Police to look into British tourist's rape allegation
Minister of Tourism and
Sports Weerasak Kowsurat.
Bangkok (AP) — Thai police said Monday that
they have formed a committee to investigate a rape allegation made by a
British tourist who claims that police officers refused to file charges
on her behalf when she initially reported the crime.
Police Col. Krissana
Pattanacharoen, deputy police spokesman, said an independent committee
was established on Sunday to investigate the claims. Krissana said the
committee would take seven days to come to a conclusion.
According to a report in the local
online newspaper Samui Times, an unidentified 19-year-old British
national claimed that she was drugged, robbed and raped on the island of
Koh Tao on June 26. The report claimed that police "were happy to make a
report of the robbery but refused to take any details of the rape" when
the teenager told police on a nearby island what had happened.
Officials claim that she never
included allegations of rape in her initial report.
"They (police) have already said
before that the person filing the charges did not include this (rape)
charge," Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said Monday. "They only
reported that they lost their belongings, so what can we do? Police have
already talked about it. She didn't file charges saying she was
assaulted or raped or anything."
Prawit also denied speculation that
there were influential people behind the alleged police cover-up. He
said "influential people have all been arrested already."
Meanwhile the Minister of Tourism
and Sports Weerasak Kowsurat has announced that several agencies are
looking into the facts behind the allegations. The minister noted
however that the investigation may be prlonged as the alleged incident
took place some time ago.
As for the tourism image of Koh
Tao, Weerasak pointed out there's been no clear indication of a drop in
bookings for the island but assured travelers that security in tourism
spots would be re-evaluated, with surveillance cameras to be added to
at-risk areas and better data collection.
A number of unexplained tourist
deaths have taken place in recent years on Koh Tao. The most notorious
case of late was of the murders of British nationals Hannah Witheridge
and David Miller, who were beaten to death in 2014. That case has been
plagued with speculation that the arrested suspects were made
Anti-dengue fever Line account launched to help people stay safe
Bangkok - The Department of
Disease Control (DDC) has launched a Line application account ‘Asa Prab
Yoong’ to give people access to information on how to keep the dengue virus
DDC Director-General Dr. Suwannachai
Wattanayingcharoenchai said that the new communication channel was developed
to teach people how to protect themselves against dengue which can be
transmitted to humans via mosquito bites.
Since January, more than 40,000 people
have been infected and 58 people died, with the elderly being the majority
of those who succumbed to the disease. The Asa Prab Yoong Line account
provides an update on the virus outbreak in Thailand as well as information
on the symptoms and how to stay safe.
Mobile users can add this account to
their list of friends by scanning the QR code or typing the Thai name of the
DDC’s Line account into the search box. For more information call 1422.
Relocation of judges’ housing project to take time
Bangkok - The government is
pushing forward the relocation of a disputed housing project for judges in
Chiang Mai, which would be a time-consuming process, said Government
Spokesman Lt Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd.
He quoted Prime Minister Prayut
Chan-o-cha as saying that the dispute raised by environmentalists who called
for the removal of the housing project at Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai has
already been clearly resolved with the use of another plot of land owned by
the Department Of Agriculture as the site of the relocated project.
He said the government will allocate a
budget appropriate for such relocation, while judicial officials who have
already moved in to the existing housing project may be allowed to stay
there until the construction of the new one has been finished, given the
considerable period of time forecast.
Heightened Mekong River flooding communities throughout the northeast
Mukdaharn - The rising Mekong
River has resulted in flooding in Mukdaharn province and brought flood
warnings to all riverside communities.
A rise of 10 centimeters in the Mekong
River in Mukdaharn province has allowed it to overflow its 12.5 meter high
banks for a second time this rainy season, mildly flooding the area around
Wat Sri Mongkol Nua. All citizens of the province living along the river and
its tributaries have been told to move their possessions to higher ground.
In Nong Khai province, municipal
authorities have had to close off seven drainage openings as the high Mekong
River has pushed local waterways above the sewage system. Excess water is
now being drained out to protect the province’s urban center from flooding.
Governor of Nakhon Panom Somchai
Witdamrong has ordered Huay Bang Kor sluicegates be fully opened due to the
Mekong River now being 15 centimeters lower than the water kept behind the
gates. Sixteen water pumps have been readied to speed up drainage and
resolve flooding in the province’s urban center.
The rising Mekong River has resulted in
calls for caution in Nakhon Phanom, Mukdaharn, Ubon Ratchathani, Nong Khai
and Bueng Kan.
Police extend probe into bilking of bitcoins from Finn
In this Aug.
10, 2018, photo, actor Jiratpisit Jaravijit, center, is escorted by police
officers as he leaves the Crimes Suppression Division office in Bangkok. (AP
Bangkok (AP) — Thai authorities
this week are expected to step up their investigation of a financial scam
involving the alleged theft of about US$25 million worth of bitcoins from a
Finnish investor who police say was bilked with promises of high returns
from investments in a casino in Macau and in another cryptocurrency.
The case, which surfaced with the
arrest in a shopping mall parking lot of a young soap opera actor suspected
of colluding with his sister and brother, has prompted Thailand's central
bank to warn investors against risks of bitcoin-related scams, underscoring
the challenge for regulators trying to keep up with the fast-growing
Police have issued arrest warrants for
several other people, including actor Jiratpisit Jaravijit's elder brother,
Parinya Jaravijit, who has left the country. Police have indicated they will
question more suspects this week.
Court documents say the siblings and
others are suspected of conspiring to commit fraud and engage in money
laundering with 5,564.4 bitcoins — worth roughly $25 million at the time —
obtained from 22-year-old Finnish investor Aarni Otava Saarimaa.
The police arrest warrant says Saarimaa
and a Thai business partner, Chonnikarn Kaewsalee, filed a complaint in
January over having not received any return on the promised investment.
Saarimaa did not respond to an emailed
request for comment.
According to court documents cited by
Thai newspapers, Parinya Jaravijit and an associate convinced Saarimaa and
his partner to transfer their bitcoins to an e-wallet of one of the suspects
on several occasions, promising the funds would be invested in a company
called Expay Software Co. and in a new cryptocurrency called Dragon Coin.
The documents say that the three, along with a prominent local stock
investor, were supposed to have formed a partnership.
Instead, the bitcoins were cashed into
Thai baht and deposited into 51 bank accounts belonging to seven people,
with some of the money used by the Jaravijits to buy land in and near
Police and financial documents showed
that in some cases Saarimaa did gain ownership of shares in those companies.
But he complained to police that he did not obtain the investments or
returns promised to him. The status of the promised investments in Dragon
Coin — cryptocurrency to be used at the casino in Macau — remains unclear.
The government has stepped up efforts
this year to control the largely unregulated field of digital currency.
In March, it enacted a decree aimed at
imposing controls and stipulating rules on taxation of bitcoin transactions.
But experts say there are loopholes and it's been loosely enforced.
Anti-money laundering officials say
bitcoin are attractive for scams because encrypted transactions can be hard
to trace, although officials have emphasized that this case did not involve
that kind of cybercrime.
"In every investment, it's very
important to understand what type of asset you are investing in and what
types of risks are associated with that asset," Veerathai Santiprahhob,
Thailand's central bank governor, told reporters after the case became
public. "It's crucial that anyone who wants to invest in high-risk assets
such as digital currencies and bitcoin educate themselves and fully
Ancient cannon found in Sanam Luang
Bangkok - The Department of Fine
Arts has dispatched officials to inspect a newly discovered ancient cannon
and verify its authenticity.
Minister of Culture Weera Rojpojanarat,
has revealed that the cannon was discovered on August 25 by contract workers
working on the pipelines and landscaping of Sanam Luang ceremonial ground.
The cannon was found in the ground under the lawn next to Thammasat
The ancient artillery piece is in good
condition. It is medium sized with a length of 305 centimeters and its
barrel has a diameter of 40 centimeters.
According to the Department of Fine
Arts, the cannon is the same model as that used in various battles such as
the war of the nine armies.
Cannons have previously been found in
and around the ceremonial ground, as the site was once part of Bavorn Sathan
Mongkon Palace. Earlier artifacts are kept in the Bangkok National Museum in
Phra Nakhon district of the capital and at the Ancient Artillery Museum of
the Defense Ministry.
Department of Disease Control warns of pinkeye disease
Bangkok - The Department of
Disease Control is warning the public of pinkeye disease which is common
during the rainy season, as about 60, 000 patients have suffered from the
disease so far this year.
According to Director-General of the
Department, Dr. Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai, infections, allergies,
and chemical reactions can cause pinkeye or conjunctivitis. The disease is
not airborne, so cannot be contracted from just looking at the eyes of the
According to data from the Bureau of
Epidemiology of the Disease Control Department, 59,751 Thais have suffered
pinkeye since the beginning of the year to August 19. The bureau said most
of the patients were aged from 45 to 54. It added that there is no specific
remedy for pinkeye but the office indicated that eye drops can be used to
reduce irritation. Although pinkeye is not a deadly disease, patients are
advised to seek medical attention at the early stage of the condition.
Pinkeye can be avoided by making sure
that hands are clean before they come into contact with the eyes. One should
also refrain from being in close proximity to a person who has the disease
or sharing the patients' belongings. The Bureau of Epidemiology also
suggests that people shouldn't let insects come into contact with their
People who have contracted pinkeye
should take at least three days to recover in isolation, in order to prevent
the condition spreading. For more information about the disease and how to
prevent it please call the Disease Control Department hotline 1422.
Several dams at maximum capacity
Petchaburi - Heavy rain over the
weekend added a large volume of water to three of the nation’s largest dams
and prompted urgent drainage from others.
Five of the nation’s dams have exceeded
critical levels after the rain. They are Kaeng Krachan Dam, Nam Oun Dam,
Vajiralongkorn Dam, Khun Dan Prakan Chon Dam and Pranburi Dam.
However, Kaeng Krachan Dam has now
declined in level which has helped Petchaburi River fall to 92 centimeters
below its banks. While flooding in previously affected areas has now
receded, many locations in Municipal Petchaburi are being kept on alert.
Discharge from Nam Oun Dam in Sakon
Nakhon province has sent river water in several districts over embankments
and prompted urgent drainage into tributaries. Work to install 25 siphons at
the dam is to be completed this week and will result in an increase in its
water releases to 1 million cubic meters per day, possibly having an impact
on Sakon Nakhon, Bueng Kan and Nakhon Panom.
Releases from Vajiralongkorn Dam in
Kanchanaburi province have caused the flooding of some resorts along the
Kwae Noi and Mae Klong rivers. Authorities have responded quickly to the
situation and are publicizing management plans.
In Nakhon Nayok, Khun Dan Prakan Chon
Dam is draining off water into lower waterways in anticipation of more rain.
Pranburi Dam in Prachuapkirikan, despite not taking on more water, is
maintaining drainage while being mindful of flood-risk areas.
Meanwhile, Rachaprapha Dam in Surat
Thani has increased its discharge to 25 million cubic meters per day and
urged nearby residents to be on alert for flooding despite efforts to avoid
such a situation.
Khiri Tharn Reservoir in Chantaburi has
reached 100 percent of its capacity at 76 million cubic meters of water and
authorities are now looking into how it can be appropriately discharged.
At the same time, Srinakarin Dam in
Kanchanaburi has reached 90 percent of its capacity at 15.9 billion cubic
meters of water. Its spillways have been opened so that some of the water
can be released into empty fields.
BoT to issue digital currency
Bangkok - The Bank of Thailand
(BoT) is to issue its own digital currency for use in domestic wholesale
The currency is expected to be built on
an open source blockchain, said BoT Governor Veerathai Santiprabhob, who
cited demand for faster transactions across banking networks.
He said, like other central banks, the
BoT’s goal is not to immediately bring its digital currency into use but
rather to explore its potential and implications for back office operations,
hoping that these efforts would pave the way for faster and cheaper
transactions and validations due to a process of less intermediation,
compared to the current system.
The digital currency will be named
Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDD) and is being created on the open source
digital ledger platform called Corda which was developed by a banking
R3’s Corda platform is designed to
increase efficiency for financial firms by removing intermediaries.
Veerathai added the BoT’s efforts are
part of a wider program of private and public sector applications currently
underway in the country. Fourteen of the country’s banks operating in
conjunction with seven leading businesses and state-owned enterprises are
expected to introduce a production-ready project to offer blockchain-based
letters of guarantee in the second half of the year.
Thailand continues to experience downpours
Bangkok - Regions across
Thailand are warned of flashfloods and forest runoff as heavy rains persist.
Inclement weather over the weekend
affected the north, northeast, the central plains, the east, and the west
coast of the nation while waves in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand
were up to 2 meters high.
Officials in charge of dams and
reservoirs are keeping a close watch on changes in water levels, especially
the dams that have already exceeded 80% of their total capacity including
Kaeng Krachan Dam, Nam Un Dam, Vajiralongkorn Dam, Khun Dan Prakan Chon Dam,
and Pranburi Dam.
In addition there are other large
reservoirs and water retention areas that have seen a swift rise in the
amount of water stored, such as Ratchaprapa Dam, Khiri Than Reservoir, and
Srinagarind Dam. The quantity of water last measured at these reservoirs was
4.92 million, 77 million, and 15.8 billion cubic meters respectively,
accounting for 87%, 77%, and 89% of the full capacity of each.
The Department of Disaster Prevention
and Mitigation has reported that Tropical Storm Bebinca will continue to
bring heavy rain and thunderstorms to all parts of the country during the
early part of this week.
Chinese investors show interest in EEC
Bangkok - The 6th meeting of the
Thailand-China Joint Committee on Trade, Investment and Economic
Cooperation, has seen 10 memoranda of understand (MoUs) signed between
Thailand and China.
Leading 500 Chinese investors to the
joint meeting, Chinese State Councilor Wang Yong and Thai ministers
including Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, Industry Minister
Uttama Savanayana, and Digital Economy and Society Minister Pichet
Durongkaveroj witnessed the signing of 10 agreements to boost cooperation in
Wang said during the conference that
the two meetings held between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime
Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha last year, set the direction of China-Thailand
relations, which both sides need to follow to implement the important
consensus reached by the two leaders.
Somkid said Thailand attaches great
importance to deepening the bilateral economic and trade cooperation with
China, and is willing to learn from China in terms of development
Chinese investors also took part in a
special session where they studied the development of the Eastern Economic
Corridor, one of Thailand’s strategic zones for the mobilization of large
Migrant workers urged to renew work permits
Bangkok - The Ministry of Labor
is allowing 11,000 migrant workers in the fisheries sector to renew their
work permits, so that they will be able to work in Thailand for another two
The work permits of these migrant
workers are due to expire between 20th August and 30th September 2018.
Extending their work permits will allow them to work in the kingdom for an
additional year each time, until 30 September 2020.
The ministry believes this measure will
ease the labor shortage in the fisheries sector in the short run.
To process applications to renew the
work permits, the ministry has opened one-stop service centers in 22 coastal
provinces including Chumphon, Ranong, Songkhla, and Phuket.
The Thai government recognizes the
important role of migrant workers in supporting the Thai fishing and seafood
processing industries. It has reorganized the management of migrant workers'
issues to tackle many problems and to benefit the workers themselves..
Update August 25-26, 2018
It's now illegal to abandon animals at temples
Bangkok - People are being urged
not to abandon their pets at temples or face legal charges under the Cruelty
Prevention and Welfare of Animal Act and the Wild Animal Reservation and
The Sangha Supreme Council of Thailand
received a letter from the Thai Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
Animals (TSPCA) asking it to prevent people from abandoning their animals at
The growing number of forsaken animals
at temples has also prompted the TSPCA to promote better animal treatment
and raise awareness of the legal consequences the pet owners could face for
abandoning their animals.
To solve this problem, the Sangha
Supreme Council of Thailand has instructed all temples to ban animal
abandonment and trade on their premises. Anyone caught trying to do so will
receive a maximum fine of 40,000 baht and a jail term of up to four years.
BoT says there remain imminent risks to Thai economy
BoT Governor Veerathai Santiprabhob.
Bangkok - The Bank of Thailand
(BoT) says that even though the Thai economy is recovering, the ongoing
US-China trade war and currency fluctuations could hamper its growth.
BoT Governor, Veerathai Santiprabhob,
said the impact of the trade war between the two giant economies is likely
to have some impact at the end of this year.
Other risks to the Thai economic
growth, besides currency fluctuations, are the fatal boat accident in Phuket
in July, which has already affected the tourism sector, and the quantity of
He claimed commercial banks are
offering loans to home buyers in amounts much greater than home prices
without taking into consideration their financial capability.
The Monetary Policy Committee is now
paying close attention to these factors to prevent any future threats to the
Stormy conditions wreak havoc in the South
Phang Nga - A new storm warning
has been issued after the depression system Bebinca triggered runoff and
landslides in the South of Thailand.
Heavy rain in Phang Nga province
resulted in runoff and landslides in several areas, significantly impacting
Bang Sai-Pak Weep road in the province’s Takua Pa district. Similarly,
mountain runoff severed access to a bridge in the area of Khlong Bang Muang.
The rains also resulted in flooding in
villages of Takua Pa with landslides impeding travel on some roads.
Authorities are now providing initial assistance to the communities.
Ranong Governor, Jatupoj Piyamputra,
has inspected a landslide on the province’s Petchkasem 4 road at a viewpoint
leading to Punyabal Waterfall. Eroded soil has been blocking the road for
seven days now. Heavy machinery is now removing the mud and cement pipes are
being placed along the slope to prevent further erosion and safe passage.
In Phuket, heavy rains resulted in the
flooding of Surin and Thep Krasat roads, Soi Paniang intersection and in
front of Buddhamongkolnimit School. Some areas under deep water have been
closed to traffic to enable drainage operations. Flooding was also reported
in Katu and Talang districts with traffic now heavy in those areas. Phuket
Governor Noraphat Plodthong has ordered authorities facilitate travel for
citizens while asking all to keep a close eye on the situation, especially
in areas near mountains.
New industrial estate in Rayong open to Chinese-speaking investors
Rayong - The Industrial Estate
Authority of Thailand (IEAT) has opened a new industrial estate in Rayong
province for Chinese-speaking investors, in a bid to streamline the
development of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).
IEAT Deputy Governor, Suwatana
Kmolwatananisa, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with CG
Corporation Co, Ltd, a subsidiary of Charoen Pokphand Group, to build the
new industrial estate covering 480 hectares in Nikom Pattana and Ban Kai
The objective of the new site is to
attract investors from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan to invest in medical
production, smart electronics, home appliances and automobiles.
As much as 60 billion baht is expected
to be invested within the next 6 years. Up to 20,000 jobs will also be
Traffic police: THB10,000-50,000 fines maximum penalty
Bangkok - The Royal Thai Police
have clarified the controversy about driver’s license-related fines, saying
fines ranging from 10,000 - 50,000 baht are the maximum penalty.
Commander of the Police Special Branch,
Pol. Maj. Gen. Ekkarak Limsangkat said this week that 50,000-baht fine for
not having a driver’s license and a 10,000-baht fine for failing to display
a driver’s license are maximum penalties. The fine for a first offense is at
the discretion of the courts and the second offense down to the
investigators. The law on the matter is being considered by the National
Legislative Assembly, he said.
The police are considering cancelling
the present program which gives a share of fines to traffic police officers,
so as to avoid public disapproval. If the program is cancelled, the police
will consider other types of incentives for officers, said the commander.
Government providing full assistance to Petchaburi flood victims
Petchaburi - The Royal Thai Army
has joined efforts to provide assistance to those impacted by flooding in
Petchaburi province while the government has prepared rehabilitation
measures for affected citizens and resorts.
Deputy Minister for Agriculture and
Cooperatives, Lak Wajananawat, has inspected the situation, visiting
Petchaburi Dam and the D9 canal and noted that the water level in Kaeng
Krachan reservoir is falling and that efforts are being made to minimize
flooding in economically important areas. He believes the situation will
return to normal in three to four days if there is no more rain.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of
Defense, Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, stated all relevant agencies, including the
Royal Thai Army, are now providing assistance to flood victims in
Petchaburi. The help extends to resort operators and their businesses.
Emergency services personnel will
remain in place to watch over the province following reports of another
storm set to hit Thailand later this week. Citizens have been warned of the
situation and equipment has been provided to authorities so that they may
Phuket to launch anti-smoking campaign next month
Municipality Mayor Somjai Suwannasuphobna.
Phuket - Phuket City
Municipality and related agencies are set to launch an anti-smoking campaign
next month in the hope of making Phuket town a smoke-free city.
Phuket City Municipality Mayor Somjai
Suwannasuphobna said the campaign was developed out of concerns for the
health of non-smokers.
Various organizations including the
Action On Smoking And Health Foundation as well as other public and private
agencies are to join the campaign to make the municipality smoke-free.
The campaign aims to create a clean
environment for local residents and tourists while at the same time raising
public awareness about the new Tobacco Control Act.
The mayor of Phuket urged parents to
set a good example for their children by not smoking. The campaign will be
launched on September 23.
A memorandum of understanding (MOU)
will be signed by public agencies and the Action On Smoking And Health
Foundation, to strengthen the anti-smoking effort.
Illegal resort at Phu Hin Rong Kla knocked down
Phitsanulok - National park's
officers have completed the demolition of a resort belonging to an executive
of the Tambon Noen Pherm administrative organization after the Supreme
Administrative Court gave the go-ahead.
More than 300 officers from the Phu Hin
Rong Kla National Park and relevant units demolished the Hong Ka Hill
Homestay resort and a restaurant located inside the national park in
Phitsanulok province on Wednesday. The demolition is in line with the
government's policy against illegal constructions at national parks
After the resort's case had been
processed for a year, the Supreme Administrative Court ordered the
enforcement of an administrative measure of Section 22 of the National Park
Act to demolish the constructions without waiting for the case to conclude.
Thailand holds ceremony in honor of 47 Chinese boat victims
Thai Buddhist monks pray for Chinese boat
accident victims in Phuket province, Wednesday, Aug. 22. (AP Photo/Tiwa
Phuket (AP) — Officials and local groups held a religious ceremony on
Wednesday in honor of 47 Chinese tourists who died last month when their
boat sank in rough weather off the resort island of Phuket.
The ceremony included Chinese and
Buddhist rituals, as well as prayers by Christian, Hindu and Sikh priests.
Two boats carrying tourists sank off
Phuket in stormy weather on July 5. Everyone on one small boat was rescued,
while 47 Chinese died on the double-decker tour boat Phoenix.
The accident was one of Thailand's
worst tourism-related disasters in recent years.
Officials say both boats went to sea
despite official warnings about the rough weather, and they have been
pursuing legal action against those involved.
Phuket officials said five people have
been charged so far, including the owner and two operators of the Phoenix.
They have been accused of negligence causing death, which carries a maximum
penalty of 10 years in prison. Officials said other people are also under
investigation, including some at the company that built the boat.
More than 9.8 million Chinese visited
Thailand in 2017, accounting for the biggest share of the 35.38 million
total foreign tourists.
Heavy rain forecast to continue until the weekend
Bangkok - Heavy rain is forecast
to continue to hit most parts of the country until this weekend due to a low
pressure trough and a south westerly wind in the Gulf of Thailand.
According to the National Crisis
Center, the low pressure trough and the south westerly wind will bring heavy
rain to most parts of the country before the weekend.
Those living in Nong Khai, Bueng Kan,
Nakhon Phanom, Sakon Nakhon, Chantaburi, Trat, Chumpon, Surat Thani, Nakhon
Si Thammarat, Pang Nga, Krabi, Trang and Satun have been warned of possible
Local authorities are also monitoring
Kaeng Krachan, Nam Aun, Vajiralongkorn, Khun Dan Prakarnchol and Pranburi
dams since the water level in each dam already exceeds 80% of capacity.
Water is already being discharged daily to ensure the safety of the dams.
Several rivers in the North, West and
North East have begun to overflow the embankments following days of
continuous rainfall. People are urged to keep themselves updated on the
flood situation daily for their safety.
BOT to consider higher interest rates
Bangkok - The Bank of Thailand
(BOT) has hinted at the possibility of higher interest rates due to the
current economic environment.
BOT Governor Veerathai Santiprabhob
said that, according to the National Economic and Social Development Board,
the Thai economy in the second quarter of 2018 expanded by 4.6%, bringing
overall growth for the first half of the year to 4.8%. The figures align
with forecasts issued by the central bank.
Veerathai revealed that the upcoming
meeting of the BOT’s Monetary Policy Committee in September will consider
revising the 2018 GDP estimate, which was previously forecast in June at
The meeting may also discuss raising
interest rates. The BOT Governor explained that current signs of economic
recovery mean that an expansionary monetary policy of maintaining low
interest rates will be less important, and Thailand will not be able to go
against the current global trend of raising interest rates. However, the
decision to raise rates must take into consideration numerous factors,
Cabinet agrees to legal changes tightening regulations on big bikes
Chumphon - The Cabinet has given
its approval to a draft law mandating training and testing of big bike
riders, intended to reduce the number of accidents among motorcyclists and
improve road safety.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of
Defense Gen Prawit Wongsuwan remarked ahead of the Cabinet retreat in
Chumphon province that the government is planning to propose that the
National Legislative Assembly (NLA) amend land traffic laws to increase
penalties for offenses such as driving without a valid license. He noted
however that the meeting would discuss many matters, such as connectivity
between road, rail and boat transport, which the Prime Minister has
mentioned should see progress within three months. The DPM stated however
that Article 44 would not be required to overhaul traffic laws.
Prime Minister’s Office Spokesman Lt
Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd announced after the meeting that the Cabinet agreed
with amendments to ministry regulations on the process and conditions for
receiving or extending a driver’s license with the intent to improve road
safety. The Cabinet is expected to impose more control over motorcycle and
car drivers. New regulations that may be implemented include the need for
medical validation when applying for a license to ensure that the driver
does not suffer from mental or physical illnesses that would impair their
ability to operate a motor vehicle.
Those who intend to ride a high powered
motorcycle or a big bike will have to pass thorough training and testing
first. Licenses to ride such bikes will be separate from licenses for
Other changes include a ban on foreign
laborers working in Thailand on a temporary basis, from driving personal
Provinces along Yom River put on alert as flooding in Nan begins to resolve
Nan - Flooding triggered by
rains in Thailand's Nan province have begun to subside as provinces along
the Yom River have been warned to watch out for intermittent overflows.
Flooding in Nan has begun to reduce
with vehicles now able to use major roads once again and many households
beginning the cleanup of their homes. Water pumping trucks, dispatched from
Chiang Rai, have been instructed to move on to other areas in need.
Authorities and volunteers have used
fire trucks to cleanup Nan municipality, removing mud and debris from
official buildings and collecting waste.
Geo-Informatics and Space Technology
Development Agency (GISTDA) Director Anon Sanitwong Na Ayuthaya reported
that 4,800 hectares of land in Nan province were hit by flooding, mostly in
low lying areas and farmland. He noted that, while current flooding is
reducing, a large volume of water from the north may still hit the province
over the coming two to three days.
Meanwhile, Royal Irrigation Department
(RID) Director-General, Thongplew Kongchan, disclosed that a plan to manage
the Yom River is being implemented after heavy rains in Phrae province
swelled the waterway. Sukhothai province has already seen a volume of water
measured at 850 million cubic meters per second pass through its
Srisachanalai district. Steps have been taken to clear a path for the mass
of water and it is to be drained into canals and streams.
Governors of provinces along the Yom
River have been told to prepare water pumps and other equipment and to keep
residents informed of the situation.
Cryptocurrency traders urged to do research before investing
BoT Governor Veerathai Santiprabhob.
Bangkok - The Bank of Thailand
(BoT) has advised those planning to invest in Bitcoin to study how it works
before making any investments.
BoT Governor Veerathai Santiprabhob,
was speaking after a report on cryptocurrency fraud, and pointed out that
the victims were tricked into investing their money in Bitcoin. Alleged
scammers then used that digital currency to trade for profit.
The BoT Governor cited the need for
anyone interested in cryptocurrency trading to study it thoroughly given its
fluctuations and risks. Veerathai also advised new Bitcoin traders against
using their own savings to invest in digital currency.
Govt to host banquet to thank rescuers of Wild Boar football team
Bangkok - The government is to
host a banquet to thank both Thai and foreign individuals who helped extract
members of the Wild Boar football team who were trapped in the flooded Tham
The Minister Attached to the Prime
Minister's Office, SuwapanTanyuwattana, says Prime Minister Gen Prayut
Chan-o-cha supports the plan. A meeting will be held on Wednesday, August 29
to finalize the details of the banquet.
More than 6,000 Thais and 300 foreign
nationals, who were involved in the rescue effort, will be invited to attend
the banquet. The government has also been given permission by His Majesty
King Maha Vajiralongkorn to use the forecourt of Dusit Palace to host the
event. His Majesty the King will also make a speech to the participants.
The function will adopt a simple format
that also reflects the unity of people joining the rescue mission. Some of
them have already been invited by the Ministry of the Interior while more
invitations are on their way to other members of the rescue operation.
The 12 boys and their coach who were
trapped in the cave, as well as those allowing their farmlands nearby to be
flooded by water pumped out of Tham Luang cave will also attend the banquet.
Cabinet nods to Southern Economic Corridor project
Bangkok - Following a mobile
Cabinet meeting in Chumphon this week, Deputy Prime Minister for Economic
Affairs Somkid Jatusripitak announced that a green light has been given to a
Southern Economic Corridor development project. He said, in the initial
stage, the new project is set to kick off in Chumphon, Ranong, Surat Thani
and Nakhon Si Thammarat before being expanded to other southern provinces in
According to the deputy premier, urgent
projects in the Southern Economic Corridor include the development of Ranong
Port as an important marine gateway to Myanmar, Bangladesh, India and Sri
Lanka, the construction of double-track railway from the Eastern Economic
Corridor to Chumphon, and the promotion of agricultural production and
processing in Surat Thani and Nakhon Si Thammarat.
Besides the Southern Economic Corridor,
another key initiative being implemented by the government is the
development of the Thailand Riviera, stretching from Phetchaburi down to
Chumphon. Once completed, the project is expected to transform the southern
region and boost local income.
HM Queen Sirikit admitted to hospital with flu
In this photo released on Sunday, Aug. 12 by The
Royal Household Bureau, Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, center, is visited by her
children, HM King Maha Vjiralongkorn and Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn at
the Chitralada Palace on the Queen's 86th birthday in Bangkok. (The Royal
Household Bureau via AP)
Bangkok (AP) — Her Majesty Queen Sirikit is being treated in a
hospital for the flu, the royal palace announced Monday.
The announcement from the Royal
Household Bureau said Her Majesty was admitted to Bangkok's Chulalongkorn
Hospital on Sunday with a fever and a cough and received medication. She is
recovering but remains hospitalized on the recommendation of her doctors.
The Queen, who turned 86 on Aug. 12,
has had health issues for several years and is rarely seen in public, though
photos were issued by the palace of family members visiting her on her
birthday earlier this month.
Escort says oligarch now has tapes on Russia interference
Vashukevich arrives at the Pattaya Provincial Court, Monday, Aug. 20. (AP
Pattaya (AP) — A model and
escort from Belarus who caused a sensation by claiming to have information
linking Russian interference to the election of President Donald Trump said
Monday that she no longer has the evidence and will not talk about it.
Anastasia Vashukevich, who also uses
the name Nastya Rybka, pleaded not guilty to charges of soliciting and
conspiracy to solicit in a court appearance in Pattaya to prepare for her
trial along with seven co-defendants. Lawyers will submit legal submissions
at another hearing next week at which the court is expected to set a date
for testimony to begin.
Vashukevich, Russian self-styled sex
guru Alexander Kirillov and six other people were arrested at a sex training
seminar in Pattaya in February and have been in custody ever since. All the
defendants, who could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted, pleaded
Vashukevich told The Associated Press
that she had turned over audio recordings to Russian oligarch Oleg
Deripaska, whose conversations about election interference she claimed to
She has said she provided "escort"
services to Deripaska, who is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and
who has links to Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager now being
tried in the United States on money laundering and other charges.
Speaking to an AP reporter in the
courtroom in Pattaya, Vashukevich said she had promised Deripaska she would
no longer speak on the matter, and that he had already promised her
something in return for not making that evidence public.
"He promised me a little something
already," Vashukevich said. "If he does that then there will be no problem,
but if he doesn't ..." she said with a shrug and a smile.
She also shrugged and smiled when asked
if she had kept her own copies of the information she recorded, which she
said comprised "some audio, some video."
Asked what the material showed, she
said, "You'd have to ask Deripaska."
Vashukevich created world headlines
when she was first detained because she claimed to have audio recordings of
Deripaska that provided evidence of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S.
She appealed to America for help and
for asylum, through a letter to the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, but provided no
proof of her claims. At a hearing in April, she seemed to switch
allegiances, making a public apology to Deripaska and saying it was the
Americans, not the Russians, who were persecuting her.
A judge at the Pattaya Provincial Court
declared Monday that if the seminar included people having sexual
intercourse or arranged for people to have sex, it would be considered
illegal by Thai law even if there was mutual consent.
Kirillov, who led the seminar in a
meeting room at a Pattaya hotel, told the judge that the seminar taught the
art of seduction and did not include sex or make any arrangements for sexual
He said the course taught its students
"how to impress girls" and "how to get girls' numbers," and did not involve
"We are not sure about Thai law, but in
Russia this is not a criminal case," he told the judge.
The prosecutor showed the defendants a
photo that he said showed some of the students having sex as part of the
Kirillov's response was that the photos
were "private" and taken after the seminar, when a group of students went to
a bar in Pattaya to put their lessons to the test.
TAT encourages travellers to check weather updates during monsoon season
Bangkok - The Tourism Authority
of Thailand (TAT) is encouraging travellers to remain extra vigilant by
following all safety rules and guidelines during the country’s current
Visitors are also advised to keep
up-to-date with daily Thailand weather forecasts by the Thai Meteorological
Department (TMD) on impending storms, heavy rains, rough weather, etc. The
TMD also issues regular flood, flash flood, or mud slide alerts while
regular surf forecasts help predict high waves and other coastal threats
that are common to the Andaman Sea.
If it is a particular torrential
monsoon shower, many tourist activities are curtailed or delayed if tour
operators are responsible and think that there are undue health and safety
risks, or threats.
Activities likely to be affected
include mountain trekking, white-water rafting, zip lining, bungy jumping,
snorkeling, sailing, diving, and ferry transfers.
While some activities will not run at
all during the rainy season – for instance, liveaboard dive trips to the
Similan Islands – many will run as usual, especially those in the high
traffic tourist areas.
May to October sees the Thailand
monsoon season sweep into the Southwest, with September bearing the brunt of
the rains. It does get pretty rainy around Phuket, thanks to the region’s
proximity to the Andaman Sea, and many of the smaller islands are shut down
during the monsoon.
Be aware that island crossings by ferry
are going to be choppier than usual in the monsoon and must be scrutinised
on an hourly basis even if a ticket is already purchased. The monsoon rains
tend to be short, intense bursts of rainfall. They could last for a few
hours in the middle of the day and waiting that long till the sky clears,
and then go when the next boat is ready can be a wise investment.
Ko Samui, Ko Phangan and Ko Tao in the
Gulf of Thailand are some more of the country’s most appealing islands.
Unlike the rest of the country, the Thailand monsoon season does not hit Ko
Samui until later in the year, with the rains coming in during October to
December, peaking in November and tailing off in January.
Commissioners voice readiness for general election
Commission Chairman Ittiporn Boonprakong.
Bangkok - The new members of the
Election Commission (EC) have spoken of their readiness to organize a
general election, which they say will most likely happen early next year.
EC Chairman Ittiporn Boonprakong says a
general election should be held on 24rd February 2019 in accordance with the
government’s roadmap. The EC has entered the second stage of discussions
regarding the election of members of parliament and senators. The main
issues include the process of examining the qualifications of political
EC deputy secretary-general Dudsadee
Pornsuksawat says the lack of fact-finding personnel caused by an
insufficient budget has forced the EC to rely on other agencies for help,
such as the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) and police.
The EC deputy secretary-general
disclosed that the EC’s provincial investigative bodies have been keeping
track of the activities of political groups and are collecting information
for use in complaint investigations.
EEC dubbed new driver of Thai economy
Bangkok - The Eastern Economic
Corridor (EEC) that straddles three eastern provinces of Thailand is
emerging as the new driving engine of the Thai economy.
Tasanee Kiatpatraporn, the Deputy
Secretary-General of the Eastern Economic Corridor Office of Thailand,
recently commented that the EEC project is an appropriate mechanism to
connect Thailand to neighboring nations, targeting a broad revitalization of
manufacturing activities within the 13,300-sq-km area, which embraces the
provinces of Chonburi, Rayong and Chachoengsao.
During the past two months, she said
Thailand has held six overseas roadshows in Japan, China, England, France,
South Korea, and Hong Kong to inform foreign investors of the successful
initiative. All the roadshows were well-received, according to Tasanee.
The EEC project is centered on 10
targeted industries: next-generation automotive and smart electronic
manufacturing, high-income tourism, medical tourism, bio and agricultural
technology, food innovation, automation and robotics, aerospace, bioenergy,
biochemicals, digital technology, and advanced medical and health care
Tasanee anticipates that the three EEC
provinces will grow at the rate of 5% a year, bringing in no less than 100
billion baht a year in tax collection and generating more than 450 billion
baht a year for local residents.
Gen Prayut remains undecided about a future in politics
Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha.
Bangkok - Prime Minister Gen
Prayut Chan-o-cha is still uncertain about his political career and told
reporters over the weekend that he is going to decide whether or not he will
stay on a political path this September, when there is more clarity about
the country’s political future.
He added that his decision will be
based on the law, the constitution, the necessity of his presence in
politics, and several other factors.
He implored the media not to focus on
his future, saying the most important task at the moment is to fix the
He went on to say that the National
Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) hasn’t yet discussed the withdrawal of
its order to outlaw political activities, adding that the ban will be lifted
when the time is right.
Department of Tourism urges travel companies to renew licenses before expiry date
Bangkok - The Department of
Tourism is urging travel companies to file for a renewal of their licenses
at least a month before the expiry date.
Director-General of the Department of
Tourism, Anan Wongbenjarat says that the department has informed all travel
business operators with a two-year license to check their documents and file
for a renewal at least 30 days before the licenses are due to expire.
Anan said that licensed travel
companies that allow their papers to expire will have to start the license
application process all over again.
According to Anan, tour operators
established in the form of a limited company or a limited partnership each
need to pledge 200,000 baht in collateral for general travel business,
100,000 baht for inbound tour operations, 50,000 baht for domestic tour
operations and 10,000 baht for specific tour operations. There is also a
2,000-baht fee for the license application.
The Tourism Department reported that
there are currently 12,514 licensed travel business operators and 78,261
licensed tour guides.
NLA denies drafting of rice bill politically motivated
Bangkok - A deputy speaker of
the Thai assembly has played down an accusation of political motives being
behind the drafting of a rice bill.
Peerasak Porjit, the Second Vice
President of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA), has advised that the
new rice bill will be handed to the NLA president this Monday and will soon
be presented to the main assembly for review.
Once the bill is passed, all buyers of
rice for business purposes must have a license and sellers will be legally
obligated to provide a receipt for every sale of rice.
Peerasak said the drafting committee
has been working on the bill for the past two years, confirming that the
move to seek the main assembly’s approval is not to help the current
administration gain support from rice farmers ahead of the forthcoming
election in early 2019, but merely for the sake of Thai farmers.
The NLA vice president noted that
visiting local communities is a common practice for legislators to learn and
understand social problems and adversities, enabling them to adopt legal
measures to prevent, ease, and address those issues more effectively.
Update August 18-19, 2018
Cambodia to extradite Thai murder suspect
Bangkok - Thai authorities said
a man suspected of murdering a couple in Chonburi province last month will
be extradited from Cambodia.
Panya "Sia Ouan" Yingdung, aged 39, was
arrested in Cambodia, after he was on the run for allegedly shooting dead
Paweena Namuangrak, 20, and Anantachai Jaritram, 21, on July 29 in a parking
lot near Khao Chee Chan (Buddha Mountain) in Sattahip district, Chonburi.
Panya, who ran a nightclub in Phuket
province, has been in Cambodian custody for entering the country illegally
since Wednesday (Aug 15). The Cambodian police have already agreed to
extradite him to Thailand.
Investigators said they believe that
the suspect was seeking revenge on Paweena, who was his former girlfriend
and former employee at his nightclub.
Smoke from Indonesian forest fires affecting southern Thailand
Songkhla - Smoke from forest
fires in Indonesia has begun to affect areas of Thailand’s southern region,
including Hat Yai district of Songkla, where particulate levels are now
detrimental to health.
Smoke from the fires has shrouded much
of Songkla province extending out to sea, impacting on visibility for boat
operators. Songkla Fisheries Association Head, Suradech Nilubon has issued a
warning to all commercial boats to proceed with caution at this time,
emphasizing that boats returning to dock at night should use their
spotlights to avoid accidents, while those at sea at night must keep warning
The sky over Yala province has been
similarly affected by the smoke but particulate matter in the air has yet to
reach dangerous levels. Children, pregnant women, senior citizens and those
with respiratory and heart conditions have however been advised to wear face
masks and to avoid outdoor activity for the time being. Commuters have been
warned over reduced visibility when driving.
Fears of flooding in Ang Thong after sluice gate collapses
Ang Thong - A sluicegate of the
Yang Manee Water Distribution and Maintenance Project in Poh Thong district
of Ang Thong province has collapsed, causing a concern of uncontrolled
flooding along the Noi River.
The six meter gate is one of four and
was holding back water up to three meters deep. Authorities have installed
stop logs to take the place of the gate and begun repair work, assuring
members of the public that they will not be affected.
At the same time, the influence of
tropical storm Bebinca over the northeast has spurred similar concerns of
flooding in Nong Khai province, where water levels in the Mekong River
remain high. A rise of 56 centimeters in waters in Loei province has stoked
fears that the Mekong is soon to swell and authorities are now closely
monitoring the situation.
The raised levels in the Mekong River
have already slowed drainage of its tributaries. Some farming areas along
tributaries without sluice gates or water pumps are now preparing to deal
with a new bout of overflows.
The Temporary Crisis Center reports
that Kaeng Krachan Dam in Petchaburi province, Nam Oun Dam in Sakon Nakhon
province, Vajiralongkorn Dam in Kanchanaburi province and Khun Dan Prakan
Chon Dam in Nakhon Nayok province are also holding over 80 percent of their
capacity and must be drained to accommodate incoming rains. Nearby residents
have been alerted to the possibility of minor floods during the drainage.
The Department of Disaster Prevention
and Mitigation made known only seven provinces are still contending with
flooding spurred by tropical storm Son Tinh. They are Nakhon Panom, Ubon
Ratchathani, Bueng Kan, Sakon Nakhon, Kalasin, Yasothon and Petchaburi.
Authorities are conducting drainage operations as well as providing relief
aid. Victims can still contact the 1784 hotline for further assistance.
Rough sea hinders sunken Phoenix boat recovery
Phuket - An official of Phuket
Provincial Public Relations Office, Bussaya Jaipeam, said the capsized
Phoenix tourist boat could not be recovered from the sea bed this week due
to bad weather conditions.
Bussaya cited a report from the
Director of Phuket Provincial Marine Office, Wiwat Chidcherdwong, that the
operation to lift the shipwreck could not be completed because of strong
currents and high waves.
The Marine Department commenced the
recovery operation on August 2 and has so far successfully installed all
necessary equipment to lift up the boat, including a 10,000-liter air
balloon, a pulley system, and a big sea crane.
All cables have been attached to the
wreckage. However, strong currents and high waves caused the boat to be too
unstable to be lifted at this time.
The operating team expects to
immediately perform the shipwreck recovery as soon as the weather and the
sea would permit.
Eight people arrested for binary options scams
Bangkok - Tourist police and
soldiers have arrested eight people in several provinces in connection with
a 20 million-baht binary options scams.
According to the police, victims were
tricked into believing that they were putting their money into an online
investment when the suspects were in fact using their money to gamble on
Police raided one home in Bangkok, two
in Khon Kaen and six in Phuket, which the scammers used as their hiding
places. As many as 1.5 million online accounts with more than 20 million
baht in circulation were found during the raid. Police have frozen the
scammers’ bank accounts and charged them with illegal gambling and scamming
Cloud seeding operation needed to ease drought in certain provinces
Sa Kaeo - The Department of Royal Rainmaking and
Agricultural Aviation has launched cloud seeding operations to bring rain to
Uthai Thani and Sa Kaeo provinces to ease drought.
In Sa Kaeo, three sub-districts including Thap Lad,
Thap Sadej and Ta Phraya have reportedly seen low precipitation this year.
The artificial rainmaking operation, which began on August 11, has succeeded
in bringing rain to 70% of the area.
In Uthai Thani, rice farmers are advised to seek
assistance from village heads should there be a need for cloud seeding. With
only 35% of its capacity, Thap Sa Lap Reservoir can now supply water to
DOPA launches electronic waste crackdown
Bangkok - The Director-General
of the Department of Provincial Administration (DOPA), Arthit Boonyasophat,
has instructed all district chiefs to dispatch teams led by sub-district and
village headmen to inspect electronic waste recycling plants and search for
those in possession of hazardous substances.
Arthit on Wednesday (Aug 15) said the
inspection is part of a bid to tackle the issue of e-waste smuggling and the
illegal recycling and disposal practices.
The team will report to district-level
agencies, such as Damrongtham Centers, which could pursue legal action
The district chief officers have been
assigned to raise public awareness on e-waste issues, so people can help
notify authorities about suspicious factories in their areas.
Dept. of Disease Control launches Stop Rabies mobile app
Bangkok - The Department of
Disease Control has launched a mobile application ‘Stop Rabies’ to help
mobile phone users in Bangkok stay updated on any rabies outbreak.
The application contains
information regarding the numbers of cats and dogs that have already
been vaccinated and neutered in Bangkok and its vicinity. Smart phone
users can also use the application to check for rabies updates provided
by public health officials. The app can be downloaded at App Store and
Since the beginning of this year,
15 people have succumbed to the rabies virus while more than 1,000
animals including dogs, cats, cows, buffaloes and goats have been found
to be infected with the virus.