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Police told to get better results; target quality, not quantity

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– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Police told to get better results; target quality, not quantity
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has given 30 days for drug-suppression units to deliver tangible, better results. Quality – not quantity – should be the focus, it said.

Pongsapat Pongcharoen, secretary general of the Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), spoke after attending a meeting yesterday chaired by the Army’s assistant chief Paiboon Koomchaya, who now oversees legal and judicial affairs for the NCPO.

He said officials strictly must not be involved in trading illicit drugs.

“We will use mechanisms that allow us to identify problematic zones within 30 days. That way, we will know whether any official has been negligent or involved in drug trafficking,” Pongsapat said.

He vowed to take action against wayward officials and to reward good performers.

Apart from conducting searches and raids to arrest drug traffickers, he said officials must also monitor former drug abusers who have already completed drug-treatment programmes.

“We must try to ensure that they are not going back to the illicit drugs,” Pongsapat said. He also planned to use asset-seizure as a measure to deter drug trafficking and to pay close attention to jailed drug convicts.

He said Paiboon had instructed relevant authorities to prevent drug dealing from behind bars. Several inmates have reportedly managed to secretly bring cell phones into correctional facilities and used them to arrange drug trafficking.

“We will seriously tackle this problem,” Pongsapat said.

Representatives from 15 agencies, including the ONCB, met with Paiboon yesterday.

In a related development, a team of police and soldiers engaged in a gunfight with suspected drug traffickers in the border province of Beung Kan in the far Northeast early yesterday.

Following the exchange of gunfire, drug traffickers retreated into a boat on the Mekong River and sped away. The group, of seven to eight men, left behind six sacks. An inspection of the sacks revealed they were stuffed with 240 kilograms of marijuana. The haul is worth about Bt2.4 million.

Beung Kan police chief Maj General Chaiporn Panich-atta said security officials saw a “suspicious” Toyota Fortuner leaving the scene during the gunfire.

“We believe that vehicle might have gone there to pick up drugs but left after noticing officials,” he said.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Thailand

100,000 iLaw bill signatures to be verified, official tells staff to ‘hurry up’

Caitlin Ashworth

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100,000 iLaw bill signatures to be verified, official tells staff to ‘hurry up’ | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Line Today

The parliament president says he told staff to “hurry up” the process for verifying more than 100,000 signatures supporting a new constitution amendment bill proposed by a nonprofit organisation and backed by pro-democracy activists. Activists hope the process speeds up so the bill can be scheduled on the agenda for the next parliamentary session.

The draft, proposed by Internet Law Reform Dialogue, or iLaw, was sent to parliament last week along with signatures from more than 100,000 supporters. Parliament president Chuan Leekpai says staff are working on getting all of the signatures verified and even asked staff to “hurry up.” He says they have 45 days to verify the signatures. 50,000 valid signatures are required to have the draft considered by parliament.

The activists have been demanding a rewrite of the 2017 constitution for months.One of the proposed changes would require senators and local administrators. Currently, Thailand’s Senate is hand-picked by the ruling party.

Those opposing changes to the constitution also spoke up last week. A Thai Pakdee royalist group filed a petition with 130,000 signatures saying they are against changes.

Verifying the names is a lengthy process and Chuan doesn’t know exactly how long it will take. Half of the names on the iLaw bill have received initial verification, according to parliament advisor Sukit Atthopakorn.

After initial verification, the approved names are then forwarded to the Department of Provincial Administration to make sure they are eligible voters. The last step would calling each person to confirm they signed their name in support of the bill.

6 other amendment bills introduced by other political parties are already being discussed and a committee has been step up to review the bills, according to Democrat Party spokesperson Rames Ratanachaweng. He says those discussions won’t affect the iLaw bill.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post| Nation Thailand

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Politics

PM dismisses rumours of alliance with opposition to form new government

Maya Taylor

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PM dismisses rumours of alliance with opposition to form new government | The Thaiger
PHOTO: www.thailandnews.co

Thai PM Prayuth Chan-o-cha has rubbished rumours that the ruling coalition parties plan to join forces with the opposition Pheu Thai party to form a new government. While the PM initially didn’t respond to the question, instead bidding reporters a good day and walking away, he did mumble that he had enough of a headache with just one party.

Thai PBS World reports that Deputy PM, Prawit Wongsuwan, also dismissed the question, accusing the media of being behind the speculation, as he pointed a finger at reporters gathered at Government House.

“You go and ask the one who spread the rumour.”

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda has dismissed rumours he’s planning to set up a political party with the PM and interior Permanent Secretary, Chatchai Promlert. Anupong says he’s no political expert and has never considered creating a political party.

Since July, anti-government protests have been taking place around the country, with activists calling for the PM’s resignation, the dissolution of Parliament, and for fresh elections to be held.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Environment

Thailand’s ban on hazardous farming chemicals to remain in place

Maya Taylor

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Thailand’s ban on hazardous farming chemicals to remain in place | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Chiang Rai Times

Despite fears to the contrary among those in favour of it, the ban on paraquat and chlorpyrifos is to remain in place. The Hazardous Substances Committee has confirmed that production, possession, and importing or exporting either substance remains illegal, under legislation introduced on June 1 of this year.

Thai PBS World reports that Industry Minister, Suriya Juangroongruangkit, says a discussion of the ban took both pros and cons into consideration, adding that a number of reliable reports clearly illustrate that the chemicals pose a health threat. He points out that they are banned in many other countries, in addition to Thailand.

Thai farmers have been protesting the ban, criticising suggested safer alternatives as ineffective. Abhai Sutthisung, from the Ministry of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives, agrees suitable alternatives have yet to be found. It’s understood the Agriculture, Industry and Commerce ministries are attempting to convince farmers to make the change to organic farming, by identifying viable markets for organic produce.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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