Metropolitan police chief orders thorough investigation of shooting of ASTV news cars
BANGKOK, Jan 27 - Metropolitan Police chief Kamronwit
Thoopkrachang has ordered a thorough investigation and asked the
issue not yet be concluded as a media threat.
Pol Lt Gen Kamronwit said regarding the shooting of ASTV cars
parked in front of the ASTV headquarters on Phra Arthit Road on
Saturday that footage from surveillance cameras found that the
gunman shot from the other side of the road. However, two
security guards said they did not know the cars had been shot
when the incident took place.
The shooting occurred at 3.26 am and police were informed about
the shooting at 9 am. ASTV executives will be question if there
is any conflicts with anyone, he said.
The metropolitan police chief said he did not want the shooting
to be prejudged as media threat or the action of officials
linked to a soldier protest at the ASTV news office earlier this
Some 30 soldiers protested at the ASTV-Manager office on Phra
Arthit Road on January 12, demanding the media outlet apologise
for its criticism of Army Chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha.
Meanwhile, Democrat Party spokesman Chavanond Intarakomalyasut
said that the party called for Prime Minister Yingluck
Shinawatra and Police Chief Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew to find
out and arrest the gunman shooting at ASTV news cars because the
action is outrageous and considered as a threat to media.
He said as closed circuit television cameras can capture the
image of suspects, it will be not difficult for the police to
find the culprit.
The government has to maintain safety for the public however,
and Chavanond said that there have been media threats and that
the government did not seem to take them seriously. He expressed
suspicion that if the gunman cannot be arrest, a person in the
government may be involved in the incident.
Hotel destroyed by fire declared off-limits
BANGKOK, Jan 27 – An eight- storey hotel destroyed by fire
Saturday night, was declared off-limits after a man was killed
in the fire.
The fire broke out at the Grand Tower Inn hotel located at Soi
Charoen Nakhon 14/2 in Khlong San district.
Utcharawadee Chaisuwirat, director of the Khlong San district
said that officials will inspect the area and determine the
cause of the fire. Witnesses said the fire was sparked from an
electrical circuit on the seventh floor.
Hotel guests evacuated and a body of a 30-year-old Thai man was
found in a room on the third floor.
The room had been rented by a man named Thanawat since January
It took about an hour to put the fire under control. Twelve
people were injured from smoke inhalation in the incident while
two victims remain in the Intensive Care Unit. (MCOT online
Plurality of Bangkok voters to choose governor based on policy: Poll
BANGKOK, Jan 26 -- A plurality of Bangkok voters will make their
decision who to choose as Bangkok governor based on policies
announced during election the campaign, while 17% plan to cast
their ballots based on qualifications or party affiliation,
according to Suan Dusit Poll.
The survey was conducted by Suan Dusit Rajabhat University from
January 20-25 among 1,139 respondents in the capital city of
Bangkok and concluded that the major factor for Bangkok
residents to decide who they would vote for as governor was the
policies that each candidate presented during their campaign.
Almost half, or 46.20 per cent of the respondents, said they
would make decision based on the police while 17.74 per cent
said that they would decide based on each candidate's
qualification or their political party affiliation.
Some 13.91 per cent said they would select based on image and
Among those polled, 35.04 per cent wanted to tell the candidates
that their policy should be feasible, more than 20 per cent
wanted to see Bangkok developed in all aspects and slightly less
than 20 per cent preferred to request the Bangkok Governor
election be a free and fair election.
The majority of the respondents agreed that Mr Suharit
Siamwalla's campaign was the most innovative, which relied on
Seven more candidates applied to enter the race for the March 3
Bangkok governor election on the last day of applications
Friday, bringing the total number of candidates to 25.
The Election Commission will check the qualifications of each
candidate and would announce the list of eligible candidates on
February 1, while lists of eligible voters would be announced on
New Zealander dies in fall from boat in Phuket
PHUKET, Jan 25 -- A New Zealand yachtsman was found dead after
falling from his boat in Thailand’s southern resort of Phuket.
Local police said the victim, identified as Richard Ernest
Spraggs, 59, fell into the sea at Chalong Pier in the Phuket
provincial seat, apparently hitting his head on another boat and
that he probably died from drowning.
Police found a wound on his head but no sign of being hit
anywhere else on his body.
According to initial investigation, Mr Spraggs was the owner of
the yacht and sailed to many countries, visiting Phuket every
year for the past six years.
Police said the death was believed to be caused by drowning, and
that it was an accident.
At around 3am, Mr Spraggs used an inflatable boat to pick up a
friend at Chalong Pier.
After he returned to his vessel, the waves drove a larger boat
moored nearby into his yacht.
Trying to push the other boat away, he lost his balance and fell
into the water, hitting his head on the way down.
Police said he may have been knocked unconscious and drowned.
(MCOT online news)
Army chief laments lax security in South
BANGKOK, Jan 25 – Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha conceded today
that loopholes remain in preventing violence and attacks on
teachers in Thailand’s far South despite reinforcement of state
security personnel in the region.
He was referring to Wednesday’s daylight attack on Ban Tanyong
School in Narathiwat province in which a Muslim teacher was
Gen Prayuth said the government is accountable and must take
responsibility for the fatal shooting despite the school’s
refusal of security protection by the authorities.
The army chief said he informed Prime Minister Yingluck
Shinawatra that the armed forces have regularly adjusted their
security measures in the South where mutual agreements have been
reached with many of the schools, be they Buddhist or Muslim.
Patrol police officers are on duty during the day but loopholes
are not ruled out, he said, adding the management of Ban Tanyong
School did not blame the authorities for the incident.
“It’s not easy to instruct 60,000 personnel from different
units, including army privates, to work in unison,” he said.
To solve the southern problems, the army chief said, law
enforcement is necessary while wrongdoers should be encouraged
to give up and join in the country’s development. (MCOT online
JICA proposes water bypass to prevent severe flood in central region
BANGKOK, Jan 25 – The Japan International Cooperation Agency
(JICA) proposed flood prevention plan for the Chao Phraya River
Basin, recommending construction of a water bypass through the
central province of Ayutthaya for speedy water diversion into
JICA proposed the revised master plan for Chao Phraya River
Basin flood prevention to Royal Irrigation Department
Director-General Lertviroj Kowattana.
Yusuke Amano, a JICA academic, said the agency conducted an
aerial survey on areas hit by the devastating 2011 flood for
accurate calculation and analysis of the flood prevention plan.
The existing system and facilities must be fully and efficiently
utilised, in particular all dams, which need systematic
management and assessment, he said.
According to the aerial imagery, more appropriate water bypasses
and floodways will help drain water from low-lying areas,
affected by flooding.
Diverting water to the east and the west sides of the river
basin does not help much to alleviate flood impacts.
However, JICA advised an additional 20km bypass through
Ayutthaya, north of the capital, will reduce water volume in an
amount that does not exceed the holding capacity of the Chao
Phraya River and prevent large amounts of water from flowing
into business areas in the lower central provinces including the
Regarding water retention areas, an unspecified number of such
zones must be maintained more systematically, Mr Amano said.
(MCOT online news)
PM stresses four-point national strategy to move country forward
BANGKOK, Jan 26 -- Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on
Saturday stressed the government's four-point national strategy
and infrastructure investment plan to move the country forward
for sustainable growth.
The PM, on her weekly TV programme "Yingluck Government Meets
the People," said that the government has plans to spend 2
trillion baht budget to implement a four-point national
strategy, while adhering to fiscal discipline and transparency
to prevent potential corruption.
Ms Yingluck said she believed that the national strategy would
enhance the country's effectiveness and draw more foreign
The premier has clarified that in the first strategy, the
government will focus on capacity-building to enhance Thailand’s
competitiveness in the long run for sustainable growth.
In the second strategy, the government would seek to reduce
social disparity between low-income and high-income earners and
provide greater opportunities for the people based on economic,
social, and political equality.
For the third strategy, the government would emphasize “green
growth economy” and would promote the people’s quality of life
and environmentally friendly growth.
In the fourth strategy, the government would improve
effectiveness in management, focusing on good governance.
The strategies would drive the country forward in a sustainable
manner in accordance with His Majesty the King’s sufficiency
economy initiatives, she said. (MCOT online news)
PM briefed on Thailand’s planned defence in temple row
BANGKOK, Jan 25 – Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra reasserted
today that Thailand will forge onward in protecting the
kingdom’s sovereignty concerning the dispute with Cambodia over
land in the area surrounding Preah Vihear temple.
In a security meeting with high-level officials, the premier
expressed confidence in the government’s move in contesting the
dispute, pending a decision by the International Court of
Thailand and Cambodia are required to give their respective oral
statements before the ICJ in April and the ruling is expected in
The Foreign Ministry is in charge of supervising the
Thai-Cambodian relationship at all levels, she said.
Today’s two and a half hour meeting was attended by Deputy Prime
Minister/Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul, Deputy Prime
Minister/Education Minister Phongthep Thepkanchana, Defence
Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat, Veerachai Palasai, leader of
Thailand’s legal team in the case, the chiefs of the three armed
forces and the national police chief.
Nuttavuth Potisaro, deputy permanent secretary for foreign
affairs, said the meeting was satisfactory with Mr Veerachai’s
outline on Thailand’s stance and defence in the dispute. The
prime minister instructed officials to work with full commitment
in protecting the national sovereignty on the Thai-Cambodian
He said the Foreign Ministry is willing to accept feedback and
suggestions from the public, especially on the issue of the ICJ
jurisdiction which Thailand will raise in its April statement.
“We are confident of success in the case given the ICJ’s 1962
ruling which only touched on the temple, and not the surrounding
area covering 4.6 sq km,” said Mr Nuttavut.
Thailand has followed every point of the ICJ’s ruling including
removal of troops from the temple and adjacent area and the
return of ancient objects, discovered in 1954, to Cambodia, he
Mr Veerachai said the content of the oral statement is completed
except for some minor points.
Cambodia has asked the ICJ to rule on the 4.6 sq km of land
surrounding the temple where troops of both countries have been
deployed and clashes have erupted sporadically. (MCOT online
Bangkokians want problems engaged, solved
BANGKOK, Jan 25 – Solutions to traffic congestion, pollution,
rising crime and development of mass transport are high on the
agenda of demands for the next Bangkok governor to solve,
according to an academic poll of city voters.
In a survey of 1,500 eligible voters in all 50 Bangkok districts
last week, the National Institute for Development Administration
(NIDA) reported that 42 per cent of respondents wanted an
improved traffic system for the capital 16 per cent called for
expanded mass transport in all areas of the city and slightly
over 10 per cent raised the issue of crime and the security of
the property as issues in their lives.
Other concerns included water, air and noise pollution, garbage
and clogged floodwater drainage (7.5 per cent), economic
development to compete with Southeast Asian countries (5.5 per
cent), improved knowledge about on the ASEAN Economic Community
(AEC), improved language skills and knowledge (5.40 per cent),
and improved image for Bangkok including solutions to political
disorder, homeless, vagrants and roadside sellers (nearly 6 per
On the feasibility of developing Bangkok as the city to become
the hub of ASEAN's AEC, 54 per cent said the possibility was at
medium range while 35 per cent were optimistic that the
potential is high and 10 per cent were pessimistic.
Sompoj Kannuj of the NIDA Faculty of Social and Environment
Development said the poll results reflected Bangkokians’ desire
for real solutions to many of the problems especially the city’s
traffic clogged streets.
Commuting is one of the economic factors in doing business and
daily life, but no candidate for Bangkok governor has clearly
addressed the issue-- including town planning-- to cope with the
city’s expansion, he said. (MCOT online news)
10th anniversary of the United Nations Day of Vesak to be held on May 21-22
BANGKOK, 25 January 2013 (NNT) – The 10th anniversary of the
United Nations Day of Vesak is set to be organized in Bangkok
during May 21-22. Buddhists from around the world are expected
to participate in the event.
Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University and the Thai
Government will jointly play host to the 10th anniversary of the
United Nations Day of Vesak (UNDV), to be held at the United
Nations Conference Centre (UNCC), in Bangkok, during May 21-22,
The event will be attended by thousands of Buddhist leaders and
scholars from around the world. The theme of this year’s event
is ‘Education and Global Citizenship: A Buddhist Perspective.
Besides providing an opportunity for Buddhists to celebrate the
birth, enlightenment, and final passing away-Nirvana- of the
Lord Buddha, the event is also aimed at honoring the 100th
Anniversary of the birthday of the Thai Supreme Patriarch, His
Holiness Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara, who has reigned as the
Supreme Patriarch for the past twenty-four years.
Education Minister discusses solutions to help restive south teachers
BANGKOK, 25 January 2013 (NNT)-As violence continues plaguing
the three southernmost provinces, educators in the restive
region have reportedly come up with a proposal requesting higher
compensations to boost morale of teachers and related personnel
working in the area.
According to Education Minister Pongthep Thepkanchana, a meeting
was held among Education officials, teachers and school
administrators in the restive South to find solutions and
relieve their hardship in carrying out duties.
He said the proposal weighs the importance on raising risk
allowance for teaching personnel working in the region,
increasing compensations for teachers and staff killed in the
violence, a rise in government subsidies given to private
general education schools, and the planned construction of
student dormitories in private Islamic schools known as Po-noh.
The proposal will be reviewed by an ad-hoc Committee on for
Special Development Zone in the Southern Border Provinces,
before being submitted to the Cabinet for consideration.
Mr. Pongthep also said that there is no need to send border
police to teach students in affected schools as there already
are volunteers who are also locals and hold qualified degrees to
do the jobs.
On the proposed construction of dormitories for teachers, the
Minister said it is pending a fact finding procedure to see
whether the plan is the right answer as many teachers have
indicated they prefer to stay with their families.
Fourth Army Commander says no need to set up Rohinya camp
BANGKOK, 25 January 2013 (NNT)-Fourth Army commander Lt Gen
Udomchai Thamsarorat said Thailand is only a transit point for
Rohingyas trying to migrate to a Muslim country, and there is no
need to set up a migrant camp.
According to Lt Gen Udomchai, displaced Rohingyas have been
sneaking into Thailand through passages in Ranong and Satun
provinces or travelling by boat from the Andaman Sea. The army
has been working side by side with the local Immigration Office
in tracking those that have managed to dodge the Thai authority.
The Fourth Army commander, meanwhile, said the army would, on
humanitarian grounds, temporarily take care of those refugees
until they were transported to a Muslim country. He, however,
did not see any need to set up a refugee camp; given a small
number of Rohingyas were currently staying in Thailand.
He also urged everyone not to look at this issue as a religious
matter and that the authorities were trying to identify suspects
who had been behind the trafficking of these Rohingyas. The
public was also encouraged to inform the authority should they
witness any migrants illegally entering the country.
Outstanding inventors to get awards on Inventors’ Day
BANGKOK, 25 January 2013 (NNT) - The National Research Council
of Thailand has announced that it will hold an award
presentation to honor outstanding researchers and inventors on
Inventors' Day, February 2nd.
A successful breeding of the first Thai Eld’s deer in the world
by veterinarian Dr Amphika Thongpakdi and her team has won the
outstanding research award from the National Research Council.
The Thai Eld's deer is an endangered species. The breeding was
conducted through an in-vitro fertilization (test tube).
Currently, the endangered Eld's deer are found in its natural
habitat in Salak Phra Wildlife Sanctuary, Huai Sadong, in
Outstanding awards will be given to 34 inventors for the year
2012, whereas only 4 researchers on Thai behaviors will receive
excellent and consolation prizes. Both award categories are to
honor inventions and research projects which benefit the nation.
Every year, the National Research Council of Thailand invites
several organizations and agencies to propose their research
projects and PHD theses for the annual awards. The award
presentation ceremony will be held on Inventors’ Day, February
2nd at IMPACT.
MRT blue line extension proceeds as tunnel boring machine introduced
BANGKOK, 25 January 2013 (NNT) – The MRT blue line extension
from Sanam Chai to Tha Phra stations will proceed after Prime
Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday introduced a tunnel
boring machine capable of excavating tunnels beneath the Chao
Prime Minister Yingluck on Thursday presided over the opening
ceremony of the MRT Blue Line extension construction, where a
tunnel boring machine was introduced, aiming to help Thailand
carry on its MRT projects. The machine will dig a tunnel under
the Chao Phraya River. It will be the first MRT line that goes
under the water level.
According to Ms Yingluck, the new MRT route will help ease heavy
traffic and enhance the country’s transportation system.
Other than the blue line extension, Ms Yingluck also held a talk
with Transport Minister Chatchart Sittipan regarding other MRT
projects. After the talk, the transport minister said the MRT
projects were part of Ms Yingluck’s plan to improve the quality
of life of the residents, especially those who have low income.
He said the Prime Minister wanted the MRT project to be
completed as scheduled, given chronic traffic congestion has put
Bangkokians under severe strain for years.
Two Nigerian scammers nabbed for luring lonely Thai women
BANGKOK, Jan 23 - Thailand's Department of Special Investigation
(DSI) arrested two Nigerian men suspected of operating a scam
misleading and luring Thai women, through social networking
websites, who ended up sending as much as Bt20 million for false
DSI and Immigration Bureau officers arrested Benjamin Olakunle
Oyewole and Oladapo Awooyele for conspiracy and using false
information on internet sites, and causing damage to others.
DSI Foreign Affairs and Transnational Crime Bureau director Pol
Col Songsak Raksaksakul told a news conference that the suspects
committed their scam via websites such as Tagged and Facebook,
as well as other social networking sites.
The suspects claimed to be US Navy sailors based in Afghanistan,
showing the victims photos of good-looking naval personnel. They
told their victims they would like early retirement in order to
marry them, but said some payment would be required immediately
in order to do that.
The Nigerian men worked as a team and had separate duties to
lure targeted single women aged over 40, or widows.
According to the investigation, they allegedly committed their
crime in many countries including Sweden, Britain, Malaysia,
Singapore and Hong Kong. Over 400 women became the gang's
victims. (MCOT online news)
Democrats sue DSI chief, top officials for abuse of authority
BANGKOK, Jan 24 – Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva and
his deputy Suthep Thaugsuban filed a lawsuit against five senior
officials of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) for
abusing their power and falsely imposing charges against them in
connection with the 2010 political upheaval in Bangkok.
Lawyer Bundith Siriphan represented the plaintiffs in submitting
the lawsuit on Wednesday, charging DSI Director General Tarit
Pengdith and four other officials with breaching Articles 157
and 200 of the Criminal Code.
Mr Tarit and his DSI associates were accused of unlawfully
charging Mr Abhisit and Mr Suthep with initiating the murders of
people during the political disorders when they, in fact,
carried out their duty under the emergency decree.
Mr Abhisit said he would wait to see if the court will accept
the case for trial while he and the Democrat MP from Surat Thani
are ready to testify.
The former prime minister said he is not worried about possible
interference by the United Front for Democracy against
Dictatorship (the Red Shirts) during the Democrat Party’s
political rally in the northeastern province of Nakhon
Ratchasima this Saturday. (MCOT online news)
Foreign Ministry talks with international bodies on Rohingya underway
BANGKOK, Jan 23 – Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials
will meet with related state agencies Friday seeking practical
solutions to the problem of Rohingya migrants in Thailand in
preparation for further talks with international organisations.
Deputy Prime Minister/Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul
said the results of the Friday meeting will inform discussions
with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the
International Organisation for Migration and the United Nations
Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
He said international organisations should collaborate with
Thailand in helping the Rohingya migrants.
Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat reported that 4,000 Rohingya
migrants illegally entered Thailand in the past three months,
while Thai authorities have had several rounds of fruitless
talks with Myanmar, which insisted that Rohingya people are not
He said army officers implicated in smuggling Rohingya people
into the country will face severe punishment, adding that he has
yet to receive an official report from the Fourth Army Region.
(MCOT online news)
Ivory traders required to register with authorities to prevent illegal trade
BANGKOK, Jan 22 – Ivory traders nationwide are being required to
register with the authorities within 30 days and have
certificates of origin to identify ivory goods to prevent
illegal trade and the smuggling of African elephant tusks.
The action is the first of its kind taken by the Department of
National Parks Wildlife and Plant Conservation since it was
empowered by the Commerce Ministry. The department met with
traders of tusks and ivory products to inform them.
The move came after the World Wildlife Fund, an international
conservation group, said last week that "massive quantities" of
African ivory are being imported illegally into Thailand, where
they are carved into Buddhist statues, bangles and jewelry that
are then sold to tourists or smuggled elsewhere.
It urged Thailand to ban all ivory trading, warning that rising
demand for tusks is fueling an unprecedented slaughter of
elephants in Africa.
Theerapatr Prayoonsitthi, department deputy director-general
said the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered
Species (CITES) banned all international ivory trade in 1989 and
asked Thailand to tighten measures against the illegal smuggling
As ivory from domesticated elephants can be traded legally, to
prevent smuggling of African tusks, he said the department
instructed about 100-200 local ivory traders across the country
to register with the commerce ministry within a month and that
their ivory must be documented, showing the origins of their
The department will randomly check traders to ensure they comply
with the regulations. Any violator will be subject to serious
legal action, the senior official said.
The department has stored about ten tonnes of confiscated tusks
pending the prosecution of the cases in the court, Mr Theerapatr
They were registered and kept records and closely monitored to
prevent them being stolen for sale in the market. Ivory has a
street value of roughly 50,000 baht per kilogramme, he added.
(MCOT online news)
Bangkok governor candidates warned to only campaign practical & permissible election policies
BANGKOK, 24 January 2013 (NNT) – All contenders in the upcoming
Bangkok gubernatorial election are warned to only employ
campaign policies, which are practical under the jurisdiction of
the capital governor.
Bangkok Election Commission Office Director Veera Yee-prae said
on Wednesday that, so far, there have been 18 candidates, who
have registered their names to run in the March-3 gubernatorial
poll. The candidacy registration will stay open until January
The Bangkok Election Commission Office Director said that a
verification process is underway to check the qualification of
each candidate before an official confirmation of the endorsed
contenders can be made within February 1.
Meanwhile, Mr. Veera warned all Bangkok governor candidates to
make sure that their future deputies, secretaries and advisors,
have given their written consents to use their names in the
election campaign and to confirm their readiness to start
working if their respective candidate wins the election.
He added that all campaign policies must also be realistic and
possible for execution under the authority of the Bangkok
Governor, without exceeding the Bangkok Metropolitan
Administration’s allocated budget.
In addition, Mr. Veera noted that anyone who submits false
evidence to disqualify any candidate may risk being put behind
bars, while any lawmaker who has been proven to do so may be
removed from office and see their party dissolved.
Northern Royal Rainmaking readied for execution when needed
BANGKOK, 24 January 2013 (NNT) – The Northern Royal Rainmaking
Center has been on the lookout for drought and haze problem in
the region while staying ready to induce rain if needed.
The Northern Royal Rainmaking Center Director Song Klinprathum
revealed on Wednesday that a close surveillance has been
launched in all 17 Northern provinces to monitor the drought
crisis and the haze problem.
Mr. Song stated that Thailand’s North tends to experience either
or both problems during the months of December and March.
Therefore, the center needs to constantly assess the weather
conditions to see if artificial rainmaking is possible.
He said that the Northern Royal Rainmaking Center can make quite
a precise assessment, which allows the rainmaking crew to
starting the cloud seeding process to ease drought and haze.
Over 1,300 Rohingyas now detained in Thailand
BANGKOK, 24 January 2013 (NNT) - Police have so far detained
over 1,300 Rohingyas; while the Defense Minister revealed that
up to 4,000 Rohingyas have been picked up in Thailand in the
past three months, saying all sides must help solve this
Defense Minister Sukampol Suwannathat said the influx of
Rohingyas into Thailand is the problem that needs cooperation
from all sides in order for it to be solved, especially that
from international organizations such as the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). He admitted that up to 4,000
Rohingyas have been caught entering Thailand illegally in the
past three months. Clashes and discrimination in Myanmar have
forced many Rohingyas to flee their country for shelter, mostly
Meanwhile, police reported that over 1,300 Rohingyas have so far
been detained in Thailand. They are under the care of the Thai
immigration police and other government agencies. On Wednesday
the Border Patrol Police and Phang-Nga Water Police arrested
nearly 180 Rohingyas. This group of refugees reportedly left
Rakhine in Myanmar on January 7th. While at sea, they consumed
only water and four meals of raw rice.
In Songkhla, the Rohingyas who were asked to identify the people
who trafficked them were too scared to do so. Only after the
officials had assured them of their safety that they pointed out
the culprit, but then a fight broke out between a Rohingya and a
detention officer. The officer will be interrogated.
Most Rohingyas stranded in Thailand had been tortured, beaten,
and deprived of food before the Thai authorities found them. All
of them wanted to go to a third country and asked, in fear of
their own lives, the Thai officials not to send them back to
Close race for two strongest rivals in Bangkok campaign
BANGKOK, Jan 23 – An academic poll released today showed
Democrat candidate Sukhumbhand Paribatra leading slightly and
his rival Pongsapat Pongcharoen from the government bloc running
almost neck and neck in their campaigns to win the March 3
Bangkok gubernatorial election.
Referring to its interviews with 1,500 respondents above age 18
in all 50 districts of the Thai capital late last week, the
National Institute for Development Administration (NIDA) said
20.60 per cent of residents will vote for ex-Bangkok governor
Sukhumbhand while 19.13 per cent opted for national police
former deputy chief Pongsapat.
Other candidates were trailing, and received much less
attention. Former national police chief Seripisut Temiyavet led
the also-rans with 4.93 per cent, Suharit Siamwalla had 1.13 per
cent, and Kosit Suvinitchit came last with 0.27 per cent.
However, the NIDA poll indicated that more than half of the
voters -- 52.80 per cent -- remain undecided and 1.13 per cent
say they will refuse to go to the polls at all.
Bancherd Singkaneti, dean of the NIDA Faculty of Law, said the
poll results reflected the two rivals’ close relations with
their respective political strongholds, while the independent
candidates look to be at a strong disadvantage as the lack
significant political bases.
Prof Banchert said the percentage of undecided voters is rather
high probably because they are awaiting clearer policy
statements from the candidates.
Eighteen candidates have officially applied to run for the
Bangkok governorship. (MCOT online news)
Foreign Ministry insists assistance for Rohingya only temporary
BANGKOK, Jan 23 – Thailand's Foreign Ministry has called on the
world community and other countries to lend their hands in
solving the problem of Rohingya migrants in the long run.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Manasvi Srisodapol said the
government intends to assist more than 800 Rohingya migrants
arrested and sheltered in Thailand only a temporary basis while
discussing with the United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees on further assistance to them.
The Foreign Ministry has also consulted with Myanmar, the
Rohingya’s country of origin, on solutions to the problem both
in short and long terms, he said.
Mr Manasvi said a resolution of the Rohingya problem will not be
successful unless the world community and third countries join
He said the government is seriously dealing with the issue
including investigating alleged human trafficking which, if
confirmed, will tarnish Thailand’s reputation.
The Royal Thai Police and the Social Development and Human
Security Ministry are investigating allegation that army
officers are involved in human trafficking, he said. (MCOT
Japan-bound otters seized at Suvarnabhumi Airport
BANGKOK, Jan 23 - Thailand's Department of National Parks,
Wildlife and Plant Conservation seized 11 otters at the
country's main international airport and confiscated other
protected species at the heart of Bangkok.
Deputy Director-General Theerapat Prayoonsit said the Customs
Department found 11 otters in a passenger's baggage at
Suvarnabhumi Airport's departure terminal.
He said authorities are now identifying the owner of the seized
baggage. It was believed the baggage belonged to a foreigner who
was filmed on the airport's closed circuit television.
Initial investigation found that the otters were being smuggled
to Japan for a circus show.
Mr Theerapat said the department confiscated protected rare
birds at Chatuchak weekend market including white-rumped shama
and red-whiskered bulbuls.
The owner of the birds did not show up at the scene.
Department agents inspected bird vendors at the statue of Brahma
at Ratchaprasong intersection, in the city centre, and seized a
number of rare birds. Legal action will be taken against vendors
who violate the Wildlife Preservation and Protection Act, Mr
He urged the public not to buy birds from the vendors for
freeing them as a merit-making, saying that the more the people
buy caged birds for merit, the more they encourage illegal
trade. (MCOT online news)
2012 Prince Mahidol Award presentation ceremony next Wednesday
BANGKOK, Jan 23 - The presentation ceremony for the 2012 Prince
Mahidol Award in the fields of Medicine and Public Health will
be held at the Chakri Throne Hall on January 30.
Supat Vanichakarn, Prince Mahidol Award Foundation secretary
general said that Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri
Sirindhorn, representing His Majesty the King, will confer the
2012 Prince Mahidol Award on distinguished persons in the fields
of medicine and public health at Chakri Throne Hall on January
30 at 5.30pm.
On behalf of His Majesty the King, Princess Sirindhorn will also
host the banquet in honour of the laureates at
Boromrajasathitmaholarn Throne Hall at 7.30pm that evening.
The Prince Mahidol Award Foundation decided last November 9 to
confer the 2012 Prince Mahidol Award in the field of medicine to
Sir Michael David Rawlins of United Kingdom while in the field
of public health, the award will be conferred to Dr Uche
Veronica Amazigo of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Established in 1992 by His Majesty the King to mark the birth
centenary of his late father His Royal Highness Prince Mahidol
of Songkla, the foundation is headed by Princess Sirindhorn as
The foundation honours an individual or organisation for making
a major contribution to humanity in medicine medicine.
Each prize comes with a medal, certificate and a cash award of
US$100,000 or Bt3 million. (MCOT online news)
Police raid traditional medicine factory, seize 2.5 million baht worth of fake medicine
BANGKOK, 23 January 2013 (NNT) – Police on Tuesday raided a
traditional medicine factory in Pathumthani and seized several
types of medicine that have been advertised on the internet and
cable television as aphrodisiacs.
Acting on a tipoff, Police and Food and Drug Administration
officials raided Thanat herb factory in Pathumtani and seized
herbal capsules, cosmetic and skin products worth 2.5 million
baht altogether; that were labeled with distorted information,
which violates the Consumer Protection Act. The police also
found some medicine that were illegal produced without an FDA
According to FDA Secretary General Dr. Boonchai Somboonsuk, the
arrest came after it had received a number of complaints on
medicine falsely claimed to have helped treat erectile
dysfunction and improve sex drive. The factory was also
producing modern medicine even though it was not permitted to.
BMA forecasts minimum 70% voter turnout at 2013 Bangkok gubernatorial election
BANGKOK, 23 January 2013 (NNT) – The Bangkok Metropolitan
Administration (BMA) is hopeful that there will be a significant
number of voters who show up to exercise their rights at the
upcoming Bangkok gubernatorial election.
BMA Permanent Secretary Ninnart Chalitanon said on Tuesday that
at least 70% of voters are expected at the March 3 poll across
the capital. The voter turnout prediction was based on the
statistics recorded during the latest general election in July
Mrs. Ninnart stated that such a record can be achieved if all
related parties, including the BMA’s PR office, the Election
Commission and all candidates, work hard enough to encourage
Bangkok voters to visit the polling booths.
She added that Dusit and Khlong Toei districts are likely to see
the relatively-low voter turnouts like always, because of the
frequent mobility of residents in both areas.
The BMA Permanent Secretary also brushed aside worries about the
fact that the election will take place on the same day that
Grade-12 students are scheduled to take General Aptitude Test
(GAT) and Professional Aptitude Test (PAT) for their university
Even though around 6,000 of these students are eligible voters,
Mrs. Ninnart said that this number remains very small when
compared with the 6-million eligible voters in the capital.
In addition, she urged all who will not be able to cast their
votes on March 3 to contact their respective district offices to
make an advance ballot or make-up ballot, which is permissible 7
days before or after the election day.
UNHCR lending helping hand to Rohingyas
BANGKOK, 23 January 2013 (NNT) - The United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Tuesday visited the
detained Rohingyas in Songkhla Province to determine their need
to move to another country.
Representatives of the UNHCR, along with Foreign Affairs
officials, have visited the Rohingyas to check up on their
living conditions while being detained as refugees at the
They also visited Rohingya children and women who were
separately detained in the Songkhla Children and Families
shelter to assess their needs and listen to their problems. One
of their requests was for them to be moved to a third country
instead of being sent back to their home country for fear of
According to Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Manasvi
Srisodapol, the government has set up a budget to take care of
these refugees and will continue to provide them with
As for allegations that 8 soldiers have been involved in human
trafficking, the spokesman said the government was seriously
looking into the matter as the incident could tarnish the
country’s image, adding that he Foreign Ministry had forwarded
this matter to the Royal Thai Police for further investigation.
NBTC inspects shops to ensure prepaid mobile consumers their benefits
BANGKOK, 23 January 2013 (NNT) – Officials from the National
Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) have
inspected the sale of prepaid cards and new prepaid numbers in
mobile phone shops in Siam Paragon in order to make sure mobile
operators abide by its rules.
The NBTC officials, along with executives of AIS, DTAC, and True
Move, visited J-Mart, True, DTAC, and AIS shops in the shopping
mall to make sure all prepaid cards are sold under the NBTC’s
regulations. The NBTC has recently demanded that the sale of
prepaid SIM cards must be properly registered, carry no expiry
date, and be charged at no more than 99 satang per minute.
NBTC commissioner Suthipol Thaweechaikarn said as the expiration
period of prepaid cards is not yet finalized, mobile operators
cannot impose an expiry date for the moment. He added an
operator had proposed to the NBTC a 60-day expiration period,
but he expected other operators to come up with a better
In addition, operators are required to register personal details
of prepaid customers, while the call charge must not exceed 99
satang per minute. Since the new regulations were applied on
January 18th, there have been over 700 complaints, mostly about
the operators imposing prepaid credit expiry deadline.
Government continues 'One District One Scholarship' project
UTTARADIT, Jan 21 - The cabinet resolved to continue the
“One District One Scholarship” project initiated by ex-premier
Thaksin Shinawatra, elder brother of Prime Minister Yingluck,
Government spokesman Tossaporn Serirak said today.
This year the government will spend Bt395 million on the project
and from 2014-2020, it plans to spend Bt14 billion for young
people to study in non-Anglo-Saxon countries such as Chile,
Brazil, Belgium, Hungary, Portugal, Hong Kong, South Korea and
Indonesia, he said.
Students are required to pass both written examinations and
The spokesman said the prime minister instructed the education
ministry to help students prepare for language learning before
they go to study overseas.
Each year, they are required to return home to share their
experience with intending scholarship students. Officials of
state agencies must train students who have graduated students
to give them work experience.
PM outlines directives for Thailand’s prosperity
BANGKOK, Jan 22 – Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra
today announced a package of national strategies to move the
country forward for sustainable growth and readiness to be
integrated into the Southeast Asian economic region.
She met with provincial governors and senior officials to confer
the government’s policy and work on budget allocations for the
2014 fiscal year.
In a four-point strategy to herald Thailand's arrival at a new
era, Ms Yingluck urged the public sector to strengthen
Thailand’s competitive edge to lift the country from low-income
to middle-income levels, and minimise disparity in society to
create equal opportunity.
She said the government emphasises growth on the quality-of-life
and environmentally-friendly basis, as well as development of
state administrative system.
The strategies will sustainably move the country in accord with
His Majesty the King’s sufficient economy initiatives, she said.
The premier said taking the helm of Thailand in over a year has
been challenging given internal and external factors, including
volatile economy and international relations particularly with
Europe which signifies democracy and equality.
“The country’s economy has been imbalance and society lacked
management. Cooperative and integrated management in the public
sector has quickly revitalised the economy, contributing to a
national reserve of 48 per cent which is higher than earlier
predicted while this year’s GDP is forecast at 5.5 per cent,”
said Ms Yingluck.
She added that inflation is back to normal at 3 per cent while
the government successfully alleviated the deficit which was
recorded at Bt400 billion in the past.
Public debt is at 43.9 per cent which is much better than the
situation in many countries in the region, she said. (MCOT
French PM to visit Thailand next month
BANGKOK, Jan 22 - French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault
is scheduled to visit Thailand early next month at the
invitation of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
The Thai foreign ministry's statement said Mr Ayrault,
accompanied by his spouse Madame Brigitte Ayrault, will pay a
two-day official visit February 4-5, as the first visit by a
high level representative of France to the kingdom in seven
The last visit was that of former French President Jacques
Chirac as a Royal Guest of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej
The French premier's visit follows that of Prime Minister
Yingluck to the French Republic last July.
The statement said the past and upcoming visits underscore the
commitment of both countries to boosting the Strategic
Partnership between the two countries initiated in 2004. It is
also an opportunity to add another chapter in the long history
of Thai-French relations which began with the reciprocal
dispatch of embassies in the 17th century.
Mr Ayrault will meet with Ms Yingluck on February 5, focusing on
expanding trade and investment opportunities between the two
countries, as well as increasing cooperation in varied fields
including developing basic infrastructure, education and
research and alternative energy.
The two leaders will also discuss regional and global issues of
common interest and concern, including the continued prosperity
and stability of Southeast Asia, based on a competitive ASEAN
Community and a more connected Mekong and wider Asia-Pacific
regions as well as developments in Europe and the European
The French premier is expected to speak on relations between
Thailand and the French Republic at Thammasat University. He
will also preside over the inauguration of the Franco-Thai
Business Forum and then meet the French community in Thailand.
(MCOT online news)
Ultranationalists demonstrate against Phra Viharn ruling
BANGKOK, Jan 21 – A Thai ultranationalist group rallied
at the Royal Plaza in Bangkok today to protest against the world
court’s ruling on the Phra Viharn (Preah Vihear) temple dispute.
The Thai Patriots Group, led by Chaiwat Sinsuwong, said it will
not accept an International Court of Justice decision on the
disputed 4.6 sq km area surrounding the Phra Viharn temple which
Cambodia has filed for ownership with the court. The ruling is
tentatively scheduled for October this year.
The group submitted a letter of protest to the court via the
United Nations ESCAP regional headquarters in Bangkok, before
moving to present petition to army headquarters and the Supreme
Court under the watchful eyes of the metropolitan police.
Mr Chaiwat said the petition was endorsed by 1,249,773
signatories. He said a ruling against Thailand in the Phra
Viharn dispute means the country to lose the disputed 4.6 sq km
area near the temple. He further claimed that the action will
lead to Thailand's further loss of ocean bed, some 17 million
rai in the Gulf of Thailand for which Cambodia has unlawfully
The dispute between Thailand and Cambodia erupted shortly after
the UNESCO approved Cambodia's bid to have the Phra Viharn
temple named a World Heritage Site in July 2008.
Thailand claims ownership of 4.6 sq km land next to the temple,
reasoning that the border had never been officially demarcated.
(MCOT online news)
ISOC Ranong opposes sheltering Rohingya
RANONG, Jan 22 – The seaboard province of Ranong has expressed a severe
disapproval of setting up a temporary shelter for Rohingya migrants who
illegally entered Thailand in the past weeks.
Col Narin Pannarai, deputy commander of Internal Security Operations
Command’s Ranong Centre, said today that the province has to deal with
problems arising from migrant employment and the existence of workers
from Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos. The southern province on the Andaman
coast is opposite the Myanmar border.
Twenty-two Rohingya migrants who were recently arrested for illegal
entry have been confined at Ranong immigration centre, he said, adding
that the provincial authorities are working with related government
agencies to deal with them on humanitarian basis as were the cases with
other illegal migrants.
He called on the countries of origin which shelter the Rohingya minority
people to solve the problem.
National police chief Adul Saengsingkaew said the policy of repatriating
or sheltering the Rohingya migrants depends on the government’s
decision. Police have coordinated with all parties concerned in
providing special assistance to the ethnic people here, he said.
More than 800 Rohingya migrants were arrested earlier this month with
most in the Thai-Malaysian border province of Songkhla. Some are in
Satun and Narathiwat. (MCOT online news)
Nakhon Sawan village with no electricity set to continue being in the dark
NAKHON SAWAN, Jan 22 – Some 50 people in a tiny village,
about 10 km from the provincial town in this Thai province,
gateway to the North, have led their entire lives without
electricity, it was reported, and there is no promise or hint of
Too small to even have a name, the tiny village with seven
houses in Takianluen sub-district of the provincial seat, the
residents, mostly farmers, have always yearned for electricity.
Boonruen Taptiang, 72, said she has never watched TV and that
she always cooked food using charcoal stoves – a similar
practice in every house.
Nukul Panneng, 46, said government officials installed solar
panels to generate electricity in the village four years ago but
the system broke down six months later and it has never been
“We have asked the authorities many times for electricity but
were told that there wasn’t enough budget,” he said.
Children must rely on light from gasoline lamps in doing their
homework and go to another village five kilometres away to watch
TV, he said. (MCOT online news)
Army Chief ensures humanitarian aid for Rohingyas
BANGKOK, 21 January 2013 (NNT) - Army Commander-in-Chief
Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha has confirmed Thailand is ready to
provide humanitarian assistance to illegal Rohingya immigrants
although the country, at the same time, needs to take into
account its national security.
Gen. Prayuth on Monday said currently there are more than
300,000 illegal immigrants in Thailand, including the Rohingyas,
who are in the process of being sent back to their countries of
origin or sent to third countries. The army chief affirmed that
after being arrested by Thai officials, the asylum seekers had
been given proper care and assistance. However, he explained
that if the Thai government accepted them, there might be
The army chief added that whether temporary shelters would be
built for the illegal immigrants would be decided by the
Regarding the allegation that some Thai officials and army
officers had facilitated the Rohingyas’ entering into Thailand,
Gen. Prayuth insisted that the army would press a maximum charge
against any officer who was proven to have taken part in the
Defense Ministry unworried about protest movement against Cambodia
BANGKOK, 21 January 2013 (NNT) - Defense Minister ACM
Sukumpol Suwanatat is unworried about the current protest
against Cambodia, in relation to the Preah Vihear dispute, while
calling on all sides to wait for the International Court of
Justice (ICJ)’s verdict on the case.
The minister said on Monday that while the protest by a group
called “Khon Thai Hua Jai Rak Chart” was the exercise of the
right to freedom of expression, their movement must be based on
He confirmed that the government will listen to the protesters
and that the officers stationed at the disputed border area do
have clear understanding about the situation.
ACM Sukumpol stated he was not concerned that the protest would
ignite another conflict between Thailand and Cambodia.
He said that Thai military officers have been doing their best
around the Preah Vihear area as it is their duty to follow the
laws and take proper actions after the ICJ issued the
injunction. The Defense Minister added that the two countries
should together find solutions to the dispute through bilateral
Special Report: Seripisut promises truth and action
After registering for the Bangkok Governor race, all of the
candidates have come up with different policies. Despite running
as an independent candidate, former Police Chief Police General
Seripisut Temiyavet is among the front runners for this upcoming
Leading the group which calls itself "Bangkok Power", Police
General Seripisut has launched a campaign under the slogan “Dare
to Speak, Dare to Act, Accountable, and Assessable.” He also
vowed to change Bangkokians’ standard of living for the better,
if he is elected.
His policies include setting up almshouse, free air-conditioned
bus to help solve traffic problems, and reducing crime rates.
The former police chief is known for his courage in fighting
crimes, undaunted by any influential figures or politicians.
The former police chief, however, admitted it would be a
Herculean task to win over candidates from political parties.
But since he believed that Thailand's political party system was
the root cause of divisiveness, he decided to enter the race as
an independent candidate.
He also introduced a team of Deputy Bangkok Governors, which
included former People’s Alliance for Democracy leader Prapan
Kunmee and Director of the Natural Research Centre at Rangsit
University Seree Suprathit.
Police General Seripisut is running aginst two other big-name
front runners: Pol. Gen.Pongsapat Pongjaroen from Pheu Thai and
M.R. Sukhumbhand Paribatra from the Democrat party. The
gubernatorial election will take place on March 3rd.
Pollution Control Dept toughens law on pollution sources
BANGKOK, 22 January 2013 (NNT) – The Pollution Control
Department (PCD) has launched a caravan of its officials who
will visit industrial sites possessing sources of pollution and
explain them on a ministerial regulation requiring them to
report all waste treatment activities to the department.
According to Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and
Environment Sakda Noppasit, the PCD has been examining pollution
sources created by ten types of businesses and their waste
treatment systems. In the inspection process, owners of those
businesses are told to follow the ministerial regulation issued
under Section 80 of the Environmental Act B.E. 2535, regarding
environment quality and promotion. The regulation specifies 10
businesses to compile and report statistics of waste treatment
regularly, namely hotels, industrial estates, factories,
hospitals, gas stations, condominiums, aquaculture ponds,
department stores, housing development, and restaurants.
He reiterated that those business owners, from now on, will have
to strictly follow the regulation, by reporting every step and
detailed information back to the Pollution Control Department.
Anyone found in violation of the environmental law, he/she is
entitled to a fine of no more than 100,000 baht or an
imprisonment of no more than 1 year, or both.
Donations for Rohingyas total 2 million baht
SONGKHLA, 22 January 2013 (NNT) - Donations for Rohingya
migrants totaling 2 million baht have been made by Thais across
the country, while measures to deal with the asylum seekers are
being discussed among international and local agencies.
According to reports, donations continued to be received at the
immigration office in the southern province of Songkhla, where
over 200 Rohingyas are detained. Food, clothing and relief
packages have also been donated to the migrants by visiting
Members of the public who wish to donate funds to the Rohingyas
can transfer money to an account named “Rohingya Assistance
Fund” of the Islamic Bank of Thailand, Songkhla Branch. Thus
far, the money in the account has amounted to over 2 million
Meanwhile, Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission
of Thailand Amara Pongsapit said the commission is holding talks
with the UN’s refugee agency, the UNHCR, on helping resettling a
large number of Rohingyas in a third country. The commission is
also urging the government to establish a concrete and permanent
policy on ways to cope with future instances involving refugees
fleeing home-grown violence to Thailand.
All set for cabinet meeting in Thailand’s North today
UTTARADIT, Jan 21 – The provincial administration and
private sector here are expected to show up in full force as
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra leads her ministers and
high-ranking officials to a mobile cabinet meeting in this
primarily agricultural province today.
Uttaradit Governor Chalermchai Fuangkon said provincial
officials are ready for the meeting which will take place on the
campus of Uttaradit Rajabhat University.
Six major issues slated for discussion today involve trade and
investment promotion including the opening of the Mae Sot
special economic zone in Tak province, reviewing a project to
develop Phitsanulok as the transport hub for Thailand’s lower
Northeast and the Indochina region, and water resource
The Uttaradit administration will propose many projects for
cabinet deliberation, such as opening a permanent checkpoint at
Chong Pudu Pass, tourism promotion for the farming district of
Laplae and a budget request for Bt1.2 billion to develop
Uttaradit Hospital as a major medical centre.
Two other national sessions to be simultaneously held during the
cabinet meeting are that of the Joint Public and Private Sector
Committee and a meeting of governors from the lower northern
Deputy Prime Minister/Education Minister Phongthep Thepkanjana
arrived yesterday and was briefed on a planned communication
network and a large flood prevention project in the province
under the government’s Bt100 million development budget. Both
will be considered by the cabinet today.
Mr Phongthep said Uttaradit, 490km north of Bangkok, is a
feasible base for a communication networking project linking
Thailand with Myanmar in the West and with Laos in the East.
In the Joint Public and Private Sector Committee, Thai investors
and industrialists will discuss development of high-speed and
dual-track rail systems to upgrade Thailand as the a transport
hub, or what they called the “Indochina intersection”, in
preparation for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015 and
to promote domestic tourism.
In nearby Tak province, Ms Yingluck and some cabinet members
were briefed on the planned development of a special economic
zone in the Thai-Myanmar border district of Mae Sot.
Tak Governor Suriya Prasartbundit said the northern province
generates an annual revenue of Bt40 billion – Bt39 billion from
border trading, and revenue will possibly increase to over Bt50
billion when Thailand is integrated in the AEC. (MCOT online
Patriotic rally, election activities to invigorate Bangkok today
BANGKOK, Jan 21 – Metropolitan police are fully deployed
for a two-pronged activity in the heart of the capital today,
one involving the city gubernatorial election and the other the
Phra Viharn (Preah Vihear) temple dispute.
Pol Maj-Gen Prinya Chansuriya, Metropolitan Police deputy
commander, met yesterday with to review security for the two
events will take place at separate locations less than five
He talked with leaders of the Thai Patriots Network who said
they will gather at the Royal Plaza before moving to the Supreme
Court and the headquarters of the three armed forces to submit
petitions on the International Court of Justice ruling on the
Phra Viharn temple dispute between Thailand and Cambodia.
Gen Prinya said police must assure that the rally will not
spillover to cause inconvenience at City Hall where Bangkok
election candidates are scheduled to show up on the first day of
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration has set Jan 21-25 for
Bangkok election candidate registration.
Gen Prinya said more than 100 police will be assigned at City
Hall to direct traffic and facilitate candidates and their
political advocates who are expected to come in thousands to
give their moral support. (MCOT online news)
PM visits Thai-Myanmar border town planned to be set up as special economic zone
TAK, Jan 20 – Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on
Sunday visited this Thai-Myanmar border province to see a
business area in Mae Sot district, planned to be developed as a
special economic zone, ahead of Monday's cabinet meeting in
Ms Yingluck, accompanied by the foreign minister, commerce
minister and transport minister visited a market at the Moei
River in Mae Sot, where the first Thai–Myanmar Friendship Bridge
To ease congestion of cross-border transportation, the
construction of a second friendship bridge will be considered as
a solution and if the construction is approved, the new bridge
is expected to be finished in 2014. The prime minister said she
asked relevant agencies to study the bridge project and propose
it to the cabinet.
The transport minister said what is urgent at the moment is
repairing parts of the first friendship bridge by reinforcing
the bridge’s columns to support the weight of heavily-loaded
After being briefed about the planned establishment of the Mae
Sot economic special zone by the Tak governor, she left for the
Si Satchanalai Historical Park in Sukhothai province.
The prime minister will later travel to Uttaradit Rajabhat
University to meet the joint state and private committee and to
preside over a meeting with governors of the lower northern
Monday's cabinet meeting in the lower northern province of
Uttaradit is expected to discuss logistics development in the
region and a new border crossing between Thailand's Uttaradit
and the Lao PDR.
The new border pass will also become a transportation hub for
the lower North region as goods can also be distributed to China
through this route.
Ministers on Sunday observed several development projects in
five lower northern provinces, as the cabinet meeting will
discuss allocation of 100 million baht budget for each province.
Infrastructure development such as roadway upgrades and flood
prevention projects for the Yom River and the Nan River will be
also considered at Monday's meeting. (MCOT online news)
Myanmar suspects wanted for Rohingya migrant trafficking
SONGKHLA, Jan 21 – More arrest warrants will be issued
for Myanmar suspects involved in the smuggling of over 800
Rohingya migrants into Thailand, according to police in this
Songkhla police earlier released three warrants for the arrest
of two Thais and Myanmar national on charge of illegally
arranging the Rohingya migrants’ trip to Thailand and confining
them on Thai soil.
The three suspects were identified as Prasit Laemlae, former
deputy mayor of Padang Besar municipality, Sarote
Kaewmaneechote, former operator of a cock-fighting den, and Jama
Nadin, a Myanmar citizen.
Police said the trio will surrender to the authorities soon and
information from them should lead to more arrests.
An ethnic Rohingya man identified as Muhammad Alla led police
into a forest near the Khao Kaew mountain range in Hat-Yai's
Chalung sub-district close to the Malaysian border to search for
more migrants suspected to be in hiding.
Police found no migrants but saw broken branches pointing to the
Malaysian border as if giving directions to illegal migrants
trekking from nearby Satun province.
Songkhla health officials gave medical checkup to Rohingya
migrants at different temporary shelters yesterday and said they
mainly suffered from dehydration, malnutrition and malaria.
Psychiatrists said many were stressed in fear that the Thai
government would repatriate them to Myanmar. (MCOT online news)
Two districts in Lamphun declared disaster zones due to drought
LAMPHUN, Jan 20 – The northern province of Lamphun
declared two districts disaster zone affected by drought.
Phinit Harnpanich Lamphun governor said he ordered local
authorities to provide initial assistance to affected villagers
as more than 5,000 households in Ban Thi and Li districts facing
water shortages to find water reserves, as the drought situation
is likely to escalate.
The water level in the Ping River in Pa Sang district is
critically low and water shortage has started to impact
farmlands, such as rice paddy fields and longan orchards in some
areas. (MCOT online news)
New sleeping pills labeled as lethal
BANGKOK, 18 January 2013 (NNT) - The Public Health
Ministry is issuing a warning against new sleeping pills
containing Phenazepam, which has been proven to have lethal side
According to the ministry, the drug’s effect can last up to 60
hours. Prolonged use may result in loss of coordination,
drowsiness, amnesia and even death.
A number of cases associated with the misuse of Phenazepam-based
pills have been reported in the South. Nearly 2,500 tablets have
recently been confiscated in Songkla Province. Phenazepam is
categorized as type 2 controlled substance in Thailand and has
not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
The ministry warned that the penalty for smuggling and
distributing such illicit drugs is a jail sentence of up to 10
years and a fine of up to 300,000 baht.
Phenazepam is a benzodiazepine drug, which was developed in the
Soviet Union in 1974. It is currently produced in Russia and a
number of Eastern European countries. The drug is used to treat
neurological disorders such as epilepsy, alcohol withdrawal
syndrome, and insomnia. Recently, phenazepam has gained
popularity as a recreational drug with misuse being reported in
the United Kingdom, Finland, Sweden, and the United States.
Bangkok sets up 15 locations for campaign rallies
BANGKOK, 18 January 2013 (NNT) - In preparation for the
upcoming gubernatorial election, Bangkok’s Election Commission
Office will designate 15 sites around the capital as campaign
Those running for the Governor’s seat are required to register
their candidacy at the City Hall during January 21-25 . Eight
candidates including incumbent MR Sukhumband Baripatra have so
far said they will compete in this year’s election.
The locations where candidates are expected to hold their
election rallies include Lumpini, Benjasiri, Queen Sirikit,
Chatuchak parks and Rama VIII Bridge park. Candidates need to
inform the EC office three days prior to the day they intend to
campaign at one of the sites.
The Office’s organizing committee will summon candidates and
their teams to a briefing on proper conduct during election
campaigns, at the Thai-Japanese Youth Centre on February 1.
Foreign Affairs and NSC to find long-term solutions to problems of Rohingya migrants
The Foreign Affairs Ministry assures that Thailand’s treatment
of all Rohingya migrants has always been provided on a
humanitarian basis, even though they have entered the Kingdom
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Surapong
Tovichakchaikul said on Sunday that the problems of the Rohingya
migrants have been the responsibility of the National Security
Council (NSC), with support from the Ministry of Foreign
Mr. Surapong said their joint meeting last week concluded that
the Rohingyas currently under detention in Thailand must be
treated as illegal migrants. He added that further verification
will be conducted to determine whether they are security threats
or merely migrants, seeking refuge in a third country.
Mr. Surapong, however, stated that the Prime Minister had
instructed relevant government units to provide care to the
Rohingyas in accordance with the humanitarian principles.
As for long-term solutions, the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the
NSC will discuss the matters with related international
organizations, said the minister.
Mr. Surapong reiterated that the Thai government always gave top
priority to the problem of human trafficking as it could affect
He assured that the government has continuously been tackling
the problems of human trafficking in a bid to boost
international confidence in Thailand after the U.S. Department
of State put the country in the Tire 2 Watch List for three
years in a row.
Sukhumbhand vows to make Bangkok a green and clean city
BANGKOK, 20 January 2013 (NNT) – The Democrat Party
gubernatorial candidate carried on his campaigning, which
includes a promise to make Bangkok a green and clean metropolis.
M.R. Sukhumbhand Paribatra, Bangkok Governor candidate from the
Democrats, accompanied by party leader Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva,
election campaign key strategist Mr. Apirak Kosayothin and
campaign chief Mr. Ong-art Klampaiboon met with Bangkok
residents at Lumpini Park on Sunday.
M.R. Sukhumbhand promised capital voters to increase the
so-called “lungs of Bangkok” with 5,000 rai of green area. He
also assured the continued construction of 3 large public parks,
which are now in process, while stating that more land will be
sought for the construction of additional 7 others.
The Democrats contender is scheduled to travel to the Bangkok
City Hall to register his candidacy on Monday, January 21, the
first day of the gubernatorial candidate registration.
Dusit Poll: Bangkok voters prefer party candidate
BANGKOK, 20 January 2013 (NNT) – The
latest Suan Dusit Poll revealed Bangkokians are likely to vote
for a Bangkok governor candidate running under a political
According to Suan Dusit Poll, 56.47 % or more than half of the
respondents said that they will vote for a party-supported
candidate, basically due to their appreciation of the party
while some 40% would cast their vote for an independent
contender. Only 3.45% said they remain undecided.
When asked what they look for in the candidates, 47.30% said
they hope to hear clear-cut policy campaigns from party
candidates and vision as well as clear work directions from
The survey also revealed that 52.17% felt the upcoming Bangkok
Governor poll will be fierce because of the rivalry between the
2 major parties, namely the Pheu Thai and the Democrats.
In addition, 53.88 % of the respondents expect conflicts will
remain after the election because of the ongoing split in Thai
politics and the society. Moreover, the majority of those, who
answered the survey, said there will still be vote-buying during
the Bangkok Governor election.
Natural Resources Ministry to propose THB50m levee restoration project in Sukhothai
BANGKOK, 20 January 2013 (NNT) – The Natural Resources
and Environment Ministry will ask for the Cabinet approval of
tens of millions baht in state budget to strengthen levees along
the Yom River in Sukhothai Province.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Preecha
Rengsomboonsuk revealed on Sunday that he will seek an approval
from the Cabinet for 50.1 million baht in a special budget to
construct and restore flood walls and levees along the banks of
the Yom River at in Sukhothai province.
Mr. Preecha’s request is set to be made during this week’s
mobile Cabinet meeting in Uttaradit Province, He said that the
construction and the restoration will be immediately launched
after the budget approval.
The Natural Resources and Environment Minister is confident that
the project will help prevent Sukhothai residents from future
Meanwhile, Mr. Sermsak Pongpanit, Deputy Education Minister, on
Sunday, traveled to the ASEAN Educational Center at Anuban
Phitsanulok School, where all information of ASEAN member
countries, including ways of life, cultures, governments and
politics and languages, has been collected for research
The Deputy Education Minister also urged provincial state
executives under the Education Ministry to make sure that Thai
youths are offered equal educational opportunities.
King praises Japan as model for natural disaster recovery
BANGKOK, Jan 18 -- His Majesty
King Bhumibol Adulyadej on Thursday told visiting Japanese Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe that Japan is a model for natural disaster response
and dealing appropriately with other problems, as he expressed
appreciation for the close ties between the two countries.
Mr Abe and his wife Mrs Akie Abe, who were on a two-day official visit
to Thailand, were granted an audience by His Majesty the King at Siriraj
Hospital on Thursday evening.
Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra led the Japanese premier to the
audience with the monarch.
Mr Abe then presented His Majesty the King a letter from the Japanese
emperor, conveying his thanks to the Thai people for their kindness in
extending assistance to the Japanese people in the time of their
The monarch, in his reply, praised Japan for its technological
advancement, fortitude and harmony, which he hoped would lead the
Japanese people to weather their time of trials, catastrophes and
economic hardships which occurred in their country.
The king expressed his belief that the Japanese response and approach to
their problems would provide a good example for other countries.
King Bhumibol also expressed admiration for the close ties enjoyed by
the two royal families and the peoples of Japan and Thailand, which he
said would help the already good bilateral relations to be further
strengthened. (MCOT online news)
Southern Thailand warned of heavy rain & strong wind during 18-21 January
BANGKOK, 18 January 2013 (NNT) – The Department of Disaster
Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) has issued its latest warning for
residents in the southern region, where harsher weather conditions are
forecast from now until early next week.
DDPM Director-General Chatchai Promlert said on Thursday that
information provided by the Meteorological Department shows the
northeast monsoon over the South and the Gulf of Thailand will
strengthen during January 18 and 21.
As a result, more rain is forecast, while some areas will likely be hit
by heavy downpour and experience strong wind and waves.
Mr. Chatchai added that flash flood and landslide are expected in 9
provinces, including Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chumphon, Surat
Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phatthalung, Songkhla, Pattani and
Therefore, the DDPM Director-General has asked people in affected areas
to keep a close watch on weather forecast and warnings as well as to
monitor the natural settings in order to allow for timely evacuation.
He also noted that fishermen should be particularly more careful while
at sea until the situation improves.
Mr. Chatchai went on to say that the DDPM already initiated the
collaboration with its branch offices in Prachuap Khiri Khan, Surat
Thani and Songkhla as well as all 9 provincial offices to be ready for
any circumstances and to be on stand-by to lend assistance to those in
need, at all times.
Islamic community seeks government leniency for Rohingya migrants
SONGKHLA, Jan 18 – Muslim groups in Thailand have called on the
government to temporarily suspend the deportation of Rohingya migrants
who illegally entered the kingdom in the South last week and are seeking
international cooperation in resettling the ethnic people in a third
At the central mosque in Songkhla province, representatives of the
Central Islamic Committee of Thailand, the Sheikhul Islam Office and
Islamic committees in five southern provinces said they were willing to
provide temporary shelter to the Rohingya migrants without criminal
charges until suitable settlements were arranged for them.
They offered the central mosque in Songkhla as the Rohingya migrants’
temporary home and asked for people’s donations and food.
Tawee Sodsong, secretary general of the Southern Border Provinces
Administrative Centre, and Songkhla Governor Krisda Bunrat visited
Rohingya children and women at the Home for Children and Families in
Songkhla yesterday. Thai health officials were also available to give
them health checks.
Pol Col Tawee said they were not the first groups of Rohinya migrants
who illegally entered Thailand, and the Foreign Ministry and National
Security Council would have to find long-term solutions and assistance
to the Muslim ethnic people fleeing from Myanmar.
In neighbouring Narathiwat province, Muslim and Buddhist Thais brought a
truckload of necessities to the Home for Children and Families to be
donated to 18 Rohinya migrants residing there while about 20 youths will
arrive at the home in the next few days.
Thailand declares war on piracy, intellectual property violation
BANGKOK, Jan 18 – Thailand will set up a special centre
to crack down on intellectual property infringement with tough
government action against violators, according to Deputy
Commerce Minister Nattawut Saikua.
The minister said the Policy Committee of the National
Intellectual Property Bureau has moved to set up the Operations
Centre for the Suppression of Intellectual Property (IP)
Infringement to deal strictly with the long-standing issue. Mr
Nattawut himself will head the centre.
Several IP-related laws such as legislation concerning
copyright, patent, trademarks, food and drug regulation, and
consumer protection will be applied to take legal action against
IP violators, Mr Nattawut said.
The centre will also monitor money trails, tax payment records
and money laundering activities of piracy suspects, he said,
adding that the authorities are keeping a close watch on the
movement of a major producer of IP-infringed products, his
warehouse and distribution channels in Bangkok and upcountry.
An arrest of the violator is imminent, he said.
Mr Nattawut said the IP meeting on Thursday also agreed to
intensify an effort to have Thailand removed from the Priority
Watch List (PWL) in a report prepared annually by the Office of
the United States Trade Representative under Section 301 as
amended to the Trade Act.
Thailand is accelerating action to prevent IP infringement such
as amending the copyright law to protect IP on the Internet and
customs law to empower authorities to confiscate pirated
The measures should materialise in time for the next PWL
evaluation in April, the minister said, adding that proprietors
of commercial complexes where pirated products are sold will be
invited by the authorities to be briefed on the government’s
anti-piracy policy. (MCOT online news)
NBTC: “Viewers will not need new TV sets for digital system”
BANGKOK, 18 January 2013 (NNT) – The National
Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has come
out to calm nationwide viewers, who have been anxious about the
country’s changeover from analog to digital television.
NBTC vice chairman Natee Sukonrat said on Thursday that the
country’s transition from analog to digital broadcast system
will start with the bidding process to find providers of the
business channels. After that the NBTC will move on to the
allocation of public program and community service channels.
All of this is scheduled to be completed before the end of this
year, according to the NBTC vice chairman.
Mr. Natee stated that the transition will offer Thailand a total
of 48 digital TV channels. He added that the analog system will
still be functional until the transition is accomplished.
He went on to say that viewers will not have to acquire new TV
sets to accommodate the digital broadcast as their existing
units will be able to work with the new system through
inexpensive set-top boxes.
Thai Public Health Ministry asks WHO to cancel budget cut for SEA
BANGKOK, 17 January 2013 (NNT) - The Ministry of Public
Health is preparing to submit a letter to the World Health
Organization (WHO) after countries in Southeast Asia were handed
a budget cut of 380 million USD for health promotion and disease
Public Health Minister MD Pradit Sinthawanarong has talked with
WHO representative to Thailand Dr. Monirul Islam after the
organization announced that it would decrease the budget for
Southeast Asia by 11% or 380 million USD from 2014-2015. The
minister said he would ask the WHO director-general in written
words to stop the budget cut this Friday, in time for the 132nd
session of the WHO executive board meeting from 21-29 January
2013 in Geneva.
MD Pradit pointed out that the budget should not be lowered as
most member countries in Southeast Asia were poor and
underdeveloped in terms of medicine and public health. Although
the budget cut would not affect Thailand much, he said the
letter would be submitted to the WHO director-general to show
the country’s stance and unity of Southeast Asian countries.