6 Dec 2017
4:05 pm

The Criminal Court on Wednesday (Dec 6) sentenced Wattana Pumret, a former engineer of the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat), to 27 years in jail and a fine of 500 baht for laying a home-made bomb at a dispensary waiting room of Phramongkutklao Hospital on May 22 and the explosion wounded 21 people, some of them seriously.

 

On Sept 22, the prosecutors filed a lawsuit against Wattana, 62, with the court.  The lawsuit stated that before May 22 Wattana assembled a pipe bomb with a blue PVC pipe and other explosive materials. The pipe bomb, if exploded, could kill or wounded people and cause damage to property within a 5-10 metres radius.

 

On May 22, Wattana, who covered his face with a face mask, walked with a vase containing the pipe bomb into the hospital and placed on the wall of Wongsuwon Room, a dispensary waiting room in the Chalermphrakiat Building.  The bomb was set to explode in 30 minutes.

 

The bomb later exploded.  The explosion wounded 21 people, both military personnel and civilians, some of them seriously.  The blast also destroyed the closed-circuit television camera (CCTV) system and other equipment worth altogether about 1.2 million baht.

 

In a search of Wattana’s house in Nonthaburi, police seized a battery, electrical circuits, pieces of PVC pipe, a switch and other bomb-making materials.

 

Wattana was arrested on Jun 20. In court, he confessed to all charges filed against him.

 

The Criminal Court on Dec 6 found Wattana guilty of attempted murder and caused an explosion that injured many persons, damaged government property, illegally having an explosive in possession and taking it to a public place.

 

The court sentenced him to life imprisonment for causing the explosion that caused injuries, three years for assembling the pipe bomb and one year of having explosive materials in possession without permission, and a fine of 1,000 baht for bringing the home-made bomb to a public place.

 

Due to his confession, the combined jail sentence was reduced to 27 years and the fine was reduced to 500 baht.

 

It was not known whether Wattana would appeal.

 

Apart from this case, four other cases have also been filed with the Criminal Court against Wattana. The four cases are being considered by the court.

 

6 Dec 2017
3:42 pm

Thai Airways International has announced the adjustment of fuel surcharges on an average 137-200% higher on 59 international routes.

The increase is effective today.

The adjustment in fuel surcharges for the second time this year will see an increase in ticket price fin the range of US$ 5 -33 per leg of travel.

The national flag carrier did not give reason for the adjustment but continuing rises in jet fuel prices in the past were passed on partly to it’s passengers in the form of fuel surcharges.

Air tickets for economy and business classes on 59 international routes will see 137-200% increase on surcharges for each leg of trip.

Surcharges on route from Bangkok to Yangoon, Hanoi, Vientiane, Ho Chi Minh, Phnom Penh, and Luang Prabang on economy class will increase 168% or US$ 5, or 163.75 baht, while business class 200% or US$ 8 or 262 baht.

For the route from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur, Kunming, Singapore, Dhaka, Calcutta, Kwang Chou, Hong Kong, surcharges on economy class will rise 160% or US$ 8 or 262 baht , and business class 172% or US$ 12 or 393 baht.

For the route to Osaka, Tokyo, Fukuoka, Seoul, Sapporo from Bangkok, surcharges will rise 154% or US$ 17, and business class 162% or US$ 26.

For route to Perth, surcharges on economy class will increase 139% or US$ 18 or 589.50 baht, and on business class 142% or US$27 or 884.25 baht.

For route from Bangkok to Sydney, Melbourne, Moscow, surcharges on economy class will increase 138% or US$ 33, and on business class 138% or US$ 33.

Surcharges on route from Bangkok to Stockholm, Copenhagen, Oslo, Munich, Rome, Milan, Zurich, Frankfurt, London, Paris, Brussels, Oakland for economy class will increase 137% or US$ 30, while business class 137% or US$ 45.

6 Dec 2017
2:20 pm

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said today (Dec 6) that he was ready to answer questions about his Richard Mille watch and a diamond platinum ring if asked by the National Anti Corruption Commission (NACC).

Gen Prawit is responding to reporters’ questions about calls for the NACC to investigate the possession of the luxurious watch and the ring.

“If they (NACC) ask, I will answer,” he said.

The picture of Gen Prawit wearing the luxurious watch and diamond ring was snapped on Monday (Dec 4) when the cabinet ministers took group photos at the Government House.

The picture later went viral among the Thai social media users and led to calls by the Pheu Thai Party and the association for the NACC to investigate if the Deputy Prime Minister has declared the assets or not.

Srisuwan Janya, secretary-general of the Association for the Protection of the Constitution, said he would submit a complaint to the NACC tomorrow (Dec 7), asking them to to probe if Gen Prawit concealed the assets and if he is unusually rich.

According to his investigation, Mr Srisuwan said the two items were not on the list of assets Gen Prawit declared to the NACC when he assumed the office in October 2014.

Under the Thai anti-corruption law, item that is valued over 200,000 baht must be declared.

He added that Gen Prawit earlier declared he had 87 million baht worth of assets which included 53 million baht cash in bank accounts.

Gen Prawit earlier defended that the diamond ring is an old asset and it is only one karat diamond platinum ring.

A watch guru told BBC Thai that Gen Prawit’s Richard Mille watch costs about 3 million baht.

5 Dec 2017
5:34 pm

A male gaur which was hit and seriously injured by a truck in Nakhon Ratchasima’s Pak Chong district on Monday (Dec 4) has died from internal bleeding, according to a team of veterinarians of the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department.

The gaur, which weighed about one tonne, was hit by a truck early on Monday on the old Mitrapap Highway in front of the army’s ordnance depot in Pak Chong district.

The animal had strayed about 40 kilometres out of Khao Yai National Park.

After being hit, the gaur hid in a roadside bush. Park officials gave the animal a tranquilising shot and brought it out for medical treatment.

The veterinarians revealed that the gaur died on Dec 5 from internal bleeding.  An autopsy showed its lungs had been torn up from the violent impact.

5 Dec 2017
3:10 pm

A red minibus slid down from a parking lot in front of Phu Phing Ratchaniwet Palace in Tambon Suthep of Chiang Mai’s Muang district and rammed into a food stall below, killing two women and seriously wounding another, on Tuesday morning (Dec 5).

Yongyuth Boonlert, 45, the minibus driver, told police that he took a number of tourists from Chiang Mai town to Phu Phing Ratchaniwet Palace.  On arriving at the palace, he parked the vehicle and the passengers went off for sightseeing.

After the sightseeing, the passengers returned to the vehicle at about 11am. When he removed a stone which he used to block a rear wheel, the minibus, of which the engine had not been started, suddenly slid backward and moved quickly downhill, hitting a food stall about five to seven metres below.

Two female passengers fell off and were killed after the minibus ran over them.  They were Mrs Kanokporn Tongtiram, 60, and Mrs Duangdaeng Pongdet.  Another woman, Mrs La-iad Charoenrat, 75, was seriously injured.  She was admitted to Maharat Nakhon Chiang Mai Hospital.

All of them were from Ta Kua Pa district of Phangnga province.

The killed and the wounded were among a group of tourists visiting Chiang Mai for a cold season tour.

5 Dec 2017
10:51 am

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson issued a statement on Thailand National Day today (Dec 5), saying the US government looks forward to nurturing friendship with Thailand under the leadership of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn and expects the country to hold elections next year.

“On behalf of the Government of the United States of America, I offer my heartfelt greetings to the people of the Kingdom of Thailand on your National Day, December 5th. We remember the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s deep and enduring friendship with the United States and we look forward to further nurturing that friendship under the leadership of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn,” he said in the statement posted on the US embassy’s website.

He noted that next year marks the 200-year anniversary of the US-Thai relationship that has brought many benefits over time to the two nations and to the region.

“Additionally, we look forward to Thailand holding elections next year,” he said, adding that Thailand remains a “trusted US friend and ally in Asia” whether as a partner for security, public health, or commercial growth.

“I would like to convey our warmest regards to all the Thai people and wishes for a peaceful and prosperous year to come,” the US Secretary of State said.

4 Dec 2017
6:47 pm

The Suvarnabhumi international airport has urged passengers not to place anything as a gesture of worshipping in front of 12 giant statues in the departure terminal.

The plea followed an incident on Sunday evening when an image of a bottle of red-colored soft drinks placed at the foundation of a giant statue was posted on the social media.

The bottle was later removed by a cleaner. The airport’s public relations office said that there are 12 giant statues in the departure terminal to showcase Thai arts and identity to foreign visitors. It added that placing anything at the base of the giant statues as a gesture of worshiping is not allowed.

 

4 Dec 2017
5:28 pm

The National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department will strictly enforce its regulation prohibiting visitors from taking alcoholic drinks including beer and liquor into national parks.

Those found violating this regulation will be liable to up to one month in jail and a fine of not exceeding 1,000 baht, said department director-general Thanya Netithamkul.

He said the regulation will be strictly enforced after it has been found that visitors frequently quarrel and make a loud noise, causing disturbance and nuisances in the parks after consuming alcoholic drinks.

“I have given this policy to department officials all over the country to strictly ban visitors from taking alcohol into national parks, according to a department regulation. Violators will be liable to up to one month in jail and a fine of not exceeding 1,000 baht. They will also be asked to leave the parks immediately,” Mr Thanya said.

In preparing for the flows of tourists into national parks during the New Year, Mr Thanya said the department is now ready in terms of lodging, toilets, safety, cleanliness and garbage disposal.

“But, we are most concerned about people making a loud noise and having a brawl as a result of drinking alcohol,” he said.

Park officials found neglect of duty will also be punished, he said. People who see negligence on the part of park officials can call the department on hotline 1362 around the clock, he added.

Songkran Pakchokdee, director of the office of anti-alcohol networks, said most of the problems causing deaths and injuries in the parks are caused by alcoholic drinks.

He agrees with the department’s ban on alcohol in national parks, saying that it is a measure to protect both the tourists and natural resources.

4 Dec 2017
5:06 pm

Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai on Monday (Dec 4) denied a report that fugitive former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra has been issued a United Kingdom passport.

He said the Foreign Ministry has checked and found that the report was not true.

Mr Don explained that according to a general criterion, in order for a person to be issued a passport of one country, he or she must be a citizen of that country.

He accepted the fact that some countries issue passports to certain people, such as those who have invested in those countries. However, the UK does not have this policy, he added.

Ms Yingluck fled the country on Aug 23, two days before the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Position was scheduled to read its ruling against her in the rice-pledging case. The reading of the ruling was postponed to Sept 27, when Ms Yingluck was sentenced to five years in jail for dereliction of duty.

4 Dec 2017
5:00 pm

Another prisoner who escaped from the Phetchaburi prison along with another convict on Nov 24 has been recaptured after 10 days on the run, police said.

Pol Lt Col Peera Asawawiboonpol, deputy Phetchaburi police chief, said Tawatchai Maliyaem, 33, was recaptured at about 2.30am on Monday (Dec 4) while he was about to sneak into his house in Ban Laem district.

Tawatchai, a drug convict, and Ekachai Kluabkaew, 36, a motorcycle theft convict, on Nov 24 escaped from the Phetchaburi prison while it was being hit by flooding.

After the escape, the two went separately. Tawatchai said he hid in a drain pipe in a village before going out on a boat into the sea with a person he knows. After ten days in the sea, he returned home in the hope to see his wife, only to be caught by waiting police.

Ekachai, the other escapee, was recaptured on Nov 29.