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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Marriage could end conflict; True, CTH battle for TV top spot; Haircut changes raise eyebrows

Legacy Phuket Gazette



Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Marriage could end conflict; True, CTH battle for TV top spot; Haircut changes raise eyebrows | The Thaiger
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– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Will this marriage end conflicts?
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Chayapa Wongsawat and Lynal Nam, an official attached to the Office of the Cambodian Cabinet, will be tying the knot at Plaza Athenee in Bangkok tomorrow.

Lynal is the son of Uan Wanlee and tycoon Seang Nam, who is also a key member of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), a Siem Reap MP and Hun Sen’s close aide.

The love story began when Chayapa’s mum, Yaowapa, met and became close friends with Lynal’s mother Uan.

“One day, when my wife was in Cambodia for business, she spoke to Chayapa on Skype. This was when Madam Uan saw our daughter and introduced her to her son. Since then the two began speaking to each other regularly,” Somchai recounted.

The bond became even stronger when, on a visit to Thailand with his mother, Lynal decided to take a side trip to Chiang Mai to meet Chayapa in person.

After that, Lynal started visiting Thailand frequently, especially since many of his relatives have been seeking medical treatment in Thai hospitals. He also met Chayapa’s family when they visited Cambodia for business.

After two years of friendship, Lynal’s parents decided to ask Somchai if their son could marry Chayapa.

Somchai said that initially he rejected the marriage proposal because his daughter was preparing to sit for an exam to become a public prosecutor. However, he conceded when asked again because his would-be son-in-law was a decent man from a good family and his daughter was confident in their love.

Thaksin will not be attending the wedding or wishing the bride and groom well over Skype, Somchai said, adding that the ousted former PM had already blessed the couple in person earlier.

True, CTH battle for TV top spot
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The battle for the 5-billion-baht pay-TV market is heating up with the two major operators, TrueVisions and CTH, launching new strategies to woo more subscribers.

About 4.1 million households subscribed to cable TV services last year, making up 20 per cent of the 22 million total households in Thailand, according to market research company Nielsen (Thailand).

TrueVisions, the current market leader, is turning its focus to the mass market, offering new affordable packages as a part of its key strategy to retain existing customers after losing the rights to broadcast English Premier League (EPL) football for the next three seasons.

CTH, formerly known as Cable Thai Holdings PLC, is spending over Bt200 million to introduce its new logo and brand image and a series of marketing campaigns throughout this year to build consumer confidence. CTH, the new national player, recently beat TrueVisions by snapping up the broadcasting rights of the EPL over the next three seasons.

The two major players held separate press events yesterday at Bangkok venues close to each other.

Apart from CTH, newcomers are eyeing a bigger share of this business, namely GMM Z and RS. This will intensify the fierce competition in the more-than Bt5.24-billion pay-TV market this year, according to the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA).

CASBAA is an industry-based advocacy group dedicated to the promotion of multi-channel TV via cable, satellite, broadband and wireless video networks across the Asia-Pacific region.

To emphasise this point, TrueVisions yesterday staged a mega-event, “Visions Ahead Magenta Night Party”, to thank more than 1,000 business partners and other associates from around the world.

At the 20-million-baht event, the company also launched two new packages: Super Knowledge, with 116 channels at Bt590 per month, and Super Sport with 95 channels at Bt495 per month.

Anat Mekpaiboonvatana, managing director of TrueVisions, said both packages would be gap-fillers, placed between the premium Platinum and Gold packages and the low-end Knowledge package. The Premium package price starts at Bt1,568 per month while the Knowledge package goes for Bt299 per month.

TrueVisions expected to lure a total of more than 100,000 new subscribers to each of the new packages.

“TrueVisions is always the king of content, namely movies, sports, knowledge and variety entertainment,” Anat said.

Apart from quality contents, True Visions says that its competitive strength also comes from package, high-definition (HD) technology, service and special privileges.

Ong-ard Prapakamol, chief commercial officer of TrueVisions, said that in the second half of this year, the company allocated an extra marketing budget of Bt200 million on top of the regular marketing budget of Bt400 million. This extra budget will be used for marketing activities and promotions to attract new customers and to retain existing subscribers after the current season of the EPL comes to an end this month.

The company estimates its churn rate – a measure of subscriber loss – will see just a single-digit drop after the loss of the EPL. Currently, TrueVisions has about 2 million viewers. Of those, 800,000 are pay-subscribers and the remainder are free viewers.

CTH yesterday unveiled its new logo as part of its plan to create digital broadband services and related services such as home-shopping, market research and data services via its platform within the next two years. After that, the company plans to expanding its fibre-optic infrastructure network across the country, a project that should be completed in three years.

The advanced fibre-optic cable network will allow cable-TV operators to offer a wide range of services through cable lines, including Web-based services such as Internet protocol television (iPTV) on top of improved-definition programmes.

Under this development, the company aimed to generate Bt100 billion in revenue within the next two years, Kittsanan Ngampathipong, CTH chief executive officer, said yesterday

On June 21, CTH will launch its full service, providing 140 channels including 34 high-definition (HD) channels, to allow customers to watch 380 live EPL soccer matches during the new season.

“I believe that the content that CTH has on hand is the best choice for our target audience,” the CEO said.

The services will be available via its 170 local cable-TV operators. In three years, the company expects to have 7 million subscribers, compared to 2.5 million this year.

Kittsanan added that his company would spend more than Bt200 million on marketing campaigns to promote its brand and packages.

The company is also investing more than Bt300 million in five studios for in-house TV production and broadcasting.

CTH became one of the country’s major cable-TV operators after Wichai Thongtang, a former lawyer of ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, acquired a stake in the company in partnership with a Thai Rath executive.

Of CTH’s shares, 30 per cent are owned by local cable TV operators, 25 per cent are Wichai’s and 25 per cent are held by Vachara Vacharaphol, CEO of Trend VG3, a subsidiary of the company that publishes the Thai Rath daily newspaper. CTH said it welcomes new investors to hold the remaining stakes.

CTH secured audio and visual broadcasting rights of the EPL for territory in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos for three seasons from this year. This is considered “killer” sports content.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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

Caitlin Ashworth



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

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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Empire strikes back: Thai royalists oppose constitution changes

Caitlin Ashworth



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.


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

The Thaiger



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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