A weekend, a new year’s weekend and a long weekend with Monday and Tuesday public holidays this year. Welcome to your Saturday. The threat of rain is still there but enjoy the sunny bits in between. Here’s the main news stories circulating today…
Extra public holiday on Tuesday
This year the Thai Government has declared one extra day – next Tuesday – as a public holiday. So welcome to your four day long weekend.
A Government spokesperson says the move will allow many Thais to head back to their home provinces to celebrate the New Year with family.
The Immigration office, Municipal Offices, the Labour Office and Department of Land Transportation office will be closed Monday and Tuesday. As usual on public holidays, banks will also be closed but you’ll find branches open in shopping centres.
Stranded airport family out of airport
A Zimbabwean family, stranded in the departure lounge at Suvarnabhumi International Airport for three months after refusing to return to their home country, may be moved to a Bangkok detention centre, pending a consideration of their asylum application by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Pol Colonel Choengron Rimpadee, deputy immigration commander, said the UN agency had already agreed to seek a solution for the family of four adults and four children aged from two to 11 years old but nobody knew how much longer the process would take.
“If the UNHCR’s procedure takes a long time, we plan to move them to Soi Suan Plu detention centre where they will be allowed stay in a waiting area,” he said. “However what I have learnt from UNHCR is that the procedure will not be long.”
Prawit explains about his fancy watches
Deputy PM General Prawit Wongsuwan has submitted a letter explaining his possession of expensive watches and a diamond ring, which he failed to include in his assets declaration to the NACC. The letter named a third party who will be called upon to testify in the case. Photos of Prawit wearing several luxury brand watches on different occasions has been a favourite on social media beginning two weeks ago. His favourite brands include Richard Mille and Rolex timepieces, some of them priced over 4 million baht.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said last week that his deputy’s possession of expensive watches was a personal matter, but no one could spare him if he was found guilty.
The good news, Prawit is usually on time for meetings.
Soi Dog opens once a month on Saturdays
Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation shelter in Mai Khao will now open its door one Saturday per month, welcoming dog and cat lovers to inspect the facilities and maybe adopt a pet.
If you can’t get there during the week you’ll be able to visit the foundation one Saturday per month from 9.30am to Midday with a tour that starts at 10am.
The first Saturday will be January 13, 2018, which coincides with Children’s Day. English and Thai language speakers are available on site.
Chinese top arrivals. Russians top spending.
The figures for foreign tourists arrivals in the Kingdom during 2017 hit 35 million visitors, according to statistics from the TAT.
This year’s top 10 list includes a few surprises, including Laotian visitors at #4. China is still the number one source of foreign tourists with nearly 10 million visitors over the past 12 months. This represents a 13.23% increase on the 2016 statistics. Coming in second, but actually dropping 5.5% in real numbers, is Thailand’s southern neighbours from Malaysia. South Koreans are the third most frequent visitors. Russians visitors logged nearly 23% growth in arrivals but are at number 7 on the list. For per capita spending Russians are number 1 with UK and US visitors close behind.
Human trafficking ring busted in BKK
Immigration police have rescued 30 Ugandans from a human-trafficking gang in one of the bureau’s biggest operations this year.
Immigration say that all victims were females who had suffered at the hands of fellow Ugandans and identified the two human traffickers behind the ring.
The two, a male and female, were arrested at a condominium in Bangkok.
Immigration police say victims were promised overseas jobs as masseuses but once they arrived in Oman, they were forced into the flesh trade.
Woman arrested with 1.2 kilo of ‘coke’ at Phuket airport
A woman from the Ivory Coast, flying in from Doha, was arrested at Phuket International Airport after an airport X-ray found 1.2 kilograms of cocaine that she’d swallowed, wrapped in small plastic packets.
The 27 year old was stopped by officials at the Phuket international airport after landing, escorted to a room and questioned by Airport police. A subsequent X-ray revealed more than 60 small packages in her stomach totalling 1.2 kilogram of cocaine.
Police claim the narcotics were bound for Bangkok and say that ‘drug mules’ often fly into smaller airports around the country and then travel by road, assuming that the detection and checks are less stringent outside Bangkok.
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