Update September 17, 2018
Thai government disputes U.N. claims of threats against human rights activists
Thai government disputes U.N. claims of
threats against human rights activists
Bangkok - The government has
disputed a claim by the United Nations that Thailand has implemented a
policy to threaten human rights activists.
Spokesman of the Prime Minister’s
Office, Lt. Gen. Sansern Kaewkamnerd said that Prime Minister Gen. Prayut
Chan-o-cha has already received a report from the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs regarding the U.N.’s latest listing of 38 “shameful” countries,
which included Thailand.
The annual report from the U.N., which
also included allegations of ill treatment, surveillance, criminalization
and public stigmatization campaigns targeting victims and human rights
defenders, will be presented to the U.N. Human Rights Council in a meeting
Lt. Gen. Sansern said that Gen. Prayut
has confirmed that Thailand has no policy or intention to threaten human
rights activists but has recognized the importance of their protection in
order to make them safe and able to do their job.
He added that the PM mentioned some
progress in promoting the work of human rights activists, including the
appointment of a committee tasked to protect activists, a workshop to
discuss the protection of human rights activists and the preparation of a
weekly report on the violation of rights, freedom and human rights.
Lt. Gen. Sansern went on to say that
the Thai Ambassador to the U.N. will attend the upcoming meeting and present
Thailand’s information on the matter.
Suvarnabhumi Airport introduces self-service immigration kiosks
Samut Prakarn - Hong Kong
travelers can now pass through customs faster at Suvarnabhumi International
Airport, using newly-introduced self-service immigration kiosks.
Two automated passport control kiosks
made their debut at Suvarnabhumi Airport on Saturday, welcoming travelers
from Hong Kong.
Getting through airport customs used to
take 30-45 minutes. But with the latest self-service machines, it takes less
than 20 seconds.
The kiosks use biometric authentication
to verify passport holders including facial recognition and fingerprints.
Royal Thai Police Immigration Bureau
Commissioner Pol Lieu Gen Suttipong Vongpint, says the new system helps
improve national security and will boost tourism, in line with the
government’s Thailand 4.0 policy, adding that the kiosks will be able to
accommodate holders of Australian, Japanese, and New Zealand passports in
the near future.
At least 800,000 travelers from Hong
Kong visit Thailand every year. In the first half of 2018 alone, Thailand
welcomed 600,000 Hong Kong passport holders.
Pornpetch suggests Govt maintain order in online election campaigns
President Pornpetch Wichitcholchai.
Bangkok - National Legislative
Assembly (NLA) President Pornpetch Wichitcholchai, has suggested the
government devise measures to regulate online election campaigns ahead of
the general polls.
The assembly speaker has urged the
administration to add a section to the Cyber Security Bill in order to make
sure online election campaigns are carried out within the confines of the
law. The bill is currently being vetted by the Council of State.
Cybercrime is getting easier to commit,
according to Pornpetch, noting that the ease of committing crime online
demonstrates the need for policing to tackle cyber challenges.
Pornpetch also suggested the government
be specific when it comes to drafting cybercrime related regulations, making
sure there are no legal loopholes that could be exploited.
In doing so, he said the administration
must be careful not to violate the rights of law-abiding citizens and
members of the news media.
Buri Ram residents ask for help on land ownership
Buri Ram - A group of residents
in northeastern Buri Ram Province have asked for help from the authorities
to address their problems regarding the ownership of land.
The Deputy Director of the Internal
Security Operations Command (ISOC) - Second Army Area Command, Lt. Gen.
Dej-udom Nichrat, chaired a meeting with representatives of ISOC, Buri Ram
Land Office, the Office of Treasury Department - Buri Ram, the Agricultural
Land Reform Office in Buri Ram, the Mayor of Tambon Baan Bua and residents
of Baan Bua to discuss the progress of possible solutions to their land
Local residents have asked for help
from the authorities to address the issue of not having land titles despite
the fact that they have lived on their land for over 100 years.
The reason for this problem is the
legal designation of the use of the land since 1931, which was then intended
for the raising of cattle while subsequent efforts to issue proper titles
appeared unsuccessful over parts of the land in question.
Accordingly, affected residents cannot
use their land to acquire funding or pass the ownership on to the younger
Lt. Gen. Dej-udom said that there has
been more progress in addressing their issues and a solution will soon be
arrived at, while asking all involved to try to obtain any proof of their
ownership within the next three months to help back up the issuance of land
Update September 15-16, 2018
Thailand's junta eases politics ban in step toward polls
In this Feb. 2, 2014, file photo, a Thai soldier
casts his vote during the general election at a polling station in Bangkok,
Thailand. Thailand has taken another step toward holding elections next year
in 2019 by easing some restrictions on political activities to allow parties
to conduct basic functions, but they are still barred from campaigning. (AP
Photo/Apichart Weerawong, File)
By Kaweewit Kaewjinda, Associated Press
Bangkok (AP) — Thailand has
taken another step toward holding elections next year by easing some
restrictions on political activities to allow parties to conduct basic
functions, but they are still barred from campaigning.
A special order issued by the prime
minister, which became law Friday following its publication in the Royal
Gazette, allows political parties to gather funds to operate and, with the
ruling junta's permission, recruit party members and choose new leaders.
The order comes two days after
enactment of laws covering the selection of members of Parliament and
senators that mandate that a general election be held between February and
May next year. The ruling junta has previously postponed several promised
Deputy Prime Prawit Wongsuwan said
Thursday that elections are tentatively scheduled for Feb. 24, repeating
previous assertions by other senior officials.
The military banned virtually all
formal political party activities after it took over from an elected
government in a May 2014 coup.
Friday's order, issued under an
emergency law the military enacted after seizing power, said restrictions
are still necessary to make sure the country, which it says is now
"relatively stable," is on track to achieve the government's reform goals.
Critics have said that a new
constitution and other laws enacted under military rule weaken democratic
structures with the intention of limiting the power of elected politicians
and keeping it in the hands of traditional Thai powerholders, including the
judiciary and the military. For example, all senators in the next government
will be appointed by the ruling junta, apart from six senatorial positions
which automatically go to army and police chiefs.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha is
expected to run in the polls, or at least make himself available for the
next parliament to reappoint him prime minister.
Friday's six-page order allows parties
to establish budgets and gather funds from their members. It also allows
parties to make rule changes, recruit new members, and choose leaders on the
condition that the junta is informed at least five days in advance.
Thawatchai Terdpaothai, a member of the
Election Commission, said Friday that it will hold a meeting with all
political parties on Sept. 28 to explain the regulations and to hear any
concerns the parties may have.
Abhisit Vejjajiva, the leader of the
Democrat Party, the country's oldest, announced Friday on the online
messaging platform LINE that his party will hold a meeting of senior members
on Monday to plan for a broader Sept. 24 meeting at which it will adjust its
rules to meet the new election regulations and organize the registration of
BOI approves 160 billion baht in investment
Bangkok, 14th September 2018 (NNT)
– The Thailand Board of Investment (BOI) has approved 160 billion baht's
worth of investment with 150 billion baht going to Thai Oil Plc in support
of its aspirations to create a transport hub and aviation city.
The latest meeting of the BOI board was
chaired by Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-ocha and discussed four investment
projects worth a combined 160 billion baht. The board approved investment in
Thai Oil Plc, which plans to create a complete fuel production facility in
Chonburi province and improve its raw fuel processing operation to produce
the jet fuel and diesel it needs to establish a transport hub and aviation
city in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).
Investment was also approved for Nava
Nakorn Electricity Generating Company Limited, which is to set up a 60
Megawatt and 10 tons of steam per hour natural gas electricity production
plant, to improve the nation’s energy capability. Global Power Synergy Co
Ltd similarly received support to establish a 57 Megawatt and 70 tons of
steam per hour plant.
The last tranche of funding was devoted
to investment in diesel engine efficiency improvement efforts, with the
intention of elevating the Thai automotive industry.
Chiang Mai park to be proposed for world heritage status
Bangkok, 14th September 2018 (NNT) – The World Heritage Committee has
given its approval to proposals to acknowledge cultural heritage sites
throughout Chiang Mai, which is to submit a request for UNESCO World
Heritage status this September 30.
Khun Sirikitiya Jensen led the drafting
of an action plan for the development and preservation of historic and
cultural sites in Chiang Mai, once the capital of the Lanna Kingdom.
Feedback on the plan is being collected so that Si Thep Historical Park can
be proposed for World Heritage status.
Opinions on the plan are being
collected from across the globe to ensure it meets UNESCO's requirements.
The park was placed on a tentative list
of world heritage sites in 2015 but will be inspected once again before it
is the subject of further consideration. Documentation for the proposal is
to be submitted to the UNESCO World Heritage body on September 30.
British embassy approves Thai police’s request to question alleged Koh Tao rape victim in UK
Bangkok, 14 September 2018 (NNT) - The British Embassy in Bangkok has
approved a request by Thai police to visit the United Kingdom to question a
young woman who claimed to have been drugged, robbed and raped on Koh Tao
island in Surat Thani in June.
Deputy tourist police chief Pol. Maj. Gen. Surachate
Hakphan said the police team investigating the alleged rape will soon leave
for the United Kingdom.
He said the police will verify the claim and conduct
further investigation as clearly as possible and if the rape claim was
eventually proved to be groundless, legal action would definitely be taken
against the alleged rape victim.
The Thai police have yet to receive a report on the
questioning of the British woman, which the British police had promised to
send, he said.
The Thai police have been investigating the rape
allegations claimed by the 19-year-old British tourist who said it occurred
on Koh Tao island on June 25.
The British tourist woman reported to the Thai police
in June that she was robbed on the island. But upon her return to the U.K.,
she told police there that she was also raped.
British media reported that she was drugged, robbed and
raped on Koh Tao on June 25, and that the local police would not record her
complaint of sexual assault.
The Thai police said she never filed such complaint
about being raped and only complained that her belongings went missing.
Investigators questioned her claim that she was drugged at a bar and then
carried along the beach, where she was allegedly raped. They said evidence
suggested it was unlikely because the tide was high along that stretch of
beach at the time.
Holidaymakers invited to see blooming lotuses in Ubon Ratchathani
Ubon Ratchathani, 14th September 2018 (NNT) - Holidaymakers have been
invited to visit a lotus lake in Ubon Ratchathani province to enjoy the
beautiful sight of blooming white and pink lotuses.
Situated in Tha Lad sub-district, the
15-rai lake is a popular weekend tourist destination in Ubon Ratchathnai
province. Visitors hear about the lake either on the grapevine or through
Known locally as Bueng Bua Ban Tha Lad,
the lake attracts visitors from all areas. It is also known to be a perfect
place for people wanting to spend some relaxing time with their loved ones.
Sweet and crunchy lotus seeds are also available for purchase at the lake.
Those looking for a natural getaway or planning to visit the lake should
come no later than October or before the lotuses begin to wither.
Update September 14, 2018
NLA to speed up enactment of provincial election laws
Bangkok, 13th September
2018 (NNT) – The National Legislative Assembly is speeding up the
deliberation of all six provincial and local election laws.
Liengboonlertchai, the First Vice President of the NLA, said on Wednesday
that he has already consulted with the NLA President about a plan to call on
the Cabinet to ask for the submission of all major draft laws.
Mr. Surachai said
that among some 30 draft laws, which are waiting to be deliberated, the NLA
is looking forward to first receiving those related to the advancement of
the national reform process and the National Strategy.
He pledged that all
outstanding drafts will be enacted before the NLA’s term in office comes
into an end.
President Pornpetch Wichitcholchai chaired an award ceremony for the 2018
Phan Waen Fah Awards, which was initiated to recognize all literary works
that play an important part in the development of Thai politics under the
rule of democracy.
The winner of this
year’s short-story category is “Sue Klume Khong Phu Phan” or “the Colonel’s
Trench Coat” by Siripong Nukeaw, while the winner of the poem category is
“Tong Chart Puen Kao” or ‘The Old National Flag’ by Chan Duenram.
Laws on election of MPs and Senate officially in force
Bangkok, 13th September 2018 (NNT)
– Draft laws on the election of Members of Parliament and the Senate have
officially been put into force.
The Royal Gazette
website on Wednesday published both laws, which have received the royal
approval of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn.
According to details
released on the website, the MPs election bill, which comprises 178
articles, forbids voters, who failed to cast their vote in previous
elections to contest any elections or hold any positions at any government
law also states that electronic voting will be allowed until 6 p.m. on the
day before the polling date.
Under the Senate
election bill’s 99 articles, 250 members of the Upper House will be elected,
with 50 final candidates coming from the election process at both provincial
and national levels, and 194 candidates to be chosen by the selection
committee — all of whom will need to receive final endorsement from the
National Council for Peace and Order to take office. The remaining six
senators will automatically be the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of
Defense, the Supreme Commander, the chiefs of the Royal Thai Army, the Royal
Thai Navy, and the Royal Thai Air Force, and the Commissioner-General of the
Royal Thai Police.
The Senate election
bill comes into effect a day after it was published in the Royal Gazette
while the MP election bill will come into force 90 days after it was
Based on this, the
general election, which must take place within 150 days of the end of the
90-day waiting period, will most likely be held between April and May of
NLA: All draft laws to be enacted by end of 2018
September 2018 (NNT) – The National
Legislative Assembly has confirmed that all draft laws currently in hand
will be brought into force before the end of the year.
First Vice President
of the NLA, Surachai Liengboonlertchai said today that the legislature has
been speeding up its work to deliberate and pass all pending draft laws.
Mr. Surachai said
that there are currently around 30 draft laws in the hands of NLA.
For the six draft
laws related to provincial and local elections, he said that one or more
committees will be set up to review all of them before submitting all drafts
to the main NLA assembly, tentatively around the first week of October.
In addition, he
commented that the power to lift the ban on political activities to allow
all parties to start their election campaigns rests with the National
Council for Peace and Order, while the NLA keeps communicating with the
Election Commission of Thailand to plan details in preparing for the
resumption of all activities.
Laws on MP and Senator selection promulgated in Royal Gazette
Bangkok, 13th September 2018 (NNT)
– Two more election laws have been promulgated in the Royal Gazette and
during the 90 day waiting period for a law on Members of Parliament to take
effect, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) is to lift
limitations on the Election Commission (EC) so it may begin defining polling
The Royal Gazette
has promulgated the 2018 Members of Parliament Organic Law, which consists
of 178 articles and is to take effect 90 days after September 12, 2018. The
law mandates that 350 Members of Parliament (MP) are to be selected through
a polling zone system while another 125 are to be appointed through a party
The 2018 Senator
Organic Law was also published in the Royal Gazette. The legislation
contains 99 articles and has already taken effect. It mandates that 250
Senators are to be chosen by His Majesty the King based on recommendations
offered by the NCPO. Initially, 194 senators will be chosen to work
alongside the Permanent Secretary of Defense, Chief of the Defense Forces,
Royal Thai Army Commander, Royal Thai Navy Commander, Royal Thai Air Force
Commander and the Royal Thai Police Commander, which will bring the number
to 200. Another 50 will be chosen from a secondary list. All Senators are to
be appointed before the first MP election.
Minister Wissanu Kreau-ngam has explained that during the 90 day waiting
period for the MP's Organic Law to take effect, the NCPO will allow the EC
to spend the first 60 days defining polling zones, and political parties the
final 30 days to select candidates.
required to take place within 150 days from the MP organic law coming into
effect, polling should take place by May 2019. Wissanu said February 2019
may be too early for the vote to be organized.
Vice President of
the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) Surachai Liangboonlertchai said
today that the Assembly is to step up deliberations on another 30 laws, now
that the MP and Senator organic laws have been promulgated. The NLA is to
urge the Cabinet to submit all laws that need to be debated so that it may
do so before its term ends.
Six more draft laws
on local elections are expected from the Cabinet this month and will likely
be put to the floor in October. Committees have already been assembled to
begin considering the laws.
PM Prayut confirms no lifting of ban on political activities
Bangkok, 12 September 2018 (NNT)
– The Prime Minister has confirmed that the ban on
political activities won't be lifted just yet, in order to prevent probable
disorder in the country.
Prime Minister Gen.
Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Tuesday that the government is planning a special
training program for provincial government officials and members of the
public 90 days prior to the general election, in order to boost public
awareness and clarify the government’s emphasis on the principle of good
governance as well as other related policies.
Gen. Prayut insisted
that the planned training is not intended to help the government enjoy any
political gain but to help ensure only quality politicians are elected to
serve the people.
lifting of the political activity ban, the PM said that he remains concerned
about possible turmoil if all activities are allowed to resume while asking
all parties concerned to help prevent further conflict in order for the
general poll to take place as planned.
Secretary-General of the Council of State, Mr. Dissathat Hotarakit, said
that measures to control the use of social media in election campaigns,
which have been adapted from those enforced in other countries, are being
However, Mr. Meechai
Ruchuphan, Chair of the Constitution Drafting Commission, said today that he
disagreed with the drafting of a provision to control the use of social
media in election campaigning in the draft national cybersecurity law
because such a plan is only intended for enforcement during the election.
PPP panel approves fast-track motorway project
Bangkok, 11th September 2018 (NNT)
- The Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Committee has given a green light to
the Nakhon Pathom - Cha-am motorway project worth 79.01 billion baht to
facilitate travel in southern Thailand.
The PPP Committee
held a meeting on Tuesday (Sept 11) to agree in principle with the
Department of Highways' proposal to build the Nakhon Pathom - Cha-am
motorway under the fast-track PPP scheme. The meeting was chaired by the
Deputy Prime Minister, Dr. Somkid Jatusripitak, and attended by the
Director-General of the State Enterprise Policy Office, Prapas Kong-Ied.
The PPP investment
will be based on net cost basis. Under this model, the state would pay for
land rights and invest 55.8 billion baht for civil works, while a private
enterprise will spend on construction expenses, consultancy services,
operation and maintenance, and rest area management for 30 years from
commencement of service.
The Nakhon Pathom -
Cha-am motorway will help alleviate traffic congestion on Highway No. 4
(Phetkasem Road), and also serve as a high-quality motorway to the South.
Update September 12, 2018
New Thai laws mandate election by May next year
Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, arrives at the government house for a cabinet
meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018. Thailand's military
junta announced it will ease some restrictions on political parties to let
them conduct basic functions and prepare for elections set for early next
year, but campaigning will still be forbidden. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Bangkok (AP) — After a series of long delays and broken promises,
Thailand's military government has enacted laws that set in motion a
countdown leading to new elections by next May.
The measures, which became law
Wednesday with their publication in the Royal Gazette, cover selection of
members of Parliament and senators.
The act covering lower house lawmakers
becomes effective in 90 days and mandates that elections be held within 150
days after that, effectively setting a legal deadline in May.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who
heads the regime that seized power in a 2014 coup, said last month that a
general election was likely to be held on Feb. 24, but left open the
possibility of a later date.
The ruling junta has previously set
dates for elections but then postponed them.
There are to be 500 lawmakers in the
lower house, while the 250 senators will all be appointed.
Thailand's latest constitution, pushed
through by the military government, is designed to limit the power of
political parties, with election rules designed to keep any single party
from winning a clear majority, and gives the Senate more powers than in
The rules are mostly meant to curb the
political machine of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, whose
populist policies won him enormous support and threatened the influence of
traditional power holders, including the military. He was deposed by a 2006
military coup, but his following remained strong. His sister Yingluck
Shinawatra became prime minister in 2011, only to have her government in
2014 also toppled by the army.
Prayuth, who led the 2014 military
takeover, has been coy about whether he wants to serve as prime minister
again after the election, but has been making campaign-like appearances
around the country while his backers have lined up support from influential
Political gatherings of five or more
people were banned by the junta after it seized power, effectively forcing
all political parties into dormancy while the junta quashed dissent and
consolidated its rule.
Late last month, the junta announced it
would ease some restrictions on political parties to let them conduct basic
functions and prepare for elections set for early next year, but campaigning
would remain forbidden for the time being.
Prayuth said the new rules would allow
political parties to hold meetings, make adjustments to regulations, appoint
managers and accept new members ahead of the polls.
CDC chairman voices final concerns after last meeting of the commission
Bangkok, 12 September 2018 (NNT)
– The chairman of the Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC) has expressed
concern over election campaigning via social media, saying some citizens may
miss out on crucial information or be misled.
At the CDC’s final official meeting,
members received a book titled “In the Hearts of CDC 2017” as a souvenir of
their service. After the discussion however, Chairman Meechai Ruchuphan
remarked that the Election Commission (EC) has been empowered by law to
regulate the use of social media in election campaigning and implored it to
control use of the tool as it can be used to misinform the public or even
inflict legal harm. He urged citizens themselves to be wary of sharing
online information during the campaign period.
On the scope of authority wielded by
the administration, Meechai said the government will have full authority
during the election period as it will not be considered an interim
In the souvenir book, Meechai details
the inner workings of the CDC from the start of the Gen Prayut Chan-ocha
government, acknowledging that he suggested Bowornsak Uwanno for the CDC due
to his experience in constitution drafting and lamenting that Bowornsak’s
drafts were shot down by the National Reform Council, leading to Meechai
himself taking on a CDC position. He admitted that while he felt the task
was a burden he saw it as his duty to the nation.
Cabinet endorses tramway projects for Chiang Mai, Phuket, Phang-nga
Bangkok, 11th September 2018 (NNT) - The cabinet has given a green
light to the Mass Rapid Transit Authority's (MRTA) two light rail transit or
tramway routes, one in the northern province of Chiang Mai and the other in
the southern provinces of Phang Nga and Phuket.
The Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning
had commissioned a consultancy firm to conduct a feasibility study and the
design of the two tramway projects.
The study and designs of the two projects have been
completed and their findings have been delivered to relevant agencies for
The two projects are to be implemented under the PPP
(Public-Private-Partnership) fast track format.
The light rail transit projects have received the
consent of all stakeholders during public hearings held to gauge public
opinion about them.
Meteorological Dept warns of effects from tropical storm Barijat, typhoon Mangkhut
Bangkok, 12 September 2018 (NNT)
– The Meteorological Department has warned tropical storm Barijat is moving
west across the South China Sea and is expected to pass through Hong Kong
and Hainan this September 13-14, intensifying monsoon rains across Thailand.
The tropical storm is to feed a monsoon system already
covering the Andaman Sea and Gulf of Thailand, kicking up winds and waves as
well as rain across the Kingdom.
At the same time, typhoon Mangkhut has begun to move
through the Pacific Ocean pass Luzon Island of the Philippines and will make
landfall in Taiwan between September 14 and 15 before continuing onto the
South China Sea to reach the mainland between September 16 and 18. The
system will also add to stormy conditions in Thailand.
PM voices encouragement of BNK48 performer
Bangkok, 12th September 2018 (NNT) – The Prime Minister has spoken in
support of pop group BNK48 member Cherprang Areekul, after she received
criticism for appearing on a government TV program, saying Thai society is
in need of an active new generation.
Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-ocha has
responded to anti-government groups attacking BNK48 captain Cherprang
Areekul online, calling her a mouthpiece of the state after her appearance
on “Thailand Moves Forward”. The PM issued a reminder that computer offense
laws still exist in Thailand and remarking that online aggressors often flee
On Cherprang herself, the PM said he
was disturbed by the situation as he saw her actions as beneficial to the
nation and undeserving of ridicule. He stated that his government and pop
acts such as BNK48 don't mutually benefit one another and therefore the
situation is not a threat to the country.
Gen Prayut said the country is in need
of an active new generation, saying young people can play a variety of roles
whether political or not, noting that those who choose not to be political
can still be supportive of the government.
The PM voiced encouragement of
Cherprang and asked her to continue to do good and serve her nation.
Update September 12, 2018
Thai authorities see T-shirts as proof of sedition
Thailand's Bangkok Post newspaper depicting a
cover story on detention of a vender who sold black t-shirts, bearing a
symbol allegedly linked to a movement promoting a federal republic, is
displayed in a newspaper stall in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, Sept. 11,
2018. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
Bangkok (AP) — Thailand's military government has arrested alleged
sympathizers of a tiny political movement advocating the abolishment of the
constitutional monarchy, seizing as evidence T-shirts bearing the group's
logo of a red and white flag.
The legal aid group Thai Lawyers for
Human Rights said Tuesday that at least five people were detained by the
military in the past week, and three charged with sedition.
The group they allegedly belong to, the
Organization for Thai Federation, is active mostly online with supporters
abroad, and has no public presence in Thailand. It advocates a federal
system of administration along with abolishing the monarchy.
Republicanism is a taboo subject in
Thailand, where citizens are inculcated with love of the monarchy.
However, the palace has been dragged
into partisan political battles over the past decade, jeopardizing its past
status as an untouchable subject for criticism or debate. The death in 2016
of HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who reigned for 70 years, has also affected
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha told
reporters Tuesday that the detained people are part of an anti-establishment
group that has been vocal on social media despite the government's efforts
to shut them down. He said their arrests were necessary.
"Thailand is not a federation. We are a
democratic constitutional monarchy and it is stipulated in the constitution
that we are one indivisible kingdom," Prayuth said. "But a federation
divides into many states, which Thailand does not. And the Thai flag is the
tricolor flag. So can their actions be considered treacherous?" he asked
The dissidents' flag logo appears to be
inspired by the Thai national flag, which has horizontal bars of red, white
and blue. The group's logo, with vertical stripes, does not include blue,
the color understood to represent the monarchy.
At least some of the members of the
Organization for Thai Federation appear to have belonged to an extreme
faction of the Red Shirt movement, supporters of former Prime Minister
Thaksin Shinawatra, who was accused of disrespect for the monarchy and
ousted by an army coup in 2006. In the aftermath of that takeover, the Red
Shirts fought sometimes violent street battles against Thaksin's opponents,
who were backed by the military.
Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan
also commented Tuesday on the T-shirt arrests, saying that those detained
were part of a network of outlaws that had fled to Laos to evade charges of
sedition and lese majeste, insulting the monarchy.
"They come from one source, which is
from the Laos side, and they also have a network in Thailand," Prawit said.
"They sell shirts and flags. We've
arrested three or four of them now. Whoever we can get to, we will arrest
them all," he said, adding "They are traitors."
Thaksin's sister, Yingluck Shinawatra,
became prime minister in 2011, but the army staged a coup against her
government in 2014, and has since kept a tight lid on dissent against its
rule, including peaceful demonstrations for democracy.
Agency responsible for Victory Monument being decided
Bangkok, 11th September 2018 (NNT) – The director of the Department
of City Planning (DCP) has advised that if the government agency responsible
for renovations to Victory Monument can't be identified, the Bangkok
Metropolitan Administration (BMA) will have to take on the work itself. The
Deputy Prime Minister is to hold a meeting on the matter.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and
Minister of Defense Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, has announced that all relevant
agencies are to engage in a meeting to settle which of them is responsible
for the maintenance of Victory Monument, noting that the roundabout is not
under the auspices of the War Veterans Organization of Thailand.
The BMA has already discussed the
matter with a number of agencies and has handed the matter to the Department
of City Planning. DCP Director Sakchai Boonma said today his office is
waiting for the Fine Arts Department, Treasury Department and Department of
Highways to conclude which department is responsible for the monument as
that agency will then be responsible for providing funding for any
renovation work. He explained that if none of the departments accepts
responsibility, it will fall to the BMA to take on the work. Clarity is
expected wihin a month and the outcome will be reported to the capital’s
Historically, the BMA has only provided
cleaning services to Victory Monument and maintained its surrounding area.
It recently began a process to identify the monument's legally reponsible
agency as part of a plan to construct a tunnel under it.
Victory monument was built to
memorialize soldiers, police and civilians who lost their lives in a
conflict between Thailand and France over border demarcations in
French-Indochina. A total of 59 Thai lives were lost during the battle. Gen
Phraya Phahonphonphayuhasena laid the foundation stone for the monument on
June 24, 1941 and it was officially inaugurated by Prime Minister Field
Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram on June 24, 1942. It was designed by M.L. Pum
Malakul and its surrounding statues were created under the supervision of
Arts Professor Peerasi.
PM Prayut stresses commitment to solve labour shortage in fishery sector
Bangkok, 9th September 2018 (NNT) - The Prime Minister, Gen. Prayut
Chan-o-cha, has stressed the government's commitment to address labor
shortage in the fishery industry, advising employers to register their
migrant workers at one-stop service (OSS) centers in time.
According to the Government Spokesman,
Lt .Gen. Sansern Kaewkamnerd, Prime Minister Prayut said the government is
giving high priority on this issue, as Thailand is one of the world's
biggest seafood manufacturers.
The fishery sector is currently in
shortage of 53,000 workers. The government is seeking to employ immigrant
workers to help fill this vacancy by extending the work permit for existing
workers, importing more workers from neighboring countries, and allowing
other workers to transfer to fisheries.
Some 11,000 workers who are authorized
to work in fisheries and whose work permit will expire on September 30th,
2018 will be allowed to have their permit extended for two more years, until
September 30th, 2020. These workers will have to report themselves at OSS
centers in 22 seaside provinces by September 30th, 2018.
On the import of workers from
neighboring countries, the Myanmar authorities have agreed to send 40,000
workers to Thailand in November 2018. The Thai authorities will be
performing health check-up, visa issuance, and registration services at
Ranong OSS center. Other workers holding a valid passport, temporary
passport, identification document, will be allowed to stay in Thailand for
one year to work in fisheries.
The Prime Minister has instructed the
ministry of labour to encourage employers and fishery business owners to
take their migrant workers to contact OSS centers in timely manner, and to
process these tasks in keeping with international standards.
Royal Thai Fleet 1 and Excise Department nab ship carrying diesel
Chonburi, 11th September 2018 (NNT)
– Royal Thai Fleet 1 and the Excise Department Office in Chonburi have
apprehended a ship attempting to smuggle 240,000 liters of diesel fuel
through the Gulf of Thailand, sparing the nation a loss of over 10 million
The arrest followed a tip off that a
ship carrying untaxed fuel had departed from the Baan Laem district of
Petchaburi province. Royal Thai Fleet 1 coordinated with the Excise
Department to apprehend the vessel using a naval patrol boat, which tracked
down the Chor Tarasamut 2 and confirmed it was carrying illegal cargo. The
ship had no documentation for the operation or the diesel and all six of its
Thai crew have been detained for the time being. The vessel has now docked
at Laem Thien Pier in Chonburi for further investigation.
The ship with its cargo of fuel was
apparently headed for Mahachai Pier in Samut Sakhon before it was stopped.
Commander of Royal Thai Fleet 1, Vice
Adm Banjob Pohdaeng, who also serves as director of the Region 1 Maritime
National Interests Protection Coordination Center, explained that the
shipment would have cost the state over 10 million baht in lost tax revenue
had it been successful in its alleged smuggling operation.
Bangkok holds "Rak Chao Phraya" activity as part of efforts against flooding
Bangkok, 11th September 2018 (NNT)
– Bangkok has introduced the “Rak Chao Phraya” activity to encourage the
removal of water hyacinth from the country's most important river as part of
preparations to avoid flooding.
Bangkok Governor Pol Gen Assawin
Kwanmuang has expressed the city's readiness to handle a large volume of
water headed towards the capital from the north, saying he has coordinated
with the Royal Irrigation Department and the governors of nearby provinces
in a combined effort at flood control. Relevant agencies have been put on
full alert and are closely monitoring the situation.
The governor admitted to some concerns
over heavy rainfall below dams in Nonthaburi, especially as they are mostly
in lowlands but said authorities and equipment have been readied to handle
The city has also held an event called
“Rak Chao Phraya” marking National River and Canal Preservation Day. The
activity saw city officials and citizens coming together to use fiber glass
boats and machinery to rid the Chao Phraya River of water weeds and clean
its concrete dykes from Rama 8 Bridge to the area of Siriraj Hospital,
covering a total 4.3 kilometers. People living along the river have been
encouraged to keep it clean and avoid polluting it with waste or toxins.
OSMEP unveils ‘SME CONNEXT’ mobile application
Bangkok, 11th September 2018 (NNT)
- The Office of SMEs Promotion (OSMEP) has unveiled a mobile application
“SME CONNEXT” to provide useful information that will boost SME businesses.
The application is the latest bid to
offer assistance to more than three million SMEs in Thailand to operate more
conveniently through the use of mobile phones.
According to OSMEP Director-General
Suwannachai Lohawattanakul, users of SME CONNEXT can access the latest
information from OSMEP about other SME operators. They can browse through
lists of products with detailed information. The application also offers
business guidelines and tips, as well as information about upcoming
activities and events that SME operators might be interested in.
Director-General Suwannachai also said entrepreneurs can submit an
application form for events directly, via SME CONNEXT.
He urged operators to register as users
of the application, citing benefits such as admission fee waivers for
various activities and other offers from related agencies.
The OSMEP is hoping the mobile
application, which will be available soon in both Android and iOS devices,
will draw at least 50,000 users within three months and 200,000 users in the
next couple of years. Director-General Suwannachai also reassured the public
that his agency will keep the application updated with more offers in the
Update September 11, 2018
Bangkok meet fails to finalize draft on climate change rules
Delegates meet for a United Nations climate
change conference in Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday, Sept 9, 2018. The six-day
Bangkok meeting has failed in its aim of completing fruitful preparations so
an agreement can be reached in December on guidelines to implement the 2015
Paris Climate Change Agreement. (AP Photo/Kaweewit Kaewjinda)
By Kaweewit Kaewjinda, Associated Press
Bangkok (AP) — An international
meeting in Bangkok fell short of its aim of completing fruitful preparations
to help an agreement be reached in December on guidelines for implementing
the 2015 Paris climate change agreement.
The six-day meeting, which ended on
Sunday, was scheduled to step up progress in the battle against rising
global carbon emissions by adopting a completed text that could be presented
at the COP24 conference in Katowice, Poland, three months from now.
A primary objective of the 2015 Paris
agreement, to which 190 nations subscribe, is to limit the global
temperature increase by 2100 to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees
Fahrenheit) and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees, which is vital to the
survival of island nations threatened by rising seas. But the absence of
guidelines for meeting that goal has led to fears that not enough action is
There have been notable disagreements
over fair financing for implementation of the rules by developing countries,
and the technical details of their reporting on progress.
Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary
for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, said Sunday
at the closing press briefing for the Bangkok meeting that progress was made
on most issues but nothing was finalized.
The meeting was attended by
representatives of most of the countries party to the Paris agreement, as
well as the United States, which has announced that it is pulling out of the
Espinosa said there was "limited
progress" on the issue of contributions from developed nations to developing
countries, adding that she is "hopeful" that future discussions will be
productive because of the importance of the issue.
"On the core issues of forward-looking
climate finance and the degree of flexibility developing countries should be
given on the information and reporting requirements for national commitments
under the Paris Agreement, negotiators were stalemated in Bangkok," said a
statement from Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy for the Union of
Concerned Scientists, a U.S.-based activist group.
"It's now up to the incoming Polish
presidency and officials leading negotiations to find ways to bridge the
deep differences on these issues and to secure agreement in Katowice on a
robust, comprehensive package of rules to implement the Paris Agreement," he
Harjeet Singh, climate policy manager
for ActionAid International, said Sunday that a vital component of the Paris
agreement is for wealthy nations to provide financial assistance to
developing countries as they fight natural disasters brought by climate
But he said wealthy and developed
countries "led by the United States and including countries such as
Australia, Japan and even the European Union" refused to clearly show "how
much money they are going to provide and how that is going to be counted."
Advocacy for the developing countries
was led at the meeting by China, said Meyer, but was also supported by
others, including India, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia.
Activists were critical of Washington's
lobbying at the meeting, especially because President Donald Trump has
announced plans to have the U.S. withdraw from the Paris pact, which had
been heavily promoted by his predecessor, Barack Obama.
"The U.S. has announced its withdrawal
from the Paris Agreement but still negotiates as if it is a Party, weakening
international cooperation by not contributing to finance and technology
transfer to developing countries," Meena Raman, legal adviser at Third World
Network, said in an emailed statement.
Climate change is a polarizing issue in
the United States, and some states and local communities have announced
policies supporting the Paris agreement.
Thousands of governors, mayors, company
CEOs and civil society leaders are expected to gather this week in San
Francisco for the Global Climate Action Summit.
Thai Governmentt continues promoting tourism as Thailand voted best country for people
Bangkok, 9th September 2018 (NNT) – The Thai government is making
changes to ministerial rules and regulations to streamline tourism after
Thailand was voted the world’s best country for people.
In his national televised this weekend,
Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha announced that Thailand was voted the
‘best country for people’ by readers of the well-respected US-based travel
magazine, Conde Nast Traveler.
In the category of best countries in
the world for tourism, Thailand came in at number 3, behind Italy and
In addition, the famous Samui Island of
Surat Thani Province came in at number 9 among the “best islands in the
Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Bangkok and
Six Senses Yao Noi Resort in Phang Nga Province achieved 4th and 5th places
for “best hotels in Asia and the Indian Subcontinent.”
Gen Prayut added that ministerial rules
and regulations will be adjusted to focus on community tourism, wealth
distribution, and the enhancement of the grassroots economy, as the
government targets 3.4 trillion baht in tourism revenue in 2019.
Koh Si Chang residents want greater protection of marine resources
Chonburi, 10th September 2018 (NNT)
– Citizens and business operators on Koh Si Chang have voiced their support
for the use of Article 17 of the Marine and Coastal Resources Management Act
after finding the island’s maritime resources in deterioration.
Over 300 residents of Chonburi’s Koh Si
Chang involved in maritime transport gathered at the island’s municipal
office for a discussion on the use of Article 17 of the Marine and Coastal
Resources Management Act, which requires a referendum to apply.
Mayor of Koh Si Chang, Damrong Petra
acknowledged that most residents of the island agree with implementation of
the article to better care for its environment and to empower authorities
against those damaging its natural resources. They wish to see serious
action taken to reduce deterioration of the island's maritime resources.
Director-General of the Department of
Marine and Coastal Resources, Jatuporn Buruspat explained that Koh Si Chang
and its neighbors have long suffered from environmental deterioration caused
by the more than 1,000 transport boats that use the area. A committee to
address issues of illegal waste dumping and environmental enhancement has
now been established by the Governor of Chonburi.
Seminar held as part of Sueb Nakasathien anniversary event
Bangkok, 10th September 2018 (NNT)
– A recent seminar marking the 28th anniversary since the passing of
environmental activist Sueb Nakasathien, discussed technology and
innovations that can help preserve the environment.
At the seminar titled “Drone
Innovations for Conservation”, Director of Burapha University’s Eastern
Region Center for Space Technology and Geo-Informatics, Krisanai
Charoenjitara described a manatee survey using small adapted robots and how
they solved issues to do with using human piloted aircraft to carry out the
study. The aircraft were disruptive to the animals while also coming at a
high cost. Robots meanwhile have proved fast and efficient in collecting
data and have contributed greatly to manatee conservation planning. They are
soon to be used to study other such animals.
The drones however, helped discover
that manatees are endangered off the coast of Trang province with only 210
accounted for in 2017. The sea creatures are still hunted by poachers who
believe they can be used to create medicinal remedies and who wish to create
amulets from their organs.
The Sueb Nakaksathien anniversary event
also featured the sale of community-made products, with proceeds to go to
the Sueb Nakasathien Foundation and its conservation efforts.
Agriculture Min urges farmers to replace off season rice with other crops
Bangkok, 10th September 2018, (NNT)
- The Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry is encouraging rice farmers to
turn away from off-season rice farming and plant alternative crops.
Minister of Agriculture and
Cooperatives Grissada Boonrach has reiterated that the agriculturalists
would make more income from farming alternative crops that are in line with
market demand than persisting with off-season rice farming.
He said the government is providing
assistance to farmers who wish to participate in the campaign by offering
low-interest loans and helping the producers sow alternative crops at
According to the minister, the
government is educating the farmers about gauging market demand to guide
agricultural production as well as enabling local cooperatives to manage
upstream, midstream, and downstream activities.
Since September 3, 415 farmers in
Uttaradit and Phitsanulok have joined the campaign, planting maize in 5,800
rai of rice fields.
The minister also touched on the
low-interest loan scheme, explaining that agricultural cooperatives are
offering loans of 3,000 baht per rai with 1% interest. He hopes the campaign
will draw farmers’ attention away from off-season rice farming.
Mekong flood waters receding gradually
Nong Khai, 10th September 2018 (NNT) - Officials have reported that
several areas in close proximity to the Mekong River are still coping with
inundations, despite the fact that the excess water is slowly receding.
Responsible units indicated that
tributaries without sluice gates, such as the Lam Huay Suay creek, are
overflowing their banks, triggering floods in nearby agricultural zones.
Authorities at Phon Phisai District’s Wat Luang Sub-district reported that
the area has been submerged by a 20-40 centimeter deep flood for over a
week, adding that the inundation has damaged several stores leaving vendors
no choice but to set up stalls along the road. The local administration
expects that it will take at least a week for the flood to subside.
According to the Water Resources Office
in Nong Khai, the water level in the Mekong River was measured at 12.17
meters on September 9th, 17 centimeters lower than the day before. The
office expects that the water level will continue to recede, if there is no
rain in coming days. Similarly, the water level in the Mekong River has
dropped by 64 centimeters.
Meanwhile, several provinces are
reportedly still recovering from the effects of Tropical Storm Bebinca and
the southwesterly monsoon, which wreaked havoc in the North and the
Northeast of the Kingdom last month. According to the Department of Disaster
Prevention and Mitigation, affected provinces were Nong Khai, Bueng Kan,
Sakon Nakhon, Kalasin, Ubon Ratchathani, Nakhon Nayok, Prachinburi,
Phetchaburi and Saraburi.
The department is working around the
clock with the military and other concerned agencies to drain flood waters
out of the affected areas and deliver survival kits to affected residents.
Update September 10, 2018
Kaeng Krachan National Park to enhance tourism safety measures
Prachuap Khiri Khan, 9th September 2018 (NNT)
- Officials at Kaeng Krachan National Park are instructed to take close care
of visitors, following an accident that a tourist slipped and fell down at
Pa La-U waterfall.
National Park Chief, Mana Permpoon, admitted that a European visitor had
accidentally fallen down on a slippery rock, causing the sprain at right
ankle. The affected visitor has been taken to the hospital for treatment.
To prevent any
accident from occurring in the future, the national park office has
instructed officials to take closer care of visitors, as some trails in the
national park may be slippery. More ropes have been placed at walkways to
allow visitors to hold while hiking around the waterfall.
Pa La-U waterfall is
one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area due to its
picturesque natural scenery.
Ambassadors visit Nakhon Si Thammarat
Nakhon Si Thammarat, 9th September 2018 (NNT)
- Ambassadors from 10 countries have visited the southern province of Nakhon
Si Thammarat along with their spouses at the invitation of the Tourism
Authroity of Thailand (TAT).
high-ranking members of the TAT and Nakhon Si Thammarat Provincial Culture
Council, the ambassadors and their partners have toured Wat Phra Mahathat
Woramahawihan temple, the Nang Talung shadow Puppet Museum of Suchart
Subsin, and the royally-initiated Pak Phanang River Basin development
project before being treated to a mud spa at Baan Laem Homestay in Tha Sala
The trip was part of
the TAT’s promotional campaign for sustainable tourism. Nakhon Si Thammarat
is one of the five provinces selected as must-visit destinations where the
late King Rama IX’s royal development projects have become viable tourist
attractions. The four other provinces are Chiang Mai, Ratchaburi, Rayong and
Buriram. The ambassadors and their spouses are scheduled to return to the
capital city today.
RID asks farmers in 22 provinces to hold off on planting new crops
September 2018 (NNT) – The Royal Irrigation
Department (RID) has told 22 provinces along the Chao Phraya River to hold
off on planting any more rice crops in 2018 as the land may be needed for
water retention from this month onward.
Thongplew Kongchan has circulated a memo to the governors of 22 provinces
along the Chao Phraya River, calling on them to urge their constituents to
hold off on planting another rice crop this year. The provinces since May 1
of this year have planted a total 7.06 million rai of rice crops and
harvested 2.92 million Rai.
Rice farms are
at-risk of damage from flooding between now and October and the RID has
identified much of the land in the 22 provinces as required for the
retention of water to be saved for the period of drought, expected to follow
soon after. Harvesting of existing crops is expected to be completed by
The RID has
announced its plans to retain water in 13 fields and has asked the Ministry
of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives to ensure an understanding of
the situation among farmers.
Public Health Ministry warns cat owners against getting infected with ringworm
September 2018 (NNT) - The Ministry of Public
Health has warned cat owners against getting infected with ringworm from
close contact with infected cats or cats' bedding.
Public Health Ministry Spokesperson,
Ophas Karnkawinwong, said it is possible to get infected with ringworm from
close contact with infected cats or cats' bedding as the spore of this
fungus can live for months.
The infection initially presents
with red patches on affected areas of the skin and later spreads to other
parts of the body, he said.
He urged cat owners to bring their
cats to undergo a health checkup and receive an injection according to the
program and clean their cats’ bedding.
Roads in BKK flooded after heavy rain
Bangkok, 9th September 2018 (NNT)
- The Meteorological Department has warned of the effects of heavy rain in
many parts of Thailand. Six large dams and reservoirs still contain more
than 80% of their capacity.
Heavy rain on Sunday in Bangkok
caused inundation of some roads. The water subsided after the rain stopped.
The Meteorological Department has
forecast heavy rains in Thailand until 10th September 2018 in the lower
North, lower Northeast, Central Plains, East and upper South, and Bangkok
and its vicinity. Heavy rain may cause flash floods and landslides.
The water level of the Mekong River
in Nong Khai and Nakhon Phanom province is still being monitored.
The six large dams and reservoirs
with water levels more than 80% of capacity include Nam Oon Dam, Kaeng
Krachan Dam, Vajiralongkorn Dam, Srinakharin Dam, Khun Dan Prakan Chon Dam
and Naruebodinchinda Reservoir.
Phuket organizes local education fair
Phuket, 10th September 2018, (NNT)
- The Phuket Local Administrative Organization recently organized an
education fair to set a direction for local schools.
Director-General of the Department of Local Administration Kajohn
Srichavanotai presided over the opening ceremony of the fair, running
from September 9th - 11th at the Phuket Rajabhat University and the
Gynesium Hall of the Saphan Hin Sports Center in the capital district of
the event, being held on the theme “Smart Learning,” are promoting and
supporting children and youths in developing skills and gaining
knowledge, and allowing them to demonstrate their talents and academic
The fair, the
10th of its kind, offers various academic seminars to discuss the
direction of local education and approaches to improving the quality of
Learning" theme underlines human resource enhancement, which the
organizers hope will lead to community empowerment and eventually,
national development. The organizers have myriad activities arranged,
such as academic quizzes, learning workshops, a ceremony to hand out
awards to outstanding teachers and kindergarten supervisors.
Director-General Kajohn highlighted the role of the Local Administrative
Organization in developing local education in accordance with the
national education standard. He said an important duty of the
organization is fostering children to be capable adults.