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B200mn of African tusks seized in raid

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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B200mn of African tusks seized in raid | The Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

B200mn of African tusks seized in bonded warehouse raid
The Nation / Phuket Gazette


PHUKET: The Customs Department seized a total of 511 tusks, weighing 3.1 tonnes and worth 200 million baht, from a Laos-bound container at a private company’s bonded warehouse on Saturday.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Gen Dapong Rattanasuwan told a press conference of the seizure yesterday. The container-load of tusks was sent from Mombasa in Kenya via ship and transported to Laem Chabang Port, in Chon Buri province, on Saturday.

It was initially declared as containing 11 tonnes of tea, Customs chief Somchai Sujjapongse said. Thai officials’ checking the container discovered the tusks among the tea leaves and seized them for legal action, he said.

Gen Dapong praised this and the department’s previous ivory bust which also seized 4 tonnes of African tusks on April 18. Gen Dapong said Thai authorities had asked for co-operation from neighboring countries to tackle the ivory trade. Police would now probe the origin of the tusks to try to catch traders and smugglers.

Previous data from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has shown that Thailand – and Laos – are major transit points for African ivory to other countries.

Officials to inspect declared ivory

In a separate measure to curb the trade and smuggling and create a vast database, Thai authorities have urged all ivory collectors to register ivory items in their possession. A deadline ended last week.

The National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department concluded that 38,003 ivory collectors had reported 200 tonnes of ivory products in their possession worth 10 billion baht. Officials will soon inspect these items, which will take a further two to three months to do.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Crime

Gunman kills mayoral candidate, injures 4 other municipal candidates at funeral

Caitlin Ashworth

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Gunman kills mayoral candidate, injures 4 other municipal candidates at funeral | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook/ ยงข่าวร้อน

A gunman shot and killed a woman running for mayor and wounded 4 others at a funeral in Ratchaburi, a province west of Bangkok near the Myanmar border. Police say they suspect the shooting was politically motivated. Out of the 4 people injured, 3 were running in the March 28 municipal election while another was the kamnan, a government official of a tambon, which is a sub district.

The gunman is still at large, but police say they suspect the shooter is Wanchart Niamraksa, a member of the Ratchaburi provincial administration organisation.

The gunman opened fire just as the kamnan of tambon Don Sai, Yingpan Kanket, was lighting candles and incense sticks under a Buddha image to start the ceremony, witnesses say. Shots were fired from behind the main Buddha image at the temple’s open prayer hall, witnesses say.

Bullets hit 5 people, including Yingpan who is in critical condition. Varaporn Niamraksa, who was running for mayor of the municipality, was shot and died at the hospital. Nakhon Wanpen, Somthawil Srirat and Monthien Jaitham, who are all running for the municipal council of tambon Don Sai, were shot.

Police found 2 spent .22 cartridges and a 11mm spent shell at the scene. The suspect faces charges of murder, attempted murder, carrying firearms and ammunition without permission and carrying them in public without a proper reason.

SOURCES: Nation Thailand | Bangkok Post

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Phuket

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

The Thaiger

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Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2 | The Thaiger

In today’s Thailand News Today…. The island of Phuket has a firm plan to get its residents vaccinated leading up to an October opening for tourists, the Thai PM backs up his police over last Sunday’s protest violence and Thai Airway’s employee union criticises the changes to employee contracts.

But the plan must be approved by the national government by April, if the province wants to open tourism by October 1. Phuket has a resident population of around 300- 400,000 people.

Before you go rushing off to book your plane tickets we’d stress that this is another in a long list of proposals that have not come to fruition and we’d urge patience until the Government approves the plans.

Meanwhile the island has taken delivery of 4,000 doses of the Chinese Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine. Vaccinations started yesterday, with priority given to 1,500 healthcare workers and 500 “at-risk” officials exposed to Covid-19 patients.

On a broader note… Thailand’s Tourism Minister says he has asked the Public Health Ministry to approve a vaccine passport scheme aimed at reviving Thailand’s devastated tourism sector. According to the Minister, the government is looking to the World Health Organisation to issue a statement on vaccine passports before it makes a final decision on the matter.

The Thai PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha has defended police action against protesters taking part in Sunday’s anti-government rally in Bangkok. Officers from the Metropolitan Police Bureau used tear gas, a water cannon and rubber bullets in an effort to drive protesters back from the PM’s residence. The PM insists the actions were in line with international standards. He says that police did not violate the protesters’ rights.

Thai researchers are claiming that horseshoe bats are not responsible for transmitting the Covid virus to humans. A researcher with the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Diseases-Health Science Centre, says that even though the bats have tested positive for a coronavirus, it is not the strain that is transmissible to humans, and it’s certainly not the virus that causes Covid-19.

As Thai Airways tries to sell new contracts and conditions to its remaining workforce, the labour union of the national carrier is challenging changes to the employment contracts, where Thai Airways employees are being asked to agree to changes as part of the bigger financial rehabilitation program.

But a union representative says the new contracts are unfair because it includes fewer leave days and shorter holidays. The union has filed a complaint with the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thai army medic accused of injecting troops with fake Covid-19 vaccine during UN mission

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai army medic accused of injecting troops with fake Covid-19 vaccine during UN mission | The Thaiger
Stock photo via Pexels

A medic for the Royal Thai Army was dismissed and his medical license revoked after injecting troops with fake Covid-19 vaccines during a United Nations peacekeeping mission in South Sudan. The “vaccine” was actually just water. The medic, who is also a lieutenant, apparently injected 273 Thai troops with the water shot and charged 607 baht, or around $20 USD, per injection.

A soldier noticed the bottles the medic was using for the injections were unlabelled. A superior then launched an internal investigation and found that the bottles were just filled with water. Under the UN’s orders, the medic was dismissed and sent back to Thailand. His medical license was also revoked.

Thai media first reported the news, saying that a Thai army doctor at a South Sudan field hospital was suspended from duty due to an investigation into alleged fraud. The medic reportedly worked at the hospital from December 2019 to December 2020.

Following the news report, Thai Supreme Commander General Chalermphol Srisawat confirmed that a medic had been injecting troops with water and claiming it was a Covid-19 vaccine.

SOURCES: Thai PBS | Nation Thailand

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