Operation to assess salvaging of Sukhothai corvette to begin on February 21

The Thai and US navies will launch a joint operation on February 21, to explore the sunken Sukhothai corvette, to destroy the remaining ammunition and, if possible, to salvage the ship, Admiral Adung Phan-iam, the commander-in-chief of the Royal Thai Navy, said today.

The ship sank off the coast of Prachuap Khiri Khan on the night of December 19th, 2022. Of the 106 officers and men on board, 24 died and 75 were rescued. Five naval officers are still unaccounted for after extensive searches.

Admiral Adung said that the RTN wanted to salvage the ship by itself, but could not because it lacks the necessary equipment and has had to seek help from the US navy, after the RTN was reminded by the US of its commitment, under the military sale agreement, that all the ammunition on board the Sukhothai must be destroyed.

The exploration and salvage operation is timed to take place during the annual Cobra Gold exercise, involving Thailand, the US and some other allies.

Admiral Adung said that there are two tasks yet to be completed. Five missing naval officers are still unaccounted for and material evidence must be secured to determine the exact cause of the ship’s sinking, which will put an end to the case.

He said that all the ammunition belonging to the US and to the RTN, which may pose a danger, will be destroyed.

The admiral admitted that the RTN has been bombarded with many questions pertaining to the ill-fated Sukhothai corvette, including why the RTN has not salvaged the vessel.

He offered an assurance of transparency, saying that the media will be invited to witness the launch of the operation, including the undersea operation, and the public will be informed of the progress.

The post Operation to assess salvaging of Sukhothai corvette to begin on February 21 first appeared on Thai PBS World : The latest Thai news in English, News Headlines, World News and News Broadcasts in both Thai and English. We bring Thailand to the world.

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Author: Marisa Chimprabha (World)

The price of love: Valentine’s Day spending to reach more than 2.5 billion baht in 2024

The price of love: Valentine’s Day spending to reach more than 2.5 billion baht in 2024

Valentine’s Day is expected to cost consumers more this year as inflation remains sticky. Yet despite the economic doldrums, they are planning to celebrate the official day of love with their sweethearts and buy gifts for them to show how much they care. Flowers rank third on the list of top gifts even though the price of roses, the queen of flowers, is lower than in previous years.

The annual survey of consumer spending on a celebration of love and affection released last week by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) revealed that spending for Valentine’s Day this year would be about 2.52 billion baht, up 5.4% from 2023.

“Valentine’s is important in a relationship and it’s a good time to celebrate,” Pornphan Sangsrithong, assistant to the head of the UTCC’s Center for Economic and Business Forecasting, said as she announced the survey’s results.

The findings showed that 34.9% of respondents said celebrating Valentine’s Day is important, while 20.9% of them said there was nothing really special about this day. About 8% of them said it’s not as important as other special days.

The study was conducted between January 29 and February 2 with 1,250 people sampled nationwide.

With respect to overall spending, nearly three-quarters of the survey’s respondents (73.6%) said they are planning to celebrate this special occasion even though it’s expected to cost consumers more this year, with an estimated average spend of 2,125 baht per person, compared to 1,848 baht per person in 2023.

The top places for celebrations of love according to the survey are restaurants (41.6%), followed by department stores and shopping malls (24.7%), home (14.9%) and public parks (0.5%).

Restaurants, hotels, retailers and sellers are getting ready to help customers celebrate Valentine’s day. They are promoting special deals and dishes they don’t normally serve to entice potential couples and running sales on gifts ahead of Valentine’s Day with discount offers.

Chaaim P., 40, a PR manager for a media and entertainment company, said her husband will take her for dinner at an Indian restaurant in the city. The couple dine out at a new restaurant every Valentine’s Day.

“My husband and I love trying new things in life together. It makes us happy and brings the butterflies back. We’ve always wanted to try Indian food because of the diverse flavors. Eating dishes featuring spices and herbs would be a delightful and sensory experience. We will try it out,” she said.

Going out to a nice restaurant for a Valentine’s Day meal on a special day can be costly, she noted, but it was more convenient for them as they have busy schedules.

“We expect to spend more for a meal on Valentine’s Day,” Chaaim said.

Kratai and Tommy, a Thai-German couple, meanwhile, said this year they plan to have a homemade dinner for two at home to save money as they will eat out with friends to celebrate Tommy’s birthday which falls on February 15.

“My husband, Tommy, loves Thai food. Hot and spicy dishes are his favorites. So I will create a special evening for the two of us. I know it may sound boring to many to stay in and cook something to celebrate the day.

To me, eating with someone I love is great, but cooking for someone I love is even better. It’s a great way to show someone that I care. It’s something from the heart,” says Kratai, adding that her menu of love will include stir-fried shrimps with chilli and salt, stir-fried squid in yellow curry and steamed fish with soy sauce.

One of the great things about dining in with her valentine, Kratai said, is that she can cook exactly what they both like and how they like it.

“Tommy hates the smell of shrimp paste (kapi). I will skip the ingredient in the dishes I cook for him,” she said.

Malika A., 34, a salesperson at a Thai-Japanese joint venture company, said she plans to stay in with her girlfriend on the day of love. They will order takeaway, buy a tub of ice cream, watch a movie and chill out on the sofa.

“We will be spending quality time together, showing love and celebrating our relationship. That will make us happy for the rest of the year” she said. Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to always be about romantic love. It can be about family too.

The same survey showed that 30.7% of respondents, mostly singles, intended to show their affection for their parents.

Supaporn A., a single 49-year-old manager with a shipping company, said she will take this opportunity to show her father how much his love has meant to her.

“I plan to visit my father, give him my love and thank him for raising me and always being at my side. I will give him some money too. That will make him happy,” she said.

What to give on Valentine’s Day

The results of a separate survey by Visa released on February 11, showed that shopping online will be the path most consumers choose for Valentine’s Day gifts, with clothes and bags tying for first place on the gift list.

The survey showed nearly 80% of respondents said they are planning to purchase Valentine’s gifts online. The top shopping destinations are online stores and e-commerce (57%) and social media platforms (20%).

The study was carried out online by YouGov covering 2,006 consumers to investigate their Valentine’s spending, behaviour and factors affecting their buying decisions.

The top gifts they plan to buy for their sweetheart include clothes, handbags and jewellery (30%) followed by chocolate (25%) and flowers (12%) respectively.

Many of them will be opting for roses, which are cheaper than they were two years ago, thanks to nice weather.

“We’re so lucky. The weather is hot this year during the harvesting time,” Pornsomjai H., a florist at Pak Khlong Talat said, adding weather conditions present a big challenge for growing roses.

She says the price of a locally grown rose would be around 10-20 baht this year. Two years ago, it was double that due to short supply.

The Valentine’s Day market was at its worst in 2022 when florists worldwide faced a flower shortage.  Before that, the pandemic also disrupted the flower supply chain due to nationwide lockdowns, not to mention labour shortages and poor growing conditions.

Yet despite the lower price, the florist doesn’t expect sales to jump this year.

“Consumers have become more cautious in their spending. The economy has not fully recovered,” Pornsomjai said.

By Thai PBS World Feature Desk

The post The price of love: Valentine’s Day spending to reach more than 2.5 billion baht in 2024 first appeared on Thai PBS World : The latest Thai news in English, News Headlines, World News and News Broadcasts in both Thai and English. We bring Thailand to the world.

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Author: Marisa Chimprabha (World)

Tuk tuk tango: Phuket driver fined for tourist’s dance debacle

Tuk tuk tango: Phuket driver fined for tourist’s dance debacle

Tuk tuk tango: Phuket driver fined for tourist’s dance debacleLegacy

A tuk tuk driver in Phuket’s bustling Patong district found himself on the wrong side of the law recently when he was slapped with a fine. The tuk tuk driver’s offence? Allowing a tourist to dance atop his vehicle while it was caught in the snarl of traffic on Patong Beach Road. The incident, captured in a video which quickly circulated on social media, led to the driver, Yongyut Hasan, facing punitive action.

The amount of the fine wasn’t disclosed by the police, but they emphasised that it served as a stern warning to other tuk tuk drivers. The message was clear: indulging in such dangerous antics won’t be tolerated. Tourists were also cautioned against engaging in similar risky behaviour.

Yongyut Hasan, the tuk tuk driver, recounted his version of the events to the press yesterday, February 11. He explained that he had picked up the tourists from Kata and was on his way to Bangla Road. During the journey, the tourists requested to play their music through Bluetooth, with one of them standing at the back of the moving tuk tuk. Yongyut urged the tourist to resume his seat inside the vehicle.

The situation escalated when the tuk tuk got ensnared in traffic on Thaweewong Road. Seizing the opportunity, one of the tourists clambered onto the roof of the tuk tuk and began to dance. Once again, Yongyut instructed the tourist to descend and return to his seat inside the vehicle. The tourist complied, but only momentarily.

As soon as the tuk tuk was immobilised by traffic again, the tourist climbed back atop the vehicle and resumed his rooftop dance. A visibly upset Yongyut reprimanded the tourist who apologetically returned to his seat. By this time, they had reached their destination near Bangla Road but not before the entire episode had been recorded and shared on social media much to Yongyut’s frustration.

“I wanted to ask the police what I was supposed to do after I had already warned the tourist. Sometimes we warn them and they don’t listen. They don’t care. They assume they hired us.”

Tuk tuk tango: Phuket driver fined for tourist's dance debacle | News by Thaiger
Pictures courtesy of Phuket news

He went on to highlight the respect and affection drivers have for their tuk tuks, which are their livelihoods.

“No one wants tourists to ride on the back and bounce the car or climb onto the roof. The tuk tuk is our livelihood. Every driver loves his or her car. No one will let a passenger go up and dance on the roof causing damage. It’s not worth the cost.”

Yongyut urged people to think carefully before passing judgement on situations based on short clips or posts on social media.

Tuk tuk tango: Phuket driver fined for tourist's dance debacle | News by Thaiger

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Author: Mitch Connor

8 year old girl rescued after spending 2 days in Chon Buri cemetery (video)

8 year old girl rescued after spending 2 days in Chon Buri cemetery (video)

8 year old girl rescued after spending 2 days in Chon Buri cemetery (video)Legacy

A Thai cemetery caretaker rescued an eight year old girl who spent two days in a graveyard in Chon Buri province after she was allegedly abused by her mother, prompting her to run away from home.

The 55 year old cemetery caretaker, Samai Kalaphan, sought help from the Tri Khunnatham Rescue Foundation after discovering the girl. Samai explained that he saw the girl playing alone in the eerie graveyard.

Samai said he thought the girl came with her family and initially ignored her. However, the girl was still there in the evening and no one was around. He spoke with her and learned that she had been abused by her mother. She fled the house and was afraid to return for fear of being beaten again.

The rescue foundation arrived on the scene to talk to the girl. The rescuers believe the girl is a Burmese national but it has not yet been confirmed as she did not have any personal documents on her.

According to the rescuers, the girl had mosquito bites all over her body and bruises allegedly from her mother’s abuse. She slept in a grave and had a bag of fertiliser for a pillow. She did not carry anything with her except her pink comfort doll.

The girl told the rescuers that she lived with her mother, who allegedly beat and scolded her. She ran away from the house but did not know where to go and stayed in the cemetery. She did not eat for two days and only drank water from a pond in the area.

Samai allowed the girl to stay with him and his family until the rescue team could contact her mother and find a home for her. Samai said he was worried that others might harm the girl, so he would look after her and provide her with food and drink until the matter was resolved.

The rescue foundation is now coordinating with the relevant authorities to identify the girl’s parents.

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Author: Petch Petpailin

Indonesia reassures no rice shortage despite retail restrictions

Indonesia reassures no rice shortage despite retail restrictions

Indonesia reassures no rice shortage despite retail restrictionsLegacy

The Indonesian government affirmed today that there is no shortage in the country’s rice stocks, despite increasing restrictions on sales in mini markets and supermarkets that have been in place since the close of 2023.

Arief Prasetyo Adi, the Head of the National Food Agency (NFA), made this assurance following a coordination meeting with the president. He also highlighted the government’s plans to expedite the availability of rice for modern retail outlets.

Over the past year, there have been reports of dwindling availability of five-kilogram rice sacks in modern retail outlets, causing a limitation for retail consumers. The Head of the Retail Business Association, Roy Mandey, verified these restrictions, asserting that they were put in place to ensure fair distribution and prevent reselling. The association is currently working on ensuring the availability of rice.

During an online weekly inflation meeting today, February 12, it was reported that the price of rice had escalated by 1.65% by mid-February. Meanwhile, data from the agriculture ministry indicated that the country experienced a rice deficit of 1.63 million tonnes in January and 1.15 million tonnes in February.

The NFA revealed that Indonesia aims to import 2.44 million tonnes of rice in 2024. Approximately 445,000 tonnes of this figure is a quota carried over from 2023. Edy Priyono from the presidential staff office cautioned that there were areas at high risk of being flooded in January and February, which could potentially cause a delay in the harvest.

The state food procurement agency, Bulog, announced on Monday that Indonesia is planning to import 200,000 metric tonnes of rice from Thailand under a government-to-government arrangement. Earlier this month, Bulog confirmed that it had contracted 500,000 metric tonnes of rice from Vietnam, Myanmar, and Pakistan.

Import quota

This year, the Indonesian government approved a rice import quota of 2 million tonnes, with a quarter expected to arrive by March. In 2023, Indonesia imported 3.06 million tonnes of rice, a figure close to a record high, reported Bangkok Post.

Despite an original forecast of a 32 million metric tonne rice output for 2024, officials now expect the output for January and February to decline by 46% from the previous year to 2.25 million tonnes. The El Nino weather pattern disrupted output last year, but production is expected to bounce back this year. The meteorological agency predicts that the El Nino effect will persist in early 2024 but gradually neutralise by April.

Last year, Indonesian President Joko Widodo stated that his government had secured a commitment from India and Thailand to bolster the rice supply for 2024.

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Author: Alex Morgan

Nualphan Lamsam: Can Thailand’s first female football chief turn World Cup dream into reality?

In a revolution for Thai football, Nualphan Lamsam has become the first woman president of the Football Association of Thailand (FAT) in its 103-year history. Nualphan’s victory has not only shattered glass ceilings but also triggered a wave of optimism for the nation’s footballing future.

Nualphan’s journey to the summit of Thai football administration is nothing short of remarkable. Winning a resounding mandate of 68 out of 73 votes in the FAT General Assembly Election, she solidified her place as a trailblazer in Thailand’s football governance. She is also the first woman in Asia – and only seventh worldwide – to helm a national football association.

After Nualphan secured the presidency, accolades poured in from international footballing dignitaries, including FIFA president Gianni Infantino and AFC president Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, recognizing the significance of her triumph.

 Wide-ranging experience

With a diverse professional background spanning roles as diverse as president and CEO of Muang Thai Insurance, ex-chairwoman of Port Football Club, and former manager of both the Thai women’s and men’s national teams, Nualphan brings a wealth of experience and a deep-rooted passion for the beautiful game to her new role.

Her journey to the presidency has been marked by perseverance, dedication, and a relentless pursuit of excellence, qualities that have endeared her to football enthusiasts across the nation.

Having secured the top job, Nualphan wasted no time in outlining her vision for the future of Thai football.

In a statement packed with determination and optimism, she expressed her unwavering commitment to the sport as reflected in her 16-year journey in football administration. From her early days as manager of the Thai women’s national team to her tenure as president of Port FC, Nualphan’s trajectory has been defined by a tireless pursuit of success and a steadfast dedication to the advancement of Thai football.

One of Nualphan’s most notable achievements at Port FC was the club’s meteoric rise from League 2 to League 1 within just two years. Under her leadership, Port FC not only ascended to the top tier but also secured FA Cup glory in 2019, marking a first for the club and solidifying Nualphan’s reputation as a visionary leader.

Her success at the club level was mirrored on the international stage, where she led the Thai women’s national team to their first FIFA Women’s World Cup appearances in 2015 and 2019, elevating the profile of women’s football in the country.

Difficulties and challenges

However, as FAT president, Nualphan faces a myriad of challenges ranging from declining fan enthusiasm to financial difficulties plaguing the organization.

However, she appears determined to turn things around as she embarks on a mission to restore Thai football to its former glory. Teaming up with influential figures such as former striker Piyaong Pue-on, Nualphan has outlined a comprehensive strategy to address these challenges and usher in a new era of growth and prosperity for the sport.

Chief among these challenges is the restoration of Thai football’s status on the international stage. Despite past successes including a triumph in the 2023 AFF (Asean) Cup, Thailand has faltered in recent years, yielding ground to formidable regional rivals like Vietnam. Victory in the SEA Games, a feat not achieved since 2013, remains elusive for this generation of Thai players.

But the most daunting task for Nualphan will be securing a berth for Thailand in the FIFA World Cup Finals. Despite decades of trying, no FAT administration has managed to achieve this elusive feat. Thailand’s best attempt so far is a place in the third and final stage of Asian Qualifying. With the next stage-two qualifier against Asian giants South Korea in March, Nualphan and her newly appointed head coach, Masatada Ishii of Japan, face an uphill task to meet the expectations of Thai fans.

 Far-reaching ambitions

Central to Nualphan’s vision for the future of Thai football is the revitalization of grassroots development through initiatives like the Youth League, aimed at nurturing young talent and providing them with the skills and opportunities to succeed at the highest level.

Additionally, she has pledged to prioritize transparency and integrity in the FAT, ensuring that all financial transactions are conducted with the utmost accountability and openness.

In her quest to reinvigorate the Thai game, Nualphan has also emphasized the importance of engaging with fans and stakeholders at every level of the sport. Recognizing the pivotal role that supporters play in footballing success, she has vowed to open a two-way channel of communication with Thai football fans, soliciting their feedback and input on key decisions affecting the sport’s future.

As a woman in a male-dominated sport, Nualphan epitomizes the spirit of resilience, determination, and innovation that defines Thai football. Her historic presidency marks a turning point, signaling a new era of inclusivity, progress, and opportunity for football enthusiasts across the nation. With her visionary leadership and unwavering commitment to excellence, Nualphan has the opportunity to leave an indelible mark on the future of Thai football for generations to come.

By Thai PBS World’s Sport Desk

The post Nualphan Lamsam: Can Thailand’s first female football chief turn World Cup dream into reality? first appeared on Thai PBS World : The latest Thai news in English, News Headlines, World News and News Broadcasts in both Thai and English. We bring Thailand to the world.

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Author: Marisa Chimprabha (World)

Five immigration officers jailed for 15 years each for extortion

Five immigration police officers were sentenced to 15 years in prison each today, after they were found guilty by the Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases of extorting 10 million baht from a Chinese businessman in exchange for dropping a charge against him.

The sixth defendant, a civilian named “Surachai”, was given ten years in prison.

Named as defendants by the public prosecutors were Pol Maj Sorawit, Pol Maj Chirapat, Pol Lt Suriya, Pol Lt Prawit and Pol MSgt (first class) Phirasak.

According to the prosecutors’ charge sheet, the five immigration officers arrested the Chinese businessman at his residence in Din Daeng area on March 10th last year, on a charge of using a fake Thai ID card. The Chinese man and his Thai girlfriend were taken to a vehicle which then took them to several places other than the immigration office.

While driving around, the officers demanded 10 million baht from the businessman, in exchange for dropping the charge. The businessman agreed to the deal and sent digital money to one of the officers before both of them were released.

The Thai woman later filed a police complaint against the five immigration officers and Surachai.

The post Five immigration officers jailed for 15 years each for extortion first appeared on Thai PBS World : The latest Thai news in English, News Headlines, World News and News Broadcasts in both Thai and English. We bring Thailand to the world.

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Author: Nad Bunnag

Bangkok socialite denies blackmail in high-society assault case

Bangkok socialite denies blackmail in high-society assault case

Bangkok socialite denies blackmail in high-society assault caseLegacy

A high-profile socialite vehemently denied allegations of blackmail after accusing a well-known high-society individual, the son of a prominent politician, of sexual assault. Police are expediting their investigation, seeking testimony from an additional witness who reportedly aided the victim’s escape.

Officials are prepared to issue a summons to the young high-society man today, stressing that there has been no external pressure on the case.

At 3pm today, February 12, at the Prawet Police Station, legal advisors Aekaphop Luengpradit and Suchada Thansathit supported the 25 year old victim, known as Miss A (a pseudonym), in following up on her case. She alleges that the 27 year old son of Aphichai Techa-udom, a powerful politician and executive committee member of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), attempted to overpower and molest her.

The incident reportedly took place in Nong Bon, Prawet District, at 7.30pm on February 8.

Miss A recounts initially encountering the suspect at a restaurant before being taken to the location of the incident. She later reflected on the traumatic experience and decided to pursue legal action, expressing her trust in the legal process to prevent a recurrence with someone else.

Suchada stated that the victim provided the police with additional medical documentation of her injuries, which were sustained while attempting to flee from her captor. The relationship between the victim and the assailant was described as acquaintances within the same social circle.

Bangkok socialite denies blackmail in high-society assault case | News by Thaiger
Pictures courtesy of KhaoSod

Suchada confirmed that the complaint was not an act of blackmail since it had been filed the previous week and that there was no sign of remorse or apology from the perpetrator.

Aekaphop has informed the national police spokesperson, Police Lieutenant General Achayon Kraithong and the case has been forwarded to the National Police Chief. He emphasized that regardless of the perpetrator’s influential family, wealth does not exempt one from prosecution and that an apology is in order since the victim’s family is also of status and is not seeking monetary compensation.

Deputy Investigation Chief at Prawet Police Station, Pol. Lt. Col. Peerawat Sukrom, explained that following the complaint, the victim was sent for a medical examination and witnesses were interviewed. One more witness, who helped the victim leave the scene, is yet to be questioned.

With evidence gathered, the police are preparing to issue a summons, but an arrest warrant is not yet possible due to the crime’s maximum penalty of less than three years in prison and the suspect’s known residence. The police confirmed that the suspect has been in contact but has not yet disclosed any details related to the case, and there are no concerns of interference, reported KhaoSod.

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Author: Nattapong Westwood