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Thailand News: Courts orders Bt587mn damages in BMA scandal; Suthep names Monday last stand; Record 5-ton dope haul

Legacy Phuket Gazette



Thailand News: Courts orders Bt587mn damages in BMA scandal; Suthep names Monday last stand; Record 5-ton dope haul | The Thaiger
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– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Court orders Pracha, Samak’s family to pay damages in BMA fire-vehicle purchase
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Fugitive former deputy interior minister Pracha Maleenont and the heirs of late former Bangkok governor Samak Sundaravej were yesterday ordered by the Central Administrative Court each to pay Bt587 million to the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) to cover the losses caused by the procurement of fire trucks nine years ago.

The court ordered Khunying Surat Sundaravej and Pracha to pay 30 per cent of the Bt1.958 billion the BMA has already paid to Austrian firm Steyr-Daimler-Puch. The BMA’s payment went towards the Bt6.68-billion purchase of 315 fire trucks and 30 boats in July 2004.

Samak’s twin daughters Kanchanakorn Chaiyalarp and Kandapha Mungthin, along with their mother Surat, have jointly been held responsible for the payment.

Pracha, who is fleeing a 12-year jail sentence handed down in another court verdict, and Samak’s family are also subject to 7.5-per-cent interest on a yearly basis retroactively to when the BMA first paid the Austrian firm.

The court did not find Samak’s successor Apirak Kosayodhin liable for any payments.

Also yesterday, former commerce minister Watana Muangsook won an appeal against the BMA’s demand that he pay an unspecified sum for allegedly amending regulations to make a barter agreement to pay for the fire trucks with chickens or other farm products. He was initially indicted on these charges by the National Anti-Corruption Commission. The judges said there was not enough evidence to prove the allegations.

The Central Administrative Court yesterday ruled that Samak, in his capacity as former Bangkok governor, and former senior BMA official Athilak Tanchookiat had collaborated to rush the contract through before Samak completed his term.

The contract was signed even though it had not been scrutinised by the Office of the Attorney-General, which is normal practice in purchases of this sort.

The fire equipment has been confiscated as evidence after arriving in 2006 and is now in ruins. The BMA later suspended the contract after finding that fire engines were defective and that their prices were highly inflated.

Meanwhile, Samak’s family and Pracha still have a chance to file an appeal with the Supreme Administrative Court.

Last year, the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions found Athilak, then director of the BMA Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department, guilty of altering specifications of the fire vehicles and boats. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The Supreme Court found that Pracha and Athilak had pushed for the purchase without comparing prices, which allowed the Austrian company to sell the vehicles at a price that was found to be nearly 49 per cent higher than it would have been if bought locally.

The purchase deal was signed while Samak was Bangkok governor between July 2000 and August 2004, but the Supreme Court dropped charges against him after his death in 2009. Apparently, Samak signed the deal on August 27, 2004 – his last day as governor – before the gubernatorial elections were held two days later.

Election set for July 20; Suthep warns Monday D-Day for ‘last stand’
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: A NEW election is in sight as the government and the Election Commission have agreed to hold one on July 20.

However, the EC would have to amend its regulations to prevent the new election from being nullified, the commission’s secretary-general Puchong Nutrawong said. He added that the EC would meet next Tuesday to draft the Royal Decree for the election, which would be sent to the government for seeking royal endorsement.

The Constitutional Court earlier ruled the February 2 election unconstitutional because voting could not take place in 28 of 375 constituencies on the same day.

EC chairman Supachai Somcharoen, who met with caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday, said the meeting went smoothly. He said the government agreed to all the proposals of the EC, which included that the election must be held only in a peaceful environment, and the EC might postpone polling in problematic areas.

“There must be no injury or loss in the new election,” he said.

3 steps to victory: Suthep

Suthep Thaugsuban, secretary-general of the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), announced last night that he would launch a final mass battle on Coronation Day, which will be marked on Monday.

He called on PDRC supporters to wear yellow and gather outside the Emerald Buddha Temple at 5pm on the day to ceremoniously swear to work together for the good of the country.

He said the final battle would be divided into three steps:

l Make a sacred vow to do good on Monday;

l Make merit to rid the country of evil on Visakha Bucha Day on May 13;

l Launch “a people’s operation” to oust the government on May 14.

Suthep also insisted yesterday that his group would not negotiate with bad figures and would continue pushing for national reform, without any links with politicians.

Democrat stance unclear

Yingluck posted on her Facebook page before the meeting that she hoped the election, which had been delayed for more than three months, would take place so that people could get the government they want soon.

During the meeting with Yingluck and the government’s representatives at the Royal Thai Air Force Academy, Supachai said the EC also presented the results of its previous meetings with security agencies and political parties, including Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva.

Despite the decision by the EC and the government, it was uncertain whether the Democrats, who boycotted the February 2 poll, would join in this time.

In a previous interview, Abhisit – who has offered to help find a solution to the political impasse – said that if the election date were set for July 20, there would not be enough time to implement his proposals, which would need more time.

He said that if Yingluck welcomed his initiatives, then she should not set the election date but should instead listen to his proposals and consider them.

EC member Somchai Srisutthiyakorn said the government must ensure the atmosphere for a free and fair election, it must stay neutral as the caretaker government and must not abuse power for its advantage. The security agencies must provide support for the election by maintaining peace and order.

He also said the EC might postpone the election in problematic places where the balloting cannot take place properly. Meanwhile, the government must also deal with a possible situation where the House of Representatives may not be able to convene within 30 days of the election date.

Abhisit yesterday met with Palang Chon Party leader Sontaya Kunplome to lobby for support for his political-reform initiative.

After the 45-minute meeting, Sontaya and Abhisit held a joint press conference. Sontaya said he did not mind if the election were delayed to avert problems.

After meeting the Palang Chon leader, Abhisit said he would next compile the proposals of all parties with whom he had met and draw up a proposal for the p

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Thai Life

Top 10 ways to avoid getting Dengue Fever

Tim Newton



Top 10 ways to avoid getting Dengue Fever | The Thaiger

There is no specific medicine to treat dengue infection. About 1 in 4 people infected will get sick, some very sick. A severe case of dengue can be life-threatening within a few hours and will probably require hospitalisation. The most common symptoms of dengue include nausea, vomiting, a rash, muscle aches and joint pains. Symptoms of dengue typically last 2 – 7 days. Most people recover in about a week.

A lot of Thailand is jungle. And the weather is very humid. Mosquitoes thrive in both situations. You’re in their domain and they’re not going anywhere just because you want to live here or are on your vacation. The Aedes aegypti mosquito is the carrier of Dengue Fever which is very prevalent in South East Asian countries.

Your best way to avoid Dengue Fever is to avoid the carrier mosquitos which bite you. Here are a few tried and proven methods.

1. Mosquitoes love the ground

Most mosquitoes ‘hang around’ close to the ground so your feet and legs dangling under the table are an easy target and out of sight. You won’t hear them buzzing under there over the clinking of glasses and the tuk tuks whizzing by. If you’re heading out to dinner take some repellent for your legs, the lower on the legs, the more likely you are to be bitten there. Most restaurants and bars will have some spray – just ask them.

It’s the places we love and appreciate about Thailand, sitting amongst the tropical jungles, that are also the most dangerous when it comes to contracting dengue. And just because you’re staying on a 10th floor condo and think you’re high above the scourge of the mosquitoes, you’re not safe and plenty of mosquitoes will find their way to find you.

Top 10 ways to avoid getting Dengue Fever | News by The Thaiger

2. Sunrise and sunset

We love the sunsets in Thailand. And for the morning people, sunrises. So do Aedes aegypti, the type of mosquitoes that carry Dengue. So these times of the day you need extra precautions against mosquitoes. They will be around. If you are at an outdoor venue at the time make sure the fans are circulating the air under the tables and you have a quick spray of repellent – every venue will have some available.

Top 10 ways to avoid getting Dengue Fever | News by The Thaiger

3. They love your perfume

If you smell nice – a hint of perfume or after-shave here or there – the mosquitoes will be attracted too. Probably not your intended target. That scented soap the hotel provided (in the impossible-to-open plastic wrap) is likely a sweet smell for the relentless mosquito’s tracking system.

When they’re not biting you they’re usually attracted to flowers. Bland is better if you want to avoid mosquitoes. Buy unscented deodorant too. Try chocolates, flowers and an expensive restaurant to lure your partner instead.

Top 10 ways to avoid getting Dengue Fever | News by The Thaiger

4. Biege is back

Beige is back. Mosquitoes are fashion victims and seem attracted to bright coloured clothing. Bland coloured clothes are less attractive to mosquitoes. There may be a reason the tropical safari suit (and 70s fashion item) is beige.

(By the way, only Roger Moore as James Bond looks cool in a safari suit. YOU probably won’t look cool but it may help you avoid being bitten.)

Top 10 ways to avoid getting Dengue Fever | News by The Thaiger

5. Re-apply repellants

Whatever you apply on your skin to deter mosquitoes, you’ll need to re-apply every few hours. Just a quick squirt isn’t going to work all night. If you’re outside you WILL be perspiring and this both washes away the repellent and provides a new attractive scent for the mosquitoes.

Top 10 ways to avoid getting Dengue Fever | News by The Thaiger

6. They like it dirty!

If you’ve been out all day, trekking the hills, pounding the city pavements, swimming in the sea, lounging on the beach… Yum, you’ll be sweaty, salty and ripe for the mosquitoes. They like it dirty!

Have a shower, without using scented soap or lotions, before you head out for your sunset drinks at your favourite rooftop bar.

Top 10 ways to avoid getting Dengue Fever | News by The Thaiger

7. Check the mosquito coil is working

Mosquito coils work very well as a general deterrent but you’ll need to be vigilant that the coil’s fumes are blowing in your direction. Set them on the ground, where most of the mosquitoes tend to gather, around your legs and feet. Check them regularly to make sure they haven’t stopped burning.

Top 10 ways to avoid getting Dengue Fever | News by The Thaiger

8. Blinded by the light

Mosquitoes are attracted to light so if the lights are off outside and on inside, the mosquitoes will be headed towards the light. Not only mosquitoes, just about any bug is going to be attracted to light. If you want to get the bugs outside again, turn on a light outside and the lights off inside and open the doors. They’ll head out towards the light.

Top 10 ways to avoid getting Dengue Fever | News by The Thaiger

9. Spray your room before you go the bed

Mosquitoes will track you down, wherever you are. No matter if you’re in a five-star hotel over-looking the Andaman Sea or a back-packers in the hills of Chiang Mai, they don’t discriminate. If there’s a hole in your room’s defences, mosquitoes will find a way in. Windows and doors, obviously, but also vents – anywhere there’s access to the outside.

Best to spray your room before you sleep and keep the doors and windows closed, unless you’ve got fly-screens without any rips or tears. Many of us don’t like sleeping with the air-conditioning but better a dry throat in the morning rather than a case of dengue.

Top 10 ways to avoid getting Dengue Fever | News by The Thaiger

10. Nets and fans

A mosquito net above your bed is a cage that keeps you in and the mosquitoes out. Make sure there’s no way in for them – they’ll find a way if there is. A good fan will also work very well but it’s got to be blowing hard enough so the mosquitoes can’t make a three-point landing on your body.

A gentle zephyr on #1 setting won’t do. If you get the position of the fan right and have the setting high enough you’ll stay cool and the mosquitoes will not be able to land on you and bite.

Top 10 ways to avoid getting Dengue Fever | News by The Thaiger


South East Asia has been declared the region with the greatest risk of contracting dengue by the World Health Organisation. Instances of Dengue are on the rise but you are well able to control most of the risk factors.

The Aedes Aegypti is also known as the tiger mosquito with the distinctive black and white stripes. They most frequently bite at sunrise and sunset but this species also bites during the day. But you’re only at risk if the actual mosquito is carrying the Dengue virus.

Conservatively, at least 50 million people contract Dengue each year and Dengue is thought to cause around 20,000 deaths per year around the world. The fever can take around a week to incubate after you’ve been bitten. You might start with a measle-like rash followed by a fever and lack of energy. Victims describe it as flu-like symptoms but many react quite differently depending on the strain of the virus. Some people even get excoriating muscle and joint pain.

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News of American sued over bad Koh Chang hotel review has everyone talking

The Thaiger & The Nation



News of American sued over bad Koh Chang hotel review has everyone talking | The Thaiger

After news hit of an American being arrested and sued for defamation over leaving a bad review about a Koh Chang hotel on TripAdvisor, many are taking to the internet to voice their opinions on the issue. The Sea View Resort owners say it tried in vain to negotiated with Wesley Barnes after he posted the reviews, but he continued to post completely untrue comments.

The owners released a five-page statement after the news of it suing the American gained widespread attention. You can read their response HERE. Then, Barnes submitted his own response detailing the situation which was also published online.

News of American sued over bad Koh Chang hotel review has everyone talking | News by The ThaigerNews of American sued over bad Koh Chang hotel review has everyone talking | News by The Thaiger

Now, the story has gained even more attention as netizens have begun posting their opinions on the controversial issue of Thailand’s defamation laws. Below, are some of those posts on The Thaiger’s Facebook page.

“Can someone clarify for me Thailand’s position on people leaving honest bad reviews as my girlfriend says it’s fine to leave a bad review of a business and it’s not defamation if honest of course? I have heard people say that you simply can’t leave bad honest reviews at all here but that sounds ridiculous. The thing about many Thais is that they think they’re beyond reproach. They can’t accept criticism because it’s not aligned with their grandiose self-image. Many also have a torrid time when it comes to ownership of their own actions and decision making.”

“OMG! He is arrested for a review.?! I know of an expat in Malaysia that wrote a bad review about a Thai-owned resort in Penang and he was sued as well. Be careful with what you share in that neck of the woods.”

“It’s one thing to leave a bad review but to throw in “modern slavery” remarks escalates to thai defamation law. He shouldn’t be arrested for his comments but you need to respect the country laws no matter how crazy they seem compared to your own country. This press is going to negatively affect the business way more than that review would have done though.”

“The owner should have settled with the review platforms privately and move on. I would hardly hold up Trip Advisor as a beacon of truth, however some people write extremely personal and vindictive comments that go beyond a review, in an attempt to gain product or refunds in return, this is an absolute fact, and hopefully this might make people think before they start writing reviews that are not exactly honest, I have read stories critical of the General Managers because they didn’t contact the guests, some really petty reviews by rather petty people.”

If Barnes is indeed found to be guilty of defamation, he could spend up to 2 years in prison and pay up to a 200,000 baht fine.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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Phuket police arrest 6 after finding large amounts of methamphetamine in raid

The Thaiger & The Nation



Phuket police arrest 6 after finding large amounts of methamphetamine in raid | The Thaiger

Phuket Provincial Police have arrested 6 people after finding large amounts of methamphetamine and other drugs during a raid. One suspect alone allegedly had 7.6 kilograms of crystal meth (ya ice) and over 12,500 methamphetamine pills (ya bah). 29 year old Surasak ‘Bank’ Wijit and 27 year old Panida ‘Mei’ Saeyang were arrested at an apartment car park in Soi Lookkaew, Moo 6, Rassada, in eastern Phuket, after they were found in possession of the drugs.

Police also found 2 mobile phones and a red Honda PCX, registered in Phuket, as evidence. Both suspects have been charged with posessing a Category 1 drug with the intent to sell.

Other suspects arrested at the same time include 36 year old from Chiang Rai, 42 year old Sarawut ‘An’ Srichanon, from Ranong and 31 year old Pornthep ‘Iew’ Thepchampa, who were charged with the same crimes in Chalong after police found more drugs in their possession. 33 year old Kamon ‘Kung’ Sae-ngow, was arrested as well after police found kratom juice and leaves at a house in Rassada. He was taken to Phuket City Police station and was charged with a Category 5 drug possession.

SOURCE:The Phuket News

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