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Junta warned to be careful targeting rivals with petty litigation

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Junta warned to be careful targeting rivals with petty litigation | The Thaiger
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PHOTO: Piyabutr Sangkanokkul reports to police yesterday using the, now popular, anti-government three-finger salute – The Nation

by Kai Chanwanpen

While members of pro-democracy parties continue to be targeted with politically-motivated lawsuits, a political scientist is warning this tactic of eliminating political rivals through trivial matters of law could backfire and lead to a legitimacy crisis down the track.

In the latest case, the Future Forward Party secretary-general Piyabutr Sangkanokkul yesterday acknowledged the charges pressed against him by the ruling NCPO, whose chief is a prime ministerial candidate after the March 24 election.

“Seeking advantage over rivals is common in politics. But this cannot be without consequences. They could face questions of legitimacy even if they successfully conspire to attain their goal,” said Attasit Pankaew, a political expert from Thammasat University.

“All the unfairness that can be seen right now will lead people to question if Piyabutr would have been hit with a lawsuit if he were not so popular in the election.”

The pro- and anti-junta blocs have been going after each other since the election with politically motivated, and mostly relatively petty, lawsuits.

But when the court was petitioned to seek the disqualification of junta chief Prayut Chan-o-cha as a prime ministerial candidate because he was a public servant, the ruling went in favour of the incumbent.

While these kinds of political challenges are common around the world, Attasit said that public sentiment could play a major role in making any change.

“It’s how the public responds to the treatment that could improve this culture,” he said.

“Meanwhile, the authority has to provide an explanation and ensure that the due process of law is followed without victimising political rivals.”

Piyabutr has been charged with contempt of court and breaching the computer crime law for reading out a statement in relation to the dissolution of Thai Raksa Chart Party in February.

Piyabutr, a former law lecturer at Thammasat University, yesterday denied the charges. He insisted on his innocence, saying as a law scholar the criticism was meant as an academic comment and that he believed in the justice system.

“The chief of the NCPO is the PM candidate of a political party, which was a rival of Future Forward Party in the election and he has assigned an official to prosecute me for contempt of court,” he said.

“Let me make an observation: the judicial branch is a part of the sovereign state and cannot escape criticism, especially the Constitutional Court which rules on political conflicts and whose judgement is likely to be scrutinised,” Piyabutr told reporters.

“Disagreement with a court judgement is not a crime.”

SOURCE: The Nation

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thai DJ Celebrity party is likely to be “super spreader” event

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Thai DJ Celebrity party is likely to be “super spreader” event | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thairath Online

The birthday party of Techin Ploypetch, better known as “DJ Matoom”, is now considered a super-spreader source of Covid-19, with 19 people already found infected after attending the event. According the CCSA spokesperson during the daily briefing today, “Transmissions in Bangkok should be highlighted. They show the possibility of a person becoming a super-spreader”.

The birth of the super spreader birthday party started with a guest to the DJ’s party who had visited a well-known entertainment venue in Chiang Mai between January 1 and 4. He sought a Covid-19 test on January 5 following news that infected people had visited the pub, but tested negative. He should have self quarantined for 14 days, but he still flew to Bangkok and then attended the DJ celebrity’s birthday party on January 9.

DJ Matoom says he met the guest, one of his friend, on January 9, but that friend didn’t know he was infected until January 19 in which he told Matoom.

According to Dr Tanarak Plipat, now acting inspector-general of the Public Health Ministry, an infected person can transmit disease to two others on average, while a “super spreader” will transmit to multiple people.

DJ Matoom and the party’s guest were criticised of violating the disease control measures.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Bangkok

Owners of vehicles emitting black smoke to be fined up to 5,000 baht

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Owners of vehicles emitting black smoke to be fined up to 5,000 baht | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS News

Owners of cars and trucks emitting an excessive amount of black smoke face a fine up to 5,000 baht. The heavy fine is an attempt to reduce air pollution in Bangkok. Along with the fine, the Department of Land Transport will also order the vehicle be suspended from use until its emission system is fixed.

According to the department, from October last year until January, 689,333 vehicles in Bangkok areas have been inspected for black smoke emissions, while 8,762 of them have been suspended from usage. Those vehicles emitting a high volume of smoke, but are under the safety standard, will receive warnings and owners are urged to check vehicle conditions and keep proper maintenance.

Vehicles with exceeding black smoke are urged to check their vehicles at the department’s certified vehicle inspection centres located around Bangkok’s outskirts, including Phutthamonthon, Romklao, and Khlong Luang areas. Motorists are also encouraged to help reduce air pollution caused by black smoke and PM2.5 particles by having their vehicles regularly serviced or alternately switching to electric or NGV-powered vehicles.

People who witness vehicles emitting black smoke can also report the authorities by calling 1584, or contact Line: @1584DLT, or via DLT GPS mobile application.

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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