Chalerm to meet former Malaysian PM on insurgency
BANGKOK, Jan 30 -- Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm
Yubumrung will travel to Malaysia's Langkawi early next month to
meet former Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamad to seek his
advice on dealing with Thailand’s nine year insurgency in the
Mr Chalerm said that he will visit Langkawi on Monday and
Tuesday next week to meet Dr Mahathir and discuss cooperation
between the two neighbouring countries to restore peace in
Thailand's southern border provinces.
The deputy premier, who has been assigned by the government to
bring an end to the southern violence, said Malaysian Home
Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein will visit Thailand Feb 21 to
discuss a plan to foster cooperation following his recent visit.
Mr Chalerm visited Malaysia January 8-10 and met with Malaysian
Prime Minister Najib Razak and Mr Hishammuddin.
The deputy prime minister reiterated that the Thai government
would not talk directly with the insurgent groups but the talks
would be done through representatives until a mutual conclusion
is initially agreed, then further talks could continue. (MCOT
OIC envoys to visit deep South, observe Rohingya migrants problems
BANGKOK, Jan 30 - Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said
Wednesday that he will lead 15 envoys from Organisation of
Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries to the southern region to
see for themselves the Thai government's handling of Rohingya
migrants and the situation in the insurgency-torn far South.
The minister, concurrent deputy premier, announced the move
following the recent detentions of hundreds of Rohingya migrants
by Thai authorities in the southern province of Ranong.
Mr Surapong said the Thai government initially agreed to take
care of the detained Rohingya migrants for six months, with
budget to be allocated at 75 baht per day for the living
expenses of each person.
There are now 1,300 Rohingyas under the supervision of the Thai
authorities, the minister said. Men are detained at immigration
bureau compounds in the localities, while women and children are
staying at shelters for woman and children operated by the
Ministry of Social Development and Human Security.
The minister said he will take the 15 ambassadors and
representatives of the OIC member countries to the areas to
observe the problems tomorrow.
Mr Surapong said he assigned Thailand’s permanent-secretary for
foreign affairs to coordinate with international human rights
bodies seeking help for the Rohingya migrant problems as well as
sending them on to third countries.
In addition, the foreign minister said he also sought
cooperation from his Myanmar counterpart to consider returning
the migrants to Myanmar, but their safety must be guaranteed.
Mr Surapong said he will travel to the southern border provinces
with the OIC envoys to follow up the Thai government's attempt
to solve the violence in the region and seek their advice for
the operations. (MCOT online news)
Teachers seek transfer from Yala active insurgent zone
YALA, Jan 30 – Eight schoolteachers have requested transfers
from Yala’s Bunnang Sata district following continuing deadly
attacks on educators there.
The move follows half of Ban Tanyong School’s 14 teachers
submitting official transfer requests after one of their
colleagues was killed last week.
Pitsanu Direkkul, acting director of the Office of Yala Primary
Education Area Zone2, said that security measures implemented to
protect teachers is satisfactory, but continuing attacks on
teachers dampen teachers’ morale, particularly in insurgent
He said eight teachers requested transfers from Yala’s Bunnang
Sata district as they are not confident of their personal
safety. Their requests have been approved.
The latest attack on a teacher occurred last week when a gunman
who falsely presented himself as a student's father entered the
school premises in Narathiwat and killed a Muslim teacher there,
bringing the death toll of teachers from insurgency-related
incidents to 158 since the renewed separatist violence erupted
in early 2004. (MCOT online news)
Petty officer killed, two seamen, one soldier wounded in Narathiwat bombings
NARATHIWAT, Jan 30 – One Thai Navy non-commissioned officer was
killed, two seamen and one soldier were wounded in two separate
bombings in this violence plagued province.
The first incident occurred in the provincial seat when the
naval personnel were on routine patrol duty for teacher
protection in a pickup truck in the provincial seat escorting
teachers as they traveled to school.
Driver Suthep Mokklaimun, a chief petty officer, was killed and
two seamen were severely wounded. The bomb, buried underground
and remotely triggered, wrecked the vehicle.
In Cho AI Rong district, an army ranger volunteer was wounded in
a school bombing at a school believed to be the work of
insurgents. The victim was taken hospital for treatment.
A third bombing, in Chanae district, involved six Army Rangers
on routine patrol providing security for teachers going to
school, but the men were unscathed as the remotely triggered
bomb exploded in the opposite direction into a wooded area.
(MCOT online news)
Poll: Rohingya refugee camp should be set up in Songkhla
SONGKHLA, 30 January 2013 (NNT) - A recent poll suggested that
the majority of Songkhla residents agreed with the establishment
of a Rohingya refugee camp in the province.
Results from Hat Yai Poll, conducted on 1,002 respondents in
Songkhla, found that 63.5 percent of residents believed a
refugee camp for the displaced Rohingyas should be set up while
36.5 percent disagreed.
80.3 percent of those surveyed voiced their concerns that
problems with migrant labor would undermine the country’s
Nearly 65 percent of the respondents were not confident in the
Yingluck administration’s ability to solve ongoing issues with
foreign workers. The majority of residents also thought that the
government’s 300-baht minimum wage policy was affecting the flow
of foreign labor into the kingdom.
Recently, Rohingya detainees have been transferred to
immigration facilities in the South and the Central Plains,
awaiting the government’s next move.
Ayutthaya hit by more riverbank collapses
AYUTTHAYA, 30 January 2013 (NNT) - Over 200-meter long section
of Lop Buri riverbank in the central province of Ayutthaya has
collapsed, damaging houses in the area.
Two houses situated on the riverbank in Bang Pahan district have
already collapsed into the Lop Buri River, with four more on the
verge of caving in.
Ayutthaya Governor Witthaya Pewpong made known that since the
province received reports of soil subsidence in a number of
districts, related agencies have been instructed to carry out
inspection and provide assistance to those affected.
On Monday, another collapse occurred on a 300-meter long section
of the Pasak riverbank in Nakhon Luang district of Ayutthaya
province, prompting mass evacuation by nearby residents.
Several instances of riverbank erosion were reported late last
year, with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment
looking into building more dykes to solve the erosion problem.
Agriculture Minister assures enough water this drought
BANGKOK, 30 January 2013 (NNT) - Minister of Agriculture and
Cooperatives Yokol Limlaenthong has assured that there will be
enough water for consumption throughout the dry season this
The minister said after a meeting with the ministry’s executives
on Wednesday that at present there were around 55 billion cubic
meters of water stored at all reservoirs nationwide. 31 billion
cubic meters of the total amount were usable, decreasing from
the volume in December last year. The ministry has a plan to use
23.5 billion cubic meters of water during the dry season with
more than 10 billion cubic meters already used, Mr Yokol said.
The minister confirmed there would be sufficient water for
consumption until the beginning of the rainy season and for the
annual rice cultivation after drought.
Meanwhile, Deputy Director-General of the Royal Irrigation
Department Sanchai Ketworachai said the department had asked
farmers in the Northeast whose fields were using irrigated water
from eight reservoirs, to stop planting crops during the dry
season. The request is in line with department’s water
distribution plan aimed at maintaining enough water for local
consumption until the rainy season.
DSI Chief affirms fair treatment for Abhisit and Suthep
BANGKOK, 30 January 2013 (NNT) - Director-General of the
Department of Special Investigation (DSI) Tharit Pengdit has
insisted he has no intention to victimize former Prime Minister
Abhisit Vejjajiva and his deputy Suthep Thuagsuban in the 2010
political rally case.
Mr Tharit shrugged off the criminal lawsuit filed by Mr Abhisit
and Mr Suthep against him, adding that a countersuit for false
accusation would be unlikely. The two people alleged that the
DSI chief investigated the case with an intention to force
criminal punishment on them. As a response, Mr Tharit said the
attempted murder charge that the DSI had filed against the ex-PM
and his deputy was a result of the Criminal Court’s ruling on
The Criminal Court previously ruled that Mr Abhisit and Mr
Suthep, as the highest authorities at the moment, had ordered
50,000 military officers to use weapons against the protesters.
Mr Tharit further confirmed that the DSI had investigated the
case with fairness as it also filed lawsuits against a number of
protesters of the United Front for Democracy against
Foreign Minister to lead OIC delegation on Rohingya update trip in Thailand’s South
BANGKOK, 31 January 2013 (NNT) – The Foreign Minister is set to
lead a special delegation from the Organization of Islamic
Cooperation (OIC) to Thailand’s South for first-hand information
on how the country has been handling the Rohingya migrants.
The Lower House Committee on laws, justice and human rights, on
Wednesday, discussed the issue of illegal Rohingya migrants with
representatives from the Foreign Ministry, the Royal Thai Police
Bureau, the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) and the
National Security Council.
The committee was updated on how the Thai authorities have been
assisting the migrants, if there is any plan to push them to a
third country and whether such a country has been contacted.
The Foreign Ministry representative has assured that essential
assistance has been extended to them, in accordance with the
principles of humanitarianism while reporting that initial talks
with the detained Rohingyas found that most do not want to
return to Myanmar but travel to a third country.
At the same time, the Ministry informed the meeting about the
Myanmar government’s readiness for the repatriation of the
Rohingyas when the situation in the country is calmer. It added
that no third country has been contacted just yet.
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Surapong
Tovichakchaikul added that the government plans to allow some
1,300 Rohingya migrants, currently under state detention, to
remain in Thailand for no longer than 6 months.
The Foreign Minister also informed the Lower House Committee
that he will lead a delegation of OIC and diplomats to visit
those Rohingya migrants detained in the South.
He will also bring them to the southern border region to receive
an update and ask for their suggestions on Thailand’s efforts to
quell the years-long insurgent unrest.
Residents in upper Thailand warned against thunderstorms-gusty winds till end of Jan
BANGKOK, 30 January 2013 (NNT) – The Department of Disaster
Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) has issued the latest warnings
for residents in the upper part of Thailand against harsh
weather conditions, expected until the end of January.
DDPM Director-General Chatchai Promlert said on Tuesday that the
west wind from Myanmar is forecast to move into Thailand’s
northern region and the western part of the central plain during
As a result, thunderstorms and gusty winds are likely in the
upper parts of the North, the Northeast and the central region,
with heavy rain and hail also expected in the northern region.
Mr. Chatchai has urged residents in affected areas to be
cautious of harsh weather conditions and the threat of hail,
while collaborating with provincial officials and related DDPM
centers to monitor the situation closely.
In addition, fully-equipped mobility emergency units will be on
stand-by to assist those in need and to warn those at risk
without delay, said the DDPM chief.
Red Shirt group demands amnesty for political prisoners
BANGKOK, Jan 29 – A group of Red Shirt activists rallied at Government
House today, demanding the government’s promulgation of a law to grant
amnesty to political prisoners held since the 2006 against the then
government of Thaksin Shinawatra.
Led by Suda Rangkupan, a lecturer in Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty
of Arts, the group said the detainees had fought to protect democracy
and deserved freedom.
Calling on the government to urgently issue legislation to provide an
amnesty for the detainees, the group was met by Deputy Prime Minister
Chalerm Yubamrung who promised to give their proposal to the Council of
State for further consideration.
The protestors said they disagreed with Mr Chalerm, considering his
action a brush off, saying they would carry on their rally at the nearby
Royal Plaza and return to Government House this evening expecting to
hear a more concrete reply.
They threatened to upgrade their activity to what they termed as a
“permanent rally” if they failed to get a satisfactory response rom the
Mr Chalerm said Parliament is authorised to endorse an amnesty bill and
that a reconciliation bill should be more realistic than a royal decree
on amnesty as demanded by the Red Shirt activists.
When a royal decree is issued, some individuals petition the
Constitution Court which predictably ends with the court nullifying the
decree, he said. (MCOT online news)
PM: Red Shirt demand won't cause conflict with government
BANGKOK, Jan 29 - Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said
today she could not appease the demand of the Red Shirt group
seeking the release of political prisoners, but said she had
assigned her deputy to seek help from the Council of State on
The premier made her remark as a group of Red Shirt activists
led by Chulalongkorn University lecturer Suda Rangkupan rallied
at Government House demanding the promulgation of a law to grant
amnesty to political prisoners held since the 2006 coup.
Ms Yingluck said she assigned Deputy Premier Chalerm Yubamrung
to bring the protesters' demand to consult with the Council of
State and concerned agencies to find a conclusion.
She said however that she had not set a timeframe for the
process as she wanted the issue to be carefully considered.
As the protesters demanded the release of political prisoners on
Tuesday by 6pm, Ms Yingluck said time should be given to related
agencies to work on it and she could not give any answer at the
The premier said she believed the Red Shirt's latest move will
neither pressure her government nor lead the country to a new
round of conflict. Her decision, she said, would not pit the Red
Shirts against her government.
"This issue should not lead to violence or conflict in society,”
she said. “I want all parties to allow the Council of State and
concerned agencies to work on it first." (MCOT online news)
Q&A handbook on Thai-Cambodian dispute to be issued
BANGKOK, Jan 29 – Thailand's Foreign Ministry will issue a
question-and-answer handbook to create public understanding of
the Phra Viharn (Prear Vihear) temple dispute between Thailand
and Cambodia, a ministry spokesman said.
Nattawut Pothisaro, spokesman of the Thai legal team defending
the dispute, said the handbook, titled “50 Years, 50 Points, Q&A
on Phra Viharn Temple,” will be distributed to government
agencies and schools and universities next week while the
general public can view or download the handbook on the Foreign
Ministry’s website: www.mfa.go.th/phraviharn from today.
According to a recent survey by ABAC Poll, 82.5 per cent of
people said the government has failed to give clear information
on the Phra Viharn legal conflict which is pending a ruling by
the International Court of Justice.
Mr Nattawut said the poll results prompted the Foreign Ministry
to provide more information on the complicated issue which has
engaged Thailand and Cambodia for years.
The handbook consists of 50 Q&A subjects to remove public doubts
regarding the Phra Viharn dispute, he said, adding that more
publicity in the form of cartoons and documentaries will also be
Mr Nattawut said an official team will meet soon with community
leaders and government officials in some provinces along the
Thai-Cambodian border to disseminate the information on the
He said that the Thai people have started to understand that the
dispute is an old court case and that Cambodia has sought an
International Court of Justice (ICJ) interpretation of the 1962
He added that Thailand has protested about 40 times against
Cambodia’s construction in the disputed zone, with the latest
protest lodged in November.
“I can assure that the Foreign Ministry has done in every manner
to protect Thailand’s rights under international law. I ask the
public to feel comfortable [about the ministry’s activity].
However, we have to be careful about bilateral relationship,” he
Cambodia has sought the world court’s ruling on its claimed
ownership of a 4.6 sq km parcel of land surrounding Phra Viharn.
The ICJ ruled in 1962 that the structure belonged to Cambodia
but no decision was made on the adjacent land. (MCOT online
Thailand proposes Kaeng Krachan Forest as UNESCO World Heritage Site
BANGKOK, Jan 29 -- Thailand has proposed Kaeng Krachan Forest
Complex for listing as a United Nations Educational, Scientific
and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site, with
documents to be submitted to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre
Deputy Government Spokesman Chalitrat Chandrubeksa said that the
cabinet endorsed the proposal of the Ministry of Natural
Resources and Environment to have the Kaeng Krachan Forest
Complex listed by UNESCO.
He said the World Heritage Committee’s 35th session in Paris in
June 2011 acknowledged a Thai request to include Kaeng Krachan
Forest on a tentative list of Natural World Heritage Sites for
The spokesman said the Kaeng Krachan complex should qualify for
the privilege status as it is one of the most important
biodiversity centres in Asia, rich in flora and fauna. More than
720 kinds of animals and plants are found in the area.
Kaeng Krachan is located on the eastern slopes of the Tenasserim
mountain range on the boundary between Thailand and Myanmar and
covers a vast forest area of three western Thai provinces:
Ratchaburi, Phetchaburi, and Prachuap Khiri Khan.
It consists of five areas, namely Kaeng Krachan National Park,
Mae Nam Phachi Wildlife Sanctuary, Kui Buri National Park, the
site linking Kaeng Krachan National Park to Kui Buri National
Park, and Chaloem Phrakiat Thai Prachan National Park.
Mr Chalitrat said the documents will be submitted to the UNESCO
World Heritage Centre on Friday. (MCOT online news)
Nong Khai plans ‘ASEAN lanes’ to facilitate travelers
NONG KHAI, Jan 29 - Thailand's northeastern province of Nong
Khai, across the Mekong River from the Lao PDR, plans special
traffic lanes at the first Thai-Lao Friendship bridge to
facilitate the single visa system to be adopted when the ASEAN
Economic Community (AEC) is formed in 2015.
Pol Lt-Gen Santi Pensutr, Immigration Police assistant
commissioner general visited Nong Khai, chairing a meeting with
immigration police in the province bordering Lao.
As a large number of tourists pass this border check point at
the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge, he stated, new technology must
be fully used to prevent crime. Immigration police should
prepare for the looming AEC establishment as the number of
foreigners crossing the border is likely to double.
Gen Santi cited 2012 statistics noting that about 13,300 people
and 2,200 vehicles crossed the border at the first Thai-Lao
Friendship Bridge daily on average.
In 2013, the Nong Khai immigration bureau plans to improve
facilities with more CCTV camera installation, ASEAN traffic
lanes in preparation for the ASEAN single visa system in line
with the policy of the Royal Thai Police bureau. (MCOT online
Court asked to challenge government’s water management delays
BANGKOK, Jan 29 – The opposition Democrat Party
has sought the Constitution Court’s intervention
in response to the government’s failure to
deliver a realistic plan for water management
and applying the Bt350 billion in loans approved
under a royal decree.
Korn Chatikavanij, deputy Democrat leader, said
the royal decree allocating the Bt350 billion
loans for water management was approved by the
Constitution Court last year but the government
lacks a clear projection on budget spending and
management of water system.
Only Bt4.639 billion has been earmarked,
representing only 1 per cent of the Bt350
billion loans, and it was found that the amount
of money was not used for water management, he
claimed, adding the government has until June 30
to acquire the loans, otherwise the right is
In an open letter to the Constitution Court, the
former finance minister said the government did
not abide by its explanation to the Constitution
Court on the urgency of the royal decree and the
government’s performance has clearly displayed
its inefficiency in water management.
In fact, the government could have included the
loans in the 2012 national budget or sought
loans in accord with the Public Debt Management
Act (2005) without the necessity to issue a
royal decree but the government avoided doing
that, Mr Korn said.
The deputy Democrat leader said only five months
are left, as given by the royal decree, but the
government still does not have any tangible
plan, leading to the suspicion that the
government intends to spend the huge amount of
money without going through any inspection – an
activity that will severely damage the country
and become a criteria for future governments.
Deputy Prime Minister/Finance Minister Kittiratt
Na-Ranong gave assurances that the government
will meet the June 30 deadline in obtaining the
Bt350 billion loans from various financial
The Water Management and Disasters Committee,
chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop
Suraswadi, will probably call bids for projects
related to water management between February and
April after which the loans will be fully
acquired within June 30, he said. (MCOT online
Army Chief asks all sides to help solve southern violence
NARATHIWAT, 29 January 2013 (NNT) - Army Commander-in-Chief
General Prayuth Chan-ocha has visited Narathiwat Province to
give moral support to the locals after over 300 shools reopened
on Monday amidst tight security.
During his visit, General Prayuth gave moral support to the
teachers and students. In the meantime, he urged all security
units to tighten up security measures.
Last week, a teacher was shot dead in front of students, causing
the Narathiwat teachers' federation to close over 300 schools
across the province in fear of teachers' safety. The schools
re-opened on Monday.
According to General Prayuth, history is just a story to learn
from; not something to bring up to cause chaos. He told all
sides to look at the future and how to bring about peace. He
also urged the people to monitor and report to authorities any
suspected movements to help tackle the violence in the Deep
In related news, more than 10 closed-circuit television (CCTV)
cameras in Mayo, Panare, and Palas Districts of Pattani have
been torched by insurgents. Investigation is now underway.
Earlier, on January 14th, nearly 80 CCTVs in Yala were also
burned. Officials have been unable to determine the motives of
Thai govt to push Rohingya migrants back to Myanmar within 6 months
BANGKOK, 29 January 2013 (NNT) – The Thai government is adamant
to repatriate thousands of Rohingya migrants to Myanmar within 6
Pol. Lt. Gen. Paisit Sangkahapong, Director of the Anti-Human
Trafficking Center of the Department of Special Investigation
(DSI) revealed that, late last week, Defense Minister - Air
Chief Marshal Sukumpol Suwanatat and Foreign Minister Surapong
Tovichakchaikul held a meeting with national security agencies
and state offices with responsibilities related to the illegal
entry of more than 800 Muslim Rohingyas.
Pol. Lt. Gen. Paisit stated that the meeting saw all parties
agree with the result of the probe, which affirmed no
human-trafficking ring could have been involved in the arrival
of the illegal migrants from Myanmar.
He added that the Rohingyas, who remain under detention in
Thailand’s south, do not seem to be heading or sent to any
specific destination. Therefore, they are only going to be
charged for illegal entry.
The DSI’s Anti-Human Trafficking Center Director said that all
of them will need to be pushed back within 6 months.
In addition, he said that Thai authorities have been providing
basic assistance, in accordance with the humanitarian
principles, while coordinating with the Myanmar government to
bring all of these migrants back.
Moreover, Thailand has also been in touch with the UN High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to help find a third country
for the Rohingyas.
Public Health revamps medical service pricing
BANGKOK, 29 January 2013 (NNT) - The Ministry of Public Health
has decided to adjust the pricing of medical services in public
hospitals. The ministry, however, confirmed that the fee
adjustments would not be a burden to patients in the universal
health care scheme.
Minister of Public Health MD Prasert Sinthawarong said the true
costs of medical services covered the costs of medicines,
equipment, durable articles, etc. The subcommittees responsible
for the pricing adjustments found that there were 758 new
services, most of which were in pathology clinical and
restorative medical services. The costs of some services were
found to have changed due to changing medical technologies and
The minister confirmed that the pricing adjustments would not
affect medical service providers as most people had access to
the government’s universal health care scheme. He added that
public hospitals would earn more from foreign patients after the
new pricing was in effect.
Police mobilize forces for Bangkok governor race
BANGKOK, 29 January 2013 (NNT) - The Metropolitan Police Bureau
has prepared more than 10,000 police officers to provide
security on the 2013 gubernatorial election day while the
officers have been instructed to be impartial.
National Police Spokesman Pol. Maj. Gen. Piya Uthayo said the
police forces would be dispatched to more than 6,000 polling
stations across Bangkok, or two officers for each station, on
the election day, March 3. Apart from the forces from the
Metropolitan Police Bureau, police investigators, rapid response
units and traffic police will also be deployed to help maintain
The Metropolitan Police Bureau has also requested the police
headquarters for a reinforcement of 4,000 officers, who will be
trained for their tasks to provide security and prevent
infringements of election laws.
Meanwhile, the police commissioner-general has issued a written
order to all police officers to be impartial and avoid doing
anything, in a direct or indirect way, that could benefit or
cause trouble to the election candidates. Any officer who is
reported to show bias will face disciplinary action.
Public Health: Rising medical charges to pose no effect on most Thais
BANGKOK, 30 January 2013 (NNT) – The Public Health Ministry has
come out to assure that the recent raise in medical charges at
all state hospitals and healthcare centers will not impact most
Public Health Minister Pradit Sintavanarong said on Tuesday that
the Ministry has decided to approve the increase in medical
charges at all state healthcare facilities because there has not
been any fee adjustment for a long time.
Mr. Pradit affirmed that the increase has been well thought out
and never been intended to make the public carry more financial
He stated that those, who will have to dig deeper into their
pockets, are foreigners and locals whose names are not listed in
the state-sponsored health insurance program.
The Public Health Minister said that more will have to be done
about the charges to be collected from foreign patients, the
issue that may also be raised for discussion with other ASEAN
nations, whose residents may need medical treatment in Thailand.
He went on to say that all private hospitals and clinics will
have no legitimate reason to increase their charges at the
moment, after constant upward adjustment has regularly been
Mr. Pradit also stated that the Public Health Ministry has set
up a new committee to watch over the issue of medical treatment
charges and to launch an inspection, if needed.
Bangkok police’s “TRAFFIC POLICE EYE" to tackle traffic woes
BANGKOK, 30 January 2013 (NNT) – The Metropolitan Police Bureau
has launched a new initiative, aimed at tackling traffic woes in
Deputy Chief of Metropolitan Police Bureau – Police Major
General Worasak Noppasitthiporn, on Tuesday, launched the
“Traffic Police Eye” project, an initiative implemented under
the collaboration with internet operator, 3BB Wifi.
Police Major General Worasak said that the project entails the
use of Internet Protocol (IP) and IP Cameras in providing
real-time broadcast of traffic conditions on Bangkok streets to
the Traffic Control and Command Center and traffic police
He stated that the use of technology is expected to help
responsible officers better tackle road congestion in a more
timely manner, while all footage will be stored for further
In addition, all closed-circuit cameras can be utilized for
crime suppression, according to the Deputy Chief of Metropolitan
Police Major General Worasak added that the first 20 IP Cameras
have been installed at major intersections throughout the city
and are now operational, as planned.
Dead man in Bangkok hotel fire apparent arsonist
BANGKOK, Jan 28 - Police said a preliminary investigation
indicated that the Sunday fire at the capital's Grand Tower Inn
Hotel was likely set by a hotel employee, the only fatality, and
that the incident was due to personal conflicts.
The fire broke out almost simultaneously in eight different
locations in the hotel premises, leaving one person dead, and 11
Pongsakorn Boonaram was found dead in the bathroom of a guest
room on the third flood.
Bangkok Metropolitan Police chief Kamronwit Thoopkrachang said
Mr Pongsakorn had been in all of the areas which had burned,
according to an investigation both from closed-circuit security
monitors and eyewitnesses, while a cigarette lighter was
discovered in the room where the victim died.
Meanwhile, Mr Pongsakorn left a message at his home, describing
his strong attachment to the hotel and that he was ready to die
He was having conflicts with the hotel, police said, without
specifying whether it was with management or fellow employees.
The hotel will be searched again for more evidence, while the
cause of the fire is still to be confirmed by Forensic Science
Police. (MCOT online news)
Public Health Ministry on top of haze crisis in Thailand’s North
BANGKOK, 27 January 2013 (NNT) – The Minister of Public Health
has instructed public health officials in the 9 Northern
provinces, hit by the latest wave of air pollution, to help
affected locals while urging those with chronic illnesses to
avoid areas covered with thick haze.
Public Health Minister Dr. Pradit Sintavanarong has assigned
health personnel from the Office of Disease Control in all
haze-hit Northern provinces to be on alert and to prepare
necessary medical equipment, medical supplies and medicines to
help people who have suffered the haze hazard.
Nine provinces affected by the latest round of haze are Chiang
Mai, Chiang Rai, Lampang, Lamphun, Mae Hong Son, Nan, Phrae,
Phayao and Tak.
The Public Health Minister also urged locals not to burn weeds,
grasses, trees or wastes in order to avoid escalating the impact
of the haze.
Children and senior citizens, especially those suffering from
chronic respiratory or vascular diseases, are advised to stay
out of areas covered with thick haze.
If that cannot be avoided, they are asked to cover their mouths
and noses with handkerchiefs or masks, and quickly seek medical
attention if they suffer such symptoms as chest discomfort,
breathing difficulty and eyes burning.
Human rights body briefed on Rohingya migrants in Thailand
BANGKOK, Jan 28 – The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)
sought clarification from a variety of agencies on the plight
and options for Thailand's well over a thousand Rohingya
migrants, a senior commissioner said today.
Commission member Niran Pitakvachara said the Burmese Rohingya
Association in Thailand, led by Vinai Salem, recently petitioned
the agency to help prevent the repatriation of Rohingya migrants
to Myanmar, their country of origin.
A total of 1,486 Rohingya ethnic people have been detained at
various shelters in southern Thailand. Among them, 264 are women
Mr Niran said the NHRC has invited agencies concerned to explain
the situation, including the Foreign Ministry, National Security
Council, Social Development and Human Security Ministry, Public
Health Ministry, Sheikhul Islam Office, Immigration Police
Bureau and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
The Commission heard that medical officials have provided health
checkups and assistance to the Rohingya migrants, particularly
those who are sick and injured, on humanitarian grounds and they
will be allowed to stay in Thailand until a decision is reached
on whether to send them to their country of origin or to third
Some have relatives in neighbouring countries and want to
reunite with family members, the NHRC was told.
The head of UNHCR in Thailand has expressed appreciation to the
Thai government and southern communities for taking care of the
Rohingya migrants and hoped the migrant problem will be solved
in a sustainable manner. (MCOT online news)
Bangkok election candidates keep walking to woo votes
BANGKOK, Jan 28 – Pheu Thai Party leader Charupong Ruangsuwan
said today that his party’s Bangkok campaign for the capital
governorship will be intensified despite a recent poll which put
party candidate Pongsapat Pongcharoen at the forefront, far
ahead of his strongest rival.
The interior minister said his party will revise and adjust some
of the strategies with an emphasis on a house-to-house
door-knocking campaign which he described as the beauty of
Meanwhile, Democrat candidate Sukhumbhand Paribatra said he will
carry on his own door-to-door campaign in Bangkok no matter what
the poll results show.
Mr Sukhumbhand and Pol Gen Pongsapat continued their election
campaigns in different areas of the capital today. Mr
Sukhumbhand was accompanied by Democrat MPs and city councillors
directly meeting the people in Thonburi, in western Bangkok,
while candidate Pongsapat talked to residents in Din Daeng flats
and nearby areas.
The Bangkok gubernatorial election is set for March 3. (MCOT
Thai authorities intercept illegal migrant worker trafficking ring
RANONG, Jan 28 -- A Thai army military task force has
intercepted an illegal migrant worker trafficking ring in Ranong
and detained 27 Myanmar nationals who were being smuggled into
Col Uthit Anantananond, Deputy Commander of a special 25th
Infantry Regiment task force said a patrol unit was sent to
inspect the shoreline at Koh Chak in Ngao subdistrict of the
Ranong provincial seat after receiving a tip that illegal
immigrants would be smuggled into the kingdom.
The authorities found a longtail boat that was being piloted
suspiciously, as it attempted to escape into a mangrove forest
near Khlong Ton Son in Ngao subdistrict. The patrol unit
intercepted the boat, stopping it, finding 27 Myanmar men and
women. Two Ranong natives, identified as Suracha Klasuek and
Adul Chualchart, were arrested.
They said they were hired to smuggle the migrants into Thailand
and the group had entered Thailand on Saturday and were waiting
to transfer them to Songkhla by car.
Col Uthit said legal action would be taken against the pair for
helping the migrants to illegally enter Thailand while the 27
Myanmar nationals would face illegal entry charges. (MCOT online
Pasak riverbank collapses in Ayutthaya
AYUTTHAYA, 28 January 2013 (NNT) - A 300-meter long section of
the Pasak riverbank in Ayutthaya province has collapsed,
prompting mass evacuation by nearby residents.
Head of the Ayutthaya Provincial Administrative Organization
Somsong Pancharoenworakul said after an inspection that the
collapse of the Pasak riverbank could have been caused by a
rapid drop in water level and the heavy use of the river by
commercial barges. Residents living along the riverbank in
Nakhon Luang district have been fleeing their homes, in fear of
Several instances of riverbank erosion occurred late last year,
with a number of houses collapsing into the river. The Ministry
of Natural Resources and Environment has been looking into
building more dykes in Ayutthaya province to solve the erosion
Forensic expert: Some Rohinyas have connection with RKK
BANGKOK, 28 January 2013 (NNT) - After
running blood tests on detained Rohingyas in the South, a forensic
expert has found that some of them use drugs, and a few of them have
been trained by the RKK Muslim insurgents.
Central Institute of Forensic Science Director Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand
has revealed that the DNA tests on over 800 Rohingyas indicated that
some of them use drugs, but she could not find any evidence that they
are connected with drug dealers.
The point of concern, she expressed, is their connection with the RKK
Muslim insurgents. Reports said in 2009 some Rohingyas with Malaysian
residency entered Thailand to stage an attack in the Deep South. During
a recent inspection, authorities found that some of them carried with
them explosive substances from India.
The officials suspected that there might be people behind their move to
enter Thailand. Despite authorities' attempts to return them to their
countries of origin, most Rohingyas were in fact dropped off Satun,
Ranong, and other southern provinces of Thailand and some were sent to
Two of the Rohingyas confessed that they had been trained by the RKK to
stage insurgency in the South. Given the government's lack of clear
strategy to deal with the Rohingyas, Dr Pornthip expressed her worries
that the issue could pose a threat to national security.
BMA aims to boost voter turnout to 70 percent
BANGKOK, 28 January 2013 (NNT) - The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration
(BMA) is preparing measures to increase voter turnout for the upcoming
gubernatorial election to 70 percent.
BMA Permanent Secretary Chumpol Sampaopol spoke after a meeting with
representatives from all 50 district offices that the agency is set to
boost voter turnout in this year’s Bangkok governor election to 70
percent, as only 51 percent of Bangkok residents cast ballots in the
As part of the BMA’s PR strategy, 13 teams of officials will hold a
door-to-door campaign and hand out flyers to encourage voting as well as
urge all students within the capital to motivate their parents to use
their rights on March 3. Campaign buses will be deployed in
constituencies with low voter turnout to help raise people’s awareness.
Each district office has been instructed to draw up a map to inform
residents of the locations of polling booths within their respective
Since most of the over 6,000 polling stations in Bangkok will be located
outdoors, additional tents have been prepared for the voters in case of
unfavorable weather conditions.
Thailand signs Ramsar Convention
BANGKOK, 28 January 2013 (NNT) - Thailand has signed the Ramsar
Convention or the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance,
especially as Waterfowl Habitat, to express the country’s determination
to preserve wetlands.
Deputy Permanent Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Surapol
Pattani said Thailand was the 110th signatory of the Ramsar Convention.
By signing the convention, Thailand pledged to protect wetlands by
supporting wise utilization of the areas that had been playing an
important role in preventing floods and drought.
Thailand will arrange a meeting on wetlands to make the public realize
the importance of the areas and utilize them in a sustainable manner.
The meeting participants will learn about water resource management and
their suggestions will be used in creating guidelines for wetland and
water preservation. The meeting is scheduled on 4 February 2013 in
Police investigating gun attack on ASTV vehicles
BANGKOK, 28 January 2013 (NNT) – Police are launching an
investigation into the gun attack on 4 ASTV news cars, while the
motive behind the shooting is still unclear.
Around 3am on Saturday, a man in a long-sleeve black shirt fired
on 4 ASTV cars, causing minor damage to all the 4 vehicles. He
also fired 3 more shots at the ASTV headquarters; fortunately,
no one was injured. The police have spoken to 5 witnesses and
are now in pursuit of the shooter.
According to Metropolitan Police Bureau Chief Pol Lt Gen
Kamronwit Thoopkrachang, the motive of the attack is still
unclear, claiming it could have been a third party who wanted to
create a situation.
Meanwhile, Spokesman of the People's Alliance for Democracy
Parnthep Phuaphongphan said the shooting might have been caused
by the ASTV's news content, adding that he believed the shooter
only wanted to threaten the company, not to hurt its people.
Defective car license plates can be replaced for free
BANGKOK, 28 January 2013 (NNT) - The Department of Land
Transport (DLT) has announced that owners of defective car
registration plates can ask for a new set of plates for free
from now until September 30th.
After receiving several complaints of license plates with slough
surface , the department said it would be responsible for the
replacement of new ones. Owners of the defective plates can ask
for new sets of plates at no charge at the Transport Offices the
car is registered under.
The owners will get their new plates 15 days after they file a
request. They have to turn in the old plates when they pick up
the new ones. The free service will be provided until September
30th, after which the car owners will have to pay 100 baht for
each plate replaced.
For more information, please contact call center 1584.
Army says Preah Vihear dispute must be solved through talks
BANGKOK, 28 January 2013 (NNT)-Army Chief General Prayuth
Chan-ocha denied the military had any role in the shooting of
ASTV reporter cars, while also saying any disputes over the
Thai-Cambodian border must be resolved through negotiations.
The Army Chief said both sides of the territorial dispute must
abide by the rules and regulations. No trespassing will be
permitted. He said the military would step up its defense or
hold talks if any one found intruding on the overlapping area
around the Preah Vihear temple.
The General added that if the situation over the border
escalated, the issue would have to be mediated through bilateral
or UN talks. As for speculation of army involvement in the
shooting of the ASTV reporter cars on Saturday, General Prayuth
said the army had nothing to do with the incident.
The C-in-C said the dispute two weeks ago between the army and
Manager Media Group, who runs ASTV cable, had ended in peace.
General Prayuth reiterated that both sides must respect each
other and that he did not support any types of violence. The
police are now trying to identify who the culprits are.