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Body parts, weapons found near Bangkok anti-govt rally site

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Body parts, weapons found near Bangkok anti-govt rally site | The Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Body parts, weapons found near anti-govt rally site
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The lower part of a human body and a large amount of explosives-related devices and weapons have been found in a canal near a rally site in Bangkok previously occupied by anti-government protests.

The items were discovered in a joint operation yesterday to comb the area for suspicious items.Meanwhile, police have arrested two suspects who allegedly took part in a deadly attack in Trat province on protesters against the Yingluck government in February.

One of the suspects has reportedly confessed to throwing a grenade at the crowd while the other denied involvement. The attack on the night of February 22, in which attackers fired automatic weapons and threw several grenades, killed three people, including two young girls, and wounded 30 others.

In Phadung Krung Kasem canal near Government House, in a section between Thewakam and Makkhawan bridges, the remains of a man was discovered. A search team of military and police divers also uncovered 19 detonators, knives, barbed wire, a flare, a smoke grenade, and a large amount of war weapon and handgun ammunition.

A deputy Bangkok police chief, Pol Maj General Itthiphol Phiriyaphinyo, said later the man in the canal died around a month ago, and it was not yet known whether a Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives’ employee card found nearby was his. The lower part of the body was initially in two sandbags. The skull was retrieved later.

The canal section where the body was found was occupied in rotation by either the anti-Yingluck government groups, the Dharma Army or the Students and People’s Network for Thailand’s Reform, said the officer.

In the police investigation on the Trat attack, Somsak Phoolsawas – who they say confessed to throwing a grenade at the People’s Democratic Reform Committee rally – took part in a re-enactment of his alleged crimes yesterday. He was arrested on Monday, along with Watchara Krajangklang, wanted with three members of his clan.

Police say Watchara admitted only to possessing weapons and munitions, but denied taking part in the attack.

Police also seized two AK-47 assault rifles and a large number of munitions, along with three magazines, a large number of handgun rounds, 200 ping pong bombs, field equipment and materials prepared as shrapnel, police said.

Key evidence is a Toyota pickup reportedly seen in surveillance camera footage of the Trat attack on February 22.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Thailand

Points deduction system for drivers to be introduced mid-December

The Thaiger

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Points deduction system for drivers to be introduced mid-December | The Thaiger

The point deduction system, for traffic and road infringements, is tentatively scheduled for activation for motorists and motorcyclists in mid-December. It is hoped that the system will help reduce road fatalities and injuries on Thai roads.

The deputy commander of Highways Police Command says that every licensed driver will be given an allocation of 12 points. Each time the driver commits a traffic law violation, points will be deducted. When there are no points left, the driver’s license will be suspended for 90 days, after which the driver or motorcyclist will have to undergo training administered by the Land Transport Department to get their licence back, and another 12 points.

Those who don’t attend the training, however, will have their licence returned after 90 days, but with only 8 points.

Points to be deducted differ, depending on the offence. Offences are divided into four categories:

• One point deduction

Using a cell-phone while driving; exceeding the speed limit; not wearing crash helmets for motorcyclists; not wearing seat belts; not giving way to emergency vehicles, riding on the sidewalk and not stopping for pedestrians on zebra crossings.

• Two points deduction

Running a red light; driving on the wrong side of the road; reckless driving; driving while his/her license is suspended and drunk driving.

• Three points deduction

Organising or promoting street racing without permission; hit-and run; driving while under the influence of narcotics; driving while under the influence of alcohol exceeding 150mg per ml.

• Four points deduction

Driving under the influence of alcohol exceeding 200mg per ml, drunk driving in a way which may cause serious injuries or death to the other people; driving in a manner disregarding the safety of the other people or causing trouble to other people.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Economy

Opposition hits out at government’s military spending in 2020 budget

May Taylor

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Opposition hits out at government’s military spending in 2020 budget | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Reuters | The Business Times

The opposition is accusing the government of being more concerned with military arms than the daily struggles of Thai citizens. During a debate in Parliament on the budget bill, the government was accused of caring more about the growth in military spending than citizens’ financial woes.

The opposition levied the attack after PM General Prayut Chan-o-cha delivered the 3.2 trillion baht bill to the House of Representatives. The debate on the 2020 budget is expected to continue for two more days and if approved by Parliament, the bill will come into force early next year.

The PM says the budget aligns with the “20 year strategy” to improve the living standards of the nation’s citizens while growing the economy, but opponents accuse him of making defence spending a priority.

The leader of the opposition, Sompong Amornvivat, claims that in the five years the PM has been in power, total spending has hit 14.3 trillion baht, with loans of 2.2 trillion baht, without any significant growth in the economy. He accuses the government of spending more than 6 billion baht on defence, with the Interior Ministry getting 25 billion baht more than last year.

It’s also understood that the government has also put 518.8 billion baht aside, which it can spend as it wishes, without the consent of Parliament.

The government’s tourism stimulus plan, whereby domestic tourists would be given cash incentives, also came under fire as Sompong declared it a waste of money that would do nothing to boost productivity.

The subject of the PM’s oath-taking fiasco reared its head again, as the leader of the Seree Ruam Thai Party, Pol General Sereepisut Temiyavej declared the PM and his government unfit to rule or propose a budget bill as a result of it.

Anudit Nakorntab from the Pheu Thai party said the government should postpone unnecessary spending on military arms while the country’s citizens battle economic hardship, accusing the previous junta-led administration of also prioritising the military in its spending.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Environment

Academics warn of high cost of Thai ban on agri-chemicals

May Taylor

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Academics warn of high cost of Thai ban on agri-chemicals | The Thaiger

The chairman of the Thai Sugarcane Farmers Association, Thongkam Cheongklad, says a ban on the weed-killer paraquat would have a severe impact on production costs. Academics and Thai sugarcane farmers have also expressed their concern over the ban, saying it could cost the industry up to 570 billion baht.

The Nation reports that up to 1.2 million people working in the sugarcane industry are understood to be against the ban, saying the proposed paraquat substitute is both expensive and ineffective.

The president of the Thailand Society of Sugarcane Technologists, Kitti Choonhawong, says Thailand has approximately 11 million rai dedicated to sugarcane plantations, generating about 300 billion baht a year.

He claims that a ban on agri-chemicals may lower sugar production, which in turn would affect sugar factories and cause the export market to lose as much as 94.6 billion baht. Thailand is currently the world’s second biggest sugar exporter, behind Brazil.

A research director from the Thailand Development Institute says the ban could ultimately mean the country is not allowed to produce enough food, unless chemical fertilisers are still allowed if chemical pesticides are banned.

Viroj Na Ranong says production costs will still rise however, along with labour costs, adding that the government needs to do its homework.

“The government has to implement measures based on research, not on social trends and politics.”

It’s understood that The National Hazardous Substances Committee will meet on October 27 to decide if a ban on three chemicals currently used in farming will go ahead. The substances involved are paraquat, glyphosate and chlorpyrifos and the proposal is for them to be banned from December 1.

SOURCE: The Nation

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