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Britain to apply for membership with Asia Pacific free trading bloc

The Thaiger

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Britain to apply for membership with Asia Pacific free trading bloc | The Thaiger

In the wake of Britain’s Brexit and separation from the EU trading bloc, the UK is now applying to become part of the free trade bloc made up of 11 Asia and Pacific nations. The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership also includes Australia, Canada, Japan and New Zealand, a potential market population of around 500 million. The countries generate more than 13% of the world’s income.

The request will be made formally tomorrow by the UK International Trade Secretary. Negotiations are expected to start in March and continue during the northern hemisphere Spring.

There would also be the potential for faster and cheaper visas for business people travelling between participating nations.

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership was formed in 2018 and includes, in alphabetical order, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Former US President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the free trade bloc back in 2016.

The UK hopes the deal will reduce trade tariffs between the member countries. It includes a promise to eliminate or reduce 95% of import charges – although some of these charges are kept to protect some home-made products, for example Japan’s rice and Canada’s dairy industry.

In return, countries co-operate on trade regulations, quality controls and food standards. Member countries can negotiate separate trade deals as well within the bloc. The UK is the first non-founding country of the CPATTP to apply for membership and, if accepted, will be the bloc’s second biggest economy after Japan.

But the International Trade Secretary warns that the short-terms gains for UK households and business will be limited. The UK already has trade deals with 7 of the 11 countries. The reality is that CPTPP nations account for less than 10% of UK exports, a fraction of what it was doing with the EU.

But commentators say that the real advantages could emerge in the future, particular if the US joins, as President Biden has hinted. That would allow a back door deal for trade with the US without necessarily having an individual trade deal with the US.

In total, CPTPP nations accounted for 8.4% of UK exports in 2019.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP was hammered out late last year and is a free trade agreement between the Asia-Pacific nations of Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The 15 member countries account for about 30% of the world’s population (2.2 billion people) and 30% of global GDP as of 2020, making it the biggest trade bloc in history.

Unifying the preexisting bilateral agreements between the 10 member ASEAN and 5 of its major trade partners, the RCEP was signed on 15 November 2020 at a virtual ASEAN Summit hosted by Vietnam.

With the US locked out of RCEP and currently not part of CPATPP, plus its ongoing trade war with China, the US economy is waging an expensive gamble with its isolationist trade policies.

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25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Avatar

    James Marshall

    Sunday, January 31, 2021 at 6:18 pm

    WE are all going in the right direction now, lets all work together ?? ? ?

  2. Avatar

    John_2

    Sunday, January 31, 2021 at 8:14 pm

    They never give up!

    The whole plan was to create these trading blocks EEC, TPP and the American Free Trade THEN align them all together into the ONE WORLD NEW WORLD ORDER. So now the UK is out of the EU they just join it to another block and then finally back to the original plan.

    Thailand was smart enough to avoid the TPP in the first place.

    • Avatar

      James R

      Sunday, January 31, 2021 at 9:05 pm

      Thailand has a very small economy compared to the UK with the same number of people and Thailand is twice the land size of the UK.

      But Thailands economy(GDP) is six times smaller than the UK, who is not very smart?

      Now we have broken free of the EU political mess we will be soon growing stronger.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Monday, February 1, 2021 at 12:02 am

        How?

        The UK already had the same trade agreements with 7 of the 11 TPP countries through the EU.

        Prior to Brexit the UK was at least “U” and had full control of its own internal borders; now, under Section 16, it’s ceded that control to the EU as is already unavoidably and rather embarrassingly (for the UK) very clear although someone forgot to mention it.

        It’s “broken free” of EU regs, but only as long as it sticks to those exact same EU regs if it wants to keep on trading with the EU (and it can’t afford not to) and now while it’s avoided tariffs it’s subject to customs duties.

        There are plenty of arguments for and against Brexit, but the UK’s “broken free” of virtually nothing.

        • Avatar

          Stephen Westrip

          Monday, February 1, 2021 at 2:25 am

          What Issan John knows about the UK and Brexit seems close to nil. Leaving the EU was never about what happens in the first months of the end of the transition period. It is all about the future and how the UK has the freedom to make it’s own decisions. Politicians in both the UK and EU will come and go and the heat of the Brexit argument will get less each and every year. Brexit is not a moment in time. It is about what the UK make of it in the upcoming years and decades.

          • Avatar

            Issan John

            Monday, February 1, 2021 at 7:27 am

            As I asked -“how?”.

            It’s an easy question, or should be.

            In order to have tariff free trade with the EU it has to follow the exact same regulations so the “freedom to make it’s own decisions” argument falls at the first hurdle given the restrictions of the treaty.

            I’m not saying if the choice was right or wrong, just curious if the half-wits, on both sides, have any real idea about their choice.

            All too evidently, and unsurprisingly, those here don’t and its just clowns being led by clowns.

            All a bit sad.

          • Avatar

            London Al

            Friday, February 5, 2021 at 3:00 am

            Ha, this is standard leaver fare, it’s about the long term, it’s already a dog’s dinner and it’s going to get worse, and when this guy says the UK has the freedom to make its own decisions what he really means is we can put our own dispicable immigration rules in place.

        • Avatar

          Geoff

          Monday, February 1, 2021 at 5:00 am

          IJ – comment about something you know. You are way off the mark in your latest addiction comment.

    • Avatar

      Toby Andrews

      Sunday, January 31, 2021 at 10:23 pm

      Thailand do not want the TTP with Britain included.
      Check the tariff rates of importing into Thailand and the Thai import tariffs importing into Britain.
      Why does UK tea cost two and a half times the price it is in the UK in Thailand?
      It is not due to shipping
      It is the import Thai tariffs. Up to 50 percent on processed food.
      Thailand is exploiting the poor developing country charity the UK allows Thailand.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Monday, February 1, 2021 at 12:32 am

        Indeed, Toby, check the tariff rates.

        If Thailand were in the TPP, as it is in the RCEP, why would it worry about the UK joining?

        IIRC you were complaining about the low rate imposed by the UK on Thai sweetcorn compared to a high Thai tariff on Coleman’s mustard.

        Who do you think would lose most if both joined the TPP and tariffs were removed? The UK with its exports of Coleman’s mustard to Thailand or Thailand with its exports of sweetcorn to the UK?

        … and FWIW the UK’s tariff on Thai sweetcorn, imposed by the EU, has been scrapped by the UK. It’s now zero.

        Oops …..

        • Avatar

          Toby Andrews

          Monday, February 1, 2021 at 9:08 am

          NO, you check the tariff rates. What were the EU tariff rates on sweetcorn?
          You state it is now zero in the UK, so you prove my point.
          The example you quote, Colmans mustard, what are the Thais tariffs on that?
          All you have to do is look at is the balance of trade.
          2.481 millions in Thailand favour; in short Thailand makes about 40 percent more than the UK in trade.
          They manage this by high tariffs and duties imposed on UK imports into Thailand, and they benefit from a lenient charitable tariffs imposed on Thai imports into the UK.
          If the UK and Thailand were both in the TTP both countries would have zero tariff rates and Thailand would lose.

          • Avatar

            Issan John

            Monday, February 1, 2021 at 12:50 pm

            Toby, your naivety is sometimes quite amusing.

            The Thailand-UK trade deficit is rather more than “2.481 millions in Thailand favour”. Thailand actually has a trade surplus with the UK of ฿43 billion ($1.4 billion), on trade worth ฿190 billion ($6.2 billion). That’s “billion, with a ‘B’.

            That’s not because of “high tariffs and duties imposed on UK imports into Thailand, and … lenient charitable tariffs imposed on Thai imports into the UK.”

            UK tariffs on imported Thai products aren’t low because they’re “charitable” but because they want to keep the prices low for the consumer and it doesn’t harm British business.

            Thai tariffs on imported British products aren’t higher because they want the prices higher for the consumer but because they want to protect Thai and RCEP products.

            There’s nothing “charitable” on either side – it’s just business.

            The trade deficit is because the UK wants more goods from Thailand (automobiles, jewellery, poultry, processed food and electronics) than Thailand wants from the UK (electronics, pharmaceuticals, machinery and beverages). That’s about as simple as economics gets – supply and demand.

            If the UK raised the tariffs on Thai goods they’d simply be more expensive and British consumers would have to pay higher prices, whether for Thai or other foreign imports, which they wouldn’t be happy about; the same for British goods in Thailand, for Thai consumers.

            If it’s down to tariffs, though, Brits are likely to get far more upset about paying more for sweetcorn, wherever it comes from, than Thais are about paying more for Coleman’s mustard or for Earl Grey Tea.

            If both countries were to have “zero tariff rates” Thailand wouldn’t “lose” at all, far from it:

            in Thailand, British goods would become cheaper so more competitive against Thai goods but Thailand produces comparatively few competing products and the demand is more limited, so the adverse effect would be on other countries’ products, not Thailand’s – but there’d be some marginal gains for the UK.

            in the UK, Thai goods would become cheaper so more competitive against UK goods, but again the UK produces few competing products (although the demand is a lot higher) so Thailand would be gaining over other countries products, not the UK’s – but there’d be considerable gains for Thailand.

            The UK wouldn’t “lose” if tariff rates were zero, but Thailand would certainly “win”.

          • Avatar

            Toby Andrews

            Monday, February 1, 2021 at 4:51 pm

            Your figures are wrong. Where did you find them?
            The ones I found are Thailand exports to UK are worth 3.66 billion USD
            UK exports to Thailand are 1.56 billion USD
            So Thailand advantage in trade is about 2.10 billion USD.
            My previous figure of 2.481 million was a mistake. I should have typed billion.
            Plus those figures were a few years ago.
            Thailand is making a mistake charging so much in tariffs. Their greed kills sales of imports, therefore less imports, and less tariffs.
            The revenue will go down, once expats and tourist realise what is happening.
            I used to bring a large box of tea over for a bar owner, and his other customers also did.
            The greedy Thais put up the price of imported wine so high, a place in Pattaya charged more for a glass of wine than for the spaghetti bolognese.
            Result less people dined there.
            I would say the one of the faults of the Thai race is greed, even when they make less because of this.
            Another fault is that they are not clever people. They just think they are.
            Their greed ruins the trade, but they do not realise it.
            You might be right though, if the UK and Thailand both charged nil tariffs, Thailand might sell more imports, and make more money than they previously made in tariffs.

          • Avatar

            Issan John

            Tuesday, February 2, 2021 at 12:04 am

            Toby, I said naivety to be generous.

            I should have been honest and said stupidity.

            My figures are taken from a search for “thailand uk trade balance” for 2020, 2019 and 2018. All the sites agree, without exception, as do all media reports.

            You evidently don’t have a clue what tariffs are for, even though I tried to explain it in terms a retarded child could understand.

            Tariffs are NOT to raise “revenue”,

            Tariffs are imposed to raise the price of imports so locally produced goods are bought instead.

            Tariffs are SUPPOSED to “kill sales of imports”.

            THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT OF TARIFFS.

            GAFM.

          • Avatar

            Toby Andrews

            Thursday, February 4, 2021 at 3:41 pm

            No it is not there. I knew you make these figures up!
            I googled Thailand UK trade balance 2020.
            No site comes up referring to Thailand and the UK.
            All that comes up is Thailand world trade balance and one with the USA.
            You think I’m stupid? I’m not stupid enough to believe you.

    • Avatar

      Geoff

      Monday, February 1, 2021 at 4:57 am

      John2 – conspiracy rubbish. Getting 2 countries to agree together is extremely difficult. The whole world?

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Monday, February 1, 2021 at 7:34 am

        I agree with it being conspiracy rubbish, but so’s the idea that “Getting 2 countries to agree together is extremely difficult”.

        Plenty of countries make simple bilateral agreements all the time. Plenty don’t. It’s just broad brush rubbish instead of conspiracy rubbish.

      • Avatar

        John_2

        Monday, February 1, 2021 at 9:44 am

        You may have missed the fact that they do appear to unilaterally agree on most things… coincidence NOT.

        But please remain in your denial if that’s where you feel comfortable.

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Monday, February 1, 2021 at 12:58 pm

          Just curious, John 2.

          If the aim is to “align them all together into the ONE WORLD NEW WORLD ORDER” then wouldn’t everybody be competing on free trade / WTO terms with everyone else, with no tariffs?

          … and if most countries “agree on most things” “unilaterally”, so A agrees with B who agrees with C, etc, etc, wouldn’t everybody agree and be best friends with no wars, territorial disputes and refugees?

          Doesn’t seem to be working very well, this “ONE WORLD NEW WORLD ORDER” plan …

          • Avatar

            John_2

            Monday, February 1, 2021 at 6:25 pm

            I like some of your comments Issan John, but your not even at the starting post RE the Deep State are you…

          • Avatar

            Issan John

            Tuesday, February 2, 2021 at 11:40 am

            I hope not, John_2. The “Deep State” doesn’t seem to be at the starting gate, either.

          • Avatar

            john_2

            Thursday, February 4, 2021 at 7:27 pm

            Oh, far from it Issan John – they’re getting close to the END GAME.

  3. Avatar

    Alan

    Monday, February 1, 2021 at 10:41 am

    British made Bikes are making a comeback thanks to Indian billionaire. They are the motorbike of choice for Thais. English premier league and cricket are well appreciated. I think there’s a good history of interaction between the two countries. I think Thailand is a great culture. Every chance I get I watch Thai movies. Good luck to Thailand from the frozen north of Yukon Canada.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Monday, February 1, 2021 at 1:30 pm

      Anand Mahindra and BSA?

      Hardly “the motorbike of choice for Thais” as they haven’t bought any (apart from old ones) as BSA haven’t made any for nearly fifty years!

      Jawa, as he owns that too, but they’re hardly “British made”?

      Unknown to many, they’re actually “made” here, in Thailand in Samut Prakan, albeit indirectly and as licensed copies, as Stallions are assembled here from Chinese Shineray parts. The CT400 is probably one of the best retro / classic bikes you can buy here for the money (I’m a bit of a bike nut), but it’s very “niche” here and hardly “the motorbike of choice for Thais” any more than Thais appreciate cricket.

  4. Avatar

    Mr cynic

    Tuesday, February 2, 2021 at 10:49 pm

    The british have been trading in the region for about 400 years now,news?

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World

Christmas across Asia: How Thailand’s neighbours celebrate

Maya Taylor

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Christmas across Asia: How Thailand’s neighbours celebrate | The Thaiger
PHOTO: www.ministryofvillas.com

Those of us living in Thailand (and those who holiday here in more “normal” times), are familiar with what Christmas looks like in the Land of Smiles. But what about other Asian countries? Here’s a round-up of what the festive season looks like for some of our neighbours.

Indonesia
Despite being a primarily Muslim nation, Christmas is celebrated by many in Indonesia. A history of colonisation by European settlers means the country is home to a minority Christian population. In Bali, this community is found primarily in the south of the island, where it’s traditional to have a Christmas tree made of chicken feathers and streets decorated with yellow coconut leaves, known as penjor.

Fireworks are also a big part of Indonesia’s Christmas celebrations, with children often allowed to stay up all night on Christmas Eve watching the spectacle. About 10% of Indonesians identify as Christian.

China
Christmas is becoming more popular in China’s larger cities, due primarily to the influence of resident expats. While Chinese children don’t write to Santa, or leave him cookies and milk on Christmas Eve, “peace apples” are popular. These are decoratively-wrapped apples, which are given as gifts.

The reason behind this is apparently because the word for apple sounds like the words “peace” and “Christmas Eve” in Mandarin. Travel outside the big cities however, and into the Chinese heartland, and you will meet people who have had far less interaction with Westerners, and for whom Christmas remains a mystery. This is particularly true of the older generation.

South Korea
South Korea is one of a few Asian countries in which Christmas Day is a public holiday, with around 29% of the country’s population being Christian. Despite Christmas being a “newish” holiday, South Koreans have their own version of Father Christmas, known as Santa Haraboji (Grandfather Santa). While similar to the Western version we’re familiar with, South Korea’s Santa wears a green suit and tops it off with a gat, the traditional Korean hat.

Japan
The Japanese see Christmas as an opportunity to spread good luck and happiness, rather than as a religious festival. Christmas Eve is the main event, when romantic couples traditionally exchange presents. Although Christmas Day is not a public holiday, December 23 is, as it celebrates the Emperor’s birthday.

As with many parts of the world, Christmas is also an excuse for shopping, with brightly-decorated malls filled with people looking for gifts for family and friends.

Malaysia
Being the multicultural melting pot it is, Malaysia celebrates Malay, Chinese, Eurasian and Indian festivals throughout the year, and Christmas is no exception. Christmas Day is a public holiday, but the festive season takes on a more commercial aspect with lesser focus on the religious aspects in the majority Muslim country. Shopping malls in big cities like Kuala Lumpur start getting ready well in advance and you can expect to see them all decorated with giant Christmas trees, Santa figures, and twinkling lights.

SOURCE: Asia Exchange

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Air Asia to focus on ASEAN expansion, as CEO expresses cautious optimism for 2021

Maya Taylor

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Air Asia to focus on ASEAN expansion, as CEO expresses cautious optimism for 2021 | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO

Air Asia’s chief executive, Tony Fernandes, says the low-cost carrier is planning to expand its presence in Southeast Asia and is in talks to form 3 new airlines. He points out that people still want to travel, and that demand makes him hopeful air travel could be back to its pre-Covid numbers within 6 – 12 months.

“At the right time we will make the announcements, but definitely our strength is Southeast Asia and that’s where most of our expansion is going to be over the next 2 to 3 years.”

Just 3 weeks ago, AirAsia Japan Co has filed for bankruptcy with the Tokyo District Court after rumours the month before the Japanese franchise would cease operations due to the weak demand caused by regional border closures and the weakness in aviation business.

But flights between Japan and destinations such as Bangkok are being operated by other AirAsia subsidiaries.

The Japanese arm of Malaysia’s AirAsia Group Bhd received a provisional administration order from the court 3 weeks ago.

“Given AirAsia Japan’s current financial position, we regret to inform that AirAsia Japan is currently unable to settle the outstanding refunds. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused to customers who have used or booked AirAsia Japan flights.”

Tony Fernandes says domestic air travel in Thailand is already back to where it was prior to the pandemic* and is likely to surpass previous levels by the end of the year. He adds that Air Asia’s business as more of a medium-haul carrier than a long-haul operation, will stand it in good stead.

Meanwhile, Fernandes says Air Asia is turning a lot of its aircraft into cargo planes, while assessing its AirAsia India operation, a joint venture with the Tata Group. The carrier is also moving further into the digital sphere. Air Asia recently launched a super app, offering digital payment services, delivery services, and an e-commerce platform… and flights.

Fernandes says Air Asia’s digital business is already further ahead than expected, with the carrier applying for digital banking licences in a number of countries in Southeast Asia. It’s understood the company plans to roll out financial lending in Malaysia from January, and also has plans for the insurance and wealth management sectors.

*Fact check – Domestic flight demand in Thailand is currently back to around 60-70% of pre-Covid levels, not back to the same level.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand

Thailand News Today | The RCEP reset, Hotel Talkfest, Protesters to be arrested | November 16

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Thailand News Today | The RCEP reset, Hotel Talkfest, Protesters to be arrested | November 16 | The Thaiger

First day of the week with another Thailand News Today, all the latest news from around Thailand and the region.

Hoteliers to discuss how to revive Thailand’s crippled hospitality industry

The Tourism and Sports Ministry is holding a talkfest with15 hotel operators expected to join to discuss recovery solutions for the battered industry.

Some top executives are planned to pitch in on revival plan including those from Dusit International, Erawan Group, Asset World Corp and Minor Hotels. After those from the industry weigh in on possible solutions for the plan, the proposals will be discussed at the November 24 Tourism Authority of Thailand meeting. TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn says that if needed, they’ll request an additional budget for whatever plan they come up with.

Bill Heinecke from the Minor Group, one of Thailand’s largest hotel groups, is a strong proponent of opening up Thailand’s borders and managing the situation as tourists return.

Protest members could face assault charges as police gather evidence

Core protest members could face assault charges as police gather evidence after Saturday’s demonstration in Bangkok, which saw 2 policemen injured.

“Mob Fest” and “Bad Student” protest members staged the demonstration at Democracy Monument where they wrapped a 30 square metre cloth around the monument. The cloth included numerous demands and insults on it.

Police say that assault charges will be filed after one policeman was struck on the head by a flag pole and another was hit in the face by a hard object as they tried to prevent some of the protesters from breaking through a police cordon.

In a symbolic gesture thousands of the students turned their backs on a passing motorcade as HM the King and Queen of Thailand headed to the opening of new stations along the Blue MRT line.

15 Asia-Pacific countries form the world’s largest trade bloc

After 8 gruelling years of negotiation, 15 countries have signed onto the largest free trade bloc in history. In a joint statement, the leaders of the countries, signatories of the trade deal, say RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) will form a crucial part of economic recovery once the pandemic is over.

The deal excludes the US, which withdrew from a rival Asia-Pacific trade pact 3 years ago. President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership in 2017. That deal would have involve 12 countries and was supported by Mr Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama as a way to counter China’s surging power in the region.

Now, the leaders of China, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and the 10 ASEAN nations, have signed the free trade agreement which covers 2.2 billion people and 30% of the world’s economic output. The new free trade bloc will be bigger than both the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement and the European Union.

The combined GDP of the signatories was about 30% of global GDP, covering nearly 28% of global trade.

The deal is being seen as a significant step towards removing Asia Pacific trade barriers, and brings China under the fold of a larger regional bloc as its massive economy looks elsewhere for trading partners after the bruising US-China trade war.

Roadside bomb explodes as rangers drive to a wedding in Southern Thailand

In the southern province of Narathawit, an area troubled by insurgency-related violence right on the Thai-Malaysia border, a bomb exploded as rangers were driving to a wedding.

None of the soldiers were injured, but the bomb caused major damage to the pickup truck.

Hitman arrested over 14 year old cold-case murder in Pattaya of NZ businessman

An arrest has been made in a 14 year old Pattaya cold case following the arrest of a Thai man who allegedly murdered a New Zealander, Stephen Miller in 2006. The 40 year old is now in custody in Phetchabun province after a raid led by Crime Suppression Division. ‘Pokpong’ was wanted under an arrest warrant issued by Pattaya Court back in April 2006, on charges of murder and illegal possession of carrying a gun in public.

You can read the whole sordid backstory about Mr Miller and his Thai girlfriend at the time at thethaiger.com

Flooded underpass finally drained after locals get officials’ attention with viral photos

A flooded underpass in Nakhon Ratchasima has finally been drained after locals posted photos of them pretending to turn the area into a tourist attraction and swimming pool.

The State Railway of Thailand waited for almost a month before draining the water after the area was flooded by heavy rain.

But one enterprising Thai man came up with the idea to publicise the problem as he and some friends posed lounging in inflatable lilos on the water. Last Friday’s post went viral and got the attention of transport officials.

“I decided to post it to get the attention of the SRT. People here have nobody to turn to.”

In response to the viral post, the railway agency said the soil was blocking the pipes. Meanwhile no more free swimming pool for the two Thai guys.

Alleged drug dealers arrested after help from a stray dog

Police arrested 2 alleged drug dealers after a stray dog dropped off a bag full of amphetamine pills outside a post office in the northern province Phrae.

No one knows exactly where the dog found the bag of drugs, but surveillance camera footage shows the dog carrying the bag and dropping it off at the Rong Kwang district post office. The employees at the post office said it seemed as if the dog wanted to report a crime and they praised the dog for being so smart.

Police say 639 amphetamine pills were in the bag. Officers were able to track down the suspects. A 38 year old man and a 37 year old woman were arrested on charges of drug possession.

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