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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Bangkok warned over flood tide; Chalerm has water on the brain; Nok Air has rough landing

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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Bangkok warned over flood tide; Chalerm has water on the brain; Nok Air has rough landing | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Bangkok residents warned over flood tide
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The first high-tide period of this month is imminent – and Bangkok residents in riverside communities who do not have flood barriers must be ready for possible flooding, say authorities.

“Please move your belongings to higher ground during the coming high tide,” Sunsern Rueangrit of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration’s (BMA) Flood Control Centre said yesterday.

The first high-tide period this month starts today and will run until tomorrow.

The second period will run from October 16 to October 22.

Sunsern said the water level in the Chao Phraya River might rise to 2.8 metres above mean sea level in communities without flood barriers. As of press time, the water level was 1.72 metres above mean sea level.

Most communities along the Chao Phraya River’s stretch in Bangkok have the protection of flood barriers. Construction of such barriers, however, has not taken place in some areas in the face of opposition from residents. According to Sunsern, the water situation for Bangkok overall is not worrying.

“Weather forecasting suggests it may be raining in some parts of Bangkok this month, but the rainfall won’t be huge,” he said.

The Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department, meanwhile, announced that floods were now inundating 28 provinces such as Chiang Mai and Rayong.

During the past few weeks, inundation has already caused 34 deaths, ravaged farmland and reeked property damage.

Public Health Minister Pradit Sintavanarong says that since September 17, his ministry has dispatched about 100 mobile medical teams to flood-hit areas to assist victims.

“They have treated 68,919 patients in those areas,” he said.

Most common symptoms were athlete’s foot, aches and pains, and headache.

Pradit said about 703 flood victims covered by mental-health assessments showed signs of stress.

“Of them, 230 needed close attention because they were very stressed and some had become depressed,” he said.

Sa Kaew’s Khao Chakan District Chief Sawanit Suriyakul Na Ayutthaya yesterday lamented that flooding in his area had reached a critical point.

“In hard-hit spots, floodwaters have already risen to the second floor of people’s houses,” he said.

Rough landing for Nok Air flight
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: A Nok Air flight from Chiang Mai yesterday skidded off the runway on landing in Udon Thani – the second such incident for the airline in three months.

All 26 passengers and crew on the plane escaped unhurt.

Udon Thani vice governor Narong Ponlaiard was at the scene. He was briefed by a Nok Air officer who attributed the accident to a landing gear fault.

He said on touching down, the pilot was unable to turn right on the taxiway.

The front wheel collapsed and the pilot decided to hit the earthen wall on the side. The plane stopped about 600 metres from the passenger terminal.

Flight DD8610 left Chiang Mai at 7.25am and landed in Udon Thani at 8.45am.

On August 7, the airline also reported an accident in Trang. Its Bangkok-bound flight slid off the runway at Trang airport while preparing for takeoff in heavy rain. All 142 passengers on Flight DD 7411, many of them foreign tourists, and crew escaped injury.

Chalerm improving after surgery
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Labour Minister Chalerm Yoobumrung’s health has slightly improved following brain surgery and he will be ready for discharge from hospital this week, his doctors have said.

“He can now eat and respond to other people,” Ramathibodi Hospital Director Dr Surasak Leelaudomlipi said.

Chalerm was taken to the hospital on Friday after he complained of problems with his balance. He underwent surgery to drain excess fluid from his brain and has since been transferred to the inpatient ward recovery room.

Surasak said medical teams could not find the real cause of Chalerm’s illness but his condition was not critical.

Pol Captain Duang Yoobamrung, Chalerm’s youngest son, said his father could talk and walk and even eat food normally. However, doctors wanted him to take more rest and not to work hard.

“Doctors asked me to be careful with the risk of infection that might [hit] my father,” Duang said.

Chalerm’s younger brother, Nawarat Yoobamrung, said his brother had recovered and had a fresh face and could smile and laugh. He said Chalerm wanted to thank people who had called him and worried about him.

Office of the Narcotics Control Board’s Secretary-General Pongsapat Pongcharoen said he believed Chalerm would soon be able to work and continue his job overseeing the National Command Centre for Drugs.

Chalerm has designated the Labour Ministry’s former permanent secretary Somkiat Chayasriwong as an adviser to help him run the ministry.

Informant shot dead
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Police believe insurgents were behind the fatal shooting of a reported informant whose tip-off led to Saturday’s deadly gunfight between security officials and suspects.

The informant was gunned down in Narathiwat’s Rusoh district yesterday morning.

Police have identified him as Mohammad Rita-uden Tarazi, 35.

“He used to be a suspect but came forward and provided cooperation to authorities,” Rusoh Police Station’s superintendent Anothai Jindamanee said.

He said Mohammad had provided many tips-off to security officials, including one that led police and soldiers to a hiding place of suspected insurgents in the district on Saturday.

When security officials were spotted, the suspected insurgents opened fire. A fierce gunfight followed for about 15 minutes. Two policemen and four suspected in-surgents died during the clash. After the exchange of gunfire ended, security officials arrested seven other suspects.

Official records show arrest warrants had been issued for two of the dead suspects and four other suspects detained in the operation.

Anothai said some field-level leaders of the RKK insurgent group died in the clash.

“Their henchmen might have then targeted our informant,” he said.

According to an ongoing police investigation, Mohammad was shot after he left home to tap rubber latex. The victim sustained two gunshot wounds, one to his head and one to his abdomen. Two spent bullets of an assault rifle were found at the scene.

Meanwhile, in Yala yesterday morning three soldiers travelling on military trucks were injured when a bomb went off close to their vehicles. The blast caused a one-metre-wide and 50-cm-deep hole at the head of a bridge the vehicles were approaching.

Police believe the bombing was staged to fan unrest in the deep South.

The ongoing wave of violence has raged in Thailand’s southernmost region for about a decade. In a bid to end the unrest, Thai authorities are engaged in a peace dialogue with the BRN. Their next meeting is likely to take place next week.

Defence Ministry permanent-secretary General Nipat Thong

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Thailand

Loose electrical wire causes passing motorbike to burst into flames – VIDEO

Caitlin Ashworth

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Loose electrical wire causes passing motorbike to burst into flames – VIDEO | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Daily News

A hanging electrical wire caused a passing motorbike to burst into flames, injuring a 25 year old and a 15 year old. Pathum Thani locals had put 2 chairs out in the road as a warning for the hanging wire. But the chairs weren’t enough to signal the motorbike driver to change lanes.

The 25 year old teacher drove straight into the loose wire and his bike burst into flames. 30% of his body was burned. The 15 year old passenger was slightly injured, Thai media reports. Apparently, it was the second time the loose wire caused a bike to catch on fire.

A former rescue worker was on his way home when the incident occurred. He had a fire extinguisher in his car and was able to quickly put out the fire. The dash camera on his car recorded the incident, showing the motorbike suddenly bursting into flames.

SOURCE: Thai Visa

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Drugs

240 kilograms of marijuana found in truck after police chase, driver still on the run

Caitlin Ashworth

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240 kilograms of marijuana found in truck after police chase, driver still on the run | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Esan Daily Online

Border patrol officers chased a pickup truck and seized 240 kilograms of marijuana they say was smuggled across the Thai-Laos border. In the chase, the driver allegedly drove into oncoming traffic, hitting another car before ditching his vehicle and running off.

Officers say they believe the marijuana was smuggled across the Mekong River from Laos and then it was piled in the truck at the border province Nong Khai. After receiving a tip about a truck smuggling marijuana in the Nong Khai province, officers caught up with the truck in Mukdahan.

When officers followed the bronze Toyota pickup truck, the truck suddenly swerved across the median and drove against the flow of traffic before colliding with an oncoming car. The driver then got out of the truck and ran off. Police say there were no injuries.

Officers searched the truck and found 240 bars of dried marijuana. Each compressed bar weighed 1 kilogram. The truck was also confiscated by the customs office. Police are still investigating. The driver has not been found.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Politics

Former immigration chief, “Big Joke” suing Thai PM over transfer

Maya Taylor

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Former immigration chief, “Big Joke” suing Thai PM over transfer | The Thaiger
PHOTO: www.thailandtip.info

The former head of Thai Immigration, Surachet Hakparn, is taking legal action against Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, after the PM had him unceremoniously transferred to an inactive post last year. Surachet, commonly known by the nickname “Big Joke”, (a nickname given to him by Thai media) accuses the PM of transferring him without just cause and has been petitioning for a review of the decision, to no avail.

At the time there was no reason given for the high-profile head of Thailand’s Immigration to be ‘side-lined’ to desk duties at the PM’s office.

Following a complaint lodged with the Central Administrative Court, Surachet’s lawyer, Sitthi Ngarmlamyuang, says that in the 1 year and 5 months since his client’s transfer, there has been “no investigation launched against him”. Surachet accuses the PM of an abuse of power in ordering the transfer, pointing to a lack of investigations from either the National Anti-Corruption Commission, the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission, or the Office of the Auditor-General.

Since his fall from official grace Surachet has largely remained silent over the matter.

At the height of his fame, in 2017 and 2018, Surachet’s face was everywhere in daily media reports, often seen with hordes of foreigners his team had ’rounded up’ in immigration crackdowns around the country. If you’d overstayed your visa, or were an international criminal running dodgy dating services, gambling sites or drugs, you knew about Surachet Hakparn and knew it would be no “joke” if he arrived at your door.

But at some point, he appears to have stepped on the wrong toes, calling into question procurement practices at the Immigration Bureau, amid plans to spend billions on smart cars and the much-lauded airports biometrics system (which was since installed at the country’s airports). The upshot was his removal from office, while the purchases went ahead.

Since then, little was heard from the former immigration chief, until his parked car was shot at in January of this year. Although caught on CCTV, the 2 perpetrators, who were riding a motorbike and wearing full-face helmets, could not be identified. In July, Surachet was seen making merit at a temple, where he said he was praying to be allowed return to his former duties. He also took an extended overseas holiday.

At the height of his fame, in 2017 and 2019, he was widely tipped to take up a prominent position at the top of the country’s Royal Thai Police force.

Sitthi points out that most officials who were previously transferred to the PM’s Office have now been re-instated, after investigations cleared them of any offences. He insists that with no grounds to justify his transfer, Surachet must also be re-instated, adding that with the PM unwilling to act, his client will seek justice in the courts.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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