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Two rangers killed, four others injured in Pattani ambush

The Thaiger

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FILE PHOTO – The Nation

Another attack in the deep south.

Thai PBS reports that two para-military rangers have been killed and four others seriously wounded in an ambush by a group of armed men. The attack was followed by a gun fight in the Nong Chik district of Pattani late last night (Tuesday).

Nong Chik police headed to the scene about 10pm Tuesday and when an investigation team rushed to the scene, a section on Ban Don Na Road in tambon Bang Khao, two dead bodies, three motorcycles and a huge number of spent shells were found.

The four injured rangers had already been rushed to a nearby hospital, police said.

The dead rangers have been identified as Ranger Suchat Kongsuk and Ranger Thanadet Chaimusik from the 43rd Rangers Regiment in Nong Chik district.

Police say the six rangers were patrolling on the back of three motorcycles when a group of attackers hiding on one side of the road began spraying bullets on them as they reached a curve.

The attack prompted the rangers to return fire and the gun battle continued until the attackers backed away, police said.

A combined force of more than 100 policemen and soldiers was later deployed to pursue the attackers who were believed to be members of an insurgent group active in the province.

SOURCE: Thai PBS

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Transport

Thailand’s land bridge plan still floating

Maya Taylor

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Thailand’s land bridge plan still floating | The Thaiger
PHOTO: www.skyscrapercity.com

Deputy government spokeswoman Traisuree Taisaranakul says the government is still mulling the idea of a land bridge between the southern provinces of Ranong and Chumphon. The project’s aim would be to improve the infrastructure in the region by connecting the Gulf of Thailand directly with the Andaman Sea, “thereby making the Kingdom more competitive”. In a report in the Bangkok Post, she says the idea would be to better connect Middle Eastern and European oil producers with importers and manufacturers in Japan, South Korea and China.

Currently shipping from the two parts of the world needs to detour down the Mallacca Straits and swing around Singapore before continuing their journeys northward again. The land bridge would provide a more direct route but needs infrastructure for cargo to pass across the Malay Peninsula, aka. the Isthmus of Kra.

“Prime Minister Prayut gave us the guideline that we must be prudent and look at financial feasibility, cost-effectiveness, environmental impact and public acceptance. This land bridge project is a strategy to link the Middle East and East Asia via Thailand.”

It’s understood a feasibility study being carried out by the Ministry of Transport will take around a year to complete, followed by 2 more years to get all the necessary approvals and processes lined up prior to construction beginning. The land bridge would consist of a 130 kilometre motorway and a 2-track railway between the provinces of Chumphon and Ranong. These would connect deep-sea ports in both the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea, reducing travel time by 2 days.

The government is looking at development that can connect the Southern Economic Corridor region, which includes Chumphon, Ranong, Surat Thani, and Nakhon Si Thammarat, with the Eastern Economic Corridor of Chon Buri and Rayong.

The latest plans replace the much-discussed about Kra Canal project, which would have seen a canal crossing the country just south of Phuket and Krabi, creating a shorter journey time from the South China Sea to the Indian Ocean. After being discussed for decades, the project has currently been shelved “on environmental grounds”.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Pattani ranger volunteer killed in bomb explosion, 2 others shot in ambush

Caitlin Ashworth

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Pattani ranger volunteer killed in bomb explosion, 2 others shot in ambush | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thaisaeree

A ranger volunteer was killed from a bomb explosion after an ambush in Pattani’s Sai Buri district in Southern Thailand. Gunmen in the ambush shot and injured 2 volunteers.

A team of officers protecting teachers were driving on motorcycles through the district when they were ambushed by gunmen, police say. The alleged gunmen opened fire on the group, shooting 33 year old volunteer Watchara Chaikaew in the cheek and 35 year old volunteer Sutthichai Yawa in the right shin.

The wounded volunteers were admitted to the hospital. The Bangkok Post did not report on their condition.

About 2 hours later, while rangers were combing the site, a ranger volunteer accidently stepped on a bomb that was hidden in the bushes, killing him. 3 other volunteers reported chest pain and ringing ears after the explosion.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand

Zoos to be investigated for possible involvement in black market animal trade

Caitlin Ashworth

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Zoos to be investigated for possible involvement in black market animal trade | The Thaiger
PHOTO: js100

Zoos across Thailand will be investigated for possible involvement in the black market wildlife trade. The probe follows a case where 2 rare albino barking deer went missing at Songkhla Zoo and a top zoo official investigating the disappearance was shot and killed at the zoo in an apparent murder-suicide.

After suspicion that the deer were stolen and sold in the illegal wildlife trade, the Zoological Park Organisation of Thailand board set up a panel to investigate zoos nationwide for possible involvement in the trade. The zoos that fall under the organisation’s responsibility are in Chiang Mai, Nakhon Ratchasima, Khon Kaen, Songkhla, Ubon Ratchathani and Chon Buri.

The panel will determine whether or not illegal wildlife trading and trafficking is happening at the zoos, according to the board chairperson and former permanent secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives Chavalit Chookajorn.

Chavalit says the board also wants answers to the disappearances of the 2 albino barking deer at Songkhla Zoo. They went missing in February and September. The latest missing deer is believed to be eaten by a python. The board’s acting director Smitti Darakorn Na Ayudthaya says the deer’s carcass was found in a snake’s stomach.

The organisation’s director, Suriya Saengpong, initially went out to Songkhla Zoo to investigate the 2 disappearances. He was allegedly shot and killed by senior veterinarian Phuwadol Suwanna who later allegedly killed himself. After the fatal shooting, some have cited concerns that the deer may have been stolen and sold in the illegal wildlife trade. The case prompted the prime minister to order the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to investigate.

The Zoological Park Organisation panel plans to look at the current state and numbers of animals at the zoos under their jurisdiction and determine if there are signs of illegal wildlife trading. The system for reporting animal populations at the zoos needs to be updated, Chavalit says, adding that the process is complicated and time consuming. He also says the organisation plans to list zoo’s information on their website with animals’ birth and death dates.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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