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I am not racist – Surachete Hakparn

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I am not racist – Surachete Hakparn | The Thaiger
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by Kornkamon Aksorndech

The acting Immigration Police chief Pol Maj-General Surachate Hakparn, who recently was promoted to the job because of his relentless crackdowns on foreigners, is vowing to continue with his mission of removing overstaying or illegal foreigners.

But netizens are raising questions of racism, as a large proportion of the foreigners nabbed in recent months were of African descent. Surachate insists this is all part of his job to weed out overstayers and foreign criminals.

He cites the most recent case of two South African men – 33 year old Dladla Prince Nkosinathi and 35 year old Benjamin Moloi – who were arrested for drug offences and visa overstays.

Nkosinathi was nabbed on Sunday at Central Bang Na with 4.1 grams of cocaine that he was about to deliver to a local buyer. Police investigators learned that the cocaine supplier was an African man living in the Sukhumvit area. When police searched Nkosinathi’s rented room, they came upon Moloi, who had overstayed his visa by 359 days and claimed to have been looking for a job as a football player.

Football was also used in another recent case. A 27 year old Ghanaian was caught with forged documents that showed him to be a player of Ayuthaya City Football Club. Wilson Zack Kofi would got away if his other document had not displayed the name of another club – Sa Kaew FC. It was this mismatch that caught the attention of Immigration officials, who launched a probe and discovered the alleged forgery.

Since both clubs denied knowledge of the man, Kofi’s visa was revoked on grounds of being a “danger to society”. The suspect confessed to falsely using the clubs’ names, Surachate said.

In another case, Surachate said a Chinese man identified as ‘Ma Pho’ and his five Thai associates were arrested over allegations of the former using the five locals as nominees to open and operate a para-rubber bedding business in Bangkok’s Huai Khwang district.

The Thai suspects were identified as Parinee Saetae, Thaweesak Madnoh, Pakhamon Madnoh, Savitree Saengsattra and Siew Chen.

Surachate said initial investigation showed that Ma Pho had provided all the capital for the business, hence this was a “business nominee” case, which violated the 1999 Foreign Business Act. This offence is punishable by a maximum three-year jail term and/or a fine of 100,000 to 1 million baht. He added that police were also hunting for two other Thai suspects Thanwit Binsa-lae and Tukta Eiumsai in relation to the case.

Meanwhile, in a move to lure more foreign visitors Surachate is working on securing waiver of visa fees for travellers from 22 nations, including Taiwan, for a 60 day stamp from November 15 onwards. He is set to put his proposal forward to the Cabinet today.

The top cop also checked on officers at Suvarnabhumi Airport yesterday morning to ensure their preparedness and ordered an improvement in Immigration queues to accommodate the many visitors.

STORY: The Nation

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Thailand News Today | Shots fired, the yellow ducks, “no coup” promise | November 26

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Thailand News Today | Shots fired, the yellow ducks, “no coup” promise | November 26 | The Thaiger

Today’s news includes some live footage of the explosion and chaos at last night’s rally outside the Siam Commercial Bank building. Here we go with today’s Thailand news.

An explosion and gunshots fired at last night’s protest outside the Siam Commercial Bank HQ

There were reports of shootings and the throwing of an explosive device, caught on video at last night’s protest out the front of the Siam Commercial Bank HQ.

2 people were shot and injured in the chaos that erupted as people were starting to head home after the rally at about 10.10pm.

Firstly there was a man, dressed in a bike helmet, caught on camera hurling some explosive, through to be a pipe bomb, into a crowd of protesters. After the explosion there was up to 4 gunshots fired. A gunman was apprehended whilst other alleged shooters escaped into the crowd. Both the injured protesters were rushed to hospital. The protesters had their own security contingent present at yesterday’s rally, some 50 volunteers, who co-operated with police in their immediate investigation into the incident.

Yellow ducks dominate at Bangkok pro-democracy rally

Speaking about the protests, what is it about the yellow inflatable ducks that keep popping up at the rallies?

Having been used at protests in Hong Kong earlier this year, the rubber duck has also become a regular feature at the Thai protests, a symbol of mutual support between both pro-democracy movements. And, more practically, became a useful defensive shield to fend off the water cannons and anything else that ended up hurled at the protesters.

At yesterday’s rally outside the SCB building, the duck could be seen everywhere, with enterprising vendors selling t-shirts, toys, hats, torches and hair pins, all bearing the yellow duck’s image.

Yesterday’s protest was originally set to take place at the Crown Property Bureau, but organisers took to social media the night before to announce a change of location to the SCB headquarters. Protest leaders say the change was to avoid a confrontation with royalists who, they claim, were being deliberately sent to provoke them.

10 passengers injured after Bangkok-Chiang Khong bus crashes into tree

10 people were injured and sent to the hospital after a bus driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a tree early this morning.

The double-decker passenger bus on the Bangkok-Chiang Khong route was passing through the Phitsanulok province in Central Thailand when the driver lost control and crashed into a tree on the side of the road. The incident happened at 2:50am.

Thai PM insists martial law will not be used against protesters

Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha says he has no intention of resorting to martial law to put an end to the current political impasse and protests. He says that existing laws provide enough scope for dealing with those who take matters into their own hand.

But the then General Prayut, head of the Thai army, made similar assurances in the latter stages of the Yingluck Shinawatra government before he led the NCPO in a bloodless military coup against her government in May 2014.

City officials plan to demolish abandoned Pattaya condo project

After years of talks, threats, and complaints, the abandoned Waterfront condo development overlooking Pattaya’s Bali Hai pier looks set to be demolished.

The Waterfront Suites and Residence is a half-finished condo project that was stalled in 2014 after safety inspectors discovered that the building’s fire escapes and elevator systems designs varied from the already approved construction designs.

Now Pattaya’s mayor says officials plan to tear down what many have condemned as an eyesore, “as soon as possible”, and charge the owners for the costs of the demolition.

The Israeli-owned development company, Bali Hai, are accused of violating building regulations, by building a structure that exceeds the legal height limit, as well as restrictions on proximity to the beach. Local residents have also complained that the development obstructs the panoramic vista of the bay from Pattaya Hill.

Ex-Thai Airways official gets fat prison sentence for failing to pay excess baggage fees

You’ll never complain about excess baggage charges after hearing what happened to a former Chairman of Thai Airways who’s ended up with a 2 year prison sentence for fudging his baggage allowance on a flight back in 2009.

The former chair for the airline has been sentenced to 2 years in jail because he didn’t pay for 300 kilograms of excess baggage. The court says he abused his authority by ordering airline staff to change the stated weight of luggage so he could get out of paying excess baggage fees.

The judge says the sentence could not be suspended. Ex Chairman Wallop’s lawyers say they will appeal the harsh sentence.

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Royal Thai Army denies claims about Twitter campaign to spread pro-government propaganda

Caitlin Ashworth

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Royal Thai Army denies claims about Twitter campaign to spread pro-government propaganda | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

Following a shutdown of 926 Twitter accounts linked to the Royal Thai Army, documents were leaked of what appears to be a contract between the Army and a private company supposedly hired to spread pro-government propaganda.

Army chief Narongphan Jitkaewtae denies the claims and says the Army never hired a company to spread pro-government propaganda through the Twitter accounts.

Last month, Twitter announced that it had suspended 926 accounts linked to the Royal Thai Army for violating the social media company’s “platform manipulation” policies.

A report by Stanford Internet Observatory’s Cyber Policy Centre says the Army used Twitter to “cheerlead” with pro-government propaganda. The report says the Army used Twitter to criticise the now disbanded Future Forward Party and neutralism criticism after February’s mass shooting where an Army soldier killed 30 people and injured 57 others.

Former Future Forward Party spokesperson Pannika Wanich says members of the opposition plan to sue the Army for “using tax money to cause divisions and hatred among Thais.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Thai officials approve transfer of 3 Iranians involved in 2012 botched bomb plot in Bangkok

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai officials approve transfer of 3 Iranians involved in 2012 botched bomb plot in Bangkok | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO

Thai authorities are transferring 3 Iranian inmates to Tehran. The inmates were involved in the 2012 failed bomb plot, which Israeli and Thai officials say, was targeted at Israeli diplomats in Bangkok.

According to Iranian state TV, the transfer was a swap. The report says 33 year old British-Australian Kylie Moore-Gilbert, who was incarcerated for the past 2 years on espionage charges, was released from Iran prison in exchange for the 3 Iranians imprisoned overseas.

Although Iranian media reports the transfer was a prisoner swap, Thai officials have not confirmed the reports. Thailand’s deputy general Chatchom Akapin says the transfers are normal and Thailand approved the transfer in an agreement with Iran.

“These types of transfers aren’t unusual… We transfer prisoners to other countries and at the same time receive Thais back under this type of agreement all the time.”

Back in 2012, a cache of homemade explosives accidentally blew up at a Bangkok villa on Sukhumvit 71 rented by the Iranians. Saeid Moradi fled the home carrying explosives, but dropped them as police chased him. He lost both his legs in the explosion.

While both Thai and Israeli officials say the explosives were intended to attack Israeli diplomats in Bangkok, Iran officials deny the allegations. The men never faced terrorism charges or any charges relating to attempting to kill the Israeli diplomats.

Moradi along with his accomplice, Mohammad Kharzei, were convicted in 2013. Thai Court sentenced Moradi to life in prison for attempting to murder a police officer and sentenced Kharzei to 15 years in prison for possessing explosives. Another suspect, Masoud Sedaghatzadeh, was arrested in Malaysia in 2012 and then extradited to Thailand in 2017.

SOURCE: Associated Press

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