13 Apr 2018
4:31 pm

Thailand’s upper parts as well as Bangkok and its peripherals are experiencing hot and up to very hot weather from today until tomorrow morning with maximum temperature rising up to 39-40 degrees Celsius, according to the Thai Meteorological Department’s forecasts today (Friday).

During April 15-18, the Weatherman predicted that the northern, northeastern, eastern and central regions would face freak summer storm characterized by thunder storm, strong wind, lightning and even hail storm.

The northeastern region will be first hit by the summer storm on April 15 followed  by the northern and eastern regions, including Bangkok, the following day.

On April 17-19, the southern region will face more rains while waves in the Gulf and the Andaman Sea will be moderate with waves in the Gulf averaging two metres high.

The hot weather which is blanketing the upper parts of Thailand was caused by low pressure cell while the southwestern wind brought with it humidity, resulting in thunder storm in the northern, central and eastern provinces.

In Bangkok, thunder storm is expected in 10 percent of its area with low temperatures ranging from 26-28 degrees Celsius and maximum temperatures ranging from 32-39 degrees Celsius.

 

13 Apr 2018
3:34 pm

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) on Friday officially opened the grand traditional Songkran festivities at Lumpini park with the offering of alms to monks.

The selection of the park as the venue to officially celebrate and hold Songkran festivities from past years at Sanam Luang was because it is large area and close to Silom road, an already popular destination for water splashing.

The BMA has turned the park into a retro Thai theme, which features traditional games and art.

Bangkok governor Pol Gen Aswin Kwanmuang in Thai costume led city officials and members of the public in the religious ceremony at the park where a bathing rite for 20 elders was also held simultaneously as today was not only the Thai traditional New year, but also the National Elderly Day.

The bathing rite was to foster gratitude and to show respect for the elderly people by the young Thai people.

The BMA has invited the people to the festivities as the Phra Buddha Sihing statue was moved from the Putthaisawan Throne Hall at the National Museum Bangkok to the park for the first time as part of Bangkok Songkran festivities.

The moving of the Buddha statute, one of Bangkok’s most important religious relics, from the museum to in front of the Rama VI Monument in Lumpini park for Buddhist Thais to pay respect, bathe and make wishes.

The grand Songkran celebrations, started yesterday will continue until April 15.

Activities run from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Authorities asked people to celebrate Songkran at park on traditional manner.

They are advised against using powder, water guns, or drinking alcoholic drinks, and modest clothing and moderate use of water are recommended.

 

 

13 Apr 2018
12:21 pm

In just two days of the “7-day dangerous period” from April 11-17, a total of 99 people have been killed in traffic accidents, and 1,085 others injured.

Only in  the second day on April 12, 60 others died and 624 others were injured in 579 traffic accidents.

The Road Safety Centre said on Friday(Apr 13) that in two days, 99 people have  died, and 1,085 were injured in 1,026 traffic accidents happened on highways, secondary and rural roads nationwide.

Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said the cause of deaths and injuries in the second day remained to be drink driving (42.83%), and speeding (24.35%), while motorcycles  were engaged in most accidents (78.84%).

He said most traffic accidents happened on straight sections of tambon rural roads (38.69%),  and of provincial  highways (37.65%), and most accidents  happened between 400pm-8.00pm.

He said most fatal traffic victims aged at 50 and over (26.17%).

Chiang Rai  recorded the highest accumulated  traffic accidents of 38 cases while Nakhon Ratchasima, Buriram and Phetchabun recorded the highest accumulated fatalities of five  each in two days.

He said a total of 65,492 officials were put on traffic duties and 764,035 vehicles were called for checking with days.

A total 154,773 traffic violators were arrested –  43,464 of them for not wearing crash helmets and 42,609 for driving with no driving licences.

13 Apr 2018
11:39 am

Although the official 5-day Thai traditional New Year  festival began today (Friday) with Thai people across the country going to temples making merits, Songkran revellers continued exodus from the  capital to celebrate the events at their home provinces.

Highway police reported heavy traffic jams on several highways to the North and Northeast, particularly, Friendship, Asian highways and the Kanchanapusek ring road or known as Motorway 9 since yesterday until late today.

Highway police again advised motorists to use Highway 347 instead to avoid traffic snarls on Motorway 9, and the interchange at Bang Pa-in and  Phaholyothin.

Motorists in Bangkok using Phaholyothin road were advised to use Highway 347 via the intersection near Thammasart Rangsit university to avoid the heavily congested Motorway 9 exit to Phaholyothin road.

Highway police reported as long as 10 kilometre long traffic jam on Motorway 9 exit to Phaholyothin road.

Yesterday Royal Thai Police deputy commissioner Oil Gen Sriwara Rangsibhramanakul flew in helicopter to inspect the traffic conditions on Phaholyothin,  Friendship, and Highway  304 (Kabinburi-Pak Thongchai) which  motorists used as alternative route to the northeastern provinces.

The aerial observation during the afternoon until evening found traffic flowing  smoothly on plain roads, except on slope sections of Highway 304 in Na Di district of Prachinburi.

A  20-kilometre-long traffic jam could be seen on this  highway as vehicles could not  use speed.

The traffic  condition remained unchanged today on this section.

Meanwhile  heavy traffic jam was also reported on  Friendship highway  to the Northeast, particularly at Lamtakong dam in Sikiew district of Nakhopn Ratchasima, the gateway to the Northeast.

More than  20-kilometre-long traffic jams was reported although highway police have arranged extra lanes of  10 kilometres long between Muak Lek district of Saraburi to Klang Dong in Pak Chong district of Nakhon Ratchasima to ease congestion for outbound traffic, and  open a 26 km special traffic lane at Nong Sarai sub-district of Kahon Ratchasima to Klong Phai sub-district of Sikiew district, from kilometre marker 65 – 87 to facilitate traffic flow on the road.

The two steep sections on Friendship Highway and also  construction of the Bang Pa-in-Nakhon Ratchasima Hugh speed train project caused  traffic snarls of up to 10 kilometres long.

13 Apr 2018
11:07 am

12 Apr 2018
8:28 pm

Over 200,000 people left Bangkok by bus service of Transport Company at its three bus terminals at Chatuchak, Ekamai and Sai Tai (southern bus terminal) on Wednesday, said Ms Rapeepan Wannapinthu, assistant managing director of state-run Transport Company, on Thursday.

The last bus trip was at 1 am today and no passengers were left stranded at the three terminals, she said, adding that as for today (Thursday), a total of 7,697 bus trips for a normal of 6,028 daily trips had been made available to accommodate of up to about 140,000 passengers who are expected to travel home today to celebrate the Songkran festival.

Meanwhile, Mr Chirasak Yaowatsakul, managing director of Transport Company, said most of the passengers who would travel tomorrow (Friday) would travel to provinces which are not far away from Bangkok such as Saraburi, Ayutthaya and others.

Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda, the national police chief, led a team of policemen to Chatuchak or Mor Chit 2 bus terminal to observe the situation and to make sure the bus service was smooth and the travelers were ensured convenience.

 

 

 

 

 

12 Apr 2018
8:13 pm

A total of 3,339 motorcyclists and drivers of public transport and private cars were arrested by authorities for drink driving in a way which may cause road accidents on the first day of the long Songkran festival on Wednesday (Apr 11).

According to Colonel Sirichan Ngathong, deputy spokesperson of the National Council for Peace and Order, the alleged offenders include 1,457 motorcyclists and 1,259 drivers of private cars and public transport. 105 motorcycles and 41 cars were seized and 356 driving licenses of the cyclists as well as 82 driving licenses of the motorists were also seized.

She said that all the 3,339 alleged drink drivers and motorcyclists will face legal action.

She disclosed that, on the first day of the exodus of Songkran revelers, traffic on the main arteries namely Mitraparb, Petkasem and Paholyothin was very congested with cars moving slowly and, occasionally, coming to stop.

However, she said that police and other officials had been trying to facilitate traffic flow.

 

12 Apr 2018
2:21 pm

US Acting Secretary of State John J. Sullivan has offered his best wishes for the Thai people when they celebrate the Songkran festival, the Thai traditional New Year today.

In a statement released today by the US Department of State, he said:

“On behalf of the Government of the United States, I extend best wishes to the people of the Kingdom of Thailand as they celebrate Songkran and welcome a new year on April 13, 2018.

This year marks 200 years of friendship between the United States and Thailand. The Great and Good Friends exhibition of royal gifts and letters exchanged over these two centuries between Thai Kings and U.S. Presidents, now on display at the Grand Palace, is a tangible reminder of the legacy and enduring strength of our relationship. As we celebrate this bicentennial, we think of how our friendship became an alliance that remains one of our oldest and most important in Asia. We look forward to further nurturing cooperation and partnership with the people of Thailand as we enter a third century of friendship during the reign of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn.

I wish all Thais a joyous festival with family and friends, and a healthy and prosperous New Year. Happy Songkran!”.

 

12 Apr 2018
1:00 pm

Thirty nine people were killed and 461 injured on the first of the “seven dangerous days” of the Songkran traditional New Year holiday travel on the country’s roads, officials said on Thursday (Apr 12)
According to the National Road Safety Center, the first day of the “seven dangerous days” from April 11-17, has now claimed 39 lives and 461 injuries in a total of 447 traffic accidents in a single day.
Drink driving remained the cause of most accidents or 40.49%, followed by speeding 26.62%.
Motorcycles are vehicles that involved in most traffic accidents or 81.96%, while most accidents happened on straight section of highways or 61.30%, secondary roads 39.15%, and rural roads 38.48%.
The centre said most accidents happened between 4.00pm– 20.00pm.
It said most dead and injured victims aged 50 and over, or 28.40%.
It said a total of 2,031 traffic checkpoints manned by 65,413 officials were set up, and 678,566 vehicles were ordered checked.
A total of 128,260 persons were booked for traffic violations, breaking down to 35,582 for not wearing helmets, and 35,090 for driving unsafe motorcycles.
Chiang Rai was recorded with highest traffic accidents (18 cases), and highest injuries (18 persons).
The provinces with highest death toll are Aumnart Charoen (2 cases), Loei (2 cases), Nakhon Si Thammarat (2 cases), Nakhon Panom (2 cases), Buri Ram (2 cases), Chon Buri (2 cases), and Phetchabun (2 cases).

12 Apr 2018
11:49 am

The Ministry of Interior has set up the centre for accident prevention and assistance to handle traffic emergencies during the notorious 7-day dangerous period from April 11-17.

The centre went into operation yesterday after officially opened by Interior Minister Gen Anupong Paochinda yesterday.

The centre has listed risky locations in 198 districts where authorities will take care if closely to ensure safety travel by Songkran revellers during the 7-day dangerous period.

Gen Anupong said he has ordered all departments to coordinate efforts and ensure that traffic laws are strictly enforced during the period.

Special community checkpoints manned by volunteers have also been sanctioned to help police on secondary roads while a high alert has also been ordered at risk prone locations in 198 districts.

In addition, he said security personnel have been ordered to strictly observe six measures which are mainly targeted at lowering risks for the general public, road safety, environmental conservation, motor vehicles safety, providing security for tourists, marine safety and emergency reaction measures in the event of accidents.

Meanwhile the Royal Thai Police deputy commissioner Pol Gen Chalermkiat Sriworakharn also ordered strict security measures to be enforced at all 10 popular festive locations within Bangkok to prevent criminals taking advantage of the situation to commit crimes or create disturbances.

Some of these include Central World Shopping Center, Silom and Khao Sarn Road.

A ban on alcohol has also been ordered at these locations as well as strict dress codes.

High power water pistols are also forbidden.

He said in Bangkok, 137 checkpoints will also be set up to provide public safety and security.

The Court of Justice meanwhile is reported to be coordinating with the Department of Probation to employ EM (Electronic Monitoring) to keep track of motorists with drunk driving records in particular those who were caught with 200 -250 milligram per cent) to further enhance road safety during Songkran.

12 Apr 2018
10:36 am

A 22-year-old girl shot herself at Surat Shooting Range on Wednesday with a 9mm pistol and died later at hospital.

 

She left a letter telling the reason for her suicide at home, Surat Thani police investigator said.

 

According to police, the girl, Ms Chanidapa Boonkhum, fired one shot from a rented 9 mm pistol of the privately-run shooting range and was fatally injured.

 

Shooting range staff immediately rushed her to Surat  hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival.

 

The surveillance cameras at the range caught her arriving at the range to practise shooting at 3.00pm.

 

She paid for 20 rounds of 9mm cartridges before practising shooting at the firing line.

 

She emptied 18 rounds from the handgun, remaining two in the firing chamber.

 

She pointed the gun at the right of her temple and then pulled the trigger, police said.

 

Investigation later revealed that she was a resident from Trang province.

 

She had  came to the shooting range to practise shooting for the past three days.

 

She left a last letter at home in Trang with farewell message to her family before suicide, police added.

11 Apr 2018
11:09 pm

A police officer has lodged a complaint with the Crime Suppression Division against a tailor’s shop, accusing it of cheating him and some 6,000 police officers of about 5 million baht worth of police uniforms they have ordered to be made.

Pol Maj Wutthipong Tangmahakitsiri, an inspector attached to the Police Welfare Division, said a former classmate who has a tailor’s shop inside an army camp in Kanchanaburi had offered to make police uniforms at affordable price so he persuaded his colleagues and the others to place orders with the shop.

Some 6,000 policemen placed the orders and each of them paid 1,500 baht as advance payments for a set of uniforms.

However, Pol Maj Wutthipong said only 500 sets were delivered during January-March and many of the police who have received the uniforms complained of their poor quality while the remaining uniforms are yet to be delivered.

Feeling that they were cheated, they decided to take the case to the attention of the CSD police.

11 Apr 2018
10:47 pm

About 20 middle-ranking officials of the Department of Social Development and Welfare will face transfer this month as the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission has discovered that up to 89 percent of the 109 million baht fund for the destitute for 2017 fiscal year were embezzled by corrupt officials.

The department chief Mrs Napa Setthakorn said that the planned mass transfer stemmed from the PAAC’s investigation which has implicated the 20 officials of alleged involvement in the cheats, adding that the PAAC’s investigation outcome matches with that undertaken by the department.

PACC secretary-general Lt-Col Korntip Daroj said its investigation found irregularities concerning the fund disbursement in centres for the destitute in 56 provinces.

He said that only 11 percent of the 109 million baht fund allocated for 2017 fiscal year actually reached the poor and the destitute while the bulk of the fund was stolen.

Of the 56 centres where irregularities were uncovered, PACC has agreed to conduct further investigation into 33 centres.

Besides the centres for the destitute, PACC has also found out that about 80 percent of the 135 million baht fund allocated for eight self-help cooperatives were believed to be embezzled.

11 Apr 2018
9:50 pm

Bangkok will go into a fun-filled, festive water-splashing mode for four days running starting Thursday (April 12).

The main event, to be hosted by the City Hall, will be at the Lumpini park under the theme “Bangkok Songkran, Splashing Happiness to All Ages, A Return to the Old Thai Style”.

The event will start with the procession of Phra Phuttha Sihing from the National Museum to the Lumpini park to allow members of the public to pour water at the Buddha image for good luck on the Thai New Year.

This will be the first time that Lumpini park was chosen as the main venue for the holding of Songkran celebration by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration. The downtown public park is an ideal location given the fact that it situates near Silom Road whihc has been another top destination for water splashing frenzy among locals and tourists alike besides Khao San road.

Other venues for celebration include Phu Khao Thong or the famed Golden Mountain at Wat Sa Ket, Central World, Siam Square, eight Chao Phraya river piers such as Wat Arun, Wat Kalayamitr, Wat Prayurawongsawas, Asiatique and Wat Pho.

However, water splashing is banned on some areas such as the entire road along Klong Thawi Watthana from Phetkasem to Borommaratchachonnani road.

Complaint points are to be set up around Khao San road to receive complaints from revelers against sexual harassment or other physical abuses.

Shops and convenience stores have been asked not to see liquor to youths under 20.

11 Apr 2018
8:09 pm

Thailand women’s national football team will meet Philippine rival in a crucial match tomorrow night (April 12) in Jordan to earn a ticket to the semi-final of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup and the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The team manager, Mrs Nualphan Lamsam, said today (April 11) that she was confident that her team would triumph over the team from the Philippines although seven players were naturalized Filipino citizens from the US.

However, she said that the Thai team must not underestimate their rival as an underdog team.

The Thai team thrashed their host Jordan 6-1 on Monday (April 9), scoring three points which are equal to the Philippine team’s.  And a draw will be enough to send the Thai team to the semi-final round of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup.

However, Mrs Nualphan is not content with just a draw.

Nualphan Lamsam

Earlier, she promised to inject 15 million baht for the team if they triumph over the Philippine team to win a ticket to the Women’s World Cup in France next year whereas the Thai Football Association also pledged another five million baht to boost the morale of the team.

The Thai team won all the eleven previous encounters with their Philippine rival and it was placed on the 30th world’s ranking compared to the Philippines’ 71st world’s ranking.

One of the players, Ms Taneekarn Dangda, expressed confidence that her team would win the match against Philippines which will kick off at around midnight of April 12 Thailand time.

11 Apr 2018
5:27 pm

Three people were injured and two speed boats were damaged after a fire broke out at one of the boats while being repaired at a pier in Thai Muang district of Phang-nga province this afternoon (April 11).

Police reported that one of the speed boats, named Da Marine, was on its way to Similan Islands from Tap Lamu with a group of Chinese tourists, but the boat developed engine malfunctioning mid-way in the sea.

The tour operator then sent another speed boat, named Da Marine 1, to pick up the tourist group for their journey to Similan Islands.  After that, Da Marine 1 returned to tow the malfunctioning boat back to their pier for inspection.

As a skipper and a mechanic were repairing the engine, a fire occurred from sparks and it quickly engulfed Da Marine before it spread to Da Marine 1 which was docked nearby.

Both the skipper, the mechanic and a third person sustained slight injuries, but the two vessels were totally burned.

The actual cause of the fire was being investigated.

11 Apr 2018
12:46 pm

Government authorities are now checking several private piers at Tambon Lamkaen in Thai Muang district, Phang-nga province after they suspected that foreigners might use their Thai nominees to encroach the sea and marine parks.

The movement against encroachment came after local people complained that several private piers used by tour boat companies for cruising had encroached the sea and national park, notably at Pa Klong Thung Maprao national park in Thai Muang district.

In response to the complaints, deputy commissioner of the Tourist Police Bureau Pol Maj Gen Surachate Hakparn then went out to inspect along with national parkand port officials.

Initial inspection showed at least four private piers encroached the sea and national park.

He said these piers, walkways for passengers pierced into the river, and several major structures encroached on waterway, mangrove forests and national park.

Three illegal foreign guides were also rounded up, he said.

From the inspection, he said more investigation would be needed with the cooperation of forestry, national park and port officials to find the people involved in the encroachment.

Initially officials suspected foreigners financed their Thai nominees to encroach the sea, river to build piers for operating your business.

Moreover authorities would check their money trails and land occupation documents if they were legally issued.

He said if these structures were found to be built illegally or through illegal channel, they all be demolished.

11 Apr 2018
12:14 pm

Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha said he wouldn’t halt the resignation of permanent secretary of Finance Somchai Sujjapongse after he was transferred and appointed secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) yesterday.

Mr Somchai Sujjapongse

Gen Prayut made clear of his stance on the transfer of Mr Somchai to new position at the NESDB, saying being a civil servant, he couldn’t express dissatisfaction.

He said everything has been considered and done in accordance with official regulations.

He said it would be alright if the resignation was based on his personal reasons, and he would not halt his resignation.

Gen Prayut insisted that this would not cause rift in the government, and said he was determined and stood firm on his position.

However he said anyone else wishing to resign could go ahead.

He dismissed suggestion of rift in the government, saying if it would be rift, it was something that was triggered by the media people.

Somchai’s resignation from the civil service was seen as a form of protest Tuesday after he was transferred to the position as secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Board.

 

11 Apr 2018
11:31 am

Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha led his cabinet ministers and military top brass to wish Privy Council president Gen Prem Tin­su­lanonda and receive his blessing at his Si Sao Theves residence on Wednesday morning.

The traditional call on the Statesman was two days ahead of the upcoming Songkran festival, Thai traditional new year, which starts from Friday.

Gen Prayut presented the Privy Council president with a bou­quet of flowers and wished him happy, good health, and live a long life.

Gen Prem thanked the prime minister for the wishes and commended Gen Prayut for his leadership that he was confident could bring the country to peace and happiness.

He wished the prime minister to succeed in work.

 

11 Apr 2018
10:36 am

As massive exodus of people working in Bangkok begins leaving the capital for family reunions in upcountry homes to celebrate the Thai traditional new year or Songkran, state agencies yesterday joined together to launch a campaign to ensure the people return homes safe and sound.

Among the campaign is the “No Drink Driving” or no alcohol drinking before and during driving.

Yesterday the Ministry of Transport kicked off the anti-drink driving campaign to promote road safety as the long five-day festival holiday is to start tomorrow.

The campaign was jointly held by the Don’t Drive Drunk Foundation, and the state-run Transport Company.

Transport Minister Arkom Termpittayapaisith said the campaign is aimed at raising public awareness on road safety in a bid to reduce the number of casualties caused by driving under the influence of alcohol.

Drivers caught and charged for drink-driving is subject to one year imprisonment, a fine of 5,000- 20,000 baht, or both.

But he said in case the driver is a public transport employee, he or she will face dismissal.

Meanwhile at Mo Chit 2 bus terminal, throngs of passengers were reported today, and expected to continue until Friday April 13.

But the Transport Company assured that all passengers will be carried back homes to celebrate Singkran as sufficient buses have been prepared to cope up with the surge in passenger traffic this week.

The company said it will be offering extra services so that all passengers will be able to travel homes.

It said a total of 8,853 bus trips will be available on a daily basis, rising from the normal service frequency by 2,690 trips.

At the same time the State Railway of Thailand also said it expects the number of rail passengers to increase during the festival.

Therefore, extra cars will be added to all of its 242 trains, which will provide the service.

Another 20 special trains will also be available to cater to the peak demand on April 11-13 and April 15-17 when the number of passengers is expected to reach 120,000 per day.

For air passenger traffic during the festival time, Don Mueang International Airport’s general manager Suthirawat Suwannawat advised passengers to arrive at the airport earlier before departure, particularly during April 12-13.

The airport expects as many as 125,000 passengers per day on April 12 and 13, he said.

He said the number of flights at the airport has been increased to 880 from 850 per day, a 14.4% increase.

 

10 Apr 2018
11:43 pm

The Central Administrative Court today (April 10) ordered Bangkok Mass Transit Authority, the city’s bus operator, to pay compensation for damage worth 1,159 million baht to four suppliers of 489-unit NGV bus fleet for illegal cancellation of the procurement contract.

The four bus suppliers are Bestlin Groups, R & Commercial Vehicles SDN BHD, Sun Long (Shanghai) Automotive Company and Pei-fang Guangzhou New Energy Technology.

The court said that the Bestlin Groups and its three affiliated firms entered into a contract to supply BMTA with a fleet of 489 NGV buses on September 30, 2016 with a condition that all the buses were to be delivered within 90 days of the date of the signing of the contract.

The companies imported 489 NGV buses into the country on January 24, 2017 and 390 of them were installed with GPS system, including 292 which were registered with the Land Transport Department under the name of BMTA.

But BMTA refused to accept delivery of the buses, claiming that it had received a letter from the Office of the Attorney-General suggesting it to wait for an answer from the Customs Department regarding the origin of the buses.  BMTA also claimed that the bus fleet was not delivered within the 90-day deadline.

However, the court ruled that the BMTA’s claims to reject the bus delivery contradicted with the resolution of the committee charged with taking delivery of the buses that the suppliers could deliver the bus fleet in different lots.

The court ruled BMTA’s unilateral cancellation of the contract on ground that the suppliers did not supply the buses within the deadline as specified in the contract as wrongful.

Also, the courted noted that the origin of the buses which were supposed to be fully assembled in China was not an essence of this procurement contract although the contract stipulated that the buses must be fully assembled in China.

The court, however, ruled that there was no difference between the buses being fully assembled in China or in Malaysia as they serve the BMTA’s purpose to serve Bangkok bus commuters.

10 Apr 2018
11:26 pm

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha clarified today (Tuesday) that the government has not extended the mandatory retirement age of governments from 60 to 63, but merely wanted to retain the service of retiring officials in certain areas where there is a shortage of manpower such as doctors and academics.

An announcement of the Prime Minister’s Office published in the Royal Gazette website on April 6 states that the mandatory retirement age will be extended from 60 to 63 and this will be implemented in six-year period.

“Please do not use the word “extension” of retirement age, but please use ‘hiring of people who are competent to work in their capacity as advisors or resource persons such as surgeons who have extensive experiences,” said the prime minister, adding that officials in the lower echelon may be worried because they may miss promotions if the tenures of their superiors are extended beyond retirement age.

He went on saying that the extension of mandatory retirement age was the brainchild of the National Reform Committee and the issue is not final yet because the government has to listen to opinions from all stakeholders.

The prime minister said that not all the reform plans proposed by the National Reform Committee could be implemented immediately because there must be rules and regulations which are yet to be drawn up.

 

 

10 Apr 2018
11:05 pm

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was voted as the most favored person with whom Songkran revelers want to pour water on his hands to celebrate the water splashing festival, according to an opinion poll jointly undertaken by the Ministry of Culture and Suan Dusit Poll of Suan Dusit University.

Besides the prime minister, the other top four that most revelers want to engage in water-pouring ritual are the two lead characters of Love Destiny hit drama series, Thanawat “Pope” Wattanaphuti and Ms Ranee “Bella” Kampen, provincial governors and their respectable elderly relatives.

Altogether 3,075 people from across the country were interviewed.

Asked about the Songkran-related activities that should be preserved, the poll shows 74.87 percent of the respondents voted for merit making and alms offering; 64.28 percent voted for pouring water on Buddha statues and visit to temples to build sand chedi; 61.08 percent voted for water splashing in a polite fashion; 36.35 percent voted for dressing up in Thai traditional costumes or native costumes; and 29.9 percent voted for a new of clothing to be worn to pay respect to the elderly.

The places that most revelers want to be there to splash water are the revelers’ hometowns followed by Bangkok’s Khao Sarn Road, Silom Road, Siam Square, Siam Paragon, Wat Pathumwanaramratchavoraviharn, Central Word shopping mall, King Power duty-free complex, Visutkasat Road, Santichaiprakarn park, Lumpini park, Asiatic shopping district; Chiang Mai, seaside resort towns such as Pattaya, Bang Saen, Hua Hin, Cha-am and Ayutthaya.

Asked what came to their minds first when referring to Songkran, 75.79 percent mentioned water splashing; 64.44 percent  mentioned pouring water on hands of the elderly; 54.39 percent mentioned traditional New Year; 46.98 percent said long holidays and 39.35 percent said it was their trip back homes.

 

10 Apr 2018
9:05 pm

The Bank of Thailand says it still needs to monitor the trade conflict between the United States and China closely  although the country will be slightly affected.
 

Mr Veerathai Santiprabhob, the central bank governor, said that although the impact of the US  China trade conflict on the national economy will be minimal,  it still needs to be closely monitored.
 

He said indirect repercussions such as the entry of restricted goods into the local market would directly compete with local suppliers and severely chip away at their market share.
 

Similarly, he said that the situation was also a potential windfall for Thai products that will have reduced competition in both the US and China markets.
 

With regards to US targeting Thailand for alleged exchange rate manipulation, an official explanation is being formulated to clarify Thailand’s position to US officials.
 

Commenting on a proposal by the Finance Minister for commercial banks to lower interest rates for SMEs the governor stated that in the past this was possible because of the availability of funding. He went to explain that currently interest rates on loans for SMEs was already very low due to intense competition among commercial banks to attract SME clientele.
 

Therefore he said competitive SMEs therefore had nothing to be worried about.
 

The problems of less healthy SMEs however cannot be solved with soft loans alone as structural internal concerns must be solved first in order for them to become competitive.
 

Thailand’s net interest rate is at mid level slightly higher than in Singapore and Malaysia but lower than Indonesia and the Philippines, he said.

10 Apr 2018
8:24 pm

Social development and human security permanent secretary Mr Putthipat Lertchaowasit and his deputy, Mr Narong Kongkham, were temporarily relieved from civil service pending investigation into their alleged involvement in the widespread stealing of fund for the destitute and poor.

Social Development and Human Security Minister Anantaporn  Kanchanarat told the media that the cabinet decided at a meeting today (Tuesday) to relieve the two senior officials from the service and, at the same time, appointed Mr Paramethi Wimonsiri, secretary-general of the Economic and Social Development Commission, as the new permanent secretary replacing Mr Putthipat.

Mr Paramethi Wimonsiri

Praising Mr Paramethi as suitable for the job, General Anantaporn said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha wanted the former to make preparations for social development work in the future with priorities on the ageing people and children.

He said the limited shakeup at the ministry with the removal of the permanent secretary and his deputy was not an act to dispel the perceived curse against the ministry as speculated, but a timely act to restore public confidence following the ongoing corruption scandal.

Regarding the investigation into the scandal, the minister said that, so far, 95 officials had been implicated and investigation panels had been set up separately by the ministry and the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission to consider disciplinary actions against them.

Starting as of May 1, he said that allowances for the destitute would be directly wired into their bank accounts via PromptPay instead of being hand-delivered in cash by the officials to the recipients.

 

 

10 Apr 2018
6:39 pm

Search resumed today (April 10) for an 82-year old Japanese who went missing since Monday afternoon as he was visiting a chedi on top of Doi Inthanon in Chom Thong district of Chiang Mai.

About 200 men from the Royal Thai Air Force unit based at Doi Inthanon, the Doi Inthanon national park and rescue units were mobilized to look for Mr Kinya Nakamura who got separated from his son, Shinya Nakamura, a mixed Thai-Japanese man who lives in Thailand, as they were visiting Phra Mahathat Naphapholphumisiri.

Mr Shinya alerted the authorities after he could not locate his father after frantically searching for him on the compound of the chedi.

An official said they found traces of grass being stomped near the cliff, but could not find the missing Japanese.  The search was called off at about 8 pm on Monday and it was resumed this morning.

10 Apr 2018
3:50 pm

A speeding bus running down the slope section of Mae Sot-Tak highway slammed into a police car and road barrier, killing one official and injuring another who were inspecting the scene of fatal bus crash that killed six Myanmar migrant workers.

The repeated bus crash at the same location where the double-decker bus still rested on its side on the ditch in Muang district of Tak happened at about 10.30am on Tuesday (April 10).

Highway authorities at the scene said the bus with no passengers was running down the slope section with speed and was swaying severely before veering through the traffic barriers erected to warn motorists of the presence of officials inspecting the bus crash scene.

Manida Thankitrungroj, a senior specialist attached to Tak labour office, was killed at the scene, while another person was injured.

Authorities said the bus was running down with speed and might develop brake failure.

Speed limit was set at 40 kilometre/hour at the spot but the driver suspected to drive faster than the limit.

The driver was detained by police.

Meanwhile,  a land transport official said the double-decker bus that crashed and killed six Myanmar workers and injured 30 others last night (April 9) was detected to be running at 109 milometres along the way on Highway 12, above the 90 km limit.

Its speed while running down the slope was detected by GPS monitoring device at 70 kilometres, he said.

Police charged the bus driver, Pisit Tanapakpasit, for speeding and reckless driving causing deaths and injuries to others.

Mr Pisit claimed that the bus braking system didn’t function as he was driving downhill.

He decided to slide the side of the bus with the road barriers to delay the speed but couldn’t make it.

The bus crashed the barriers and fell into the ditch five metres below, he said.

10 Apr 2018
12:18 pm

Military officials and police in Narathiwat launched manhunt for six men suspected of involvement in bomb explosions at three residential areas in Su-ngai Kolok district, injuring 13 people on Monday night (April 9).

Security officials were looking into surveillance cameras to trace the escape routes of six men suspected of parking motorcycle with bombs at three locations in Su-ngai Kolok district. The three spots are Nimo Karaoke,  Plaza hotel, and Phichet foodshop on Prachawiwat Soi 3 road.

The bombs later went off almost simultaneously after the men walked away from the parked vehicles. CCTV footages show they were picked up by their colleagues in motorcycles and fled.

Security official said the men wore raincoats to conceal their faces.

 

All of the 13 people injured in the bomb attacks are now in safe conditions.

The bomb attacks have scared away tourists who planned to visit the town and join the local food festival during the Songkran festival. They have cancelled their room reservations after feeling unsafe.

Meanwhile, authorities have stepped up security at maximum level in the Deep South as today (April 10) is the founding day of Barisan Revolusi National Congress (BRN-Congress) separatist group.

10 Apr 2018
10:47 am

Six Myanmar migrant workers were killed and 30 were injured, 17 seriously after a double-decker bus they travelled in ran off the road into the ditch and flipped over.

The latest fatal incident happened to Myanmar workers occurred on the Mae Sot-Tak road in Muang district of Tak province shortly before midnight.

The bus was taking 50 Myanmar workers from Mae Sot district of Tak to work in Chachoengsao’s Plaeng Yao district.

Chief of Tak disaster prevention and mitigation office Kolavajara Sapsongsuk said the incident happened at kilometer marker 68+200 as the chartered double-decker with Bangkok license plate number “33-5488 กทม” was running down Doi Ruak hill.

Six workers were killed at the scene, and 30 others injured, 17 seriously. They were sent to Somdejphrajaotaksin Maharaj Hospital in Tak.

Pisit Tanapakpasit, the bus driver, told police that the bus developed brake failure as he was driving down the hill, causing it to veer off the road and fell into the roadside ditch.

Police initially charged Mr Pisit with reckless driving causing death. Forensic police are inspecting the scene to verify the cause of the accident.

9 Apr 2018
9:36 pm

A defence volunteer was seriously injured when a bomb hidden under his car parked in the garage of his house Pattani’s Yaring district exploded as he switched on the car’s engine Monday afternoon.

The victim, 36-year old Ismail Jehtae, sustained serious injuries from the bomb blast and he was quickly rushed to the district hospital by his family members.  After being given initial treatment, he was sent to Pattaniprovincial hospital for further treatment.

Police said that Ismail returned home late Sunday night after having finished his duty.  At about 3 pm today, he was about to report to work as usual, but when he switched on the car’s engine, a bomb which was hidden under the car automatically detonated.  He went unconscious behind the steering wheel with blood oozing out of the lower part of his body.

Pol Maj-Gen Piyawat Chalermsri, commander of Pattani provincial police, ordered police force to be scattered within one-kilometre radius of the victim’s house to look for suspected militants who might be hiding there.

He said it was suspected that militants might sneak into the garage during the night before and placed an improvised bomb weighing about 10 kgs beneath the car.  The bomb would go off automatically when the car moved.

 

 

9 Apr 2018
9:27 pm

Three explosions rocked Su-ngai Kolok district of Narathiwat almost simultaneously today (April 9) injuring at least three people.

The first bomb was a motorcycle rigged with explosives went off in front of Wat Tha Iad in municipal area.  It was followed with two more bomb explosions–one behind the Plaza hotel in which three passers-by were slightly injured and another in Soi Raman.

Security sources said that the triple bomb blasts were intended to cause panic in order to disrupt the upcoming Songkran festival rather than to kill or to maim because of choice of the sites of the blasts which were sparsely populated.

 

9 Apr 2018
8:44 pm

The Transport Ministry has set a target to reduce the number of road accidents during Songkran festival this year by 7 percent compared to the statistics for the same period last year, said Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisit on Monday.

Because of the long holiday break, he said it was predicted that 7.2 million cars of different types would leave and enter Bangkok during the Songkran festival – up 4.3 percent from last year’s figures.

Due to anticipated heavy traffic flow, the minister said he had instructed all agencies concerned to mobilize their manpower to be put on the streets to ensure travel safety, especially on 77 accident-prone roads.

The accident-prone roads include 17 roads in the North, 14 in central region, four in the eastern region, six in the western region, 16 in the South, 18 in the Northeast and two in Bangkok and its peripherals.

The minister stressed that there must be sufficient public transport to cater to the demand of travelers to make sure that no passengers are left stranded at bus terminals and bus drivers must be free from drug abuses.

Travelers can buy short-term insurance to cover their travelling which is good for one-month coverage until the end of April with insurance fee as low as 10 baht and insurance coverage of up to 100,000 baht in case of death or injuries.

(Photo: ข่าวและภาพกิจกรรมกระทรวงคมนาคม)

 

 

 

9 Apr 2018
7:49 pm

The executive committee of the judiciary has decided to refer the controversial housing project in Doi Suthep mountain to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to decide.

In a press statement issued today (Monday) after the meeting of the executive committee, the Office of the Judiciary said that the executive committee had instructed the office to obtain the opinions of all stakeholders which would be used to solve the confliction a just and peaceful manner, with full awareness of co-existence between humans and environment and natural resources.

The executive committee also ordered the Office of the Judiciary to file detailed report about the housing project and its background to the prime minister for consideration and is ready to accept any decision made by the government to resolve this controversy.

The press statement gave a background report about the project dating back to the year 1997 when the Justice Ministry then instructed the Office of Region 5 chief justice to ask for a 106-rai land plot from the 7th artillery battalion for the construction of a housing project.

Two years afterward, the 33rd Army Circle granted permission to the judiciary for the use of the land plot as requested.  In 2004, the army circle notified the Office of Judiciary of its permission for the judiciary to use 147 rai of land for the construction of the office building of Region 5 Appeals Court and housing units for the judges and officials.  Permission for the use of the land was also granted by Chiang Mai governor and the Treasury Department.

With permission granted from authorities concerned, the Office of Judiciary proceeded with the project by seeking funding from the government and choosing builders for altogether three projects estimated at 955 million baht.

The first project concerns the construction of the office building of Region 5 Appeals Court.  The second project overs the construction of 38 housing units and 36 condominium units.  The third covers nine housing units and 64 condominium units.

The Office of Judiciary claimed that all the trees with diameter of 30 cm and upward on the land plot were not felled but dug out and replanted elsewhere.

 

9 Apr 2018
6:41 pm

Bangkok’s northern bus terminal was packed with tens of thousands of Songkran revellers today (Apr 9) as they began leaving the capital for homes prior to the long 5-day Songkran festival beginning April 12-16.

Among the Songkran revellers include the early tide of migrant workers streaming out of Bangkok for homes in Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia after the government advised their Thai employers to allow their foreign employees to return home to celebrate the Songkran festival in their home countries during April 5-30.

During the period, exemption of fees from exiting the country process will be provided to migrant workers but under conditions that they must return to work in the country before April 30.

The exodus of both foreign and Thai workers by public transport jam-packed bus terminals, particular Mor Chit northern bus terminal, causing heavy traffic jams on both Phahilyothin and Vibhavadi Rangsit and the vicinities.

Traffic police warn motorists to avoid Phaholyothin road this evening as another wave of more Songkran revellers are expected to take buses home after work today.

State-run Transport Company managing director Jirasak Yaowatchsakul said he expected over 1.2 million bus travellers will travel homes by buses during April 10-18.

He said the company has arranged more than 31,000 bus trips to accommodate passengers leaving the capital during April 10-13, and over 30,000 return trips when they return to Bangkok after the festival.

He advised bus passengers to arrive at bus terminal at least one hour before schedule as the terminal was expected to be packed.

Meanwhile Mae Sot town in Tak also was packed with waves of Myanmar migrant workers arriving to cross the Thai border back homes.

Immigration officials expected over 10,000 workers a day passing the border checkpoint.

 

 

9 Apr 2018
6:20 pm

Opponents of the judiciary’s housing project at the foot of Doi Suthep forested mountain in Chiang Mai’s Mae Rim district remain persistent in their demand for the demolition of all the residential units of the project and restoration of the land plot to its pre-construction condition.

The uncompromising standpoint of the opposition group, known under the name of Network to Reclaim Doi Suthep Forest, was expressed at a meeting held at Kawila barrack in Muang district under the chairmanship of Lt-Gen Vichak Siribansop, commander of the Third Army Region.

Also present at the meeting aimed to work out a solution to the controversial housing project were Chiang Mai governor and representatives from the Treasury Department, the Region 5 Appeals Court, police and the military.

John Noppadol Wasinsunthorn, co-member of the network, told the media after the meeting that the group opposes the project because the project was luxurious as it went against the principle of sufficiency economy, caused environmental damage and its location is unsuitable.

He also dismissed by the recent claim made by the secretary-general of the Office of the Judiciary Mr Sarawut Benjakul that no big trees were felled but dug out and replanted elsewhere in the course of the construction, saying that pictures sent to the network by some witnesses showed otherwise that trees were cut down forming a long stripe empty land.

The group has wanted all the 45 detached housing units and nine condominium buildings for the judges and officials demolished, safe the office building of the Region 5 Appeals Court.

John Noppadol said that the housing project, if allowed to carry onot until its completion and open for use, would set a precedent of social inequality.  He warned that there is not a clear and satisfying response from the government to the group’s demand, their colleagues who are now waiting in Lampang would carry on with their protest march to Bangkok to petition the prime minister to invoke his special power under Section 44 of the interim Constitution to scrap the project.

After the meeting, Lt-Gen Vichak said he would file a summary report of the meeting to the army chief, General Chalermchai Sitthisart, for consideration.

Meanwhile today, the executive committee of the judiciary held a separate meeting to discuss similar matter.  The outcome of the meeting is not known for the time being.

9 Apr 2018
12:40 pm

Deputy Prime Minister and also Defence Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan will pay a five-day visit to the United States as guest of the US Department of Defence during April 21-26.

Defence Ministry’s spokesman Lt Gen Kongcheep Tantravanich said Gen Prawit will be the guest of the US Defence Secretary James Mattis.

The Pentagon has sent an invitation for an April 21-26 visit which will include trips to US army camps for the defence minister and his delegation.

Lt Gen Kongcheep said the visit by the defence minister follows Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s official visit to the US at the invitation of US President Donald Trump in October last year.

Accompanying Gen Prawit will include representative from the Foreign Ministry, the Royal Thai Police, and the National Security Council, he said.

Topics to be raised during the meeting include regional security and military cooperation in all aspects, and the situation in the South China Sea

9 Apr 2018
11:57 am

Fourteen Myanmar migrant workers and a Thai van driver narrowly escaped death when their vehicle caught fire after a tyre burst and ran out of the road into a ditch on Monday morning (Apr 9).

The incident happened at 6.00am in Wang Chao district of Tak province as a chartered public van bearing Bangkok license plate “15-8690 กทม” was taking 14 Myanmar workers, 7 men and 7 women, from Bangkok back home via Mae Sot border.

The workers were allowed to return homes from today by their Thai employers to celebrate the Songkran festival.

One of its tyres burst , causing the van to lose balance and fall off the road into the ditch.

Nobody was in injured as the van did not flip over. But seconds after all the passengers left the van, it caught fire and engulfed the entire van.

The van was powered by NGV.

 

 

 

 

9 Apr 2018
10:25 am

The Office of Insurance Commission (OIC) has urged holiday makers to join a travel insurance package campaign which has a low premium of 10 baht but with compensation amounting to 50,000-100,000 baht for a 30-day protection during the Songkran festival.

OIC secretary-general Sutthipol Thaweechaikarn

The insurance package was revealed by the OIC secretary-general Sutthipol Thaweechaikarn yesterday.

Under the campaign which was collaborated by 10 business operators, four life insurance companies and 10 general insurance companies, he said the insured would be provided coverages in two cases.

A 100,000-baht compensation for accident-related death, and 50,000 baht for amputations or permanent disabilities.

In case of death resulted from treatment of injuries, a 5,000 baht funeral cost will be given by the insurance company. And in case of receiving treatment at hospital over 5 days, the insurance company will cover hospital expenses for three months.

He said the insurance policy has a duration of 30 days while the age of the insured will be from 20 to 70 years in a bid to entice more people to get insured.

He expected the insurance campaign during the festival would attract over a million holiday makers to join, or 70,000 higher than last year’s campaign.

8 Apr 2018
9:55 pm

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and his wife, Mrs Naraporn joined chiefs of the three armed forces, the police chief and defence permanent secretary in a traditional pre-Songkran event held at the Royal Plaza on late Sunday afternoon (Apr 8).

The event, called Thalerngsok Suksant Maha Songkran Tamnan Thai, featured paying respect to the equestrian statue of King Chulalongkorn and several entertainment activities, including sand chedi competition and long drum dance by troupe from the Fine Arts Department.

The prime minister expressed his good wishes to participants in the event and wished their safe travelling during the Songkran festival due to start on Thursday which is a public holiday as announced by the government.

He and his wife spent about 45 minutes at the event.

 

 

8 Apr 2018
9:39 pm

Owners of fishing boats in Pattani have threatened to stop fishing to put pressure on the government to ease restrictions on illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing which they claim are impractical and affect their business.

Informed fishing industry sources from Pattani said that between 300-400 fishing boats were heading back to fishing piers in the province to join several other fishing vessels which were already anchored in piers to await response from the government over their petition for a reprieve from IUU fishing restrictions.

The sources warned that as many as 2,000 fishing boats of different sizes would head back to piers to join the fishing stoppage.

Meanwhile in Songkhla province, the provincial fishery association has submitted a petition to the Command Centre to Combat Illegal Fishing to review the IUU fishing restrictions.

Mr Suradet Nil-uon, president of the Songkhla fishery association, said that their petition was accepted for consideration, resulting to operators of fishing boats to hold off their plan to stop fishing as a gesture of protest.

However, he warned that 700 fishing boats which are now out in the open sea fishing would return from the sea in 12 hours if there was no positive response from the government.

Trang fishery association president SaritpakPamornvisit said that operators of fishing boats in several provinces had joined force to make known their protest against the IUU fishing restrictions.

He claimed that most fishing vessel owners wanted the government to revise the memorandum of understanding signed with the European Union regarding IUU fishing.

 

8 Apr 2018
8:29 pm

A total of 159 job seekers hoping to find jobs in South Korea, were stopped from leaving the country in March alone by immigration officials at the Suvarnabhumi international airport after it was suspected that they were duped by employment brokers.

Employment Service Department director-general Anurak Tossarak said Sunday that of the 159 job seekers, 116 of them who included 58 men and 58 women wanted to go to South Korea believing that they would get jobs with high pays there as promised by their brokers.

The rest of the job seekers were promised jobs in Bahrain, Kazakhstan, Czech Republic and United Arab Emirates, he added.

Mr Anurak disclosed that the employment racketeers often resorted to the social media such as Facebook, Line or Instagram to lure job seekers or used residents of the same neighbourhoods who were duped and sent back to approach the job seekers with jobs of attractive pays in the farm, factories or in service sector.

In order to go overseas to work legally, he explained that the job seekers must be issued with work permits, employment contracts which were approved by authorities of the host countries and of Thailand.

Job seekers with a tourist visa cannot work legally, he said and suggested job seekers to check with labouroffices in their respective provinces or the Employment Service Department or call 1506 hotline for information.

He disclosed that in March, a total of 7,120 went abroad to work or for job training, with the bulk of them, 3,316, going to Taiwan, followed by 735 to Israel, 606 to South Korea and 370 to Japan.

8 Apr 2018
3:37 pm

Customs officials seized 28 kilogrammes of heroin worth about 100 million baht in street price in a shipment of para rubber pillows to be shipped to Hong Kong at Klong Toey port on Sunday (Apr 8).

Customs officials manning an X-ray scanning machine at Klong Toey port found something suspicious among the para rubber pillows being scanned and took all the pillows meant to be sent to Hong Kong for closer examination.

Cutting open the pillows, the found two bars of heroin hidden in each of 40 pillows.

Customs then booked officials of the importing company for questioning before handing them over to narcotics police for further investigation in order to find out the mastermind of the drug trafficking racket.

(Photo: กรมศุลกากร : the customs department)

 

 

 

 

 

8 Apr 2018
1:38 pm

An overwhelming majority of respondents to a survey by Nida Poll support the idea of revelers wearing Thai traditional costumes during Songkran festival.

Nida Poll of the National Institute of Development Administration conducted a random survey of the opinions of 1,250 people of different walks of life across the country during April 5-6 about wearing Thai traditional costumes during Songkran festival.

The poll shows 84.96 percent of the respondents agree with the idea, saying that this will help conserve being Thainess and promote Thai traditional culture. 14 percent of the respondents, however, disagree with the idea, saying that it is wasteful because the traditional costumes are expensive and they are not appropriate for water-splashing activity, according to the poll.

Asked whether the respondents would like to put on the traditional costumes, 64.24 percent said they would like to because they look polite and they reflect Thainess and Thai identity.

33.44 percent, however, said they would not because it is inconvenient, not suitable for the hot weather, too expensive and difficult to get ones.

50.40 percent said they would like the public and private sectors to jointly launch campaign urging Thais to wear traditional costumes during the festival in order to create awareness among Thai youth about the importance of preserving Thai culture.

54.96 percent said there should be a campaign by the private sector urging traders to sell traditional costumes at affordable prices.

8 Apr 2018
11:50 am

Two of the 16 jailbreakers surrendered to Narathiwatprovincial prison officials Saturday night – one day after they escaped out of the Kokyamu temporary prison.

Governor Suraporn Prommoon said that relatives escorted the two jailbreakers, Faisal Dueramae and Zulgifli Yago, to see prison officials at about 8 pm Saturday night.

He ordered Tak Bai district chief officer, kamnan and village headmen to approach relatives of the remaining jailbreakers to contact and bring them back to prison in Tak Bai district.

Meanwhile one of the jailbreaker told the official that he was afraid that he might not see his relatives again if he freed any longer.

 

7 Apr 2018
8:59 pm

The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Economic and Business Forecasting says Songkran celebration this year will be more exuberant than last year with celebrants showing willingness to spend higher.

It estimates consumer spending nationwide will grow by 3-5% this year which will generate no less than 100 billion baht in cash flows during the Songkran holidays from April 12 to 16.

The center says the consumer confidence index for March supports these predictions with a slight improvement from 79.3 points in February to 79.9.

This is mainly attributable to the exceptional growths in national exports and tourism.

But the main concerns for the country, however, are uncertainties over general elections; the effect of the minimum wage hike; the trade war between the US and China; and agricultural price fluctuations.

7 Apr 2018
7:35 pm

The Prachin Buri provincial highway office will temporarily open the mountainous tunnel connecting Khao Yai national park with Tap Lan national park on Prachin Buri-Nakhon Ratchasima Highway 304 during Songkran festival to facilitate land travel beginning April 10.

Chief of the highway office, Mr Apichart Boonyoung, said over the weekend that construction of the tunnel was about 75 percent completed and it could be opened for temporary use during Songkran festival in order to ease traffic flow on a 30-kilometre stretch of Highway 304 between Na Di district of Prachin Buri and Wang Nam Khiao district of Nakhon Ratchasima.

Construction of the tunnel and an elevated bridge at kilometer markers 192-195 has resulted to the closing of two of the four traffic lanes, leading to heavy traffic congestion which is expected to get worse during Songkran festival, said Mr Apichart.

But before the opening of the tunnel for temporary use on Tuesday (April 10), he said officials would conduct a trial run of the road through the tunnel today until Monday to ensure safety for motorists and travelers.

7 Apr 2018
5:13 pm

Vietnam’s former police chief Lt-Gen Phan Van Vinh has been taken into custody on charges of abusing power while serving in the position in activities concerning major online gambling, Vietnam News Online reported on Saturday (April 7).

According to the official announcement of the Ministry of Public Security released on Friday, the Department of Public Security of Phu Tho province issued an arrest warrant and 4-month detention on the 63-year old former director-general of the Police General Department while officials from the Investigation Security Agency launched a criminal proceedings against him.

Phan Van Vinh was accused of using the internet to appropriate assets, organize gambling activity, illegally trade invoices and launder money in Phu Tho and other localities.

President Than Dai Quang also signed an order on Friday stripping Vinh of the title of People’s Public Security Officer.

Earlier on March 11, Phu Tho police issued an arrest warrant against Nguyen Thanh Hoa, former director of the MoP’s Police Department for high-tech crime prevention, for alleged involvement in the illegal online gambling.

Two other individuals, Phan Sao Nam, chairman of the VTC Online Telecommunications Company, and Nguyen Van Duong, chairman of the Hi-Tech Security Development and Investment Company, were accused masterminding the online gambling ring.

7 Apr 2018
4:26 pm

The Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) has resolved to set up a sub-committee to probe alleged corruption at protection center for the destitute in 16 more provinces, bringing the number of the centers under investigation to 33.

The 16 provinces are Pattani, Satun, Songkhla, Chumphon, Phuket, Ranong, Mae Hong Son, Lampang, Phitsanulok, Pichit, Kamphaeng Phet, Chanthaburi, Saraburi, Lop Buri, Samut Songkram and Si Sa Ket.

PACC secretary-general Lt Col Korntip Daroj said the corruption practice involved the budget of about 503 million baht allocated for the destitute.

So far, a total of 158 civil servants and civilians and three senior officials at the Social Development and Human Security Ministry were found to be involved with the massive corruption of the welfare fund, he said.

He said the PACC is expected to wrap up the case by the end of this month.

A PACC source said the agency had sent a letter to director-general of the Department of Social Development and Welfare to transfer directors of the protection center for the destitute in four provinces, including Trang, Nakhon Phanom, Chaiyaphum, and Buri Ram, out of the provinces after finding that the four meddled with the evidence.

7 Apr 2018
11:41 am

Sixteen inmates escaped from Khok Yamoo temporary prison in Tak Bai district of Narathiwat province late Friday night (April 6), prompting local authorities and police to launch extensive hunt for the escapees.

Most of the 16 inmates are Narathiwat residents charged with drug abuses, according to authorities.

The search for the escapees focused on homes of their families and relatives as authorities believed they might hide there.

Checkpoints were also set up on several roads connecting with Tak Bai to check passing vehicles which they might travel in to escape.

Khok Yamoo is a temporary prison located in Tambon Priwan where authorities used to detain drug inmates who were subject to rehabilitation programmes.

In February 2013, three inmates had also escaped from this prison.

6 Apr 2018
10:37 pm

Police have arrested four persons for alleged involvement with the death of an 18-year-old woman after she drank “sacred water” in a ritual to drive away evil spirits organised by the four.

Deputy national police chief Pol Gen Srivara Ransibrahmanakul said on Friday (April 6) that the fifth suspect – a monk – is still at large and the police are still hunting for him.

He added that the five suspects belong to a cheating gang which preyed on the gullible by convincing them to their concocted “sacred” water to do away with their bad luck or spirit.

The arrest of the four suspects followed a recent compliant to Pol Gen Srivara by Mrs Duangjit Kanakhwao, the mother of the dead victim, who claimed that she suspected that her daughter’s death stemmed from the “sacred” water she drank.

Mrs Duangjit, a Chaiyaphum resident, told the police that she and her daughter met the five persons at a temple. They told her daughter that someone used black magic against her, so, she had to undergo a ritual to drive away evil spirits.

Mrs Duangjit said she agreed to pay 440 baht for the ritual where her daughter was told to drink two alms-bowls of sacred water.

After drinking the first alms-bowl of “sacred” water, her daughter started vomiting, developed seizures and bit her own tongue.  Her daughter was then rushed to the provincial hospital and remained there for four days before she succumbed to her death on March 27.

During their interrogation by the police, the suspects claimed that they didn’t force the victim to drink the “sacred” water.

However, police charged them with fraud and negligence causing the death of the other people.

6 Apr 2018
9:04 pm

The Thai Meteorological Department on Friday (April 6) warned people in the North, Northeast, East and Central regions as well as Bangkok to brace for summer storms in the next 24 hours.

It said that the four regions and Bangkok would experience thunderstorms with occasional gusty winds, lightning, hail storm and heavy rains in some areas.  It advised people in the affected areas to stay away from exposing themselves in the open field, under big trees or billboards.

The Weatherman also predicted the possibility of flash flood and suggested farmers to take steps to protect their crops from damages inflicted by hail storm or strong wind.

It attributed the turbulent weather to strong cold spell from China which has now blanketed upper regions of Laos and Vietnam and is expected to move southward to cover the upper part of Thailand and the South China Sea late today and tomorrow (April 7).

In Bangkok and its peripherals, the Weatherman forecast thunderstorm covering 60 percent of the area tonight until 6 am tomorrow, with heavy rain in some areas.  The mercury is expected to drop to 25-26 Celsius.

The northern and northeastern regions are hot but with thunderstorms and rains in 60 percent of the areas.

Some areas will be hit by hail storm and heavy rains. Temperature in the northern provinces is forecast to fall to between 21-24 Celsius and to 22-25 Celsius in the Northeast.

6 Apr 2018
5:31 pm

Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on Friday (April 6) announced the dissolution of the parliament effective on Saturday, paving the way for the 14th general election.

The announcement was made around noon after Najib’s audience with Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Mohammad V at Istana Negara, according to The New Straits Times.

Dissolution effectively ends the tenure of members of the parliament, leaving the country to be administered by a caretaker government until the next parliament is convened.

Barisan Nasional-controlled states are expected to dissolve their respective assemblies either Friday or Saturday with the exception of Sarawak which held its state election last year.

Three other opposition-ruled states of Selangor, Keletan and Penang are expected to follow suit.  

This will be Barisan Nasional’s second general election under the leadership of Najib who became prime minister in April 2009.

The Election Commission is expected to announce the dates for nomination and polling by next week.

Election is expected to take place in early May with 14.9 million Malaysians eligible to vote.

A total of 222 parliamentary seats and 505 state seats are up for grabs.

6 Apr 2018
4:43 pm

Parent of a man detained after a bomb incident petitioned the Pattani Provincial Court on Friday (April 6) to look into alleged torture of their son by authorities at Ingkhayutthaborihan military camp in Pattani province.

The petition was made to the court by Mrs Supawadee Sawari, a lawyer at the Yala Muslim Attorney Centre.

According to the lawyer, Muhamaidi Samir was detained on March 14 by security authorities following the Jan 22 bomb attack at Phimonchai railway market in Yala province that killed three people and injured several others.

He was later detained for interrogation under the Emergency Decree at the interrogation centre inside Ingkhayutthaborihan military camp.

Mr Muhamaidi’s parent sought legal help from the Muslim Attorney Centre after they visited him at the detention centre and found that he was in “unusual condition”. They suspected their son was tortured by authorities.

The parent asked the court to question authorities at the military camp and ordered the release of Mr Muhamaidi.

The court accepted the petition and ordred chief of the interrogation centre at Ingkhayutthaborihan military camp to appear at the first hearing at the court on April 9.

5 Apr 2018
11:09 pm

A private Islamic religious school in Pattani has sought justice after it was accused by the military of diverting state fund to support southern separatist groups in the restive region.

Troops from the 4th army region raided the Bakong Pittaya school in Nong Chik district of Pattani in February in which propaganda documents and several fire extinguishing tanks and LPG cylinders were uncovered.

The troops also found evidence suggesting that education fund sent to the private-run Islamic school was allegedly embezzled and diverted to support insurgency activity.

The security force claimed that the school only spent 20 percent of the fund for textbooks to buy textbooks for students and asked the supplier to issue receipts claiming 100 percent of the fund.  Also, the school paid teachers with a degree 7,000-8,000 baht a month instead of 15,000 baht as it was required to pay, claiming that the teachers themselves agreed to have their salaries deducted for other teachers who do not have a degree.  On top of that, the school was accused of keeping to itself part of the 2,500 baht/month risk allowance meant for each teacher who was actually given only 1,000-1,500 baht/month.

Citing investigation of money trail, the security force claimed that the school gave monthly handout to Sakariya Hatsamat, a suspected militant wanted by security forces for a serious of violent incidents, since 2012, until his arrest in July 2016.

In a statement of clarification, the school claimed that it has altogether 121 staffers, including ordinary teachers, religious teachers, general affairs personnel, committee and foundation officials.

The school admitted that it hired teachers who do not have teaching certificates as baby sitters for kindergarten students, but it rejected the accusation that it inflated the number of students in order to claim full state funding.

Samarn Abdulmanae

“We opened the school because we want to teach the students.  We do not intend to make profits or do business as alleged and we didn’t cheat,” said Mr Samarn Abdulmanae, the license holder of the school.

It was reported that the Education Ministry has ordered the transfer of officials of the provincial private school office after evidence of suspected misuse of fund for the Bakong Pittaya school was uncovered.

According to the Education Ministry, there are now 185 private Islamic religious schools in Pattani, 73 in Narathiwat and 39 in Yala.  About 1,000 million baht budget is allocated each year for the private schools in the three provinces.

5 Apr 2018
6:44 pm

The Government Lottery Office (GLO) will hold public hearings to gauge the views of lottery buyers, vendors and non-governmental organizations about its plan to issue lottery tickets in sets for sale.

GLO spokesman Thanawat Polvichai said Thursday (April 5) that the GLO is open to opinions of lottery buyers, estimated to number 20 million, about 100,000 lottery vendors nationwide and over 100 NGOs regarding the lottery tickets in sets.

Questions to be asked from these respondents include what types of lottery sets they like and where they are to be sold, he said, adding that the GLO would shortlist into 2-3 options to be proposed to the board for consideration.

He disclosed that, so far, the GLO have received opinions from about 1,000 respondents with over 65 percent of them wanting the GLO to issue lottery tickets in sets for distribution with two proposed models of set lottery tickets – one ticket which costs 400 baht and five-ticket sets at 400 baht each.

Mr Thanawat said that, during April-May, GLO officials would be scattered across the country to observe the sale of lottery tickets and also to gauge the views of buyers and vendors about lottery tickets in sets.

After the GLO starting issuing lottery tickets in sets, he believes that it will not be easy for lottery agents to arrange lottery tickets in sets by themselves because the GLO plans to charge only 350 baht for a set of five tickets.

In recent months, lottery agents have arranged lottery tickets in sets of 2, 3, 5 and even up to 15 for sale to vendors to make extra profits and vendors charge their buyers normally at 100 baht apiece instead of 80 baht apiece as shown in the tickets to circumvent GLO’s overpricing ban.

5 Apr 2018
2:46 pm

The Royal Thai Police and the Ministry of Interior are now considering an amendment to the Land Transport Law that will see speed limits from 80 kilometres an hour adjusted to 110 km/h to facilitate driving on highways, and to 60 km/h in urban area.

The 80-km/h speed limit on some roads has been set by the law since 1979 or over 37 years and was outdated, said Pol Maj Gen Akkarak Limsangkas, a member of the working group on traffic of the Royal Thai Police.

Road conditions have been much improved now, allowing cars to run at the speed of up to 120 km/h, he said.

Under the 1979 land transport law, speed limit in municipal area was set at 80 km/h and 90 km/h outside municipal area.

He said the law fixed the speed limit at 80-90 km/h because at that time most roads have only two traffic lanes. 

But now this has changed and therefore the Royal Thai Police commissioner Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda had stressed the need for change of the law to increase the speed limit to facilitate driving, he said.

The government has already tasked the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Transport and the Royal Thai Police to work together for possible adjustment of speed, particularly on inter-provincial highways which have no intersections or crossroads to 105-110 km/h from 80-90 km/h at present.

However, the speed limit adjustment would be based on safety as well, he said.

Meanwhile Dr Thanapong Jinvong, manager of the Road Safety Group Thailand, viewed that speed limit in urban area should be kept to international standards at 50 km/h.

He said the Thai society has overlooked the fatal traffic cases involving pedestrians for a long time.

According to traffic accident statistics in 2017,  8 out 100 fatal traffic cases involved pedestrians, he said.

He said more than 20,000 people died in traffic accidents yearly,  2,000 of them were killed while crossing the roads.

The speed limit at 80 km/h in urban area was partly to blame for the high fatality of pedestrians, he said, adding that he supports the idea to cut speed limit in urban areas from 80 km/h to 60 km/h.

5 Apr 2018
1:45 pm

State prosecutors today indicted 40 activists and lecturers in the Dusit District Court for the February 10 political rally that was considered defying the military junta’s ban on political assembly.

A total of 41 activists from the so-called pro-election group were accused of violating the junta’s order when they held a rally at the Democracy Monument in February 10 calling on the military junta to step down and to have election within this year.

They were summoned to appear at the court today to hear charges that the state prosecutors will levy on them in the court.
 

Only one activist did not  show up and his  lawyer has sought permission to defer appearance to the next hearing.
 

Over a dozen of police were deployed to keep peace and order as a number of supporters also showed up to give them morale support.

Among them is Sirawith Serithiwat or Ja New.
 

Their team of lawyers said they would ask the court to grant them temporary release without bail as the charge they face carries light penalty of 6 month in prison.
 

However if this was rejected, they have prepared bond bail of 10,000 baht for each activist as bail.
 

Later, All activists were released without bail by Dusit court at around 1 pm.

5 Apr 2018
11:25 am

The Royal Thai Police has issued an order prohibiting heavy trucks to run on some sections of three main highways where traffic will be very congested during the upcoming Songkran festival next week.

However oil trucks, cold storage trucks with seafood cargo, and trucks with farm product cargo, will be exempted.

The ban on heavy trucks having 10 wheels up came after the government has ordered all related state agencies to tighten up measures to ensure safe travelling and to facilitate travellers during the festival from April 11-17.

In responding to the government’s order, the Royal Thai Police will ban 10-wheel trucks from running on three major routes to the Northeast to facilitate exodus of travelers returning homes in the provinces.

Pol Maj Gen Yingyos Thepjamnong, deputy spokesman of the Royal Thai Police, said 10-wheel tracks or more will be prohibited on three highways – Mitrapharp or Friendship Highway at Lamtaklong, Highway 304 from Kabinburi to Pak Thongchai, and Highway 348 from Aranyaprathet in Sa Kaeo to Buriram.

However, trucks carrying petrol, farm products and seafood will be exempt from the ban.

The deputy spokesman said further that other logistics operators who really need to use heavy trucks on the routes during the period can seek permission in advance on a case by case basis from police stations in the five provinces, where the ban will be imposed.

The measure will alleviate traffic problems caused by construction and bottlenecks on roads, he said.

Moreover, the government will ease its ban to allow Songkran revelers to ride in the back of pickup trucks in the water-playing zones, so they can enjoy splashing water joyously.

However, the drivers must not travel over the speed limit. Alcohol tests will be conducted for drivers to prevent road accidents, he said.

5 Apr 2018
11:06 am

Three female Myanmar migrant workers and a Thai driver were seriously injured in a van crash on Phetkasem highway in Bang Saphan district of Prachuap Khiri Khan before dawn on Thursday (April 5).

The 12 workers chartered the commercial van from Pha-ngan island in Surat Thani back home in Myanmar to celebrate Songkran festival via Mae Sot district of Tak province.

But the van driven by Virachai Raktitham, 38, skidded while it was running on Km 387+800 of the highway in Bang Saphan district.

The van lost control and fell off the road and crashed into roadside trees seriously injuring the driver and three female workers, identified only as Ms Toon, 22, Ms Tida, 32, and Mrs Kentate, 52.

Rescuers from Sawang Ratsatthatham charity foundation and Tambon Ronthong medic arrived shortly after being alerted and rushed the injured to Bang Saphan hospital.

Initial questioning of the workers indicated drowsy driving as the cause of accident.

Police have booked the injured driver for questioning and would charge him later for reckless driving.

The workers worked at Ko Pha-ngan and they hired the van to take them home in Myanmar via Mae Sot for Songkran celebration.

4 Apr 2018
9:56 pm

A complaint was lodged with the Technology Crime Suppression Division today (April 4) by Crime Suppression Division police against a close aide to school teacher Preecha Kraikruan for alleged defamation.

CSD commander Pol Maj-Gen Maitri Chimcherd and about ten of his men told the TCSD police that Ms Kanokpan “Fa” Muaksamai, a close aide to Mr Preecha, had accused the CSD men of taking bribes in their investigation into the 30 million baht lottery controversy.

The sound clips of Ms Kanokpan accusing the CSD police had been posted on the social media earlier this week.

The CSD commander said that he found it necessary to defend the reputation of the CSD against the unfounded allegation.  He insisted that he had no intention to bully the woman.

Regarding the decision by Ms Kanokpan and Mr Tanukorn Luangmai-iam, a witness in the lottery dispute case, to withdraw the bribery charge against the CSD men from the Criminal Court, Pol Maj-Gen Maitri said that there was no deal to have the charge withdrawn, insisting that the CSD police had been straightforward all along in handling the lottery case.

Mr Preecha and retired police officer Charoon Wimoon, both are Kanchanaburi residents, claimed to be the owner of five first prize-winning lottery tickets for the Nov 1, 2017 draw worth 30 million baht.

After accepting the complaint, TCSD acting commander Pol Col Thanadol Kaeo-ubon, said he had to check details in the complaint first before he could decide what charge to be filed against Ms Kanokpan – either a defamation against ordinary people or defamation against government officials which carry higher penalties.

4 Apr 2018
9:15 pm

Police will submit its objection against the public prosecution’s decision to indict Italian-Thai Development boss Premchai Karnasuta and three hunting partners of six counts of charge instead of nine counts as recommended by the police, said Pol Gen Srivara Ransibrahmanakul, the deputy national police chief, on Wednesday (April 4).

He said the police wanted the four accused to be indicted with nine counts of charge except for the charge of cruelty against animals and illegal possession of firearms which were earlier dropped by the police.

However, he noted that it was the discretion of the prosecution in charge of the case to decide to press ahead with six counts of charge to the court or to add three more counts of charge as recommended by the police.

He admitted that it was now beyond the authority of the police to do anything about the case and there was no need for the police to submit any more evidence to the public prosecution because their case was water tight.

Earlier Wednesday morning, Mr Somjate Amnuaysawat, the chief prosecutor handling the case, said that if the police had any objection about the prosecution’s decision to indict the four accused on six counts of charge, he would sent to the case file to the attorney-general together with the police objection to the attorney-general for consideration.

The six counts of charge pressed against Premchai and his three hunting partners include illegal hunting in wildlife sanctuary; illegal hunting of protected species in wildlife sanctuary; illegal possession of carcasses of protected species; concealing of illegally-acquired carcasses of wildlife; illegal collection of wild products in national forest reserves and illegal carrying of firearms in public without a permit and without proper reasons.

Pol Gen Srivara said the fact that the public prosecutors agreed with the police to indict key charges, such as illegal hunting in wildlife sanctuary and illegal hunting of protected species, relected that police investigation and case filed were completed.

4 Apr 2018
3:58 pm

The Public Prosecution Region 7 has decided to indict Italian-Thai Development boss Premchai Karnasuta and three other members of the hunting group on six counts of charges out of 11 counts of charge filed by the police.

Mrs Somsri Wattanapaisarn, director-general of the Public Prosecution Region 7, told a press conference today (April 4) that a panel of prosecutors handing the illegal hunting case agreed to indict Premchai and his three hunting members on the charges of illegal hunting in the Thung Yai Naresuan wildlife sanctuary; illegal hunting of protected species; illegal possession of carcasses of protected species; concealing of illegally acquired carcasses; illegal collection of forest products in national forest reserves; and carrying firearms in public without a permit and without good reasons.

The five other charges which were dropped by the prosecution are:  illegal possession of firearms and ammunition; illegal entry to wildlife sanctuary; bringing into the wildlife sanctuary equipment for use in illegal hunting without prior permission; attempting to hunt wildlife without permission; and unreasonably treating animals with brutality.

Mrs Somsri clarified that the prosecution decided to drop the charge of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition and illegal entry to the game reserves because they were legally owned by Premchai and also Premchai and his hunting party were given permission to enter the wildlife sanctuary although they did not follow the proper procedure.

The prosecution has also decided to claim 460,000 baht in compensation from Mr Premchai for the killing of the black panther, she said, adding that the compensation was based on the price of the same animal quoted by Chiang Mai night safari back in 2006.

 

Carcass of black panther

 

As for the 12-million baht lawsuit filed against the Italian-Thai boss by the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plants Conservation, Mrs Somsai said that was a civil lawsuit which had nothing to do with the public prosecution.

Head of the prosecution panel handling Premchai’scase, Mr Somjate Amnuaysawat, said the panel would formally notify the commissioner of the 7th region provincial police bureau of the prosecution’s decision to indict the four suspects on six counts of charge.

If the police commissioner disagrees with the prosecution, the case would then be submitted to the attorney-general for consideration, said Mr Somjate, adding that if there is no problem from the police, the case will be proceeded to the court of law within this week before the suspects are due to be present before the court for the 5th round of detention.

The chief prosecutor said he was confident there was sufficient evidence to indict the four suspects as he commended Pol Gen Srivara Rangsibrahmanakul, the deputy national police chief, for being very helpful in providing additional evidence quickly as requested by the prosecution.

 

4 Apr 2018
1:36 pm

Transnational Crime Coordination Centre (TCCC) and Chonburi provincial police yesterday (Apr 3) arrested three Singaporeans after a raid at their rented home found it was used to operate online lottery and soccer gambling.

At the raid by the joint police force at a home in Nong Prue in Bang Lamung district, they arrested Ng Jia Yu Eugene, 30, Yang Jiecal James, 30, and Ng Chren Chyl, 38, and confiscated three computers, and notebooks with long list of customers’ names, addresses, and account books in Singapore.

The arrest followed long monitoring by police of a website and their activities in Chonburi which showed they operated online soccer and lottery bet.

All were apprehended red-handed while chatting with customers in their bud to lure them into gambling.

They confessed to operate the online gambling and were detained at Nong Prue police station pending further probe and legal prosecution.

4 Apr 2018
1:17 pm

Interior Minister Gen Anupong Paochinda vowed to punish corrupted interior officials after the counter corruption division police have detected corruption in the procurement of garbage trucks by several local administration organisations across the country.

He assured that no leeway would be given to anyone who has done wrong.

He announced that immediate punitive action would be taken against wrong-doers without exemption.

Gen Anupong received reports from the Counter Corruption Division (CCD) of the Royal Thai Police that several local administration organization officials were involved in graft involving the procurement of garbage and sewage trucks.

According to the CCD, they have found 12 local administration offices in 10 provinces involved in graft over the purchase of garbage and sewage trucks.

CCD deputy commissioner Pol Col Chak Phen-sathorn revealed that investigators had discovered wide spread discrepancies involved in the procurement process by these local administration organization officials.

It was discovered that the two companies that won the bids did not meet the requirements set out under the Procurement Act and what was worse was the fact that these officials did not perform the appropriate screening for either.

This strongly indicated collusion by officials favoring the two companies, a direct violation of procurement protocols.

He said further that deeper investigation also showed that the two companies was managed by the same chairman.

Furthermore, every time that bids were organised, five other companies would submit bids but were always rejected. All seven companies are believed to be linked.

He went on to reveal that of the 12 recent local administration organisations, 4 officials were suspected of graft.

He said the CCD will be submitting a report to the National Anti-Corruption Commission within the month so that an official probe can be sanctioned.

4 Apr 2018
12:20 pm

A 35-year-old resident of Singha Nakorn district of Songkhla province was arrested on Tuesday (Apr 3) for arms trafficking after two submachine guns and 4,500 rounds of ammunition were found hidden in his pickup truck.

Chakkaphan Nutkong was waved down for search at a security checkpoint on Satun-Rattapbum road in Kuan Kalong district of Satun when he acted suspeciously while driving his pickup truck near the checkpoint.

A Thorough search of the truck found the arms and ammunition hidden in the spare tyre. They are a knockdown carbine and a M3 submachine guns, 4,500 rounds of 5.56 calibre ammunitions, and 10,000 baht in cash.

It was not immediately known if the arms and ammunition were meant for crimes or for minority groups along the border.

He was detained at Kuan Kalong police station for further questioning.

 

 

 

 

4 Apr 2018
10:41 am

Police yesterday (Apr 3) arrested a baggage scanning worker for stealing 6,000 baht in cash from an 89-year-old American passenger on Wednesday night at Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

The worker employed by a private company handling carry-on baggage security check at the airport was identified as Thanat.

The arrest came after the passenger lodged complaint with the airport’s security guards that his Thai currency banknotes amounted to 6,000 baht went missing from his baggage a few minutes after it went through the X-ray scanner at the departure lounge.

Immediately after the complaint, security guards and airport officials went to the scanning checkpoint where Thanat was still performing his work checking carry-on baggage as usual.

He was notified of the complaint and placed under body search which found 6,000 baht cash in his suit.

At first he denied stealing the money but later admitted after security officials showed him the video footage from CCTV camera at the checkpoint catching him stealing the money red-handed.

He said he wanted the money to return home in Prachuap Khiri Khan.

He said he was just recruited to do the job less than a month and had no money enough for the travel as he was paid on a daily basis of 580 baht.

He said he was not physically fit for the job and therefore he decided to flee back home after the theft to find a new job.

Meanwhile airport deputy director Kittipong Kittikachorn said the airport has summoned the security company’s executives for acknowledgment of the incident, with instruction that they must carefully screening employees to do the baggage scanning job.

He instructed that the job needed a person with honesty, and high quality standards.

He said as the American has left the country, the airport was arranging a suitable channel to return the cash to him as soon as possible.

Thanat was charged for theft and was detained at Suvarnabhumi police station.

The theft was the second incident in two month at the carry-on baggage scanning checkpoint. The first case was on March 13 when a baggage scanning employee was caught stealing a Chinese tourist of 4,000 yuan in cash.

 

3 Apr 2018
10:41 pm

Rangsit University wants Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to exercise his special power in his capacity as head of the National Council for Peace and Order to do away with legal restrictions hindering experiments with marijuana for medical use.

The university rector, Dr Arthit Urairat, told a press conference at the campus on Tuesday (Apr 3) that the university had made progress in the research and development of medical products from chemicals extracted from marijuana which, he claimed, was the first ever scientific achievement in Thailand.  

He said the products would be useful to mankind but further development and registration of the products were hindered by legal limitations.  He added that he would like authorities concerned and public in general to be aware of and recognize the Rangsit University’s achievement in medical marijuana.

Dr Arthit suggested that the special power under Section 44 of the interim Constitution should be used to declare marijuana as Category Two narcotic drugs similar to opium or morphine so that marijuana could be used for medical purpose or marijuana could be legally planted for medical in controlled areas for research and development.

Associate Professor Dr Narisa Kamgaen, a lecturer of the faculty of pharmacy and a researcher of the medical marijuana project, disclosed that the research team was granted the permission by the Office of Narcotics Control Board to possess the Category 5 narcotic drugs which include marijuana and to extract chemicals from marijuana for medical research.

With 40 kgs of marijuana obtained from narcotic police, she said the research managed to develop spray for use in relieving side effects to cancer patients from chemotherapy such as pain, vomiting and sleeping difficulty.

The medicine, in the form of liquid or pills, was developed from two chemicals extracted from marijuana, Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tettrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Although THC causes hallucination if it was used in high dose, Dr Narisa said the spray did not cause undesirable psychiatric effects.

But for the time being, clinical trial on animals and human subjects cannot be undertaken until legal restrictions are removed , she added.

 

3 Apr 2018
9:39 pm

Two taxi drivers in Bangkok today (Apr 3) were fined 1,000 baht each and ordered to undergo behavioral training course for three hours after they refused to accept passengers.

The two cabbies were summoned to the Land Transport Department on Tuesday to meet with the chief inspector of the department, Mr Sukree Charuphum, after they were accused by passengers of refusing to accept them.

The incident took place in front of Siam Square shopping district in Bangkok on late Monday night when it was raining. One of the passengers who was rejected by the cabbies posted in the social media, saying there were several passengers waiting for taxies and there were several taxies with the “vacancy” light switched on, but none of them accepted the passengers.

Mr Sukree said department inspectors managed to identify four taxies which refused to accept passengers on Monday night at Siam Square and two of them were summoned to the department for questioning.

The two cabbies reportedly claimed that they rejected the passengers because they were afraid that they might not be able to send them to their destinations because of the rains.

However, Mr Sukree said he rejected the cabbies’ explanation, noting that the “vacancy” light of the two taxies was not switched off, indicating that they were ready to accept passengers.

He said he did not suspend the driving licenses of the two cabbies because it was their first offence. However, he warned that if similar offence was repeated within a month, they might have their driving licenses nullified permanently.

As for the other two taxies that refused to accept passengers on the same night, they will be summoned to the department for questioning tomorrow.

 

3 Apr 2018
9:08 pm

The Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) will ask its board at a meeting on Thursday to set up 24 investigative panels to probe alleged cheating of fund for the destitute in 24 centres for the destitute, said PACC secretary-general Lt-Col Kornthip Darote on Tuesday(Apr 3).

Acting on a tipoff that some outsiders were allegedly involved in the cheating scandal, he said the PACC, citing NCPO Order 69/2557, set up a special panel to look into this case which eventually led to the discovery of three high-ranking officials, one junior official and one retired official of the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security of alleged involvement in the embezzlement of fund for the destitute.

The PACC secretary-general said he was awaiting an updated report from the Anti-Money Laundering Office about the money trails of the three high-ranking officials, adding that the information available matched with the information obtained by the ministry which was used as a basis to launch a disciplinary probe against the three senior officials.

Of all the 76 centres under investigation, he said that 56 of them were found to be tainted with corruption and 96 people were implicated. 19 investigative subcommittees have been formed to probe alleged corruption in 19 centres.

 

3 Apr 2018
7:13 pm

A rare joyous and colourful atmosphere descended on the normally grim-looking Government House on Tuesday when dozens of female officials dressed themselves up in their traditional Thai costumes instead of their dull uniforms to welcome their heart-throb darlings from the Channel 3 TV’s mega-hit Bupphaesannivas (Love Destiny) drama series.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha who was often seen wearing a stern-looking face and unsmiling in confrontation with the news hounds was totally a different man on Tuesday.

He was in a joyous mood, cracking jokes with the main characters from the drama series. He even half-jokingly asked the officials gathering to welcome the visitors. “Don’t you have anything to do?”

The prime minister also took his visitors for a tour of the cabinet’s meeting room on the 5th floor of the Government House without the presence of members of the media who were not allowed to join the tour.

Normally a busy man, the prime minister spent about one hour and 15 minutes with the visitors.

Three pairs of main characters paid a visit on the prime minister at the Government House. They included Thanawat “Pope” Wattanaphuti who played Khun Sutthisarnvaja in the series, Ranee “Bella” Kampen who played role as Maeying Karakade, Louis Scott who played the role of Constantine Phaulkon or Okluang Surasongkram, Sunisa Angilina Nanna who played Thao Thong Geepma or Mae Mali, Parama “Panjan” Im-orathaia who played the role of Khun Ruangratchapakdee and Kannarat “Maprang” Wongkachornkrai who played the role of Maeying Chanvard.

The prime minister told his special visitors that he had not watched the drama series, but was told about them and he felt impressed with the show, saying that it helped preserve Thai culture representing continuation of the work of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej – that is Thaism.

He, however, said that he preferred to watch foreign documentaries such as food and art programmes and would like Thai producers to do similar programmes to present about the good things about this country such as its innovations and artistic crafts.

He suggested producers to position female characters in drama series in a way that would educate Thai women to preserve good Thai tradition and to behave properly.

As far as the government is concerned, the prime minister said the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Tourism and Sports should introduce lessons from history and about Monarchy to be included in school textbooks so that the students can learn about them, not just for the purpose of passing the examination, but as guidance of how to live their lives.

 

 

3 Apr 2018
4:14 pm

In wake of the upcoming Songkran festival when millions of people will be travelling during the long holidays, the government was planning to roll out several measures to ensure that they will enjoy the celebration safely.

A meeting was called yesterday (April 2) with several government agencies in preparation for the long holiday during Songkran.

Chairing the meeting  was Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwon.

At the meeting, Gen Prawit stressed the need to provide the greatest degree of convenience for the public while at the same time ensuring the highest level of safety in particular involving traffic accidents.

As part of the measures, law enforcement officials were ordered to make sure that large lorries and trucks are forbidden to run on main highways.

Officers were instructed that drunk drivers will not only be fined but will also have their vehicles seized.

With regards to concerns over the safety of double-decker buses that was raised following the recent accidents involving such vehicles, Gen Prawit stated that they will be allowed to run on certain routes after passing stringent tests with the Land Transport Department.

Now there are 900 double-deckers qualified to transport passengers.

3 Apr 2018
1:47 pm

The Livestock Development Department (LDD) has vaccinated more than 3.5 million dogs and cats nationwide and sterilized 1.5 million of them in an attempt to eradicate rabies.

Currently, temporary outbreak zones remain in 31 provinces, including parts of Bangkok.

As rabies outbreak had spread to 31 provinces, the LDD had vaccinated 3.5 million cats and dogs since October last year and expected to have 80% of the 8.2 million cat and dog vaccinated by May, said the LDD director-general Mr Apai Suttisunk.

He also said  animals living in the five-kilometre radius of outbreak zone were all vaccinated.

The dog and cat population is estimated at 10 million in the country, according to last years survey. About 7.3 million dogs and cats have been registered by local authorities.

Meanwhile, the LDD has declared eight districts in the northeastern province of Kalasin temporary outbreak zones after veterinarians detected rabies virusIn Yang Talat district.

They have sent 40 dogs to a quarantine center in Nakhon Phanom for monitoring.

3 Apr 2018
12:47 pm

Bururam airport is back to normal operation this morning (April 3) after a stranded Nok Air plane was removed.

The stranded plane which blocked the runway for 12 hours was towed back to the airport apron late yesterday, allowing the airport to resume its normal operation with domestic flights landing and taking off as usual.

Buriram airport director Mr Sommai Chainij said the incident was not the error of the airport, but the aircraft which was out of his hand.

He said the plane developed hydraulic problem while it was about to lift off the runway yesterday, thus blocking both landing and takeoff by all flights.

He said a chartered plane on a direct flight from China to Buriram also could not land yesterday.

He offered apology for passengers for the inconvenience caused by the incident, and said now the airport was back to normal services to receive direct flights from overseas.

3 Apr 2018
11:53 am

The Ministry of Commerce said inflation rate for March this year rose by 0.79% year-on-year,  a sustained nine month increase.

The ministry attributed the increase to the rise in consumption and household expenditures for non-fresh produce.

Local prices for vegetables and rice rose for the first time in 30 months, according to the Ministry’s report.

This has driven inflation for the first quarter of this year up to 0.64%, it said and projected that for the second quarter, this rise will continue and will exceed 1%.

In any event, the ministry feels that the minimum wage hike which became effective on April 1 will not unduly influence inflation rates and manufacturers had no need to raise prices.

The ministry said manufacturers have pegged their inflation projections for the year at between 0.7 to 1.7%.

Meanwhile, the Bank of Thailand announced that the Business Sentiment Index (BSI) for March rose to 53.3–the highest point since May 2013.

This rise applies to nearly every sector from manufacturing to non-manufacturing industries and is most evident for the petro-chemical, rubber and plastics, foods, drinks, electronics, general trade and logistics sector due to significant growths in orders and demand.

The BSI, developed by the Bank of Thailand, is made up of six components: production, total order books, investment, production cost, performance, and employment. Index = 50 indicates that the respondents’ business sentiment remains stable from the previous month; index > 50 indicates that the respondents’ business sentiment has improved from the previous month.

3 Apr 2018
11:08 am

Three people died and over 60 were injured in a predawn fire that broke out at a 14-storey and 180-room apartment building on Phetchaburi road in Bangkok’s Ratchathewi district on Tuesday (April 3).

The fire happened at about 3am on the fifth floor of the Ratchathewi Apartment with over 300 residents on Soi Phetchaburi 18 off Phetchaburi road.

The fire reportedly started in the room where old electrical wires were kept.

It quickly raged to adjacent rooms causing panic among hundreds of occupants who were sleeping and were awakened by the apartment guards.

They ran out of room in panic as fire raged and black smoke began to cover rooms on upper floors.

A dozen of fire trucks were rushed to combat and evacuate many occupants who were stranded on higher floors above the storeroom.

The fire was put under control after three hours of raging from the fifth to the 14th floor.

According to fire fighters, one occupant died in the room on the 12nd floor  and two died at hospital. He was later identified as Methip Rodtim, 46.

Over 60 were  injured, mostly from suffocation.

According to Bangkok governor Aswin Kwanmuang, the building was 30 years old and it’s fire alarming system was outdated.

There were so many injuries from suffocation because the fire raged through  electrical cords, sending black poisonous smoke to blanket the rooms  on higher floors.

Bangkok Metropolitan Administration officials led by the governor Asawin Kwanmuang and civil engineers were at the scene to inspect the damages, and declared the building off limit for safety reasons.

 

2 Apr 2018
8:56 pm

As many as 94 people, including officials and civilians, were found to be involved in the cheating of fund for the Protection Center for the Destitute, said Lt-Col Kornthip Darote, secretary-general of the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission, on Monday.

He, however, said the above figures did not include the permanent secretary of social development and human security and his deputy against whom a disciplinary probe has been ordered.

After about two months of investigation, Lt-Col Kornthip said PACC officials now had some clues about the mastermind of the cheating scandal involving more than 490 million baht of the fund for the destitute.

He asked for more time for the investigators to dig deeper into the scandal to find out if there are still any people implicated in the widespread embezzlement.

The PACC secretary-general said that, so far, there has been no evidence that suggests that money cheated from the fund had been wired by one senior official of social development and human security ministry to his sister overseas.

 

2 Apr 2018
8:20 pm

Chiang Mai governor Pawin Chamniprasart

Chiang Mai governor Pawin Chamniprasart said today (Monday) that he had no intention to find fault with the student who drew the painting depicting three former kings of Lanna wearing face masks.

He explained that he understood the student’s awareness of air quality and air pollution and had no intention whatsoever to obstruct any campaign for good air quality.

However, he said he thought the posting of the painting in the social media was improper and might hurt the feeling of the people in Chiang Mai and, therefore, the person who made the posting could be deemed breaching the computer crime act.

The governor confirmed that he would not take any action against the painter and he had already talked with the student’s parents.

 

2 Apr 2018
6:48 pm

Chief of General Prem Tinsulanonda Statesman Foundation clarified today (Monday) that the 250,000 baht cheque which was issued for General Prem was meant for charity and not for the latter’s personal benefit.

The foundation chief Lt-Gen Phitsanu Putthawong made the above remark in response to a Facebook comment by Panthongtae Shinawatra, the eldest son of former prime minister Thaksin, that the cheque payment was linked to the controversial lending to Krisda Mahanakorn Group by the state-run Krung Thai Bank.

Lt-Gen Phitsanu said that the Department of Special Investigation had already cleared General Prem, president of the Privy Council, of any misuse of 250,000-baht donation as alleged.

Although the foundation bears the name of General Prem, he said the Privy Council president is not a member of the foundation’s board, adding that the board chairman now is General Surayut Chulanont, a privy councilor.

 

2 Apr 2018
6:16 pm

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha today (Monday) warned ill-intent politicians to stop badmouthing on political issues in a way may cause public confusion if they want the election to proceed in accordance with the political roadmap.

“Today, I would like to say something about politics. I don’t want to criticize anyone in particular. But there are people talking on many things – some with good intention, others with ill intention. I would like to appeal…if everyone wants the election to proceed in accordance with the set roadmap, they should stop talking in a way which causes damage or confusion because, in the end, the responsibility rests with the government,” said the prime minister.

He maintained that the government did not just have the responsibility to stage the election, but also had to maintain peace and order.

“The government is determined to advance toward full democracy. But we should also think how Thailand will be after the election? I would leave this question …and I hope it will be better than it is today,” said the prime minister.

He went on saying that he is not an enemy of anybody “because I am a Thai and you are Thai and, therefore, Thai people must help to make the country stable and secured so it can proceed to attain economic and social development.”

Asked about political parties’ call for an amendment of NCPO order 53/2560, the prime minister said that the issue is now under consideration.

 

2 Apr 2018
3:36 pm

The immigration Bureau yesterday told air passengers on domestic and international flights to arrive at three airports at least three hours before their flight time during the Songkran festival as passing immigration procedure may take longer time.

The three international airports which passengers were advised to arrive three hours ahead of time are Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang and Phuket.

Immigration Bureau 2 spokesman Pol Col Choengron Rimpadi said the Airport of Thailand has informed that during April 11-17, there would be a surge in passenger traffic at these three airports from inbound and outbound passengers on international flights, and passengers on domestic flights.

The AOT said passenger traffic at Suvarnabhumi during the period will rise to 160,000 per day from 120,000, and Don Mueang to 55,000 and Phuket to 35,000.

As the popularity of the Thai drama series Buppaesannivas (Destiny), a historical fantasy, continues both in the country and abroad, the period would even encourage more travels to the country, he said.

But with limited spaces at these airports to accommodate rising passenger arrivals, the immigration procedure needed for one passenger might take longer than the normal 45 seconds.

It might take up to one hour waiting for some passengers before going for check, he said.

As a preparation to cope with the situation, he said the Immigration Bureau commissions has summoned all immigration chiefs at five major airports to rehearse the plan to facilitate passengers and to prevent criminals entering the country during the period from April 1 to 20.

They included Chiang Mai and Hat Yai, he said.

All personnel at other subdivisions were mobilised to help in checking and screening passengers, and to provide convenience for the handicapped, the elderly, children and women to get checked on a priority basis.

Meanwhile Don Mueang airport director Suthirawat Suwannawat said he expected 859,591 passengers at the airport during April 11-17, or an average 120,000 a day.

The highest passenger traffic will be expected on April 12-13 and April 16-17, he said and added that 25% airport staff will be drawn in to help the existing staff during the period.

2 Apr 2018
2:09 pm

The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) on Monday submitted it’s lengthy case file of human trafficking that was relevant to Victoria Secret massage parlour to the Office of the Attorney-General to pursue legal action against all 45 suspects involved.

Key suspect in the case is Mr Kamphol Veerathepsuporn, the proprietor of Victoria Secret, is still at large.

The case file, which was consisted of 17,000-page investigation report and contained in 13 boxes, was brought by DSI’s director of Human Trafficking Case Subdivision Pol Lt Col Supatra Thamtanarak to the OAG for prosecution.

He said all the evidences which the DSI has collected are substantially enough to prosecute all the wrongdoers.

He said the DSI has also sought cooperation from the OAG to seek the extradition of Mr Kamphol from country where he had escaped to.

Meanwhile deputy director-general in charge of human trafficking case of the OAG Mr Bodin Saensradee said the OAG would set up a working committee to handle the case with caution.

He said a total of 45 people were accused in human trafficking charges.

He was confident the prosecution could be filed within the required period as the last day for the detention period of these suspects will end on April 5.

In the raid of the massage parlour on January 12 this year, DSI officers found 113 women allegedly working as sex workers at the parlour. (Some are under 18 and alleged victims of human trafficking. The 113 include Thais as well as women from other countries such as Myanmar, Laos and China.

The DSI also found a list of “special guests”, among them officials from the Royal Thai Police and Revenue Department who allegedly received discounted or free services.

So far five officers at Wang Thong Lang police station where the massage parlour was under its jurisdictions have been transferred to inactive posts.

2 Apr 2018
1:43 pm

A Nok Air plane got stuck at Buriram airport’s runway pior to its takeoff to Don Mueang airport in Bangkok this morning, obstructing all planes from landing and taking off.

Sommai Chaiyanij, director of Buriram airport said Nok Air plane on Flight DD9603 was stranded at the head of the runway as it was about to leave for Don Mueang, thus disrupting all flights from taking off and landing as the airport has only one runway.

He said the airport officials have already closed the runway for safety reasons.

Meanwhile Thai Air Asia’s Flight FD3522 which left Don Mueang this morning for Buriram was diverted to land safely at Roi Et airport and passengers were transported by buses to Buriram instead.

 

Nok Air has notified Buriram airport that it will send mechanics from Don Mueang to evacuate the stranded plane this afternoon and expected the airport could resume service again after 3.00pm today.

2 Apr 2018
12:31 pm

The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation today (Apr 2) warned people in 61 provinces including Bangkok to get ready ahead of the unseasonal summer storms that will hit over half of the country’s 77 provinces from April 4-8.

Chayaphol Thitisak, director-general of the department, said that in a cooperation in weather monitoring with the Meteorological Department, during April 5-7, the high pressure system from China will blanket upper regions of the country where hot weather still prevails.

This will result in thunder storms, gusty winds and freak storms, first in the Northeast and the East from April 5 -7, and then in the North and the Central including Bangkok and its vicinity the next day from April 6-7.

During the thunder storms, he told the people to keep off unsecured building and outdoor and farmers beware of crop damage from freak storms and gusty winds.

The 61 provinces comprise 17 provinces in the North, 20 provinces in the Northeast, 17 provinces in the Central, including Bangkok, and 7 provinces in the East.

He said people who are affected by summer storms could seek initial assistance from the department at its Emergency Call 1784 around the clock.

2 Apr 2018
11:51 am

United Arab Emirates (UAE) today repatriated 18 Thais back to Thailand for trial in the call centre scam that used Dubai as their base to swindle over 50 million baht from their victims in Thailand.

All the 18 suspects, 13 men and 5 women, were escorted by seven UAE police on board a flight which landed at Suvarnabhumi international airport on Monday morning.

On hand to receive the call centre gang members was Pol Maj Gen Surachate Hakparn, deputy commissioner of Tourist Police Bureau.

A total of 22 Thais and a Taiwanese boss were arrested when the gang was smashed in Dubai in a joint mission of UAE and Thai police.

UAE repatriated 18 Thais back today and will repatriate four other Thais on April 3 after completing the investigation.

The joint operation two weeks ago netted 23 suspects who included a Taiwanese key suspect.

Pol Maj Gen Surachate flew to Dubai two weeks ago after the gang was busted and sought their relatriation as the gang used Dubai as the base to swindle their Thai victims in Thailand.

 

2 Apr 2018
11:03 am

A man, aged 35 to 40, jumped off the Bhumibol 2 bridge early on Monday despite of an attempt by a bridge security guard to stop him.

He plunged 50 metres from the bridge into the Chao Phraya river and went missing under the cover of darkness beneath.

According to the security guards at the bridge, a 170-centimetre tall man in long white T-shirt and dark colour trouser was first seen in the bridge’s video cameras climbing over the rail fence of the Poo Chao Saming Prai road toward the Bhumibol 2 bridge.

They immediately alerted a security guard on the bridge to stop the man from walking into the bridge.

The security guard on the bridge identified as Sompong Inhun, 57, went out to check and saw a man walking up the bridge to the middle.

He then told the man that the bridge area is off-limit to pedestrians but he didn’t listen.

Instead, he climbed over the bridge railing and jumped off to the river 50 metres below.

Sompong immediatly alerted the control centre which later called in help from Phra Pradaeng police and rescuers from Por Teck Tueng charity foundation.

But rescue operation under the river could not start as divers reported the strong current in the middle of the river, as well as darkness.

They decided to resume the search in the morning.

Police also asked relatives whose family member with initial identity matching the man to report the police at both Phrase Pradaeng and Bang Kholaem police stations for information.

1 Apr 2018
8:38 pm

Lottery vendors in Buri Ram are demanding that the Government Lottery Office sells lottery tickets in sets directly to the vendors instead of through the agents so that they can sell the tickets at 80 baht apiece.

The vendors complained that they were charged 92-95 baht apiece for set lottery tickets from the middlemen, which, they claimed, forced them to sell the tickets to the end buyers at 100 baht or more for a single ticket so they could make some profits to make a living.

One of the vendors, Mrs Nittaya Noiprom, told the media today (Sunday) that she was charged 1,600 baht for a set of ten tickets and she expected to sell the whole set at 2,200 baht.

However, she admitted that she could not sell them at the price she had wanted and she had to discount the price to 1,800 baht per set in order to get rid of them before the announcement of the lottery results this afternoon.

For a set of five tickets, Mrs Nittaya claimed that she paid the middleman 665 baht for a set and expected to sell it at 900 baht but, finally, had to be contented with just 700 baht today.

Earlier, the GLO said it would sell lottery tickets in sets to do away with overpricing of lottery tickets allegedly starting from wholesalers who arranged lottery tickets in sets to claim higher prices.

 

1 Apr 2018
5:08 pm

Families of the 20 Myanmar migrant workers who were killed in a double-decker bus inferno earlier this week would receive 300,000 baht in compensation each from an insurance company whereas families of the injured would receive 80,000 baht if it could be proven that the fire was caused by negligence on the part of the driver, Tak governor Charoenrit Sa-nguansak said today (Sunday).

He said that KSK (Thailand) insurance company would be responsible for paying the company, adding, however that the amount of compensation for both the dead and injured victims would be adjusted to 35,000 baht and 80,000 baht respectively if it was proven that the fire which destroyed the bus was not the fault of the driver.

Nevertheless, the governor said that arrangements had been made to provide convenience for families of the victims who want to come to Tak province to claim the compensation, adding that the provincial administration would take care of the accommodation and food expenses for the families while they are staying in Tak province.

Meanwhile, Pol Maj-Gen Prinya Visitthalakul, the Tak provincial police commander, said that due to the shortage of equipment at Taksin Mararaj and Buddha Chinarat hospitals to determine the identifies of the burned victims, the Mae Thor police had sought cooperation from families of the dead victims to have the bodies sent to the Forensic Science Institute of the Police General Hospital for identification checks.

Twenty migrant workers, mostly women, were killed and 26 others were injured in a fire which occurred as it was travelling from Tak to Pathum Thani province. All except one injured is still hospitalized.

1 Apr 2018
1:26 pm

About 41 percent of the Thai people are totally unaware of the Thai Niyom Yangyuen (sustainable development) programme recently launched across the country by the government, according to Nida Poll survey.

The opinion poll centre of the National Institute of Development Administration, better known as Nida Poll surveyed the opinions of 1,250 people aged 18 years up from different walks of life during March 28-29 regarding the Thai Niyom Yangyuen programme versus the Pracha Niyom populist programme of Pheu Thai-led government.

The survey showed that 32.24 percent of the respondents knew and were aware of the Thai Niyom Yangyuen programme while 26.72 percent admitted they heard about the programe but didn’t know what it was all about.

Asked about their expectation from the programme, 38.08 percent of the respondents said they expected the programme would address the economic and social problems on sustainable basis and would help improve the livelihood of the people whereas 33.44 percent said they didn’t have any expectation from the programme.

54.16 percent of the respondents believe the programme will help narrow the gap of inequality and upgrade the quality of life of the people, but 42.16 don’t think the programme will help, saying that it addresses the problems at the end cause.

48.96 percent said they didn’t see any difference between the Thai Niyom Yangyuen and the Pracha Niyom programmes because they are meant to help the grassroot people all the same whereas 43.44 percent said the two programmes are different, noting that Pracha Niyom is superficial and meant for private interests.

The poll also showed that 50.48 percent of the respondents believe that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s “meet the people” field trips to upcountry provinces amounted to electoral canvassing to curry favour from grassroot people ahead of the next election. However, 42.32 percent of the respondents believe the prime minister really meant to see the people, not to seek their votes.

1 Apr 2018
12:47 pm

Bangkok and the northeastern region are likely to experience a brief period of cold weather in the middle of dry season during April 8-9, with temperature expected to drop below 23C in the capital and under 20 C in the Northeast, according to the forecast of the Hydro and Agro Informatics Institute of the Ministry of Science and Technology.

Based on its weather simulation model, the HAII predicted that during April 6-7, strong high pressure from China would blanket the upper part of Thailand and, when this cold spell comes into contact with the southern and southeastern winds, it would result in violent summer storm, thunder storm, strong wind, with hail storm in some areas sweeping across the Northeast, the central, eastern and northern regions respectively.

Then on April 8-9, the mercury in the Northeast is expected to drop below 20°C whereas Bangkok will experience cool weather with temperature below 23°C.

HAII said that temporary cold weather in the middle of the dry season in April is quite rare and it occurred in the past once in a long while mainly because of the effect of cold front from China.

Meanwhile, the Thai Meteorological Department warned today (Sunday) that, of thunder storm and strong winds in the northern and central regions, less rainfall in the Northeast but more rains in the South in the next 24 hours.

It also warned of summer storm in most parts of the country except the southern region during April 5-7 as the direct consequence from strong high pressure from China.

For the next 24 hours, Bangkok and its peripherals will be mostly cloudy, with rains expected in 40 percent of the areas.

 

31 Mar 2018
9:20 pm

Gunman opened fire at a train in Narathiwat’s Cho Airong district Saturday evening (March 31), but no passengers were hurt.

At about 5.30 pm, the Surat Thani-Su-ngai Kolok train had just left Cho Airong district to a distance about 500 metres from the station when a burst of gunshots was heard.

However, the train driver did not stop the train until it arrived at the next station, Bukit station.  Railway officials and police then checked the train and found just one bullet hole inside a passenger carriage.

They also checked the passengers and found to their relief that none of them were hurt.

Officials suspected that the gunman could be a militant.

 

 

31 Mar 2018
8:49 pm

Nok Air airliner has decided to reduce the number of its flights to avoid the problem of flight delay and, at the same time, has put on standby two planes to be brought in from U-tapao airport in case there is a problem of plane malfunctioning, said Nok Air CEO Piya Yodmanee.

Noting that turbulent weather is another reason for several flight delays, he made clear that Nok Air would not allow its planes to leave the airport in case of turbulent weather for safety sake.

Due to smoke problem from forest fires which usually takes place in the morning for flights in northern provinces, he said the airline would reschedule the morning flights for the routes to Tak, Lampang, Mae Hong Son and Loei to the afternoon.

However, during the Songkran festival, two more flights for the four routes will be added each day to cater to the increasing demand of travelers, said Mr Piya.

Starting May until September, Nok Air will reschedule the timetable of some flights during the dry season and to cut down five flights a day during the period.

Nok Air management on Friday (March 30) met with senior officials of the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand led by Mr Chula Sukmanop at the CAAT head office to discuss Nok Air’s frequent flight delays which have attracted a lot of criticisms from domestic travelers.

Mr Chula said flight delays were caused by a number of factors, including turbulent weather and congested air traffic.  He said Nok Air agreed to train a group of its staff who will deal with passengers in case of flight delays and to put on standby two planes which will be put into service in case of emergency.

CAAT director-general Chula Sukmanop (R).

31 Mar 2018
4:43 pm

Thailand will earn up to 20 billion baht tourism revenues in the 5-day Songkran water festival that begins from April 12-16, according the projection by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)’s  Tourism Marketing Research Centre.

The centre projected that domestic travels by Thai celebrants and foreign tourists during April 12-16 Songkran holidays will generate revenues  of about 19.8 billion baht, up 18 percent year-on-year.

For international tourist arrivals during the period, it expected over 530,000 foreign visitors to arrive and  join  the Thai traditional New Year celebrations.

They are expected to spend 9.3 billion baht, up 21 percent year-on-year.

Meanwhile, domestic tourism is projected to grow both in income and in number with about three million travelers expected, an increase of 12 percent. They are expected to generate 10 billion baht tourism revenue, up 15 percent.

The growth in domestic tourism is spurred by the government’s stimulus measures such as tax incentives, extension of holiday period as well as increased domestic flights to meet high demand during Songkran, and TAT’s marketing campaign to introduce more tourist destinations in secondary provinces.

31 Mar 2018
2:37 pm

Migrant workers thronged the One Stop Service (OSS) centres nationwide today as the period for registration will expire at midnight tonight (March 31).

Failure to register will mean hefty fines and imprisonment for migrant workers and their employers, including ban to employ foreign workers for up to three years.

The OSS centre at the Ministry of Labour in Bangkok, migrant workers waited in long queue for their turns although authorities would announce that there are over 3,000 migrant workers on the waiting list and they could no longer add more in the list.

Some have been waiting at the office for three days.

They were told to report themselves online first at www.doe.go.th by midnight and authorities will call them to register at later dates.

In Samut Sakhon province, one of the provinces with large number of migrant workers in the fishing industry, several thousands of workers still there the OSS centre set up inside the Samut Sakhon hospital, authorities said there are about 30,000 workers on the waiting list on the last day today.

But they assured that all the workers on the waiting list would be registered by today, as all personnel from various state agencies have been mobilised to work to process the registration.

OSS Centre at the Ministry of Labour

The Samut Sakhon OSS centre set to register a total of 104,207 workers, breaking down to 6,234 Cambodians, 4,459 Laotians, and 93,514 Myanmar.

At OSS centre in Mae Sot district of Tak, Myanmar migrant workers continued to arrive this morning.

Labour employment chief Mongkol Songkram said the centre has so far registered over 34,000 migrant workers since Feb 5.

There are still 8,000 workers on the waiting list, he said, adding that all would be registered by the deadline.

In Chiang Rai’s OSS centre, 3,000 workers remained on the waiting list but officials said they could process all by today.

Labour Employment Department’s director-general Anurak Tossarat said since the opening of OSS centres for registration, over 1.1 million migrant workers have registered, from a total of 1,379,000 workers.

He said there are still 270,000 workers not yet registered.

He encouraged employers and migrant workers to report online via www.doe.go.th.  and authorities will later summon them for nationality verification and application for work permits until June 30.

During the waiting period, provisional work permits will be issued to them, he said.

He said those who have finished the registration requirements will be permitted to work until 31 March 2020.

Unregistered workers will face a fine of 5,000-50,000 baht, while employers will face 10,000-100,000 baht fine for a worker employed.

For repeated offence, employer will be subject to 50,000-200,000 baht fine for one employed worker, and a jail sentence of not more than one year for a worker employed. Defiant employer is also banned from employing migrant workers for up to three years.

30 Mar 2018
10:01 pm

The Land Transport Department has lodged a complaint with the police to take legal action against the owner of the tour bus which caught fire, killing 20 Myanmar migrant workers and injuring two others, as it was heading for an industrial estate in Pathum Thani from Tak province early Friday morning (March 30).

The department director-general Mr Sanit Promwong said Friday that the department had also revoked the driving license of the bus driver after officials had found out that the bus operated illegally because it was allowed to operate only in Nakhon Sawan province.

He added that the bus, owned by Nakhon Sawan-based Lat Yao Service Co, was overloaded as it was licensed to carry only 40 passengers, but it actually carried about 50 Myanmar migrant workers.

The dead victims include 18 women and two men.

The 48-year-old bus driver, Mr Banthoon Vithoon, told the police that he smelled smoke coming from the back of the bus and put the bus to a stop while his wife who was seated next to him loudly asked the workers whether any of them smoked, but they didn’t understand each other.

“I am very saddened by the tragedy because so many people got killed,” said Mr Banthoon, adding that the fire spread out so quickly although he managed to open the front door and the emergency door, but most of the passengers failed to get out, probably, because they had fainted.

The driver claimed that he went back to the bus and managed to pull one worker to safety.

Tak police commander, Pol Maj-Gen Prinya Visitthakul, who inspected the burned bus this morning said that police could not determine the cause of the fire yet and had to wait for report from forensic police.

The bus has three exit doors – two on the left side of the bus and an emergency exit on the back.  Officials assumed that the fire came from the mid-section luggage bay under the passenger seats. Most of the dead victims were found near the exit doors.

 

 

Mae Thor district police superintendent, Pol Col Kritchanok Dan-udom, said the driver tried to open the emergency exit door from the outside.  He noted that the door should have been opened from the inside by the passengers, but many of them might have blacked out due to smoke inhalation and could not open the door.

Meanwhile, the governor of Myawaddy province from Myanmar went to Mae Thor police in Muang district to hold discussion with Tak governor Charoenrith Sa-nguansat and officials concerned to follow up the tragic incident.

Tak governor said arrangements were being made with insurance company to provide help to families of the dead victims and the injured.  As for the surviving workers, he said they would be sent to Pathum Thani to work if they so wish, or if they want to return to Myanmar, arrangement will be made to send them home.

30 Mar 2018
9:07 pm

A malfeasance in office case file against Pol Maj-Gen Sutthi Puangpikul, commander of Kanchanaburi police in connection with the 30-million baht lottery tickets controversy has been submitted to the National Anti-Corruption Commission.

The Kanchanaburi police commander, who has been transferred to an inactive post at the operations centre of the Royal Police Office, was probed by police from the Counter Corruption Police Division for alleged dereliction of duty.

He was accused of interfering with the investigation of the lottery controversy by Kanchanaburi police.

An informed police source said that the 800-page case file included result of the examination of the computer used by the police inquiry officer of Kanchanaburi district police which was allegedly tampered with by Pol Maj-Gen Sutthi; result of the examination of the mobile phone of school teacher Preecha Kraikruan, one of two persons claimed to be the owner of the prize-winning lottery tickets, and testimonies of 13 witnesses.

Pol Maj-Gen Sutthi was reported to have tried to mediate the conflict over the lottery tickets between Mr Preecha and Pol Lt Charoon Wimoon, by suggesting the retired police officer to split the 30 million baht prize money half-half between him and the school teacher.  But Pol Lt Charoon shot down the mediation offer.

The source said that the case file would be studied by officials first before it was to be passed on to the anti-graft body because the case involved a high-ranking police officer.

30 Mar 2018
7:28 pm

A Swiss national wanted in his country for spreading HIV virus was arrested by immigration and tourist police in Ko Samui, Surat Thani, Pol Maj-Gen Surachate Hakparn, Tourist Police deputy commander told a press conference in Bangkok today (March 30).

Pol Maj-Gen Surachate said the suspect, identified as Gerber Enzo, was rounded up among dozens of  foreigners by tourist police and local police during the so-called  “X-Ray Outlaw Foreigner” operation in Ko Samui on March 14.

The operation aimed to crack down on illegal immigrants sneaking into the country, and foreigners overstaying their visas in Thailand.

The press conference today was also participated by representative from the Swiss Embassy.

Pol Maj-Gen Surachate said Mr Enzo was wanted in his country for spreading HIV virus to women.

Mr Enzo had earlier been arrested in Hua Hin in 2013 for bank robbery in Switzerland in which he took  $670,000 in cash at gunpoint.

The Department of Special Investigation which arrested him in 2013 had seized the suspect’s 5-million-baht house; bank accounts with 4 million baht money; 60,000 Swiss francs (about 1.8 million baht); 13.5 baht-weight of gold jewellery worth about 263,000 baht; and 19 vehicles, including cars and motorcycles.

He sneaked into Thailand again after having served his 2 years and six month jail sentence before being arrested on March 14.

30 Mar 2018
3:59 pm

The Mass Rapid Transit Authorities of Thailand, operator of the MRT metro rail system, gas announced that it will waive its service fares for passengers aged 60 years and over during Songkran holidays and National Elderly Day on April 13.

The MRT said the free ride will be for both Blue Line and Purple Line throughout the service time from April 13-15.

Elderly passengers only show up at the station’s ticketing room with their identification cards to get coupon for the free ride, it said.

30 Mar 2018
7:42 am

Twenty Myanmar workers died and three were injured when a chartered bus caught fire while on the way to Mae Sot district of Tak province before dawn on Friday (March 30).

The non air-conditioned bus was taking 48 workers, mostly women, from Myanmar to work in Navanakorn Industrial Estate in Pathum Thani province on highway 12 (Phitsanulok – Lomsak).

At about 1.40 am a fire occurred inside the bus and quickly spread to all over the vehicle, according to survivors.

Some 20 people, including the bus driver and his wife, managed to flee the burning bus, two of them were injured, while 20 Myanmar workers–18 women and 2 men–could not get out and were burnt alive inside the bus.

Posted by Pattanapong Srakoophan on Thursday, 29 March 2018

 

The cause of fire was not known but some witnesses said a migrant worker smoked in the bus and discarded of the cigar butt on the bus floor.

The lit cigarette butt might slipped into the luggage compartment of the bus and later caught fire.

The bus was burnt to wreck with charred remains of the victims.

Bus driver said he smelled smoke as he was driving the bus near Mae Tha in Mae Sot.

He then shouted if any passenger smoked but there was no answer.

Forensic police were at the scene to look into the actual cause.

30 Mar 2018
12:07 am

A 19-year old Good Mamaritan drowned in a klong in Khiri Rat Nikhom district of Surat Thani after he rescued two boys from drowning on Thursday (March 29).

Witnesses said that a group of boys and girls, aged between 8-15, went swimming in Klong Pumduang in Ban Bang Phra, Tambon Yanyao and, out of a sudden, three boys and a girl were swept away by the current and they appeared on the verge of drowning.

Kawin sae Kuo who was taking a rest on the bank of the klong heard the shouts of help and plunged himself into the klong.  He managed to rescue two boys and brought them to safety.

But as he was swimming to rescue the girl, identified only as Rungrada, 10, he went down under the water apparently became weak and was swept away.

Divers from the rescue team which arrived later scoured the klong and managed to pluck Kawin’s body from the bottom of the klong, but they could not locate the girl who went missing and believed drowned.

Another boy from the same group, meanwhile, was rescued by a villager about 100 metres from the spot.

Ms Sopita Chumsang said she saw a boy struggling in the middle of the klong and immediately took a boat to his rescue and managed to pluck him to safety.

29 Mar 2018
6:06 pm

After four months of investigation by its panel, the National Anti-Corruption Commission today (March 29) decided not to decide on the controversial issue pertaining to Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon’s diamond ring and luxury wristwatches by assigning the panel to conduct further probe to find out the real owner or owners of the wristwatches.

The NACC was supposed to make a decision to put an end to the controversy after the panel had wrapped up its investigative report which included four written clarifications from Gen Prawit about his diamond ring and 25 luxury wristwatches which he was reportedly seen wearing on different occasions.

NACC secretary-general Worawit Sukboon said the anti-graft watchdog wanted its panel to question two “new” witnesses and to examine further information from sale representatives of the brandname wristwatches in Thailand.

Also, he said that the NACC wanted the panel to ascertain who are the real owner or owners of the expensive wristwatches as Gen Prawit claimed he borrowed them from a friend.

Mr Worawit disclosed that the panel confirmed that the diamond ring was inherited by the deputy prime minister from his mother.  As for the 25 wristwatches which were claimed by Gen Prawit to be borrowed from a friend who was already dead, he said there were actually 22 of them as three others repeatedly reported.

He disclosed that the investigative panel had confirmed the various wristwatches seen to be worn by Gen Prawit did exist, but more details about the wristwatches and who actually own them are still lacking.

Mr Worawit said the investigative panel had sent inquiries to 13 sale representatives of the brandname wristwatches, but received responses from only three of them, hence the need to get information from the rest of the companies.

Asked whether Gen Prawit will be invited to meet with the investigative panel, Mr Worawit said the panel would try to get more information first.