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Update November 2018


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Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern
 
 
 
Thailand News - DAILY UPDATE
 

Thai police arrest brothers sought on UK drug charges

Joseph Mulhare (left) and younger brother Gregory.
(Photo/Royal Thai Police)

Bangkok (AP) — Thai police have arrested two brothers from Britain wanted on drug trafficking charges in their homeland.

Police said Joseph Michael Mulhare and Gregory Michael Mulhare were arrested Tuesday after the British embassy informed Thai police that an Interpol blue notice — seeking information about a person's identity, location or activities in relation to a crime — had been issued for them.

The brothers are wanted in the United Kingdom for allegedly selling cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamines and marijuana, police said in a statement.

It said Japanese police tracked the two down on Nov. 17 in a hotel in Pattaya.

Apparently aware they were under surveillance, the brothers switched hotels and hired a woman to take them by taxi to Bangkok and then to Suvarnabhumi airport. They then returned to the Eastern Seaboard, where police arrested them. Thai TV Channel 7 showed police enter their cheap hotel room and handcuff the men behind their backs.

Police said authorities had revoked the brothers' visas, a standard practice to allow them to be kept in detention until a decision is made on whether to extradite or expel them.


More than 800,000 Krathong collected from Chao Phraya River

NNT

Bangkok - People celebrated Loy Krathong Festival in many areas of Bangkok on Thursday and, as requested, most of them brought environmentally-friendly krathong baskets to float on the Chao Phraya River in order to protect the environment.

To keep the Chao Phraya River clean, the Environment Department of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration deployed 213 officers along the river to collect the krathong baskets.

The clean-up operation lasted nearly seven hours and more than 800,000 krathong, 80% of them made of natural items, were collected by civic workers. It was also found that the number of foam bases declined this year.


Transport Company keen to prevent sexual harassment on buses

NNT

Bangkok - The Transport Company and Safe Cities for Women Thailand have trained bus attendants to detect and prevent rising sexual harassment of women on public buses.

According to Waraporn Chamsanit, who is a representative of Safe Cities for Women Thailand, bus attendants of the Transport Company have undergone safety training to prevent sexual harassment on public buses ahead of the long holiday when many people travel up-country.

A short video clip has also been made to educate passengers on how to protect themselves against the abusers. Bus attendants from other companies can also visit Mo Chit Bus Terminal to receive the same training. Online training is also available on the Transport Company’s website for those living in other provinces.

The company will install CCTVs on all buses next year. Passengers are able to report any sexual harassment directly to the company at www.transport.co.th or call 1490.


Government to complete EEC projects before end of term

Kobsak Phutrakul.

NNT

Bangkok - The government has resolved to complete major projects in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) to build confidence before a new administration takes its place, and in the belief that, along with end of year stimulus measures, it can achieve economic growth of 4 to 4.5 percent next year.

Speaking at an annual seminar on next year’s economic direction, Prime Minister’s Office Minister Kobsak Phutrakul voiced confidence that growth would continue on the back of ongoing stimulus to tourism, rubber and oil palm farming, and assistance for low income earners. He noted activity leading up to the general election will also help circulation and spending.

The minister also foresees continued growth in consumption, and public and private spending, saying that the government will ensure that major projects in the EEC are completed before it is replaced by a new administration, seeing the effort as necessary to maintain investor confidence. The message the state wishes to send is that even when a political transition takes place, robust growth will continue, despite external volatility resulting from circumstances such as the US-China trade war.


Suvarnabhumi Airport bans sky lanterns

NNT

Bangkok - Suvarnabhumi International Airport has implored the general public not to release fiery sky lanterns in and around the airport.

Anan Wangchingchai , the deputy director of the airport, said flying lanterns, balloons, and fireworks will not be allowed within the eight-kilometer radius during the annual Loi Krathong festival.

Should there be a need for activities that will disrupt aviation, he said they must be reported and approved by the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) seven days in advance.

Launching floating lanterns into the sky is a common practice of the annual Lanna-style Yi Peng festival which coincides with the famous Loi Krathong celebration.

In the meantime, the Ministry of Interior has sent letters to all provinces, asking provincial governors to issue safety regulations against flying lanterns, firecrackers, fireworks, flying rockets, balloons, and celebratory activities that could cause fatal injuries.


Department of Disease Control warns people in South about chikungunya fever

NNT

Bangkok - The Department of Disease Control is warning people in the South about chikungunya fever after noting that recent rain has caused floods in many areas.

Dr Assadang Ruayajin, the deputy director of the Department of Disease Control, said that the continuous heavy rain in the South has flooded roads and filled gullies. This excess of water can lead to the breeding of aedes mosquitoes. Therefore, people are at risk of developing chikungunya fever.

From 1st January to 10th November, 642 cases of chikungunya fever were found, 638 of them in the South. The provinces with the highest numbers are Narathiwat, Satun, Songkhla, Trang and Phuket.

The public should constantly be aware of this disease by keeping their houses clean, getting rid of garbage and covering pools of water at their houses.

Anyone who has any questions about chikungunya fever can ask the Department of Disease Control at tel. 1422.


Thailand Riviera project shapes up in the west

Minister of Tourism and Sports Weerasak Kowsurat.

NNT

Bangkok - The Ministry of Tourism and Sports has beefed up the Thailand Riviera project to develop tourism in the west of the country.

Minister of Tourism and Sports Weerasak Kowsurat said that the Thailand Riviera project aims to boost tourism on the Andaman coast of Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Ranong, and Chumphon. The strategic plan will improve 5 areas of tourism on the western side of Thailand, including infrastructure, competitive edges, cultural identity, sustainability, and management.

Weerasak indicated that the master plan will be drafted in two months, adding that it will develop freshwater sources, scenic routes, popular dishes, local seafood, adventure activities, tour packages, maps, and yacht piers to generate income for local people. The model will be applied in other coastal provinces.


Corrections Dept bans sales of cigarettes, tobacco products for inmates

NNT

Bangkok - Corrections Department Director General Narat Sawettanan confirmed that his agency currently bans the sales of cigarettes and tobacco at all prisons across the country to reduce the number of inmates falling sick or dying from respiratory diseases.

He said that the regulation banning the sales of cigarettes and tobacco was required because prisons were regarded as state facilities and hence came within the target of the smoking ban. Once sent to jail, an inmate can use this as an opportunity to quit smoking and do other useful activities such as disciplinary training, vocational skill training or practicing meditation, he said.

The plan follows the successful pilot project that banned the sale of such products at 13 prisons in Amnat Charoen, Chon Buri, Chanthaburi, Thanyaburi, Pathum Thani Provincial Special Offenders Institution, Thonburi Women’s Correctional Institution, Sikhiu, Pathum Thani Correctional Institution for Young Offenders, Women’s Correctional Institution for Drug Addicted Prisoners, Songkhla Female Prison, Phitsanulok Female Prison, Chiang Rai and Maha Sarakham.

Narat said the ban had led to fewer inmates suffering from respiratory diseases and the eradication of a factor that was a threat to inmates already suffering from chronic illness such as high-blood pressure, and stroke, which could be worsened by being in a smoke-filled environment.

Prisons nationwide were said to have a higher ratio of smokers compared to other sites and secondhand smoke also posed harm to the health of non-smoking inmates and wardens. He said prisons had since 2008 arranged cells as no-smoking zones and set up smoking areas outside the building.


Update November 10-14, 2018

Thai Air Force sending help to flooded communities

Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Air Force, ACM Chaiyapruk Didyasarin.

NNT

Bangkok - The Royal Thai Air Force is delivering supplies of necessities and medications to flooded communities in Prachuap Khiri Khan province.

Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Air Force, ACM Chaiyapruk Didyasarin said rescue helicopters will be deployed to affected areas on request. The Air Force has been sending help to four southern provinces currently battling rain and floods. Medical teams are on standby in case of an emergency.

Chayapol Thitisak, director-general of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, said his department is working with the military to distribute food, drinking water, and other necessities to the victims. Local officers are conducting a damage assessment for future compensation.


Australia’s Home Affairs minister visits Tham Luang cave

NNT

Chiang Rai - Australia's Home Affairs Minister, Peter Dutton has visited Tham Luang Nang Non cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach were trapped inside earlier this year, which led to the historic rescue mission that involved a team of more than 10,000, including rescue divers and experts from around the world.

Australia was one of several countries that assisted the rescue operation in Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province.

While in Thailand on an official visit, Minister Dutton and members of the Australian delegation went to the site of the cave where many signs of the successful rescue remain, including equipment such as wires and pipes.

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation has landscaped the area around the cave to accommodate tourists during the 46th Chiang Rai Games to be held November 18-23.


Immigration police step up operations against romance scammers

NNT

Bangkok - Acting Immigration Bureau Commissioner Pol Maj Gen Surachate Hakparn has announced progress in the operations to eradicate those involved in romance scams and call-center frauds.

Fourteen Thai suspects have been arrested for alleged involvement in romance scams, and three others for call-center frauds while two foreigners have been arrested for alleged involvement in romance scams.

These alleged scammers have operated on facebook as Fast Racing Shop, Me Online Center, and Top Hit Shopping, tricking unsuspected users into transferring money to them, given empty promises of products to be delivered. The scammers have caused a total of about two million baht in damages to some 1,500 victims across the country.

Two foreign nationals and a Thai agent have also been arrested for allegedly producing fake documents and forging the seal of the Department of Consular Affairs for use in the application for visa extension.


SBPAC provides career training to former drug addicts

Sanan Sonthimuang, Director of the Office of Social Psychological Policy Coordination.

NNT

Yala - The Internal Security Operation Command's Region Four plans to provide a rehabilitation program to at least 5,000 former drug addicts in three months free of charge.

Sanan Sonthimuang, Director of the Office of Social Psychological Policy Coordination, said the Southern Border Province Administration Center (SBPAC) will be the main agency to provide career training to former drug users who successfully completed their rehabilitation program.

The SBPAC has been assigned by the government to provide career training to former drug users since 2016 and over 3,000 former drug users have completed the training.

Yala is responsible for screening and assessing former drug users who have successfully completed their rehabilitation program before attending the career training program.


Update November 6-10, 2018

New guidelines prevent smoking within five meters of a no smoking sign

NNT

Bangkok - A new declaration has mandated that those found smoking within five meters of a no smoking sign will now be subject to at least a 5,000 baht fine.

The Ministry of Public Health guidelines on demarcating no smoking areas have been promulgated in the Royal Gazette. The fifth point in the guide states that no smoking signs must be posted in accordance with ministry regulations and that the areas surrounding such signs in all directions will be considered off limits to smoking. Signs are only permitted away from doors, windows, entrances and exits, pipes and ventilation openings and must clearly state in Thai and English that smoking is not permitted within five meters.

Deputy Director-General of the Disease Control Department Dr. Kajornsak Kaeojaras explained that the new guidelines are more flexible in terms of design but mandate that no smoking signs must be able to accommodate a circular logo of no less than 10 centimeters in diameter. The logo may depict the provincial slogan or other such messages.

The new five meter stipulation is in response to complaints that while many public areas have no smoking signs, smokers have been engaging in the behavior just outside the immediate areas, such as in front of schools and temples.


HIV-infected man accused of raping scores of teenagers

Bangkok (AP) — Police say they have arrested an HIV-infected soldier who allegedly blackmailed and raped more than 70 teenage boys.

Police said they received a complaint that the suspect was using fake social media profiles on Facebook and the gay dating app Blued to win the trust of his victims, so they would send him nude photos before agreeing to meet him. When they found out he was not who he pretended to be online, he then would threaten to make their nude photos public if they balked at having sex with him.

Police said in a statement that they discovered medicine for treating HIV when they arrested the 43-year-old suspect, Sgt. Maj. Jakkrit Khomsing, at his home Wednesday in the northeastern province of Khon Kaen. They said tests confirmed he was infected with HIV.

So far they have determined that Jakkrit had more than 70 victims between the ages of 13 and 18, police said .

"Even though the suspect is a soldier, this behavior — and I've consulted with army commanders — is a personal issue, not an organizational one," police Maj. Gen. Surachate Hakparn said.

Police said they are widening their investigation and attempting to contact other victims who have not yet filed charges.

Police have so far charged Jakkrit with six offenses: sex with a minor under 15 with or without their consent, punishable by 4-20 years in prison; indecent assault of a minor under 15 using threats, punishable by up to 10 years in prison; separating a minor under 15 from their parents without reason, punishable by 3-15 years in prison; blackmail, punishable by up to 3 years in prison; and coercing minors to conduct inappropriate acts, punishable by up to three months in prison.


Image of King Taksin the Great placed at his monument in Bangkok

NNT

Bangkok - The boat procession marking 250 years since the naval campaign to reclaim the Kingdom of Ayudhya by King Taksin the Great has arrived in Bangkok, with an image of the monarch being placed it at the monument to him in Wong Wian Yai.

The Royal Thai Navy organized a contingent of row boats to welcome the procession, where it completed a retracing of the naval campaign to liberate Ayudhya from Burmese occupation 250 years ago, a journey that took it past 10 provinces.

An image of King Taksin the Great was moved from the docked boat procession to the King Taksin the Great Monument at Wong Wian Yai, in a ceremony that included religious chants, traditional dancing and traditional drumming.

Merit making was held Thursday morning and citizens were invited to pay their respects to the image of King Taksin. It is the first time the image has been brought from Chantaburi province to Bangkok.

After November 10, the image will be placed in Wang Derm Palace in Thonburi in memorial of the King’s historic campaign.


Science Film Festival aims to combat global warming

NNT

Bangkok - The Science Film Festival 2018 is being held to raise public awareness of global warming via food-based films, encouraging people to eat more vegetables instead of meat in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the festival, Education Minister Dr. Teerakiat Jareonsettasin said films that are being showcased at the event are in line with this year’s theme "Food Revolution." These films explain why consuming vegetables is better for the environment and how eating meat can worsen global warming.

21 films from countries like Germany, the United States, England and Australia are being screened at the festival to teach people about the impact of food consumption on the environment.

The Science Film Festival 2018 is taking place from now until December 23 at Bangkok Planetarium and 18 Science Centers for Education around Thailand. Entry is free of charge.


Update November 3-5, 2018

Two Chinese nabbed for stealing bags at Suvarnabhumi airport

NNT

Bangkok - Two Chinese tourists were arrested at Suvarnabhumi international airport as they were leaving Thailand with luggage stolen from other passengers.

Suvarnabhumi airport police apprehended Li Tze Yueng, 35, and Lou Jieying, 22, at the airport on Saturday (November 3) as they were waiting for their flight to Hong Kong.

Mr Li is a Canadian citizen of Chinese origin, while Ms Lou is Chinese from mainland China.

The arrest followed a complaint filed by an American with airport police. She said she could not find her travel bag after arriving in the Bangkok’s airport and waiting for the luggage at a conveyor belt for incoming passengers.

Police checked CCTV footages at the baggage claim area and other locations inside Suvarnabhumi and found the two suspects loading a number of bags on their carts before leaving the airport.

The owners of the luggage were contacted by police and they confirmed the bags found with the suspects were theirs, police added.

Police also took them to a hotel in Ratchathewi area to search their room and found more bags stolen from a Thai tourist returning to Thailand from South Korea.


All passengers rescued from burning yacht in Phuket

NNT

Phuket - A yacht caught fire on Saturday evening at Ao Kung bay in Phuket but all passengers aboard were rescued to safety.

The fire occurred around 4.00 p.m. during heavy downpours when a lightning bolt struck and completely destroyed the catamaran but all the nine foreign passengers were rescued in time.

The MJ yacht had left Yacht Heaven Marina in Thalang district before it caught fire.

Deputy Phuket Provincial Governor Thanyawat Charnphinit, Thalang District Chief Officer Adul Choothong and officials inspected the wreckage.


Leicester City players pay respects at Vichai’s funeral

Players and officials of the English Premier League club Leicester City arrive at a Buddhist temple to participate in the funeral rituals of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha in Bangkok, Sunday, Nov. 4. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

Bangkok (AP) — Leicester City manager Claude Puel led his soccer team's players as they arrived Sunday at a Bangkok temple to pay their respects to the club's late owner.

Thai billionaire Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was killed when his helicopter crashed Oct. 27 in a parking lot next to the English Premier League club's stadium.

His funeral began Saturday, with other ceremonies scheduled through Nov. 9.

The Leicester City players arrived Sunday after traveling to Bangkok following their match with Cardiff City the day before.

Vichai oversaw one of the greatest underdog successes in sports when his 5,000-1 outsiders won the English Premier League title in 2016.


Malaria and typhus warning for campers in woods

NNT

Uthai Thani - The many tourists who enjoy winter's cool breezes should beware of malaria and typhus, especially those who like to pitch their tents in the great outdoors.

Dr. Surachai Chokekanchitchai, the Director of Uthai Thani Hospital, recently noted that tourists pitching tents in the woods run the risk of getting bitten by mosquitoes, which in Thailand can include anopheles mosquitoes, which cause Malaria.

If after 14 days of exposure a person has a high fever, headaches, alternating sensations of cold and heat as well as sweating, and then, after appearing to get better, the symptoms return, the individual should again see a doctor and report their forest-dwelling history to receive appropriate treatment quickly. If complications occur, the sickness can result in death.

People should also beware of chigyers, which can cause typhus. The infected will have a high fever, shiver a lot and have headaches at the temples and brow, pains in the eye sockets and muscle pain and fatigue. Some may have red wounds that look like cigarette burns but are not itchy. About 20% of the infected may suffer severe complications, such as pneumonitis or encephalitis, which can lead to death.

Pitching a tent in the woods should only be done in a clearing, and campers should avoid sitting or lying down on the grass, should always cover their bare body well, and apply mosquito and insect repellents to their arms and legs for protection.


Update November 1, 2018

PM mulls developments towards general election

 

Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-ocha.

NNT

Bangkok - Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-ocha says he is looking into an appropriate time to lift bans on political activity and is considering sometime in November or early December. He assured the electorate he is open to views from political parties on the matter and will be coordinating with the EC. He has again declined to comment on his own political future at this time.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Kreau-ngam meanwhile, indicated that anybody who wishes to run in the upcoming general election must have party membership 90 days prior to the poll, or by November 26 this year. He confirmed that political parties will be invited to meet with the PM in November to discuss matters to do with the election.

EC Secretary-General Pol Col Jarungwit Phumma revealed that the commission has accepted five more political parties; Phaendintham Party, Prachachart Party, Phalang Chart Thai Party, Prachatham Thai Party and Khlong Thai Party. A total 16 new parties have been registered so far, bringing the nation’s total to 81 parties.

The Ministry of Education has at the same time revealed it will discuss moving the GAT/PAT exam in 2019 so that it does not coincide with the general election. It must first review the matter with relevant agencies including the Council of University Presidents of Thailand.


Thai Airways introduces new business recovery plan

NNT

Bangkok - Thai Airways International (THAI) Chairman Ekniti Nitithanprapas said the national flag carrier firm is in the process of making a business recovery plan to revive and upgrade it as one of the world's top five airlines within three years.

He said recent incidents will be taken as lessons for the airline to improve and reform, which will need cooperation with all its staff, while the business recovery plan is now being revised by senior executives, and will be unveiled this month.

The plan will cover the airline's revenue increasing methods, safety measures (which will remain the top priority), customer services, and cuts in unnecessary expenditure, all of which will make the airline grow further and become a premium carrier to bring about pride to the country.

The THAI chairman said that while the airline's fleet is currently not at full capacity and with some ageing aircraft, the firm has negotiated with Rolls Royce to provide substitute engines for its fleet.


Thailand repatriates 43 Iranian inmates

NNT

Bangkok - The Department of Corrections has transferred 43 Iranian inmates back to their home country under the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons.

Department of Corrections Director-General Pol Col Naras Savestanan revealed the agency has approved the transfer of the Iranian nationals to continue to serve their sentence in Iran.

The first batch of 23 were transported to Iran on Wednesday, while the 20 others will follow within 24 hours. The Iranian ambassador to Thailand represented the Iranian government to receive them.

The Correction Department chief said Thailand has transferred prisoners to 37 countries around the globe with a total of 1,118 foreign prisoners having been transferred to the country of their nationality, and 17 Thai inmates having been transferred from foreign countries to Thailand.

He said the scheme will be beneficial to the prisoners as it will allow them to re-align themselves to society in their own country upon completely serving their sentence.


Narathiwat reports more measles cases

NNT

Narathiwat - Narathiwat Provincial Public Health Official Wiset Sirinthornsophon said the southern province has had an increase in measles cases, with the number of patients between 1 January 2018 and 25 October 2018 recorded at 71 without any fatality.

The epidemic goes in keeping with the situation in Pattani (200 cases) and in Yala where about 500 cases have been reported.

The epidemic in Narathiwat is mainly affecting infants up to 12 years old.

The infection rate increased noticeably in Narathiwat in September, during which time 11 new cases were reported, as opposed to the average figure of only four cases per month. Another 28 patients have been reported in October in seven out of the province's 13 districts.

Measles can be contracted through the physical contact with mucus or saliva of infected persons and can be prevented with vaccination.

The provincial public health office is currently offering vaccinations to children aged under 15 years and is calling upon parents to have their children vaccinated upon the opening of a new school term on 1 November.

District offices have been requested to survey their populations and find unvaccinated children, especially those in remote areas where the provincial public health office may be able to provide on-site vaccination if requested.
 


DAILY UPDATE

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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Thai police arrest brothers sought on UK drug charges

More than 800,000 Krathong collected from Chao Phraya River

Transport Company keen to prevent sexual harassment on buses

Government to complete EEC projects before end of term


Suvarnabhumi Airport bans sky lanterns

Department of Disease Control warns people in South about chikungunya fever

Thailand Riviera project shapes up in the west

Corrections Dept bans sales of cigarettes, tobacco products for inmates


Thai Air Force sending help to flooded communities

Australia’s Home Affairs minister visits Tham Luang cave

Immigration police step up operations against romance scammers

SBPAC provides career training to former drug addicts


New guidelines prevent smoking within five meters of a no smoking sign

HIV-infected man accused of raping scores of teenagers

Image of King Taksin the Great placed at his monument in Bangkok

Science Film Festival aims to combat global warming


Two Chinese nabbed for stealing bags at Suvarnabhumi airport

All passengers rescued from burning yacht in Phuket

Leicester City players pay respects at Vichai’s funeral

Malaria and typhus warning for campers in woods


PM mulls developments towards general election

Thai Airways introduces new business recovery plan

Thailand repatriates 43 Iranian inmates

Narathiwat reports more measles cases