network grassroot group were on Tuesday (Jan 23) charged by the military for defying the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) chief’s order 3/2558 which bans public gathering of more than five people.

The eight activists were also ordered by the military to report themselves to Khlong Luang police station in Pathum Thani on Jan 28 to acknowledge the charges against them.  

The activists included Mr Lertsak Kumkongsak, Mr Anusorn Unnano, Mr Nimit Tienudom, Mr Somchai Krachangsaeng, Ms Sangsiri Treemanka, Mrs Nutchanart Taenthong, Mr Ubon Yoowa and Mr Chamnong Nuphan.

The eight People Go Network members started their 450-km long march on Jan 20 from Thammasat University’s Rangsit campus to their destination in  Khon Kaen province to highlight the impacts from the government’s policies on social security, agriculture, natural resources and environment and free expressions.

However, police blocked from leaving the campus and tried to persuade them to call off their long march, claiming that this was against NCPO chief’s order no. 3/2558 and also their march might be disrupted by “third hand” elements.

After failed negotiations, the group went ahead with their long march. In the meantime, other members of the group filed a petition with the Central Administrative Court accusing the Royal Thai Police of violations of their freedom and right to gather peacefully. 

People Go Network’s lawyer, Surachai Trongngam, insisted that the long march activity does not violate the NCPO chief’s order no. 3/2558 and that NCPO officials had over-interpreted the order to silent the people. 

23 Jan 2018
3:12 pm

The management of the See Park Pattaya floating market in Chon Buri has shut down a food stall at the market which put on sale skewered grilled seahorses to customers and scrapped its rental contract.

Mr Manas Meepong, a director of the floating market, told the media that he was shocked when he learned from the media that there was food stall in the market selling skewered grilled seahorses to customers at 150 baht apiece.

Although there is no law prohibiting the sale of seahorses in the country, he said that, personally, he felt seahorses were endangered species and should not be sold to be eaten in such a way.

Mr Manas said he had ordered the food stall in question shut down immediately and, at the same time, scrapped its rental contract with immediate effect.

Thai PBS reporter who went to the market reported that the food stall had attracted the attention of many tourists who took pictures of the skewered grilled seahorses, with Chinese tourists being the main customers.

Fisheries Department clarified that import and export of seahorses are banned in Thailand, but not domestic trading of this marine species. It said that the best fisheries officials could do was to warn the traders.

 

23 Jan 2018
2:48 pm

The park official of Salak Phra wildlife Sanctuary in Kanchanaburi province who was detained by police for shooting to death the director of a local hospital has admitted to police interrogators that he killed the director after he suspected that the latter had an affair with his wife.

Pol Lt-Col Pornchai Petcharoen, deputy superintendent for suppression of Dan Mae Chalaeb police station in Si Sawat district, told the media on Tuesday that Mr Songvuth Udom, the park official attached to Mae Lamoon forest protection unit, confessed to his police interrogators the real motive of his fatal shooting of Mr Chalit Jintana, director of Plai Na Suan Tambon hospital.

Chalit was shot dead in his car on Mae Lamoon-Mae Plasoi road in Si Sawat district Monday night. Songvuth initially claimed he fired shots at Mr Chalit with his service HK assault rifle because he mistook the victim as an illegal logger.

According to Pol Lt-Col Pornchai, Songvuth told police interrogators that he suspected Chalit and his wife of having an affair as both were working in the same hospital.

The park official said he had quietly watched the conduct of the director and his wife for some time before he decided to shoot the victim.

Songvuth was charged with pre-mediated murder and illegal possession of firearms, said Pol Lt-Col Pornchai, adding that more witnesses would be summoned for questioning.

He further said that he would oppose the suspect’s request for bail.

23 Jan 2018
2:20 pm

An eerie silence remains at the Phimolchai market or known as railway market today after yesterday blast that killed three persons and injured 18 others.

Despite of heightened security would be ordered, stall owners did not come to sell their products at the market for fear of their lives because of the extensive damage and emotional shock to the occupants of the market.

Interior Minister Gen Anupong Paochinda said security had earlier forbidden motorcycles to enter and park at the market but local people disagreed citing inconvenience as main reason.

Besides they also disagreed with traffic roadblocks reasoning it caused traffic jams, he said.

However security officials today rearranged traffic plan at the market, allowing only one exit and entry to the market for security reason.

Yesterday Fourth Army Region commender Lt Gen Piyawat Nakwanuch visited the scene later and apologized to residents for allowing such a shocking incident to happen.

He stated that the reason beohind the bombing was to disrupt trade and commerce.

He said that he would meet with all merchants at the market to get their feedback so that new security arrangements can be made to restore their confidence.

The commander recalled that most of the markets that security officials look after have been free of incidents.

But the contractor’s at this market never approached security officials to arrange for security.

“This is a major oversight that we will be addressing,” he said

He condemned the act and believed that the perpetrator was not connected to local insurgent groups but was a regular criminal that was carrying out the orders from local influential families behind the scenes.

Police said they have secured a video footage of the perpetrator and are tracking his escape routes.

Meanwhile stall owners at the market said they saw a man ride a motorcycle and park it in front of the pork butchers stall owned by Ms. Narirat Tsae Tang.

Ms Narirat told the man to move his bike but the man showed disinterest and left the motorcycle there and walked away.

Ms Narirat moved the motorcycle herself after which it blew up killing her instantly. The other person killed at the scene was Mayaki Wenaweh a meatball seller who was riding past when the bomb went off.

The blast damaged a section of the roof of the market along with more than 20 stalls. More than 10 motorcycles located nearby were also damaged.

Ms Suproda Jaen-Naruemit who owns the stall opposite the butcher stall was severely injured by shrapnel and later died bringing the death toll to 3.

The blast injured 18 other people.

 

 

 

23 Jan 2018
1:28 pm

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation today suspended a park official at Salak Phra wildlife conservation in Kanchanaburi province from duty pending investigation into the death of a director of a health hospital yesterday.

The suspension of Mr Songvuth Udom was signed by the department’s director-general Thanya Netithammakul.

Songvuth turned himself to Narin Songnitikul, Srisawat district chief officer for shooting to death Mr Chalit Jintana, the director of Plai Na Suan health hospital while he was driving in a pickup truck yesterday.

He claimed upon surrendering to the district officer with his service HK-33 assault rifle that he shot at the pickup truck over misunderstanding that it was the vehicle of smugglers.

The shooting happened at about 6.45 pm in Srisawat district yesterday.

But autopsy of the dead hospital director showed he was shot on the right arm and there was sign on his face indicating he was beaten before he died.

Initial investigation suggested he was murdered rather than shooting by misunderstanding as the park official claimed.

Instead interrogation revealed personal conflict was the motive of the the shooting.

Mr Thanya said that he would order all 16 wildlife conservation offices to strictly control the distribution of service assault rifles for daily patrol use with instruction all weapons must be returned after completing the patrols.

 

23 Jan 2018
12:03 pm

The area under opium poppy cultivation in northern Thailand has shrunk by over 40%, a recent survey by the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) said Tuesday (Jan 22).

ONCB secretary-general Sirinya Sitthichai said latest aerial and foot survey of poppy cultivation areas in nine districts of four northern provinces, namely Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son, and Tak, from September last year to January this year showed the areas have shrunk over 40%.

The reduction in opium cultivation was attributed to stringent control and monitoring by authorities, tough legal enforcement, and turbulent weather condition, he said.

He said the survey showed opium was secretly grown in a total of 313 plots of land covering 212.41 rais in the four provinces.

But latest survey showed 210 plots covering 149.66 rais were destroyed.

Meanwhile ONCB officials, police, soldiers and district officials also destroyed 1.13 rai of opium cultivation during yesterday operation in Pai district of Mae Hong Son province.

The ONCB said opiun cultivation continues secretly in the country both for household use and commercial purpose with financial backing.

It said cultivation area will be in small plots but scattered around the remote areas or difficuit terrains, particularly in Om Koi, Mae Taeng, and Chiang Dao districts of Chiang Mai, and Umphang, Mae Ramad, and Tha Song Yang districts of Tak.

23 Jan 2018
11:09 am

A tour bus driver was charged by Phuping Rachaniwes police station in Chiang Mai for reckless driving after his bus developed brake failure and crashed into two cars before plunging into a roadside ditch at the foot of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai on Monday.

Seven Chinese tourists were injured, including a 2- month pregnant tourist.

The bus driver Chavalit Tola, 38, said he drove 32 Chinese tourists to Doi Suthep and found nothing usual with the braking system.

But on the return trip after all tourists were on the bus, he drove off just 10 metres and felt the brake didn’t work.

He tried to control the bus which was running downhill and gaining speed.

He couldn’t control the bus until it rammed at rear of another bus and other cars before crashing into stalls and falling into the ditch at the foot of the hill.

All the injured were later taken by police and rescue workers to Maharaj Chiang Mai hospital for first-aid treatment.

The bus belonged to Siam IT Tour.

One rescue worker said there were two similar accidents in the past two years from brake failures.

The latest accident on December 5 claimed lives of two tourists at the parking area of Phuping palace.

 

22 Jan 2018
10:51 pm

Hydroponic vegetables are not always chemical free after residues of pesticide have been found in several samples of the vegetables in random survey, but the amount of residues is within the limit of EU standard.

Ms Prokchon U-sap, coordinator of Thai Pan, said that the pesticide watchdog recently took 30 samples of hydroponic vegetables from fresh markets and leading department stores, with or without safety warranty, for tests of nitrate and other toxic chemicals.

 

The findings show 19 samples or 63.3 percent of all the samples contain higher amount of pesticide residues beyond standard; 8 samples without any pesticide residues and three samples with pesticide residues but their amount is within standard.

Regarding nitrate residues, the findings show residues in salad vegetables but their amount with well within EU standard. High amount of nitrate residues from between 199-2500 miligram/kilo were found in Chinese kale, lettuce, red spinach and Chinese morning glory.

Ms Prokchon pointed out that Thailand has not introduced standard for nitrate residues in vegetables.

She, however, warned that excessive amount of nitrate residues could cause cancer although there is no confirmation yet about how much of the substance accumulated in the body would cause cancer.

 

22 Jan 2018
10:29 pm

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha insisted on Monday (Jan 22) that he had never abandoned the universal concept of democracy and denied he had instructed a panel of the National Legislative Assembly to amend the election bill which would put off the election by 90 days.

He made the above remarks during his lecture on the subject of “One Country, One Team” apparently in response to criticism to his idea of “prachatippatai Thai niyom” or Thai-style democracy which he floated in his Children’s Day speech and the allegations that some powers-that-be instructed the NLA panel to amend the election bill.

The prime minister said that he had no political ambition, but only wanted to do his job the best he could.

Meanwhile, Mr Thaveesak Sootakawathin, spokesman of the NLA panel scrutinizing the election bill defended the controversial amendment, insisting that it was meant to enable political parties to undertake pre-election activities required by the law so that they could field candidates to contest the election.

He pointed out that, for the time being, political parties are banned from undertaking any political activities such as holding meetings of party members or executive committee members.

He warned that if the election bill was to become effective immediately after its publication in the Royal Gazette instead of 90 days afterward as amended in the bill, several parties would be affected and might not be able to contest the election.

The spokesman went on saying that the bill was also amended to punish eligible voters who do not exercise their voting right by banning them from working in the parliament, from working as political officials or local administrators for two years.

 

22 Jan 2018
9:42 pm

All policemen in eight northeastern provinces under the jurisdiction of the Third Region Provincial Police Bureau will be subjected to urine tests for drug abuse at the order of the police commissioner, Pol Lt-Gen Damrongsak Kittipraphas.

Presiding over the launch of the White Police Project, Pol Lt-Gen Damrongsak told a gathering of police officers at the auditorium of the regional police bureau in Nakhon Ratchasima that all policemen who were involved in the suppression of narcotic drugs must not be involved in drug abuse in order to portray the police in a positive light and to restore public trust and confidence in the police.

Under the project, he said all the officers involved in drug suppression must undergo urine tests for drug abuse, warning that any of them who were tested positive will be disciplined.

He also warned that commanding officers be them superintendents or commanders would also face disciplinary action if they allowed their men to get involved in drugs.

For today, 714 policemen in Nakhon Ratchasima underwent the urine test.