9 Feb 2018
8:02 pm

The International Criminal Court (UCC) has recently informed the Philippine embassy in The Hague that it is opening a preliminary examination on alleged mass murder arising from President Rodrigo Duterte’s “war on drugs”, according to The Manila Times Online on Friday (Feb 9).

A complaint alleging that the anti-drug campaign has caused some 8,000 deaths was filed with the ICC by lawyer Jude Sabio about 10 months ago.  But the Philippine government was notified of the ICC’s initial probe through its embassy in the Hague only recently.

The preliminary examination will determine whether there is a basis to conduct a formal investigation against Duterte.

“It is not a complaint, it is a communication because there are no charges yet, so it emanated from the communication filed by individuals alleging crimes against humanity in the Philippines,” said Palace spokesman Harry Roque on Thursday.

He added that President Duterte welcomed the ICC’s move as it would give him the opportunity to defend his name and his anti-drug war.

He alleged that the ICC case was initiated by critics of Duterte administration.  

“Obviously, it is intended to embarrass the president but the president is a lawyer, he knows what the procedures are.  The president has said that if need be he will argue his case personally before the ICC,” he said.

The lawyer behind the case, Sabio said he was elated and vindicated by the prosecutor’s action, adding the court usually threw out many other complaints brought before it.

Roque however said the Philippine mission would tell the court it had no jurisdiction over the case because the tribunal was intended as a “court of last resort” and the Philippine courts are still functioning.

9 Feb 2018
2:05 pm

Chanthaburi governor Witurat Srinarm has submitted his resignation to be effective as of March 7 over typing errors in his written assignment order regarding preparations for the mobile cabinet meeting in the province earlier this week.

In his resignation letter dated Feb 7, the governor admitted that he was held accountable for the mistakes for not rechecking the assignment order before it was circulated to units concerned.

Mr Witurat wrote that he had already corrected the typing errors of some wordings and had already reported the mistakes to the Interior Ministry. But in order to protect his family’s honor and his position of responsibility, he wrote that he would like to quit his government service effective as of March 7.

The typographical error involved the mix-up of wordings between an assignment order regarding the welcome ceremony for HRH Princess Sirindhorn on Jan 29 and the preparation for the arrival of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Feb 5.

The resignation letter was addressed to the Interior permanent secretary Chatchai Promlert.

When asked to comment on the Chanthaburi governor’s resignation letter, Mr Chatchai said he had not seen the letter and promised to look into it.

9 Feb 2018
11:21 am

The chief of the Thung Yai Naresuan wildlife sanctuary may face disciplinary action for not collecting entry fee from Italian-Thai Development Plc chief executive and president Premchai Karnasuta and his hunting team, Royal Thai Police deputy commissioner Pol Gen Srivara Ransibrahmanakul said on Friday (Feb 9).

Pol Gen Srivara, who questioned the wildlife sanctuary chief Wichien Chinnawong on Thursday, said Mr Wichien admitted that he did not collect entrance fees from Mr Premchai and his team for entering the wildlife sanctuary.

Under the regulation of the wildlife sanctuary, each person had to pay 20 baht as entrance fee, plus 30 baht for vehicle. In total Mr Premchai’s group had to pay 110 baht, but the team was exempted from the fee, Pol Gen Srivara said.

However, the wildlife sanctuary chief could exempt fee collection for visitors who seek permission to enter the area for research or nature study purposes, but the written permission needed to be obtained in advance.

Thung Yai Naresuan wildlife sanctuary chief Wichien Chinnawong

Pol Gen Srivara said in Mr Premchai’s case, the group did not seek permission through normal procedure, but they were allowed to enter the wildlife sanctuary on Feb 3 upon discretion of Mr Wichien.

He said the police would forward the finding to the director-general of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and plants Conservation for consideration.

It was up to the department to consider if they would take any disciplinary action against Mr Wichien, Pol Gen Srivara said.

Commenting on allegation that Mr Premchai’s group had attempted to bribe wildlife officials in exchange not not taking legal action against them, Pol Gen Srivara said the wildlife officials involved had lodged complaint with the police against the four suspects for bribery attempt.

8 Feb 2018
10:46 pm

An ad hoc committee has been set up to follow up the hunting scandal case to make sure that the case will be fought through all three courts up to the Supreme Court to set a precedent about wildlife conservation and protection, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Gen Surasak Kanchanarat said today (Feb 8).

Gen Surasak, in his capacity as chairman of the National Wildlife Conservation and Protection Committee invited the team of forest rangers who made the arrest of Italian-Thai Development boss Premchai Karnasuta and his hunting teammates, to give information about the incident to the committee.

Speaking after the meeting, Gen Surasak said he ordered the setting up of the ad hoc committee to closely monitor the progress of the case.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Surasak Kanchanarat

“The society at large is keeping a close watch on the case.  They are saddened by the incident.  There are groups of people who are now presenting their information.  The committee must make sure that this case is not left unattended to.  Measures must be meted out to ensure that it will not be repeated,” said the minister.

Besides the discussion on the hunting scandal and related legal action, the meeting also discussed about updating the list of wildlife hunters nationwide.

Meanwhile, Pol Col Wutthipong Yenchit, superintendent of Thong Pha Phum police, said the police inquiry officers would need about 48 days to collect all the needed evidence and to wrap up the case. 

He added that his men were awaiting for forensic reports the Provincial Police Region 7 about the fingerprints on the seized weapons and gunpowder traces on the bodies of the four suspects.

Police would also find out whether there were other persons involved with or facilitated Mr Premchai’s group to enter Thung Yai Naresuan wildlife sanctuary.

Meanwhile, a reliable source told the Thai PBS that a former senior official of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives who is close to the Italian-Thai Development Plc helped arrange for Mr Premchai’s party to get into the world heritage site.

The ex-agriculture official contacted an executive of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plants Conservation and a written request was made.  But because the group was in a rush, the ex-official then phoned the same executive who didn’t know Mr Premchai personally.  This executive then notified the wildlife sanctuary chief, Mr Wichien, that there would be a group of special guests visiting the area. 

8 Feb 2018
10:41 pm

Mahidol University is the only Thai university which is placed within the top 100 universities in Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings  2018 since 2013.

Mahidol University’s ranking this year is at 97th which is the same as last year.

However, most of Thailand’s 10 top universities have fallen down the table this year compared to last year’s rankings as the country grapples with an ageing population and oversupply of higher education.

The rankings of the other universities after Mahidol are as follows:

King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thon Buri is placed at 114th ranking compared to last year’s 101th-110th.  It was ranked 50th in 2014.

Chulalongkorn University at 164th compared to last year’s 151th – 160th .

Suranaree University of Technology at 168th – a rise from 191th -200th.

Chiang Mai University at 201th-250th .

King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Lat Krabang at 201-250th .

Kasetsart University at 251-300th .

Khon Kaen University at 251-300th from 201-250th .

Prince of Songkla University at 251-300th – a fall from 201-250th .

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings are the only global performance tables that judge research-intensive universities across their core missions:  teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.  The Asia University Rankings use the same 13 carefully calibrated performance indicators to provide the most comprehensive and balanced comparisons, trusted by students, academics, university leaders, industry and governments.  

However, the weightings are specially recalibrated to reflect the priorities of Asian institutions.

Performance indicators are grouped into five areas:  teaching (learning environment); research (volume, income and reputation); citations (research influence); international outlook (staff, students and research) and industry income (knowledge transfer).

 

8 Feb 2018
3:24 pm

Five bullet holes were found in the carcass of the black panter which was covered in the jungle camp of the hunting party of Italian-Thai Development Plc’s boss Premchai Karnasuta in Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary.

The finding was undertaken by Pol Col Sommai Chotekanawin, a scientist attached to the crime and scientific centre in Kanchanaburi.

It was reported that the police officer simulated the shooting incident by placing the carcass of the black panther on a log and put a skull on the carcass in the position of a standing animal to determine the bullet ballistics.

It showed that all the five bullet holes were on the right side of the panther indicating that the shooter shot from a position above the animal, with the shot coming from the front of the animal at 30 degrees.

There was one bullet hole on the right ear, one on the skull and three on its body.

 

8 Feb 2018
2:44 pm

PTT and Bangchak today (Thursday) announced the reduction of all retail oil prices 20-40 satang, effectively 5am Friday.

According to the two oil companies, diesel and gasohol will be lowered 40 satang, while E85 20 satang.

The new oil prices ifor tomorrow will be as follows in Bangkok:

Benzene 95 – 35.16 baht, Gasohol 95 – 28.05 baht, Gasohol 91 – 27.78 baht, E 20 – 25.54 baht, E85- 20.74 baht, and diesel 27.19 baht.

These oil prices do not include local municipality tax in each province.

 

8 Feb 2018
2:31 pm

A small fireworks home factory exploded and caught fire Thursday morning in the community in Samkhok district of Pathum Thani province.

One woman was slightly injured on her hand from the blast and fire which was put under control in an hour later.

Sam Khok police said they were alerted of the explosion at 9am shortly after the home factory on Soi 12 in Ban Ngiew village in Tambon Ban Ngiew was reduced to wreckage by the explosion.

Firemen arrived in 10 fire trucks and put out the fire which ensued after the explosion after half an hour of raging, About 3 houses in the vicinity were damaged from the explosion.

Neighbours told police that the home factory had been used to store fireworks that were used for funerals and other events.

The owners’s son told police that he heard the laud bang from the fireworks storage room while he was sleeping.

He then rushed to leave the house with his mom for safety.

 

The explosion was about 100 metres from a school in the same soi.

Police will investigate the cause of fire.

 

8 Feb 2018
1:47 pm

Bangkok’s air quality dropped again Thursday with the Department of Pollution Control measuring system particles smaller than 2.5 microns (PM2.5) reaching 69-74 micrograms per cubic metre of air.

According to Thai safety standards, the safe level of PM2.5 is 50 micrograms.

The department said PM2.5 measurement at all five stations at 8.00am today in Bang Na, Wang Thong Larng, Intharapitak road, Rama IV road and Lard Prao showed they were between 69 and 94 micrograms, all exceeding the safety level of 50 micrograms per cubic metre.

It said air quality of Bangkok droppedsince the beginning of the week, and was worsened today after Bangkok was blanketed with heavy fog.

It said air quality with PM10 measurement at the level of 89-123 micrograms and considered hazardous to health were detected at Bang Sao Thong district of Samut Prakarn.

The department then advised people with respiratory sickness, heart and blood pressure sickness to wear hygienic masks when going outdoors, and all sectors to supervise all activities that could generate dusts, particularly using vehicles, burning and construction so as to help lessening the level of dust particles in the air.

It warned that the size of the particulate matter was so small that it could pass through lungs into the blood. PM2.5 was proven to cause many diseases, such as heart disease, respiratory diseases, allergies, and eye and skin irritation.

 

 

8 Feb 2018
1:23 pm

The police investigating the Thung Yai Naresuan hunting scandal will consider bribery charge against a person who was heard in an audio clip trying to bribe park officials, Royal Thai Police deputy commissioner Pol Gen Sriwara Rangsibhramanakul said on Thursday.

He didn’t elaborate the person in the hunting team who was heard trying to negotiate with wildlife officials who made the arrest to drop the case against them in exchange for “whatever you want, we will arrange it for you.”

Pol Gen Sriwara said the investigators would look into the audio clip and find out who made the deal.

Bribery charge would then be brought against the person, he said.

He said the police would today invite park officials on duty during the raid at the camp of the hunting team for questioning.

Investigators would ask them about the audio clip, he said.

Commenting on the search of Mr Premchai Karnasuta‘s residence on Soi Soonvijai 3 in Bangkok yesterday where over 40 rifles and handguns were found and seized for examination if there were licensed or not, including two ivory tusks, Pol Gen Sriwara said.

He said although the owner would produce official certification of the tusks, the police still have to prove if the certification was for the two seized tusks or not.

If not, then additional charge would be brought against the owner, he said.