THAILAND NEWS TODAY | Taxi fares in Bangkok to increase in two weeks

The Ministry of Transport yesterday approved a motion to increase taxi fares in
Bangkok after recent protests by the capital’s cab drivers. The new fares are
expected to come into operation in the next two weeks.
The Transport Ministry announced a month ago that Thailand’s taxi fares would
increase after eight years of stagnation. The department of transport made the price
increase conditional – taxi drivers must improve their service and avoid refusing to
serve passengers.

More than 200 taxi drivers gathered in front of the Transport Ministry office
yesterday morning to demand an answer on the fare increases as there had been no
development for a month.
Last month taxi associations asked the government to increase the standard fare
rates. Drivers asked for the basic fee to start at 45 baht for 1,600 to 1,800cc taxis
and 50 baht for 2,000cc taxis and above.
Now, basic fares for every taxi in Thailand start at 35 baht. A journey between 2 to
10 kilometres costs 5.5 baht/kilometre, and a journey between 11 to 20 kilometres
onwards costs 6.5 baht/kilometre)
The advisor to the Minister of Transport, Wirut Pimpanit, met with four taxi
associations yesterday afternoon. Wirut told the associations that the government
could not increase the fares they proposed but would compromise.
The meeting concluded in an agreement on the new rising price stated below:

1,600 to 1,800 cc taxi cars: The basic fee starts at 35 baht | 2,000 cc taxi cars: The
basic fare starts at 40 baht

A journey from 2 to 10 kilometres costs 6.5 baht/kilometre
A journey from 11 to 20 kilometres costs 7 baht/kilometre
A journey from 21 to 40 kilometres costs 8 baht/kilometre
A journey from 41 to 60 kilometres costs 8.5 baht/kilometreA journey from 61 to 80 kilometres costs 9 baht/kilometre
A journey from 81 kilometres onwards costs 10.5 baht/kilometre

In traffic jams or in case taxi cars travel less than six kilometres per hour, the cost
will be 3 baht/minute, up 1 baht.
The new fares will come into effect in two weeks.
Wirut reported that the new fares will only apply to about 80,000 taxis in Bangkok.
For taxis in other provinces, the ministry said it would consider fare prices
according to the cost of living and the consumer price index (CPI) in each area,
especially in touristy areas like Koh Samui in Surat Thani and Phuket.
Wirut warned taxi drivers to maintain high service standards and stop refusing
passengers. If any negligent drivers are discovered abusing their position, they
would face severe penalties under the law. Their driving score will be cut, and their
license might be suspended or revoked.

Some electric wires in Bangkok urgently buried for APEC meeting
Ugly electric cables in front of the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre
(QSNCC) in Bangkok have been pulled down and buried to provide a more
aesthetic scene for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting from
November 16 to 19. The action evoked much mirth and merriment from the
nation’s netizens.

The Metropolitan Electricity Authority (MEA) of Thailand’s Facebook page
yesterday announced that about 500 metres of overhanging electrical cables and
poles in front of the QSNCC have been buried to improve the panoramic view of
the area for the APEC meeting.
Pictures of the operation were posted online showing the before and after look.
Many Thai netizens commented on the post. Some praised the authorities for their
quick and efficient work while others said the government were just window-
dressing a part of Bangkok. Many netizens poked fun at the government’s
procrastination in burying the rest of the capital’s overhead electric cables. A
project to bury the capital’s overhead cables began in 1984 and remains unfinished.
The MEA also added that they finished an underground cable project of over 23
kilometres on some roads in Bangkok on Rama 4, Witthayu, Sathorn, and Charoen
Krung roads.

The Mass Rapid Transit Authority (MRTA) of Thailand made known to the public
yesterday that the QSNCC Station of the MRT subway will be closed from
November 16 at 12.01am to November 19 at 6pm to facilitate the APEC meeting.
The MRT train will operate as normal but trains will not stop at the QSNCC
Station. There will be free shuttle buses for people affected by the closure at Rama
4 Intersection near Klong Toey MRT Station, and Asok Intersection near
Sukhumvit MRT Station.

Bangkok police arrest fake Chinese diplomat

Immigration police in Bangkok have arrested a Chinese man, aged 33, found with
a fake Thai ID card, a fake police motorcycle and a fake military uniform.
Shao Xiaobo was arrested at a rented building in Bangkok’s Sutthisarn area on
Wednesday, the office of an unnamed commercial association.
Pol Maj Gen Phanthana Nuchanart, deputy commissioner of the Immigration
Bureau, said police were rounding up suspects ahead of the APEC summit when
they found data on a “foreign-looking” man who had a Thai ID card and two
passports, and arrested him.

The suspect denied the ID card was fake, but the fake Chinese businessman
conceded he had visited the association building in a luxury car, with a “police”
motorcycle riding in front, but said a friend had arranged the vehicles.
The limousine was made up to look like an embassy car, with two national flags on
its bonnet, but its license plates indicated it was a private car.
Shao told police he planned to do business in the country and thus joined the
association about three years ago and rented a room. However, he had yet to start
his business.

In Shao’s office at the association, police found a fake uniform with a badge
showing the suspect’s Chinese name in English.
The fake Chinese businessman has been charged with making false statements and
use of a fake Thai ID card. Police are checking if he has broken any other laws.

Beagles sniff out bats in luggage from China at Bangkok airport

No bats or any other animal carcasses can get past the sharp noses of two hard-
working beagles who fight crime at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok.
Yesterday, the sniffer dogs uncovered “smoked bats” and processed pork hidden
inside luggage that flew in from Kunming in China.
The main duty of the beagles from the Quarantine and Inspection Canine Unit is to
detect hidden animal carcasses, according to Director-General of the Department
of Livestock Development and Veterinarian.

He said the sniffer dogs are especially wary of luggage arriving from “high-risk”
countries such as Cambodia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Laos, Vietnam and China.
Yesterday, one of the beagles sniffed out a suspicious yellow suitcase from
Kunming. Officials inspected the luggage to find one bag of smoked bats weighing
2.5 kilograms, one bag of smoked pork knuckles weighing 2.5 kilograms, and one
bag of smoked pork belly weighing 4.5 kilograms.
Smuggling animal carcasses into Thailand is a criminal offence under Section 31
of the Animal Epidemic Act (2015).
The seized goods will be destroyed according to Department of Livestock
regulations, added Somchuan.
Meanwhile, yesterday, police arrested a Thai YouTuber from Isaan who posted a
video of herself eating bat soup to her 400,000 subscribers. She is facing five years
in prison and/or a fine of up to 500,000 baht.

Primary teacher arrested for ‘schoolgirl’ porn

A primary school teacher in Samut Prakan has been arrested for selling alleged
“schoolgirl porn” on social media.
In some of the videos the teacher named Natdanai, aged 28, is seen having sex with
females in school uniform. Natdanai has admitted to earning about one million
baht (US$25,000) over the last year from the videos.
Bangkok’s cybercrime force arrested the latest teacher accused of sex offences in
Bangkok on Tuesday on charges of making, possessing and distributing
pornography. The arresting team found a hidden camera in the primary teacher’s
bedroom and videos of him having sex with females in girl scout uniforms.

Arresting officers also collected a standard cybercrime toolkit of various mobile
phones, a computer, SIM cards, bank books and other items from his apartment.
The arrest followed information from Hug Project Thailand that a schoolgirl had
sought help after someone allegedly shared porn clips of her on VK is a
Russian social media platform based in Saint Petersburg, predominantly used by
Russian speakers, and widely accused of being a facilitator of child pornography

When she contacted the poster asking for the clips to be deleted, the person
demanded money from her. She was told to take a photo of herself with her ID
card and send it to him.
The girl then contacted the Hug Foundation, which helped her take her accusations
to the police.

Natdanai had made minimal effort to cover his tracks, and cybercrime officers
quickly identified him as the administrator behind the pages in question.
The suspect admits to posting 1,800 video clips over the past year, charging 1,500
(US$40) baht for access.

Thailand video news

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