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Thailand News: PDRC heads to bridge; Can’t choose PM, says senior judge; Pattaya to extend beach

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

PDRC shuts Lumpini rally site, heads for final battle
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) will today end its rally at Lumpini Park and move all rally sites to Makkhawan Rangsan Bridge.

PDRC secretary general Suthep Thaugsuban last night made the final speech on the stage at the park.

Suthep yesterday made a speech at the Chamai Maruchet rally site of the Students and People Network for Thailand’s Reform and advised the demonstrators that he would lead the march to Makkhawan Rangsan Bridge near Government House today.

After reaching the new rally site, he said he would lead the demonstrators to Parliament to observe a special meeting of the Senate to see if the new Senate Speaker would nominate a non-partisan prime minister for His Majesty’s endorsement.

Suthep said he would set up his new office inside the Santi Maitree Building in the Government House compound.

He would make future statements from his new office and would hold meetings with any group that came to meet him. Protesters would not be allowed inside the compound, only some PDRC staff involved.

Suthep said the latest round of rallies would be the final battle. If the PDRC won by pushing for real reforms, he would return to live in Surat Thani but if he loses, people could visit him in jail.

Meanwhile, Phra Buddha Issara, the monk who is leading the PDRC rally outside Government Complex on Chaeng Wattana Road, cancelled all activities yesterday.

He rested behind the rally stage after he was injured by a water canon and teargas during a clash with police at the Royal Thai Police Club on Friday.

The Chaeng Wattana rally stage had only music shows yesterday. The PDRC protesters, who had occupied the country’s five main television stations, returned to their rally sites yesterday.

Chumphon Junsai and Chitpas Kridakorn, who led the PDRC protest at MCOT (Channel 9) and returned to Lumpini Park, said MCOT had cooperated with protesters.

Buddhipongse Punnakanta, who led protesters at Channel 7 and returned to Lumpini Park, will protest at Makkhawan Rangsan Bridge on Rajdamnoen Avenue today.

Nathapol Teepsuwan, who led protesters at Channel 3 on Rama IV Road, said the demonstrations at the TV stations were not a threat to the media and the protesters had not intruded into restricted areas.

We can’t pick a new PM, senior judge says
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: A call by Rally leader Suthep Thaugsuban for the Senate Speaker to consult with the Supreme Court, the Supreme Administrative Court, Constitutional Court and Election Commission to nominate a neutral PM received a cool reception yesterday with a senior judge saying no charter provision empowered judges to do that.

The judge, who asked not to be named, said such a proposal was unprecedented in Thai history.

“Although judges of the Administrative Court, the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court were asked to help dissolve a political crisis before the September 2006 coup, their role was only to hear cases righteously and without political bias and not to nominate a PM as demanded by Suthep,” he said.

“There is not any provision in the charter that empowers judges with such responsibility. Opponents of Suthep and his People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) will reject the proposal and that would not help reduce the conflict. It is not easy for the presidents of the three high courts to nominate a PM because that would involve the courts, which are the country’s important institution in politics,” the judge said.

The proposal was a sensitive issue as it may be deemed a violation of Royal power, he said, and if rivals of the PDRC did the same move, how could the crisis be resolved?

The government’s Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO) issued a statement against the PDRC proposal, saying it was unconstitutional because the PM must be an MP and voted for by the House of Representatives. Besides, the country was still run by a

caretaker Cabinet led by acting PM Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan.

“To appoint a new Cabinet and PM while the current one is still in power is unconstitutional and may be deemed a violation of the royal power,” the statement said.

Pheu Thai spokesman Prompong Nopparit said that Suthep’s goal in seizing Government House and calling for an “Article 7 PM” was designed to provoke the military to stage a coup the same way the People’s Alliance for Democracy group did.

Meanwhile, the government camp has said it plans to arrest Suthep and other leaders today. Department of Special Investigation chief Tarit Pengdith said yesterday the Arintarat police SWAT team was ready to round up Suthep and 13 other PDRC leaders.

Tarit said a court would decide today whether to approve arrest warrants for Suthep and 51 others wanted on 10 serious charges including sedition and insurrection after the Office of the Attorney General had decided to indict them.

“We are confident we will have permission to arrest them and we will have the Anti-Money Laundering Commission seize their assets. The SWAT team is ready, if we have the warrant tomorrow [Monday], we will immediately start the operation,” Tarit said.

The DSI chief warned people not involved to stay away from the targeted PDRC leaders or they could risk being injured possibly from stray bullets or clashes, because Suthep and 13 PDRC leaders are heavily guarded. Tarit said different police teams had been assigned to seek an opportunity to nab each of the 14 leaders.

He insisted the operation was not to disperse the anti-government protest and was not directly related to the proposal to nominate a neutral PM.

Grenade ‘attacks by same group’
The Ntion / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: POLICE believe the latest M79 attack in Bangkok was carried out by the same group who fired grenades at Chulabhorn Hospital last week.

In the latest attack – the 72nd overall since anti-government rallies began last October – two M79 grenades were fired at the rally site of the Students and People Network for Thailand’s Reform (STR) at about 10.30pm on Saturday.

The first grenade hit behind the rally stage, injuring Narongchai Leesirirungrot, 52, and Isarawan Sriklai, 55.

The second grenade hit in front of Rajavinit Secondary School, damaging three phone booths and three cars.

Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) officers led by Metropolitan Police Division Commander Maj-General Wicharnwat Borirakkul and Colonel Kamthorn Auicharoen, Metropolitan Police Bureau EOD unit commander, inspected the explosion scenes near the STR rally site yesterday.

Kamthorn said the two grenades were fired from the same launcher with an interval of about five seconds. The attacker was apparently aiming at the STR stage.

“The manner of the attack was similar to the M79 attacks against the Siam Commercial Bank head office on Phaholyothin Road and against Chulabhorn Hospital on Wednesday,” Kamthorn said.

The attack on Wednesday followed the Constitutional Court’s ruling that ousted Prime Minister Yingluc

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Pattaya

Pattaya fisherman surprised by friendly whale shark visit

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: A friendly whale shark approved a surprised fisherman this week in Pattaya. (via Facebook ไม่หยุดอยู่นิ่ง นาเกลือ)

A local Pattaya fisherman had a shocking surprise visitor and was conscious enough to record a video to share with the world. The man, a fisherman for 10 years, posted 2 videos to Facebook on Wednesday of what appears to be a friendly whale shark casually visiting his fishing boat. Sightings in Pattaya of the majestic sea creature are relatively rare.

Whale sharks are the largest known fish species still living on Earth. They average from 5.5 to 10 metres in length, but the largest shark ever confirmed had a length of 18.8 metres.

The man, who goes by Mai Yud Yoo Ning Naklua (ไม่หยุดอยู่นิ่ง นาเกลือ) was sailing near Pai Island when the shark approached. The shark spent several minutes floating just inches from the boat and could be seen with shark suckers flanking it. The whale shark swam around the back of the boat and the man was able to capture a 3-minute video of the shark and another 49-second video where he can be seen getting up close and personal with the sea creature as it surfaced.

The Facebook video can be viewed on his original post, seen here. The man’s post showed his excitement, as he described that it was his first time experiencing this in his 10 years on a fishing boat.

“This is my first time seeing a whale shark. I have been a fisherman for ten years and have heard many stories but this is my first opportunity to see one and share it with the world.”

Locals in the Koh Larn area believe the appearance of this friendly fish is a sign that the environment is thriving. Covid-19 has prevented the throngs of tourists that normally flood the area, and with the reduction in traffic and boats churning the water, marine life such as whale sharks can safely return. In the waters off the coast of Pattaya, it appears that nature is healing.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

 

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Weather

Pattaya fishing boat capsized in storm, 2 crew rescued, 2 missing

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: A Thai fishing boat capsized with 2 crewmembers rescued and 2 still missing at sea. (via Snappy Goat)

2 members of a fishing boat crew are still missing after a strong storm that capsized their boat off the Pattaya coast. Yesterday morning 2 people on board the boat were rescued after it was flipped in the high waves but confirmed that 2 more crew were aboard the ship and have not been found. The accident took place off Nongprue near the island of Pai.

The unnamed boat captain and another crew member were picked up by another local fishing boat in the area, but they were reported to have spent quite a while in the open water first, clinging to debris to stay afloat about 1.6 kilometres from the shore. The two crew members missing in the storm were a 60 year old man and a 31 year old man.

The captain of the boat that rescued the 2 men recalled rough waters and torrential downpours with a huge wave that capsized the fishing boat. He found the men shouting for help, holding on for dear life to big empty water jugs floating on the sea surface.

The Royal Thai Navy was contacted about the capsizing yesterday morning and naval officers searched all day for the 2 missing crew members without any luck. They continued the search this morning.

About 50 kilometres away, Rayong saw a similar tragedy in the same heavy storm, while rains pounded many parts of Thailand. A fishing boat there was also capsized in the storm with one crew member rescued. A second crewman was later found dead and a third is still lost at sea as rescue workers search.

Chon Buri has been particularly hard hit in the recent stormy weather in Thailand with high wind alerts and heavy rain. The Thai Meteorological Department is forecasting many more storms to come and is advising all local fishermen on small fishing boats to stay on land, especially overnight when the storms have been intensifying.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

 

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Pattaya

Owner of 2 unsupervised pit bulls warned by mayor

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: 2 pit bulls wandering unsupervised spark debate about strays in Pattaya

An unidentified owner of two pit bulls who reportedly allows them to wander freely near a public beach in the Bangsaen area of Pattaya has received a warning from Sane Suk Mayor Narongchai “Tui” Khunplome. making statements through his public relations accounts on social media and in local news outlets, the mayor stated that he had received multiple complaints from residents about the two pit bulls wandering around. They feared for the safety of the children and elderly people in the area, wanting to avoid attacks after the recent death of a pit bull owner who was mauled to death by his own pet. Residents also mentioned the possibility of a car or motorbike crash injuring or killing the pit bulls and possibly people.

The dogs were originally thought to be strays but were later determined to have an owner who allows them to wander freely, unaccompanied by a leash or any supervision. Local law forbids pets to be in public without an owner and also requires that owners clean up any droppings that their pets leave.

The owner of these pit bulls was singled out but not name publicly. The dogs were not reported to have attacked anyone or been aggressive in any way and the majority of complaints were just concerned citizens. The mayor’s post on social media garnered 900 responses both for and against the wandering pit bulls and received more than 7000 likes.

Stray animals are a common problem in Thailand and around the Pattaya area. It is feared that the Covid-19 pandemic created more abandoned animals as people moved out of Chon Buri. Many strays have settled into areas vacated by tourists, and several areas around Pattaya are dealing with the surge in stray animals, especially Banglamung.

It is against Thailand’s religious and cultural beliefs to put down strays, but there’s a lot of debate over a solution. Soi Dog Foundation advocates for spaying or neutering animals and also vaccinating them before releasing them back into their natural habitat. This avoids animal shelters where conditions can become inhumane due to overcrowding, and also may prevent more aggressive dogs from claiming local territories. It is agreed that aggressive dogs should be removed from the public.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

 

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