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Army denies punishing sergeant over graft allegations

Jack Burton

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Army denies punishing sergeant over graft allegations | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Army spokesman Winthai Suvaree - thaivisa
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In a press briefing yesterday, an army spokesman denied that a sergeant is facing punishment for exposing alleged graft in an army unit, saying rather that Narongchai Intharakawee faces disciplinary and criminal action for “dereliction of duty”. Previous reports said Narongchai, who serves as a budget clerk at the army ordnance department, claimed he has been intimidated, threatened, and faced punishment for exposing graft involving military allowances.

Narongchai says this forced him to abscond and seek protection from the House committee on legal affairs, justice and human rights, and share the matter with the media. He lodged a complaint directly with the Thai army chief Apirat Kongsompong, who recently set up a complaints hotline.

The spokesman maintained the army has a policy of ensuring justice for all personnel, who can lodge complaints through official channels in the military chain of command.

Apirat set up a panel to look into the alleged graft in early May, and the panel wrapped its probe at the end of the month. It found there were grounds to the allegation, and the army chief instructed the panel to forward the case to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).

The spokesman insists the army will not protect any wrongdoers, because the army was also damaged by the alleged graft, and that Narongchai faces disciplinary and criminal action for his absence from work, not for exposing the alleged graft.

In September last year, Narongchai was accused of disrespecting a superior. A disciplinary panel was established to look into the matter, and decided to put him in detention for 7 days, from March 18-24. But Narongchai evaded detention, fled and now faces disciplinary and criminal action for dereliction of duty.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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Expats

Alcohol bans tomorrow and Monday in Thailand

The Thaiger

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Alcohol bans tomorrow and Monday in Thailand | The Thaiger

2 Buddhist holidays, Asahna Bucha Day, and the start of Buddhist Lent, fall on this weekend. As a result the government has added Monday, July 6, as a national holiday.

There will be an alcohol ban tomorrow, Sunday (July 5) and Monday (July 6). No alcohol will be sold or served on these days.

The dates of these important Buddhist holidays, and the ensuing long weekend and alcohol ban, falls just days after pubs, bars and entertainment venues have been allowed to re-open. The alcohol bans will put a dint in the re-opening plans for many small businesses who have been hit hard by the enforced closures and the ban on tourists coming into Thailand.

Various news outlets around the country have published a variety of confusing headlines on the matter. Because of the confusion you may have to ‘roll with the punches’ as the ban is applied in your particular area and is managed by the local police. For now, you have at least a day or so to stock up.

Asanha Bucha Day is a public holiday in Thailand marking the day when the Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon at Benares in India over 2,500 years ago. The exact date of the holiday is determined by the waxing moon and the lunar months, but is usually held in July or August.

The Buddha preached his first sermon at a deer park and from this sermon the Dharma (doctrine) of the Buddha was symbolised as a wheel. The Dharmachakra is also known as the Wheel of Life, Wheel of Law or Wheel of Doctrine and can be seen on flags in temples and buildings all across Thailand. Similarly, pictures or models of deer can often be seen at temples or in depictions of the Buddha.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid-19 update: 40 days with no locally transmitted cases (July 4)

Jack Burton

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Covid-19 update: 40 days with no locally transmitted cases (July 4) | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Dr Taweesilp Visanuyothin - Nation Thailand

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration confirmed this morning that Thailand has not recorded a single locally transmitted case of Covid-19 in 40 days. 5 imported cases were reported today of repatriated Thai nationals – 1 from Kuwait, 1 from the UK and 3 from Sudan. All were discovered in state quarantine facilities.

CCSA spokesman Dr Taweesilp Visanuyothin says Thailand remains on guard, and social distancing measures will continue to be enforced despite the 40 day milestone, as factors such as illegal immigrants remain a potential danger of contagion. Border control is a top priority for Thailand and although limited international travel is resuming, very strict precautions remain.

Only very limited groups of foreigners can enter, and numbers are severely restricted. These groups include those with work permits and medical reasons, but entry requires extensive paperwork, quarantines and is approved on a case-by-case basis.

General travel and tourism remain closed for the foreseeable future due to the threat of Covid-19 resurgence around the world, according to Taweesilp. Thailand is exploring potential “travel bubbles” with some countries that are deemed to have controlled the virus, as determined by the World Health Organisation.

As of today Thailand has had a total of 3,185 cases, of whom 3,066 of those recovered. There have been 58 deaths related to the virus.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Thailand

Major international retailers banning monkey-picked coconuts – VIDEO

Jack Burton

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Major international retailers banning monkey-picked coconuts – VIDEO | The Thaiger
PHOTOS: The Culture Trip

Allegations of animal abuse are prompting major Western retailers to pull Thai coconut products from their shelves, amid accusations that the coconuts are picked by monkeys treated inhumanely. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals claim monkeys are snatched from the wild and trained to pick up to 1,000 coconuts a day. The animal rights group says pigtailed macaques are treated like “coconut-picking machines”.

PETA claims monkeys are used by farms supplying 2 of Thailand’s best known coconut milk brands: Aroy-D and Chaokoh, which are exported to many countries, including Europe and the US.

“Following PETA Asia’s investigation, more than 15,000 stores will no longer purchase these brands’ products, with the majority also no longer buying any coconut products sourced from Thailand monkey labour.”

The BBC reports that in the UK, major retailers Waitrose, Ocado, Co-op and Boots are pledging to stop selling some coconut products from Thailand.

“Our own-brand coconut milk and coconut water does not use monkey labour in its production and we don’t sell any of the branded products identified by Peta. We don’t tolerate these practices and would remove any product from sale that is known to have used monkey labour during its production.”

The Morrisons chain said it has already removed products made with monkey-picked coconuts from its shelves. Sainsbury’s, the UK’s second largest grocery chain, told the BBC…

“We are actively reviewing our ranges and investigating this complex issue with our suppliers.”

A PETA statement says it has found 8 farms in Thailand where monkeys are forced to pick coconuts for export around the world. Male monkeys are reportedly able to pick up to 1,000 coconuts a day; it’s thought that a human can pick about 80.

“Other coconut-growing regions, including Brazil, Colombia and Hawaii, harvest coconuts using humane methods such as tractor-mounted hydraulic elevators, willing human treeclimbers, rope or platform systems, ladders, or they simply plant dwarf coconut trees.”

The group says it’s also discovered “monkey schools,” where the animals are trained to pick fruit, as well as ride bikes or play basketball to entertain tourists.

“The animals at these facilities, many of whom are illegally captured as babies, displayed stereotypic behaviour indicative of extreme stress. Monkeys were chained to old tyres or confined to cages that were barely large enough for them to turn around in.”

“One monkey in a cage on a lorry (truck) bed was seen frantically shaking the cage bars in a futile attempt to escape, and a screaming monkey on a rope desperately tried to run away from a handler.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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