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Junta revokes passports of Charupong and Jakrapob

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Junta revokes passports of Charupong and Jakrapob
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The military junta yesterday revoked the passports of six dissidents living overseas in a move to block their capacity to travel and force them to return home.

The Foreign Ministry cancelled the travel documents on June 26, permanent-secretary Sihasak Phuangketkeow said.

The six whose passports have been revoked are former Pheu Thai leader Charupong Ruangsuwan, Pheu Thai member Sunai Julpongsathorn, along with members of the red-shirt movement – Jakrapob Penkair, Chatwadee Amornpat, Ekkapob Luara and Attachai Anuntamek.

The junta said the passports were revoked because the six individuals refused to respond to its summonses and now face criminal charges.

Sihasak said since Thailand does not have an extradition agreement with Hong Kong, where Jakrapob is believed to be hiding, his situation requires further discussion.

Jakrapob – who has been living overseas since 2009 – said this revocation of passports would only make those standing against the junta into political fugitives.

And the termination of travel documents has not always helped bring dissidents back home.

In 2009, the Abhisit Vejjajiva government revoked former PM Thaksin Shinawatra’s passport because he allegedly tried to provoke the red shirts into disrupting the Asean Summit in Pattaya in April of that year. Thaksin has lived abroad on the run from a two-year jail term after being convicted over a land-purchase scandal.

However, the revocation of Thaksin’s passport has done little to stop him, as he has been granted citizenship and travel documents by other countries. When Thaksin’s sister Yingluck became prime minister in 2011, he was re-issued a Thai passport because her government did not regard him as a threat to the country.

Meanwhile, Attorney-General spokesman Nantasak Poolsuk said his office was ready to seek extradition of Jakrapob once it receives a police request as he faced another arrest warrant for alleged links to war weapons seized recently. However, he said he was unsure if his office or the military would handle the legal case because arrest warrants had been issued by the military court.

In a Facebook message on Sunday, Jakrapob denied having anything to do with the arms.

However, deputy police chief Pol Gen Somyot Poompanmoung said yesterday the recent arrest of eight people responsible for war weapons seized in Wangnoi in Ayutthaya had found that Jakrapob was involved and supported their movement.

Separately, Charupong and Jakrapob launched a social-media-based anti-coup movement called Organisation of Free Thais for Human Rights and Democracy last Tuesday and posted video clips, which were later blocked. The group has also removed its account from Facebook after being attacked by other users.

In his weekly television address on Friday, junta chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha urged both Charupong and Jakrapob to surrender and defend themselves in court. He also said it was time they came home otherwise the number of cases against them would only grow.

Initially, the ruling National Council for Peace and Order called all conflicting factions to report themselves.

However, it was mostly those fighting against the former Pheu Thai-led government who complied, while government supporters resisted. When the junta issued warrants to bring them in, some went into hiding.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Pattaya

Woman and 2 children escape unharmed after car flips over in Pattaya

Maya Taylor

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Woman and 2 children escape unharmed after car flips over in Pattaya | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Rak Siam News

A woman who lost control of her car, making the vehicle flip over, has had a lucky escape, along with her 2 young children, who were unharmed in the incident. 36 year old Suweena Rodpan says she was driving in the rain, on Pattaya’s Sukhumvit Road, when she lost control of the car due to the wet surface. She subsequently collided with another vehicle in front of her, before her own car flipped over.

Suweena, along with her 11 year old son and 8 year old daughter, were not injured in the incident, nor was the driver of the other vehicle.

Pattaya City Police have launched an investigation into the accident, but it is not yet known if Suweena will face charges.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Crime

5 arrested in Pattaya with machine gun and crystal meth

Caitlin Ashworth

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5 arrested in Pattaya with machine gun and crystal meth | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai Visa

Police arrested 5 people, including juveniles, who were allegedly carrying a machine gun, a handgun and bullets as well as crystal methamphetamine and ecstasy. One suspect allegedly told police he needed the machine gun to protect himself from a “powerful enemy.” Police say all of the suspects tested positive for methamphetamine use.

The car was passing through a police checkpoint in Pattaya city near the Sukhumvit intersection on North Pattaya Road when police searched the vehicle, finding the 2 guns and ammunition as well as 5 bags of crystal methamphetamine and 3 bags of ecstasy. Police did not say how much each bag weighed.

Police say there 2 women and 3 men were in the vehicle. They did not release the names or ages, but say some of the suspects were juveniles. One of the suspects took responsibility for the illegal weapons, saying he needed the machine gun to protect himself, police say. Police did not say why the suspect needed to be protected.

At the Pattaya City Police station, the 5 suspects took a urine drug test. Police say all of the urine samples came back “purple,” a positive result for methamphetamine use. Police are continuing their investigations before pressing charges.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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Pattaya

Pattaya City council pushes for action against abandoned Waterfront condo project

The Thaiger

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Pattaya City council pushes for action against abandoned Waterfront condo project | The Thaiger

The Pattaya City Council is pushing for action, any action, against the abandoned 53 story Waterfront Suites and Residence luxury condo after it has been left as an eyesore for many years overlooking the Bali Hai Pier. 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.

Thai Engineering, however, allegedly ignored the stop-work order and continued, but the company says it was not informed from the developers to stop. The project was originally launched and proposed back in 2004.

In July, 2014, Pattaya city officials halted construction of the condo and hotel project following an internet firestorm after photos showing the tower obstructing a “classic” Pattaya viewpoint. The majority of comments were negative, claiming the project ruined the viewpoint hill and the area around Bali Hai pier and was an “eyesore”. The mayor at the time, Itthiphol Kuneplome spoke up for the project and said that it had continually followed correct and fully transparent legal processes.

Then the condo’s Israeli-owned Bali Hai Company, due to complaints about the condo’s obstruction of the natural landscape and land permit issues, filed a petition with the Central Bankruptcy Court in Bangkok for debt restructuring which subsequently failed as the company went bankrupt.

The Pattaya Court has ordered for the condo to be legitimately demolished but due to legal proceedings against the company dragging along, the condo continues to sit abandoned. Furthermore, Pattaya City authorities were rejected by the departments that would carry out the demolition citing that the authorities were not specialised in estimating the cost of such a demolition. Now the authorities are still trying to get estimates from 11 different companies to outsource the demolition which is contributing to the delay.

But the Pattaya City Council chairman says that law firms should take control and use photographs and other documents before collecting the evidence to speed up the process. Regardless, the demolition of the condo is in limbo as pending lawsuits are preventing it from moving forward.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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