Driver and 14 passengers injured in Chachoengsao van accident


Nine Cambodian and five Thai passengers were injured on Saturday when the van they were travelling in fell into a roadside ditch in Chachoengsao’s Phanom Sarakham district.Police said the accident happened at 4am on the Chachoensao-Kabin Buri road in Tambon Muang Kao.

The bus driver and 14 passengers were slightly injured and sent to Phanom Sarakham Hospital.

The van driver, Theerapong Yodsuebpah, 32, told police that he dozed off behind the wheel, causing the van to stray off the road.

He said he picked up the passengers from Nonthaburi and Bankok’s Don Muang district to take them to Chanthaburi’s Pong Nam Ron district.

The Nation

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Gun brandishing Pole appears in court


A Polish hotel owner who threatened his staff with a gun at his hotel in Patong on Tuesday (Mar 19) has appeared in court.
 

The Pole allegedly threatened his hotel manager with a gun during an argument about documents. (See story here.)

Patong Police Chief Col Anotai Jindamanee told The Phuket News today, “On Wednesday (Mar 20) we interrogated the suspect but he refused to talk about the case and requested a court hearing.”

“On Thursday we took him to court. We oppose bail but it was granted by the court. I don’t know the amount,” Col Anotai explained.

“During our search of the hotel premises, we noticed that the memory card from the CCTV recorder had been removed. However, we have enough witnesses who saw the incident take place.

“Our investigations found that the gun that was used by the suspect has a licence but it is in someone else’s name,” he noted.

“We have also discovered that the hotel does not have a business license.

“I can’t reveal the name of the suspect and certain details of the case yet as we are still gathering evidence. We are working fast to conclude this case and are considering further charges against the suspect,” Col Anotai added.

The Phuket News

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Thai people are less happy than last year, says the UN


People in Thailand aren’t as happy as they were last year, a new report has revealed.

According to the latest edition of the World Happiness Report, which was released earlier this week, Thailand ranked in 52nd place out of 156 countries.

The World Happiness Report, produced by the U.N Sustainable Development Solutions Network, ranks countries by how happy their citizens see themselves as being.

It’s based on a number of different factors such as economic wealth, life expectancy, social support, freedom to make life choices and levels of corruption in both public and private sector.

This years rankings saw Thailand drop six places compared to 2018, and twenty places from its ranking in 32nd place in 2017.

It was also the lowest ranking Thailand has received since it was first featured in the report in 2012, when it ranked in 18th place.

Despite its lowly position this year, the report actually ranked Thailand as the second happiest country in Southeast Asia, behind Singapore which ranked in 32nd place.

The report ranked Thailand as the second most corrupt country in Southeast Asia behind Malaysia, while it also found that Thailand was third when it came to generosity behind Myanmar and Indonesia.

Globally, the report found that Nordic countries are the place to be, with Finland topping the happiness rankings for the second consecutive year, with researchers saying the country has the ideal mix of a balanced life that is not dependent on economic or material wealth.

Denmark, Norway and Iceland took the next spots, with the rest of the top ten made up of The Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, New Zealand, Canada and Austria.

The United States dropped from the 18th to 19th place, while the UK moved up four places to 15th. 

South Sudan was found to be the least happy country, followed by the Central African Republic and Afghanistan.

You can read the report in full here: http://worldhappiness.report/ed/2019/

Thai Visa

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Phuket gun-toting driver apprehended


Phuket police apprehend a local car driver after he threatened another motorist during a road rage incident the day before (Mar 22).

It took Phuket police only one day to track down and apprehend Manop Sangpal, the man who threatened another driver with what looked like a firearm during a road rage incident on Thepkrasattri Rd in Srisoonthorn, Phuket Police Chief Maj Gen Wisan Panmanee announced today.

Mr Manop made the headlines after the the driver who was on the receiving end of the threat recorded the incident with a dashcam and posted it on social media.

The video showed a maroon Ford sedan overtaking the poster’s car near Wat Srisoonthorn before cutting in front of it and moving to the left lane while the driver flashed a gun outside of the window (read here).

“It will not be difficult to track the man down,” Col Thirawat Leamsuwan of Thalang Police said straight after the incident.

Mr Manop was arrested about noon today (Mar 23) in a workers camp in Soi Sukapibal where the man lived with his Myanmar wife and one kid. The man’s maroon Ford sedan was found nearby.

According to the police, Mr Manop’s handgun was just a BB-gun, not a firearm.

It is yet to be confirmed what charges are to be pressed against the man.
The Phuket News

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Tsunami alert declared for southern Thailand


A tsunami alert has been declared for six southern Thai provinces following two earthquakes in the Indian Ocean.

Thailand’s Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation issued the alert on Saturday night for the provinces of Ranong, Phuket, Phang Nga, Krabi, Trang and Satun.

According to the US Geological Survey, two tremors with the 5.0 and 5.2 magnitude occurred near the Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean at 6:29 p.m. and 6:34 p.m local time.

The tremors took place approximately 634 kilometres from Phuket, the alert said. 

Officials have been ordered to closely monitor the situation over the next 24 hours. 

The alert gave the following contact details for the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation:

Email: wds.ndwc@gmail.com


Phone: 0-2399-4114 

Thai Visa / Thai Rath

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Eight migrant workers killed, two missing in Kanchanaburi road accident


Eight Myanmar migrants drowned and two others are missing presumed dead after a van they were travelling in was hit by a 10-wheel truck and both vehicles plunged into a canal in Kanchanaburi’s Tha Muang district on Saturday.

Police said the accident happened at 12.10pm at the Sa Setthi Intersection in Tambon Ban Mai.

About 100 rescuers rushed to the scene to try to save the passengers who were trapped inside the van.

The rescuers retrieved eight bodies, one of them a pregnant woman. Four were rescued and were sent to a nearby hospital.

Officials said two migrants were still missing.

Police said the van was taking the migrants back to Myanmar.

The Nation

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University to launch cannabis medicine in 5 years


Naresuan University (NU) plans to begin introducing high-quality cannabis-derived medicines in about five years.

“Our research has begun,” said Associate Professor Dr Kornkanok Ingkaninan, who teaches pharmaceutical chemistry at NU. 

Kanchana Ngourungsi, the school’s president, said it was granted permission last year to possess cannabis for research, though it is barred from cultivating the plant. 

NU instead receives bricks of marijuana from the Royal Thai Police Narcotics Suppression Bureau. 

“We have combined resources from several different faculties with an eye to developing medicines from cannabis as well as hemp,” Kanchana said, the latter being a variety of marijuana that doesn’t contain the psychoactive element THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). 

The government recently legalised medical marijuana, persuaded that it is beneficial in treating certain kinds of ailments. 

Associate Professor Jarupa Viyoch, dean of NU’s Faculty of Pharmaceutical Science, said a series of research studies had commenced. 

“All of them were approved by the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation,” she said. 

Among other goals, the researchers are looking for a pain-killing extract for sublingual use (below the tongue) and a treatment for abnormal skin conditions and hope to develop a hemp-based gauze that would heal as well as bind wounds.

“We’re currently focusing on how best to analyse and separate cannabinoids as well as how to ensure the extracts have appropriate amounts of THC and CBD [cannabidiol],” Dr Jarupa said. 

She believes the research will lead to prototype pharmaceutical materials “soon”. 

“Then we’ll begin the process of proving the efficiency and safety of the products,” she said. 

In five years, NU will be able to provide doctors and hospitals with high-quality cannabis-based medicines, she predicted.

She believes the research will lead to prototype pharmaceutical materials “soon”. 

“Then we’ll begin the process of proving the efficiency and safety of the products,” she said. 

In five years, NU will be able to provide doctors and hospitals with high-quality cannabis-based medicines, she predicted.

The Nation

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Police discuss harsher driving offence penalties


TRAFFIC police are discussing with other agencies amendments to the penalties for drink-drivers and repeat offenders on Thai roads.

There are calls for harsher punishments in line with the Japanese model that penalises both the drink-driver and any passenger who “abetted the wrongdoing”, said Maj-General Ekkarak Limsangkatt, a member of the committee reviewing of traffic-law enforcement. 

Ekkarak was speaking after a meeting earlier yesterday at Royal Thai Police headquarters in Bangkok. 

Among proposals discussed were the issuance of traffic tickets and harsher sentences for repeat offenders based on evidence gathered by Police Ticket Management (PTM) over the last three years. 

The PTM collates information on traffic offences and provides recommendations that enhance road safety measures. 

Yesterday’s meeting, presided over by Lt-General Roy Inghapairoj, assistant to the National Police Commissioner, was told that 11.7 million traffic tickets had been issued in 2018, a 39 per cent rise on the 8.6 million the year before. 

Among those ticketed was the driver of a cargo truck who received no less than 144 tickets in a single year, for repeatedly speeding and failing to stay in the slow lane reserved for trucks. He was caught by traffic cameras. 

A total of 1,507 drink-driving repeat offenders were arrested in the past four years, the meeting was told.

Ekkarak said the findings showed drivers were insufficiently afraid of the law and the consequences of breaking it. He said a legal amendment to the 1979 Land Traffic Act, which should soon be in effect, would introduce a points system to deter motorists from re-offending. 

He said such a points system would not have worked in the past because all drivers’ licences were paper-based, meaning the police and Department of Land Transport could not cooperate to catch offenders. 

“This new law will require the two agencies to link databases and online information so the driving-licence points system is implemented effectively and practically,” he said.

The meeting also heard a proposal that motorists with multiple tickets be allowed to pay them off in a lump sum for a discount, in order to clear the backlog of unpaid tickets, 

However, Ekkarak said police officers could not take that decision themselves so the proposal would need to be discussed by their superiors and the Cabinet.

The Nation

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Japanese family offer 50,000 baht reward for information about missing father in Chiang Mai


The family of a Japanese octogenarian who went missing on Doi Inthanon nearly a year ago have not given up hope of finding their father. 

Son Shinya Nakamura went on Facebook to offer a reward of 50,000 for information that might locate his father, Kinya Nakamura, 82. 

They became separated while visiting a flower garden on Doi Inthanon, Thailand’s tallest mountain, on April 9th last year. 

A five day search in a 4-6 kilometer radius utilizing drones failed to turn up anything. A poster campaign in Chiang Mai city was also unsuccessful. 

A reported sighting proved to be erroneous. No hospitals have reported treating such a man.

Mr Nakamura can speak his own language, English and a little Thai and is not suffering from dementia. 

The family are appealing for any information from anywhere in Thailand. Numbers to call are 092 270 8092, 085 140 2425 or 090 076 7005.

Sanook

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Big Joke: Now Lt-Gen brings tears of joy to the bereaved as he smashes funeral scam


Top Cop Lt-Gen Surachate Hakparn was pictured receiving the heartfelt thanks from villagers in Thailand’s north-east after he helped to smash a fraudulent funeral cooperative. 

Thousand of complaints were received over the years from people in Buriram and Khon Kaen in particular after the cooperative took their money to pay for future funerals but gave them nothing when their loved ones died. 

Nine people – all committee members aged between 36 and 73 – have been arrested on charges of fraud. 

The cooperative was operated out of Satuek district in Buriram but reached further afield. 

In the last twenty years 3,300 people have complained but there has been little or no progress. 

All that changed when Surachate, in his capacity as deputy of the fraud division of the national police and his team, swung into action. 

Daily News reported that people should have received up to 150,000 baht in funeral expenses after paying yearly installments but they got nothing. 

The cooperative is thought to have swindled 320 million baht of poor people’s money. 

Thai Visa / Daily News

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