OAG wants more evidence before pressing charges against Premchai
Bangkok - Thailand's Office of
the Attorney-General (OAG) has decided not to send the case against Italian
Thai Co Ltd CEO Premchai Karnasutra to court yet as more evidence is needed.
A team of OAG spokespersons and a
prosecution panel responsible for examining a police investigation into
Premchai’s alleged illegal poaching of wild animals revealed on Tuesday that
certain matters needed to be clarified for the indictment to proceed.
The construction tycoon has denied all
Although the OAG did not reveal what
those matters were, the spokesperson hinted that they were related to
The investigation team is expected to
conclude their findings no later than March 26 before the OAG decides
whether to press 9 charges against Premchai.
Tropical storm reaches Thailand, earthquake reported in Kanchanaburi
Bangkok - Thailand's
Meteorological Department has issued warnings for people in all provinces to
brace for tropical storms from Wednesday through Friday.
According to the Meteorological
Department, an area of high air pressure from China, which is now moving
towards the North East of Thailand, will bring thundershowers, strong winds
and hail storms to the upper region, the east coast and the central region
including Bangkok and its vicinity.
People are advised to stay indoors as
gusty winds can knock down large trees and street signs. They are asked to
keep abreast of the latest weather reports.
Meanwhile, the Seismological Bureau has
disclosed that a 2.1 magnitude earthquake was detected in Sangkhlaburi
district of Kanchanaburi at around 3 a.m. on Wednesday. No damage has been
Tourism agencies on alert following popularity of Thai soap
Bangkok - The Permanent
Secretary for Tourism and Sports, Pongpanu Svetarundra, has instructed all
agencies to prepare to accommodate the rising number of tourist arrivals at
historic sites following the popularity of the Bupphesunniwas (Love Destiny)
Bupphesunniwas is based on events in
Ayutthaya province during the reign of the King Narai the Great. The popular
soap opera has increased the number of visitors to archeological sites in
Ayutthaya and elsewhere.
Pongpanu has instructed agencies under
the Ministry of Tourism and Sports to provide convenience to tourists who
visit the historical sites and attractions, where Bupphesunniwas was filmed.
He has lauded the series producer,
after it has made many Thai people interested in Thai history, arts, and
EC reacts to expulsion of Somchai Srisuthiyakorn
Bangkok - The chairman of
Thailand's Election Commission (EC) has assured the public that the National
Council for Peace and Order’s (NCPO) decision to remove Somchai
Srisuthiyakorn from the EC due to inappropriate comments on the general
election will not impact the commission’s work.
The Royal Gazette has promulgated the
NCPO order to remove Somchai Srisuthiyakorn from the EC after he made
inappropriate remarks concerning the general election during an interview,
causing confusion and obstructing the work of the commission regarding the
organization of the poll. The decision was also due to Somchai applying to
become the EC’s secretary-general without first resigning from the body,
resulting in a conflict of interests and morally compromising the
commission. The order was effective from March 20.
The order further stated the chairman
of the EC remain in the post until a new commission is formed to ensure the
continuity of its work.
Somchai has accepted his ejection as
within the discretion of the NCPO but assured his remarks were not in favor
of any particular group or individual and that his application for the
secretary-general role was due to him having the proper qualifications. He
stated, despite being relieved of duty, that he will continue to work for
While admitting he no longer needs to
attend EC functions, including a meeting with existing political parties on
March 28, he indicated he may still attend if he decides to join one of the
EC Chairman Supachai Somcharoen
meanwhile said the loss of Somchai will not impact the commission’s work as
it still has the four members needed to function, adding his
responsibilities will be taken up by the Secretary-General of the EC.
The chairman also stated EC members
reaching retirement age soon will not be an issue, as the NCPO has allowed
them to continue their work until a new panel is selected. Those approaching
the age of 70 include Boonsong Noisophon, who will reach 70 in August this
year and Supachai himself, who will reach 70 in February of next year.
Thai court sentences Laotian drug kingpin to life in prison
Bangkok (AP) — A Thai court on Tuesday handed a life sentence to a
Laotian drug kingpin who was notorious for a high-flying lifestyle and
alleged social connections to celebrities and other VIPs.
Bangkok Criminal Court initially gave
Xaysana Keopimpha a death sentence, but reduced his punishment because he
cooperated with police.
The court said Xaysana led a gang that
trafficked drugs from Laos into Thailand and Malaysia, using cars to hide
the drugs and to scout for police checkpoints.
He was arrested on Jan. 19, 2017, after
a group of traffickers arrested several months earlier identified him as the
leader of their network. He was charged in connection with that case,
involving the smuggling of 1.2 million methamphetamine pills from Laos into
Thailand on Sept. 30, 2016.
The court said officials looked into
Xaysana's phone and LINE app messaging records, which revealed that he
discussed drug trafficking with other members of his group, while financial
records showed that money was transferred to other drug syndicates.
Thailand's Narcotics Control Board said
last year that there were at least four known cases in 2016 involving the
network in which 5 million tablets were seized by the authorities.
It said three Thai nationals had been
arrested in the operation against Xaysana, with about 100 million baht in
assets seized from the group in Thailand. Thai and Malaysian officials
announced other arrests said to be connected to the case.
Xaysana's case drew great attention
last year as some notable Thai figures seemed to be implicated. Most
prominent was Akarakit Worarojcharoendet, the husband of a well-known Thai
actress, who pleaded not guilty after being charged with money laundering
and aiding criminal activity. Suspicion focused on him after he was accused
of owning a Lamborghini given to him by Xaysana.
Photographs of Xaysana pictured with
other public figures, including police officers, circulated widely on social
Hailstorms and heavy rains forecast in most areas this week
Bangkok - The Meteorological
Department has warned people nationwide of a tropical storm this week.
Director-General Wanchai Sakudomchai, has advised eastern and northeastern
residents to brace themselves for heavy rains and hailstorms until March
The North and Central Plains, including
Bangkok and its vicinity, will be affected beginning Wednesday. Wanchai
identified Don Muang and Rangsit as the two areas expected to feel the
The director-general also warned people
of frequent lightning strikes and advised them to stay indoors and away from
large trees and street signs if they need to be outside for any reason.
Hailstorms, Wanchai added, could happen
anywhere in the country this week especially in the North East and certain
areas of Bangkok such as Bang Khen, Don Muang and Rangsit due to higher
Meanwhile, a group of soldiers are
helping residents in Chiang Kham in Phayao province fix their homes which
were damaged by a recent storm.
According to the Department of Disaster
Prevention and Mitigation, nearly 2,000 homes in 19 provinces across the
country have been affected.
They are mostly located in the North,
North East and Central Plains while the east coast and the South have only
experienced a slight impact. People are advised to call the 24-hour
emergency hotline 1784 for assistance.
PACC finds signs of corruption of impoverishment aid fund in 49 provinces
Bangkok - The Public Sector
Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) has found evidence of corruption in the
disbursement of funds earmarked for the aid of the impoverished in 49
provinces so far, with the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security
now discussing adjusting the payout system for tighter security.
Minister Gen Anantaporn Kanchanarat
says that after Songkran his office will adjust its system for disbursing
money from an impoverished individuals’ aid fund, to an E-Payment system
that foregoes involvement by any agents and automatically reports progress
directly to him. He nevertheless urged citizens entitled to the funds to
report any missed transactions to their nearest state office or Damrongtham
Center, which are now coordinating with the PACC to combat corruption in the
program. Citizens can call the center’s hotline at 1300.
The minister also said that he has
signed an order to take severe disciplinary action against civil servants
who have been involved in the corruption of the fund. So far 5-6 individuals
have been named for further investigation and 16 have been transferred.
Irregularities have been confirmed in 21 locations.
Police inspect some 100 practice bombs at Bangkok construction site
Bangkok - Police inspected more
than 100 practice bombs at a construction site near Sanghi intersection in
Bangkok on Tuesday.
The Deputy Commissioner General of the
Royal Thai Police, Pol. Lt. Gen. Sriwara Rangsipramanakul, and the Explosive
Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team inspected the construction site on Rajavithi
Road after the police were alerted over the discovery of the bombs hidden
about 1.5 meters underground.
Pol. Lt. Gen. Sriwara said the bombs
are Type BDU-33s produced by the United States and did not contain any
explosives, as their purpose was only for training. The construction site
was formerly a football field.
He instructed the police to thoroughly
inspect the construction site before clearing it for workers.
The practice bombs were in poor
condition. They are believed to be remnants from the Second World War. The
practice bombs would only emit smoke when launched.
PM satisfied with outcomes of ASEAN-Australia Summit 2018
Bangkok - The Prime Minister has
voiced his satisfaction with the outcomes of the 2018 ASEAN-Australia
Summit, which took place in Sydney, Australia, over the weekend.
Gen Prayut Chan-ocha remarked that the
atmosphere of the discussions was positive and all participating nations
proposed ways to enhance strategic partnerships between the Southeast Asian
bloc and the island nation. He noted that suggestions included strengthening
Micro SMEs and said that Thai SMEs should prepare to adapt to the
development. Other recommendations concerned cooperation in combating
international terrorism and any emerging threats in the region.
The summit concluded with
representatives agreeing to the Sydney Declaration, which sets a general
framework for collaboration, as well as a commitment to cooperate against
international security threats and to set regulations for online trade. The
PM said that it was agreed that Thailand and Australia should improve the
Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA).
After attending the summit, Gen Prayut
went to a gala dinner organized by the Thai Ambassador, H.E. Nantana Sivakua
at the Thai Consulate in Sydney. Staff at the office presented the PM with a
cake to mark his approaching birthday. He thanked them for the gesture and
for their service to the Kingdom as it moves towards a restitution of
democracy. He remarked to the gathering that he sees each day as important
and finds joy in his work, even though it may be trying on some occasions.
He said that while he may face obstacles and issues in his efforts, he
believes that with cooperation from all, Thailand can progress to the level
Australia is currently at.
Gen Prayut then spoke about ongoing
reforms and said all sides must put the nation at the center of their
outlook and that only through a unified effort can necessary reforms be
achieved. He assured his audience that planned reforms would not be
detrimental to any part of Thai society.
Later, the PM was reported to have
urged the head of Bhumjaithai Party, Anuthin Chanweerakul, who also traveled
to Australia as a member of the business community, not to be too
politically active and to trust that he is working for the country’s
22 provinces affected by rabies
Bangkok - The Department of
Livestock Development has declared 22 provinces, including Bangkok,
temporary rabies zones and urged people to have their pets vaccinated
against the disease.
The 22 provinces are Surin, Chon Buri,
Samut Prakan, Chachoengsao, Nan, Buri Ram, Ubon Ratchathani, Chiang Rai, Roi
Et, Songkhla, Rayong, Tak, Si Sa Ket, Maha Sarakham, Nakhon Ratchasima,
Trang, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Amnat Charoen, Yasothon, Samut Songkhram,
Nonthaburi and Bangkok. The presence of rabies in these provinces is of
concern, said the department.
The department has recommended that
pets such as dogs and cats are vaccinated for the first time, when they are
2-4 months old and then every year as scheduled. The department warned that
people should avoid animals with abnormal behavior and urged them to
immediately contact the department at Hotline 1422 if they find dead dogs,
cats or any distressed mammals.
Environmental development plan being drafted for the EEC
Bangkok - Thailand's Ministry of
Natural Resources and Environment is to compile an environmental management
plan for the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) that also touches on developing
the quality of life for citizens in the area.
The plan is to focus on industries and
tourism as well as the environment and will call for joint efforts by all
sides and opinion gathering sessions between relevant agencies and
stakeholders. The project aims to help enhance the EEC, which extends across
Chacheongsao, Chonburi and Rayong provinces, and will take place over a
period of four years from 2018 to 2021. Its main concerns will be avoiding
air pollution, protecting against chemical disasters, reforestation and the
creation of a support network. A total of three phases will take place, an
initial phase, a network building phase and a completion phase.
Any opinions and views will be
considered before the plan is submitted to EEC Development Policy
The latest opinion gathering session
was led by Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Gen Surasak
Seminar held on Black Panther slaying case
Bangkok - Activists have
continued to closely follow developments in the Black Panther hunting case,
pressing for justice to be served.
A group, which has dubbed itself
“T’Challa”, recently organized the seminar “How Does it End? The Black
Panther Will Not Have Died for Nothing” at the Bangkok Art and Culture
Center. Former member of the National Reform Commission, Ticha Na Nakorn,
remarked at the gathering that continued legal work following the illegal
hunting of a black panther in Tungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary is
necessary and right, even if it may face obstacles. She stated her belief
that, even if no one is prosecuted once the case concludes, Thai society
will not allow the matter to be forgotten.
Chairman of the Sueb Nakasathien
Foundation, Sasin Chalermlap, revealed he had met with Deputy Commander of
the Royal Thai Police, Pol Gen Sriwara Rangsipramnakul, who is handling the
case, and asked for assurance that justice will be served. He said the high
ranking officer gave him confidence that the case will be brought to its
conclusion but acknowledged that identifying the exact date of the black
panther’s killing will determine if fault can be found with Italian Thai Co
Ltd CEO Premchai Karnasutra, who is the main suspect in the case.
Meanwhile, member of the Citizen’s for
Police Reform Network, Pol Col Wirut Sirisawadibut, highlighted mistrust in
the work of police among the Thai public, especially in cases involving
affluent members of society. He said involvement by the attorney general
will help bolster confidence.
EC Somchai confirms PM can be member of political party
Election Commissioner Somchai Seesoonthiyaakorn.
Bangkok - The Election
Commission (EC) has stated that Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha can be a member of a
political party without having to give up the post of prime minister.
Commenting on the legality of a
prospective political party’s name “Palang Pracharat Party,” Election
Commissioner Somchai Seesoonthiyaakorn said there are no rules prohibiting
parties from using the same name as a state-funded campaign.
When asked about one party’s plan to
invite Gen Prayut to act as its advisor, Somchai said the premier, according
to the law, can be a party’s advisor or even a party member while performing
his duties as prime minister.
However, Somchai said Gen Prayut’s role
as a party member must not affect his responsibilities as prime minister in
any way, shape, or form.
Somchai then acknowledged that parties
with support from a figure like Gen Prayut would be at an advantage in the
next general election.
Nationwide rabies alert continues
Bangkok - Several areas in
Thailand remain on high alert for the deadly rabies virus. while a
vaccination service for cats and dogs continues.
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration
has introduced a campaign to encourage residents of the capital city to
beware of the threat of the deadly virus. The latest vaccination activity
was held in Bang Khen District.
Deputy governor of Bangkok Pol. Gen.
Chintat Meesuk said that the BMA has a supply of over 300,000 doses of
anti-rabies vaccine for pets and stray dogs while aiming to complete the
vaccination program across the city by March 31.
The Department of Livestock Development
recently removed Bangkok from the list of rabies red zones after city
officials successfully took control of the situation.
Meanwhile, the Yala Municipality’s
Public Health and Environment Office continues its preemptive program to
provide free vaccines to dogs and cats while launching a mobile unit to
encourage pet owners to bring along their pets to receive the vaccination.
And, in Loei Province, the free
vaccination program and information about rabies are being offered to
pet-owning personnel and their families who live inside the Royal Thai
Army’s Sri Songrak Camp.
According to officials, more than 1.5
million dogs and other domestic pets have been vaccinated against rabies
during the past six months.
PM commends Thai period drama for promoting Thainess
Bangkok - Prime Minister Gen
Prayut Chan-o-cha has praised the Thai period drama “Buppesannivas” for
encouraging citizens to wear traditional costumes.
In his weekly televised address, Gen
Prayut said Buppesannivas has augmented the achievements of the “Love and
Warmth at Winter's End” exhibition by educating Thai people about their
history while at the same time perpetuating the beautiful culture of
Thailand, in tandem with the government’s Sustainable Thai Idealism
Although the period drama will come to
an end soon, Gen Prayut believes a will to preserve Thai culture is in
everyone’s soul, adding that cultural legacy will be passed on and cherished
by generations to come.
In the meantime, the Ministry of
Culture has organized a field trip, taking 100 lucky individuals to the
ancient city of Ayutthaya to admire archaeological sites such as the famous
Petch Fortress, Thanon Chin Temple, Chao Sam Phraya National Museum,
Ayutthaya Royal Palace, Wat Phra Si Sanphet Temple, and Chaiwatthanaram
The next field trip will be to Lop Buri
Summer storms to bring thundershowers on March 20-23
Uthai Thani - Thundershowers and
gusty winds can be expected in districts of the central plain and the lower
northern region between March 20th and 23rd.
Citing the Meteorological Department’s
recent announcement, Uthai Thani Deputy Governor Mitree Tritilanunt said on
Saturday that eight provinces will be battered by summer storms namely
Sukhothai, Uttaradit, Phitsanulok, Kamphaeng Phet, Phichit, Phetchabun,
Nakhon Sawan, and Uthai Thani.
A high air pressure system from China
is blanketing the upper part of Thailand and will move into the northeastern
region on Tuesday, March 20th.
Mitree also asked members of the public
to take precautions when leaving their homes and avoid standing under or
close to large trees and billboards, adding that the agricultural sector
should also prepare for possible damage to their crops.
Rescue units, responders, and local
officers will be on 24-hour standby in the event of an emergency.
Chulalongkorn University holds seminar on rabies outbreak
Bangkok - Chulalongkorn
University has held a seminar on the recent outbreak of rabies in the
nation, discussing the responsibilities of animal owners and ways to stem
the spread of the disease.
Director of the Bangkok Bureau of
Disease Control and Veterinary Services, Veterinary Doctor Benjawan
Sichanasai remarked at the seminar that she does not agree with an online
call to “Set Zero” or to terminate the lives of all stray dogs and cats in
Bangkok as the issue has more to do with responsible pet ownership and
proper neutering of animals.
Former veterinary special expert of the
Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute of the Thai Red Cross Society, Veterinary
Doctor Weera Thepsumethanont voiced a similar view, saying that China also
wiped out its stray dog population without being able to completely
eradicate rabies. He suggested pet owners pay closer attention to the
behavior of their pets and that they should seek medical counsel if their
animal is having trouble swallowing water, has a dry bark, has black
splotches on its tongue or is biting unusual objects.
Chualongkorn veterinary science
instructor, Doctor Sunnipha Surtat indicated that the resurgence of rabies
could be attributed to a fall in the vaccination of pets. She explained that
between 2014 to 2018, vaccinations fell steadily from 20 million doses a
year to 5 million. Furthermore, in 2016, up to 3.5 million doses were deemed
sub-standard. The numbers run contrary to the nation’s dog population, which
boomed to 10 million during the period. She stated that production capacity
can no longer make up for the shortfall and the state will have to be
stricter in ensuring vaccinations are effective.
Thailand’s largest medical center to be built in Khon Kaen
Bangkok - An ambitious new
project to build Thailand’s largest medical center in Khon Kaen Province, is
under close consideration
In order to help Thailand become the
region’s medical hub, Srinagarind Hospital at Khon Kaen University is
planning the construction of a 5,000-bed hospital, which would be Thailand’s
largest center dedicated to medical services.
President of Khon Kaen University,
Assoc. Prof. Kittichai Triratanasirichai said that public demand for medical
care is now on the rise, particularly in the northeastern region where more
than 22 million people live and a large number of citizens of neighboring
countries visit regularly.
Under such circumstances, local
hospitals are not able to meet the demand for their medical services,
Accordingly, Khon Kaen University has
developed a plan to become the region's medical hub, which would operate as
an extension of Srinagarind Hospital and will need an investment of 24.5
billion baht, he added.
With construction set to begin in
December of this year, Kittichai is soliciting public donations to support
the project in return for free lifetime medical treatment or a 200-percent
More summer storms predicted into next week
Nong Khai - Summer storms are predicted
to continue through the weekend and next week, with authorities already
providing aid to those affected so far.
Relevant agencies have dispatched
agents to several areas of Nong Khai province after summer storms lashed 28
villages in 13 sub-districts. A total of 51 homes reported damage alongside
two rice mills, a temple and one rice silo.
Similarly in Nakhon Panom province,
Disaster Prevention and Mitigation office agents joined with military
personnel, local administrators and volunteers to clear out debris blocking
roadways and remove trees that were felled by storm winds. Heavy rain and
strong winds, which included hail, on March 14 damaged a reported 194 homes
in the province’s Nakae, Thatpanom, Srisongkram and Ponsawan districts.
The Meteorological Department forecasts
that weather conditions from now to March 19 will be mostly cloudy and rainy
with storms expected on March 20-21, from the central to the northern
regions due to the collision of a low pressure front in the area and a high
pressure front from China. The south can also expect scattered showers
during the period.
Fishing boat operators urged to renew licenses
Bangkok - Fishing boat operators
have been urged to renew their fishing licenses before the expiry date on
According to Deputy Prime Minister Gen
Chatchai Sarikulya, the committee overseeing fishing licenses at the
Department of Fisheries has resolved to increase the period for seabed, open
water, and anchovy fishing in the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea by 20
days in the 2018 - 2019 season.
Fishing operators will have up to 270
days a year to catch fish and crustaceans. Fishing operators can renew their
licenses at local fisheries offices in 22 coastal provinces.
Gen Chatchai said the longer fishing
season was the result of successful efforts between the government and
fishing operators to combat illegal fishing. He claimed that eliminating
illegal fishing will enhance the sustainable competitiveness of the Thai
fishing industry on a global scale.
Billionaire registers new progressive political party
Thai billionaire Thananthorn Juangroongruangkit,
center, gives a traditional Thai greeting after announcing the launch of his
new Future Forward Party in Bangkok, Thursday, March 15. (AP Photo/Sakchai
Bangkok (AP) — Thailand's slow
move from military to civilian governance has attracted dozens of new
political parties to register in barely two weeks, including one by an
internet-famous billionaire who says he embraces democracy and wants to
challenge the country's traditional powers.
Anakot Mai, or the Future Forward
Party, was registered Thursday under the name it received just this week
after "Help Thanathorn name his party" trended among Thai Twitter users. A
Facebook live interview with party co-founder Thananthorn Juangroongruangkit
had over 100,000 views and prompted warnings he was being watched by the
The Future Forward Party was the 58th
to register since the government opened the process March 2.
"My idea is to make this party stand
for democratic principles," Thanathorn, 39, told reporters at a news
conference. "I want to see a political party that dares to oppose
organizations, institutions, and values that oppose democracy."
"We will make democracy a part of every
decision-making process from the choosing of party members, the determining
of party direction and strategy, to the developing of party policies," he
Thanathorn, the executive vice
president of leading auto parts manufacturer Thai Summit Group, said he
would rely on crowd-funded resources to support his party rather than his
He said the party believes in
transparent governance, equal rights and economic equality, among other
progressive principles, and that it will not take sides with popular
"Thailand has suffered from deep
conflict for over a decade, which has caused great economic and social
losses. Polarized politics is a hurdle for negotiations, while dictatorial
politics limits people's rights and freedoms, suppressing problems without
fixing them," the Future Forward Party said in a statement Thursday. "We,
who see this conflict, agree that it is time to have a new power come in to
restore faith in democracy."
The Future Forward Party's co-founder,
Piyabutr Saenkanokkul, a university law lecturer, said the party is modeled
after young political entities that broke away from traditional politics in
other nations. He cited the left-wing parties of Podemos in Spain, Syriza in
Greece, and La France Insoumise in France.
"It is a world trend that new political
parties are emerging. In many countries, these parties have formed
governments and while many are still opposition parties, they are gradually
gaining more votes," Piyabutr said. "I think that, at the very least, the
forming of new parties will force big established parties to adjust."
Italian Thai CEO released on bail after hearing more charges
Italian-Thai Development Premchai Karnasuta arrives at the wildlife police
headquarters Bangkok, Wednesday, March 14. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Bangkok - Italian Thai Co Ltd
CEO Premchai Karnasutra has heard three more charges stemming from his
alleged illegal wildlife hunt and has been released on a bond of 300,000
baht and on the condition that he remain in the country.
The CEO heard the additional charges at
the Natural Environment Police Division Headquarters on Wednesday. The
charges are illegal possession of elephant ivory, illegal possession of
firearms and ammunition and attempted bribery of state agents.
Commander of the Natural Environment
Police Division, Pol Maj Gen Panya Pinsuk noted that Premchai’s wife, Kanita
Karnasutra, and the person who validated their ivory purchase, Wandee
Sombhumi, also heard charges against them on a previous date.
Premchai has been told to explain the
origins of his firearms as they were all found to be unregistered. He was
also presented to the Criminal Court for a 12 day detainment period based on
the ivory possession charge against him, the most severe of the three
charges. However he was granted release on 300,000 baht bail. He remarked
while leaving the court that he was feeling downtrodden as Thai society
believes he committed the crime of illegally killing a black panther,
proclaiming his innocence, and asking that the matter be left to the court.
Activists concerned about the case have
worn masks of the slain big cat as a symbol of protest on several occasions
and environmentalists have pledged to keep up pressure. The trending Thai
catchphrase "The black cat will not die for free" has even been repeated by
police. Graffiti artists have sprayed Bangkok's walls with paintings of the
black cat, and when officials reportedly washed off the images, new black
cat graffiti surfaced nearby.
Air Force to send fleet to aid in rainmaking operations
Bangkok – The Royal Thai Air
Force is ready to dispatch its aircraft to support upcoming royal rainmaking
operations around the country.
Commander-in-Chief ACM Johm Rungsawang
said the Air Force will hand over a total of 12 airplanes to assist the
Department of Royal Rainmaking and Agricultural Aviation in cloud seeding
operations. Four of the planes are of the BT-67 model; six are AU-23A
Peacemakers; and the other two are Alpha Jet attack aircraft.
The Air Force chief confirmed he is
supportive of the upcoming cloud seeding operations, which he said will help
alleviate drought and haze problems in Thailand and lessen the impact of
hailstorms. He called on all the officials involved to prioritize efficiency
and safety during their tasks and to help create an understanding among
people that the chemicals used are not dangerous to their health.
In addition to dispatching aircraft,
the Air Force will open 11 of its bases across the country to serve as
operational centers for the cloud seeding mission, which is set to begin on
10 electric rail lines for Bangkok likely to be approved
Bangkok - The Cabinet is
expected to approve all 10 planned electric train systems for Bangkok this
year to improve traffic flow in and out of the capital.
Minister of Transport, Akhom
Termpittayapaisit has disclosed that the 16.4 kilometer Thailand Cultural
Center-Talingchan Western Orange Line is to be proposed to the Cabinet for a
second time this May, with both its construction and its operation plans to
be presented. The line is currently subject to studies into how it can
incorporate private investment.
Similarly, the Southern Purple Line
running 23.6 kilometers between Taopoon-Ratburana is awaiting investment
analysis and is expected to be put to the Cabinet by the third quarter of
Akhom voiced confidence that all 10
electric train systems waiting on Cabinet approval will receive the go-ahead
this year as they are crucial to improving travel into and out of Bangkok
and reducing road congestion.
The Ministry of Transport is already
looking into drafting its master plan for the third phase of electric rail
development, implementing the connection of all public transport systems
into a single network.
On the Denchai-Chiang Kong dual rail
system, which recently passed its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and
is being considered by the National Economic and Social Development Board
(NESDB), Akhom said he expects it to be put to the Cabinet this month and
become the first dual rail line to go to construction auction.
Thailand to draft plans to regulate and tax cryptocurrencies
In this April 3, 2013 photo, Mike Caldwell, a
35-year-old software engineer, holds a 25 Bitcoin token at his shop in
Sandy, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Bangkok (AP) — Thailand's cabinet agreed Tuesday to draft a law to
oversee cryptocurrency trading, seeking to tax the largely unregulated
Government spokesman Nathporn
Chatusripitak said the Ministry of Finance also proposed the new regulations
to help prevent use of digital currencies in money laundering and fraud.
He said details of the proposed
regulations would be announced later in the month.
In February, Thailand's central bank
issued a circular asking financial institutions to not handle transactions
Across Asia, governments have been
belatedly moving to exert control over bitcoin exchanges and other
fast-growing cryptocurrency-related activities.
15 to be charged in football fixing case
Bangkok - The Deputy
Director-General of the Department of Criminal Litigation has voiced
confidence that a football game fixing case involving 15 suspects can be
handled properly despite being the first such case launched under the
Athletic Career Support Act.
Commander of the Royal Thai Police, Pol
Gen Chakthip Chaijinda, submitted the case file in the football fixing case
to the Office of the Attorney General. He explained that a total 16 people
are suspected of involvement in the case; six financiers, one referee, one
member of the public and eight football players. Police have however, filed
cases against only 15 of the 16.
Deputy Director-General of the
Department of Criminal Litigation, Pornchai Cholwanichkul, said his office
is confident it can bring any wrongdoers to justice due to the strength of
evidence and clear knowledge of payments made.
He said any of the suspects who feel
they are being unfairly treated can submit an appeal to the Office of the
Attorney General. They are to hear charges of game fixing in the Thai
League, on April 24.
Motorways open toll-free during Songkran holiday
Bangkok - The toll for certain
motorways will be temporarily exempted during Songkran festival, said
Assistant Government Spokesman Col Athisit Chainuwat.
He said the cabinet approved the toll
waiver to help ease traffic congestion.
The toll for Motorway No. 7 on
Bangkok-Pattaya stretch, Motorway No. 9 on Bangkok-Kanchanapisek stretch and
that on Bang Pa-in-Bang Plee stretch will be waived during the festive
The waiver will be in effect after
midnight of 11 April 2018, until midnight of 18 April 2018, spanning over an
eight day time-frame.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayut
Chan-o-cha called on government agencies to promote road safety measures and
report on road accidents on a quarterly basis to better raise the public
awareness of traffic rules.
Rabies vaccines being provided for pets nationwide
Bangkok - Citizens across the nation
are taking advantage of free anti-rabies vaccinations for their pets, with
the service available in all 50 districts of Bangkok.
Bangkok’s Health Department is
operating mobile vaccination teams to combat rabies, providing shots free of
charge. Over 180 pets were brought in to receive the shots in Nong Chok’s
Chalong Krung community alone.
All owners of animals over three months
of age are being encouraged to have them receive the vaccination for the
protection of others and the pets themselves.
The vaccinations have attracted large
numbers of animal owners in Chiang Mai province, where the shots are being
provided at Wat Pa Kaow. More than 9,000 pets have so far been vaccinated
even though no reports of rabies have been made in Chiang Mai. A mobile
vaccination team will make the rounds of the province from now to April 7,
seeking to vaccinate up to 20,000 animals.
Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-ocha has
called on all pet owners to regularly vaccinate their animals and to keep
them away from stray dogs and cats to protect them from rabies.
Police ramp up prosecution of 229 suspected call-center scammers
Bangkok - The police's phone and
electronic scams eradication center has made positive progress towards the
eradication of call-center scammers over the past three months, says Deputy
Prime Minister/Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwan.
The center has so far received 383
charges filed by scam victims, with a combined damage of about 200 million
baht. Investigations have led to the issuance of 373 arrest warrants and the
arrests of 229 suspected scammers.
A total of 13 million baht in cash has
been confiscated from the suspected scammers and returned to 66 victims.
The police are also working with the
National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) to prosecute
6 VoIP firms and has blocked 130 numbers on the VoIP network, while the
National Anti-Corruption Commission plans to confiscate an additional 120
million baht in disputed assets.
The Thai police's cooperation with
international agencies has led to the crackdowns on five call-center units
in Malaysia and Cambodia, with 55 scam suspects arrested.
Govt adheres to election roadmap
Bangkok - Deputy Prime Minister
and Defense Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, says the government will continue
to adhere to the election roadmap, amid calls for the National Council for
Peace and Order (NCPO) to remain as a caretaker government in the run-up to
Gen Prawit addressed demands by a
political group that the existing administration become a caretaker
government, saying the NCPO is unable to do so, as it must adhere to the
election roadmap. He said the group is within its rights to continue
lobbying its agenda, but asked that it observe the rule of law.
The deputy premier also denied rumors
that a new political party had invited current Prime Minister Gen Prayut
Chan-o-cha to become party adviser.
Thailand takes part in Cope Tiger 2018
Bangkok - Thailand has begun
this year's Cope Tiger trilateral air exercise with Singapore and the United
Director of Cope Tiger 2018, Group
Captain Sapachai Silanin, recently met with the Governor of Nakhon
Ratchasima Province, Wichien Chantaranochai, to discuss the exercise.
The military drills are being held from
March 12 - 23 in the provinces of Nakhon Ratchasima, Lopburi and Khon Kaen.
Cope Tiger 2018 is a large-scale exercise that will train participants in
the latest military strategies and technology for regional peacekeeping.
Group Capt Sapachai has also informed
local residents of the possible noise impact from the training operations.
Water level in Mekong River remains low
Bangkok - The water level in the
Mekong River remains low and operators of small boats on the river are being
forced to steer their vessels cautiously.
Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak
Osotthanakon, led a group of officials from related agencies to inspect the
situation in the Mekong River on Monday. The check showed water levels stood
at between 2.00 meters and 2.30 meters. However, the current level is
higher than last week, when the water level was below 2.00 meters and
several cargo ships and commuter boats reportedly hit sand dunes where the
water was not deep enough to allow them to pass through the shallows.
The situation has forced Thai
authorities to ask China to release water from its dams up river to raise
the water level.
Narongsak hopes that at least the
present water level can be maintained so that most boats, and cargo ships
carrying loads at least 25 percent less than normal, are able to make their
way along the river.
Chiang Rai City Hall will continue
monitoring the situation and remains on stand-by to work with the Chinese
authorities whose dams control the level of water in the river.
Public Health Min taking steps to prevent rabies outbreak
Bangkok - The Ministry of Public
Health has instructed the Department of Disease Control to give anti-rabies
vaccinations to people and animals to prevent a wider outbreak.
According to Public Health Minister Dr.
Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn, the Department of Disease Control continues to
provide anti-rabies vaccinations free to the general public after a number
of infected animals were recently reported.
He claimed that people pay little
attention to the severity of the virus. In the past, the majority of rabies
patients succumbed to the disease because there were no medicines. Now,
anyone bitten by a cat or dog is advised to seek medical attention
Vaccinations are being provided in 13
In Chiang Rai province, a survey is now
underway to determine the number of doses needed. Animals without an owner
are likely to be sterilized to keep their population under control and
prevent rabies transmissions.
Crashed plane moved to Talang Technical College as probes continue
Phuket - Authorities are to move
the wreckage of a downed plane in Phuket to Talang Technical College after
an investigative committee wrapped up its on-site assessment Monday.
The plane has been completely
disassembled and catalogued and has been prepared for transfer to the
college, where it will be temporarily stored while the reasons for its
tragic crash are investigated.
The committee said no conclusions can
yet be made as several more assessments are needed, including autopsies of
the fatalities and questioning of eye-witnesses. A computer simulation of
the incident is to be generated and the plane’s Australian manufacturer will
be invited to review the evaluation. All of the information is to be
reported to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
Another team has been sent to inspect
the bodies of those killed in the accident and to question survivors.
Religious ceremonies have already begun at both the crash site and the
Phuket Governor, Noraphat Plodthong,
and Secretary-General of the Vocational Education Commission, Suthep
Chityawong, have already met with victims of the accident and provided them
with financial support. The two surviving passengers of the crash are Adel
Samae and Orawan Chindarak, both Talang Technical College students of
Adel is still contending with swelling
of the brain and is under close surveillance by doctors while Orawan is
suffering from bone fractures.
The provincial governor earlier
performed a funeral rite for Wattana Thinphangnga, the captain of the plane,
at Wat Sophonwanaram. The body of the other fatality in the incident, Flying
Office Narin Taweewat, has been sent back to his hometown of Pathumthani for
EU businesses voice support for renewal of FTAs with Thailand
Bangkok - Thailand's Ministry of
Commerce has revealed European Union (EU) businesses have shown interest in
supporting renewed Free Trade Agreements between Thailand and the bloc.
Deputy Minister of Commerce, Chutima
Boonyaprapasorn, disclosed that, at the 24th informal meeting of ASEAN
economic ministers, which took place March 1 – 2 in Singapore, several
European businesses operating in ASEAN through the EU-ASEAN Business Council
and the Europe-ASEAN Business Alliance engaged in discussions on Thailand’s
trade policy and increasing business with ASEAN.
Chutima said that EU-ASEAN Business
Council President Donald Kanak led EU representatives from the logistics and
automotive sectors to meet with Thailand and discuss its trade policies,
with Thai officials assuring them that the nation’s policies are supportive
of trade with Europe and its increased relationship with ASEAN.
President of the Europe-ASEAN Business
Alliance, Jeff Donald, led a similar talk on expanding business
opportunities in Thailand, where he said European businesses are interested
in the Thailand 4.0 policy and its synchronicity with China’s silk road
initiative. Both groups lauded Thailand’s economic development and showed
interest in renewing Free Trade Agreements with the Kingdom. An EU decision
in December of last year allowed all ties with Thailand to normalize.
Chutima welcomed the proposal for the
EU to send a delegation of business people to Thailand this year, inviting
them to visit the Eastern Economic Corridor.
Bangkok air quality ailing while Chiang Mai improves
Bangkok - Thailand's
Pollution Control Department (PCD) has reported particulate matter
readings at five of its Bangkok stations have show levels exceeding
limits, with highs of 57 micrograms per cubic meter.
The PCD said readings in Bangkok on
March 11 saw a range of 46-57 micrograms per cubic meter at the Bangna,
Wangthonglang, Rama 4, Ladprao and Indarapitak stations. The last saw
the highest level of 57 and all are likely to see their readings
In Chiang Mai, readings for PM10
are now between 58 and 71 micrograms per cubic meter, dropping away from
a limit of 120 micrograms per cubic meter. The improved air quality has
been attributed to rain storms. The province is, nonetheless,
maintaining strict bans on burning until March 20.
In areas where air quality is poor,
the PCD is recommending people with respiratory illnesses avoid outdoor
activity, while children and the elderly avoid extended stays outdoors.
Those who must be outdoors should wear a face mask and consult their
physicians if needed.