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Myanmar-Thai border mega bust. 15 tonnes of drug-making chemicals.

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Myanmar-Thai border mega bust. 15 tonnes of drug-making chemicals. | The Thaiger
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By Jessada Chantharak

A 15 tonne batch of sodium cyanide that could have been used to make millions of methamphetamine pills was seized and Chiang Rai man was arrested last week when a smuggling operation into Myanmar from Thailand was intercepted.

Truck driver, 41 year old Sawat Kaewdam, is facing charges over alleged illegal entry and failing to obtain a permit to transport a hazardous substance into Myanmar. The seized sodium cyanide could be synthesised into phenyl-2-propanone, a narcotic substrate and used to produce about 295 million methamphetamine pills. Sawat was nabbed in the Myanmar border town of Tachileik, thanks to the Thai-Myanmar police collaboration, a senior official said on Sunday.

Myanmar-Thai border mega bust. 15 tonnes of drug-making chemicals. | News by The Thaiger

Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) secretary-general Sirinya Sidthichai told a press conference in Bangkok about the interception and arrest by officers of the Myanmar Police Force’s Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control (CCDAC). The ONCB had in May received a report from Chiang Rai’s Chiang Saen Custom Checkpoint that someone had applied to transport sodium cyanide from Thailand to the Myanmar city of Yangon through the Mekong River.

The checkpoint refused the request as the Agreement on Commercial Navigation on the Lancang-Mekong River prohibited the river transport of dangerous substance such as sodium cyanide.The exporter then kept the chemical at a Chiang Saen warehouse.

Sodium cyanide is designated a “hazardous substance type 3” under the Hazard Substances Act 1992, and its manufacture, import and export, or possession requires a permit from the Department of Industrial Works (DIW), Sirinya said. It also is on a list of substances that, under a 2016 order of the National Council for Peace and Order, is to be monitored for importing and exporting by national security agencies due to its potential use in making illegal drugs.

Myanmar-Thai border mega bust. 15 tonnes of drug-making chemicals. | News by The Thaiger

On June 2, the 300 gallons of Sodium Cyanide, weighing 15 tonnes and worth about 1.5 million baht, were sent to Tachileik via the Mae Sai Custom Checkpoint along with a permit from the DIW, Sirinya said. The ONCB then alerted the CCDAC in Tachileik to investigate.

Myanmar officers found the batch lacked an import permit to Myanmar, seized it for inspection and arrested driver Sawat. Facing charges, the Chiang Rai native claimed he was hired to transport the batch to a gold mine in Yangon. Sodium cyanide is also used to extract gold. Sirinya said the batch – which could produce 295 million yaba pills or 9,500 kilograms of crystal meth or “ice” – had originally been ordered from China to be delivered to Yangon, but it was brought in via Tachileik. Tachileik is a long distance from Myanmar’s capital, a fact that led officials to suspect that its intended use might be narcotics manufacturing.

Praising the Thai-Myanmar collaboration in the drug bust and suspect apprehension and transfer, Sirinya cited a separate drug case as an example.

On May 31, CCDAC in Tachileik had arrested drug fugitive Charoen Kiatpornpanich, 37 – who was part of a gang whose leader 60 year old Yuth Chankaew was arrested in 2014 along with 20 kilograms of “ice”. His three accomplices were also netted, and the gang’s assets worth 35 million baht were subsequently seized.Charoen, later identified as the gang’s drug storing and delivery guy, fled to Myanmar, and so ONCB asked the CCDAC to locate him. Charoen was finally arrested along with 8million baht worth of assets, including 4.2 million baht in cash, 8.4 million kyat (about 200,000baht), a large amount of gold ornaments and a Toyota Alphard mini-van in Tachileik, Sirinya said. In Thailand, ONCB meanwhile seized Chaoroen’s assets worth 12 million baht, including three cars, eight motorcycles, and two land plots plus cash and valuables, he added. The ONCB would soon have Charoen extradited to face drug prosecution in Thailand, he added.

Myanmar-Thai border mega bust. 15 tonnes of drug-making chemicals. | News by The Thaiger

STORY: The Nation

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Thailand News Today | Army deny Twitter spin, “Don’t Reopen”, English proficiency low | Nov 27

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Thailand News Today | Army deny Twitter spin, “Don’t Reopen”, English proficiency low | Nov 27 | The Thaiger

Last day of the week. Thought we’d go outside. Bad idea! Welcome to Friday’s Thailand News Today.

Royal Thai Army denies claims about Twitter campaign to spread pro-government propaganda

Following a shutdown of 926 Twitter accounts linked to the Royal Thai Army, documents were leaked of what appears to be a contract between the Army and a private company supposedly hired to spread pro-government propaganda.

But Thailand’s Army chief is denying the claims and says the Army never hired a company to spread pro-government propaganda through the over 900 Twitter accounts.

Last month, Twitter announced that it had suspended 926 accounts linked to the Royal Thai Army for violating the social media company’s “platform manipulation” policies.

A report by an independent Cyber Policy Centre says the Army used Twitter to “cheerlead” with pro-government propaganda. The report says the Army used Twitter to criticise the now disbanded Future Forward Party and neutralise criticism after February’s mass shooting where an Army soldier killed 30 people and injured 57 others.

Former WTO director cautions against re-opening Thailand too quickly

The former director general of the World Trade Organisation has issued a caution against Thailand throwing open its borders too early.

Supachai Panitchpakdi says Covid-19 is still very much a threat, pointing to other countries that appear trapped in a cycle of restrictions and lockdowns. He said that the cycle in many Western countries is not just damaging their economies, it’s also leading to more infections and deaths and prolonging the time until the affected countries can restart their economies. He warns that re-opening Thailand’s borders too quickly could have long-term negative impacts for the Kingdom.

Within Thailand there is a polarised view as to whether Thailand should be broadly re-opening its borders or not. Successive polls show that the Thai population is, generally, suspicious about re-opening too soon, especially whilst parts of the rest of the world are still trying to contain their infection rates. On the other hand Thailand’s tourism and hospitality industry has been decimated with millions unemployed.

Bangkok’s canal boat services go electric

A new electric passenger boat service started operating on Bangkok’s Khlong Phadung Krung Kasem today. The klong traverses the eastern side of Rattanakosin Island.

The Thai PM launched the service at the Hua Lamphong Railway Station Pier, and was a passenger on the first boat ride this morning.

There’s seven electric fibreglass boats in the initial service, each carrying 30 passengers.

The boats can run for four hours per charge at a speed of 10-15 kilometres per hour. There’s solar roof panels to help power the electric outboard motors.

The new e-boats operate from 6am-7pm, with a boat departing every 15 minutes. Good news, passengers can travel for free for the first six months of the service.

Thailand’s English level drops for the third year – English Proficiency Index

English skills in Thailand have dropped for the third year in a row with an English language proficiency score considered to be “very low.”

In the past year, Thailand’s ranking dropped from 74 out of 100 countries to 89, according to the 2020 English Proficiency Index by EF Education First. The index is based on test results from 2.2 million adults from 100 countries and regions.

Thailand scored 419 out of 800, which is considered “very low.” Thailand ranks 20 out of 24 countries surveyed in Asia and 7 out of 8 countries in Southeast Asia, just ahead of Myanmar in last place.

According to the report, the lack of English proficiency in Thailand, Cambodia and Sri Lanka hampers access to jobs in the tourism industry which makes up more than10% of their economies.

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Road deaths

Local singer dies after crashing his car while on a video call

Caitlin Ashworth

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Local singer dies after crashing his car while on a video call | The Thaiger
PHOTO: naewna

A Thai singer died after crashing his car into a lamppost while on a video call with his girlfriend. Thai media did not report on the estimated speed, but photos of the wreckage show severe damage. The roof ripped off the Toyota Altis and the car is almost unrecognisable.

23 year old Akkarachai, known as Ice, was found dead at the scene on Pahonyothin Road, or Route 1. He performed at many night venues and events around the Central Thailand province Chai Nat. Ice’s friend told police that he was on his way home to his girlfriend’s house in Nakhon Sawan about 25 kilometres away. While on the phone with his girlfriend, there was suddenly a loud noise and the phone went dead.

Chai Nat police warn people not to use their phones while driving.

SOURCE: Thai Visa

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Crime

9 arrested for allegedly embezzling more than 2.8 billion baht from Railway Club Cooperative funds

Caitlin Ashworth

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9 arrested for allegedly embezzling more than 2.8 billion baht from Railway Club Cooperative funds | The Thaiger
Line Today

Police arrested 9 people involved in the Railway Club Cooperative, including the former chief, on collusion charges for allegedly approving loans behind closed doors to embezzle a total of 2.8 billion baht from members’ funds.

Officers from the Central Investigation Bureau have been investigating since June 30 of last year. Investigators say the suspects approved loans without calling meetings for the roughly 2,300 cooperative members and used falsified documents to take out loans of about 15 million baht each.

When reviewing loan approvals made between January 2012 and November 2016, investigators say they found loans given to a hotel, housing estate, resort and property project. They say loans were also used to buy luxury cars and other valuables.

Officers from the bureau along with the Department of Special Investigation and the Anti-Money Laundering Office recently raided 26 locations in Bangkok, Phetchaburi, Samut Prakan and Nonthaburi. Officers seized a total of more than 10 million baht as well as luxury cars.

The 9 suspects face charges of colluding in theft, falsifying documents, using fake documents and money laundering. Along with arresting the cooperative’s former chief executive, 70 year old Boonsong Hongthong, police arrested committee members 49 year old Pimpa Rodrassamee, 31 year old Orchanok Sa-ngadsap, 59 year old Weerachai Srisawat, 69 year old Surat Srisawat, 37 year old Prapat Srisawat, 44 year old Supakit On-aree, 63 year old Preecha Thanapairin and 40 year old Natyanit Mahachot.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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