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“Gold Line” monorail will bring more mass transport to the Chao Phraya west bank

Jack Burton

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“Gold Line” monorail will bring more mass transport to the Chao Phraya west bank | The Thaiger
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The construction of Thailand’s first monorail, aka. “Gold Line” in Charoen Nakhon area in Thon Buri, is causing some traffic congestion in the area. The developer, Krungthep Thanakom, is making up for lost time still hope to meet the October deadline for the new Gold Line to officially open.

The project has been delayed due to the Covid-19 outbreak and lockdowns, when the manufacturer in Anhui, China was unable to ship the first train to Bangkok in April. KT is the public investment arm of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, responsible for the city’s infrastructure projects.

“Now, however, the Gold Line project is back on track. The train manufacturer has shipped trains to Bangkok with the first due to arrive on Wednesday.”

KT originally expected to organise a test run in April, but even with the delays, it still expects the service to be ready for its first passengers on October 1. The system is a monorail system, unlike the existing BTS or MRT train carriages, and will have no drivers on board.

As a Covid-era project the Gold Line has a symbol of hope for recovery in the suburbs west of the Chon Phraya. The local community is looking to the new line to boost to the area’s businesses, battered by months of enforced closures.

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The Gold Line is a new people mover line, not part of the current MRT Master Plan. The line was proposed in July 2015 and approved by the cabinet in 2016. The first phase is expected to open in October 2020, with another phase opening in 2023. It will connect Krung Thonburi BTS station with Prajadhipok Road in Thon Buri District, a total of 2.68 kilometres.

Development of the line is the responsibility of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, with a budget of 3.8 billion baht. The environmental impact assessment was completed in December 2016.

The Innovia APM is a rubber-tired automated (as in ‘driver-less’) people mover system manufactured by Bombardier Transportation. The APM technology was originally developed by Westinghouse, then owned by Adtranz, and most recently acquired by Bombardier in 2001.

Charoen Nakhon Road, in the Klong San district, is a new addition to Bangkok’s list of hotspots. Most resident of Bangkok hadn’t even heard about the area until the arrival of the swish Iconsiam mega-mall. Since Iconsiam’s opening the area has started to attract a more trendy clientele, shopping and residential options.

The neighbourhood was once home to many public servants, markets and warehouses. It certainly wasn’t considered ‘fashionable’ or a place upwardly mobile Bangkokians wanted to live. The name ‘Klong San’ was chosen by Phraya Yisan, an elite civil servant who was appointed to develop canals in the area.

The district was the location of one of the first hospitals in the country, the Thonburi Hospital, originally constructed over a century ago during the reign of King Rama V, to treat plague patients.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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Thailand

Separate tragedies across the nation

Jack Burton

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Separate tragedies across the nation | The Thaiger
PHOTOS: Nation Thailand

Tragedy has struck around the nation in separate incidents. In the Hat Yai district of the southern Songkhla province, the bodies of the owners of the locally well known Nattharika Furniture were discovered this morning by a relative who had been instructed to show up at the shop at 6am. In an apparent suicide pact, 55 year old Somsak, and his 60 year old wife Nattharika Suwankijwat, were found lying dead in a blood soaked bed.

Police say Nattharika was embracing her husband and both bodies had a single gunshot wound to the head. The gun was found on the floor and officials found gunpowder residue on Somsak’s left hand. There was no sign of ransacking or struggle in the room. Somsak’s brother, who found the bodies, told officers his brother messaged him at 3am, asking him to visit the shop at 6. As the shop was silent when he arrived, the brother said he went upstairs to their bedroom and found the bodies.

He says his brother and sister-in-law may have committed suicide as they had been struggling with huge debts, and the situation became worse with the Covid-19 crisis.

Somsak’s mother also lives above the shop, while the couple’s 2 daughters live in Bangkok.

In the western province of Sa Keao, 200 kilometres east of Bangkok on the Cambodian border, 2 couples were devastated when they found that the children they had come to pick up from kindergarten had drowned because the school did not have enough teachers to supervise all the children. The incident took place yesterday and police were notified of the tragedy at 10am.

Officers arrived at the Ban Tha Tasi School to inspect the bodies of 2 young students, which had been fished out of the pond by local villagers. The children, identified as 3 year old Thanakorn and 4 year old Peerawat, were believed to have been dead for more than an hour. They were first and second grade students and their classes didn’t have a supervisor.

Ban Tha Tasi School’s management said that since the school has just reopened, they don’t have enough staff to watch over all the children. The bodies were found by an older child who had gone hunting for the pair and found them floating in the pond.

The parents say they are not angry and understand that their children must have been mischievous. The school has promised to be more cautious to prevent a similar tragedy.

Separate tragedies across the nation | News by The Thaiger

Also yesterday, animal rights group Watchdog Thailand’s Facebook page gave details of the gruesome killing of 2 Siberian huskies in Udon Thani’s Nong Sang district. According to the post, the owners came home from the temple on Tuesday to a grisly sight… the bodies of their 2 dogs with their heads smashed in, eyes gouged out and bodies slashed.

WDT say the owners believe the attacker’s goal was to only kill the dogs, as nothing in the house had been stolen or damaged. They also said the dogs were always kept in their kennel to ensure they didn’t go out and kill chickens owned by nearby locals.

WDT say they are monitoring the case and have urged the owners to report the case to police. It’s believed that one of the locals may believe the dogs hunted their chickens, so decided to kill them in revenge.

Earlier this month, WDT rescued more than 50 Thai Ridgeback dogs being held in wretched conditions, from an alleged puppy farm run by an elderly American man in Chiang Mai.

Separate tragedies across the nation | News by The Thaiger

Elsewhere, a 23 year old woman was arrested yesterday for allegedly leaving her newborn baby in the woods in Isaan’s Sakon Nakhon province. The woods were only 100 metres from her house in Khok Ang village in Na Phiang subdistrict.

On Monday local villagers found a newborn girl, still covered in blood and with the umbilical cord freshly cut, wrapped in an old rice sack. They rescued the baby and named her “Phansa”, as they found her on Buddhist Lent Day or “Khao Phansa Day”.

Police traced the abandoned baby to the house of the suspect and arrested the woman after seeing bloodstains on her clothes. Officials say the suspect had a high fever from infections caused by cutting herself with the scissors used to cut the umbilical cord, and not treating the wound properly. Police sent the suspect to a hospital for treatment and haven’t charged her at this stage.

The suspect’s neighbours told authorities the suspect was married and had 2 sons before divorcing her husband and leaving to work in Bangkok, while her children stayed with their grandmother. They say she came home during the Covid-19 crisis and looked pregnant, but told others she was just gaining weight.

SOURCES: Nation Thailand | Nation Thailand | Nation Thailand | Nation Thailand |

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Crime

Guinean man held for alleged rape of a minor in Bangkok

Jack Burton

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Guinean man held for alleged rape of a minor in Bangkok | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

A man from the western African nation of Guinea was arrested at a McDonald’s in Bangkok’s Bang Rak area for allegedly raping a 17 year old girl. 58 year old Mamady Keita, reportedly a ruby trader, is accused of luring the girl to a hotel in the Phya Thai area and assaulting her. The girl told police that she’d been raped by an African man who she had met the day before.

The victim told officers the man stopped her to ask for directions, then took her phone number and Line ID. He later he contacted her, offering a job and a new mobile phone. She claims Keita made an appointment with her and then took her to the motel, and that the room was paid for by money Keita took from her wallet.

Initial investigation showed that Keita works as a ruby trader in Bangkok’s Silom district and goes by the name “Michael”. Apparently, he’s been accused of a similar assault before. Police claim Keita allegedly watches his victims, approaches them, and even threatens them before taking them to a motel.

The man has allegedly confessed to the assault, and faces charges of abducting a minor, rape and theft.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Student activists gather in Bangkok to oppose emergency decree

Maya Taylor

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Student activists gather in Bangkok to oppose emergency decree | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

Members of the Student Union of Thailand have come together to protest the government’s extended emergency decree, gathering outside Pathumwan police station in Bangkok. Officials extended the decree by another month after it was originally set to expire at the end of June. Now human rights activists and critics of the government have slammed the extension as politically motivated.

The latest protest comes after some students tore up a summons handed down to them for allegedly violating the decree on June 5. At that time, they were drawing attention to the disappearance of Wanchalearm Satsaksit, a Thai activist kidnapped in Cambodia, where he was living in exile.

The activists were later criminally charged for tying white bows around various monuments in Bangkok to draw attention to the plight of the missing activist, as they demanded answers from the Thai and Cambodian governments. The students also received a summons for unlawful assembly on June 24, when they came together to commemorate the 88th anniversary of democracy in Thailand.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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