Posts Tagged ‘Thailand’

Hong Kong firms join forces to make deals under Silk Road plan

June 19, 2017

Companies will draw on their experience to initially establish infrastructure projects and industrial parks in Thailand and Vietnam

By Josh Ye
South China Morning Post

Monday, June 19, 2017, 8:48pm

Hong Kong companies will form a consortium to build infrastructure projects and industrial parks in Thailand and Vietnam under mainland China’s Silk Road project, the Trade Development Council says.

Council president Vincent Lo Hong-sui said over 40 business leaders from Hong Kong and Shanghai formed a delegation while visiting the two countries last month and met both prime ministers.

He added that this was one of many steps in further involving Hong Kong companies with the “One Belt, One Road” initiative.

Lo said the statutory body was now forming “a consortium of local companies” to help them enter these developing markets as a collective force.

“We are looking to build infrastructure projects and industrial parks in countries under the belt and road initiative.”

The initiative was launched by Beijing in 2013 to promote the building of railways, roads, power plants and other infrastructure projects in 60 countries from Asia to Europe on its old Silk Road to promote trade and economic growth.

The council has identified eight countries out of the 65 under the scheme as the initial destinations for Hong Kong investment – Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

Nicholas Kwan, research director at the council, said Hong Kong investors were seasoned in managing supply chain systems across countries.

 Vincent Lo says numerous multibillion-dollar deals will be closed this year. Photo: Sam Tsang

Lo said the development level of many of the belt and road countries reminded him of mainland China three decades ago.

“Hong Kong investors have garnered a lot of practical experience in developing mainland China,” he said. “This experience is unique and will definitely benefit other countries.”

He said the council aimed to close several deals this year and estimated some projects were worth more than US$10 billion.

Lo added that chief executive-elect Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor had told him the next administration would fully support the council in furthering deals with countries linked to the trade initiative.

The council also announced that it would host its second belt and road summit in September, which looked to introduce more concrete plans for local firms to enter relevant countries.

http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/economy/article/2099050/hong-kong-firms-join-forces-make-deals-under-silk-road-plan

Roadside bombs kills six soldiers in south Thailand — Muslim insurgents suspected — “This area is a red area.”

June 19, 2017

Thai army soldiers search the area of a roadside bomb blast in the southern province of Pattani, Thailand, June 19, 2017.REUTERS/Surapan Boonthanom
 Reuters

A roadside bomb planted by suspected Muslim insurgents killed six Thai soldiers and wounded four on Monday in the southern province of Pattani, police said.

A decades-old separatist insurgency in of predominantly Buddhist Thailand’s largely ethnic Malay, Muslim provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat has killed more than 6,500 people since 2004.

The latest bomb was planted on dirt road and exploded as soldiers on a routine patrol were passing, said district police chief Colonel Pruk Liangsukwho.

“It is likely the work of violent groups in the area because this area is a red area,” Pruk told reporters, referring to areas with higher levels of separatist violence.

An army spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

As with most violence in Thailand’s deep south, there was no claim of responsibility.

Violence has simmered in the three southern provinces for decades and intensified in 2004 but it rarely spills out of the deep south.

A car-bomb attack last month wounded dozens outside a supermarket in Pattani town.

Violence in the south typically rises during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which this year ends on Sunday.

Thailand’s military government has, since 2015, held talks brokered by Malaysia, aimed at ending the violence the process has largely stalled.

(Reporting by Surapan Boonthanom and Panu Wongcha-um; Editing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre, Robert Birsel)

Thailand in $67-Million Deal to Buy Armoured Personnel Carriers From China

June 14, 2017

BANGKOK — Thailand will buy 34 armoured personnel carriers from China worth 2.3 billion baht ($68 million), the Southeast Asian nation’s army chief said on Wednesday, the latest sign of closer military relations between the two nations.

The purchase is the latest defence deal between Bangkok and Beijing amid warming ties since Thailand’s military coup in 2014, when relations cooled with the United States, historically the country’s major supplier of Western weapons.

“Buying from the West is a little hard … buying from China is better value for money,” General Chalermchai Sitthisart told reporters, announcing that Thailand’s cabinet had approved the purchase of the VN-1 carriers.

The choice of China was not a consequence of closer relations between the two countries, however, but the most cost-effective option, he added.

“The most important is the suitability for the needs of Thailand and the price,” Chalermchai said, adding that Russia and Ukraine had also been in the running to supply the vehicles.

In April, Thailand approved the first of three planned submarine purchases from China in a deal worth a total of more than $1 billion.

The Thai navy defended the decision following a barrage of public criticism over questions such as the suitability of the submarines and the need to buy the costly craft.

Thailand and China have also agreed to cooperate on building an 873-km (542-mile) railway project, as part of Beijing’s regional infrastructure drive.

Delays and talks over loan terms and land development rights have held up the project, however, prompting Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha to say on Tuesday that he would make use of Article 44, a special security measure, to allow work to begin.

($1=33.8900 baht)

(Reporting by Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Panarat Thepgumpanat; Writing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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Thai Junta to Invoke Executive Order to Kick-Start $5 Billion Rail Project With China — Angering Rights Groups, Environmentalists, Activists Worried About Government Debt

June 13, 2017

BANGKOK — Thailand’s prime minister will invoke an executive order to allow construction to start on a $5.5 billion railway project with China, which forms part of Beijing’s regional infrastructure drive but has been beset by delays.

The high-speed link, in theory a centrepiece of Chinese-Thai cooperation, has been held up by years of negotiation over everything from cost and loan terms to land development rights.

A Thai government spokesman said on Tuesday that Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who heads the junta that has ruled Thailand since a May 2014 coup, will invoke Article 44, a security order that gives him the power to push through policy. Prayuth will discuss the matter at a cabinet meeting next week.

Image result for Prayuth Chan-ocha, photos

Prayuth Chan-ocha

The measure, dubbed the “dictators law”, has been heavily criticized by rights groups. Government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said invoking Article 44 would clear hurdles such as building on protected land.

“This is why Article 44 is needed,” he told reporters.

The $5.5 billion first phase of the railway will be a 250 km (155 miles) line between Bangkok and the northeastern province of Nakorn Ratchasima.

Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said last month that construction would begin in August or September.

Thailand will largely fund the project and China will provide technical assistance under terms agreed so far.

Almost every facet of this deal has changed in the last several years, including the route map, sharing of costs and financing and other factors.

Including later phases, the project intends to build a 873-km rail line linking Thailand’s border with Laos to eastern ports and industrial zones.

China wants to connect its cities to trade centres in Southeast Asia, including Thailand’s eastern industrial zones, as part of its ‘One Belt, One Road’ project, while Thailand needs to revamp its aging rail network and boost trade.

Thailand and China have enjoyed warmer relations following the 2014 coup which saw several Western nations downgrade ties with Thailand in response.

The rail project, however, has hit various delays over details including construction funding and technical assistance.

(Reporting by Amy Sawitta Lefevre, Kitiphong Thaicharoen and Satawasin Staporncharnchai; Writing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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China should invest more of the money in rail project, Arkhom says

http://www.bangkokpost.com/learning/work/882096/china-should-invest-more-in-rail-project-arkhom-says

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Construction of Thailand-China railway project to start in 2017: official

Source: Xinhua| 2017-05-17 10:53:07|Editor: Hou Qiang
 Image result for Thailand-China railway project, photos, map

BANGKOK, May 17 (Xinhua) — The construction of Thailand-China railway project from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima, which will be further extended to Nong Khai on the Thai-Lao border in the future, will start in 2017 for sure, Chatchai Thipsunaree, Permanent Secretary of Thailand’s Ministry of Transport, said on Tuesday.

“We (Thailand and China) are almost done with the contract, 90 percent I will say, the construction will start in this year for sure,” Chatchai told Xinhua after a press conference of the Transport Ministry.

Thai Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith also mentioned the railway project at the press conference, saying it is a project of great importance to the kingdom, as it will connect Thailand with neighboring countries.

The current project, 252 km high speed railway from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima, will be extended another 355 km to Nong Khai on the Thai-Lao border, connecting with China-Lao railway from Vientiane to Kunming in China’s southern Yunnan Province, according to Arkhom.

The railway is also to be extended to the south, to Kuala Lumpur and finally Singapore, Arkhom said.

The Thai government also plans to build a public-private partnership high-speed rail from Bangkok to Rayong to connect with the Thailand-China railway project.

Several Thai experts told Xinhua earlier that they want the railway plan to be implemented in a faster way.

Aksornsri Phanishsarn, director of Thai-Chinese Strategic Research Centre, National Research Council, told Xinhua that she hopes that China can help to push the Thailand-China railway project for it to become a “successful case” of cooperation between countries.

Swai Visavanant, senior researcher at Chulalongkorn University’s China Study Center, urged the Thai government to quickly move toward the implementation of the railway project, otherwise, Thailand may lose a good chance in its development.

According to Arkhom, China and Thailand still need to agree on three things, such as materials for the construction, consulting fee and whether it is necessary for Chinese engineers to get Thai engineering certifications before they come to work in the kingdom.

KEY WORDS: Railway

Thai Police Raid ‘Click Farm,’ Find 347,200 SIM Cards — Fraudulent “likes” generation

June 13, 2017

BANGKOK — Thai police have arrested three Chinese men who they say operated a so-called “click farm,” using hundreds of cellphones and several hundred thousand SIM cards to run up “likes” and views on WeChat, a Chinese social media mobile application.

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Immigration Police Capt. Itthikorn Atthanark said Tuesday the men said they were paid according to how many likes and views they generated, each earning 100,000-150,000 baht ($2,950-$4,400) per month. Click farms are hired to inflate an online site’s viewership for prestige and profit.

Police seized 476 cellphones and around 347,200 SIM cards during the arrests Sunday in Sa Kaeo province , about 200 kilometers (120 miles) east of Bangkok. The men were charged with working without a permit and importing the phones without paying taxes.

Thai man jailed for 35 years for defaming royals on Facebook

June 9, 2017

AFP

© AFP | Prosecutions have continued under Thailand’s new king Maha Vajiralongkorn, who took the throne in late 2016 after the death of his deeply revered father

BANGKOK (AFP) – 

A Thai man was jailed for 35 years on Friday for Facebook posts deemed insulting to the royal family, a watchdog said, in one of the harshest sentences handed down for a crime that insulates Thailand’s ultra-rich monarchy from criticism.

A Bangkok military court convicted the 34-year-old of ten counts of lese majeste for posting photos and videos of the royal family on a Facebook account that purported to belong to a different user.

Wichai, whose last name was withheld to protect his relatives from ostracisation, was accused of using the account to slander a former friend, said iLaw, a group that tracks royal defamation cases.

“The court punished him with seven years per count. Altogether he was given 70 years, but it was reduced in half because he confessed,” said Yingcheep Atchanont from iLaw.

Lese majeste cases are routinely shrouded in secrecy, with media forced to heavily self-censor the details to avoid violating the broadly-interpreted law.

Reporters were barred from entering the military court where Wichai’s verdict was read.

Later on Friday a criminal court sentenced another lese majeste suspect to 2.5 years in jail for uploading an audio clip from an underground political radio show that was deemed insulting to the monarchy.

Use of the draconian law has surged under a royalist junta that grabbed power in 2014, with more than 100 people charged since the coup.

Prosecutions have continued under Thailand’s new king Maha Vajiralongkorn, who took the throne in late 2016 after the death of his deeply revered father.

Observers have been closely watching how the new king approaches the controversial law, which effectively blocks scrutiny of Thailand’s opaque and powerful monarchy.

According to iLaw, Wichai initially denied the charges but later confessed after waiting for more than a year in jail for the court proceedings to begin.

Lese majeste suspects are rarely acquitted or granted bail.

The United Nations’ rights body has warned that Thailand’s widespread use of the law “may constitute crimes against humanity”.

U.S. Army Pacific Chief in Bangkok Amid Regional Security Concerns

June 5, 2017

BANGKOK — The head of the U.S. Army Pacific met his Thai counterpart in Bangkok on Monday, a rare top-level meeting between the old allies’ militaries since the United States criticized a Thai military coup in 2014.

The visit to Thailand by General Robert B. Brown, who is also director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency in Seoul, comes as the United States looks to reassure allies about its commitment to the region.

Brown met General Chalermchai Sitthisart, commander of the Royal Thai Army, at the army’s headquarters in Bangkok.

“The United States and Thailand have had a relationship since 1833 … We have exchanged ideas, cooperated militarily,” the Thai army said in a statement.

British tourist lying naked on the ground after falling from a balcony following a romp with a “ladyboy” prostitute in Thailand — He’s alive but his vacation may be dead

June 3, 2017

  • The middle-aged man in his 40s had been at a guesthouse with prostitute Sittipong Maneekat, 35, on Friday night  
  • He plunged to the ground naked at 5am and was found injured and in pain
  • The man was later rushed to Banglamung Hospital in Pattaya, Thailand
  • Police said they found no signs of a struggle in the man’s room

Shocking footage shows a British tourist lying naked on the ground after falling from a balcony following a romp with a prostitute in Thailand.

The middle-aged man in his 40s had been at a guesthouse with Sittipong Maneekat, 35, on Friday night.

But at 5am this morning the man plunged to the ground without any clothes and was found injured and in pain.

The footage shows a naked middle-aged man in his 40s lying on the ground after falling from a hotel balcony. He had been staying with prostitute Sittipong Maneekat, 35

The footage shows a naked middle-aged man in his 40s lying on the ground after falling from a hotel balcony. He had been staying with prostitute Sittipong Maneekat, 35

Onlookers covered him with a small towel and found a pair of shorts as rescue workers bandaged his head

Onlookers covered him with a small towel and found a pair of shorts as rescue workers bandaged his head

Police were seen questioning Sittipong Maneekat, 35, a transsexual prostitute, at the scene

Police were seen questioning Sittipong Maneekat, 35, a transsexual prostitute, at the scene

She said they had a 'good time' after taking food and alcohol back to the third floor room

She said they had a ‘good time’ after taking food and alcohol back to the third floor room

Onlookers covered him with a small towel and found a pair of shorts as rescue workers bandaged his head.

An ambuance rushed the man to Banglamung Hospital in Pattaya, a city on Thailand’s eastern Gulf coast, where he is now recovering.

Police chief Sukchai Junla said: ‘We cannot look at his passport because it was in the safe so we do not know his real name. We tried to open it but could not.

‘The prostitute said she had been with him and he was foreign and British. She said they were not fighting and had a good time before.

Sittipong said: 'We met outside and we went to the hotel. We had a good time and I was on the bed'

Sittipong said: ‘We met outside and we went to the hotel. We had a good time and I was on the bed’

An ambuance rushed the man to Banglamung Hospital in Pattaya, a city on Thailand¿s eastern Gulf coast, where he is now recovering

An ambuance rushed the man to Banglamung Hospital in Pattaya, a city on Thailand’s eastern Gulf coast, where he is now recovering

‘We looked at the room and there were no signs of a struggle. There were cigarettes and used condoms.

‘The ladyboy said she had no idea how he fell. She was in the room when he went onto the balcony.’

Pol Lt Junla said the tourist had suffered a head injury but he did not believe it was life-threatening.

He said the man would be interviewed when he was feeling better while police investigate how the fall happened.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4568646/Naked-Brit-falls-balcony-romp-prostitute.html#ixzz4iwE6TEWP
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New substances fast emerging — Fueling international illegal synthetic drugs markets

June 1, 2017

AFP

© AFP | Heroin and methamphetamine are the product of choice for the region’s narco-gangs, but new substances are fast emerging

BANGKOK (AFP) – 

Southeast Asian drug cartels are diversifying the narcotics they produce, the UN’s crime agency warned Wednesday, with more than 160 new highs hitting the market in the last eight years.

The Golden Triangle — where Laos, southern China, Thailand and Myanmar intersect — is the world’s second largest drug producer after Latin America.

It is notorious for churning out heroin and methamphetamine.

But cartel chemists are now also making new drugs to hook customers on cheap compounds that have yet to be made illegal.

So-called New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) are appearing at an alarming rate with 168 new drugs detected since 2008 across 11 Southeast Asian nations and China, according to a report released Wednesday by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

“The world of drugs has become much more complex,” Martin Raithelhuber, an expert on synthetic drugs at the UNODC, told AFP.

“We are seeing a lot of new substances around, substances you may not even have heard of but they’re there.”

While heroin and meth remain the product of choice for the region’s narco-gangs, new substances are fast emerging with just three detected hitting the streets in 2008 compared to 80 last year.

The new compounds act as stimulants, hallucinogens, sedatives and opioids and can be taken alone or cut with existing drugs on the market to save costs or intensify the high.

Many NPS are so new that governments struggle to ban them — and when they do chemists can simply tweak the formula to create a fresh compound with similar properties.

With little research on new highs, the risks to the user rise.

One of the most famous new highs in recent years is fentanyl and its many derivatives.

An opioid that is 100 times more powerful than heroin, fentanyl is wreaking havoc across North America.

An estimated 2.6 million Americans are hooked on prescription opioid painkillers with 33,000 fatal overdoses a year.

Raithelhuber said most of the new highs detected in Southeast Asia, many of them fentanyl type substances, were aimed at European or North American consumers.

But some of the new compounds were turning up in drugs for the domestic market.

In Thailand and Malaysia ecstasy tablets are increasingly been cut with chemicals like ketamine, mephedrone and alpha-PVP.

Meanwhile tablets in Indonesia are turning up with PMMA and DOC, new compounds with similar properties to the active ingredient of ecstasy: MDMA.

Thai authorities investigate pipe bomb found near Bangkok MRT station

May 31, 2017

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Thai bomb disposal squad members take photos of the pipe bomb before removing it for forensic examination. (Photo Facebook/Klong Prem)

BANGKOK: Authorities in Thailand are investigating a pipe bomb which was found near the Thai Cultural Centre MRT Station in Bangkok on Tuesday (May 30).

The bomb was discovered at the capital’s Huai Kwang district near Ratchadaphisek Road, according to reports.

According to the Bangkok Post, Huai Khwang police were alerted to a suspicious device at about 2pm by a motorcycle taxi operator. The bomb squad was called in about 90 minutes later.

The steel pipe device was 20cm in length. It had a fuse that was attached to a mosquito coil which was reportedly ignited before it was dampened by rain.

A road cleaner who was questioned by police said he saw two men on a motorcycle at the location where the pipe bomb was found. One of the men got off the motorcycle for a few minutes and then got back on before the duo sped off.

Police said they are looking for the two men.

The incident comes about a week after a bomb attack at the King Mongkut military hospital which wounded at least 21 people.

National police chief Chakthip Chaijinda said investigations have so far found no connection between the discovered pipe bomb and the hospital blast, according to the Bangkok Post.

But the report added that initial findings showed the bomb resembled the device used in the Ratchaprasong area several years ago.

Source: CNA/mn
Read more at http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/thai-authorities-investigate-pipe-bomb-found-near-bangkok-mrt-8898152