Court lets pro-army lawmakers keep seats during probe
Wednesday, June 5, 2019 photo, members of the parliament raise their hands
approving the nomination of Prayuth Chan-ocha as Thailand's Prime Minister.
(AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
Bangkok (AP) — A court said Wednesday it would
let 32 pro-military lawmakers keep their seats while it decides whether they
violated election rules, in a decision criticized as unfair because the
court earlier suspended an opposition leader over a similar allegation.
The Constitutional Court agreed to rule on a complaint
that the 32 members of a coalition that elected Prayuth Chan-ocha as prime
minister earlier this month had violated a prohibition on lawmakers holding
shares in media companies. But it dismissed allegations against nine others,
citing lack of evidence.
The court earlier suspended the leader of the
anti-military Future Forward Party, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, from
Parliament until it rules in his case. It said it did not suspend the
pro-military lawmakers because the complaints against them had not been
filed and processed by an investigative committee.
The complaints against the 41 lawmakers were brought by
the Future Forward Party and sent to the court by the speaker of the House
of Representatives. The complaint against Thanathorn was processed by the
Election Commission, a group chosen by a junta-appointed legislative body.
If the 41 politicians had been suspended from their
duties as Thanathorn was, it would have reduced the pro-military coalition
to a minority in the elected 500-member House of Representatives.
Thanathorn has said he is not guilty of breaching the
rule because the shares he held were transferred before he contested the
election. However, the court said it suspended him because he could be
guilty as charged, which would be an "obstruction to the important work in
the meetings in the House of Representatives."
If found guilty, he could be disqualified from office
and barred from politics.
"I think it doesn't make much sense at all," said
Nutchapakorn Nammueng, an officer of the legal monitoring group iLaw. "When
the Constitutional Court accepts a case, it means the court has already
deemed that the case is suspicious and worth looking into."
Thailand prepares for heavy rain nationwide
Thailand is bracing itself for more rain this week,
with heavy falls expected in northern, northeastern, central, eastern and
People in flood-prone areas are advised to beware of
flash floods and the government has instructed all irrigation projects to
closely monitor the water situation, inspect irrigation systems, eliminate
weeds to prevent them from obstructing waterways, manage water in reservoirs
to meet the appropriate criteria and dispatch officials to flood risk areas
throughout the country.
Drugs evidence to be destroyed, marijuana spared
Bangkok - The Food and Drugs Administration has
decided not to destroy confiscated marijuana which was found to be
uncontaminated and will keep it for research. However, other illicit drugs
are to be destroyed starting this month.
Food and Drugs Administration Secretary General, Dr.
Thanet Karasanairawiwong said that over 16 tons of drugs seized as material
evidence during court proceedings in over 6,900 cases, are to be destroyed
by incineration. Most of the drugs are methamphetamine, followed by crystal
meth, heroin, opium and cocaine, plus over 16 kilograms of cannabis seeds.
The incineration of seven tons of the drugs is
scheduled for Thursday this week, and the other nine tons on July 5. The
drugs will be incinerated at a temperature of more than 850 degrees in the
premises of the Center for Infrastructure and Environment Administration in
However, the Food and Drugs Administration secretary
general confirmed that 22 tons of uncontaminated marijuana won’t be
destroyed but will be delivered to the Department of Thai Traditional and
Alternative Medicine, universities and the Office of Narcotics Control Board
for research purposes.
Deputy premier confirms granting of more land title deeds
Minister Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan.
Deputy Prime Minister Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan has
confirmed that more land title deeds are being handed back to those indebted
to informal money lenders.
Gen. Prawit dismissed allegations made by Atchariya
Ruangrattanaphong, president of the Criminal Victims Assistance Club, that
the villagers who may have been indebted by loans were outnumbered by the
land title deeds handed out to them. The deputy premier said complaints
could be filed and legal action could be taken against anyone who might have
performed a misdemeanor with land title deeds. He said he would definitely
be presiding over the handing out of the deeds in Lopburi province on
Thailand's Wild Boars mark year since going missing in cave
Members of the Wild Boars soccer team who were
rescued from a flooded cave, pose for the media after a marathon and biking
event in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, Thailand, Sunday, June 23, 2019. (AP
Mae Sai, Thailand (AP) — When the 12 young boys
and their soccer coach walked into a cave complex in northern Thailand a
year ago Sunday, they didn't know their lives were going to forever change.
Rising floodwater quickly trapped the youngsters inside
the Tham Luang cave complex, setting off a more than two-week ordeal that
the world watched with rapt attention and that left the members of the Wild
Boars soccer club with a survival tale that propelled them into celebrities.
Nine of the boys and their coach were on hand Sunday in
the northern town of Mae Sai to mark the anniversary along with some 4,000
others by taking part in a marathon and bike event to raise money to improve
conditions at the cave.
Members of the Wild Boars soccer team who
were rescued from a flooded cave, Nattawut Takamrong, left, and Peerapat
Sompiangjai volunteer at the Pratart Doiwao Temple in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai
province, northern Thailand (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
"I want to thank everybody who has put so much effort
and sacrifices to save all of us," said Ekapol Chantawong, the former coach
of the Wild Boars who led the boys on the ill-fated visit to the cave.
Ekapol stood in front of a bronze statue of Lieutenant
Commander Saman Gunan that has been erected to honor the former Thai navy
SEAL who died while working on the search and rescue.
The boys spent nine nights lost in the cave, living on
very little food and water, before they were found spotted deep in the
twisting cave complex huddled on a patch of dirt above the rising water
line. It was a moment captured on video and soon broadcast to the world.
It would be another eight days — until July 10 — before
they were all safe.
Adul Sam-on, a member of the Wild Boars
soccer team who were rescued from a flooded cave last year, pray during The
Dharma Life Improvement Camp in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern
Thailand. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Also on hand Sunday were a number of the local and
foreign divers who took part in the search and rescue operation, which due
to its danger and difficulty has been hailed by many as a miracle.
The operation required placing oxygen canisters along
the path where the divers maneuvered dark, tight and twisting passageways
filled with muddy waters and strong currents.
"Not many children could have survived the way they
did, so we have to respect them for that," said Vernon Unsworth, a British
diver whose advice and experience played a key part in the search for the
boys and their eventual rescue.
"What we should do right now is to just let them get on
with their lives. Just let them grow up like normal kids," he said.
Prayutjetiyanukarn, of the Pratart Doiwao Temple talks to Peerapat
Sompiangjai, center, and Nattawut Takamrong, right, members of the Wild
Boars soccer team who were rescued from a flooded cave in Mae Sai, Chiang
Rai province, northern Thailand. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
A year later the boys are notably older and taller.
Wearing orange T-shirts from the event, they smiled and posed for photos.
They have grown familiar with the attention they receive, though are not
altogether comfortable with it.
Abbot Prayutjetiyanukarn, a monk in the local
neighborhood who interacts with the team every week, told The Associated
Press that some of the boys are wary of the media and try to avoid the press
whenever they can.
"But they are fine, both physically and spiritually,"
he said. "There's nothing to worry about."
Three of the players as well as Ekapol were stateless
and were granted Thai citizenship last August.
A boy watches a painting depicting the recuse
mission to save 12 soccer boys and their coach near the Tham Luang cave in
Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, Thailand. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
The team traveled last year to Argentina and the U.S.
The boys and their coach are represented by the 13 Tham Luang Co. Ltd .,
which Thailand's government helped establish to manage business
opportunities stemming from the ordeal. Netflix has acquired the rights to
It wasn't only the boys who were changed by the events
of last summer. This town in mountainous Chiang Rai province near the border
with Myanmar is now firmly on the tourist map, with curious travelers from
all over the world flocking to see where the story of the Wild Boars
The cave's surrounding amenities, which just last year
primarily featured dirt roads and thick mud, has seen significant
renovations with facilities being built, roads paved and shops settling in.
Local souvenir shopkeepers said that the attention has
improved their fortunes.
entrance to Tham Luang Nang Non cave in the Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province,
northern Thailand. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
"Since the kids have been rescued, the economy around
here keeps getting better," said Lek Yodnum, a shop owner who sells T-shirts
and memorabilia of the cave rescue.
"Before the kids became trapped, there wasn't a single
shop around here. It was all just farm and field," he said. "Now, Tham Luang
has officially become the financial hub of Mae Sai district."
The 12 boys and their coach were scheduled to attend a
Buddhist merit-making ceremony at Tham Luang on Monday.
tourist stands at the gate the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Mae Sai, Chiang
Rai province, in northern Thailand. Some of the 12 young Thai soccer players
and their coach have marked the anniversary of their ordeal that saw them
trapped in a flooded cave for two weeks with a commemorative marathon in
northern Thailand. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
British cave expert Vernon Unsworth participates in a marathon and biking
event in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, Thailand, Sunday, June 23, 2019.
Around 4,000 took part in the event Sunday morning, organized by local
authorities to raise funds to improve conditions at the now famous Tham
Luang cave complex. The youngsters went in to explore before rain-fed
floodwaters pushed them deep inside the dark complex. Their rescue was
hailed as nothing short of a miracle. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Runners warn up before the start of a marathon and biking event in Mae Sai,
Chiang Rai province, Thailand, Sunday, June 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Sakchai
Participants start during a marathon and biking event in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai
province, Thailand, Sunday, June 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
T-shirt vendor waits for customers near the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Mae
Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
PM Prayut expects new cabinet to be ready this month
Bangkok - Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha
has said he will try to finalize the allocation of cabinet portfolios by the
end of this month.
Gen. Prayut said he has received the list of all
candidates and their qualifications are now under review. If no issues
arise, the list will be submitted for royal endorsement at the end of this
month. He urged all sides of the political debate not to create confusion
over the cabinet seat allocation and said there would be a reshuffle if the
new ministers prove unsuitable for the roles. He said the idea of him
concurrently serving as the Defense Minister is still under consideration.
As for some criticism that the Prime Minister may lack
experience in politics, he said such comments were inaccurate since he has
been administering the country and working in the political arena for five
years. He called on politicians to stop arguing and refrain from using the
phrase ’power succession’ since a general election was held in accordance
with the democratic system. He said politicians should respect the law and
stop stirring conflict.
Gen. Prayut added that he has not made a decision about
leading the Palang Pracharath Party and will consult with his legal team
Special seminar discusses state welfare projects after election
Bangkok - State welfare projects, designed to
upgrade people’s quality of life and strengthen economic foundations, are
continuing even though a new government has not taken office as yet.
In a special seminar, entitled "Take the pulse of
Thailand after the election’’, the Office of Insurance Commission’s Deputy
Secretary General Chuchat Pramulphol said the agency continues to encourage
people to have anti-risk packages such as rice, maize, livestock and
accident insurance. In addition, micro-insurance coverage is available at
low premiums. Insurance packages will also be provided for elderly persons.
Meanwhile, the Government Housing Bank’s acting
assistant managing director Chatravi Chirakulmethaphat said members of the
public can have a house of their own under the One Million Houses project,
which has drawn the attention of up to 127,000 people. Loan requests from
over 7,730 people, worth over eight billion baht, have been approved. A
second round of bookings for houses under the project is scheduled to open
in September. No less than 20,000 units will be available for sale to the
public with a maximum of 50 years of repayment.
Higher Mekong tide helps Thai-Laos river transport
Bangkok - In Bueng Kan district in the north,
heavy rains have increased the water level in Mekong River, which helps
facilitate river ferries and cargo boats connecting Thailand and Laos.
The water level in the Mekong was recorded at 4.7
meters at Ban Pan Lam tide gauge on Tuesday. The 9 reservoirs under the
supervision of Bueng Kan Irrigation Project are now holding water at an
average of 79.10 percent of total capacity.
The upper regions of Thailand are expected to continue
facing heavy rain and villagers in affected areas are advised to be cautious
of potential danger, including flash floods, over the next few days.
Meanwhile, big waves at 2-3 meters high and
thunderstorms are expected in the Andaman Sea, while the Gulf of Thailand is
expected to have 2-meter tall waves. Sailors are advised to exercise
cautions while operating, while small boats should remain ashore until the
end of the week.
Private hospitals briefed on notification of drug prices, medical fees
Bangkok - The Department of Internal Trade
invited representatives of 353 private hospitals nationwide to a briefing
this week on the public notification of the prices of drugs, medical
supplies and medical services provided to patients.
Internal Trade Department Director General Wichai
Phochanakit said private hospitals need to notify the public of the prices
of drugs, which should not include the hospital room, air-conditioning or
pharmacist fees. Some hospitals were reported to charge the prices of drugs
8,000-16,000% higher than average prices. Private hospitals are currently
required to submit the buying and selling prices of drugs to the Department
of Internal Trade by July 12. The prices will be displayed on the
department’s website while a QR Code will be provided for people to check
the prices at the private hospitals.
ASEAN economic ministers to discuss cooperation on June 21-22
Bangkok - Thailand will host the 34th ASEAN
Summit from June 20 to 23 in Bangkok. Delegates will discuss regional
economic partnership and issues that need to be implemented within this
The Director-General of the Department of Trade
Negotiations, Auramon Supthaweethum, said the ASEAN Economic Ministers’
Meeting (AEM) will be held June 21 and 22 to discuss the bloc’s efforts to
push forward the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), as its
objectives are scheduled to be accomplished before the end of this year.
In the afternoon of June 22, leaders of the ASEAN
member states and representatives of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council
(ASEAN BAC) will discuss various tasks that have to be carried in 2019. The
issues will cover workers’ skill development, the readiness for the Fourth
Industrial Revolution, the enhancement of small and medium-sized enterprises
(SMEs), and mechanisms to facilitate trade in the region.
The theme of Thailand’s ASEAN Chairmanship of 2019 is
"Advancing Partnership for Sustainability". The theme focuses on 13 economic
issues, such as plans to support digital technology, innovation and human
resources. The theme also focuses on regional connectivity by implementing
the ASEAN Single Window in all 10 member states and food tourism.
The trade value between Thailand and other ASEAN member
states exceeded 100 billion US dollars last year, or 10.4% higher
year-on-year. Thai exports to the ASEAN member countries amounted to 59
billion US dollars, while the value of Thai imports from other countries in
the bloc was 41 billion US dollars.
Volunteers dedicate themselves to protecting endangered wildlife dugongs
the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources feed milk to Marium, a baby
dugong separated from her mother, on Libong island, Trang province, southern
Thailand. (Sirachai Arunrugstichai via AP)
Trang - Various authorities and volunteers have
dedicated themselves to preserving Thailand’s endangered wildlife dugongs.
The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant
Conservation has issued images of Libong Islands Non-Hunting Area officers
collecting seagrass in the midst of heavy waves to feed Mariam, the orphaned
dugong. The authorities also said the collected grass must be inspected to
make sure that there are no fragments of nets in it, before it is fed to
Chaiyaphruek Weerawong, head of the Libong Islands
Non-Hunting Area, reported on the nurturing of Mariam saying that the
veterinarian team and the Dugong Protection group feed Mariam with 2,020
milliliters of milk and 100 grams of seagrass daily.
The staff team has also collaborated with local
community leaders in Koh Libong subdistrict to determine the placement of
buoy lines to prevent vessels from passing through and docking in the dugong
nursery area, for the safety of Mariam.
BMA dredges ditches, cleans garbage to address flood problems
Bangkok – The Bangkok Metropolitan
Administration (BMA) has been working to prevent flood problems in the city
by dredging ditches to enhance the efficiency of the drainage system.
City workers have dug over 200 ditches along
Chaengwattana Road covering a distance of five kilometers in preparation for
rainwater inundations during the rainy season. The water will be discharged
into Prem Prachakorn canal, Lak Si district, and Bang Talat canal.
Officials and members of the public have been out
collecting large pieces of garbage from canals for proper disposal every
Sunday. The activity helps clear the way for better water flow, increases
drainage efficiency and prevents the clogging of canals, which is a major
cause of flooding.
Thailand scores 1st World Cup goal in 5-1 loss to Sweden
players celebrate in front of their supporters after the Women's World Cup
Group F soccer match between Sweden and Thailand at the Stade de Nice in
Nice, France, Sunday, June 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
Nice, France (AP) — A couple of
seconds elapsed before a disbelieving Kanjana Sungngoen raised her arms in
It really happened.
Thailand had finally scored at this
Women's World Cup.
By the time Sungngoen found the net
against Sweden in the first minute of stoppage time, Thailand was already
trailing 4-0 Sunday.
But simply scoring was a triumph after
Thailand's humiliating 13-0 opening loss to the United States. Coaches
embraced on the bench and Thai flags were raised in the stands on the French
They were still beaming after the final
whistle, even after Elin Rubensson scored with the final kick of the game
from the penalty spot to seal a 5-1 victory for Sweden, which advanced to
the round of 16 with a game to spare.
"Everyone was very happy that we at
least scored one," Kanjana said through a translator. "The whole team is
Even if it was only a consolation goal
and the team remains bottom of Group F.
"It was a difficult goal and playing a
great team like Sweden, it meant so much," Thailand coach Nuengrutai
Srathongvian said through a translator. "It meant that all of our
preparation paid off. We had a lot of chances today. This one goal made us
laugh, made us smile and makes us happy."
Forget that Thailand's 18 goals
conceded equals the tournament record set by Argentina in 2007. And,
Thailand still must face Chile in the group finale.
Even Sweden goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl,
through the disappointment of not keeping a clean sheet, could see what
scoring meant to the Thais.
"We are all human," Lindahl said, "and
having had that defeat they had against the US, and now scoring their goal,
you can feel some empathy for them."
It helped that her teammates had
already scored four times by the time Sungngoen got on the end of a high
ball on the right flank and cut in before beating Lindahl at her near post.
The first of the five Swedish scorers
netted in the 6th minute in Nice, with Linda Sembrant heading past Waraporn
The Thai goalkeeper did manage to palm
away Anna Anvegard's shot in the 19th minute but she couldn't recover the
ball to prevent Kosovare Asllani scoring. Boonsing couldn't stop the
41st-minute strike from Fridolina Rolfö curling into the top corner.
Just like in the game against the
United States, it was 3-0 at halftime. Unlike in Paris, Thailand didn't
concede another four times in the opening 11 minutes of the second half.
In fact, it took Sweden until the 81st
minute to find the net again through Lina Hurtig's header before being
beaten by Thailand on the counterattack.
So when the final whistle blew, the
Thai squad was able to bow to its fans. Some pride had been restored.
"Our defeat in the last game was
massive," Srathongvian said. "We were disappointed, but scoring one today we
made some success. We still need to develop and we need to improve and make
it better. We need to get as close to other super teams. We need to play
better so we can enjoy it more."
Some 200 dugongs spotted in Andaman Sea
Bangkok - Ko Libong Animal
Sanctuary Chief, Chaiyapruek Weerawong, says the population of dugongs
offshore in Trang province can mostly be found at Ko Libong Animal
Sanctuary, specifically at Laem Ju Hoei and Ao Thung Chin, with about 180
dugongs taking to living around the sanctuary. Dugong communities are also
found at seagrass sources in Hat Chao Mai National Park.
The latest marine observation by air
this year confirmed there are no fewer than 200 dugongs living in the
Andaman Sea from Satun up to Krabi. Many mother and baby dugongs have been
spotted, and the birth rate of the dugongs has increased every year. Dugongs
are still in need of protection and conservation to raise their population,
and spare them being faced with extinction.
The dugong is a protected species
according to the Wild Animal Reservation and Protection Act BE 2562. They
are also protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered
Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) prohibiting all kinds of trade
except for research and reproduction.
DMS dismisses claim that microwaves more dangerous than atomic bombs
Bangkok - The Department of Medical Sciences (DMS)
says information indicating that microwave ovens are more dangerous than
atomic bombs is not true as the mechanism of operation to channel heat
energy directly to molecules inside food does not cause harmful radiation.
A rumor spread online suggested that the Japanese
government had decided to dispose of all microwave ovens in the country
before the end of this year because a research finding suggested they are
more dangerous than the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It
further went on to allege that all Japanese citizens not fulfilling the
requirement to dispose of their ovens would face a fine or imprisonment.
DMS Director General Ophas Karnkawinphong said the
Bureau of Radiation and Medical Devices has confirmed that microwave ovens
do not release any residual radiation and the rumor online is not true.
Those still interested in checking their microwave
ovens for safety can have them examined at the Bureau of Radiation and
Medical Devices at the Medical Science Centers throughout the country during
Public health official in Nan inspects cannabis oil’s side effects
Bangkok - A public health official in Nan
province yesterday inspected cannabis oil, which reportedly caused muscular
spasms and numbing in a user. Authorities have warned villagers about the
oil which might cause such side effects.
Thawat Sitthiyot, Phuphiang district’s public health
official, visited Baan Nong Rang village in Phuphiang district of Nan
province where a villager had used cannabis oil only to be sent to hospital.
He called on the village headman and villagers to beware of peddlers who
might offer illegal cannabis oil for sale. The oil is reported to sell for
as much as 2,500 baht a bottle.
The public health official said marijuana or cannabis
is currently considered an illegal drug which should not be used to cure
diseases. Villagers might be lured into buying cannabis oil only to lose
money and fall ill due to dangerous side effects.
According to the villagers, the illegal cannabis oil
had been offered by roving vendors on regular basis.
King Power wins Duty Free auction for three regional airports
Bangkok - King Power has won the bidding to run
duty-free shops in three regional airports, marking another victory for the
firm which previously won two licenses to operate duty-free shops and the
commercial zone at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport.
Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) unsealed bid envelopes
this week for the duty-free operation at airports in Phuket, Chiang Mai and
Hat Yai. The three bidders were King Power Duty Free Co that won the
auction, followed by a Royal Orchid Hotel (Thailand) Plc joint venture, and
a consortium led by Bangkok Airways Plc.
The results of the three bids to run the duty-free
concessions will be submitted to the committee in charge of revenue
assessment on June 12 before being forwarded to the AoT board for
consideration on June 19.
Court sentences ex-PM Thaksin to prison over lottery program
Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is shown in this Friday, March 22, 2019 file
photo. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Kaweewit Kaewjinda and Pitcha
Bangkok (AP) — A court on
Thursday sentenced former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in absentia to
two years in prison over his handling of the state lottery program he
initiated while in office more than a decade ago.
His conviction by the Supreme Court's
Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions was for malfeasance,
for carrying out a policy judged to be in violation of the law or official
He was earlier sentenced in April to
three years' imprisonment for ordering Thailand's Export-Import Bank to make
a loan to Myanmar which was used to pay a satellite communications company
then controlled by him and his family.
It is not clear why this year's cases
were completed such a long time after the alleged offenses dating back over
The lottery case involved the
establishment in 2003 of an effort to mimic the illegal underground lottery,
a flexible game in which people could pick two- and three-digit numbers and
bet small amounts, compared with the official system of lottery tickets with
fixed numbers and fewer potential winning opportunities.
The illegal lottery is hugely popular,
and Thaksin's scheme was an attempt to steer some of the money that went to
it to government coffers instead.
The court found that Thaksin ignored
standard administrative practice in starting the new lottery, which was
discontinued when he was forced from office.
Thaksin, who maintains a home in Dubai
and travels frequently, could not be reached for comment but has
consistently denied any wrongdoing while in office and described the cases
against him as politically motivated.
Thailand's decades-old official lottery
has been dogged time and again by rigging and corruption scandals.
The court's ruling Thursday appeared to
claim that the lottery scheme initiated under Thaksin involved unacceptable
financial risk to the government.
Thai news reports said dozens of other
officials were previously tried and convicted for involvement, with some
senior figures given suspended prison terms.
Prime Minister has little to say about staying in power
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha smiles before a
meeting at government house in Bangkok, Thursday, June 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Sakchai
Bangkok (AP) —Prime Minister
Prayuth Chan-ocha stayed out of the spotlight Thursday, a day after he
skipped a Parliament session in which lawmakers voted to keep him in the job
he has held since the military coup in 2014.
He delivered little more than a brief
thank you through a spokesman and on his Facebook page, also promising to
carry out his duties to the best of his ability.
"He is in a kind of a strongman mold,
but now he has to be accountable, more scrutinized, so we can expect him to
lose some temper. We can expect him to be flustered, frustrated. But the big
question is whether the coalition government will hold," said Thitinan
Pongsudhirak, a professor of political science at Bangkok's Chulalongkorn
The junta will be dissolved when
Prayuth appoints his new Cabinet, and Article 44, which handed him lawmaking
powers without the need for approval from anyone, will expire with it, even
though the orders enacted under Article 44 will remain in force.
Thitinan expects Prayuth's will try to
stay above the fray and allow military-allied lawmakers to protect him, a
strategy other previous unelected military prime ministers employed. He said
that may prove a difficult task, given the size and determination of the
opposition bloc and the unwieldy nature of his own coalition.
"General Prayuth as head of it all will
have a big headache at a minimum, but beyond that, he also will face a kind
of scrutiny he hasn't seen in the last five years that may involve some very
sensitive issues," such as his personal assets, his relatives and
associates, Thitinan said.
Government returns over 300 million baht to fraud victims in China
Bangkok - Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu
Krea-ngam and AMLC Chairman Chaiya Siri-ampholkul have left for China to
return money illegally collected from Chinese fraud victims.
A high-level Chinese security official confirmed
receipt of a sum of 356 million baht in a bank savings account, which is to
be returned to a total of 33,928 victims in China. The Chinese authorities
thanked their Thai counterparts for having returned the money to foreign
Thai and Chinese authorities have discussed close
cooperation in efforts to crack down on transnational crimes, prevent and
suppress terrorism and raise the confidence in international judicial
Abhisit resigns as MP
Former Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva.
Bangkok - Former Democrat Party
leader Abhisit Vejjajiva has resigned as an MP because he said he could not
condone his party’s resolution to support Prayut Chan-o-cha as prime
Abhisit said his resignation as an MP
was necessary to maintain his stand against efforts to help the current
premier keep the top office of government. However, he said he respected the
party’s resolution adopted at Tuesday’s party meeting in support of Prayut.
Abhisit apologized to all supporters
who had voted for his party and for his decision to resign as an MP to keep
his word and personal honor. He said he has never compromised his ideologies
and principles. He declined to say whether he might also resign as a member
of the Democrat Party which he used to lead.
Parliament votes for Prayuth to stay on as PM
the parliament raise their hands approving the nomination of Prayuth Chan-ocha
as Thailand's Prime Minister during a session to vote for a new of Prime
Minister in Bangkok, Wednesday, June 5, 2019.(AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
Kaweewit Kaewjinda and Pitcha
Bangkok (AP) — Thailand's
Parliament elected 2014 coup leader Prayuth Chan-ocha as prime minister in a
vote Wednesday that helps ensure the military's sustained dominance of
The Palang Pracharath party that
nominated Prayuth won the second-highest number of seats in the House of
Representatives in a general election in March. But his selection was
virtually assured because the prime minister is chosen in a joint vote of
the 500-seat House and the 250-seat Senate, whose members were appointed by
the government. Two House seats were vacant due to a suspension and
Prayuth was elected to serve a second
term by a vote of 500 to 244 over his opponent, Future Forward party leader
Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit. Prayuth's appointment becomes official when
it is endorsed by HM King Maha Vajiralongkorn.
"The people are still calling for
liberties. The people are still calling for justice," Thanathorn said after
the vote. "This is not the time to lose hope. Hope is still on our side.
Time is still on our side. I want to thank all 244 people who love democracy
for voting for me."
Prayuth made no immediate public
comment on the vote.
Wednesday's vote indicates that
Prayuth's coalition also has control — by a small margin — of the House,
necessary to pass laws and approve budgets.
But there are doubts that a government
led by Prayuth, used to governing by fiat, can fare well in a parliamentary
"General Prayuth's return to the
premiership has gone according to the ... junta's design. But managing a
coalition government and a Parliament with a sizable opposition is very
different from overseeing a military dictatorship," said Michael Montesano,
coordinator of the Thailand Studies Program at Singapore's ISEAS-Yusof Ishak
An open-ended parliamentary debate,
with the two sides touting the merits of their candidate and the weaknesses
of their opponent, pushed Wednesday's vote late into the night. The official
result was announced just before midnight.
During the debate, Palang Pracharath
lawmaker Koranis Ngamsukonrattana praised Prayuth for his character and his
"He's patient and sacrificed himself so
much for the country," he said. "He's the savior who came in and saved the
country when all hope was lost."
Thanathorn's supporters attacked
Prayuth as a destroyer of democracy.
"Coups are the ultimate crime against
the rule of democracy with the monarch as head of state," said Piyabutr
Saengkanokkul, secretary general of Thanathorn's Future Forward party. "It
rips apart the entire constitution and takes power to rule over the country
by establishing yourself as a 'sovereign' with the highest power."
UN agencies urge stronger efforts to stop illegal fishing
In this May
21, 2019, photo, staff monitor fishing vessels in real time at a
state-of-the-art surveillance center in Bangkok. (AP Photo/Elaine Kurtenbach)
Bangkok (AP) — Major United
Nations agencies are urging key fishing nations to join efforts to fight
illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
The U.N. Food and Agricultural
Organization and other groups made the call at a conference in Bangkok on
Wednesday focused on helping protect fisheries and those working in the
Thailand is the world's biggest
importer of tuna. It has one of the seven state-of-the-art centers in the
region monitoring fishing vessels in real time to help control access to
regional ports and curb illegal fishing.
The centers are helping enforce the
Port State Measures Agreement, which aims to help curb illegal, unreported
and unregulated — or IUU — fishing. Dozens of governments have joined but
U.N. officials are urging more to support the effort.
Illegal fishing costs countries in the
Asia-Pacific region some $5 billion a year; globally more than $20 billion.
And rogue fishing vessels often engage in other crimes such as piracy and
human and drug trafficking, abuses being fought along with the International
Labor Organization and International Organization for Migration.
Preventing such vessels from selling
illegal catches is the most vital element for stopping illegal fishing,
Adisorn Promthep, director-general of Thailand's Department of Fisheries,
said during a visit to the center in Bangkok.
"We also make certain that no IUU fish
or products come to Thailand and this is going to be a big help to work
against IUU," Adisorn said in an interview.
A Pulitzer Prize-winning Associated
Press investigation in 2015-16 that uncovered severe rights abuses affecting
migrant workers in Thailand's fishing and seafood industries helped focus
attention on the problem. The stories helped free more than 2,000 enslaved
men from Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand and Laos, and led to more than a dozen
arrests, amended U.S. laws and lawsuits seeking redress.
The European Union in 2015 gave
Thailand a "yellow card" on its fishing exports, warning that it could face
a ban on EU sales if it didn't reform the industry. Thailand responded by
introducing new regulations and setting up the command center to fight
During a recent visit, about a dozen
staff in the surveillance center were keeping a round-the-clock watch on the
positions of fishing and other vessels to see if they were operating in
areas they were not authorized to fish in.
The system includes detailed online
records and photographs of each vessel, their crews, logs and other
information that is verified by officials at ports before the ships are
allowed to unload catches, refuel or restock.
The FAO estimates that almost a third
of global fish stocks are degraded from overfishing, and a further 60% are
"fully exploited." Illegal catches account for much of the overfishing, or
up to 26 million tons a year, at times nearly one-fifth of the total harvest
from the sea.
And while the systems are improving and
expanding, they are not failsafe. In some cases, small-scale fishers are
unfamiliar with territorial limits in traditional fishing areas, said Simon
J. Nicol, a senior fishery official at the FAO's Bangkok office.
Adisorn agreed that relatively recently
established boundaries and controls can be a problem for some fishermen,
especially artisanal, small boats. But having fishing vessels comply means a
"level playing field," he said.
Ultimately, Nicol said, the aim is not
just to combat illegal fishing, but to try to ensure sustainable use of
fisheries at a time of declining stocks of some species, such as the bluefin
tuna favored by sushi bars.
"We are on the right track," Nichol
Oil prices going down 0.3-0.6 baht
Bangkok - PTT Oil and Retail (PTTOR) Company
Limited and Bangchak Corporation Public Company Limited have announced their
latest oil price adjustment by decreasing sale pricing of all products at
0.6 baht per liter, except for E85 product which will be cheaper by 0.3 baht
per liter, effective from June 5.
The new adjustment will result in the lower fuel
pricing at petrol stations, with the adjusted pricing at stations in Bangkok
and neighboring provinces being at 35.16 baht per liter for Benzin 95, 27.75
baht/liter for Gasohol 95, 27.48 baht/liter for Gasohol 91, 24.74 baht/liter
for E20, 20.04 baht/liter for E85, 26.49 baht/liter for Diesel, 30.09
baht/liter for Diesel Premium, 25.49 baht/liter for Diesel B10, and 21.49
baht/liter for Diesel B20. These prices are exclusive of local taxes.
No rent for 1 year for fire-affected vendors at Chatuchak market
Bangkok - Police have continued to
investigate Sunday’s fire at Chatuchak market which may have been caused
by an electrical short circuit. A sum of 10,000 baht in compensation
payments will be provided to each of the affected vendors by Friday and
no rent will be collected from them for a year.
Bangkok Governor Asawin Khwanmuang inspected the
fire scene this week where tents are being set up for temporary use by
the 110 affected vendors. New stalls will be built in four phases and
construction won’t take longer than two-months.
Sunday’s fire was the most severe in Chatuchak
market in 30 years.