20 Feb 2018
6:02 pm

The woman who bashed a pickup truck in front of her house with an axe broke her silence today (Feb 20) saying that she merely defended her right and, at the same time, suggested that the Bangkok governor and the chief of Prawet district office should jointly pay compensation for the damaged vehicle to its owner.

The alleged truck basher as she was known for the clip which went viral in the social media showing she bashing a pickup truck in front of her house in Seri Villa housing estate off Srinakharin road on Feb 18, Ms Rattanachat Saengyoktrakarn and her sister, Maneerat, held a press conference today in the company of her neighbours in response to the clip.

She said that the pickup truck in question blocked the front gate of her house, making it impossible her to get her car out.  She said she tried to push the vehicle away but it didn’t move because the owner set the gear-shifter in park position or put on the brake, adding that she pressed her car horn for almost half an hour to alert the truck owner but to no avail.

Desperate to get the truck moved from her house, Ms Rattanachat said she called 191 police hotline and 1555 City Hall hotline, but no police or officials showed up.

“We can leave our house anytime we wish.  You cannot block our entry and exit which is our right.  We exercise our lawful right to move away the blockade.  For the damages and repairs, they have to demand from the City Hall,” said the houseowner.

 

She blamed the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) and the Prawet district office for causing hardship to residents in the housing estate by granting permission to developers to build markets despite the fact that the housing estate is a residential zone.

She went on saying that residents in the housing estate have lost their peaceful environment and surroundings ever since markets were allowed to be established in the housing estate, with delivery trucks getting in and out of the estate, increased air pollution and noises.

Lawsuits have been brought against the BMA and the district office with the administrative court, resulting to injunctions being issued by the court to protect the residents and for city officials to mitigate the hardships caused to the residents.  But the injunctions have never been enforced and the abuses carry on, said Ms Rattanachat.

Another resident of Seri housing estate said she experienced the similar problem with Ms Rattanachat as shoppers frequently park their vehicle in front of her house.

“Once I got a leg injury but could not go to the hospital because there was a car blocking the entrance of my house,” she said.

In the meantime, Prawet district chief Mr Thanasith Methpanmuang defended that Seri Villa is not a housing estate under the care of a legal entity and it is located in a Yellow Zone where a market can be set up legally.

He also maintained that there is no law restricting the number of markets to be set up in the zone.

Mr Thanasit said the district office was not ignorant with the problems of the residents and had driven back all the vendors into the markets so that they would not block the roads in the housing estate or blocking the entrances of houses.

Ratchanikorn Lertwassana, the owner of the pickup truck parked in front of the Saengyoktrakarn family’s house said she thought it was a deserted house.

“I just parked there for a short period of time. Why couldn’t she wait? I admitted I was wrong for parking in front of her house, but she has no right to damage my car,” Ms Ratchanikorn said.

Ms Ratchanikorn filed charge against Ms Rattanachat and Ms Maneerat for damaging her properties, while the Saengyoktrakarn sisters accused the former of giving false statement and defamation.

20 Feb 2018
5:01 pm

The Nakhon Si Thammarat Provincial Court is due to deliver its verdict on rock star Seksan Sukphimai, alias Sek Loso, on March 15, over an incident in December when he fired gunshots into the air during his concert held at Wat Khun Phanom.

Accompanied by his lawyer, Sek reported himself to the court today (Feb 20) after the expiration of his third 12-day detention term for charges of carrying a gun in public without a reason and without a licence; firing a gun in public and illegal possession of firearms in connection with the shooting incident during a concert on Dec 29.

At the court, the rock star was indicted by the public prosecutor with the above-mentioned charges, with the court setting March 15 as the date for the delivery of the verdict.

He was temporarily detained by court police at the court house before his lawyer bailed him out with 150,000 baht in surety.  The court granted the bail after there was no objection by the public prosecutor.

Sek briefly told reporters at the court that he was not worried with the case against him and thanked people in Nakhon Si Thammarat who gave him moral support.

20 Feb 2018
4:10 pm

Four paramilitary rangers were injured in a roadside bomb explosion on a local road in Bannang Sata district, Yala province, on Tuesday (Feb 20).

The six-man ranger unit was assigned to provide protection to teachers at Had Sai school in Ban Had Sai, Tambon Talingchan. After having safely sent the teachers into the school, the six rangers went on patrol on foot along the local road in the village before they stopped to check the sewer under a bridge.

It was then that suspected militants who might have hidden somewhere not far away detonated a bomb which was hidden in the sewer.  The explosion injured four of the six rangers with one of them seriously injured with multiple shrapnel wounds.

All the injured were later sent to the nearest hospital by reinforcements which arrived at the scene shortly afterward.

Meanwhile in Cho Airong district of Narathiwat on Tuesday morning, three policemen were injured after their pickup truck in which they were travelling was hit by a roadside bomb planted by militants.

After the bomb blast, the militants who were hiding in the bushes nearby opened fire with their automatic rifles at the policemen.

20 Feb 2018
2:50 pm

The Central Juvenile and Family Court in Bangkok today (Feb 20) granted a Japanese businessman Mitsutoki Shigeta, parental rights to 13 children born to Thai surrogate mothers, ending almost four years of the scandal that broke out in 2014.

The decision to declare the Japanese man father of the 13 children born via surrogacy was based on reasons that not only the Japanese man‘s caring for the children he fathered but also on his well established background.

The statement released today by the court said “For the happiness and opportunities which the 13 children will receive from their birth father, who does not have a history of bad behaviour, all children born through surrogacy will be legal children of the plaintiff.”

Mr Shigeta, the son of a Japanese tycoon, left the country in the wake of the scandal in 2014 but later sued Thailand’s Ministry of Social Development and Human Security for custody of the children in the court for parental rights of the 13 children he fathered.

He didn’t appear in the court today to hear the ruling but has a Thai lawyer attending on his behalf.

The court said further that the plaintiff was the sole parent after the Thai surrogates had signed off their rights.

The court said as the plaintiff came from a wealthy family, has ample money and has prepared nurses and nannies to care of the children in Japan, and also in Thailand when they were in the custody of the Social Welfare Ministry, since the scandal broke out in 2014.

Besides the court reasoned that Shigeta hired the Thai surrogates before Thailand banned the surrogacy trade in 2015, following a string of scandals and custody tussles.

Shigeta caused a “baby factory” scandal in 2014 after Thai police said DNA samples linked him to nine infants found in a Bangkok apartment, plus at least four other babies born by surrogates.

The case push authorities to prohibit foreigners from paying for Thai surrogates in 2015 as the country was facing international pressure on human trafficking trade

20 Feb 2018
2:19 pm

Coal-fired power plant protesters from Songkhla and Krabi agreed to end their protest on Tuesday (Feb 20) in Bangkok after reaching agreement with the government representatives.

The protesters gathered in front of the UN Building on Ratchadamnoen road since Feb 12 to petition the prime minister and urge him to drop the project once and for all, and also asks for the withdrawal of charges against 17 protesting villagers who were arrested for allegedly instigating unrest in Songkhla during the mobile cabinet on Nov 17.

After an hour of meeting with Energy Minister Siri Jiraphongphan, they agreed to sign a four-point memorandum of understanding.

One agreement required the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) to withdraw it’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the 2,200-megawatt power plant within 3 days.

They also agreed that the Ministry of Energy would conduct Strategically Environment Assessment or SEA to see whether Songkhla and Krabi are suitable locations for the projects. The study will include participation of neutral academics acceptable by both sides.

It also required that the SEA study to be finished in nine months. In case that the SEA study shows the two locations remain suitable locations for the power projects, in the EIA process, the study must be conducted by neutral organisation acceptable by both sides.

It also agreed that Egat will drop it’s court cases against protesters.

Earlier Egat’s EIA report was approved by experts from the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (Onep).

20 Feb 2018
11:26 am

Three policemen were injured after southern militants detonated a roadside bomb and opened fire with assault rifles at a police patrol car in Cho-airong district of Narathiwat on Monday night.

According to Cho-airong police, the attack occurred at about 9pm near Ban Joko in Tambon Bukit on the road from Cho-airong to Bukit.

As a police patrol vehicle was passing Ban Joko, a roadside bomb exploded and militants hiding in roadside bushes opened fire.

 

In a brief exchange of fire, the militants escaped under cover of darkness.

Cho-airong police chief Pol Col Pakdi Jaengsakul later ordered reinforcement to the scene and quickly rushed the three injured police to Cho-airong hospital.

He later ordered the police reinforcement back to the base for fear of renewed attack as it was dark, before asking for EOD police and soldiers to return to the scene for inspection this morning.

20 Feb 2018
11:16 am

Thailand will enjoy over 4% gross domestic product (GDP) growth this year, mainly due to its strong growth in exports and tourism.

This was what the private and the public sectors voiced as they made adjustments on their estimated GDP growth for this year.

According to Dr Thanawat Polvichai, director of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce Centre for Economic and Business Forecasting, this year could mark the first in more than six years that the economy achieves growth in GDP of more than 4%.

He forecast the economy to rise to 4.6% this year, attributing to recovery in the global economy as a result of the upward trend in US interest rates, plus growing Thai exports and tourism income.

Earlier he estimated the growth at 4.2%.

He forecast exports to grow by 6% this year while inflation will stand at 1.3% corresponding to the national policy rate which has been pegged at 1.5%.

He said the baht will be average out at 31 baht to the USD and tourist numbers to hit 38.6 million.

Dr Thanawat said his revised growth estimate also took into account stability in the country’s politics, as a general election has been promised under the government’s roadmap for to democracy.

Meanwhile the National Economic and Social Development Board said that 2017’s economy grew by 3.9% following a sustained rise in the GDP in the 4th quarter due primarily to a rise in consumption and private sector investment.

Agricultural sales which in 2016 were 2.5% in the red also grew by 6.2% which is a dramatic improvement. Exports similarly reached a 6 year peak growing by 9.7% allowing Thais to enjoy an average annual income of 228,371 baht/person.

For 2018, the economic think-tank projects that the GDP will grow by 4.1% or at least hover between 3.6 4.6%.

It readjusted its estimate to account for exchange rate fluctuations which is expected to result in an appreciation of the national currency to around 31.5 -32.5 baht to the USD.

20 Feb 2018
12:09 am

About 650,000 jobs in automotive, food processing and electronic industries are like to be taken over by robots and intelligence robots in the next 12 years, according to a forecast of the Business and Economic Research Centre of Siam Commercial Bank.

The research centre said that although investment in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) would steadily increase in the coming years, the number of unemployed would increasingly grow due to the introduction of automation system and intelligence robotics.

Mr Vitharn Charoenphol

Mr Vitharn Charoenphol, senior director of the service business cluster of SCB’s research centre, predicted that, in the production sector, more automation system and intelligence robots would be brought in to replace human beings, especially in automotive, food processing and electronic industries.

He said that as many as 650,000 jobs or 15 percent of the jobs currently held by human beings would be lost and replaced by robots and automation system in the next 12 years.

The research centre noted that, in the past five years, the number of intelligence robots or IRs has increased by more than 20 percent to about 13,500.

But Mr Khanit Saengsuphan, secretary-general of the EEC committee, thought otherwise, saying that industries in the EEC are short of 50,000 blue collar personnel.

But he pointed out that the use of automation system and robots would fill up the employment gap caused by labour shortage.

 

19 Feb 2018
11:54 pm

The Bank of Thailand will issue new regulations tentatively next month which will allow commercial banks to appoint their banking agents to perform certain types of transactions, BOI assistant governor Somboon Chitpenthom disclosed on Monday.

He said that legal entities, small retail shops or cooperatives could be appointed as banking agents of banks.

He, however, dismissed as untrue a report in the social media that the central bank had authorized 7 Eleven convenience chain store to become banking agents to perform some financial transactions, saying that the central bank does not have the policy to issue new banking licenses.

Mr Somboon noted that the central bank has imposed strict regulation to protect members of the public from being cheated or from being slapped with unfair service charges.

Hence, he said banking agencies must meet the requirements set by the central bank and they will be allowed to perform limited transactions not exceeding 5,000 baht per transaction and not more than 20,000 baht per day and per person with commercial banks being held accountable if there is a problem.

 

19 Feb 2018
8:46 pm

Prawet district police has issued a summons for the owner of a house, who was seen in a clip posted in the social media bashing pickup truck with an axe, to acknowledge charges against her.

The clip which was posted on Sunday went viral and prompted a flood of criticism against the truck basher.
The owner of the pickup truck, Ms Rotchanikorn Lertwassana, has already reported herself to Prawet police to tell her side of the story to the police.

Ms Rotchanikorn admitted she parked the pickup truck in front of the house near Suan Luang market to go shopping in the market because she believed the house was unoccupied.

Pol Col Alongkorn Srisongkram, the superintendent of Prawet police, said Ms Rotchanikorn could lodge charges of causing damage to her property and illegally carrying weapon in public against the house-owner whose identity was not known.

However, he added that the house-owner could also sue Ms Rotchanikorn for causing disturbance to the other people.

He disclosed that the house-owner used to sue a motorist who parked a car in front of her house, making it impossible for house-owner to get her car out to bring a critical patient to hospital resulting to his death. She won the case in the court.