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Update December 2016

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Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern
Thailand News

Russian nabbed trying to blow up an ATM

Thai PBS

A Russian was arrested by police at Suvarnabhumi international airport on Wednesday after he tried unsuccessfully to blow up an ATM in Hua Hin early Monday morning.

The Russian suspect, identified as Konstantin Dolgov, 27, was spotted by a passer-by, Mr Manaspong Plienpradab, at about 3 am Monday morning at an ATM of Krung Thai bank in front of the Hua Hin land office, trying to open the machine with an oxygen tank.

Upon seeing Manaspong, the suspect escaped. A manhunt was later launched by Hua Hin police who arrived at the scene after being alerted of the robbery attempt. Immigration police at all airports were alerted to watch out for the suspect whose image was shown on the CCTV footages.

Dolgov was apprehended at the departure lounge of Suvarnabhumi airport as he was waiting for a flight out of Thailand.

After the arrest, Dolgov told police that he plotted the robbery plan by renting a pick-up truck which he rode through Hua Hin town to scout for the right ATM to rob. He finally found one in front of the land office and then went to buy tools needed to blow up the ATM which included an oxygen tank and a gas tank at a shop in Pran Buri district.

Early Monday morning, he drove the truck to the targeted ATM, waited there until there was not one around and then moved in to blow up the ATM with the gas which he filled into the machine through a gap before starting a fire.

The gas exploded but, out of a sudden, a motorcyclist just showed up, scaring the suspect who immediately made good the escape empty-handed. He later dumped the gas and oxygen tanks in the shrubs near the hotel where he was staying.

Alleged hacker detained for 12 more days

Thai PBS

Alleged hacker Natdanai Kongdee was detained for another 12 days from Wednesday until January 8 by an order of the Criminal Court pending police interrogation.

Pol Cpt Chalit Maneeprao, the police inquiry officer in charge of the case, voiced his objection against bail for the 19-year old suspect. He told the court that he had to question five more witnesses.

Natdanai did not ask for a bail either. He appeared to be tense as he was taken to the court by police.

The suspect is facing 23 counts of offences, ranging from falsifying official documents and using the fake documents, computer hacking, illegal possession of firearms to possessing and using marijuana.

Natdanai was accused of hacking into the websites of governmental agencies as a gesture of protest against the new Computer Crime Bill which passed the endorsement of the lower House.

11-month cross border trade surpasses 1.33 trillion baht

Thai PBS

The Department of Foreign Trade announced that total cross-border trade and commerce along Thailand’s borders for the first 11 months of 2016 was in excess of 1.33 trillion Baht.

This represents a 1.2% increase and the department estimates that the total figure for the entire year will amount to 1.47 trillion Baht, a total increase of 2.8%, according to Mr Adul Chottinisakorn, the deputy director-general of the department.

He said although this figure is bellow the official projection of 1.7 trillion baht, it is still within acceptable limits and was certainly better than the current global trade situation.

He stated that he was confident that 2017’s cross-border trade and commerce will be able to grow by no less than 2 – 3%.

Rice packing volunteer program concludes with success

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Office of the Permanent Secretary to the Prime Minister has concluded the “Following in Father’s Footsteps: Doing Good in Tribute to His Majesty” volunteer program after successfully packing over 3 million donation bags in devotion to His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Prime Minister’s Office Minister Omsin Cheewapruek chaired the closing ceremony for the program, which saw large groups of volunteers packing bags of rice for hand out to mourners at Sanam Luang. The program began on October 29 and saw 45,000 volunteers from both the public and private sectors packing a total of 3,565,000 bags of rice. The amount is sufficient for hand out until January 19 of next year.

The minister thanked all who devoted their time and energy and commended them for their success. He then proceeded to open the Big Cleaning Day effort of the Office of the Permanent Secretary to the Prime Minister, which was used for rice packing during the volunteer program.

Cabinet orders establishment of Rail Transport Department

BANGKOK, (NNT) – The Cabinet has ordered that a “Rail Transport Department” be set up within this year to separate the roles of rail regulator and rail operator.

At this week’s Cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, the government saw fit to order the Ministry of Transport to expedite the establishment of a Department of Rail Transport to be completed by the end of this year.

The order follows a recommendation from the State Enterprise Policy Commission pointing out that the management of rail transport in the nation is no longer efficient or financially sound. It explained that existing transport offices must both handle rail and road transport with the latter making up 80 percent of goods transport in the nation. The commission pointed out a specialized office would increase efficiency in rail transport and help to shift goods transport back to rails, which provide a slew of benefits.

The Cabinet order effectively authorizes the Office of Rail Development to be elevated into a Department of Rail Transport and calls for regulator roles and operator roles to do with rail transport to be separated among relevant agencies. It also empowers the new department with authority pertaining to rail transport management in the Kingdom.

Drone used in mine development

SARABURI, (NNT) - The Department of Primary Industries and Mines has used a drone to take aerial photos of a stone mill factory in Saraburi province to pave the way for future mine development.

Director of the Bureau of Engineering and Land Rehabilitation of the Department of Primary Industries and Mines Sura Petpirun led a group of reporters on a trip to observe an unmanned aircraft operation at Silasanon Stone Mill Factory.

The drone was used to survey and take pictures of the areas around the factory. The pictures will later be used to draw a map for the development of a limestone mine. The Department of Primary Industries and Mines also has similar plans in place to develop a calcite mine in Lopburi and gypsum mines in Phichit and Nakhon Sawan provinces.

The drone has been introduced as an effective tool to determine the boundaries of the mines and to remind the private companies, who received government mining concessions, not to go beyond the agreed areas.

Sura claimed the drone was just as efficient and effective in surveying the areas as a GPS system. The use of this aerial technology is also expected to be enforced under Thai laws in the middle of next year as it is cost-effective and can be used as often as needed.

Khao Kiew Open Zoo receives rare black jaguar ahead of New Year's

CHONBURI,(NNT) – Khao Kiew Open Zoo is inviting members of the public to view its newest addition for the New Year’s holiday, a black jaguar from the United Arab Emirates.

Khao Kiew Open Zoo of Chonburi province has held a press tour headed by its Deputy Director Attaporn Sriheran to introduce its new black jaguar. The jaguar is unique due to it deriving its color from a genetic mutation.

The animal is on loan from Al Mayya Sanctuary of the United Arab Emirates. It is 10 years old and is in good health, providing a prime opportunity for Thai visitors to see a rare big cat in its prime.

The black jaguar, scientifically named Panthera Onca, is indigenous to South America and is usually only found in thick jungle areas, making it particularly hard to see in the wild.

Visitors who want to see the jaguar while it is in Thailand can contact Khao Kiew Zoo by calling 038 – 318 – 444 or visiting

Trail runners get new event for 2017

Cross-country running returns to Khao Mai Keow in East Pattaya on January 22 for the inaugural ‘Champion of the Trails’ event. (Photo courtesy AMA-Events)

Organizers of the Columbia Trail masters series of cross-country running events in Thailand have announced they will introduce a new format to trail running in 2017, with a championship series featuring 4 trail runs held over the course of the next 12 months.

Racers will compete per race in male/female distance classes (3km/10km/25km/50km) to accumulate points and win the ‘Champion of the Trails’ title. Podium finishers will receive cash and sponsors’ prizes for every race class, with a total value of over 500,000 THB up for grabs over the 4 events.

The first race in the series will be held at Khao Mai Keow Reservation Park in East Pattaya on Sunday, January 22, 2017 with entrance fees set as follows: 50km (1,500 baht), 25km (1,200 baht), 10km 900 baht, and 3km (250 baht) or free for children under 15. Registration is open until 17 January, 2017.

The first 3 winners of each category will receive trophies and medals while there will be souvenir T-shirts for all participants (except for 3km fun run). The trail runs are open to all levels of racers, from beginners through to experienced athletes.

Other races in the series include Khao Ito in Nakhon Nayok on Feb. 26, Nong Yai in Chonburi on Sept. 7 and a final event at a location yet to be decided on Dec. 11, 2017.

For more information or to register as a runner, go to or call 02-2521764 – 6.

More lottery tickets for December 30 draw

Thai PBS

The Government Lottery Office has issued an additional five million pairs of lottery tickets for the December 30 lottery draw.

GLO spokesman Thanawat Phonwichai said the additional issuance from the normal 60-70 million pairs on each draw for the December 30 draw came as lottery tickets are still sold higher than the controlled price of 80-baht a pair.

This was the result of higher demand than supply, particularly on the last draw date of this year on December 30 when people will buy lottery tickets to give as new year gifts, he said.

He believed that the extra five million pairs this week would meet the high demand and keep the price at 80 baht a pair.

He asked for cooperation from the people not to buy overcharged lottery tickets, particularly lucky numbers or beautiful numbers or buy in a set of lottery tickers with same numbers which are overpriced.

He warned lottery agents of facing termination of their lottery quotas permanently if they are found to collect same lottery numbers for sales in sets.

The seized quotas will be allocated to other agents or vendors for sale, he added.

Cabinet is due to consider Thai-Chinese high-speed train project in January

Thai PBS

The long overdue Thai-Chinese high-speed train project is now in the process of being considered in details before a full report of the project can be wrapped up and submitted to the cabinet for consideration in mid-January, Transport Deputy Permanent Secretary Phirapol Thavornsupacharoen said on Monday.

The report and the cabinet’s decision on the project and recommendations – if there are any – will be presented for discussion at the Thai-Chinese joint railway cooperation during January 16-18, said Mr Phirapol, adding that, once there is an approval of the report by the joint committee, the project can proceed initially with the handover of land for the construction.

Regarding the light Red Line railway route between Bang Sue and Hua Mark and between Bang Sue and Hua Lampong, the deputy permanent secretary said could be held in March.

As for the 95 billion baht worth of high-speed project between Bangkok and Hua Hin and the 152 billion baht worth of Bangkok-Rayong high-speed train project, he expected bidding to take place in the third quarter of next year under public-private sectors joint investment platform.

Under the PPP platform, Mr Phirapol explained that the private sector could present their land for commercial development on land beside the rail lines and would be required to conduct feasibility study and environmental impact assessment at its own costs.

He said that ministry would try to wrap up the two high-speed train projects this year before they are to be submitted to the National Economic and Social Development Board and the cabinet for consideration respectively.

Contract signing for four dual-track train projects worth together 91 billion baht are to be concluded within March 26. They are 167-km Prachuab Khiri Khan-Chumporn train project, 132-km Mabkabao-Chira junction project, 148-km Lop Buri-Paknam Po project and 165-km Nakhon Pathom-Hua Hin project.

More time to be given to Bestlin Group to deliver 489 NGV buses to BMTA

Thai PBS

Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) will give more time for Bestlin Group to secure financing to pay for the import taxes and fines for Chinese-made 489 NGV buses to be delivered to the city bus operator.

BMTA director Surachai Iamwachirakul said Monday that it was doubtless that the company which won the auction to supply the city bus operators with 489 NGV buses could not deliver the bus fleet within the December 29 deadline because the company could not secure the funds needed to pay the Customs Department for the import taxes and fines imposed on the company for declaring the false origin of the buses.

The buses were supposed to be assembled in Malaysia with 40 percent local contents which would have enabled Bestlin to be eligible to tax free under the Asean free trade zone. As it turned out, the bus fleet was shipped from China in fully-assembled form and re-routed to Malaysia supposedly to be assembled which never actually took place. The buses were shipped to Laem Chabang deep-sea port.

Customs Department have impounded the bus fleet at the port pending payment of import taxes and fines.

In case the buses could not be delivered within December 29 deadline which is only a few days away, Mr Surachai said Beslin Group would be fined by the BMTA 17,000 baht a day for each bus for the delay.

He indicated that the city bus operator had a Plan B in store in case delivery could not be made and the contract was to be scrapped, but he declined to elaborate.

Man survives epic car crash

Ratchasart Thansuwanrath claimed the Luang Poh Sothorn amulet he was wearing allowed him to walk away from the crash that demolished his car.

By Patcharapol Panrak

A Najomtien man survived a devastating car crash.

Ratchasart Thansuwan­rath, 41, suffered only minor injuries after totaling his black Toyota Altis by plowing it into a light post on Sukhumvit Road near Ruan Gyoongthong village Dec. 15.

Ratchasart told police that he was coming from his home in Najomtien Sub-district and was bound for Sattahip when a pickup truck cut him off at a U-turn. He lost control of the vehicle and took out the light pole.

He claimed the Luang Poh Sothorn amulet he was wearing allowed him to walk away from the crash that demolished his car.



Back to Main Page

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Russian nabbed trying to blow up an ATM

Alleged hacker detained for 12 more days

11-month cross border trade surpasses 1.33 trillion baht

Rice packing volunteer program concludes with success

Cabinet orders establishment of Rail Transport Department

Drone used in mine development

Khao Kiew Open Zoo receives rare black jaguar ahead of New Year's

Trail runners get new event for 2017

More lottery tickets for December 30 draw

Cabinet is due to consider Thai-Chinese high-speed train project in January

More time to be given to Bestlin Group to deliver 489 NGV buses to BMTA

Man survives epic car crash



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