Thailand Video News | Thailand to end duty-free on arrival shopping at airports, cannabis advocates protest proposed ban in Thailand

In Thailand Video News today, Alex talks about Thailand’s decision to end duty-free shopping on arrival at airports to boost the economy. Advocates are protesting at the Prime Minister’s office against the proposed relisting of Cannabis as a narcotic drug and Myanmar rebels are increasing their meth production and distribution into Thailand to fund their operations. A woman in Pattaya was assaulted in a bar by a man pretending to be a police inspector, and Thai police have arrested members of a human trafficking ring who were luring Thai citizens into call centres for forced labour. Defence Minister Sutin Klungsang and Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin will soon meet to discuss the controversial submarine procurement project. The Tourism Council of Thailand found in a recent survey that Chinese Tourists are primarily drawn to Thailand’s exotics cuisine and fruits. A landslide at an illegal gold mine on an Indonesian island has killed at least 23 people with 35 more missing. The Philippines plans to cooperate with Vietnam to enhance rice growing and improve food security, and Singapore has approved 16 species of edible insects for sale and consumption.

Thailand to end duty-free on arrival shopping at airports

Thailand will close duty-free shops in the arrival areas of eight international airports, including Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang in Bangkok. This move aims to boost domestic spending and decongest airports, reclaiming space for passenger facilities. The closure aligns with Thailand’s goal to enhance its tourism strategy and improve airport rankings. Last year, inbound duty-free shops generated THB 3 billion ($82.9 million), but the government estimates that closing them will increase foreign visitors’ spending by THB 570 ($15.64) per trip. The country aims to welcome 40 million foreign visitors in 2024, having seen a 35% increase in tourists in the first half of the year.

Cannabis advocates protest proposed ban in Thailand

Cannabis advocates in Thailand protested at the prime minister’s office against a proposed ban on general use. The health ministry’s drug control committee recently approved relisting cannabis as a narcotic, restricting it to medical and research purposes. Protesters, including cannabis activists and entrepreneurs, argue the government aims to benefit select groups by criminalizing the plant again. The rally, which started at the United Nations headquarters and moved toward the Government House, highlighted concerns over economic damage and monopolization. The proposal, if approved, will take effect on January 1.

Myanmar rebels increase meth production, flooding Thailand

Myanmar rebels are increasing meth production to finance their fight against the government, flooding Thailand with drugs. Col Meechai Nillasart of the Pha Muang Force reported seizing 151 million meth pills this fiscal year, up from 42 million last year, along with 256 kg of heroin and 1,350 kg of crystal meth. The force, responsible for a 933 km northern border, arrested 347 suspects and killed 29 traffickers. Millions more pills are believed to be stored near the Myanmar border, awaiting smuggling into Thailand. The rebels united after Myanmar’s 2021 military coup.

Police impersonator assaults woman in Pattaya bar

In Pattaya, a woman was assaulted in a bar by a man falsely claiming to be a police inspector. The incident happened on South Pattaya Road when Aim, a 39-year-old Thai woman, was approached by a group of men, one of whom identified himself as Inspector Bee from Rayong. After a friendly exchange, he groped her, leading Aim to challenge his identity. His companions attempted to intimidate her, but she alerted the real police. The impostor and his group fled before the police arrived. Authorities are investigating, highlighting ongoing safety concerns in nightlife areas.

Thai police arrest key members of human trafficking ring

Thai police have arrested key members of a human trafficking ring that lured Thai citizens into forced labor in call centers. Led by Police Major General Saruti Kwangsopa, the team apprehended 31-year-old Teerapon in Bangkok, 21-year-old Aranya in Chiang Rai, and 31-year-old Nattanicha, already in custody. The ring, led by a Chinese individual named Fei Yang, used fraudulent job offers to trap victims, who were then coerced into scams involving romance and investment fraud. The suspects denied full involvement, but police investigations continue. This crackdown follows last year’s operations that rescued 266 Thai victims from call centers in Myanmar.

Defence minister to meet Thai PM over submarine deal

Defence Minister Sutin Klungsang plans to meet Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin to discuss the controversial submarine procurement project. If approved, the proposal will be submitted to the Cabinet. The urgency stems from China’s desire to conclude the deal, having invested significant time. Initially, Thailand aimed to buy three submarines from China for US$1.06 billion, but budget constraints reduced it to one for 13.5 billion baht. Issues arose over unavailable German engines, leading China to offer a domestic substitute. The Defence Ministry is now amending the contract to extend its term and change the engine type, pending final Cabinet approval.

Survey reveals Chinese tourists’ spending habits in Thailand

A survey by the Tourism Council of Thailand revealed that Chinese tourists visiting in the second quarter were primarily drawn by Thai cuisine and exotic fruits. The survey of 205 Chinese nationals highlighted that Singaporeans spent the most per trip, followed by Mainland Chinese, Taiwanese, and Hong Kong tourists. Independent travel is preferred by 88% of Chinese tourists. Travel costs increased for 45% of respondents post-Covid. Key attractions include food, safety, reasonable expenses, and high-quality services. Popular activities are enjoying Thai food, spa treatments, and shopping. Top destinations are Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket, with complaints about taxi services, safety, and cleanliness.

Death toll rises after Indonesia landslide at illegal gold mine

A landslide at an illegal gold mine on Indonesia’s Sulawesi island has killed at least 23 people, with 35 still missing. Triggered by torrential rains, the landslide hit Bone Bolango district, burying miners and residents. Rescue operations, involving over 270 workers and a helicopter, are hampered by heavy rain and unstable terrain. Illegal mines are common in Indonesia, posing significant safety risks. The disaster highlights the dangers of unlicensed mining, which often involves hazardous conditions and the use of toxic chemicals. Previous incidents, like the April 2022 landslide in North Sumatra, have resulted in similar tragedies.

Philippines seeks to boost rice cooperation with Vietnam

The Philippines aims to enhance rice cooperation with Vietnam to ensure food security, as stated by Philippine Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel during a visit to Vietnam’s key rice-producing Mekong Delta province. Vietnam, the world’s third-largest rice exporter, has the Philippines as its largest buyer, with 45.4% of its rice exports going there in the first five months of the year. Due to a 1.5% annual population growth, the Philippines’ rice demand outpaces domestic supply, necessitating increased imports. Laurel encouraged Vietnamese rice companies to invest in the Philippines. This visit follows agreements on rice trade and agriculture cooperation made during President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s January visit to Hanoi. To manage inflation, the Philippines recently reduced its rice tariff from 35% to 15%.

Singapore Approves Edible Insects for Food

Singapore has approved 16 species of edible insects for sale and consumption, including locusts, grasshoppers, mealworms, and various beetles, according to a July 8 announcement from the Singapore Food Agency (SFA). Insects must be farmed in regulated premises, not harvested from the wild. This move aligns with global trends, highlighting insects as a sustainable, high-protein food source that can help combat climate change. Insects are already popular in many countries, and local chefs in Singapore are now exploring creative insect-based dishes. The SFA has established a regulatory framework to ensure the safe introduction of insects into the food market.

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