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Bangkok Air Quality: BKK Governor calls for help as PM2.5 smog continues

The Thaiger & The Nation



Bangkok Air Quality: BKK Governor calls for help as PM2.5 smog continues | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Jor Sor 100 traffic radio – Bangkok Air Quality

Bangkok’s governor is calling on experts to provide advice on how best to tackle the severe air pollution that blankets the city and is causing the wrong sort of headlines for the capital.

The Pollution Control Department reported 41 Greater Bangkok areas as having unsafe levels of PM2.5 – airborne particulates 2.5 microns in diameter and smaller – this morning and affirmed the PM2.5 would continue accumulating until at least February 4.

Aswin called on expert assistance while presiding over a ceremony at the Khon Muang Plaza on Thursday morning to dispatch 50 drones to spray water at haze-affected locations including Kasetsart University, the Lat Phrao five-prong intersection, Lumphini Park and Rama 9 bridge areas. The drones – each with a capacity to carry 10 litres of water – were provided by a private contractor in Nakhon Ratchasima

While the drones buzz overhead, spraying a mixture of water and molasses (gooey, sugary syrup) to try and grab a few pollution particles as it falls to the ground, Bangkokians continue to suffer poor air quality. There are more people now wearing facemasks walking the streets, than not.

Bangkok Air Quality: BKK Governor calls for help as PM2.5 smog continues | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: The fleet of drones go to work – The Nation

Then there is the sight of high-rise buildings around the city spraying water from their rooftops, allegedly on the direct instructions of the Thai PM. Yesterday an instruction also came from the public health department to limit the use of josh sticks and incense during the Chinese New Year festival celebrations next week.

Meanwhile, the real culprits – old buses and trucks, heavy traffic and the smoke from regional sugar cane and agricultural burn offs – continue to contribute to the growing problem. At this stage, no measures to reign in the biggest contributors to the city’s PM2.5 problem have been addressed.

The government has tried seeding rain clouds, reducing traffic, and hosing down streets, with little or no impact.

Governor Aswin says he had invited experts to brainstorm for solutions at a meeting at City Hall today.

“I don’t know everything, so I urge experts to give their input so that I can get things done,” he said.

Aswin said the city had been trying to wash roads and roadside plants to improve the situation and his deputies have coordinated with the owners to help spray water from the top of tall building.

District office chiefs were told to check on factories that may have contributed to the pollution and report back to Aswin, he said, adding that the problematic factories would be asked to cut short their working hours during the pollution period.

He said the city also asked people to co-operate by using a diesel-engine vehicle only when necessary and refraining from outdoor burning.

Bangkok Air Quality: BKK Governor calls for help as PM2.5 smog continues | News by The Thaiger

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Two Suvarnabhumi crimes solved by Surachate

The Thaiger



Two Suvarnabhumi crimes solved by Surachate | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Thai Rath

Lt-Gen Surachate Hakparn, the high-profile immigration chief, has announced the solving of two cases at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok.

One involved a Thai woman using a passport illegally by adding extra pages. The other was the arrest of members of a Mongolian pickpocketing gang who had been preying on tourists at the airport and on the city’s Skytrain.

Firstly, the French embassy contacted Thai immigration with news that a 39 year old Thai woman, Chananya Daengthong, had applied for a visa with a passport that had added pages.

Officials found that four pages had been removed and replaced with new, fake pages. Chananya later admitted that she had been banned from entering The Netherlands after overstaying her visa there and had received no entry stamps on two pages in her passport.

She had then arranged, via a woman called “Nott”, to contact a man on a Line application called “Fa Sai”. She paid him 11,000 baht to alter her passport.

The other case resulted in the arrest of three men, all members of a Mongolian pickpocketing gang, responsible for stealing more than 200,000 baht from people at the airport and on the BTS Skytrain services from the city. Working in tandem with a woman, they targeted tourists.

Warrants went out for their arrest and they were soon nabbed whilst coming back into Thailand after going back to Mongolia.

In a latest theft on March 8 they followed a 59 year old German who had arrived on Thai Airways flight from Frankfurt. The victim only realised he had been pickpocketed, losing cash and a credit card, when he was in the taxi. CCTV showed that the woman in the gang was responsible for the theft.

The gang were then seen to be continuing their thefts on the Airport Link and BTS. In another case they lifted AUD$500 from an Australian on the Airport Link.

Surachate says the Mongolians would steal around Bangkok and the main airport then return to their home country. Credit cards were used to purchase brand name items at stores.

SOURCE: Thai Rath

Two Suvarnabhumi crimes solved by Surachate | News by The Thaiger

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Grab rider attacked by local motorcycle taxi driver – police admit the law is not clear

The Thaiger



Grab rider attacked by local motorcycle taxi driver – police admit the law is not clear | The Thaiger

MONTAGE: Facebook/Patiharn Sarikapun

Police near Khao San Road admit the law regarding the use of Grab Bike and similar ‘disrupting’ public transport services, is still unclear.

They are calling on motorcycle taxis drivers, Grab riders, taxi drivers and Uber to keep calm and contact police if there are any disputes rather than taking matters into their own hands.

Daily News reports about the latest case in Chakraphon Road, Bangkok when a Grab rider was assaulted by a local motorcycle taxi driver.

Pictures of his bloodied shoulder caused alarm and comment from netizens after they appeared on the Facebook page of “Patiharn Sarikapun“.

Pol Lt-Col Phuwadon Unphote of the Chanasongkhram police in Khao San Road says the matter was a case of turf wars between Grab and regular motorcycle taxis.

A man will appear in court charged with assault after Tuesday’s incident.

Lt-Col Phuwadon is calling for calm while admitting that the law remains unclear regarding the use of services like Grab and Uber. He is urging people to call Police if there was any trouble or disputes.

The injured Facebook poster said Grab bike would continue working and were undaunted by the attack.

SOURCE: Daily News

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Cabinet waives tolls for 8 days over Songkran break

The Thaiger



Cabinet waives tolls for 8 days over Songkran break | The Thaiger

Thailand’s cabinet has decided to waive tolls on the Bangkok-Pattaya and Bangkok-Bang Pa-in-Bang Phli motorways starting April 10 until midnight on April 18. This takes in the main Songkran break between April 12 – 14 and the annual ‘seven days of danger’.

A Cabinet spokesperson say that a large number of people are expected to leave Bangkok for the provinces during the annual Songkran festival, so the cabinet decided to waive the toll fees to make travel a bit easier and less expensive.

Official holidays for the Songkran festival are from April 12-16, but many families are expected to set out 1-2 days before to avoid heavy traffic on the three main arteries to the northern, northeastern and southern regions.

The Transport Company will be adding extra buses to cope with the increased volumes of travellers and airlines have added flights to the schedule, while more trains will be provided during the holiday period.

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