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Thursday Morning Briefing – everything you need to know in 3 minutes

The Thaiger & The Nation

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The Thai woman implicated in the deadly Erawan Shrine bomb attack is now in Thai police custody. Phang Nga resident, Wanna Suansan was arrested when she walked off a plane at Suvarnabhumi Airport yesterday.

She was taken to the National Police Office headquarters where she was interrogated. Wanna is among suspects wanted over the fatal explosion that rocked the Erawan Shrine in the heart of Bangkok on August 17, 2015, killing 20 and injuring 125.

Her Turkish husband, Emrah Davutoglu, is also facing charges related to the Bangkok attack. Wanna and her husband suspiciously left for Turkey just before the 2015 bombing. In Turkey, they were arrested, and the husband was accused of possessing war materials and bombs.

Last month, Wanna’s relatives urged Thai authorities to help bring her back to Thailand even if that meant she would have to face trial for her alleged role in the bomb attack. They say Wanna has been locked up during her time in Turkey and even had to give birth to her baby in prison.

The Thai police force will transfer many of its current key duties to other agencies if the reform plan approved by the National Reform Committee on Judicial Affairs goes ahead. Things like traffic flow and enforcement of traffic laws would be handed over to provincial offices within the next three years if the reforms are given the green light.

The Royal Forest Department, the Department of National Parks, Plant and Wildlife Conservation, and the Marine and Coastal Resources Department, meanwhile, will take over the investigation of environmental crimes. The Office of the Consumer Protection Board, the Public Health Ministry and the Industry Ministry will have the power to investigate alleged violations of consumer rights and food and drug regulation. They’ll also be able to make related arrests.

The role to prevent tourism crimes would also change hands from the Tourist Police Division to the Sports and Tourism Ministry. A recommendation on the Immigration section of the Thai Police is still under review.

The Trump administration has formally declared Myanmar’s brutal crackdown on its Rohingya Muslim minority constitutes “ethnic cleansing.” US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says using the term ethnic cleansing was made after careful and thorough analysis of the facts. The move opens the door to sanctions against the country’s military and puts further pressure on Aung San Suu Kyi, its embattled civilian leader. The Rohingya crisis will come under additional world scrutiny next week, when Pope Francis visits Myanmar and Bangladesh.

The Tourist Police acting deputy commissioner Pol Maj-General Surachet Hakpal is vowing to step up the crackdown on taxi drivers who take advantage of foreign tourists.

The Tourist Police have been instructed by the PM, General Prayut Chan-o-cha, to cooperate with the Land Transport Department on the issue. The PM says he wants to get rid of unruly taxi drivers because “their behaviour damages the kingdom’s image in the eyes of foreign tourists”.

“It’s an urgent agenda item to get rid of taxi drivers breaking the law and taking advantage of tourists,” Surachet said.

He says the authorities receive about 1,000 complaints from tourists about taxis every month. Most drivers were accused of refusing to use the taxi meter, and some tourists complained that they were charged 800 Baht for a 300-metre ride. “The prime minister has given an instruction that the issue related to taxis is an urgent agenda item that the government must solve,” Surachet said.

At the Reducing Marine Debris in ASEAN Region 2017 being held at JW Marriott Phuket Resort in Mai Khao the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Gen Surasak Kanjanarat, says that marine trash has become a world issue and the UN has put marine natural resources on the top of the list of 17 tiers of sustainable development.

He says one of the emerging problems is micro plastic which is being found in the marine food chain which is making its way to humans and affecting the world population’s health in the long term. He says he’s have ordered all national parks to be free of plastic bags and that since October his department has kicked off the pilot project of a cigarette ban in 15 provinces along our coasts covering 24 beaches.

Marine waste management remains a big issue for private organisations and governments. The UN has set a target for reducing sea garbage significantly by 2025. Thailand ranks sixth among countries with the highest volumes of litter in the sea, according to United States-based research published in 2015.

Police are extending the scope of their investigation into alleged match-fixing in Thailand’s top football league by examining the bank accounts of the 12 people suspected to be involved in the scandal to trace the money trail.

The information from the bank accounts will be compared with evidence that police have gathered in the investigation that started more than a year ago. The 12 people facing arrest warrants for bribery comprise five top players, two referees, four investors and representatives as well as one club executive. The arrests mark the first serious crackdown on alleged cheating in Thai football. According to a source, the 12 people have been questioned and four of them had apparently confessed to taking part in the manipulation of results while others maintain their innocence.

SOURCES: The Nation, VOA, Phuket Gazette

- The Thaiger & The Nation

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Bangkok

Machete-wielding BKK motorist jailed for threatening woman

The Thaiger & The Nation

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The South Bangkok district court has handed down a sentence today on a male driver. He’s been sentenced to 2 months and 15 days behind bars.

The sentence follows the man’s indiscretion caught on a dash cam (video and story below), threatening a female driver with a knife on July 18, after he drove against the traffic to cut in front of her car.

Read the original story and watch the video HERE.

42 year old Sitthiporn Suayngarm was arraigned in court by officers from the Thung Mahamek Police Station this morning (Saturday) and the court swiftly handed down the sentence after the defendant pleaded guilty. The video clip was used in evidence.

The court declined to suspend the jail term despite Sitthiporn pleading guilty, as the court regarded his act as a serious crime. Sitthiporn turned himself in to police on Friday and issued an apology to the woman, saying he was in a bad mood after quarrelling with his girlfriend.

The man was slapped with five charges: damaging another person’s asset, intimidating another person, carrying a knife in a public place without licence, parking car in a prohibited area and changing lane unlawfully.

The crime took place on Tuesday morning at an intersection on Suan Plue Road in Bangkok’s Sathon district near the Bangkok Technical College and was recorded by the dashboard camera of the 64 year old woman.

The clip from the dashboard went viral and had more than a 1 million views. The clip shows a man at the wheel of a black Toyota Camry repeatedly trying to cut in front of a car whose dashboard cam recorded the incident, by driving against the traffic. The man finally managed to complete the illegal overtaking manoeuvre after they drove through an intersection. He then stopped his car, exited, opened the trunk and pulled out a long knife.

The dashboard video showed him walking towards the woman’s car before he disappeared from the clip.

STORY: The Nation

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National

Singapore Airlines back on top. Thai Airways in 10th place.

The Thaiger

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PHOTO: Flyer Talk

Singapore Airlines is back on top after a decade held out of the top airline position by middle-eastern competition. It’s their fourth win since the Skytrax World Airline awards started back in 2001.

The island nation’s national carrier was named Airline of the Year at the 2018 Skytrax World Airline awards. Singapore Airlines was last top of the list in 2008. This year it forced out last year’s top honours winner, Qatar Airways, into second place.

Yeoh Phee Teik, Singapore Airlines’s senior vice president of customer experience, said “We’re very ecstatic.”

The airline  also claimed best airline in Asia, best first class and best first class seat.

Asian airlines made a return to the winner’s list this year with ANA All Nippon Airways receiving third place, Taiwan’s EVA Air in 5th position, Cathay Pacific in 6th, Hainan Airlines in 7th, Garuda Airlines in 9th (an extraordinary achievement considering their reputation only a decade ago) and Thai Airways in 10th place.

Singapore’s victory marked a resurgence in Asian carriers in the annual UK-based aviation industry review. Skytrax began its awards in 2001 and is recognised for its fairness due to passengers voting in all categories. Aside from a win by Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific back in 2014, all past seven years have all gone to middle east based airlines.

“We’re glad that our work has been recognised and our customers have voted for us to be the world’s best,” said Yeoh.

Garuda Airlines, which has turned its service around since the early days of Skytrax, when it was banned from flying into European airspace, was presented with the prize for best cabin staff along with its 9th place overall.

Not one US airline picked up a single award.

Locally Air Asia picked up an award for Best low coast airline – Asia, Thai Airways won the award for best airline catering in Economy Class (The Thaiger thinks the voters weren’t flying on the same flight when Thaiger experienced the economy class ‘food’) and Bangkok Ailines won Best Regional Airline – Asia.

The top 10 world’s best airlines for 2018
1. Singapore Airlines
2. Qatar Airways
3. ANA All Nippon Airways
4. Emirates
5. EVA Air
6. Cathay Pacific
7. Lufthansa
8. Hainan Airlines
9. Garuda Indonesia
10. Thai Airways

Best airlines by global region
Northern Europe – Finnair
Western Europe – Lufthansa
Eastern Europe – Aeroflot Russian Airlines
Africa – Ethiopian Airlines
Australia / Pacific – Qantas Airlines
Central Asia / India – Air Astana
China – Hainan Airlines
Central America / Caribbean – Copa Airlines
South America – Avianca
North America– Air Canada
Asia – Singapore Airlines
Middle East – Qatar Airways
Europe – Lufthansa

Best low-cost airlines
Africa – Mango
Australia & Pacific – Jetstar Airways
Asia – AirAsia
Central Asia / India – Indigo
China – West Air
South America – Sky Airline
North America – WestJet
Middle East – Flynas
Europe – Norwegian

Best airline catering
Economy – Thai Airways
Premium economy – Aeroflot Russian Airlines
Business – Austrian Airlines
First class – Air France

Best airline seats
Economy – Japan Airlines
Premium economy – Air New Zealand
Business – Qatar Airways
First class – Singapore Airlines

Best regional airlines
Africa – Royal Air Maroc
Asia – Bangkok Airways
South America – Azul Brazilian Airlines
Central Asia / India – Azerbaijan Airlines
Europe – Aegean Airlines

Best airline lounges
First class – Qatar Airways
Airline alliance lounge – Star Alliance Los Angeles
Independent airport lounge – Plaza Premium Heathrow Terminal Two
First class lounge dining – Air France
Airline lounge spa facility – Thai Awards

Best airlines staff service by global region
Africa – South African Airways
Australia / Pacific – Qantas Airways
Central Asia / India – Vistara
China – Hainan Airlines
Central America / Caribbean – Copa Airlines
South America – Azul Brazilian Airlines
Asia – ANA All Nippon Airways
Middle East – Emirates
Europe – Austrian Airlines

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Samui

Burmese maid returns bag containing $11,000 to tourist

The Thaiger

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Daily News is reporting that a tourist from the Netherlands has thanked a Burmese maid at his hotel on Koh Samui. 37 year old Sawee Let Mau showed it was not just the Thais who are high up in the honesty stakes.

Sawee found the green bag under some stairs – it contained AUD$ to the tune of 280,000 baht – several years wages for a maid.

Police were called to the Ark Bar Hotel in Chaweng and CCTV was checked before 31 year old Alexander Joseph was confirmed as the rightful owner.

He gave the honest maid $100 as a reward. Daily News praises the maid for helping the tourist image of Thailand.

SOURCE: Daily News

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