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Thailand News: Thai-Americans charged with exporting firearm parts – update; Tax loss on luxury cars; Man dies after ambulance moved

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Thailand News: Thai-Americans charged with exporting firearm parts – update; Tax loss on luxury cars; Man dies after ambulance moved | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

UPDATE: Thais arrested in US over suspicious gun-parts shipments
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: National Police Chief Pol General Adul Saengsingkaew has assigned a deputy to handle a case in which US authorities have arrested and indicted three Thais and three Thai-Americans on charges of illegally exporting restricted firearm parts from the US to Thailand on more than 240 occasions in the past three years.

Apart from assigning Pol General Pansiri Prapawat to handle the issue, Adul also instructed a police unit that handles firearms-related investigations to join the probe, and instructed the chief of the police’s Foreign Affairs Division, Pol Maj-General Manote Tantrathien, to contact US authorities and request information from them.

The move came after US federal prosecutors on Monday announced the arrests over the weekend of the two women and four men for conspiring and then attempting to violate the US Arms Control Export Act (click here for story).

Thai citizen Supanee Saeng-uthai, 35, was arrested in Berkeley, California, while another Thai, Nares Lekhakul, 36, was detained in Bellevue, Washington state, and his elder brother Naris Lekhakul, 42, was arrested at the Seattle-Tacoma (SeaTac) International Airport in the same state. Three Americans of Thai origin were also arrested: Witt Sittikornwanish, 24, and Sangsit Mowanna, 35, were arrested in Los Angeles, while Wimol Brumme, 41, was detained in Las Vegas.

The chief of the US Attorney’s Office in Seattle, Jenny Durkan, said on Tuesday that the arrests happened over the weekend.

Naris reportedly served to an adviser to a former Bangkok governor in 2000.

Durkan’s office described Naris as the ringleader. He was arrested at SeaTac as he arrived from Thailand, the office said.

Prosecutors say that between 2011 and 2013, the group concealed weapons parts in cargo shipped to Asia under misleading labels. Officials allege the group is responsible for at least 240 shipments.

The suspects did not obtain licences to make firearms shipments, used false names and invoices to avoid detection, packed the goods in certain ways to avoid detection by X-ray scanners and falsely labelled the contents of packages, according to the US Attorney’s Office. The packages did not contain details on further destinations inside Thailand or the intended recipients of the firearms components here, the office said.

Keep checking the Phuket Gazette’s Thailand News section, join our Facebook fan page or follow us on Twitter at @PhuketGazette for the latest national news updates.

Country lost B20bn revenue from untaxed luxury cars
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Untaxed luxury cars probably cost the country more than 20 billion baht in lost revenue, according to the Department of Special Investigation (DSI).

DSI chief Tharit Pengdit made the estimate based on the assumption that more than 8,000 luxury vehicles in the country had been or were about to be registered illegally.

A total of 5,834 registered luxury cars were suspected of getting their papers through a tax-evasion process. Some 3,000 others were in the process of receiving registration papers through a system officials said was illegal.

Major Sukchart Sasomsap reported himself to the DSI last night, after a licence plate number that he once owned was linked to an alleged tax-evading vehicle.

Sukchart is a son of Labour Minister Phadermchai Sasomsap.

A DSI source earlier suggested the tax-evading scheme involved politicians or persons with political connections.

Many luxury cars were smuggled into the country, but were later registered under claims they were imported as auto parts and re-assembled later.

Tharit said Thailand has no facility to reassemble super cars. Therefore, super cars that have been registered as reassembled in Thailand must have used false documents.

The DSI will today search four facilities that have been identified as places where auto parts are assembled into super cars.

“But from information we have received, these places do not have the technology to assemble luxury cars. They are just godowns,” he said.

The DSI will today meet with the Land Transport Department, the Excise Department, the Customs Department and the Central Institute of Forensic Science to discuss tax-evading vehicle schemes.

The imported luxury cars are usually subject to a tax rate of between 200 and 314 per cent. Using certain illegal methods, the tax rate can be reduced to just 30 to 50 per cent.

The issue came under the spotlight after some luxury cars in a trailer caught fire in Nakhon Ratchasima while they were on their way to Si Sa Ket last week. Nobody has stepped forward to claim ownership of the vehicles.

One licence plate found among the burned cars allegedly had a link to Sukchart.

A senior policeman, Colonel Panu Buranasiri said some government officials must have been involved in the tax-evading scheme because relevant documents appeared genuine.

He is now looking into a request to retroactively register seven luxury cars in Si Sa Ket, and a case in Nakhon Ratchasima,” Panu said.

Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt also ordered a probe into the Nonthaburi Transport Office after statistics showed that up to 2,741 reassembled luxury vehicles were registered under its jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, Industry Ministry spokesman Nattapon Nattasomboon said there were 89 entrepreneurs registering themselves as car reassemblers. “But it seems only 10 have really operated their reassembling lines,” he said.

“If they don’t have the reassembling lines, they will face a maximum fine of Bt200,000 and/or a jail term of up to two years,” Nattapon said.

He added that the Thai Industrial Standards Institute (TISI) would work with the DSI in taking action against those behind reassembled vehicles that did not undergo TISI inspections.

“We plan to investigate reassembled motorcycles, too,” Nattapon said. He believed there were about 1,000 such motorcycles in Thailand.

Keep checking the Phuket Gazette’s Thailand News section, join our Facebook fan page or follow us on Twitter at @PhuketGazette for the latest national news updates.

Injured man dies after cop tells ambulance to move
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: A man seriously injured in a motorcycle accident y

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Burmese child contracted Covid-19 while crossing the border, report says

Caitlin Ashworth

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Burmese child contracted Covid-19 while crossing the border, report says | The Thaiger
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The 2 year old Burmese child, who tested positive for Covid-19 after leaving Thailand, may have contracted the virus while travelling from Thailand to Myanmar, according to a report from Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health Disease Control Department.

The department says they suspect the child was exposed to the virus while crossing the border from the Mae Sot border district in Tak to Myanmar’s Myawaddy town. The child’s parents worked in Ayutthaya and quit their jobs last month. The department says the toddler probably contracted the virus around September 4 to September 10 while the family was travelling.

The family crossed natural, unofficial passageways into Myanmar. The news website Xinhua says it was an “apparent intent to evade anti-pandemic measures at the Mae Sot border checkpoint.”

Those in Thailand who came in close contact with the family tested negative for the virus. 146 people who worked with the family at Ayutthaya migrant worker camps all tested negative for Covid-19. Those in close contact with the family in the Nakhon Ratchasima province, where the parents worked prior to Ayutthaya, tested negative as well. 2,635 people in Mae Sot tested negative for Covid-19.

Health officials are still investigating 2 apparent local transmissions of Covid-19. Earlier this month, a Bangkok DJ tested positive for Covid-19, breaking Thailand’s 100 day streak without a local transmission. The DJ tested positive for G strain of the virus, a more infectious strain that is typically found in imported cases detected during state quarantine rather than local transmissions. Health officials do not know where the DJ contracted the virus.

A Uzbek football player for the Buriram United team recently tested positive for Covid-19. He was asymptomatic and tested negative for the virus multiple times during quarantine after he arrived to Thailand. Although it seems like a local transmission, some health officials speculate the virus has a longer incubation period than 14 days.

SOURCE:Xinhua

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Video & Podcasts

Thailand News Today | Amnesty finishes, protest round-up | September 21, 2020

The Thaiger

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Thailand News Today | Amnesty finishes, protest round-up | September 21, 2020 | The Thaiger

Daily video news about Thailand with Tim Newton

Get a visa or go to jail.

Thai Immigration Tourists, and anyone else with a lapsed visa, ha ve only 5 days to renew their visa or they could get arrested. The current visa amnesty ends on September 26 and there isn’t going to be another sudden announcement for another grace period, according to immigration officials. Those who overstay will face arrest and be deported back to their home countries. Immigration officials estimate there are more than 150,000 foreign nationals who need to have their tourist visas renewed. Immigration officials said today that people without a valid visa after September 26 could face jail.

“Overstaying the tourist visa is punishable by both a jail term and fine under the Immigration Act.”

Some foreigners who arrived on tourist visas earlier in the year have been in Thailand since late March when the Thai borders closed and many international flights were cancelled due to the world coronavirus pandemic. The visa amnesty was renewed twice since many people were unable to their home countries, but now the amnesty is coming to an end this Saturday.

There were hopes that the end of the visa amnesty could co-incide with the introduction of the new Special Tourist Visa so that those either unable to leave, due to lack of flights or problems returning to their home countries, could ‘roll over’ onto the new 90 day visas. But that has not been announced at this stage and remains just wishful thinking. The best thing you can do, if you don’t currently have a valid visa to stay in Thailand, is urgently contact your embassy, make an appointment online at your nearest Immigration office, or speak to a professional visa agent. But, be warned, there are plenty of scammers posting official looking urgent posts in social media offering to issue you with a visa so you can stay in Thailand. Do your homework before spending money with any visa agent.

Weekend protest rallies draw 30,000 people but no formal response

Protesters gathered from early Saturday morning at the Thammasat Tha Prachan campus. Although officially denied permission to hold their protest on the Campus grounds, the demonstrators stormed the campus’s gates, without resistance from onlooking police or security officials. By the afternoon the crowd had reached some 30,000 people, less than the 50,000 expected but a lot more than the 15,000 expected by government officials in the lead up to the Saturday rally. Largely peaceful the protesters sat in the wet season drizzle to listen to speeches and performances before marching together to the adjacent royal parade grounds of Sanam Luang. Here the protest continued under the watchful eye of police, all unarmed, who barricaded off sensitive areas of the historic parade grounds and access to the Grand Palace.

The protest continued into the night and punctuated the themes of political freedom, new Democratic elections, the dissolution of the Thai parliament and, controversially, reforms to the country’s revered monarchy. On Sunday morning there was a symbolic placement of a brass plaque to commemorate the event, seen as a replacement to a similar plaque that commemorated the Siam Revolution in 1932 that mysteriously vanished in 2017. The protesters then marched to the Privy Council to officially hand over a copy of their 10 point manifesto.

Meanwhile, 45,000 books – a collection of speeches and poems by some of the protest leaders – were seized in a nearby Bangkok house. The books were to be handed out to protesters. 5 people were arrested at the time.

Alcohol banned at national parks after complaints of trash and drunk tourists Alcohol is now banned at national parks after tourists allegedly got drunk at a waterfall and others left a load of trash by their campsite. Just last week, trash left at a campsite at Khao Yai National Park was boxed up in a parcel and sent back to the campers. Other tourists were allegedly drunk and making a lot of noise at the Namtok Samlan National Park, Varawut says. He says both groups of tourists face charges for their actions.

• Alcohol is banned at national parks for the time being

• Loud noise is not allowed after 9pm and noise must be stopped at 10pm

• When renting a tent, tourists must provide identification, address and phone number

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Protests

MP files complaint against 3 opposition MPs for allegedly joining the protest

Caitlin Ashworth

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MP files complaint against 3 opposition MPs for allegedly joining the protest | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Line Today

A member of parliament filed a complaint against 3 opposition MPs for allegedly joining the weekend’s pro-democracy protest where activists demanded reform of the Thai Monarchy. He’s also putting together a legal team aimed at dissolving the members’ 3 opposition parties.

Palang Pracharat MP Sira Jenjakha says he has a photo of the 3 members raising their hands in a 3 finger salute, a symbol of resistance against the military run government. He says the protest was illegal, and the location, the Royal Field next to the Grand Palace, is off limits to unauthorised people.

He filed the complaint with the Chanasongkhram police against Mongkolkit Suksintharanont, of the Thai Civilized Party, Peerawit Ruangluedolapark, of the Thai Rak Thai Party and Nattha Boonchai-insawat of the Kao Klai Party.

A legal team assigned by Sira will collect evidence and file a petition with the Constitutional Court calling on the dissolution of the 3 opposition parties: Thai Civilized Party, Thai Rak Thai Party and Kao Klai Party.

He says he also plans to ask the House Speaker to investigate the 3 members to determine if they breached the parliament’s ethical conduct.

SOURCE: Thai PBS

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