PM says Thailand will be corruption-free in 20 years
Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha
said the government will not intervene in the Thai justice system, while
urging everyone to cooperate with the government to combat corruption.
Presiding over the opening ceremony of
the government's Anti-Corruption Day event, the premier said that corruption
is the cause of social unrest and prevents the country from growing and
developing in a sustainable way.
Gen Prayut said the Anti-Corruption Day
event aimed to encourage everyone in the country to fight against all types
of graft, to augment the government’s ongoing efforts. He further stated
that every corruption-related case must be handled fairly, according to the
legal procedures. The premier affirmed that the government will not
interfere with the legal process.
He also cited the need to instill in
younger generations negative attitudes towards corruption, in order to
prevent it from occurring in the future. Gen Prayut also expressed
confidence that Thailand will be free of graft in 20 years, as his
government has an effective plan in place.
ALRO told to demolish a police general’s luxury house
The Agricultural Land Reform Office
(ALRO) has been ordered to demolish a luxury house and several buildings
on a 535-rai land plot located on Sor Por Kor land occupied by Pol
Maj-Gen Chalee Pekanan, said Agriculture Minister Chatchai Sarikalaya on
The planned demolition of buildings
on the land plot followed a final ruling by the Supreme Court on July
15, evicting the police major-general from the land that he had
General Chatchai said that Pol
Maj-Gen Chalee had asked for 120 days for him to carry out the
demolition of an expensive log cabin himself instead of by workers from
After the completion of the
demolition work, he said this particular plot of Sor Por Kor land will
be turned into a learning centre and demonstration plot for farmers and
some of the land will be allocated to landless farmers to make a living.
The agriculture minister is also
due to inspect a 1,028-rai land plot in Pak Chong district of Nakhon
Ratchasima illegally occupied by heirs of Chukiat Tangpongprat. He said
this land plot will be reclaimed and reallocated to landless farmers.
Airport operator issues warning on Samsung smartphones
Airports of Thailand (AOT) has warned
passengers to refrain from placing the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone into
their checked baggage, following an advisory issued by the FAA and EASA.
AOT President Nitinai Sirismatthakarn
asked all passengers to adhere to the new advisory for safety reasons. The
warning is in compliance with statements issued by the Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
The full advisory from the two
organizations also forbids the use and charge of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7
onboard aircraft, requiring the device to be turned off completely and
disconnected to any power source throughout the entire flight.
The latest regulation comes after
several reports of the device exploding due to a battery defect. Numerous
airlines are now enforcing these measures, including the Thailand’s national
flag carrier THAI Airways.
AOT is the operator of 6 major airports
in Thailand, namely Bangkok Suvarnabhumi, Bangkok Don Mueang, Phuket, Chiang
Mai, Chiang Rai, and Hat Yai.
VAT rate to be pegged at 7 percent for another year
The Revenue Department has proposed the
Finance Ministry to keep the value-added tax (VAT) rate at 7 percent for
another year until the end of September 2017, citing the slow economic
recovery and impact on business operators and the public if the VAT rate is
Revenue Department chief Prasong
Poonthanet said Monday that the government, in the past year, has meted out
various packages to help grassroots people who have been hard hit by drought
while exports are contracting due to the global economic slowdown.
Increasing the VAT rate from 7 to 10
percent would add more burden on the consumers and increase the production
costs of business operators, he noted.
Mr Prasong predicted that the
collection of revenue taxes for the 2016 fiscal year would fall short of the
adjusted target of 1.75 trillion baht by approx. 140 billion baht due to a
substantial drop in petroleum taxes because of low oil prices.
However, he said the department would
be able to meet next fiscal year’s target of 1.82 trillion baht in revenue
tax collection in light of the forecast of economic expansion over the next
90,000 rai of trespassed forest successfully reclaimed this year
The Royal Forest Department has
reclaimed 90,000 rais of trespassed forest land so far this year, and is
undergoing investigations on holding rights for lands prepared for resort
construction at 1,000 locations.
Royal Forest Department
Director-General Chonlatid Suraswadi has revealed that the department has
now almost reached its target goal of 100,000 rais set at the start of the
The forest reclamation campaign was
conducted in parallel with the conservation campaign for existing forests,
as Thailand loses forest land at the rate of 100,000 rais each year.
The Forest Department's
director-general disclosed that the reclaiming campaign has shown the
reduction of trespassing since the start of campaign in 2015, signaling
optimism for the plan to increase the nation’s forest area during the next
20 years according to the government’s strategy.
The Royal Forest Department is now
working to accelerate the verification process for resorts and vacation
homes in 1,000 locations for their land holding rights, as they are reported
to be built on the location of trespassed lands.
Use of Samsung Galaxy Note 7 banned by three Thai airlines
Three Thai airlines have separately
announced the ban of the use of Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones on board
their airlines and in storing the phones in their check-in luggage.
The ban followed an announcement by
manufacturer Samsung to recall all its Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones
after it was reported that several phones had exploded and caught fire
during and after recharging.
Thai Airways International’s director
for safety Prathana Pattanasiri said that for the sake of safety, the
airline would like to ask for cooperation from all passengers not to switch
on or to recharge their Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones while on board a
Also, he said passengers would be asked
not to load their Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones in their check-in
baggage which are loaded in the luggage compartment.
He added passengers were also advised
to report to cabin crews if their electronic appliances heat up, get lost
during in-flight or are accidentally dropped in gaps between seats.
Use of and recharging of Samsung Galaxy
Note smartphones during in-flight are also banned on Nok Air and Thai Air
Asia planes and passengers were advised not to load the devices in their
Student in coma after college prank goes wrong
A student of a university in Sri Racha
is in a coma with a severe lung infection in the ICU of Chonburi provincial
hospital after he was forced to dive in a waste water pond by his seniors
during a hazing ritual.
The incident was posted in the Facebook
page of a netizen who was believed to be the elder sister of the victim
identified as Chokechai Thongnuakhao or Boss.
Her message reads: “Yesterday (Sept 9),
whichever senior who, while conducting a hazing activity in an
unconstructive fashion, forced my brother to wash in a waste water pond
until he drowned. It took two attempts of diving before he was retrieved
from the pond. He is now in ICU with severe lung infection and in serious
condition. Whichever seniors are responsible for the life of my brother?”
She gave further details of the hazing
ritual that her brother went through. She said her brother was forced to
wash in one pond, but the senior students thought he was not clean enough
and forced him to wash in another pond. She thought her brother might feel
tired and drowned.
When the victim was brought up from the
pond, he was rushed to the hospital. However, his condition was serious and
he was transferred to Chonburi provincial hospital where he is now in a
She disclosed that on the same evening
a lecturer called her claiming that the hazing activity was held by the
students themselves without permission from the university and the
university had warned them before not to go to the waste water treatment
facility because it is dangerous.
After the first post, more messages
were posted on social media, apparently, by the victim’s classmates who went
through a similar ordeal. One claimed that the pond was used to treat
Thailand’s tourism continues expansion
Thailand’s tourism industry has
continued its steady expansion while the situation in Hua Hin, which was one
of the areas affected by fatal bombings in August, has returned to normal.
Tourism Minister Kobkarn
Wattanavrangkul said that the tourism sector in southern Hua Hin has seen
business as usual of late, after having suffered the effects of a number of
bombings, which killed two and injured dozens of others, including foreign
tourists in August.
Ms. Kobkarn said that the number of
foreign visitors to Hua Hin has barely changed after the bombings and in
fact registered an 11 percent rise from the preceding month.
With the number of tourists on the
increase, Ms. Kobkarn believes that total tourism revenue will hit the 2.4
trillion baht target, which the Tourism Ministry has set for this year.
PM happy with fruitful talks with his Malaysian counterpart
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha
expressed his satisfaction with the talks on wide-ranging issues with his
Malaysian counterpart, Najib Razak, and thanked Malaysia for its role as the
facilitator in the informal peace talks between the Thai government and Mara
Patani in Kuala Lumpur.
In a joint press conference held at the
end of 6th bilateral meeting between Thailand and Malaysia, the prime
minister said the two sides agreed on the need for the two countries to
cooperate on security affairs and exchange of information to deal with
terrorism, transnational crimes and illegal immigration.
The prime minister disclosed that the
two sides also agreed to increase bilateral trade to the tune of US$30
billion, to support greater use of para rubber and to accelerate the
creation of special economic zones, among others.
DDPM advises 19 provinces to brace for heavy rains
The Department of Disaster Prevention
and Mitigation (DDPM) has advised 19 provinces to brace for heavy rains
while villagers in risk areas have been advised to closely monitor weather
forecasts and warnings as well as strictly follow the instructions.
The 19 provinces reportedly risking
possible flooding include Mae Hong Son, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Payao, Nan,
Prae, Tak, Kampaengpet, Nakorn Panom, Sakon Nakorn, Nong Khai, Bueng Kan,
Uthai Thani, Chantaburi, Trat, Ranong, Pang-nga, Phuket and Krabi.
In particular, the flooding situation
in Sakon Nakorn has reportedly improved, according to the department.
Nevertheless, flood victims in those
provinces are encouraged to contact local DDPM units or call Hotline 1784
around the clock.
Three Chinese nationals arrested for kidnapping another Chinese man
Tourist police have arrested three
Chinese nationals for allegedly holding hostage another Chinese national for
The three suspects, who are all in
their fifties, were identified by police as Zhou Junrong, Liangzhi Yun and
Xu Zhiwei. They were apprehended after tourist police were informed by the
Chinese Embassy that another Chinese national, Jian Tian Ming, was being
Tourist Police Chief Police Major
General Surachet Hakpaan said Jian Tian Ming arrived in Thailand last month
to have a business discussion with one of the suspects, whom he met in
The victim claimed the three of them
appeared to be hospitable and took him to several tourist sites. They later
took him to a hotel on Charoen Krung Road in Bangkok where they then
The three of them forced him to call
his relatives in China and asked them to transfer 1.5 million baht. They
also threatened to hurt him if the money was not wired to their account on
However, his relatives only transferred
half the ransom amount and decided to contact the Chinese Embassy in
Thailand to seek its assistance in finding him.
Supreme Court holds third hearing in rice-pledging scheme suit
The Supreme Court’s Political Position
Holders Division has held the third hearing for the Office of the Attorney
General’s (OAG) case of negligence leading to corruption in the national
rice scheme against former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
The third hearing in the case seeking
fault against the former premier for allowing rampant corruption within her
government’s rice-pledging scheme saw 2 new witnesses giving statements. The
two were Sumet Laomoraporn, chief executive officer of CP Intertrade Co.
Ltd., and Chai Wacharong, an independent academic.
Ex-Prime Minister Yingluck was present
for the hearing on Friday and took the opportunity to voice her agreement
towards the government’s decision not to use Article 44 of the interim
constitution to seek further damages over the failed scheme. She also noted
her opposition to a former Democrat party member preparing to make the
monetary damage total of the scheme public, saying the figures could sway
public sentiment and would be inappropriate.
Air Asia management: crew volunteered to apologize before passenger
Air Asia management has categorically
denied that it forced one cabin crew member to apologize to a passenger by
means of prostrating before her and her autistic niece.
The incident occurred on September 2
and was eventually posted on social media and went viral, sparking off
dissenting comments against the woman passenger and also against a manager
of the airline for allegedly forcing the crew to apologize in this fashion.
Many of the comments came from staff of
Air Asia as they vented frustration on social media against the passenger as
well as the manager.
The incident prompted Air Asia CEO Tony
Fernandez to fly into Bangkok to personally assure the company’s Thai staff
that it will continue to be fair to its employees.
Tony Fernandez, accompanied by the
airline’s Thai executives, will on Friday fly to Hat Yai to personally
apologize to the air crew member and her family over the unfortunate
At a meeting with the Thai staff on
Thursday, the CEO vowed to take responsibility for the incident and assured
them that the management has always attached importance to its staff.
Tassapol Belevelle, CEO of Thai Air
Asia, said the airline did not force the crew member to prostrate in front
of the passenger but it was the crew member herself who offered to perform
the prostration in order to end the dispute with the passenger.
The incident reportedly stemmed from
the crew member approaching the passenger’s autistic daughter to offer help
but her approach was mistaken by her mother to be a mocking of her
daughter’s condition, prompting her to demand an apology from the crew.
It was reported in social media that
even though the crew member had apologized and given a “wai”, the passenger
was not satisfied and demanded that she prostrate on the floor to apologize.
In the aftermath of the incident, Mr
Tassapol said the airline would adjust the in-flight protocols regarding
conflict between cabin crew and passengers by referring the incidents to the
customer’s relations department.
Chiang Rai police take in major haul in latest drug bust
Chiang Rai police have reported the
apprehension of a drug trading ring with 500,000 pills of methamphetamine
and 7 kilograms of heroin seized.
Mae Sai Police Commissioner Pol Lt Gen
Songkris Ontrakrai led a joint police and military force to intercept drug
smugglers found operating in Huay Krai sub-district.
Authorities seized a black Honda with
Chiang Rai license plates carrying 5 large bags containing a range of
narcotics. They were also able to arrest a man so far only named Arjoh
likely of Myanmar citizenship, another man named Arsoh also from Myanmar and
two possible ring leaders, one named Abdullah Buena from Narathiwat province
and an unnamed woman from Chiang Rai province.
The seizure uncovered 500,000 pills of
methamphetamine, 60 kilograms of amphetamine and 7 kilograms of heroin.
Initial questioning has revealed the
group picked up the haul from the Thai-Myanmar border in an area populated
by the Lahu people. The group is being further interrogated for leads to
other members of their ring.
Mekong River level cause for concern in Nong Khai
Nong Khai province has reported a
sudden rise in the level of the Mekong River with concerns it will continue
The Nong Khai water monitoring office
under the Department of Water Resources has reported the latest height of
the Mekong River at 8 meters and 63 centimeters, up by over 1 meter from the
same time on Wednesday and only 3.57 meters below its flood barriers.
With indications that waters in Chiang
Kan of Loei province to the north have already risen 83 centimeters in one
day, authorities are fearful that Nong Khai’s river levels will reach
critical heights. The monitoring office has called for close watch over the
next 24 hours.
Authorities have also inspected the
readiness of the province’s 14 water pumps installed along the Mekong River
in anticipation of flash flooding. With more rains forecasted during this
period, the office has decided to go on high alert.
Marine police seek freighter suspected of causing oil spill
Saensook municipality has asked the
marine police to track down a freighter suspected of discharging used bunker
oil into the sea which has eventually been swept ashore by waves on the
popular Bang Saen beach since Wednesday.
Black oil slicks were spotted floating
from Laem Chabang in Si Racha district and from Si Chang island toward Bang
Saen beach. Eventually, the slicks were swept ashore about two kilometres
long on the Bang Saen beach.
Saensook municipal mayor Narongchai
Khunpleum said he suspected the slicks were discharged by one of the
freighters which anchored in the sea off Bang Saen beach or which sailed
through Bang Saen beach.
However, he said he had asked the
marine police to try to track down the culprit or culprits.
Workers were mobilized Thursday by
Saensook municipality to clean up the beach. Absorbing films were put into
the sea to absorb the oil slicks before they reach the shoreline while other
workers removed oil-stained sand from the beach.
Many provinces continue to experience flooding
Many areas across Thailand remain
submerged under flood water following days of heavy rainfall.
In the southern province of Pang Nga,
residents in Kapong district have been warned of possible mudslides and
flash floods until further notice. Those traveling to the municipality area
have reportedly had difficulty driving on Petchakasem Road due to the
In the North, 18 homes in four villages
in Santisuk district of Nan province have been affected by flash floods.
Local residents in Thung Chang district have also been coping with the flood
after their flood walls collapsed. Soldiers have already been deployed to
help those in need.
In Nakhon Sawan, the surface runoff
from Phetchabun Mountain has flooded hundreds of rice fields in Chum Saeng
district. The Office of Local Administration was forced to lift the sluice
gates to relieve the flood water to prevent further damage to the crop.
In the northeastern province of Nakhon
Phanom, provincial authorities continue to monitor water levels in the
Mekong River as water has already flooded more than 500 rais of farmlands
and three villages in Natom district.
Cabinet green lights Golden Route monorail project
The cabinet has in principle approved
the Golden Route monorail project from Thonburi electric train station to
Klongsarn district office-Prachathipok to facilitate the travelling of
people in Thonburi side of the capital and to link up with the mass transit
Implementation of the project is to be
divided into two stages. The first stage, which is from Thonburi electric
train station to Taksin hospital covering a distance of 1.7 km, will be
undertaken by Bangkok Metropolitan Administration which will conduct a study
on the format of the project – be it an underground or above-ground system
and investment whether it will be a joint venture with the private sector or
wholly-funded by the state. The project is expected to be operational in
The second stage covers a distance of
0.9 km from Taksin hospital to Wat Anongkharam to connect with the Purple
Line extension. This project is expected to be completed in 2023. On top of
that, there is a plan to extend the route to Asiatique entertainment
The cabinet also approved the
construction of highway No 2136 to link Sukhumvit Road with U-tapao airport
in correspondence with the government’s policy for the Eastern Corridor
Economic Development. Construction will take three years at an estimated
cost of 225 million baht.
PM affirms Thailand's readiness to support business at ASEAN Summit
The Prime Minister has urged investors
to be confident in his government’s commitment to supporting trade and
business on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit.
Prime Minister Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha,
in Vientiane of Lao PDR for the 28th and 29th ASEAN Leader Summits being
hosted by the Laotian government, has met with his Lao counterpart Thonglun
Sisoulith to congratulate him on his country’s work as chair of the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations. He affirmed to the Lao premier that
Thailand is ready to support its neighbor in all areas both bilaterally and
multilaterally. Gen Prayuth also used the opportunity of their meeting to
invite PM Thonglun to the Asia Cooperation Dialogue taking place in Bangkok
on October 9-10.
The Thai prime minister then jointed in
witnessing the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Thailand and
Lao PDR on joint energy development, which will see Thailand increase its
purchase of power from Lao from 7,000 Megawatts to 9,000. He affirmed to PM
Thonglun that he would support infrastructural developments such as more
connecting bridges in the future.
After the ceremony, the premier joined
his fellow ASEAN leaders in meeting with the ASEAN Business Advisory Council
to exchange views on trade and investment in the region. At the discussion,
Gen Prayuth assured Thailand is ready to support public-private connections
and exchanges of electronic information. He played up the Kingdom’s focus on
small and medium enterprises and start-ups and its Thailand 4.0 model. He
affirmed to the council that Thailand is ready to facilitate trade and
investment to help drive the region’s economy.
Jatuporn unfazed with bail withdrawal prospect
United Front for Democracy
Against Dictatorship (UDD) chairman Jatuporn Promphan said on Wednesday that
he was unfazed with the prospect that he may return to the detention cell if
his bail is withdrawn by the Office of the Attorney-General.
Also, the OAG has asked the court to
withdraw the bails granted to other UDD leaders who include Natthawut
Saikua, Weng Tochirakarn, Veerakarn Musikapong and Nisit Sindhuprai accusing
them of breaking the terms of the bail.
Jatuporn said that the political
groups, UDD, the People’s Alliance for Democracy and the People’s Democratic
Reform Committee share different ideologies and have different origins.
Both the PAD and the PDRC are finished
with the exception of the UDD which will carry on its struggle until
democracy is restored, said Jatuporn.
The PDRC, said Jatuporn, was created to
protest against a law in order to put itself into the corridor of power but
when this failed it opened the door for the military to stage a coup two
years ago and, now, the PDRC has downgraded into just a foundation.
Alibaba Group CEO meets with Prime Minister
The CEO of one of China’s largest
companies has taken the opportunity to meet with Thailand’s Prime Minister
while he was in Hangzhou, China for the Group of 20 summit (G20).
Prime Minister Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha
was visited Monday by Jack Yun Ma, the chief executive officer of Alibaba
Group, one of China’s largest E-commerce corporations. The two discussed
supporting and developing small and medium enterprises in Thailand, with the
premier pointing out that up to 90 percent of Thailand’s exports are from
SMEs while noting that they have been lacking in proper management. He
invited the successful CEO to share his experience and knowledge with Thai
businesses as well as to aid in creating an SME network in Thailand, which
he said would also benefit foreign investors.
Ma meanwhile, lauded the Gen Prayuth
for prioritizing SMEs, giving his view that current global conditions
benefit large corporations while serving as an obstacle to small
enterprises. Nonetheless, he indicated he believes new avenues of sale will
dominate in the next 30 years.
He also noted Thailand has many strong
supporting factors for business, such as quality human resources, and said
that with the application of new technology it could greatly boost its
competitiveness. He said his company is looking to use its Alitrip system to
boost travel to Thailand by Chinese citizens.
The premier concluded the meeting by
urging the CEO to work with Thailand’s OTOP makers with the businessman
responding he was interested in the sector.
Unicef expresses concern over violence in Deep South
Thai PBS & AP
Unicef representative for Thailand on
Tuesday expressed deep concern over continuing violence in restive
southernmost provinces of Thailand, particularly the motorcycle bomb blast
yesterday morning in Narathiwat which killed three people, including a
4-year old girl and her father, and injured ten other people.
issued Tuesday, Thomas Davin, Unicef representative for Thailand said the
organization was shocked and saddened by the incident, noting that schools
must be places for learning, discovery and recreation for children.
“No children, nor any caretakers or
education professionals should live or learn under of such attacks. All
schools must become safe havens,” said the statement.
Unicef then called upon all parties
concerned to do everything in their power to ensure that children are
protected and no more children fall victim of violence.
Preliminary investigations into Tuesday's incident show that a suspect drove
a motorcycle and parked it in front of a small store across from the school
in Tak Bai district of Narathiwat province, police Lt. Col. Noppadon
Kingthong said. He said the bomb was placed in the front basket of the
motorcycle and was detonated remotely.
targets were traffic policemen and people dropping off their children at the
Baan Ta Baa School, Noppadon said.
addition to the father and daughter who died of their injuries while being
taken to a hospital, a 23-year-old man who was one of eight people
hospitalized died of his injuries. Three of those hurt were police personnel
and one was from the military, Noppadon said.
CTH Cable TV ordered to pay 20,000 baht in fine each day
CTH Cable TV Company has been ordered
by the Broadcasting Board of the National Broadcasting and
Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) to pay fines amounting to 20,000 baht a
day starting August 28 until the cable TV service provider fulfils the
board’s order for it to refund its clients.
NBTC deputy secretary-general Pakdee
Manaves said Tuesday that the broadcasting board on Monday rejected CTH
Cable TV Company’s request for the postponement of the submission of its
rehabilitation plan to the board following its suspension of its service
through KU band.
The board, on the same day, decided to
impose a fine of 20,000 baht/day on the company dating back to August 25, he
said, adding that the company may have its operating license suspended or
revoked if it continues to defy the board.
Meanwhile, the broadcasting board also
fined GMM B Company under the management of CTH Cable TV 20,000 baht in
fines per day for its refusal to refund its Z Pay TV clients.
The board also considered the
cancellation of a rental contract between Mass Communications Organization
of Thailand and users of digital TVB network which are yet to pay the rental
fees to MCOT.
Seminar calls for more severe punishment for child molesters
The Office of the Attorney General has
sought to more severely punish those convicted of child molestation in
response to the growing prevalence of such cases.
At seminar titled “Society’s Way Out
from Molestation” organized by the Department of Children and Youth and the
Commission for Improving Child Laws in line with the Constitution and
Children’s Rights Treaties, Expert Public Prosecutor Wanchai Rujanawong
remarked that laws must be implemented with greater severity against those
convicted of molestation.
He called for distinctions to be drawn
between rapists who also murder their victims, rapists who cause injury and
rapists who pose a threat to society, with punishments differing from
execution and life imprisonment to asset seizure. He asserted convicts of
such crimes should not have the chance at lowered sentences.
Deputy Director of the Department of
Mental Health Dr. Panpimol Wipulakorn indicated that the frequency of
molestation cases is on the rise with offenders ranging from family members
to high-level officials. She also noted that the ages of victims in children
molestation cases now range from as low as 11 months to 5 years of age. She
stated that her office agrees that punishment for instigators of such crimes
should be severe as their victims, despite extensive treatment, often are
unable to completely move past the trauma inflicted upon them.
PM meets Chinese president on sidelines of G20 summit
The Prime Minister has met with China’s
president on the sidelines of the Group of 20 (G20) summit now taking place
in Hangzhou in the People’s Republic of China.
Prime Minister’s Office Deputy
Spokesperson Col Weerachon Sukhontapatipak reported on the bilateral
discussion between Prime Minister Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha and Chinese
president Xi Jinping, making known the Thai premier started their meeting by
congratulating the Chinese leader on his hosting of the G20 Summit.
The prime minister affirmed to the
president that he wanted Thailand and China to continue to work together and
cooperate on meeting their mutual challenges as well as to achieve the
shared objectives of China and ASEAN. The Chinese president responded by
assuring that China has given great importance to developing its relations
with Thailand and strategic partnerships.
Gen Prayuth thanked the president for
inviting Thailand to the summit as the current chair of the Group of 77
developing nations (G77), stating that China’s desire to bring together the
G20 and G77 indicates vision. He relayed thanks through the president to the
people of China for their frequent visits to Thailand and assured them they
would be well cared for while in the Kingdom.
President Xi ended the meeting by
assuring that his government is ready to work with Thailand on a Thai-China
rail system despite minor delays.
More water discharged downstream from Chao Phraya dam
The Royal Irrigation Department has
started increasing the amount of water discharged from the Chao Phraya dam
from 80 cubic metres/second to 120 cubic metres/second into the Chao Phraya
river in anticipation of the arrival of northern runoffs.
Suthep Noipairote, the department head,
said on Monday that the increased discharge of water through the sluice
gates would slightly overflow the banks of Plongpleng canal.
As more rains are expected this week in
the northern region, he said there is a good chance that the water level of
major dams in the North which include Bhumibol, Sirikit, Kwae Noi and Pasak
As of September 5, the volumes of water
in the four major dams are as follows: Bhumibo, 4,787 million cubic metres
with 987 million cubic metres usable; Sirikitl 5,982 million cubic metres
with 3,132 million cubic metres usable; Kwae Noi, 383 million cubic metres
with 340 million cubic metres usable and Pasak, 315 million cubic metres.
Mr Suthep said rainmaking aircraft
fleet based at Hua Hin had been moved to bases in Tak and Chiang Mai to step
up rainmaking efforts with an anticipation to add another 800 million cubic
metres into the northern dams.
NRSA expects to complete work before being disbanded
The National Reform Steering Assembly
(NRSA) has stepped up its efforts to install concrete reforms in the nation
as the end of its term approaches.
At the latest meeting of the NRSA,
chaired by its head Capt Thinaphan Nakata, the assembly was informed of the
Cabinet’s decisions on suggested reforms, which included moves to strengthen
communities and a proposed draft on welfare. It was also given a report on
the work of the three sided coordinating committee or Whip 3.
Deputy Chairman of the NRSA Alongkorn
Polabutr made known that a total 88 reform proposals have been sent to the
Prime Minister with 9 approved for review by the government and 65 by the
Whip 3. He also indicated that the premier has ordered relevant agencies
that have received reform decisions to enact them immediately and report on
progress every 15 days.
Alongkorn stated that over the final
seven months of the NRSA, which is to be disbanded once the new constitution
comes into effect, it must complete all needed draft laws to support its
Police yet to confirm the cause of Thawatchai’s death
Police are yet to conclude whether
Thawatchai Anukul, a former land officials of Phuket and Phang-nga
provinces, was murdered or whether he hanged himself.
Pol Col Mana Pohchuey, superintendent
of Thung Song Hong police station which has been investigating the case,
said Monday that his men had been in the process of gathering relevant
evidence for the past five days since Thawatchai’s death, including autopsy
reports and testimonies of those interrogated by the police.
He said that, so far, three men had
been interrogated, including the security guard manning the detention room
at the Department of Special Investigation on the night of Thawatchai’s
death, the police officer who made the arrest and the enquiry officer who
questioned the victim.
More were due to be questioned this
week including the victim’s younger brother, Charnnarong, and the medics of
Mongkut Wattana hospital who performed the CPR on Thawatchai.
The security guard, Sommart Narkwong,
an employee of the War Veterans Organization, reportedly told the enquiry
officer that Thawatchai hanged himself with his T-shirt while, in fact, it
was his socks, said Pol Col Mana who, however, added that such an error was
not serious because he might have been in a state of shock.
Sommart was subjected to lie detection
by the DSI but the result has yet to be sent to Thung Song Hong police, said
He went on to say that he was yet to
receive CCTV footage of the detention room from the DSI.
PM says ‘there will be a general election’
Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha
insists that a general election will take place according to the country’s
roadmap, adding that a cabinet reshuffle is unnecessary at the moment.
Gen. Prayut, who is also head of the
National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) said ministers and deputy
ministers have been working to the best of their abilities and that he is
content with their performance.
When asked about the appointment of a
new chief adviser to the Ministry of Defense, he said the appointment was
not meant to reciprocate or return a favor, nor was the position lobbied for
by Gen. Prem Tinsulanonda, the President of the Privy Council of Thailand.
The recruitment process went through a
thorough and careful deliberation by what he called “the five tigers”. The
five tigers refer to five generals of the Thai army.
He then called on the public to be
cautious when consuming new information as it could be misguided, while
confirming that a general election will be staged in due course.
Rain-making efforts to be stepped up to replenish water in four main dams
The Department of Royal Rain-making and
Agricultural Aviation has stepped up rain-making operations to increase
water stored at the country’s four major dams to ensure sufficient water
supply to meet demands during the upcoming dry season.
Surasee Kittimonthon, deputy
director-general of the department, said that the weather conditions now
until October 20 are suitable for rainmaking and the department hopes to add
an addition of 800 million cubic metres of rain water into the four dams,
including about half of them in Bhumibol dam, during the period.
In the worst case scenario of the
lowest level of water in the Bhumibol dam, he estimated that the dam can
still hold about 5,000 million cubic metres of water which may have effects
on farming areas in Tak, Kamphaeng Phet, Sukhothai and Nakhon Sawan
In order to step up rain-making
efforts, two more rain-making centres were set up in Phitsanuloke and Buri
Ram in addition to the five existing ones in Chiang Mai, Nakhon Sawan, Khon
Kaen, Rayong and Surat Thani.
Mr Surasee said the department had
worked out a plan to increase its personnel, including pilots and
scientists, who are in shortage, in cooperation with universities.
On top of that, the department has
recently signed an agreement of cooperation with the Science and Technology
Research Institute to develop locally-produced chemicals for use in
rain-making instead of relying on imports.
The department is now experiencing a
shortage of pilots, mechanics and scientists. It now has 57 pilots and 34
aircraft. But five men are needed for two planes, hence forcing most pilots
to work seven days a week.
SRT suspends train services to three southernmost provinces
The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has
temporarily suspended train services to the three southernmost provinces of
Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat following a huge bomb explosion which tore
apart a train carriage in Pattani, killing one railway official and wounding
three other people.
The latest bomb blast which, this time,
targeted a carriage of the Su-ngai Kolok-Hat Yai train took place in Kok Pho
district of Pattani late Saturday afternoon. It was reported a 50kg
improvised explosive device was planted underneath the last carriage of the
train which was normally used by officials.
There were about 50 passengers on the
train, said the SRT, adding that South-bound trains would stop at Hat Yai
and would not go any further until the SRT is assured by security officials
it is safe to resume the services.
Passengers who have made advance
bookings to Su-ngai Kolok can change their tickets or ask for refund. For
anyone who still want to use the train service, the SRT will arrange for
transport to take the passengers from Hat Yai to Su-ngai Kolok.
Two subdistricts of Bueng Kan under Zika watch
Two sub-districts in the northern
province of Bueng Kan will remain under surveillance for the Zika virus
while Chiang Mai officials are going door to door to raise public awareness
of the infectious disease.
After a meeting with related officials,
Chaitawat Niamsiri, Bueng Kan's deputy governor, said a total of 96 Zika
cases have been reported in the province. Of that number, 93 patients have
fully recovered while three patients are still in intensive care. He said
two sub-districts will remain Zika risk zones until declared otherwise.
Local officials have asked residents to
eliminate all possible mosquito breeding grounds and are organizing cleaning
activities throughout the province.
Meanwhile in Chiang Mai, public health
authorities and volunteers are speeding up Zika prevention campaigns and
raising public awareness of the mosquito-borne virus. Nine Zika cases have
already been reported in the area.
Anti-mosquito sprays and other
Zika-prevention measures have been deployed across the region.
Chiang Mai reports 2 more Zika cases
Chiang Mai province has reported the
discovery of 2 new cases of Zika virus infection in San Sai district,
bringing the province’s total number of infections to 9 people, and
prompting the local health office to declare Mae Jo University a controlled
Chiang Mai’s provincial public health
office has indicated that among 2 new cases of Zika virus infection is a
freshman student of Mae Jo University who became ill on August 27 and was
diagnosed with the virus on September 1. The student, who resides in the
university’s dormitory, has prompted the office to declare the institution a
The office has commenced with
anti-mosquito sprays and the eradication of mosquito breeding grounds to
quell the spread of the disease. Among the now 9 total infections in the
province, one was a pregnant woman.
The discoveries follow research by the
UK’s Lancaster University indicating that up to one third of the world’s
population lives in areas at risk of Zika proliferation, which include most
Dr Wisanu: S44 may be invoked to suspend over 20 senior officials
Section 44 of the interim constitution
will be invoked to suspend from active duties over 20 senior government
officials of C8-9 levels suspected to be involved in corruption, Deputy
Prime Minister Wisanu Krea-ngarm disclosed on Friday.
After a meeting of the National
Anti-Corruption Committee chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha, Dr
Wisanu said the committee received a report about 237 officials being
investigated for alleged involvement in corruption. Of these, the probe
concerning 62 cases were completed and eight of them were fired with 105
cases still pending probes and 63 other cases in the process of having more
He said that the investigation of all
these cases concern disciplinary actions and the cases will go through the
judicial process only after the disciplinary probes are completed.
Dr Wisanu declined to comment when
asked about the National Reform Steering Council’s proposed recommendations
about four organic laws for the Constitution Drafting Committee.
He maintained that it is the
prerogative of the CDC to draft the organic laws and relevant agencies can
propose their recommendations to the CDC for consideration.
Floods hit several provinces
The Royal Irrigation Department has
warned downstream areas to prepare for flooding, which has struck several
Floods have reportedly inundated a
number of districts in the central provinces of Nakhon Sawan, Uthai Thani,
and Phichit. In Nakhon Sawan, a local school has been submerged, forcing
teachers and students to relocate to the community temple for the time
In Uthai Thani, the overflowing Tak Dad
River has put more than 40 houses and farming areas under water. Residents
were forced to move their belongings to higher ground.
In Phichit, flooding has brought on
extensive damage to agricultural areas in three districts. Though the
situation has nearly returned to normal, relevant agencies remain on high
alert, as they anticipate run-off from the provinces of Phetchabun and
Meanwhile, the Royal Irrigation
Department has cautioned people in provinces located at the tip of the Chao
Phraya Dam to beware of possible flooding. Rainfall in the upper part of the
country has increased water at the reservoir and in the Chao Phraya River,
which has risen by 80-120 centimeters.
Riverfront communities in the provinces
of Chainat and Ayutthaya are advised to prepare themselves for flooding.
Inflation up 0.29% in August, expected to decline by year end
The Trade Policy and Strategy Office
(TPSO) of the Ministry of Commerce reports that August inflation rose, but
predicts a decline by the year end.
TPSO Director, Somkiat Triratpan,
revealed that the inflation rate in August increased for a fifth month to
0.29 percent year-on-year, due to the price hike in fruit and vegetables as
well as instant food during the Chinese ghost festival.
The inflation rate over the first eight
months averaged -0.03 percent year-on-year since production in the auto,
transport and communications industries fell by 3.01 percent. The TPSO
expects the inflation rate to decline later this year.
The Ministry of Commerce maintains that
the inflation rate in 2016 will average about 1 percent, based on its
forecast of 2.8 - 3.8 percent economic growth for the year. The ministry
also expects Dubai crude to range from 35-45 dollars per barrel and the Thai
currency to appreciate to 35-37 baht per dollar.
PM wants crackdown on zero-dollar tour operations
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha has
ordered a crackdown on zero-dollar tour operators and told officials
concerned to strictly enforce the law without fear of dark influence to get
to the bottom of the network of these illegal operations, government
spokesman Maj-Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd disclosed on Friday.
The prime minister, said the spokesman,
feels strongly that the zero-dollar tour operations have rendered huge
losses to the country and have tainted the image of the Thai tourism
He further said that the prime minister
wished the Thai media to expose these illegal activities so that they would
Regarding the concern that the
crackdown on the illegal tour operations will discourage Chinese tourists
from visiting Thailand, Maj-Gen Sansern said that it was too soon to jump to
a quick conclusion that the crackdown would backfire on tourism business.
He suggested there should be a clear
distinction between legal tour operations and illegal operations, noting
that Thailand has never gained anything from zero-dollar tour operations for
the past several years as all the revenue from the operations were sent back
to China through brokers and, worse yet, their nominee companies have never
paid any income taxes.
“The government is doing the right
thing to build up confidence among the honest tour operators,” said the
spokesman, adding that the Tourism and Sports Ministry will invite
representatives of the Chinese embassy and the Chinese Tourism Promotion
Organization for a briefing of the Thai government’s policy toward
zero-dollar tour operations.
Thailand's upper region continues to experience flooding
Authorities in the North and North East
of Thailand have been monitoring the flood situation around the clock as
continuous rainfall threatens to flood homes and farmlands.
In the northern province of Pichit,
water levels in Sub Perb and Wang Daeng canals increased quickly due to
surface runoff from the Petchabun mountain ranges. The canals overflowed the
embankments and flooded thousands of rais of rice fields in Thub Kho
Nakhon Sawan residents stacked up
sandbags around their homes and farmlands out of fear that several canals
will soon overflow the embankments, if the province experiences more
Meanwhile, Uthai Thani Governor Prapat
Malakan and related agencies gave out relief bags to flood affected
residents. More than 40 villages in four sub-district of Uthai Thani
province have so far been damaged by the deluge.
Sukhothai Governor Piti Kaewsalubsee
held a meeting with provincial authorities to develop a contingency plan
should the water levels in the Yom River reach a critical point.
The water has also been diverted to a
retention area nearby in an effort to prevent flooding in riverside
communities. An emergency team is now on standby to provide immediate rescue
to those in need.
NLA passes new loan bill that makes overcharging interest rate an offence
The National Legislative Assembly on
Thursday unanimously approved in principle a bill banning creditors from
overcharging interest rate on their debtors beyond the limits permissible by
A total of 169 votes were cast in
support of the bill and the NLA appointed an 18-member panel to scrutinize
the bill within 60 days after which it will be tabled back to the NLA for
the second and final readings.
The essence of the bill is that
charging an interest rate on loans beyond the legally permissible limits is
an offence liable to two years imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of 200,000
baht. If the offence is committed by more than two people and it is deemed a
threat to public peace, the alleged offenders are liable to four years’
imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of 400,000.
Also, creditors who intentionally
specify false amount of loans in loan contracts will face two-year
imprisonment and/or a fine amounting to 200,000 baht.
Overcharging interest rates, according
to the bill, will be regarded as an offence in accordance with the
anti-money laundering law.
Death threat as demolition at Phu Tab Berk resorts continues
Phetchabun governor Bundit
Thaveetivarak said that he and the chief of the Forestry Resources
Management Office 4 received threats of death if they didn't stop the
demolition of resorts in Phu Tab Berk mountain.
The threat was conveyed to him by the
chief district officer of Lomkhao district.
He disclosed that the chief officer
Charnchai Sonsrivichai informed him of the death threat he received in a
But the governor said he was unshaken
by the threat and would continue to demolish all resorts which were
illegally built on the mountain.
However he said before the demolition
of any resort, members of the explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) unit would
go in first to make sure it was safe before heavy machinery and workers
On Wednesday the operation to dismantle
resorts was conducted by about 700-strong police officers, soldiers and
forestry officials, volunteers.
They were divided into two teams,
equipped with heavy machines to demolish two resorts. The work ran slowly as
one of the resorts was located on steep area near a cliff.
Lomkhao district chief Charnchai said
it would take one more day to demolish these two resorts.
Altogether a total of 50 resorts must
be demolished on court order.
The latest report said the
superintendent of the Lomkhao police station was transferred to an inactive
post at the Provincial Police’s Operation Center, Region 6.
The order was issued on Aug 25 and it
is believed to be related to the protest of resort operators and Hmong
ethnic groups on Phu Tab Berk on Aug 22.
Education Minister says Thai students lack critical thinking and English language skills
Education Minister General Dapong
Rattanasuwan has admitted there are problems in all aspects of Thai
education, particularly issues concerning English proficiency and critical
Speaking during a weekly program
“Thailand Moves Forward’, the Education Minister revealed results of a
recently-conducted assessment that academic performances of Thai students in
math, science, English and Thai languages are below standards.
He added that students also lack
critical thinking skills and discipline. Their awareness of national history
and the Royal Institution has also declined. Gen Dapong claimed courses
provided at tertiary level do not reflect the demand for the workforce in
the business sector.
To solve these problems, the ministry
has reduced class hours and promoted English language learning as well as
vocational skills in schools. Around 350 teachers who have undergone English
language training are now qualified to teach at their respective schools.
The Ministry of Education aims to
produce 13,500 more qualified English language teachers before the end of
2018. Gen Dapong is also considering reintroducing old-fashioned teaching
methods in certain subject areas to improve students’ learning.
TBA warns of call centre fraud
The Thai Bankers Association has warned
members of the public to be on guard against the recent rise of call centre
TBA said that the fraudsters would use
telephones through computer systems or VOIP (Voice over IP) which is capable
of copying any phone number in Thailand to claim that they are from
commercial banks to lure their prospective victims to make financial
transactions through their ATM cards or to transfer money into their bank
The fraudsters have come up with an
assortment of tricks or stories to shock or to surprise their targeted
victims with offers of unexpected rewards or misfortunes such as a huge debt
prompting the victims to disclose their confidential financial information
to the fraudsters or to undertake transactions through the ATMs.
TBA said that commercial banks have no
policy to call their customers to ask for their financial information or to
demand debt payments through ATMs or through automatic cash deposit
Members of the public are advised to
keep their ID cards safe and not to give away personal information to people
they are unfamiliar with.
OAG postpones decision on indictment against former Dhammakaya abbot
The Office of the Attorney General
(OAG) has postponed its decision on whether or not to indict the former
Dhammakaya abbot and the former Chairman of Khlongchan Credit Union
Cooperative Limited on money laundering charges.
OAG Spokesperson Somnuek Siangkong
revealed that the decision will be made October 6 as more investigation
reports are needed. Phra Dhammachayo, the former abbot of Pathum Thani’s
Dhammakaya Temple, and former President of Khlongchan Credit Union
Cooperative Limited Chairman Suphachai Srisupa-aksorn are allegedly
complicit in money laundering and financial fraud.
The OAG Spokesperson added the
prosecutors needed more time to thoroughly look into case documents.
Currently released on bail, two former
Khlongchan Credit Union Cooperative Limited employees allegedly involved in
the case, Saranya Manmat and Thongpin Kanlom, are also expected to report
themselves to the OAG on October 6, at 10 am.
Probe ordered for suspicious death of an ex-land official in DSI’s custody
An investigation has been ordered into the suspicious
death of a former Phang-nga land official held in the detention centre of
the Department of Special Investigation.
Thawatchai Anukul was initially thought
to have committed suicide by hanging himself to death but an autopsy by
forensic experts of the police general hospital showed that he died of
internal bleeding from ruptured liver as a result of being attacked with a
blunt object and of suffocation.
However, DSI director-general Pol Col
Paisit Wongmuang said Wednesday that he had ordered all the video footages
of surveillance cameras in front of the detention cell to be examined to
find out who had entered and left during the period the victim was held.
He further said he had asked doctors
whether it was possible that the victim’s liver could be ruptured while
officials tried to resuscitate him through heart pumping after finding him
with his sock around his neck and thought he tried to hang himself before he
was rushed to Mongkut Wattana hospital.
He dismissed the possibility that the
detainee was beaten to death in the detention cell by his captors, noting
that his relatives were with the suspect during the interrogation by DSI
Meanwhile, Pol Lt-Col Prawuth
Wongsrinil, director of consumers protection and environment office of the
DSI, insisted that there was no need for any DSI officials to silence the
former land official to cover any tracks.
He suggested that Thawatchai might have
been suffering from stress from the charges against him, which prompted him
to commit suicide. He pointed out that normally a person who hanged himself
in a sitting position did not die immediately and officials tried to help
him by applying heart pumping.
But for the sake of transparency, he
said police forensic experts should conduct the autopsy instead of experts
from the forensic science institute.
Provinces across nation step up measures against Zika
Local administrative offices across the country
have enacted measures against the spread of Zika virus after a slew of
infections were reported.
Ang Thong Municipality has begun
spraying against mosquitoes following news 94 people in the province of
Bueng Kan contracted the disease with one still recovering.
According to Bueng Kan public
health officer Dr. Wissanu Wittayabumrung, the 94 were found in 5
districts of the province. He affirmed 93 are completely recovered and
that monitoring practices are being maintained in all susceptible areas.
Ang Thong public health officer Dr.
Songwuth Hutamai let on that an order has been issued for all public
health offices to enact precautionary measures against Zika, including
in areas where no infections have yet been found.
The action comes ahead of a World
Health Organization emergency meeting prompted by an outbreak of Zika in
Singapore, which also led to travel warnings against the country being
issued by nations such as Australia, Taiwan and the US.
While Zika is relatively minor
among other viruses, it has been tied to a fetal condition seen when
pregnant mothers contract the illness.