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Video Report: Phuket researchers internationally recognized for breakthrough explosive-testing kit

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Video Report: Phuket researchers internationally recognized for breakthrough explosive-testing kit | The Thaiger

PHUKET: A six member research team from Phuket and Hat Yai was awarded silver medals for creating low-cost explosive testing kits at the 44th International Exhibition of Inventions Geneva 2016.

The invention comes in the wake of several recent bombings in Thailand. The competition included more than 800 inventions submitted by participants from more than 40 countries around the world.

The invention also won a special prize from the Association of Polish Inventors and Rationalizers.

Four of the research team members are professors from the Prince of Songkla University (PSU) Phuket Campus, namely Assistant Prof Dr Aree Choodum, Dr Wadcharawadee Limsakul, Asst Prof Dr Worawit Wongniramaikul and Jutaporn Keson. The other two are from the PSU Hat Yai campus, namely Associate Prof Dr Proespichaya Kanatharana, as well as Prof Dr Niamh Nic Daeid, who is originally from the University of Dundee, Scotland, but currently a member of the research team.

“Last week, we gave a presentation to the Ministry of Defence and received a very good response. They are very interested in our research and are planning to bring the prime minister up to speed on its usage,” said Dr Aree. “In addition to local interest, our team has also been contacted by companies in Poland for commercial use of our testing kit in their country.”

The team also had a chance to conduct a test at the remains of the Bangkok blast site. Even though the tests were performed a week after the bombings, they still found evidence of Trinitrotoluene (TNT) usage and submitted it to the police, Dr Aree told the Phuket Gazette.

Overall, Thailand won seven honor gold medals, eight gold medals, 17 silver medals, 18 bronze medals and 28 special prizes at the exhibition.

“Our main objective is to solve the recent problems faced by our society, such as bombings, terrorist attacks and other unstable situations that have been taking place not only in Thailand and Phuket, but all over the world. We felt there was a need to equip ourselves with simplified gear to deal with these new problems,” said Dr Aree.

“The unique and extraordinary quality of this new invention is that it is cheap, portable, easy to use and quick to provide results; it can be used both before and after a bombing,” she added.

“The test kits comprise a polymer in a small tube. We can take it to the scene, conduct the test, and know the results immediately,” Dr Aree said.

“The testing kit only costs about 30 to 80 satang per tube, as opposed to other tests which cost up to 78 baht per test. It can also be reused up to nine times, which effectively brings the cost down to 10 satang per test,” said Dr Aree.

Additionally, the results can be obtained immediately, whereas previously, officers had to collect evidence from the scene of the incident and then wait for lab technicians to perform tests and deliver their findings.

“Everyone can do it. However, the tests are more suitable for professionals, such as Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) personnel, police, military and others in the field of national security,” she added.

“The kit also allows the user to determine the type of the explosive and its origin right away. The procedure itself is deceptively simple. Acetone cotton buds are used to collect samples and water is then added to it. The change in color of the kits helps to identify what kind of explosives have been used,” Dr Aree explained.

The sample can be obtained from virtually any surface in the vicinity of the blast – dirt, grass, clothes, body parts and so on.

“This means that the test can be performed before an explosion even occurs; we can use it to test suspects, suspicious items, or areas at risk, so that officers can take immediate action,” explained Dr Aree.

The test kits can identify up to six types of explosive substances, namely, TNT, Nitrate, Nitrate esters, Nitrite, Nitramines, and Nitroaromatic.

There are eight types of kits available to test these explosive substances:

1. Thin film test kits to test Trinitrotoluene (TNT)
2. Nitrate Explosives test kits to test Nitrate
3. Test kits for Nitrate ester explosives
4. Nitrite test kits for Nitrite explosives
5. Test kits for Nitramines Explosives
6. Hydrogel test kits for Nitroaromatic explosives
7. Biodegradable film for Nitroaromatic explosives
8. Cryogel test kits for Nitroaromatic explosives

“There are currently eight types of chemical substances that people use to make bombs. At the moment, we have created kits for six of the most popular ones. We are researching the other two, which are now gaining popularity – Peroxide and Acid,” said Dr Aree.

“TNT is the most widely used explosive material in the world, while in the deep south of Thailand, Nitrate is the most popular one,” she added.

“This breakthrough is beneficial in many different sectors – economics, science, and security, to name a few. Even though these kits can be used both before and after explosions, we prefer to use them before. It is our hope that our work can help Thailand, as well as other countries across the globe,” Dr Aree said.

“We are conducting research to help people in light of recent occurrences, and plan to do our best to find feasible solutions.

“We are glad to share our knowledge with everyone who wishes to use it,” Dr Aree said.

— Kongleaphy Keam

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Phuket

Phuket Governor and Vice Governor deny million baht bribe accusation

The Thaiger

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Phuket Governor and Vice Governor deny million baht bribe accusation | The Thaiger

Recently, an audio clip went viral, claiming to have recorded a conversation between an anonymous man and an employee from a project accused of having encroached on Sirinat National Park (in Phuket’s north west).

Phuket Governor, Pakkapong Tawipat, says that he had nothing to do with the voice recording, which detailed a 7 digit negotiation deal to end an encroachment case over the encroachment case.

Phuket Hotnews reports that, in the recording, the voice of an anonymous man can be heard calling the employee of a project owner, who had been charged over land encroachment.

The man on the phone asked for a 7 digit amount in order to drop the case, mentioning that the person who would sign on the case would be the Vice Governor Supot Rodruang Na Nongkhai, and that the Governor was aware of the matter as well.

The voice clip reveals the conversation between the anonymous man and the female employee of the illegal project, “Have you reached a conclusion? Everyone is waiting for the answer”, while the employee replied that she already informed her boss that the money they wanted is in the millions, but her boss questioned why do they have to pay and where the money is going to go.

“Is it for the Governor? And who sign the papers?”

The man replied that Vice Governor Supot is the one who signs and that he knew about the negotiation and that there were 2 documents drafted in different ways.

The man also mentioned the name of a Phuket provincial Prosecutor and claimed that the prosecutor is very powerful as he had extended powers from the new laws enacted by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).

The man also said that if they face any issues, the owner of the project would be blacklisted and it would be difficult for him to travel to and out of Thailand.

The woman on the line proceeded to make an appointment for her boss to meet with the ‘prosecutor’.

After the voice clip went viral, Governor Pakkapong said that he was made aware of the recording of the conversation earlier this month and that he had asked Vice Governor Supot, who was accused of bribery in the clip as well, to make a report to the police on August 6, in order to prove their transparency. He also reported the matter to his commander.

“I insist that the Vice Governor and I have nothing to do with the voice recording and we were falsely accused as being involved. This could have come from an individual from a “certain organisation” (un-named) that has called for bribes and used Governor’s and Vice Governor’s names for their benefits.

“After reporting the matter to the police we are waiting for an investigation and to see whether I have to take part as an informer,” said the Governor.

He said that the encroachment case is an old case from 2013. The Thalang District Chief has an agreement to prosecute the encroacher but when the case went to the provincial prosecutor, the prosecutor declined to prosecute the case and sent it back to Police Region 8.

The Police Region 8 sent the case back to Phuket provincial attorney office who would have to file the case to the Phuket Governor, but he insists that the case has not been filed yet.

The Phuket Governor said that he also informed the company that owns the project that he has never learned about the bribe and in any case, if anyone uses his name to ask for bribe, please contact him immediately because he has never asked for bribes and is ready to work on every case openly.

Meanwhile, Phuket Vice Governor Supot said that he has already reported to the police about the accusations in the voice recording and insists that he has nothing to do with it either.

SOURCE: Phuket Hotnews

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Patong

Daytime closure looms for Patong beach road

May Taylor

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Daytime closure looms for Patong beach road | The Thaiger

The mayor of Patong, Chalermluck Kebsup, has announced that from August 25, Thaweewong Road, better known as the Patong beach road, will be closed during the day while power and communication cables are installed.

Apologising for the inconvenience, Mayor Chalermluck explains that the closures will be between 6.00am and 4.00pm and expected to last until September 30. She says the work will take place during low season and will be paused for the busy high season.

A 400 metre section of road will be affected, from Bangla Road to Sawatdirak Road, with vehicles prohibited from accessing the area until 4.00pm. However, the restriction does not apply to pedestrians, with footpaths remaining open.

The Thaiger understands that certain vehicles will still be granted access, including those of business owners who need to reach their premises. Such vehicles will need to have permission granted by Patong Municipality. Taxis and tuk-tuks dropping off or picking up customers at these businesses will also be given access.

In total, the 228 million baht joint venture project will see the installation of communications cables, power lines and fibre-optic mains, along a 3 kilometre stretch of the beach road.

It has a completion date of March 5, 2020.

SOURCE: Provincial Electricity Authority

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Phuket

Palang Pracharath MP chastises Karon Police for not offering protection during condo visit

The Thaiger

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Palang Pracharath MP chastises Karon Police for not offering protection during condo visit | The Thaiger

VIDEO & SCREENGRAB: M Today

The Palang Pracharath member of parliament from Bangkok, Sira Jenjaka, had an argument with Lt Col Pratuang Polmana, Deputy Superintendent of Karon Police during his inspection to the controversial Peak Condominium in the Karon area of Phuket.

MP Sira was surveying the construction site of the project and the sales office, which also serves as a coffee shop, where he saw Lt Col Pratuang inside.

He stopped there and asked why the Deputy Superintendent didn’t send any officer from Karon Police Station to provide security for him, a standard protocol when parliament members visit a specific area.

The MP had publicly stated he had received death threats for revealing ‘problems’ with the ‘paperwork’ for the Phuket condo project that he claims has been built on land without the proper documentation.

Lt Col Pratuang said that he already prepared a team of officers to provide security for the MP but they were waiting for a confirmation. Then the MP asked his team to record a video of the conversation and said that, while he was not threatening anyone, he believed the police must respect and offer protection for a government MP who comes to work in the area, which was then followed by an argument.

There was a “middleman” who eventually separated the Deputy Superintendent and pulled him aside to calm him down. The ‘police whisperer’ then came back to apologise to the MP before they went inside the coffee shop for further private talks.

Read the original article about the allegations against Peak Condominiums in Karon HERE.

Palang Pracharath MP chastises Karon Police for not offering protection during condo visit | News by The Thaiger

The Peak Condominiums in Karon, currently under investigation after allegations made by Government MP Sira Jenjaka, who claims death threats have been made against him over the matter.

 

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