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Fifty-nine Bangkok police station chiefs face transfer

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Fifty-nine Bangkok police station chiefs face transfer
The nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The planned transfers of a large number of police-station chiefs in Bangkok, accused of benefiting from the unlawful display of electronic advertising signboards, went closer to final approval when the Police Commission yesterday agreed in principle to the official reshuffle list.

The meeting, presided over by Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, discussed the list proposed by Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) commissioner Pol Lt Gen Sriwara Rangsiprammanakul and initially approved it.

The list names 59 station chiefs and 14 division sub-commanders to be transferred. They will all be replaced by officers from the Provincial Police Regions 2, 3 and 4, reportedly close aides of Sriwara.

Gen Prawit, speaking after the 20-minute meeting, said those disagreeing with their transfers were entitled to lodge petitions with the Central Administrative Court. He said the list would be approved officially on tomorrow and take effect on January 15.

Gen Sriwara said he was holding himself responsible for the MPB reshuffle. “Actions are taken over mistakes made. Officers who perform well, they are not being moved,” he said.

The meeting, chaired by Gen Prawit, also initially approved a reshuffle at the Central Investigation Bureau, transferring 130 officers, said Royal Thai Police spokesman Pol Lt Gen Prawut Thawornsiri.

The 130 officers were close aides of former CIB commissioner Lt Gen Pongpat Chayaphan and were allegedly involved in four crimes during his tenure: racketeering – contraband petrol trade, sale of positions, operations of gambling dens and football gambling, he added.

The annual police meeting will see changes within the Central Investigation Bureau and the Metropolitan Police Bureau, and is held each year to consider promoting and transferring police officers. According to Royal Thai Police chief Police Gen Somyos Pumpanmuang, a list of police has been presented to the committee for approval.

The officers on the lists are from the MPB and CIB. According to the police chief, only one petition has been lodged with the police commissioner seeking justice so far.

The allegation against most officers on the transfer list stems from the advertisement boards installed at a number of police kiosks. Every law enforcement officer will receive fair treatment, Gen Somyos assured.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Protests

Protesters say more rallies will kick off again at 10pm tonight if the PM doesn’t resign

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Protesters say more rallies will kick off again at 10pm tonight if the PM doesn’t resign | The Thaiger

27C with a low chance of rain. That’s what the protesters will be facing after their promise to resume anti-government protests at 10pm this evening if the Thai PM doesn’t accede to their demands for him to resign.

Phatupat Boonpathararaksa, alias Pai Daodin, released on bail from the Bangkok Remand Centre yesterday, announced this morning that speeches will be delivered tonight by a range of protesters focussing on issues relating to the Thai Prime Minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha.

The protesters have been assembled in Thung Song Hong since last night, although there was a reprieve early this morning when traffic was allowed to pass. Police say the protesters’ occupation of area in front of the Bangkok Remand Prison is illegal and that they must disperse. The protesters have also been demanding the release of 3 other protest leaders that remain detained after losing an appeal for their release earlier this afternoon. the Appeals Court denied their release on the grounds that they “may repeat similar offences if released”.

Parit “Penguin” Chivarak, Panasaya “Rung” Sitthijirawattanakul and Panupong Jardnok, aka.Mike Rayong. were charged with inciting unrest, in accordance with Section 116 of the Criminal Code, and violations of the Archaeological Venues Act (when they embedded a replacement plaque in the Sanam Luang concourse on September 20).

It appears that, after the 10pm deadline passes, there will be fresh protests at many locations around the country.

Earlier this week, following an address to the nation by Prayut Chan-o-cha, the protesters said they would give the PM until Sunday night at 10pm to deliver his resignation. That deadline was shuffled back a day to this evening. No particular reason has been offered for the revised deadline.

Police are now on site out the front of the remand prison and await the announcement of any other protest sites, a system that the protest organisers have been able to keep secret until the last minute.

Meanwhile, Royalist rallies have been held today in Nakhon Sawan, Chiang Mai, Chainat, Loei and Kamphaeng Phet provinces as a deeper polarisation starts to emerge between the two factions. Wearing the trademark yellow shirts (the colour that reprints the Thai King), the demonstrators have pledged their loyalty to the monarch and support for the Thai PM and the current ruling coalition. The pro-Monarchy demonstrators say their providing a balance to the anti-government protests and point out the comments made by the pro-democracy demonstrators and criticisms of the current Thai King.

There now seems a concerted effort to win the ‘numbers’ game and see who can attract the largest numbers to rallies. With parliament being called back to an extraordinary session on Monday and Tuesday to debate the current impasse, there is little doubt that the rallies, from both sides, will continue to ramp up in number and rhetoric in coming weeks.

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Bangkok

The Isan Project honours a hero of Tham Luang cave rescue

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The Isan Project honours a hero of Tham Luang cave rescue | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Former Thai Sports and Tourism Minister with Vernon Unsworth MBE

The Isan Project has collaborated with the TAT on new marketing campaign featuring music commemorating the Tham Luang cave rescue.

The story of how 13 young men, members of the Mu Pa (Wild Boar) football team, were saved in the caves of Chiang Rai continues to ignites interest in the miraculous internationally-followed rescue in July 2018 from the flooded Tham Luang cave

To honour the safe rescue music video company The Isan Projectrecently launched “Where the Eagles Fly”, video to pay tribute to the British hero of the dramatic saga, Vern Unsworth MBE.

The release of a movie and Netflix mini series shortly will also boost interest globally in Thailand. The series includes the first individual interviews with the boys and they coach.

The launch, in collaboration with the Tourism Authority of Thailand, and supported by the Hyatt Regency Bangkok Sukhumvit and Serenity Wines, was attended by several key persons involved in the rescue mission two years ago, including former Tourism & Sports Minister, Weerasak Kowsurat, who played a major role in flying in special cave divers from the UK as requested by Vernon Unsworth, a recognised cave explorer, who knows virtually every inch of the Tham Luang cave.

“It is absolutely true that without Vernon’s persistence in obtaining the help from the UK cave diving experts to initially spearhead the rescue mission, the boys and their coach would not be alive today.”

“Needless to say, assistance from experienced and skilled cave divers from around the world, who later volunteered to join as well as our own Navy Seals, all contributed to the mission’s ultimate success.”

Vernon Unsworth MBE, his partner Woranan Ratrawiphakkun, and his caving buddy Kamon Kunngamkwamdee, all starred in the “Where the Eagles Fly” fantasy music video, which was set in deep jungle and caves in the mountain of Doi Nang Non in Chiang Rai, Thailand.

“I’m truly honoured to have this song written about me. It was very moving to relive parts of the rescue while making the music video, especially when I think back on how Kamon and I covered over 16 km. on the first day after we knew the boys were missing. We virtually lived in the cave for the first 4 days prior to the arrival of my cave diving colleagues from the UK”.

The story of how the football team were saved in the caves is a heart warming one. For many attending the event it was a privilege and an honour to meet 63 year old Vernon Unsworth in person. An event filled with stories of bravery, emotion and moving music.

Vernon, who has mapped the cave system for 8 years, was the first professional cave diver at the site and realising the enormous danger the boys were in, played a significant rôle in the rescue and earned him the UK’s high honour, an MBE medal.

As the rescue became a race against time ahead of impending monsoon rains, Vernon undertook reconnaissance dives upstream through flooded passages against strong currents.

Weerasak Kowsurat, the former Minister of Tourism and Sports, recalled how a message written on a piece of paper by Vernon and handed to his colleague for safe keeping with instructions that it was to be handed over in case Vernon, fearing the worst, didn’t make it out on an exploratory dive. It was very dangerous work and one Thai diver died during the course of the rescue.

Although Vernon was safe, the message was handed to the Minister who was at the cave site. The message was to contact the British Dive Caving Association and gave names of expert divers and telephone numbers. Within 24 hours the Tourism Minister had managed to get the UK divers on a hastily arranged flight to Thailand to assist in the rescue effort.

The team of UK divers, working under appalling conditions and with time running out, in poor visibility located the team marooned on a ledge above the water about 4 kilometres inside the cave complex.

Writer and executive producer of The Isan Project, Will Robinson says… “Although I had penned and produced “Heroes of Thailand” honouring all those involved in the Tham Luang cave rescue, I felt it was time to pay a special tribute directly to the mastermind of the extremely complex mission.”

“Vernon is such a humble man, I wanted to create a song not only to honour him, but also to establish Tham Luang and what is now known as the ‘Wild Boar Cave’, where the boys were found, as a new tourist attraction for those who love to explore caves.”

At the beginning of the video it reads…

“On June 23, 2018, 12 boys from the Wild Boar football team went exploring the Tham Luang cave with their coach in Chiang Rai. They never returned home that night, next day locals contacted cave explorer Vern Unsworth in nearby Mae Fah Luang. Over the course of the next two weeks Vern put his life on the line for the young football team with a daring rescue engineered by Vern and Elite British cave divers. This song was written in honour of Vern Unsworth M.B.E. and inspired by the above events.”

You can watch the video HERE.

Commenting on the Isan Project Tanes Petsuwan, TAT’s Deputy Governor of Marketing Communications said, “TAT appreciates Will’s love of Thailand, and we are delighted to be supporting this launch. We also believe that this song combined with the newly-published children’s book, “All Thirteen” and the soon-to-be released Hollywood movie, “Thirteen Lives”, will help to dramatically boost tourism in and around Chiang Rai even though we will need to rely mainly on domestic tourists until the end of the year while international travel is still restricted.”

“Where the Eagles Fly”, co-written by Will Robinson and Daniel Ryan, and performed by Daniel himself, is tipped to top the charts when the MGM blockbuster movie, “Thirteen Lives” and the Netflix mini-series about the epic story of the Tham Luang cave rescue are released. The song is now available from all digital music stores including iTunes, Spotify, Apple and Amazon.

The Isan Project honours a hero of Tham Luang cave rescue | News by The Thaiger

From left: Mr. Sobchai (Ford) Kraiyoonsen Singer/composer, Mr. Tanes Petsuwan TAT’s Deputy Governor of Marketing Communications, Senator Weerasak Kowsurat former Minister of Tourism and Sports, Mr. Vern Unsworth British cave explorer, Mr. Will Robinson Writer and Executive Producer of The Isan Project, Mr. Nithee Seeprae TAT’s Executive Director of Advertising & PR Department, Ms. Woranan Ratrawiphakkun Vern’s partner, Mr. Sammy Carolus GM of the Hyatt Regency Bangkok Sukhumvit

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Protests

Protester released from remand prison, demands Thai PM’s resignation by 10pm tonight

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Protester released from remand prison, demands Thai PM’s resignation by 10pm tonight | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Bangkok remand prison

Protesters are continuing to pour on the pressure, now demanding the resignation of the Thai PM by 4pm this afternoon. Following the prime minister’s speech to the nation on Wednesday evening, protesters had earlier said they would “stand down” and shuffled their deadline forward for the PM’s resignation to Sunday night.

But last night anti-government protesters set a 10pm deadline tonight for the resignation.

Chatupat Boonpatthararaksa, aka. Pai Daodin, freed from the Bangkok Remand Prison yesterday after a hearing by the Appeals Court, demanded the release of all remanded protesters and announced his demand for PM Prayut’s resignation. Protesters are demanding the release of 8 other key protest leaders, still being held at the prison – Parit Chivarak, Panasaya Sitthijirawattanakul and Panupong Jardnok,aka. Mike Rayong.

Chatupat joined other protesters who were camped outside the prison. Word spread of Chatupat’s release and even more people joined in the protest, until the entire road outside the prison was completely blocked. The protesters had cleared by 5am this morning, allowing traffic to pass again.

The spontaneous demonstration involved drawings of other prisoners, still in detention, as well as likenesses of the Thai PM, scrawled onto white cloth. There was also music and the singing of anti-government songs, and peppered with speeches.

The demands of the protesters for a resignation of Prayut Chan-o-cha by 10pm is unlikely to be met, nor the other deadline, set for “Sunday night”. The Thai Parliament enters 2 days of emergency joint sitting on Monday and Tuesday as they address the current political impasse.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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