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Forestry officials face probe over land deeds

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Forestry officials face probe over land deeds | The Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Forestry officials face probe
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The Royal Forest Department has launched an investigation against its own officials in Nakhon Ratchasima, Phetchabun and Rayong provinces over alleged forest encroachment.

“The investigation must be completed within 45 days,” RFD director-general Theerapat PraYunrasiddhi said yesterday, adding that provincial forest chiefs were leading the fact-finding panels themselves.

“We need to find out how some individuals or legal entities have acquired land-rights documents for plots that are clearly forest reserves,” Mr Theerapat said.

Relevant authorities are now looking into many alleged encroachment cases in Nakhon Ratchasima.

Mr Theerapat said Bonanza International Speedway, which is allegedly encroaching on forest reserves in Pak Chong district, has to stop all activities in forest areas.

“We have now clearly demarcated the forest zones,” he said, adding that the facilities beyond the forest zone could still be used for now.

Available evidence suggests that Bonanza International Speedway might have expanded its facilities beyond its own land.

Meanwhile, Justice Ministry deputy permanent secretary Dusadee Arawuit disclosed that an investigation suggested that some parts of the luxury Kirimaya Resort nearby sat on agricultural-reform land.

“We expect to get clear-cut information from documents that are part of the evidence next week,” he said. Kirimaya Resort is a well-known hotel in Pak Chong district.

Mr Dusadee said that while Kirimaya Resort held some land-rights documents, they did not cover the entire area.

Meanwhile, an informed source claimed famous TV host Sorrayut Suthassanachinda could face an investigation over whether he had modified a public waterway without authorization.

The source said his title deeds specified that his land in Nakhon Ratchasima sat next to a public waterway, but current conditions show this waterway has allegedly been modified to become a personal dyke.

In a related development, RFD will call a meeting of forest-reserve chiefs next Thursday to step up measures against forest encroachment and push ahead with the policy to seize rubber plantations found in forest reserves.

Mr Theerapat said rubber plantations reportedly covered about 4 million rai (640,000 hectares) of forest zones.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Thailand bans assemblies, protests, mass gatherings citing Covid-19 fears

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Thailand bans assemblies, protests, mass gatherings citing Covid-19 fears | The Thaiger

Thailand’s government has banned assemblies, protests, and mass gatherings citing fears over Covid-19 spreading. The Royal Gazette, Thailand’s official site for publishing new laws and regulations, made the announcement late last night on the heels of another protest scheduled for today.

The ban is in place for Bangkok and 5 other provinces including Samut Prakan, Samut Songkhram, Pathum Thani, Nakhon Pathom, and Nonthaburi provinces.

Thai Government officials insist the ban on protests is not political but some are skeptical as a protest last weekend ended in violence after demonstrators tried to march to the home of PM Prayut Chan-o-cha. The “leaderless protest” set for today, by “Redem” pro-democracy group, is set to march to the Thai Criminal Court. And, protest groups on social media have stated that the new regulations will not stop scheduled future protests.

Despite the Emergency Decree that has been put in place to ban mass gatherings, the new law will cover more ground by giving the government more power to assert control over law-breakers by including fines up to 40,000 baht or up to 2 years in jail. The new law is effective until further notice.

Yesterday, the pro-democracy group Ratsadon, arrived to the outskirts of Bangkok, after a nearly 250 kilometre, 17 day long walk from the Thao Suranaree statue in Korat province’s Muang district. The group was protesting the imprisonment of 9 pro-democracy demonstrators who are being denied bail. The march, named “Walk Through the Sky: Bring Back the People’s Power,” started on February 16.

The march is expected to end today at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument, but it is unclear whether or not the protest will be stopped in accordance to the new ban.

Thailand has seen a drop in the amount of daily reported cases of Covid-19, with numbers decreasing to double-digits. The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration assistant spokeswoman is now claiming that Thailand has successfully contained the second wave of Covid, which broke out last December.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thai navy receives PETA award after rescuing cats from sinking ship

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Thai navy receives PETA award after rescuing cats from sinking ship | The Thaiger

The Thai navy is celebrating receiving a PETA award after rescuing a group of cats from a sinking ship that had caught fire in the Andaman sea. The Hero to Animals Award was given to the naval officials by the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals group after Facebook user “Nookool.b” posted photos of the feline rescue mission.

The ship’s 8 member crew had jumped off the sinking Phamonsin Nava 10 and were rescued by a passing fishing ship, but noticed 4 cats were left onboard. Navy sailors rescued the cats by carrying them piggy‐back style across the water to the navy vessel unit. The felines were safely rescued and were in good condition, just a bit dehydrated.

“They carried each cat on their backs and swam back to the Navy vessel until every cat was rescued.”

PETA Senior Vice President Jason Baker said their efforts had resonated with kind people around the world.

“Peta hopes their example will inspire everyone to keep an eye out for animals in danger and do whatever it takes to ensure their safety.”

PETA says they are sending the navy a framed certificate and letter of appreciation. The animal rights group has also offered to pay for the spaying or neutering of the cats.

In 1 rescue photo, a cat was shown to be riding piggy-back on a sailor as his crew mates pulled them both to safety. Other photos show the cats after they were rescued, enjoying food and cuddling in the naval command post in Koh Lipe.

Their rescuers, members from the Air and Coastal Defence Command Operation Unit 491, found the cats the day after they were deployed to assist the crew of the ship that had caught fire. The ship was located about 13 kilometres off Adang Island in the southern province of Satun

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand News Today | Changes to quarantine, ‘adult content’ ban continues | March 5

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Thailand News Today | Changes to quarantine, ‘adult content’ ban continues | March 5 | The Thaiger

Thailand’s Public Health Minister is chairing a meeting next Monday, where a vaccine passport scheme and potential travel bubbles is on the agenda. Anutin says those who’ve been vaccinated against Covid-19 will be issued with a book to confirm their vaccination. It’s hoped this will make international travel easier, as well as boosting the public’s confidence and helping life return to some kind of normality.

In related news…. From next month, foreign visitors to the Kingdom will be able to experience the delights of “area quarantine”, after the government confirmed the scheme for 5 provinces. Following a meeting with the Public Health Ministry, the Tourism Minister confirmed that Phuket, Krabi, Chiang Mai, Chon Buri and Surat Thani, which includes Koh Samui, have been chosen to pilot the scheme.

P**nhub and other adult websites are remaining blocked in Thailand as they apparently “conflict with good morals for upstanding citizens”. The Thai Government says the websites encourage “poor moral standpoints and can affect youth in a negative manner”.

The Acting Minister of Digital Economy and Society and current Minister of Culture says that the decision that was made by the previous office holder will be upheld. The decision also includes keeping other popular adult websites blocked as the Thai Government has labelled them to be “obscene”. But the move to ban adult content has brought protests with those disagreeing saying such sites are a part of freedom of expression.

A houseowner in the central province of Ang Thong, central Thailand, has discovered 3 skeletons on his land that are thought to be over 3,000 years old. 54 year old Somkiat Briboon says this most recent discovery isn’t the first, as the first lot of bones was found last year after preparing his 17 rai plot of land to be rented out for sugarcane farming.

The Thai PM says he’s ordered an investigation into allegations that the military has been using fraudulent social media accounts to aggravate the ongoing unrest in southern Thailand. Facebook has announced the removal of 185 accounts and groups that it has accused of “information-influencing”, targeting audiences in the deep south of the country, where Muslim insurgents continue to fight for independence. The PM says he’s tasked the Defence Ministry with looking into the matter and explaining it to the public.

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