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Thai cabinet endorses raising age of criminal responsibility

Jack Burton

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Thai cabinet endorses raising age of criminal responsibility | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Deputy government spokeswoman Traisuli Traisoranakul - Nation Thailand

The Cabinet has approved a draft bill increasing the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 12 in line with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It also gave the go-ahead to changing the age during which measures other than criminal punishments can be applied, from 10-15 to to 12-15, under the same code.

The changes are in line with the ICCPR and medical opinions that 12 year old children aren’t very different from 10 year olds in terms of cognitive skills, according to a government spokeswoman. She says the change will bring down the number of juvenile criminals, thereby cutting state expenditures.

“Other measures will be used such as close supervision or vocational training so children have a chance to grow up to be good citizens.”

Following the Cabinet’s approval yesterday, the draft will be forwarded to the Council of State for screening, before submission to government whips and then to the House of Representatives for debate.

While the potential revision will exempt those under 12 from punishment, if convicted by a court, the court is empowered to take any of the following steps to deal with offenders aged from 12 to 15, or their parents:

  • Warn young offenders before setting them free
  • Return young offenders to their parents or guardians, with a condition that they must prevent them from committing further offences for a specified period
  • Impose probation conditions on the young offender
  • In the case of young offenders without legal parents or guardians who are able take care of them, the court can place the youth under the care of a person or an organization appointed by the court for a specific period

The court can send the young offenders to a school or training centre designed to train young offenders for a specific period, but not until they are 18.

SOURCES: Thai PBS World | Bangkok Post

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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.

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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Crime

Cambodian dog slaughterhouse shut down, owner says he is “ashamed”

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Cambodian dog slaughterhouse shut down, owner says he is “ashamed” | The Thaiger

After increasing calls to end the dog meat trade, a Cambodian slaughterhouse is shutting down, with its owner saying he is “ashamed.” Ouk Mol, the owner, says the dog slaughterhouse has killed more than a million dogs since opening in 1995.

According to Four Paws animal rights group, Cambodia slaughters between 2 to 3 million dogs per year, while offering the cheap meal of protein at more than 100 dog meat restaurants in Phnom Penh, its capital.

Mol’s slaughterhouse is responsible for all the supply to Phnom Penh, but he says he will no longer be killing dogs, citing increasing pressure from animal rights groups and civilians alike. The 50 year old former soldier says he feels ashamed.

“But I want to quit the business because I am getting old and a lot of people have criticised me about the dog meat trade.”

The operator was offered financial support from Four Paws to open a grocery store if they shut down their slaughterhouse with Ouk Mol’s wife, Sao Phally, saying she is glad they have found a way out of the business.

“We were always worried about sin because of our killing. People looked at us in a bad way.”

The slaughterhouse, which uses vats to drown the dogs, and blowtorches to remove their fur, slaughtered up to 200 dogs per day. Now, as of yesterday, the company has shut down, with the remainder of dogs being sent to animal charities for rehabilitation and placed for international adoption.

Phnom Penh is the 2nd city in Cambodia to follow increasing calls to close the dog meat trade, as Siem Reap banned the trade last year in a victory for animal rights groups. Until 2020, Siem Reap, Cambodia’s largest tourist city, was known by rights groups as the “lynchpin” of the trade.

Despite Cambodia’s efforts to begin closing down its dog meat trade, it is not the only Asian country that features dog meat as a cuisine. Consuming dog meat in Vietnam is more popular than in Cambodia, which shows the industry has a long way to go with regards to respecting animal rights.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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