Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Isarn floods as Bangkok forecast downgraded; Senators deny coup plot; Brits arrested for fraud

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

Provinces flood as rain forecast downgraded
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: At least seven provinces, mostly in the Northeast, are under water due to rain that has continued for several days under the influence of a tropical depression.

The depression has been downgraded to a low-pressure cell but was still expected to bring more downpours. With the cell reaching the Central region, Bangkok will also be hit with rain for the next few days.

Chatchai Phromlert, director-general of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department, said yesterday that 54 tambons in Surin, Kalasin, Si Sa Ket, Ubon Ratchathani, Phitsanulok, Ayutthaya and Angthong were under water.

“We have deployed rapid response teams to help the victims,” he said.

More than 7,000 residents in Si Sa Ket are now flooded, with Governor Prateep Keeratirekha saying Khun Han district has been hit the hardest.

In Surin, the Ban Truat School in Sri Narong district reported that water levels were rising so fast that some 20 students had been left stranded.

“The floodwater is over a metre high. Small vehicles can’t travel around anymore. So, we need to contact relevant authorities to provide a military truck that can give the children a safe ride home,” teacher Teetat Phuttiteerawong said.

The Meteorological Department has announced that the low-pressure cell hovering over the Central region will bring rain to Phitsanulok, Phetchabun, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhon Nayok, Prachin Buri, Chachoengsao, Chon Buri, Rayong, Chanthaburi, Trat, Nakhon Sawan, Uthai Thani, Chai Nat, Sing Buri, Saraburi, Lop Buri, Ang Thong, Suphan Buri, Ayutthaya and Bangkok.

Nakhon Ratchasima has been hit with floods after a few days of heavy rain.

“Things happened so fast. At around 9am, a rush of water broke down the wall surrounding our housing estate and flood waters started rushing in,” Supoj Kongsupa, a board member of Krissada Garden Village, said yesterday.

Flood levels went well over the metre mark in an hour, forcing residents to call for help.

The Second Army Area sent in five military trucks to evacuate the stranded victims.

Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra, meanwhile, has assured Bangkokians that they should not worry about floods. “There’s no sign of a crisis,” he said.

Adisak Khantee, director of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administra-tion’s Department of Drainage and Sewerage, said Bangkok would continue being hit by rain over the next few days, but it would only be light.

“The areas hit by rain will also gradually reduce. Rain will cover 70 per cent of the capital over the weekend and then reduce to 60 per cent on Monday,” he said.

Hydro and Agro Informatics Institute director Royol Chitradon, who leads a subcommittee of the Water and Flood Management Commission, also said with flood-prevention measures taken since early this month, the situation in Bangkok should be under control.

Relevant authorities are now closely monitoring the storm Usagi, which is moving towards Hong Kong, to see if it will hit Thailand.

Group of 40 senators denies govt ouster plot
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The so-called group of 40 senators, who are critics of the Yingluck Shinawatra administration, yesterday denied the existence of any plot to overthrow the government as alleged by fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

Appointed senator Somchai Swangkarn, a key member of the group of 40 senators, denied the allegation that the government would be unconstitutionally overthrown on October 8, but added that even a government with a majority number of MPs could fall if it tripped over its own legs.

He said Thaksin’s remarks were just noise-making as the government had control over Parliament, the armed forces and the police – including the Interior Ministry – which administers the affairs of provincial governors. Somchai added that Thaksin was merely repeating a prediction by a fortune-teller known by the name Forngsanan Jamchanma.

Somchai urged Thaksin to take a hard look at himself and return to Thailand to face his sentence.

Senator Somjet Boonthanom, another member of the group of 40 senators, said that Thaksin’s comments in Thai Rath newspaper about re-setting the country at zero in order to achieve reconciliation were irrelevant as long as he failed to recognise himself as being the cause of political division.

Somchai also expressed similar views, adding that Thaksin had amassed too much power while he was prime minister, leading to resistance. Reconciliation was not possible until Thaksin apologised and left politics for good, he said.

“Thaksin said he wants to reset the country at zero. I think that’s not difficult if Thaksin returns to the Kingdom to face justice. He must set an example and not just say it without acting in accordance with his words,” said Somchai, adding than 64 million Thais did not want to negotiate with Thaksin.

In related developments, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said the efforts to push for national reform, now led by former prime minister Banharn Silpa-archa, may not have succeeded in bringing opponents of the government to join the effort, but Banharn’s attempts to approach them was a good start.

The premier said she still hoped those approached would eventually join the national reform bid – adding that the door was always open.

Asked what she thought about the opposition setting up a parallel reform forum, the premier said that it at least showed they too were concerned about reform. Yingluck said she believed once their ideas had crystallised, both sides might one day be able to sit down together and discuss the issues.
Amlo uncovers cash trail from Mideast to South
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The Anti-Money Laundering Office (Amlo) said it has uncovered a trail of financial transfers from the Middle East to Thailand’s violence-infested deep South.

Suwanee Sawaengpol, Amlo deputy chief, said yesterday that the agency was checking to see if these transactions were related to the insurgency.

So far, 27 agencies, including Amlo, have raided and launched investigations into individuals and companies suspected of financing insurgents in the South. As a result, assets worth Bt28.49 million have been seized between October last year and July this year, Suwanee said.

Meanwhile, the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc), on orders from Army commander-in-chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha, is studying the five improved preconditions handed in by insurgent group Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) to see how practical they would be if they are accepted.

Citing a BRN precondition that it be allowed to run a special administrative scheme in the deep South, Isoc spokesman Colonel Banphot Phoolphian said that though Bangkok and Pattaya City were self-administered, the cities’ populations could be taxed and were capable of self-governing. However, he said, granting self-administration to the 2 million people in the South would not be viable on such grounds.

The Isoc will present its recommendations on this and the other four preconditions to the military and a new government coordination centre next mon

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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