Gov't forces in South wary of insurgents’ retaliation
BANGKOK, Feb 13 – Security agencies in Thailand’s far South have
been warned to be on special alert for possible retaliation by
insurgents following this morning's attack on a military base in
Narathiwat in which 16 assailants were killed, Prime Minister
Yingluck Shinawatra said today.
Hailing efficient intelligence among government forces, the
premier said local residents who tipped off the authorities will
be given protection. In addition, the premier advised the
security agencies in the South to make full use of technology
and to create understanding among southern residents as part of
improving security measures.
“The government has increased the number of security personnel
while people are told to be vigilant in their respective
communities,” Ms Yingluck said.
The latest incident will not be taken as a reason for a curfew,
if any, in the South, she said, adding that the government did
not want to impose a curfew or creating inconveniences to
Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung said the attack on the
military base in Narathiwat prompted the authorities in
Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala and Songkhla to beef up security,
especially at risk-prone locations such as airports.
Lt-Gen Paradorn Pattanathabutr, secretary general of the
National Security Council, said the Malaysian authorities have
been informed of the latest situation in Thailand and were told
that some insurgents might flee into Malaysia.
Thai security officials plan to raise the issue during a meeting
with their Malaysian counterparts next Thursday, he said.
Lt-Gen Paradorn said military bases remain the most-attractive
targets for attacks by insurgents who prefer to stay away from
communities to avoid conflicts with local people. (MCOT online
Defence Minister praises Marines for defence against southern insurgents
BANGKOK, Feb 13 – Thai Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat today
praised Marines in Thailand’s southern province of Narathiwat
for successfully protecting a military base from an insurgent
attack in which 16 assailants were killed.
The incident prompted the Internal Security Operations Command
(ISOC) to impose a 24-hour curfew in six sub-districts of
Narathiwat and nearby Pattani, starting at 6am today.
Air Chief Marshal Sukumpol quoted an official report as saying
that 70-80 heavily-armed insurgents, clad in military uniforms
and some with bullet-proof vests, attempted to storm into the
military base in Narathiwat early this morning but were met with
fierce retaliation by marine forces.
Sixteen insurgents were killed while nine assault rifles and two
pickup trucks were seized. The authorities found ropes and metal
wire on the insurgents’ bodies, and believe that the assailants
planned to capture some officers as hostages.
Local authorities said the confiscated weapons were stolen from
military, police and defence volunteer units while the
bullet-proof vests belonged to volunteers.
The defence minister said an overall curfew depends on a
decision by the Centre for Implementation of Policies and
Strategies for Solving Southern Problems, chaired by Deputy
Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung. The committee is scheduled to
meet on Friday. (MCOT online news)
Moving toward obesity: Too bad Thai people are too fat
NAKHON RATCHASIMA, Feb 13 – The trend toward obesity among Thai
people is escalating with more young people suffering from
ailments related to being overweight, a senior public health
official said today.
Dr Kamron Chaisiri of the Public Health Ministry said more than
100,000 Thais died from non-contagious chronic diseases such as
coronary artery disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and
obesity in 2010 and 40 per cent of them were under 60 years old.
Seventeen million Thais aged under 15 are obese or suffer from
metabolic syndrome – symptoms that lead to non-contagious
He said these ailments cost Thailand about Bt300 billion in
medical treatment each year.
The unfavourable health phenomenon prompted the Public Health
Ministry to launch a hula-hoop campaign to urge people to
exercise at least 30 minutes a day for five days a week.
The ministry also organised a mass hula-hoop exercise on the
Rangsit campus of Thammasat University on Tuesday to set a new
Guinness World Record. Nearly 5,000 people jointly hula-hooped
in the event. (MCOT online news)
24-hour curfew imposed in parts of Narathiwat, Pattani
BANGKOK, Feb 13 - Security agencies have imposed a 24-hour
curfew in four Narathiwat sub-districts and two Pattani
sub-districts following an assault early today by uniformed
insurgents who attempted to storm a Narathiwat military base.
Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) Region 4 Front
spokesman Col Pramote Phrom-in said the curfew was in effect in
the areas near the military base in Narathiwat's Bacho district..
The areas under curfew are Barae Nue, Barae Tai, Balookasamoh
and Kayohmati sub-districts in Narathiwat as well as Saithong
and Don Sai in Pattani.
The curfew is aimed at helping the authorities track the
assailants who were wounded in the assault, the spokesman said.
For the safety of the public, the populace is banned from
leaving home from 6am today until 6am tomorrow.
Over 30 insurgents dressed in camouflage-like security force
uniforms attacked the military base at about 1am Wednesday.
Sixteen attackers were killed and no casualties were reported on
the government side.
Sixteen assault rifles, a motorcycle and a pick-up truck were
seized. The police believed that several wounded attackers still
at large are attempting to flee. (MCOT online news)
Public Health & Defense join in alcohol-free campaign at nationwide military camps
BANGKOK, 14 February 2013 (NNT) – The Public Health Ministry and
the Defense Ministry are joining force in a campaign to turn all
military camps across the country into an alcohol-free zone.
Permanent Secretary for Public Health Ministry Narong
Sahametapat, on Wednesday, joined Deputy Permanent Secretary for
Defense Air Chief Marshal Tatchai Dhanadchaipuen, representative
of the Supreme Commander Admiral Kraisorn Chansuvanich and other
high-ranking officers from the Royal Thai Navy, the Royal Air
Forces and the Royal Thai Army in the signing of an agreement on
intensified control of alcohol drinks at nationwide military
A similar agreement was once inked by the Public Health
Ministry, the Defense Ministry and other ministries in 2009 to
turn all state offices into alcohol-free zones, except in
While the result of the initial campaign is said to be
satisfactory, its effect has not reached the many military camps
and military personnel stationed throughout the country, yet.
The 2 ministries hope that the boosted anti-alcohol effort will
encourage Thai solders to give up or, at least, cut down on
drinking in order that they will become a good role model for
people around Thailand.
And as the 2008 Alcohol Control Act will mark its 5th
anniversary of implementation on February 14, police officers
will step up the clampdown on all violations of this law
throughout the country. Anyone found selling, drinking or
advertising at banned locations or hours will be subject to a
maximum jail term of 1 year or a maximum fine of 500,000 baht or
Thai Navy chief commends latest military operation in Wed clash as success
NARATHIWAT, 14 February 2013 – The Royal Thai Navy
Commander-in-Chief has commended the military operation in the
latest clash with Islamist insurgents, which ended with the
deaths of 16 militants.
Admiral Surasak Rounroengrom, Commander-in-Chief of the Royal
Thai Navy, on Wednesday visited a military operation base in
Narathiwat Province, which was raided by Muslim insurgents
earlier in the day.
After the visit, Admiral Surasak said that the morale of all
officers stationed at the base has not been shaken by the
early-hour clash and everyone is ready to continue their duty in
the restive region.
The Royal Thai Navy chief stated that while the authorities have
begun the manhunt of the other culprits involved in the
Wednesday raid, locals can also play their part to capture the
suspects by lending all possible cooperation to officers.
He also praised the operation of the navy officers as a success
while offering condolences to the families of those whose lives
Concerning the curfew imposition in the southern border region,
Admiral Surasak said that more work remains to be discussed a
meeting with all related units on Friday.
Malay-Language Television and Radio Programming in the Deep South
New Malay-language television and radio programming in the deep
South, initiated by the Thai government, has received a positive
response from local residents. It serves as a “voice” to promote
better understanding and communication in the southern border
provinces that make up a multi-cultural society.
The Southern Border Provinces Administrative Center has joined
hands with other relevant agencies and civil society groups in
carrying out this project, which was officially launched on 3
January 2013 at Yala Rajabhat University in Yala province.
Referred to as "Hari Suara Kita," or “Voice of the People,” the
daily television and radio programming is intended to offer
broadcasting services around the clock. Previously, radio
programs in Malay had been produced and broadcast by the
National Broadcasting Services of Thailand (NBT), operated by
the Government Public Relations Department. But listeners are
now able to have them on a full scale, following the launching
of the project in January 2013.
As for television programming in Malay, it is broadcast via
C-band satellite. At the initial stage, the station will
broadcast 30 minutes a day and will run 24-hour programming
within one year.
The Secretary-General of the Southern Border Provinces
Administrative Center, Police Colonel Tawee Sodsong, explained
that although the Malay-language broadcasts were introduced by
the state, they are considered the people’s strategy. He said
that the Malay language is now spoken by 300 million people out
of a combined population of 600 million in the 10 ASEAN
countries. It is a language which is widely used in the
Muslim-majority areas of southern Thailand, where more than two
million speak Malay.
He said that this new television station would be a channel for
local people to communicate in Malay, a major language in ASEAN,
as Thailand and its ASEAN partners move toward the ASEAN
Community in 2015. It would open up space for local people and
those who have different views from those of the state.
The Southern Border Provinces Administrative Center had
constantly sounded out public opinion on the Malay-language
television before the project was launched. It held the first
meeting on the design of programming on 14 October 2012 in
Pattani, with the participation of various groups of people, as
the Government intends to develop both television and radio
stations into the people's stations. It has been suggested that
local residents be allowed to participate in producing programs
that reflect the real voices of the people.
The program content includes news and information about the
southern border provinces and beyond, as well as other
interesting programs, such as those on education, Islamic
affairs, culture, and tourism. It focuses on creating better
understanding, easing the people’s suffering, and bringing about
lasting peace and harmonization.
Former Secretary-General of ASEAN Surin Pitsuwan said that the
introduction of the Malay-language broadcasts shows the respect
of a multi-cultural society and would allow people of various
groups to discuss significant topics among themselves and seek
ways to tackle various problems in the deep South.
Deputy House Speaker brokers agreement on amnesty bill, while 40 senators oppose
BANGKOK, 12 February 2013 (NNT) - First Deputy Speaker of the
House of Representatives Chaoren Chankomol met with Puea Thai
party leader Jarupong Ruangsuwan on Monday to propose and gather
ideas on the amnesty bill. He earlier talked with the
representatives from the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD),
the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), and
the Democrat party.
According to Mr Charoen, he told the Puea Thai leader that talks
with various groups had suggested that the amnesty law should,
firstly, grant immediate amnesty to ordinary participants of
political protests while subjecting protest leaders' eligibility
for amnesty to the consideration of an independent committee.
Secondly, the law should take the form of a legal act to be
passed by parliament, rather than a decree issued by the
cabinet, he said.
Meanwhile, a group of 40 senators, most of whom appointed,
expressed opposition to an amnesty law. They said the law drafts
proposed so far had been vague as to who would be considered
protest "participants" and who would be considered protest
"leaders". In addition, the senators said they would oppose any
law granting amnesty to lese-majeste prisoners.
So far three detailed versions of the amnesty law have been
proposed by three groups - the Independent National Rule of Law
Commission, the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship
(UDD), and the group of legal scholars called "Nitirat". All the
three versions of the law would grant immediate amnesty to those
convicted of violating the Emergency Decree excluding protest
leaders and authorities who gave orders.
It is unclear whether any of the three proposed drafts would
grant amnesty to lese-majeste prisoners although a legal scholar
from Nitirat has suggested that lese-majeste prisoners should be
considered "political prisoners", and, therefore, covered by the
Activist Ratree thanks PM Yingluck for securing her release from Cambodia
BANGKOK, 12 January 2013 (NNT) - Thai Patriots Network activist
Ratree Pipattanapaiboon has expressed her gratitude to the Prime
Minister for helping secure her release from Cambodia.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, on Monday, had a meeting
with National Human Rights Commissioner Parinya Sirisarakarn and
Ms. Ratree, who thanked the PM for holding discussions with
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on her royal pardon and the
reduction of jail term for her fellow activist Veera Somkwamkid.
Ms. Ratree, in particular, expressed her personal gratitude to
PM Yingluck for doing her part in looking out for the people of
Ms. Yingluck told the activist that she was delighted to finally
meet each other while affirming that the government has always
been responsible for the well-being of members of the public.
The PM stated that she has been trying to secure Ms. Ratree’s
release since she had the opportunity to talk to her Cambodian
counterpart but has not succeeded until the royal pardon was
granted to her last week.
The Prime Minister also said that the government will continue
its attempt to secure the release of Mr. Veera, either through
further negotiation for more royal pardons or an official
request for his transfer to Thai prison.
Terrorism report prompts alert at US consulate in Chiang Mai
BANGKOK, Feb 12 – Security has been reinforced at the United
States consulate in Thailand’s northern province of Chiang Mai
following a report of possible violence by Muslim extremists,
Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubumrung said today.
He said details of the intelligence report were delivered to the
Fifth Region Police Commander Suthep Dejraksa last week so that
he will closely monitor the situation.
An untoward incident would have a negative impact on national
security, he said, adding that the alert will continue until the
joint Thai-US military exercise, code-named Cobra Gold 13, is
Cobra Gold 13, which involves troops from the US, Thailand and
allied countries on exercises in Thailand, began yesterday and
continues through Feb 21.
Mr Chalerm gave assurances that the reinforcements at the US
consulate will not jeopardise a trip by Prime Minister Yingluck
Shinawatra to the northern region later this week.
It was reported that the security unit at the American consulate
has contacted provincial authorities seeking round-the-clock
Deputy Premier Chalerm later revealed that al-Qaeda has
targetted US military personnel attending the joint exercise.
He said he has learned that some of the group members left the
country and only a few remain in Thailand, under the close watch
of the Thai authorities. An arrest could not be made since they
did not commit any crime, he explained.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has been notified about the
matter and she has instructed agencies concerned to tighten
security, according to Mr Chalerm.
Thailand endorses first Palestinian ambassador to Thailand
BANGKOK, Feb 12 – The Thai Cabinet on Tuesday endorsed the
appointment of the first Palestinian ambassador to Thailand,
Government spokesperson Tossaporn Serirak said.
Palestinian ambassador Abdulaziz Abuqhoush resides in the
Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur as proposed by Thailand’s
Thailand recognised Palestine as an independent state in January
2012 and established diplomatic ties.
Thailand also supports the right of the Palestinian people to
have their own state, with mutual acceptance between Palestine
Thailand's embassy in Amman, Jordan, is now responsible for the
diplomatic mission for Palestine. (MCOT online news)
Nearly 3,000 volunteers posted in South for defence reinforcement
BANGKOK, FEB 12 – The cabinet today approved an Interior
Ministry proposal to assign 2,700 territorial defence volunteers
to Thailand’s far South to help maintain peace and security in
the insurgency-plagued region.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra instructed the recruitment of
southerners for the volunteer forces so that they could work
closely with the southern authorities and people.
The Interior Ministry promised to dispatch the defence
volunteers to the region as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, leader of the opposition Democrat Party, Abhisit
Vejjajiva, called on the government, which contemplates imposing
curfew in risk-prone areas in the far South, to learn from a
similar lesson in 2005-2006 when curfew was declared in the
South to gauge the impact of the measure.
If the government believes a curfew is efficient in solving the
southern unrest, it should communicate with people in the region
for common understanding and acceptance, he said. (MCOT online
Chiang Mai monitors burning to prevent worsening smog
CHIANG Mai, Feb 12 – Murky weather in the northern province of
Chiang Mai could worsen if more forest fires occur, Deputy
Governor Adisorn Kamnerdsiri said today.
Gloomy weather during the past few days was caused by a high
pressure covering the area. Although air quality is in the
moderate level, forest fires, if occuring, could aggravate haze
and smog in the province, the deputy governor said with concern.
Outdoor burning can also worsen the problem. Since January, more
than 100 burning locations were found in the province,
particularly in Chom Thong, Hot, and Mae Chaem districts, he
These areas are closely monitored to prevent forest fires,
mostly caused by burning by locals who are seeking forest
products, Mr Adisorn said. Since the beginning of this year,
some 800 rai forest (about 320 acres) have been damaged by
burning. (MCOT online news)
Protesting farmers accept housing bank’s action on their loans
BANGKOK, Feb 12 – Protesting farmers called off their rally at the
Government Housing Bank (GHB) headquarters today after receiving
assurances from the bank that they would refrain from legal action
against those who fail to pay their debts.
The GHB management promised to forward the farmers’ request for debt
settlement to the Finance Ministry and agreed to suspend possible
lawsuits against farmers who could not pay their debts.
The bank also agreed not to seize the farmers’ non-performing assets
Members of the Indebted Farmers Network who rallied at the bank
beginning yesterday also demanded that the bank wipe out all the
farmers’ NPAs and non-performing loans (NPLs) including interest and
The farmers said their debts would be paid up by the Farmers
Rehabilitation and Development Fund (FRDF) of which they are members.
They demanded that the GHB cut the required payment from the Farmers
Rehabilitation Fund to the maximum of 30 per cent of the original
GHB managers said the farmers’ proposals will have to be acted upon by
the Finance Ministry.
Laiwan Pongsa-ngiem, deputy managing director of the Government Housing
Bank, said 1,767 FRDF members are indebted to the bank for a combined
amount of Bt500 million, but that the GHB has so far taken action
against only 550 farmers who failed to repay their loans which were
later became NPLs.
Yossawat Chaisiriwatanakul, a farmer representative, said the indebted
farmers will rally at the Government Savings Bank tomorrow to seek
similar leniency for their NPAs and NPLs. (MCOT online news)
Thailand won't withdraw candidacy to host World Expo 2020: PM
BANGKOK, Feb 12 -- Thailand will not withdraw its bid to host
the World Exhibition in the year 2020 (World Expo 2020) as the
operation and preparations are going ahead as planned, according
to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
Ms Yingluck said Thailand proposed the central province and
ancient capital of Ayutthaya as the site for the World Expo 2020
and it is committed to the plan.
She said it was totally groundless that Thailand would withdraw
from the candidacy.
The premier's comments came after opposition Democrat Party
leader Abhisit Vejjajiva called on the government to show its
strong intention to host the international fair as it would be a
good opportunity for the country.
A Bureau of International Expositions (BIE) Enquiry Mission met
Ms Yingluck before going to Ayutthaya from Jan 28 to Feb 1 to
inspect Ayutthaya's potential for hosting the world's largest
However, the government was reportedly reassessing the utility
of investing in a bid to stage the World Expo.
Meanwhile, Ayutthaya Governor Witthaya Piewpong confirmed that
the province was ready to host the Expo. He said it was not true
that the province would drop out from the competition.
Five cities are competing with their own bids for the BIE --
Izmir in Turkey; Yekaterinburg, Russia; Sao Paolo, Brazil;
United Arab Emirates’ Dubai and Ayutthaya.
A decision will be made at the BIE General Assembly in November.
(MCOT online news)
Talks on police stations construction contract set for Friday
BANGKOK, 12 February 2013 (NNT) - The Royal Thai Police is set
to hold talks with authorities involved in the police stations
construction scandal this Friday, in a bid to revoke the
contract awarded to PCC Development and Construction Co (PCC).
National Police Spokesperson Pol Maj Gen Piya Uthayo said the
meeting will be arranged on February 15 to resolve claims of
alleged corruption in the long-delayed construction of buildings
and offices at 396 police stations.
During the meeting, the panel will conduct a review of documents
relating to the firm’s concession and will outline plans for a
new bidding process before the existing contract with PCC ends
on March 14.
The Royal Thai Police also plans to file a lawsuit against
culprits behind the corruption scandal as the department has
suffered losses incurred by the failed contract.
Thailand confident in defense of land around Phra Viharn
BANGKOK, 12 February 2013 (NNT)-The draft statement, which will
be used to defend Thailand against Cambodia regarding the land
surrounding the Phra Viharn Temple, will be reviewed by various
committees before being presented to the International Court of
Justice (ICJ) in mid April.
Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Mr. Phongthep
Thepkanjana, who heads Thailand’s legal team in the case, said
the draft statement has been completed and will be reviewed by
the committees involved in the Phra Viharn case.
Both Thailand and Cambodia have been at loggerheads when it
comes to claiming the ownership rights of the land surrounding
the holy temple.
The revision is expected to be finished at the end of March and
will be proposed to the Cabinet for consideration early April.
The statement will be read to the ICJ in a hearing during April
Mr. Phonthep said he is confident in the ability of the Thai
legal teams in clarifying and defending any issues put against
Thailand. The country has 1,600 pages to be used as evidence in
its fight in the world court to claim the land around Phra
Police found to have requested 'Ang Pow' from people will be prosecuted
BANGKOK, 12 February 2013 (NNT)-Deputy Prime Minister Police
Captain Chalerm Yubamrung said any police officers found to have
extorted money from people during the Chinese New Year will be
prosecuted to the full extent of law.
Following the report of dodgy police, the Deputy Prime Minister
said giving 'Ang Pow', or a red envelop which usually contains
cash, to officers during the Chinese New Year is not considered
a form of bribery, as it is a common gesture during the Chinese
However, he said, it would be extremely inappropriate and
unlawful for police to ask for the 'red envelop'.
Any policemen caught soliciting money by way of 'Ang Pow' will
be punished by law. According to Police Captain Chalerm, he is
confident that in spite of the report, no police commander has
asked for money; however, some people might have used their
names to trick ordinary people into giving the money.
The Deputy Prime Minister further reiterated that only few
police officers have been involved in the unlawful act, and the
number does not represent the entire police force.
Meanwhile, regarding the re-imposition of the curfew in the
restive South, Police Captain Chalerm said it would be concluded
on February 15th, 2013. He would also disagree with the curfew
re-imposition if residents found it difficult living their daily
lives with the curfew in force, he added.
PM: Conclusion on curfew in deep South should be reached Friday
BANGKOK, Feb 11 - Prime Minister Yingluck
Shinawatra has instructed concerned agencies to
come to a conclusion whether to impose curfews
in selected areas of Thailand’s far South in a
meeting set for Friday, while the army still
insists that a curfew is unnecessary, the
National Security Council (NSC) chief said
NSC Sec-Gen Lt-Gen Paradorn Pattanathabutr said
after a security meeting chaired by the premier
today that the army continues in the belief that
there is no need for curfews in the
Muslim-predominant provinces of Yala, Pattani
As the views on the special law enforcement are
differing, Gen Paradorn said, the premier asked
all concerned agencies to come to a conclusion
on the matter in the Friday meeting of the
operations centre for implementation of policies
and strategies for solving problems in the
The idea of a curfew in selected areas of far
South was floated by Deputy Premier Chalerm
Yubamrung following repeated attacks on the
public and government forces in the restive
Gen Paradorn also noted that the people's voice
on imposing a curfew will also be taken into
account. He stated that if the meeting agrees to
invoke such law, the prime minister herself can
endorse its enforcement immediately without
Meanwhile, army deputy spokesman Col Winthai
Suwaree said the Internal Security Operations
Command Region 4 which supervises the
insurgency-torn areas is awaiting a decision
from Friday's meeting
He said Army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha
instructed the military to tighten security and
asked local residents to cooperate more closely
with security agencies for their safety.
Regarding the Sunday bombing and shooting which
claimed lives of five soldiers in Yala's Raman
district, Col Winthai said one suspect was
arrested and he confessed that he strewed spikes
on the road and acted as a lookout for the
Investigators also learned that, within one
month, the same insurgents launched three
similar attacks targeting soldiers. (MCOT online
Ratree asks gov't to seek transfer of Veera to Thai jail
BANGKOK, Feb 11 – Ratree Pipattanapaiboon, the Thai woman
political activist recently released from a Cambodian prison,
today met with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and discussed
the possibility of transferring her fellow inmate Veera
Somkwamkid from Cambodia to serve his remaining prison term in
Ms Ratree and Mr Veera were arrested and imprisoned by Cambodian
authorities for trespassing into the neighbouring country. Ms
Ratree, however, insisted that the area where she stepped
belongs to Thailand but was occupied by Cambodian troops.
Ms Ratree, released by a royal pardon by the Cambodian
government ,expressed her appreciation to the prime minister for
She was accompanied by several noted human rights figures
including Prinya Sirisarakarn, Dr Kusol Prawitpaiboon and
Ms Ratree asked the prime minister to help Mr Veera who she said
has been deprived of his fundamental rights while in detention
Ms Yingluck gave assurances that the government had not relented
in seeking clemency for Mr Veera or his transfer to a Thai
prison instead of being held by the Khmer authorities.
Ms Ratree said Mr Veera has served one-third of his jail term
and was entitled to a transfer from the Cambodian prison. The
prime minister said the government would try its best as it is
the government’s responsibility to take care of every Thai
The activist reasserted her confidence that area where she and
Mr Veera were arrested belongs to Thailand.
She said she was a political victim of the Cambodian government
and that the previous Thai government failed to protect the
rights of Thai people and Thai territory. (MCOT online news)
Multinational military exercise Cobra Gold 2013 kicks off in Thailand
CHIANG MAI, Feb 11 -- Cobra Gold 2013, the annual joint military
exercise, has officially begun in the northern province of
Adm Yuttana Phagpolngam, Deputy Supreme Commander and US
Ambassador to Thailand Kristie A Kenney jointly presided at the
opening ceremony of the military drill being held in Thailand
from today through Feb 21.
The exercise is the largest multinational exercise in the
Asia-Pacific region. Approximately 13,000 participants from
seven full participating nations and many observer nations.
The exercise consists of a staff exercise, various senior leader
engagements, a field training exercise, humanitarian and civic
assistance projects. Fully participating nations in the exercise
include the Thailand, the United States, Singapore, Japan, South
Korea, Indonesia and Malaysia.
The observers are China, Brunei, the Netherlands, New Zealand,
Russia, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates.
During the field training exercise, the armed forces will
conduct trainings including flight operations, amphibious
training, and various training events that will enhance
small-unit tactics and the ability to operate as part of a
The humanitarian and civic assistance projects include
construction projects, various community health engagements and
medical assistance programs.
The exercise covers Phitsanulok, Sukhothai, Lop Buri, Chon Buri
and Chanthaburi provinces.
The US and Thailand have co-hosted Cobra Gold since 1982. Cobra
Gold 2013 is the 32nd edition of the annual joint military
drill. (MCOT onine news)
Pongsapat, Sukhumbhand attract fans in different age groups
BANGKOK, Feb 11 – Voters above age 26 prefer Pongsapat
Pongcharoen, Pheu Thai Party candidate, as next Bangkok governor
while 18-25 year-olds will cast their ballots for Democrat
candidate Sukhumbhand Paribatra, according to a new academic
The Bangkok Poll, conducted by the research centre of Bangkok
University last Wednesday, found that Pongsapat’s advocates are
mostly civil servants, traders, employees, househusbands and
housewives and retirees. Their education is mostly below
bachelor’s degree level.
Those who will vote for former Bangkok governor Sukhumbhand are
mainly private employees, students and people holding bachelor’s
degrees or higher.
According to the survey, Mr Pongsapat is leading Mr Sukhumbhand,
while independent candidate Pol Gen Seripisut Temiyaves remained
the third ranked choice. One-fourth of eligible voters remain
undecided. (MCOT online news)
Salesman killed, 4 rangers wounded in two far South incidents
NARATHIWAT, Feb 11 – A computer salesman was killed in his car
in Pattani, and four Thai army rangers were wounded in a bombing
in Rangae district of this southern province on Sunday,
according to official reports.
Kriangsak Sermsangsuk, a 35-year-old computer salesman, was shot
dead by two gunmen on a motorcycle in broad daylight after
leaving a school in Saiburi district enroute to another local
school to sell tablet computers.
Four rangers attached to the 4513th Military Ranger Unit were
wounded in the bombing as they sat in the vehicle. They were
identified as Visarut Hunkratoke, chief of the 2nd military
ranger team, Sataporn Chuaman, Ekapol Tonpisa and Sathit
The rangers were on the way to attend a training at the 46th
Military Ranger Command.
Responding authorities found a 1-metre by 2-metre hole on the
road and an 80-metre electrical wire lead from the explosion
site to a nearby forest, as well as the remains of a 50kg gas
cylinder. Their Toyota pickup truck was destroyed.
Rangers immediately searched the nearby forest and arrested a
suspect, identified as Asmadee Seng, who was charged with
involvement in the bombing.
Both incidents are believed ot be connected to the southern
insurgency. (MCOT online news)
30,000 Seized Wildlife: Burden of Care
As the number of seized animals in wildlife smuggling cases has
increased, Thailand’s National Park, Wildlife and Plant
Conservation Department now has at least 30,000 animals under
its care at wildlife breeding centres nationwide, some of whose
facilities are nearly overwhelmed with the burden.
Three years ago, a tiger cub was rescued from a smuggler’s
suitcase at Suvarnabhumi Airport. It was put to sleep by
anesthesia. Now, the cub has grown to become a joyful and
healthy adolescent tiger named Phum under good care of officials
at the Khao Prathapchang wildlife breeding centre in the central
province of Ratchaburi.
Three other tigers were seized at an apartment in Navanakhon,
Pathum Thani and were sent to the centre. Moving the tiger cubs
to bigger cages with abundant food, they become strong and
Centre head Sathit Pinkul said the rising number of animals
seized every year can lead to overburdened facilities and it
will not be able to take proper care of them.
“Now, the centre houses 50 tigers, 10 leopards about 13 Asian
golden cats. With 73 cats in total, it is at full capacity. The
National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department will
allocate more budget to build another 20 cages to house more
seized animals in the future,” said Mr Sathit.
A few adolescent tigers are ready to be separated to live in
their own cages. This means there will be no vacant cells left
for more newcomers.
Attempts to release tigers in captivity back into the wild have
not been successful.
Researchers worldwide cannot find the way to help the creature
adapt themselves to survive in the natural habitats. They need
care for the rest of their lives.
Besides tigers, Khao Phrathap wildlife breeding centre also
houses 11 orangutans, pheasants and hornbills and another 300
seized animals. Proper care comes with the cost of several
million baht each year.
Twenty six wildlife breeding centres under the responsibility of
the National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department
currently house at least 30,000 seized animals.
“More cages and food will be provided. We try to give these
animals the best care and we’ll seek additional budget from the
government if it is needed,” said Theerapat Prayurasiddhi,
deputy director general.
Building more facilities may not be the only solution to the
overburdened facility problem.Tougher implementation of wildlife
protection laws and punishment of offenders--smugglers, traders
and hunters--is a key to prevent wildlife smuggling and to save
the animals from extinction. (MCOT online news)
Haze situation in North troubling
LAMPANG, 11 February 2013 (NNT) – The air pollution problem in
Northern provinces of Phrae and Lampang is still troubling, as
the level of dust particles is about the go over the safety
The Lampang provincial meteorological office has reported that
the amount of small particles has been increasing. Many northern
provinces are covered with white fog, which reduces visibility.
Phrae and Lampang are the two most troubled provinces, with the
levels of dust particles standing at 112 and 106 micrograms per
cubic meter, respectively. The dust amount considered dangerous
is at 120 micrograms. Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai now have around
70 and 50 micrograms of dust particles per cubic meter.
Haze is an annual problem, severely affecting local businesses
in the North from February to March.
Education Minister’s advisor backs pay raise for university lecturers
BANGKOK, 11 February 2013 (NNT) - Adviser to the Minister of
Education Dr.Phawit Thongrote has voiced his support for a
salary increase for university lecturers, saying that they are
the workforce who should be well taken care of. Dr.Phawit will
propose this idea to Education Minister Phongthep Thepkanchana
The adviser said the salary rate of university lecturers should
not be lower than that of primary school teachers, and he had
already assigned the Office of the Higher Education Commission
to draft a law to allow university lecturers to increase their
University lecturers are education personnel in the same way as
primary school teachers are; therefore, they should be able to
raise their pay in the same fashion, Dr.Phawit said.
Presently, there are around 30,000 civil servants working in
university institutions. Some of them have more than 20 years
before retiring and deserve to see an adjustment to their salary
scale. The adviser said he would request the education minister
to look at the proposed salary increase rules this week.
Patients with dengue fever increased five times this year
BANGKOK, 11 February 2013 (NNT)-Public Health Ministry permanent
secretary Dr Narong Sahamethapat revealed that the number of
people with dengue fever exceeded 5,700 people during January
1st to February 5th.
According to Dr. Narong, the number of patients with dengue
fever has increased 5 times compared to that reported during the
same period last year. He said the number could rise to around
100,000 – 120,000 people.
According to the Permanent Secretary, people who are at risk of
contracting the fever include adults, overweight people, and
teens. He cautioned that 90% of the patients have mild fever
while red rashes on their bodies are not visible which, to the
doctor’s first diagnosis, might not appear to be the symptoms of
However, if the symptoms have gone undetected, the lives of
those who have it could be at great risks. 4 patients have
reportedly succumbed to the disease so far this year. To prevent
more deaths, public health provincial offices have been
instructed to kill mosquito larvae before the rainy season
Thai people are also encouraged to keep all containers closed to
prevent mosquitoes from using them as their breeding grounds. A
war room has been set up to devise a strategy to reduce the
number of deaths and contain the outbreak.
Special Report: Purple Line set to improve traffic in BKK and its vicinities
In a bid to alleviate critical traffic congestion in Bangkok and
neighboring provinces, the government is speeding up
construction work on the much-anticipated Purple Line in
Bangkok, which is expected to be open for service in 2015.
The Purple Line is a 23-kilometer long mass rapid heavy rail
system that will connect Bang Yai district in nearby Nonthaburi
province with the Tao Poon area in Bangkok’s Bang Sue district.
The line will serve the northwestern suburbs and the southern
area of the capital, passing through the center of the old city
on an elevated line. Running past historical places in Dusit and
Phra Nakhon districts, such as the National Library, Thewet
Market, Bang Lamphu, the Democracy Monument and Wongwian Yai
roundabout, the line is also set to serve the new Thai
parliament construction site at Kiak Kai Intersection.
The Purple Line starts from Khlong Bang Phai depot and runs
along Kanchana Phisek Road to reach Bang Yai Station. It will
then turn left at Rattana Thibet Road and cross the Rama III
Bridge over the Chao Phraya River before passing Wong Sawang
Intersection flyover and terminating at Tao Poon Terminal. The
route will be completely elevated and will have 16 stations.
Park and ride facilities will be available at Sam Yaek Bang Yai,
Tha It, Yaek Nonthaburi and at the starting terminal. Many
stations along the line will offer a variety of transport links,
ranging from ferry services and buses to taxis. Khlong Bang Phai
depot itself will serve as a maintenance, fleet parking and
administrative facility and will house and control the train
operating system of the Purple Line.
The Mass Rapid Transit Authority also plans to extend the Purple
Line from Tao Poon Terminal to Rat Burana. The proposed
17-kilometer long extension will have 14 stations. Tao Poon
Terminal Station is poised to be a major interchange station,
connecting the Purple Line to an MRT line and an electric Blue
Line running between Bang Sue and Tha Phra.
Once fully completed, the Bang Yai-Bang Sue rapid transit line
will be Bangkok’s first rapid transit system encroaching into
the adjacent province of Nonthaburi.
The Purple Line will have an initial usage of 200,000 passengers
a day, which is expected to increase to 290,000 passengers a day
Five soldiers killed in Yala presumed insurgent attack
YALA, Feb 10 – Five soldiers were killed and another one wounded
in a bombing and shooting attack in the violence plagued
province of Yala.
A group of soldiers were driving a personnel carrier on Sai
Thathong-Wangphraya road when a 50-kilogramme bomb hidden in a
pick-up truck exploded. After the bombing, at least ten
assailants disguised as officials opened fire at the soldiers,
killing one officer, four privates. One surviving soldier was
The police presumed that the attack was carried out by a group
of insurgents--led by Abdulrorhing Dahisor and Abdulrormae
Jeteh--active in Yala’s Raman district and Pattani’s Mayo
The pick-up truck used in the car bomb belonged to Somsak
Kwanma, a teacher in Baan Bangoy. The teacher’s pickup truck was
reported stolen in mid December last year. (MCOT online news)
Many Bangkokians to avoid polls as they are sick of politics: Poll
BANGKOK, Feb 9 - "Fed up with politics" is a major reason
claimed by Bangkokians who said they would not cast their
ballots in the upcoming gubernatorial election, a university
poll revealed on Saturday.
The Suan Dusit Rajabhat University Poll, or Suan Dusit Poll, on
"Why Bangkokians won't go to cast their ballots on gubernatorial
election" surveyed 414 residents who said they will not vote or
are still hesitant whether to vote on March 3 to select the new
Some 35.29 per cent said they will not vote because they are
sick of politics, while 29.41 per cent claimed they will be busy
on the voting day.
Another 17.65 per cent said they do not know who to vote for,
while 11.77 percent believed that no matter who wins the
election, he or she will not be able to solve the city's
One-third, or 34.78 per cent, suggested that concerned agencies
should do more publicity or campaign to encourage Bangkokians to
cast their ballots.
Roughly one quarter, or 26.08 pe rcent, said the campaign should
focus on the benefits citizens will get from exercising their
voting rights. (MCOT online news)
PM: 2013 will be the Year of Thailand
BANGKOK, Feb 9 - Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on
Saturday said she wants 2013 to be the Year of Thailand, where
the country's economy is growing and confidence will be
The premier expressed this wish in her weekly televised
programme “PM Yingluck Government Meets the People” on the
occasion of Chinese New Year. Ms Yingluck said she wishes the
Thai people health and wealth.
She said after the 2011 nationwide flooding, the country has
improved in several aspects including the economy, and that
confidence has been restored among the world community.
The economy is growing well due to increased purchasing power of
the Thais and the inflow of foreign investment which can be seen
from their requests for investment promotion from the Board of
Investment (BoI), rising from Bt700 billion to Bt1.4 trllion,
said Ms Yingluck.
The premier said, to make the economy grow sustainably, the
government will invest in infrastructure development of Bt2.2
trillion. The projects will stimulate domestic purchasing power
and prepare the country for the ASEAN Economic Community which
will take effect in 2015.
Ms Yingluck however added that the government will have to
clarify its investments in megaprojects to the public and
concerned agencies to create better understanding, as the
projects will decentralise growth to upcountry, reducing
logistic costs and facilitating communication.
She said many countries have shown interest in joint ventures
and 2013 will the Year of Thailand, as many world leaders will
also visit the kingdom. (MCOT online news)
World Islamic body nods to Thailand’s tackling of southern violence
BANGKOK, Feb 8 – The Organisation of Islamic
Cooperation (OIC) has responded positively to Thailand’s successive
solutions to the long-standing violence in three southernmost provinces
and offered to support the kingdom in solving the problem
constructively, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said today.
Foreign Ministry Information Department Director-General Manasvi
Srisodapol said the OIC’s latest reaction was made during the 12th OIC
meeting in Cairo, Egypt, on Wednesday and Thursday.
Thailand's ambassador to Cairo, Chalit Manityakul, represented the
kingdom in attending the meeting as an observer.
Mr Manasvi said feedback on Thailand regarding the chronic problem in
Thailand’s Muslim-predominant provinces in the far South was positive
while the OIC secretary general was asked to assist Thailand in tackling
The spokesman said the Thai Foreign Ministry was satisfied with the
constructive cooperation on the part of the OIC which described
Thailand’s performance as beneficial to cooperation in solving the
problem in the future and to Thai Muslims in the South.
The positive attitude was partly due to visits by Prime Minister
Yingluck Shinawatra to some OIC member countries such as Bahrain, Qatar
and Kuwait, Mr Manasvee said, adding that a field trip by Bangkok-based
diplomats of the OIC countries to the far South last week was useful in
creating a better understanding among them.
On the government’s plan to impose a curfew in some southern provinces,
the ministry spokesman said the curfew will not affect the OIC viewpoint
on Thailand as they understand the situation.
“People worldwide condemn the use of violence against innocent people.
However, the government must clearly explain to the people and the
outside world if [the curfew] enforced,” he said. (MCOT online news)
Sand drilling ships spotted in Myanmar near Thailand's border
RANONG, Feb 10 - About ten sand drilling ships were spotted in Myanmar's
Andaman Sea near Thailand's border in this southern province.
Atikom Tanabat, from a committee to develop triangle economic area in
Thailand's upper south, said he and his team went to inspect Takrut
Island, which is located in Thai territory connected to Myanmar's Kaw
He said local residents informed Thai authorities of the ships.
An initial inspection found that the large ships were from Indonesia,
drilling sand in the Andaman Sea to send to Singapore for further silica
Workers on the ships speaking the Yawi language said about 1 kg of
silica was distilled from 2,000 cubic metres of sand.
Silica is currently priced at Bt32,000/kg, used in electrical equipment
and sanitary ware manufacturing. Singapore will use the rest of the sand
leftover from the distillation for land reclamation, they said.
Mr Atikom said many local residents are worried that the sand drilling
process will be the cause of future problems in the coastal area, as
well as affect the ecological system. (MCOT online news)
Security tightened in Yala following Sunday car bomb
YALA, 10 FEBRUARY 2013 (NNT) – Security has been tightened further in
Thailand’s restive southern border region after the latest car bomb
killed more soldiers, ahead of the widely-watched curfew imposition.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra revealed that national
security-related agencies have already been instructed to investigate
the fatal attack in Yala Province, which killed 5 military officers and
critically injured one soldier on Sunday morning.
When asked of the latest insurgent attack will lead to the imposition of
a curfew in the violence-torn Deep South, the Premier said that an
assessment of the situation is needed and other factors, including
personnel and equipment, must be readied before a decision can be made.
Ms. Yingluck added that security officers have been working to determine
risk level in various areas of the southern border region while more
discussions on the curfew issue with the National Security Council will
be held soon.
Meanwhile, the police and the army have stepped up security measures in
the Yala Municipality and made more thorough inspection of cars,
motorcycles, suspicious individuals and objects entering populated
shopping areas and communities of the province.
More checkpoints have also been set along all roads leading to Yala in
order to boost public confidence and assure the safety of the public
during the Chinese New Year festival.
Haze, smog worsen in northern provinces
LAMPANG, Feb 10 – Dust particle levels in Thailand’s northern
provinces have increased, while Chiang Mai's airport has to turn
on spotlights along the whole runway area due to poor
Regarding the haze and smog situation, the average dust
particles recorded in northern provinces has risen, with Phrae
at 112 microgrammes/cubic metre and Lampang at 106
In Chiang Mai, the visibility is poor at about one kilometre,
forcing Chiang Mai Airport to turn on spotlights at its runway.
Chiang Mai reported dust particles level at 71
The Chiang Mai deputy governor said 14 hot spots have been found
burning, mostly in Chom Thong, Mae Chaem and Omkoi districts.
Local authorities have asked for cooperation from the public to
stop all types of burning.
If there is no rain, the dust particle levels is likely to
continue to rise. The Lampang Meteorological Station reported an
active high pressure system from China remaining over the
Northeast of Thailand and the South China Sea. It forecasts cool
weather with fog in the morning and isolated thundershowers with
wind gusts. (MCOT online news)
DPM Plodprasop: Govt to build more large-scale dams to manage water supply
BANGKOK, 10 FEBRUARY 2013 (NNT) – Deputy Prime Minister
Plodprasop Suraswadi has revealed that a number of large dams
and reservoirs will be constructed in various parts of the
country, in an effort to help the government efficiently manage
water supply and prevent future flood problems.
During the weekly "the Yingluck Government Meets the People" TV
program, Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop, in his capacity as
Chairman of the Water and Flood Management Commission, said that
the government will be building 16 new reservoirs and 3 new
dams, as parts of the commission’s conceptual plan for a
sustainable water resource and flood management system.
Mr. Plodprasop stated that the planned construction will include
Mae Kuong, Mae Wong and Kaeng Sua Ten dams.
The Deputy PM elaborated that six out of eight group companies
have been selected for the project, based on the proposed
construction cost and project timeframe.
He added that the signing of the contracts is expected in April,
while parts of the planned construction are scheduled to be dome
within a year before the complete finish in five years.
While nothing that the construction plan represents a large
investment that comes with hurdles, Mr. Plodprasop stated that
only cooperation and sacrifice from all parties will help make
Concerning some opposition from NGOs, the Deputy Prime Minister
stressed that the government will always listen to all opinions
and suggestions and affirmed that all the dam and reservoir
construction is initiated to help manage water and never
intended for tourism, agricultural or power generation purposes.
Ministry of Water” begins to take shape
BANGKOK, 10 February 2013 (NNT) - The government has commenced
its work on the establishment of the “Ministry of Water”, as
proposed by Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said that as relevant
government units are still conducting the studies related to the
setting up of the Ministry of Water, no conclusion has been
Ms. Yingluck stated that more remain to be done, especially the
analyses of the pros and cons of the initiative, while stressing
the importance of a completely integrated water management for
the country, from upstream to midstream and downstream areas.
Regarding the drought situation in the Northeast, the Premier
said that the Royal Irrigation Department has been asked to help
look into the problem.
The PM conceded that there has been less rainfall since the
drought season started while artificial rainmaking has already
been implemented in areas hit by the dry spell, when possible.
In addition, Ms. Yingluck said that the Ministry of Natural
Resources and Environment has been supervising the use of
underground water and the supply of water from various sources
to those in need.
The Prime Minister also confirmed there would be sufficient
water for consumption but more would be needed for agricultural