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

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

Thailand News

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