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Update September 2017


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Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern
 
 
 
Thailand News
 

Update September 30, 2017

PM: No fears over nations top banks

 

NNT

Bangkok – The Prime Minister gave assurances Friday that five of the nation’s top banks offered special risk management measures are still stable and only received the measures to ensure stringent control.

Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has acknowledged that the Bank of Thailand’s announcement that Krung Thai Bank, Kasikorn Bank, Siam Commercial Bank, Bangkok Bangkok and Ayuthaya Bank are now subject to special regulations has been a cause of public concern but explained that the measures are only to further strengthen their stability and bolster foreign confidence in the performance of Thai financial institutions.  He assured the public that all five banks are stable with reserves two to three times beyond the minimum requirement.

The PM asked that citizens be confident in the banks and continue to engage in normal financial activity, noting the country recently rose in worldwide economic competition rankings.


Deputy Commerce Minister inspects Blue Flag pracharat shops in Chonburi

NNT

Chonburi - The Deputy Minister of Commerce has inspected the Blue Flag Pracharat shops in Chonburi province, finding that most cardholders still do not know the details about the usage of the card and that the installation process for card readers has been delayed.

Deputy Minister Sonthirat Sonthijirawong visited Blue Flag outlets in Thai Serd and Tak Dad villages, Mappong subdistric, Phan Thong district, and Uthai shop in Phanas Nikhom subdistrict, Phanas Nikhom district, Chonburi province.

He admitted that there were still some problems as some cardholders still do not know the details about the usage of the card while the installation of the EDC machines has been delayed.  Numerous store owners remain eager to provide the services to the public and want to accelerate the installation of the EDC.

The Ministry of Finance is currently accelerating the process and it has also coordinated with the Public Relations Department to promote the benefits of the welfare cards.

The Blue Flag Pracharat stores will offer household necessities in more than 360 areas and aim to support low-income earners with a social welfare card.


Phu Thap Berk continues to deal with encroaching resorts

NNT

Petchabun - The Phu Thap Berk Land Encroachment Resolution Operation Center has continued its effort against illegal resorts in the national park.

Petchabun Governor Piboon Hatakijkosol chaired the latest meeting of the center with Deputy Director-General of the Department of Forestry Attaphol Charoenchansa in attendance.

He told the gathering that 6 resorts owned by non-residents still remain on Phu Thap Berk land and are awaiting charges by the Office of the Attorney General. He noted that their owners have agreed to remove the resorts as soon as charges are filed with only plots owned by individuals who affirm they are Mhong natives still an issue. The governor reminded nonetheless that the center will act according to the Phu Thap Berk land resolution master plan and assist any Mhong claiming rights to plots.

The next task set by the center is explaining to Mhong resort owners that the National Council for Peace and Order has instructed that their structures be removed but that reparations will be supplied to them.


Bangkok to develop 4th city plan to solve traffic, space issues

NNT

Bangkok - The BMA has launched its 4th comprehensive city project to solve issues related to traffic congestion and pollution.

Deputy Bangkok Governor Thaweesak Lertprapan presided over the launching ceremony of the planning project aimed at improving the transportation system and preserving green spaces in Bangkok.

Thaweesak cited the need to introduce a new city blueprint after the previous one, introduced in May 2013, was not effective in relieving traffic jams, flooding and crowdedness.

As many as 20 million people are expected to live in Bangkok and its vicinity in the next decade and 30% of all areas currently used for agriculture will be replaced by residential buildings.

A 24-month public survey by the Department of City Planning is now underway to collect ideas and suggestions which will be used in the development of the project.

The plan will cater to the needs of the elderly and people with disabilities.  Transportation will also be more convenient for people traveling between Bangkok and the provinces.


Update September 29, 2017

Fugitive former leader Yingluck in Dubai

Associated Press

Bangkok — Former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra appears to be staying in the Mideast commercial hub of Dubai after fleeing a criminal conviction, according to the first official word on her whereabouts since she missed a court date last month.

"We have received preliminary unofficial reports from the Foreign Ministry indicating that she is in Dubai," said Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who expressed annoyance over being asked about it by reporters. It had been generally assumed that Yingluck was in Dubai or London, since her brother Thaksin maintains residences in both locations.

Yingluck was sentenced in absentia to five years in prison on Wednesday after being convicted of negligence in overseeing the money-losing rice subsidy program.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said Thursday that the Foreign Ministry received assurances from the United Arab Emirates that Yingluck would not interfere with Thai politics from abroad.  Officials in Dubai did not respond to questions about Yingluck's whereabouts.

Police searched Yingluck's Bangkok home on Thursday to collect evidence against a deputy police commander who is accused of aiding her escape by using false documents. Police Gen. Srivara Ransibrahmanakul said the police search was not an attack on Yingluck but that police were "investigating a criminal case against a deputy commander who has been formally charged."

Yingluck's prospects of returning without facing arrest seemed to dim Thursday as a new law was published applying to political office-holders who have been convicted of a crime. The law stipulates that the statute of limitations does not expire in cases where the defendant flees. Appeals are allowed within 30 days, but the defendant must provide new evidence and submit the appeal in person. The law as written appears to apply to Yingluck's case.

The Foreign Ministry said it would also revoke Yingluck's passport once it is told to do so by the courts, police or involved security officials.


PM officiates Thai National Flag Day

NNT

Bangkok - The Prime Minister of Thailand attended the first Thai National Flag Day event at Government House in Bangkok, marking the centennial anniversary of the Thai national flag bestowed upon the nation by His Majesty King Rama VI.

On Thursday morning, PM General Prayut Chan-o-cha, members of the cabinet and other high-ranking officials sang the national anthem to celebrate the occasion.

During the event, orchestra bands from the four military branches performed in front of Government House, with officials chanting in the background.

Gen Prayut later chaired the opening of an exhibition portraying the history of the Thai national flag at Santi Maitri Building.

The cabinet in July agreed to declare September 28th as "Thai National Flag Day."

Provinces across the country also held ceremonies to celebrate the day and honor His Majesty King Rama VI.


Industry Minister: EEC crucial to transitioning to Thailand 4.0 agenda

Industry Minister Uttama Savanayana.

NNT

Bangkok - One of the key Special Economic Zones, the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) is crucial in transitioning from the current economic model to Thailand 4.0 according to a statement made by the Industry Minister.

Industry Minister, Uttama Savanayana’s comment was made during the talks on EEC as a tool to boost the Thai economy and better connect the nation to the rest of the world.  The minister said Thailand 4.0 agenda will increase the strength of the nation from the inside out.

He also mentioned that the Cabinet has passed the EEC draft act, prior to approval of the bill by the National Legislative Assembly. Once approved, the act will instill stronger confidence among Thai and foreign companies in making investments in the EEC.

The Track of the EEC act, which defines requirements, conditions, and procedures for investing in the area, will be revealed next week.  The move is being accelerated to quickly seek investors for the first four major projects of the zone: the expansion of U-Tapao airport, the construction of a high speed railway project, the development of Laem Chabang seaport, and the establishment of an aviation maintenance center.  These developments are expected to commence in the latter half of 2018.


Bangkok tops Global Destinations Cities Index for second consecutive year

 

NNT

Bangkok – The Thai capital remains Number One on Mastercard’s Global Destinations Cities Index.

The credit card giant has announced its list for 2017 which sees Bangkok retain its No. 1 tourist destination status for the second consecutive year in a seven-year run of the survey.

Bangkok was listed as one of the top five cities where visitors spent the night and spent the most money per visit at 14.08 billion US dollars.

According to the survey, 88.6 percent of visitors to the city came as vacation travelers, constituting a significantly larger group than those on business trips, which marked 11.4 percent. Visitors spent the most money on shopping at 22.9 percent, accommodations at 22.6 percent, and other services at 21.5 percent.

The GDCI 2017 index shows most visitors to Bangkok came from China at 34.3 percent, Japan at 7.1 percent, South Korea at 4.3 percent, India at 4.1 percent, and the UK at 3.8 percent.

Eric Schneider, Senior Vice President, Asia Pacific, Mastercard Advisors, said, “As the fastest growing region for international tourism, Asia Pacific’s travel sector will no doubt continue to serve as a key source of in-market economic growth and development. The rise of leisure and business travel across the region presents a vital imperative for governments and private stakeholders to invest in smart networks and infrastructures that provide seamless experiences for residents, tourists and business travelers. Cities that do so will realize their potential as true global destinations, and reap the economic benefits of the increased number of visitors and greater spendings.”


Update September 28, 2017

National police chief to announce official process to arrest Yingluck

Bangkok - The national police chief is set make an official announcement about the formal process to locate and arrest former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who the court has found guilty of malfeasance in relation to her government’s rice subsidy project.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said on Wednesday that the government’s enactment of a law on the measures approved to follow up on the arrest of convicts, who are temporarily released, has nothing to do with the case of Yingluck, who has eluded the justice system since her secret departure for an unknown destination last month.

Wissanu said that there remain other active laws, which can be invoked to pursue Yingluck’s case.

Meanwhile, national police chief Pol. Gen. Chakthip Chaijinda said that his officers will commence the process to bring Yingluck to justice after the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders handed down a five-year sentence on Wednesday to the former prime-minister.  Chakthip also confirmed that he has not as yet been informed of the whereabouts of Yingluck.


Chonburi-Pattaya motorway to apply toll early next year

NNT

Chonburi - The Department of Highways has advised it will begin applying a closed system toll collection on the Chonburi-Pattaya motorway from early next year.

Department of Highways Director-General Thanin Somboon announced Wednesday the implementation of the toll, which will render the entire stretch of the Bangkok-Pattaya motorway as part of a closed system, with toll collection stations at all entry points.

The toll station network will be launched alongside the installation of the Intelligence Transportation System (ITS), which aims to help manage traffic flows and improve service quality and safety measures for highway motorists. The system, which commenced on the Chonburi-Pattaya motorway in late 2016, is now 90 percent complete and will be online in early 2018.

Once implemented, the Chonburi-Pattaya motorway will have five toll collecting stations.  Motorists who don't wish to use the highway to avoid paying tolls can do so by using two parallel roads alongside the motorway.  For more information, call the 24hr Hotline 1586 and press 7.


Public urged to recycle used cell phones to lower toxic waste

NNT

Bangkok - A mobile phone recycling campaign by the Pollution Control Department (PCD) has gained popularity since it was introduced in July this year.

The project is a joint effort between the PCD, Chulalongkorn University, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of the Interior, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission.

According to the Pollution Control Department, there are currently more than 200 million discarded mobile phones in Thailand. The devices will be recycled for the valuable metals that can be extracted, which include gold, bronze, silver and lead.

The metals will then be sold to manufacturers in an effort to lower deforestation, carbon emissions and toxic waste. Proceeds will be donated to charitable organizations.

Member of the public can donate their used cell phones at their local post office, district office, and provincial city hall nationwide from now until December 7.


Government confident of success in peace talks for Far South

A Thai soldier mans a checkpoint as members of the public look on near Pattani, southern Thailand. (AP Photo/David Longstreath)

NNT

Bangkok - The government has expressed confidence in the ultimate success of peace talks to end unresolved conflicts in Thailand’s southern border region.

Fourth Army commander Lt. Gen. Piyawat Nakwanich, who is also the director of the Internal Security Operations Command - Region 4, chaired a meeting earlier this week to discuss the Southern peace promotion plan for 2018, which was attended by representatives of various relevant agencies.

According to Lt. Gen. Piyawat, agencies are to work in a more integrated fashion to tackle problems in the southern border region, where the situation has reportedly been improving gradually.

Next year, all will still be working in accordance with the 2017-2019 administrative and development policy for the southern border region while focusing more on measures to particularly address violent acts.

Lt. Gen. Piyawat added that, from October 1, the Internal Security Operations Command - Region 4 will start the integration of efforts by all groups to bring an end to the many conflicts in the South.

Meanwhile, Secretary-General of the National Security Council, Gen. Taweep Netniyom, said that the decreasing frequency of violent incidents in the south showed the approach taken by security agencies is on the right track while expressing the belief that talks and negotiation will be effective in resolving years-long tensions in the region.


Update September 27, 2017

Former PM Yingluck sentenced in absentia to 5 years in prison

 

Former prime-minister Yingluck Shinawatra is shown arriving at the Supreme Court in this Aug. 1, 2017, file photo. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Bangkok (AP) — The Supreme Court in Bangkok sentenced former prime-minister Yingluck Shinawatra in absentia on Wednesday to five years in prison for alleged negligence in the controversial money-losing rice subsidy program.

Yingluck, who says the charges are politically motivated, is believed to have fled the country last month before the court session at which the verdict initially was to have been delivered. She and her supporters said she was innocent and was persecuted as part of an effort to dismantle the political machine of her brother and former prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra.

The rice subsidy scheme was a flagship policy that helped Yingluck's Pheu Thai Party win the 2011 general election. The government paid farmers about 50 percent above what they would have received on the world market, with the intention of driving up prices by warehousing the grain.

Instead, other rice-producing countries captured the market by selling at competitive prices. Vietnam as a result replaced Thailand as the world's leading rice exporter.

Prosecutors argued that Yingluck ignored warnings of corruption in the subsidy program and was guilty of dereliction of duty. Her critics describe the overriding motive of the program as political, an effort to buy the loyalty of rural voters with state funds.


PM scheduled to meet Trump next week

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha will meet with President Trump in the Oval Office on Oct. 3. (Associated Press/File)

NNT

Bangkok – The Prime Minister is scheduled to make an official visit to the United States early next month, during which time he will meet with the U.S. President Donald Trump.

Deputy Government Spokesman, Lt Gen Weerachon Sukhontapatipak has revealed that Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha will visit the United States from 2-4 October at the invitation of the U.S. President.  The PM will be accompanied by high raking executives from Thailand such as the Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Don Pramudwinai, the Minister of the Interior, Gen Anupong Paojinda, the Minister of Commerce Apiradi Tantraporn, and the Deputy Minister of Defence Udomdej Sitabutr.

The main objective of the visit is for the leaders of both countries to discuss security and economic matters between the two countries, as well as other regional issues.

The upcoming meeting of the two leaders reflects the significant partnership development between Thailand and the U.S., where both sides will discuss the strategic partnerships for mutual and equal benefits.

The relations between Thailand and the U.S. officially commenced in 1883 with the Treaty of Amity and Commerce during the reign of King Rama V, and the presidency of Andrew Jackson. Thailand and the U.S. now enjoy bilateral cooperation in the UN, APEC, and ASEAN. Both countries will be celebrating the 200th anniversary of civil relations in 2018

During the visit, the Prime Minister will also meet with delegates of the Thai private sector and attend a banquet held by the American Chamber of Commerce and the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council.


Continuing rains still causing flooding across nation

NNT

Chantaburi - Continuing rains have set off warnings in provinces such as Chantaburi due to rising rivers and waterways with the province’s Charoensuk Market already experiencing flooding.

Vendors at the market have had to move their belongings out of the area after waters from Khlong Nam Sai flooded the grounds. A warning has been sounded throughout the surrounding district calling for residents to move out their cars and belongings. Authorities have setup water pumps and carved out drainage channels to alleviate the situation.

Trat province has also continued to see rain with some houses alongside Khlong Chum Saeng hit by overflowing waters. Locals and authorities have now setup sandbag barricades to try to remedy the situation.

In the central region province of Ang Thong, farmers have employed heavy machinery to quickly harvest crops due to continued rains threatening yields and the government is also requesting usage of the lands for water retention.

Water has steadily flowed into major reservoirs in Uthai Thani province with Huay Kun Kaeo now holding 31.65 million cubic meters of water and Tap Salao Reservoir holding 102.4 million cubic meters.

The Meteorological Department has indicated a monsoon front is still persisting over the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, fostering rains and strong winds in provinces such as Ranong, Phang Nga and Phuket. Citizens are urged to be on alert.


NSC: Search for Yingluck Shinawatra in progress

 

National Security Council's Secretary-General Thawip Netniyom speaks to the media, Tuesday, Sept. 26.

 NNT

Bangkok - The search by the authorities for former premier Yingluck Shinawatra remains an ongoing investigative process, according to National Security Council's (NSC) Secretary-General Thawip Netniyom.

The NSC chief was commenting on the search for the former premier who fled the country in the face of a lawsuit stemming from the rice pledging scheme introduced by her government. He said that the investigation into the matter is being processed, as relevant information, some of which remains unclear, is yet to be taken into account.

He said it is the power of the court to announce the verdict in Yingluck's case on Wednesday while it remains to be seen whether or not she will show up.

Touching on violent incidents in the southern border provinces, the NSC chief said that they have not occurred too often over the past several months while Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Prawit Wongsuwan has ordered the Fourth Army Region to step up patrols and security checks, as well as to use technology to help with their operations.

He said the best way to solve problems in the restive south is by way of negotiation, which will be a time-consuming process.


Citizens invited to attend event celebrating 100th anniversary of Thai flag

Bangkok (NNT)- The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) will organize activities on Thai National Flag Day, marking the centennial anniversary of the Thai flag on September 28.

Orchestras of all four military branches will perform in front of the Government House, with the national anthem sung by officials from government agencies, state enterprises, and the private sector. Thai National Flag Day will be celebrated on September 28 to commemorate His Majesty King Rama VI's decision to commission design of the current Thai flag.

Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha will chair the ceremony starting at 8 a.m. The Government House is also holding an exhibition on the history of the Thai flag.


Update September 26, 2017

Interior Ministry ready to help security units probing ex-PM's flight

Minister of Interior Gen Anupong Paojinda talks to reporters in Bangkok, Monday, September 24.

Bangkok (NNT) - The Ministry of Interior has assured it is ready to assist security units in investigating local level government officials believed to have assisted in the departure of former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Minister of Interior Gen Anupong Paojinda has responded to theories that the ex-premier, who was scheduled to appear before a court to hear the ruling on her government’s rice pledging scheme, left the Kingdom via a border crossing in Sa Kaeo province with the help of local officials, saying that his office is ready to look into the claims if security units leading the probe request assistance.

Provincial Police Region 5 Deputy Commander Pol Col Kriatipong Nala, who is heading an investigation into fellow Provincial Police Region 5 Deputy Commander Pol Col Chairit Anurit, said a meeting has been called to outline further questions to be asked of the official and further steps in the probe. The entire process is to be completed in 60 days but can be extended by another 60 if needed.

Pol Col Chairit earlier confessed to assisting Yingluck in her flight and having the vehicle he used sent for dismantling in Nakhon Pathom. The car was reportedly not taken apart however and has been seized by authorities.


Defence Ministry urges stepped-up security in Far South

 

Bangkok (NNT)- The Ministry of Defence has urged all related officials in the southern border region to step up security measures.

Maj. Gen. Kongcheep Tantravanich, spokesman of the Ministry of Defence, said on Monday that the meeting of the Defence Council, chaired by Gen. Prawit Wongsuwon, had discussed the continued efforts, in the follow-up and analysis of the security situation in Rakhine State of Myanmar and the tensions and potential conflict on the Korean Peninsula, which must be watched closely.

Concerning unrest in the southern border region, Gen. Prawit expressed condolences to the families of military officers who had died in the conflict, asking the Royal Thai Army and related agencies to take good care of the families of all fallen soldiers and to do so with honor, said Maj. Gen. Kongcheep.

He added that Gen. Prawit has offered his moral support to all officers on duty in the restive area while asking all to perform their duties with patience, sincerity and understanding in order to provide safety and improve the quality of life of southern residents.

In addition, the Deputy Prime Minister expressed his hope that the sacrifice of military officers and their dedication will lead to better understanding of the situation by all sides and bring an end to conflict, with peace and harmony over the long term.


Bangkok-Korat high speed rail project to break ground in November

Bangkok (AP) - The Ministry of Transport expects construction of the first stretch of the Bangkok - Nakhon Ratchasima high speed rail project to commence in November.

The deputy Transport Ministry permanent-secretary said the first stretch on the Bangkok - Nakhon Ratchasima route will be built to cover 3.5 kilometers.  The project will be implemented by the State Railway of Thailand in cooperation with China.

He said a recent meeting with the Chinese set the starting date for Contract Number 2.1 with civil design scheduled to commence on 9 October 2017, while the first group of Chinese engineers is being trained and tested by the Thai Council of Engineers.

After the engineers have passed qualification tests and completed their work, they will hand over the legal blueprints and details to the State Railway of Thailand for further work according to the contract.

The Chinese engineers will have to pass the test on legal and ethical codes for foreign engineers in Thailand as well as technical details such as the soil conditions, waterways, drainage systems and engineering and environmental safety measures.


Thailand in third place on world tourism revenue list

Bangkok (NNT) - Thailand has attained third place in terms of tourism revenue according to 2016-2017 statistics released by the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Since the start of 2016, Thailand has received approx. 1.65 trillion baht or 49.9 billion US dollars from tourism, representing a 16.9 percent jump.  The country is also ranked ninth in terms of tourist arrivals, with 32.6 million visitors or an 8.9 percent surge.

First and second best performers are the USA and Spain, which gained 205.9 billion dollars and 60.3 billion dollars from tourism respectively.  The other top 10 earners are China, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany, Hong Kong and Australia.


Update September 25, 2017

PM: Roadmap doesn’t prolong NCPO’s power

Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha.

NNT

Bangkok - The prime minister has reiterated that the country’s reform roadmap does not prolong military control at the expense of political parties or democracy.

Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has given an assurance that the current administration and the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) have no interest in perpetuating military rule in Thai politics, nor does the 3-phase roadmap allow the military to cling to power for years to come.

He said the government is trying to build trust with the international community through partnerships and diplomatic ties, while calling on the general public to help foster unity and reconciliation in the country as well as ensure a peaceful atmosphere, during the period leading up to the next general election.

Thailand is awaiting 10 organic laws to be promulgated after which the exact date of the general election can be determined. At this preliminary stage, the election is expected to take place late next year.


Heavy rains trigger floods in southern region

NNT

Bangkok – Ten southern provinces are battling severe floods triggered by heavy thundershowers.

Among the 10 southern provinces, Satun took the biggest hit and local authorities are evacuating residents in affected communities. According to the latest report, the floodwater was as high as 30 centimeters in the capital district. Sandbags have been stacked up to divert the water away from economic zones.

The Meteorological Department has reported that southern provinces will continue to experience thundershowers and gusty winds. These provinces include Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phatthalung, Songkhla, Ranong, Phang Nga, Phuket, Krabi, Trang, and Satun. The department also asked the operators of small boats in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand to take safety precautions.

Meanwhile, in Phichit province, the level of water in the Nan River running through the city’s center, Taphan Hin, and Bang Mun Nak districts has increased at an alarming rate. Local officers say if the water level increases another 40 centimeters, the situation will be critical. The provincial irrigation office has already issued a warning to people residing along the Nan River.


TAT to launch Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018 on November 1

General Tanasak Patimapragorn, Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand (centre) is joined at a TAT media event by Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Minister of Tourism and Sports (4th from left), Kalin Sarasin, Chairman of the Board of TAT (3rd from left), Pol.Maj.Gen.Prasert Ngernyuang, Commander of Tourist police Division 1, Tourist police Bureau. (2nd from left), Asdang Khumkomgo, Executive Vice President of Airport of Thailand (AOT) (1st from left), Pongpanu Svetarundra, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Tourism and Sports (4th from right), Admiral Itthikom Bhamarasuta – Deputy Secretary-General to the Prime Minister (3rd from right), Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor (2nd from right), and Ittirith Kinglake, President of the Tourism Council of Thailand (1st from right).

TAT

Bangkok - The Tourism Authority of Thailand's (TAT) is launching the 'Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018' on November 1 to support the government's national tourism development plan and highlighting a busy calendar of international events.

Deputy Prime Minister General Tanasak Patimapragorn commented at a special media event last week: "The Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018 shows how important tourism promotion is to the government’s national agenda.

"The emphasis is on inclusive tourism, based on the 12th National Economic and Social Development Plan and 2nd National Tourism Development Plan that maintains a balance between the economy, environment and benefits for Thai society.  The Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018 once again gives the country another outstanding opportunity to showcase its capabilities during many large events the Kingdom will host in 2017 and 2018."

Thailand events calendar schedule for 2017 and 2018 includes:

– International Fleet Review to be hosted by the Royal Thai Navy to mark ASEAN's 50thanniversary since its founding. Over 40 modern warships and 10,000 crew members from 30 countries are expected to join the historic fleet display on Pattaya Bay from 13 to 22 November, 2017.

– Air Race 1 World Cup Thailand 2017 is scheduled for 17 to 19 November at the U-Tapao Rayong-Pattaya International Airport. It will be the only international air race where multiple heats are flown at the same time.

– 4th UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism is scheduled for May 2018 and will help support the TAT's gastronomy tourism efforts by promoting Thai food and the country's culinary potential on a global stage.

– MotoGP World Championship superbike races are coming to Thailand's Buri Ram's Chang International Circuit starting from October 2018 after recently signing a three-year contract with MotoGP owner Dorna Sports.

Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor said that these events among others will reinforce the perception of Thailand as a good host venue.

"Amazing Thailand is the country's most enduring and award-winning tourism promotion. It highlights many new, exciting international events plus cultural elements that make the Thai tourism offering so appealing," he said.

TAT's competition for an Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018 visual identity (logo) received 168 entries with seven selections shortlisted. The winning design features an 'infinity' motif that combines many iconic Thai symbols associated with the country's unique cultural heritage including elephants and the Royal Barge.


Chanthaburi police giving out helmets to bikers

NNT

Chanthaburi – Instead of a ticket, traffic police in Chanthaburi province are giving out helmets to helmetless bikers in the hope of reducing traffic accident deaths.

On Saturday, Chanthaburi Highway police launched a road safety campaign in the capital district, handing out safety helmets to bikers who were flagged down for not wearing one. The police also gave them a warning and asked them to wear a helmet every time they’re out on the road.

The campaign seeks to lower the number of road fatalities and encourages drivers to strictly follow traffic laws, in addition to building a positive image of the police.

The campaign received a lot of praise from city residents and the bike riders themselves.


Update September 23-24, 2017

Police say they have car ex-prime minister used to flee

Former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is shown in this undated file photo. (AP Photo)

Bangkok (AP) —Police on Friday examined a car they believe was used to help former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra flee the country ahead of a court verdict that could have seen her jailed for a decade.

Yingluck, who is accused of negligence in overseeing a money-losing rice subsidy program that critics say was riddled with corruption, has not been seen since she failed to turn up for the Aug. 25 verdict and there has been no confirmed information about her whereabouts.

Investigators have suggested the former PM traveled by land into Cambodia and then by air to a third country, perhaps to Dubai to join her brother Thaksin Shinawatra.

Police said late Thursday that they used surveillance camera footage from the border province of Sa Kaeo to track down a Toyota Camry believed to have carried Yingluck to the border. The car was found in Nakhon Pathom province, just outside Bangkok. Police said they were still trying to confirm their theory that Yingluck left her home two nights before the verdict, switched vehicles in an outlying suburb and then continued on to the Cambodia border.

Pol. Gen. Srivara Ransibrahmanakul, a deputy police commissioner, said he was unable to publicly confirm that Yingluck had fled through Cambodia because doing so at this time could affect international relations.

He also said three of his officers had been questioned on suspicion of helping Yingluck flee, but they would not be charged with criminal offenses because there was no warrant for her arrest at the time.

"We will keep investigating until police can conclude the case," he said.


Satun hit by third and most severe bout of flooding

NNT

Satun, south Thailand - Satun province has been hit by its third and most severe wave of flooding this year with residents put on high alert to possible landslides and runoff.

Days of heavy rain in Satun province’s Ta Pae district have created flooding with waters 30 centimeters deep along many roads. Local administrators have concentrated their efforts on directing traffic to maintain transport systems but have described the flooding as the worst of three waves this year.

The province’s governor has issued a warning to all residents in risk areas to beware of landslides, flash flooding and runoff, bidding them to closely follow reports from the Meteorological Department.

In Phitsanulok province, waters from Sukhothai have been pushed onto farms in three districts including the province’s Muang district to protect low lying areas but residents along some waterways have reported burst banks and flooding. Some 120 households have complained about the impact of deep flood waters.

Rice growers in Khon Kaen province have indicated that more than 1,000 rai of crops are in danger of rotting after being submerged for over a week. Dams in the area, including Ubol Ratana Dam have maintained a high release rate to ease the situation.

In Kalasin province, a team from the Office of the Basic Education Commission has carried out a survey of local schools hit by flooding, finding heavy damage after some locations were submerged in up to a meter of water for over two months. Flooding is generally easing in the area but is draining off slowly.


Bomb kills 4 soldiers, wounds 6 in southern Thailand

Hat Yai (AP) — A roadside bomb killed four army rangers and wounded five other rangers and a civilian Friday in the nation's insurgency-plagued south, police said.

Pol. Col. Mana Daechawarit of the Sai Buri district police station said the soldiers were on a morning patrol in Pattani province when the pickup truck in which they were traveling was struck by the blast. The wounded civilian was a passing motorist.

More than 6,500 people have been killed since the Muslim separatist insurgency flared in the three southernmost provinces of Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat in 2004.  Recent cease-fire talks between the government and some separatist factions have made little progress.

Col. Pramote Promin, spokesman for the military's Internal Security Operations Command, told local television station TPBS that Friday's blast was an attack that targeted government officials. He said the injuries to those wounded were not believed to be serious.


Royal crematorium close to completion

NNT

Bangkok - Deputy Prime Minister Gen Thanasak Patimaprakorn, has visited Sanam Luang royal plaza to observe the construction of the royal crematorium, along with Director-General of the Fine Arts Department Anan Chuchote.

The transformation of Sanam Luang royal plaza into King Rama IX’s royal cremation site is now 95 percent complete. The craftsmen are adding finishing touches to the crematorium and its surrounding pavilions. Gen Thanasak has confirmed the undertaking will be concluded on time.

The site features constructions and adornments reflecting the Kingdom’s noble history, and HM the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s impressive achievements such as a spired throne, model paddy field, Chaipattana aerator, Monkey Cheek water retention project and various kinds of plants involved in the late monarch’s development projects.

The royal cremation is scheduled for 25th-29th October. The cremation venue will subsequently be open to the public between 1st and 30th November.


Update September 22, 2017

Digital Thailand Big Bang 2017 kicks off under concept Digital Transformation Thailand

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Ministry of Digital Economy and Society has organized Digital Thailand Big Bang 2017 under the concept of "Digital Transformation Thailand". The event supports the use of digital technology to achieve the Thailand 4.0 agenda.

Digital Economy and Society Minister Pichet Durongkaveroj said the event showcases Thailand's potential to become a regional leader in digital development, reducing social inequality and connecting with the global community.

Initiatives undertaken by the government include expanding high-speed internet to all villages, schools, and hospitals by 2018; developing e-commerce platforms for local businesses; an e-health platform for rural doctors to access urban hospital resources; the e-education initiative to promote digital technology literacy among children, the elderly, and the underprivileged; the smart farmer initiative to promote the use of technology in farming; and the e-service initiative to expand online access to one-stop service centers.

The event will raise awareness of the importance of extending digital access to over seven million people in the agricultural sector and providing expertise in new industries.

Dr. Pichet said his ministry will elicit cooperation from over 40 private and public agencies and more than 10 countries. Together, they will promote digital literacy for 10 million Thai citizens across 3,000 villages, develop smart cities in seven provinces, and invest over 2.5 billion baht in the country's Internet of Things institute.

The event expects to attract no less than 200,000 attendees per day, showcasing technological advances such as virtual reality, Tesla cars, smart homes, smart parking, robots, and a job fair for recent graduates to apply at major firms. The event takes place until September 24th from 9:00am to 8:00pm at Challenger Hall 1-2 at IMPACT, Muang Thong Thani.


EEC bill to boost confidence of prospective investors

BANGKOK,(NNT) – Industry Minister Uttama Savanayana was positive legislation on the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) project will boost the confidence of prospective investors.

The industry minister presided over a seminar on the EEC project held by the Ministry of Industry and Matichon Co. during which he made remarks on the project.

He said the EEC project will help push forward the country's development by improving existing industries such as agriculture and automobile, while the Thailand 4.0 development goal will help maintain development balance of the country.

The Ministry of Industry will discuss the bill with government whips on 25 September so that it will be submitted to the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) on 28 September and be turned into law by the end of this year, boosting the confidence among investors.

The Industry Ministry also plans to promote human resources for new careers. The Ministry of Industry and the Ministry of Education will shortly hold a field trip to the EEC sites in order to determine vocational education programs in support of prospective investments.


Home loan approvals break target on high economic confidence

BANGKOK,(NNT) – Commercial banks have reported better than targeted growth in home loans during the first half of the year on the back of steady economic recovering bolstering public confidence.

Bank of Ayuthaya Vice President for Home Loans, Nattaphol Luepromchai said today that new loans for homes across the board were down 9 percent during the first half of this year as the real estate market slowed and many companies cut prices due to an oversupply. Meanwhile, financial institutions during the period relaxed loan approval regulations as the debt situation caused by the first car buyer scheme began to lift.

In the latter half of the year, new loans are expected to grow 5 percent on the recovering economy and high competition among banks.

Bank of Ayuthaya in the first half of the year issued loans for real estate worth 25 billion baht, 4 percent above target and expects full year approvals to reach 59 billion baht.


Update September 21, 2017

Health minister admires Sufficiency Economy at central provincial hospitals

NONTHABURI,(NNT) – Public Health Minister Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn admired central provinces for handling health issues and developing healthcare systems under the Sufficiency Economy.

The health minister who visited hospitals in Supanburi province prior to a recent roving cabinet meeting in Ayutthaya said the operations of the Fifth Health District, which is responsible for 11 million people in 10 provinces, had yielded excellent outcomes.

He said the 17th Supreme Patriarch Hospital has implemented the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej in hospital management, including the Green&Clean Hospital waste management campaign and measures to prevent excessive drug uses.

"Many things that have been done in these hospitals are good examples for others to follow suit. Shupanburi is also performing well in other areas such as healthcare for the elderly and moderate drug uses," he said.

The ministry's inspector-general for the Fifth Health District said six issues needed to be urgently addressed, including food safety, age-based health promotion especially among elderly persons, the promotion of herbal medicine, the development of family care units, the development of digital database, and the development of speciailzed healthcare facilities in heart diseases, cancer, and accidents.


BMTA to introduce e-ticket system aboard 200 buses on 1 Oct

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) plans to introduce the e-ticket system for its bus fare on 1 October 2017.

Deputy BMTA Director for Bus Operation Prayoon Choygeo said holders of the state welfare cards for low-income earners will be able to pay for their bus rides using their card from 1 October 2017.

He said a fleet of 200 BMTA-operated buses have been installed with card readers. The BMTA plans to install the card readers on board a total of 800 buses plying between Bangkok and its peripheral areas.

Welfare card holders can tap their card at the reader and have the fare automatically deducted. Buses with card readers installed will have a green indication sticker. During an initial phase, the fare-collecting staff will stay aboard to help passengers adjust themselves to the new system.

The BMTA will provide a voluntary early-retirement program for staff affected by the e-ticket system after it has been fully installed on the BMTA buses.


August foreign tourism generates over 163 billion baht

BANGKOK,(NNT) - Thailand reportedly welcomed over three million tourists in August amid growth in global tourism, with Chinese travelers leading other nationalities in arrivals.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports Pongpanu Svetarundra revealed that most foreign tourists in August came from East Asia, followed by Europe, South Asia, the Middle East, the Americas, Oceania, and Africa.

The number of tourists rose by 8.66 percent compared to the same period last year. Tourist arrivals were led by China, followed by Malaysia and South Korea. Travelers from the three countries generated over 163 billion baht in revenue, an increase of 11.72 percent from the same period last year.
The top spenders were from China, South Korea, and Japan.

In the year to August, over 23 million tourists visited Thailand, circulating over 1.7 trillion baht. Permanent Secretary Pongpanu noted that despite strong growth in global tourism, competition for tourists has risen as well.


Update September 20, 2017

Young motorcycle racers put to community service

NONTHABURI,(NNT) – The Royal Thai Police office has engaged motorcycle racing teens in Nonthaburi province in public service as part of their punishment and rehabilitation.

Nonthaburi Governor, Suthee Thongyam chaired the launch of the activities, which were organized as part of the “Immunity Building to Fulfill the Dreams of Thai Youths” campaign. The ceremony was attended by Nonthaburi Provincial Police Commander Pol Maj Gen Surasak Prakkamakul and 191 Patrol Commander Pol Maj Gen Surachet Hakpal.

Community service activities organized for the campaign are aimed at creating a sense of responsibility among youths and to encourage them to be more mindful of society and to be more constructive. Participating youths, all previously apprehended for racing motorcycles, will help state agencies and local offices perform community services.

Many taking part said they were glad to be working alongside administrators and police who have shown them the error of their ways. They promised to stop using their motorcycles for disruptive behavior.


Thailand launches nine new routes to promote universal accessibility and tourism for all

Mrs. Somrak Kumputch, TAT Deputy Governor for Administration, presents the Tourism for All guidebook to Mr, Krisana Lalai, President of Friendly Design for All Foundation, a human rights worker and a famous journalist and TV host in Thailand.

Bangkok,TAT
– The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is launching new pilot routes in nine popular provinces to promote universal accessibility and ‘Tourism for All‘ concepts aimed at encouraging universal design catering to disabled travellers at facilities and tourism attractions across Thailand.

The initiative is a direct result of last year’s highly successful 36th World Tourism Day, which was held in Bangkok on 27 September, 2016, with a range of events under the banner of ‘Tourism for All – Promoting Universal Accessibility’. During the event a number of speakers emphasised that the concept begins with universal design infrastructure that allows individuals with disabilities access to key tourism destinations and attractions.

Mrs. Somrak Kumputch,TAT Deputy Governor for Administration said, “TAT recognises the importance of promoting equal access to Thailand’s many attractions, and we have always been a keen advocate of this concept over the past several years. The nine provinces selected have the necessary universally designed infrastructure to launch the promotion.”

The initial promotion targets Thai domestic travellers with disabilities and represents a concerted effort by key public sectors, the private sector, community networks and tourism stakeholders.

TAT has launched a dedicated Tourism For All website and published a 116-page Thai-language guidebook – with braille letters and a DVD – to help raise awareness and extend the range of universally accessible attractions around the Kingdom. The guidebook, available at TAT offices in the nine pilot provinces, can be downloaded or read online.

Meanwhile, video clips of the nine routes, in Thai with English subtitles and Sign Language, are available on the website.

The pilot routes in nine provinces are Stylish Capital: Bangkok, Exotic Lanna: Chiang Mai, Nature & Art: Ratchaburi, Wonderful Town: Pattaya, Remaining Memories: Kanchanaburi, Andaman Pearl: Phuket, Northeast Spicy Isan: Khon Kaen, Precious Treasure: Ayutthaya, and Fertile Land: Nakhon Ratchasima.

During last year’s World Tourism Day in Bangkok the Thai government stated it would “transform Thailand into the hub of universal design in ASEAN” which would, in turn, help the country develop into an ideal ‘accessible tourism’ country while preserving its invaluable architecture and history. It also announced plans to launch the pilot route project while concentrating on upgrading existing facilities.

This year’s World Tourism Day event is again scheduled on 27 September and celebrates the 37th consecutive session since its launch in 1980. It is a World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) initiative dedicated to promoting accessible, sustainable and responsible tourism.


67 companies awarded T Mark certificates for quality products and services

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Ministry of Commerce has awarded 67 companies Thailand Trust Mark or T Mark certificates for being socially responsible and environmentally friendly.

Deputy Commerce Minister, Winichai Cheamchaeng said today the award was introduced in 2012 by the Ministry of Commerce to recognize businesses that are operating in line with global standards.

The 67 awarded companies, consisting mostly of those in food and heavy industries, were judged based on their production processes, and social and environmental responsibilities.

They will be able to use the symbol ‘T Mark’ on their products as an assurance of quality. They will also be eligible to use the Department International Trade Promotion’s public relations tools to promote their products and services.

A total of 760 companies have so far been awarded the T Mark certificates. Their T Mark status is re-assessed every three years by the Ministry of Commerce.


Update September 19, 2017

Ministry of Industry expects to issue 9.9 bil loans this month

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Ministry of Industry is hoping to issue 9.9 billion baht worth of loans to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) this month.

According to Somchai Hanhiran, Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Industry, a 20-billion baht loan program has introduced to support SMEs nationwide. Approximately 3,300 SME operators have filed requests for financial loans.

So far, around 1.7 billion baht has been approved and given to the applicants through the Pracharat SME Development Fund.

The Ministry of Industry is also planning to simplify the loan application process to help small and medium sized businesses obtain the loans faster. With a simpler process, Somchai hopes at least 9.9 billion baht worth of loans will be approved by the end of this month.


Ratchaburi unveils travel path following in footsteps of HM the late King

RATCHABURI,(NNT) – Ratchaburi province has piloted a new tourism pathway based on the route taken by His Majesty King Rama IX, during an extended visit in the 1980s.

The Tourism Office of Ratchaburi is now promoting its “In the Footsteps of Rama IX Tourism Trail” created as part of its local tourism strategy and offering travelers the opportunity to travel along the path used by His Majesty as he studied ways to rehabilitate the Khao Cha Ngum area.

Director of the Khao Cha Ngum Rehabilitation Study Project, Boonchuay Chuayradom explained that in 1986, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej visited the area of Ratchaburi province to find ways to rejuvenate its degraded soil, and set up demonstration farms to aid residents of the region.

The King also planted a tree to commemorate his visit with the plant now a major attraction of the province.

The community surrounding the mountain now adheres to His Majesty’s Sufficiency Economy Philosophy and serves as a center for tourism focusing on ethnic groups and local history.


Government to take legal measures against loan sharks

SUPANBURI,(NNT) – The government will take legal action against loan sharks who may have failed to conform to a formal lending system, while debtors were encouraged to register for the government's refinancing project, said Deputy Finance Minister Wisudhi Srisuphan.

He reassured farmers who have become debtors of informal loans that they will receive financial assistance from the government after they have enrolled into the government's refinancing scheme.

The deputy finance minister said the Government Savings Bank and the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives each is providing some five billion baht in refinancing credit with a 0.85 percent interest rate for low-income earners.

He added loan sharks who may have failed to comply with the government's scheme will face legal measures, while the debtors were encouraged to improve their financial discipline to prevent themselves from having more debts.

There are currently 17,258 debtors enrolled in the government's refinancing scheme.


Update September 18, 2017

Tourism & Sports Minister visits wisdom village in Nakhon Si Thammarat

NAKHON SI THAMMARAT,(NNT) - Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul has traveled to the southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat to observe a tourism project in the capital district.

Mrs. Konkarn has visited the local wisdom village of Nakhon Si Thammrarat where she took the opportunity to see various activities reflecting the livelihoods of villagers such as a mock-up spirit festival, the making of nielloware, weaving of cloth, herbal medicine and traditional cookery.

The idea of setting up the village was suggested by a group of 100 local conservationists who are determined to protect the folk wisdom in different areas. The villagers organize different activities year-round to promulgate the centuries-old local knowledge and promote their community as a must-visit location in Nakhon Si Thammarat.


Japanese firms express interest in Thai Govt’s investment policy

BANGKOK,(NNT) – Japanese companies have expressed interest in the Thai government’s economic measures.

Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha said today that Thailand last week hosted 600 Japanese delegates, most of whom were potential investors. Japan is one of Thailand’s largest trading partners and one of the five largest foreign investors in the kingdom.

The Japanese delegation visited the Eastern Economic Corridor, Laem Chabang Industrial Estate, Hemaraj Industrial Estate in Chonburi province, and other special economic activities in the region.

Speaking this weekend, the prime minister said that Japanese investors were satisfied with the government’s economic policies and expressed their interest in investing in the 10 targeted industries under the Thailand 4.0 agenda.


New Excise Tax Act takes effect, to generate 12 billion baht in tax revenue

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The new excise tax law is expected to generate 12 billion baht in tax revenue according to the Excise Department.

Excise Department Director General, Somchai Poolsavasdi said the Excise Tax Act, B.E. which took effect on Saturday, September 16th, would raise retail prices of some alcoholic beverages and cigarettes.

Somchai told a press briefing that the law aims to make tax collection more transparent and should not have a major impact on overall product prices, adding that the producers may absorb the rising costs due to fierce competition in the market.

He then urged retailers not to hoard the products because doing so would violate the Internal Trade Department’s regulations.

Those who may have further questions in regard to the new law can call 1713 for more information. 
 


DAILY UPDATE

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Back to Main Page

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

PM: No fears over nations top banks

Deputy Commerce Minister inspects Blue Flag pracharat shops in Chonburi

Phu Thap Berk continues to deal with encroaching resorts

Bangkok to develop 4th city plan to solve traffic, space issues


Fugitive former leader Yingluck in Dubai

PM officiates Thai National Flag Day

Industry Minister: EEC crucial to transitioning to Thailand 4.0 agenda

Bangkok tops Global Destinations Cities Index for second consecutive year


National police chief to announce official process to arrest Yingluck

Chonburi-Pattaya motorway to apply toll early next year

Public urged to recycle used cell phones to lower toxic waste

Government confident of success in peace talks for Far South


Former PM Yingluck sentenced in absentia to 5 years in prison

PM scheduled to meet Trump next week

Continuing rains still causing flooding across nation

NSC: Search for Yingluck Shinawatra in progress

Citizens invited to attend event celebrating 100th anniversary of Thai flag


Interior Ministry ready to help security units probing ex-PM's flight

Defence Ministry urges stepped-up security in Far South

Bangkok-Korat high speed rail project to break ground in November

Thailand in third place on world tourism revenue list


PM: Roadmap doesn’t prolong NCPO’s power

Heavy rains trigger floods in southern region

TAT to launch Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018 on November 1

Chanthaburi police giving out helmets to bikers


Police say they have car ex-prime minister used to flee

Satun hit by third and most severe bout of flooding

Bomb kills 4 soldiers, wounds 6 in southern Thailand

Royal crematorium close to completion


Digital Thailand Big Bang 2017 kicks off under concept Digital Transformation Thailand

EEC bill to boost confidence of prospective investors

Home loan approvals break target on high economic confidence


Health minister admires Sufficiency Economy at central provincial hospitals

BMTA to introduce e-ticket system aboard 200 buses on 1 Oct

August foreign tourism generates over 163 billion baht


Young motorcycle racers put to community service

Thailand launches nine new routes to promote universal accessibility and tourism for all

67 companies awarded T Mark certificates for quality products and services


Ministry of Industry expects to issue 9.9 bil loans this month

Ratchaburi unveils travel path following in footsteps of HM the late King

Government to take legal measures against loan sharks


Tourism & Sports Minister visits wisdom village in Nakhon Si Thammarat

Japanese firms express interest in Thai Govt’s investment policy

New Excise Tax Act takes effect, to generate 12 billion baht in tax revenue

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