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US accuses Chinese companies of exploitation along the Mekong River

Thaiger

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The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is accusing Chinese companies of “exploitative practices” in the Mekong River region after a new partnership has been launched to combat “transnational crimes”. Pompeo named the China Communications Construction Company as one of the big offenders and says the Chinese Communist Party is responsible for the increase in human, wildlife and drug trafficking in the region.

He says the new partnership will also strengthen water security for partner countries where China has added to a drought in the region as an upstream damming by China has been carried out in “a completely non-transparent and non-consultative way.”

“We encourage countries of the Mekong region to hold the CCP accountable to its pledge to share its water data. That data should be public. It should be released year-round. It should include water and water-related data, as well as land use, and dam construction and operation data.”

“We stand with our ASEAN partners as we insist on the rule of law and respect for sovereignty in the South China Sea, where Beijing has pursued aggressive campaigns of coercion and environmental devastation.”

Pompeo also said such companies associated with the CCP are linked to human and narcotics trafficking but he did not provide evidence to support the accusation.

Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand all share resources of the Mekong delta and Pompeo reiterated that they “deserve good partners”. The US has reportedly pledged a total of US$156.4 million for multiple initiatives under the new US-Mekong Partnership.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

 

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Politics

PM representatives file police complaint against Thai singer and government critic

Maya Taylor

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Suthipong Thatpitakkul (left) with former PM, Abhisit Vejjajiva. PHOTO: Wikimedia/โดย Government of Thailand

Representatives of Thai PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha, have filed a police complaint against the Thai singer Suthipong Tadpitakkul, aka, “Heart”. Suthipong has criticised the government’s vaccine procurement plan, a move that has led to accusations of violating the Computer Crime Act and Thailand’s strict lèse majesté law.

The PM’s lawyer, Apiwat Kanthong, and his assistant minister, Seksakon Atthawong (aka “Rambo Isan”) yesterday filed a complaint with Nang Loeng police. According to the Bangkok Post, the complaint alleges that Suthipong shared a Facebook post containing information on the government’s vaccine procurement plan. The original post has since been deleted, but Apiwat says Suthipong’s is still there.

The PM’s representatives say not only has the singer not deleted the post, he has added comments to it, such as, “It is a vaccine of the boss” and, “It is a Covid-19 vaccine monopoly”. It is this wording that has led to allegations of lèse majesté, with Apiwat accusing the singer of insulting the highest institution.

Thailand’s lèse majesté law prohibits criticising, insulting or otherwise defaming the monarchy. The law allows for anyone to bring charges against anyone else and carries a sentence of up to 15 years’ imprisonment.

Seksakon says a similar complaint was previously made against Suthipong, on that occasion with the Technology Crime Suppression Division. He says that, as a celebrity, the singer needs to be more careful with his words, adding that everyone reading his comments on Facebook knows what he is referring to.

The Bangkok Post reports that, in a subsequent Facebook post, Suthipong dismissed the complaint.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Politics

Opposition party forms new subcommittee to remove Thammanat

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: A new subcommittee will investigate embattled Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Thammanat Prompaew.

The opposition party has created a new subcommittee to push for the removal of embattled Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Thammanat Prompaew after the Constitutional Court’s ruling last week that he is fit to serve despite his Australian drug trafficking conviction. The Court ruled that the minister, a member of the Palang Pracharath Party, is qualified despite spending 4 years in prison in Australia in 1994.

Move Forward Party member of Parliament Thiratchai Phanthumat is the spokesperson for the House Committee on Suppression and Prevention of Corruption and Misconduct. He heads the new subcommittee and is investigating and pursuing legal action against Thammanat for various allegations and accusations of misconduct.

Hiding information about his Australian criminal record before receiving royal decoration and joining the cabinet could be a violation of ethical code. The subcommittee also seeks to learn more information about the drug smuggling between Thailand and Australia which resulted in Thammanat’s prison sentence. The leader of Seri Ruam Thai chairs the House committee and confirmed that there are still 3 years before the expiration of the statute of limitation on Thamanat’s 1993 drug conviction.

The subcommittee is requesting the Office of the Narcotics Control Board, along with any other state agency with information or involvement, to share their data and further investigate.

The Constitutional Court had given Thammanat a pass saying that convictions and jail sentences must be from Thai courts, as foreign courts cannot make legally binding rulings in Thailand. The conviction in the New South Wales Court in Australia therefore would be disregarded in the consideration of whether or not Thammanat was eligible to hold his cabinets post or any other political position.

51 Move Forward Party members of Parliament, opponents of the PPRP, had petitioned for Thammanat’s removal after details resurfaced regarding his heroin smuggling conviction and prison sentence in Australia.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Politics

Royal Thai police say new uniforms will help in pursuit of criminals

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Stock photo via US National Archives

The Royal Thai Police say new uniforms will help them be more “agile” in their pursuits of criminals. The uniform’s prototype is still under trials and has yet to be launched. The move to change uniforms has been attempted in the past, with tourist police once seeing their usual long-sleeved khaki shirt with shoulder pads and metal badges morph to short-sleeved shirts and blue shorts. But previous modifications to their attires was short-lived.

Somprasong Yenthuam, the deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau has been assigned by the police chief to oversee the uniform change this time around. A committee has been formed to study the input gathered from officers across the country, as well as the public. But the police chief wants the new uniforms to be suited to patrol operations with a final decision being made after a 10-day trial period of the uniforms.

The new style of uniform is currently being tested at the 3 police stations of Chakkrawat, Bang Yi Khan and Bukhalo in Bangkok. The trial started on May 3 and will run until this Thursday, with 10 active-duty officers, at the operational level, trying out the new uniforms.

“The three police stations were chosen because they are ready for the trial as the areas under their jurisdiction are fairly large with many residents.”

The uniforms feature a baseball-style cap, which is much lighter than the traditional police helmets, and a shirt with 2 panels. The upper panel is made of khaki while the lower is made from a more breathable fabric which is easy to launder. The new badges are made of cloth, taking into account previous complaints by officers of the badges’ jagged edges injuring them while working. The new pants feature an elastic waistband and multiple pockets. The new shoes are designed for running without causing foot pain.

“The committee has studied police uniforms from around the world before deciding on the prototype. But what is most important is the opinion of police officers who use it, and the public. Whether the proposed new police uniform will convey less power or authority remains to be seen. It is not finalised yet and can still be changed.”

The new uniforms cost around 2,000 baht but Somprasong says the department will use its annual provision to pay for the uniforms without needing to add more money. Krisanaphong Poothakool, an associate professor of criminology and assistant president at Rangsit University, says the new uniform must help officers be more agile.

“However, how the officers perform their duties and behave themselves in public is more important than their uniforms. Changing the uniform will be useless if the officers fail to improve their behaviour.”

Royal Thai police say new uniforms will help in pursuit of criminals | News by ThaigerSOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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