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Anti-coal protestors start hunger strike

The Thaiger & The Nation



Anti-coal protestors start hunger strike | The Thaiger

A hunger strike was started today by two groups of protestors who say they will not eat until the government permanently cancels the coal-fired power plants in the South.

A total 19 activists from Save Andaman from Coal and the Network of Songkhla-Pattani Residents Against Coal-Fired Power Plants kicked off their hunger strike in front of the United Nation headquarters in Bangkok.

They are demanding the government put a permanent end to the proposed Krabi and Thepa coal-fired power plant projects

A prominent member of groups opposing coal-fired power plants, said the protesters are pledging to fight the coal-fired power plant projects by putting their lives on the line. They will sit at the UN headquarters and refuse to consume anything other than water in an act reflecting the highest level of civil disobedience against the government. The group in 2012 began their public opposition to the coal-fired plants.

In subsequent years of opposing the projects, the groups “have tried every campaign tactic to urge the government not to build harmful coal-fired power plants in Krabi and Songkhla’s Thepa District, but the government never really listened to us,” said Prasitchai. “So we have no choice but to sacrifice our lives to protect our beloved home.” He said he is sure that others will join their hunger strike and will not stop until the government complies with the groups’ demand. The coal-fired power plant groups also appealed to the international community to pay attention to Thailand’s plan to construct new coal-fired power plants, as burning coal creates environmental impacts on a global scale by intensifying climate change. In July 2015, Prasitchai and another Krabi coal-fired power plant protester, Akradej Chakjinda, had staged a hunger strike in front of the Tourism and Sports Ministry to demand the government stop the Krabi coal-fired power plant. They ended the hunger strike on the 14th day after Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha agreed to form a three-party joint committee to determine the fate of that project.

However, discussions between the Energy Ministry, National Legislative Assembly, academics and local people on the joint committee failed to end the conflict. That led to another big protest against the Krabi coal-fired power plant in Bangkok in October 2016. The conflict has continued as the group tried other approaches to persuade the government to stop plans to produce power through burning coal.

Anti-coal protestors start hunger strike | News by The Thaiger Anti-coal protestors start hunger strike | News by The Thaiger Anti-coal protestors start hunger strike | News by The Thaiger

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Chiang Rai

Fake goods valued at 11 million baht go up in smoke in Chiang Rai

The Thaiger



Fake goods valued at 11 million baht go up in smoke in Chiang Rai | The Thaiger

Chiang Rai Province’s Customs Department in Mae Sai has incinerated illegal and fake items valued at over 11 million baht.

The illegal items are goods that “do not follow the customs law of Thailand”, aka. fakes and brand copies. Most of the items were seized from the Thai-Burmese Border Gate in Mae Sai.

The illegal goods were gathered and burned at the district waste disposal centre in Mae Sai. Illegal goods continue to be a big issue fo Thai authorities. Officials say that many sellers are turning to e-commerce to sell the products. Popular illegal goods sold online include fake designer bags, fake makeup, and fake perfume. The products are often sold on Instagram, Facebook and Line.

Other items that went up in smoke include illegal supplements – diet pills, medical creams, hair dye, hair products – mobile phones, pirated goods, patent infringement products, and more. One of the most popular goods seized at the border are fake designer handbags, fake jewelry, and even fake pajamas using famous brands such as Mickey Mouse.

The total value of the bonfire was of 11,098,872 baht according to Virot Yaibuathet from the Customs Department.

SOURCE: Workpoint News
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Thailand’s taxi and tuk tuk scams and annoyances

The Thaiger



Thailand’s taxi and tuk tuk scams and annoyances | The Thaiger

“Where are you going?”, they shout from across the road. A Tuk Tuk driver wants to help you get to your next destination but the willing smile and lure of a ride in a local jalopy may have switched off your trusty scam-detector.

Tuk Tuks and taxis, and the motorbike taxis too, are a convenient, safe and reasonably cheap way to get around Bangkok and other provinces in Thailand (except Phuket where the taxis and tuk tuks are run by a local cabal and are hideously over-priced). Most of the drivers are good, honest Thais making a living. But there are a few who will ‘take you for a ride’ and not necessarily the destination you had in mind.

The best policy is to have some knowledge and know what to do in advance, before you even get in.

Thailand's taxi and tuk tuk scams and annoyances | News by The Thaiger

The Cheap Tuk Tuk Ride

A casually dressed, English-speaking Thai man starts talking to you. In a friendly, conversational way you are asked “Where are you going”? On his handy chart are some local tourist recommendations – a temple, a shrine, a waterfall, a market, a view-point. The asking price is low and before you know it you’re heading for some locally recommended tourist haunt instead of where you wanted to go.

Along the way there are recommendations to drop into other markets, silk factories, shops, restaurants and gem stores. Here the prices are expensive and the ride to get back to your accommodation or original destination is now much higher.

This is a classic scam played out daily in various parts of the country. It all seems innocent enough and, hey, you’re here for an adventure. But the commissions along the way leave you out of pocket and probably too polite to say much about it. And you’re in a foreign country and don’t want to turn down a local’s friendly offer, right?

Thaiger Tip

A tuk tuk or taxi ride anywhere for a really low price should be a red flag. Best to ask your hotel reception about the local going rate for a taxi or tuk tuk before you venture out for the day. Be firm but polite if you feel you need to decline their offers. If the cheap fare their offering is too good to be true, it probably is.

Getting a ‘Scenic Tour’ or going to the Wrong Destination

A lot of your travails, if you happen to come across any problems with tuk tuk and taxi drivers, will likely come down to ‘misunderstandings’. Most public transport providers around Bangkok, and most of the tourist hot spots, will speak enough English, or maybe a bit of Chinese and Russian, for you to be able to explain where you want to go.

If you just babble your desired location and assume your driver completely understood you, you’re probably wrong. Check that they know where you want to go, show them a photo, get your hotel concierge to explain it, show them the map on your smartphone. Get an acknowledgement to be sure.

A problem you may encounter is the ‘long route’ to wherever you’re going. If you insist on a metered journey this is more likely to happen. The driver can just sit in a traffic jam earning money at your expense. If you negotiate a fixed fee for the journey, before you get in, this is unlikely to happen and, from a business point of view, the driver will be keen to get you where you’re going and find the next fare.

The other scam is to intentionally take you to the wrong destination where you will then point out it’s not where you wanted to go. Of course, after admitting the ‘misunderstanding’, they’ll gladly take you to the correct location, for another fee.

Thaiger Tip

You’re a tourist in a foreign country. It’s probably difficult to know if you are heading in the right direction or going by the best and fastest route. Technology can really help in these situations. In Thailand you can get a local sim card at the airport or local convenience stores. They will require a copy of your passport front page for local ID, but it’s well worth being able to use all the latest Apps and maps on your phone to keep a track of where you are. Internet in Thailand is very reliable and cheap.

By the way, if you do get into any difficulties call the Tourist Place, anywhere in Thailand, on 1155.

The Case of the Malfunctioning Meter

By law, all taxis are required to charge you by the meter. In reality that rarely happens though in Bangkok officials are really ramping up spot inspections to make sure they do. In Phuket, it will likely NEVER happen. From the airports in Bangkok you will have no problem getting a metered taxi although there’s plenty of touts hanging around the arrival area, especially at Suvarnabhumi, who will try and intercept you before you find the proper metered taxi booth.

But it’s not all bad having to negotiate a set fee for your journey although a bit of homework beforehand will put you in a stronger position to negotiate a price. Negotiate means ‘negotiate’. Try for a lower fare, with a smile, and settle for something reasonable. It’s not a battle to the death and dragging it out and accusing them of being ‘rip offs’ is not going to help.

“Meter no work” is a common phrase you’ll encounter. You will have two options – politely thank them for the information and walk away or negotiate a set fee. If you really have no idea of an approximation of the fare then find a taxi with a working meter or ask a local for help.

There are also turbo-charged meters where the meter has been ‘fiddled’ to click over at a faster rate. If you suspect you’ve been scammed by a turbo charged meter take some photos of the meter and the taxi and contact the Tourist Police – 1155.

Thaiger Tip

Usually, but not always, you’ll get a better rate on the meter. So push for the driver using the meter, especially if it’s sitting there on their dashboard! Believe us, the meter works.


• Grab Car (and Grab Bike) is a great alternative, especially in Bangkok, Pattaya, Chiang Mai and Hua Hin (and plenty of other popular locations these days). Not so much in Phuket where the Grab Car fees are about the same as the local, artificially high taxi rates. The ‘disruptive’ taxi technology puts safety, ease-of-use, fairness and transparency back in the hands of the user, instead of the taxi driver.

• In Bangkok Grab Car is usually cheaper than local taxis and a lot easier to use. Same with Grab Bike when compared to the local ‘Win’ motorbike taxi drivers.

• In Phuket push for the taxi driver to use their meter but realise this may be a losing battle. Sometimes a pre-arranged pick-up will avoid problems but will probably end up costing you more. Tuk Tuks (red Diahatsu vans) only operate in the tourist areas and don’t have meters – you’ll need to negotiate every time.

• In Chiang Mai there’s the red baht buses, more like a small truck with space in the back for passengers. Know where you are going and be careful that you know the fee before you get in. Grab is popular in the northern city and taxis are usually quite reliable.

• In Pattaya the baht buses travel around all the well-trodden tourist areas and are very cheap and reliable. Taxis in Pattaya will often have ‘problems’ with their meters so be ready to haggle for a reasonable price.

• Tuk Tuks look different in different parts of the country. The ‘famous’ tuk tuks are the three-wheelers in Bangkok (also in Hua Hin). In Phuket they’re three cylinder Diahatsu mini vans, usually red. In Pattaya and Chiang Mai they’re usually ‘baht buses’ and not called tuk tuks by locals.

Thailand's taxi and tuk tuk scams and annoyances | News by The Thaiger

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Thai military under fire over alleged torture of a man in Pattani

The Thaiger



Thai military under fire over alleged torture of a man in Pattani | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Pattani United Liberation Organisation president Mr. Kasturi Mahkota

An apparently healthy man, taken to a military camp in the Thai southern province of Pattani for interrogation on Sunday night, has ended up in the provincial hospital’s intensive care unit with brain swelling.

The Pattani United Liberation Organisation is condemning the Thai military over the incident.

Kasturi Mahkota, PULO president, says that he was shocked when he learned of the condition of Abdullah Isa-Musa, a Muslim resident of Sai Buri district of Pattani, after he was arrested by military personnel and taken to Ingkayut camp.

“Once again we are shocked by the news that affects the hearts of the Pattani people over the constant inhumane Thai acts, as if we were their prey, as yesterday happened to Mr. Abdullah Isa-Musa.

Meanwhile, it’s been reported that Pattani police went visited the camp yesterday to investigate the allegations and asked to look at the CCTV footage of the victim’s interrogation. They were told by an army officer, that the CCTV system was out of order.

A doctor at the hospital says there were no traces on the victim’s body that would suggest that he was beaten, nor there was their fluid in his lungs, but he says the victim was suffering from a swollen brain, which might have been caused by prolonged suffocation.

“Mr. Isa-Musa, a healthy man, was taken for questioning at Ingkayut army camp, but ended up being admitted to the ICU in Pattani hospital,” said the PULO president.

An official complaint has been lodged with the district police by the victim’s family.


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