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US Embassy responds to Don’s rebuke over Thanathorn case

The Thaiger & The Nation

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US Embassy responds to Don’s rebuke over Thanathorn case | The Thaiger

PHOTO: The Nation

The Thai Foreign Minister yesterday formerly summoned foreign diplomats yesterday afternoon, one by one, in a diplomatic dressing down about their appearance at a police station last Saturday morning.

The official ministry memo objected to the presence of envoys at the Pathumwan Police Station on Saturday when the Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit reported in to hear charges against him.

But the US Embassy has responded, telling The Nation that attendance at legal prosecutions is standard practice.

“Regardless of the intention, the presence of embassies’ representatives at the police station, with such visibility and with the publicity it generated, was clearly an act of political significance, seen by the Thai public largely as a show of moral support for Mr Thanathorn,” read the aide memoir, a copy of which has been seen by The Nation.

“The Thai government respects the rights of foreign embassies to monitor political developments and observe events of significance for the benefit of their analysis and assessment and for promoting friendly relations. But the incident at the police station while police were carrying out their duty “was clearly not consistent with international practice and obligation.”

Representatives of the UN Human Rights Commissioner, the EU, the United States, the UK, Canada, France, Belgium, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Finland, Germany and the Netherlands were present at the police station on Saturday when Thanathorn arrived to hear sedition and other criminal charges.

The charges referred to his presence at an anti-junta protest in 2015 and alleged that he had provided a vehicle for a protester to escape detention.

The billionaire-turned-politician accused the junta of harbouring a political motive for prosecuting him after his party did far better than expected in the March 24 election, capturing more than 80 seats in the House of Representatives and soundly beating the Democrat party,

Future Forward then joined the pro-democracy and anti-junta camp that includes the Pheu Thai Party, bidding to attempt to form a coalition against the pro-junta Phalang Pracharat and form government after the election.

The international community and local rights groups have criticised the junta for its plan to try Thanathorn in a military court.

Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai on Tuesday slammed the envoys who showed up on Saturday, saying their presence was diplomatically inappropriate.

“Foreign representatives could get involved in the Thai judicial process only when their own citizens were prosecuted.”

However, deputy National Police chief Srivara Rangsibhramanakul said the diplomats were invited to a briefing after Thanathorn’s interrogation at Pathum Wan Police station had finished.

“They did not join the interrogation session.”

The US Embassy, whose political counsellor was at the police station on Saturday, said having representatives attend such prosecution proceedings is standard diplomatic practice.

US Charge d’Affaires Peter Haymond was among the diplomats who met separately with a senior official at the foreign ministry yesterday to take the aide memoir.

SOURCE: The Nation

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ASEAN

Bangkok and Nonthaburi to get 2 extra holidays during ASEAN summit

May Taylor

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Bangkok and Nonthaburi to get 2 extra holidays during ASEAN summit | The Thaiger

November 4 and 5 have been approved as official holidays for Bangkok and Nonthaburi as a result of the 35th Asean Summit and Related Summits being held at Impact Arena Muang Thong Thani in Bangkok.

Deputy government spokeswoman Traisulee Traisoranakul confirmed yesterday that the measure was being taken in an effort to alleviate traffic problems in both areas during the summit, adding that other state enterprises and the Bank of Thailand could implement the holidays for their subsidiaries at their own discretion and on a case-by-case basis.

“Government agencies in Bangkok and Nonthaburi will stop working on these dates. Meanwhile, state enterprises and the Bank of Thailand will consider announcing November 4 and 5 as holidays for their subsidiaries on case-by-case basis.”

“However, government agencies which have a necessity to provide urgent or previously scheduled services to their clients that cannot be postponed may stay open on November 4 and 5, depending on the decision by the heads of these departments.”

Some other public or regional holidays coming up…

Bangkok and Nonthaburi to get 2 extra holidays during ASEAN summit | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation

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Bangkok

Colourful European ecstasy tablets targeting Thai youth

The Thaiger

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Colourful European ecstasy tablets targeting Thai youth | The Thaiger
PHOTO:

The Narcotics Control Board are warning about cartoon-character labelled ecstasy pills that are being smuggled from Europe and heading for Thailand and a growing market of younger users. Some of the colourful pills had been cast as characters from Minions movies and The Simpsons.

The Office of the Narcotics Control Board deputy secretary-general Niyom Termsrisook told reporters about the ecstasy pills following the arrest of a woman in Pathum Thani, just north of Bangkok, last week. The woman was arrested with about 28,000 cartoon-character ecstasy pills on October 8. Niyom said they had been tracked back to a European supplier.

“The pills were produced in France and the Netherlands. Drug dealers have also been expanding their markets to south east Asia. The drugs are smuggled through airports in Cambodia and Vietnam.”

“The pills are stored in Cambodia before being smuggled through natural border passages to Thailand.

Niyom alleged the smugglers were victims of human traffickers hired by African traffickers.

He said that local sellers of the ecstasy pills are targeting young pub goers as the drugs have a sex-stimulant property.

A source at the ONCB said a quantity of cartoon-character ecstasy pills was earlier seized at Suvarnabhumi airport in the capital. The pills were smuggled from the Netherlands where they were priced at 60 baht per pill.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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Bangkok

Thai High Speed Railway linking airports now to be signed off on October 25

The Thaiger

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Thai High Speed Railway linking airports now to be signed off on October 25 | The Thaiger

The State Railway of Thailand and the Charoen Pokphand Group-led consortium are putting pen to paper and signing the contract for the high-speed train project on October 25.

The much-discussed high speed railway will link Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang and U-Tapao international airports. The new SRT board was approved by the Thai cabinet today.

Deputy PM Anutin Charnvirakul says he is confident the contract will now be signed, adding that he has already met with Supachai Chearavanont, CEO of the CP group, and assured him of the government’s full cooperation and support.

The Charoen Pokphand-led consortium won the bid to develop the 224-billion baht high-speed train infrastructure as a signature project for the government’s flagship Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) high-tech investment hub. The train service is scheduled to be operational in 2024 (The Thaiger is taking bets now).

Recently, however, the CP-led consortium raised concerns over land expropriation and eviction problems and asked for the government to share the risk on this issue. The Transport Ministry has already rejected the request putting the onus on CP as part of the proposal.

Mr. Anutin explained that, in any large infrastructure project involving expropriation of land, it is usual for the government or state agency not to be able to hand over the land to the contractor all at once. In such cases, the contracted completion date can be moved back.

He said the CP-led consortium should proceed with the high-speed train project without further delay because 70% of the land is ready to be handed over.

Meanwhile, the deputy PM admits that he didn’t know why the entire SRT board resigned en masse, delaying the signing of the contract, and denied that he had put pressure on the board to quit. He also denied that Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, also of the Bhumjaithai party, objected to the SRT board’s mass resignation because the latter wanted the contract to be signed quickly.

SOURCE: Thai PBS

Thai High Speed Railway linking airports now to be signed off on October 25 | News by The Thaiger

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