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Thaksin on graft charges

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Thaksin on graft charges | Thaiger

BANGKOK (The Nation): The attorney-general has filed a criminal lawsuit against Thaksin Shinawatra, accusing him of abusing power while serving as prime minister by converting telecom concessions to benefit Shin Corp at a cost of 66 billion baht in damages to Thailand.

After an initial delay, the attorney-general yesterday took up the policy corruption case involving Shin Corp, which was investigated by the Assets Examination Committee (AEC). Seksarn Bangsomboon, director of Special Criminal Cases, lodged the lawsuit – contained in three large cases, 20 files and almost 20,000 pages of documents – at the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders.

The suit, signed by Attorney-General Chaikasem Nitisiri and including his written opinion, alleges that Thaksin violated the law by holding state concessions through his stock-ownership concealment in Shin Corp while he was prime minister.

Thaksin gained unusual wealth in Shin Corp, it said, by having state agencies convert the telecom concessions to excise tax to benefit Shin Corp. TOT and CAT Telecom, who awarded the concessions to the subsidiaries of Shin, stood to lose 41.95 billion and 25.99 billion baht, respectively, from the conversions.

Thaksin and his wife Khunying Pojaman are already on trial at the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders in a separate case involving Pojaman’s purchase of a prime plot in the Rachadaphisek area of Bangkok from the Financial Institutions Development Fund. In this case, Thaksin is charged with violating the law by using his high office to endorse the deal with the FIDF, a state institution.

The Shin Corp case is, however, more damaging to Thaksin than the Rachadaphisek land deal because it involves alleged stock concealment, tax evasion and policy corruption to increase the value of his Shin stocks.

The AEC has found that Thaksin and Pojaman still owned Shin Corp from February 2001 up to the sale of the company in January 2006, during all of which time he was serving as prime minister .

The couple allegedly used their children Panthongtae and Pinthongta, Pojaman’s brother Banaphot Damapong, and Thaksin’s sister Yingluck, as well as Ample Rich Investment Ltd and Win Mark Ltd, as nominees to conceal their real ownership of 49 per cent of the outstanding shares of Shin Corp.

Banaphot’s promissory notes, issued to purchase the Shin Corp stocks from Pojaman in March 1999, named “Khunying Pojaman” as the beneficiary, but at that time Pojaman had not received the khunying title, implying that the promissory notes were issued retroactively as a cover-up.

The attorney-general has already reserved Sunai Manomai-udom, the former head of the Department of Special Investigation, Sanya Waranyu and Thirachai Phuvanat-naranubala, the secretary-general of the Securities and Exchange Commission, as state witnesses in the alleged stock-ownership cover-up.

It has also reserved Areepong Phucha-um, Sathit Limphongphun and Sommai Phasi as state witnesses on the conversion of the concessions.

The Supreme Court will form a panel to consider the Shin deal before ruling on whether to accept the suit.

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

For travellers to Phuket, testing is out, quarantine is in

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Phuket Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong (via Facebook)

The on-again-off-again plans for testing people for Covid-19 as they arrive in Phuket will be replaced by quarantine after May 15, according to Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong’s latest announcement. In an online video broadcast last night, the vice governor confirmed the new scheme after Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew first mentioned it in an executive meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall yesterday.

There are now 25 provinces on the Phuket red zone list that they instated on April 22, with anyone arriving from those places required to have proof that they are either fully vaccinated or tested negative for Covid-19 within the last 72 hours. Without proof, people have to take a rapid antigen test to confirm they did not have Covid-19 before they would be allowed on the island. The test was first set to be 300 baht for everyone, and later controversially made free for Thai people and 500 baht for foreigners.

There had been some back and forth with budget concerns of being able to provide the mass testing and who would pay how much for continued testing. Perhaps requiring people to quarantine in Phuket is cheaper than testing them when they arrive. The original scheme was set to expire May 15, and announcements were made about extending the plan and stopping testing right away. For now, this debate seems to have settled on replacing the testing with a mandatory quarantine upon entering Phuket.

The vice-governor explained that the rapid antigen test will continue through May 14, and then starting May 15, anyone who arrives without a vaccine or a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of arriving in Phuket will be required to quarantine for 14 days. They set a goal of zero new infections by the end of the next two weeks. And he stated they are committed to doing whatever it takes as “Phuket cannot continue with this risk”.

Speaking to The Phuket News… “We want to send a sign to the country that we are cleaning up our province. The 3 vice governors [in Phuket] have been ordered to take care of each district by cooperating with local administration officers as well as community leaders to do proactive screening,”

After announcing the quarantine plan for Phuket, the vice governor spoke confidently that in the near future the island will have enough jabs to vaccinate every person on the island. Religious leaders from any faith are currently being vaccinated because of their general proximity to people during religious ceremonies and practices.

Vice Governor Piyapong pled with people with the people of Phuket who were on the fence about Covid-19 vaccinations, anti-vaxxers, or those otherwise resisting getting the jabs needed to reach herd immunity.

“If you are still deciding whether or not to get vaccinated, please come to get vaccinated”

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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Phuket

Thailand News Today | Pfizer vaccines on the way, Phuket’s July re-opening | May 7

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Disease Control Department back-peddled saying that that foreigners living in Thailand WILL also be vaccinated, governor of Chiang Mai is calling for the ban on dining in at restaurants in the northern city to be lifted and for eateries to be allowed to serve food on-site until 9pm, Tourism and Sports Minister insists the southern island of Phuket must record zero Covid-19 cases if a planned July re-opening is to go ahead, and 150 million baht worth of methamphetamine pills were impounded in Nakhon Phanom yesterday

 

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Phuket

We’re looking for a Video Editor/Production Assistant in Phuket

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The Thaiger is seeking a full time video editor and production assistant for a new project based in Phuket. The role is open to a Thai national but with great English skills as well. You will need to be able to work to deadlines with a crazy bunch of stressed out news hosts, guests and the rest of The Thaiger team.

You’ll also need a general knowledge of the Thai news cycle as the content will be largely centred around daily news and current affairs. Knowledge of social media, and especially YouTube, will be an advantage.

Prior work in the TV or video production industry would be a requirement; we couldn’t care less about your educational qualifications. The role would be Monday to Friday.

The work hours would be earlier in the day, probably starting around 7am. There may be some occasional travel to Bangkok involved as well. Salary would be between 30-40,000 baht per month, depending on experience with opportunities for bonuses. The initial contract would be for 3 months, renewable.

If you are interested, or know someone who could fit the job, send an email to THAIGER EDITOR at info@thethaiger.com

 

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