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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Airports on bomb alert; AEC opportunity for organized crime; Blast kills one in Pattani

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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Airports on bomb alert; AEC opportunity for organized crime; Blast kills one in Pattani | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Airports on alert after US bombings
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Security at Thailand’s major airports will be stepped up following the Boston Marathon bombings, according to a senior executive of Airports of Thailand.

Pongsak Semsant, caretaker president of AOT, said yesterday the latest violent incident in the United States prompted heightened security measures at the airports run by the company, including Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi and the Don Mueang, Chiang Mai and Phuket facilities.

He said executives of those airports had been instructed to increase their security measures around the clock.

Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt said yesterday he has ordered agencies to step up security at airports, bus terminals and railway stations.

No Thai nationals were affected by the Boston bombings, Foreign Ministry spokesman Manasvi Srisodapol said yesterday.

The Thai Consulate General in New York reported that no Thai nationals were killed or injured in the explosions in Boston, he said. The mission would also check with US authorities and the Thai expatriate community to confirm this, said Manasvi, who is director-general of the ministry’s Department of Information.

The spokesman said the ministry offered condolences to those affected and expressed hope that US authorities would be able to arrest those responsible soon.

A Thai graduate student in Boston, Polly Saipinthong, said such a violent attack was rare in Boston, which she described as a “very beautiful city”. She said she was among the people who were on hand to offer moral support to their favourite marathon runners, but left shortly after the elite competitors passed the finish line, before the blasts occurred.

In a related development, the Thai stock market was expected to see a decline when it reopens today following the long Songkran holiday. Many regional stock exchanges suffered a decline in prices yesterday following the Boston bombings.

An analyst said the violent incident in the US would be among negative factors driving down the Stock Exchange of Thailand Index. Other factors included China’s lower-than-expected economic growth.

AEC will spur crime as well as growth, UN says
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Integration of the Asean region will bring positive changes, but will also provide opportunities for transnational organised crime to expand, said the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Better links under the Asean Economic Community (AEC) will also increase the mobility of illicit goods, including drugs, illicit wildlife and timber, and counterfeit products. Throughout East Asia and the Pacific, illicit markets generate US$90 billion (about Bt2.7 trillion) annually, according to the UNODC report “Transnational Organised Crime in East Asia and the Pacific: A Threat Assessment”.

Under the AEC, trade and customs procedures will be harmonised, standardised and simplified. It is inevitable that organised criminal groups will utilise the improved transportation connections and take advantage of the streamlined border controls to smuggle illicit goods throughout the region and beyond, the report said.

“It is therefore necessary to integrate national responses into international strategies. This can be done by promoting partnerships across borders and developing international networks that champion ‘transnational organised justice.’ This includes promoting regional collaborative efforts on border control, mutual legal assistance, extradition and similar efforts that require a vision that transcends national boundaries. This will help minimise the growth of ‘safe havens’ for transnational organised crime,” it suggested.

The report estimates that the top money-makers for crime groups in East Asia and the Pacific are: illicit trade in counterfeit goods ($24.4 billion), illegal wood products ($17 billion), heroin ($16.3 billion), methamphetamines ($15 billion), fake meds ($5 billion) and illegal e-waste ($3.75 billion).

UNODC estimates that just over half a million migrants are smuggled into Thailand annually, with the vast majority coming from Myanmar.

Migrants from Myanmar pay the highest fees, while migrants from Laos and Cambodia pay considerably less. It appears that around $192 million is generated on an annual basis by smuggling migrants from these countries.

It also estimated that 12,000 Chinese irregular migrants enter the US every year, each paying around $50,000. This would generate up to $600 million a year for smugglers. If paying similar fees as Chinese migrants, some 1,000 migrants from Vietnam could generate $50 million to smugglers.

UNODC also highlighted a $17 billion annual trade of wood-based products and some $24.4 billion for counterfeit goods imported from East Asia to the US and EU in 2000.

While saying that environmental crimes are among the most serious and profitable forms of transnational organised crime in East Asia and the Pacific, the report said many organised criminal activities outlined in the report can have serious global health and economic implications.

“Up to 90 per cent of anti-malarial drugs tested in Southeast Asia are fraudulent. They do not contain what they say they do. Sub-standard drugs have two serious public health consequences.

“One: people get sicker or die. Two: drug-resistant strains can develop,” said Jeremy Douglas, UNODC Regional Representative, Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

“These transnational criminal activities are a global concern now. Illicit profits from crimes in East Asia and the Pacific can destabilise societies around the globe,” he added.

Transnational crime

Counterfeit goods: Bt708.76 billion

Illegal wood products: Bt493.8 billion

Heroin: Bt473.5 billion

Methamphetamine: Bt435.7 billion

Fake medicines: Bt145.2 billion

Illegal waste: Bt108.9 billion

Illegal wildlife trade: Bt72.63 billion

Human-trafficking to Europe, US: Bt45 billion

Human-trafficking to Thailand: Bt5.5 billion

Sex-trafficking to Thailand and Cambodia: Bt5.25 billion

Migrant smuggling to Australia and Canada: Bt2.8 billion

Labour trafficking to Thailand: Bt959 million

Source: UN Office on Drugs and Crime

One killed, three injured in Pattani blast
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: A motorcycle bomb attack aimed at a special task force unit patrolling in Pattani’s Thung Yang Daeng district killed the unit leader and injured five other soldiers.

The 20-kilogram bomb hidden in a motorcycle near the Paku Bridge on the Ka Por-Thung Yang Daeng road went off at 12.10pm, hitting the 10-soldier team’s pick-up truck that was returning to base from a community-related activity.

Team leader First Lieutenant Boonpeng Butyothee succumbed to his injuries.

Earlier, security officials inspected the sites of two separate shooting incidents in Ma-Yor and Yarang districts that took place on Monday night.

In Ma-Yor district’s Tambon Luboh Yeerai, officials inspected a pickup truck modified for public transport that ran on the Yala-Sai Buri-Ton Sai route, which crashed into a tree after driver Marohpee Ma, 46, was shot dead.

Ma

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Road deaths

4 people drown after SUV careers into canal in Chon Buri

Caitlin Ashworth

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4 people drown after SUV careers into canal in Chon Buri | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thairath

4 people died after a driver allegedly hit a curb and lost control of her Toyota Fortuner SUV, running it off the road and into a Chon Buri canal.

The driver, 38 year old Sukanya from Bangkok, survived and told police she was driving 6 friends from Bangkok to Rai Lak Thong, a subdistrict in Chon Buri. She says the road was dark and she was unfamiliar with the area. She hit a curb, breaking through the road barrier and overturning the car. The SUV then slid into the a Phanat Nikhom district canal.

The water in the canal was high due to the weekend storm. The driver and 2 others were able to get out through the window, but the others – 1 man and 3 women – drowned in the submerged vehicle. By the time rescue workers arrived and pulled the bodies out of the car, they were dead.

SOURCE: Pattaya Mail

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Protests

5 protesters to be charged over a rally in front of the Thai Army’s headquarters

The Thaiger

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5 protesters to be charged over a rally in front of the Thai Army’s headquarters | The Thaiger

With impeccable timing, Nang Loeng police have summoned 5 protest leaders to appear before the Special Prosecutor’s Office at the Dusit District Court in Bangkok. They will be formally charged over their roles in a protest in front of the Army’s headquarters on July 20. At the time it followed an online exchange from an Army official criticising the students who had been protesting at the Democracy Monument days before.

The protest targeted Colonel Nusra Vorapatratorn, deputy spokesperson of the Army. Posting on her Facebook page about the Saturday protest, the Colonel said that rally’s participants should “focus on doing their jobs rather than joining the protest.” The Colonel later deleted the social media post.

Another army spokesman, Colonel Winthai Suvaree, spoke to the media at the time and stated that Nusra “had expressed her personal opinion” and that “she is no longer the deputy spokesperson”.

After protesting outside the Army over the contents of the post, 5 protest leaders face official charges of “violating the Emergency Decree, the Traffic Act and use of loudspeakers in public without permission. The 5 protagonists facing charges are human rights lawyer Anon Nampa, Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, Piyarath “Toto” Jongthep, Suwanna Tarnlek and Panupong Jardnok (Mike Rayong).

All 5 deny the charges and say they will defend their roles in court.

The charges follow a weekend of protests, with up to some 30,000 people gathering in the Bangkok rain to rally against the government and confirm a 10-point manifesto which includes demands to reform Thai politics and the country’s monarchy. Specially the demands include the dissolution of the Thai parliament, standing down of the current PM and a new constitution to replace the 2017 Thai charter.

Today the Fine Arts Department has also says it will file charges of “trespassing on an archaeological site” after protesters yesterday embedded a symbolic brass plaque to replace another plaque that dates back to the 1932 Siam Revolution (when a bloodless coup overthrew the ‘absolute monarchy’ in Thailand). That plaque mysteriously disappeared in 2017.

The protesters responded this afternoon by saying that Sanam Luang is not an archaeological site, but a “public space for recreation and for vendors and hawkers”.

Following on from the support of the crowd over the weekend, the protesters are planning to stage another protest in front of Parliament this Thursday. A House debate on constitutional amendments is due to start this Wednesday.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Thailand

Thailand Post to upcycle parcel boxes into furniture for Border Patrol Police School

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thailand Post to upcycle parcel boxes into furniture for Border Patrol Police School | The Thaiger
PHOTO: beartai

The Thailand Post is going to turn its parcel cardboard boxes and paper envelopes into tables and chairs for students at the Border Patrol Police School. The postal service says they’ve already received 10,000 kilograms of used boxes and envelopes for the upcycling project.

People can send used parcel boxes and envelopes back to Thailand Post to be collected for the furniture project. President of the postal service Korkij Danchaivichit says discounts and promotions are offered through the 9.9 online shopping campaign which promotes the reuse of the packages. He says some local online marketers have already hopped on board.

“It is a win-win situation for all… First of all, suppliers use compostable paper parcels that are eco-friendly; also 9.9 online shopping enhances the economy, and finally, we (Post Office) get to collect the reusable paper parcels and turn them into furniture to supply schools.”

The campaign ends on October 31. Korkij says he’d like to invite more people, online retailers and businesses to send back their used parcel boxes and envelopes.

SOURCES:Xinhua| Nation Thailand

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