Police uncover potential infant trade on Facebook
Pol Lt Gen Piya Uthayo,
RTP Assistant Commissioner General.
Bangkok - The Royal Thai Police (RTP) has
instructed the Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD) to look into
a Facebook page which apparently trades infants from unwanted
Pol Lt Gen Piya Uthayo, RTP Assistant Commissioner
General, disclosed that information on the adoption of newborn babies
with a price, gender and pictures appears on the Facebook page in
question. He confirmed that forwarding or commenting on the post may be
punishable under the law and the RTP has instructed the TCSD to
investigate the case.
Initially, it was found that many people had
commented on the post expressing their disapproval of the alleged infant
trade, saying male infants may be raised to become slaves and female
infants may be raised for prostitution.
TCSD Deputy Chief, Pol Col Siriwat Dephau, said
that from the initial investigation it isn’t clear if it is a crime
under the Computer Act or not. This and other matters will be examined,
while authorities say they believe that there may be many other pages
also trading infants. The Facebook page has been publishing pictures of
infants since August. It is also necessary to determine whether a person
who adopts such an infant is considered guilty of any crime.
Currently, the Social Assistance Center is trying
to contact a person who adopted an infant in Prachuap Khiri Khan. It is
believed that a police officer adopted the child.
Moon, Chi rivers expected to overflow in Northeast
Bangkok - The Director-General of the Royal
Irrigation Department (RID), Thongplew Kongchan, says that from September 13
the forecast is for more rain in the Moon and Chi river areas of Ubon
Ratchathani province, with the department expecting water levels to rise and
cause inundation of the Warin Chamrap district.
The Northeast is currently contending with floods
across 1.47 million rai of land spread across 80 districts of eight
provinces, including Kalasin, Yasothon, Roi Et, Sri Sa Ket, Amnat Charoen,
Mukdahan, Ubon Ratchathani and Maha Sarakham. The RID has dispatched 60
water pumps and 106 water jets to alleviate the situation.
There are about 1.6 billion cubic meters of water
standing in fields across the North and the Northeast, but the situation is
expected to return to normal by the end of September when local residents
will be able to return to their homes. Thongplew said he will travel to Ubon
Ratchathani on September 14 to open a forward command center, which will be
handling flood problems emanating from the Moon and Chi rivers.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives has
ordered the Agricultural Extension Department to assess damage to farms as
soon as possible.
Meanwhile in the central region, the water discharge
rate has been progressively scaled back to 900 - 920 cubic meters per second
at the Chao Phraya Dam, dropping water levels by about 10 centimeters. The
measure has provided some relief to Ang Thong province and Ayutthaya’s Sena
and Pak Hai districts.
Songkhla still affected by Indonesian fire haze
Songkhla - Haze generated by smoke from Indonesian forest fires has
continued to affect the southern provinces of Thailand. Although the air
pollution index has not reached unhealthy levels in Yala and Songkhla
provinces, people in risk groups, such as the elderly, children, and people
with medical conditions, have been warned to take precautions against
A total of 161 hotspots have been identified
throughout Sumatra Island, as the wind keeps bringing smoke from Indonesia
to the southern Thai province of Songkhla. However, the smoke has become
less dense due to heavy rain over the past few days. Nu Island can still be
seen from Songkhla, but smoke has reduced visibility on Maew Island.
According to the Air4Thai mobile application, levels of particles of a
diameter that is 2.5 micrometers and smaller were measured at 44 micrograms
per cubic meter in Songkhla, while the Air Quality Index (AQI) was measured
at 76 micrograms per cubic meter. As such, they have not yet reached
The air pollution index in Yala hasn’t reached
unhealthy levels either, but people in risk groups are being advised to wear
protective masks and avoid outdoor activities.
New campaign seeks to reduce single-use plastic
Bangkok - The United Nations Development
Programme (UNDP) and its partners Plan B Media and Dentsu Thailand have
unveiled a campaign titled ‘”No Plastic! Yes, We Can,” to encourage Thai
consumers to reduce their reliance on single-use plastics at grocery stores,
eateries and cafes across the country.
Renaud Meyer, Resident Representative of UNDP Thailand
said, “Thailand is one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world, but
marine eco-systems are suffering and species are dying because of the
plastic waste that ends up in our oceans.”
An advocacy video, urging consumers to adopt
alternatives to plastic bags and disposable cups and straws, went live on
more than 300 digital billboards across the country on August 23, including
at landmarks, airports, BTS sky-train stations and major shopping malls in
Bangkok. The campaign will run till November 2019 and will feature awareness
events and calls-to-action by celebrity advocates in Thailand.
The advert depicts a local grocery store that offers
free food and drinks from their shelves, but challenges shoppers to find
innovative ways to carry the food, without using single-use plastic boxes or
Court declines to hear case of PM's incomplete oath
Prayuth Chan-ocha. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
Nannapat Purod and Grant Peck
Bangkok (AP) — Thailand's Constitutional Court
announced Wednesday it has declined to hear a case accusing the prime
minister of violating the constitution by omitting a sentence from the oath
of office he and his government took before HM King Maha Vajiralongkorn.
The issue raised questions about the legitimacy of
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha's government, which took office in July.
Prayuth failed to include the phrase "I will also
uphold and comply with the constitution of the kingdom in every aspect." It
was unclear if the omission was accidental or intentional.
A statement from the court Wednesday said it lacked
jurisdiction because the oath was a matter between the executive branch and
HM the King.
It also mentioned that the monarch had issued a royal
message, delivered late last month but dated the day of the oath-taking,
encouraging the Cabinet members to perform their duties according to the
oath they swore.
The court's decision appeared to preclude further legal
challenges of Prayuth's omission. The lower house of Parliament is supposed
to debate the matter on Sept. 18 at the request of the opposition, but the
court's position gives Prayuth's government ammunition to stave off any
The case went to the Constitutional Court after the
state ombudsman forwarded complaints from two citizens who charged that
Prayuth's failure to pledge allegiance to the constitution was a breach of
Opposition lawmakers pointed out the omission, and
Prayuth responded that the matter was not a problem. The ombudsman's office
said he told them he had completed the oath-taking, without elaborating.
The oath is written into the constitution that was
adopted in 2017 when Prayuth headed the previous military government.
Interior minister says seven provinces remain flooded
Interior Minister Gen Anupong Paochinda.
Bangkok - Interior Minister Gen Anupong
Paochinda says seven provinces are still inundated with water, prompting
authorities to provide full assistance to flood victims and remain on alert
over the next few days.
The Interior Minister agreed that the seven provinces
include five in the northeast and authorities there are evacuating local
villagers from flooded areas and using boats at spots that are out of reach
to rescue vehicles. Lately the volume of rain has slightly increased and
authorities are closely monitoring the Meteorological Department’s weather
The Royal Irrigation Department has been draining off
900-1,200 cubic meters per second of the Chao Phraya River’s water flow but
this potentially poses a flood threat to some riverside areas in Ayutthaya.
However, such flooding should not seriously affect local villagers and it
occurs on a yearly basis.
Thailand pledges to support Indo-Pacific regional security enhancement
Bangkok - The Thai government has pledged its
support for regional cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, with external parties
working to solve conflicts and preparing to handle security threats,
particularly cyber-security issues.
At the 11th Indo-Pacific Army Chiefs Conference held on
9th-11th September to promote sustainable security and a new vision for
armies in the Indo-Pacific region, the Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha
said the Indo-Pacific armies have shown their capacity to prevent and solve
issues, as well as creating strategic friendships between Indo-Pacific
countries and with external parties, helping enhance trust between one
another and resolve conflicts.
At the event, the Royal Thai Army Commander in Chief,
Gen Apirat Kongsompong said the Thai army is aware of the importance of
cooperating with ASEAN and other individual countries, as Thailand is
strategically located in the Indo-Pacific region, and the army is ready to
tackle newer security threats, particularly cyber-security threats, which
requires the cooperation of other partner countries.
U.S. Army Chief of Staff, James McConville said the
conference, originally convened with only nine participating countries, has
grown to include 27 participating countries because of the mutual awareness
of the need to solve issues and maintain peace in the region to everyone’s
Cabinet agrees to keep VAT rate at 7%
Bangkok (AP) - Finance Minister Uttama
Savanayana said the weekly cabinet meeting has decided to keep value-added
tax (VAT) at 7% for another year, as the current tax measure is set to
expire on September 30 this year. Uttama said it is not appropriate to
increase the tax rate to 10% at this time due to the current economic
situation. The government will assess the situation on a yearly basis before
moving to adjust the VAT rate.
According to the Revenue Department, VAT collection has
improved because of the increase in domestic consumption. The cabinet
meeting on Wednesday approved the Board of Investment’s (BOI) stimulus
proposal, which was endorsed by the economic ministers last week.
The cabinet ministers also agreed with the Ministry of
Labor’s proposal to raise the compensation rate to an average of 400 days of
salary per 20 years of employment as an award entitlement for state
enterprise employees who have worked for many years. The measure will
benefit more than 7,000 employees who are due to retire on September 30 this
No storm to hit Thailand in next 3-5 days
Bangkok - The Meteorological Department has
denied a rumor circulating over the weekend that yet another storm would be
hitting Thailand, affecting the central and southern regions. The department
has confirmed that no storm is likely to affect the country over the next
3-5 days, urging the general public to follow only accurate weather
information from official sources.
Citizens are advised to follow weather information from
the TMD and official sources to prevent confusion. Official weather
advisories always contain details and clear dates and times of expected
weather effects. The general public is strongly advised not to panic over
circulating rumors, which are clearly not from official sources, and may
verify such information by calling the 1182 hotline or 0 2399 4012-3 24
Meanwhile, the Royal Thai Embassy in Tokyo has issued a
warning to Thai residents and tourists in Japan to be cautious of possible
harms from Typhoon Number 15 which made landfall on the east coast of Japan
on Sunday night, bringing heavy rains and strong winds. Thai residents and
tourists in Kanto (Tokyo), Tokai (Shizuoka), and nearby regions are advised
to refrain from going outside during the rainy and windy period and check
train and flight schedules, as train services on many lines in Tokyo have
been reduced or suspended.
PM encourages use of metal food carriers to help environment
Bangkok - Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha
is encouraging everyone to help reduce plastic garbage and solve
The premier met with executive officials of the Office
of the Consumer Protection Board on Tuesday and proposed an end to the use
of plastic bags and promoted the use of metal food containers and cloth
bags, in an effort to reduce plastic waste which often affects the
The prime minister also said Thai people should not be
interested so much in social media, particularly concerning trivial matters,
and urged all government agencies to make the people understand their
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul meanwhile
presented a campaign Tuesday on “good safety, good health, good jobs and
happiness in workplaces”. The campaign calls for working people to take care
of their own health and create a good quality of life.
BMA has no authority to allow motorcyclists to use overpasses
Bangkok Governor Gen Assawin Khwanmuang.
Bangkok - The Governor of Bangkok has explained
that the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has no authority to allow
motorcyclists to use overpasses and underpasses.
Bangkok Governor Gen Assawin Khwanmuang said recently
that a group of motorcyclists had requested permission to use all roadways
in the city. He pointed out that the BMA has no authority to grant
permission in this matter, as it is under the authority of the traffic
police. The BMA is only responsible for preparing traffic signs and
installing traffic lights for the control of vehicles and information of
motorists who must comply with the Road Traffic Act B.E. 2522, he said.
However, the BMA will discuss the request with the traffic police to seek a
joint discussion of the issue.
The governor added that the overpass at Asoke
intersection that has just been renovated has no motorcycle lane because the
original design structure of the bridge didn’t include one. It was only
possible to strengthen the structure of the overpass.
Beverage manufacturers prepare for sugar tax
Bangkok - Effective from 1st October, the Excise
Department will be imposing a new rate of sugar tax first announced in 2017
to encourage the general public to consume less of the sweetener.
Manufacturers have over the past two years reduced sugar content in
beverages, and put a healthy beverage logo on 200 percent more products.
Excise Department deputy spokesperson Nutthakorn
Utensute revealed the new measure has led changes in consumer behavior.
However, the general public’s awareness of the danger of excessive sugar
consumption is still below 50 percent judging from a recent survey, showing
the lack of communication reaching target groups.
On the increase in the pricing of carbonated beverages
containing sugar, of 2-3 baht per bottle, Nutthakorn said the change is not
entirely caused by the tax, but overall higher costs. He insisted this
taxation measure is for health, and is not designed for the government to
earn more revenue. He said the general public currently consumes sugar on
average two to three times higher than the recommended permissible amount by
the World Health Organization, causing chronic diseases such as diabetes,
hypertension, and heart diseases.
The Excise Department currently collects sugar tax at
an average of 1 baht per liter. From 1st October 2019 to 30th September
2021, the amount will increase to 3 baht per liter, and eventually to 5 baht
per liter. It is expected the measure will generate 4.5 billion baht revenue
annually from the 2020 fiscal year onward, which is considerably more than
the current figure of 2-3 billion baht a year.
Nine districts of Ubon Ratchathani declared disaster zones
Ubon Ratchathani - Prime Minister Gen Prayut
Chan-o-cha visited Ubon Ratchathani province on Monday after nine districts
of the province were declared disaster zones due to flooding.
A large volume of water has filtered down from
Yasothorn and Roi Et provinces and the water level is expected to rise over
the next two weeks even though much has been drained off into the Mekong
Gen Prayut rode a route along the Chee River to assess
the situation in Yasothorn before proceeding to an anti-flood center at the
Baan Kok municipality of Ubon Ratchathani and visiting flood victims there.
The prime minister has instructed authorities to provide relief for citizens
with damaged houses and lost occupations.
Prime minister opens IPACC IPAMS SELF 2019
Bangkok - Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha
called on Indo-Pacific army chiefs to help upgrade the cooperation and
confidence in mutual friendships to promote regional peace.
Gen Prayut presided over the opening ceremony for the
11th IPACC (Indo-Pacific Armies Chiefs Conference), being held from
September 9 to September 11, and co-hosted by the Thai and United States
armies. He said the IPACC IPAMS SELF 2019 is a wide forum for networked
military leaders to help promote regional and world stability and support
regional and worldwide sustainable prosperity. The armies can be major
instruments of support for governments.
The prime minister called on participants at the
meeting to help turn policy into practice in order to create a joint working
atmosphere to promote regional peace and mutual trust at strategic levels in
the Indo-Pacific region.
The IPACC coincides with the 43th IPAMS (Indo-Pacific
Armies Management Seminar) and the 5th SELF (Senior Enlisted Leaders Forum)
in which high-ranking officers from over 40 countries in the Indo-Pacific
region are exchanging views and reaching consensus on mutual cooperation.
Tourism revenue grows in Thailand’s emerging destinations
Saeng Chan Waterfall is located in Pha Taem
National Park Ubon Ratchathani. (Photo/TAT)
Bangkok - Thailand’s provincial regions are
reporting steady increases in tourism revenue as a result of the domestic
and international marketing push by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)
to promote the 55 emerging destinations.
Figures released by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports
show that although the popular destinations are still getting the bulk of
the revenue in terms of volume, a definitive growth pattern is emerging for
others; such as, Phang Nga, Prachuap Khiri Khan and Rayong.
According to the Ministry, tourism revenue from primary
cities totalled 1.28 trillion baht and from emerging cities 142.8 billion
baht in January-June 2019.
The Ministry of Tourism and Sports has also outlined
development strategies to improve the quality of tourist destinations,
tourism products and services in line with the principles of balance and
sustainability. It will also invest in further development of infrastructure
and facilities, personnel development and public participation.
TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn said, “These are very
encouraging figures because they cover a period when Thailand has its
April-May school holiday period. Certainly, domestic tourism is playing a
major role in helping us achieve our tourism revenue targets and compensate
for the impact of external factors. We expect this will remain the case in
the second half of the year.”
He said that TAT remains on track with vigorous
domestic and international marketing campaigns to promote the 55 emerging
destinations. Arrivals will rise as the destinations expand accommodation
and other tourism infrastructure to cater to the visitors.
The Governor said, “We are determined to position
Thailand as a preferred tourist destination with high quality products,
sustainable growth, focus on niche markets, preservation of the local Thai
way of life, integrating management structures, and building stronger
international cooperative partnerships.”
Bhumjaithai party hosts last cannabis forum
Bangkok - The Bhumjaithai Party has held its
last public forum to gather public input on amendments to the draft
Narcotics Act, to push for a free cannabis policy for economic and medical
Soraat Klinprathum, chairman of the Bhumjaithai party
advisers, says that to allow people to freely access and use medical
marijuana, it is necessary to amend two sections of the law. The two draft
acts will be submitted to the cabinet for consideration before the session
Dr. Somnuk Siriphanthong said Thailand has four strains
of marijuana that can be used to produce drugs. To encourage people to grow
marijuana at home or on a farm, it requires quality control and further
innovation development so that it will be accepted internationally.
Banthoon Niyamapha, a Thai traditional medicine
practitioner who produces medical marijuana oil, said he personally
disagreed with the separation of THC extracts because the strength of Thai
marijuana is of a high volume that affects the nervous system and helps
Former senator Rossana Tositrakul expressed concern
over the use of marijuana for medical purposes as there is no law that
facilitates knowledge development to fight against foreign drug patents and
it may not be accepted internationally.
Wildfire haze from Indonesia covers lower South
Songkhla - Wildfire haze from Indonesia is
covering the lower South of Thailand and motorists and seafarers have been
advised to exercise extra caution because of the reduced visibility.
Songkhla city was covered by a dense haze Sunday and
motorists had to turn on their vehicles’ headlights to navigate the streets.
Major tourist attractions like Samila Beach are also badly affected by dense
haze and the Noo and Maew islands are hidden from sight.
Suradech Nilubon, President of Songkhla Fisheries
Association, has advised seafarers to exercise caution when at sea. Those
who go fishing in the evening and return to the shore in the morning should
check their boat’s lighting and signal lights and always keep the boat
signal lights on when fishing, as well as send signals to let other boats in
the area know the boat’s location to prevent collisions.
The southern haze situation has become a seasonal
hazard due to forest fires that occur at this time of year in Indonesia.
Officials provide assistance to flood victims
Bangkok - Many provinces are still hit by flood
water as local authorities continue to respond and assist communities in
Energy Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong accompanied a
group of executive members of the Electricity Generating Authority of
Thailand (EGAT) and PTT to the northeastern province of Roi Et recently and
distributed 2,250 survival kits to villagers who have been affected by
floods caused by tropical storm Podul since the beginning of September.
Sontirat said the visit will enable officials to listen to the people’s
problems and needs. The information will be forwarded to all related units,
so that they can alleviate the plight of those affected as soon as possible.
As for the current flood situation in Selaphum
district, water from local rivers has overflowed into riverside communities.
Although the water level has now receded, some areas remain impassable to
small vehicles. The Royal Irrigation Department has dispatched trucks to
help transport villagers, medical personnel and volunteers marooned in
In Ubon Ratchathani’s Det Udom district, floods have
inundated some 175 houses and schools. The province has set up
royally-bestowed mobile kitchens and temporary shelters for flood victims.
Department of Fine Arts to display China’s terracotta warriors
Bangkok - The Department of Fine Arts is to put
China’s Terracotta Warriors on display at the Sivamok Phiman Throne Hall in
the Bangkok National Museum. An exhibition titled "Qin Shi Huang: The First
Emperor of China and the Terracotta Warriors" will be held at the museum,
starting September 15.
The exhibition will also feature a collection of 133
relics that are over 2,200 years old. Visitors will see four life-sized
terracotta warriors, one chariot and 86 relics found in a mausoleum in
China. The exhibition will be divided into zones, such as the period before
the unification of China in 221 BC; the Qin dynasty and the Han dynasty.
Furthermore, visitors will learn more about China’s ancient engineering
skills and technology.
The exhibition will be open for three months, from
September 15 to December 15.
Justice Minister to discuss transnational drug trafficking in Vietnam
Justice Minister, Somsak Thepsuthin.
Bangkok - The Justice Minister, Somsak
Thepsuthin, is to attend a meeting in Vietnam to strengthen cooperation on
transnational issues, including the disruption of drug smuggling.
The meeting will take place in Vietnam on September 9
and 10 and will be attended by delegates from the Greater Mekong Subregion
(GMS) member states, including Thailand, Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar and
Officials from the Philippines as well as
representatives of the Australian Federal Police, the United States Drug
Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and
Crime (UNDOC) will also join this international meeting. They will discuss
ways to bolster joint efforts against transnational drug trafficking.
Somsak said Thai authorities have stepped up measures
to prevent transnational drug traffickers from using Thailand as a transit
route. As a result, many traffickers have turned to Vietnam. Thailand will
provide cooperation and assistance to help address transnational
drug-related crimes at the meeting.
Rights group concerned over missing Lao activist in Thailand
Bangkok (AP) — A Paris-based human rights group
called Friday for Thai authorities to investigate the disappearance in
Bangkok of a Laotian pro-democracy activist who was seeking political
The International Federation for Human Rights said Od
Sayavong did not attend a meeting with friends on Aug. 26 and has not been
heard from since.
It said Od, 34, has been a member of the Bangkok-based
"Free Lao" group of Lao migrant workers and activists promoting human rights
in their home country.
The group mostly organized human rights workshops and
meetings, and staged occasional small peaceful protests outside the Lao
Embassy and the United Nations regional headquarters in Bangkok, said the
federation, generally known by its French initials, FIDH.
It said in a statement that the U.N. refugee agency in
December 2017 registered Od as a person of concern seeking resettlement in a
Laos is a single-party Communist state that cracks down
strongly on dissenters.
According to the latest U.S. State Department annual
report on human rights worldwide, issues of concern in Laos include
"arbitrary detention; political prisoners; censorship; substantial
interference with the rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of
association; restrictions on political participation; corruption; and
trafficking in persons."
Rights groups fear that Thailand and Laos have an
informal agreement to secretly seize their own dissidents from each other's
"Od may be the latest casualty of increased cooperation
between the government of Thailand and its regional counterparts to crack
down on their respective dissidents in exile," the FIDH statement quoted
Vanida Thephsouvanh, president of the Lao Movement for Human Rights, as
saying. "The international community should strongly condemn this seemingly
coordinated form of repression that leads to further shrinking space for
civil society in the region." Her group is a member of FIDH.
FIDH cited the case of Vietnamese blogger Truong Duy
Nhat as another possible example of regional cooperation. He disappeared in
Bangkok in January this year after fleeing to Thailand to seek refuge, but
was revealed in March to be held in a jail in Vietnam's capital, Hanoi, a
suspected victim of a political abduction.
Suspicion that Thailand and Laos have cut a deal over
their dissidents is high because Lao authorities seem to have turned a blind
eye in the past few years to the disappearance of Thai political dissidents
seeking shelter in Laos, several of whom turned up dead in the Mekong River,
which marks part of the two countries' border.
Thai authorities have denied any such deal.
Thai police spokesman Col. Krissana Patanacharoen said
his agency was aware of Od's case from media reports, but had not launched
an investigation because no missing person complaint had been filed.
New Zealand officials find half ton of meth hidden in Thai motors
This Aug. 26, 2019 photo provided by New Zealand
Customs, shows electric motors found in a container from Thailand with 469
kilograms of methamphetamine concealed in the motors. (New Zealand Customs
Wellington, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand
authorities said Friday they found more than a half ton of methamphetamine
hidden inside a shipment of 60 electric motors from Thailand.
Customs Investigations Manager Bruce Berry told The
Associated Press they believe a sophisticated Canadian drug cartel is behind
the shipment. He said they had tracked two Canadians for several months who
they believe were sent separately to New Zealand to collect and sell the
Two Canadian men in their mid-20s and one New Zealand
man have been arrested and charged with importing and possessing
methamphetamine. They each face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment if
Berry said international criminal organizations
currently have a glut of drugs and are looking for new markets. He said New
Zealand has proved attractive to them because meth sells on the streets here
for a higher price than just about anywhere else in the world.
Part of the reason for that is the country's isolated
Berry said the latest case seemed to follow a playbook
used by the cartels, in which a front company is set up in New Zealand and
then a shore party arrives, uses Airbnb accommodation, rents storage units
and tries to collect and sell the drugs before sending the money back
"Whatever we do, these syndicates are going to try to
push their poison onto our communities," Berry said.
In the latest case, customs officials say they seized
469 kilograms of meth with a street value of 235 million New Zealand dollars
at the Ports of Auckland from the motors that arrived inside a shipping
container in mid-August.
Berry said that was equivalent to the total amount of
meth consumed in New Zealand over six months, and that the seizure had put a
significant dent into supplies of the drug.
The bust represents the largest-ever border seizure of
meth in New Zealand. It was slightly smaller than a 2016 haul that police
found in a van and buried in sand dunes after a group used a boat to bring
the drugs ashore.
Chao Phraya River level rises two meters
Bangkok - Preparations have been made for the
Central Plains to retain excessive water flowing from northern areas. In
Ayutthaya province, farmers are scrambling to harvest their rice before the
excess water is released into empty land. Ayutthaya’s industrial estates
have been prepared to cope with drought as well as flooding. Given the
experience of 2011’s flood crisis, barriers have been built after the Chao
Phraya dam released 750 cubic meters of water per second this week.
In Bang Ban district of Ayutthaya, the situation has
prompted villagers to be on alert, though the excess water released from the
Chao Phraya dam has not had any serious effects as yet. The water in the
Chao Phraya River in Bang Ban district has risen by more than two meters in
four days and about 40 centimeters on a daily basis. Riverside villages are
expected to be flooded in the next four to five days, as more water is
released through the dam.
Meanwhile, farmers are scrambling to harvest their rice
before September 15, because excess water will then be released into empty
farmland. Most farmers were found to have harvested their rice with only
about 20% of the total crop yet to be reaped.
Deputy Ayutthaya Provincial Governor Niwat Phatanand
said relevant government agencies are closely monitoring the situation and
have prepared measures to cope with it. In particular, two industrial
estates and one group of factories, namely Bang Pa-in industrial estate,
Baan Wa Hi-Tech industrial estate and Fast Fact industrial group, have been
prepared to cope with either drought or flooding. Barriers, which are higher
than those set up in 2011, have been prepared to keep out the rising water.
Water pumps have also been installed to prevent flooding in the industrial
PM says military attaches can publicize country’s good image
Bangkok - Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha
has delivered policy to military attaches to help create proper
understanding about Thailand and make more friends.
Gen Prayut presided over the sending-off ceremony at
the Ministry of Defense headquarters for the military attaches who will be
posted to the United Nations headquarters in New York and Thai embassies
worldwide from October 1.
The prime minister said the military attaches are
carrying out important missions for the country and are expected to
cooperate with the Thai ambassadors in those countries. They were advised to
publicize good things about Thailand and create proper understanding about
this country. They were also advised to apply good things from their host
countries in order to keep the Thai government and Ministry of Defense on a
par with foreign countries.
The prime minister also attended a briefing by students
of the 61st class of the National Defense College, Joint Staff College, Army
War College, Navy War College and Air Force War College on national
strategies to steer the country toward stability, prosperity and
sustainability at the National Defense Studies Institute.
The prime minister expressed his admiration for the
students’ comprehensive, straightforward suggestions in line with government
plans and national strategies, some of which have already been implemented
while others are in the process.
Riverside shops, restaurants prepare for Royal Barge Procession
Bangkok - Restaurants along the banks of the
Chao Phraya River have prepared areas for their customers to witness the
Royal Barge Procession on October 24. The event is part of nationwide
celebrations of His Majesty King’s coronation, which took place earlier this
Some renowned restaurants are selling tickets, which
cost hundreds of baht, to tourists and members of the public who wish to
capture an exquisite view of the event, while small restaurants continue to
sell food and beverages as usual.
The remaining rehearsals will be conducted on September
10, 17, 23 and 27 and on October 3, 7 and 10. Dress rehearsals will take
place on October 17 and 22. Members of the public can watch the rehearsals
from Wa Sukri Pier to Ratcha Woradit Pier.
ASEAN targets higher renewable energy utilization
Bangkok - Energy Ministers of ASEAN are in
Bangkok this week for meetings to better utilise the region’s energy as well
as make ways to greater promote renewable and clean energy production.
Thai Prime Minister and Defense Minister General Prayut
Chan-o-cha presided over the opening ceremony of the 37th ASEAN Ministers on
Energy Meeting and Associated Meetings on Thursday, stressing the need for
all countries in the region to greater investment in clean and renewable
energy as energy demands have been sky rocketing in parallel with the
economic development of the region.
The agenda of the meetings include topics in regard to
enhancing electricity networks connectivity; infrastructural development for
natural gas transport; the promotion of clean coal technology; nuclear
power; and alternative energy.
Prior to the meeting, ASEAN countries have expressed
their ambition to increase the region’s clean and renewable energy
production from 17% to least 23% by 2025.
Fossil fuels, led by oil and natural gas, currently
account for more than half of the region’s energy supply.
DE Ministry launches "Power of Kindness" caravan to help flood victims
Bangkok - The Digital Economy and Society
Minister, Buddhipongse Punnakanta, has attended a launch ceremony for the
"Power of Kindness" caravan to help flood victims, with TOT also preparing
consumer goods worth more than one million baht. They will be handed to
flood-affected residents in the northeastern provinces of Roi Et and Khon
Kaen. Relevant agencies have been instructed to ensure that people can use
telecommunication services as usual and to repair damaged telecommunications
equipment in flooded areas immediately.
The TOT President, Monchai Noosong, said his
organization has prepared measures to help its customers. The TOT Mobile
payment deadline has been extended to September 30 this year, while prepaid
customers will receive seven days of free services without having to
register with the telecom operator.
For landline and broadband internet users who have
registered with the telecom operator, their payment deadline for this month
has been extended for 30 more days from the date of payment indicated on
FPO to be more proactive with "Taste, Shop, Use" program
Director-General, Lawaron Saengsanit.
Bangkok - The Fiscal Policy Office (FPO) has
decided to adopt a more proactive strategy to drive domestic tourism and
will be approaching operators to join its “Taste, Shop, Use” program.
FPO Director-General, Lawaron Saengsanit, said that
about 3,300 businesses have so far applied to join the program, with
registration still open until September 20, 2019. The Ministry of Commerce
is targeting a total 40,000 participating businesses divided into 14,000
commercially licensed restaurants, 10,000 small sized
The office is to evaluate whether it needs to extend
the registration period of the program, due to conclude in two weeks, and is
also considering expanding the list of eligible products and services to
better meet tourist demands.
Lawaron insisted that the program was not designed to
acquire information on the businesses for the Revenue Department’s database,
stating it is aimed at stimulating the economy and promoting e-payments.
'Yellow Shirt' founder jailed for fraud released early
In this March 27, 2006, file photo, Sondhi
Limthongkul addresses demonstrators in Bangkok. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)
Nannapat Purod and Grant Peck
Bangkok (AP) — The flamboyant media mogul who
led an ultimately successful campaign to oust Thailand's prime minister in
2006 has been freed early from a 20-year prison sentence for financial
fraud, the country's Corrections Department announced Wednesday.
The department said Sondhi Limthongkul was released
under the terms of a pardon marking HM King Maha Vajiralongkorn's April
coronation but that a misunderstanding of his case had delayed his freedom.
It said in a statement that the pardon was granted to
Sondhi, 72, strictly for reasons of law after his situation was clarified,
and had nothing to do with politics. Sondhi, along with three of his
business associates, was sentenced in 2012 to 20 years in prison for filing
a fraudulent financial report with forged documents, but went to prison only
in 2016 after the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment.
Sondhi founded the People's Alliance for Democracy,
popularly known as the Yellow Shirts, whose demonstrations in 2006 accusing
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra of corruption and abuse of power and
calling for him to leave office drew popular support and led to a military
coup in September that year.
The coup led to more than a decade of sometimes violent
contention for power between Thaksin's opponents and his supporters, known
as the Red Shirts. The Yellow Shirts staged more aggressive protests in 2008
to seek the ouster of two successive Thaksin-backed prime ministers,
occupying their offices for three months and Bangkok's main airport for a
week. Both Thaksin-backed leaders were forced from office by contentious
A successor group to the Yellow Shirts staged
aggressive street protests in late 2013 and early 2014 to drive Thaksin's
sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, from her position as prime minister. She too
was unseated by a court ruling, and her government toppled by a coup,
installing a military regime that ruled until this year.
It was not immediately clear if there are any legal
actions pending against Sondhi.
Sondhi and other protest leaders have faced many legal
charges, mostly related to their political activities. The courts have
generally been lenient with Sondhi and other opponents of Thaksin, with whom
they share royalist leanings. Thaksin's supporters, who also staged major
demonstrations, have also been tied up in the courts.
Sondhi had been a crony of Thaksin when the two were
prominent members of Bangkok's business community, but turned against him
after he took power in 2001. Critics alleged that Sondhi was disappointed
that Thaksin as prime minister did not grant him favors.
In 2005, Sondhi began his campaign against Thaksin,
drawing modest crowds at first. However, he proved to be a dynamic speaker
and by leveraging his media properties was able to attract bigger crowds.
Sondhi's activities also drew enemies. In 2009 his car
was ambushed by unknown attackers with military-style assault rifles, and he
was badly wounded. The incident remains surrounded by mystery.
New storm set to hit upper Thailand
Bangkok - Villagers in the northeast who are
still affected by flooding due to Tropical Storm Podul must now prepare for
another storm about to affect Thailand, believed however to be less severe
The Meteorological Department’s (TMD) Director General
Phuwieng Prakhammintara, has advised that a new unnamed storm which is now
prevailing over Hainan province of China, is moving towards Vietnam’s coast.
The storm is currently a category 2 tempest, and will be named Kajiki once
it strengthens into a category 3 storm or a tropical storm.
He said villagers in the northeastern region who are
just recovering from Storm Podul may well be affected by the new storm which
is expected to bring 80-110 millimeters of rainfall into the area, while
creating conditions not as severe as those of Tropical Storm Podul.
According to the TMD’s analysis, the new storm is unlikely to cross
Thailand, but rather will shift north into China’s Guangdong province north
of Hainan. The general public is nevertheless advised to be cautious of
possible dangers from this storm.
Rainfall from Storm Podul has added some 744 million
cubic meters of water to medium-sized dams nationwide. The marked increase
of water in storage will serve as water sources for consumption in the next
August inflation up by 0.52%
Wornkhorphorn, Director of the Office of Trade Policy and Strategy, Ministry
Bangkok - August Inflation increased by 0.52
percent due to the higher prices of fresh food products, especially rice and
fruit and vegetables.
Phimchanok Wornkhorphorn, Director of the Office of
Trade Policy and Strategy, Ministry of Commerce, has reported on the overall
state of the prices of 422 goods and services in August 2019, which were
used to calculate the general consumer price index or the inflation rate. It
was found that the price of sticky rice rose by 27.3 percent, limes by 70
percent, pork rose by 10.2 percent and fresh chili by 22 percent. Public
transport fares also rose. Elsewhere, 112 products saw lower prices, such as
vegetable oil, palm oil and fuel. There were also 89 products where prices
Overall, the inflation rate in August was the lowest
seen so far this year. The ministry has forecast a 2019 inflation rate of
between 0.8 and 0.9 percent, compared to the Bank of Thailand’s (BOT) and
the Ministry of Finance’s estimates of one percent.
Patients to receive prescribed medicine at drugstores from October 1
Bangkok - From October 1st, the National Health
Security Committee will have four groups of chronic patients receive their
prescribed medicine at drugstores near their homes in order to alleviate
congestion at hospitals. At the initial stage, 50 hospitals will cooperate
with 500 drugstores for the convenient collection of medicine.
The four groups of patients are those with diabetes,
high blood pressure, asthma or mental illnesses. Drugstores will ask the
patient whether or not they are willing to receive medicine there. About 30%
of these patients are expected to take up the offer. The medicine at the
drugstores will be the same as that at the hospitals and will incur no fee.
Thai officials discover remains of missing Karen activist
This undated photo provided by Phinnapha
Phrueksaphan, wife of activist Porlajee Rakchongcharoen shows Porlajee,
sitting on the road in Phetchaburi province. (Phinnapha Phrueksaphan via AP)
Bangkok (AP) — Thai law enforcement officials
say they have found the remains of an ethnic Karen community activist who
disappeared five years ago in suspicious circumstances.
Porlajee Rakchongcharoen, known as Billy, was last seen
in the custody of Kaeng Krachan National Park officials in western Thailand
on April 17, 2014.
Thailand's Department of Special Investigation
announced Tuesday it had discovered an oil drum sunk in a reservoir at the
park with a bone fragment near it that matched the DNA of Porlajee's mother.
Both the drum and the bone had been burnt.
Porlajee had been leading the Karen community in a
lawsuit against park chief Chaiwat Limlikitaksorn over his efforts to evict
them. Chaiwat acknowledged that Porlajee was arrested for illegally
collecting wild honey, but said he had been released before disappearing.
Tip-offs on speeding motorcyclists accepted with 3,000 baht reward
Commissioner General, Pol Lt Gen Damrongsak Kittipraphat.
Bangkok – Tuesday, Sept. 3, was the first day
for members of the public to give tip-offs on speeding motorcyclists in
exchange for a 3,000 baht cash reward. Police are addressing the issue of
young motorcyclists illegally speeding or racing on the roads or in public
areas. The information provided to the police will be treated
Assistant Police Commissioner General, Pol Lt Gen
Damrongsak Kittipraphat, said the Royal Thai Police are encouraging members
of the public to participate in measures to combat the persistent problem by
sending video clips, pictures or giving tip-offs to authorities on speeding
Channels available for tip-offs include the Police
Social Media Center, Hotline 1599 and Hotline 191. Tip-offs could lead to
the arrest of such motorcyclists on charges of racing without official
permission, riding vehicles in an unusual manner, riding without regard to
the safety of other people or riding to cause trouble to other people and
encouraging other motorcyclists to engage in illegal racing.
The police will forward motorcycle speeding cases to
public prosecutors who will file them in court after suspects have been
arrested and interrogated, and the police investigation has finished. Then,
the person who has given the tip-off will be awarded 3,000 baht in cash
within 10 working days.
All information provided will be treated confidentially
while any informants who don’t wish to accept the reward may notify the
police accordingly. The cash rewards are not coming from the Royal Thai
Police’s budget, but from an initial sum of 500,000 baht which has been
contributed by the private sector.
15 provinces still submerged after Storm Podul
Bangkok - The Department of Disaster Prevention
and Mitigation (DDPM) has released its latest report on Tropical Storm
Podul’s impact on Thailand, reporting flash floods and landslides in 64
districts of 24 provinces, affecting 3,663 households, with one fatality and
one person injured. Fifteen provinces are still affected by the disaster,
while the DDPM is now working with related agencies to assist affected
villagers and drain away flood waters, as well as conduct surveys of damage,
so as to provide compensation.
The Department of Rural Roads has reported that while
49 roads in the northeastern region were badly affected by flooding, traffic
is now permitted to access 32 of the roads, with 17 remaining closed.
Elsewhere, most of another 22 highways affected by
flooding in 11 provinces are now open for traffic, except three which remain
closed - they are Highway No.2034 at 59th kilometer mark in Mukdahan where
the bridge’s supports have subsided; Highway No.113 Wang Chompho - Phichit
road at the 60th-62nd kilometer marks in Phichit where the road is submerged
under 20-45 centimeters of flood water, and Highway No.202 at 288th-289th
kilometer section in Yasothon where the road is flooded with water 40
Related agencies have placed warning signs and bypass
information for road users, and proceeded with the removal of debris
obstructing road traffic in some places. Responsible departments are on
standby to repair roads damaged by flooding as soon as the water recedes.
Road users can report flooding incidents by calling the Department of Rural
Roads Hotline 1146, available 24 hours a day.
During this period, a new depression has formed and is
moving close to China’s Hainan province and northern Vietnam, which will
cause heavy rain in the northern and northeastern regions of Thailand until
6th September. Members of the general public are advised to follow weather
advisories and instructions in case of disaster closely. Affected villagers
can request assistance by calling the disaster hotline 1784, 24 hours a day.
Thailand, Myanmar to address border issues
Supreme Commander, Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, left, is greeted by Thai Prime
Minister Gen. Prayut in Bangkok, Tuesday, Sept. 3.
Bangkok - Myanmar’s Supreme Commander, Gen. Min
Aung Hlaing, paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Gen. Prayut in Bangkok
on Tuesday as part of his visit to Thailand to attend the 7th
Thailand-Myanmar High Level Committee (HLC) Meeting.
During talks, both sides agreed to jointly address
border issues such as terrorism, narcotics and illegal fishing, with the
support of neighboring countries. They also agreed to enhance cooperation in
education and military training as well as expand the scope of training.
The Supreme Commander expressed his condolences over
the loss of Gen. Prem Tinsulanonda. He then thanked the government of
Thailand for its understanding of different events in Myanmar and its
support for democracy and peace. He said Myanmar will remain a good neighbor
and will closely cooperate with the Thai military in all respects.
US promotes free and open Indo-Pacific at naval exercise
the U.S. Navy and maritime forces of the Association of Southeast Asian
Nations (ASEAN) participate in the inauguration ceremony of ASEAN-U.S.
Maritime Exercise in Sattahip, Thailand, Monday, Sep. 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Gemunu
Sattahip (AP) — A senior U.S. naval officer has
underlined Washington's commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific as the
United States launched its first joint naval exercise with the Association
of Southeast Asian Nations.
Rear Adm. Kenneth Whitesell spoke Monday at the opening
ceremony of the ASEAN-U.S. Maritime Exercise at the Sattahip naval base in
He said the exercise demonstrates the U.S. commitment
to a free and open Indo-Pacific, which Washington has been promoting to
counter China's increasing influence in Asia, including Beijing's
territorial claims in the South China Sea. Several Southeast Asian countries
contest the Chinese claims.
The United States has been shoring up relations with
allies and taking a higher military profile in the Pacific as part of its
rivalry with China.
South Korean President visits Thailand for first time
Bangkok - South Korean President Moon Jae-In is paying
an official visit to Thailand from September 1-3 and has held talks with
Thai Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha. Together, they signed six
agreements at Government House on Monday.
This is the first visit to Thailand by a South Korean
leader in seven years. The president and his spouse, Kim Jong-Suk, arrived
Sunday at Air Wing 6 airport and were greeted by Deputy Prime Minister
Somkid Jatusripitak, Digital Minister Puttipong and an air force guard of
Thailand and South Korea maintain a joint strategic
partnership in line with South Korea’s New Southern Policy and Thailand 4.0
29th anniversary of the death of Sueb Nakhasathien
Bangkok - Warawut Silpa-archa, Minister of
Natural Resources and the Environment, attended an event on September 1 to
commemorate the death of Seub Nakhasathien at Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife
Sanctuary in Uthai Thani. The memorial service commemorates the death of
Seub Nakhasathien, a Thai conservationist who was well known for his efforts
to conserve and protect nature within the sanctuary. Sueb Nakhasathien,
committed suicide on the morning of September 1, 1990, inside a house at the
sanctuary. His death was seen as an urgent message to society and all
sectors to seriously pay attention to the destruction of natural resources.
The event this year saw 58 children of park rangers
receive scholarships from the Minister of Natural Resources and the
Environment. He also released wildlife back into nature from animal
shelters, and the stables that are used for the wildlife to adjust to
freedom, before being released into the real forest which covers an area of
100 rai (soft release).
Second Sadao customs checkpoint underway
Songkhla - Sadao, Thailand’s largest
cross-border trading location, is building a second checkpoint.
Deputy Prime Minister/Commerce Minister Jurin
Laksanawisit, Deputy Interior Minister Niphon Boonyamanee, Deputy Transport
Minister Thaworn Senniam, Songkhla’s provincial governors and officials of
the southern border administrative center visited the construction site in
Songkhla. Construction of the checkpoint is 95% complete and is expected to
open by the end of this year.
The value of cross-border trade between Thailand and
Malaysia amounted to about 803 billion baht last year and 387.41 billion
baht in the first half of this year. Of the total, up to 70% passed through
the Sadao customs checkpoint.
Thailand currently has nine customs checkpoints along
the southern border with Malaysia, with Sadao check-point handling the
highest value of imported and exported goods. Sadao customs check-point is
viewed by authorities as a strategic economic gateway which is efficiently
providing import and export services and continues to expand.
Tropical storm Podul causes floods in North, Northeast
Bangkok - Tropical storm Podul has made landfall
on northern and northeastern Thailand, and many houses, roads and farms and
roads have been hit by flash floods and forest runoffs. Government units
have now been deployed to assist people in flooded areas.
The tropical storm and continuous heavy rain had caused
the water levels in Phon Thong district of Roi Et province and Kuchinarai
and Khao Wong districts of Kalasin province to rise significantly. As a
result, a water barrier in Selaphum district, Roi Et province, was breached,
causing floods in many residential and agricultural areas. More than 10,000
rai of rice farms have been inundated.
The province of Phetchabun has also been affected by
the influence of tropical storm. Heavy rain and forest runoffs have affected
many communities, houses and farm areas. Rescue teams have distributed
survival kits and basic necessities to flood-hit villagers.
Landslides triggered by heavy rain were reported in
many areas of the northern province of Nan. In Na Noi district, landslides
had caused damage to 14 houses, four of which were heavily damaged. A road
in Santha subdistrict was impassable, and a group of villagers had to use
basic tools to remove the debris. With 12 hours of accumulated rainfall, the
water level had exceeded 100 millimeters. Water from various sources had
overflowed to flood numerous houses and farmland.
Officials from the Royal Irrigation Department visited
people living near reservoirs, notifying them to be prepared for potential
floods and move their belongings to higher ground. The officials had
prepared water pumps and other equipment to cope with the water situation
around the clock.
A team of royal irrigation officials in Chiang Mai
province closely monitored the water level of the Mae Chaem River, after the
storm caused forest runoffs to flood many areas of Mae Chaem district.
Doi Suthep–Pui National Park in Chiang Mai announced
that the Mae Sa and Tat Mok waterfalls are temporarily closed to visitors
for safety reasons. Monthathan, Huay Kaew and Mork Fa waterfalls remain open
to visitors, but they are prohibited from engaging in activities near the
waterfalls as a precautionary measure.
Digital Ministry to introduce official LINE account tackling fake news
Bangkok - The Minister of Digital Economy and
Society, Puttipong Punnakanta, has held talks with the CEO of LINE Thailand,
Phichet Rerkpreecha, on the creation of a LINE Official Account for the
Ministry of a Digital Economy and Society as a proactive measure to address
the circulation of fake news.
Users can report any suspicious news item to this
account, which will have a chatbox providing an interactive experience and
initial communication with users. The administrative team overseeing the
account will have access to a database to make verifications and identify
fake news. The Ministry of a Digital Economy and Society’s LINE Official
Account is expected to be ready for use in two months.
Government to compensate flood-hit farmers
Bangkok - Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha
had instructed all related units to look after people affected by tropical
The Department of Agricultural Extension will assess
the damage in farm areas after the flood water recedes. Officials in the
flood-hit provinces will notify farmers of the damage, provide guidance on
growing rice, fruit and field crops and distribute biological products for
agricultural use to prevent plant diseases.
As for the government’s measures to aid flood-hit
farmers, rice growers who registered with the Department of Agricultural
Extension in advance will receive a compensation of 1,113 baht per rai up to
30 rai. The government will compensate field crop farmers with 1,148 baht
per rai, while horticulture farmers will be given 1,690 baht per rai.
Culture Ministry includes 18 traditions in national cultural heritage list
Bangkok - The Ministry of Culture has
announced the inclusion of 18 traditions in the national cultural
heritage list to stimulate community participation in preserving,
restoring and protecting local and national cultural heritage.
Kalasin’s Pong Lang performance is one part of
northeastern cultural heritage which has been included in the list this
year. Pong Lang is an instrument that is played at festivals to
entertain people and people form a group to do activities. It not only
fosters unity but also brings pride to the communities.
From 2009-2018, 336 cultural heritage practices
were added to the inventory. This year’s additional 18 aspects of
cultural heritage will increase that total to 354. Others on the list
this year include folk literature, language and performing arts. There
are also practical aspects regarding nature and the universe as well as
martial arts which reflect the distinctive identity of the nation.