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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Flavored meth for kids; Illegal van kills 9; Photo visas; Govt to placate farmers; Red Bull heir case deferred – again

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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Flavored meth for kids; Illegal van kills 9; Photo visas; Govt to placate farmers; Red Bull heir case deferred – again | Thaiger
PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
โ€“ Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Flavored ‘yaba’ aimed at kids
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Parents should keep an eye on their children as a new form of flavoured meth-amphetamine pill is being distributed via Facebook, authorities said yesterday.

“We found that yaba makers are trying to change their product to meet the demands of targeted groups,” said Dr Viroj Verachai, director of the Princess Mother National Institute on Drug Abuse Treatment.

The new yaba tablets look like candy and are being offered to children, he said. Yaba labs have increased the potency from 20 per cent up to 90-95 per cent especially for “ice”, or crystal meth, which directly stimulates the nervous system.

Generally, yaba tastes bitter but to lure new customers, sweet flavors have been added such as chocolate, strawberry and milk.

“These flavors help the users take the drug more easily, but it could severely affect their nervous systems,” he said.

About 75 per cent of those enrolled in drug rehabilitation programmes were yaba users and 25 per cent were addicted to ice. Though some users were able to kick the habit within six months, some could develop mental problems, he added.

In Chiang Rai, police arrested several yaba dealers and seized a million tablets. This lot was smuggled in by a group of ethnic Akha tribesmen, and was aimed for the South via Bangkok, Pol General Priewphan Damaphong said at a press conference yesterday.

Illegal van crashes into truck, 9 killed
The Nation / Phuket Gazette


PHUKET: Driver lost control of speeding van after truck stopped ‘without signal’.

Nine people were killed and seven seriously injured when an illegal public van crashed into an 18-wheel truck early yesterday en route from Prachin Buri to Bangkok. The crash took place at 4.50am near the bridge across the Bang Pa Kong River in Ban Sang, and the injured were taken to Bang Num Priew Hospital in Chachoengsao.

Police investigator Lt Sakchai Chantana said the van had picked up passengers from Prachin Buri’s Muang district at around 4am to drop them off at Victory Monument in Bangkok. Wirot Wongkot, the 30-year-old truck driver, was immediately arrested for coming to a stop without giving any signal.

He said the truck’s motor had died.

The driver of the van, Anusorn Srichai, was also severely injured. Of the nine killed, eight were identified as Natthaphon Khaokhechon, Krisakorn Maneewong, Salinla Leusanan, Chadnai Cheyprasert, Suwanlaya Wuthmetha, Pongsak Leudthai, Adisorn Penyoo and Mongkol Sakulngarm.

The ninth person could not be identified.

The injured were Rung Rungsaeng, Pram Rungsaeng, Suchanart Sukkhophan, Nanthaphon Wutmetha, Anusorn Sriwichai, Attachai Chaleewan, and Bootsaba Sukkhophan.

Passenger Bootsaba said the driver lost control of the van as he was going at a very high speed.

Changes needed

After hearing about the crash, Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt said he instructed the Land Transport Department to find a way to provide more transport, so people don’t have to resort to illegal public vans.

He told the department to team up with the police to resolve this problem, he said. Chadchart gave the department a month to resolve these issues.

According to the World Health Organization, up to 26,000 people are killed in road accidents every year in Thailand, the sixth highest in the world for road fatalities.

Surapong suggests ‘photo visa’ to stop criminals entering country
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Thailand is considering introducing a photo visa to keep criminals out of the country.

“I will talk with the director-general of Consular Affairs about a new type of visa sticker to prevent fraud,” Foreign Minister Surapong Towichukchaikul said yesterday.

Recently 300 visa stickers went missing from the Thai embassy in Malaysia and fingers have been pointed at local staff. At least 14 suspects have been caught trying to enter the country on visas from Malaysia with the cancelled serial numbers.

Hence, the minister suggested new visa stickers include a photo of the passport holder. Surapong quoted permanent secretary Sihasak Phuangketkaew as saying that 2,000 visa labels in a diplomatic pouch had also vanished on their way to the Thai embassy in The Hague.

Nuttavudh Pothisaro, deputy permanent secretary, said the ministry sent the visa stickers on THAI to Frankfurt in Germany, where they were due to be put on a connecting code-share Lufthansa flight to Amsterdam. The ministry cancelled the visas and other documents in the pouch on July 15, so this case was unrelated to the Malaysian theft.

Govt tries to placate rubber farmers
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The government is struggling to prevent simultaneous road closures by rubber farmers across the country, which look set to take place on September 3 if ongoing government efforts and offers fail to please them.

Among the government’s latest moves are a plan to request a 25-billion-baht budget to help rubber farmers, and an offer to peg the prices of scrap rubber, rubber and latex at 40, 80 and 70 baht-a-kilo respectively.

The Cabinet is scheduled to consider the 25-billion-baht project to help farmers on September 3. During the past few years, rubber prices have plunged drastically, with rubber farmers now loudly complaining that the government has ignored their plight.

As several Democrat MPs have been seen with protesting rubber farmers, there is concern that the issue will be politicized.

“Please don’t politicize people’s grievances, otherwise we won’t get proper solutions,” Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said yesterday.

She insisted that her government was concerned about the rubber farmers’ plight and would address their problems.

“Please talk to us,” she said.

Separately, Deputy PM and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong said that if the 25-billion-baht project won the Cabinet’s green light next Tuesday, the government would spend up to B10bn on lowering farmers’ rubber-production costs. Another B10bn would go to soft loans for rubber-machinery improvement and Bt5 billion would fund soft loans for adding value to rubber products.

Bloody clash with police last week

PM’s deputy secretary-general Suporn Atthawong, meanwhile, rushed to Nakhon Si Thammarat yesterday to conduct talks with rubber farmers’ representatives. Angry farmers have closed off a portion of a main road in this southern province for several days. A bloody clash between protesters and police erupted last Friday.

At the negotiation table, the government side yesterday offered to peg the prices of scrap rubber, rubber and latex at 40, 80 and 70 baht-a-kilo respectively. The farmers’ representatives agreed to consider the offer and raise the issue with protesters.

However, protesting rubber farmers disagreed with the proposed price of rubber. They believed the rubber price should be at least 100 baht per kilo.

Suporn and his team abru

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Family sues prime minister, CCSA after Covid-infected relative dies

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo from Kunlasub Wattnaphon's Facebook.

The family of a man who died while infected with Covid-19 is demanding the prime minister, as well as other government officials, pay millions of baht in compensation, citing “negligence” after calls to Covid-19 hotlines went unanswered or were not of help.

35 year old Kunlasub Watthanaphon died on April 23. Kunlasub is said to have contracted the virus from a cluster in Bangkok. Many of the clusters of infections early in the recent outbreak were concentrated in nightlife districts in Bangkok including Thong Lor and Ekkamai.

When Kunlasub developed Covid-19 symptoms, he called the hotline numbers for those who think they make have contracted the virus. If he had received proper treatment quicker, the family says he might still be alive.

“The CCSA announced telephone helplines โ€“ 1330, 1422, 1668, 1669 and 1323 โ€“ for people who suspected they had contracted Covid-19. When my brother developed Covid-like symptoms he called these numbers. However, they were either busy or someone picked up but did not send help right away.”

Kunlasub had documented his illness on Facebook, posting updates, as well as photos and videos, up until the day of his death.

The death of the 35 year old man, who is well known in the esport, or video competition industry, sparked controversy. One person wrote on Facebook after Kunlasub’s death “My friend didn’t die because of a congenital disease. He died because he wasn’t treated in the early days.”

The case was filed at the Administrative Court today. It demands compensation of 4.53 million baht from the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration as well as PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, his secretary and the prime minister’s office.

The family is also suing Thong Lor entertainment venues, where the first clusters were reported in the recent outbreak, for negligence.

โ€œHad the CCSA imposed a strict lockdown on entertainment venues and banned travel during the Songkran holiday, the latest wave of Covid-19 with over 2,000 new infections daily would never have happened.โ€

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

 

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Thailand

Thailand News Today | 8 clusters in Bangkok, Phuket party organisers charged | May 14

Tanutam Thawan

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Foreigners may face a slight delay in receiving their Covid-19 vaccines, The BMA has now confirmed 8 clusters of Covid infection in the capital, Thai Private Hospital Association is now working to offer a variety of Covid-19 vaccine brands to Thais and Patong police have announced that the managers of the Phuket venues that hosted the Kolour entertainment event swill be charged under Thailandโ€™s Emergency Decree provisions.

 

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Economy

Market down as good US economy drives interest rate fears

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: The Thai stock market followed the rest of the world down yesterday, but long-term prospects may be looking up.

After US inflation exceeded targets and increased 4%, global stock markets including Thailand plummeted yesterday with fears of rising interest rates. Almost 144 billion baht was traded yesterday with the market at one point diving down 70 points in the late afternoon before recovering to a 23.72 point loss, closing at 1548.13.

2% is a high rate of inflation so the big numbers sparked fears that the US Federal Reserve will reduce quantitative easing and increase interest rate which decreases the market’s liquidity. The US economy is surging with the Consumer Price Index up 4.2% over last year.

The balancing out of the economy will likely push risky prospects like the stock market down while driving up commodity prices like energy and oil. This may hurt the Stock Exchange of Thailand in the short run, but will likely have long-term positive effects as the SET has a large number of energy stocks that will benefit from the market’s change.

Some long-term investors in Thailand fear quantitative easing and the market’s tightening because it drives away foreign investors which in the past made up 30% of the Thai market. But now foreigners only account for 20% so the negative effect should be much less. However, in the normal inflation range of 1 to 3%, the stock market should have a price-to-earnings ratio of 20 and some experts have downgraded it to 18 now.

Eyeing the US, some experts predict that even accelerated quantitative easing won’t come into effect until the end of the year and interest rates probably won’t rise significantly within the next 2 years. Watching the continued effect of the Covid-19 pandemic and US unemployment figures will be key indicators driving the global market up or down.

Even with the stock market down in Thailand, there’s still some good news as Thai corporations listed on the SET expected to cross the 200 billion baht profit threshold this week, after reporting 180 billion baht in the first quarter of the year, with 55% of the market recording a profit.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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