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PM orders security review for nation’s armouries in wake of mass shooting

Jack Burton

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PM orders security review for nation’s armouries in wake of mass shooting | The Thaiger
PHOTO: A mourner shed a tear for his fallen friend at last night's vigil in Nakhon Ratchasima - AFP
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The death toll from the weekend’s shooting rampage in Korat has climbed 30, with 57 others injured. PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, himself a general, yesterday ordered a review of security at the nation’s armouries.

“If we had fully followed the standard security procedure, we would have been able to mitigate the degree of violence in this incident. Even if we insisted we had completely followed a proper security procedure, the question is what more could we have done to improve the efficiency of security measures?”

Prayut said that the ease with which weapons were taken by the gunman after he shot and killed the officer guarding the armoury was cause for concern.

Army chief Apirat Kongsompong says Jakrapanth knew the people at the armoury well and they would have not have expected untoward behaviour from him. An urgent order has been sent out to all army units to adopt stricter security measures, including that bolt carriers of guns in guard post armouries are removed and kept separately by the chief of the post. Under the new measures, ammunition and machine guns will no longer be stored at any guard post.

Commandos from elite police units yesterday shot dead Sergeant Major 1st Class Jakrapanth Thomma after he went on a shooting rampage in Korat, Nakhon Ratchasima that left 30 dead, after an operation involving hundreds of security personnel.

Prayut, meanwhile, defended the lengthy stand-off, saying the hostages and number of bystanders at the scene forced police to act cautiously to prevent further loss of life.

As for the gunman’s motive, Prayut said he’d learned there was a personal conflict involving a dispute over a house sale with a relative of Jakrapanth’s commanding officer, which arose three days before the incident.

“They would never have thought the dispute would result in this extreme violence because he [Jakrapanth] was normally not evil. But what he has done is wholly evil.”

Just hours before his attack began on Saturday, the Jakrapanth posted on Facebook denouncing “greedy people who take advantage of others,” demanding “Do they think they can spend the money in hell?” He broadcast much of the spree on Facebook Live as well as frequent updates to his account charting the attack from the army barracks in the city to the mall. Some observers are angry he was able to exploit Facebook to draw publicity for five hours before the social media giant pulled his account down.

Meanwhile, thousands attended a candlelight vigil in Nakhon Ratchasima in memory of the massacre’s victims.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Thailand

Rare sighting of an endangered clouded leopard at Isaan mountain range

Caitlin Ashworth

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Rare sighting of an endangered clouded leopard at Isaan mountain range | The Thaiger
Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation

An endangered clouded leopard was spotted at a mountain range in the Isaan province Si Sa Ket. The rare sighting, captured using a camera trap, was the first time in about 20 years the wildcat has been seen in the Phnom Dongrak mountain range which borders Cambodia.

Since the park rangers stepped up patrol against poaching and made efforts to increase food and water sources, more small predators like foxes, dholes and leopard cats have been returning to the area, according to director of a local conservation office Chaiwat Limlikhit-aksorn.

“Today in the Phanom Dong Rak Wildlife Sanctuary there is a clouded leopard, which is a medium sized predator.”

Camera traps were set up by local conservation officials from November 1 to 24, capturing footage of the rare clouded leopard. The cameras also filmed hog deer, Asiatic wild dogs, a Malaysian night heron and a leopard.

The clouded leopard is classified as a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The organisation says the leopard is hunted for the illegal wildlife, adding that the leopard skins have been seen in market surveys along with bones used for medicines and meat for exotic dishes.

Clouded Leopard exploitation for pelts are well documented in several countries, including the infamous Tachilek market along the Thai–Myanmar border. The frequency of Clouded Leopard parts available at market indicates increased pressure from hunting…However, the trade of cat parts from Myanmar into Thailand has diminished and reaffirms the role of China in the trade of cats out of Myanmar.

Sightings of the clouded leopard have also been reported at the Kaeng Krachan National Park, Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, Khao Sok National Park and Khao Yai National Park.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | IUCN| Thai PBS

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Transport

State Railway officials sign 5 high-speed rail contracts as part of project linking Thailand and China

Maya Taylor

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State Railway officials sign 5 high-speed rail contracts as part of project linking Thailand and China | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wei Kakurai / Wikimedia

Officials from the State Railway of Thailand have signed 5 high-speed rail contracts worth more than 40 billion baht, in the latest development in the Thailand – China rail connection. It’s understood the contracts cover phase 1 of the railway, from Bangkok to the north-eastern city of Nakhon Ratchasima (Korat).

It’s hoped that section will carry its first passengers in 2023 and that the line will eventually reach further north, to Nong Khai, and from there, link with a rail connection connecting Laos and China. The high-speed trains will run at speeds up to 250 kilometres an hour.

Nation Thailand reports that the contract signing took place at the Transport Ministry, between SRT governor Nirut Maneephan and the 5 contractors, Nawarat Patanakarn, Thai Engineer Industry, Italian – Thai Development, SPTK Joint Venture, and Civil Engineering. In total, the project will involve over 100 kilometres of railway, with a budget of 40.275 billion baht. The first phase of construction involves 14 contracts, with work under the first one completed and ongoing under the second.

Nirut say the 5 new contractors are expected to take delivery of the land in early 2021, with the 7 remaining contracts being signed next year.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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North East

Monk dies after jumping in front of speeding train in north-east Thailand

Maya Taylor

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Monk dies after jumping in front of speeding train in north-east Thailand | The Thaiger
PHOTO: www.one31.net

A monk has died after jumping on to rail tracks and into the path of an approaching train in the north-eastern province of Si Sa Ket, near the Cambodian border. The incident occurred at a provincial train station in front of horrified witnesses at around 10.30am yesterday.

According to a Nation Thailand report, police say the 55 year old’s body was dismembered in the incident. Witnesses report that he jumped onto the tracks and stood with his arms open, in the path of an oncoming train. They say there was no time to save him. Police have launched an investigation to determine the motive behind the monk’s suicide.

If you or anyone you know is in emotional distress, please contact the Samaritans of Thailand 24-hour hotline: 02 713 6791 (English), 02 713 6793 (Thai) or the Thai Mental Health Hotline at 1323 (Thai).

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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