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Tourism Council of Thailand cites Thai baht as biggest challenge to tourism

May Taylor

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Tourism Council of Thailand cites Thai baht as biggest challenge to tourism | The Thaiger
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The strong Thai baht is proving to be the biggest obstacle in trying to lure tourists, according to The Tourism Council of Thailand who have had to lower its projection of over 40 million foreign visitors this year down to 39.7 million.

The president of the council says the surging baht is the main reason for the decline.

“It’s frightening to see the baht so close to 30 to a dollar. It’s the key reason for arrivals and receipts growth being lower than expected.”

The country’s significant current account surplus is being blamed for the strengthening of the currency and Somchai Amornthum from Krungthai Asset Management (KTAM) says that although the surplus is less than it was last year, it could still strengthen the baht, albeit at a slower rate.

“The baht could break past the 30 per dollar band at some stage next year, but the degree of currency appreciation is not expected to be too strong.” KTAM predicts that the baht will be at 31 to the dollar by the end of the year and 30 by the end of next year.

It has outperformed every other Asian currency this year with its strength hurting exporters and the tourism industry. The Bank of Thailand is limited in what measures it can introduce, with the policy interest rate already low, and Somchai says any further policy easing would have limited effect.

SOURCE: chiangraitimes.com

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Air Pollution

Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai – all suffering choking smog today

The Thaiger

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Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai – all suffering choking smog today | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Bangkok is the world's 5th worst city for air pollution today - Thai PBS World

The whole Bangkok and its suburbs is suffering from excessive PM2.5 dust and smoke particles in the air today. Around the city the readings have been uniformly ‘unhealthy’ for the entire day with readings as high as 188 particles of 2.5microns per cubic metre.

Putting a stamp on the whole appalling situation is the list of the world’s Top 10 cities with the worst air pollution. Bangkok had the 5th worst air pollution in the world today with perennially polluted Indian cities Delhi and Mumbai not much further ahead in the readings today.Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai - all suffering choking smog today | News by The ThaigerDespite being a long-standing problem, Bangkok’s air pollution has only recently begun to enter the Thai public consciousness. This awareness has been sparked by some prolonged hazy spells that tested the public’s patience and pushed schools, organisations and individuals to start testing the air themselves. By January 2019, there were already more than 100 schools using air sensors. The growth in these non-governmental air monitoring stations gave more and more parents and Bangkok citizens real-time pollution data for the first time, revealing how poor the city’s air quality was.

Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai - all suffering choking smog today | News by The Thaiger

62 air quality measurement stations in Bangkok and neighbouring provinces, including Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani, show the health threatening levels of PM2.5, which exceed the 50 micron safety threshold. The highest level was found at Tambon Paknam in Muang district of Samut Prakan (a reading of 188).

In the eastern province of Rayong, the Pollution Control Department reports that air quality readings show the level of PM2.5 up to 174 today with nearby tourist town Pattaya sharing readings, all in the ‘unhealthy’ zone.

Further north Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Lampang all shared very bad air quality readings today as the smoke from plantation burn-offs continued to fester in local lungs and choking the blue skies with an ugly grey pall. Chiang Mai is also on the list of the Top 10 world’s worst air pollution today coming in at #8.

Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai - all suffering choking smog today | News by The Thaiger

Statistics from Air Visual

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Crime

Drug runners killed in Chiang Rai clashes

Greeley Pulitzer

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Drug runners killed in Chiang Rai clashes | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Police examine the smugglers' pickup truck, which crashed in Chiang Rai's Mae Chan district during clashes last night - Chinnapat Chaimol, Chiang Rai Times

Police in Chiang Rai province report that three drug smugglers were killed and another arrested in two clashes with security forces near the Burmese border last night. A total of 400,000 methamphetamine pills and 7 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine were seized.

The first clash occurred about 9:30pm after a number of pickup trucks and motorbikes were spotted crossing the border from Myanmar into the Chiang Saen district.

A patrol of the Narcotic Suppression Bureau and soldiers of the Pha Muang Force followed them to an area near a bypass road, but as they moved in for a search, guards travelling with the convoy opened fire.

In the subsequent firefight, one smuggler identified as “Jalae,” aged about 20, was killed. Another, 18 year old Yapa Ja-ou of Ban San Khong in Chiang Rai’s Mae Chan district, was arrested.

The remaining smugglers fled in a greyish bronze Toyota pickup truck leaving behind a total of 250,000 methamphetamine pills and about 7 kilograms of crystal meth, or “ya ice”

WARNING: The video below contains graphic content and viewer discretion is advised.

At about 10pm, the pickup was intercepted at a three-way junction It veered off the road as the smugglers opened fire on the officers. Both men in the truck were killed in the clash, which lasted about 15 minutes according to police. They were identified as 19 year old Peerapol Tamu, and Khamchang Japo, aged 18.

Fifteen packages containing 150,000 meth pills and an 11mm pistol were found in the pickup.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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Crime

Heroin smuggler busted in Chiang Rai

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Heroin smuggler busted in Chiang Rai | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Police examine the confiscated heroin - Chiang Rai Times

A man has been arrested in Chiang Rai’s airport attempting to smuggle heroin. 27 year old Jatuporn Saeuan was searched and detained before boarding a flight to Bangkok when security officers found his behaviour suspicious.

Security officers say Jatuporn “kept wandering back and forth in front of the entrance” to Mae Fah Luang Airport, so they asked demanded to inspect his luggage. His luggage was put through the airport x-ray and he went through the personal scanner.

When he raised his arms for the scan, they notised a yellow plastic bag tucked into the back of his trousers. Security staff opened the package and found it contained a white power. Test results quickly indicated the powder was a narcotic. and security called police.

Police told Thai media that Jatuporn admitted travelling to Myanmar to buy the heroin, sneaking across the border at Mae Sai, Chiang Rai into Myanmar’s Tachilek province. After buying the drug he sneaked back into Thailand with help from the dealer.

Jatuporn drove to Chiang Rai’s Mae Fah Luang Airport where he was subsequently arrested. He admits he planned to sell the heroin in Bangkok.

He has been charged with possession of an illegal narcotic with the intent to sell. Under Thai law, he could face the death penalty, though capital punishment is rare in Thailand. In reality he faces a fine of up to 100,000 baht fine and/or 10 years in prison.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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