27 Jun 2017
12:07 pm

A former central governor has warned the country of massive debt incurred by credit unions and government financial institutions that are still predominant and could cause economic crisis similar to what it happened two decades ago.

Warning by former governor of the Bank of Thailand Dr Prasarn Triratvorakul was made as he addressed at the 20th Anniversary of the Tom Yum Gung Crisis Conference yesterday.

At present Thailand’s national economy is better balanced and more stable than it has ever been, he said but cautioned that this does not mean that Thais can be complacent.

Instead, solutions must be quickly found to solve critical problems as soon as they are detected.

He placed particular emphasis on the stability of local credit unions which at present are subsidizing loans at an alarmingly carefree manner.

He stated further that the same also applies to government backed financial institutions which are granting loans without serious regard for good governance or accountability.

Another important concern is the extraordinary investments being made in the real estate sector which threatens to overbalance the economic equilibrium.

In the address, he said, “many new financial institutions are cropping up in the country but the checks and control mechanisms have not kept up with this development. This directly applies to credit unions and government backed financial institutions. We must not be complacent as these institutions grow very quickly but at the same time are afflicted with a lot of problems. What is rather sad and strange is the lack of initiative by the current, as well as past governing bodies to take this opportunity to regulate and install safeguards to circumvent a future crisis that will be a repeat of what happened in the past. Although it can be argued that thus far, no problems have surfaced, isn’t it better to circumvent the problem beforehand instead of reacting to it later.”

 

27 Jun 2017
11:17 am

The Anti Trafficking in Persons Division (ATPD) police have arrested “Ms Poo”, a major suspect wanted for human trafficking and prostitution charges.

Ms Poo, a mamasang responsible for providing women and underaged girls for sex services, was arrested at a house in Si Racha district of Chonburi province yesterday.

She was brought to Bangkok today to face charges after the ATPD raided a massage parlour in Lad Prao area and rescued several girls lured into prostitution by her and her daughter two weeks ago.

Six persons now were arrested, including three local government officials and politician for buying sex service from underaged girls.

 

 

27 Jun 2017
11:06 am

The masked gunman who was seen shooting at redshirt supporters with an assault rifle concealed in a popcorn bag during an anti-government riot in February 2014 was acquitted of the crimes he earlier confessed.

The ruling that the Popcorn gunman was innocent by the Appeals Court today was a reversal of earlier ruling by the Criminal Court that sentenced Vivat Yodprasert, known among demonstrators as the “popcorn gunman” to more than 37 years in prison for murder and attempted murder at the riot at Laksi intersection as a result of a high profile protest during the “Bangkok Shutdown” rally in 2014.

The Appeals Court reasoned that although the defendant has confessed to the crimes he committed, there was no witnesses to identify him as the Popcorn gunman, although the physical description of the gunman was identical to the defendant.

As the evidence produced by the state prosecutor was weak and there was no witnesses to identify him as gunman, the court then dropped all the charges imposed on him by the prosecution.

However the court said the defendant would still be detained pending appeal.

Vivat or Top Yodprasit, now 26, was found guilty of possessing guns and ammunition without permission, carrying guns and ammunition in public places without permission and carrying guns in areas under an emergency decree, and shooting at other protesters.

The first court sentenced him to life imprisonment but commuted the sentence to 37 years and four months for his confession.

He earlier confessed he was paid 300 baht/day as wage to provide security for the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) rallies.

On February 1, 2014, Phra Buddha Isara led a group of protesters to Laksi district office to block another group of people attempting to bring election ballots out of the office. But police stopped the group fearing that they might run into the protesters resulting to violence.

 

27 Jun 2017
10:37 am

The National Anti-Corruption Network (NACN), a private sector corruption watchdog, yesterday called on Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha to revoke the current enrollment by special conditions for students in popular and famous public schools with reasons that such enrollment procedure allows school directors to corrupt.

The call by the NACN came after the director of a public school in Bangkok was accused by a parent of a student that he paid 400,000 baht to the director as donation in exchange for his son to be enrolled in the school under the special condition. However no receipt was issued by the school for his donation. The director was later removed, pending investigation.

In the letter submitted to the prime minister via Government House official, the secretary-general of the private sector watchdog Mr Mongkolkij Suksintaranon called on Gen Prayut to conduct probes over parents’ complaints on school graft, in which some parents are allowed to pay tea money in exchange for seats in the famous state schools for their children.

In addition​, some schools didn’t announce publicly the scores of the admission exams and the names of students, whose scores are lower but put in the waiting list for enrollment.

Such practice could encourage administrators of schools to keep the seats for students whose parents offer tea money.

Meanwhile some senior officials have misused their authorities to enroll students under special conditions, whose parents donate the money to schools or individuals for their own benefit.

To stop such practices that could lead to corruption, he said all agencies concerned to stop all kinds of school corruption practice and demanded that the 357 highly competitive public schools to disclose the names of students, who were enrolled under special conditions in the 2017 semester and the name of school donors and receipts of the donation money.

If any irregularity is found, all involved in the graft should face disciplinary and criminal punishment.

Besides, he said students who were enrolled under special conditions, related to school corruption should be removed from the enrollment lists.

He called on action by the prime minister if no progress was made by relevant government agencies.

 

26 Jun 2017
10:48 pm

The three armed forces have been told by Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan to prepare their separate lists of armaments or spare parts they want to procure from the United States within this month so that they can be complied and submitted to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha before his visit to the US tentatively in July at the invitation of President Donald Trump.

Defence Ministry spokesman Maj-Gen Kongcheep Tantravanich said Monday that the lists should cover all the weaponry supplied by the US under military assistance programme as well as bought from the US.

He noted that procurement of armaments from the US must take into consideration near-term and long-term security threats and the military capabilities of Thailand’s neighbouring countries.

Since the coup three years ago, the US has suspended military support with arms sale to Thailand, forcing the military-installed government to turn to China and Russia for arms supplies.

 

26 Jun 2017
10:39 pm

Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) chairman Meechai Ruchupan said Monday that the committee is obliged to look into the problems associated with primary voting system as the Election Commission appears to be unaware of the problems raised by political parties.

He said he suspected the EC might have taken an instruction from somebody else whom he didn’t know to defend that the primary voting system was not problematic.

He went on saying that the EC appeared to be self-conflicting regarding the controversial system – that is the EC will not be responsible for primary voting on the ground that it does not concern the general election and it is the responsibility of each individual political party to hold the primary voting.

Meechai noted that the problem with primary voting system does not only concern the practicality of the system, but also the constitutionality of the system.

All political parties, especially the Pheu Thai party, have challenged the constitutionality of primary voting system and its practicality, claiming that they have no time and no money to hold the primary vote as required by the amended political party act which has passed the scrutiny of the National Legislative Assembly.

Meechai said that if the amended political party act would render political parties unable to field their candidates or render an election unable to be held, then the amended law could be constructed as unconstitutional.

However, he noted that the EC insisted that the primary voting system would not cause any problem and the election could be held by the EC, but he asked the EC about more details about the voting system, they could not give him the answers as if the EC had taken order from someone else.

 

26 Jun 2017
8:17 pm

Over 24,000 people, mostly children up to four years old, were infected with hand foot mouth disease during the first six months of this year with one fatality, according to the statistics of the Diseases Control Department.

Between 40,000-76,000 people are infected with hand foot mouth disease each year during the past five years and 2-3 people die from the disease annually. 86.49 percent of the cases are reported in Bangkok followed by provinces in upper central region and upper southern region.

However, Dr Jetsads Chokedamrongsook, director-general of Diseases Control Department, noted that the incidence of foot hand mouth disease was abnormally high in the past week compared to the same period during the past five years.

The disease was particularly prevalent in children centres and nurseries, he said, adding that he was awaiting for confirmation from laboratories about the death of two children suspected from the disease.

Parents, teachers and babysitters have been instructed by the department to closely observe children under their care whether they have fever or have wounds in their mouths and have them taken to see doctors and to have them sent home until they recover.

 

26 Jun 2017
6:46 pm

Ride hailing service is permissible but the cars used in the service must be properly registered, said Mr Sanit Promwong, director-general of Land Transport Department, on Monday.

He asked traditional taxi drivers to refrain from taking the law into their own hands by harassing drivers of Uber or GrabCar ride hailing service, but to report to officials of the Land Transport Department of taxies suspected of operating without permission so that an investigation can be conducted and punishment meted out accordingly.

Noting that there is no law pertaining to ride hailing service for the time being, Mr Sanit said the department had set up a panel to study the possibility of introducing ride hailing application with the transport system. The study, he added, will take 4-5 months.

The Land Transport Department chief, however, made it clear that the department was ready to support new taxi service as another option for the public and for the benefit of the public in general.

As for upgraded taxi services such as Taxi OK and Taxi VIP whose cars are to be equipped with GPS tracking system to ensure better safety for passengers, Mr Sanit said he expected a ministerial announcement regarding the service to become enforceable in October.

 

26 Jun 2017
4:57 pm

The police commander of Nakhon Si Thammarat has confirmed that DNA collected from the body of a man exhumed from Wat Wang Tawantok matched with that of the mother of a missing novice.

The confirmation of matching DNA by Pol Maj-Gen Wanchai Ekpornpit has dispelled confusion regarding the identity of the victim exhumed from the temple after the spread of a rumour that the body did not belong to the missing novice, Mr Supachoke Ekkiatkul.

The Nakhon Si Thammarat provincial police chief said Sunday that an additional charge had been slapped against Ms Piyachat Arunsakul now detained at the provincial prison on charge of murder in connection with the novice’s death.

He said that police in charge of the case had almost completed the collection of relevant evidences regarding the case, including report on DNA tests. He expected the case to be submitted to the public prosecutor pretty soon.

It was earlier reported that Supachoke might have been killed to cover up massive corruption in the temple.

 

26 Jun 2017
1:41 pm

The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) today allowed Italian-Thai Development to resume operation of its launching gantry on the construction of the Red Line electric train project after it was ordered to stop two months ago.

SRT ordered Ital-Thai to stop operation of its launching gantry on the Red Line after a steel beam fell onto the ground killing three workers on April 28 at Wat Don Mueang construction site.

The SRT said as the company has now completed improvement of safety measures and tightening of safety rules before starting work, it therefore would allow the company to resume operation of its launching truss again.

Under the improved and tightened rule, safety officials of the company and its contractor will jointly inspect the readiness of the construction site before starting operation of the launching truss.