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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: US arrests 6 Thais; Bombings amid NSC uncertainty

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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: US arrests 6 Thais; Bombings amid NSC uncertainty | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

US arrests six Thais for illegally exporting weapon parts to Thailand
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: US authorities have arrested and indicted a Thai woman residing in Berkeley, California, and five others for illegally exporting restricted firearm parts from the US to Thailand, federal prosecutors said Monday.

US media quoted the US Attorney’s Office as saying that Supanee Saenguthai, a 35-year-old Thai citizen, is one of six people who were arrested over the weekend for conspiring and then attempting to violate the Arms Control Export Act.

Five additional defendants were Nares Lekhakul, 36, a resident of Bellevue, Wash.; his brother Naris Lekhakul, 42, a Thai citizen arrested at SeaTac, Wash.; Witt Sittikornwanish, 24, a resident of the Los Angeles area, Wimol Brumme, 41, a Thai citizen residing in Las Vegas, and Sansit Mowanna, 35, a resident of the Los Angeles area, prosecutors said.

The indictment the six defendants conspired between 2011 and this year to export restricted firearms parts to Thailand from the U.S. The co-conspirators did not obtain the appropriate licenses to make the shipments and used false names and invoices to avoid detection, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Prosecutors said the various firearms were packed in specific ways designed to avoid detection by X-ray scanners.

Shipments of firearms parts made by the co-conspirators allegedly mislabeled the contents of packages. For instance, containers labeled “vented steel case for electronic components” contained magazines for .45 caliber handguns, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Other gun parts were falsely labeled as “hobby parts” and “glow in the dark marker sets,” prosecutors said. The group of six defendants is believed to have made more than 240 shipments of restricted firearms components.

More bombs amid NSC uncertainty
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: While the top post in the National Security Council (NSC) remains uncertain ahead of the June 13 peace dialogue with insurgents in Kuala Lumpur, violence in the deep South continued yesterday with three bombs in Pattani and Narathiwat.

Eight people were injured, while a law-enforcement raid on a Narathiwat rubber plantation seized many bomb components.

Despite the Central Administrative Court’s order for reinstatement of Thawil Pliensri to the NSC, council chief Paradorn Pattanatabutr said yesterday there had been no order to change the position. He remains leader of the Thai representatives in talks with Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) set for June 13.

The team is adjusting strategy, he said, and it will report to Deputy PM Chalerm Yoobamrung next week. Saying there was concern BRN would launch an operation ahead of the talks, Paradorn said it would not be a violation of the dialogue’s rules if BRN posted another clip on YouTube.

Meanwhile, PM Yingluck Shinawatra said she had not decided whether to appeal against the court’s ruling on the Thawil case. She was awaiting study of the court ruling by PM’s secretary Suranand Vejjajiva and PM’s Office permanent secretary Thongthong Jantharangsu as well as consultation with a legal team.

Chalerm said he had authorised deputy Army chief General Dapong Rattanasuwan to work on the region’s problems and integrate the work of six agencies there. He would send a team led by Deputy Interior Minister Pracha Prasopdee to visit the region today to gather complaints and he himself would visit there after June 15.

Meanwhile, violence continues. In Pattani’s Yaring district, a five-strong paramilitary team was hit by a bomb while patrolling a road on foot at 7.30am. Also in Pattani, Yarang district chief Somneuk Phromkhiew’s convoy, returning from a ceremony presenting houses to the poor, narrowly escaped a roadside bomb. In Narathiwat’s Sukhirin district, a bomb exploded in front of a grocery shop causing three civilian injuries.

Officials were also busy making arrests. In Narathiwat’s Rusoh district, the 50-strong combined security unit raided a rubber plantation behind a boarding school in Ban Pu Poh, but the insurgents had fled. Officials found 50 items including bomb components, medical supplies, and a list of alleged insurgents and sympathisers. Thirty soldiers searched a nearby wooded area for the insurgents, suspected of launching a March 29 bomb attack that killed Captain Siwat Sripujyo.

Another official team yesterday nabbed Mahamu Mahataeha, 38, a suspect in the April 5 bombing that killed Yala deputy governor Issara Thongthawat. Mahamu, who was detained in Rusoh district, was implicated by a previously captured suspect, Abdullah Pula, but he denied wrongdoing. He was taken for interrogation to the 41st Ranger Regiment.

Bangkok’s Ratchadaphisek Criminal Court yesterday acquitted Anupong Panthachayangkoon, former kamnan of tambon Toh Deng in Narathiwat’s Sungai Padi district, of a false charge brought by Pol General Panupong Singhara.

Anupong, who had been acquitted of the robbery and murder of Pol Sgt-Major Panya Darahim in 2004, claimed Panupong and other investigators had beaten him into confessing to the crime.

Panupong and 18 others were later let off the hook. Anupong said he was happy he was cleared and would not pursue the case.

Keep checking our the Phuket Gazette’s Thailand News section, join our Facebook fan page or follow us on Twitter at @PhuketGazette for the latest national news updates.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Thailand News Today | STV updates, fuel tanker explodes, 19 dead in Viet typhoon | October 29

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Thailand News Today | STV updates, fuel tanker explodes, 19 dead in Viet typhoon | October 29 | The Thaiger

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“Pattaya Model” to focus on Special Tourist Visa visitors from China and Russia

Firstly the Phuket Model, now the Pattaya Model as the eastern seaboard city wants to cash in on the new Special Tourist Visa scheme to help boost the local economy.

City officials say they’ll focus on drawing in Chinese and Russian tourists on the new long stay visa. The city mayor says that last year, there were 3 million Chinese tourists visiting Pattaya, followed by Russian tourists with 1.1 million.

Potential travellers would be from cities in Russia and China that are considered to be at a low risk for Covid-19. The mayor mentioned St. Petersburg in Russia and Guangzhou, Shanghai and Shenzhen in China.

Along with accommodating tourists under the Special Tourist Visa, the mayor says they are planning for other travellers that are approved by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration. The nearest international airport to Pattaya, U-Tapao, remains closed to international traffic.

Cruise ships and yachts to dock in Thailand, visitors to enter on Special Tourist Visa

A special tourist visa updates and it seems the Thai government is opening up categories that would be able to apply for the new STV.

Now cruise ships and yachts will be allowed to dock in Thailand and visitors will be allowed disembark under the STV. The new measure will be made official in the next 30 days.

Captains, crew and passengers travelling from countries considered at low risk will be able to dock in Thailand and enter the country, of course after doing their 14 day quarantine and all the other STV paperwork.

Fuel tanker explodes after collision in Buri Ram

A fuel tanker has exploded after a collision with a trailer truck, causing both vehicles to be engulfed in flames in a series of explosions in Buri Ram, north east Thailand.

Fuel from the 40,000-litre tank spilled out onto the road, spreading about 1 kilometre to nearby homes and into the sewers. 20 cars, motorcycles and tuk tuks parked along the road were damaged or destroyed in the conflagration. Many people were injured, currently we don’t don’t have the latest toll.

The fuel tanker truck and the trailer truck collided on Highway 24. The drivers were able to flee before the first explosion.

50 fire engines responded to the fire and the road was closed off for a radius of 5 kilometres. It took firefighters more than 4 hours to extinguish the fire.

Court bans Thailand’s first transgender MP over alleged media interests

An MP from the Move Forward Party, one of the opposition parties, has been banned and could face jail time after the Constitutional Court found the MP guilty of violating a law prohibiting media shareholdings for MPs.

57 other MPs were acquitted over the same offence.

Tanwarin is Thailand’s first ever openly transgender MP in the House of Representatives and an advocate for LGBTQ rights. The MP is also a former actor and filmmaker. The Court looked into lists of shareholders and found “irregularities,” saying information had been fabricated to make it appear that she wasn’t associated with the media companies.

The Election Commission may also decide to press charges on Tanwarin. If the commission finds her guilty of breaking the law on elections, the MP could face a penalty of up to 10 years in prison, a 20,000 baht fine and a ban from taking part in elections for 20 years.

Thanathorn and 4 others charged over Pathumwan flash rally

Meanwhile, the Pathumwan Municipal Court has accepted for trial the prosecutors’ indictment of Thanathorn, the former Future Forward leader, and four others relating to a flash protest rally on the Pathumwan skywalk last year.

All five were present at the court today. The indictment concerns their rally on the elevated BTS walkway at Pathumwan intersection on December 14 last year.

Prosecutors charged them with organising the rally without giving prior notice, organising a rally that affected train services, organising a rally that blocked people from using a public place, using loudspeakers without permission, rallying within a 150 metre radius of a palace, and resisting officials’ orders to stop the rally.

19 dead, 40 injured, many missing in Vietnam typhoon

Vietnam deployed soldiers and heavy machinery to search for survivors after landslides triggered by torrential rains from Typhoon Molave, one of the strongest typhoons to hit the region in decades.

Landslides, which hit remote areas in the central province of Quang Nam on Wednesday, killed at least 13. Rescue efforts are being hampered by bad weather at the tail end of the storm.

The Vietnamese government said Typhoon Molave had left millions of people without electricity and damaged at least 56,000 houses.

26 fishermen also remain missing after their boats sank when trying to return to shore on Tuesday. Molave is moving westward through Laos now and will dump rain in northeastern Thailand into the weekend.

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Cruise ships and yachts to dock in Thailand, visitors to enter on Special Tourist Visa

Caitlin Ashworth

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Cruise ships and yachts to dock in Thailand, visitors to enter on Special Tourist Visa | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Unsplash: Josiah Weiss

Cruise ships and yachts will be allowed to dock in Thailand and visitors will be allowed disembark under the Special Tourist Visa. The new measure hasn’t been made official yet, but it will go into effect 30 days after it’s published in the Royal Gazette.

The Cabinet approved the new guidelines yesterday which allows captains, crew and passengers travelling from countries considered at low risk for spreading Covid-19 to dock in Thailand and enter the country, according to deputy government spokesperson Traisuree Taisaranakul.

Visitors must go through a 14 day quarantine. Those on yachts will quarantine onboard before stepping onto Thai soil, according to the Bangkok Post. They must also have Covid-19 health insurance of $100,000 USD as well as local health and accident insurance. Proof of advance payment for anchoring the liner will also have to be provided.

The Special Tourist Visa allows a 90 day stay that can be renewed twice, adding up to around 9 months. So far, only 2 flights of foreigners on the Special Tourist Visa have arrived after a 7 month ban on international tourists.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | Nation Thailand

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Fuel tanker explodes after collision in Buri Ram

Caitlin Ashworth

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Fuel tanker explodes after collision in Buri Ram | The Thaiger
PHOTO: MGR Online

A fuel tanker has exploded after a collision with a trailer truck, causing both vehicles to be engulfed in flames in a series of explosions. Fuel from the 40,000-litre tank spilled out onto the road, spreading about 1 kilometre to nearby homes and into the sewers. People trying to douse the spreading flames found they were just pushing the flaming fuel further down the road, 20 cars, motorcycles and tuk tuks parked along the road were damaged or destroyed in the fire. Many people were injured, but there is no exact count.

The fuel tanker truck and the trailer truck collided on Highway 24 in the Isaan province Buri Ram. The drivers were able to flee before the first explosion. There were a series of explosions as the fuel spread and nearby residents fled their homes. People tried to put the flames out with tap water, but fire continued to spread.

50 fire engines responded to the fire and the road was closed off for a radius of 5 kilometres. It took firefighters more than 4 hours to extinguish the fire. The oil company was called to safely unload 30,000 litres of fuel that was left in the tanker.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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