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Anti-graft activist passes on 16 more watch pics to the NACC

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Anti-graft activist Srisuwan Janya yesterday provided more evidence to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) about another 16 watches seen worn by Deputy PM General Prawit Wongsuwan, adding to information on three other watches he had already submitted.

Srisuwan asked the NACC to ask the Customs Department to provide information on the multi-million-baht watches regarding the payment of customs duties.

“This is a crucial landmark for the NACC. It will be their masterpiece if they seriously pursue the case. On the other hand, if they don’t file a lawsuit in the case they will instantly become a public target.”

If the latter is the case, Srisuwan continued, he would collect the signatures of 20,000 people to propose the creation of a committee to probe the NACC under the charter’s Article 236. The number of luxury watches seen worn by Prawit in public on various occasions has now reached 19.

According to the investigative Facebook page, CSI LA, which continuously seeks and circulates photos of Prawit wearing different luxury watches, the Richard Mille, Patek Phillipe, Audemars Pique and Rolex watches were frequently worn by Prawit during the first half of last year.

CSI LA estimated that the collection, based on market prices, could be worth around 29.6 million baht. During that period, two major approvals of military purchases were made by the junta-led Cabinet.

On April 18, they confidentially approved the Navy-requested procurement of one 13.5-billion baht Chinese submarine. Two months later, the Army’s request for procurement of Chinese tanks at a cost of 2.3 billion baht was also passed.

Based on photos it had received, the social media page made an observation that during the early years after the 2014 coup, Prawit was seen repeatedly wearing the same, seemingly old Rolex watches. CSI LA is known to be keen on monitoring Prawit’s watch collections since the first Richard Mille emerged in public last month. It has also launched a mobile application for the public to help gather records of Prawit wearing watches.

The deputy premier has kept a low profile since the report on the Richard Mille watch went viral. He also postponed an annual New Year meeting with military-beat reporters from next Monday to the month’s end. Prawit is in hot water as his watch collection has raised questions about his wealth as well as the accuracy of his asset disclosure under the anti-graft law. Prawit has not declared any assets exceeding 200,000 baht in value to the NACC when he entered the junta government in 2014.

The NACC, whose president once served as Prawit’s close aide, agreed to investigate the case but has so far avoided disclosing most of the details to the public. Rosana Tositrakul, a former senator campaigning on a platform opposing corruption, urged both the NACC and the Customs Department to tightly scrutinise Prawit’s watch collection. Rosana said the NACC should ask Prawit to submit all of his watches as tracked by the CSI LA page, while the department should probe whether the watch payments included custom duties and whom they actually belonged to, Rosana said.

“People will start doubting the NACC, wondering if it is buying time despite its claims to having zero tolerance for graft,” she said in her Facebook post. “Anti-corruption shouldn’t be a mere discourse.”

- The Thaiger & The Nation

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National

Pretties, 500 World Cup punters and ‘influencers’ arrested over illegal betting

The Thaiger & The Nation

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It was only a matter of time before we’d have some arrests related to illegal betting during the World Cup. Among 500 suspects being rounded up, police are also summoning 20 ‘influencers’ who have been posting on Facebook about the ‘Net Idol’ betting page and attempting to persuade youth to engage in soccer betting.

Police have arrested 484 suspects – including eight bookies, 474 punters and two ticket-runners – and seized evidence including 63,360 baht cash, 17 bank account books showing a sum of 343,000 baht, and some football betting tickets worth 210,860 baht, said Metropolitan police deputy commissioner  said on Thursday.

Speaking in his capacity as director of the city’s football gambling suppression centre during the Fifa World Cup 2018 tournament running until July 15, Pol Maj-General Panurat Lakboon says that police had completed legal actions against 11 “Net Idols”. The “pretties” had confessed to reading a script given to them by the people who hired them. Their employers were associated with football gambling websites and the presenters claimed to be unaware that their actions were illegal, said Panurat.

Each of the presenters was sentenced by a court to a one-year suspended jail term and a Bt1,000 fine, he said. Another 20 “Net Idols” would be summoned to face the same legal actions on June 25, he added.

He said police were still trying to identify from their social media accounts some 100 “Net Idols” accused of the same offence.

STORY: The Nation

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National

Krabi’s coastline damaged by strong winds and heavy waves

The Thaiger

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Strong winds and waves have damaged the Koh Kwang Beach in Krabi during the reason crazy monsoon weather.

Somsak Tabbut, a village head man of the Baan Koh Kwang village in Muang Krabi inspected the beach this morning.  The damage runs all along 800 metres of the beach.

Khun Somsak says, “Every monsoon period, every year, strong wind and waves have continued to batter the beach. Before the beach was five metres wide but now the waves have damaged it down to 2.5 metres. Some areas of the beach are down to only one metre.”

“If there is no wave protection wall, we believe that the beach erosion will continue until it reaches the road. This is a danger to motorists as the underlying foundations of the road will slowly get eaten away. Relevant offices should fix this problem urgently.”

“There are many five stars hotels along Koh Kwang Beach. Lots of tourists have visited the beach every year as it is very beautiful. If this problem isn’t fixed it will damaged the tourism image in the future as well.”

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Summer solstice – the longest day of the year in Thailand

The Thaiger

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It’s a special day of the year and we’re glad the sun is out so we can enjoy it. And, if all is well, we’ll see more sunshine today than any other day of 2018. So what will you do with all the extra daylight?

The summer solstice is today (June 21) – the longest day in the northern hemisphere. Meanwhile, a halo appeared around the sun in Chiang Mai for close to an hour yesterday causing much excitement.

Chiang Mai locals rushed to take pictures of the phenomenon yesterday after a halo around the sun was seen from the parking lot of Chiang Mai International Convention and Exhibition Center. Many took the opportunity to make wishes. The halo effect took place between 10:45-11:30am.

The National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand says that the halo was created by cold air in the lowest strata of the earth’s atmosphere causing dew to freeze and fracture daylight shining downwards. The phenomenon is similar to a rainbow after a rain shower.

At this time of year, the period of daylight lasts longer in the northern hemisphere. The sun rose today at 5:51am and is estimated to set at 6:47pm, totaling 12 hours and 56 minutes in Bangkok, meaning the longest day of the year. Sunrise in Phuket (a little closer to the equator, and west of Bangkok) was at 6.10am and tonight’s sunset is listed as 6.46pm.

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