Traffic police transferred for allegedly demanding bribe from Japanese Youtuber

A traffic police officer, suspected of having demanded money from a Japanese national, has been transferred to an “inactive post”, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Pol Lt Gen Thiti Sangsawang said today.

At Tha Rua police station, a complaint has been filed against the officer for the solicitation of a bribe, Thiti said.

The incident, believed to have taken place several years ago, recently came to light when a video clip of the encounter was posted on Thai social media.

Shot from inside a vehicle driven by a Japanese driver, the clip shows him being stopped by a traffic officer, who issued him a ticket.

The officer handed the driver the ticket, but the driver said he could not read it because it was all in Thai. He asked the officer where he could pay the fine or if he could pay it on the spot.

The officer then told him to pay there and then, so the driver was about to hand over a 500 Baht banknote when the officer is heard saying, in English, “put under, put under.”

The driver placed the money under the ticket and handed it back to the officer.

The driver then drove away, remarking, “This only happens in Thailand, definitely not in Japan.” The driver was a famous YouTuber exploring Thailand for his channel.

Thiti said the officer in question, now a lieutenant, held the rank of sergeant when the incident occurred, sometime between 2016 and 2019.

Thiti added that he has already spoken to the officer, who claimed he vaguely remembered stopping a car at the Ranong intersection.

“The officer said he did not remember much about the incident and requested more time to review the details,” he said.

<p>The post Traffic police transferred for allegedly demanding bribe from Japanese Youtuber first appeared on Thai PBS World.</p>

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Author: Marisa Chimprabha (World)

Mint printing King’s sixth cycle birthday anniversary commemorative banknotes

The Bank of Thailand has issued ten million commemorative 100-baht banknotes, to mark the occasion of His Majesty the King’s 6th Cycle Birthday Anniversary (72) on July 28.

The notes will be available from July 23.

Bank of Thailand Governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput said today that the design of the banknotes is in portrait layout, unlike other Thai banknotes which are printed in the landscape layout.

Using the latest technology, they are printed on a polymer material, which is durable and difficult to counterfeit.

Two million pamphlets for the banknotes have also been printed, which will be available at 10 baht each, with all the proceeds to be presented to the King.

The banknotes can be purchased for face value at all commercial and state-run banks, including the Government Savings Bank, the Government Housing Bank, the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives and the Islamic Bank of Thailand.

<p>The post Mint printing King’s sixth cycle birthday anniversary commemorative banknotes first appeared on Thai PBS World.</p>

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Author: Marisa Chimprabha (World)

Don Mueang expressway tolls will rise by 5-10 baht on December 22

Don Muang Tollway will increase tolls on the elevated expressway by Bt5-10 on December 22, in accordance with its concession contract with the Highways Department, according to the company’s CEO, Sombath Phanichewa.

Under the contract, tolls can be adjusted every five years by 5-10 baht, until it expires on September 12, 2034.

From December 22, the new toll for four-wheel vehicles will rise 10 baht, from 80 to 90. For larger vehicles, the toll will increase by 10 baht, 120 baht for a journey from Din Daeng to Don Mueang.

From Don Mueang to the National Memorial, the rise is 5 baht, to Bt35 for four-wheel vehicles and to Bt50 for larger ones.

Photo : Don Muang Tollway

<p>The post Don Mueang expressway tolls will rise by 5-10 baht on December 22 first appeared on Thai PBS World.</p>

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Author: Marisa Chimprabha (World)

Torsak to be reinstated as police chief

Former police chief Pol Gen Torsak Sukvimol will be reinstated while his rival, Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn, was already reinstated on April 18, said Wissanu Krea-ngam, a special advisor to Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, at a news conference today.

He said that the fact-finding committee, chaired by Chatchai Promlert, former permanent secretary of the interior, found that neither Torsak nor Surachate had committed any wrongdoing.

It however found that their personal conflicts over the handling of several high-profile cases had caused widespread division at various levels within the police force.

He said the Chatchai committee found the conflict between the two high-ranking police officers very complicated and it took those about four months to complete the probe.

Torsak and Surachate were ordered transferred out of the Royal Thai Police, to the PM’s Office, by the prime minister on March 20, pending the outcome of the investigation. 

On the same day, an order was issued by the acting police chief to place Surachate under investigation, followed by another order removing him from the police force.

Wissanu said that the order removing Surachate from the force was not legitimate, as such punitive action must be recommended by an investigating panel.

In this case, he disclosed that the Council of State ruled unanimously that Surachate’s removal from the police force was wrongful and had deprived him of his rights and duties, such as his salary, the use of a car and the right to promotion.

The Council of State recommended that the secretariat of the PM’s Office, which is currently in the process of seeking Royal approval for the dismissal of Surachate, rectify the mistake.

The former deputy police chief’s petition for justice is pending with the Police Good Governance Protection Committee.

Wissanu said he is optimistic that the conflicts inside the RTP will ease as a result of the outcome of the Chatchai panel’s investigation, adding that all sides have being trying to mend fences in the past four months.

He offered his assurance that the investigation was straightforward and there was no attempt at a whitewash. 

Regarding cases pending with the National Anti-Corruption Commission and the Criminal Court, he said the two parties will have to fend for themselves.

<p>The post Torsak to be reinstated as police chief first appeared on Thai PBS World.</p>

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Author: Marisa Chimprabha (World)

Govt urged to increase import duty on cheap Chinese products

The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) has proposed that the government increase the import duty on cheap Chinese products, or limit their import, to save Thai factories from closing because they cannot compete with products from China.

The FTI has expressed concern over the future of the plastic, metal, wood and wood processing industries in Thailand after 567 factories closed down in the first five months of this year, averaging 28 per week, with the loss of about 15,000 jobs.  An average of 26 factories closed each week of last year.

FTI vice president, Nava Chantanasurakhon, said that, even though there are fewer factories closing than opening, the situation is still a matter of serious concern.

He said that one of the main challenges for Thai manufacturers is the import of cheap products from China, which has increased its exports to ASEAN countries, including Thailand, since its products now face increased restrictions on import to the US and European Union.

Nava said the FTI would like the government to protect Thai industries which have been hardest hit by cheap Chinese imports.

In addition to increasing tariffs and restrictions on Chinese imports, he said the government should also consider ways to reduce domestic production costs, including the costs of fuel, logistics and raw materials, and help in the restructuring of Thai industries to increase their competitiveness.

<p>The post Govt urged to increase import duty on cheap Chinese products first appeared on Thai PBS World.</p>

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Author: Marisa Chimprabha (World)

Unexplained entry rejections lead to drop in Thai tourists to South Korea

The number of Thais visiting South Korea between January and April this year decreased by 21% year-on-year, mainly due to unexplained entry refusals at the border.

Thais going to South Korea have fallen behind Vietnam and the Philippines, according to the South China Morning Post.

This is in contrast to the overall number of foreign tourists, which increased by 87% during the same period, according to the Yonhap News Agency.

In 2019, Thailand was the top Southeast Asian country in terms of tourists to South Korea, with 572,000 visitors, surpassing Vietnam (554,000) and the Philippines (504,000)

Industry experts attribute the decline to negative sentiment arising from entry refusals at South Korea’s borders. Seoul has introduced the K-ETA (Korea Electronic Travel Authorisation) system, which requires travellers from 112 countries to register and obtain entry approval online before departing for South Korea.

Despite online registration, a large number of Thai tourists have been denied entry upon arrival in Seoul, without a clear explanation for the rejection, fuelling dissatisfaction.

The Post indicated that the entry refusal stories have gone viral on Thai social media and this has contributed to a decline in tourist numbers.

The stricter entry requirements for Thai nationals are partly due to Thailand being South Korea’s leading source of illegal immigrants.

The Korean Justice Ministry has emphasised that the measures are necessary to prevent illegal immigration and are not discriminatory against Thais.

The tourism authorities, aiming to attract 20 million foreign tourists annually are, however, concerned about the decline.

“It can only be explained by the K-ETA issue,” a Thai Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism official said, adding “Despite our request for a temporary exemption from using the system this year, which has been designated as Visit Korea Year, the Ministry of Justice remains firm on its stance.”

<p>The post Unexplained entry rejections lead to drop in Thai tourists to South Korea first appeared on Thai PBS World.</p>

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Author: Marisa Chimprabha (World)

Stonehenge monument sprayed orange in UK climate protest

London, United Kingdom – UK police arrested two people on Wednesday after environmental activists sprayed an orange substance on Stonehenge, the renowned prehistoric UNESCO world heritage site in southwest England.

The Just Stop Oil protest group said two activists had “decorated Stonehenge in orange powder paint” to demand that Britain’s next government legally commit to phasing out fossil fuels by 2030.

Footage posted on social media showed activists, wearing “Just Stop Oil” branded T-shirts, spraying a cluster of the megalithic standing stones with the orange substance from a small canister.

The group said Niamh Lynch, a 21-year-old student, and Rajan Naidu, 73, had used “orange cornflour” for the stunt.

It claimed the substance would “soon wash away with the rain”.

English Heritage, the public body which manages the site, said its experts were probing “the extent of the damage” to the circle of stones some of which are believed to date back 5,000 years.

Wiltshire Police said in a statement that it had arrested two people following the incident.

“Officers attended the scene and arrested two people on suspicion of damaging the ancient monument,” the force added.

“Our inquiries are ongoing and we are working closely with English Heritage.”

– ‘Disgraceful’ –

Footage of the stunt showed several people trying to restrain the pair as they sprayed the standing stones, before the duo stopped and remained sat on the ground.

An English Heritage spokeswoman called the protest action “extremely upsetting” but noted the site remained open to the public.

“Our curators are investigating the extent of the damage,” she said.

The incident comes in the middle of the campaign for a general election on July 4.

It drew condemnation from the leaders of Britain’s main political parties.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called it “a disgraceful act of vandalism to one of the UK’s and the world’s oldest and most important monuments”.

“Just Stop Oil should be ashamed of their activists,” he added.

Labour leader Keir Starmer, who polls predict will be the next prime minister, said it was “outrageous” and branded Just Stop Oil “pathetic”.

“Those responsible must face the full force of the law,” he added, in a sentiment echoed by Ed Davey, leader of the centrist Liberal Democrats.

– ‘Resistance’ –

Just Stop Oil, formed in 2022, wants an end to new oil and gas exploration in the North Sea off the UK’s east coast.

It has staged numerous protests, primarily aimed at disrupting events, institutions or aspects of daily life, leading to thousands of its activists being arrested and scores jailed.

The latest action was staged on the day before the Summer Solstice festival, when crowds gather at Stonehenge to celebrate the northern hemisphere’s summer solstice.

A spokesperson said that although the Labour party, which is expected to win next month’s election, has vowed not to issue any new oil and gas drilling licences, “we all know this is not enough”.

“We have to come together to defend humanity or we risk everything. That’s why Just Stop Oil is demanding that our next government sign up to a legally binding treaty to phase out fossil fuels by 2030,” the spokesperson added.

“Failure to commit to defending our communities will mean Just Stop Oil supporters… will join in resistance this summer, if their own governments do not take meaningful action.

“Stone circles can be found in every part of Europe, showing how we’ve always cooperated across vast distances — we’re building on that legacy.”

By Agence France-Presse//Photo : An image grab from a video released by the Just Stop Oil climate campaign group shows activists spraying an orange substance at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, southwest England, on June 19,.//AFP

<p>The post Stonehenge monument sprayed orange in UK climate protest first appeared on Thai PBS World.</p>

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Author: Marisa Chimprabha (World)

Eight tourists rescued from rough seas off Phuket

Eight foreign tourists were saved from possible drowning in rough seas off Phuket yesterday, after they had defied warning signs on the beaches.

In the first incident, two Indian couples ignored the red flag flying on Karon Beach and entered the rough sea.

Witnesses said they were unable to swim back to the shore due to the wind and waves and started calling for help. Life guards posted on the beach sent a speed boat out to pluck them from the water and return them safely to the shore.

The four appeared exhausted and were given first-aid by the life guards, before being taken to Chalong district hospital.

In another incident, at about 3pm on the Pa Tong Beach, four Russians went swimming in the rough seas, ignoring signs warning people not to swim in the sea at this time of the year.

Again, the four tried to swim back to shore, but were swept further out by the strong currents. They shouted for help and life guards rushed to their rescue. They were also picked up by a speed boat and returned safely to shore.

Red “Don’t Swim” flags are flying on most beaches on Phuket, due to the rough seas and strong winds.

<p>The post Eight tourists rescued from rough seas off Phuket first appeared on Thai PBS World.</p>

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Author: Clare Patchimanon (World)

Opposition slams govt’s 2025 fiscal budget

The government was accused of being reckless and short-sighted in the planning and preparation of the 3.75 trillion baht budget for the 2025 fiscal year, aiming to address its own crises instead of the pressing problems of the country, with the “digital wallet” scheme being singled out for attack.

After the presentation of the budget bill during the House meeting today, by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, opposition leader Chaithawat Tulathon took the floor to attack it, saying that it fails to reflect the realities of the country’s situation.

Taking a closer look at the budget allocations, he expressed disappointment at the absence of anything new and lack of strategy or clear cut policy targets, adding that most of the new projects claimed by the government are, in fact, “old wine in a new bottle.”

The only thing new is the digital wallet scheme, said Chaithawat, adding, however, that such a populist policy will not stimulate production, investment or employment.

He predicted that most of the money being paid out under the scheme will end up paying for online and offline purchases of cheap products from China, which have come to dominate the Thai market.

If the government really wants to rescue the economy, he suggested it focuses on increasing investments, such as modernising the industrial sector and supporting the demand side.

Providing subsidies of up to 50 billion baht for Thais to buy EVs from China only helps the Chinese car industry, while the government has done little to upgrade the Thai production sector or to improve the skills of Thai workers, said the opposition leader.

He also pointed out that the 2025 budget is about 7.8% larger than this year’s, which is the biggest increase in a decade, with the amount of public borrowing reaching 870 billion baht.

He said the government is determined to implement the digital wallet scheme, regardless of its costs, because it merely wants to save face, which will be lost anyway if the project fails.

Former Democrat leader Jurin Laksanawisit said the budget is ugly and unrealistic, noting that it breaks the prime minister’s own promise to increase revenue and reduce the budget deficit.

“When the figures are revealed, it is a different story, as if the parliament is a House of Lies,” Jurin opined.

<p>The post Opposition slams govt’s 2025 fiscal budget first appeared on Thai PBS World.</p>

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Author: Marisa Chimprabha (World)

Putin and N. Korea’s Kim sign strategic partnership treaty

Moscow, Russia – Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signed a “strategic partnership treaty” following their talks in Pyongyang on Wednesday, Russian state media reported.

Putin signalled earlier the two nations had prepared a document that would “form the basis” of their relations for years to come, but did not provide any detail.

“Russia and North Korea have signed a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Treaty,” the RIA Novosti news agency reported, citing a correspondent.

The two leaders also exchanged gifts during the visit, with Kim receiving a teaset and a luxury Russian-made Aurus car, Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov said. 

Ushakov did not say what gifts Putin received, but hinted they were related to Putin’s image, “including busts”.

The Kremlin said on Monday the treaty would replace previous bilateral documents and declarations signed in 1961, 2000 and 2001.

Moscow and Pyongyang’s ties have sparked concern in the West, which believes Russia has been procuring and using North Korean weaponry to wage its military offensive in Ukraine.

Kim said earlier relations with Russia had reached a new high point, and that Putin’s visit would strengthen their countries’ “ardent friendship”.

Agence France-Presse

<p>The post Putin and N. Korea’s Kim sign strategic partnership treaty first appeared on Thai PBS World.</p>

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Author: Marisa Chimprabha (World)