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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: NSC rejects BRN demands at Deep South peace talks; Yingluck slams agencies for abusing power

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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: NSC rejects BRN demands at Deep South peace talks; Yingluck slams agencies for abusing power | The Thaiger

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

NSC rejects BRN demands at peace talks
Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The Thai authorities on Monday rejected demands by the southern Muslim separatists in their second round of talks, but both sides agreed to hold another meeting on June 13.

National Security Council secretary general Lt-General Paradorn Pattanatabut, who headed the Thai side in the dialogue with the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN), said that the demands raised by the group’s liaison officer Hasan Taib were turned down by the authorities.

Paradorn, speaking to reporters after the meeting that lasted almost seven hours, said the Thai authorities would not agree whether to consider the demands by the BRN.

The five proposals were made on Sunday via a YouTube video message by key BRN leaders.

In the YouTube clip, Taib and another BRN leader Abdul Karim Khalib demanded that:

– Malaysia’s role be upgraded to mediator in the ongoing peace dialogue, from merely facilitator as is currently the case,

– Only BRN-represented members take part in the process,

– Members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation or NGOs observe the next round of meetings,

– All suspects detained for terror attacks be released and all warrants revoked, and

– The BRN be recognised wholly as a liberator, not a separatist organisation.

Paradorn said on Monday that the Malaysian authorities insisted that they would still act as facilitator.

He also said the Thai side asked the BRN leaders taking part in the talk to make sure that their group’s insurgency agents would end their violent attacks in the southern border region.

Both sides agreed to meet again on June 13, according to Paradorn.

PM slams agencies for abusing power
Phuket Gazette


PHUKET: Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday heated up the ongoing confrontation between the government – backed by its MPs and supporters – and the Constitutional Court. In an unprecedented action, she assailed independent agencies, accusing them of abusing their power.

The PM has never publicly made such strong remarks against coup leaders or independent agencies.

Yingluck said Thailand headed downwards after her brother, ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra, was overthrown in a military coup in September 2006.

“Thailand lost track and the people spent almost a decade regaining their democratic freedom,” she said in her speech at the 7th Ministerial Conference of the Community of Democracies in Ulan Bator, Mongolia.

The prime minister said she had raised the matter for the benefit of the country, and not just her family.

“Many who don’t know me say, ‘Why complain?’ It is a normal process that governments come and go. And if my family and I were the only ones suffering, I might just let it be. But it is not,” Yingluck said.

“Thailand suffered a setback and lost international credibility. Rule of law in the country was destroyed. Projects and programmes started by my brother’s government that came from the people’s wishes were removed. The people felt their rights and liberties were wrongly taken away,” she said. Yingluck also said that despite her political party’s election victory in 2011, “it is clear that elements of the anti-democratic regime still exist. The new Constitution, drafted under the post-coup government, put in mechanisms to restrict democracy.”

She pointed her finger at independent agencies. “The so-called independent agencies have abused the power that should belong to the people, for the benefit of the few rather than for Thai society at large,” she said.

Opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday said Yingluck should clarify her roles as Thaksin’s sister and Thailand’s prime minister.

“She should clearly distinguish her roles as a sister and the prime minister. She may feel sorry for her brother being overthrown from power, but that’s a personal matter. It is also not right to defend her brother, who is a fugitive wanted by the Thai authorities,” said Democrat Party chief Abhisit.

He said Yingluck omitted the fact that Thaksin violated the law and she failed to mention the good points of the post-coup 2007 Constitution. He added that the PM also tried to mislead people about problems in Thailand, including the provocation by protesters rallying in front of the Constitutional Court office that were spreading inaccurate information.

Meanwhile, tension rose at the Constitutional Court yesterday as a group of demonstrators appeared in support of the court’s judges, in opposition to a red-shirt group that has been rallying for nine consecutive days demanding the judges resign.

About 100 members of the Motherland Protection Organisation and Network came to the Constitutional Court to provide moral support to the nine judges.

The demonstrations were led by Wirat Ratanachart and Wanthongchai Chamnarnkit.

The group arrived at the court from the back of the Ratchaburi Direkrit Building, which is the office of the Constitutional Court inside the Government Complex, to avoid conflict with the red-shirt group protesting against the court in front of the complex. Wirat read from the statement that his group wanted to encourage the nine judges to continue working to defend justice so the community could bank on them.

The Pro-Democracy People’s Radio Group, on the other hand, insisted the nine judges must resign immediately. The group, led by Pongpisit Kongsena, has been camping in front of Government Complex for nine days after the court agreed to review the constitutionality of the bill to amend Article 68. The amendment would prohibit the Constitutional Court from receiving petitions from the public directly, requiring petitions to be channelled through the attorney-general.

Pongpisit said the protest would continue until the nine judges resigned. He said his group would today campaign for Thais to wear black shirts with the words “shameful judges” printed on them.

In a related development, Pol Maj-General Sangiam Samranrat, an official attached to the PM’s Office, filed a complaint with the Crime Suppression Division, alleging the nine judges were causing a public disturbance.

Former senator Ruangkrai Leekijwatana alleged that the current Constitutional Court president, Wasant Sroypisuth, should be disqualified as chief of the court as the Constitutional Court judges have never been endorsed by HM The King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Two police officers ‘dismissed’ pending inquiries
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Metropolitan Police chief Khamronwit Thoopkrajang yesterday temporarily dismissed two policemen from civil service pending investigations.

One officer from Thong Lor Police Station was accused of raping a Laotian woman while he was sidelining as taxi driver on April 21 and another officer from Din Daeng station was accused of taking a female drug suspect from a checkpoint to a motel on the night of April 26, instead of taking her to the station for a urine test.

Khamronwit said fact-finding committees were set to look into the two allegations within three days.

Given that a report from acting Metropolitan Police Area 5 chief Anuchai Lekbumrung said initial inquiries found grounds suggesting w

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Business

Thai Airways must modify rehabilitation plan to survive: Airline President

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Thai Airways must modify rehabilitation plan to survive: Airline President | The Thaiger

PHOTO: gta5-mods.com

“Thai Airways will have to modify its rehabilitation plans to survive in the face of tight competition.” This frank admission by the airline’s president Sumet Damrongchaith.

The national carrier is now carrying a total debt of over 2.45 billion baht and losses of more than 20 billion, despite being able to reduce its debts by 48 billion baht over the past five years.

Sumet says the first step will be to restructure the airline’s management and finances as well as reconsider its plan to spend 1.5 billion baht on 38 new aircraft. He admits the biggest problem is that Thai Airways has low capital but a high debt-to-equity ratio of eight times.

In order to maintain its competitiveness, the carrier will have to reduce its debts versus assets and boost its working capital with support from the ministries of Transport and Finance. Hence, it plans to borrow approximately 3.2 billion baht in fiscal 2020 in line with the budget limit set by the Office of Public Debt Management.

This loan will be taken to support the airline’s investments as well as for its working capital, to update equipment and maintain existing aircraft, but will not be used to repay old debts.

The Nation also reports that the airline is also concerned about maintaining its liquidity because at the end of June this year, its revolving credit line stood at 13.4% of the total revenue forecast for 2019.

Sumet admits that, though the original rehabilitation plan has a set framework, the situation has now changed due to the appreciation of the baht, so in order to achieve goals, the work method has to be redesigned, such as finding a way to procure more passengers.

“We are now in the process of analysing new markets.”

Meanwhile, Thai Aiways’ board chairman Aek-Niti Nitithan-Praphas says the board is reconsidering plans to procure a new fleet taking into consideration the state of the global and domestic economies as well as the US-China trade war.

“The growth of the tourism industry and the airlines’ financial status needs to be reviewed in line with strong competition and routes that are no longer popular. It’s better to carefully revise the plan instead of exposing the airline to greater risk. The target should be reduce expenses by 20%.”

Meanwhile, Thai Airways aims to boost the sale of tickets, find ways of increasing online shopping of duty-free goods and reducing unnecessary expenses by 10%without affecting the quality of service in the last three months of 2019.

The airline is also negotiating the option of cutting down overtime expenses and is looking into curbing losses incurred by it’s semi-budget offshoot Thai Smile by increasing its flying hours to 10.5 hours daily. These steps are expected to help the airline reach breakeven point in the short term.

The airline is also considering long-term goals such roping in more passengers by offering greater benefits to Royal Orchid Plus members, focusing on digital marketing, retiring non-performing assets as well as increasing revenue from related businesses such as kitchens and aircraft repair centres.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Expats

Thai app will ease expat immigration woes and make 90 day reporting simple

May Taylor

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Thai app will ease expat immigration woes and make 90 day reporting simple | The Thaiger

The “OSS Foreigner” app is coming, and you will be able to use it for 90 day reporting, according to the Secretary-General at the office of the PM.

Dr Kobsak Pootrakool says the planned app can be used for all immigration reporting, including 90 day reports, adding that typing in the required data and uploading a selfie will accomplish the same result as filling out paperwork at the local immigration office but without having to make the trip there.

Dr Kobsak has been given responsibility for sorting out the TM30 debate and says the immigration app, called OSS Foreigner, is nearly complete and should make all those who live and work in Thailand feel more welcome and make compliance easier and more convenient.

The TM30 form, and its companion, the TM28, have been a source of expat displeasure over the past five months since the immigration department decided to enforce a little-used 1979 law that required foreigners to report their whereabouts if they had stayed overnight at an address different from their registered address.

This latest move comes as part of a wider program to make Thai public services more efficient, with Dr Kobsak making the announcement while outlining plans for all Thai government departments to embrace digital technology by as early as 2022. Meanwhile, the Deputy PM Somkid Jatusripitak is championing a programme to improve Thai public services for both Thai citizens and foreigners.

“The government’s new approach to IT and digital technology is designed to deliver a smarter, easier service as part of the Thailand 4.0 economic model.”

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Crime

Karaoke premises raided in central Thailand, 3 underage sex workers rescued

May Taylor

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Karaoke premises raided in central Thailand, 3 underage sex workers rescued | The Thaiger

The Nation reports that 3 underage sex workers have been rescued after raids on a karaoke restaurant and a karaoke massage parlour in Ang Thong, central Thailand.

The raids were confirmed at a press conference held by Ronnarong Thipsiri, Head of the Department of Provincial Administration’s investigation and suppression division, along with Sakda Bandasak, sheriff of Ang Thong’s Muang district. Ronnarong alleges both premises were using the underage girls as prostitutes.

“We collaborated with Damrong Dhama Centre and anti-human trafficking organisations and learnt that two karaoke joints in Ang Thong were employing underage sex workers. These were the Chil Chil Karaoke on Highway No. 3064, Pa Ngiew sub district of Muang district, and Jittra Karaoke on the ground floor of a hotel in Muang district.”

During the raids, police identified 6 sex workers offering services to a group of customers. Four of the girls were Thai and two were from Laos. Three were under the age of 18, with the youngest being 15 years old. A large number of used condoms were also found.

Somjit Phetwijit and Aphirom Pheungpracha, the owners of Chil Chil Karaoke and Jittra Karaoke respectively were arrested and charged with human trafficking, solicitation of prostitution, prostitution of an underage person, and opening an entertainment facility without a licence.

A 17 year old girl from Jittra Karaoke told the press she was hired to sit and drink with clients and was paid 50 baht each time a client ordered a drink.

“Clients can buy sex for 1,500 baht a time or pay 3,500 baht for a whole night. They can either use massage rooms in the back or bring the girls to other hotels of their choice.”

SOURCE: The Nation

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