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UPDATE: Prawit “not obliged to declare assets”

Thaiger

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Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan would not be required to declare his extravagant watch collection as assets under the anti-graft law if the watches did not belong to him, National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) secretary-general Worawit Sukboon said yesterday.

At an NACC press briefing yesterday, Worawit said that if the watches belonged to Prawit, he would have to explain when he obtained them. If Prawit had obtained the watches before he took government office, he would have to explain why he had failed to list them in his assets declaration, he added. If he acquired them after entering the Cabinet he would not have to declare them until he left, Worawit said. “Assets subject to be declared to the NACC must ‘belong’ to the person. Theoretically, if [the assets] do not belong to the person, his spouse, or his minor children, they won’t need to be declared,” said Worawit. The explanation on the legal requirements came after weeks of investigation into Prawit’s luxury watches.

The controversy sparked off in early December and continues to capture the public’s attention, as the number of watches seen on the general’s wrist over time grew from one to more than 20.

The combined worth of the watches is believed to exceed 20 million baht. Questions have arisen over how he obtained the expensive items given the income of a retired general and whether he had declared them to the NACC before his incumbency. Prawit, joint junta leader and defence minister, has been asked to clarify the origin of the watches following the emergence of dozens of photos showing him wearing fancy watches on many occasions.

The secretary-general has refused to disclose any further detail regarding the ownership of the watches. If the watches were a loan, some critics question whether Prawit had breached the law that prohibited government officials from receiving gifts worth more than Bt3,000. Worawit said NACC officials would look at all the legal aspects of the case. While there was some concern that the loan explanation would become a new stock argument for politicians concealing assets, Worawit said the agency would not necessarily regard this type of defence as valid. Worawit also said yesterday that the NACC president, Pol General Watcharapol Prasanratchakit, had announced in a meeting on Tuesday that he would withdraw from the panel probing the case. This was despite the fact that he was neither a stakeholder, nor did he have any reason to be disqualified under the charter, the secretary-general said.

Watcharapol has come under pressure since the scandal broke. The NACC president in 2014 had worked in the coup-installed government, closely under Prawit. The public has demonstrated distrust in the scrutiny of the junta leader with Watcharapol at the helm. A brief scuffle also broke out at a press briefing after a solo pro-democracy activist Ake Auttagorn showed up unexpectedly and gave a picture to Worawit.

The pictures showed Napoleon the pig from George Orwell’s political allegory “Animal Farm”. There was also an image of “three wise monkeys” wearing diamond rings and watches. Ake was quickly removed from the press conference room. In the novella “Animal Farm”, Napoleon is a leader in the movement to overthrow the human ruler of the farm. He promises to make all animals equal and says he will never be like the oppressive men. But, after a while in power, Napoleon adopts human mannerisms and becomes “more equal” than the other animals.

Prawit, meanwhile, kept quiet and was guarded by six military aides who kept him away from reporters.

 

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Pattaya

Pattaya fisherman surprised by friendly whale shark visit

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: A friendly whale shark approved a surprised fisherman this week in Pattaya. (via Facebook ไม่หยุดอยู่นิ่ง นาเกลือ)

A local Pattaya fisherman had a shocking surprise visitor and was conscious enough to record a video to share with the world. The man, a fisherman for 10 years, posted 2 videos to Facebook on Wednesday of what appears to be a friendly whale shark casually visiting his fishing boat. Sightings in Pattaya of the majestic sea creature are relatively rare.

Whale sharks are the largest known fish species still living on Earth. They average from 5.5 to 10 metres in length, but the largest shark ever confirmed had a length of 18.8 metres.

The man, who goes by Mai Yud Yoo Ning Naklua (ไม่หยุดอยู่นิ่ง นาเกลือ) was sailing near Pai Island when the shark approached. The shark spent several minutes floating just inches from the boat and could be seen with shark suckers flanking it. The whale shark swam around the back of the boat and the man was able to capture a 3-minute video of the shark and another 49-second video where he can be seen getting up close and personal with the sea creature as it surfaced.

The Facebook video can be viewed on his original post, seen here. The man’s post showed his excitement, as he described that it was his first time experiencing this in his 10 years on a fishing boat.

“This is my first time seeing a whale shark. I have been a fisherman for ten years and have heard many stories but this is my first opportunity to see one and share it with the world.”

Locals in the Koh Larn area believe the appearance of this friendly fish is a sign that the environment is thriving. Covid-19 has prevented the throngs of tourists that normally flood the area, and with the reduction in traffic and boats churning the water, marine life such as whale sharks can safely return. In the waters off the coast of Pattaya, it appears that nature is healing.

SOURCE: The Pattaya 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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