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Jail terms for three officials in Phuket land encroachment case

The Thaiger & The Nation

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The Criminal Court on Monday handed down prison sentences to all three surviving offenders in the Phuket land-corruption case, while the Land Department was ordered to revoke the land deed at issue in the case.
The court sentenced the first defendant, Narong Ounseam, the land surveyor, to five years in jail; the second defendant, Sommit Suebsin, the kamnan of Tambon Cheung Thale, to three years and four months in prison; and the chief of the land surveyor division, Yuhad Pattanasuree – who had earlier confessed to his crime – to a two-year term.

A fourth defendant in the case, Land Department officer Thawatchai Anukul, had died while in custody.

The court also ruled that the land deed at issue was illegal, because it was clear that the Sor Kor 1 document for another piece of land had been used for registering the land deed in question.

The court therefore ordered the Land Department to revoke the deed.

The problematic 6-rai (one hectare) plot of land is situated on Lae Phang Beach in Phuket’s Talang district.

Department of Special Investigation deputy director-general Pol Lt-Colonel Prayvuth Wongsrinin said that the owner of the plot had conspired with the defendants to illegally register the deed for what was in fact public land, and then sold the land for 330 million Baht to another buyer.

As to the original land owner Supakorn Dechopanang, Prayvuth said the investigating officers had probed this issue in a separate case concerning an allegation of illegally encroaching onto public forestland and money laundering.

STORY: The Nation

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Phuket

A man was fished out of the Surin Beach surf today – whilst on-duty lifesavers watched

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PHOTOS: Pavida Anantarasmi

Witnesses at Surin Beach today watched in bemused confusion when a man, who was in difficulty whilst swimming off Surin Beach today, was helped back to shore. But not by one of the lifeguards on duty at the beach who stood at the shore and watched the rescue take place.

The incident happened around 11am when a man, later identified as from Lebanon, was swimming off the beach in an area patrolled by the employed lifeguards. There was no designated swimming area set aside by the lifeguards.

A local surfer, from The Philippines, noticed that the man was in difficulty and rushed to his assistance. The paid lifeguards watched from the shoreline and helped the man once he was back to shore.

A former lifeguard at the beach made the comment that the new lifeguards “don’t like to swim as they don’t have confidence or training.”

“They didn’t have any of the required equipment to attempt a rescue.”

The man was taken to the Thalang Hospital.

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Chiang Rai

Thai and foreign media warned off Mu Pa 13

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“Stay away.”

That’s the warning issued by the public relations office of Chiang Rai province after a correspondent of America’s ABC News conducted an interview with the youngest of the survivors from Tham Luang cave in defiance of advice of psychiatrists and child welfare officials. The film crew also visited the church for 14 year old Adul Sam-on where church members threw Adul a welcome home party.

Members of the Thai and foreign media have been asked not to interview any of the 12 Wild Boars young footballers or face legal that could lead to a six-month imprisonment and/or a fine of up to 60,000 baht.

The warning  was issued by the public relations office of Chiang Rai province after a correspondent of ABC News had an interview with one of the survivors from Tham Luang cave in defiance of advice of psychiatrists and child welfare officials.

Chiang Rai deputy governor Somboon Sirivet said that the governor had instructed officials concerned in Mae Sai disttrict and the parents of the 12 young footballers to make sure that the boys are protected and that they should not give any interviews to the media.

Parents of the 12 boys went to Tham Luang cave today to attend a religious ceremony to pay respect and show gratitude to the what they believe to be spirits protecting the cave for the safe return of  their children after being stranded deep inside the flooded cave for more than two weeks before they were safely rescued last week.

SOURCES: Thai PBS, The Chiang Rai Times

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Regional

Malaysian Mahathir government to look at reducing voting age to 18 from 21

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Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, Malaysia’s Youth and Sports Minister and the youngest ever minister,  says the Malaysian government is planning to reduce the voting age from 21 to 18 before the next elections in 2023.

In an interview with Bloomberg in KL, the 25 year old Cabinet member said the government would ask the Attorney-General’s Office to look into what laws to be amended to reduce the voting age to 18 which would add an another 3.7 million voters or an increase of 25 percent from the election in May.

New Straits Times is reporting that voters aged 21-39 make up around 40 percent of the Malaysian electorate, twice the number of voters over 60, according to the Election Commission data.

“That means the youth vote block becomes bigger and stronger, and therefore, they cannot be sidelined in the Malaysian political scene anymore,” said Saddiq, a member of Mahathir’s political party.

“The youth care about two primary issues,” said Saddiq. “One is abut bread and butter issues, which is cost of living, affordable housing, good employment opportunities, and quality of life. The second is getting their voice heard in the nation-building process,” said the minister.

About 75 percent of younger voters backed the opposition, according to Ibrahim Suffian, the executive director of pollster Merdeka Centrem whick tracks voter sentiments. The Merdeka Centre estimated a voter turnout of about 81 percent for youths with urban areas of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor seeing more young people outplace their elders in casting ballots.

Syed, who has pledged to reshuffle youth associations to make sure they’re led by people under the age of 35, also wants to phase out political appointees in sports and give more attention to student programmes that involve coding, automation, and artificial intelligence.

Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman (picture from Malaysiakini.com)

Read the rest of the story HERE.

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