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Thai foreign minister criticises visa waiver proposal

Maya Taylor

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Thai foreign minister criticises visa waiver proposal | The Thaiger
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The Foreign Ministry opposes the Tourism and Sports Ministry’s proposal to waive visas for Indian and Chinese tourists, calling it a “risk to national security”. The proposal was put forward at a meeting last Friday, as part of a series of measures to boost the economy through an injection of over 300 billion baht in tourism.

It would permit Chinese and Indian nationals to remain in Thailand for up to 30 days, 15 days without a visa, with hopes of boosting numbers from those countries. However, it could cost about 12-13 billion baht a year in lost visa fee revenue.

Approximately 11 million Chinese tourists will have visited by the end of this year, along with 2 million Indian visitors, and Indian numbers are expected to grow to 3 million next year.

However, Foreign Affairs Minister Don Praramudwinai has written to the PM to oppose the plans, arguing that the visa stamp helps with visitor screening and national security.

With a population of more than 1 billion each, there is also concern about how Thailand would cope with a huge surge in Chinese and Indian visitors. The ministry argued that many may see it as a chance to escape hardships in their own countries.

Minister Don added that visa requirements are not solely to blame for an economy hampered by a strong Thai baht and the US-China trade war. He suggests that waiving visas for Indian and Chinese visitors could make managing tourist arrivals chaotic.

He voices concern that the Thai embassy in India has detected false documents provided by some visa applicants. However, an immigration officer at one of the country’s international airports was unconcerned about the proposal, saying Chinese and Indian tourists rarely overstay their visas.

SOURCE: The Bangkok Post

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Crime

Young Thai photographer admits to attempted sexual assault of model

The Thaiger

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Young Thai photographer admits to attempted sexual assault of model | The Thaiger

An 18 year old Thai photographer has admitted trying to sexually assault a swimsuit model during a photoshoot after the victim posted the account on Facebook. The young man turned himself in at a Chonburi Police Station and confessed to the accusations leading to police charging him with attempted rape.

The model posted that she escaped the sexual assault attempt on her Facebook account after the photographer showed up while she was changing her clothes in the bathroom. She says he attempted to rape her but left when someone walked by as she was screaming for help.

The alleged perpetrator said he was turned on while taking photographs of the model but didn’t intend to hurt her. However, he later sent her a text saying he could not control himself.

Photographer, Swimsuit Model, Police

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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Business

“Come and see” – Ministry invites diplomats to see coconut-picking monkeys in action

The Thaiger

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“Come and see” – Ministry invites diplomats to see coconut-picking monkeys in action | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Atlas Obscura

The monkeys, and the Thai government, are hitting back at accusations macaque monkeys are being exploited, even abused, and forced to pick coconuts for commercial farmers. Some larger western retailers say they’re going to pull Thai coconut products off their shelves after being lobbied by animal rights activist that the coconuts were picked by abused and over-worked macaque monkeys.

The Thai Commerce Ministry, coconut farmers and the “monkey school” trainers are dismissing reports, and a dramatic video from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animal), that the coconut-picking monkeys are maltreated. So they’re organising a tour for foreign diplomats and the media to see the monkeys at work and decide for themselves.

The permanent secretary for commerce, responding to the reports, says the monkey owners don’t abuse or exploit the animals which have been “humanely trained” to pick coconuts. He has instructed attaches in foreign Thai embassies to provide an explanation to retailers in other countries who have expressed concerns and even instigated boycotts.

“The ministry is ready to invite foreign diplomats to visit coconut plantations and see how the monkeys pick coconuts so they will realise this is not animal cruelty.”

The Bangkok Post reports that Pramual Pongthawaradej, a Demo­crat Party MP for Prachuap Khiri Khan province, the Chair of a House subcommittee tackling falling coconut prices, says they’ve approached owners of coconut milk plants to justify their practices to PETA. They’ve also asked the Department of Agriculture to provide details regarding the use of monkeys to pick coconuts.

A video from Touronthai shows an operating monkey-school posted 4 years ago…

But Somjai Saekow, an owner of a monkey school which trains macaques in Surat Thani, says… “the practice of capturing monkeys from the wild to pick coconuts ceased a long time ago”.

“Currently, monkeys are bred and raised before being trained. They are not forced to pick 1,000 coconuts from trees everyday, and they don’t work every day.

“Coconut-picking monkeys are mostly males and their abilities vary. The owner of the monkey receives 2 baht per a coconut picked.”

“Foreigners may not understand our livelihood. Also, humans are not built to climb up a coconut tree to pick fruit. They will be at risk, compared to monkeys which have the natural ability to do so.”

An owner of monkeys in Surat Thani, denied the claims of poor treatment or abuse of the coconut-picking monkeys.

“There is no cruelty. Actually, they are looked after well. They are fed well with rice, milk, and fruit three times a day. They are treated like family members.”

PETA claims pigtailed macaques in Thailand were treated like “coconut-picking machines”.

“Following PETA’s investigation, more than 15,000 stores will no longer purchase these brands’ products, with the majority also no longer buying any coconut products sourced from Thailand monkey labour.”

PETA said it had found 8 farms around Thailand where monkeys had been forced to pick coconuts for commercial export.

“Male monkeys are able to pick up to 1,000 coconuts a day.”

“Other coconut-growing regions, including Brazil, Colombia and Hawaii, harvest coconuts using humane methods such as tractor-mounted hydraulic elevators, willing human tree-climbers, rope or platform systems, or ladders, or they plant dwarf coconut trees.”

“PETA went further by calling on “decent people never to support the use of monkey labour by shunning coconut products from Thailand”.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Crime

5 year old Burmese girl raped, murdered in Tak

Jack Burton

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5 year old Burmese girl raped, murdered in Tak | The Thaiger
PHOTO: matichon.com

Villagers in the north western Tak province were shocked yesterday by reports of the rape and murder of a 5 year old Burmese girl. Her body was discovered in a forest in Mae Sot district. Police went to Muhajireen community in Mae Sot after being notified of the crime. They found the girl’s body, her hands and legs bound with rope and her clothes torn.

It’s was assumed the girl was raped and murdered. 3 suspects have been arrested while authorities await forensic test results. Mae Sot Hospital has confirmed the girl suffered internal injuries and bleeding. Doctors also found a piece of cloth stuffed in her mouth.

The community of about 100 residents were horrified by the news. They say the girl went missing at around 7pm on Friday and was found the next morning.

Witnesses claimed that they saw a man take the girl away while she was playing alone in the yard. He reportedly returned alone. It was later revealed the man had previously been convicted for rape and imprisoned for 7 years when he lived across the border in Myanmar.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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