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Phuket

Meat company boss faces political charges

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Meat company boss faces political charges | The Thaiger

PHUKET TOWN: Belgian businessman Hugo Van Der Velde, 62, was today charged with becoming illegally involved in Thai politics after a complaint from the Thai Rak Thai (TRT) party that he had been passing out business cards describing him as a consultant to the party. Four other foreigners, another Belgian, an Australian, an Italian and a Briton, are expected to face similar charges soon. The business cards, bearing the logo of the Prime Minister’s party, gave Van Der Velde’s title as “Special Honorary Consultant” to “Thai Rak Thai Party No. 129 (P)”. This chapter of the party does not exist, Kittichai Engchuan, a TRT representative from Bangkok, told a press conference at the offices of the Phuket Immigration Police this morning. Pol Col Apirak Hongthong, Superintendent of the Phuket Immigration Police, said that it had been established that the cards had been given to Van Der Velde by a Phang Nga politician. Phuket Governor CEO Pongpayome Vasaputi, also at the press conference, said, “According to the law, a person who is not a Thai national by birth may not be a member of, or be in a position in, or be involved in any activity of a political party.” The penalties, he said, were up to two years in prison, or a fine of up to 40,000 baht, or both. Col Apirak said, “During the past two months, [the Phang Nga politician] has come to the Immigration Office many times [to help foreigners], and has been involved in shady dealings with foreigners, especially with foreigners believed to have committed crimes.” He said that it had also been discovered that Mr Van Der Velde’s visa to stay in Thailand had expired and that he had no work permit for his meat business. He will face additional charges on these two counts. Van Der Velde did not deny the accusation relating to the business cards. He told the Gazette that he was given the cards and didn’t want to refuse them because he felt it was impolite to reject a gift from “a good friend”. He added, “I have to tell you this has nothing to do with Mafia. This has to do with the relationship between foreigners and Thai people. “I know [the Phang Nga politiician] and I can tell you that he is absolutely a good man. He wants to create a group for foreigners in order to have nice discussions about what is going on, how it can be better, and so on. So his intention, absolutely, is not bad. “Maybe he made a mistake, and maybe we made a mistake to take the cards, but we didn’t know about this. If a Thai person gives a gift to you, then you have to accept it. Otherwise you are not polite. “Anyway, I am very sorry that I [became involved] in this case, but the intentions were very good,” Van Der Velde explained. Van Der Velde and the other four foreigners, once they have been arrested, are expected to face trial. If found guilty, and after paying the penalty, they may be expelled from Thailand. Van Der Velde was planning to open a new branch of his Phuket Meat and Food Co in Patong Beach next Sunday (October 13), said Col Apirak. “For him, this was a good date to choose because it is Police Day. Unfortunately, he was arrested before that date,” said Pol Col Apirak. Gov Pongpayome urged people who felt that they had been conned through the use of phony Thai Rak Thai business cards to come forward with details. “We want to reduce crime committed by either Thais or foreigners in Phuket,” he said.



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Phuket

Phuket seastead will be removed today

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket seastead will be removed today | The Thaiger

The Third Naval Area Command will remove the seastead stationed off Phuket south-east coast today, belonging to an American bitcoin investor and seasteading innovators Ocean Builders.

Thai authorities plan to seize the structure as evidence in a criminal case. They fear the structure will continue to be a navigation hazard if left there.

US national Chad Elwartowski and his Thai girlfriend, Supranee Thepdet (aka Nadia Summergirl), are facing charges of threatening the Kingdom’s sovereignty. Last Sunday officials from the Royal Thai Navy and Phuket Maritime boarded the structure saying it violated Article 119 of the Criminal Code and also posed a navigational hazard.

The couple launched the ‘Ocean Builders’ seastead on February 2 off the coast of Phuket. The structure is located to the southeast of Koh Racha Yai, approximately 12 nautical miles (22.2 kilometres) from the mainland.

Elwartowski has claimed that his seastead is outside Thailand’s territorial waters, but Thai authorities insist that it violates Article 119 and challenges Thailand’s territorial rights.

“The Royal Thai Navy has full authority and duty to protect national interest and marine sovereignty in the area,” according to a Navy spokesperson.

Regarding the couple’s claim that they feared for their lives, Vice Admiral Sitthiporn Maskasem, commander of the Third Naval Area, said that authorities had followed the legal procedures.

“We are neither hunting them down nor threatening them,” said the commander.

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North East

Forecast drought will weaken the Thai economy

The Thaiger

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Forecast drought will weaken the Thai economy | The Thaiger

Thailand suffers calamities at both ends of the annual weather spectrum – both drought and flood. But as the demands on agriculture grow, with a growing population and the rise of tourists and development, the effects of these two extremes are becoming more apparent.

Which leads us to this year’s outlook of lower rains which is exposing the poor management of the Kingdom’s water resources. Greater development and growing population bases hasn’t been met with more or larger water catchments.

So Thai farmers are expected to face a tough 2019 as forecasters say the drought will be more acute than usual, lowering the water levels in reservoirs in the central and northeastern provinces especially.

Int eh south, Phuket, Thailand’s largest island and surrounded by water, has an acute water shortage as of Songkran and, without adequate monsoonal rain between now and November, will be facing a water crisis if it has to rely on its own island resources.

The Director General of Department of Agricultural Extension Samran Saraban says the drought this year is exacerbated by El-Nino weather cycle which causes temperature to rise 1-2 degrees higher than normal and cause the water levels in major reservoirs to drop to worrisome level. Higher temperatures mean more evaporation and more usage of reserves.

The Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has called for farmers not to grow off-season rice as drought is predicted to spread into northeastern and eastern regions. That there will likely be a new administration coping with political instability will not help leaders focus on the country’s looming water shortage.

The long dry season will lower certain farm outputs, pushing up their prices. However, an overall farm income is set to decline because the drought will leave other negative affects to farmers who are also the consumers as well. This will affect the purchasing power of farm households, which account for one-third of Thais.

Etc, etc, etc.

Economists estimated the damage from the drought on the economy this year could be high. Kasikorn Research Center estimate the drought could cost at least 15.3 billion baht. Whilst Anusorn Tamajai, Dean of Economics Faculty, Rangsit University, estimates the drought to cost even more – 20-30 billion baht -because it would affect the outputs of off-season rice, sugarcane and tapioca.

“It will dampen the purchasing power of farmers in the second quarter.”

Siam Commercial Bank’s Economic Intelligence chief Yanyong Thaicharoen said that the lackluster farm income can slash the growth rate of domestic consumption this year to 3.5% versus 4.6% growth last year, in addition to other factors, namely, high household debt and slower demand for durable goods.

Spending power from farmers, according to SCB, is crucial to sustain the growth of the economy. However, the grassroots economy is bracing for negative outlook this year.

There will be intense pressure on this season’s management of Thailand’s valuable water resources, through the remaining hot season and as the catchments gather water during the monsoon.

Forecast drought will weaken the Thai economy | News by The Thaiger

SOURCES: Thai PBS | The Thaiger | Wikipedia

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People

Patong’s trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal

The Thaiger

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Patong’s trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Patong Police / Theeraphong Penmit / Newshawk Phuket

A Phuket boy has been rewarded after setting an excellent example for the rest of the Patong community.

8 year old Kosin Ta-ngam, who is studying at Sai Nam Yen School in Patong in Pratom Suksa Three, has been collecting garbage in the filthy Pak Bang Canal and along Patong Beach since the beginning of this year.

He lives with his grandmother and other relatives. His grandmother has been looking after Kosin since he was 10 months old.

A certificate, scholarship and life vest have been awarded to Kosin by the Patong Police Chief Col Anothai Jindamanee for displaying excellent citizen for the community as a youth volunteer and being an active part of keeping the city clean.

The Pak Bang Canal, running through the back of Patong into Patong Bay, has been a dark, dirty mess for decades. Many promises have been made to clean it up but it remains a disgraceful waterway flowing through Phuket’s main tourist town.

The tiny eight year old seems to be able to achieve a lot more than the local municipality with all their money and machinery.

Kosin, you are the Thaiger hero for today and we salute you!

Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger

Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger

Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger

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