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Thailand News: Tourists should be warned – expert; Olive branch to militants; Match-fixing allegation

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Thailand News: Tourists should be warned – expert; Olive branch to militants; Match-fixing allegation | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Warn tourists about Thai driving habits, expert says
Phuket Gazette / The Nation

PHUKET: It is time for all foreign tourists to be informed frankly about how to travel safely in Thailand, an expert on accident analysis urged yesterday.

“They should know that travelling in Thailand is often different from their countries,” Assistant Prof Thaweesak Taekratok from the Crash Scene Investigation Project at Naresuan University said.

“A handbook should be distributed to guide each of them. We have to warn them of the improper or risky driving behavior of Thai motorists, risky areas on roads and how rescue workers and medical officials assist with injuries.

“Doing this could not be considered damaging to the country’s image. You have to compare the effect from warning visitors about the facts before accidents occur, and when relatives of dead tourists begin digging up [details about] Thailand’s traffic problems and bringing them before the foreign media. Which one would cause the worst impact?” Thaweesak said.

He said his team found many foreigners injured in traffic accidents thought all Thai motorists must stop at a red light, but when they did that they had a collision. English communication problems by medical officials and rescue workers also led to misunderstanding among tourists. “So, they need to be informed in regard to accidents,” he said.

Meanwhile, relatives have not yet claimed the bodies of a British couple cycling around the world killed in a Thai crash last week.

Mark Kent, UK ambassador to Thailand said: “We are providing consular assistance on this tragic case. The FCO travel advice for Thailand has a section on road travel. This advice highlights the issues around road safety in Thailand. You can find it on our website,” he said (click here to visit site).

Ministry of Foreign Affairs deputy spokesman Chakkrit Sriwalee said the ministry had informed the UK embassy in Bangkok about the deaths of the couple and asked it to contact their relatives.

“Some foreign news agencies have reported in a way that might make people think roads in Thailand are not safe. The government is concerned that it might hurt the country’s image. We are preparing to find measures to prevent accidents and promote road safety including providing English language traffic signs,” he said.

Police charged Worapong Sangkawat, 25, the pickup driver who crashed into the couple, with reckless driving causing death.

Piyamarn Techapaibul, president of the Tourism Council, said the accident had had no impact on tourism here. In the long term, she said it would make little impression as readers understood it was an accident. But she accepted accidents with bicycles and motorcycles were national concerns. The country saw many road deaths, not only among Thais but also foreign tourists.

The government should look for ways to boost road safety. It should keep the roads safe for every life, especially as a rising number of foreign tourists are coming here.

Thaweesak also urged Thai people to improve their driving.

Govt offers an olive branch to militants
Phuket Gazette / The Nation

PHUKET: The government yesterday offered an olive branch to Muslim militants in the far South – despite a spate of insurgent attacks on the weekend, saying it plans to replace enforcement of the Emergency Decree with the more lenient Internal Security Act (ISA).

National Security Council Secretary-General Lt General Pharadorn Phatthanathabutr and Fourth Army Area Commander Lt General Udomchai Thammasarorat said enforcement of the ISA would allow insurgents to enter a plea bargaining scheme under Article 21 of the internal security law.

The measure, they said, would eventually lead to peace in the deep South. The two spoke to reporters after security agencies held a meeting with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra at the Government House to discuss the situation in the strife-torn southern border provinces.

The meeting was held before Yingluck’s visit to Malaysia next Thursday. The meeting followed insurgents’ stepped-up attacks, which were seen as retaliation for the killing of 16 insurgents last Wednesday morning (click here for article). The insurgents were killed while on their way to attack a marine base in Narathiwat.

Despite stepped-up attacks on the weekend, the Army chief and national police chief assured the prime minister the situation was under control, Pharadorn said.

Pharadorn said the meeting agreed to enforce the ISA instead of the Emergency Decree on Public Administration in a State of Emergency (2005), which was enforced in the three southern border provinces.

Pharadorn said the meeting was told the ISA enforcement would focus on the use of Article 21 to allow insurgents to enter the plea bargaining scheme in line with the government’s policy to tackle the southern violence through peaceful means.

He said the prime minister supported the plan to apply Article 21 of the ISA.

In October, the plea bargaining scheme under Article 21 was enforced successfully for the first time after a provincial court in Songkhla freed two convicted insurgents after six months of re-education.

Pharadorn said during Yingluck’s visit to Malaysia, he would make preparations for the prime minister to talk with the neighboring country on security cooperation regarding the three southern border provinces and the issue of dual citizenship of Malay-speaking residents in the provinces.

When asked if enforcement of the ISA would run against the current situation, given insurgents have stepped up attacks, Pharadorn replied: “The situation seemed [like increased violence] – but when we considered the attacks closely, the situation was not so [extreme]. The attacks in Pattani over the weekend involved the use of firebombs to intimidate people into not cooperating with the authorities.”

Pharadorn said the insurgents resorted to intimidation because more local residents were cooperating with authorities.

Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung proposed the imposing of a curfew to deal with the stepped-up attacks but Cabinet agreed with the NSC’s proposal to cancel the curfew plan, which had been dropped after a similar meeting last week.

“The government’s measure is clear. We focus on the peaceful way [of seeking a solution]. We open a venue for them to come and hold talks,” Pharadorn said, adding that some 90 insurgents had already surrendered and might be allowed to enter the bargaining scheme.

Udomchai explained that talks would be unofficial, as the government could not hold official negotiations with insurgents. He said the government was using all legal moves and human rights measures to try to improve the situation. Enforcement of Article 21 would allow the insurgents to be pardoned in line with the human rights measures, while the insurgents were continuing to use violence. Local residents would become fed up with the insurgents and turn to cooperate with the authorities.

“Now, we h

— 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.

Economy

Ministry of Labour, CP Foods to hire 8,000 graduates to help reduce unemployment

Caitlin Ashworth

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Ministry of Labour, CP Foods to hire 8,000 graduates to help reduce unemployment | The Thaiger
PHOTO: CP Foods

To help reduce unemployment and boost the economy after the pandemic, 8,000 graduates will be hired by the company Charoen Pokphand Foods, known as CP Foods. Thailand’s Ministry of Labour recently signed a memorandum of agreement with the company.

4,000 of those jobs will be in Bangkok and metropolitan areas while the other 4,000 more in the upcountry. The job offers vary from positions in the computer science field to positions in the culinary industry.

Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin says the government has a policy to unite all sectors of the society to revive the economy from the coronavirus crisis that caused job cuts, leaving many unemployed, especially new graduates.

He adds that CP Foods has been constantly supporting the government in Covid-19 relief effort since the beginning of the outbreak. This post Covid-19 collaboration will create stability for people at all levels and build more small and medium sized enterprise, or SME, owners that are the foundation of Thai economy.

There’s also a discount coupon giveaway from CP Foods and the minister says it will help reduce cost of living for people who are eligible for social security benefits.

CEO of CP Foods Prasit Boondoungprasert says CP Foods is managed in line with the parent group CP Group’s policy, to solve the Thailand’s unemployment problem, particularly for new graduates, by creating job opportunities and job security. He says it’s an “engine for economic revival.”

CP Foods will also provide a business opportunity for SME franchises like FiveStar and STAR Coffee, which need a small budget and small space to kick off.

The company will also offer training courses with experts to guide them to start up the business. It expects to create 4,500 franchise owners nationwide.

CP Foods will have a book at the Job Expo Thailand 2020 this Saturday until Monday at the Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Centres, or BITEC. Those interested can click HERE for more information.

To learn more about starting a FiveStar franchise click HERE and for a STAR Coffee franchise click HERE.

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Thailand

Empire strikes back: Thai royalists oppose constitution changes

Caitlin Ashworth

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Empire strikes back: Thai royalists oppose constitution changes | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook: Warong Dechgitvigrom

Just after proposed constitutional amendments, backed by pro-democracy supporters, were submitted to the Thai parliament, the Thai Pakdee royalist group filed a petition with 130,000 signatures saying they are against making changes to the constitution.

Pro-democracy activists have been demanding a rewrite of the Thai constitution at protests over the past few months. The nonprofit organisation Internet Law Reform Dialogue, known as iLaw, drafted amendments including one that would require all senators and local administrators to be elected. Currently Thailand’s entire Senate is hand-picked by the ruling party. More than 100,000 people back the proposed changes.

“There’s no need to make changes”, according to Former Democrat MP and leader of Thai Pakdee Warong Dechgitvigrom. He says the 2017 Constitution was approved by 16.8 million people (Thailand’s population is 69.4 million).

“Redoing the process would cost 15 billion baht in taxpayer money. On top of that, it would require 2 referenda and a general election.”

According to Thai PBS, 84 of the 250 senators need to be on board to move forward with revisions to the constitution. At the moment, around 60 of them are in favour of constitutional amendments while 100 oppose any changes and the rest are undecided. But Senators against the amendments might change their minds, according to Senate whip Sangsit Phiriyarangsan. He says he believes more senators will be in favour of making some amendments after hearing debates in parliament.

SOURCES: Thai PBS

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Video & Podcasts

Thailand News Today | Surachet sues, The Nude Panda | September 23

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Thailand News Today | Surachet sues, The Nude Panda | September 23 | The Thaiger

Daily TV News from The Thaiger

Former immigration chief, “Big Joke” suing Thai PM over transfer

The former head of Thai Immigration, and poster boy for Thai officialdom, Surachet Hakparn, is taking legal action against Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, after the PM had him unceremoniously transferred to an inactive post last year.

Surachet, commonly known by the nickname “Big Joke”, (a nickname given to him by Thai media) accuses the PM of transferring him without just cause and has been petitioning for a review of the decision ever since.

At the time there was no reason given for the high-profile head of Thailand’s Immigration to be ‘side-lined’ to desk duties at the PM’s office.

Surachet’s lawyer says that in the 1 year and 5 months since his client’s transfer, there has been “no investigation launched against him” and that he should immediately re-instated.

At the height of his fame, in 2017 and 2018, Surachet’s face was everywhere in daily media reports, often seen with hordes of foreigners his team had ’rounded up’ in immigration crackdowns around the country.

But at some point, he appears to have stepped on the wrong toes, calling into question procurement practices at the Immigration Bureau, amid plans to spend billions on smart cars and the airports biometrics system. Surachet was dumped and sidelined… the purchases went ahead.

4 Thai banks to be investigated for “suspicious transfers” after FinCEN files report

4 Thai banks are being investigated after an international money laundering report said the Thai banks had “suspicious financial transactions.” The report found 92 “suspicious” transactions in and out of Thailand totalling to $9,558,752 USD received in Thailand and $31,750,000 USD sent out.

Files were allegedly leaked from the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.The FinCEN Files report“reveals the role of global banks in industrial scale money laundering,” citing a total of $2 trillion USD in suspicious global transactions from 1997 to 2017.

The Thai Anti-Money Laundering Office plans to investigate Kasikorn Bank, Bangkok Bank, Krungthai Bank and the Export Import Bank of Thailand. But he says the information from the international report needs to be verified first.

Thai sex workers push for prostitution decriminalisation

Prostitution could become further decriminalised in Thailand. A petition is being passed around calling on the government to stop arresting and fining sex workers.

The Empower Foundation, which supports sex worker, is trying to collect 10,000 signatures before they send it to parliament. Also known as the Centre for Sex Workers’ Protection, Empower is a non-profit organisation in Thailand that supports sex workers by offering free classes in language, health, law and pre-college education, as well as individual counselling.

“Prostitution is not illegal in Thailand, although many activities associated with it are… like brothels, soliciting, pimping and causing a public nuisance etc. Still the underground industry is estimated to be worth US$6.4 billion a year.

Activists say prostitution laws do little to protect sex workers. Fines and arrests for soliciting sex, have pushed some sex workers into poverty, most of them being women. Thailand is estimated to have up to 200,000 sex workers, many of them now unemployed with no recourse to unemployment benefits or official help during the pandemic.

Thai cabinet adds 2 more 4-day long weekends

A holiday-led economic recovery. That appears to be a part of the government’s agenda following yesterday’s meeting of the Thai cabinet. 2 new holiday weekends have been created, one in November, one in December.

In both cases the extended weekends will be 4 days each, adding the Thursdays and Fridays before the weekend. Given the exodus of foreigner this week, there will be fewer of the ‘stranded’ expats and foreign visitors to add to the economic tally of the additional holidays.

So, put it in your diaries…

• November 19-22

• December 10-13

Nude Panda: naked food delivery man hit with 500 baht fine

A man working as a food delivery driver in the southern province of Songkhla, has been filmed riding his motorbike totally naked. The 24 year old later handed himself in to police, explaining that he’d taken his clothes off due to “a personal problem”.

The nature of the problem is not known, and police let the man go with a 500 baht fine.

A video was posted on social media, showing the naked young man hurtling along on his motorbike, which had a food delivery bag on the back. The video has now been deleted. According to a motorbike taxi driver witness, the man parked his bike in front of a local temple, removed his clothes, then got back on the bike and drove off.

Social media response was mixed with most just inquisitive about his motives to ride “commando” with little protection, actually no protection at all.

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