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Backgrounds checks incoming for novice monks

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PHOTO: The Japan Times

The National Office of Buddhism (NOB) is going to get the Royal Thai Police (RTP) run background checks on applicants seeking to join the monkhood.

The NOB has requested police to run the checks in a move to create a stronger screening system for all those joining the monkhood.

The NOB has been advised to send all Bangkok applicants’ ID numbers to the Police Criminal Records Division (CRD) for background checks.

Meanwhile, details of applicants in the provinces will be sent to police forensic offices for further submission to the CRD.

Results will be sent back to provincial offices or the NOB within 15 days, free of charge.

The NOB hsays that new checks will help ensure that monks participating in ordination ceremonies are up to par with standards required by the Sangha Supreme Council.

The new background checks come as authorities try to address a series of temples scandals, including previous proposals including monks carrying smart ID cards showing their background.

The Sangha Supreme Council of Thailand is the governing body of the Buddhist order (Sangha) of Thailand, and is the ultimate authority for all ecclesiastical matters within the Thai Sangha. Its leadership consists of the country’s highest ranking monks, who consult the Supreme Patriarch of Thailand with respect to administrative and theological matters.The Sangha Supreme Council was established on 1 January 1963, under the Sangha Act of 1962. – Wikipedia

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Crime

Man arrested for growing 108 cannabis plants in Samut Prakan

Caitlin Ashworth

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Man arrested for growing 108 cannabis plants in Samut Prakan | The Thaiger
PHOTO: 77kaoded

Police arrested an Argentinian man for growing cannabis at his house in Samut Prakan, just southeast of Bangkok. 35 year old Sagas Nur told police he planned to produce cannabis oil.

Medical marijuana is legalised – with limitations – while recreational marijuana is still classified as a category 5 narcotic. Sagas is facing charges of producing a category 5 narcotic. He could face 2 to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to 1,500,000 baht.

Police were tipped off about Sagas’ alleged growing operation. They searched the house and say they found 108 cannabis plants that were about 1.5 metre high. Sagas allegedly told police he bought the seeds online with the intention to grow plants and then produce cannabis oil.

Thailand legalised medical marijuana in 2018, becoming the first country in Southeast Asia to do so. Recreational marijuana trafficking and operations continue to be busted by police while the government studies medical marijuana with plans to tap into the global market. The Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul even helped plant cannabis seedlings at a government-run facility with 1,300 plants.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | South China Morning Post

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Protests

Court orders suspension of Thai TV news channel during political protests

Caitlin Ashworth

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Court orders suspension of Thai TV news channel during political protests | The Thaiger
PHOTO: YouTube: VoiceTV

The Criminal Court has agreed to suspend the Thai media company Voice TV for allegedly violating the State of Emergency orders which prohibit media content “considered to be a threat to national security”.

Talk about the Voice TV shut down has been circulating on social media. It’s not the first time the network has come to the attention of the NCPO, in the past, and the current government. Reuters reporters confirmed the claims with digital ministry spokesperson Putchapong Nodthaisong who said “Voice TV will be suspended”. The order applies to all of the company’s online platforms, including social media accounts.

The media company also allegedly violated Thailand’s Computer Crime Act by spreading “false information,” the spokesperson says.

The Chief Executive Officer of Voice TV, Mekkin Phetchapa, posted a statement on the company’s Facebook page saying the court ordered to close all of the platforms associated with the media company, but Voice TV has not received any documents yet.

“Voice TV confirms that what we are holding on to as a professional duty. Media has no distortion, misleading or destroying public security and peace.”

Mekkin says that for the past 11 years, Voice TV has been openly transparent and responsible for the facts from all parties.

“Let power and responsibility be righteous.”

The State of Emergency banning public gatherings of more than 5 people was imposed in the early hours of last Thursday morning, leading up to the breaking up a pro-democracy protest ‘camp’ outside the Government House in Bangkok. The order also bans news or online messaging that “could harm national security.”

“It is extremely necessary to introduce an urgent measure to end this situation effectively and promptly to maintain peace and order.”

“Publication of news, other media, and electronic information that contains messages that could create fear or intentionally distort information, creating misunderstanding that will affect national security or peace and order.”

Since the decree was announced, police have threatened a crack down on local media outlets covering the pro-democracy protests as well as an activist Facebook group saying they pose a “threat to national security.”

A document, signed by National Police Chief Suwat Jangyodsuk, was leaked and circulated on social media. It requested the Telecommunications Commission and Digital Economy and Society Ministry to ban The Standard, The Reporters, Voice TV, Prachatai and the Free Youth movement Facebook page. There have been no reports about the other media outlets being suspended at this stage.

SOURCE: Reuters| Facebook: Voice TV

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Protests

House Speaker confirms agreement for special parliamentary session

Maya Taylor

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House Speaker confirms agreement for special parliamentary session | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS World

The Speaker of the lower house of Parliament has confirmed that there is cross-party agreement for an extraordinary parliamentary session to be convened in the wake of the ongoing political unrest in Thailand. Chuan Leekpai has notified PM Prayut Chan-o-cha of the agreement to hold the special session in a bid to seek a resolution to the conflict. Anti-government protests have been taking place all over the country since mid-July and, while all have been peaceful, rallies are increasing in size and frequency. Activists are pitching a 10-point manifesto, with demands including the resignation of the PM, the dissolution of parliament and the holding of fresh elections, as well as a re-drafting of the constitution.

In his letter to the PM, Chuan calls on the cabinet to back the announcement of a Royal Decree, which will declare the opening of the special session. He proposes an initial general debate, with no voting requirement, so that MPs and senators can express their opinions and work to find a solution to the current impasse. The PM has already voiced his support for an extraordinary session of parliament.

Meanwhile, a number of opposition figures are calling for the state of emergency imposed on Bangkok to be lifted, declaring its implementation illegal and unnecessary. They are threatening legal action against the government if this proves to be the case, with the Pheu Thai Party renewing its calls for the PM’s resignation.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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