LOY KRATHONG TOMORROW!
Thailand's Festival of Lights, Loy Krathong, arrives..
Monday, 26 November 2012
One of the kingdom's most colorfyul and renown holidays arrives tomorrow with the celebration of Loy Krathong. See this link for a detailed overview and this one for the Wiki reference.
Thailand's Festival of Lights, brings together the Thai public and hundreds of thousands of foreigners in a welcome and ancient festival that mixed friendshiip and human warmth with traditional culture and respect.
Changes underway - really!
A brief apology to all readers of the Korat Post. We are trying to put together a redesigned website linked to a new blog, Facebook, etc., trying to avoid the blogger content restrictions but make reading more interesting and rewarding. It will take about a month. 11/13/2012
. Email us here.
Korat's New Record: Rice Disappears
Stocks of rice being inspected as reports of missing tons circulate.
Saturday, 20 October 2012
From: Bangkok Post and other agencies
Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom yesterday dismissed US farmers' concerns that the rice pledging scheme would drive up rice production and lead to dumping of the crop when the stock is released on the market.Mr Boonsong said the US Rice Federation's fears were unfounded. With limited farmland and irrigation capacity, an increase in Thai rice production would not have a huge impact on the world market, he said.
e was responding to a news report that US farmers had submitted a letter to the US Trade Representative raising concerns about the Thai government's rice pledging programme. The commerce minister said rice would not be dumped because the government sold its stocks to local traders at high prices, the equivalent of US$540-560 (16,600-17,200 baht) per tonne, which was $100 (3,100 baht) higher than prices Vietnam and India sold their stocks at. Thai rice was priced at around $679 (21,000 baht) per tonne on average, an increase of 17.27% compared with last year's price of $579 (17,800 baht).
he minister said an increase in Thai rice prices should boost rather than lower US competitiveness. In the past, Thai rice prices were much lower than those in the US. "The scheme doesn't affect rice exports in other countries. On the contrary, they benefit from pledging programmes," he said. Mr Boonsong said the pledging programme would also ensure global food security in the long run, given the growing consumption of rice. He insisted the programme was not in breach of World Trade Organisation regulations on crop subsidies, saying the US farm programmes were more likely to affect Thai exporters. Meanwhile, a 100-strong police squad yesterday inspected 10 government warehouses where 600,000 tonnes of pledged rice were being stored.
The officers were looking for any irregularities. Led by Buri Ram police chief Pol Maj Gen Rattapong Yimyai, the unit examined stockpiles of the pledged rice from the 2011/12 harvest year in Muang and Prakhon Chai districts. The police team was accompanied by representatives from the Department of Internal Trade and Public Warehouse Organisation. Pol Maj Gen Rattapong said the inspection found no sign of irregularities.
About 14,000 tonnes had been sent to the Department of Internal Trade for release. It was expected the remaining rice would be sent to rice millers taking part in the rice scheme by the end of this year. The government needs to clear the warehouses for the 2012/13 crop year. Pol Maj Gen Rattapong said about 300 farmers has been questioned so far in connection with alleged irregularities in the rice scheme in Nong Ki district. A total of 459 rice farmers were suspected of corruption in the pledging scheme.He said warrants for the arrest of those accused of cheating in the rice scheme were likely to be issued within two weeks. Email us here.
Jack-knifed Trailer Blocks Highway
Pakchong area Friendship Highway blocked by jack-knifed tractor-trailer, 1 Oct. 2012
Photo Korat Post
Wednesday, 3 October 2012
Amiles-long traffic jam occured on 1 October 2012 on Friendship Highway as a tractor-trailer unit jack-knifed across all lanes of the highway portion heading into Bangkok. Cause not immediately known.
More Southern Shootings, M79 Attacks
Thai military preparations for buildup in southern border provinces portending more serious conflict?
Sunday, 30 September 2012
From: Assorted news agencie, including Bangkok Post, Manager Online, Thai PRD
Seventeen people, one of them a policeman, were injured when two M79 grenades were fired into local fair in Narathiwat's Bacho district Saturday. Police said the grenades were fired into the crowded fair selling products native to the area opposite Bacho district police station at about 7.20pm. Four security volunteers and 12 fair-goers sustained shrapnel wounds. [See Thai Islamic surgency report, dated, here.]
Some of them were also trampled by panicked people trying to flee the scene. The injured, who were not identified, were taken to Bacho Hospital. Authorities closed off the fair venue as forensic experts were due to arrive at the scene this morning. Meanwhile, five people died in separtate attacks in the far South yesterday. In Pattani, Sen Sgt Maj Mustorfa Laehae, 44, of Pattani police station, was killed in a drive-by shooting in Ban Sue Dung in Sai Buri district. He was shot in the head and died later in hospital.
n Yala's Muang district, a woman was killed and her husband seriously injured in a drive-by shooting. The victims were identified as Saowaluck Sitthiphan, 29, of Ban Na Tham in Muang district, and her husband Prinya Sitthiphan, 31, a technician at the Yala irrigation office. They were travelling on a motorcycle around 8am in Ban Kampan in tambon Tha Sab when a gunman riding pillion on another motorcycle fired at them with a handgun. Also in Yala, a woman was seriously wounded in a drive-by shooting on the Yala-Batong road at Ban Ka Sode in Bannang Sata district. Duangnate Kamsri, 34, of tambon Tham Thalu in Bannang Sata, was shot in the torso.
W thin Yaha district, Kuem Sukkarn, 72, a resident of tambon Tachi, was shot dead as he rode his motorcycle to a market. In Pattani's Muang district, a traditional medicine trader was shot and killed outside the central mosque. Mama Arwae, 43, was selling medicine at his stall when two men on a motorcycle fired shots at him. Police said Mama worked as a police informant. In Narathiwat, a woman was killed and her husband severely wounded in a gun attack on their pickup truck in Rueso district. Sunthorn Nakthong, 50, was driving his wife Jittima through Ban Tango Patae when gunmen fired at their vehicle.
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MIXED MESSAGES ON FLOODS
Water spillways llike this one in upper northeast Thailand are missing one thing - water. File photo
Wednesday, 26 September 2012
From: Assorted news agencies
Dams in Thailand's upper northeast region are running dry as the region suffers under lack of rain. Meanwhile Bangkok has been warned of imminent flooding problems as rains are forecast from now through the coming weekend.
Hydro and Agro Informatics Institute director Royol Chitradon said heavy rain will continue in central Thailand through the South, particularly on the western coast as typhoon "Jelawat" strengthens the active southwest monsoon, combined with another storm in the Pacific Ocean. Mr Royol said heavy rainfall is expected Wednesday over vast areas, but the amount of rainfall will decrease afterward.
Regarding the heavy rain which triggered flooding in a number of roads of the capital on Tuesday, Mr Royol explained the water drainage into the canals could not be done fast enough but the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has resolved the problem by pumping floodwater into the canals. Mr Royol however noted that, over the long term, the inspection and the maintenance of the drainage system is needed as ditches may be blocked by trash, while land subsidence also obstructs water flow. The water official also advised construction of roads in the future should show concern for the appropriate level of the roads so that they will not obstruct waterways. (MCOT online news) Email us here.
SEPARATISTS KILL AGAIN
Islamic fascist bombing aftermath in Pattani on 21 September 2012. Photo - courtesy The Nation.
Friday, 22 September 2012
From:The Nation original article
Six people were killed and some 50 others injured yesterday when a bomb went off in the heart of Pattani's Sai Buri district. It was another attack in the escalating violence in the predominantly Muslim southern border region. The dead victims comprised three women and three men, including a local defence volunteer. [see separate Google news report here] See report on 1920 Wall Street car bombing.
The bomb attack was clearly planned to inflict maximum harm on officials and local people, as seen in the use of the shooting to lure officials to the site where a bomb was hidden, said Sai Buri district chief Kraisorn Wisitwong. Nineteen of the injured were in serious condition, according to a public health official. Some fifty kilograms of explosive substance was hidden in a stolen pickup truck parked opposite Kamonphan gold shop in the district. The bomb was ignited by a radio signal. The explosion also damaged at least twenty eight rooms of commercial buildings in the area, police said.
Police also stated that insurgents wanted to maintain tension and fear in the restive South to continue the momentum of their struggle against state authority. The bomb is the latest in a series of violent incidents in the region stretching back to early 2004. The unrest has claimed more than 5,000 lives, the majority of them in the three southernmost provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat. Like its predecessors, the current government has failed to contain the violence and has not been able to find an effective solution to restore peace.
Yesterday's bomb, which sparked a fire that destroyed several shops, was meant as a warning to locals not to talk with security forces after nearly 100 suspected militants "surrendered" last week, according to Colonel Pramote Prom-in, an Army spokesman in the South. "The perpetrators are the hardcore elements and do not want a peaceful solution [to the conflict] so they wanted to terrorise residents not to side with government," Pramote said. "But it will not affect the government's efforts." Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha said yesterday that he believed the authorities have taken the right path in tackling the insurgency problem, although he did not think the violent attacks would end soon. "There are many groups in the [insurgency] movement," he said.
In response to an increase in violence over the summer, authorities said they had renewed peace talks with militant leaders. "Don't call it negotiations... but there are talks to achieve peace, which is a crucial government policy," Yutthasak Sasiprapha, deputy prime minister in charge of national security, said in August. But the attacks have continued. Analysts say the lattice of militant groups operating in the lush, forested three southernmost provinces are using increasingly sophisticated tactics to carry out co-ordinated assaults.
Dozens of members of the security forces have been killed in recent weeks in ambushes and roadside bombs, while civilians perceived to have collaborated with authorities are routinely executed. A series of car bombs killed 14 people and injured more than 500 in April in the deadliest attacks to hit the insurgency-torn far South in recent years. Email us here.
Flood Fund Fraud in Isaan
Secretary of the Office to Prevent and Combat State Corruption, Col. Dusit Arayawut.
Friday, 21 September 2012
From: Isaan Click original article
State corruption that interferes with state funds assigned to anti-flooding projects and measures featured recently in the northeast provinces of Udorn and Nong Khai. Abuse of government funds by government officials, always with willingness of local and national political figures and private citizens not worried about the wrongness, is a frequent flyer privilege of those who can't burden themselves with a conscience.
P ol. Col. Dusit Arayawuti, secretary of the Office to Prevent and Combat State Corruption, conducted a field visit on 20 September 2012 in response to complaints about lack of transparency. One project found to be in error was construction of a drainage way designed and budgeted for 2.5 km in length, 25 meters wide and 7 million cubic meters excavation. Inspection on-site revealed that to date the waterway had a length of only 2.3 km and had not reached the Mae Nam Khong River as required, that its width was only 22 meters, and that only one million cubit meters of excavation had been done. Of the 1.6 million Baht in state funds released to the project, only 300,000 Baht worth of work had been done.
In another project, consisting of twelve local laterite roads, each budgeted with 500,000 Baht, only some 10-15% of compacted earth fill had been completed, all the funds had been provided to the contractor. In yet another project for paved roads, the contractor had left a shortfall of non-built feeder roads but had received all funds budgeted for the project.
Flood - Warnings & Waters
Sukhothai municipality under new floods - photo courtesy Thai PRD.
Monday, 17 September 2012
From: PRD original article
Chanthaburi residents were told to brace for flooding from the north as waters quickly snake their way southwards in a repeat of 2011 floodoings Sukhothai also now under flooding that was initially felt to be preventable. Mr. Wichit Chartpaisit, Governor of Chanthaburi province, has made known that the province is closely monitoring weather forecasts from the Meteorological Department following the arrival of monsoons in the central and eastern regions.
The department has issued a warning regarding flash floods and run-off from forests in many areas of Chanthaburi, which are the results of monsoons that had moved from the lower northern and northeastern regions. The weather developments have led to several days of heavy rain throughout Chanthaburi province.
Prediction: The weather bureau has predicted that Chanthaburi will see continuous rain until September 17. The water level in the Chanthaburi River, as measured at the Chantharam Temple bridge, has risen slightly. The province has issued a warning in regard to the rains and water levels in the Chanthaburi River, and has changed the warning flags at the Chantaram Temple bridge and the Trirat bridge to yellow ones, to inform citizens to keep an eye on the river. There is a risk of flood near the river. Residents in the flood-prone areas are asked to keep abreast of official warnings from the authorities.
Opposing Kalasin University
Locals protest act to establish Kalasin University
Sunday, 16 September 2012
From: Manager Online original article (Thai)
Protestors in Kalasin province recently gathered to publicly oppose an act to establish a university there. Protesters underline the fact that a combination of two local universities - the Rajabhat and Rajamankala University - would leave the Rajabhat facility abandoned and result in loss of jobs for merchants taking advantage of the facility there.
On 15 September 2012 on the 4th floor of Kalasin's provincial hall, officials from the Ministry of Education and the provincial governor Mr. Somsak Suwansujit, supporters of a proposal to combine two universities in the province, met with private groups and citizens of Kalasin to discuss issues and opposition involved in a proposal to combine two universities in the province into one. The proposed combination is currently under consideration by Parliament but is facing strong opposition, especially from owners and operators of student residences near the Rajabhat University which would become empty upon the two universities being joined.
A former Kalasin provincial governor told attendees that the combination was part of a proposal made in part because currently the Rajabhat University is located some distance from town and students currently have to travel out to attend classes there. He added that currently the university only receives between 300-800 applications a year. When a group of approximately 100 protesters appeared outside the provincial building and began strong vocal protests, officials finally sent a representative to speak with them. This resulted in assurances by officials that prior to any combination of existing universities and establishment of a new provincial university, that the proposal would be subject of a public hearing.
Flood On, Gang!
Flooding in Thailand during 2011
Thursday, 13 September 2012
From: MCOT original article English)
Thailand's Meteorological Department warned of heavy to very heavy rain in a number of areas including provinces already battling floods, from today through Monday. Department deputy director Somchai Baimuang said varying volumes of heavy rain are forecast in the North, Northeast, the central region, the East and the west coast of the South.
A weather system trough will lie above the Central and the East on Friday and Saturday, and while the southwest monsoon strengthens over the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. Mr Somchai warned the public of severe weather today through Monday, with rain amounting to as much as 90-100 millimetres in flood-hit provinces.
The weather agency reported all information to the Water and Flood Management Commission (WFMC) to lay out flood preventive measures. The public should closely monitor the situation but should not panic, he said. The amount of rainfall this year is [so far] 20 per cent less than last year. Thailand will possibly face two storms from next month onwards, he said. In that case, the department will be able to issue a warning at least ten days in advance. Meanwhile, typhoon Sanba, centred east of the Philippines with maximum sustained wind of about 155 km/hr, is moving toward Okinawa, Japan on the weekend and will have no effect on Thailand. (MCOT online news)
Aerial view of Thai countryside hit anew by 2012 flooding
Tuesday, 11 September 2012
From: MCOT original article English)
Sukhothai, ancient Siamese capital, has again been hit with floodwaters flowing from the north as heavy rains and long-ignored lack of integrated surface drainage plans in the kingdom continue to take their toll . HEADLINES
Local authorities here have adjusted plans to protect core city and business areas of Sukhothai’s provincial seat after an attempted plugging of a gap in the flood prevention embankment failed to slow down floodwaters from the torrential Yom River [tertiary branch of the Chao phraya). A hundred giant bags containing rock and sand were placed in the 10 metre gap but the work was only half complete due to the fast flowing water which obstructed action
Mayor Phichai Thaikla said the authorities will apply a new plan today, to block floodwaters 200 metres from the underground gap at the embankment, to save inner business areas of the provincial seat, which is now under 1-1.5 metres of water. The area along the Yom River is current under water two metres deep, and the new plan may increase the floodwater level to about three metres and affect residents in this area.
Markets remain closed for the third consecutive day and floodwaters extend to cover a section of the bypass road, while an outer area on the west side of the Yom River began seeing floodwaters emerging from sewers. The Yom River in Sukhothai is at about 7.20 metres and is rising as the northern run-off is flowing from Phrae at 900 cubic metres per second while the Yom River downstream of Sukhothai has the capacity to take water at 450 cubic metre per second. (MCOT online news)
Floods Back, Along With Fear
Uttaradit Province flooding. Photos courtesy of Manager Online. Use mouse for rollover image.
Monday, 10 September 2012
From: Manager Online (original article, Thai)
Waters are being reporded in all media once again as they make their way south to inundate farms and residential neighborhoods, drive owners out of their homes and begin interrupting commerce and life in general. The big question in 2012 is how bad will it get and how long will it last. At the moment Uttradit province is feeling the impact.
In Uttaradit province over 200 households were hit by rising aters as homeowners had not prepared for the forecast flooding and instead risked leaving personal belongings in place. News coverage on television showed one owner with a pug-nose dog being lifted up out of the surrounding water because he was too short to keep his head above water. With even Bangkok's governor warning people to begin to prepare for possible flooding a generapublic disquiet is being felt.
Floodwaters are expected to reach the soutchern ends of the province by 18:00 hrs. today, according to provincial officials including the governor, city mayor and flood mitigation staff.
Former Abbot Passes Away
Luang Pho Pherm, former abbot of Watpa Salawan and once accused and absolved of sexual misconduct, passes away at Maharat Hospital, Korat.
Sunday, 9 September 2012
From: Dhammajak.net (original article, Thai)
At the age of , former abbot of Watpa Salawan temple in Nakhonratchasima province passed away peacefully at 05:30 hrs at Maharaj Hospital in the city's central district Luang Pho Pherm .
Luang Pho Pherm became abbot of Watpa Salawan after the passing of Watpa Salawan's highly popular and respected abbot Luang Pho Phut, the latter whose funeral rights were presided over by Her Majesty Queen Sirikit and HRD the Crown Prince Valilangkorn. Subsequent to Pherm's appontment to the temple, various controversies developed, including reports that a witch-hunting campaign was being carried out in the temple to remove monks that had been disciples of the former abbot. Pherm appeared on the cover of Phakawa Magazine's August 2005 cover, photo shown above, in a long article citing his many "tribulations." The tribulations involved a pre-dawn police raid on his residence at the temple where a local woman was found and media reports clashed with state sensitivities and local supporters. As a result of the brauhaha, the founder of this newspaper was blatantly accused of lese majeste on local community radio and investigated by Royal Thai police accordingly, with no evidence being found.
Controversy at Watpa Salawan prompted deeply revered abbot Luangta Mahabua to write a sermon tract titled, "A Practicing Temple Becomes a Toilet in Fundamentals."
In a related development, we have learned that the former editor of the now-defunct Korat Post newspaper has been summoned by the local Korat Civil Court to appear on 27 September 2012 to listen to the judgment of the Thai Supreme Court in a civil defamation lawsuit with the editor as plaintiff. It is noted that both the Court of First Instance and the Appeals Court have found in favor of the plaintiff. Defendant in the case was a major supporter of Luang Pho Pherm at Watpa Salawan and lese majeste accuser of paper's founder.
Sakhon Nakhon Island Grab
Photo of Sakhon Nakhon's Heavenly Mountain currently subject to Dhammakaya claim
Use mouse to see rollover aerial view of island
Lower two photos show structure and monk on the island.
Saturday, 8 September 2012
From: Esanclick (original article, Thai)
Sakhon Nakhon, deep in thaland's northeast (Isaan) region, has its own natural scenic wonders. One of them, an island overlooking a 30,800 acre inland lake (77,000 rai, ranging from 2-10 meters deep) named Nong Harn, Heavenly Hill, is currently subject of controversey with locals protesting against Thailand's famous Dhammakaya Buddhist clergy's reported claim to some eighty percent of the island. Heavenly Hill island is the larges of some thirty islands in the lake. See English language Wiki reference to this lake.
A former president of Sakkhon Nakhon Chamber of Commerce indicates that the island is an important tourism resource and part of the region’s ecological infrastructure, and indeed a restricted area protected from development. The provincial governor declared that several steps were involved in any such process and that it was not as easy as thought. A town square meeting is scheduled for 8 September 2012.
The brouhaha recently developed when news reports went viral on 6 September 2012, over social media but especially Facebook when news was leaked over a title deed being issued to Thailand’s Dhammakaya Clergy for 85 out of the 105 rai of land of the local ecology-protected tourist island of Don Suwan. Local residents state that over the last two years many monks from Dhammakaya had come to live on the island and set up temple-related structures there in spite of the island being public land.
While the mayor of meung district of Sakhon Nakhon filed a letter of objection to the Dhammakaya action to claim land on the island with the local Land Department on 4 September 2012, a fact-finding committee was set up to assess facts and local community needs. A six pm meeting at town square on 8 September 2012 was scheduled where complaints could be aired.
THAI SUICIDE RATE HIGH
Graphic by Korat Post
Thursday, 6 September 2012
From: Esanclick (original article, Thai)
The number of Thais turning to suicide in 2011 reached a higher rate than the previous year, according to Mental Health Department deputy director-general Dr Tawee Tangseri. [This mental health expert also cited in report as claiming Thai women do not often cheat on partners because "they preserve their purity."]
Over 3,500 persons in Thailand commit suicide on average per year. In 2011, the figure reached over 3,800, a ratio of 6.03 per 100,000 persons. Last year's overall death toll from suicide was higher than 2010 when the overall suicide rate was 5.9 per 100,000 persons. According to statistics from 2007-2011, Dr Tawee said 852 teens committed suicide, at an average rate of about 170 per year.
Last year, Thai teenagers aged 15-19 committed suicide, at a rate of 3.43 per 100,000 in the population. Young men are three times more successful at suicide than young women, while young women are three times likely than young men to hurt themselves. Suicide is usually associated with extreme depression. Among young people failed friendships, love affairs, failure of exams, while the aged or persons with terminal diseases sometimes commit suicide because they do not wish to become a burden to their families. Thai teenagers need special attention, Dr Tawee said, for young people are bound to face life problems and they must adjust to what challenges life offers, such as being accepted in a university. Suicide is an important problem facing Thai society, he noted. (MCOT online news)
Korat Red Shirts Protest
Photo courtesy Esanclick/
Monday, 3 September 2012
From: Esanclick (original article, Thai)
Some thirty Red Shirts in Korat protested near the Rachabhruk Hotel in downtown Korat on 2 September 2012 against the Democrat Party which is attempting to expand its political network in the region. The protest was being held at the same time the Democrats were holding a seminar on the second floor of the hotel, protected by some thirty police officers.
The assembled Red Shirts were composed of groups form Pak Chong, Sikiew and Korat, and led by Mr. Pas Inthonpraphongse, AKA "Muu"[pig]. Moo stated to the press that immediately upon learning that the Democrats were holding a seminar at the hotel, he helped organize groups from the three districts to gather in protest against the Democrats who he said were responsible for divisiveness in the country. He also assured that the protesters would hold peaceful assembly and not try to break into the seminar nearby.
Inside the hotel the seminar was attended by more than 100 supporters, including three Democrat Party leaders - Dr. Khunying Kalaya Sophonphanich, Dr. Kanok Wongtrangan, and General Winai Sompongse. The seminar was titled, "Amending constitutional law and law on reconciliation - Who Benefits and Who Loses?." Handed out to attendees was a thailand green paper titled, "Ten Foundations - Blueprint for Thailand."
Ubon Airport Interrupted
Photo courtesy Esanclick/via Thai Rath
Monday, 3 September 2012
From: Esanclick (original article, Thai)
Aircraft runs off runway in Ubon, causing temporary closing of the airport, but the incident did not result in any injuries or deaths.
Thai Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives aircraft CASA 212 was assigned by the Ministry in artificial rainmaking in Lower Northeast Thailand's five provinces - Ubon, Sisaket, Yasothon, Amnat Charoen and Mukdaharn. On 29 August 2012, the aircraft, operating out of Ubon's Air Wing 21, had been operating normally but then developed a problem just after it had completed artificial rainmaking operations for the day.
Passengers aboard Nok Air flight no. DD9315, scheduled to depart to Bangkok on 12:45 hrs., were forced to wait until the runway was cleared. Investigation initially revealed that at 11:09 hrs., CASA 212 in landing the pilot was unable to control the direction of the aircraft's wheels as the runway surface was saturated from rain, causing the surface to be too slippery. A departing aircraft finally left at 14:45 hrs and arrived at don Meung an hour later.
400 Million Baht Haul
Standard group photo for family album?
Saturday, 1 September 2012
From: Manager Onlilne (original article, Thai)
Several trucks loaded with illegally cut rosewood were recently seized by Korat provincial police. According to reports, the haul was valued at around 400 million Baht. Illegal logging continues in Thailand despite so-called law enforcement and official claims that environmental protection is a major plank in the state's national administration platform.
Provincial police from Region 3 in Nakhonratchasima recently gave interviews and a press conference announcing their seizure of truckloads of 1,500 illegally-felled rosewood logs with a market value of 400 million Baht, said to be the largest haul ever by authorities. Two suspects were also apprehended, and confessed that an "investor" had paid them each 3,000 to haul the logs from Buriram province to Ayutthaya.
Chokchai police in Nakhonratchasima say they had received a report that a convoy of illegally-felled rosewood logs would be passing through areas under their jurisdiction, and thus developed a plan for apprehending the crime gang involved. Police stated that when the two truck convoy was seized, each twelve wheel truck contained both new and old roswewood logs, the former water soaked to make them appeared aged but which were in fact new cuttings. Police clarified the alleged 400 million Baht market value of the haul by indicating that that is what they wood would be worth if sold on the international market.
Constitution Has Poison...
Photo courtesy freesource reports
Sunday, 26 August 2012
From: The Nation
The 2007 Constitution is regarded by the ruling coalition leader Pheu Thai as a fruit from a poisonous tree, which is definitely poisonous and needs to be got rid off. However, their opponents see the Pheu Thai stance on the charter as aimed at serving a vested interest. As a result, the proposed amendments have led to severe conflicts in the society. Bhokin, a former Parliament president and House speaker, says the coalition would have to be patient in the manoeuvring for the rewriting of the charter so that the country could exit the "black hole" political situation. EDITORIAL
Bhokin Bhalakula, the chairman of a special panel studying charter amendments, believes the government should go ahead and remove the "poisonous-fruit" Constitution although it may be a painful task. The 2007 Constitution is regarded by the ruling coalition leader Pheu Thai as a fruit from a poisonous tree, which is definitely poisonous and needs to be got rid off. However, their opponents see the Pheu Thai stance on the charter as aimed at serving a vested interest. As a result, the proposed amendments have led to severe conflicts in the society.
Bhokin, a former Parliament president and House speaker, says the coalition would have to be patient in the manoeuvring for the rewriting of the charter so that the country could exit the "black hole" political situation.
"I admire the prime minister a lot. She is patient and not aggressive. She has declined to retaliate against the opponents. I think it's right that we must stop the quarrelling first," Bhokin, a legal expert of the Pheu Thai, said in an interview with The Nation.
Now, Bhokin chairs the coalition panel studying measures on how to amend the Constitution. He is one of the legal experts and brains whose services have been used by former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Bhokin said no timeframe should be set for the study by his panel as it could encounter a lot of problems.
He said his panel would speed up the study and do its best and the decision would depend on the coalition. He insisted that his panel would not make a decision for the coalition partners but would only recommend the best way out and would try to explain to opponents of the move about the need to amend the charter.
"After the government receives the proposals, if it regards the situation as not conducive for the amendments due to prevailing misunderstanding and risk of more problems, the government may wait for the sake of appropriateness. In that case, no one would complain. But if the government goes ahead and the people reject it [in a public referendum], there could be problems," Bhokin said.
"We have gone astray very far from the right path during the past six to seven years. We don't know what are real principles and what is right or wrong. Now, we must start anew without hatred or prejudice. Now, the problems are not related to Thaksin or Sondhi [Limthongkul, a yellow-shirt leader]. But the current problem is that the society has been trapped in a black hole. Anger and emotions are enlarging the black hole every day. We must stop and step back. We must not be emotional when discussing the issue. We will have to cross this black hole.
"I think the government has done the right thing. Although the government was on the right side, it did not stubbornly push for the amendments. It would take more time and the government would be at a disadvantage because there are a lot of coup legacies that could destroy the government. No government in the past had to face so much difficulty in solving the people's problems. It is difficult for the government to solve the problems and it has to be careful at the same time. When people are emotional, we can't retaliate in kind. Although we may feel hurt and feel that we failed to convince the other side, we have to be patient and try harder.
"In my opinion, although the government is hurt, it must tolerate the pain. This is the only solution. After we survive this issue, the black hole will be much shallower. We cannot cross the black hole right away but we will have to make it shallower until it is gone. I can't say how long it will take to reach that goal," Bhokin said. Bhokin said the charter amendment bill, which is pending the third reading, will have to be deliberated in the final reading. He said MPs and senators would have to vote to approve or reject it depending on the current opinions of the majority of society.
The Pheu Thai earlier contemplated amending Article 68 so that no one would seek a Constitution Court ruling to disrupt charter amendments again. Bhokin said one side wanted to amend any article to create a balance of power among the three branches but the other side fears that changing particular articles would lead to misunderstanding that the Pheu Thai would seek the changes to benefit itself.
"If we change some articles at a time, we will be attacked for doing it for ourselves. So we will need a constitution drafting assembly to rewrite the charter," Bhokin said. He insisted that the charter amendments would not be done for Thaksin but the charter needs to be rewritten as it causes injustice. "In particular, Article 309 endorsed constitutionality of the coup-makers' orders in the past, present and future. This means although other laws, including royal commands, may be found unconstitutional, the laws issued by the coup-makers would never be unconstitutional. I don't understand why we should tolerate this," Bhokin said.
"The entire world discusses the issue of a poisonous tree always yielding poisonous fruits because the US Supreme Court used to make a ruling that way. A thing with a wrong beginning will have a wrong ending as well." Asked whether Article 309 needs to be abrogated before an amnesty or reconciliation bill could be enacted, Bhokin said the amnesty bill could be enacted with or without Article 309. But he noted that Article 309 would allow politicians to abuse the coup orders to harass their opponents.
Bhokin said he could not tell how the reconciliation bill or amnesty bill would be enacted as it would depend on the MPs to consult one another on the basis that what has been done was not right and needs to be corrected in line with the rule of law.
Among other things, Bhokin said charter amendments might be made to turn the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Office to a two-court system instead of a one-court system. He said the Thai political court system was modelled after the system in France, which contradicted the human rights principle because it used only one court. "In France, they use the court in traitor cases but we are using the system for all cases. Not only politicians but also their supporters have to go to this one-court system," Bhokin said.
"Actually, this system runs against the Constitution but no one understands this. They think the court should be used to get rid of corruption without thinking that it could be used to persecute others. By the human rights system, there must be two courts as everybody should have the right to appeal against court rulings without deadline." The Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Office was set up under the 2007 charter. It sentenced Thaksin to two years in jail in the case over the purchase of a Ratchadaphisek land plot.
Bhokin says independent organisations should exist in the new charter but the role of judges to appoint members of the independent organisations should be restricted. He said the court's image would be damaged if it involved itself in politics too much. Bhokin said Thaksin had done nothing wrong in the Ratchadaphisek land case. "If you ask anyone who has no prejudice, they will say the case is very weird. Khunying Pojaman bought the land from the Financial Institutions Development Fund and the FIDF is under the control of the central bank. Thaksin allowed his wife to buy the land because a wife needs to get permission from the husband to buy a land as it will be counted as mutual assets. So, there was no point of corruption in this case. It would have been a corruption case only if the land had been sold at a lower price with cooperation from government officials. Had it been that way MR Pridiyathorn Devakula [then BOT governor] would have already been in trouble," Bhokin said. See EDITORIAL
Moei River Floods Mae Sod
Moei River in more sedate moments. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
Tuesday, 14 August 2012
National News Bureau of Thailand ( Original article here)
Water from the Moei River, a north-flowiong tributary of the Salween, broke its banks in Mae Sod district of Tak province, but later receded. Mae Sod Municipality was declared an emergency zone on Friday, following a recent bout of heavy rains. Residents living near the river, which forms the border between Thailand and Myanmar, have been told to evacuate and move their belongings to higher grounds.
The flooding has caused damage to property, household items as well as export products. 300 Japanese cars, which were scheduled to be delivered from Mae Sot to Myanmar’s Myawaddy, have been submerged in floodwater. Head district officer of Mae Sot, Preecha Jaipetch, said the office is currently inspecting damage caused by the flash floods in and around the municipality.
He added that the district office has been allocated a budget of 3 million baht for flood rehabilitation projects and that Mae Sot Municipality is planning to construct more waterways to drain out the flood.
'Grim Reaper' Gunman Kills 2
Southern shooting takes husband, wife
Photo courtesy Thai Rath
Thursday, 9 August 2012
Original article at Thai Rath Newspaper, Thai (here)
On 9 August 2012, Mr. Chaiwat Thongsakul and his wife Ms. Kalayarat Deesakul, both aged 38, were shot to death by a gunman using an AK-47. [Ed. - the Thai language term used for the gunman was มือปืนพระกาฬ - which means a gunman 'death personafied.']. Initially police have indicated they suspect the incident was related to an undisclosed business matter.
Reports on 9 August 2012 in Songkla indicated a violent AK gunfire incident that brought down two. The Mitsubishi Lancer that Mr. Chaiwat and his wife were in had just reached the Asian Highway near Moo 10, Tha Chang district, Songkla, where the two were shot to death. Investigations are ongoing, but police suspect some sort of business matter as behing behind the motive for the shooting.
Thai Envoys Meet Worldwide [Via...?]
Thai Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Thani Thongphakdi
Monday, 6 August 2012
Original article at Thailand Public Relatinos Department (here)
BANGKOK, 3 August 2012 (NNT)
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is holding an annual meeting of Thai ambassadors and consuls-general from across the globe on August 3-8, to discuss the government’s foreign policy and Thailand’s position in the world arena.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Thani Thongphakdi said the meeting is held for the first time since the current administration assumed office last year. The meeting will also be graced by Her Royal Highness Princess Bajrakitiyabha, in her capacity as Ambassador of the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ). Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is scheduled to deliver a keynote speech at the opening ceremony on August 6, outlining key policies to the Thai envoys.
The meeting is aimed at defining Thailand’s roles on the global stage and addressing international and regional challenges affecting the country’s economy and politics. High on the agenda is a discussion on the roles of Thai ambassadors and consuls-general in their capacity as heads of ‘Team Thailand’ and Change leaders to bring about integrated collaboration among Thai offices abroad.
During the 6-day meeting, all the envoys will have an opportunity to exchange opinions with the Thai private sector. Those posted in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam will also hold talks with governors from the 20 northeastern provinces. To coincide with the annual gathering, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Interior will jointly organize a fair of OTOP products destined to be promoted by Thai diplomatic missions all over the world.
He Worked the Hugs Out.....
Ruling party and opposition in an historical pose - in Korat!
Sunday, 23 July 2012
Transedited by the Korat Post
Original article in Thai at Manager Online
Sculpting is an art, but so is politics. Apparently an enterprising sculptor in Korat combined his two talents to produce a familiar embrace - one, though, between current Thai ruling party leader Yingluck Shinawatra and opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva.
Buddhist Lent is a wonderful festival in Thailand, and of late many Thai temples are preparing for the annual city Candle Parade celebrating the event, which is hailed by Koratians as part of Thailand's national pride. While the Ubon Candle Parade is perhaps more touted in some aspects, that in Korat recently raised eyebrows when one entry brought back memories of the Titanic but in a uniquely Thai, and political, manner.
Forty six year-old art teacher Wachara Nadee of Phimai district, at Watbua Loy School, this year for the Buddhist Lent Candle Festival procession entry at his temple sculpted the current prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra being hugged at the waist by former prime minister and currently opposition party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva. Titled "Thai -tanic," the work is said by the artist to represent compromise and peacefulness among Thais. While notable figures have appeared in previous candle festivals in the kingdom, this may be the first instance where a clear political message was literally paraded in front of the public.
Kicked Royal Portrait, Led Away
Distraught woman led away after kicking royal portrait on Friday the 13, 2012, Bangkok
Photo courtesy Siam Rath online.
Saturday, 14 July 2012
Transedited by the Korat Post
Original article in Thai at Siam Rath Weekly Review
Witnesses were shocked when a heavy-set Thai woman, dressed in green, approached a group assembled in front of the constitutional Court on 13 July 2012 and then kicked a portrait of the king. She was immediately led away for examination and was thought to be unbalanced.
On 13 July 2012, in front of the Constitutional Court on Chaengwattana Road in Bangkok an incident occurred when an older woman acting as if mentally unbalanced, heavy set, approximately 155 centimeters in height, wearing a green outfit approached the area being occupied by the group People's Liberation for Democracy that was demonstrating support for the court. The woman then proceeded in an inapppropriate manner by kicking a portrait of the king that one of the group's members had brought along. This caused considerable displeasure by group members.
Members of the large group then surrounded the woman and slapped her face while asking, "Why did you do this?" This then caused a considerable commotion where police officers standing guard in front of the court building had to intervene and separate the individuals concerned. From searching of the woman's purse a citizen's I.D. was found, with the name [nameand identification number, and personal address listed on I.D. withheld by the Korat Post for privacy reasons and rights protection, but published by the Siam Rath in full] Currently police are determining whether or not the woman was unbalanced in order to proceed.