22 Jun 2017
11:38 am

The Anti Trafficking in Persons Division (ATPD) police have now arrested five suspects wanted for human trafficking in Bangkok and Nakhon Ratchasima after Tuesday night’s raid at a massage parlour in Lad Prao area of Bangkok.

ATPD commander Pol Maj Gen Kornchai Klaiklung said one suspect was arrested at an entertainment venue in Lad Prao area, and another in Nakhon Ratchasima last night.

He said six persons were wanted in human trafficking involved in the massage parlour raid, with now five being arrested.

The only fugitive who is a mamasang identified only as “Ms Poo”, a mastermind in the human trafficking, is still at large.

But he said Ms Poo has contacted to turn herself in to police, he said.

But she did not say where and when to turn into police, he said.

In a related development, ATPD police also arrested four suspects in Nakhon Ratchasima province.

One was charged with rape of Bangkok undwraged girl, while three others who are local government officials and local politicians were charged with rape, buying sex from underaged girls. They all denied the charges, the commander said.

 

22 Jun 2017
11:11 am

The outlook for domestic car sales remains bright this year with sales rising although car exports will drop for the 11th consecutive month in May.

Surapong Paisitpattanapong, spokesman for the automotive indusyry club of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), said that the domestic auto sales in May 2017 increased continuously to 66,422 units, or 0.6 percent rise year-on-year.

This reflected positive economic outlook in the country.

But overall picture of the auto industry, he said in the first five months of this year, domestic auto sales amounted to 340,179 units in total, a 12.4% increase year-on-year.

As a result, he said the FTI has now projected that the domestic auto sales will reach its target at 800,000 units for the whole year of 2017.

But at the same time, auto exports dropped for the 11th consecutive month in May to 90,092 units, a 9.5% drop from the same period last year, representing a drop in auto exports value of 48 billion baht, or 12.69% decline year-on-year.

Auto export ratio to the Middle East market plummeted from 25% to less than 8% due mainly to a restricted rule on diesel engine emission.

But it is expected that the production of diesel engine vehicles will be phased out by the next 10 years as the world’s leading car manufacturers plan to convert to producing more hybrid and plug-in hybrid and electric cars.

 

22 Jun 2017
10:38 am

In order to enable the country to get technological know-how from the Chinese high speed train technology on a sustainable basis, Thai university academics yesterday asked the government to promote technology transfer on a systematic and effective way so that the country will get utmost benefit.

The call was made by the Council of the Engineering Deans of Thailand (CEDT) which representing 61 university members.

The movement by the CEDT came after Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha invoked Section 44 of the interim Constitution to unlock all the legal wrangle that has long delayed the Thai-Chinese joint venture in the construction of the 179-billion baht high speed train project from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima covering about 230 kilometres.

With the invocation of the section, all legal problems will be terminated to enable the project to go ahead.

CEDT president Komsan Maleesee said the council submitted six proposals to the government for consideration.

He made clear that the proposals are adding conditions on technology transfer in the contract to be signed between Thailand and China.

The proposals are that the technology transfer should cover maintenance of railway tracks, carriages, power distribution system and power signal system.

The testing center for high speed train equipments and technology should be established in universities to be the source of knowledge for engineering students.

He said these proposals aimed at calling
the Thai government to allow technology transfer from the Thai Chinese high speed railway project to Thai universities for the country’s utmost benefit and ensure sustainable development for high speed trains in Thailand.

He also viewed that technology transfer from the Chinese know-how should be carried out systematically and effectively for sustainable learning and development on the new technology in Thailand.

He said the government should promote technology transfer to Thai educational institutes.

Universities have curricula to serve the world’s rapidly changing technology and will disseminate knowledge to students through researches and studies.

He cited examples of China and South Korea, which have developed from technology transfer from foreign companies and become the world’s leader in electric and high speed train industry in a short period.

21 Jun 2017
11:37 pm

The Finance Ministry has announced sweeping excise tax cuts for hybrid electric vehicles and electric powered vehicles effective as of the announcement is published in the Royal Gazette until December 31, 2025.

The excise tax cuts are designed to promote the development and production of hybrid electric and electric powered cars in Thailand which will hopefully boost the economy.

The tax cuts are applied to pick-up passenger vehicles or PPV with engine capacity not exceeding 3,250 cc powered by electricity and fuel, double-cab pick-ups with engine capacity not exceeding 3,250 cc and powered by electricity and fuel, hybrid electric sedans with engine capacity not exceeding 3,000 cc and electric powered vehicles.

The new excise tax rates for the PPV, double-cab hybrid electric pick-up and hybrid electric sedans are 23 percent, 10 percent, half of the old rate and two percent respectively.

Those who are eligible to excise tax cuts must have the following qualifications: have obtained investment incentives from the Board of Investment; must submit letters apply for tax cuts within December 31, 2020; must use batteries produced or assembled from plants which have obtained BoI’s investment promotion certificates.

 

21 Jun 2017
11:30 pm

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha told farmers in Khon Kaen province not to engage in single crop cultivation but should spare some of the farm land to raise cattle and to group together to form a big land plot for large-scale farming.

During his visit to a dairy farm in Khon Kaen on Wednesday, the prime minister said he was glad to see them and would like to give them some advice.

Noting that most of the farmland has no access to irrigation system and faces water shortage, he said farmers in such areas must not rely on farming alone to make a living, especially relying on single crop cultivation.

He said farmers should also spare some land for cattle raising and to put together their farmland to form a huge plot of farmland to engage in large-scale farming to save costs and to sell their farm products themselves without having to depend on the middlemen.

Farmers, he added, should be adapted to global changes, should apply technology in farming and, more importantly, to be self-reliant without having to wait for support or help from the government.

The prime minister told the farmers not to expect his government to write off all their debts because no government will be able to do that. He said he didn’t think Section 44 could help solving the debt problem.

He said that the government is committed to help all sectors of the society, not just the farmers or any particular group of people. The best way of help is for all parties concerned to join hands in solving all the problems.

 

21 Jun 2017
9:18 pm

The board of the State Railway of Thailand has decided to extend the deadline of the construction of the Red Line suburban train project from Bang Sue to Rangsit after the SRT has failed to turn over the land to the construction consortium within the specified period.

SRT acting governor Anont Luangboriboon said Wednesday that the new extension period would be shorter as the SRT had already granted a 150-day extension period to the consortium to compensate for the impacts caused by a rise in the minimum wage.

Construction of the Red Line project is separated into two contracts. The first contract, worth 29.6 billion baht, involves the construction of the terminal in Bang Sue, the electric train maintenance centre and the maintenance centre for long-haul train carriages. The consortium includes Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction or STEC and Unique Engineering. The board has agreed to extend the construction deadline by 800 days up to the expiration of the contract in 2019.

The second contract, worth an estimated 23.9 million baht, involves the construction of 20-km rail track from Bang Sue to Rangsit implemented by Italian-Thai Development Plc. The board has agreed to extend the construction deadline by 200 days up to the expiration of the contract next year.

As for the 800-900 million baht “stupid fee” claimed by the construction firms for the SRT’s delay in handing over the land for the project to them, Mr Anont said the SRT would assess the actual amount of damage caused to the companies by the delay in land handover.

Although the SRT is required to pay the compensation as stipulated in the contracts, the SRT acting governor noted that the contract does not specify when the compensation is to be paid, hence, there is enough time for negotiations to settle the issue.

 

21 Jun 2017
8:33 pm

Metropolitan Rapid Transit Authority (MRT) has decided to set up a safety board to oversee the safety aspect of all the construction of train projects to make sure that the construction is 100 percent safe and that accidents at construction sites are kept a the minimum.

The safety board is made up of 15 members with MRT deputy governor Mr Pakapong Sirikantharamat to be named the chairman and representatives from the construction companies and consultant firms. The board is expected to be formed this week.

The creation of the safety board follows a series of both fatal and minor accidents at the construction sites of train projects, especially this year. In one of the accidents, three construction workers were killed when a crane collapsed.

Mr Pakapong said on Wednesday that the first assignment of the safety board was to mete out punitive measures against the constructors in case there is an accident at construction sites.

The punitive measures are expected to be completed within a month after which all construction companies will have to sign in acknowledgement of the measures.

Mr Pakapong warned that, in the future, any construction company which does not observe the safety standard or fails to help accident victims may be blacklisted and may have their contracts scrapped by the MRT.

He went on saying that safety standard will be incorporated in future bidding, meaning that companies which have bad record of safety may be excluded from future bidding for mass transit projects.

 

21 Jun 2017
8:26 pm

His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun assigned vice chamberlain Chirapat Krairiksh to present flowers and materials as morale booster to three wounded soldiers at Pattani provincial hospital.

The three soldiers survived a deadly roadside bomb explosion on a laterite road in Thung Yang Daeng district of Pattani on Monday. But four of their comrades were killed at the scene.

One of the injured, Pvt Wutthichai na Phatthalung is still unconscious in the ICU. A doctor said he sustains bleeding in the brain, broken right leg and shrapnel wounds on the right side of his face.

Another injured, Sgt Wutthipong Ruangput, is in ICU with bleeding in the lungs and stomach but his condition has stabilized after surgery while Corporal Nakarin Hinghong a broken left elbow bone.

21 Jun 2017
5:40 pm

Former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra turns 50 on Wednesday, saying this will be one of the most difficult years of her life.

She did not elaborate the difficulty that she would face this year but it was widely understood that it concerns the dereliction of duty charges against her in connection with the loss-ridden rice pledging scheme of her government.

Ms Yingluck who made merit at Wat Saket on the occasion of her 50th birthday anniversary thanked all the people who gave her moral support all along. She said that she tried to stay strong in light of the difficulty facing her, but admitted that sometimes she could not control her emotions.

On this auspicious occasion, her brother, fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, sent her a big bouquet of flowers and well wishes.

She told reporters that Thaksin loves Thailand and does not want to see the country divided due to political differences.

Trying to fight back tears, Ms Yingluck thanked her supporters for showing her sympathy and support. She said she hopes she has a chance to come back again for similar merit making and to thank her supporters.

The case against her is pending with the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders.

 

21 Jun 2017
4:52 pm