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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Life on Cambodian border returns to normal; ATM skim gang in Songkhla; Luxury cars seized

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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

Life on the border returns to normal
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: All 47 schools in the border province of Si Sa Ket reopened yesterday as there was no backlash from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling on Preah Vihear Temple.

The schools, all in Si Sa Ket’s Ban Kraud district, were closed on Monday and Tuesday.

Yesterday, teachers and students said they were relieved and happy that Thailand had, so far, not lost any territory or sovereignty as speculated by critics and analysts.

The only negative occurrence in relation to Preah Vihear yesterday was the death of Tri Narin, governor of Cambodia’s Banteay Meanchey province, in a road accident while he was heading for a press conference on the ICJ ruling.

The accident took place across from Thailand’s Sa Kaew province, when the governor’s vehicle slammed into the back of a large truck, possibly because his driver had fallen asleep, news reports said.

Traders and tourism operators in Chanthaburi, meanwhile, said everything, including border trade, had returned to normal with Thai and Cambodian vendors setting up stalls.

Teacher Damrong Samphan said he expected bilateral relations to resume without any disputes or clashes taking place.

Skimming gang suspected in latest ATM heist
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: More than Bt600,000 has gone missing from the bank accounts of Bangkok residents, very likely at the hands of an ATM skimming gang, which withdrew the cash in the southern province of Songkhla.

Ten victims have lodged complaints with Phaya Thai Police Station. All of them used ATMs at Thai Military Bank’s (TMB) Phaya Thai branch.

“The bank assured me that it provides full compensation in such cases,” one of the victims, Anupol Puwapoonpol, said yesterday. He suspected something amiss with an ATM at the CP Tower 3.

Phaya Thai Police Station’s deputy superintendent Lt-Colonel Thirasak Sriprasert said police did not find any skimmer in that ATM at the time of their inspection.

“Or perhaps someone had installed the skimmer but had already removed it,” Thirasak said.

According to an ongoing police investigation, withdrawals were made from the victims’ bank accounts between Monday night and Tuesday morning.

“We are trying to request recordings from the security cameras at the ATMs where withdrawals were made in Songkhla,” Thirasak said.

He believed the ATM-skimming gang had gathered victims’ information illegally long before they arranged the almost simultaneous withdrawals from all targeted accounts earlier this week.

“We are investigating the case further. The Bank of Thailand has also stepped in to help,” Thirasak said. He added that his station might ask the Technology Crime Suppression Division to help as well.

Last week, dozens of ATM-skimming victims lodged complaints with Lumpini Police Station in Bangkok. The withdrawals were made in Russia and Ukraine.

Thirasak believes that incident and the one his team are investigating are distinct cases. “The gang that withdrew the money in the South is likely to have involved Thai or Malaysian nationals,” he said.

Police want safe, sober Loy Krathong
The Nation/ Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Police have imposed strict limits on people’s usage of fireworks during the November 16-18 Loy Krathong Festival. Also, Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt wants to keep the number of accidents involving public transport vehicles at zero, with no injuries or deaths, during this year’s festival.

Chadchart said the ministry had set up a road-safety centre for this festival and opened a hotline – 1356 – for public inquiries. He also hoped the public transport drivers’ alcohol blood tests would not detect any drunk drivers.

Police spokesperson Pol Maj-General Piya Uthayo warned that business owners who don’t have Interior Ministry permission to sell fireworks could face a one-month jail term and/or a Bt1,000 fine.

Those carelessly lighting fireworks and causing damage to others risked up to seven years in prison and/or Bt14,000 in fines.

Chiang Mai City deputy clerk Sruamchai Meesomsak said they were campaigning for restrictions on alcohol sales to prevent liquor-induced fighting and to promote tourists’ safety.

City officials are also checking on shops to prevent the sale of giant firecrackers. Some 400 police, uniformed and plain-clothed, and volunteers, would be on hand to provide security on a daily basis.

Nine luxury cars seized in tax sweep
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The Provincial Police Region 2 chief, Pol Lt-General Kawee Supanant, yesterday announced the seizure of nine cars worth Bt33 million in Chon Buri, Prachin Buri, Pathum Thani and Bangkok whose owners are allegedly involved in tax-evasion scams.

The October 1-November 13 seizures stemmed from a police investigation into vehicles on whom tax had been evaded, and which had been sold to the public or used in criminal activities, said Kawee.

The vehicles – two Toyota Vellfires, one Mercedes Benz E250, one Mercedes Benz CLK, one Mercedes Benz CLS 350, one BMW 523I, two BMW 320Is and one Bentley Continental – were smuggled from Malaysia and Japan and sold at prices Bt500,000-Bt2 million cheaper than market value.

He urged those duped into buying such vehicles to file a police complaint against the seller and join a Customs Department bid to get the vehicles back.

Kawee warned the public about too-cheap car purchases and to alert police of suspicions of tax evasion involving cars.

New Supreme Patriarch named
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Somdet Phra Maharatchamongkha-lachan has been nominated as the 20th Supreme Patriarch, the Office of National Buddhism (ONB) said.

The 88-year-old abbot of Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen has been serving as acting Supreme Patriarch even before His Holiness Somdet Phra Sangharaja Sakalamahasanghapari-nayaka passed away last month.

ONB director Nopparat Benjawatananun said yesterday that the Council of State had ruled that a quorum of senior monks serving as assistants to the late Supreme Patriarch became inactive after his death, but did not explain how that related to the ONB’s nomination of Phra Maharatchamongkhalachan.

The council ruling cites the 1962 Sangha Act, which stipulates that the most senior Somdet should serve as the next Supreme Patriarch, in case the position becomes vacant.

The nomination, together with the council’s ruling, will be considered by the all-monastic Sangha Supreme Council of Thailand. Phra Maharatchamongkhalachan’s appointment will need the endorsement of His Majesty to become official.

Motorbike rider in Jakkrit case still missing
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

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 – 1330, 1422, 1668, 1669 and 1323 – 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.

“Had 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.”

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 Thailand’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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