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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Bomb disposal veteran killed; Business says no to blanket amnesty; Drug mule caught with 7kg of cocaine

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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Bomb disposal veteran killed; Business says no to blanket amnesty; Drug mule caught with 7kg of cocaine | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Revered bomb disposal expert among 3 killed
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Pol Sub-Lt Shaen Warongphaisit, a police bomb-disposal veteran whose face was familiar to both locals and reporters covering the South insurgency, was yesterday laid to rest from his tiring and dangerous job after succumbing to severe injuries from a bomb explosion.

The bomb exploded while he was trying to defuse another at a site in Narathiwat’s Bacho district. The explosion also killed Pol Sub Lieutenant Charoon Mekmaung and Pol Sergeant Nimit Deewong, who were part of the explosive ordnance disposal team, and wounded a Navy disposal expert known only as Chief Petty Officer First Class Somkiat.

Yesterday’s toll brought the total number of casualties this year to six deaths and 15 injured. Provincial police chief, Pol Maj-General Phatthanawut Angkhanawin, said this was possibly an insurgency-related set-up targeting EOD police and military personnel.

The bomb was detonated by a two-way radio, while the first, possibly planted as a decoy, was being defused by Shaen, 50.

The late officer had spent the past decade defusing more than 200 bombs in the deep South. Fellow team members and his superiors – both past and present – were disheartened to hear of the losses, especially Shaen’s death.

Shaen and Charoon survived, but sustained severe injuries, in a similar bomb incident in June 2011, in which three explosives were planted with the aim to trap and kill.

Shaen, whose vast experience and demeanour led him to become widely liked by the local population and well-known to both local and national media, received an award from Nation Multimedia Group four years ago as an Outstanding Policeman. The award was handed to him on the annual Police Day, which is marked every year on October 13.
A 1985 graduate of a constabulary school in the deep South, Shaen served mostly on the field doing combat-related duties. He held non-commissioned ranks and was promoted to sub-lieutenant in June 2001. A Narathiwat native, Shaen was of Chinese descent and previously went by the surname of sae-Wong. He is survived by his wife Nanthawan and two children.

Business says no to blanket amnesty
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The Anti-corruption Organisation of Thailand (ACT), an alliance of private-sector groups, has stepped forward to oppose granting a blanket amnesty for those involved in the 2010 political turmoil that left more than 90 people dead.

The ACT includes finance and business organisations such as the Board of Trade, Federation of Thai Industries, Thai Bankers Association, the Securities and Exchange Commission, Thai Institute of Directors, Federation of Thai Capital Market Organisations, the Thai Listed Companies Association, and the Association of Thai Securities Companies.

This development came as a panel of Pheu Thai strategists agreed yesterday with plans for a party resolution to back the blanket amnesty, as proposed by the House committee vetting the government-proposed amnesty bill.

“Revising Article 3 to allow amnesty for graft offences will create the false value that cheating is not wrong,” ACT chairman Pramon Sutivong said yesterday.

Pramon said relevant parties should be mindful that an amnesty would destroy the country’s moral and ethical code, and do untold damage to society.

The government had pledged to root out corruption, as evidenced by its announcement of July 2, but the amnesty bill would do completely the opposite of that pledge, he said. He said anti-corruption advocates had mapped out retaliatory measures to take should the bill become law.

The ACT said it would today submit a letter to the United Nations office in Bangkok, in protest at the change to the amnesty bill so that it grants a blanket pardon.

In a related development, the House committee vetting the bill has finalised its endorsement of the minutes of its meetings, thus concluding its work.

The committee report would be checked for typographical errors before being forwarded to the House Speaker to place on the legislative agenda, Pheu Thai MP Chavalit Wichayasut said.

Report expected this week

Chair of the vetting committee Samart Kaewmeechai said the exclusion of lese majeste from the amnesty was justified because offenders had violated the monarchy, which by constitutional provisions had no link to the political mayhem.

Samart was commenting on a statement made by law lecturer Vorachet Pakeerat of the Nitirat Group.

Vorachet said that the amnesty might be arbitrary and unconstitutional because it did not apply to those offending the monarchy.

Article 30 of the Constitution states that legal provisions should be equally applicable to all without discrimination.

Vorachet has scheduled a press conference on Thursday to outline what he says are flaws in the amnesty bill.

Yesterday, Pheu Thai’s panel of strategists convened to discuss the party’s stance on the proposed change to the original bill so that it would grant a blanket amnesty, according to a party source. The meeting was chaired by Pheu Thai leader Charupong Ruangsuwan, who is also Interior minister.

The panel agreed that all Pheu Thai MPs should vote in support of the new version of the bill changed by vetting committee, which is dominated by coalition MPs, according to the source. The panel claimed an amnesty law would lead to national reconciliation, the source said.

In response to reports some red-shirt Pheu Thai MPs might vote against a blanket amnesty, the panel agreed they should respect the party resolution on the matter. However, the panel also forecast that government critics and detractors would attempt to play up this issue in a bid to bring down the government, the source said.

Pheu Thai MP Korkaew Pikulthong, who is a red-shirt leader, said yesterday that the red shirts were split on whether to support or to oppose the blanket amnesty. He said he would “feel pained” if Pheu Thai went ahead with the blanket amnesty, but he would not take to the streets to protest against it.

An influential politician in the ruling party met with its red-shirt politicians Jatuporn Prompan and Nattawut Saikua last Friday and asked them to help secure ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra’s return to Thailand, according to another Pheu Thai source. The politician pleaded in tears for the red-shirt MPs’ help, saying that Thaksin “has been suffering for many years already”, the source said.

Woman stopped at Don Mueang Airport with 7kg of cocaine
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The Customs Department yesterday announced the arrest of a 23-year-old Thai woman who was found with seven kilograms of cocaine worth Bt31 million at Don Mueang Airport.

Department chief Rakop Srisupaat said that, following intelligence that a suspect would smuggle drugs into Thailand via the airport, the officials apprehended Thitiruk Tingtin on Sunday night, after she was seen acting suspiciously.

They found the cocaine hidden in her luggage. She reportedly confessed that she was hired for Bt20,000 per trip to transport cocaine from the Philippines. She was charged with possessing illicit drugs with intention to sell

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Economy

Ministry of Labour, CP Foods to hire 8,000 graduates to help reduce unemployment

Caitlin Ashworth

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Ministry of Labour, CP Foods to hire 8,000 graduates to help reduce unemployment | The Thaiger
PHOTO: CP Foods

To help reduce unemployment and boost the economy after the pandemic, 8,000 graduates will be hired by the company Charoen Pokphand Foods, known as CP Foods. Thailand’s Ministry of Labour recently signed a memorandum of agreement with the company.

4,000 of those jobs will be in Bangkok and metropolitan areas while the other 4,000 more in the upcountry. The job offers vary from positions in the computer science field to positions in the culinary industry.

Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin says the government has a policy to unite all sectors of the society to revive the economy from the coronavirus crisis that caused job cuts, leaving many unemployed, especially new graduates.

He adds that CP Foods has been constantly supporting the government in Covid-19 relief effort since the beginning of the outbreak. This post Covid-19 collaboration will create stability for people at all levels and build more small and medium sized enterprise, or SME, owners that are the foundation of Thai economy.

There’s also a discount coupon giveaway from CP Foods and the minister says it will help reduce cost of living for people who are eligible for social security benefits.

CEO of CP Foods Prasit Boondoungprasert says CP Foods is managed in line with the parent group CP Group’s policy, to solve the Thailand’s unemployment problem, particularly for new graduates, by creating job opportunities and job security. He says it’s an “engine for economic revival.”

CP Foods will also provide a business opportunity for SME franchises like FiveStar and STAR Coffee, which need a small budget and small space to kick off.

The company will also offer training courses with experts to guide them to start up the business. It expects to create 4,500 franchise owners nationwide.

CP Foods will have a book at the Job Expo Thailand 2020 this Saturday until Monday at the Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Centres, or BITEC. Those interested can click HERE for more information.

To learn more about starting a FiveStar franchise click HERE and for a STAR Coffee franchise click HERE.

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Thailand

Empire strikes back: Thai royalists oppose constitution changes

Caitlin Ashworth

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Empire strikes back: Thai royalists oppose constitution changes | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook: Warong Dechgitvigrom

Just after proposed constitutional amendments, backed by pro-democracy supporters, were submitted to the Thai parliament, the Thai Pakdee royalist group filed a petition with 130,000 signatures saying they are against making changes to the constitution.

Pro-democracy activists have been demanding a rewrite of the Thai constitution at protests over the past few months. The nonprofit organisation Internet Law Reform Dialogue, known as iLaw, drafted amendments including one that would require all senators and local administrators to be elected. Currently Thailand’s entire Senate is hand-picked by the ruling party. More than 100,000 people back the proposed changes.

“There’s no need to make changes”, according to Former Democrat MP and leader of Thai Pakdee Warong Dechgitvigrom. He says the 2017 Constitution was approved by 16.8 million people (Thailand’s population is 69.4 million).

“Redoing the process would cost 15 billion baht in taxpayer money. On top of that, it would require 2 referenda and a general election.”

According to Thai PBS, 84 of the 250 senators need to be on board to move forward with revisions to the constitution. At the moment, around 60 of them are in favour of constitutional amendments while 100 oppose any changes and the rest are undecided. But Senators against the amendments might change their minds, according to Senate whip Sangsit Phiriyarangsan. He says he believes more senators will be in favour of making some amendments after hearing debates in parliament.

SOURCES: Thai PBS

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Video & Podcasts

Thailand News Today | Surachet sues, The Nude Panda | September 23

The Thaiger

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Thailand News Today | Surachet sues, The Nude Panda | September 23 | The Thaiger

Daily TV News from The Thaiger

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

The former head of Thai Immigration, and poster boy for Thai officialdom, 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 ever since.

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.

Surachet’s lawyer says that in the 1 year and 5 months since his client’s transfer, there has been “no investigation launched against him” and that he should immediately re-instated.

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.

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 airports biometrics system. Surachet was dumped and sidelined… the purchases went ahead.

4 Thai banks to be investigated for “suspicious transfers” after FinCEN files report

4 Thai banks are being investigated after an international money laundering report said the Thai banks had “suspicious financial transactions.” The report found 92 “suspicious” transactions in and out of Thailand totalling to $9,558,752 USD received in Thailand and $31,750,000 USD sent out.

Files were allegedly leaked from the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.The FinCEN Files report“reveals the role of global banks in industrial scale money laundering,” citing a total of $2 trillion USD in suspicious global transactions from 1997 to 2017.

The Thai Anti-Money Laundering Office plans to investigate Kasikorn Bank, Bangkok Bank, Krungthai Bank and the Export Import Bank of Thailand. But he says the information from the international report needs to be verified first.

Thai sex workers push for prostitution decriminalisation

Prostitution could become further decriminalised in Thailand. A petition is being passed around calling on the government to stop arresting and fining sex workers.

The Empower Foundation, which supports sex worker, is trying to collect 10,000 signatures before they send it to parliament. Also known as the Centre for Sex Workers’ Protection, Empower is a non-profit organisation in Thailand that supports sex workers by offering free classes in language, health, law and pre-college education, as well as individual counselling.

“Prostitution is not illegal in Thailand, although many activities associated with it are… like brothels, soliciting, pimping and causing a public nuisance etc. Still the underground industry is estimated to be worth US$6.4 billion a year.

Activists say prostitution laws do little to protect sex workers. Fines and arrests for soliciting sex, have pushed some sex workers into poverty, most of them being women. Thailand is estimated to have up to 200,000 sex workers, many of them now unemployed with no recourse to unemployment benefits or official help during the pandemic.

Thai cabinet adds 2 more 4-day long weekends

A holiday-led economic recovery. That appears to be a part of the government’s agenda following yesterday’s meeting of the Thai cabinet. 2 new holiday weekends have been created, one in November, one in December.

In both cases the extended weekends will be 4 days each, adding the Thursdays and Fridays before the weekend. Given the exodus of foreigner this week, there will be fewer of the ‘stranded’ expats and foreign visitors to add to the economic tally of the additional holidays.

So, put it in your diaries…

• November 19-22

• December 10-13

Nude Panda: naked food delivery man hit with 500 baht fine

A man working as a food delivery driver in the southern province of Songkhla, has been filmed riding his motorbike totally naked. The 24 year old later handed himself in to police, explaining that he’d taken his clothes off due to “a personal problem”.

The nature of the problem is not known, and police let the man go with a 500 baht fine.

A video was posted on social media, showing the naked young man hurtling along on his motorbike, which had a food delivery bag on the back. The video has now been deleted. According to a motorbike taxi driver witness, the man parked his bike in front of a local temple, removed his clothes, then got back on the bike and drove off.

Social media response was mixed with most just inquisitive about his motives to ride “commando” with little protection, actually no protection at all.

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