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

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

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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Thai Life

Thais go bananas over freak plants in pursuit of lottery numbers

The Thaiger

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Thais go bananas over freak plants in pursuit of lottery numbers | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Daily News

The answers are in the banana leaves.

Thai people LOVE playing the lottery (and gambling generally). In fact they’re BANANAS about the twice-monthly lottery (it was drawn again today). Daily News has reported about two unusual banana trees growing in front of a shop in Klong 4 Pathum Thani, just north of Bangkok. The trees did not have blossom and on one plant two bananas were pointing skywards. On another there was a whole bunch pointing up into the sky.

There was a steady stream of the faithful lighting incense, praying and rubbing powder on the trees to get lottery numbers. One group thought ‘542’ was the magic numbers and a path to riches (we’re not sure how they came to this conclusion). 53 year old Surachai says the trees had been growing for a few months and that he’d never seen anything like it before.

An unnamed agricultural expert suggested that there was probably something wrong with the banana plants. Trees and malformed animals are a favourite source of inspiration to select numbers for the lottery, as are numbers of houses and vehicles involved in events where people experience “miracle” escapes from danger, or even bizarre accidents.

SOURCE: Daily News

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Crime

Clean Up to the Countdown – Crackdown on illegal software

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Clean Up to the Countdown – Crackdown on illegal software | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Pantip Plaza, Bangkok

The Clean Up to the Countdown campaign aims to encourage top executives to legalise their corporate software before midnight on December 31, 2019.”

BSA The Software Alliance is partnering with Thai police and chief executives on a campaign to crackdown illegal software in the workplace by the end of 2019. Many companies still use illegal, pirated or copied computer software.

This campaign will target 10,000 companies across Thailand that are thought to be using illegal software. This includes corporations in a variety of business sectors, such as manufacturing, construction, banking and finance, engineering, architecture, media, design, IT and healthcare. Many of these companies are known users of software, but lack license agreements from software providers.

The Nation reports that the BSA is working with police to ramp up enforcement against corporations using illegal software and has already helped identify nearly 10,000 companies in 10 provinces suspected of using illegal software.

The Economic Crime Suppression Division wants to see business leaders take a proactive approach to cleaning up their corporate software assets so that they can enter 2020 fully legal and compliant. From now until the end of the year, it will continue to raid companies suspected of not complying with Thai laws protecting software copyright.

While ECD enforces the Thai laws, BSA is contacting thousands of corporate leaders in Thailand to offer guidance and advice in addressing illegal software use in the workplace.

BSA Senior Director Tarun Sawney believes that some CEOs may be aware their company is using illegal software and are wary of investing in genuine software.

“But there are other CEOs whose companies have hundreds or thousands of PCs, who simply may not be aware of the type of software running on their corporation’s PCs, and whether it is legal or not.”

“BSA wants to help CEOs do the right thing but this requires that CEOs take a hands-on approach to addressing the risk of using illegal software in business operations. Our advice is that CEOs treat the risk of illegal software with the utmost importance. This means being hands-on and proactive. CEOs can and should control this risk factor.”

The solution, according to the software industry, includes a better effort by CEOs at self-policing their own use of software by corporations in Thailand. The Clean Up to the Countdown campaign is a part of Legalize and Protect initiative launched earlier this year. So far, the initiative has helped thousands companies in Thailand legalize their software assets and protect data from malware and hackers.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Business

Thai Airways must modify rehabilitation plan to survive: Airline President

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Thai Airways must modify rehabilitation plan to survive: Airline President | The Thaiger

PHOTO: gta5-mods.com

“Thai Airways will have to modify its rehabilitation plans to survive in the face of tight competition.” This frank admission by the airline’s president Sumet Damrongchaith.

The national carrier is now carrying a total debt of over 2.45 billion baht and losses of more than 20 billion, despite being able to reduce its debts by 48 billion baht over the past five years.

Sumet says the first step will be to restructure the airline’s management and finances as well as reconsider its plan to spend 1.5 billion baht on 38 new aircraft. He admits the biggest problem is that Thai Airways has low capital but a high debt-to-equity ratio of eight times.

In order to maintain its competitiveness, the carrier will have to reduce its debts versus assets and boost its working capital with support from the ministries of Transport and Finance. Hence, it plans to borrow approximately 3.2 billion baht in fiscal 2020 in line with the budget limit set by the Office of Public Debt Management.

This loan will be taken to support the airline’s investments as well as for its working capital, to update equipment and maintain existing aircraft, but will not be used to repay old debts.

The Nation also reports that the airline is also concerned about maintaining its liquidity because at the end of June this year, its revolving credit line stood at 13.4% of the total revenue forecast for 2019.

Sumet admits that, though the original rehabilitation plan has a set framework, the situation has now changed due to the appreciation of the baht, so in order to achieve goals, the work method has to be redesigned, such as finding a way to procure more passengers.

“We are now in the process of analysing new markets.”

Meanwhile, Thai Aiways’ board chairman Aek-Niti Nitithan-Praphas says the board is reconsidering plans to procure a new fleet taking into consideration the state of the global and domestic economies as well as the US-China trade war.

“The growth of the tourism industry and the airlines’ financial status needs to be reviewed in line with strong competition and routes that are no longer popular. It’s better to carefully revise the plan instead of exposing the airline to greater risk. The target should be reduce expenses by 20%.”

Meanwhile, Thai Airways aims to boost the sale of tickets, find ways of increasing online shopping of duty-free goods and reducing unnecessary expenses by 10%without affecting the quality of service in the last three months of 2019.

The airline is also negotiating the option of cutting down overtime expenses and is looking into curbing losses incurred by it’s semi-budget offshoot Thai Smile by increasing its flying hours to 10.5 hours daily. These steps are expected to help the airline reach breakeven point in the short term.

The airline is also considering long-term goals such roping in more passengers by offering greater benefits to Royal Orchid Plus members, focusing on digital marketing, retiring non-performing assets as well as increasing revenue from related businesses such as kitchens and aircraft repair centres.

SOURCE: The Nation

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