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Health minister promises hospital graft investigation

Jack Burton

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Health minister promises hospital graft investigation | The Thaiger
PHOTO: NNT

Further to a story reported by The Thaiger, Deputy PM and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul has pledged to investigate allegations that many of the ministry’s 186 hospitals have taken kickbacks from drug companies for buying their products. He says he’ll order a formal investigation, if there is any substance to the allegations, which he admits have tarnished the reputation of the ministry.

The allegation has put Public Health Permanent Secretary Dr Sukhum Kanchanapimai at odds with the director of Khon Kaen provincial hospital, Dr Charnchai Chanworachaikul, who was recently transferred to work at the ministry by Sukhum, who then appointed the director of a hospital in the eastern Chanthaburi province to replace him during an investigation.

Charnchai stands accused, in an anonymous letter, of allegedly receiving a 5% kickback from drug companies from March to October 2018, in exchange for buying products from certain suppliers.

Anutin says that he he’ll examine all aspects of the controversy to ensure fairness to all concerned.

Manoo Sawangjaeng, an independent academic, claims that in November last year, all 186 hospitals under the Public Health Ministry received kickbacks from drug companies, citing information he gleaned from sales representatives.

Drug companies in Thailand are divided into foreign makers, local makers and trading companies. Manoo says the trading companies, which import drugs from abroad, are the most directly involved in the kickback process.

In September, 2017, the Cabinet issued an order banning state hospitals from receiving kickbacks and all forms of benefits from drug companies, but drug companies simply switched to offering ‘donations’ to hospitals to beat the ban.

The deputy secretary-general of the National Anti-Corruption Commission blames budgetary constraints for making hospitals, mostly small community hospitals, feel the need to demand kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies, to be paid into a “welfare fund” for each hospital.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    ken jones

    Thursday, June 11, 2020 at 4:11 pm

    Great ! We know how it works here at the end of the day he got a lot as well. Deception and slight of hand are alluring.

  2. Avatar

    Jesters_cry

    Thursday, June 11, 2020 at 5:44 pm

    Investigate schools for graft as well. Fake foreign ‘teacher’scam has been going on for years.

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Thailand

Local Thai politician arrested after allegedly firing shots at a pub

The Thaiger

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Local Thai politician arrested after allegedly firing shots at a pub | The Thaiger

A local politician allegedly shot 4 people at a pub in Nakhon Phanom. Witnesses told the Bangkok Post that the man started firing shots at throughout the pub because he was drunk and unhappy with the table service. Police arrested 58 year old Paisal Saengnarai, who is a kamnan, the governing official of a tambon or sub district.

Witnesses say the kamnan of tambon Na-ngua at the pub drinking with friends when he got unhappy with the waiter. He then walked out to his car, drove to the front of the pub, grabbed his 9mm CZ pistol and started firing random shots in the pub, witnesses said, according to the Bangkok Post.

8 to 9 shots were fired, hitting 4 customers at the pub. They were rushed to Ban Phaeng Hospital. Paisal was arrested on a firearms charge.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Crime

Funeral shooting adds to Thailand’s trend of politically-motivated violence

Caitlin Ashworth

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Funeral shooting adds to Thailand’s trend of politically-motivated violence | The Thaiger
Photo via Facebook/ ยงข่าวร้อน

Last week, a mayoral candidate was shot and killed and 6 others were wounded, including 3 people who were running in local elections and a local kamnan, a government official of a tambon, or sub district. Police say they believe the shooting was politically motivated. Violence related to local politics has been a trend in Thailand over the past few decades.

The gunman, who police suspect is Wanchart Niamraksa, a member of the local provincial administration organisation, opened fire at a temple in Ratchaburi, a province west of Bangkok near the Myanmar border. Witnesses say the gunman fired shots from behind a Buddha image, shooting Yingpan Kanket, the kamnan of tambon Don Sai, was lighting candles and incense sticks to start the funeral. Yingpan is now in critical condition.

Varaporn Niamraksa, who was running for mayor in the March 28 municipal election, was shot and later died at the hospital. Wanchart’s wife was Varaporn’s main competitor in the mayoral election. He’s also Varaporn’s brother-in-law. Wanchart has since surrendered to police.

The gunman shot and wounded 5 others, including 3 who are all running for the municipal council of tambon Don Sai. Police say they plan to charge Wanchart with murder, attempted murder, illegally possessing firearms and ammunition and carrying them in public.

While the story was covered in Thai media, it wasn’t a major headline, according to a Thai reporter. He says there’s been a pattern of politically motivated violence in Thailand. Just this past January, police arrested a man for allegedly planning to kill a local election candidate in the southern province Nakhon Si Thammarat.

Local politics in Thailand were described as “bloody” after the passing of the 1997 Constitution, leading to what the media calls a “decade of decentralisation.”

More than 362 local politicians were murdered between 2000 and 2009, according to date reported by Thai media. There were around 100 other murder attempts on local politicians. Around 73% of the victims who were either killed or wounded were sub district administration organisation representatives. Most were shot.

The majority of cases were in Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala and Songkhla, province’s in Thailand’s deep south near the Malaysian border, plagued with violence for decades due to the religious separatist insurgency.

In recent years, there’s also been a number of reports involving violence among local politicians in Thailand. In 2019, an MP for the Isaan province Khon Kaen was sentenced to death for hiring 2 former police officers to kill the assistant chief of the Khon Kaen provincial administration.

SOURCES: Kyoto Review | Bangkok Post| Chiang Rai Times| Post Today

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Crime

2 Phuket Town nightclubs shut down after allegedly violating multiple laws

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2 Phuket Town nightclubs shut down after allegedly violating multiple laws | The Thaiger

2 Phuket Town nightclubs are shutting down after allegedly violating multiple laws. The Maldives and H20 on Lim Sui Ju Road, on the south end of Phuket Town were ordered by the Phuket Governor to close immediately, with the Maldives being ordered to close for 5 years.

The order comes after the Phuket City Police inspected the Maldives club, arresting the manager for operating an entertainment venue without a permit, allowing people under 20 years old to work or “use services in the venue,” and for selling alcohol without a permit.

Governor Narong cited his authority under Section 4 of NCPO order 22/2558 to order the Maldives nightclub to be closed for 5 years, from March 5, 2021 to March 4, 2026.

The order also prohibits the operators from opening any other entertainment venues during the same period. The H20 nightclub was ordered to close by a provincial order after Phuket City Police say they inspected the venue and charged the operator for selling or providing shisha, or baraku, without permission.

The owner was also accused of operating an entertainment venue without a permit and violating the provincial order for enforcing Covid-19 safety measures. But it is unknown what penalties were handed down to the operator of the H20 nightclub, unlike the Maldives operator, who received a penalty.

Instead, the governor cited the Revolution Council announcement of 1959, to shut down the establishment for 30 days from March 5, 2021 to April 3, 2021. The orders noted that both operators of the clubs have the right to appeal the closures, having 15 days to file an appeal directly with the Phuket Governor.

Meanwhile, Phuket is set to open its doors to vaccinated, international tourists by October, pending the government’s approval. The local government’s initiative, named Phuket First October, proposes vaccinating a majority of its population over 18 years of age in time for the high season.

The move would allow thousands of vaccinated Europeans to enter Thailand, while locals would be protected from the virus symptoms.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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