Thailand News Update | Oil pipeline leak south of Pattaya

Efforts are continuing this morning to mitigate the fallout from a crude oil pipeline leak near Map Ta Phet in Rayong province, south of Pattaya. The leak occurred at a mooring point off the coast where oil tankers load and offload.

About 160,000 litres of oil started floating in the waters off the coast on Tuesday as the company, Star Petroleum Refining tried to stop the oil reaching Rayong beaches.The Marine and Coastal Resources Department, the navy and other environmental agencies have been called in to mop up the potential environmental disaster.

Currently, they estimate that some 50,000 litres of crude oil remains to be cleaned up.There are also reports of the oil spill heading towards the beaches of nearby Koh Samet.

After an extensive investigation, police are looking for the employer of two suspects who were arrested in Chon Buri this week for allegedly running illegal internet gambling websites with over 100,000 users and a monthly revenue of more than 100 million baht.

The Cyber Task Force raided a modest residence in a housing estate in the Saensuk sub-district and nabbed two suspects, a 34 year old and 29 year old.Both allegedly admitted to being hired as administrators of the online gambling websites “JOKER898TH” and “OMG777″.

The pair claimed they had no idea who hired them or how to contact them, the suspects claimed that all commerce was done using secure internet messaging tools. They also told police they were paid only 15,000 baht each per month.

About 30 activists, many who are former victims of road accidents, gathered in front of Government House yesterday to submit a petition, addressed to Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan, urging steps to ensure better safety for pedestrians using zebra crossings, following the recent high-profile incident that left a female ophthalmologist dead, after a 21 year old policeman crashed into her whilst riding his motorbike.

The group, holding up placards, proposes stricter enforcement of traffic laws, including treating a fatal accident on zebra crossing as a murder and the setting of speed limits in urban areas 30km per hour, increasing fines for road accidents and making zebra crossings much safer.

Though details remain sketchy, a Thai man was taken into custody by Patong Police yesterday over an alleged shooting of a foreign man in a resort. The incident took place around 2 am.

The foreign victim’s condition is currently unknown. We also don’t know his name or nationality.The alleged shooter was arrested in front of the B-Lay Tong Phuket resort, at the northern end of the Patong Beach Road, around 4am.

The accused lived nearby in Patong and was 54 years old, according to the police report. The suspect was arrested with a 9-millimetre semi-automatic handgun along with ammunition. Two shots were fired during the incident.The police report says that the victim had been allegedly trespassing inside the resort at the time of the shooting and was not a guest of the resort.

Still in Phuket and, first, they shut all the bars and entertainment venues selling alcohol in Thailand. Then they said those venues could reopen, but not as a boozy bar, rather as restaurants, who eventually were allowed to sell alcohol again, but only until 11 pm.

Now in Phuket, all those entertainment venues that were originally licenced to sell alcohol, but were then licenced to serve food, must now get a new license to sell alcohol in their bar turned restaurant.Hope you’re following the story so far.

The Phuket Vice Governor has announced that bars that reopened as restaurants now have to get a new permit to sell and allow consumption of alcohol on their premises.But the licences will only be issued to those venues that meet the newest Covid-19 safety measures.

These requirements have technically been the rule for months, but this new permit would make it official that rules are being followed, according to the Vice Governor. In addition to standards of social distancing, masking, and sanitisation, all staff must be fully vaccinated and take an antigen test once a week.Sounds like the office staff are working a lot harder than the bar staff in Phuket.

The Omicron BA.2 sub-variant cases have already increased to 14 in a week. It was also confirmed that the first death in Thailand from the Omicron variant earlier this month was in fact infected with the new strain.

The death toll for the Omicron variant in Thailand is still very low with only 7 confirmed. The BA.2 sub-variant was first reported in India and South Africa in late December and has already spread to at least 40 countries around the world.With no clear indication at this stage that it presents a greater danger than variants before, the World Health Organisation has not declared BA.2 as a variant of concern.

Some regional news and Villagers in northeastern Laos have voiced concerns over losing their land to a Chinese firm that was recently approved by Laos government to dig for rare earth minerals. The government says some displaced villagers will receive compensation.

An agreement has already been signed allowing the Tong Lee Seung Industrial Company to excavate a 3 square kilometre area in Xieng Khouang province, and another 25 square kilometres of land is also under threat, according to villagers.One villager told Radio Free Asia that no one knows what will happen to the locals’ land, although the Chinese are still performing a survey and haven’t started excavating.

Another villager said the Chinese company has now encroached on 6 hectares of his grazing land.According to a Lao official, corporate representatives are already negotiating compensation for villages that would lose important land as a result of the project.

The electoral commission of Indonesia declared yesterday the country will see a new leader in February 2024, putting an end to rumours that President Joko Widodo may seek to prolong his second, and constitutionally mandated, last term.

Speculation was swirling that incumbent President Joko Widodo might want to extend his five-year term, but that a constitutional revision would be needed to allow him to compete for a third term.


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