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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Thaksin believes protest will fizzle out; Industry gives warning; Mother-in-law admits contract killing [VIDEO]; Govt, Cambodia to work together

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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Thaksin believes protest will fizzle out; Industry gives warning; Mother-in-law admits contract killing [VIDEO]; Govt, Cambodia to work together | The Thaiger

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

Thaksin opposes House dissolution and Yingluck’s resignation
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Despite the mounting pressure against his sister’s embattled government, ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra yesterday instructed the ruling Pheu Thai Party to cling on to power in the hope the opposition-led rally against the amnesty bill would die down soon, a Pheu Thai source said yesterday.

Thaksin, who is believed to be pulling strings behind the ruling party, disagreed with an idea for Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to dissolve the House of Representatives, according to the source.

He believed the anti-amnesty protest, now centring around the Democracy Monument, would fizzle soon after “the funds run out” and the Senate rejects the government-backed amnesty bill. He wanted Pheu Thai MPs to help retain the government’s status quo, the source said.

Ruling politicians presented a number of possible solutions to Thaksin, including House dissolution and the PM’s resignation, but the ex-leader disagreed with those proposals, according to the source.

In a bid to further pressure the government, nine MPs from the opposition Democrat Party yesterday announced their plans to resign, at the protest site at the Democracy Monument.

Suthep Thaugsuban and eight other Democrat MPs would resign their seats to be able to turn their full attention to leading the protest against the government, a party source said. Among the MPs who would resign are Thavorn Senneam, Satit Wongnongtaey, Witthaya Kaewparadai, Issara Somchai, and Chumpol Jullasai.

The party source said Suthep decided during a party discussion yesterday to resign so he could lead the protest without worrying that his role would lead to legal action against the party and to its dissolution.

Initially, the party had resolved to allow Democrat MPs to resign of their own volition. However, with the party worried about the by-elections coming up in 45 days, it decided only a few could resign. Many more Democrat MPs would resign if the government remains adamant, the Democrat source said.

Stocks take a hit

The political situation negatively affected the stocks and the baht yesterday.

The baht fell to a 7-week low at 31.62 per US dollar, weakening by 0.70 from Friday’s closing. The SET index closed at 1,405.91 points.

Traffic congestion in many areas of Bangkok worsened yesterday as anti-amnesty protesters gathered at four locations in inner city areas – Silom, Asoke, Ari and Saphan Kwai – before marching to Democracy Monument, where the main protest site was located.

Many business firms cancelled events scheduled for yesterday and later this week, citing severe traffic congestion in the city and the political situation. They included Charoen Pokphand Foods, Kasikorn Bank, and Seacon Group.

The Government Housing Bank announced the closure of its two branches near Ratchadamnoen Road from yesterday until tomorrow.

The Thai Chamber of Commerce planned an urgent press conference today about its concern over possible negative impacts on the country’s economy from the ongoing political situation.

Meanwhile, the Council of University Presidents of Thailand yesterday offered to mediate in the conflict between the government and its opponents.

The council of rectors held a meeting at Chulalongkorn University and came up with a resolution to offer to mediate the conflicts between the two sides. The meeting was attended by the rectors of 26 universities. The council has 27 member universities.

Thammasat University rector Prof Somkid Lertpaitoon, who serves as the council’s president, said the current political landscape was changing very fast and could lead to violence.

End conflict or economy may suffer, bosses warn
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The government should end the political conflict as soon as possible as it has affected economic stability, according to some top executives in the private sector.

Dr Boon Vanasin, chairman of the Thonburi Hospital Group, said the government should use its majority in the House of Representatives to kill the controversial blanket amnesty bill permanently instead of allowing the bill to expire in the next 180 days.

Moreover, the government should quickly proceed with major investment programmes, such as the Bt350-billion water-management project and the Bt2-trillion infrastructure project, to push this year’s growth in gross domestic product to about 4-5 per cent to restore investors’ confidence.

Boonyong Tansakul, managing director of Singer Thailand, said Parliament should be dissolved to bring temporary relief to the current political conflicts and tension, as the situation is not conducive to negotiation between the opposing sides. Members of the National Reconciliation Committee have resigned one by one, the Senate failed to achieve a minimum quorum to vote on the amnesty bill last Friday, and the public’s confidence in the government has dropped.

The current conflict has forced all parties involved to focus on the problem at hand at the expense of paving the way towards prosperity and economic growth for the country via the Bt2-trillion mega-projects, he said.

Likit Fahpyochon, former president of the Thai Retailers Association, believes the prolonged political rallies have a psychological impact on consumer spending, especially the middle-income group with considerable purchasing power, many of whom have joined protest rallies in Bangkok and major provincial cities and tourist destinations such as Pattaya, Phuket and Samui.

Anake Srishevachart, vice chairman of the Association of Thai Travel Agents, fears that if there are violent clashes between opposing groups, this will make foreign tourists worry about their safety. Several countries have issued travel-advisory warnings.

Dr Kesara Thanyalakpak, executive director of Sena Development, said the current political conflicts and protests had affected sales, consumer spending and the stock market, and might cause foreign-capital outflows as fund managers become concerned over the potential risks if the conflict is prolonged.

The Bt2-trillion mega-projects could be shelved if the current government has to step down, Kesara warned.

Mother-in-law admits she ordered killing
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Slain Olympic sharpshooter Jakkrit Panichpatikum’s mother-in-law has confessed to taking out a contract on his life.





“I needed to do it because he abused my daughter throughout the past six years,” Surang Duangjinda said yesterday.

She said her daughter, Dr Nithiwadee Phucharoenyos, was not aware of the murder plot. Police have charged both Surang and Nithiwadee with taking out the contract on Jakkrit’s life, however.

Both are now trying to secure bail – a move that is not opposed by the police.

Motherly love

“I did it because I love my daughter,” Sur

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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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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Business

Singha grabs a 90% stake in Thailand’s Santa Fe restaurant chain

May Taylor

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Singha grabs a 90% stake in Thailand’s Santa Fe restaurant chain | The Thaiger

(…or is that a 90% ‘steak’?)

PHOTOS: Wongnai

DealStreetAsia, an investor news site reporting on Asian business, confirms that Singha Corporation has purchased a majority stake in the Thai restaurant chain, Santa Fe. It’s understood that Singha purchased the shares held by Lakeshore Capital for approximately US$50 million or 1.53 billion baht, giving it a 90% stake in the chain seen in most Thai shopping centres.

The Nation reports that Singha will now oversee over 110 restaurants across Thailand in one of the country’s biggest food industry deals of the year. The company first turned its attention to the food industry two years ago, launching Food Factors Company under the Boon Rawd Brewery group.

WongnaiFood Factors aims to make 5 billion baht over 3 years under the stewardship of Piti Bhirombhakdi. The company has an ambitious long-term target of 10 billion baht a year, along with plans to be listed on the stock exchange.

The Santa Fe chain was established in 2003 by Surachai Charn-Anudet’s KT Restaurant Company, with the aim of becoming a major competitor to Sizzler, the American chain brought to Thailand by Minor Food.

SOURCE: The Nation

Singha grabs a 90% stake in Thailand's Santa Fe restaurant chain | News by The Thaiger

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