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Democrat MP gets 2 years in prison for vote buying

Caitlin Ashworth

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Democrat MP gets 2 years in prison for vote buying | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Siamrath
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Both Democrat MP Thepthai Senpong and his brother have been sentenced to 2 years in prison for election fraud. If the verdict is upheld by a higher court, Thepthai would be banned from politics for the next decade.

The Court found Thepthai and his brother Manote guilty of vote buying. Thai PBS says the illegal bribes took place at a party for voters prior to a mayoral election in Nakhon Si Thammarat back in 2014. Thepthai represents Nakhon Si Thammarat.

An election watchdog organisation said vote buying was “rampant” during the 2019 general election and even took photos of piles of 100 baht bank notes allegedly used for vote buying. Many parties resorted to so-called “money politics” to bribe voters, an executive from the Open Forum for Democracy Foundation, known as P-Net, told the Bangkok Post.

SOURCES:Thai PBS | Bangkok Post

 

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

Thailand

Majority in survey say now is the time to share ideas to solve conflicts

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Majority in survey say now is the time to share ideas to solve conflicts | The Thaiger

A majority of those surveyed in a recent Suan Dusit Rajabhat University poll say now is the time to work together to solve the conflicts that are plaguing the country. The poll, known as the Suan Dusit Poll, was conducted online from September 23-25, asked for opinions on the long-standing conflicts in Thailand.

1,263 online netizens responded with a large majority-almost 92% saying now is the time for all who are concerned to come together to brainstorm ideas on how to resolve the conflicts. The rest of the respondents, around 8%, said other things. Each respondent was given more than one allowed answer when asked for suggestions of how to fix the issues with almost 89% saying the government should be open to all opinions. Almost 88% said there should not be any violence, 82% said no double-standards, 74% said forums should be held nationwide to allow opinions, and 69% wanted the parties involved in the conflicts to take a step backward.

However, the question of who should lead the country in resolving these issues was split closely between pollsters wanting core members and representatives of different groups, the prime minister, and the people. Only around 13% pointed towards the government sector as taking the lead and lastly, around 9% pointing to the students and youth.

A majority of respondents, about 75%, agree that the brainstorming would be successful with almost 25% saying it would be unlikely to be successful. Such a poll comes after major anti-government student protests at Bangkok’s Thammasat University have rocked the nation, with some saying, for the first time, the rallies have thwarted the Lese Majeste laws in place that have historically put a muzzle on free speech and criticisms of the monarchy and King. Such protests have led to the arrestsof those leading the movement especially after a plaque was placedat the Grand Palace declaring that “Thailand belongs to the people.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Phuket’s Sri Panwa Resort’s land title deed to be investigated for legality by DSI

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket’s Sri Panwa Resort’s land title deed to be investigated for legality by DSI | The Thaiger

Back in the news again. Phuket’s Sri Panwa Resort’s land title deed is now to be investigated by the Department of Special Investigation after a petition was filed to determine whether the deed was procured legally. Veera Somkwamkid, the secretary-general of the People’s Network Against Corruption, filed the petition along with 167 pages of documents pertaining to his accusations that Thawatchai Anukun, a land fraud suspect, had unlawfully issued land title deeds to plots of land in Phuket before he mysteriously died in a detention room while in DSI custody in 2016.

He was allegedly being investigated for falsifying land deeds between the years of 1998 and 2001. Veera claims before the title deed was issued on the plot, the land was part of a forest known by locals as Pa Kae.

“Back then, 10 families that had occupied the plots for about 40 years had title deed requests rejected. The reason given was the land was part of a forest reserve used by the navy.”

However, Watchara Buathong, Phuket’s current land official, says the Sri Panwa resort had legally acquired its 56-rai, none of which was ever state land. Local resident Khwanjai Khumban, backed this claim, saying her father and cousins had sold most of the land to the resort, and she could produce documents to account for at least 12 rai of the disputed area.

Phuket's Sri Panwa Resort's land title deed to be investigated for legality by DSI | News by The Thaiger

Meanwhile, the Social Security Office, is also under fireas it is being asked to explain why it invested in the hotel’s trust fund. The department, which is under Thailand’s Ministry of Labour, in which its minister says he doesn’t know if the property has been legally built and points to the responsibility to the DSI to investigate. This was echoed by at least one opposition MP and anti-corruption activists.

The hotel, situated on Cape Panwa, in Phuket’s Muang district, has been under recent scrutiny due to its owner, Vorasit Issara, accusing Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul, a co-leader of the anti-government United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration group, of offending the monarchy at last weekend’s protest at Sanam Luang.

Vorasit posted on Instagram that Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul should be jailed, further falsely claiming that she is not Thai when, in fact, Panusaya was found to have been born in Nonthaburi and is a Thai citizen.

“This bullshit has got to stop. She is not Thai. Who is she working for? This one needs to be in prison”.

Such a statement has received wide backlash from netizens with some taking to Trip Advisor and other websites to post bad reviews of the resort, prompting it to suspend advertising on such sites.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post
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Charter vote delayed, committee formed and Senators escape Parliament by boat – VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Charter vote delayed, committee formed and Senators escape Parliament by boat – VIDEO | The Thaiger
PHOTOS: Protesters gather outside the Thai parliament - Tanaporn Choopanya

Thailand’s MPs and Senators have kicked the constitutional can down the road at least a month after the parliament failed to agree on charter amendments. A panel will be sent up to examine 6 motions that were proposed and debated over the past 2 days. Meanwhile, up to 2,000 protesters were gathered outside the unfinished parliamentary buildings as an act of solidarity for the MPs supporting the changes to the current Thai Constitution.

The reality of the vote, and the setting up of an investigative committee, could push any votes on real reform well into 2021.

The 2 Houses of Parliament voted 431-255 to delay the vote. Opposition Pheu Thai and Move Forward MPs stormed out and missed the opportunity of nominating anyone to the new 45 member parliamentary committee to examine the motions, whilst the remaining members chose members for the committee. Move Forward Party’s, Pita Limjaroenrat, described the vote as “a way to stall for time” complaining that the decision “was moving the country towards a dead end”.

It was not known how the NCPO hand-picked Senators would vote on the bills. Many were thought to side with the idea of constitutional reform but the reality was that, in most scenarios, they’d be voting themselves out of a job if any reforms went ahead. Thailand’s entire upper house is a military-appointed rump of conservative former businesspeople and Army officials, mostly men.

Charter vote delayed, committee formed and Senators escape Parliament by boat - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

The protesters viewed the afternoon’s proceedings as a blunt stalling tactic to keep the current parliament, and its unelected senators, in power. The session ran until 8.30 last night. Rather than face the angry mob of anti-government protesters at the front of the building, most of the senators escaped on boat at the rear of the building, which backs onto Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River.

The demonstrators, with a consistent theme of reform over 3 months of rallies, are demanding changes to the current constitution because it was drafted by the NCPO who kicked out the elected government of Yingluck Shinawatra in 2014.

The protesters specifically point to the NCPO-appointed senate and the power they wield to elect the country’s prime minister, even though none of them were elected (nor was Prayut Chan-o-cha).

Protesters say they will now organise the next lot of rallies in October. Meanwhile, the Parliament is now is recess.

PROTESTSLive scenes from today’s protest rally to lend their voices, albeit from outside the The Parliament, to the debates inside about amendments to the Thai Constitution. The Thai parliament buildings are unfinished and, so it seems, are the student and anti-government protesters.

Posted by The Thaiger on Thursday, September 24, 2020

 

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