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Pattaya driver that killed two claims epileptic fit – call for ban on epileptic drivers

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Pattaya driver that killed two claims epileptic fit – call for ban on epileptic drivers | The Thaiger
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A tragic accident yesterday morning in Pattaya is again focussing the public’s attention on a call for the Land Transport Department to ban people with epilepsy from driving.

The crash occurred when a 44 year old self-described epileptic patient lost control of his pickup truck in Chon Buri’s Pattaya City, causing it to plough into 10 motorcycles, killing two people and injuring 15 others.

At 7am, the vehicle driven by 44 year old Akkaradej Udomrat suddenly veered out of its lane and collided with a line of motorcycles on the opposite side of South Pattaya Road. Two motorcyclists died at the scene while 15 others were injured – four of them seriously.

Police say Akkaradej had tested negative for alcohol use and claimed to lose control of his vehicle after suffering an epileptic seizure. He was initially charged with reckless driving causing death and injuries to others and was in police detention at press time.

Muang Pattaya superintendent Pol Colonel Apichai Krobphetch said Akkaradej had also submitted to a drug test.

Pattaya driver that killed two claims epileptic fit - call for ban on epileptic drivers | News by The Thaiger

Police had also demanded his medical records to confirm his claim that he had been diagnosed with the disorder about five years ago after receiving a driver’s licence, Apichai said.

Dr Somsak Tiamkao, of Khon Kaen University’s Faculty of Medicine, wrote in a Facebook post that a law should be passed to prevent such tragic accidents.

“When will a law be passed to prevent epileptic patients from driving?” he asked. “Each year, we have many crashes involving epileptic drivers.

“Relatives and family members of these patients should take care of them. Please stop this, we are worried about you,” he said.

In 2014, a similar incident occurred when a Nong Bua Lamphu school director suffered an epileptic seizure while driving to another school and crashed into a group of students, resulting in the deaths of four schoolchildren deaths and 10 injuries. The incident prompted the Land Transport Department and the Medical Council of Thailand to discuss changing requirements for drivers. A requirement was proposed that licence applicants would have to include a medical certificate to prevent people with heart disease, diabetes and epilepsy from driving.

The proposal has not been put into effect.

Land Transport Department deputy director-general Kamol Buranapong said the department was in the process of consulting with the Medical Council and drafting new health criteria for driving licences, which will include five new symptoms barring applicants from eligibility.

The five symptoms are epileptic seizures, high blood pressure, brain diseases, myocardial infarction and diabetes.
It has been estimated that Thailand has between 600,000 to 700,000 people suffering from epilepsy – a neurological disorder that could stem from various causes such as genetics, strokes or other brain trauma, infections, brain tumours or developmental disorders.

Symptoms can be varied and difficult to notice, resulting in some people not knowing they had the disorder and not receiving treatment, said Department of Medical Services Department chief Dr Somsak Akksilp.

People with epilepsy are up to six times more likely to suffer premature death from fatal road accidents due to seizures, he added.

Pattaya driver that killed two claims epileptic fit - call for ban on epileptic drivers | News by The Thaiger

STORY: The Nation

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Activists say reform is needed to end sexual abuse in Thai schools

Caitlin Ashworth

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Activists say reform is needed to end sexual abuse in Thai schools | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Reuters / Chalinee Thirasupa

Her mouth taped shut. Red marks around her neck. Dressed in a schoolgirl uniform, a woman held a sign saying “A teacher committed sexual abuse against me. Schools are not safe.” The photo from a recent pro-democracy protest quickly spread online, drawing criticism from some while others say reform is needed to end sexual abuse and harassment in Thai schools.

Some social activists say the justice system does not fairly treat victims who report sexual abuse and harassment. Thai women’s rights activists have recently been seen at protests calling on an end to “victim blaming,” saying that women are often blamed for sexual assault and even rape because of the way they dress.

Manager of Social Equality Promotion Foundation, Supensri Puengkhoksung, says the justice system needs to step up and deliver prompt punishment to prevent repeat offenses.

At schools, many executives do not thoroughly investigate abuse allegations due to fears that it could damage the school’s reputation, Supensri claims. She says the perpetrators rarely face any punishment and the victims are stigmatised, with some dropping out of school due to embarrassment.

Sexual crimes in schools are seldom reported to police, according to police superintendent of the Children and Women’s Protection Subdivision, Jiraklit Jarounapat. He adds that those abused by their teachers don’t report the abuse because they’re afraid about repercussions like getting a bad grade in class.

Commander of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division, Siam Boonsom, says the majority of students who reported abuse say their teacher violated them during a field trip or extracurricular activity outside of school.

“Parents shouldn’t let their children attend activities outside of school for long periods of time, or go on trips with their teachers alone.”

Supensri adds that children need to be educated at an early age about predatorial behaviour to prevent themselves from becoming a victim of sexual harassment and abuse. She says children in kindergarten should be taught to recognise inappropriate behaviour while older children should be taught on how to report abuse.

“Safe spaces must be created in public places and schools should be equipped with alert systems that can be triggered when an emergency occurs.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Crime

Man arrested for allegedly robbing 500,000 baht from Bangkok bank

Caitlin Ashworth

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Man arrested for allegedly robbing 500,000 baht from Bangkok bank | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

Police arrested a man for alleged armed robbery at a Government Housing Bank in Bangkok. 46 year old Phaiboon Sara allegedly used a gun to threaten bank tellers and take off with 500,000 baht in cash.

Police reviewed the bank’s security camera footage and tracked down Phaiboon, arresting him at his home in Samut Prakan. Phaiboon allegedly told police that he hid the money at a hotel room in Sukhumvit. Police searched the hotel room and found 391,390 baht in cash as well as clothes that matched the robber’s outfit seen in the video.

According to police, Phaiboon admitted to robbing the Bangbon district GH Bank branch, but claims he used a plastic gun to threaten the bank tellers. He allegedly told police that he threw the gun away and hopped on a public van to flee the area.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Protests

Twitter suspends Thai royalist linked account which spread pro-government propaganda

Caitlin Ashworth

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Twitter suspends Thai royalist linked account which spread pro-government propaganda | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Twitter: Screenshot

A Thai royalist-linked account was suspended on Twitter following a review by Reuters reporters that found the account spread posts in favour of His Majesty the King and the monarchy in what appeared to be a tactic to sway the public opinion.

While ongoing protests are calling on monarchy reform with statements considered unprecedented and taboo in Thai society, Reuters says they found tens of thousands of tweets from accounts amplifying the pro-government agenda, which an expert claims is a move to counter the pro-democracy movement.

While not directly linked, internal army training documents leaked to reporters show the Royal Thai Army used Twitter to spread pro-government propaganda and discredit the now-disbanded Future Forward Party. Hundreds of the Twitter accounts linked to the Army were suspended in October.

The account @jitarsa_school, created in September with 48,000 followers, was suspended after Reuters reporters reached out to Twitter for comment about the pro-monarchy accounts. A representative from Twitter told Reuters that the account violated the rules and that the suspension was not due to the reporters’ review.

“The account in question was suspended for violating our rules on spam and platform manipulation.”

Twitter suspends Thai royalist linked account which spread pro-government propaganda | News by The Thaiger

Reuters found that of the 48,000 accounts following @jitarsa_school, 80% of them were created since the start of September. Reuters says thousands of the “bot-like” accounts only promoted royalist hashtags. Some hashtags shared by @jitarsa_school translate to #StopViolatingTheMonarchy, #ProtectTheMonarchy, #WeLoveTheMotherOfTheLand, #WeLoveTheMonarchy and #MinionsLoveTheMonarchy.

While the account does not appear to be associated with the Royal Thai Army, the activity is similar. In October, Twitter suspended 926 accounts linked to the Royal Thai Army which were “amplifying pro-government propaganda.” At the time, the army said they were not associated with the accounts.

Recently, a 28-page document showing the army’s plan to target opponents and spread pro-monarchy messages was leaked. The army claims the plan was used as a public relations training exercise.

While Twitter only suspended 926 accounts, the documents says that 17,562 Twitter accounts were run by 9,743 army officers. The army officers were split into a “White Team” and a “Grey/Black Team.” According to the document, the accounts were aimed to appear like authentic accounts and officers were instructed to tweet with coordinated hashtags and retweet each other’s posts.

SOURCE: Reuters

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