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Marine Police exchief admits to B150mn in bribes; hundreds of police to be reassigned

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Marine police exchief admits taking bribes; hundreds of police to be reassigned
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Police spokesman Lt Gen Prawut Thawornsiri yesterday confirmed that a former Marine Police chief had confessed to taking 150 million baht in bribes from a fugitive Pattani-based businessman.

A source said the admission by Pol Maj Gen Bunsueb Phraitheun confirmed police theory that corrupt policemen and security officials had been taking bribes, which made it easy for Sahachai “Sia Jo” Jiansermsin to operate his petrol-smuggling business in the Deep South.

In his confession, Gen Bunsueb helped police trace a number of names deciphered from nicknames and aliases that belonged to a large number of policemen and security officials. These names were found in lists seized in raids conducted at Sahachai’s home, both before and after he fled, a source said.

The Marine Police comes under the jurisdiction of the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB), and its former chief Lt Gen Pongpat Chayaphan and several other CIB senior officers have been arrested for intimidating debtors and extortion. This shakedown of the bureau is expected to result in a large-scale transfer of officers with ties to the former crime-buster.

Gen Prawut repeated that the officers facing transfer are not necessarily accused of any crimes, but

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were being moved as part of a reshuffle of CIB after Pongpat’s arrest. Some 200 CIB officers and 60 from the powerful Crime Suppression Division – also under the CIB – will be transferred, according to earlier news reports quoting several high-ranking police sources.

The Criminal Court yesterday extended the detention of Gen Pongpat and nine other police officers and civilians by another 12 days for a third time after police objected to the request for temporary release. The bail hearing yesterday was done via teleconferencing with the 10 suspects in detention.

Hunting down offenders

Meanwhile, Gen Prawut said a committee had been set up to pursue people or anti-coup groups overseas who post slanderous messages on websites or the social media that could be deemed as violating the lese majeste law. This is on the orders of Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-ocha.

“It is difficult to bring these violators to justice because the offence is not applicable in the countries where they live,” he added.

Police have yet to find the people who are believed to have manipulated the Thai stock market in 2008 and are said to have a hand in yesterday’s record plunge in the index, he said.

Gen Prawut also defended a legal amendment that would empower members of the Police Special Branch to conduct searches and make arrests without warrants.

He said this would not lead them to abuse their power, but it was a tool to fight crimes against national security and lese majeste.

Hundreds of police reassigned

More than 260 Royal Thai Police officers serving in the same unit as a disgraced former commander would be reassigned, police said Tuesday.

The 262 officers being transferred were part of the “network” of disgraced former Central Investigation Bureau chief Gen Pongpat Chayapan, police chief Somyot Poompanmoung told reporters.

The reshuffle is the largest of its kind and is to include officers ranging from patrolmen to deputy commanders, he said.

Gen Pongpat was arrested along with several senior officers in late November for charges of corruption, extortion and lese-majeste. Over 1 billion baht in cash and other valuables were found in his home during a police search.

Local media reported that the lese-majeste charges were brought because Gen Pongpat would claim he was acting on royal behalf to intimidate business connections. Gen Pongpat is related to the wife of the crown prince, Sirasmi, who has since renounced her royal titles and public role.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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Thailand

‘Safe zone’ in Thailand for refugees fleeing Myanmar violence

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Facebook/ Karen Information Centre

Due to the ongoing violence between the Myanmar military and ethnic troops, the Thai military has set up a “safe zone” for thousands of refugees in Mae Hong Son near the Salween River, the natural border between Thailand and Myanmar.

The prominent armed wing of the Karen National Union has openly supported the anti-coup movement in Myanmar, leading to clashes with the military junta. Recently, the Karen National Liberation Army reported took over a military outpost near the Thai border. Those just across the Salween River in Thailand said they could hear the gunshots and explosions.

Defence Ministry spokesperson Kongcheep Tantravanich says shelter and humanitarian assistance are being provided for around 2,200 people who have fled Myanmar.

Kongcheep says the “safe zone” is under tight security and only those authorised can enter. There are strict health and disease control measures are in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

His statement comes after the local civil rights group People of Salween River Basin Network called on the Thai government not to push refugees back, claiming that Thai soldiers had been ordered to tell the refugees to return to their home country due to a potential negative impact with border trade.

They say the Myanmar military has been carrying out airstrikes on Karen army bases and many Karen villagers fear for their safety.

Mae Hong Son governor, Sitthichai Jindaluang, also told a United Nations representative last week that refugees have been given shelter and assistance.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Facebook/ศูนย์ข้อมูล COVID-19

1,630 new Covid-19 cases and 22 coronavirus-related deaths were reported today in the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration’s daily briefing. There are now 29,376 active Covid-19 cases. Since the start of the pandemic last year, the CCSA has reported 85,005 Covid-19 cases and 421 Covid-related deaths.

Out of the 22 deaths, most of the patients had chronic illnesses. Many contracted the virus from family members or close friends.

Most of the new cases were detected in Bangkok, particularly in districts with crowded communities and markets. While cases in Bangkok continue to be high, CCSA spokesperson Natapanu Nopakun says the number of new cases in most other provinces in Thailand is decreasing.

Health officials are rolling out proactive case finding campaigns in several high-risk communities, testing 9,000 to 10,000 per day, Nopakun says, adding that officials are working to provide the appropriate treatment as quickly as possible.

Those who test positive for Covid-19 and are asymptomatic must stay at an official field hospital for 14 days and then self-isolate at home for another 14 days.

Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

 

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Thailand

Thailand donates cash, equipment to Laos to help combat Covid-19 outbreak

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Facebook/ Royal Thai Embassy Vientiane

With Laos, just north of Thailand, under lockdown measures to control a spike of Covid-19 infections, the Royal Thai Embassy to Laos helping the country combat the outbreak and has donated cash and materials valued altogether at more than 16 million baht.

While cases have remained low in Laos since the start of the pandemic last year with active cases typically under 10, there was a spike in cases in mid-April and active cases are now at 1,302. The country reported its first coronavirus-related death yesterday.

Thailand donates cash, equipment to Laos to help combat Covid-19 outbreak | News by Thaiger

Active Covid-19 cases in Laos as of 9 May 2021, according to Worldometers.

Donations from Thailand help supply mobile biosafety labs to conduct swab Covid-19 testing and beds for Covid-19 patients as well as protective equipment such including 50,000 medical masks and more than 2,000 Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, outfits.

An order of supplies valued at 8.5 million baht is set to be delivered by the end of the month. That order will have 2,000 more PPE outfits, Covid-19 test equipment, DNA/RNA extraction kits, and 2,500 test kits. Other equipment provided by Thailand include a defibrillator, patient monitoring machine, infrared thermometers, oxygen regulators, and pulse oximeters.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

 

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