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Phuket arrest: Father remains jailed

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Phuket arrest: Father remains jailed | Thaiger
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PHUKET: A father volunteered to remain in jail in the United States on Monday while awaiting trial on charges that he fled the U.S. with his 3-year-old daughter in violation of an order issued by the Family Court of Greenville County, South Carolina.

According to the Greenville News yesterday, Samuel Lee Horton II, 38, was arrested in Phuket three weeks ago, ending a search that lasted more than a year, federal prosecutors said.

FBI Special Agent Lisa Quillen wrote in an affidavit that Horton flew from New York to New Delhi, India in April 2009. Greenville County sheriff’s deputies charged him the following month with violating a custody order, Quillen wrote.

Horton initially returned to the United States at Los Angeles and has more recently been in the Greenville County Detention Center, authorities said.
Horton volunteered to remain in custody after attorneys in a court hearing clashed over whether he should be granted bond.

Horton has been charged with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution and giving a false statement for the use or application for a passport.

If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison.

7-Eleven swamps Thailand

Earth Times
Phuket residents will not be surprised to learn that Thailand has overtaken Taiwan as host to the third-largest number of 7-Eleven convenience stores in the world, behind only Japan and the USA, media reports said yesterday.

The number of 7-Eleven outlets in Thailand reached 5,500 this year, surpassing Taiwan’s 4,000 stores, but behind Japan’s 12,000 stores and the USA’s 6,000, the Bangkok Post reports.

“We expect the total number of stores to reach 7,000 in 2012, enabling us to replace the US [as World Number Two],” said Suvit Kingkaeo, Senior Deputy Managing Director of CP All Plc, operator of the 7-Eleven franchise for Thailand.

The ubiquitous 24-hour convenience stores were introduced to the Thai market around 20 years ago and now offer various services, such as paying bills and providing mobile phone SIM cards as well as conventional corner-store fare.

Thai army deflated

Earth Times
An 11-million-dollar airship recently purchased by the Royal Thai Army has been grounded for the past several weeks because of leaks, news reports said yesterday.

The US-made Aeros 40D aircraft, which was delivered in May, has been sitting in a hangar because of several ruptures in the stitching on the aircraft’s body.

The army purchased the helium-filled craft to conduct surveillance in Thailand’s three troubled southernmost provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala, where a separatist struggle has claimed 4,000 lives over the past six years.

The military went on a buying spree after its coup in 2006 when it ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who fled Thailand to escape a jail sentence for corruption.

The military budget jumped 60 per cent in 2007 and 18 per cent in each of 2008 and 2009.

Drought hits Thai farmers

The Nation
This year’s prolonged drought has badly hurt Thai farmers, who face increased production costs and lower yields, and are likely to see the effects in next year’s crops as well.

Farmers have not been able to harvest their crops as usual, as lack of rain has disrupted their normal farming cycles. Rice farmers have been advised to grow their main crops in the middle of July.

In addition, a drought brought on by the El Nino weather phenomenon has seen some fruit crops either diminished or delayed.

The drought has created an opportunity for some businesses involved in alternative water supplies in Thailand, the world’s biggest rice exporting nation, where the staple is farmed throughout the year and demand for water is high.

Thai crackdown benefits Burma?

The Irawaddy
The Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), a proxy militia of the Burmese regime, says it has seen profits rise at its unofficial “Immigration Checkpoint” following Thailand’s recent crackdown on illegal migrant workers, according to a source close to the DKBA.

The DKBA checkpoint, locally known as “Gate Zero” and controlled by a DKBA battalion, has become the main deportation point for illegal migrant workers arrested in Thailand.

Gate Zero is located on the Thai-Burma border next to the Myawaddy Friendship Bridge, just across the Moei River from Mae Sot in Thailand’s Tak province.

“The crackdown has meant more migrant workers are being deported to the gate, so revenues have gone up,” the source said.

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva recently issued an official order to set up a special center for the suppression, arrest and prosecution of alien workers in Thailand.

Thailand promotes North

TTR Weekly
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) says it will promote in the UK the lesser known regions of Thailand, such as the Northeast and the eastern seaboard.

To balance the southern region’s popularity in Europe, spearheaded by Phuket, the TAT intends to experiment by promoting the Northeast region, known as ‘Isan’, and lesser known beach destinations on the eastern seaboard in a move to support government policy to spread the benefits of investment and tourism.

In 2009, Thailand welcomed 14.09 million tourist arrivals, of which 777,313 were from the UK and represented a 30% market share of the overall market.

The UK also generated the highest tourism revenues of any country for Thailand last year, due to its nationals’ average length of stay of 15.5 days.

— Gazette Editors

 

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