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Rape-and-murder convicts must face death: netizens

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Rape-and-murder convicts must face death: netizens | The Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Rape-and-murder convicts must face death: netizens
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Concerned netizens have called for mandatory death sentence for rape-and-murder crimes, in an angry and swift reaction to the tragic rape and murder on Sunday night of a 13-year-old victim by a State Railway of Thailand employee on a moving train.

Administrators and members of many Facebook pages have launched campaigns to rally public support for the legal-amendment drive, while similar attempts were under way on the online petition service www.change.org even before Sunday’s tragedy.

A Facebook account with more than 6,000 members has arranged a public gathering in front of Siam Paragon shopping mall in downtown Bangkok at 11am on Saturday. Attendees have been urged to dress in black in memory of the victim, an unnamed eighth-grade student identified by the nickname of Kaem, who studied at a Nonthaburi school.

The campaign site www.change.org had drawn more than 21,000 signatures out of a total of 50,000 required to push for a legal amendment after a rape-and-murder case in Bangkok last year. Some other activities on Change.org include campaigns to ensure that producers of television series do not play up scripts about sexual offences against females in their shows, and stricter supervision in this area by the broadcast regulator.

The reaction on social media and a public rally are a rare swift response in Thailand over a sexual crime. The response is comparable to the uproar in India last year over the gang rape of a woman on a bus, who was later thrown off the moving vehicle.

Apart from seeking mandatory execution of rape-and-murder convicts, the campaigners also called on the judicial authorities not to pardon or commute prison terms of convicted sexual offenders.

The Criminal Code sentences rapists to jail terms from four to 20 years in general cases of rape, while aggravated offences in which the rape victim is killed on purpose or where death is caused through violent sex acts are punishable by death. The campaigners, however, want rape-and-murder convicts to face the death penalty without exception.

A number of female celebrities posted messages on their social-media sites offering their condolences to the victim and her family while joining awareness campaigns and the drive for legal amendment.

Former Miss Thailand Panadda Wongphudee issued a statement calling on sympathisers to supply photocopies of their identity cards to push for the amendment to increase penalties for convicted sex offenders.

The Women and Men Progressive Movement Foundation demanded that SRT governor Prapat Chongsanguan take responsibility and resign. Director Chadet Chaowilai said the crime was not acceptable and would cause great concern among Thai and foreign passengers.

The StopDrink organisation said the sale of alcohol on the trains was deemed one of the reasons behind nuisances, quarrels, accidents and sexual violations that affected general passengers, citing a survey it conducted late last year on 1,160 respondents. A large majority of the respondents backed a ban on alcohol consumption on trains and the sale of liquor at train stations, said Theera Watcharapranee.

Child-rights activist Wallop Tangkhananurak voiced his support for heavier penalties. He also opposed pardon or reduced prison sentences for convicted sex offenders on auspicious occasions. He said the SRT could give no excuses for such an incident and in other countries senior officials would have handed in their resignations.

The National Council for Peace and Order has assigned military and police units to take care of security measures on trains. NCPO spokesman Colonel Winthai Suvari said that although yesterday’s meeting did not discuss the murder in particular, the junta leadership expressed concern over the issue.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Thailand

Points deduction system for drivers to be introduced mid-December

The Thaiger

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Points deduction system for drivers to be introduced mid-December | The Thaiger

The point deduction system, for traffic and road infringements, is tentatively scheduled for activation for motorists and motorcyclists in mid-December. It is hoped that the system will help reduce road fatalities and injuries on Thai roads.

The deputy commander of Highways Police Command says that every licensed driver will be given an allocation of 12 points. Each time the driver commits a traffic law violation, points will be deducted. When there are no points left, the driver’s license will be suspended for 90 days, after which the driver or motorcyclist will have to undergo training administered by the Land Transport Department to get their licence back, and another 12 points.

Those who don’t attend the training, however, will have their licence returned after 90 days, but with only 8 points.

Points to be deducted differ, depending on the offence. Offences are divided into four categories:

• One point deduction

Using a cell-phone while driving; exceeding the speed limit; not wearing crash helmets for motorcyclists; not wearing seat belts; not giving way to emergency vehicles, riding on the sidewalk and not stopping for pedestrians on zebra crossings.

• Two points deduction

Running a red light; driving on the wrong side of the road; reckless driving; driving while his/her license is suspended and drunk driving.

• Three points deduction

Organising or promoting street racing without permission; hit-and run; driving while under the influence of narcotics; driving while under the influence of alcohol exceeding 150mg per ml.

• Four points deduction

Driving under the influence of alcohol exceeding 200mg per ml, drunk driving in a way which may cause serious injuries or death to the other people; driving in a manner disregarding the safety of the other people or causing trouble to other people.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Economy

Opposition hits out at government’s military spending in 2020 budget

May Taylor

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Opposition hits out at government’s military spending in 2020 budget | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Reuters | The Business Times

The opposition is accusing the government of being more concerned with military arms than the daily struggles of Thai citizens. During a debate in Parliament on the budget bill, the government was accused of caring more about the growth in military spending than citizens’ financial woes.

The opposition levied the attack after PM General Prayut Chan-o-cha delivered the 3.2 trillion baht bill to the House of Representatives. The debate on the 2020 budget is expected to continue for two more days and if approved by Parliament, the bill will come into force early next year.

The PM says the budget aligns with the “20 year strategy” to improve the living standards of the nation’s citizens while growing the economy, but opponents accuse him of making defence spending a priority.

The leader of the opposition, Sompong Amornvivat, claims that in the five years the PM has been in power, total spending has hit 14.3 trillion baht, with loans of 2.2 trillion baht, without any significant growth in the economy. He accuses the government of spending more than 6 billion baht on defence, with the Interior Ministry getting 25 billion baht more than last year.

It’s also understood that the government has also put 518.8 billion baht aside, which it can spend as it wishes, without the consent of Parliament.

The government’s tourism stimulus plan, whereby domestic tourists would be given cash incentives, also came under fire as Sompong declared it a waste of money that would do nothing to boost productivity.

The subject of the PM’s oath-taking fiasco reared its head again, as the leader of the Seree Ruam Thai Party, Pol General Sereepisut Temiyavej declared the PM and his government unfit to rule or propose a budget bill as a result of it.

Anudit Nakorntab from the Pheu Thai party said the government should postpone unnecessary spending on military arms while the country’s citizens battle economic hardship, accusing the previous junta-led administration of also prioritising the military in its spending.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Environment

Academics warn of high cost of Thai ban on agri-chemicals

May Taylor

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Academics warn of high cost of Thai ban on agri-chemicals | The Thaiger

The chairman of the Thai Sugarcane Farmers Association, Thongkam Cheongklad, says a ban on the weed-killer paraquat would have a severe impact on production costs. Academics and Thai sugarcane farmers have also expressed their concern over the ban, saying it could cost the industry up to 570 billion baht.

The Nation reports that up to 1.2 million people working in the sugarcane industry are understood to be against the ban, saying the proposed paraquat substitute is both expensive and ineffective.

The president of the Thailand Society of Sugarcane Technologists, Kitti Choonhawong, says Thailand has approximately 11 million rai dedicated to sugarcane plantations, generating about 300 billion baht a year.

He claims that a ban on agri-chemicals may lower sugar production, which in turn would affect sugar factories and cause the export market to lose as much as 94.6 billion baht. Thailand is currently the world’s second biggest sugar exporter, behind Brazil.

A research director from the Thailand Development Institute says the ban could ultimately mean the country is not allowed to produce enough food, unless chemical fertilisers are still allowed if chemical pesticides are banned.

Viroj Na Ranong says production costs will still rise however, along with labour costs, adding that the government needs to do its homework.

“The government has to implement measures based on research, not on social trends and politics.”

It’s understood that The National Hazardous Substances Committee will meet on October 27 to decide if a ban on three chemicals currently used in farming will go ahead. The substances involved are paraquat, glyphosate and chlorpyrifos and the proposal is for them to be banned from December 1.

SOURCE: The Nation

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