24 Jun 2018
2:59 pm

Rescue workers are trying to rescue a soccer team and their coach who have been trapped inside a flooded cave in Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district since Saturday evening.

It was reported that the 11 footballers of Tambon Pong Pha aged between 13-15 and their coach went inside the Luang Nang Non cave in Tham Luang-Khunnam Nang Non national park after finishing their weekly training.

11 bicycles and a motorbike were found at the mouth of the cave by park officials at about 7 am on Saturday night.  Some backpacks and soccer shoes were found in a few baskets attached to the bicycles.

The park officials then contacted soccer team head in Tambon Pong Pha to the cave to examine the belongings whether they belong to his team’s.  The team chief told the park officials that his boys and the coach went into the cave and could not get out after water from heavy rains flooded the cave entrance, adding that he had sought help from a rescue team from Mae Sai district.

The team arrived at the cave but had to pull back afterward because they didn’t have the diving gears to get into the cave.

The same team returned this morning (Sunday) with their gears to begin their search and rescue mission.

24 Jun 2018
12:41 pm

The Office of the Council of State (Krisdika) is seeking public opinions and monks on the proposed amendments of the existing Monastic Act with an aim to restructure the Sangha Supreme Council.

Opinions can be sent to the office of the Council of State at www.krisdika.go.th now until June 27.

The council’s move follows the cabinet’s unannounced decision last Tuesday to approve proposed amendments to the monastic law regarding the Sangha Supreme Council in wake of the temple fund scandal which has dented the reputation of the monastic governing body and affected public faith in the monastic order.

Three members of the council namely Phra Phrommasith, abbot of Wat Saket and Region 10 Chaokhana; Phra Phrommethi, assistant abbot of Wat Sam Phraya; and Phra Phrommadilok, abbot of Wat Sam Phraya were dismissed from the Sangha Supreme Council by an order of the Supreme Patriarch in May after they were arrested by the police for alleged involvement in temple fund embezzlement.  Several other senior monks are being implicated in the scandal.

The proposed amendments call for a restructuring of the Sangha Supreme Council with the abolition of the ex-officio memberships reserved for senior monks with the rank of Somdet Phra Rachakhana and empowering His Majesty the King to exercise his prerogative to appoint members of the Sangha Supreme Council from well-qualified senior monks.  HM the King will also be empowered to relieve members of the council.

In accordance with the Monastic Act B.E. 2502 which is still enforceable, the Sangha Supreme Council is made up of two groups of monks – one group consists of monks with the rank of Somdet Phrarachakhana who are ex-officio members of the council and the other group whose members do not exceed 12 are appointed by the Supreme Patriarch from senior monks with the rank of Phra Rachakhana to be in the office for a two-year term.

It was also reasoned that since Somdet Phrarachakhana monks are mostly in their old age who may have a health problem, making it not possible to attend council meetings on regular basis and some of them have to take a break for a long period of time.  The other senior monks in the council may also experience similar health problem.

Another reason cited for the major revamp of the Sangha Supreme Council is the temple fund scandal which has implicated several senior monks, affecting public faith in the monastic order and the credibility of the monastic governing body.

The incumbent remaining members of the Sangha Supreme Council will stay on in the offices until the appointment of a new set of council members by HM the King.

24 Jun 2018
12:33 pm

Police in Chiang Mai on Saturday detained a South Korean on a charge of conspiring with the other people to kill his stepmother said by police to be a billionaire in South Korea.

Pol Col Sitthisak Siridet-anan, superintendent of Mae Ping district police, said that police had sufficient evidence to substantiate the charge against the 54-year old Mr Ben Lee for involvement in the murder of 76-year old Mrs Al Jung-ja at a luxury house in Mountain View housing estate in Tambon San Phisua, Muang district of Chiang Mai on Thursday.

Earlier, police arrested Ben Lee’s wife, Ms Park Song-hee, who was accused of knifing to death Mrs Al Jung-ja in her bedroom at the house.  Ms Park is currently being treated at the district hospital for some injuries.

Pol Sitthisak said that about nine months ago, the couple brought Mrs Al Jung-ja from South Korea to Chiang Mai for rehabilitation.  He added that the aging woman and her daughter-in-law did not get along well and often had quarrels with each other because the former was very disciplined as evident from the various house rules which she pasted up at different spots in the house.

The colonel went on saying that Ben Lee was the first person who informed a guard at the housing estate about his step mother’s death.  Ben Lee also notified the South Korean consular’s office in Chiang Mai about the incident, he said.

Ben Lee told the police during the interrogation that he saw the fight between the two women and tried to intervene, but it was too late to prevent the killing.  But police suspected that the wounds on Lee’s wife’s body were self-inflicted.

21 Jun 2018
5:41 pm

 The Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions on Thursday handed down one-month jail term without suspension on Chuwit Kamonvisit, former list MP of Rak Prathet Thai party, on a charge of declaring false statement about his assets and liabilities.

The court found Chuwit, currently outspoken commentator of Thai Rath Channel 22’s Tee Saekna programme, guilty of violating anti-corruption law B.E. 2542 which requires MPs to declare their assets and liabilities.

The court initially sentenced him to two months’ imprisonment but commuted it by half to one month for his confession to the charges.  It said that the imprisonment could not be suspended because Chuwit had served a six-month jail term for offences relating to the forced eviction of beer bars on his land plot on Sukhumvit road and he has left the prison not exceeding five years.

21 Jun 2018
2:47 pm

The National Office of Buddhism (NOB) yesterday dismissed the allegation that it was sending out instruction to monks across the country to absolutely not handle any money personally.

The allegations led to sever conflict between the NOB and the Sangha Supreme Council of Thailand and could possibly lead to monk rallying.

Coming out to dismiss the allegations was Pol Lt-Col Pongporn Phramsaneh, director of the National Office of Buddhism (NOB).

He said the NOB does not have any authority to send out instructions to monks.

Instead, he urged the public not to listen to rumors and allegations that the NOB is making attempts to identify temples where monks have managed to maintain the hands-off rule.

These are propaganda being circulated by certain factions to incite unrest within the Sangha Supreme Council of Thailand.

But he confirmed that monks have abstained from handling cash which is in line with the Buddhism rule.

The public should not overact, he said and stated that a lot of times news circulated are unverified and are merely rumors.

They should wait for clarification from the Sangha Supreme Council of Thailand concerning such news to avoid confusion and misunderstanding.

With regards to an outcry from the public for the NOB to accelerate its investigation to the corruption charges, he assured that the NOB  is continuing its effort and has no intention of letting the case remain open.

Suspects have already been identified and dismissed from the civil service. A few suspects involvement require further verification, he said.

He went on explaining that charges have been categorized to two separate allegations.

Firstly civil officers that have misappropriated temple funds will be charged with misconduct unbecoming a civil servant.

The second allegation would be temples that have intentionally moved appropriated budgets provided by the NOB which will be charged with money laundering.

He stressed that all found guilty will be charged to the full letter of the law without exceptions.

19 Jun 2018
3:36 pm

The Anti-Money Laundering Office has asked the Counter Corruption Division (CCD) police to investigate Putthipat Lertchaowasit, a former permanent secretary of the Social Development and Human Security Ministry, and a former female official of the ministry who was his close aide, for alleged money-laundering.
Withaya Nititham, an AMLO official, submitted a petition and evidence against Mr Putthipat and the former female ministry official, who were alleged to have been involved in the embezzlement of welfare funds for the destitute and the poor.
Mr Witthaya said the AMLO had found in its investigation that Mr Putthipat and the woman, whom he did not identify, had transferred the stolen money to other people. He declined to reveal their identifies or whether they were relatives of the two and how much money had been transferred to them.
He said only that the stolen money had been used to buy cars and real estates.
As for the 10 ministry officials whose assets had been seized by the AMLO, they were required submit in writing in 30 days to explain how the assets had been acquired. If they were not able to provide a clear explanation, the assets would be confiscated, Mr Witthaya said.
In April, Mr Putthipat and his deputy, Narong Kongkham, were temporarily relieved from civil service pending investigation into their alleged involvement in the stealing of funds for the destitute and the poor.

19 Jun 2018
3:22 pm

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is making a two-day visit to China, Chinese state media said on Tuesday.  It is his third visit to China in three months.

China Daily said, Kim, who is chairman of North Korea’s State Affairs Commission,  will be in China on Tuesday and Wednesday, but gave no details.

This would be his third visit to China since March and it follows his recent summit with US President Donald Trump in Singapore on June 12.   China is known to be North Korea’s closest ally and supporter.

18 Jun 2018
10:03 pm

Sweden defeated South Korea 1-0 in its first opening World Cup game since 1958.  It did so with the help of the Video Assistant Referee system which  Salvadoran referee Joel Aguilar was called to consult after  Kim Min-woo brought down Viktor Claesson in the box in the 65th minute.  It was centre-back Andreas Granqvist who put the ball into the net.

 

 

17 Jun 2018
9:02 pm

Aleksandar Kolarov of Serbia scored a free kick at the 60-minute mark to give the Serbians a victory over Costa Rica in the Russia 2018 World Cup Group E football match at the Samara Arena in Samara.  Photo shows Serbia’s players celebrate their winning goal against Costa Rica.

16 Jun 2018
9:32 pm

Small boats are warned not to venture out of the sea in the Andaman Sea and the upper part of the Gulf during June 16-20 because of strong winds and high waves while sailors are also warned to exercise special caution.

 

The Meteorological Department issued an announcement at 5 pm on Saturday warning of strong winds and high waves in the Andaman sea on the western coast of Thailand and the in the Gulf from Surat Thani province upward from Saturday until next Wednesday.

 

It said that the waves in the Andaman Sea are between 2-4 metres high while in the upper part of the Gulf, the waves rise to 2-3 metres high.

 

Households located along the beaches in the eastern region and on the western coast are also warned of the danger of high waves.