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26th June

  Stop doing good deeds with money earned from vice...

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Thai government does good deeds with tax money earned from vice
Link Here
stop vice advert The Thai Government has been publishing adverts asking for people to report things that have annoyed the USA.

A strangely worded poster headlines with:

Stop doing good deeds with money earned from vice.

End forced labour, begging and prostitution.

It is not clear whether the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security is targeting general voluntary prostitution or just forced prostitution.

 

27th May

 Update: Cinderella Thailand...

Melon farming Fresh
A website
update service

See further details
Melon Farming Fresh

 

Thailand reduces the curfew hours
Link Here

tank in Bangkok Thailand's military rulers have announced that the curfew hours will be reduced to midnight until 4am.

These new restrictions will take effect from 28th May 2014.

 

23rd May

 Updated: Coup in Thailand...

Thailand wakes to military rule: What it means
Link Here

tank in Bangkok It was 3 a.m. in Thailand. Presumably barely anyone was watching.

But the country's military chief chose that hour to appear on army-run Channel 5 television Tuesday to declare martial law across the country.

This is not a coup, said Gen. Prayuth Chan-Ocha, hours before the nation's people woke to the new public order; with soldiers stationed at intersections and tanks on the streets.

The army says it has taken control to ensure law and order in a country split by deep political divisions, two weeks after the country's Constitutional Court removed caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra from government.

Update: This is a Coup

22nd May 2014. From ThaiVisa.com

Thailand's army chief announced in a televised address to the nation on Thursday that the armed forces were seizing power. Army chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha said:

In order for the country to return to normal quickly, the National Peace Keeping Committee comprised of the army, the Thai armed forces, the Royal Air Force and the police need to seize power as of May 22 at 4.30 pm,

The move came after military-hosted talks between the kingdom's political rivals apparently failed to reach a compromise on ending nearly seven months of mass protests on the streets of Bangkok. Rival protest leaders at the talks -- held at a heavily guarded military facility in the capital -- were seen being taken away by the army although it was unclear whether they had been formally detained.

The army has announced a curfew across Thailand whereby everybody must stay in their homes from 10pm until 5am.

It is also seems that all land borders are closed to all foreigners.

Update: Afternoon opening

23rd May 2014.

Well most GoGos seem to be trying for afternoon opening but the word is that already late night opening will be tolerated with lights being turned out.

Of course this does not quite answer the important question of what trouble farangs will get in if they spotted by police going home at 1am.

People are being allowed to travel to and from airports in the curfew hours if they show their tickets to prove the reason. Taxi drivers can get permits for the same purpose.

 

20th May

 Extract: Coup in Thailand...

Thailand wakes to military rule: What it means
Link Here

tank in Bangkok It was 3 a.m. in Thailand. Presumably barely anyone was watching.

But the country's military chief chose that hour to appear on army-run Channel 5 television Tuesday to declare martial law across the country.

This is not a coup, said Gen. Prayuth Chan-Ocha, hours before the nation's people woke to the new public order; with soldiers stationed at intersections and tanks on the streets.

The army says it has taken control to ensure law and order in a country split by deep political divisions, two weeks after the country's Constitutional Court removed caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra from government.

 

20th May

  Turmoil In Thailand...

Coverage of Thai political protests (before the latest coup) found to be too violent for the BBC News at One
Link Here

bbc news logo BBC News at One
BBC 1, 18 February 2014, 13:00

On 18 February 2014, the BBC News at One reported on the clashes between police and anti-government protesters in Bangkok, Thailand, as police tried to re-take government ministries that had been occupied by anti-government protesters.

Ofcom received 15 complaints about this news report broadcast. The complainants alerted Ofcom to the inclusion in the report of scenes showing graphic and disturbing images, which the complainants did not consider to be appropriate for the time of transmission.  We noted that it was the school half-term holidays.

The item was introduced by BBC News at One presenter Sophie Raworth who presented a pre-recorded news report on this story by BBC's South East Asia correspondent, Jonathan Head. The presenter introduced the report by saying:

At least three people have been killed and dozens of others wounded in clashes between police and anti-government protesters in Thailand's capital, Bangkok. Violence erupted when riot police.. This was accompanied by a studio background of a screen showing the text Thailand in Turmoil , set against an image of Thailand's flag.

The item included clips showing how the confrontation escalated from peaceful protests to violence between the two opposing sides and included an image of an injured policeman, with blood on his face, being carried into an ambulance on a stretcher. The footage was accompanied by the reporter explaining the growing tensions between the riot police and protesters, and giving details of the injuries sustained by both groups. Our concern focused on a particular sequence of footage broadcast at about 13:22. The first shot featured a group of riot police officers, formed in a line, crouched down behind their protective shields, in the middle of the street. An additional police officer was shown running to join the front of the group. This was accompanied by the reporter stating: Then this. A grenade arched into the police line, landing at their feet . As the police officer crouched down beside his fellow officers, behind his protective shield, a grenade could be seen landing immediately in front of the policemen's shields.

The reporter said: One officer realised the danger . The next shot showed one police officer stand up, break away from the line of shields and aim a kick at the grenade. At the point the police officer's boot was about to make contact with the grenade, it exploded. The footage then showed what appeared to be a boot, falling from a cloud of smoke caused by the explosion. A very brief shot of the boot hitting the ground followed, accompanied by the reporter's voiceover stating: but too late . The reporter stated: Four were injured. One lost his leg . He said these words as the cloud of smoke, caused by the explosion, dispersed to reveal a police officer lying on the ground and rolling over and a shot of another police officer lying still on the ground. Although the shots of the police officers were brief and rather unclear it was evident that the police officer had injured his leg.

Ofcom considered Rule 1.3 which states:

Children must be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them .

Ofcom Decision

Ofcom noted that the news report included footage of a police officer's attempt to kick a grenade away from a group of fellow police officers. Although the shot was brief the impact of the explosion could be seen and heard at the point the police officer was about to make contact with the grenade. The footage showed a boot falling from a cloud of smoke caused by the explosion and a police officer lying on the ground after the explosion. We noted that the reporter provided details of the results of the violence, for example: One [policeman] lost his leg . The commentary of the reporter compounded the already distressing image of the explosion, by reinforcing the dangerous and violent nature of the protests.

We therefore considered that the news report contained distressing material unsuitable for children.

We noted that the BBC said in its representations that the manner in which the report was introduced provided information to viewers to expect sequences showing violence and the effects of violence . In Ofcom's view the information provided was too general and indirect, and did not provide a clear warning in advance about the distressing nature of the violent images relating to the grenade incident included in the report. Also the news report was broadcast on a Tuesday at 13:20 during the school half-term holidays, when it was more likely that children were available to view.

For these reasons this content exceeded audience expectations, and therefore on balance was not appropriately scheduled and Rule 1.3 was breached.

However, we noted that the BBC acknowledged that this report contained unsuitable material which should have been (but which was not) recognised before transmission. Further, the BBC took immediate steps to alert teams preparing news programmes across the BBC's channels to the content so it would not be used again without appropriate context.

In these circumstances, we considered this matter resolved.

 

15th May

  Under Their Thumb...

Thai Immigration to introduce fingerprinting at border crossings
Link Here
fingerprints Thai Immigration aims to begin scanning fingerprints of all foreigners arriving in the country from the end of the year. Immigration Commissioner Pharnu Kerdlarpphon confirmed to the Phuket Gazette:

The budget has yet to be approved, but we hope to introduce fingerprint-scanning machines by the end of 2014.

The scanners will be introduced at every immigration entry point in the country. Fingerprint scanners were chosen over biometric passport scanners as they are better able to identify criminals who have officially changed their names and have passports under their new identities, Pharnu said.

Pharnu recognized that scanning fingerprints would not flag any inbound foreigners unless they had a criminal record in Thailand or were wanted by Interpol:

But at least we will have a better system for collecting information on which foreigners enter Thailand, how often they enter and when, he said.

Immigration queues will get longer, but this needs to be done. They already do it in other countries, such as Japan.

 

14th May

  Don't Remove that Cone!...

It could be guarded by aggressive political activists
Link Here
  traffic cone The message Don't remove the cone has been spread both seriously and in jest in social media after another case of a person being assaulted for doing so on a road blocked by anti-government protesters.

The mother of student pilot Surasuk Sowattanang-koon filed a complaint with police after her son was attacked by a group of people believed to be guards for the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) after he removed cones used to block the tollway outside ThaiPBS.

The men used gun handles to break the windows of his car and hit him until he lost consciousness, he told police investigators while being treated at hospital. A video of the incident has been shared on the Internet.

Last month, Colonel Wittawat Wattanakul of the Directorate of Joint Intelligence was sent to hospital after being shot at near the anti-government group's Chaeng Wattana rally site when he got out of his car to remove a barrier blocking his way.

Sumeth Somkanae, a safety trainer of the Thai Journalists' Association, has joined other social-media users in posting advice about safety precautions at rally sites. It includes:

l Study the routes and plan travel in advance.

l Drive slowly when passing a protest site. Do not take a turn or U-turn too quickly as there might be a misunderstanding.

l If the road is blocked, do not remove the barriers without permission as it might cause a misunderstanding.

l Be patient, keep calm and talk in a friendly manner.

 

14th May

 Offsite Article: Everything is broken...

Link Here
economist logo Long in crisis, Thailand is close to the brink. Without compromises on both sides, it may well collapse

See article from economist.com

 

11th May

  Devastation...

Thailand bans visa runs for those without a visa
Link Here
thai entry stamp From 10th May 2014, foreign nationals residing in Thailand will no longer be able to exit and then re-enter the kingdom via a land border crossing in order to gain another 30 or 15 day stay in Thailand.

Thaivisa has been in contact with the Immigration Bureau who confirm the new regulation starts from today Saturday May 10, 2014.

This latest news follows reports from earlier in the week of an Immigration crackdown at the land border checkpoint in Ranong.

Non-Immigrant Visa or Tourist visa holders with remaining entries on their visa can exit and enter Thailand as before.

However, these new measures are targeting foreign visitors without a visa who are regularly entering and exiting the kingdom every 15 or 30 days as a way of extending their stay in Thailand.

From today visitors can only enter into Thailand via a land border once, after that they will be refused entry to the Kingdom and are advised to fly out and return with a visa obtained from a Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate in a neighbouring country or overseas.

The Immigration Bureau has also confirmed to Thaivisa.com that further restrictions are to be enforced from August 12, 2014. These rules will apply similar restrictions to arrivals at airports.

 

9th May

  New Money...

A new 500 Baht note is revealed
Link Here
500 note 2014 The Central Bank of Thailand has unveiled its latest edition of 500-baht banknote, which will be in circulation beginning on May 12.

The new notes will have the exact same size as the current ones, but the new ones will have enhanced security features to facilitate authentication by banknote sorting machine and members of the public, including the visually impaired.

It is anticipated that all of the old 500-baht notes, which have been used for more than 12 years, will be replaced by the new notes within two years.

 

7th May

  Transferred...

Yingluck sacked by Thailand's Constitutional Court
Link Here
Yingluck A Thai court has ruled that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra must step down. The Constitutional Court decided that Ms Yingluck acted illegally when she transferred her national security chief.


Update: More where that came from

8th May 2014. See  article from  theguardian.com

The commerce minister, Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan, was named by the Thai cabinet as Yingluck's replacement until a planned general election on 20 July.

While Wednesday's ruling could be seen as a victory for the PDRC, it is unlikely to assuage protesters, who may now turn on the new caretaker prime minister, said Thitinan Pongsudhirak of Thailand's Institute of Security and International Studies. He told the Guardian:

They lost Yingluck but they haven't lost her government, so I think we are set up for more drama. He [Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan] is really a Thaksin lackey and Yingluck confidante, and now that he is acting PM, I suspect very quickly that will become the new lightning rod -- [as] he comes from the family business.

 

6th May

  Running Out of Time...

Reports of visa runs being restricted to 3 15/30 day entry stamps
Link Here
thai entry stamp A crackdown on visa runners means Phuket expats trying to renew their documentation at the border port of Ranong are being turned back after three renewals.

Visa run companies confirmed today that the new, harsher interpretation of the rules means anyone attempting a fourth visa renewal via Ranong and the Burmese border port of Victoria Point will be turned away.

The crackdown is aimed at ending the practice of people who come to Phuket and other parts of Thailand on tourist visas and stay on by continuing to renew their visas indefinitely.

Russians and Filippinos have been alarmed that they were being singled out by Immigration authorities. But visa run company spokespeople say that the crackdown applies to all nationalities.

The new interpretation was put into effect late last month, the visa run company owner said.

Thai police hope many people turned away will be forced to leave the country and will decide not to return.

 

30th April

  Fashion Nazis do a War Dance...

Easy offence taken at Thai fashion magazine cover
Link Here
lofficiel thailand may 2014 Fashion Nazis have got all easily offended over a Thai fashion magazine that has dared to have cover picture with trivial racial references. thefashionspot.com is 'outraged':

Are the people behind L'Officiel Thailand actually ignorant about the scandal the Native American headdress at the Chanel Paris-Dallas show spawned? We can't imagine what prompted them to recreate the look for the May 2014 cover, starring Thai model/actress/singer Araya A. Hargate , who's also a L'Oreal spokesmodel. Paris Dallas Now in Bangkok reads the tag on the cover. The featured outfit is stated to be from said Chanel collection.

At this point, the excuse that you didn't know any better just doesn't cut it anymore, and this seems like a very insensitive move by whoever approved this cover.

 

22nd April

 Update: A technology best reserved for more serious crimes...

Government is not keen on plans to criminalise buying sex, seemingly because it would alert people to the mass surveillance of mobile phones
Link Here  full story: Sex Work in Northern Ireland...Bill to ban paying for sex
Ministry of Justice logo Legislation to criminalise men for buying sex in Northern Ireland would be unworkable because the devolved government at Stormont has no powers to authorise telephone bugging operations.

The region's justice minister, David Ford, has told the Guardian he is far from convinced over the plans because mobile intercepts, crucial in prosecutions in countries which have introduced the laws, are [supposedly] rarely used, even in cases against republican and loyalist terror groups.

Police would have to intercept all calls from clients to sex workers in the province, Ford warned. He claimed only a UK cabinet minister such as the Northern Ireland secretary had the power to sign off spying operations.

In response to Democratic Unionist assembly member Lord Morrow's attempt to introduce such a law via new human anti-trafficking legislation, Ford has established a commission to explore the extent of prostitution in Northern Ireland and the efficacy of the Swedish model. Ford told the Guardian:

I think there is far too little evidence to legislate in a hurry -- the research will tell us what the position is. But I am far from convinced that what is currently being suggested such as the Swedish model would work here.

One specific issue which has been raised with me is the fact that the Swedish model largely depends upon telephone intercept evidence. Telephone intercepts can be obtained by an officer more or less the equivalent of a police superintendent in Sweden. In Northern Ireland such telephone intercepts would have to be signed by the secretary of state and I think that is a very different situation.

Certainly in terms of the proportionality of such a process these intercepts are applied against serious cases such as terrorism not issued such as those relating to prostitution, and indeed even in the case of terrorist cases not very often.

And to be honest -- not that I would know! Because the National Security Agency cannot operate yet in Northern Ireland because of objections from nationalist politicians to it working here.

As I said before my understanding is that the only person here who could sign off and authorise the use of telephone intercepts to catch men in the act so to speak would be Theresa Villiers, the current secretary of state, or any future one.

The justice minister said he was concerned that any legislation directed at people who buy sex could make matters worse for those involved in prostitution.

The issue that concerns me as minister of justice is whether there is a need for legislation to make sure the law actually deals with the problem. What we need to do is to protect the women (because they are nearly all women involved in it) and assist those who want to get out of prostitution if they want out. And in particular, that we take strong action directed against those who are trafficking human beings for any purpose. The specific issue of a ban on the purchase of sexual services, and even that is an unclear phrase, is not where I think the priority needs to be at this point.

Meanwhile nasty Tory speaks out in favour of jailing men just for buying sex

See  article from  independent.co.uk

Caroline Spelman, the former Tory environment secretary, says buying sex from prostitutes should be criminalised. She also called on more male politicians to enter into a discussion on the reform of prostitution laws. (

Spelman said she supports the Nordic approach, used in Sweden, Iceland and Norway, which makes it a crime to buy, but not sell, sexual services. Speaking to The Guardian , she said it is important for more men to make their views clear on the issue, rather assuming that men would support her miserable cause.

 

6th April

  Fighting for Democracy...

Red shirt leaders warn of civil war
Link Here

red shirts Leaders of Thailand's pro-government movement have warned that any attempt to oust Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra could trigger a civil war. They issued the warning at a rally outside Bangkok - the first staged by the red shirt movement near the capital since violent clashes broke out in November.

Opponents of Ms Yingluck and her party have filed legal cases against her. Months of anti-government mass protests have failed to unseat her. A member of the pro-government red shirt group holds a picture of Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra during a rally on the outskirts of Bangkok, 5 April 2014 Protesters show their Thai identity cards after opposition claims that rally organisers paid migrants to attend Members of the pro-government red shirt group take part in a rally on the outskirts of Bangkok, on 5 April 2014. The PM's supporters say they are holding the rally to deter her opponents from attempts to oust her

Speaking to a crowd of tens of thousands, Jatuporn Promphan, the chairman of the pro-government United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), said judicial institutions were trying to take over power without elections :

What we are most concerned about - that we want to warn all sides against - is a civil war, which we do not want to happen.

It will happen if there is a coup and democracy is stolen.

 

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