There are two seven-days-of-danger on Thailand’s roads, as designated by the police – one starting tomorrow and the other during Songkran. They are the two worst periods for road deaths, by far. We don’t want you to be one of the statistics this year so we urge you to prepare ahead of any road trips to ensure that you are mentally and physically capable of getting where you’re going. In the meantime, time for today’s main news stories…
New year gifts from Santa Prayut
Christmas might be over but Santa Prayut has flown in riding in his government sleigh with plenty of gifts for new year.
People planning domestic holidays will receive a tax deduction on outlays of up to 15,000 baht per person.
Farmers, senior citizens, disabled people, families with newborns and small vendors are among those entitled to benefit as the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives, the Government Housing Bank and the state-owned pawn shop, among others, distribute interest refunds on farm loans, housing loans and other giveaways.
Holidaymakers will get a tax deduction on hotel, food and package tour expenses for trips to a total of 55 provinces designated as “secondary” for tourism.
Senior citizens aged 100 and over will each get a 1,000 baht gift and families of babies born on New Year’s Day will also get 1,000 baht.
50 year old German detained for destroying Krabi trees
A German has been detained three days after the Krabi Mayor posted on his Facebook page photos of damaged trees in a public garden that was considered a landmark of Krabi Muang district.
The mayor offered a reward of 30,000 baht for anyone who could provide information leading to the arrest of the culprit.
His post went viral and a 50 year old German man has been detained. Police say the suspect confessed that he destroyed palm and other trees in the public park close to Krabi River out of anger when his girlfriend left him. Police claim the suspect had a record for renting motorbikes then filling it up with water.
“I am ivory free”
Commemorating Thailand National Wildlife Protection Day, the US Agency for International Development Wildlife Asia programme and WildAid say that their recent online pledge campaign, “I am #IvoryFree”, received over 87 million views of social-media photo posts mobilising Thais never to buy, own or accept ivory as a gift.
Launched in September, the campaign engaged more than 100 Thai celebrities and high-profile influencers from business, entertainment, politics, sports, art, culture, religion and the press, as well as 15,200 members of the public to pledge “I am #IvoryFree”. “
Seven days of danger starts tomorrow
With the new year approaching people are heading off the island for celebrations in other provinces whilst thousands of others are streaming into Phuket. The Thai PM says police will be out in full force and has urged the public not to get angry when they’re stopped for checks whilst on the roads.
The prohibition on people carrying passengers in pick-ups won’t be enforced according to General Prayut but says the wearing of helmets on motorbikes will be strictly enforced over the holiday period for the driver and passengers. The wearing of seatbelt in cars will also be strictly enforced.
The dreaded Seven Days of Danger on Thai roads starts tomorrow and will run up to January 3.
Militants attack army officials in Narathiwat
Militants have carried out sequenced attacks on Army officials in Narathiwat province injuring two sergeants, two paramilitary soldiers and a civilian, as well as damaging vehicles.
An initial investigation suggests that the injured officers were riding in a pickup on their way to buy supplies when a group of heavily-armed militants hiding at the roadside opened fire on them.
In another incident three hours later, a ranger unit deployed an armoured personnel carrier about two kilometres from the first attack site to provide protection for officials gathering evidence. The rangers left the vehicle and were talking to paramilitary officers when a bomb planted at the roadside went off. The rangers reported suffering slight ear concussions.
None of the soldiers were seriously hurt but everyone was sent to Naradhiwasrajanagarindra Hospital in Muang district for treatment.
Tropical storm Tembin crosses the Gulf of Thailand
Fishermen and tour boats are being warned of strong winds and high waves in the Gulf of Thailand as the result of typhoon “Tembin”, which passed through southern Vietnam yesterday and due to affect the southern coastal areas from Pranchuap Khiri Khan to Songkhla today and tomorrow.
Tropical storm Tembin wreaked havoc in The Philippines, killing more than 200 people when it passed through there last week.
The storm is weakening but still expected to drop some rain on areas in the southern provinces, including Phuket. Rain is forecast for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
DSI interrogates another 8 in Panthongtae Shinawatra case
The Department of Special Investigation has agreed to interrogate another eight defence witnesses in the money-laundering case against Panthongtae Shinawatra, son of fugitive ex-premier Thaksin.
Panthongtae’s lawyers asked the DSI to include a total of another 21 defence witnesses but only eight were approved because the agency said the rest were not relevant. The eight additional witnesses include former investigators in the case as well as a private secretary, accountant and other people familiar with the funds transfer involved in the case. Panthongtae is accused of violating the money-laundering law after allegedly receiving 10 million baht from the Krisada Mahanakorn real estate firm linked to a multi-billion-baht fraudulent loan provided by state-owned Krungthai Bank.
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