3 Oct 2017
2:22 pm

The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) yesterday summoned Thaksin Shinawatra’s son, Panthongtae Shinawatra, and three other people for acknowledgement of alleged money laundering and money laundering conspiracy charges on October 24.

The legal movement of the DSI came as the 10-year statute of limitation of the case will expire in June 2018.

The three other persons are Mrs Kanchana Honghern and her husband Wanchai Honghern, and Kesinee Jipipop.

They were accused by the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) of money laundering in connection with the loan extension by the state owned Krungthai Bank to the Krisda Mahanakorn Group. They were said to receive two cheques – one for 10 million baht and the other for 26 million baht – from former top executives of the Group.

According to the DSI, state-owned Krungthai Bank faced multi-billion-baht financial damages from loans to Krisda Mahanakorn Group that used highly inflated collateral.

It is alleged that money from those loans was given illegally to many people and entities. Panthongtae and the three others were among recipients of the money.

They are required to report to the DSI on October 24.

After they are questioned, the agency will decide whether to pursue money-laundering and related charges against them.

The fishy Krungthai loan extension case was brought in the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) in June 2008. The case was passed on to the NACC by the military-appointed Asset Scrutiny Committee after its term expired.

In the case, several executives of the state bank and government officials were convicted to prison term by the Supreme Court, except Thaksin who fled the country before a verdict on another case, the Ratchada land deal, was handed down. His flight prompted the court to suspend verdict on him in the Krungthai case until he is brought back.

But in the same case his son Panthongtae and the three were charged for receiving stolen property.

3 Oct 2017
1:43 pm

The acting commissioner of Metropolitan Police Bureau yesterday (Oct 2) announced to lift all traffic checkpoints in Bangkok, reasoning that they didn’t help much to ease traffic problems.

Pol Lt-Gen Chanthep Sesawech, the acting MPB commissioner, announced his priorities in assuming the Bangkok police chief, after he led Bangkok senior police to worship and pay respects to ancient Thai and Chinese shrines at the MPB Headquarters on Monday before assuming the top position in the bureau.

Pol Lt Gen Chanthep said he would lift all traffic checkpoints as he saw setting up such checkpoints do more harm than good.

They couldn’t help much to resolve traffic problems, he said and proposed stricter enforcement of traffic law instead.

He said traffic police must strictly enforce traffic laws on those who, for instance, park their cars in a manner that obstructs traffic flow or run red lights.

He said each traffic police officer will be assigned to ensure reasonable traffic flow in each particular area, warning that if they fail to enforce the law as required, which results in traffic congestion, they could face disciplinary action.

For alcohol, crime and security checkpoints, the new Bangkok police chief assured that they will be allowed to be set up as usual.

However he stressed that there must be a senior police officer on duty at the checkpoint, and prior approval must be sought from the MPB deputy commissioner in charge of traffic before it is set up.

This is necessary in case of complaints because it can find the responsible officer and facilitate investigation, he said.

He added that he will summon a meeting with all police superintendents of 88 police stations in Bangkok to inform them about his policy.

3 Oct 2017
12:12 pm

Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha met US President Donald Trump in the White House on Monday to strengthen bilateral cooperations.

Prayut and his wife, Naraporn Chan-o-cha, were greeted at the South Portico by Trump and first lady Melania Trump as the Thai leader arrived for talks and a working lunch.

During the meeting, Gen Prayut offered condolences to President Trump over the Las Vegas shooting last night and expressed the country’s solidarity with the American people.

He also expressed his condolences to those victims and their families in the U.S. and in Puerto Rico who were affected by hurricane.

“The government of Thailand and our private sector have also pledged for financial assistance,” Prayut said.

Gen Prayut said “Coming to meet Mr. President today is a good opportunity for me and for the Thai government and the people of Thailand to work closely to further strengthen the cooperation between our two countries.

We work, of course, in hand on our security defense cooperation to help ensure that our citizens are safeguarded from terrorism and other threats. Of course, we will work closely in order we solve the regional issue of concern, of course.

I am confident that, with President’s leadership, we will be able to tackle all the problems and work together in order to further strengthen the cooperation between our two countries, which we already mentioned that we have a long history of relationship — 200 years.”

At the talk, President Trump hailed the country’s strong relationship with Thailand that dated back to President Andrew Jackson.

“We’ve had a long and very storied history with Thailand. In fact, we were just mentioning that Andrew Jackson, who is on the wall, was the president when we first developed the big relationship.

So we have a very strong relationship right now, as of this moment, and it’s getting stronger in the last nine months. We’ve done a lot of things together, and it is a tremendous — it’s really very good to have you with us.

On Las Vegas shooting, Trump said “This has been a rough day for us because of what took place in Las Vegas”.

Trump said further ” I do want to say that our relationship on trade — and we’ve been negotiating very long and hard, and we’re meeting with our representatives in a little while to go further. But our relationship on trade is becoming more and more important. And it’s a great country to trade with; they make product and different things that are really very important to us, and we likewise sell to you.

He went on saying bilateral trade with Thailand saying “I think we’re going to try and sell a little bit more to you now, make that a little bit better if that’s possible.”

Bilateral trade totaled $40 billion last year, with the U.S. running a $19 billion deficit.

3 Oct 2017
11:31 am

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs last night (Oct 2) expressed the country’s condolences to families of the victims of the Las Vegas music festival shooting that killed over 50 people last night.

In a statement released on Monday night, it said, “The Government and the people of the Kingdom of Thailand extend our deepest condolences to the innocent victims of the heartless mass shooting in Las Vegas and their families. We stand with them and the American people in this difficult time and pray for the speedy recovery of those injured.”

The ministry also said no Thai nationals were among the victims of the shooting.

 

3 Oct 2017
11:18 am

The construction and decoration of the Royal Crematorium for His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adujyadej is almost completed with artisans now putting finishing touch on the funeral pyre and the curtain in the Royal Crematorium which is the central structure representing Phra Sumeru Mountain, the sacred cosmological mountain of Buddhist cosmology, or the centre of the universe.

Deputy Prime Minister Tanasak Patimapragorn said the Royal Crematorium is now 98.6% completed. Artisans are putting finishing touch on the royal pyre and the curtain.

Gen Tanasak, who oversees the construction of the Royal Crematorium, the Royal Chariots and related Funeral Structures, inspected the site yesterday (Oct 2) to follow up the progress as a ceremony is scheduled to be held on October 18 to raise the nine tiered umbrella marking the end of the construction.

He said landscape work around the Crematorium and the rice demonstration fields have been finished.

Bamboo supports for vegetable gardening are being arranged, and yellow flowers are being grown to add the perfect beauty to the ceremonial area.

Meanwhile a hundred of sculptures of gods, mythical creatures have been installed.

He said the enameled, gem-studded royal urn for containing the ashes is 89 per cent completed while the making of the royal offerings for monks is also 80 per cent completed.

The test on electricity system is being conducted and water drainage is being checked to prevent flood from heavy rain.

Some scaffolding is being removed and all will be cleared within three days except the scaffolding for the raising of the nine-tiered umbrella on the top of the royal crematorium.

Gen Tanasak said the rehearsal for the ceremony of raising the nine-tiered umbrella will be conducted on Oct 12 and 17 before the actual ceremony on Oct 18.

Gen Tanasak said everyone is proud to do the work for the late King.

He said and the rehearsal of the ceremony to raise the nine-tiered umbrella, which is as high as 5.10 metres, have to be made with great care with safety as this is the biggest umbrella that is ever built on the top of the Royal Crematorium.

 

2 Oct 2017
10:20 pm

There are ill-intent elements in and out of the country who want to disrupt the Royal cremation ceremonies and, hence, the security beef up, said Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan on Monday (Oct 2).

In his capacity as chief of the security and traffic management directorate for the Royal cremation ceremonies directorate, General Prawit did not give any details about the ill-intent elements but claimed he had intelligence information about the activities and the plot of these elements who are anti-Monarchy.

He said it was necessary for him to make sure that the ceremonies go on without any disruptions and smoothly in honour of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej who dedicated his whole 70 years of his life for the country and its people.

The deputy prime minister chaired a meeting of officials of the security and traffic management directorate on Monday during which he told the officials to attach importance to all issues related to the ceremonies in wake of the fact that as many as 250,000 people are expected to participate in the ceremonies.

For the sake of security, he explained that people who want to participate in the ceremonies must enter the ceremonial grounds through the designated routes and, because of the anticipated huge crowd of people, authorities concerned must make sure that the ceremonies proceed smoothly and safely.

Meanwhile, Army Commander-in-Chief General Chalermchai Sitthisart said that the ill-intent elements had already launched their activities through the social media for a while.

But with public cooperation and serving as eyes and ears, he said he believed there would be no untoward incidents during the ceremonies. He also said that security had been beefed up with security personnel being placed around the ceremonial ground with the police as the key player with military backup.

 

2 Oct 2017
8:55 pm

The Suphan Buri provincial administration on Monday (Oct 2) ordered an ethanol production factory shut down for 45 days after waste water from its treatment pond was released into surrounding communities following the collapse of the pond embankment due to flooding.

Hundreds of households in Dan Chang, Dermbang Nangbouat and Nong Ya Sai districts are affected by the stinking waste water from ethanol production factory located in Dan Chang district.

SuphanBuri deputy governor Phipob Boontham led officials concerned to the factory to inspect the broken treatment pond and to hold discussion with the staff of Thai Agro Energy Company to fix the problem. Samples of the tainted water were also collected to be tested.

In order to ease polluted water problem, more water will be released downstream from Krasiew dam to dilute the polluted water.
The company’s representatives told the officials that the collapse of the wall of the treatment pond was due to flooding as a result of heavy rain, but the company was willing to compensate the affected households and the damaged farmland.

The company has also brought in a backhoe to strengthen the walls of the pond.

Mr Pramote Karnpakdee, an assistant village head, told the media that residents living near the factory had previously complained against the factory for allegedly discharging waste water into their communities, but their complaints often went unheeded.

 

2 Oct 2017
8:24 pm

It is unfortunate for Chadchart Suttipunt, a former transport minister, and Somchai Jitsuchon, a director for economic development research of the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI), to have withdrawn from membership of national strategy drafting committees, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said on Monday (Oct 2).

Mr Wissanu said he learned of the two’s withdrawal on Oct 1, and understands their decision well.

He said it was unfortunate because the government hoped their knowledge and visions would be useful for the committees which will be responsible for drafting national strategies in various fields.

More members can still be appointed, as each committee is still short of the full membership of 15. However, he did not expect their replacements to be appointed this week.

Mr Wissanu denied a suggestion that the government had invited Mr Chadchart to sit on a committee for wanting to win cooperation from certain groups of people.

“No. It was because Mr Chadchart’s qualifications are suitable for the committee for drafting the strategy for infrastructure,” he said.

Mr Wissanu also denied as untrue a suggestion by Srisuwan Janya, secretary-general of the Assocation for the Protection of the Thai Constitution, that committee members were appointed from favouritism.

Politics is not a factor for the selection, he said.

Mr Wissanu said Mr Chadchart’s withdrawal is not a lose of face on the part of the government.

As for Mr Somchai, his withdrawal was connected to the regulation of his work place, he said.

2 Oct 2017
7:39 pm

Ko Phangan district of Surat Thani province has made a resolution to call off the full moon party, which is highly popular to foreign tourists, for the month of October to observe the royal cremation for the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej scheduled for Oct 26, district chief Krirkkrai Songthani said on Monday (Oct 2).

The district chief said he has issued an official letter to all heads of government offices as well as kamnans and chiefs of all village to comply with the order, which is in line with the cabinet resolution of Sept 26 regarding preparations for the royal cremation.

The order is for the full moon party, which is regularly held at Hat Rin beach in tambon Ban Tai of Ko Phangan on every 15th day of the waxing moon, to be called off in October.

Moreover, all entertainment venues are required to suspend entertaining activities. However, they can sell food and drinks as usual throughout the month.

The operators of all entertainment venues on Ko Phangan have been informed of the suspension order. Violators will face legal action, Mr Krirkkrai said.

2 Oct 2017
6:45 pm

Tourism operators in Chiang Mai believe a larger number of tourists will visit this northern province and expect more than 120 billion baht to circulate in the province during the coming high season as the cold spell is expected to arrive sooner and last longer.

Boontha Chailert, president of the Chiang Mai Tourism Business Association, said he believes more tourists will visit Chiang Mai during the 2017-2018 high season.

The cold spell, which is expected to come sooner and last longer than the previous year, is one of the factors to draw more tourists to the province.

He expects as high as 120 billion baht to circulate in the province, compared to 90 billion baht last year.

One of the major attractions of Chiang Mai is the hot spring in San Kamphaeng district, which draws a large number of tourists each year.

Doi Inthanon is another top-hit destination for tourists to get the feel of the cold weather and see a beautiful view of valleys shrounded with a sea of fog. Moreover, the wild Himalayan cherry trees of Chiang Mai, of which flowers bloom in January, is another major attraction.

Sukanda Yenkramkran, a Bangkok resident who is captured by the charms of Chiang Mai, said she will certainly take a time out to visit the natural beauty, peace and fine weather of Chiang Mai to get away from tensions and chaos in the capital city.