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Threat of mass rallies after Krabi coal plant approved

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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BANGKOK: Protestors have vowed to continue their campaign with mass demonstrations in Bangkok, after the controversial Krabi coal-fired power plant project finally got the go-ahead yesterday, following two years of resistance.

After an Energy Policy Planning Office (EPPO) committee meeting at Government House yesterday, Prime Minister Gen Prayuth Chan-o-cha said the new power plant was needed to ensure power stability in the South (story here).

The committee ordered the Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning Office to rush the project’s Environmental and Health Impact Assessment by considering the comments of the tripartite committee.

After the decision was announced, protesters gathered outside Government House, marched to the entrance and tried to enter the compound, but were blocked by a line of police officers. Minor clashes between protesters and police went on throughout the afternoon as the demonstrators demanded that they be allowed to continue their protest and asked others affected by the decision to join their conflict.

Some opponents said they did not fear the “absolute power of the junta” and were “prepared to die fighting” the government’s “disastrous” policy.

Gen Prayuth, who heads the EPPO committee, said he was worried about power instability in the future as the Krabi plant had already been delayed for two years and there was a risk of blackouts in the South from increasing power demands in the future.

“We have considered the information and argument on the current electricity generation technology and concluded that a coal-fired power plant is the best option because it can generate electricity at a reasonable price and also be safe,” he said.

“Therefore, I have ordered the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand [EGAT] and the Energy Ministry to continue with the project, while trying to reduce the conflict with the locals as much as possible.”

Prasitchai Nu-nuan from the group ‘Save Andaman from Coal’, announced that the protestors would continue demonstrating in front of the Government House until the project is scrapped.

“I would like people from all the Southern provinces and those who are affected by the government policies, no matter their political affiliation, to march to Bangkok, because this is not a political matter; this is a matter of people’s lives,” Mr Prasitchai said.

“The PM’s permission to move forward with the project is clear proof that the government is on the side of the big capitalists, not on the people’s side, and they are the tyrants who take advantage from their |own [Thai] people for their benefit.”

Akkaradej Chakchinda, another rally leader, said they had no plan to stop protesting despite the National Council for Peace and Order’s demonstration ban and they would not move till the government cancels the project.

Meanwhile, Kanokwan Sae-eiaw, a local from Ban Leam Hin in Krabi near the site of coal transporting pier, also vowed to continue protesting until they achieve their goal, because the livelihood of the people in her community is at stake.

“The project will destroy the healthy environment that we depend on. This is a matter of our lives, so I have to fight until the end,” Ms Kanokwan said.

Lt-Col Supak Wongsawat of Dusit Police Station sent a petition to the Civil Court, asking for an order to end the protest. The court accepted the petition and will hear out witnesses from both sides at 9am on Monday.

— The Nation

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

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Public Health Minister gets first Covid-19 vaccine shot in Thailand

Caitlin Ashworth

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Public Health Minister gets first Covid-19 vaccine shot in Thailand | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook/ Anutin Charnvirakul

Thailand’s Covid-19 vaccine campaign started with Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul who was jabbed with China’s Sinovac vaccine. PM Prayut Chan-o-cha was initially planned to be the first to kick off Thailand’s immunisation plan with the AstraZeneca vaccine, but due to problems with paperwork, the prime minister’s injection was postponed. Doctors advised Prayut to get the AstraZeneca vaccine due to his age. Prayut is 66 and doctors say the Sinovac vaccine has been declared safe for people ages 18 to 59.

Both shipments of the Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines arrived last week, the AstraZeneca vaccine still needs to be endorsed by the Medical Science Department. Anutin says the pharmaceutical company has not submitted documents and samples needed for the endorsement.

Along with Anutin, a number of other government officials and health professionals were vaccinated against the coronavirus. Anutin’s shot was administered by Thailand’s top virologist Yong Poovorawan.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Bangkok

Royal Thai Police accused of “ticket” promotion system to buy senior positions

Caitlin Ashworth

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Royal Thai Police accused of “ticket” promotion system to buy senior positions | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

The Royal Thai Police are being accused of using so-called “elephant tickets” to buy their way into promotions and pay their way up the police force’s chain of command. The corruption among the police force and the buying of positions without meeting the requirements for a promotion has been a longtime problem, according to the Bangkok Post.

The “elephant ticket” issue was recently brought to light by an opposition MP at a censure debate who said it fast tracked the promotion system and allowed some people who were unqualified and undeserving to raise their rank. Some Thais have protested the “elephant ticket.” Many gathered in front of the Royal Thai Police headquarters in Bangkok last week, including one person who dressed up as an elephant.

At the censure debate on February 19, Move Forward Party MP Rangsiman Rome called out PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, who chairs the Police Commission overseeing the Royal Thai Police, and said the prime minister allowed the “elephant ticket” promotions. Prayut later said there were problems within the police force and that he would handle it.

Police who want a promotion need a ticket, which is basically just a reference or a stamp of approval from a senior officer or even a politician or business person. To get an “elephant ticket,” some can pay for the ticket. A source told the Post that positions for police superintendents cost between 5 to 10 million baht.

Others can get a ticket by doing favours for their superior or even just serving their superior for a long time, sources told the Bangkok Post. The higher the position a senior officer has, the more tickets they have to give out.

To read the full special report by the Bangkok Post, click HERE.

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Crime

Woman talks about the life of a Thai “pretty” after model’s death

Caitlin Ashworth

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Woman talks about the life of a Thai “pretty” after model’s death | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Instagram/ wawa_manika

Following the news of a model who died after working as a hostess at a Bangkok party, Thai media spoke with a woman, known in Thailand as a “pretty,” about what it’s like to work in the lucrative, yet shady Thai model entertainment industry where many work as hostesses at parties and events that often involve alcohol, drugs and sex work.

“Miss Cake” told the Thai news outlet Daily News that pretties are sent to parties by “modelling agencies.” The parties are even categorized depending on if drugs or sex are involved. Apparently the parties are either “En-Up,” “En-V” or just “En” for entertainment. En-Up means drugs are involved, while En-V means the pretties will offer sexual services. Other pretties work at promotional events like auto shows. Since nightclubs and other entertainment venues in Bangkok have been closed due to the pandemic, many of the parties are now held at private homes.

If a pretty is working at an En-Up party, Miss Cake says that means there will be ecstasy, known as “khanom,” the Thai word for a dessert or snack. She says good “khanom” shipped from overseas costs around 900 to 1,000 baht while the poor quality, Thai-made drugs cost 500 baht. Just about every pretty takes drugs, she says. If mixed with ketamine, Miss Cake says it can be dangerous.

Daily News spoke with Miss Cake following the death of a 33 year old Witchayaporn “Wawa” Wisetsombat who worked died in a hospital after working as a hostess at a party in Bangkok’s Chatuchak district. She had been hired by a modelling agency to serve drinks at a private party. Her younger sister told the Bangkok Post that Wawa was a product presenter and never sold sex or used narcotics. Doctors told the Post Wawa died from respiratory and blood system failure. They are still waiting for the results for a toxicology test.

The death of another model back in 2019 shed light on the abuse and danger many pretties face in the industry. 25 year old Thitima “Lunlabelle” Noraphanpiphat died from “extreme alcohol intoxication,” according to an autopsy report. Her dead body was found in the lobby of a Bangkok condominium. 6 people were found guilty for involvement in Lunlabelle’s death.

Abuse is common in the industry and many women working as pretties are often pressured into drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. The work of pretties is looked down upon in Thai society. Due to the stigma, many due not file complaints when they are abused.

SOURCE: Thai Visa

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