Thailand Video News | 10 million+ sought medical attention for pollution in 2023, Formula One coming to Thailand?

Stay informed with Alex and Jay as they cover Thailand’s top stories. From the Prime Minister’s trade-focused international tour to arrests in Chon Buri after a drugs and firearms raid, we’ve got you covered. Plus, learn about the impact of pollution on public health and efforts to protect Thailand’s beaches. Don’t miss the latest on a daring red panda rescue at Survanabumi Airport.

The Thai PM is on an international tour in an attempt to boost trade and court Formula One

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin of Thailand has a packed international itinerary, aimed at strengthening diplomatic and economic ties, as well as showcasing Thailand’s potential on the global stage. During his trip, he will attend the 2024 ASEAN-Australia Special Summit in Australia, hold important discussions with the Prime Ministers of Cambodia and Malaysia focusing on issues such as travel facilitation, pollution, and economic cooperation, and engage with Australian representatives on education and agriculture. In Germany, he will participate in the International Tourism Berlin (ITB) before heading to France to meet President Macron, attend the MIPIM real estate event, and hold talks aimed at promoting Thai products, seeking Schengen visa exemptions for Thai tourists, and inviting Volkswagen to open a factory in Thailand. A significant highlight of his visit is his plan to meet with representatives from the Formula One (F1) organization to discuss the possibility of Thailand hosting an F1 event, underscoring his ambition to position Thailand as a key player in international sports and automotive industries.

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Almost 15% of the Thai population received medical attention for pollution related issues last year

In 2023, over 10 million Thais sought medical treatment for health issues linked to severe air pollution, exacerbated by farm burning and forest fires, particularly in the northern regions. The start of 2024 saw a continued rise in toxic air-related health problems, with 1.6 million cases reported in just the first nine weeks, highlighting an escalating crisis against Thailand’s population of approximately 72 million. The pollution, mainly attributed to PM2.5 particles, has led to a variety of chronic conditions, including lung cancer, bronchitis, asthma, and heart diseases. Northern cities like Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Lampang have been especially affected, recording “unhealthy” air quality levels. In response, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has pledged to improve air quality through legislative measures and initiatives like cloud seeding. Additionally, efforts to reduce pollution include recommendations for remote work and legal actions by citizens demanding governmental accountability for environmental management, culminating in a court order for the government to create an emergency air quality improvement plan within 90 days.

 

A Thai man was caught sleeping it off after breaking into a police vehicle


Nong Prue Police were surprised to find a Thai man asleep inside a police van parked in front of the station last Friday, March 1. Initially undetected with the van’s engine off and windows shut, the man, believed to be between 40 and 50 years old and heavily intoxicated, was discovered face down and disheveled by officers. Earlier that day, he had been detained for public intoxication and released, only to later sneak back into the van. The situation prompted immediate medical intervention, with the man taken to Bang Lamung Hospital due to concerns of air deprivation. Authorities are now investigating the circumstances of his re-entry into the van and his previous detention.

 

Arrests have been made following a drugs and firearms raid in Chon Buri


During a police raid in the Ban Bueng area of Chon Buri, three Thai men were arrested following an informant’s tip-off. The operation led by the Ban Bueng Police Station uncovered a cache of drugs and firearms at the residence of the primary suspect, 42-year-old Kwan. The search yielded a .380 caliber handgun with ammunition, two air rifles, 1,164 methamphetamine tablets, 0.48 grams of crystal methamphetamine, and a long-barreled air gun. Kwan, along with 45-year-old Prakit and 56-year-old Prateep, admitted to owning the seized drugs and firearms, stating they had acquired the firearm components online for personal use. They now face charges related to drug offences and illegal possession of firearms, with authorities conducting a detailed investigation to trace the origin of the confiscated items.

 

Commercial development is having a negative impact on Thailand’s beaches


Hua Hin’s main beach is facing a severe encroachment crisis, overshadowing recent issues at Phuket’s Yamu Beach. A report on the Prachuap News Facebook page highlights a series of eateries and guesthouses unlawfully extending up to 20 meters into the sea, significantly reducing public beach space. This situation has sparked public outrage, especially as local authorities appear to neglect the issue, contrasting sharply with the proactive measures taken in Phuket. The controversy stems from an incident at Yamu Beach involving a Swiss expat and a Thai doctor, leading to the demolition of an encroaching luxury villa. However, in Hua Hin, despite public calls for action and even attention from Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, local officials have yet to address the encroachments effectively. The inaction is attributed to the buildings’ connections to influential figures, challenging efforts to restore the beach for public use.

 

Red Panda Rescue as an exotic animals smuggling operation was foiled at Survanabumi airport

On March 5, Suvarnabhumi Airport authorities, in a coordinated operation with the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation and the Customs Office, seized 87 wild animals from six Indian tourists headed to Mumbai. Hidden within eight pieces of luggage, the haul included protected species like cotton-top tamarins, reptiles, macaws, lizards, and red pandas, cruelly packed for transportation without the necessary permissions. The luggage was confiscated, and the animals were entrusted to the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation for care and rehabilitation. The tourists are now facing legal charges for exporting protected wildlife, wildlife control violations, and possession of wildlife carcasses without authorization, highlighting the severe legal consequences of wildlife trafficking.

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