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Krabi power plant public hearing went smoothly. Protesters boycot event.

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Krabi power plant public hearing went smoothly. Protesters boycot event. | The Thaiger
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More than 2,500 people attended the public hearing about Krabi’s proposed new coal power plant yesterday (January 28) with 1,150 police and army officers guarding the meeting and watching out for any potential protest activity.

The 1,150 officers were guarding the area of the public hearing stage at Klong Kanan Sub District Administration Organisation office (OrBorTor), both in uniforms and undercover.

“The officers guarded that area to ensure security from possible conflicts between the supporters and the people who disagree with the project, which has happened numerous times,” said Pol Maj Gen Boontawee Toraksa.

At the beginning of the public hearing which is a part of the EHIA (Environmental and Health Impact Assessment), the “Representatives of Krabi People Network” led by Thanit Eng-Chuan, the President of the Sub District Chief and Village Chief Club in Nua Klong district, announced their support for the coal-fired power plant.

“The coal power plant is really what local Krabi people want. We need a sustainable power supply and we don’t want the same incident as in the past when the electricity went off though the whole 14 provinces around the south, which caused a lot of financial loss, especially in the tourism businesses. Electricity is the main factor to ensure the trust among tourists.”

Meanwhile, a representative of the Environment Preservation Club of Pakasai Sub District, Nua Klong District, announced that coal can indeed affect the environment, but downplayed the real impact.

Krabi power plant public hearing went smoothly. Protesters boycot event. | News by The ThaigerKrabi power plant public hearing went smoothly. Protesters boycot event. | News by The Thaiger

“It has never been fatal and has just a small impact on the environment. What affects nature even more is tourism which destroys the coral reefs widely but has never been raised or discussed. We also find that the people who have been protesting against the project are not Krabi people at all.”

The public hearing was chaired by Krabi Vice Governor, Somkuan Khan-Ngern, with locals from 4 sub districts. The people were asked to express their opinion on paper as well as with a 5 minute speech. The hearing went smoothly with all the protesters against the coal power plant project deciding to boycott the hearing and not attend.

“The reason why we didn’t attend the public hearing is because the EHIA of the power plant project has been thrown out already by the order of the PM. The EGAT (Electricity Generating Authority of Thauland) just insist on bringing it up again and doing a new EHIA. This hearing is not transparent so we do not value it,” said one of the leaders of People Network Protecting Andaman from Charcoal, Amarit Siripornjuthakul.

Krabi power plant public hearing went smoothly. Protesters boycot event. | News by The Thaiger

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Crime

Illegal gambling site taken down after raids, alleged earnings up to 10 billion baht

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Illegal gambling site taken down after raids, alleged earnings up to 10 billion baht | The Thaiger
PHOTO: The Pattaya News

Billion, with a ‘B’. A group of 6 Thais have been arrested over the operation of an allegedly lucrative illegal online gambling website. The website, since closed down, was called ‘Marwin Net.com’ which was allegedly connected with previous raids in Chon Buri. Police claim that the gambling ring has generated an astonishing 10 billion baht.

The online gambling ring is facing charges of the illegal operation of the gambling website and money laundering.

Police report that they seized 50 million baht in cash, 8 luxury cars, 5 guns and ammunition. The suspects were arrested in Chon Buri, Koh Samui and Bangkok. Police say that another suspect is currently at large having fled Thailand. Police say they will be seeking the assistance of transnational police.

The national raids were co-ordinated by the Thai Commando Police and were conducted during the past week in different locations around the country.

6 Thai nationals were arrested and remain in custody for the alleged operation of the gambling ring – 27 year old Kietisak Jaroensuk, owner of the web domain, 27 year old Surin Kaewsangthong, 7 year old Jaruwan Pumpuang, 28 year old Nattaphon Kumsap, 7 year old Chalita Pitaksakunsasem and 28 year old Taweephong Suksuwanphon.

Police told The Pattaya News that the server for the web domain was operated offshore. They say that the gambling ring is run by the same operator who was raided 2 years ago in Chon Buri. Although the domain owners changed the name of the website they still retained the same URL.

Illegal gambling site taken down after raids, alleged earnings up to 10 billion baht | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Protests

3 protesters denied bail as 10pm deadline for the PM’s resignation looms

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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3 protesters denied bail as 10pm deadline for the PM’s resignation looms | The Thaiger
PHOTO: The arrest of protester Panupong Jardnok, aka. Mike Rayong - Thai PBS World

Whilst 1 protester was freed from the Bangkok Remand Prison last night, 3 of his peers remain in custody after being denied bail this afternoon. Supporters of the group protested last night outside the Bangkok Special Remand Centre, demanding their release and dropping of all charges against them. They disbanded around 5am this morning but have been re-assembling as Saturday goes by.

Chatupat Boonpatthararaksa, aka. Pai Daodin, was released from the Bangkok Remand Prison last evening after a hearing by the Appeals Court. Protesters were waiting outside demanding the release of 3 other key protest leaders, still being held at the prison – Parit Chivarak, Panasaya Sitthijirawattanakul and Panupong Jardnok, aka. Mike Rayong. Panasaya was the university student who first read out the now-infamous 10 point manifesto listing the protesters persistent list of demands.

The group of protesters continues to call on the Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, to resign by 10pm this evening. They have not clarified what may be the consequences if their demands are not met.

The 3 protest leaders were deemed by the Court of Appeals as “potential flight risks” as well as likely to break conditions of their bail, eg. participating in, and organising, more anti-government rallies. Charges for the 3 include using a sound amplifier without a permit, assembly of more than 5 people (during the State of Emergency), posting social media deemed to be a threat to national security, and sedition.

As the 10pm deadline passes this evening, earlier being set as Sunday night at 10pm, the situation will be ripe for more protests as we head into the new week. Parliament has been called to a joint emergency parliamentary session on Monday and Tuesday where the protesters demands will be discussed and debated.

Opposition MPs are demanding that motions can be put to a vote whilst the ruling coalition has stated that it does want any votes on debate matters. The opposition is also calling on debate of the most contentious issue, the future role of the Thai monarchy, whilst the government has ruled that out in this emergency session.

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Bangkok

The Isan Project honours a hero of Tham Luang cave rescue

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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The Isan Project honours a hero of Tham Luang cave rescue | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Former Thai Sports and Tourism Minister with Vernon Unsworth MBE

The Isan Project has collaborated with the TAT on new marketing campaign featuring music commemorating the Tham Luang cave rescue.

The story of how 13 young men, members of the Mu Pa (Wild Boar) football team, were saved in the caves of Chiang Rai continues to ignites interest in the miraculous internationally-followed rescue in July 2018 from the flooded Tham Luang cave

To honour the safe rescue music video company The Isan Projectrecently launched “Where the Eagles Fly”, video to pay tribute to the British hero of the dramatic saga, Vern Unsworth MBE.

The release of a movie and Netflix mini series shortly will also boost interest globally in Thailand. The series includes the first individual interviews with the boys and they coach.

The launch, in collaboration with the Tourism Authority of Thailand, and supported by the Hyatt Regency Bangkok Sukhumvit and Serenity Wines, was attended by several key persons involved in the rescue mission two years ago, including former Tourism & Sports Minister, Weerasak Kowsurat, who played a major role in flying in special cave divers from the UK as requested by Vernon Unsworth, a recognised cave explorer, who knows virtually every inch of the Tham Luang cave.

“It is absolutely true that without Vernon’s persistence in obtaining the help from the UK cave diving experts to initially spearhead the rescue mission, the boys and their coach would not be alive today.”

“Needless to say, assistance from experienced and skilled cave divers from around the world, who later volunteered to join as well as our own Navy Seals, all contributed to the mission’s ultimate success.”

Vernon Unsworth MBE, his partner Woranan Ratrawiphakkun, and his caving buddy Kamon Kunngamkwamdee, all starred in the “Where the Eagles Fly” fantasy music video, which was set in deep jungle and caves in the mountain of Doi Nang Non in Chiang Rai, Thailand.

“I’m truly honoured to have this song written about me. It was very moving to relive parts of the rescue while making the music video, especially when I think back on how Kamon and I covered over 16 km. on the first day after we knew the boys were missing. We virtually lived in the cave for the first 4 days prior to the arrival of my cave diving colleagues from the UK”.

The story of how the football team were saved in the caves is a heart warming one. For many attending the event it was a privilege and an honour to meet 63 year old Vernon Unsworth in person. An event filled with stories of bravery, emotion and moving music.

Vernon, who has mapped the cave system for 8 years, was the first professional cave diver at the site and realising the enormous danger the boys were in, played a significant rôle in the rescue and earned him the UK’s high honour, an MBE medal.

As the rescue became a race against time ahead of impending monsoon rains, Vernon undertook reconnaissance dives upstream through flooded passages against strong currents.

Weerasak Kowsurat, the former Minister of Tourism and Sports, recalled how a message written on a piece of paper by Vernon and handed to his colleague for safe keeping with instructions that it was to be handed over in case Vernon, fearing the worst, didn’t make it out on an exploratory dive. It was very dangerous work and one Thai diver died during the course of the rescue.

Although Vernon was safe, the message was handed to the Minister who was at the cave site. The message was to contact the British Dive Caving Association and gave names of expert divers and telephone numbers. Within 24 hours the Tourism Minister had managed to get the UK divers on a hastily arranged flight to Thailand to assist in the rescue effort.

The team of UK divers, working under appalling conditions and with time running out, in poor visibility located the team marooned on a ledge above the water about 4 kilometres inside the cave complex.

Writer and executive producer of The Isan Project, Will Robinson says… “Although I had penned and produced “Heroes of Thailand” honouring all those involved in the Tham Luang cave rescue, I felt it was time to pay a special tribute directly to the mastermind of the extremely complex mission.”

“Vernon is such a humble man, I wanted to create a song not only to honour him, but also to establish Tham Luang and what is now known as the ‘Wild Boar Cave’, where the boys were found, as a new tourist attraction for those who love to explore caves.”

At the beginning of the video it reads…

“On June 23, 2018, 12 boys from the Wild Boar football team went exploring the Tham Luang cave with their coach in Chiang Rai. They never returned home that night, next day locals contacted cave explorer Vern Unsworth in nearby Mae Fah Luang. Over the course of the next two weeks Vern put his life on the line for the young football team with a daring rescue engineered by Vern and Elite British cave divers. This song was written in honour of Vern Unsworth M.B.E. and inspired by the above events.”

You can watch the video HERE.

Commenting on the Isan Project Tanes Petsuwan, TAT’s Deputy Governor of Marketing Communications said, “TAT appreciates Will’s love of Thailand, and we are delighted to be supporting this launch. We also believe that this song combined with the newly-published children’s book, “All Thirteen” and the soon-to-be released Hollywood movie, “Thirteen Lives”, will help to dramatically boost tourism in and around Chiang Rai even though we will need to rely mainly on domestic tourists until the end of the year while international travel is still restricted.”

“Where the Eagles Fly”, co-written by Will Robinson and Daniel Ryan, and performed by Daniel himself, is tipped to top the charts when the MGM blockbuster movie, “Thirteen Lives” and the Netflix mini-series about the epic story of the Tham Luang cave rescue are released. The song is now available from all digital music stores including iTunes, Spotify, Apple and Amazon.

The Isan Project honours a hero of Tham Luang cave rescue | News by The Thaiger

From left: Mr. Sobchai (Ford) Kraiyoonsen Singer/composer, Mr. Tanes Petsuwan TAT’s Deputy Governor of Marketing Communications, Senator Weerasak Kowsurat former Minister of Tourism and Sports, Mr. Vern Unsworth British cave explorer, Mr. Will Robinson Writer and Executive Producer of The Isan Project, Mr. Nithee Seeprae TAT’s Executive Director of Advertising & PR Department, Ms. Woranan Ratrawiphakkun Vern’s partner, Mr. Sammy Carolus GM of the Hyatt Regency Bangkok Sukhumvit

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