• Thai pop stars to rock in 2020 at Pattaya Countdown

    The biggest names in Thai pop music will rock in 2020 for over three nights at Pattaya Countdown: Universe of Entertainment.

    Headline acts at the Dec. 29-31 music festival at Bali Hai Pier include Klear, Sweet Mullet, Potato, Modern Dog and Big Ass. Shows run from 5 p.m. to midnight each day.

    Black Head kicks off the festival Dec. 29, followed by Getsunova, Instinci, Urboy TJ, Moderndog and Big Ass.

    On Dec. 30, Ice Saranyu takes the stage first, followed by Bedroom Audio, Mild, The Toys, Jay Jettarin and Potato.On New Year’s Eve, the curtain goes up with Jintara Poonlarb followed by Klear, Christina Aguilar, Sweet Mullet, Girls Universe, Boy Peacemaker, The Sun, and artists from MONO Music including Pete-Pera, Benz-Tung Pang-Nina-Angie-Mille, Gelato, Iceace, Chees, C-Cray, Xanephone and Plutonium.

    The New Year’s Eve show will be broadcast live 11:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on the Mono Channel 29.


  • Prayut’s answer to the ‘SURGING Baht Crisis’

    Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha said the nation has to think about expenditure in dollars to help weaken its currency.

    “We have to think how we will spend in dollars in many ways to help weaken the baht,” Prayuth said in a speech Monday, adding the private sector needs to help with that process.

    ‘A current-account surplus, capital inflows and high foreign reserves are among the causes of baht strength,’ he said.

    The comments in Bangkok could be a reiteration of earlier government entreaties for more imports, which require converting baht to spend in dollars, economists said.

    Calls to the prime minister for more clarity weren’t immediately answered.

    “The premier may be urging people to spend more by converting baht into dollars,” said Kampon Adireksombat, head of economic and financial market research at Siam Commercial Bank Pcl.

    “He wants people to import more and invest more. If we spend more, that will also help reduce our trade surplus.”

    The baht weakened 0.1% to 30.242 per dollar as of 1:32 p.m. in Bangkok.

    The local currency’s 8.8% surge against the dollar in the past year makes it the best performer in emerging markets.

    The central bank loosened rules on capital outflows last month, its latest effort to damp an appreciation that’s hurt exports and tourism.

    Thailand’s National Economic & Social Development Council predicts 2.6% gross domestic product growth in 2019, which would be the slowest pace in five years.


  • Prayut suffers SHOCK DEFEAT in Parliament vote

    Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has called on coalition parties to honour their original “gentleman’s agreement”, after the Thai government suffered a shock defeat in its bid to prevent formation of a panel to scrutinise Section 44.

    The defeat was the result of six Democrat Party MPs refusing to toe the coalition line and voting to support the opposition motion, proposed by Future Forward Party Secretary-General Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, to set up a panel to study the impact of orders issued under Section 44.

    The legislation gave Gen Prayut special executive powers as leader of the post-coup National Council for Peace and Order regime.

    On Wednesday, the opposition edged the ruling coalition camp by four votes – 234-230 – on the motion, with two abstentions and one absence.

    Gen Prayut said that defeat in a parliamentary vote was normal, adding that several MPs from coalition parties were too busy to attend the meeting.

    However, the prime minister insisted the coalition remained solid, adding he had not given any thought to a cabinet reshuffle.

    Cabinet ministers would be given time before an assessment of their work is made, he said.

    “I am still confident about [coalition] stability. I am a former soldier who knows the importance of gentleman’s agreements. When you join a government, you must be serious and work with the government to do the right things, rather than merely engage in political battles,” Gen Prayut said.

    Addressing the coalition’s defeat in the vote, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, who is also chief strategist of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), said it all came down to the spirit of each coalition MP, though he insisted there was no disagreement among coalition parties.

    A source at the Democrat Party said the rebellion by the six Democrat MPs was in retaliation for the PPRP’s refusal to back former Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva to head a House committee to study constitutional amendments.

    The PPRP wants instead to nominate its party-list MP Paiboon Nititawan, who has the backing of Gen Prawit, as committee chairman, the source said.

    The PPRP’s move prompted Mr Abhisit to withdraw from the race for the chairmanship. As a result, a meeting of Democrat MPs on Tuesday decided to omit Mr Abhisit from the list of its nominees for the House committee, the source said.

    The source said some of the Democrat MPs who supported the motion have close ties with Mr Abhisit, such as Thepthai Senpong, an MP for Nakhon Sri Thammarat, Chaiwuti Bannawat, a Tak MP, and party-list MP Panich Vikitsreth.

    Deputy Democrat leader Nipit Intarasombat told the Bangkok Post that Mr Abhisit wanted to stay out of the conflict. If the PPRP did not support his bid to head the committee, it would be pointless to take the post, Mr Nipit said.

    However, Mr Nipit felt that Banyat Bantadtan, a former Democrat leader nominated for the House committee, would make a suitable chairman, given his political experience and ability to compromise.

    Mr Thepthai on Thursday insisted that the six Democrat MPs were not “cobras”, or renegades, adding they had also initiated their own motion for a panel to scrutinise Section 44.

    The House of Representatives was thrown into turmoil after both sides were locked in conflict over voting for a panel to study the effects of orders issued under Section 44.


  • Thailand national parks Say no to plastic

    Tourists visiting all national parks in Thailand will be required to take their garbage with them after visiting.

    The measure is part of the new approach to conserve the environment and to protect wild animals from ingesting garbage.

    The new garbage rule will take effect on January 1st at all of Thailand’s National Parks.

    The latest animal victim to human garbage was a wild deer, found dead in Khun Sathan national park.

    Wildlife officials found plastic bags, underwear, in its stomach after an autopsy.

    Natural Resources and Environment Minister Warawut Silpa-archa said he has also instructed all national parks to warn tourists to bring their own garbage bags.

    Meanwhile, Khun Sathan national park officals, said that the area where the dead deer was found is fertile forest and there were no traces of intruders.

    They also dismissed the suggestion that the deer might have eaten garbage from the park’s landfill. Claiming that the landfill is sealed off to prevent wildlife from entering.

    Par Officials assumed that the deer ate garbage discarded in one of the 32 villages located around the park.

    The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, has also been asked to replace the landfill with an incinerator.


  • Manhunt for British Hell’s Angel after Pattaya meth arrests

    Thai police are hunting a British gang kingpin after three suspected Hells Angels members were arrested in a series of drug raids in Pattaya.

    Tihomer Stojic, 47, was detained in Buriram province on Thursday.

    Officers allegedly found 20 grams of methamphetamine hidden in the glove compartment and back seat of the Australian’s car.

    Simultaneous raids in Pattaya – a resort city near Bangkok dubbed “Sin City” for its high number of sex workers – saw fellow Australians Jamie Hansom, 46, and Steven Hovi, 58, arrested as well.

    Their Thai girlfriends were also taken into custody as well as Nigerian Chimezie Duru, 38.

    Police claim to have uncovered 1.1kg of meth at their respective homes, along with a gun, drug paraphernalia, mobile phone and bank slips showing transactions of more than 1 million baht (£25,000).

    All three suspects are believed to be connected to the Hells Angels motorcycle gang, which is said to have become key players in the drug trafficking trade across Asia.

    Police allege the gang were targeting tourists as meth customers.

    Thai police are now on the hunt for Christoper Depp, a British national believed to be the head of the Pattaya drugs cell.

    The group is believed to also have connections to the Comancheros, an Australian motorcycle gang which has also been implicated in drug trafficking as well as a high-profile murder in Auckland, New Zealand in 2018.

    Two more Australian suspects are also being sought – Errol Stephen Gildea from Hell’s Angels and Amad Malkoun from the Comancheros.

    Police posing with a table full of illegal items
    Thai police with drugs and paraphernalia recovered in the raids (Image: ViralPress)

    Lieutenant General Montri Yimyam hailed the arrests as a significant breakthrough in the police’s battle against meth-dealing, and vowed that any criminals still at large would be brought to justice.

    “There are many suspects all of different nationalities involved,” he told local media. “Our specialist team has made arrests and we will find the others involved.”

    He said those already in custody would be interrogated to reveal information about the larger network.

    Thailand’s notoriously harsh drug laws mean the suspects could face 25 years in prison or even the death penalty if convicted.


  • Thailand will DESTROY your imported cars from NEXT WEEKEND

    Keerati Ratchano, director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, said this week that his department is now readying measures to comply with the Commerce Ministry’s ban on the import of used cars for personal use.

    The directive, which was announced in July, comes into effect on December 10 and aims to reduce air pollution and improve safety on the roads.

    “After December 10, all used vehicles imported for personal use will be confiscated and destroyed immediately,” he said.

    “There will be no auction of confiscated cars like in the past, and the owners will be fined a sum 5 times the imported value.”

    Keerati added it usually takes his department 25 days to approve import applications, so anyone planning to import a used car for personal should scrap the idea as the ban will take effect in 11 days.

    The import of specialized used vehicles such as tractors, cranes and vehicles donated to government, state enterprises, charity organizations e.g. ambulances and fire trucks will be allowed under Ministry of Commerce’s guidelines, he added.

    Meanwhile, the import of used vehicles for uses other than personal, such as diplomatic vehicles, prototype vehicles for research and testing, vehicles to be modified for export, vehicles for museum display, and military vehicles will be under supervision of related agencies and not affected by the ban imposed by the Foreign Trade Department.

    “However, as with vehicles that are imported to be modified and later exported, entrepreneurs must strictly follow the regulations of the Customs Department and Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand,” Keerati added


  • British RAM-RAIDER tracked down and arrested in Thailand

    A fugitive who caused £140,000 of damage by ram-raiding a shop has been brought back to the UK from Thailand after 18 months on the run.

    Dylan Taylor, 43, of Lichfield Avenue in Torquay was found guilty of burglary at Exeter Crown Court in June 2018.

    He absconded and was sentenced to seven and a half years in his absence.

    Police tweeted Taylor had now been brought back from southeast Asia to start his jail term.

    The South Devon Crime and Proactive Policing Team said Taylor would also serve an extra four months for failing to answer his bail.

    Dylan Taylor
    Dylan Taylor’s trial in May 2018 heard he was the only one of four intruders to be caught

    Taylor drove a Mitsubishi Shogun into the Co-op shop at the Trago Mills complex in Newton Abbot in December 2017 and attempted to steal a cash machine.

    The roof collapsed around him, causing him to abandon the vehicle.

    He has three previous convictions for ram-raiding and had only been out of prison for two weeks when he committed further crime.

    Recorder Hannah Willcocks issued a warrant for his arrest after being told he was missing and his phone was traced to Thailand.

    Ram raid
    The roof collapsed around Taylor’s vehicle, which he had bought for £895 cash just hours before the raid


  • Watch out Thailand, here comes Vietnam

    Vietnam is poised to take advantage of the next wave of digital technologies to become Asia’s next high-performing economy and improve the living standards of its residents.

    Dr Lucy Cameron, from Australia, lead author of the report “Vietnam’s Future Digital Economy Towards 2030 and 2045”, says the country should carefully navigate a number of risks while undertaking digital transformation.

    She was presenting her findings in Ho Chi Minh City yesterday.

    “Vietnam has been one of the world’s fastest-growing economies and has already become one of the most dynamic countries in East Asia,” she said.

    “A boom in digital hardware and software exports has occurred, and Vietnam’s young population is rapidly taking up new mobile internet services,” according to the report.

    But the report also noted some challenges.

    “The population is ageing, while climate change and rapid development is straining the environment and food production as the country rapidly urbanises.

    The workforce needs to learn higher-level skills, especially as jobs are becoming automated in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors.”

    Australian Ambassador Craig Chittick said the report was the first major output of the Aus4Innovation partnership between Australia and Vietnam.

    “It will guide our work over the next three years as we deepen the collaborative linkages between our two countries and help strengthen the Vietnamese innovation system as it adapts to the challenges and opportunities of the digital economy,” he said


  • No more plastic bags at some 7 Eleven stores starting Monday

    137 branches of 7 Eleven across Thailand will stop providing plastic bags from Monday as part of a trial before a nationwide ban comes into force in at the start of 2020.

    The Nation reports that the step is being taken in support of a government policy to reducing the use of single-use plastic.

    137 branches out of 10,300 stores in Thailand isn’t many, but it’s a start.

    It’s a big, brave but necessary step to start weaning Thais off their reliance on small, single-use plastic bags that often carry other smaller items already wrapped in plastic at the convenience stores.

    CP All’s senior vice-president of sustainable development, Suwit Kingkaew says the company is cooperating with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment on the “Go Green, No Plastic Bag” campaign.

    CP All has already implemented a policy of providing fewer plastic bags since August and has been donating the money saved from this initiative to hospitals around the country.

    “Starting November 25, CP All will stop giving plastic bags to 7-11 customers at 137 pilot branches scattered nationwide. This pilot program will get us ready to the ‘no plastic bag’ policy to be employed at the start of next year at all branches of 7-11.”

    Suwit adds that plastic bags will however continue to be provided for products such as hot or wet food, fruit and meat, and that reminders of the new policy will be displayed in stores.

    “The branches that will stop giving plastic bags next week will display posters to let customers know that they should bring their own bags when shopping there. If customers don’t have their own bags, 7-11 also sells high-quality fabric bags at a reasonable price.”


  • German tourist killed by boat propeller in Phuket

    A German tourist died on Friday (Nov 22) after suffering injuries from a speedboat propeller while swimming off a beach in Phuket, Thailand’s largest island and major tourist destination.

    Police Lieutenant Colonel Sompong Julruang, deputy superintendent at the Kamala police station, said the victim was 63 years old.

    The man had strayed from the declared swimming area on Kamala beach in the afternoon.

    “The man was swimming outside the designated swimming area by 50 to 60 meters,” Sompong said, adding that the boat driver was on the way back to shore and did not see the man nearby.

    The victim suffered deep cuts on his left arm and left knee. He was taken to Patong Hospital, where he died of his injuries, police said.

    The German tourist arrived in Phuket a day earlier. The German embassy has been notified of the fatal incident, the officer said.

    The boat driver was charged with negligent homicide, a sentence that may carry up to ten years in jail and a fine of 20,000 baht


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