Update January 13-14, 2018
Thailand seizes large elephant tusks worth over $450,000
officials display seized ivory during a press conference in Bangkok, Friday,
Jan. 12. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Bangkok (AP) — Thai authorities
have seized 148 kilograms of African elephant ivory, including three large
tusks, worth around 15 million baht from Bangkok’s international; airport.
The haul from Nigeria consisted of the
tusks and 31 tusk fragments that were seized Jan. 5 after the cargo was
flagged by officials. The tusks were destined for China where there is a
large demand for ivory, police Gen. Chalermkiat Srivorakan said Friday.
The size of the tusks shows they were
taken from large African elephants, which remain scarce in the wild, and the
tusks' discolored state indicates they had been kept in storage for a long
time, said Somkiat Soontornpittakkool, an official from the Department of
National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.
"From what I can tell, these ivory
tusks were taken from very big elephants, and elephants of that size are now
hard to find even in Africa," Somkiat said. "And judging from how the tusks
look, they appear to have been taken a while ago. They weren't hunted
recently. They were taken and stored for a while before smugglers sent them
A Customs Department statement said
that the seized ivory will be impounded as police widen investigations to
identify suspects involved in the smuggling.
Thailand had been considered to have
the largest unregulated ivory market in the world and had been threatened
with sanctions under the trade of protected wildlife species, but it
introduced new laws and amendments in 2014 and 2015 to regulate domestic
ivory markets and criminalize the sale of African elephant ivory.
Thailand is still considered a major
transit hub and destination for smuggled tusks, but the biggest demand comes
Last year, Thai officials seized 510
smuggled elephant tusk fragments in four separate cases, the Customs
Department said. Rhinoceros horns, pangolin scales, turtles, and other
exotic wildlife are also repeatedly smuggled through Thailand.
Yakuza boss admits to killing rival gang member
Lopburi - A 70-year-old former Japanese Yakuza
leader, Shigeharu Shirai, who was arrested in Lopburi, admitted to killing a
rival gang member during an interrogation by Deputy National Police Chief
Pol Gen Wirachai Songmetta.
Shirai, who was the leader of the Yamakuchi gang, fled
his home country, Japan, after allegedly murdering Kashihiko Otobe, a deputy
leader of the rival Kamiya gang. Before committing the crime, Shigeharu had
started another gang which he named Kodokai. The gang consisted of 14,000
members who earned money mostly through illegal businesses.
Shirai had been on the run for more than 13 years
before he was arrested in Lopburi on Wednesday after the police were tipped
off by the Japanese embassy. After a 2-hour interrogation, the Yakuza boss
showed the Deputy National Police Chief where in Lopburi he stayed when he
first arrived in Thailand.
Shirai has also been charged with offences related to
illegal entry and stay. He will be questioned by Immigration police before
Livestock Department visits rabies-hit Roi Et
Roi Et - The Department of
Livestock Development has visited Suwannaphum district in Roi Et where a
person is reported to have died from rabies.
During the visit, Dr. Jeerasak
Pipattanapongsophon, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Livestock
Development, convened a meeting on measures to tackle rabies in Roi Et, Maha
Sarakham and Kalasin.
According to him, 97 pets and animals
in 16 districts of Roi Et were infected in 2017.
A patient who came down with the
disease died on December 30th, last year.
Dr. Jeerasak discussed with the Roi Et
Provincial Governor steps needed to be taken to handle the situation, while
instructing related agencies to quarantine all infected areas and vaccinate
all pets and animals.
Rabies is a preventable viral disease
affecting mammals, most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid
The government has reassured the public
that it is working around the clock to address the issue.
PM receives gifts for children ahead of National Children's Day
Bangkok - The Prime Minister has
accepted donated gifts from the Poh Teck Tung Foundation for presentation
during National Children’s Day on Saturday.
President of Poh Teck Tung Foundation
Wichien Techapaiboon led a team to hand over the gifts to Prime Minister Gen
Prayut Chan-ocha, who is to forward the 120,000 notebooks, pencils and
rulers to children visiting Government House on National Children’s Day. The
gifts were chosen in line with this year’s motto of “Critical Thinking,
Awareness and Creative Technology”.
The Ministry of Science and Technology
is holding its own event entitled “Junior Scientists in the Footsteps of
Thailand’s Father of Science” at its headquarters on Rama 6 Road, offering a
range of activities and experiments for children to try.
At the same time, the Rajanukul
Institute will be holding an event titled “Sustainable Development and
Social Cohesion” for special needs children and will be providing a range of
AOT addresses airport food prices complaint
Bangkok - The Airports of
Thailand (AOT) has addressed the pricing of food at airports under its
supervision, after receiving complaints on social media recently.
The AOT, a public company that manages
six of Thailand's international airports, has issued an explanation on the
expensive food issue at different airports.
In its explanation, the AOT says all
food and beverages sold by a third party are allowed to be no more than 20
to 25 percent more expensive than prices in regular markets, with clear
price labeling posted.
The AOT has been conducting a random
probe to ensure all retailers comply with this regulation. Retailers are
also encouraged to sell their items at the same price as regular markets.
On the allegation that a bottle of
water is being sold at 40 baht, the AOT claims all shops inside the airport
are required to sell a bottle of 500 milliliter drinking water at 10 baht,
while mineral water is sold at 25 to 50 baht per bottle.
The AOT has been encouraging food
retailers to offer at least one affordable option, and promote the free
drinking water fountains situated throughout the airports, as well as the
option of a food court selling affordable meals as another choice for
Thai PM urges linkage of economic corridors at MLC Leaders’ meeting
Phnom Penh – Thai Prime Minister
Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha joined the leaders of Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar
and Vietnam to discuss regional cooperation issues at the 2nd Mekong-Lancang
Cooperation (MLC) Leaders’ meeting, which took place in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
on the theme “Our River of Peace and Sustainable Development”.
In his speech, Gen Prayut lauded
Cambodia and China for co-hosting the event although the MLC framework had
been established not so long ago. He suggested future cooperation should be
geared towards reducing development gaps, enhancing connectivity and
fostering balanced economic growth within the region, without leaving behind
underprivileged people in remote areas.
The Thai premier voiced support for
China’s leading role in drawing up a connectivity master plan under the MLC
framework. The plan covers the setting up of a Mekong-Lancang Economic
Corridor as well as the linkage of the One Belt One Road Initiative of China
to the GMS Economic Corridors, including the East-West Corridor, North-South
Corridor and Southern Corridor.
PM Prayut said Thailand is committed to
developing the Mekong River into a river of peace and sustainable
development in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
Moreover, he confirmed the country’s readiness to host the meeting of the
ASEAN Working Group on Water Resources Management later this year.
Education Ministry steps up measures to crack down on drugs at schools
Minister Teerakiat Jaroensettasin.
Bangkok – Education Minister
Teerakiat Jaroensettasin has ordered all schools to step up measures to
combat drugs and other vices which might possibly harm students.
He said all ministry units had been
assigned to take stricter measures to prevent and suppress drug uses at
schools and educational institutes nationwide.
The Ministry of Education is aiming to
keep students out of harm's way and ensure all schools remain free of drugs
and all vices.
He added the Ministry of Education will
soon hold talks with the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society on the
improvement of internet facilities at schools, and a plan to loan laptop
computers to students in remote areas so they will be on par with those in
Government representative to inspect area of elephant encroachment
Yala - A special representative
of the government is to inspect the situation in Tarn Toh district of Yala
province today after reports of elephants crossing over from Malaysia
wrecking local crops.
Community leaders in the area have
discussed preliminary assistance measures including setting up a patrol in
spots where elephants have been sighted with most agreeing that efforts
should also emphasize not harming the animals. Some 4-5 pachyderms are
suspected to have crossed over from Malaysia into the area.
Special Government Representative Gen
Manee Chanthip has scheduled a visit to the district Friday to contribute to
discussions on how to deal with the situation. So far, the animals have
caused considerable damage to local crops, for which Gen Manee said the
government may offer compensation.
Transport links planned to boost tourism
DLT Director-General Sanit Phromwong.
Bangkok - The Department of Land
Transport (DLT) is joining forces with Bangkok Airways to offer public
transportation linking airports and various tourist attractions in several
provinces, as part of the government’s move to boost tourism.
DLT Director-General Sanit Phromwong
said that the two agencies will together determine pickup spots,
destinations and parking areas. He said the convenience and satisfaction of
service recipients and tourists will be the priority. Pilot projects will be
undertaken in Sukhothai, Trat and Surat Thani.
The project in Sukhothai has already
been approved, with two bus routes scheduled to be launched soon. The first
route runs from the provincial bus station, to the airport and Si
Satchanalai Historical Park. The second one connects the bus station with
the airport and Sawankhalok railway station.
Director-General Sanit said the move
would establish a strong connection between land, air and rail
transportation systems. He is confident that the service in Sukhothai will
be available by April, whereas Trat and Surat Thani are still in the process
of drawing up their operational plans but expect to have their services
ready in the middle of this year.
Snow sculpture champions return to hero's welcome
Bangkok – Technical college
students who took top honors at the 10th International Collegiate Snow
Sculpture Contest 2018 have returned to the Kingdom, to a hero’s welcome
from the Ministry of Education.
Students from Ubon Ratchathani
Technical College who became second time champions in the event in Harbin,
China arrived Tuesday night at Suvarnabhumi Airport. Their win brought
Thailand its ninth championship title in a row at the competition. The
winning team arrived back alongside fellow competitors and the competition
runners-up Samut Prakan Technical College and Surat Thani Technical College.
Abhisit Sornchai, captain of Ubon
Ratchathani’s team, said he was proud to have brought fame to Thailand and
credited his team’s win to constant practice.
Secretary-General for the Vocational
Education Commission, Suthep Chityawong congratulated all the participating
students and underlined that they were the result of dedicated teachers,
confirming Thailand’s push to instill marketable skills in young students.
Ubon Ratchathani Technical College’s
winning design was titled “Belief. Faith. Miracle” and depicted four Thai
mythical creatures. Apart from the top award, the design was also the
recipient of the Best Technique Award.
Sea-gypsies released on bail after being arrested in national park
Phuket - Sirinat National Park
authorities have confirmed they were only enforcing regulations when they
arrested a group of Chaolay Rawai sea-gypsies for fishing within park
boundaries, with the ethnic group members now released on bail.
The Chaolay Rawai Facebook page
reported that six members of the ethnic group were arrested by officials
after stopping to rest in park waters. They had recently returned from a
fishing expedition off the coast of Phang Nga province. It said all six were
released on bail but one had to be sent to hospital due to an existing
Pichit Bangchak, a member of the group,
assured the community they had no intention of fishing in the park’s
reservation and only stopped in its waters to rest and recover from a long
stretch of deep sea fishing.
Head of Sirinat National Park, Witoon
Dechpramuanphol, said that the arrest was necessary as the group was
stationed near a sensitive coral reef but gave an assurance all regulations
were followed. He noted that some of the fish seized during the arrest were
identified as being from the reef and equipment present on the boat did not
conform with the traditional methods of the Chaolay Rawai people.
Colder weather forecast in North, strong winds in South
Bangkok - The Meteorological
Department (TMD) has forecast colder weather in the northern regions and
high tides in the sea in the southern part of the country from now until 15
TMD Director-General Wanchai
Sakudomchai said a high pressure prevailing over the upper part of the
country is causing the temperatures to drop markedly.
The southern region meanwhile will see
more rain with high tides in the sea, strong winds and possible flashfloods.
Villagers are advised to be aware of possible dangers and fishermen with
small boats to not sail out to sea.
The temperature is expected to rise
after 15 January, before dropping again towards the end of the month.
Foreign Office confirms ex-leader Yingluck is in Britain
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is shown in Bangkok in this Jan. 22,
2015, file photo. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Bangkok (AP) — Thailand's
foreign minister said Tuesday that former Prime Minister Yingluck
Shinawatra, who fled the country last year to evade a prison sentence, is in
Britain, after photos surfaced online apparently showing her in London.
Yingluck was sentenced in absentia to
five years in prison on Sept. 27 for negligence in instituting the
money-losing rice subsidy program. She fled Thailand before the verdict and
has called the case against her politically motivated.
She has not been seen in public since
fleeing, but it had been generally assumed that Yingluck was in Dubai or
London. Her brother, ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra,
maintains residences in both cities.
Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai told
reporters Tuesday that a visiting British government minister informed Thai
officials that Yingluck has been in London since September.
The confirmation of Yingluck's
whereabouts came after several photographs of her appeared on social media
in the past few weeks, including one apparently taken with another woman
outside Harrods department store in London.
Don said the government has not made a
decision on whether to ask Britain to extradite Yingluck. "We have to do a
360-degree assessment of the situation first," he said.
DLT continues to implement TAXI OK project
Bangkok - The Department of Land
Transport (DLT) says that people can download its TAXI-OK mobile application
to help raise the standard of taxi services in Bangkok, starting January 25.
The Director-General of the DLT, Sanit
Phromwong, said his agency has been informing and educating taxi operators
about the new app. Via this mobile facility passengers will be charged an
additional 50 baht on top of the actual metered fare.
Once a taxi is in use, its movements
and other information will be automatically shared with a supervising
information centre run by the private sector and the department’s own taxi
centre. Location, speed, engine performance, driver identification, meter
fare and booking information will all be recorded.
Local authorities in Phang Nga keeping beaches clear of vendors
Phang Nga – Officials in Phang
Nga have inspected several beaches in Khuek Khak sub-district in an effort
to keep them clear of street vendors.
The inspections came after a meeting
last year resolved to prohibit anyone from doing business on beaches in
Khuek Khak and other public spaces in the vicinity.
However, the meeting, which was chaired
by 4th Army Area Commander Lt Gen Piyawat Nakawanich, agreed to allow those
who had already been doing business before the meeting to stay on the
beaches until January 5. The order also applied to other beaches in the
province except those in Ka Pong and Thap Pud districts.
The 5th Infantry Division Commander
Maj. Gen. Sithiporn Musikasin and a group of police officers, local
administrative officials and representatives of the Department of Marine and
Coastal Resources traveled to Khuek Khak sub-district to observe the beaches
there after the removal order had been issued.
At present, beaches are almost 100%
clear as the removal process is underway.
Royal Thai Police returns stolen cars to Malaysia
Bangkok - The Royal Thai Police
has returned 20 stolen cars, which had been smuggled into Thailand from
Malaysia, to the Royal Malaysia Police.
Adviser to the Royal Thai Police, Pol
Gen Wittaya Prayongpan, welcomed Commander of the Royal Malaysia Police’s
Crime Investigation Department, Pol Gen Datuk Seri Wan Ahmad Najmuddin Mohd,
in a ceremony marking the return of 20 stolen cars worth 30 million baht to
Police officers also coordinated with
the Malaysian embassy in Thailand to find the owners of the vehicles. To
receive their cars, they are required to provide proof of ownership to the
Over the past two years, the Royal Thai
Police has returned 95 stolen cars worth 75 million baht to Malaysia. While
the 20 cars are now on their way to the neighboring country, Pol Gen Wittaya
said there remains other cars stolen in Malaysia currently being
investigated in Thailand.
The two neighboring countries have been
working closely to prevent all kinds of transnational crime, including those
involving illegal immigration and human trafficking.
PM tells reporters to quiz cardboard mock-up
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha. (AP Photo)
Bangkok (AP) — The Prime Minister evaded journalists' questions on
Monday by bringing out a life-sized cardboard cutout of himself and telling
reporters to quiz it instead of him.
General Prayuth Chan-ocha then turned
on his heel and walked off, leaving the mock-up behind, to bemused looks and
awkward laughter from the Government House press pack.
The PM had briefly spoken to the media
after attending an event promoting the upcoming Children's Day, but deployed
his dodging tactic before anyone could ask him about a number of pressing
"If you want to ask any questions on
politics or conflict," he said, "ask this guy."
It isn't the first time the Prime
Minister has dumbfounded the media. In the past he has fondled the ear of a
sound technician for several minutes during an impromptu news conference,
flung a banana peel at cameramen, and threatened, with gruff humor, to
execute any journalist who did not “report the truth” about the government.
Thai college takes top honor at international snow sculpture contest
Bangkok - Students from
Thailand’s Ubon Ratchathani Technical College have taken the championship
title at the 10th International Collegiate Snow Sculpture Contest 2018 in
China, retaining the honor for Thailand for the ninth year in a row.
The competition took place at Harbin
Technical College in Harbin City of the People’s Republic of China this past
January 4-7. A total of 55 teams from 12 countries took part with three
teams representing Thailand, namely; Ubon Ratchathani, Surat Thani and Samut
Prakan technical colleges.
Ubon Ratchathani Technical College
ended the games with two honors, both the Best Technique Award and the
championship title, its second time winning the award and Thailand’s ninth.
Their winning design was titled “Belief. Faith. Miracle”.
Both the other two Thai colleges came
in as runners-up with Surat Thani’s students carving a traditional fighting
cockerel and Samut Prakan carving a turtle and a dragon of fortune.
Rice exports reach record high in 2017
Charoen Laothammatas, President of the Thai Rice Exporters Association.
Bangkok - The Thai Rice
Exporters Association has revealed that rice exports reached a record high
last year with most of the demand coming from Benin in West Africa.
Association President, Pol Lt Charoen
Laothammatas, said the export of Thai rice grew 20% during the first 11
months of last year when a total of 10.4 million tons, worth 156 billion
baht, were exported.
Rice exports in November last year
expanded 47% compared with the same month in 2016. The highest demand for
Thai rice came from Benin, China, South Africa, Cameroon and the United
Although the official figure for
December’s rice export has yet to be revealed, it has been estimated that at
least 11.2 million tons were sold overseas, making the annual Thai rice
exports the highest ever recorded.
However, Pol Lt Charoen cautioned that
the stronger Thai currency could potentially put Thailand at a disadvantage
in the global rice market in the future.
NACC says no decision yet on gift limit
Bangkok – The Secretary-General
of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) says an increase in the
value of gifts for political office holders must be considered by all sides
before being put into practice.
Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam
recently proposed a gift allowance increase and the NACC is considering the
matter as the current 3,000-baht limit has been used since 1999.
NACC Secretary-General, Worawit Sukbun,
said the commission's legal section is currently drafting an organic law on
corruption in accordance with the new charter so he does not know which
section of the law the gift value limit will fall under. He reiterated that
the NACC will listen to opinions on the matter from all sides before making
a final decision.
Thais pay their respects to royal relics of HM the late King
Bangkok - Thais nationwide
continue to pay their respects to the royal ashes of His Majesty the late
King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Many people queue up daily in front of
the Prayer Hall of Wat Ratchabophit Sathitmahasimaram in Bangkok for a
chance to view the royal relics and pay their respects to the late monarch.
The hall is open every day from 8am to 10am and from 4pm to 6pm.
Wat Ratchabophit Sathitmahasimaram was
constructed in 1869 by King Chulalongkorn or King Rama V as the
representative temple of his reign. Inside is the Royal Cemetery, where the
relics and ashes of several royal family members are kept.
Meanwhile, at Wat Bowonniwet Wihan,
throngs of HM the late King’s admirers can be seen paying their respects to
his ashes enshrined at the base of the principal Buddha image, Phra Phuttha
Chinnasi. The monastery is open every day from 8am to 8pm.
Police chief confirms continued efforts to bring Yingluck back to Thailand
Pol. Gen. Chakthip Chaijinda.
Bangkok - The national police
chief has confirmed that efforts continue to have former Prime Minister
Yingluck Shinawatra extradited back to Thailand.
Commissioner-General of the Royal Thai
Police, Pol. Gen. Chakthip Chaijinda, said that his deputy, Pol. Gen.
Srivara Ransibrahmanakul, has been working on the extradition of Ms.
Yingluck to face all charges in relation to her malfeasance in the
loss-ridden rice subsidy program.
Pol. Gen. Chakthip’s comment was made
after a photograph of Ms. Yingluck recently emerged from overseas and was
widely shared on social media.
The national police chief said that
Pol. Gen. Srivara has been on top of the investigation, while acknowledging
that Ms. Yingluck’s latest photo suggests that she has been living in
He said that the eventual extradition
of the former PM is to be done in accordance with the law although he
declined to answer reporters’ questions about Yingluk’s current whereabouts
and about the extradition treaty between Thailand and England.
NLA President: NCPO has no power to push back general election
National Legislative Assembly President
Bangkok - National Legislative
Assembly President Pornpetch Wichitcholchai said Sunday that the 150-day
election timeframe cannot be extended, not even by the National Council for
Peace and Order (NCPO).
The president stated that the NCPO
doesn’t have the power to revise a constitutional clause which stipulates
that a general election must be held within 150 days of all organic acts
having been passed into law.
To elaborate, he said the NCPO cannot
even exert its power under Article 44 of the provisional constitution to
extend the 150-day period, given the fact that the 2017 constitution is the
highest law of all.
Pornpetch said the NCPO and the
government have never violated the charter, nor have they ever used their
power beyond constitutional bounds.
DNP campaigns for Northern wildfire prevention
General Surasak Karnjanarat, Minister of Natural
Resources and the Environment.
Chiang Rai - The Department of
National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) has held a cycling
activity urging the people of Chiang Rai Province and neighboring countries
to help prevent wildfire and haze problems.
Minister of Natural Resources and the
Environment, General Surasak Karnjanarat on Sunday presided over the
dispatch of 300 environmental volunteers who cycled to different communities
in Chiang San District, urging the residents to prevent wildfire and haze.
Officials and volunteers also built
firebreaks at the Mae Ma - Sop Ruak forest park bordering Thailand, Laos and
Myanmar. Gen Surasak along with chiefs of relevant agencies handed food and
fire-control supplies to the officials and volunteers for use in the
wildfire and haze prevention and reduction campaign.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and
the Environment oversees the wildfire and haze control program involving
Thailand and neighboring countries. The DNP last year held a
Thailand-Myanmar cycling activity in Mae Sai District to urge public
participation in air pollution control.
Last year’s campaign reportedly
received a warm welcome by the people of Chiang Rai and nearby provinces.
Concerted efforts between officials and civilians led to a dramatic drop in
the severity of the yearly smog crisis in the North that year.
Increased toll for Bangkok-Pattaya motorway covers longer route
Bangkok - An increased toll for
the Bangkok - Pattaya motorway covers a longer network and improves
facilities along the road, says Department of Highways (DOH)
Director-General Thanin Somboon.
He said the new toll structure on the
motorway, effective from 19 April 2018 and in which a four-wheel automobile
will pay a toll of 105 baht, up from a previous toll of 60 baht, covers an
extended road and provides the improved facilities of the closed-system fare
collection which takes into account the length of the road network.
The new toll, which is to be collected
on the Chonburi - Pattaya section, is from 10 to 60 baht in addition to the
Bangkok - Chonburi section. A straight journey from Bangkok to Pattaya on
the 126-kilometer highway will cost 105 baht, or less than one baht per
The toll on the Chonburi - Pattaya
section was previously uncollected as the fare collection system was not
completely installed. The motorway section has been enhanced with a better
road surface, better drainage, better illumination, fewer crossings, better
management and traffic management by the 24-hour control center.
Kasikorn Research Center says Thai baht volatile amidst global uncertainties
Bangkok - Many sectors have
expressed concern over the strengthening Thai baht, as it approaches a
three-year high of 32.2 baht per US dollar. However, Kasikorn Research
Center says the baht's appreciation remains in line with other currencies in
The research center said that the US
dollar still lacks significant support factors, despite indications by the
US Federal Reserve that it will continue to raise interest rates. The move
is in contrast to Thailand's intention to hold interest rates at 1.5% for
much of 2018.
Kasikorn says it will continue to
monitor the volatility of the Thai baht due to various global uncertainties,
as interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve are not the sole factor
affecting the currency this year. Other factors include Thailand's budget
surplus, and the domestic and international politics of the United States.
The research center advises the private
sector to select appropriate risk management tools, especially businesses
dealing with international transactions, to better manage inflows and
No crime reported in year-end home watch program
Commissioner-General of the Royal Thai Police, Pol Gen Chalermkiat
Bangkok - Participants of the
police's home watch program during the Christmas and New Year holidays this
year increased by 2,000 households.
Deputy Commissioner-General of the
Royal Thai Police, Pol Gen Chalermkiat Sriworakhan, held a video conference
with the nine provincial police divisions for a briefing on the home watch
program during the Christmas and New Year holidays. This year, around 9,000
households participated in the program, an increase of 2,000 households from
the previous year. No crime was reported at the participating homes, as
authorities introduced new surveillance technology and coordinated with
The Royal Thai Police has announced
that its officers will be equipped with body cameras during the next home
watch program during Songkran.
Meanwhile, police made arrests in 12
cases of celebratory gunfire during the New Year festivities, nine of which
occurred within the jurisdiction of the Provincial Police Region 7. All
cases have been prosecuted accordingly, and the deputy police chief has
urged the authorities to conduct license checks of the firearms involved.
Bangkok temple among ice festival sculptures
In this Jan.
2, 2018 photo, visitors walk among the attractions at the Harbin
International Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin in northeastern China's
Heilongjiang Province. (Chinatopix via AP)
Harbin, China (AP) — Ice
sculptures of Moscow's Red Square and Bangkok's Temple of the Emerald Buddha
are among landmarks featured in the world's largest ice festival.
The Harbin International Ice and Snow
Festival in the frigid northeastern Chinese city is known for massive,
elaborate and colorfully lit ice sculptures featuring animals, cartoon
characters and landmarks.
Some of this year's displays center on
Chinese President Xi Jinping's major foreign policy and trade initiative,
the One Belt One Road, an ambitious plan to link Asia and Europe with a
network of railways, ports and other infrastructure.
Ice sculpture artist Han Zhenkun
designed his work based on the historic Silk Road.
"Back then, through the Silk Road,
exquisite art works from China like potteries were transported by camels and
horses to the Western world," Han said.
Main activities start this coming week
and the festival runs through late February, with heavy crowds expected
during Lunar New Year celebrations, Feb. 15-23. Temperatures at this time
of the year can dip below zero Fahrenheit (minus 18 Celsius).
Last year's festival drew 18 million
visitors and 28.7 billion yuan ($4.4 billion) in tourism revenue for Harbin,
data from the city's tourism bureau showed.
One park, the Harbin Ice-Snow World,
features more than 2,000 ice sculptures made from 180,000 cubic meters
(240,000 cubic yards) of ice collected from the Songhua River by nearly a
thousand workers. In the evening, sculptures are lit with colorful lights.
"Art has no borders," Han said. "It's
an abstract language. We communicate with our works in this international
competition. It means a lot."
Officials expect to spend 90 days to disassemble Royal Crematorium
Bangkok - Officials have
estimated that disassembling the royal crematorium of His Majesty the late
King Bhumibol Adulyadej will take two and a half months.
According to the commission responsible
for organizing the exhibition, authorities are clearing the floor-space
before allowing officials from the Fine Arts Department to disassemble the
Artifacts and decorative items featured
at the exhibition will be put on display at three locations. They include
the National Archives of Thailand in Commemoration of His Majesty the King's
Golden Jubilee in Pathum Thani province, the Office of Traditional Arts in
Nakhon Pathom province, and the Bangkok National Museum in the capital’s
Phra Nakhon district.
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration
will re-plant 44 tamarind trees after the Fine Arts Department completes the
deconstruction. Only authorized personnel are allowed to enter the perimeter
during the process.
PM not satisfied with New Year road safety statistics
Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-ocha.
Bangkok - Prime Minister Gen
Prayut Chan-ocha has expressed dissatisfaction with the road safety
situation during the recent New Year holiday, calling for all sides to boost
safety measures throughout the year and for tighter adherence to traffic
The PM said he isn't satisfied with the
statistics for injuries and deaths from traffic accidents, acknowledging
figures were still high despite the best efforts of all involved. He urged
the public to prioritize the reduction of road accidents beyond the holiday
period and to obey traffic laws.
Meanwhile, deputy Permanent Secretary
for Public Health Dr. Opas Karnkawinpong reported that overall injuries and
fatalities from RTAs were down 15-20 percent this year with 2 percent less
accidents than in 2016. The provinces with the highest rate of accidents
were Nakhon Ratchasima, Buriram, Udon Thani and Roi Et with most collisions
due to drunk driving and speeding. Instances of motorcycle riders failing
to wear a helmet were also high and motorcycles made up 79 percent of all
road accidents, followed by pickup trucks at 7 percent.
The Ministry of Public Health worked
with the Royal Thai Police to inspect the blood alcohol level of drivers
from 28 December 2017 to 1 January 2018, testing more than 1,000 people, 179
of whom were under the age of 20. In total, 101 people were found to have a
blood alcohol levels exceeding the legal limit. The data will be used to
inform measures during upcoming holiday periods.
Tropical Storm Bolaven to bring rain in East and lower Northeast
Bangkok - The Meteorological
Department has reported that Tropical Storm Bolaven is rapidly weakening
into a low-pressure cell before making landfall in Vietnam, resulting in
rainfall in Thailand's eastern and lower northeastern regions from January
6-7. Bolaven is currently moving westward across the South China Sea at a
speed of 25 kilometers per hour. Farmers are advised to beware of potential
Meanwhile, the lower south will
experience some rainfall while waves in the Gulf of Thailand are currently
approximately two meters high. Vessels have been advised to proceed with
Wild elephants invade farmland in Yala’s Than To district
Yala - A herd of wild elephants
has reportedly been invading farmland in Than To district of Thailand's Yala
province and wildlife officials have been dispatched to inspect the area.
The chief of Kirikhet sub-district in
Than To informed the officials of the invasion, suspecting that the herd,
which comprises 3-5 elephants, came from Malaysia. He said that these
animals have been in Than To for a couple of days, triggering fear among the
The chief has already reported the
incidents to the Than To District Office and the provincial office of
National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.
Security agents have been assigned to
patrol the Thai-Malaysian border while volunteers and patrol officers are
tracking the elephants in a nearby forest.
Accidents down during first five days of ‘dangerous’ period
Bangkok - Authorities have
reported a reduction in the instance of road accidents and deaths during the
first five days of the annual Seven Dangerous Days period.
Permanent Secretary for Public Health,
Dr. Opas Karnkawinpong reported that over the first five days of the of the
holiday period, a total 3,056 road accidents took place, claiming 317 lives
with most attributed to speeding.
On January 1, 2018, 677 accidents
resulted in 71 deaths and 696 injuries. Bangkok and Roi Et saw the most loss
of life at five people each. The province with the most injuries was Udon
Thani where 39 people were injured in traffic accidents. The most common
reason for collisions was drunk driving, making up 47.27 percent of
instances, followed by speeding which made up 26 percent. The vehicles most
commonly involved in accidents were motorcycles and trucks.
Udon Thani saw the most injuries
overall with 114 people hurt in the five days. Si Sa Ket province had the
highest number of fatalities as 13 people perished on its roads. The total
tally however was 70 fewer accidents than the same time last year. As many
as 102 fewer injuries were reported during the period and 54 fewer people
Police reminder that law violating cabs will be punished
Pol. Maj. Gen. Surachet Hakpal.
Bangkok - Tourist Police are
maintaining stringent safety measures for citizens returning home from New
Year celebrations this week, reminding all that taxis that deny passengers
or refuse to turn on their meter are violating the law.
Deputy Commander of the Tourist Police
Division, Pol. Maj. Gen. Surachet Hakpal, led his officers, immigration
police and representatives of Don Mueang Airport in an inspection of Mo Chit
Bus Terminal in Bangkok on Wednesday as it receives returning holidaymakers.
The focus of their tour was to remind cab drivers that they must accept
passengers, turn on their meters during trips and serve as good hosts.
The police chief remarked that
authorities must be particularly alert during the last stretch of the
holiday season and added that more personnel have been added to Phuket,
Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Khon Kaen, Don Muang and Suvarnabhumi airports to
deter would be pickpockets and thieves. A combined police, military and
airport official force has been established for the effort.
Explosive Ordnance Division police have
also been put into position to ensure 100 percent safety for travelers from
Police are reminding travelers that
taxi drivers who violate laws can be reported and might lose their license
as a result. Reports can be made to the hotline 1155.
Dusit Zoo relocation could take at least 2-3 years
Bangkok - The Zoological Park
committee tasked with studying the relocation of Dusit Zoo expects the
process to take at least 2-3 years.
Last month, the managers of the
Zoological Park Organization met with the Governor of Pathum Thani to
kickstart the project. Another meeting will be held on January 9 to follow
up on their progress.
The relocation project is currently in
the process of appointing two committees to oversee and study the relocation
of Dusit Zoo to Pathum Thani. One committee will oversee the construction of
the new zoo, while the other will be tasked with studying the relocation
process and oversee the facilitation of groundwater and electricity
Dusit Zoo currently has over 260
species that need to be transported. Director Pitak Ounsorn noted that the
zoo regularly transports animals to and from zoos within its network. In the
upcoming relocation, special care must be taken for the giraffes and
hippopotamuses, especially a 50-year-old hippo which is the oldest animal in
The new 300-rai zoo will be located on
Klong 6 in Thanyaburi district of Pathum Thani.
Ministry of Justice seeks to provide citizens with basic legal knowledge
Deputy Permanent Secretary for Justice, Tawachai
Thaikiew, speaks on the ‘Thailand Moves Forward’ TV show.
Bangkok - Thailand's Deputy
Permanent Secretary for Justice has reminded the public that not knowing a
law cannot be used as an excuse when violating that law.
Speaking on ‘Thailand Moves Forward’
Deputy Permanent Secretary for Justice Tawachai Thaikiew indicated that, by
law, citizens cannot cite an ignorance of the law as a reason for violation,
even if it not possible for a citizen to know the full extent of all the
country’s laws. He stated that members of the public should seek to learn
the most necessary parts of the legal code and understand the legal process.
The deputy permanent secretary said the
Ministry of Justice has setup a fund to support the dissemination of legal
knowledge and has tasked agencies, such as the Lawyers Council, the Attorney
General’s Office and courts, to utilize the funds to hold activities that
provide legal knowledge to the public.
The ministry is also building a network
of the legally knowledgeable to communicate needed know-how to Thai society.
Tawachai noted, however, that the most effective method so far has been
directly teaching law to students in school, providing them with a basis for
critical thinking about the legal system in the future.
Dept of Airports launches 10-year plan to increase air traffic capacity
Bangkok - The Department of
Airports has launched a 10-year plan to increase the capacity of its
airports, following anticipation of tourism growth as well as the lifting of
restrictions imposed by the International Civil Aviation Organization
The tourism industry in 2017 is
expected to have attracted no less than 35 million foreign tourists,
bringing in approximately 2.76 trillion baht. Meanwhile, the ICAO has lifted
its red flag on Thailand's civil aviation industry.
Various airlines, especially low-cost
airlines, have expressed a desire to begin regional services under the
supervision of the Department of Airports. As a result, the department is
moving forward with a 10-year plan to invest 38 billion baht to increase the
annual capacity of 28 airports to 30 million passengers in 2025 and 58
million by 2035.
The department's goals include
expanding air access, accommodating increased traffic, adhering to
international standards, and effective governance, in order to make Thailand
an aviation hub of the region.
National Police Chief thanks all sectors for peaceful NY
Police spokesperson Pol Col Kritsana Pattanacharoen,
Bangkok - National Police Chief
Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda has expressed his gratitude to members of all
sectors for complying with safety regulations during the New Year holidays.
According to a National Police
spokesperson Pol Col Kritsana Pattanacharoen, law and order was well
maintained during New Year celebrations thanks to entertainment venue
operators and revelers mostly obeying the law.
Gen Chaijinda also expressed gratitude
to police officers and other security personnel for their hard work.
As for the home safety program in
Bangkok, the spokesperson said more than 8,700 home owners participated this
year, 42.6% more than the previous year.
He said it was a good sign that the
police had gained more confidence and cooperation from civilians and that
they would be able to effectively prevent criminal activities in the future.
Min of Commerce unveils goals for 2018
Commerce Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong.
Bangkok - The Ministry of
Commerce has announced its goals for 2018, which focus on mobilizing urgent
policies to boost the economy and reduce the cost of living.
Commerce Minister Sontirat
Sontijirawong has revealed that the ministry will focus on issues, such as
maintaining the stability of agricultural commodity prices. The Ministry of
Commerce will collaborate with the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives
on marketing campaigns and promoting innovative agricultural products.
One urgent issue is to employ
low-income citizens by collaborating with educational institutions in
organized job training and providing local SMEs with additional sales
channels, both offline and online.
To reduce the cost of living, the
ministry aims to increase the number of stores with Pracharat flags to no
less than 40,000 across the country, as well as mobile vendors that sell
household necessities such as rice, sugar, vegetable oil, and chicken eggs
at 30-45% below market price.
Govt to provide free high-speed internet for 3 years in 3,920 villages
Secretary-General of NBTC, Takorn Tantasith.
Bangkok - The government is
planning to provide free high-speed internet in 3,920 villages across
the country for three years, starting on August 1, 2018.
Secretary-General of the National
Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) Takorn Tantasith
said that low-income villagers registered with the Ministry of Finance
will be eligible for free high-speed internet service for three years.
The program will cost approximately 4.68 billion baht, which will come
from unused funds reallocated from the plan to provide
telecommunications coverage and social services from 2012-2016.
According to the database of the
Community Development Department in 2017, the average income of
households in distant rural areas is 5,000 baht a month, while expenses
average 10,000 baht.
The program is expected to benefit
over 520,000 households and help reduce economic inequality between
residents in urban and rural areas by providing access to information
and opportunities for e-commerce and marketing. Even the most
conservative estimate of 2,000 baht additional income per month per
household can stimulate the grassroots economy by 12.48 billion baht per