Big guns to fall silent over Songkran
National Police chief says water guns pose threat
As global protestors voiced their anger over war in Iraq,
in Thailand a more unusual ‘anti-war lobby’ recently scored a major
victory, with the news that the Office of Industrial Product Standards (OPIS)
has banned the use of that most lethal of weapons - the water gun.
The OIPS ruling means that revelers celebrating Songkran
- the water festival that marks the Thai New Year - will no longer fall
victim to the gun’s soaking discharge.
The OIPS decision, which is bound to produce cries of
‘spoil-sport’ from hardened Songkran warriors, came after concern
expressed by National Police Chief Pol Gen Sant Suratanon over the dangers
posed by high-pressure water guns, particularly those that failed to meet
Accusing the water guns of causing “physical injury and
psychological trauma to their victims,” the National Police Bureau and the
OIPS held a joint meeting to determine just what types of water pistol could
be classified as toys, and which bordered on dangerous weaponry.
A police bureau spokesman revealed that a meeting of OIPS
technicians on March 20 had decided unanimously that any water gun acting as
a cylinder, whether made from PVC piping or from other plastic, was not a
toy, and that permission would not be given for their production, import or
He also warned that any manufacturer that put the ‘mor
or gor 685’ symbol on such products, which suggested that in the Thai
language they are toys, was acting against the law and could be faced with a
three-month prison sentence.
Users of such guns who caused injury to other people
could be put behind bars for up to two years, and if the guns caused
blindness or deafness the prison sentence could last for anything up to ten
An industrial standards technician said that officials
would inspect shops to check that they were not selling the offending
Last Songkran 575 people were arrested on charges of
causing physical or emotional injury through the inappropriate use of water
Emirates will carry Kuwait Airways Passengers
Emirates has entered into an agreement with Kuwait
Airways that allows all Kuwait Airways passengers to travel on Emirates
flights without the need for their tickets to be endorsed.
This follows Kuwait Airways’ suspension of its
world-wide operations with the exception of services to Dubai and Cairo.
Now, for example, a Kuwait Airways ticket-holder traveling from
Singapore-Kuwait-Beirut can now travel without endorsement on Emirates
The Endorsement Waiver Agreement between the two airlines
came into operation Sunday March 23.
Kuwait Airways will rebook its passengers on Emirates
flights where possible. Emirates will accommodate Kuwait Airways
ticket-holders that have not been rebooked on a standby basis. The agreement
will remain in effect until further notice.
In normal circumstances, Kuwait Airways must endorse its
own tickets before they can be used for travel on Emirates.
Ghaith Al Ghaith, Emirates Commercial Operations
director, said: “In this extraordinary situation, Emirates is offering
every assistance to Kuwait Airways and its passengers to whom we will extend
Emirates is continuing its flights between Dubai and
Kuwait. Timings are changed for the afternoon service but not for the
The boarding of passengers, traveling to Kuwait as their
end destination, on flights to Dubai from stations across the network has
now been resumed.
For more detailed information contact Fay Thompson, Media
Relations Manager (Cargo & Data), Emirates Corporate Communications.
Tel: 00 97 14-2032142; Email: [email protected]
Government advises against travel to China, Hong Kong and Vietnam
The government made moves to curb the spread of a deadly
new influenza virus, cautioning Thai nationals against travel to China, Hong
Kong and Vietnam, while insisting that no cases of the virus had yet cropped
up in Thailand.
Public Health Minister Sudarat Keyuraphan said the
mystery virus is still claiming victims and urged the Thai public to avoid
travel to these countries if possible. She said that the Ministry of Public
Health was coordinating with airlines serving the three countries to closely
inspect their passengers for symptoms, and will refuse to allow them on
aircraft traveling to Thailand.
Dr Veerasak Jongsuwiwatwong from Prince of Songkhla
University’s Faculty of Medicine, called to allay public fears by saying
that the virus would not spread easily if kept under proper control. He also
pointed out that the death rate from the virus appeared to be very low. (TNA)
Thailand to hold steady on plans to boost tourism despite war
The tourism minister played down speculation that the war
in Iraq combined with fears over Asia’s new killer pneumonia and terrorist
attacks would have a devastating effect on the Thai tourism industry,
predicting growth of no less than six percent for the coming year.
Sonthaya Khunpluem Minister for Tourism and Sports said
that despite reports from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) that
around 50,000 tourists had cancelled their bookings for April to June since
the outbreak of war in Iraq, and that hotels were seeing cancellation rates
of between five and 10 percent, and the situation was not yet critical.
Sonthaya remained upbeat that the TAT’s revised
marketing strategies would pull in tourists from Asian markets to compensate
for cancellations from European visitors. “We are searching for ways to
pull people out of their homes at a time when they might be a bit hesitant
to venture out,” he said. “We must regard what we are doing as upholding
Thailand’s situation, rather than simply selling tours.”
Calling on all parties to work together to ensure tourism
growth, he said that despite the war in Iraq, last year’s terrorist
bombing in Bali, and Asia’s new killer pneumonia, Thailand’s tourism
industry was sufficiently strong to ensure growth of no less than six
percent this year, brining in revenue of around 370 billion baht.
Sonthaya said that in addition to targeting Asian
markets, the TAT would also focus on domestic tourism, as revenue from
domestic tourism was worth 300 billion baht per year.
To attract more Asian tourists, the TAT will organize
tourism road shows in Asian markets, with the first to be held in China on
April 21, led by Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Chatusripitak. The TAT will
also organize special tours for visitors from countries including China,
Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.
The TAT has set up a Crisis Management Center, bringing
together representatives of Thailand’s hotel and tourism businesses, to
monitor the affects of war on the tourism industry. (TNA)
Bang Sai Royal Folk Arts and Crafts Center now welcomes tourists
Bangsai Arts and Crafts Village at the Bangsai Arts and
Crafts Center, Ayuthaya was recently introduced as a new tourist attraction.
The center is a village representing four regions of Thailand with examples
of traditional Thai houses, living styles in the olden days, folk arts and
crafts, landscaping and gardening of the four regions of Thailand. This
project has Royal support.
Built and donated to the center by the Tourist Authority
of Thailand (TAT) the center will be a permanent showcase of Thai culture.
The Royal Folk Arts and Crafts Center is under the
Promotion of Supplementary Occupations and Related Techniques (SUPPORT), an
organization under the Royal Patronage of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit.
An annual fair at the end of January highlights the
center’s craft products. A variety of performances enliven the fair.
To get there, take a bus from Bangkok’s Northern Bus
Terminal (telephone 02 272-0299) or take a boat up the Chao Phraya River.
The center is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily
except Monday. The admission fee is 20 baht for children (both Thai and
foreigners), 50 baht for Thai adults and 100 baht for foreigners.
For more information, call 035 366-092 or 032 225-8165.