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Foreign and Thai business partners cleared of human trafficking charges in Bangkok

May Taylor

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Foreign and Thai business partners cleared of human trafficking charges in Bangkok | The Thaiger
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PHOTO: Daily News

“At the appeal hearing yesterday, the defendants had their convictions quashed after the court doubted testimony from one of the victims.”

A foreign man employed as a nightclub manager in Bangkok’s notorious party zone at Nana has been acquitted of charges of human trafficking and acquiring women for prostitution. ThaiVisa reports that Michael Pearl, a 47 year old Sudanese-Australian who also owned the Dream Disco on the fourth floor of the Zenith Hotel in Soi Nana, was cleared of all charges, along with four other defendants in the case.

The acquittal comes after Pearl was sentenced last year, along with the other four, to between 16 and 19 years’ imprisonment on charges of trafficking four women from Morocco between 2016 and 2017 for the purposes of prostitution.

During court proceedings at the time, it was claimed that Pearl had lured the women with false promises of dream jobs as well-paid waitresses. Instead, they had their passports confiscated and were put to work as prostitutes. Pearl was eventually arrested at Suvarnabhumi Airport in August 2017 as he tried to escape the country.

The convictions of all defendants have now been overturned after an appeal court raised doubts over the testimony of one of the victims. At a hearing at Bangkok Criminal Court yesterday, the court said there was no evidence to suggest the woman’s passport had been confiscated as she claimed, and that it appeared the victims were free to come and go from their employment, which contradicted their version of events.

The court also pointed out that none of the women had sought help from the police at any stage and that one of them had managed to take a trip to Phuket at the time she maintains she was being held against her will.

Based on these findings, the defendants were cleared of all charges.

SOURCE: Thai Visa | Daily News

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Bangkok

A watchful ghost is photographed at a train crash scene west of Bangkok

The Thaiger

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A watchful ghost is photographed at a train crash scene west of Bangkok | The Thaiger
PHOTO: The ghost that wasn't a ghost has Thai netisphere in a lather - Sanook.com

A picture from a train crash in Nakhon Pathom, west of Bangkok, has had the Thai netisphere in a lather over a ghostly woman standing watching the proceedings as emergency crews attend to the situation. The photo went viral and shows, what the posters claimed to be a female ghost wearing a traditional Thai dress. ‘She’ is standing amongst a crowd of people by the railroad tracks looking on. More about the mysterious aspiration later.

The incident happened on January 22 when a train crashed into a truck that had become stuck on the train tracks. Villagers rushed in to help push the stuck truck off the rails but were unable to budge it. The 55 year old truck driver was able to get out of his truck just before a train ploughed into his vehicle. Everyone stood around waiting for the rescue teams and officials to arrive.

The incident took place in Nakhon Chai Si District. The Thonburi – Ratchaburi train wasn’t heavily damaged so, following a quick inspection from SRT officials, continued on its journey to Ratchaburi.

But it was a photo taken at the scene that has gone viral. The photo was taken by a member of the rescue team. It shows a crowd of people looking on with what appears to be a woman standing by watching the events wearing traditional Thai dress with her hands on her hips. “คน เดิน เดิน” posted the picture saying… “While the rescue team was cleaning up after the train crashed into a truck someone took a picture with this woman in it. No one saw her at the location, members heard dogs howling and a woman crying…”.

So of course it had to be a ghost. There could be no other explanation, according to many commenting on the photos.

Another rescue team member chimed in…. “I believe that the railway tracks here have something mysterious. While we were on a mission many members heard dogs howling. Personally, I heard a woman crying with such deep pain.”

Eventually Facebook user “Teerathep Chantala” posted some additional photos from the scene taken from other angles showing that the mysterious ghost was actually a shirtless male bystander. He was standing by the rails with his hands on his hips. He wasn’t a ghost and has explained to Thai netizens that he’s not dead and feels fine, “but thanks for checking.” He also wanted to assure people that he was a man.

Thai culture is full of ghosts, demons and many Thais remain strong believers in ghosts, in particular, and other supernatural phenomenon.

SOURCE: Thai Residents

A watchful ghost is photographed at a train crash scene west of Bangkok | News by The ThaigerA watchful ghost is photographed at a train crash scene west of Bangkok | News by The Thaiger

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Air Pollution

Air purifiers installed at Victory Monument whilst southern winds blow the smoke north

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Air purifiers installed at Victory Monument whilst southern winds blow the smoke north | The Thaiger
GRAPHIC: The Air Visual feed indicates today's southern air flow is the reason for better city air - AirVisual.com

The Nation reports that the Rajaprajanukron Foundation, under Royal Patronage, installed four air- purifiers yesterday around the Victory Monument area in a trial of their effectiveness in filtering out PM2.5 dust particles.

Silpasuay Raweesaengsoon, permanent secretary of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration says the machines can purify polluted air at the rate of two cubic metres per second.

“Placed in areas with heavy traffics, they help reduce the level of pollution caused by vehicle emissions. The purifiers will be switched on daily from 5am to 12am, and 2pm to 8pm. If the air purifiers prove practical, they will be installed at bus stops, schools, and other busy places.”

The move, whilst audible, will do little to address the acute air pollution problems around the city. Most of the city’s smog comes from the burning off of plantations, mostly around the central Thailand farming regions, but also in the north and north-east. The data from the NASA satellites clearly show active fires in a real-time feed (also note the even more acute problem in Cambodia, whose smoke is also floating across into Thailand)

Air purifiers installed at Victory Monument whilst southern winds blow the smoke north | News by The Thaiger

Meanwhile the AirVisual feed this morning (below) indicates that the respite from severe air pollution today is due to the current southerly airflow out of the Gulf of Thailand. The evidence is clear that the problem in Bangkok is only when the winds are blowing the smoke from the plantation fires in the east and north towards the city. If the problem was the traffic and the factories, then Bangkok would still have poor air this morning, or right throughout the year, which it doesn’t. Bangkok’s air pollution problems are evidentially linked to the time of the year when the farmers light fires in pre or post harvest.

Air purifiers installed at Victory Monument whilst southern winds blow the smoke north | News by The Thaiger

Read our editorial about the denial of Thai authorities to embrace the data and continue focussing their blame on local city factors.

Meanwhile Thailand’s sugar industry is trying to take the lead in encouraging farmers of sugarcane to cur and harvest, rather than burn their sugarcane before harvesting. Read that story HERE.

SOURCE: The Nation

Air purifiers installed at Victory Monument whilst southern winds blow the smoke north | News by The Thaiger

The southern air stream at the top of the Gulf of Thailand has pushed much of today’s smoke back into central Thailand and the north – AirVisual.com

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Air Pollution

Sugar industry asks the government to subsidise harvesting machinery

The Thaiger

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Sugar industry asks the government to subsidise harvesting machinery | The Thaiger

Sugar factories are campaigning to cut and harvest raw sugarcane, instead of boring it first, for processing. The conglomerates are recommending that the government offer funding at low interest rates to farmers to buy harvesters as the prices of the equipment are quite high (6-12 million baht).

They are also urging the government to purchase electricity from biomass power plants as some plants are locked out from selling their power to the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand.

“No farmer wants to burn their field but the cost of labour is high. Factories must sign contracts with farmers to help with the harvesting.”

“Factories can encourage farmers by buying raw sugarcane while some sugarcane can be left for generating power,” according to The Nation.

Meanwhile, local sugarcane growers in Nakhon Sawan, central Thailand, are burning their fields at night despite authorities’ ban on the practice. It appears little is being done to curb the practice which is one of the main causes, if not the main cause, of the smoke and haze problems in various parts of the country throughout this time of the year.

Despite doing their burins at night, when farmers believe they will avoid the notice of the sleeping authorities, they are providing easy to locate burn-offs. Authorities banned field burning late last year in a bid to control the hazardous fine smoke particles that were drifting into highly populated city areas.

Now the sugar industry is also trying to encourage farmers to stop the practice of burn-offs.

“The problem of fires at sugarcane plantations requires cooperation from all sectors” – Sitiwuth Siempakdee, vice president of Thai Sugar Miller Company.

Sugarcane harvesting started on December 1, 2019, at the same time the smog and smoke problems started in Bangkok and areas around central Thailand.

“The increase in sugarcane output over the previous year was because there were three new factories,. Also, factories increased the efficiency of their machines, improved sugar extraction as a result cane extraction capacity average is 1.0-1.1 million tonnes per day.”

“Sugarcane output this year will be lower than 30-40% of the previous year, because of the impact of drought, or only 90 million tonnes. Sugarcane extraction will be less than last year by 3 to 4 million tonnes.”

SOURCE: The Nation

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