Guilty as charged - High court dissolves TRT party
Verdict brings shock, tears and cheers
The Constitutional Tribunal has disbanded the political
party of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra for violating election
laws, barring him and 110 party executives from politics for five years.
The court found the Thai Rak Thai party guilty last Wednesday evening of
financing obscure parties to run against it in last year’s elections to get
around rules requiring a minimum voter turnout.
Vejjajiva, Democrat Party leader leaves the Constitutional Court after his
party was acquitted. (AP photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Three other smaller parties, two of them hired by Thai Rak Thai, were also
“The defendant is responsible for holding up democratic ways ... (using)
parliamentary elections only as a means to achieve totalitarian power,”
Judge Vichai Chuenchompoonuj said.
“It goes to show that the defendant (Thai Rak Thai) does not believe in the
democratic system,” and it has “no respect for the rule of law which is key
to the democratic system,” Vichai said.
The harsh but somewhat expected decision was greeted with shock and tears at
Thai Rak Thai headquarters, where hundreds had gathered to watch the
nationally televised ruling.
The party leader, Chaturon Chaisaeng, said Thai Rak Thai would not dispute
the ruling and asked people not to protest.
Chaisaeng, Thai Rak Thai’s acting party leader leaves the Constitutional
Court after the verdict of the parties’ dissolution case. (AP Photo/Wason
But speaking later outside the court, he said “the whole country is unlikely
to accept this.”
“We weren’t treated fairly. The ruling was made on the basis that those who
seize power can decide what’s right and wrong even if that power comes from
the barrel of a gun,” he said.
The ruling cannot be appealed.
The decision against Thai Rak Thai came hours after the Democrat Party, the
country’s oldest and a bitter rival of Thaksin’s party, was found innocent
of election law violations.
Besides strengthening the Democrat Party, the court’s decision is likely to
unleash a flurry of political activity in the coming months, with new
parties springing up to fill the vacuum left by Thai Rak Thai. The
military-backed government has promised to hold elections at the end of the
year after a new constitution is promulgated.
The court ruled that the Democrat Party did not unfairly malign Thaksin or
breach election laws by urging voters to cast a “no” vote, the equivalent of
an abstention, in last year’s elections.
It also found that the Democrat Party was not guilty of using a smaller
party to trick Thai Rak Thai into violating election laws, and ruled it had
not obstructed a parliamentary candidate from registering in a southern
“There are no legal grounds to disband” the Democrat Party, a judge
announced, bringing cheers and chants of “Democrats fight on!” from crowds
gathered at the party headquarters.
“Today is the day many of us have been waiting for,” said Democrat Party
leader Abhisit Vejjajiva. “I want it to be the day that we close the chapter
of confusion, stress and strain in the country. From tomorrow on, we have
much to do and our priority is to bring back democracy to the country and go
forward with the elections.”
Banning Thai Rak Thai is a stunning end to a party that just two years ago
was the most powerful in Thailand.
It was the first party to ever win an absolute majority in the Thai
parliament in 2005, and by all accounts remains popular with rural voters
for its populist policies.
But its demise began when the military overthrew Thaksin in a last
September. The coup came after tens of thousands of protesters demonstrated
in Bangkok accusing Thaksin of corruption and abuse of power, and calling
for his resignation.
In London, where he is living in exile, Thaksin urged supporters to remain
calm ahead of the ruling.
“We have to respect the rules of the game,” Thaksin said. “That is, the rule
of the law.” (AP)
Locals nab knife wielding bandit
Injured tourist lands in hospital
Local residents jumped into action last May 24 and apprehended a purse
snatcher after he robbed two tourists from the Netherlands on holiday in
Tape (left) being interrogated by police after being nabbed by good
The ladies were walking in the alley of Wat Muangmang, Rajachiangsaen road
of the Wiang Haeng area of the city when 19 year old Thawatchai Taping and
another accomplice threatened them with a knife and robbed them of their
shoulder bags which contained cash, ATM cards, digital cameras and other
One of the ladies put up a struggle with the thieves and was badly injured.
The commotion attracted the attention of passersby who came to the rescue of
the tourists and were able to detain one of the bandits until police arrived
on the scene. The accomplice was able to flee.
knife used in the attack against one of the women from the Netherlands on
holiday in Chiang Mai.
While both ladies were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment the police
charged Thawatchai with committing robbery and causing bodily harm. The
robber confessed that he had committed several robberies around the flyover
at Wattanothaipayap School.
He is currently in custody at the Muang Chiang Mai Police Station and police
are searching for his accomplice.
Organic farm opened
by Japan’s Consul General
Mrs. Junko Yokota, Consul General of Japan in Chiang Mai and Mr. Thongchai
Wongrianthong, Vice Governor of Chiang Mai attended the opening ceremony of
Environmental Preservation and Organic Farming Promotion center located in
the Chungdoi sub-district in Doi Saket on May 23.
Junko Yokota, Consul General of Japan in Chiang Mai plants a tree at the new
organic farm in Chungdoi.
The center was constructed with funds amounting to 1,542,200 baht provided
by the Government of Japan under its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human
Security Projects Scheme (GGP)
In Chungdoi sub-District, most of the farmers have been using chemical
fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides in their farming. The use of
chemicals has added much more to the farmer’s annual expenditure and at the
same time raised concerns about the negative impact on the environment.
The Administrative Organization of Chungdoi Sub-District started advocating
an environmentally protective organic farming system by introducing organic
fertilizers which is produced from local organic raw materials, and also by
educating the farmers in the reduction of expenditures and the safety of
their food products. However, the Administrative Organization lacked a
proper facility to educate and train the local farmers.
In response to a request from the Chungdoi Sub-District Administrative
Organization, the Government of Japan provided funds for the construction of
a learning center which provides theoretical and practical training in
environmentally protective organic farming.
Through this assistance, it is expected that more farmers will become aware
of the benefits of organic farming.
Danish ex-pat found dead
Foul play suspected
Police from the Chang Puak station were called to the home of 71 year Danish
citizen on May 25th after his body was found on the kitchen floor of his
Paul During apparently was beaten to death during a struggle according to
preliminary findings though an autopsy is being performed to determine the
cause of death.
During’s body was discovered by neighbors who told police they had heard a
shouting and noises coming from his rented home in the Tambon Patan area of
The neighbors told police that the loud arguments they heard were between a
man and a woman and apparently had to do with the ownership of a pick-up
The victim apparently was married to a Thai woman but they had been divorced
for some time. The police questioned the woman but she was later released
pending further investigation. She has denied any involvement with his
Another woman by the name of June had been living with During but she was
visiting relatives in her village during the time the apparent murder took
The police added that During may have collapsed in his home and died from
injuries inflicted by a fall but they will not reach a conclusion until
receiving the autopsy report which may take up to a month.
According to the police, During had lived in Thailand for five or six years.
Killer mushrooms claim
4 in Chiang Dao
Despite repeated warnings from health officials about the
dangers of collecting and eating mushrooms that pop up in the rainy season,
four people in the Chiang Dao district died after consuming poisonous
Chiang Mai’s public health deputy chief Surasing Wisarutrat said that four
villagers in Chiang Dao district died of toxicity after eating poisonous
mushrooms and several patients have been admitted to area hospitals in the
Doctors have warned the public to avoid eating unknown varieties of
mushrooms that they gather in the forest, as a number of residents mistake
poisonous mushrooms for edible types.
Last week in Nan province, six people died after eating poisonous mushrooms,
while medical staff is monitoring the condition of three other patients.
A total of forty-seven patients have been admitted to Nan hospitals and 17
of them are in serious condition.
Poisonous mushrooms contain toxins that destroy the liver and kidneys
resulting in a painful death. (CMM Reporters/TNA)
Alien Employment Act
to be amended
The Ministry of Labor is urging for the Alien Labor Act
to be amended to suit the Thai industrial sector and to prevent illegal
immigrants from being smuggled into Thailand.
The Director-General of the Department of Employment, Mr. Manoon
Poonyakriyakorn, reported that over 80,000 foreign workers have entered the
country during the past six months while 5,600 people are traveling to and
from the country each month.
Due to national security reasons, 21 units of related agencies will work
collaboratively to prevent illegal immigrants from entering Thailand. This
includes working with entrepreneurs and employers who are currently
employing thousands of illegal alien workers.
The labor authority is expediting the amendment of the Alien Employment Act
and the Labor Protection and Welfare Act to allocate laborers to work solely
in appropriate industries. (NNB)
Thais smoking less
The number of smokers in Thailand has dropped by 38 per
cent in the past 15 years due to the government’s success in enforcing
anti-smoking laws, according to a senior medical doctor.
Dr. Manit Teeratantikanont, Deputy Permanent Secretary for Public Health and
Thawat Suntrajarn, Director General of Department of Disease Control spoke
on Thailand’s use of tobacco at a press conference for World No Tobacco Day
Thailand’s enforcement of anti-smoking laws has effectively reduced the
number of smokers in the kingdom, they indicated.
According to the National Statistical office, the number of Thai smokers
dropped by 38 per cent from 11.67 million in 1991 to 9.54 million in 2006.
Among anti-smoking measures are inspections of public places including
tutorial schools, game shops, and karaoke lounges to ensure they adhere to
the law banning smoking in public places. (TNA)
Mae Chaem storm damages 800 homes
Strong winds and rain on May 29th blew roof tops off of
homes, uprooted trees and sent debris flying during a storm that lasted
almost three hours.
collapsed roof of one of the 800 homes in Mae Chaem district damaged during
the powerful storm. Photo courtesy of Thai News.
District Chief Officer Supote accompanied by his administrative team and
Vichit Kulruen, Mae Chaem mayor, surveyed the area for damage and found the
worst hit areas were in Tambon Changkuang where more than 450 homes were
destroyed. In Tambon Bantap more than 150 homes and other buildings rooftops
The winds uprooted trees along the Chiang Mai-Mae Chaem road resulting in
delays for motorists while rescue teams and volunteers worked to clear the
The storm also caused an electric blackout for the entire area though power
was restored three hours later.
Municipal authorities have been busy distributing roof tiles to homeowners
and providing assistance as they re-build their homes.
Visakha Bucha day
celebrations in Chiang Mai
On the evening of May 30, about 50,000 Chiang Mai people from 24 districts,
consisting of students, monks, farmers, elders, children walked up to Doi
Suthep temple covering a distance of 14 kilometers before the Visakha Bucha
Day so that they could pray for good luck, prosperity and happiness.
Mahasa-nga Teerasangwaro, abbot of Wat Pa Lad temple speaks to students and
participants about the importance of Visakha Bucha Day.
The day event was jointly presided over by the Chiang Mai governor Wichai
Srikwan, and Mr Udornphan Chantaraviroj, the former president of Chiang Mai
Provincial Administrative Organization (PAO)
The following day Prathep Visuttikun, the dean monk of Chiang Mai presided
as chairman of the “Offering the world Visakha and worship for His Majesty
the King’s 80th Birthday” celebration at the Royal Flora Garden indoor
He stated that everyone should perform good deeds by learning, by working,
by making merit, by making donations and observe the 5 precepts of Lord
Buddha every day and not just on Visakha Bucha day.
His sermon was followed by a talk from Pra Mahasa-nga Teerasangwaro, abbot
of Wat Pa Lad temple in Chiang Mai who spoke about words of wisdom and
happiness to an audience of students.
Buddhists, he added, have to be joyful and happy when working together such
as the students who help each other when cleaning the road up to Doi Suthep
The Visakha Bucha is the day when Buddhists celebrate the birth of Lord
Buddha Siddharta Gautama and died when he was exactly 80 years old 2550
Lord Buddha achieved his enlightenment with Nirvana, freeing himself forever
from the eternal cycle of death and reincarnation which is the fate of
lesser mortals. His death occurred on the 15th day of the waxing moon of the
6th lunar month (the 8th month of the Lanna calendar).
Students meditating and
reflecting on Visakha Bucha Day.
Residents of Chiang Mai gather
at the base of Doi Suthep Mountain to begin their walk up to the temple.