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Thailand News Today | Officials unable to extradite Red Bull heir

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Prosecutors say time is running out to prosecute fugitive Red Bull heir, Vorayuth Yoovidhya, and that they’re unable to extradite him…because they don’t know what address to write down in the extradition warrant.

The heir to the Red Bull energy drink empire was charged on 2 counts in the death of a Bangkok police officer killed in a hit-and-run collision with Vorayuth’s Ferrari in 2012. The charge brought onto him for cocaine use is set to expire in September this year. Vorayuth has also been charged with reckless driving causing the death of another, with the statute of limitations on that charge expiring in 2027.

According to Dr จุมพล พันธ์สัมฤิทธิ์ from the International Affairs Department, the case has not yet been referred for extradition, due to the fact that there is no confirmed address for Vorayuth, as he says several laws and treaties require a possible address as one of the three key conditions for extradition.

The Office of the Attorney General says police have only sent them a copy of the court’s arrest warrant, but it’s an extradition warrant that they need before they can take any action to request extradition.

—–

Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister tells potential cannabis growers they should chill out for the moment as the new law removing cannabis Thailand’s list of controlled drugs is not in effect yet.

Wissanu Krea-ngam, who points out that the regulation only relates to some cannabis products, not all. The law will be implemented 120 days after it’s been announced in the Royal Gazette. At this point, Wissanu says there will be more clarity provided on what constitutes the legal use of cannabis.

On Tuesday, the Narcotics Control Board approved the Public Health Ministry’s proposal that cannabis and hemp be legalized, with the exception of cannabis extracts containing more than 0.2% by weight of THC. How they can realistically enforce that, no one knows.

Meanwhile, the Bhumjaithai Party of Health Minister Anutin Chanvirakul is proposing a bill to regulate the use of cannabis other than for medicinal or research purposes. However, this new law risks Thailand violating 3 international anti-narcotics conventions it previously signed up to.

According to the report, the oldest convention dates back to 1961 and requires legal enforcement against narcotics in signatory countries. The conventions prohibit the use of cannabis unless for medical or research purposes. But Wissanu believes the bill would help alleviate concerns and show the country remains vigilant and committed to keeping the use of cannabis in check.

In simple terms, we just have to sit and wait white the bureaucrats attempt to fix previous bureaucracy with more bureaucracy. Let’s just get on with the next story.

Koh Samet’s fragile tourism sector, already battered by the restrictions, now faces another threat from an oil spill heading for the island and nearby beaches.

สิรินทิพย์ ทัพมงคลทรัพย์ from the Tourism Association of Koh Samet is reminded of a 2013 oil spill at the island’s อ่าวพร้าว and is desperate to avoid a repeat scenario where locals had worked for years to clean it up.”

She goes on to say the beach’s natural resources still haven’t recovered from the previous leak and, despite the incident taking place in just one area, the huge amount of crude oil led to poor air quality all over the island and affected tourism demand.

The Pollution Control Department says up to 200,000 liters of the 400,000 liter spill are headed for แม่รำพึง Beach and the other beaches in the เขาแหลมหญ้า and หมู่เกาะเสม็ด National Park. The department says unless something can be done, the oil is scheduled to hit the shore tomorrow afternoon.

Tourism has already been hard hit in the eastern province of Rayong, where Koh Samet is located, but Sarinthip says the oil spill is potentially a bigger threat to tourism than the pandemic. It will mean tourists are unable to swim in the sea and seafood could be contaminated. She is urging the government to do whatever it takes to mitigate the damage.

Efforts are continuing this morning to mitigate the fallout from a crude oil pipeline leak in the waters south of Pattaya, off the coast of Rayong. The leak occurred at a mooring point off the coast where oil tankers load and offload.

About 160,000 litres of oil started floating in the waters off the coast on Tuesday as the company, Star Petroleum Refining tried to stop the oil reaching Rayong beaches.

The Marine and Coastal Resources Department, the navy and other environmental agencies have been called in to mop up the potential environmental disaster.

For Koh Samet, another tourism deterrent is the requirement to present a negative antigen test taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival. According to recent reports, the rule is causing many tourists to change their travel plans and head elsewhere.

Koh Samet currently receives between 300 and 500 visitors a day during the week, compared to 2,000 – 3,000 a day prior to the Omicron surge.

According to Sarinthip, hotel occupancy on week nights hovers around the single digits. At weekends, the island welcomes between 1,000 – 2,000 visitors a day. In 2019, the island received an average of 10,000 tourists a day.

—-

Road safety advocates are demanding tougher punishment, including manslaughter charges, for drivers who fail to observe pedestrian crossing rules.

30 members of various road safety networks gathered at Government House to file a petition with Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwon, who chairs the national committee on road safety policy and prevention.

The move is in response to the death of a female Bangkok ophthalmologist as she was using a zebra crossing on Phaya Thai Road in Bangkok last Friday. Dr วราลัคน์ สุ-ภ-วัตร-จ-ริ-ยา-กุล was struck by a Ducati motorbike ridden by a 21 year old off-duty police officer, นรวิชญ์ บัวดก. Her death created public uproar over the ongoing dangers of attempting to use pedestrian crossings in Thailand.

A member of the Life Quality Development Network, a Road Safety Policy Foundation study shows that around 500 people are killed every year in accidents at such crossings in Thailand. This amounts to 6% of road traffic deaths, with a third occurring in Bangkok. She says road safety advocates will be keeping a keen eye on the investigation into Dr Waraluck’s death, pointing out that drivers who violate traffic laws often end up with suspended sentences.

Her concerns are echoed by a member from a network affiliated with the Don’t Drive Drunk Foundation, who says pedestrians have a right to be able to cross the road safely at designated crossings. He wants the law changed so that drivers who cause the death of a pedestrian using a zebra crossing can be charged with manslaughter.

—–

A 27 year old was found lying in a puddle of his own blood on Pattaya Beach and his face severely injured. A beach vendor nearby found the man at around 11:30pm last night after he heard men yelling.

The vendor told responders that he didn’t clearly see the man being beaten, but he heard three men arguing about money. The incident happened by the Central Festival shopping center.

The vendor says he rushed over, but the men were gone and the 27 year old was lying beaten on the ground. The victim was taken to a local hospital for treatment. Reports say the man appeared to be severely intoxicated.

Police officers are now reviewing CCTV footage in the area. No arrests have been made.

This is the second time in recent weeks that a person has been allegedly assaulted on Pattaya Beach. Earlier this month, a Swedish man was slapped and threatened while sipping a beer alone on the beach.

In a separate incident or not, authorities don’t know yet, police arrested a shirtless foreign man at a supermarket last night in South Pattaya. The man allegedly harassed locals by shouting and trying to pick fights. Police say he seemed very intoxicated. They eventually arrested the man and brought him to the station to slap him with multiple legal charges.

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