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Thai military says martial law in south will not be lifted

Maya Taylor

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Thai military says martial law in south will not be lifted | The Thaiger
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PHOTO: Sumeth Panpetch, Associated Press

Following the insurgent attack that killed 15 volunteers at a security checkpoint earlier this week, the Army says it’s not planning to lift the emergency laws currently in place in the south of the country.

The attack is believed to have been carried out by a militant group identified as the BRN or National Revolution Front, widely regarded as the most powerful of the Islamic insurgency groups active in the region.

The three southern provinces, bordering Malaysia, have been the scene of brazen and brutal attacks on officials, soldiers, volunteers and innocent civilians for nearly two decades. Nearly 7,000 people have already died in the ongoing border and religious clashes.

Int he latest incident, insurgents struck on Tuesday night at 11.30pm, raining bullets on the checkpoint and hurling spikes and grenades. The 15 people who died in the attack were mostly defence volunteers, guarding the checkpoint that stood surrounded by rubber plantations. They were sitting ducks, ambushed in a well-planned surprise attack.

The Bangkok Post reports that, in the wake of the atrocity, 4th Army chief Phonsak Phunsawat says emergency laws in place in the region will remain in force. He was responding to calls to review the region’s martial law in light of “possible human rights violations”.

In response, Lieutenant General Phonsak called the insurgents’ actions “an attack on human rights”, adding that despite the government’s attempts to resolve the crisis through dialogue, security laws needed to remain in place while militants are clearly still active.

“This attack is an indication that militants use violence indiscriminately, and we call on the public to examine their activities, which are tantamount to violations of human rights.”

The leader of the Prachachat Party, Wan Muhamed Nor Matha also condemned the attack but criticised the government, calling for the emergency laws to be revoked and for peace talks to be stepped up as a matter of urgency. He argues that security should be handled by police and local leaders as opposed to the army.

Security officials believe that up to 60 people may have been involved in the attacks and that local villages are likely harbouring the fugitives.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand

Hotels and restaurants raided, 50 arrested for allegedly cheating “We Travel Together” subsidy scheme

Caitlin Ashworth

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Hotels and restaurants raided, 50 arrested for allegedly cheating “We Travel Together” subsidy scheme | The Thaiger
PHOTO: MGR Online

Several hotels and restaurants in Phuket and Chaiyaphum were raided this morning and 50 people were arrested for allegedly stealing from the government subsidy scheme “We Travel Together.” The scheme was launched to help businesses that were financially hit by the lack of tourists during the Covid-19 pandemic and to stimulate the battered economy.

Last month, the Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn filed a criminal complaint against 312 hotels and 202 shops for allegedly cheating the scheme which covered 40% of room rates and offered e-vouchers. Instead of lowering prices to draw in more travellers, some hoteliers and restaurateurs allegedly raised their prices to get more subsidies.

This morning, police arrested 38 people in Chaiyaphum and 12 people in Phuket suspected of cheating the subsidy scheme. Suspects, including hotel and restaurant operators, face charges ranging from fraud and false identification to misusing electronic cards and adding fraudulent information to the computer system.

Nation Thailand says the verification system for the scheme was not stringent and people were able to register fake hotels and list fake bookings. Some hotel operators recorded higher prices for rooms to get a bigger payoff from the government.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Thailand

16 Thai Navy officials investigated for alleged involvement in drug trafficking

Caitlin Ashworth

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16 Thai Navy officials investigated for alleged involvement in drug trafficking | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

The Royal Thai Navy is investigating 16 of its officials for alleged involvement in a drug trafficking operation earlier this month in the Isaan province Nong Khai which borders Laos. If the officials are found guilty, the Navy will immediately take both disciplinary and legal action, according to a spokesperson.

Local officials reportedly seized 2 million amphetamine tablets and 116 kilograms of methamphetamine from a suspect who allegedly smuggled the drugs across the Mekong River, which borders the province. The suspect allegedly fled the scene.

2 Navy officers took the drugs from local officials, saying they would secure the evidence and hold a press conference, which never happened, according to a complaint filed with the Anti-Corruption Police by the Crime Victims Assistance Club chairperson.

“About 20 minutes after the drug seizure, two men who claimed that they were officials from Navy’s Mekong Patrol Operation Command took the drugs from Nong Khai officials, saying that they would secure the evidence and later hold a press conference on the drug seizure… However, the press event was later cancelled.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Bangkok

Police arrest man suspected of producing ketamine drug cocktail linked to 11 deaths

Caitlin Ashworth

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Police arrest man suspected of producing ketamine drug cocktail linked to 11 deaths | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thairath

In the ongoing investigation into the ketamine-based drug cocktail linked to 11 deaths in Bangkok, police arrested a man who allegedly mixed large amounts of narcotics to make the drug cocktail known as “K powdered milk.” Police say the cocktail is ketamine mixed with methamphetamine, heroin and pharmaceutical pills for anxiety and sleeping.

38 year old Taiwan national Chou Yi Sen, aka “Lupin Taiwan,” was arrested yesterday after police raided his condominium in Bangkok’s Ratchathewi district. Chou allegedly admitted to mixing the drugs to make “K powdered milk” and police say the formulas for the drug mixture were found on his cell phone.

Earlier this month, 11 people died after taking the drug cocktail. The Bangkok Post says dozens more people are still in the hospital after taking the “K powdered milk.” Police have arrested numerous suspected drug dealers who ran small scale and large scale operations.

Chou allegedly ran the drug operation from various locations in Bangkok, selling the drugs overseas using the cryptocurrency Bitcoin as well as to buyers in Thailand. Police also searched Chou’s rooms at other condominium the Huai Khawang, Wang Thong Lang and Klong Toey districts, seizing a variety of illicit drugs and equipment as well as a pistol with 8 bullets.

Altogether, police seized 4 kilograms of ketamine, 376 ecstasy pills, 4 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, 8 kilograms of heroin, 48 LSD tabs, 11.6 grams of cocaine, 2 bottles of Dormicum sleeping pills and 265 Five Five sleeping pills. Police say they also seized 2 plastic sealing machines, 2 mixers that appeared to have drug-like residue and 2 digital scales.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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