Thailand News

Cabinet to mull spending for national reforms

Thai PBS English News -

The cabinet is to consider financial spending estimated at 700 billion baht for national reform covering 11 areas.

The 11 areas to be reformed are politics, economy, social, administration of state affairs, national resources, energy, law, public health, anti-corruption, justice process and mass communication.

All government units legally required to push for reforms must be ready incorporate their reform plans in the budget for 2019 fiscal year.

Starting from May, the government will launch the so-called “digital government” initially with doing away with the need of hard copies of all government officials, including ID card copies and the setup of 40,000 digital service centres.

Beginning in August, governmental units will scrap the use of ID card and house registration copies and by next January citizen feedback application will be applied.

At a meeting today (April 30), the reform steering committee has approved the plan for bureaucratic reform and plan for the improvement of efficiency of government services and a new format of development and innovations pertaining to the way to resolve forest encroachment.

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Military make preparations to brace for May 5 protest by pro-election activists

Thai PBS English News -

The military has prepared a handbook on crowd control to be distributed to officials on the ground to brace for a rally planned to be staged by the pro-election activists on May 5 and May 19-22 to mark the 4th year anniversary of the coup in 2014.

Besides the handbook on crowd control which will conform with international standard practice, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon who is in charge of security affairs also instructed the military to coordinate with the Justice Ministry to ensure that the military’s operation does not go against the principle of human rights.

Mr Rangsiman Rome, core leader of the pro-election activists, said that the rally would be the biggest the group had ever held to commemorate the coup in 2014 and the activists would stay overnight at the protest site.

Rangsiman Rome

Defence Ministry spokesman Lt-Gen Kongcheep Tantravanich said that the military would employ the “Korakot 52” plan to deal with the protest while the Bangkok’s peace-keeping force would be on alert in barracks and would be deployed once the situation warrants their deployment.

He said that the government was not worried with the protest and was confident that the protest would be peaceful and would not spiral out of control like the Black May event in 1992.

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12 men who fired gun at a wedding ceremony surrender to police

Thai PBS English News -

Twelve of 14 men who fired gunshots into a roadside bushes during a wedding ceremony in Khao Chaison district of Phatthalung province on April 23 turned themselves in today (April 30) to the district police to acknowledge the charge of firing guns in public.

The suspects told the police they took turns to fire six guns into the bushes and they recorded video clips of the course of shooting in order to keep them as a memory.  They said they spent about 40 bullets in the shootings.

The six guns were also handed over to the police.

They also said the two others were travelling to upcountry provinces and would surrender in the near future.

Pol Col Trivit Sriprapa, the deputy commander of the provincial police, said although the suspects confessed and apologized for their brazen act, police would still charge them with firing guns in public without good reason.

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FFC: Over 90 percent of water vending machines are unhygienic

Thai PBS English News -

The Foundation for Consumers has urged the City Administration to shut down the operations of many water vending machines in Bangkok, alleging that they were not registered and are unhygienic.

Ms Monrudee Po-in an official of the foundation, said Monday (April 30) that the foundation in cooperation with other consumer protection groups conducted an inspection of 855 water vending machines in 18 districts of Bangkok in 2015 and found out that  91.75 percent of them were located at improper spots such as in places which are full of dust, on sidewalk, close to drainage system or garbage dumps infested with flies or cockroaches.

Another survey was conducted last year and this time it covered altogether 50 districts, she said, adding that it was discovered that the problem was still there unrectified, with 90 percent of the water vending machines not legally registered.

Again, the City Administration was informed by the foundation about the problem with recommendations proposed, but without any response or action from the authorities concerned to rectify the problem.

The foundation has sought a meeting with Bangkok governor to raise the issue so it could be resolved for the safety of consumers.

One of the proposals of the foundation is for all the operators of water vending machines to register with officials at their respective districts and that the machines must be subjected to periodical inspection to make sure that they meet safety standard.

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DPM Prawit hopes Thais will enjoy live broadcast of all World Cup matches

Thai PBS English News -

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said Monday (April 30) that he hoped Thai people would be happy and could enjoy watching live broadcast all the 64 matches of final round of the World Cup in Russia from June 14 to July 15.

In his capacity as chairman of the National Olympic Committee, Gen Prawit said that a contract for the right to broadcast the soccer matches between Thailand and Fifa through Infront Sports and Media, the sole license holder for the broadcast in Asia, had been a success.

He, however, attributed a delay in the contract signing to a condition required by the license holder that the signatory of the contract must be a broadcaster and, in this case, King Power International which was originally assigned to negotiate for the broadcasting right was not a broadcaster.

So, he said he had to seek the help of True Visions Group to represent Thailand in the negotiation and contract signing, which has been successful.  He assured that Thai audience would be able to watch every match free of charge.

The deputy prime minister attributed the achievement to good cooperation of the public and private sectors, among them the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, the Sports Authority of Thailand, BTS Group Holding Pcl, Thai Beverage PCL, CP Group, Gulf Engineering Pcl, KasikornThai Bank, King Power International, PTT Global Chemical, Bangchak Corp and Carabao Tawandaeng.

The soccer matches will be broadcasted through True Move Channel 24, Channel 1 of Channel 7 and Amarin Channel 34.

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Lese majeste convict Somyot freed after 7 years in jail

Thai PBS English News -

Prominent labour rights activist and former editor of Voice of Taksin magazine Somyot Prueksakasemsuk had his first taste of freedom after he was freed from jail this morning (April 30), having served his seven-year imprisonment on lese majeste charge.

Mr Somyot who was former core leader of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), or the red-shirt movement, was embraced by his son and daughter who were at the exit gate of Bangkok Special Prison to welcome him.

After his release from prison, he briefly told the media in front of the prison that he would carry on with his political activity to demand the restoration of democracy.  He added that he would write a book about his hard life and mistreatments behind bars.

Somyot was arrested by immigration officials at Aranyaprathet border checkpoint on April 30, 2011 after he was charged by the Department of Special Investigation with lese majeste over an article in the Voice of Taksin magazine written by Mr Jakrapob Penkair under the pseudonym of Chit Polachan.

During the court trial, Somyot, then the magazine editor admitted to the court that he didn’t read every article to be printed, including the one by Chit Polachan, because the latter was a wellknown figure, a former minister and reliable. He also defended that Chit’s article did not offend the Monarchy as charged, but was critical of the feudal system.

On January 23, 2013, the Criminal Court found Somyot guilty of lese majese and sentenced him to ten years in jail.  But during the trial of the lese majeste case, the fomer UDD core leader was jailed one year for defaming Gen Saprang Kalayanamit, so the combined sentence of the two cases was increased to 11 years.

The Supreme Court upheld Somyos’s lese majeste conviction on February 23 last year, but commuted the 10-year jailterm to six years which he had fully served on April 30, 2017.  But he continued to be locked up behind bars to serve the one-year jailterm on the defamation conviction against Gen Saprang until April 30 which was the last day of his imprisonment.

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City starts improving Pom Mahakarn

Thai PBS English News -

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration on Monday moved in heavy machinery to the Mahakarn Fort to improve its scenery and landscape after last week’s relocation of the last group of dwellers from the 200 years historic fort.

The improvement work was supervised by deputy governor of Bangkok Metropolitan Administration Chakkapan Piewngam yesterday(Apr 29).

According to Mr Chakkapan, the improvement now conducted by the BMA’s Department of Public Works started levelling the ground for the landscape improvement.

The process will take a month before it is open for public use.

He said the area previously used for dwelling will be turned into a temporary public park.

The process is expected to take four to six days, before the land is ready for planting and lightings expected to complete by the end of next month.

The funds used came from residents and independent organizations.

Motorists are still allowed to use the roads around the area during the improvement but for traveling at night they are advised to use alternative routes until lighting finishes.

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Police warn use of “Lyn” dietary food supplements could cause death

Thai PBS English News -

The Royal Thai Police yesterday(Apr 29) warned people of the use of “Lyn” dietary food supplements that they are hazardous to heath and could cause death.

The warning was issued by Royal Thai Police deputy commissioner Pol Gen Wirachai Songmetta after four users of the slimming capsules have died.

He said Lyn dietary products, SS3 and Lyn Block Burn Break Build, were detected to be tainted with substances harmful to health.

They contain sibutramine hydrochloride and Bisacodyl which are hazardous to health.

Bisacodyl is used on a short-term basis to treat constipation. It also is used to empty the bowels before surgery and certain medical procedures.

Sibutramine is an appetite suppressant which has been discontinued in many countries.

Pol Gen Wirachai said the Food and Drug Administration has found that the two substances have side effect on patients with heart and blood vessel diseases.

FDA has discontinued the production of the two substances for use but some manufacturers still producing them secretly to make food supplements.

He said the two substances would be hazardous to health in case people used them over two consecutive weeks.

According to police, the first victim to the Lyn slimming food supplements was a 31-year-old woman who died from heart failure on March 28 this year in Kanchanaburi after taking the capsules for a period of 30 days.

A second victim was a 33-year-old man who died this month after having taken the dietary capsules for a period of 10 days. He died from stroke after developing blood vessel disease.

A third victim was a 48-year-old man who died on April 27 this year after taking the capsules overvalued period of 30 days. Doctor said he died from strong.

The fourth victim died on April 28, he said while saying that the victim also used Lyn dietary pills, he added.

He said FDA officials also found that the Lyn product used FDA certification number for fish sauce in its dietary supplement label.

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Mysterious submarine in Phuket just a US nuclear-powered submarine 

Thai PBS English News -

The surface of a mystery submarine on Sunday(Apr 29) has surprised local visitors and foreign tourists to Phuket with speculation that it was a Chinese submarine that Thailand has bought from China.

The sighting of the submarine was made by a Thai tourist on a fishing boat on the way back to shore in Phuket on Sunday.

He took the video of the submarine and posted on Twitter and Facebook page teambigkren, that went viral on the social media.

Many viewers said it might be a submarine Thailand recently bought from China last year but wondered why it was delivered so fast.

But this was later clarified by other viewers that it was a US Los Angeles class nuclear-powered fast attack submarine that took part in a joint excercuse with Thailand under the “Guardian Sea 2018” in Phuket to strengthen anti-submarine warfare capacity as well as military relations.

The joint exercise was launched last on April 25  and ended April 29.

Rear Admiral Banpoat Netkrachang, Frigate Squadron One Commander of the Royal Thai Fleet, presided over the launch of “Guardian Sea 2018” from the helicopter deck of HTMS Chakri Naruebet, which was docked at Ao Makham in Phuket.

The marine drill, which involved the Royal Thai Navy and the US Navy, aimed to enhance their anti-submarine warfare capabilities, maritime domain awareness and information sharing.

Guardian Sea featured several exercises, some of which were conducted with the use of an expendable mobile anti-submarine warfare training target (EMATT). Besides anti-submarine warfare, the drill also involved anti-surface and anti-air warfare activities.

In addition, there were seminars on various maritime topics and an exchange of personnel to observe the training.

The joint marine exercise ran for five days, coming to an end April 29. 

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Premchai and three others to be indicted in court today

Thai PBS English News -

The Public Prosecution Region 7 will go ahead with the indictment of Italian-Thai Development Corporation president and chief executive Premchai Karnasuta in Thong Phaphum Provincial Court on six charges on Monday(Apr 30).

The indictment of Premchai on six charges, and 5-8 charges against three other accomplices,  was against 11 charges insisted earlier by the Royal Thai Police.

Three other accomplices included Yong Dodkhruea, Nathee Riamsaen and Thanee Thummart.

Spokesman for the Office of the Public Prosecution Region 7 Mr Somjet Amnuaysawat said on Monday that the Office of the Attorney General has reached its final decision to indict them on six charges and drop five other charges which the prosecutor and the police had different views.

 

The Italian-Thai Development president faces six charges – including having firearms in a public place, hunting protected wildlife species and possessing the carcasses of protected animals. The charge of illegally having firearms in a sanctuary has been dropped.

Mr Yong faces indictment on seven counts, the extra charge being possessing firearms in a sanctuary.

Ms Nathee faces five counts, the poaching charge was dropped, and Mr Thani eight, the additional charges being firearms possession and intent to hunt.

The spokesmam said however that the prosecutors have required them to pay compensation amounted to 3.012 million baht instead of 400,000 baht as police have proposed.

He said as for Mr Premchai’s petition for justices for additional interrogation of four park officials and one outsider, the prosecutors reasoned that the outsider was just a person who had no connection in the case but just a critics who voiced his opinions on news media, while four others have already been interrogated by police.

Therefore Mr Premchai’s  petition for justices was just to delay the prosecution process, he said.

The prosecutors would indict them in Thong Phaphum Provincial Court late today, he added.

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Chief monk defrocked for carousing at karaoke parlour

Thai PBS English News -

A chief monk at Tha Utane district of Nakhon Phanom province had been defrocked for visiting a Karaoke club in Mukdaharn province in civilian clothes.

The chief monk was identified as Phra Maha Samai Sithichayo, the chief monk at Tha Utane district.

According to Mukdaharn police, they inspected a karaoke parlour last Friday night on a routine inspection of night entertainment venues, and came across a visitor inside the parlour.

The man resembled a chief monk in Tha Utane district who a police officer in the payrol team was familiar with.

The officer then took his picture and sent it to his police colleagues at Tha Utane to confirm.

They later confirmed the man was actually the chief monk at Tha Utane district identified as Phra Maha Samai Sithichayo.

The chief monk was later escorted to Wat Sribunruang temple and defrocked by senior monk on the same night.

Interviews with local residents by Thai PBS in Tha Utane showed most of them didn’t believe the chief monk visited the Karaoke parlour reasoning he was a social worker and developer who never had such inappropriate behaviour.

But a novice who had close association with the chief monk said on Friday night he was called to accompany the chief monk to Mukdaharn.

The chief monk didn’t tell him what he would be doing there, saying only that his brother would arrive at 8.00pm to pick them up to Mukdaharn.

The chief monk was dropped at a petrol station in Mukdaharn, he said.

He added that it was until in the morning when he heard that the chief monk was caught at a karaoke parlour and was defrocked.

 

 

 

 

 

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Bus crash in Surat Thani leaves 20 injured

Thai PBS English News -

Bangkok- Khanom bus ran off Highway 41 and crashed into roadside tree injuring about 20 passengers on Monday morning.

The bus from Bangkok was on the way to Khanom district of Nakhon Si Thammarat with 36 passengers when it slid off the highway in Chaya district of Surat Thani at 5.00am, and crashed into tree by the roadside and flipped over.

 

About 20 passengers were injured.

Rescue and relief officials were alerted and arrived at the scene shortly afterwards. All were admitted to Chaiya and Thachana hospitals for treatment.

Bus driver Somsak Jaijang, 55, claimed a 10-wheeler cut in his right lane too close in overtaking his bus, forcing him to swerve to the left to avoid hitting it.

The bus then slid off and fell into the ditch before striking a tree and flipping over.

But highway police said they suspected his claim as GPS tracking system of the bus showed he drove over restricted speed limit twice before the incident.

Besides they also found no tyre traces that showed the bus driver had applied the braking system before it went off the road.

He was booked for speeding, police said.

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Over 3,300 houses were damaged and one man died by windstorms last week

Thai PBS English News -

One man died and more than 3,300 houses were damaged by windstorms during the 5-day period from April 23-28.

According to Mr Chayaphol Thitisak, director-general of Public Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department, windstorms struck 32 provinces, 84 districts, 172 tambon and 393 villages, damaging altogether 3,320 houses and affecting 7,715 people.

Provinces battered by windstorms Lamphun, Phayao, Kamphaeng Phet, Lampang, Nakhon Sawan, Phrae, Chiang Mai, Phichit, Phetchabon, Nan, Tak and Chiang Rai in the North; Udon Thani, Nong Khai, Bung Karn, Si Sa Ket, Ubon Ratchathani, Nong Bua Lamphu, Muk Dahan,Loei, Khon Kaen, Buri Ram, Surin, Sakhon Nakhon and Maha Sarakham in the Northeast; Chainat, Lop Buri, Ang Thong, Uthai Thani, Prachuab Kiri Khan and Samut Songkram in the central region and the southern province of Surat Thani.

As a temporary measure to ease the hardship of the affected people, Mr Chayaphol said his department had coordinated with the military and relevant agencies to provide food, roof tiles and materials for house repairs to the storm victims.

In the next step, compensation for damage will be provided in accordance with the regulations of the Finance Ministry. The victims can also seek help by calling hotline 1784 around the clock.

 

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Over 150 boxes of Lyn slimming food supplement product seized, but no charges filed

Thai PBS English News -

Police and consumer protection officials sized more than 150 boxes of Lyn slimming food supplement products at a house in Bang Phli district of Samut Prakan on Sunday evening.

The raid was headed by Pol Gen Veerachai Songmetta, the national deputy police chief, and Mr Rangsan Wongboonnak, a chief official of Samut Prakan’s office of consumer protection, following a tipoff that a house in Tambon Bang Phli Yai is a distribution centre of Lyn weight loss products.

The houseowner who was not identified claimed that he used to be fat, but after he took Lyn food supplement he has lost a lot of weight and people who knew him asked what he had done with his weight problem.

He said that, before Songkran festival, he ordered about 500 boxes of the food supplements and sold them online which was met with warm response. He claimed to have sold 350 boxes during the festival without knowing that the products were tainted with substances harmful to health.

Police did not file any charges against the houseowner until they could get the result of tests of the products.

 

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Judiciary reconfirms to let PM decide on Doi Suthep housing controversy

Thai PBS English News -

The Office of Judiciary has reconfirmed the resolution of the judiciary administration committee to let Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha to decide whether to keep or demolish the controversial housing project of the Region 5 Appeals Court judges and officials at the foot of Doi Suthep mountain in Mae Rim district of Chiang Mai.

Spokesman of the Office of Judiciary, Mr Suriyan Hongwilai, said that the matter was within the authority of the government to decide and the Office of the Judiciary would be ready to accept the decision.

He stressed that the Office of Judiciary has no policy or idea to engage in a conflict with the people, but just would like the people to act within the framework of the law and to have mutual respect with the judiciary.

Members of the civil society in Chiang Mai held a protest against the construction project at Tha Phae gate and the statue of three former Lanna kings on Sunday.

They planned to stage another protest next week awaiting for the answer from prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha as their demand that the housing units should be demolished and to restore the construction area to its former status of being forest.

 

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Emcees of Take Me Out TV programme to be summoned for questioning for promoting Magic Skin products

Thai PBS English News -

A medical doctor and his girlfriend are next to be summoned by the police for interrogation for their role in promoting Magic Skin slimming food supplement products.

The national deputy police chief Pol Gen Veerachai Songmetta

The national deputy police chief, Pol Gen Veerachai Songmetta, said Sunday that said that summonses had already been issued for Dr Piyapong Hovilailuck, better known as Doctor Bond Take Me Out, and Ms Paveena Namsongkram for questioning.

He alleged that the two were with one of the eight arrested suspects, Mr Kasit Worachington, to help promote Magic Skin products through Mr Kasit’s Facebook page.

He said the three were required to report to the police for interrogation on May 11.

Pol Gen Veerachai hinted that the conduct of Dr Piyapong and Ms Paveena in promoting the products could be considered to be giving false statement to mislead the public – an office which is liable to three years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of 30,000 baht.

He described the duo as celebrities who are wellknown among the public from their “Take Me Out” TV programme which has a large following in the social media circle.

 

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Police arrest an official together with 3 others with 400,000 ya ba pills in Hat Yai

Thai PBS English News -

An official of the Water Resources Department is facing abrupt dismissal after she was caught together with three other people with about 400,000 methamphitamine pills in a car.

The official, 33-year Ms Punyanuch Boonchit and three other individuals namely Mr Samai Oonjai, 40, Ms Benjaporn Limsuwan, 28, and 33-year old Mr Monchai Maneenop were in two cars – one Toyota Camry and a Nissan Teana – parked at the car park of Tesco Lotus in Hat Yai when border patrol policemen swooped in on them.

A search of the two cars uncovered 400,000 methamphitamine pills.

Mr Samai later told police during the interrogation there were more illicit drugs hidden at a safe house in Thanyaburi district of Pathum Thani. Then the border policemen coordinated with the First Region provincial police and Thanyaburi police to conduct a search of the house which uncovered an addition of 656,000 methamphitamine pills.

Pol Cpt Somchai Khuadthong, narcotics police chief BPP 42nd subdivision, said that the major drug bust was the result of three-month investigation and surveillance of this drug gang until they got a tipoff that a substantial consignment of drugs would be delivered to the gang at the car park ofTesco Lotus’s Hat Yai branch.

He said that the gang would usually travel in two cars with one acting as a scout car. He added that Ms Punyanuch would travel in the other car and she would be the person who would use her status as an official ask police not to search their cars.

Meanwhile, Water Resources Department chief Mr Worasart Apaipong said he had been notified of Ms Punyanuch’s arrest by the police and would immediately order her dismissal from the service.

 

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Men firing guns at a wedding ceremony face arrest

Thai PBS English News -

The national deputy police chief Pol Gen Chalermkiart Srivorakhan has ordered the Phatthalung provincial police commander to immediately collect evidence in order to seek court’s warrant for the arrest a group of guests who fired more than 40 shots at a wedding ceremony in the province on April 23.

Reasoning that firing guns in public may endanger the other people, Pol Gen Chalermkiart also instructed the Phatthalung police to find out whether the guns used by the wedding guests were registered or not and whether any of the gunmen had ever committed a crime.

Earlier, the provincial police commander, Pol Maj-Gen Thakoon Netpukkana said he would summoned the gunmen to acknowledge the charges against them which include arms possession and carrying guns in public without a license and firing guns in public without reasons.

However, Pol Lt-Gen Chalermkiart has wanted them to be arrested immediately.

The incident took place in Khao Chaison district on April 23.

 

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Durian growers complain of shortage of durian to meet demand from Chinese buyers

Thai PBS English News -

Durian growers in Trat province have complained of not enough of the “king of fruits” to meet the demand of buyers in China and they have to get the fruit from other provinces.

Mr Mongkol Chompant, agriculture chief of Trat province, said Sunday that durian growers had told him that Chinese traders had placed orders for an addition of 50,000 tonnes of durian, but durian output from the province was estimated at only 40,000 tonnes.

He pointed out since the launch of Alibaba’s online supermarket via Tmall.com last week with the first order of 80,000 durians in just one minute after the launch, the wholesale prices of durian direct from the growers have risen steadily to 70-80 baht per kg for grades A and B durians and 55-60 baht per kg for durians which do not meet the requirement which is between 2-6 kgs per fruit and with 32 percent of flour.

Mr Mongkol and Mr Wanchai Charoenjai, the Khao Saming district agricultural official, on Sunday made an inspection of durian wholesalers in Khao Saming district.

It was discovered during the inspection that wholesalers had been cooperative in assuring that the durians they bought directly from the growers are not prematurely cut from the trees to maintain quality control.

With durian selling like hot cake now and good prospect for the future, many fruit orchard owners have mulled about cutting down other fruit trees to plant durian trees to cash in on the booming business. But this will take many years before durian trees are mature enough to produce fruits.

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Udon Thani deputy governor to order probe into alleged “Mafia” gang

Thai PBS English News -

Udon Thani deputy governor Thanapol Chantharanimi has promised to launch an investigation into an alleged “Mafia” gang in Ban Dung district which has allegedly intimidated the district’s deputy chief to the extent that he has asked for a transfer out of the district.

The deputy governor gave the promise as he was in Tambon Ban Muang, Ban Dung district, this morning (Sunday) to attend a religious ritual to pay respect to a late monk, Chao Poo Srisuttho.

Residents of Tambon Ban Muang believe that blessing from Chao Poo Srisuttho will bring rains before the start of the rice planting season.

Mr Thanapol said officials would be sent to the district to investigate the alleged presence of a “Mafia” gang and would try to solve the problem with officials concerned.

The gang has allegedly intimidated Mr Yossakorn Petlum, the deputy district chief of Ban Dung district, that he felt insecure and asked for his transfer.

Troops from the Second Army Region were sent to the district to resolve the conflict between two groups of lottery vendors in Kamchanod. The troops also set up a panel to management public donations at the Wang Nakin Kamchanod monastery.

However, conflict has erupted again after the withdrawal of troops.

 

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