มกราคม 25, 2014

FBI asked to help in serial child-killer case

Filed under: National, The Nation — ป้ายกำกับ:, , , — sootin claimon @ 7:08 am

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The Nation January 17, 2014 1:00 am

File Photo

File Photo

The Crime Suppression Division has contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the US to send specialist officials to help investigate the case of an alleged serial rapist and murderer of at least three children.

The suspect has been identified only as “Nui”.

An informed source reported that Crime Suppression Division commander Pol Maj-General Supisal Pakdeenareunart had sent a letter to the FBI via the US Embassy, asking for specialists in criminal profiling and crime-scene investigation to aid the investigation into this case.

Woman had drugs worth Bt7m: Customs

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The Customs Department yesterday announced the arrest of a 26-year-old Thai woman for smuggling 2,090 grams of crystal meth worth Bt7 million in street value from China’s Shenzhen City into Thailand.

Nanthicha Tipplook, who was arrested at Don Mueang Airport after officials discovered the drugs allegedly concealed in her luggage, reportedly confessed that she was hired by a Nigerian man in exchange for Bt10,000, said department deputy chief Paisal Cheunjit.

Pattani clerk in shootout with insurgents

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The Nation January 17, 2014 1:00 am

Police yesterday inspected and gathered evidence at the Wednesday shooting scene of Sai Buri district clerk Nuradee Abdullahim.

Nuradee is in hospital in a stable condition after the attack on Road Number 42 (Pattani-Sai Buri) in Manang Dalam sub-district. Police gathered 20 spent bullets and inspected the victim’s bullet-ridden pick-up truck. An initial investigation found Nuradee was driving home from work when two men on a motorcycle tailgated him and opened fire. Police say Nuradee fired back with his pistol in an ambush they suspect was conducted by insurgent sympathisers.

In related news, Narathiwat-based teacher Budsakorn Chanprapai yesterday urged authorities to consider transfer requests from teachers threatened by insurgents. She also asked for security for teachers in the South and for remedial measures for many teachers who failed the academic assessment in the region. Her comment was made while Sungai Kolok district office hosted a celebration for National Teachers’ Day including the award-conferring ceremony to 10 outstanding teachers of Narathiwat’s Primary Educational Region 2. Some 350 teachers took an oath to teach students until their last breath, honouring the 187 teachers and educational personnel killed on duty in the three southernmost provinces.

Political strife hits classes in the South

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Methee Mueangkaeo,
Boonleurn Promprathankul
The Nation January 17, 2014 1:00 am

Support for PDRC in region sees schools close as exam period nears

ONGOING POLITICAL tension has forced several southern schools to suspend all or at least some of their classes.

In Trang’s Educational Service Area 1 alone, the complete or partial suspensions have already affected 139 schools.

Of these schools, 70 will remain closed today.

“No parent has come to me to make complaints yet,” Winai Thongrat said yesterday in his capacity as chief of Trang Educational Service Area 1 Office.

However, parents have already expressed concern about class suspensions. Via their Facebookaccounts, they have said the prolonged suspension disrupts their children’s study.

They are also worried that their children’s safety may be compromised because the young people will be alone at home during the class suspension while parents go to work.

The People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) has been ramping up pressure on the caretaker government by asking its supporters to nudge civil servants to stop working as a gesture of civil disobedience.

If the supporters are in the civil service, they are expected to go on strike.

A huge number of southern people have thrown support behind the PDRC, which has occupied several major intersections in Bangkok since January 13.

Many parents who support PDRC’s side have reportedly demanded that schools suspend classes. Many teachers have also stopped going to work in support of the PDRC.

“If class suspensions continue next week, the impact will be getting serious because students are in fact scheduled to have final exams soon,” Winai said.

In another southern province, Ranong, several schools suspended classes from Wednesday until today. Next Monday, they will announce again whether the suspension will continue.

“Political conflict has now affected school students here,” Prarom Nakbamrung said yesterday in his capacity as deputy director of Ranong’s Primary Education Office.

He said school closures affected the students’ number of class hours and their preparations for upcoming exams.

“There are students who have to prepare for entrance exams to further their study too,” he said.

Prarom said parties in the current political conflict should talk and solve the problem.

In Chumphon, two secondary schools have suspended classes in line with the PDRC movement. Each has more than 300 students.

In Surat Thani and Nakhon Si Thammarat, schools suspended their classes only on January 13.

Arsenic found in dead gaurs’ habitat

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Janjira Pongrai
The Nation January 17, 2014 1:00 am
File Photo

File Photo

But levels in soil, water samples not high enough to kill animals, experts say

TEST RESULTS on soil and water samples from Prachuap Khiri Khan’s Kui Buri National Park, where 22 gaurs have died since December, showed higher-than-normal amounts of arsenic, but the levels were too mild to have caused the sudden deaths of the wild cattle, experts said.

Park officials now fear for the safety of a herd of 90 gaurs currently foraging in the north end of the park’s Kunchorn reforestation project, as two of its members are apparently sick. Ahead of today’s official announcement of the initial probe results, Pollution Control Department (PCD) director general Wichien Jungrungruang said yesterday that since December 26 the department had collected six soil samples, 15 silt samples and 10 water samples from around the Kunchorn project area.

It had also collected samples of other plants the cattle graze upon to determine the cause of the gaur deaths. The initial test results showed beyond-standard levels of arsenic in three samples.

A soil sample from a spot near where the first gaur was found showed an arsenic level of 29 milligrams per kilogram – compared with the safe level of 27mg/kg – while a water sample and a silt sample from a grass plot near the 17th gaur carcass also had slightly higher-than-standard arsenic levels, Wichien said. More details would be announced at a press conference today, he added.

However, the presence of arsenic near the carcasses couldn’t be confirmed as the cause of death, because soil naturally contains mild levels of the chemical. As a result, officials might have to collect more samples for clarity. Wichien said such slightly higher-than-standard levels of arsenic couldn’t suddenly kill gaurs – the level would have to be over 1,000mg/kg to be deadly. As some might argue the deaths could result from a prolonged exposure to the chemical, he said officials would have to collect blood samples from live gaurs for further testing.

Theerapat Prayoonsit, deputy director-general of the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department, said the two additional gaur carcasses found on Wednesday were a male over 15 years old and a skeleton with complete skull and horns. The latter animal was suspected to have died of natural causes two months ago.

Theerapat said caretaker Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Yukol Limlaemthong had urged Livestock Development Department chief Tristsadee Chaosuancharoen to speed up test results and to send officials and veterinarians to help the park monitor wild cattle. One carcass was found in the north of the Kunchorn project area, where some 90 gaurs are now foraging for food, so officials would keep an eye on them, as two members were sick.

Order banning officials from taking leave withdrawn after outcry

Filed under: National, The Nation — ป้ายกำกับ:, , , — sootin claimon @ 6:48 am

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Suriyan Panyawai
The Nation January 16, 2014 1:00 am

THE PUBLIC HEALTH Ministry has cancelled the controversial order preventing its officials from taking any leave except for illness between January 13 and 25.

“That order can’t be valid. A deputy permanent secretary signed it for the permanent secretary while the latter was at work that day,” Dr Bancha Khakong of the ministry’s Central Administration Bureau said yesterday.

Signed by deputy permanent secretary Chanvit Tharathep last Friday, the order provoked the ire of several doctors and officials, many of whom confronted Chanvit on Monday because the order was seen as a deterrent for those planning to join the People’s Democratic Reform Committee’s protest against the government.

The PDRC has staged a “Bangkok shutdown” campaign since Monday, with its supporters now occupying major intersections in the capital.

Recently, the Public Health Society (PHS) also released a statement demanding the resignation of the caretaker government.

The move is in agreement with the PDRC’s goal of overthrowing the government.

As a member of PHS, Narong Sahametapat, permanent secretary of the ministry, had endorsed the statement.

Narong yesterday held a videoconference with provincial public-health chiefs to explain that Chanvit |was assigned to medical development only.

Bancha said ministry officials could now ask for leave in line with standard procedures.

During yesterday’s conference, Narong also said public officials had the right to express their opinions.

“But please also do your duty,” he said.

None of the ministry’s units should suspend services, he said.

Provincial units interested in |providing medical support in the |capital can now contact Dr Anurak Amornpetchsathaporn, chief of |the Emergency Medical Bureau, he added.

Medical workers told to avoid insulting words on stage

Filed under: National, The Nation — ป้ายกำกับ:, , , — sootin claimon @ 6:46 am

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Pongphon Sarnsamak
The Nation
January 16, 2014 1:00 am

MEDICAL workers who have joined the anti-government protest are being warned not to use rude words to insult their rivals as it can be construed as a violation of human rights, the National Human Right Commission (NHRC) said yesterday.

NHRC member Dr Niran Pitakwatchara said medical personnel appearing on stage should use polite or neutral words to express their political opinions and provide factual information about the government policies.

“No matter if it is a man or a woman, nobody should be insulted by bad words or rudeness as it is an abuse of human rights,” he said.

The statement came after Asst Prof Dr Prasert Wasinanukorn of Prince of Songkla University’s Faculty of Medicine used impolite words when referring to caretaker Prime Minister YingluckShinawatra on Monday. Prasert, who won the Anusorn Songklanagrind Award as outstanding lecturer in 2012, was speaking at a People’s Democratic Reform Committee rally stage.

Medical Council of Thailand president Dr Somsak Lohlekha also said that though Prasert’s speech was not related to the medical service, he should not be using abusive language against other people as it damages the image of other physicians.

“Of course, doctors have the right to express their political stance like other people, but it is not appropriate for them to use bad language to insult others,” he said.

Dr Sutham Pinchareon, a Faculty of Medicine dean at the Prince of Songkla University, meanwhile, said he did not wish to make a comment on Dr Prasert’s behaviour.

However, Sunee Chaiyarot, a member of Law Reform Commission of Thailand, posted a message on Facebook decrying Dr Prasert’s comments, saying it was verbal violence against women.

“This is a violent insult against women. The protesters must caution each other to not use verbal violence,” she said.

Sakee Pitakkhumphol from |the Prince of Songkla University’s Peace Studies, also said on Face-book that Prasert’s speeches on the PDRC stage had demonised Yingluck. “I am not protecting her, but I cannot accept this behaviour as it violates the dignity of women,” he said.

Caretaker Public Health Minister Pradith Sinthawanarong also said on Facebook that he was very sad to hear that some medical workers had used insults against the premier.

Parents unhappy about schools being closed

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The Education Ministry has received complaints from parents that some schools in the South closed down without explanation.

The closures are believed to be linked to the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), which is currently occupying several major intersections in Bangkok in its challenge to the government.

The PDRC movement has support in the South.

Caretaker Education Minister Chaturon Chaisang yesterday threatened to launch a probe into why the schools had shut down.

Chulalongkorn University remains closed

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The Nation January 16, 2014 1:00 am

Chulalongkorn University will continue its self-closure today and tomorrow, it said in a statement released yesterday.

The closure did not apply to its Property Management unit and other business enterprises, while security guards and those assigned to specific tasks will carry on their duties, the statement said.

The submission of all student theses has been postponed to January 31.

For information on registrations, visit http://www.reg.chula.ac.th.

Several universities and colleges will reopen today and tomorrow, while Kasetsart University remains closed today and tomorrow.

Several state hospitals hoist ‘reform’ flags

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Several state hospitals are now flying banners reading “Reform Before Election”, a stance promoted by anti-government demonstrators.

Dr Prachumporn Booncharoen, president of the Thai Federation of Medical Centre and General Hospital Doctors, said the banners were installed in line with the resolution of the Public Health Society (PHS).

Recently, the PHS issued a statement calling for the immediate resignation of the caretaker government and for political reform before an election is held.

Public Health Ministry permanent secretary Narong Sahametapat also endorsed the statement.

Weapons, arrests not linked to attack on Abhisit home

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Police yesterday arrested four people allegedly for unauthorised possession of explosives and firearms, found while their pickup truck was stopped at a checkpoint.

A police spokesman said later they had nothing to do with a grenade attack on the home of former Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva.

Pol Maj-General Adul Narongsak said unspecified explosives found in the vehicle were of a different kind than those used to target Abhisit’s home.

Charged were three men – Suna Thinkaew, Anusorn Phinijkhun and Khamphrai Saengsawaeng – and one woman, Thanapha Denmart. Apart from explosives, a pistol and bullets were also found in the vehicle.

Meanwhile, four policemen in plainclothes were attacked and robbed on Tuesday night near Chulalongkorn Hospital by guards attached to the anti-government PDRC, a police spokesman said yesterday.

The four officers, attached to the Special Branch Bureau, sustained injuries and lost a number of personal belongings and a service motorcycle, said Pol Maj-General Adul Narongsak. Police are looking into the attack to find possible suspects.

The victims were on duty near the hospital and were forced at gunpoint by the attackers to move to near the PDRC rally stage at Lumpini Park.

They claim to have been beaten up, tasered and had their soles burned with lighters, before being released.

Germany offers work for qualified Thais

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Thammarat Kitchalong
The Nation January 16, 2014 1:00 am

THAI SKILLED workers now have a greater chance of landing jobs in Germany, which has introduced new regulations to address labour shortages there.

The regulations seek to attract skilled workers from foreign countries to fill vacancies on German soil.

“Thais will be able to enter 18 occupations in Germany if their qualifications, including vocational-education background, meet the requirements,” Labour Ministry permanent secretary Jeerasak Sukonthachart said yesterday.

He said these occupations were in fields including macrotronics, electronics, transportation and logistics.

He added that Thais who worked in Germany would receive the same employment conditions as local workers.

Jeerasak advised interested Thais to check if their vocational degrees were recognised in Germany before heading to the country for a job.

“Visit http://www.anerkennung-ideutschland.de/html/de/downloads.php for more information,” he said.

Man accused of raping unconscious woman who later killed herself

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Thirapon Khumsuk
The Nation January 16, 2014 1:00 am

A RESCUE worker has been arrested for allegedly trying to rape an unconscious woman he was entrusted to transport to a hospital, and who reportedly drowned herself after the attack.

Witnesses said yesterday that |the victim was found dead in Samut Prakan’s Bang Phli district shortly after screaming for help and complaining that she had been raped.

The suspect, Tawatchai sae Sim, 32, denied raping the woman, saying he had attempted to do so but let her go after she resisted.

“We’re waiting for autopsy results,” said Pol Colonel Korawat Hanpradit, superintendent of Bang Phli Police Station.

Besides sexual assault, Tawatchai has been charged with stealing the victim’s rings, which he allegedly sold in order to buy methamphetamine.

Tawatchai worked for a rescue foundation, which was alerted on Monday morning about the victim passing out at a Foodland supermarket branch in Bangkok and needing medical treatment.

The branch’s assistant manager called the victim’s boyfriend before deciding to contact the foundation.

The boyfriend, a soldier, said he received the call at about 10am and rushed to Ramkhamhaeng Hospital where his girlfriend was supposed to have been sent.

“But I didn’t find her. So I decided to go to the police,” he said.

Security cameras showed Tawatchai driving a foundation vehicle to the Foodland branch to pick up the unconscious victim, who had been placed in a wheelchair. The store’s staff helped her into the vehicle.

Recordings at the hospital showed the vehicle driving in, then speeding away without stopping.

The victim, 28, worked for a well-known real-estate company. According to Foodland staff, she spent the whole night at the 24-hour supermarket before fainting on Monday morning.

Sittichai Konyanee, 33, said he was driving a motorcycle with his wife along a road next to a canal in Bang Phli on Monday when he saw a pretty woman dash out of the shrubbery.

“She called for help. She said she was raped,” he said.

He stopped and the woman immediately jumped on his motorbike between him and his wife.

“But after a short ride, she asked me to stop,” he said.

When he, his wife and another witness went back to check on her, they found she was already dead with her face submerged under water.

Forest mystery continues with 2 more dead gaurs

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Janjira Pongrai
The Nation
January 16, 2014 1:00 am

Two more gaur skeletons were found yesterday in Prachuap Khiri Khan’s Kui Buri National Park, bringing the mysterious death toll of wild cattle in the park to 22.

Vatana Pornprasert, director of the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department’s Protected Areas Regional Office 3 in Phetchaburi, said officials and villagers found the additional carcasses.

They had been searching the forest to check on the remaining gaur population in the park, following a spate of mysterious deaths of the animals since December 2.

A team of veterinarians would later inspect and collect samples to determine cause of the deaths, he added. Vatana said 80 officials and villagers had worked together on the forest-scanning mission by dividing into 10 teams to check on living gaurs and to look for any more gaur remains in the forest.

A previous report had indicated a herd of 22 gaurs had been frequenting the area for food, he said, but he could not yet confirm if these 22 dead animals were the same herd.

Be careful when you get online: it’s like a cyber war now

Filed under: Politics, The Nation — ป้ายกำกับ:, , , — sootin claimon @ 4:40 am

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Asina Pornwasin
The Nation January 25, 2014 1:00 am

Social media continues to be used as a communication tool to battle opponents in the political ‘war’ currently going on.

The People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) has been using social media a lot to inform, to invite, and to connect with supporters and the public. They are active in posting information, news and updates many times a day. They do this via facebook.com/PDRCThailand and Twitter at @CMDThai.

The PRDC’s Facebook page had 27,040 people talking about it and nearly 19,000 “friends” who liked it as of 3pm yesterday.

Meanwhile, the government, after the caretaker Cabinet imposed an emergency decree covering the capital and its outskirts for 60 days, also set up the Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO), replacing the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order, to oversee the state of emergency.

The centre also took action on social media by changing its twitter account from @capopolice to @cmpolive but it kept its Facebook page as CAPOpolice. It also tweeted to invite people to forward demonstration photos to the same Facebook page and new Twitter account (@cmpolive).

Many more than these two key organisations are using social media as the main communication channel to send messages and keep supporters updated. Different groups on both sides are active on social media doing the same things: promoting their position and attacking the rivals. Some messages are true but many are not true, with fake accounts set up on Twitter and fake pages on Facebook.

So it seems there is now a type of cyber war, embracing online political propaganda campaigns to attacks on opponents. Thailand now has over 22 million people on the Net, most of who check social media every day, and some of who monitor news and developments around the clock. They have their own media channels to instantly relay messages they like, love, and believe to many others. Not all of them are ethical about the information that they create and share over social media. Thus, there is the risk of all of us being misinformed or harmed via social media by others who may do this innocently, or with intent.

Lately, the White Shirt group has promoted their campaign to support an election on February 2. They have also urged the PDRC to stop their rally, saying it could cause conditions leading to violence. They have gathered for campaign activities, at which they light candles – and images of this are shown via social media outlets. They also used social media to keep people informed their key points, their requirements, and their desires. They do this in the same way as the PDRC and businessmen do, when the latter invited people to blow whistles in symbolic opposition to the government.

Meanwhile, a group of IT people, scientists, and engineers have also been using social media to invite other IT buffs, scientists, and engineers to get together tomorrow to show their support for reform in Thailand – before an election.

Other people have seen this crisis as an opportunity. For example, Skaer-Tshirt set up a Facebookpage recently to sell Bangkok Shutdown T-shirts.

So, it’s a chaotic situation on social media in Thailand right now. Remember to be careful when reading and posting on social media. It doesn’t hurt to be sceptical.

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