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PM Prayuth turns to military, ex-bureaucrats for Cabinet

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PM Prayuth turns to military, ex-bureaucrats for Cabinet
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha’s Cabinet – with nearly half the ministers either active or retired military – won royal endorsement yesterday.

The interim government led by Prime Minister Prayuth has 33 ministers, including the PM, for 35 portfolios. Nine of them are military officers, while another three are former military personnel. All are close to Prayuth.

In addition to military officers, who Prayuth trusts, the Cabinet has many retired civil servants, which signifies Prayuth’s faith in bureaucrats to take a leading role rather than businessmen, who have lost influence due to connections with former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, a source said.

Prayuth reportedly learnt a lesson from the 2006 power seizure, which saw many businessmen in the post-coup Surayud Chulanont Cabinet.

The generals in the latest Cabinet are expected to ensure that the PM’s roadmap is not disrupted.

Prayuth’s former superior General Prawit Wongsuwan was appointed deputy PM and Defence Minister, while another of his ex-superiors, General Anupong Paochinda, was named Interior Minister.

Prawit was chosen because of his connection with Thaksin, which could be fruitful when it comes to efforts to achieve reconciliation, with legal consequences against the fugitive continuing in the normal justice process, the source said.

Four of the premier’s former classmates have portfolios. General Dapong Ratanasuwan was appointed Natural Resources and Environment Minister, General Tanasak Patimapragorn is deputy PM and Foreign Minister, Gen Chatchai Sarikalya was named Commerce Minister, and permanent secretary for defence General Surasak Kanjanarat is the Labour Minister.

Prayuth’s ‘junior’ friends from pre-cadet school days, Navy chief ADM Narong Pipatanasai and Air Force chief ACM Prajin Juntong, were appointed Education Minister and Transport Minister respectively.

The premier’s subordinates from the armed forces who will help him administer the country include deputy Army chief General Udomdej Sitabutr, the Deputy Defence Minister, and assistant Army chief General Paiboon Koomchaya, the Justice Minister.

General Udomdej, potentially the successor to Prayuth as the Army commander, is expected to utilise his potential to deal with pro-Thaksin military officers who may be “active”.

Prayuth reportedly interviewed all candidates for ministerial posts before making his final decision, especially former officials who performed well after the junta seized the power on May 22, the source said.

Most ministers were approached by Prayuth himself. For example, he phoned National Intelligence Agency director Suwaphan Tanyuvardhana and asked him to join the Cabinet as one of the two PM’s Office Ministers, a source said.

On Friday, Prayuth defended the presence of military figures in the Cabinet, saying it was necessary to deal with certain security issues. He acknowledged the criticism, but said he needed to trust the people around him to work efficiently.

There are only two women in Cabinet posts. They are ex-deputy permanent secretary for the Commerce Ministry Apiradi Tantraporn, who was appointed deputy Commerce Minister, and Toshiba Thailand chairwoman Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, the Tourism and Sports Minister.

His Majesty issued the royal command, countersigned by Prayuth, to appoint the Cabinet on Saturday. It was announced in the Royal Gazette yesterday.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Thailand

PM orders Thai police to collaborate with Interpol to bring Boss back to Thailand

Caitlin Ashworth

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PM orders Thai police to collaborate with Interpol to bring Boss back to Thailand | The Thaiger
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The Thai PM is ordering Thai police to work with Interpol, the International Criminal Police Organisation, to find Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya and bring him back to Thailand for prosecution. The Red Bull heir has been on the run since 2017 and faces charges reckless driving causing death and using cocaine, charges which date back to the incident in 2012 in Bangkok.

In 2012, Boss allegedly sped his Ferrari down Sukhumvit Road in Thong Lor, running over and dragging a 47 year old police officer 100 metres down the road, killing him.

Prosecutors have now officially indicted Boss on the reckless driving causing death and drugs charges, the Office of the Attorney General announced last Friday. The recent indictment, more than 8 years after the fatal crash, follows public backlash after Boss’s cases were dropped altogether in July by the deputy attorney general.

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha made a post on his Facebook page saying he ordered police to work with international authorities to find Boss and bring him back to Thailand for trial. He says a Red Notice has been issued and he expects an update by next week.

“I ask every officer to handle this matter correctly and effectively.”

Boss, the son of the co-owner of the Red Bull energy drink empire, fled the country in 2017. His hearings were delayed 7 times. He reportedly packed up and fled to Singapore on his family’s private jet just 2 days before he was due to face charges. Since then, Boss has been seen and photographed at his family home in London as well as at Red Bull events.

The story has caused ongoing rage in Thai social media with people using the cases as proof Thailand’s warped justice system where wealth and power can help you bypass official investigations.

There has been no comment from the Yoovidhya family, Boss or his legal representation since last week’s official prosecution.

SOURCES: Nation Thailand | Thai PBS

ตามที่สำนักงานอัยการสูงสุดเห็นชอบสั่งฟ้อง “บอส” นายวรยุทธ อยู่วิทยา…

Posted by ประยุทธ์ จันทร์โอชา Prayut Chan-o-cha on Monday, September 21, 2020

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Thailand

Work permits for top tier Thailand Elite Card members

Caitlin Ashworth

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Work permits for top tier Thailand Elite Card members | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thailand Elite

In an effort to give the economy an extra boost, the government will discuss adding work permit privileges for top tier Thailand Elite Card members who invest a minimum of $1 million USD in Thailand.

The scheme will draw more investment to Thailand, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, or TAT, governor Yuthasak Supasorn. While the types of investments are up to the members, the government recommends property investment. The property sector was hit hard during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Thailand Elite members are on Elite Visas for 5 to 20 year stays. The website says the goal of the program is to “encourage more tourists to come over and stimulate the Kingdom’s bustling tourism industry, as well as to attract more foreign capital to boost the economy.”

There are 9 membership categories for the Thailand Elite Card. Members get privileges like expedited immigration lines at the airport and limousine pickup at the airport. Only those in the top tier categories costing 1 to 2 million baht, plus a minimum investment of $1 million USD within 1 year, will be eligible for the work permit.

Member applications have been at a record high over the past 2 months with a monthly average of 300 to 500 applications, according to Somchai Soongswang, the president of Thailand Privilege Card which operates the Thailand Elite Card scheme.

In August and September, 200 applicants were approved each month. Before the pandemic, only 100 memberships were approved per month. It takes 15 to 45 days to have the membership approved. Members must be screened through the Immigration Bureau, and some also need to pass additional screening through national intelligence agencies.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand

Win driver allegedly ran red light, hits teenage motorbiker

Caitlin Ashworth

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Win driver allegedly ran red light, hits teenage motorbiker | The Thaiger
PHOTO: naewna

A Thai motorbike taxi driver, known as a ‘win’ driver, allegedly ran a red light and ran into a teenage student driving on Sukhumvit Road in Chon Buri’s Sattahip district. The 58 year old win driver and the 18 year old student were both taken to the hospital. Emergency responders did not report on the extent of their injuries.

The student, Chatwilai Laopanna, told police that she was driving through the green light when the motorbike taxi driver collided into her. The win driver, Tawin Samila, admitted to police that he drove through the red traffic light.

Na Jomtien Police are reviewing surveillance camera footage to determine what potential charges will be pressed on the win driver.

‘Win’ drivers are an indispensable form of public transport for people to travel short distances, or cut through the heavy traffic, especially around Bangkok. But they are notorious for protecting their ‘turf’, erratic driving and flouting the traffic rules.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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