PM Prayuth: Those who use the Hunger Games gesture in public risk jeopardising their futures

Prayut brushes off ‘Hunger Games’ salutes – The Nation, November 21, 2014
…”I’m not concerned by the three-finger protest,” Prayut told reporters Friday.
But the prime minister also suggested those detained for using the salute could face further problems.
“I don’t know whether it is illegal or not but it could jeopardise their futures,” he said…

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Military & police set up checkpoints in Chiang Mai to search for women who shared anti-coup message on LINE

Sharing Photo of Anti-Coup Messages Leads To Arrests – Khaosod, November 21, 2014
…”We warned them that if they do such action again the future, the military may summon them for detention in a military camp to adjust their attitude, in accordance with the military system,” Pol.Col. Piyapan said.
He concluded, “This incident should be a warning to all other individuals who have not yet understood about what they should or should not post on social media…”

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Accusations that private company that runs Angkor Wat is underreporting revenue

Cambodian Parliament Panel Chief Questions Management of Angkor Wat Revenue – RFA, November 19, 2014
…Kem Sokha, deputy president of the opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP), had last year accused Apsara Authority of underreporting revenue.
At the time, he said the firm earned about U.S. $200 million from ticket sales to Angkor Wat in 2012, although little of the revenue went to the national budget.
In March 2012, an anonymous group filed a corruption complaint with the country’s Anti-Corruption Unit, accusing Sokimex of siphoning off most of the ticket revenue and calling the contract between the government and the company “irregular,” according to The Phnom Penh Post.
Bun Narith, Apsara Authority’s general director, dismissed the allegations as baseless, the report said.

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Fugitive Thai drug lord taunts police that he has evidence of the bribery he was forced to pay them

Fugitive Thai drug lord taunts police that he has evidence of the bribery he was forced to pay them – Bangkok Post, November 21, 2014
…Benz, whose real name is Adisak Srisa-ard, 26, posted a challenge on Facebook for police to “stand up and support” the innocence of a deputy he claimed to have bribed.
He claimed he had met a “Deputy Theerawat” and had audio clips of a bribe being exchanged. As well, he had copied all of the banknotes he handed to police.
On his Facebook page, Mr Adisak taunted police by saying he had dignity for admitting he was a drug dealer. But police would not admit to taking bribes and have accused him of lying…

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Thai fishermen giving up fishing to participate in the lucrative human-smuggling trade

Thai fishermen convert boats to cash in on human-smuggling – Reuters, November 20, 2014
…”He is getting very rich,” said Hanif, as he sorted shimmering piles of ribbon fish and mackerel. “He wanted to make as much room as possible to carry more in one trip.”
Abdul Nazir, who earns about 6,000 baht a month repairing old fishing nets, added: “Fishermen around here are buying bigger boats. A few have been converted below deck to transport illegal migrants where fish and ice would normally be stored…”

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Nine Years Ago: Thaksin meets the press – in court
9 ปีที่ผ่านมา : ทักษิณพบนักข่าวในศาล

Nine Years Ago: Thaksin meets the press – in court
…Whenever billionaire tycoon Thaksin, his government, or his family’s and friends’ companies don’t like what the Thai press has to say about them, they tend to sue. Big time…

Nine Years Ago: Thaksin admires the Chinese press

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Eight Years Ago: Thaksin’s Life in Cartoon Form

Eight Years Ago: Thaksin’s Life in Cartoon Form

[This was one of the first post-2006 coup initiatives to maintain Thaksin’s legend and his popularity with his grassroots supporters. Here is a similar initiative in the wake of the 2014 coup: Thaksin the business hero]

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Viral video that was instantly reviled worldwide confirmed funded by TAT

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Scripted drama of farang’s dream vacation in Thailand is lamest type of guerrilla marketing

Viral video that was instantly reviled worldwide confirmed funded by TAT

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‘Mockingjay’ screening cancelled after anti-coup group reserves 160 seats in the theater

‘Hunger Games’ sequel cancelled – The Nation, November 20, 2014
…At Scala Theatre, 160 seats had been booked by a group calling themselves the “Thammasat University Liberals for Democracy”. They reportedly named their campaign “Raise three fingers, Net popcorn and Enter the theatre” and scheduled noon showings at Scala and Lido theatres…

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Asian Development Bank: Chiang Mai most unequal city in Asia

Chiang Mai most unequal city in Asia

Asian Development Bank: Chiang Mai most unequal city in Asia
[Thanks to Tom for pointing this out.]

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Seven Years Ago: The Triumph of Thailand’s Rice Policy

Seven Years Ago: The Triumph of Thailand’s Rice Policy

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Thailand Tallies Billions in Rice Program Losses

Thailand Tallies Billions in Rice Program Losses – VOA, November 19, 2014
…But regional rice producing countries such as India, Vietnam and Myanmar, increased their harvests and sold more exports on the open market, better meeting demand than they had in years past.
That meant the Thai rice went unsold and payments to farmers were delayed. The government began stockpiling the unsold rice, which authorities now estimate at 19 million metric tons…

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Treating Thailand as pariah hurts trade with U.S.

Treating Thailand as pariah hurts trade with U.S. – sacbee.com, November 19, 2014
…In May, when a divisive elected government was toppled in the wake of large-scale unrest in Bangkok, Kerry condemned the military government that replaced it. The U.S. then imposed sanctions in the name of “democracy.” Yet last month, a nationwide survey found that 83 percent of Thais were satisfied with their government. The new government is unpopular with the State Department, but it is very popular with the Thai people.
While the State Department’s stance on Thailand is not often covered in the American media, it is headline news in Bangkok. Inevitably, Thais are contrasting U.S. hostility with China’s charm offensive and the positive approach of the Japanese and other governments. They welcome China’s and Japan’s expanding investment in Thailand. Meanwhile, the U.S. is losing out on this important market.
Not so long ago, American products were Thai favorites, and American companies and investment were at the forefront of Thailand’s economic development. Today, Chinese products and capital are dominant. The U.S. has slipped to third place, behind China and Japan, among Thailand’s bilateral trading partners…

Posted in 2014 Coup | 1 Comment

Australian journalist says he is a ‘prisoner of Thailand’

Australian journalist says he is a ‘prisoner of Thailand’ – Skynews, November 19, 2014
Journalist Alan Morison says he is a ‘prisoner of Thailand’ after Thai courts rejected a appeal to allow him to travel to Australia to visit his ailing 91-year-old father.
Morison, 66, formerly of Melbourne and editor of the Phuketwan website, and Thai reporter Chutima Sidasathian, face up to seven years’ jail on charges brought by the Royal Thai Navy for breaching Thailand’s computer crimes act and criminal defamation…

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Three Years Ago: After just a few months in office, govt pushing hard for Thaksin pardon

Three Years Ago: After just a few months in office, government pushing hard for Thaksin pardon

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Four Years Ago: Thai editorial cartoons: Chawalit Yongjaiyuth and the royal cousin

Four Years Ago: Thai editorial cartoons: Chawalit Yongjaiyuth and the royal cousin

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Double standards

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From an image on social media
Title: On the world stage
Left: Speaking English with a few mistakes. Being criticized a lot.
Right: Website double standard society. Speaking Thai only…

[This compares former PM Yingluck and PM Prayuth on their languages skills as their country’s representatives on the world stage. Yingluck was criticized mercilessly on her English ability and did frequently make some gaffes even when reading from a script. Gen. Prayuth speaks only Thai, but has not been condemned as Yingluck was for his lack of English knowledge.
The mention of “double standards” refers to a longstanding complaint of pro-Thaksin and Red Shirt groups–that the criticism and treatment of their leaders is not also applied to the opposition.]

Posted in Thai Politics | 1 Comment

Claim: Foreigners being killed in Thailand to sell their travel documents

[Attacking Thai tourism, anti-monarchy books, references to Thailand’s “bloody coup”–all of this is part of the pressure that is being gradually applied to the junta as it creates a new constitution to stage-manage eventual elections to prevent a Thaksin return to power.
The same sort of pressure was applied in the run up to the 2011 elections and this time the message will be the same as it was then–the country is in crisis and needs democracy, if not revolution.]

You Might Die Visiting Thailand Which Has Become Terrifyingly Dangerous – fansided.com, November 18, 2014
…John Stapleton has visited Thailand numerous times since the 1970’s and has lived on the island since 2010, though is aware of the increasing violence which has seen over 1,000 British tourists die since 2011. Needless to say it’s a terrifying situation and one that doesn’t look to be improving since Stapleton alleges inside corruption with the local police departments.
Why exactly are so many tourists experiencing such? According to Stapleton, passports (among other items) of travelers can be sold on the black market for thousands of dollars, a significant sum in Thailand for those struggling with poverty.

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Above: Daily Mail alerts its readers to the “bloody coup” that occurred in Thailand in May

Thailand ‘one of the most dangerous tourist destinations on Earth': Expat investigation lifts lid on dark side of the Land of Smiles – Daily Mail, November 15, 2014
…He added: ‘Unfortunately, with millions of tourists besieging the country, the locals’ response to foreigners has gone from curiosity to contempt.
‘Overwhelmed with millions of tourists, many of whom appear to save their worst behaviour for the streets and bars of Thailand, cries of “Mai Chop Farang”, I don’t like foreigners, and “Thailand is for Thais” can be heard from one end of the country to the other…

More: Thailand danger claim ‘exaggerated’ – Telegraph, November 17, 2014
…Stapleton recognizes that “the poor behaviour of countless drunken Westerners” is often to blame for anti-Western feeling that he claims is rife in the country but his self-published book still claims to tell some “unpalatable truths” about the state of Thailand’s tourist industry, “its chaotic development” since the 1960s, and the “high number of deaths of tourists and mishaps befalling foreigners.”
But Ms Cooke also pointed out that accidents, robberies and deaths are not exclusive to Thailand, and affect tourists travelling all over the world. “John Stapleton’s book title is an exaggeration and we are certain that those who come across this book will conclude themselves that Thailand is by no means the ‘most dangerous’ country in the world to visit,” she said…

Earlier: Be afraid of Thailand!

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The big nosed foreigners of Exxon and Chevron

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From Manager, October 28, 2014
Gen. Prayuth: Hey!.. Lucky! They give us bread in return for a 30-year oil drilling concession in our well.
Caption: Nowadays, this tribe still exists.

[Refers to the opening of energy concessions for foreign bidders. The privatization vs nationalization of natural resources is one of the key issues that splits pro- and anti-Thaksin groups. Those who oppose privatization raise the idea of nationalism and that that key resources are being given away to foreign firms as well as Thai intermediaries who are connected with powerful people like Thaksin or the military.
Thaksin has contended that privatization is necessary for modernization and the increased efficiency of utilizing national resources.
Anti-Thaksin yellow groups expected Gen. Prayuth to halt privatization, but were shocked when he insisted privatization should be carried out.
After being criticized, Gen. Prayuth agreed to forward the issue to the National Reform Council (NRC) to consider and find a solution of the matter within two months.]

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Tiger Economy Loses Its Roar as Thailand’s Exports Slump

Tiger Economy Loses Its Roar as Thailand’s Exports Slump – Bloomberg, November 17, 2014
…“It’s possible that exports will lag behind other countries in the region like Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines which used to trail us in the past,” said Santitarn Satirathai, a Singapore-based economist at Credit Suisse Group AG. “We have obsolete technology and other structural problems that we must fix. The question is, can Thailand do enough to keep attracting foreign and domestic investment. It is quite worrisome…”

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Working in IT in Thailand without a work permit

Sarong it’s right: Coining it in Thailand without a visa – The Register, November 26, 2014
[Fascinating to read the comments after the story–lots of people warning how disaster will strike if you step out of line and do something the authorities (whether Thai or UK) do not want you to do.
This must be the golden age of working illegally in Thailand. In the basement of Central Lat Prae and in Esplanade there are always a handful of farangs openly working in shops and handing out flyers to passersby.]
…The Register: You’re working in a – shall we say – mode not entirely supported by Thai immigration law. How’s that possible? And are you afraid of the midnight knock on the door?
David Green: I work illegally, and I’m not comfortable with it. I have to lie to people and tell them I don’t work, just in case it becomes known what I do and it gets back to immigration. I’d prefer to be able to work legally and pay tax, but there is no visa that allows for this…

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Military harassment of Thai PBS condemned

Harassment of Thai PBS condemned – The Nation, November 16, 2014
…Recently, Nattaya hosted the programme in Songkhla, with villagers and activists criticising the coup in response to provocative questions. The officers met with Thai PBS executives, asking for a shift in the focus of the programme and the removal of Nattaya as host. An NCPO source said Nattaya’s questions centred on whether southerners were comfortable under the NCPO and the government. The source said that the junta ordered three of its officers to meet Thai PBS chief Somchai Suwanban and seek his cooperation in the matter.

Posted in Censorship | 1 Comment

Thailand’s refugees: ‘Please tell the world we exist’

Thailand’s refugees: ‘Please tell the world we exist’ – The Star, November, 2014
…In Thailand, that means that once the tourist visa expires 90 days after arrival, there is zero domestic legislation governing their existence. Whatever trauma asylum-seekers arrived with is compounded by a frightening new reality — a precarious future. They have no right to work, no access to schools or hospitals and they face the constant risk of arrest and indefinite detention by underpaid police who sometimes use refugees like a debit card, demanding extortion or jail…

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Thai army complanits lead to sacking of TV host

Thai PBS replaces programme host Nattaya after NCPO’s tough stance – The Nation, November 15, 2015
…Nattaya hosted “People’s Voices that Need to be Heard before the Reform”.
The decision to replace her came after a group of military officers requested that the show be pulled off the air, citing an order from their “bosses” in the NCPO.
Thai PBS also insisted that it was sticking by its policy of maintaining independence, adding that the show would really benefit the reform process and the general public. The statement also said the channel would provide an explanation about the programme to the military officers…

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Thaksin the business hero

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Part four in the animated story of Thaksin–Thaksin as an honest, struggling businessman who made billions selling computers.

Parts 1-3 here.

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Thailand is #41 in world corruption, Cambodian near the bottom at #193

Cambodia: Business bribery is rife: report – phnompenhpost.com, November 13, 2014
…According to the index, titled the TRACE Matrix and released on November 11, Cambodia is the fifth most at risk country for business bribery out of 197 countries. The Kingdom ranked better than only Nigeria, Yemen, Angola and Uzbekistan…
[Thailand is #41.]

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Ousted Thai PM’s rice scheme lost US$15.8 billion, say Finance Ministry

Ousted Thai PM’s rice scheme lost US$15.8 billion, say Finance Ministry – Reuters, November 13, 2014
…The scheme, which paid farmers above-market rates for their crop, helped bring Yingluck to power in a landslide election in 2011 due to support from farmers mostly in the country’s north and northeast…

Posted in 2Bangkok News | 3 Comments

Be afraid of Thailand!

Thailand ‘most dangerous tourist destination’, claims book – Telegraph, November 13, 2014
…British author Andrew MacGregor Marshall, whose book “A Kingdom in Crisis: Thailand’s Struggle for Democracy in the Twenty-First Century”, was banned by the Thai government on Tuesday, agreed that tourists should be wary. “It’s sensible to exercise extreme caution while Thailand remains ruled by an unaccountable and criminal elite,” he told Telegraph Travel…

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Billboard for the Super Tower

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Above: Billboard for the Super Tower
More on the Super Tower

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Shadow of the scapegoat

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From Post Today, October 27, 2014
On the sign: Koh Tao
On the shadow of scapegoat: A murder of foreign tourists
[Refers to the murder of two British tourists at Koh Tao. The scapegoats the police have created are causing a public relations nightmare for the police and the country.]

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