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Thailand News: Park chief seeks transfer over Billy case; Acting PM insists on elections; Dump fire ablaze again

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Thailand News: Park chief seeks transfer over Billy case; Acting PM insists on elections; Dump fire ablaze again | The Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Park chief seeks transfer over Billy case
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The head of Kaeng Krachan National Park, Chaiwat Limlikhitaksorn, has reportedly sought a transfer – for at least a month – amid pressure over the disappearance of prominent Karen activist Pholachi “Billy” Rakchongcharoen.

Billy went missing on April 17 soon after Chaiwat reportedly questioned him about wild-bee honey he had in his possession.

Chaiwat insisted yesterday that he was not a person who has influence over local authorities investigating the disappearance of Billy. He said he had asked for a one-month transfer to Ratchaburi’s Protected Areas Regional Office 3 (Ban Pong) – to show sincerity and make way for a fair investigation.

About 100 residents from Bang Kloy and Pong Leuk villages in Phetchaburi called on the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation yesterday to transfer the park chief because of his alleged link to Billy’s disappearance.

“The removal of Chaiwat from his position at the national park would help other authorities speed up their investigation of Billy’s case,” said Phreu Odecha, who led a group of Karen at the protest.

The villagers demonstrated at the department’s head office. They had dozens of hand-made banners demanding that agencies, including the department, step up their efforts to resolve the case.

“Those involved in the disappearance of Billy must be punished,” Phreu Odecha said.

Billy’s wife Pinnapa Preuksaphan, 28, joined the rally to beg the people who “abducted” her husband to show mercy. “I am here to ask you to release him,” she said.

With Billy missing for 22 days, her life had completely changed. She said she now faced a lot of trouble, having to manage all things by herself while taking care of five children.

Niphon Chotibal, acting director-general of the department, has said that park chief Chaiwat told him he had met Billy – but only to ask about the wild-bee honey and that Billy was allowed to go home after the questioning. He had university-student trainees as witnesses.

Samak Donnapi, director of the National Parks Bureau, said Chaiwat had expressed his sincerity before a group of senior officials during a visit to Khao Yai National Park last week. He had asked senior officials to remove him temporarily from the park in the name of transparency during the investigation. Chaiwat’s temporary transfer would take effect by Thursday.

Separately, a social media campaign called “#weallbilly” has been launched to highlight the issue of forced disappearances in Thailand.

Under the campaign, people are invited to post pictures, their name and an introduction message saying that they are Billy, who is reportedly the most recent forced disappearance in Thailand.

CAPO will protect red shirts from attacks: Chalerm
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Pro-government red-shirt protesters gathering at Aksa Road west of Bangkok are to be protected until 10pm every night, Centre of Administration for Peace and Order (CAPO) director Chalerm Yoobamrung said yesterday.

The protection is needed because violence against them is likely, he said. “If they are attacked, a large number will rise up, and confrontation [with government opponents] will follow.”

On the other hand, Chalerm said he believed that M79 grenade attacks on the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), which he described as a mob of thugs, would persist.

“The confrontation will not occur if red shirts are not harmed,” he said. “The PDRC will now rely on violence, otherwise it will lose. It will never win.”

Chalerm said he remained the CAPO director despite being ousted through a Constitutional Court ruling as the labour minister.

He repeated CAPO’s plan to arrest all PDRC or other protest leaders using a combined force of police from various special-operations units, if the Criminal Court approved the arrest warrants for them on sedition charges sought yesterday by the Department of Special Investigation.


Grenade fired, monk away

Meanwhile, an M79 grenade last night was launched into a site on Chaeng Wattana Road occupied by anti-government protesters led by monk Phra Buddha Issara. It landed near a shelter he has routinely resided in, but the monk was away on a religious trip. The blast slightly wounded two PDRC guards.

A police Explosives Ordnance Disposal unit was allowed in to inspect the scene yesterday morning and revealed another M79 round had been shot into the protest site. It landed in a military barracks next door.

The monk had gone back to Wat Or Noi in Nakhon Pathom where he is the abbot. He will return today.

An ice deliveryman who was stabbed by PDRC guards on Sunday was unconscious but in a safe condition yesterday, Rajavithi Hospital director Dr Udom Chaovarindr said.

Thanakrit Pinwises, 29, was unable to speak and needed to remain in an intensive-care unit for another four or five days for further treatment for stab wounds to his lung and liver.

At around 11.30pm, Thanakrit drove his ice-delivery pickup past Channel 5, where the PDRC had a rally stage.

He hit a traffic cone left by the guards and got out of his vehicle to apologise.

The guards allegedly attacked and stabbed him. He was helped to the hospital after his pregnant girlfriend called for help.

Former deputy prime minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul called on the police and military to take seriously the matter of PDRC guards attacking people.

There were also reports of the guards forcing foreign tourists heading to Don Mueang International Airport off a bus, forcing them to walk.

‘No road map to end crisis’
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Efforts to find a way out of the political stalemate were under way yesterday, with senators convening an informal meeting to discuss possible solutions to the crisis.

The caretaker government is still insisting on its legal mandate and the ruling Pheu Thai Party hit back at their political rivals, and judges who recently issued a ruling against them.

Acting Senate Speaker Surachai Liengboonlertchai, who chaired an informal meeting of senators aimed at finding a solution to the crisis, said yesterday the ongoing political conflict was worsening and threatening to become violent and spin out of control. He noted that the Senate was the only legislative body operating, after the House of Representatives’ dissolution last December.

Surachai said he did not think the Senate discussion would reach a conclusion on a possible way out by yesterday, a deadline set by anti-government leader Suthep Thaugsuban, who threatened to take the matter into his own hands unless a new prime minister was appointed by then.

“The problem has accumulated for more than 10 years. We won’t be able to solve the problem within a day. We’ll try to do it as quickly as possible in a way that is fairest for the country and for the people,” said Surachai, who was elected on Friday by fellow senators to become the new Senate speaker.

He declined to answ

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Politics

Survey – Thais not taking sides and 66% prioritise health care

The Thaiger

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Survey – Thais not taking sides and 66% prioritise health care | The Thaiger

The majority of respondents to a Super Poll survey, say that they are still waiting to see where they will put their future support. For now they’re saying they neither support the Government or Opposition, preferring to wait to assess their performance.

Super Poll conducted the survey on 1,069 people from a wide range of occupations nationwide between October 1519.

The director of Super Poll, Noppadol Kannikar, says that one interesting finding was that 67.2% of respondents admitted that they prefer not to take sides, with the Government or Opposition, because both are currently under-performing and they want to wait to assess their performance.

But 16.9% of the respondents are supportive of the coalition Government, compared to 15.9% who oppose it.

On the question of Government spending, the survey showed 65.9% want quality health care as their top priority, 59.8% want good and secure jobs, 54.3% want security for their lives and property, 50.8% want increased road safety, 48.2% want government help for small and medium-size enterprises and 37.0% want government to provide them with housing.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Thai Life

Top 10 English news sources in Thailand (2019)

The Thaiger

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Top 10 English news sources in Thailand (2019) | The Thaiger

…in English, in no particular order.

This post is mainly for newbies, tourists and people-interested-in-Thailand. Locals already have their home favorite news sources. But all these Top 10 do it well, in their own way. All are trying to navigate their way through the labyrinth of modern media, some better than others, whilst punching out daily news. We think they’re all stars because doing media in Thailand, in English, is a tough gig.

These are all news and information sources and the list doesn’t include the myriad of excellent blogs around – a topic for another Top 10.

1. Bangkok Post

Traditional news, still delivered as a daily newspaper, but with an expansive and thorough website. It’s been going since 1946 and reported on a coup or two, or three. As far as making the move into digital media is concerned, Bangkok Post is doing it better than most. Editorially it has has taken a, mostly, neutral political stance with a few exceptions. But, as newspapers go, it walks down the middle fairly reliably. It is currently the leading English language news portal in Thailand and deserves its position on top.

2. The Thaiger

Please indulge us as we put our own website and news in the Top 10. The Thaiger, only running as a national website since April 2018, remains the fastest growing English-speaking online-only news and information site in the Kingdom (according to the ‘stats’).

The Thaiger curates the news and chooses topics it believes will be interesting, important or newsworthy, in English, Thai and now Vietnamese too. The Thaiger bought out the Phuket Gazette’s digital assets in August 2017 but now has a national and regional focus, whilst continuing to pay homage to its home turf in Phuket. Currently has the second highest readership of any English-speaking news website in Thailand.

3. The Nation

The Nation was the other major daily coming out of Bangkok, well for 48 years anyway, was a lot newer than Bangkok Post when it started up in 1971. The Nation took a more partisan line, famously turning its editorial voice against PM Thaksin Shinawatra. In latter years the paper struggled with circulation and was taken over by Sontiyan Chuenruetainaidhama, founder of conservative outlets T News and INN News. Falling circulation and advertising revenues eventual killed off the printed daily version. Final issue June 28, 2019. The Nation changed their domain name (suicidal) and continues as an online-only news source with an excellent coverage of local Thai politics.

4. ThaiVisa

Used to be the biggest and most popular news website in Thailand (in English). If it moves or breathes, you’d find the story on ThaiVisa. It’s full of news copied and pasted from partners who agree to share their news on the site. It’s also famous, or infamous, for its hugely popular forums where keyboard warriors dispense their opinions and wisdom on everything, usually tearing just about everything in Thailand to shreds. Whilst it was once the biggest English-speaking news website in Thailand for a decade it is now being challenged by new sources moving into the same web space. Plenty of info, a lot out of date, about visas and other snippets about living in Thailand.

5. Khaosod English

Fresh, selective, well-written and a rising star in real Thai english-language journalism. An offshoot of it’s much bigger Thai-language sister. To the point, original stories with a modern journalistic spark. They tend to choose their stories and provide excellent insight when they do. Original and deserving of your daily read.

6. Coconuts

Most would agree that when Coconuts started it was the best and cheekiest news blog for its time. Actually covering all of South East Asia, it’s Bangkok blog was a daily log-on for most hip expats. Now they’ve taken the brave ‘paywall’ option (because people want to pay for good journalism they say) which seems to have killed off some of their web traffic but the company says they will persist with the subscription model. In our opinion it’s lost a bit of its verve but it’s still a healthy and reliable daily read for Thailand and the region. Singapore it its most popular location, Thailand is third.

7. Thailand News

A shameless aggregator, they copy and paste headlines and a few paragraphs with a link to the original story. Designed to rank in Google, the site is still in its early days. To avoid any copyright issues, the stories usually include a photo library ‘look-a-like’, instead of the real photo from the story. For all we know the entire site could be run by cleverly-coded robots.

There is no sign of a human touch anywhere. Rather than a contributor to the world of Thai journalism, the site is just a parasite using everyone else’s news. Bottomline, it’s nicely set up and has, well, most of the stories around Thailand, all in one neat package.

8. Chiang Rai Times

Chiang Rai Time is a local website that is regularly updated, nicely laid out, aggregates most of the main international stories and has plenty of local news relevant to the residents of northern cities of Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai. You may notice a similarity with The Thaiger as they used the same WordPress theme – we’ll take it as a compliment. There’s also Chiang Mai City Life which is a bit less ‘newsie’ and has plenty of northern lifestyle info in addition to the local news.

9. The Pattaya News

Whilst the rest of Thailand does things one way, Pattaya does things differently, in every aspect, including its media. But The Pattaya News does a better job than most with daily content, some original, and translating stories from Thai media. Easy to navigate, clear and readable, unlike a lot of others!

10. Thai PBS World

A government news agency but has demonstrated its independence over the years. As a website it’s had more face-lifts than Joan Rivers but remains solid, reliable and surprisingly (especially as it’s run by a quasi-military government) unbiased. Also tends to cover stories the other news sources don’t.

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Expats

Thai app will ease expat immigration woes and make 90 day reporting simple

May Taylor

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Thai app will ease expat immigration woes and make 90 day reporting simple | The Thaiger

The “OSS Foreigner” app is coming, and you will be able to use it for 90 day reporting, according to the Secretary-General at the office of the PM.

Dr Kobsak Pootrakool says the planned app can be used for all immigration reporting, including 90 day reports, adding that typing in the required data and uploading a selfie will accomplish the same result as filling out paperwork at the local immigration office but without having to make the trip there.

Dr Kobsak has been given responsibility for sorting out the TM30 debate and says the immigration app, called OSS Foreigner, is nearly complete and should make all those who live and work in Thailand feel more welcome and make compliance easier and more convenient.

The TM30 form, and its companion, the TM28, have been a source of expat displeasure over the past five months since the immigration department decided to enforce a little-used 1979 law that required foreigners to report their whereabouts if they had stayed overnight at an address different from their registered address.

This latest move comes as part of a wider program to make Thai public services more efficient, with Dr Kobsak making the announcement while outlining plans for all Thai government departments to embrace digital technology by as early as 2022. Meanwhile, the Deputy PM Somkid Jatusripitak is championing a programme to improve Thai public services for both Thai citizens and foreigners.

“The government’s new approach to IT and digital technology is designed to deliver a smarter, easier service as part of the Thailand 4.0 economic model.”

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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