Facebook to boost its investment in Thailand
Bangkok - Facebook has pledged
to increase its investment in Thailand, citing its support for the country’s
digital transformation with a focus on small and medium-sized enterprises
(SMEs), large businesses, and the community.
Facebook Thailand managing director
John Wagner said it is the social media company’s mission to lead the
transformation of Thailand into a digital economy and society and to support
the country’s businesses and communities to realize their digital
Facebook will launch new programs,
partnerships, and initiatives to support the three drivers it has identified
for Thailand’s transformation.
SMEs play crucial roles in the Thai
economy, carrying out 98 percent of business, employing 70 percent of the
workforce and accounting for 40 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), he
Facebook has committed to offering the
support programs, including workshops, live training, online training, and
chat support for SMEs.
Security agencies to be on high alert during May 22 demonstration
Bangkok - A planned
demonstration in the capital this Tuesday, May 22, will be staged amid tight
security to ensure public safety.
Deputy Prime Minister and Defense
Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan noted that security measures will be put in
place ahead of and during the march by a pro-election activist group. Gen
Prawit expects the demonstration to be short and peaceful.
In the meantime, Secretary General of
the National Security Council (NSC) Gen Wallop Raksanoh said today that
people have the right to express themselves, but they must do it within the
confines of the law while respecting the rights of others. He also called on
the activist group to be respectful and not to cause public disturbances.
The NSC chief also warned security
units and demonstrators about a third party looking to instigate violence,
asserting that the country should build and maintain a peaceful atmosphere
ahead of next year’s election.
Land Transport Dept gets tough with law-breaking public vehicles
Bangkok - The Department of Land
Transport (DLT) has launched a transport safety campaign to prompt operators
of public vehicles countrywide to improve the safety of passengers.
The DLT in April inspected more than
17,000 public vehicles and took action against a law-breaking 521 drivers
for improper adjustments and adaptations, refusing passengers, failing to
show licenses, as well as other offences.
The wrongdoers have been sent to the
department's responsibility enhancement camp. Repeat offenders will have
their driver's licenses suspended or revoked. Deputy Director-General of the
DLT, Jongrak Kitsamrankhun, advised the public to choose only transport
operators certified by the DLT.
Passengers experiencing unsafe services
are urged to call the DLT's hotline, 1584 or contact the department via its
Army announces ban on fireworks sale throughout Ramadan
Yala - The Fourth Army Region
has announced a ban on the sale of fireworks and firecrackers in southern
border provinces throughout the Ramadan holy period.
The ban, issued by the Fourth Army
Region's commander Lt Gen Piyawat Nakwanich, came into effect on 15th May
and continues until 15th June. The Sheikhul Islam Office declared 17th May
the start of Ramadan 2018.
The ban aims to facilitate religious
services being held by Muslims in the southern border area during the
fasting month, and was requested by the Islamic committees of the southern
border provinces. Agencies in charge have been instructed to ensure legal
compliance by firework shops.
In Yala province, local retailers have
withdrawn firecrackers and fireworks from their shelves to observe the ban.
Only party poppers are available for sale during this period. Violators face
a fine of up to 40,000 baht or a jail term of up to two years or both.
Oral care company to face legal action for false advertisement
Bangkok - Thailand's Dental
Council and the Office of the Consumer Protection Board (OCPB) say they plan
to take legal action against an oral care company for making exaggerated
claims about its products. They did not disclose the name of the company in
question during a press conference on Friday.
President of the Dental Council, Dr.
Paisan Kangwonkit, disclosed the company's online advertisements, which
claims its toothpaste and mouthwash could whiten teeth within a week and fix
tooth problems in less than a month, were misleading. Dr. Paisan confirmed
there have been no medical journals to substantiate that the oral care
products could treat tooth decay or remove dental plaque, adding that oral
problems must be treated by dentists only.
Channel 3 host Patcharasri "Kalamare"
Benjamas, who the advertisements claim to be among the brand's advocates,
was at the press conference to deny her involvement. She said she had tried
to ask the company in question to stop using her pictures in its publicity,
but it had refused. She warned consumers to be skeptical of the company's
Pol Col Prateep Charoengulpa, Director
of the OCPB's Direct Sales and Direct Marketing Division, cautioned the
public to beware of online marketing that makes use of celebrities or net
idols. The OCPB and the Dental Council are moving to file for the suspension
of the company's advertisements. Those at the company, if found guilty of
deceiving consumers, face a fine of up to 50,000 baht and jail terms of up
to six months.
Khon Kaen rabies outbreak under control
Khon Kaen - Authorities have
reported they have successfully suppressed an outbreak of rabies stemming
from a stray dog that claimed the lives of four cows.
Livestock Department authorities and
other relevant agencies inspected cow pens and grazing areas while also
vaccinating animals against rabies, in Baan Wang Pue in Puay Noi district of
Khon Kaen, after reports of the deaths of four cows due to the virus. More
than 10 residents of the village were also vaccinated after they came into
contact with the affected animals. Another two cows were also bitten by the
stray dog, suspected to be the source of the infection, but have yet to show
any symptoms of rabies.
Khon Kaen Governor, Somsak Jungtrakul,
assured the overall situation is under control with more than 100,000 dogs
and cats, or 85 percent of all at-risk animals in the province vaccinated.
Vaccinations are expected to be completed by the end of this month.
DDPM poised for flood emergencies
Deputy Director-General of the DDPM, Kobchai
Bangkok - The Ministry of the Interior has instructed the Department
of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) to ready its disaster response
plan in the face of the approaching rainy season.
Deputy Director-General of the DDPM,
Kobchai Bun-orana disclosed Friday the DDPM's preparedness measures were
divided into two parts, focusing on flood prevention and response.
Relevant agencies in all provinces have
been told to clean up canals and waterways and expand water retention areas
to smooth the way for improved drainage and increase water supplies for
Disaster prevention and mitigation
centers in 18 regions have been instructed to prepare flood relief and water
rescue equipment in the event of flooding. All provinces can set up flood
command centers to carry out disaster management operations.
The Meteorological Department has
forecast that the rainy season will start in the third week of May. The
public is advised to follow weather reports and strictly act on safety and
risk prevention advice from relevant agencies.
Civil servant retirement age yet to be changed
Bangkok - The Secretary-General
of Thailand's Office of the Civil Service Commission has assured that the
extension of retirement age from the present 60 to 63 is only in the
suggestion phase and will not be put into practice until thoroughly studied.
Secretary-General Methinee Thepmanee
explained that a suggestion to increase the retirement age was just one of
several made under the national reform plan and does not yet have any
She affirmed her office is studying the
possibility thoroughly and would make any needed legal adjustments while
saying that the Civil Service Regulations Act already calls for certain
groups in the public sector to have their retirement age changed. It was
decided, for the purposes of the act, that posts and offices which require
specific knowledge and ability should allow for later retirement.
Implementation of the regulation can be
executed in several ways to avoid affecting newer generations of civil
servants. Dealing with such issues is being dealt with urgently, as Thailand
is among many of the world’s countries anticipating an aged society in the
Monkeys to be relocated to stop them harassing humans
Bangkok - An academic seminar is
being held to find ways to prevent wild monkeys from harassing people in
Wallop Tangkunarak, in his capacity as
chairman of a committee on wildlife protection, opened the seminar on the
matter and described a master plan to deal with the animals.
According to Wallop, the plan aims at
relocating wild monkeys to a more secure location away from communities and
lowering interaction between them and humans.
Signs will be put up in Krabi, Trang,
Phuket and Amnat Charoen provinces where wild monkeys can be seen all year
around to tell people not to feed them or enter their natural habitats.
As for Bangkok, Chonburi, Prachuab
Khiri Khan and Satun provinces, where the animals live close to communities,
they will be neutered and located to a new place in an effort to keep their
population under control.
Special areas for monkeys will be
constructed to deal with the same problem in Petchaburi and Mukdahan
provinces where human residential areas have been built in their natural
habitats. The animals are expected to be relocated to their new homes.
Court rules on removal of markets after woman attacked a truck
Bangkok - The Central
Administrative Court has ruled in favor of Boonsri Saengyoktrakarn, who made
headlines when she attacked a pickup truck out of frustration over the
intrusion of an unauthorized market operating near her home.
The Central Administrative Court has
ordered that all five markets surrounding Boonsri’s home in Bangkok be
removed within 60 days and that the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration
(BMA) pay compensation for seven years of disturbance, from 2010 to February
2018, at a rate of 368,400 baht to each member of the Saengyoktrakan family.
Boonsri had filed her case against
Bangkok Governor Pol Gen Assawin Kwanmuang, the director of Prawet district,
the Prawet district office and the BMA, accusing them all of allowing the
five markets to be established and to operate illegally.
The court acknowledged that the markets
violated Seri Villa’s land usage permission, which is exclusively
residential, as they constituted commercial establishments. It ordered that
all construction permits for the markets be revoked and compensation be paid
to the four members of Boonsri’s family. The payments have an annual
interest rate of 7.5 percent per year starting from September 30 2013.
Moreover, authorities are to evict any vendors setting up or engaging in
business in the area within 30 days.
The Bangkok Governor voiced his
agreement that the five markets be removed within 60 days but said he will
appeal against the compensation payment ruling.
On probes into the actions of officials
involved in the case, seven have been accused of minor disciplinary
infractions and face punitive measures that include salary cuts. The seven
include a former Prawet district office director and the area’s head of the
Boonsri thanked the court for its mercy
and justice and bid BMA officials see her case as an example for other
areas. She said she will not yet remove various signs posted in front of her
house lamenting the markets to allow other citizens to learn about the case.
Concerns raised on quality of drinking water dispensers in Bangkok
Bangkok - The Bangkok
Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has advised the general public to consume
drinking water from dispensers with a quality assurance sticker that ensures
The Deputy Governor of Bangkok,
Taweesak Lertprapan, said data from the inspection of drinking water
dispensers in the capital showed that only 143 out of 6,329 vending machines
had proper sales permit. Initial tests from simple contamination detection
kits revealed that 4,731 out of 6,302 machines were not contaminated, with
results pending for other samples.
He has said 90 percent of the samples
are expected to pass the contamination test, while the general public should
consume water from quality assured dispensers that have a BMA issued sticker
on it along with a QR code that can be scanned to show a guide on how to
look out for a good water vending machine.
Owners of unauthorized machines are
requested to contact local district offices to properly obtain the permit.
Failure to do so will result in up to six months imprisonment, or up to
50,000 baht fine, or both.
National Police keep an eye on loan sharks nationwide
Bangkok - The Royal Thai Police
are monitoring 762 loan sharks across the country after some of them have
reportedly resorted to violence in their dealings.
Deputy Commissioner General of the
Royal Thai Police, Pol Gen Chalermkiat Sriworakhan, convened a meeting on
Thursday with representatives of the Ministry of Finance and those from
relevant police units to discuss issues related to informal loan providers.
The meeting focused on eliminating loan
sharks, reaching out to those in trouble, formalizing their debts, mediating
debt-related conflicts and promoting career opportunities among debtors.
Meanwhile, Assistant Police Chief Pol
Lt Gen Chaiwat Kateworachai said a police investigation has been launched in
response to allegations that individuals on the list of 762 loan sharks have
used force against their borrowers.
Pol Lt Gen Chaiwat asserted that none
of those on the list is an officer. People who have been threatened or
assaulted by a loan shark can seek help by dialing 1135.
Pueai Noi district declared rabies-red zone
Khon Kaen - Thailand's Livestock Department has
declared Pueai Noi district of Khon Kaen province a rabies-red zone after
another cow was killed by the virus.
Khon Kaen livestock official Chanprasert Polsa and his
team examined the dead cow on Tuesday. The owner said the cow had been
bitten by a dog before it began exhibiting erratic behavior and died two
days later. Previously, 3 other cows were killed by the virus in the same
The officials also visited other homes in the district
to vaccinate a total of 72 domesticated animals, including dogs and cats, to
prevent more infections.
Due to the rising number of rabies cases, Pueai Noi
district has been declared a temporary rabies red zone.
Heavy storms and hail wreak havoc across the northeast
Nakhon Panom - Heavy rains have continued to
impact areas of the northeast of Thailand with authorities in Mahasarakam
province requesting assistance to repair over 200 homes damaged by hail in
two districts and Nakhon Panom province.
Many homes and shops reported damage after a 20 minute
hail storm Tuesday that also toppled trees and utility poles. Cars and
motorcycles were damaged by the storm and two high voltage power lines were
severed, cutting off electricity to 7 areas. Power across much of the
province had to be cut to allow for repairs that lasted into the night.
In Mahasarakam province, storms damaged a total 226
homes across three sub-districts of two districts with Srisuk sub-district
alone reporting 157 homes severely affected. Authorities have moved in to
provide urgent repairs to 15 of the houses, which had their roofs torn off.
Disaster Prevention and Mitigation officials are working with local
administrators and soldiers to respond to the situation.
Governor of Nakhon Ratchasima, Wichien Chantaranothai,
has led officials and volunteers to pass out bags of necessities to
residents of Baan Nong Or in Pratai district who are recovering from the
effects of the bad weather. A tropical storm lashed the village on May 13,
bringing strong winds and hail that damaged over 400 homes.
Maya Bay to be closed off for rehabilitation
Krabi - Thailand's Department of
National Parks Wildlife and Plants (DNP) is preparing to close off Maya Bay
in Koh Phi Phi National Park to allow its ecosystem to revitalize during the
DNP Director-General, Tanya
Netidhammakul, explained that regular tourism, averaging 3-4,000 people per
day, has severely affected coral reefs in the bay. It will be officially
closed to visitors from June 1 to September 30 of this year to allow for
rejuvenation. During the period, all tourism activity will be banned and any
passing vessels will have to drift through the area without using their
A dock bridge is also to be installed
in the Lohsama Bay area to the rear of Maya Bay, which will not allow ships
to pass through. Once the bay is reopened, tourist traffic will be made to
pass through Lohsama.
Maya Bay is to be a pilot area for the
use of E-Tickets to restrict tourist numbers. Only 2,000 people will be
allowed into the area each day. Water management and facilities for park
rangers will also be improved with the entire area to serve as a model for
other tourist islands in the future.
Thailand & Myanmar to strengthen govt PR ties
Bangkok - Thailand and Myanmar have agreed to
strengthen ties between their government public relations agencies, marking
70 years of bilateral ties.
Deputy Director-General of Thailand's Public Relations
Department, Dr Charoon Chaisorn, welcomed a delegation from Myanmar Radio
and Television attending the fifth Thai-Myanmar technical committee meeting
this week. The meeting, which was organized on the occasion of 70 years of
bilateral ties, agreed to expand joint efforts. This includes exchanging
radio and television programs, news and telecommunications personnel.
After the meeting, the Myanmar delegation also visited
the National Broadcasting Services of Thailand to exchange views on
management policies, which will also guide cross-agency cooperation.
Migrant workers barred from golf caddy jobs
Bangkok - Migrant workers have
been barred from legally working as caddies at golf courses in Thailand.
Department of Employment's (DOE)
Director-General Anurak Tossarat said he was concerned about rumors that
some golf clubs have stopped employing Thai nationals as caddies and turned
instead to migrant workers. He said the DOE has never issued any employment
permit for migrant workers to work as caddies, which is one of the
occupations currently reserved for the Thai people.
The DOE will have officials inspect
golf clubs and inform employers of the protocols and guidelines for migrant
worker employment. Both employers and employees found violating the
regulation, be it employers of migrant workers without valid work permits,
or those of migrant workers for unpermitted occupations, will be subject to
10,000 - 200,000 baht in fines for each employee involved, or a maximum of a
one-year imprisonment for repeated offenses, or a three-year ban on migrant
Migrant workers found without work
permits or being employed in unpermitted occupations will be subject to
5,000 - 50,000 baht in fines followed by a deportation.
Police chief outlines case against Santhana
Deputy National Police Chief Pol Gen Rungroj
Bangkok - Deputy National Police
Chief Pol Gen Rungroj Saengkhram says the arrest of Pol Lt Col Santhana
Prayoonrat, an adviser to Don Muang New Market, was carried out according to
evidence, not because the police had been pressured to do so.
Santhana has the right to file a
lawsuit in his defense against those accusing him of extortion, although he
is currently barred from leaving the country and threatening vendors as he
could risk having his bail revoked.
The defendant claims the eight people
who brought complaints against him are not in fact vendors at Don Muang New
Market while Pol Gen Rungroj insists they are.
Meanwhile, police have arrested Kanes
Preamkrut, who works for Pol Lt Col Santhana, in Nakhon Nayok province. He
was accused of extortion of beauty product vendors at the market. Police are
still looking for other alleged perpetrators.
Santhana’s father, Pol Col Somchai
Prayoonrat, will be summoned by the police on May 18 after having allegedly
violated Section 189 of the Criminal Act by offering refuge to the
Cabinet earmarks budget for 3 biomass power plants in Deep South
Bangkok – The Cabinet has set
aside a budget of over one billion baht for biomass power plant projects in
the three southern border provinces, hoping to foster energy security and
create jobs for locals.
Nattaporn Jatusripitak, Advisor to the
Prime Minister’s Office Minister, revealed that the projects are to be
undertaken by PEA ENCOM International Company Limited, a subsidiary of the
Provincial Electricity Authority, in collaboration with the private sector
or community enterprises, with a shareholding ratio of 40:60.
The three biomass power plants consist
of one in Narathiwat, with a value of 755 million baht and a capacity of 9.9
megawatts; one in Pattani, worth 410 million baht and capable of producing 3
megawatts; and one in Yala, built with a budget of 390 million baht and with
a capacity of 3 megawatts.
The three projects, which will last 20
years, are aimed to create energy security in the southernmost region,
produce clean energy from local rubber woods and generate jobs and income
for local residents. Construction is set to begin this July and finish
within November 2020.
Royal Ploughing Ceremony predicts good yields in lowlands
the King of Thailand takes part in the Royal Ploughing Ceremony at Sanam
Luang in Bangkok, Monday, May 14.
Bangkok - This year’s Royal
Ploughing Ceremony has predicted good yields for lowland farms, but less
than abundant yields in the highlands.
This year, His Majesty the King of
Thailand graciously appointed Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of
Agriculture and Cooperatives, Lertviroj Kowattana to serve as Lord of the
Ploughing Ceremony. He departed from in front of Wat Phra Sri Rattana
Sasadaram at 7:19 a.m. on Monday for Sanam Luang with the year’s ceremony
officially beginning at the auspicious time of 8:29a.m. upon the arrival of
His Majesty the King.
This year the sacred oxen chose a piece
of cloth measuring six palms, predicting low water, strong yields in lowland
areas and low yields with some damage to crops in highland areas.
Upon being offered seven types of food,
the sacred oxen chose water and grass, forecasting adequate water as well as
food and vegetation, and liquor, predicting improved transportation, foreign
trade and a prosperous economy.
New law to allow cannabis research, medical use
Bangkok - A new draft narcotics
law to be proposed to the Cabinet this month will allow the manufacturing,
import, distribution, and possession of cannabis for research purpose and
medical use, says official.
The Narcotics Control Board (NCB)
Secretary-General, Sirinya Sitdhichai, said the development of the move to
allow cannabis research and usage for medical purposes in Thailand was a
result from years of joint working between the NCB and the Ministry of
Public Health (MOPH). This had led to the drafting of a new narcotic code.
The new narcotic code will also give
authority to the NCB to announce areas for cannabis farming for research and
for medical use.
Sirinya said, however, that this new
narcotic law will not allow any manufacturing or use of cannabis for
recreational purposes, and the manufacturing of cannabis by unauthorized
persons remains illegal and punishable. All procedures of cannabis research
and medical use will be performed under strict control of the NCB and the
Don Muang market adviser arrested for extortion, released on bail
Bangkok - A court has allowed
Talad Mai Don Muang market adviser Pol Lt Col Santana Prayunrat to be
released on bail after he was arrested on charges of extortion of vendors at
the market but barred him from leaving the country and has scheduled another
hearing for July 2.
Investigators recently acted on eight
warrants accusing Prayunrat of extortion and presented him to a court for
detainment. The court has since allowed him to be temporarily released on a
300,000 baht bond.
The market adviser has promised to take
legal action against three or more police officials he believes are
responsible for his arrest and has accused them of intimidating the public
and acting immorally. He voiced confidence in the judicial process and has
denied all eight accusations of extortion against him, noting he does not
know his accusers.
Deputy Commander of the Royal Thai
Police, Pol Gen Weerachai Songmettha explained the eight warrants were from
nine charges lodged against Prayunrat. Others have also been named in the
charges and evidence is being collected against them. Several being
monitored by police have apparently attempted to evade arrest and are
expected to be apprehended when they attempt to cross the border. He assured
the public the operation is justified and not an act of intimidation by
Thai Asian Physics Olympiad team returns to big welcome
Bangkok - Thai students who gained one bronze
medal and seven certificates of honor at the 19th Asian Physics Olympiad in
Hanoi, Vietnam have returned to a big welcome in the Kingdom. The students
were among 188 participants from 25 countries competing in the 19th Asia
Triam Udom Suksa Bangkok School student Yanwarut
Parathipcharoenchai won a bronze medal in the competition while his
schoolmates Pacharapol Leenukriat, Akkarawis Nakprasert, Thanawat Sornwanee
and Kantapong Kotchum received certificates of honor.
Itipatpol Chaipattanakarn and Theeramet Kanpittaya of
Mahidol Wittayanusorn School of Nakhon Pathom and Lapas Premcharoen of
Kamnerdwit School Rayong also received certificates.
Yanwarut remarked that the questions posed during the
Olympiad were difficult and complicated but called the experience rewarding.
He promised to continue to develop his skills and to help his younger
NSC expects May 22 demonstration to be peaceful
Bangkok - The National Security
Council of Thailand (NSC) believes the planned demonstration by a
pro-election group on May 22 will not be prolonged nor lead to violence.
Gen. Wanlop Rugsanaoh,
Secretary-General of the National Security Council says the May
demonstration, which will mark four years since Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha and
his military government came to power, will be peaceful and won't drag on,
expressing his belief that no one in the nation wishes to resolve
differences in a violent fashion, especially when the country is moving
towards a general election.
He added that the government will work
with the demonstrators to make sure that they express themselves within the
confines of the law.
As for the demonstrators’ demand to
terminate the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), he said such a
demand cannot be met because the NCPO serves as a mechanism to help the
government administer the nation and to support security operations.
PM asks parents not to resort to informal loans
Bangkok - Prime Minister Gen
Prayut Chan-o-cha has implored parents not to borrow money from loan sharks
to acquire school supplies for their children.
Advising parents not to seek informal
loans, the Thai premier said the government has several loan programs to
help people improve household liquidity and cash flow. For instance, the
Government Savings Bank and the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural
Cooperatives are offering a very low-interest personal loan of up to 50,000
baht per person. Also, a similar loan program is offered by pico-finance
In addition, pawn shops under the
supervision of the Local Administrative Organization have adjusted their
interest rates down to 0.25% a month on principal of 5,000 baht or less and
1% a month for a loan over 5,000 baht.
The principal of a loan is the full
Gen Prayut also asked every household
to be more financially disciplined and develop money-saving habits.
Chumphon farmers repelling black chin tilapia
Chumphon - The Department of
Fisheries has launched a campaign to repel the aquatic invader known as
black-chin tilapia in Chumphon province.
Deputy Director General of the
Fisheries Department, Arunchai Puthcharoen, chaired the opening of an
activity to eradicate the alien aquatic species by releasing predatory fish
like black and white snapper and long-whiskered catfish into rivers, canals,
The arrival of this alien fish species
in natural water sources has become a major problem for the department and
local farmers, because black-chin tilapia feed on smaller fish and shrimp
which are the main source of income for Chumphon farmers.
The alien species can adapt well to a
new environment and its population is growing quickly in Chumphon and
The Ministry of Agriculture and
Cooperatives earlier this year issued a regulation banning the import of
three types of tilapia, one of which was black-chin tilapia, believing that
they destroy aquatic ecosystems in Thailand.
BMA inspects flood-prone areas
Bangkok - The Bangkok
Metropolitan Administration (BMA) paid an inspection visit to Suan Luang
district on Saturday, one of 17 flood-prone areas in the capital city.
Deputy Bangkok Governor Chakkaphan
Phewngam, went with BMA officials to a community near the Trakun Liao
Association in Suan Luang district to inspect progress in the construction
of a drainage system.
Once completed, the 250-meter-long
tunnel will drain flood waters into two canals – Klong Saen Saeb and Klong
Financed by the Metropolitan
Electricity Authority (MEA), the construction will be finished in the next
60 days, according to the deputy governor.
A number of past flooding incidents in
Suan Luang district were reportedly triggered by the release of water from
an MEA-operated power plant.
Tropical storm hammers several provinces
Chiang Rai - A tropical storm
swept across several Thai provinces on Thursday and Friday, destroying
homes, roads and electrical systems in its path.
In Chiang Rai, the storm felled trees
and power poles, causing a blackout in the Chiang Rai municipality and its
vicinity. More than 10 fallen poles blocked Phaholyothin Road linking Wiang
and Mae Korn sub-districts, triggering a long traffic jam. Officials have
already begun clearing the area.
In Surin, harsh winds knocked down a
60-meter-high signal tower in the Surin Provincial Court which fell over a
storage room in a nearby building. Fortunately, no one was injured.
In Nakhon Ratchasima, thunderstorms,
strong gusts of wind and hail wrecked 81 houses, schools, agricultural zones
and livestock farms.
The storm also brought down a large
tree, along with power polls in the Khon Kaen municipality. Local Disaster
Prevention and Mitigation officials have already been dispatched to remove
the tree. About 10 utility poles have also fallen on several households in a
village in the municipality. Authorities were able to recover the
electricity in the area quickly.
In Nong Khai, continuous rains have
damaged the main road linking the province’s Nong Kong and Udon Thani’s Ban
Na Kha, ruining the restoration efforts undertaken on the route by the
military, administrative officials and locals in Nong Khai.
Alleged wildlife smuggling kingpin jailed in Thailand
In this Saturday, Jan. 20 file photo, wildlife
trafficker Boonchai Bach in processed at a police station in Bangkok. (AP
Bangkok (AP) — A court has sentenced a Thai man believed to be a
kingpin in the illicit wildlife trade to 2½ years in prison for smuggling
rhinoceros horns, an organization that works with police to combat
trafficking said Friday.
The group Freeland said the court in
Samut Prakarn province convicted Boonchai Bach this week in the shipment of
11 kilograms of rhino horns from Africa worth $700,000. The rhino horns were
seized in December when a Chinese smuggler was arrested at Bangkok's
Suvarnabhumi airport. A wildlife quarantine officer at the airport accused
of assisting the smugglers was also arrested.
The group said a relative of Boonchai's
was caught when he sought to pick up the shipment, implicating Boonchai as
the financier and leading to his arrest in January.
Rhino horns are used as medicine in
some Asian cultures and viewed as aphrodisiacs. Demand has escalated in
recent years, with the "belief that ownership conveys social and financial
status," Freeland said in a statement.
"The horn was destined for northeast
Thailand where it would be smuggled across the Mekong River to Laos for
onward shipment to buyers, either in Vietnam or China," Freeland said.
Boonchai, 41, was accused of running a
large trafficking network on the Thai-Lao border that spread into Vietnam.
According to Freeland, he and his family played a key role in a criminal
syndicate that smuggled items including ivory, rhino horn, pangolins,
tigers, lions and other rare and endangered species.
Police report 30 percent drop in lane violations 2 days after installing cameras
Bangkok - Police report that after just two days
of using lane-change cameras in 15 areas of Bangkok, they have seen a
targeted 30 percent drop in traffic violations and an improvement in traffic
Deputy Commander of the Traffic Police, Pol Col Kitti
Ariyanon reported Friday that a total 27,514 violations were captured by the
15 lane change cameras installed by police, over the first 24 hours they
were operating. The most common offenders were motorcycle riders with most
violations taking place in the early morning and evening. The area around
Siriraj Bridge saw the most illegal lane changes with 3,568 cars leaving
lined lanes. The second worst area for multiple offenses was Din Daeng
Triangle, where 3,524 violations were recorded while Huay Kwang intersection
was the third worst with 3,139 violations.
However, by the second day of the more stringent
enforcement following the installation of the cameras, police noted an
average 30 percent drop in violations, or by about 800 vehicles. Traffic
flow in the areas also improved with fewer accidents reported.
Tickets are gradually being issued for those caught
driving inappropriately and all are to be dispatched within seven days of
The lane change cameras are also looking for other
violations such as failure to wear a motorcycle helmet, motorcycle use of
flyovers and vehicular crime.
The system is to be evaluated for efficacy at a later
date so that implementation can be extended.
Money Expo 2018 in full swing
Bangkok - The latest Money Expo
is offering financial and investment opportunities from a combined 260
financial and non-bank organizations spanning insurance, real estate,
automobiles and stocks.
Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister
,Somkid Jatusripitak, chaired the launch of Money Expo 2018 on Friday,
remarking that over its 18 years the expo has always reflected current
social, political and economic circumstances, whether they be the Tom Yum
Koong economic crisis or the World Financial Crisis of 2008. He pointed out,
however, that the current economic situation is one of technological
Financial products being offered
include the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives “Elder
Millions” campaign, presenting new account openers from as low as 5,000 baht
with 100 baht savings bonds that offer a chance of winning up to 10 million
The Government Housing Bank meanwhile
is offering special interest rates on home loans and NPA homes discounted by
up to 50 percent.
Muang Thai Life Assurance is presenting
an insurance package geared towards diabetics with premiums to fluctuate
according to the clients’ blood sugar levels.
The National Savings Fund is inviting
non-contract workers to open savings accounts with as little as 50 baht,
promising to match pensions when they reach retirement age.
The expo is running until May 13 at
Challenger Halls 2 and 3 of Impact Muang Thong Thani.
HD cameras installed across Bangkok to catch traffic violators
Bangkok - Police have begun the
strict monitoring of vehicles that illegally leave lanes with solid lines
after installing high definition cameras in 15 areas of Bangkok that will
allow tickets to be issued within 7 days.
The 2 megapixel cameras will operate 24
hours a day and store information for up to one year. Driving behavior
captured on the cameras will be reviewed thoroughly by police who have
resolved to ticket any and all violators of traffic line regulations.
Drivers are reminded to not overtake
from or otherwise leave any lanes marked by a solid line and are asked to be
aware that they will be filmed using an ATS system that can record their car
type and license plate clearly. A PTM system linked to Krungthai Bank allows
police to issue a ticket for violators within seven days. Recipients will be
able to check the footage for themselves at http://www.trafficpolice.go.th.
The system was tested between April 1
and 30 and found 226,257 violations, averaging 7,542 violations per day with
each fined up to 500 baht under the Land Traffic Act, which allows fines up
to 1,000 baht.
On the first day after the trial system
began full implementation, up to 5,170 violators were recorded. Police hope
the more intense measures will cut violations by over 30 percent.
Yala international airport to open in 2020
Yala - Thailand's southernmost province of Yala
is close to having its own airport. The long-awaited Betong International
Airport project is expected to complete by next year.
Betong District Chief, Damrong Deesakul, disclosed the
construction of Betong International Airport would finish by July 2019 and
the new airport should be operational in 2020. He said the government had
approved the plan to enlarge the airport by another 12.8 hectares from 147.2
hectares in accordance with the Triangle of Stability, Prosperity and
Sustainability program. Land purchases are in process.
Damrong said the people of Betong had been waiting for
the airport for more than 30 years. It is estimated that the facility will
see over five million foreign tourists per year, particularly visitors from
Malaysia, as the airport will enable those traveling from Betong district to
Bangkok to reduce their travel costs significantly. Yala province is also
expected to earn over 10 billion baht annually when the airport opens.
The Betong district chief also spoke about a number of
new initiatives, such as the setting up of a passport service division in
Betong District Office to enable people to save time, expansion of Road No
410 and the construction of a tunnel and a bypass linking Betong district of
Yala province with Pattani province.
The southernmost district has seen a surge in tourists
since the government lifted the emergency decree in March in a move to
foster economic and social development.
Thailand to reinforce cyber security
Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha.
Bangkok - Prime Minister Gen
Prayut Chan-o-cha says draft laws on cyber security and data protection need
to be passed soon to enable Thailand to trade with the rest of the world
During a national cyber security
committee meeting, the premier urged the Ministry of Digital Economy and
Society and the Electronic Transactions Development Agency to complete the
draft laws on cyber security and data protection in a timely manner.
He said this is to increase Thailand’s
competitive edge in trade and to align online security and personal data
protection with global standards.
Gen Prayut also stressed the need to
develop a contingency plan to deal with possible cyber threats and to
protect online data concerning national security, transportation, public
health, banking, the stock market and energy.
According to Digital Economy and
Society Minister, Pichet Durongkaveroj, a temporary cyber protection unit
will be set up to tackle cybercrime.
To reinforce cyber security in the
short term, the ASEAN-Japan Cyber Security Capacity Building Center will be
set up in Thailand to provide online security training to 1,000 selected
individuals, which will cost Thailand about 350 million baht.
Authorities to push elephants back into forest in Buriram
Buriram - Authorities of
Dong Yai Forest Wildlife Sanctuary in Buriram province are preparing to
push elephants back into the forest after filming over 60 descending on
fields around the Khao Kapod Rangers Unit.
The elephants were filmed during a
patrol by Dong Yai Wildlife Sanctuary authorities. The filming coincides
with a series of photos shot by locals of elephants eating their tapioca
plants as well as signs that they trampled a chicken coop. One video
clip shot by locals has audio of residents trying to chase away the
animals despite the danger.
With the sightings taking place
outside of the Dong Yai Wildlife Sanctuary zone, more patrols have been
organized with the intent of driving the elephants back into the forest.
Residents have been urged to alert authorities if they see any of the
animals, and have been barred from entering the forest area at this time
as a safety precaution. The matter has been reported to the district and
provincial offices as well.