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Former Thai PM Banharn Silpa-archa passes away

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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THAILAND: Former Prime Minister of Thailand Banharn Silpa-archa died at the age of 83, following an asthma attack last week.

The Chart Thai Pattana patriarch passed away peacefully in the early hours yesterday, after two days of treatment at Siriraj Hospital.

Mr Banharn was born on August 19, 1932 in Suphan Buri Province as the fourth of six children of a merchant with Chinese ancestry. His family sold goods at a local market.

The late veteran politician graduated from Prateep Wittayalai School in his home province and continued his education in Bangkok, pursuing a diploma degree at Bangkok Business College while at the same time working with his brother in a construction business.

Mr Banharn made a fortune in trade and construction, including being a chlorine distributor for the Provincial Waterworks Authority.

He started his political career in 1974, following the recommendation of Boon-ua Prasertsuwan in the early days of the Chart Thai Party, and was appointed a member of the then-National Legislative Assembly and the Senate the following year.

In 1976, Mr Banharn won his first term representing Suphan Buri and subsequently won another 10 elections, monopolizing the province’s representative post.

He also served in the important role of deputy industry minister since his first term as a member of House of Representatives, earning several nicknames based on his ethnicity and his influence, such as ‘Suphan Buri’s Dragon’.

Mr Banharn served as a minister and deputy minister under multiple administrations during the first twenty years of his political career from the late 1970s, while his position in the Chart Thai Party was simultaneously advancing equally.

His political career reached its peak in 1995 when Chart Thai won the majority vote in Parliament and was the leading party to form a coalition government. Mr Banharn, as the party’s secretary general, stepped up and became the 21st prime minister of Thailand.

However, his administration was barely in power for a year and a half, when it lost due to a vote of no confidence in November 1996, after being accused of inefficiency.

The then-opposition led by the Democrat Party also claimed Mr Banharn’s birth certificate showed that he did not hold Thai nationality and was thus disqualified to be prime minister. Other coalition government parties consequently called on him to resign, leading to him deciding to dissolve Parliament.

The legacy of the Banharn administration is the constitutional amendment that led to the setting up of the Constitution Drafting Assembly, which wrote the 1997 Constitution – deemed by many as one of the most democratic charters the country has had. Thus, it could be said that the political reform push was initiated under his government.

After his stint as prime minister, Mr Banharn did not serve as a minister again during his later political career. However, he continued to run in elections to represent his stronghold Suphan Buri and won every one of them.

The last time he was elected as a representative was in 2007, when he recorded the highest vote of any constituency in the country.

He married Jamsai Silpa-archa in 1962 and the couple had three children; Kanchana, Parichart and Warawut.

Credited for Suphan Buri’s impressive growth, many schools and other facilities in the province have been named after him and his wife, such as Banharn-Jamsai School and Banharn-Jamsai Tower.

— The Nation

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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

Another drug bust near the Mekong River, 500 kilograms of cannabis seized

Caitlin Ashworth

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Another drug bust near the Mekong River, 500 kilograms of cannabis seized | The Thaiger
PHOTO: MGR Online

In another drug bust in Northeastern province Nakhon Phanom, police arrested a man and seized 500 kilograms of compressed cannabis. Just yesterday, border patrol police in the province seized 920 kilograms of compressed cannabis from a boat on the Mekong River. In both cases, police suspect the cannabis came from Laos, just across the river.

Police say they searched a black Nissan Navara pickup around 1am in the province’s Na Kae district. Police opened the truck’s bed cover and found 12 sacks with 500 packages of dried, compacted cannabis. Each package of cannabis weighed 1 kilogram, similar to the previous bust on the river.

28 year old Saravut Butngam was arrested. Saravut previously worked in construction, but has recently been unemployed. He allegedly told police that a man called him with an opportunity to make 50,000 baht. He was told to drive the pickup truck from a petrol station in the Na Kae district to a specified location in the neighbouring province Sakon Nakhon, police say. From there, another driver would take over.

Border police commander Sippanan Sornkhunkaew says he suspects the cannabis seized in the province was trafficked from Laos across the Mekong River. He says he believes the cannabis was planned to be trafficked to Southern Thailand and then smuggled across the border, possibly to Malaysia.

On Sunday morning, police confiscated 920 kilograms of cannabis from a boat on the Mekong River. When police approached the boat, men jumped off onto a smaller boat and fled the scene. The dried, compacted cannabis was wrapped in 1 kilogram packages.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand

How to Wai like a Thai, with Som | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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How to Wai like a Thai, with Som | VIDEO | The Thaiger

The wai, the polite gesture Thais use for greetings, farewells, prayers and even apologies, dates back to the 12th century, where both hands clasped together in front proved that you weren’t holding a weapon. That’s the folklore anyway.

Recently, the greeting has increased in general popularity around the world as a anti-Covid ‘safe’ replacement for the western handshake. So, how, when and with whom should you wai? Here’s a few easy tips to learn how to wai. Today Som teaches us some of the basics of the lovely Thai ‘wai’ (pronounced ‘why’).

As a foreigner you don’t look Thai, dress Thai and you probably can’t eat full-strength Thai curry either. So this means you’re exempt from Thailand’s most nuanced courtesies. There’s a lot of subtlety in the Thai wai so, chances are, you’re not going to get it right. But your best efforts will be appreciated.

How to wai when you’re uncertain? At a minimum, when someone wais to you, return the gesture with a kind smile and an acknowledging nod. In restaurants and shops: You’ll often receive a wai from shop and restaurant staff. It’s not necessary to wai in return to anyone providing you with a service of this nature. Instead, a nice (grateful) smile is plenty. To children / those younger than you:

Also, there’s no need to wai to a child or anyone who’s clearly younger than you – so, baby boomers, you’re increasingly in the clear! The wai is a mark of respect to elders.

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Bangkok

Thailand News Today | Bangkok protest fallout, northern fire bans | March 1

The Thaiger

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Thailand News Today | Bangkok protest fallout, northern fire bans | March 1 | The Thaiger

Coming up today… the fallout from yesterday’s latest protest violence in Bangkok, the first vaccine in Thailand who got it, and a major drug haul along the Mekong.

But first we’ll start up north where Lampang Province is joining other northern provinces todday by putting a total fire ban in place from today, March 1, until the end of April. Chiang Mai also started a ban on all deliberately lit fires from today and Lamphun, just south of Chiang Mai, already has one in place.

The bans are timely after a horrid weekend of air pollution in many of Thailand’s provinces over the long weekend, even as far south as the tourist destination of Phuket where visibility was down to about 1 kilometre and the smell of smoke was noticeable.

Whilst up in the north… 4 Thai women were arrested at a security checkpoint in Tak’s Mae Sot district after they illegally crossed the border from Myanmar into Thailand.

Illegal casinos and fancy hi-so massage parlours in Myanmar in areas near the border, have attracted wealthy Thais and Burmese. The establishments have also attracted plenty of Thais looking for well-paid work across the border.

In a major bust along the Mekong River, a notorious hotzone for drug trafficking, border patrol police seized 920 kilograms of dried, compacted cannabis from a boat along the Nakhon Pathom riverbank, bordering Laos.

Now to the weekend violence as the protests resume where they left off last year…

At least 22 people were arrested during the major Bangkok protest yesterday. It turned violent as pro-democracy activists marched toward the Thai PM’s residence. It’s been reported that one officer died during the rally, reportedly due to heart failure.

At least 33 people were injured… that includes 23 police officers. The clashes happened in front of 1st Infantry Regiment barracks on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road and involved around 1,500-2,000 activists fromthe Restart Democracy movement, part of the Free Youth group. The group has been protesting against the government and calling for reform of the country’s constitution and monarchy since protests began in July of last year.

And Thailand’s Covid-19 vaccine campaign started with Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul who received the first of China’s Sinovac vaccine yesterday. PM Prayut Chan-o-cha was initially planned to be the first to kick off Thailand’s immunisation plan with the AstraZeneca vaccine, but due to problems with paperwork, the PM’s injection was postponed.

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