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Thai minister Thammanat Prompao tells parliament he “never pled guilty” or “served time” over heroin drug charges

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Thai minister Thammanat Prompao tells parliament he “never pled guilty” or “served time” over heroin drug charges | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai deputy agriculture minister Thammanat Phrompao - The Thaiger
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The Thai deputy agriculture minister Thammanat Prompao has re-ignited the controversy over his drug convictions in Australia by continuing to insist he “never pled guilty or served jail time for drug charges in Australia”. His claims are contrary to the evidence provided by the Australian courts.

The ministers’s denial follows the disbanded Future Forward Party publishing an Australian court ruling on its Twitter account. The tweet confirmed Thammanat’s guilty plea and jail sentence for heroin trafficking back in 1995.

The tweet read… “Whoops! Dropped some files. Giving out files of evidence to rip off Thammanat’s mask, who lacks the qualifications of being an MP.”

Khaosod English reports that, under Thai laws, a person convicted for drug offences cannot serve as a minister in the Thai government.

Responding to questions in Parliament, Thammanat said…. “I did not admit to importing, exporting, producing, or selling heroin.”

But the Twitter account from the disbanded party responded with links to a folder of evidence the party said it received from Australian authorities. The tweet has been retweeted nearly 70,000 times. The files, including court records in English, Thai translations, news clippings, and a Powerpoint presentation.

According to the court documents, Minister Thammarat, then under the name of Manat Bophlom, was one of two Thai men who “pleaded guilty to being knowingly concerned in the importation of heroin” and were sentenced to prison for six years in 1995.

The opposition claim Thammanat’s criminal records effectively barred him from serving in the Thai Cabinet, but the politician vehemently denied the allegations in spite of the documented evidence.

The revelations originally came to light when the Australian Sydney Morning Herald, an award-winning newspaper recognised for its excellent journalism, published an article outing the Thai minister and the train of events that lead to his heroin convictions. You can read the original SMH article HERE.

Speaking almost an hour at the censure debate Thursday, Thammanat continually repeated his denial and accused the Future Forward of misleading translation.

“I thought it’s going to be something exciting, but I’ve seen it all. Your translation which says that I had confessed to trafficking charges is not true because there is nowhere in a certified translation that says I did.”

“That charge only carries a life sentence, so if I had been sentenced as the debater says, I must have died and reborn again.”

Putting the motion of no-confidence against him was Future Forward MP Theeratchai Pantumas, who said Thammanat was “concealing and twisting the truth in a world-class humiliating affair.”

Phalang Pracharath MPs also objected to the documents being aired inside the Parliament.

Thammanat, who entered politics as a Phayao MP, said he had already gone through the vetting process and maintained that his eligibility is not affected since he is not being prosecuted by the Thai judiciary.

“Thailand was never a colony. The debater is speaking as if we are surrendering our sovereignty to Australia. The reference to a court order from another country is not applicable to the Thai government.”

• The embattled minister threatened to sue more than 100 media outlets last year for mentioning or reposting the Sydney Morning Herald story. Read about that HERE.

• The new government coalition considered demoting the Agriculture Minister over the allegations, HERE.

SOURCE for this story: Khaosod English

Thai minister Thammanat Prompao tells parliament heThai minister Thammanat Prompao tells parliament he

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

PM asks cabinet for emergency decree

Greeley Pulitzer

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PM asks cabinet for emergency decree | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Eleven Media Group

PM Prayut Chan-O-Cha formally asked the Thai Cabinet this afternoon for the declaration of a national emergency to help prevent the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus in Thailand. The decree, which the Cabinet is currently discussing, will likely be enacted for a month. A decision is expected to be announced later today.

The decree would allow authorities to impose curfews, ban domestic travel and close any building without a warrant, and would give the government the ability to censor and shut down media if deemed necessary.

Proponents of the decree say it will help bring the situation under control, while critics fear the decree could be used to further the government’s power and limit individual rights.

Prayut proposed the enactment of the 2005 Royal Decree of Emergency Situation during today’s Cabinet meeting. If approved, the decree will be enacted from Thursday to April 30. A news conference is expected later this afternoon.

SOURCES: Khaosod English | The Pattaya News

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Health minister denies racist tweets

Greeley Pulitzer

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Health minister denies racist tweets | The Thaiger
PHOTO: - File photo

“Many farang dress dirty and don’t shower. As hosts we have to be very careful.”

Deputy PM and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul certainly knows how to grab the spotlight: just days after messages posted on his Twitter account caused a social media uproar and prompted the account to be shuttered, he has denied making the tweet. In a short interview with the BBC, Anutin claims he didn’t post the now infamous “Dirty Western Foreigner” tweets late last week.

Writing in two Twitter posts on Thursday night, which were later deleted, the account said “farangs,” (slang for Caucasians) “never shower” and pose health risks to the Thai population.

Anutin, who previously grabbed national attention when he lost his cool on television after a Caucasian foreigner rejected his attempts to give him a mask, says he has “no issues” with Europeans and foreigners, and even has many white western friends.

He told the BBC that the tweets, which seemed to blame the outbreak of the virus on Western Europeans while stating that Chiang Mai was better when it had many Chinese tourists and not “Bad and dirty Europeans” was not his.

He claims that many people had access to the account and that the account was closed down because the the incident is under investigation, adding that his full attention is on fighting the novel Covid-19 Coronavirus and ensuring Thailand does not have a full scale epidemic like several other countries, and his team, not he, is administering his social media.

Reaction on social media has been extremely harsh, with many western foreigners and full time expats expressing outrage over the comments.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News | Khaosod English

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PM urges unity in the face of adversity

Greeley Pulitzer

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PM urges unity in the face of adversity | The Thaiger
PHOTO: - File photo

In a nation battered by drought, a slowing economy and the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak, Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha has appealed to the public to unite and join the government in its efforts to overcome.

In a public statement yesterday, the PM said some of the measures adopted by his administration to cope with the threat of coronavirus contagion are different from those of other countries, due to differences in population, demographics, climate and other factors, but added that the government has obtained help and adopted practises from abroad.

Prayut urged all sectors of society, including the mainstream and online media, the public and the business sector, to support the government in its attempts to contain the virus, instead of bickering over minor issues, publishing false or distorted information, or accusing the Government of failure in addressing the virus threat, drought or other problems.

He defended against criticism that Thailand is not democratic and that his administration does not embrace democracy, asking whether the government has ever gagged the media.

Regarding the nation’s drought its worst in 40 years, the government claims officials are working at full capacity to find sources of water to meet demand for consumption and agriculture.

Regarding the economy, the PM said Thailand still relies on exports and tourism to drive the economy, pointing out the need for Thai people adjust to changing circumstances and technologies.

He assured the public that the government is doing its best for the people, but would like them to cooperate in the fight to contain the virus by avoiding panic, keeping themselves in good shape and trusting that the government will prevail over the current problems.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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