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AirAsia joins Interpol’s I-Checkit campaign against using stolen passports

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AirAsia joins Interpol’s I-Checkit campaign against using stolen passports | The Thaiger
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AirAsia joins Interpol’s I-Checkit campaign against using stolen passports
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: nterpol has agreed to expand its I-Checkit initiative under the Turn Back Crime campaign to other businesses after its cooperation with AirAsia, Asia’s largest budget airline, proved successful.

Commencing in June, the initiative saw the passports of passengers wishing to board the airline checked against Interpol’s Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) database that has about 43 million records. The aim is to detect individuals attempting to use stolen or fraudulent travel documents and provide better aviation security.

By using stolen passports, people are able to conceal their real identity, move between borders and access key services in a bid to conduct illegal activities and escape justice. Therefore, enhanced measures to detect illegal use of stolen travel documents are seen as critical for crime prevention around the world.

Malaysia-based AirAsia is the first airline that applied I-Checkit after Interpol approached its executive, who immediately agreed to join. Some hotel chains in Europe have also agreed to participate in the testing stage of the system. When a passport is found in the database, security officials will be alerted to handle the person who presented it.

Last week the General Assembly of Interpol members endorsed expansion of the initiative to cover a wider range of industries, such as more airlines, banks and hotels.

Some six million AirAsia passengers have been screened against the database since June when checking-in for flights with 69 found to have lost or stolen documents. Some 18 of them were not allowed to board their flights.

“As an airline that flies to more than 23 countries, we take international security very seriously, which brought us to collaborate with Interpol,” AirAsia’s Group CEO Tony Fernandes said.

“We are proud to be the first airline in the world to have our check-in system fully integrated with I-Checkit solution to screen passengers travelling with our network of 100 airports across Asia and 600 international flights per day.”

During I-Checkit queries made by a partner hotel in Monaco in July, a “positive” response occurred against the passport number of a guest wanted by Austrian police for aggravated theft and robbery – resulting in his arrest.

Interpol’s outgoing chief Ronald Noble said during the assembly: “This is solid evidence that the initiative can stop potentially dangerous criminals and terrorists from boarding an airplane and threatening the safety of their fellow passengers, as well as can stop them from checking into a hotel and endangering the welfare of the other guests.

“Passengers travelling with AirAsia know that the airline has their safety and security in mind and is doing all it can to prevent anyone using a stolen passport from boarding. With the overwhelming support of the member countries for expanding the system, my hope is that one day soon, all citizens the world over will feel as secure when conducting their daily activities.”

American Noble will be replaced next year by German Jurgen Stock, who won endorsement from the General Assembly.

Under the system, no airline gains direct access to Interpol’s database of some 43 million lost/stolen passports from 168 countries. But it can enter searches through the I-Checkit. Personal information would not be disclosed to companies, but the system would flag passports if there was any concern, and there is a procedure to refer passengers to the authorities. AirAsia also said no personal data would be transmitted to Interpol other than passport numbers and issuing nation.

Important partnership

To give importance to the partnership with Interpol, AirAsia has painted one of its A320 aircraft with a special livery which flags Interpol’s “Turn Back Crime” campaign. The airline sent this special aircraft to Nice Airport in France, touching down just hours before the opening of the General Assembly.

The theme of this year meeting is “Turn Back Crime: 100 years of International Police Cooperation”. This special aircraft livery took six days or 130 hours to complete and will join the AirAsia fleet travelling to 23 countries.

Malaysia’s Home Affairs Minister Ahmad Hamidi said AirAsia had been proactive and taken positive steps to screen all of its passengers with Interpol, as well as through their commitment to using the latest technology to stop crime.

The five-day General Assembly was attended by more than 1,000 delegates from 166 countries members to discuss key issues including building strong law enforcement institutions, and increasing collaboration between police and the public and private sectors.

Executive director of the campaign Roraima Andriani said she hoped AirAsia’s innovation approach would inspire others to identify new and exciting ways to help us turn back crime.

At the Interpol summit, Qatar Airways became the second airline to join the initiative. It became the first full-service airline to use the pilot project.

Meanwhile, an AirAsia source said the airline was willing to pay if Interpol decides to collect fees – reportedly a few cents each time the database is consulted by a business – as the initiative would certainly help boost security for its passengers and aviation as a whole.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Ministry of Labour, CP Foods to hire 8,000 graduates to help reduce unemployment

Caitlin Ashworth



Ministry of Labour, CP Foods to hire 8,000 graduates to help reduce unemployment | The Thaiger

To help reduce unemployment and boost the economy after the pandemic, 8,000 graduates will be hired by the company Charoen Pokphand Foods, known as CP Foods. Thailand’s Ministry of Labour recently signed a memorandum of agreement with the company.

4,000 of those jobs will be in Bangkok and metropolitan areas while the other 4,000 more in the upcountry. The job offers vary from positions in the computer science field to positions in the culinary industry.

Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin says the government has a policy to unite all sectors of the society to revive the economy from the coronavirus crisis that caused job cuts, leaving many unemployed, especially new graduates.

He adds that CP Foods has been constantly supporting the government in Covid-19 relief effort since the beginning of the outbreak. This post Covid-19 collaboration will create stability for people at all levels and build more small and medium sized enterprise, or SME, owners that are the foundation of Thai economy.

There’s also a discount coupon giveaway from CP Foods and the minister says it will help reduce cost of living for people who are eligible for social security benefits.

CEO of CP Foods Prasit Boondoungprasert says CP Foods is managed in line with the parent group CP Group’s policy, to solve the Thailand’s unemployment problem, particularly for new graduates, by creating job opportunities and job security. He says it’s an “engine for economic revival.”

CP Foods will also provide a business opportunity for SME franchises like FiveStar and STAR Coffee, which need a small budget and small space to kick off.

The company will also offer training courses with experts to guide them to start up the business. It expects to create 4,500 franchise owners nationwide.

CP Foods will have a book at the Job Expo Thailand 2020 this Saturday until Monday at the Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Centres, or BITEC. Those interested can click HERE for more information.

To learn more about starting a FiveStar franchise click HERE and for a STAR Coffee franchise click HERE.

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Empire strikes back: Thai royalists oppose constitution changes

Caitlin Ashworth



Empire strikes back: Thai royalists oppose constitution changes | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook: Warong Dechgitvigrom

Just after proposed constitutional amendments, backed by pro-democracy supporters, were submitted to the Thai parliament, the Thai Pakdee royalist group filed a petition with 130,000 signatures saying they are against making changes to the constitution.

Pro-democracy activists have been demanding a rewrite of the Thai constitution at protests over the past few months. The nonprofit organisation Internet Law Reform Dialogue, known as iLaw, drafted amendments including one that would require all senators and local administrators to be elected. Currently Thailand’s entire Senate is hand-picked by the ruling party. More than 100,000 people back the proposed changes.

“There’s no need to make changes”, according to Former Democrat MP and leader of Thai Pakdee Warong Dechgitvigrom. He says the 2017 Constitution was approved by 16.8 million people (Thailand’s population is 69.4 million).

“Redoing the process would cost 15 billion baht in taxpayer money. On top of that, it would require 2 referenda and a general election.”

According to Thai PBS, 84 of the 250 senators need to be on board to move forward with revisions to the constitution. At the moment, around 60 of them are in favour of constitutional amendments while 100 oppose any changes and the rest are undecided. But Senators against the amendments might change their minds, according to Senate whip Sangsit Phiriyarangsan. He says he believes more senators will be in favour of making some amendments after hearing debates in parliament.


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Thailand News Today | Surachet sues, The Nude Panda | September 23

The Thaiger



Thailand News Today | Surachet sues, The Nude Panda | September 23 | The Thaiger

Daily TV News from The Thaiger

Former immigration chief, “Big Joke” suing Thai PM over transfer

The former head of Thai Immigration, and poster boy for Thai officialdom, Surachet Hakparn, is taking legal action against Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, after the PM had him unceremoniously transferred to an inactive post last year.

Surachet, commonly known by the nickname “Big Joke”, (a nickname given to him by Thai media) accuses the PM of transferring him without just cause and has been petitioning for a review of the decision ever since.

At the time there was no reason given for the high-profile head of Thailand’s Immigration to be ‘side-lined’ to desk duties at the PM’s office.

Surachet’s lawyer says that in the 1 year and 5 months since his client’s transfer, there has been “no investigation launched against him” and that he should immediately re-instated.

At the height of his fame, in 2017 and 2018, Surachet’s face was everywhere in daily media reports, often seen with hordes of foreigners his team had ’rounded up’ in immigration crackdowns around the country.

But at some point, he appears to have stepped on the wrong toes, calling into question procurement practices at the Immigration Bureau, amid plans to spend billions on smart cars and the airports biometrics system. Surachet was dumped and sidelined… the purchases went ahead.

4 Thai banks to be investigated for “suspicious transfers” after FinCEN files report

4 Thai banks are being investigated after an international money laundering report said the Thai banks had “suspicious financial transactions.” The report found 92 “suspicious” transactions in and out of Thailand totalling to $9,558,752 USD received in Thailand and $31,750,000 USD sent out.

Files were allegedly leaked from the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.The FinCEN Files report“reveals the role of global banks in industrial scale money laundering,” citing a total of $2 trillion USD in suspicious global transactions from 1997 to 2017.

The Thai Anti-Money Laundering Office plans to investigate Kasikorn Bank, Bangkok Bank, Krungthai Bank and the Export Import Bank of Thailand. But he says the information from the international report needs to be verified first.

Thai sex workers push for prostitution decriminalisation

Prostitution could become further decriminalised in Thailand. A petition is being passed around calling on the government to stop arresting and fining sex workers.

The Empower Foundation, which supports sex worker, is trying to collect 10,000 signatures before they send it to parliament. Also known as the Centre for Sex Workers’ Protection, Empower is a non-profit organisation in Thailand that supports sex workers by offering free classes in language, health, law and pre-college education, as well as individual counselling.

“Prostitution is not illegal in Thailand, although many activities associated with it are… like brothels, soliciting, pimping and causing a public nuisance etc. Still the underground industry is estimated to be worth US$6.4 billion a year.

Activists say prostitution laws do little to protect sex workers. Fines and arrests for soliciting sex, have pushed some sex workers into poverty, most of them being women. Thailand is estimated to have up to 200,000 sex workers, many of them now unemployed with no recourse to unemployment benefits or official help during the pandemic.

Thai cabinet adds 2 more 4-day long weekends

A holiday-led economic recovery. That appears to be a part of the government’s agenda following yesterday’s meeting of the Thai cabinet. 2 new holiday weekends have been created, one in November, one in December.

In both cases the extended weekends will be 4 days each, adding the Thursdays and Fridays before the weekend. Given the exodus of foreigner this week, there will be fewer of the ‘stranded’ expats and foreign visitors to add to the economic tally of the additional holidays.

So, put it in your diaries…

• November 19-22

• December 10-13

Nude Panda: naked food delivery man hit with 500 baht fine

A man working as a food delivery driver in the southern province of Songkhla, has been filmed riding his motorbike totally naked. The 24 year old later handed himself in to police, explaining that he’d taken his clothes off due to “a personal problem”.

The nature of the problem is not known, and police let the man go with a 500 baht fine.

A video was posted on social media, showing the naked young man hurtling along on his motorbike, which had a food delivery bag on the back. The video has now been deleted. According to a motorbike taxi driver witness, the man parked his bike in front of a local temple, removed his clothes, then got back on the bike and drove off.

Social media response was mixed with most just inquisitive about his motives to ride “commando” with little protection, actually no protection at all.

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