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Crackdown on illegal hotels

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Crackdown on illegal hotels | The Thaiger

Tourist Police have announced a continuation of the crackdown on illegal hotels in Phuket. Tourist Police are also continuing to locate and get rid of tour operators’ nominees – using Thai people as a ‘front’ for foreign tour companies.

The owner of a condominium project development company has been arrested after the condos were sold but the construction had never started. Police say that their current investigation estimates potential losses for buyers could exceed a billion baht. Additional litigants that are now coming forward suggesting that the amount could be much larger.

Read more HERE.

Tourist Police Deputy Commander Gen Surachet Hakpan says, “Fraud must not exist in Phuket as Phuket is all about tourism. This can affect our whole tourism image.”

“There are also many illegal tours in Phuket. Even the crackdown on the Tranlee Tour Companyusing Thai people as nominees, is just one of many. We are continuing on the crackdown especially in the Phang Nga province,” he added.

“We found that many illegal hotels in Phuket are using Thais as nominees where foreigners are actually the owners, behind the scenes.

“Condominiums, apartments and villas are also opening as hotels. Some of these places are being converted into hostels, especially in Phuket Town. Hostels are becoming popular among the back-packer crowd and, with all the tourists coming to Phuket at the moment, they are being filled,” he noted.

“These operators must be checked if they are legal or not. They must run legal hotels and have the correct paperwork because we are very serious about checking all of them. We want to get rid those operators who are exploiting this issue. Many legal hotel operators are in trouble because these ‘accommodation cowboys’ are not having to pay all the same registration and compliance fees,” he explained.

“Condominiums are also being used as hotels among tour companies. Most of their customers are Chinese. The income from  accommodation, restaurants and shopping centres are not going to Thai people but foreigners instead who are defrauding the system and bypassing the rules,” he urged.



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Election

Petition aims to impeach Election Commissioners

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Petition aims to impeach Election Commissioners | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Election Commission chief Ittiporn Boonpracong – The Nation

More than 670,000 people have signed a petition at the change.org website calling for the Election Commission’s five commissioners to be ‘stood aside’ pending an investigation in the aftermath of the March 24 Thai election.

Petitioners contend that the election was marred by mistakes, blunders and tampering.

The campaign could actually become a legitimate threat to the five commissioners due to the large number of signatories.

The petition may be submitted to the NLA speaker in the hope he would submit it to the National Anti-Corruption Commission. The NLA Senators would require 60% support to recommend impeachment of the EC commissioners, according to the Thai Constitution (Charter).

In the meantime the five commissioners would be suspended from duties throwing the election outcome into confusion.

Yesterday, former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, mostly silent during the campaign leading up to March 24, wrote an opinion piece in The New York Times alleging the number of ballots seemed to exceed the number of voters in some booths while in other areas voter turn-out was reported to be twice as many people registered.

His claims were made without evidence.

For their part, the EC claims they were cyber-hacked on Sunday evening.

Deputy EC secretary-general Nat Laosisawakul says, ”There were three attacks that caused the system to crash twice.”

“Some poll station staff also made errors in compiling the votes.”

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Election

Parties race to cobble together a working coalition

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Parties race to cobble together a working coalition | The Thaiger

Day Two following the election and the only thing that is clear is that nothing is clear at this stage.

Pheu Thai and Phalang Pracharat are both claiming the right to form a government with support of like-minded parties.

The two rival parties, the pro-democracy Pheu Thai and the pro-Junta Phalang Pracharat, are locked in a close battle to form the next government with little difference between the two in terms of strength in Parliament.

The Phalang Pracharat Party claims it has secured the “popular vote” from people nationwide. But Pheu Thai argues it has won the most number of MP seats and therefore should be invited first to form the government.

With 95 per cent of votes counted as of last night, the pro-junta party grossed 7,939,937 votes nationwide while the Shinawatra-backed Pheu Thai was second with 7,423,361 votes.

In this election, under the new Constitution, the total number of votes for each party, irrespective of whether its constituency candidates win or not, are combined to determine how many MPs each party gets in total.

The Election Commission yesterday announced unofficial results of constituency winners. Pheu Thai Party became the single-largest party with 138 seats from all 350 constituencies. Phalang Pracharat, meanwhile, came second, winning 96 seats.

According to current media calculations, the total number of seats from constituency and party-list, Pheu Thai will get the most number at 138 while Phalang Pracharat will have 119. The EC has not calculated the number of party-list seats at this stage and may take the rest of the week to come up with a published result.

Though both parties can make equally strong claims to form the government, analysts believe it will not be easy for either to form the next Parliament.

According to the latest figures, the pro-junta camp can gain around 242 seats with support from parties who are clearly opposed to Pheu Thai.

The Pheu Thai camp can also muster 242 seats with support from anti-junta parties like Future Forward, Seri Ruam Thai and Prachachart.

“Only the winning party should lead the coalition,” say the Pheu Thai’ de facto leader Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan.

Parties race to cobble together a working coalition | News by The Thaiger

INFOGRAPHIC: The Nation

Pheu Thai secretary-general Phumtham Wechayachai said that the party was seeking collaboration with other pro-democracy parties and would discuss the PM candidate to find the best option for the country.

Pheu Thai leaders have also started putting pressure on the junta-appointed Senate, stressing that senators must be free of any influence and respect the people’s voices as reflected in the election.

Later yesterday, Phalang Pracharat Party leader Uttama Savanayana claimed his party had won the right to form the next government as more than 7.9 million people nationwide had voted for them. He also said he was confident his party could successfully form the next government.

“Every vote is counted and has meaning. We have legitimacy, as we have gained the most trusted votes. Our winning results (with the most votes nationwide) show that voters have given us the mandate to govern the country,” he said at a press conference after the EC announced the unofficial results.

“We will ensure that we will do everything according to the mandate of the voters who want us to move the country forward peacefully,” he said.

A Phalang Pracharat source said negotiations were on with Bhumjaithai leader Anutin Charnvirakul, Chartthai Pattana leader Kanchana Silpa-archa, Suthep Thaugsuban of Action Coalition for Thailand and Suwat Liptapanlop of Chartpattana. The Democrat Party is also negotiating.

Anutin yesterday did not commit to joining any side, saying he would do whatever was in the people’s interests.

Meanwhile, the Future Forward Party celebrated victories in 30 constituencies in its electoral debut. But its leader, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, said he had no intentions of bidding for the top job.

“The prime minister must be nominated from the party with the most MPs,” Thanathorn said firmly at a press conference yesterday.

“I’m ready to be the PM. But we want to uphold democratic traditions and we won’t bring in any conditions that would lead the country to another deadlock.”

SOURCE: The Nation

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Hua Hin

Sea turtle dies after getting tangled in a fishing net – Prachuap Khiri Khan

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Sea turtle dies after getting tangled in a fishing net – Prachuap Khiri Khan | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: The Wild Animal Rescue Foundation of Thailand

A series of photos that convey everything we should be concerned about in Thailand’s marine ecology.

A Green Sea Turtle, tangled in a fishing net, has been washed up on a beach in Prachuap Khiri Khan.

The Department of Marine and Coastal Resources reports that they were notified that a dead sea turtle had been washed up on a beach in Bang Saphan, Prachuap Kiri Khan.

The Green Sea turtle was 60 centimetres wide, 64 centimetres long and weighed 18 kilograms.

The turtle was already rotting when it was found tangled in the fishing net.

Sea turtle dies after getting tangled in a fishing net - Prachuap Khiri Khan | News by The Thaiger Sea turtle dies after getting tangled in a fishing net - Prachuap Khiri Khan | News by The Thaiger

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