Pattaya One -

A 27 year old Russian who is an amateur “Drifter”, was practicing his skills on Monday when his high-performance BMW burst into flames. Fire Fighters arrived at the Pattaya Indoor Stadium Car Park, located in Soi Chayapreuk 2 in East Pattaya just before 4pm on Tuesday and after 30 minutes the fire was extinguished. Mr. […]

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Pattaya One -

A team of over 20 Police Officers from Huay Yai Police Station arrested 22 suspected fish-fighting gamblers on Tuesday afternoon. Apart from the suspected gamblers, 4 angry fish and the sum of 100 Baht in cash were seized during the raid of a small forest area in Soi Huay Yai, where the fish-fighting event was […]

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Pattaya One -

The body of a 39 year old Store Owner was found in a 2nd floor bathroom by a man sent to collect rent from him on Tuesday afternoon. Police and medics arrived at the NS Electrical Shop on the Tepprasit Road and made their way to a second floor apartment where the store owner was […]

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Pattaya One -

Banglamung Police announced on Tuesday Morning the arrest of 2 women and 1 man who are accused of selling Thai National Lottery Tickets for 10 Baht more than they should. The vendors were caught at the Laem Chabang Market, located at the far northern outskirts of Pattaya and were seen to be selling the lottery […]

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Thai prime minister says foreigner was held at Cambodian border in connection with attack that killed 20 people

Thai police have arrested a main suspect in the bomb attack on the capital last month that killed 20 people, the prime minister has announced.

Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters the man was arrested on the Thai crossing with Cambodia. “It’s true. He has been arrested at Sa Kaeo checkpoint,” the leader of the junta said during an afternoon press conference on Tuesday.

นายกฯประยุทธ์ ยืนยันแล้วว่า สามารถจับกุมมือระเบิดราชประสงค์ได้แล้ว เป็นชาวต่างชาติ อยู่ระหว่างหลบหนี pic.twitter.com/zD8kuVgLAf

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A Russian tourist reported to police that a Cambodian woman on Jomtien had snatched his gold necklace which was worth 100,000 baht. He explained that a group of females had approached him and offered a massage at a modest fee. However, whilst the massage was in full swing, one of the women grabbed the jewelry and the man’s bag and ran away with her peers. Police found the victim’s bag later in a nearby wood and the expensive necklace was also there. Investigators said the thief was probably afraid and dropped the stolen stuff in panic. Read more...
A Thai man, Yodrak Klomsakul, 32, was hospitalized after being stabbed with a knife by a group of Cambodian men at Jomtien beach. Two Cambodian men are thought to have stumbled by chance on the Thai group’s fishing rods. The blamed Cambodian duo was so annoyed that they asked other friends for help then chased the Thai man into the sea and stabbed him twice. One of the alleged culprits was caught by police later at Soi Wat Boonkanjanaram. He said he did not know anything about stabbing people. Read more...
John Draper

On August 26th Khon Kaen University was visited by a joint EU-French delegation consisting of Mrs. Luisa Ragher, Deputy Head of EU Delegation, and Mr. Pierre Colliot, Counsellor for Culture and Cooperation (Embassy of France), guests at a seminar to emphasize the importance of the upcoming 21st Conference of Parties Climate Change Conference, to be held in Paris from November 30 to December 11.

The key role of this conference is to prevent global warming from reaching two degrees above the 1990 baseline by 2030. This temperature increase would likely trigger a largely irreversible upwards temperature spiral which will see many of the world’s large coastal cities, including Bangkok, under threat from rising sea levels and their effective rendering uninhabitable by 2050-2070. Further, Trat, Chantaburi, and Krabi are all exposed to coastal erosion, which is already occurring.

The COP21 conference, which replaces the failed Kyoto Agreement, seeks to create a common legal framework that applies to all 195 countries, both developing and developed. According to Mrs. Ragher, it also aims to create “clear, fair, and ambitious targets for all countries based on evolving global economic and national circumstances”, as well as a rolling review of country targets and a framework for legal accountability.

Countries are required to submit Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) – indicating the level of their commitment - by October 1st, 2015. China, the US, and the EU have already committed to INDC’s, as have another 26 countries. Mrs. Ragher indicated that she was “fully confident” that Thailand would be able to submit its INDC on time, and to that effect, the EU and France are working with the Thai authorities.

Thailand is in fact the 23rd largest carbon polluter in the world, though it is only the 80th in terms of per capita – its high absolute ranking is largely a factor of its size of population and medium-sized economy. However, its CO2 output has risen by 289% from 90,766 kilotons in 1990 to 262,228 kilotons in 2013, according to EDGAR, the Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research. Reversing this trend will require serious commitment from the Thai government, including a visionary leadership towards a socially sustainable Thailand where the ecology is given equal weight to the economy. Instead, the Thai military is denying villagers access to publicly available information from Thai PBS (the Thai BBC) about oil concessions in Isan, an affront to multiple human right treaties guaranteeing freedom of access to information.

Moreover, as reported in The Nation, Thailand is “locked into a future based on another 20 gas power stations (17,728 MWe), another nine "clean coal" power stations (7,390 MWe), then 14,206 MW of renewable energy, including hydro, a large proportion of which will be imported from Laos or Myanmar” as well as up to two nuclear power plants. Regarding nuclear, given the fact Thailand cannot even maintain the service level of the airport link or guarantee the maintenance of its airport services, this option should be treated with concern bordering on alarm.

While gas power stations may be a reasonable development pathway given they are the least worst option of the fossil fuels, ‘clean coal’ technology at the moment is limited to sulfuric and nitric acids and particulates. The removal of carbon dioxide from power plants requires carbon sequestration techniques – presently in development and unproven, and therefore likely to be expensive - on an industrial scale. Moreover, the state should stop ordering mega-project power plants – notable for their corruption – and instead decentralize to provincial requirements by specifying the amount of energy that is required, not the type, with coal being blacklisted.

The alternative to coal means making good use of Thailand’s strengths. Mrs. Ragher pointed out the EU wants to work with Thailand on its INDC as it is a key country for them in the region – it is the second largest carbon polluter after Indonesia and is ahead of Malaysia. Moreover, it is a semi-tropical country and therefore has viable alternative ‘renewables’ such as biomass and solar, as in Thailand’s Low Carbon Society Vision 2030, as well as the less-developed ocean thermal. Even under this vision, 324,170 kilotons of CO2 will be emitted in 2030 – an increase of 124% from 2013 levels. So, drastic action is required if Thailand is to meet the COP21 target of driving down emissions from the 1990 baseline.

In fact, if Thailand is to begin reducing emissions at all, power plant emissions must be driven down through use of more efficient technologies, such as Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) and Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT). In addition, energy savings must be created through insulation of industrial buildings and changeover to LED lights and more energy efficient appliances, including air conditioners and refrigeration.

Moreover, there needs to be a total paradigm shift in assessing the energy supply mix. Solar in particular is expected to contribute minimally to the energy mix under the Business as Usual scenario – at under 5%, even less than nuclear. Nonetheless, it is certainly capable of meeting the needs of several megatons of energy if integrated into new buildings a standard via rooftop solar or as urban solar via related solar farms and flow-battery storage, with the aim being net zero energy buildings, villages, and towns.

In terms of contributions universities and individuals can make, Khon Kaen University’s representative at the seminar pointed out that KKU possesses one net zero energy building and is experimenting with biogas generation as well as the use of NGV (buses). However, it was pointed out that KKU’s cycle lane policy is a failure as only one such route exits and students have not converted from using motorcycles. One problem, pointed out by a KKU student representative, is that global warming is simply not high on the average student’s radar.

It was clear from the seminar that emphasizing the need to reduce carbon pollution requires transformational leadership from the above as well as bold action. Instead of buying three Chinese submarines for 36 billion baht just because it has some spare money and an empty submarine base, the military government would be better advised considering the conditions in which they and their children will be living in one generation’s time. As such, it should roll out subsidies for university research on solar and boost urban solar and solar farming rather than buying toys for the boys.

 

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Bright Knight Customs (BKC) Koh Samui’s custom paint specialists for bikes, cars, helmets, boats and more now has fully customized, quality, imported fiberglass helmets in stock. These are imported helmets that are legal for wear in E/U countries and DOT approved. Here are a few examples of the helmets they have in stock now (Many […]

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BANGKOK, 1 September 2015: International tourist arrivals to Thailand posted an improvement of 30.93%, January to July, according to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports’ data. Released late last week, the ministry’s data showed the country attracted 17,504,204 international visits during the first seven months of the year up from 13,368,979 visits during the same […] Read more...

Yesterday, Monday 31st August, a French tourist was killed at Namuang 2 waterfall in Koh Samui. Early reports suggest the tourist, who was on a group tour, had stepped outside a safety barrier, after being asked to return to safety, the man slipped sixty meters sustaining fatal head injuries during his fall. In February this […]

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BANGKOK, 1 September 2015: The hunt for those behind the Bangkok shrine blast narrowed Monday as police revealed they have two new suspects after more bomb-making paraphernalia was found in a suburban apartment. But two weeks after the unprecedented attack brought carnage to the city’s commercial centre, the motive for it remains shrouded in mystery. […] Read more...
BANGKOK, 1 September 2015: Thailand’s Ministry of Transport is pushing 17 infrastructure projects covering land, rail, water and air transport, according to a National News Bureau of Thailand report. Minister of Transport, Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, gave a progress report on the government’s infrastructure development projects in a national TV broadcast, Sunday, confirming the government was pushing […] Read more...

A provincial court in southern Thailand dismissed defamation charges against two journalists accused of defaming the Royal Thai Navy for reporting the allegation of navy’s involvement in trafficking Rohingyas.

The provincial court of the southern province of Phuket on Tuesday morning dismissed defamation libel suits against Alan Morison and Chutima Sidasathian, two journalists from Phuketwan news website, accused of defaming the Royal Thai Navy for reporting about the Navy’s involvement in trafficking the Rohingyas in Southern Thailand.

The two journalists  reported on July 17 quoting from Reuters’ article entitled “Special Report: Thai authorities implicated in Rohingya Muslim smuggling network,” which accused the Thai naval forces of benefitting 2,000 baht per Rohingya for cooperating with human traffickers in Phang Nga, a southern province north of Phuket.

The Thai Royal Navy in December 2013 filed charges under Article 14/1 of the 2007 Computer Crime Code, which prohibits importing false information into computer system, agaist them for defaming the navy.

Thai navy officer Captain Pallop Goamlotok, plaintiff on behalf of the Royal Thai Navy, stated that the problematic paragraph “is false information which caused disgrace and harm to the reputation of the Navy.”

Early on, Morison and Chutima denied all charges. “If the navy really have nothing to hide and truly not involved in this, they should just hold press conference clearing up their image. Using lawsuit is just plainly wrong solution,” said Chutima.

In the previous trials, Chutima testified to the court that after reading the Reuter’s report alleging the Thai authorities’ involvement in the Rohingya trafficking ring, she unsuccessfully contacted several navy officials for clarifications on the matter and also reported the Thai Royal Navy’s statement, which denied the allegations.

Chutima said that she also contacted Lt Gen Manas Kongpan, then the Director of the 4th Division of the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC), who has now been charged with 13 counts over human trafficking and other related offences.

According to Niran Pitakwachara, a commissioner of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) who testified on the case during the defendant's witness examination hearing, Article 14 of the Computer Crime Code has been largely misused.   

He mentioned that the law has been mostly used to prosecute those who expressed certain political opinions online and those accused of defaming the monarchy under Article 112 of the Criminal Crime Code, lese majeste law.  

Sawitri Suksri, a law lecturer of Thammasat University, an expert on computer crime, who also testified on the case, commented that Article 14 of the 2007 Computer Crime Code is a major obstacle to freedom of expression.

She said that the wordings of the law is confusing and leave too much room for personal interpretations of  the judicial officers, resulting in its misuse.       

Since the beginning of the court case, international human rights organization such as Human Rights Watch prompted grave concerns over the charges against to two journalist, calling on the Navy to drop charges immediately.

“The  Navy's decision to sue Phuketwan marks another dark day for press freedom in Thailand and shows clearly how easily the Computer Crimes Act can be abused,” said Phil Robertson, Human Rights Watch Asia Deputy Director, adding that the government should abolish the “draconian CCA law,” preventing similar abuse to journalists in the future.

Voicing similar concern was media freedom advocates Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) who condemned the action of the Royal Thai navy.

“Targeting a small online news outlet for publishing what is essentially a humanitarian story reflects a bully’s strategy to silence critics, sending a strong warning that anyone who expresses something they disapprove of will be prosecuted,” said SEAPA in their statement.

Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s South East Asia Campaigns Director, pointed out that although the court’s ruling is positive, it does not mean that the general situation of freedom of expression in Thailand has improved.  

“The acquittal of these two journalists is a positive decision, but the fact is that they should never have had to stand trial in the first place let alone face the possibility of years in jail. The Thai authorities have again shown their disregard for freedom of expression by pursuing this case,” said Benedict.   

Since its establishment in 2008, Phuketwan, has won several international human rights awards for their investigative reporting on the Rohingya refugees, who escape persecution and violence from Rakhine state in Eastern Myanmar.
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Pattaya One -

Late on Sunday Night a 36 year old Minivan driver reported an encounter with a “fake” Police Captain who reportedly cheated the driver out of 5,800 Baht. Khun Wittawat presented himself at Pattaya Police Station and told Investigators that he had been contacted by a man claiming to be a Police Captain working at Pattaya […]

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Pattaya One -

Complaints have been received by Pattaya One regarding the Pratamnuk Mountain area which appears to be used by fornicating couples who leave evidence of their encounters for all to see. We made our way to the area on Monday afternoon and saw for ourselves numerous opened condom packets and a number of used condoms which […]

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Multi-millionaire police chief hands reward to his men that he says came from him and ‘businessmen friends’

Clutching three thick wads of cash, Thailand’s police chief said he was handing his officers a reward of 3m baht (about £55,000), for making an arrest related to a bomb attack two weeks ago.

Somyot Poompanmoung said the money would be distributed among his men for their work locating a 28-year-old foreigner with bomb-making materials near Bangkok on Saturday, who has yet to be charged.

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On Friday 21st of August a fundraising event was held to help raise funds to help community member Bob in his fight against cancer. The event was a great success thanks to all of those who donated gifts for the raffle and auction, the hosts Bangrak Beach Club and all of those who attended. 72,950 […]

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Thaweeporn Kummetha
For the past few decades, Malay, Thai, and Chinese locals living in the southernmost provinces of Thailand have had to carry out their lives amidst an atmosphere of violence and tension. Meanwhile, two youth organizations, Saiburi Looker and Waeng Tee Ruk, are advocating peace through mutual understanding.

 
Constant military search checkpoints are one example of an originally obtrusive element that has become common in everyday Deep South life.
 
These checkpoints block an entire lane on the road, so cars are funnelled into the one available lane. At these checkpoints there is a large sign detailing the search procedures: turn on the lights in the car and roll down the car windows, so that the officials can clearly see into the car. 
 
If the passenger looks ethnically Thai or Chinese, the soldiers will wave them by without much searching. However, if the passenger is Muslim Malay, then they are subjected to questioning from the officials. Such questions include who they are, where they are from, where they are driving to and why, etc. This sort of questioning, of course, is done with the aim of catching “southern bandits,” a popular term used by mainstream Thai media when referring to the Muslim Malay militant.  
 
 
Checkpoints block an entire lane so that cars have to pass through for searching. Photo by Muhammad Duraemae 
 
Malays in the Deep South apply their humorous nature to make light of everyday situations, including checkpoints. A friend of the writer told her a story about when he was passing through the checkpoint at night. He was driving, and a friend was asleep in the passenger seat. When the military officer at the checkpoint asked, “How many people are in the car?,” he replied, “I’m driving alone.” Upon hearing this, the soldier went white as a sheet, staring into the car, before quickly waving the car by.
 
Another funny story he told the writer:
Military officer: Where are you going?
Malay driver: (with a serious, normal face like he goes there regularly) To Tae Hae Bong. 
Military officer: I see, proceed.
In local Malay, Tae Hae means “to place or set,” while Bong means “bomb.” 
 
Here’s another one.
Military officer: Where’re you heading? 
Malay driver: (deadpan) To Baga Goloh. 
Military officer: Alright, go ahead. 
In local Malay, baga means “to burn,” and goloh means “school.”
 
Military officials stop every car, but will inspect more carefully cars driven by young Malay men. Photo by 
Muhammad Duraemae
 
This lighthearted pranking and joking is a temporary respite from the fact that these military checkpoints are there due to the decade-long violence in the area, as well as the discrimination against all ethnic Malays in the region as being “southern bandits” who place bombs and burn schools. 
 
Negative ethnic stereotyping and discrimination is one of the most deeply-rooted issues of the Deep South. Although the policy banning schools from teaching in languages other than Central Thai, initiated by former Prime Minister Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram, was repealed over 70 years ago, and at the present time the Thai state has started to promote the Melayu language and culture, de facto actions by national security officials seem to be stuck in time. Not only do security officers thoroughly search cars of only ethnic Malays, but they also arbitrarily gather and compile DNA information from ethnic Malays as a preventive measure against violence.
 
While peace talks between the insurgent movement and the Thai state move into technical, scholarly areas, the everyday lives of Deep South locals—including Malay Muslims, Thai-Chinese, and Buddhist Thais—continue, interrupted by daily discrimination and higher-ups’ exercises of power. Some local youths are speaking up about the need for peace and mutual understanding at the grassroots, everyday level, which can be promoted through local history. 
 

Saiburi Looker: forging friendships in the danger zone

 
The last time Saiburi district in Pattani province appeared in headline news was on 25 July 2015, when a bomb exploded in a Chinese neighbourhood. This bomb resulted in the death of one soldier who was guarding a monk and the death of one monk. Severely wounded were a monk, two soldiers, and two locals. In 2009, another bomb exploded in the same district, harming Thai Buddhists, Thai-Chinese, Muslims, as well as security officers.
 
This 7-11 branch in Saiburi has put up bunker walls to protect against explosions in the area.
 
According to statistics compiled by the Deep South Watch, out of the 37 districts of the Deep South, or the districts located in Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat, and four districts of Songkhla, Saiburi ranks as the sixth most dangerous. Saiburi, which used to be a thriving port town that served the Malay Peninsula, has been made unrecognizable by the violent events. Most of the Thai-Chinese businesses in the area have moved out. The Thai-Chinese avoid Malay neighbourhoods and vice versa, creating an atmosphere of tension and distrust.
 
“The constant portrayal of Malay Muslims as ‘southern bandits’ in the news has caused even the people here to believe what they’re shown. People are consuming the mainstream media, turning to converse with their TVs and the Internet. But if Somsak would just turn and talk to Ma-ae, then we would understand each other more, lessening prejudices,” said Anas Pongprasert, a hot-blooded Malay youth from Saiburi district. 
 
Anas Pongprasert at the Saiburi Looker headquarters in his own house
 
Anas co-founded Saiburi Looker in 2013 with the goal of restoring community relationships that have been destroyed in the past decade through violence. Saiburi Looker uses everyday objects and issues to bring 
people closer together.
 
“We got some art students to draw in public the British Malaya-style buildings in the old part of town. The house owners saw the students, and opened their doors and came out to talk to the artists. The Chinese house owners opened their home to us, discussed with us for a long time, and brought us drinks. In the last decade or so, nothing like this has ever happened. After the drawing was finished, we displayed them in an exhibition, where even more people met to discuss.” recalled the 32-year-old Anas.
 
The Chinese neighbourhood in Saiburi’s old town
 
The drawing activity was the beginning of many other events held by Saiburi Looker, such as gathering local stories from the inhabitants in the British Malaya-style houses, art exhibitions, and publicizing these events on their Facebook page. Saiburi Looker, it seems, has initiated a fertile discussion ground between community members. 
 
“Nowadays, we can go to Chinese people’s houses, and hold events in Chinese shrines because the Chinese people trust us,” said Anas. 
 
Students from Yala Rajabhat University and Pattani campus of Prince of Songkla University participate in an activity of drawing old town buildings built in the British Malaya style. Photo from TEAOOR 
 
Anas said that his activities focus on the Chinese community because ever since the unrest started in the area, the state often gives assistance mainly to Malay Muslims. The Chinese minority community, therefore, feels left out, overlooked, and wary, so many move out of the area. “Whenever the state wants to compensate for or aid affected victims, they focus on Melayu Muslims. I think this can cause the Chinese community to feel neglected.”
 
Students from Yala Rajabhat University and Pattani campus of Prince of Songkla University participate in an activity of drawing old town buildings built in the British Malaya style. Photo from TEAOOR
 
According to Anas, before the violence started in 2004, Chinese and Malay would co-exist without any problem whatsoever, because they respected each other’s differences. For example, the Chinese community there would refrain from using pig’s heads to sacrifice in ancestor worships or from keeping dogs as pets, and drank alcohol only within the confines of their own homes.
 
Another Saiburi Looker event that followed the building drawing event was a “Return Happiness to Saiburi” activity, the name being a parody of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)’s policies. The event was a vintage-themed fair with a colonial British Malaya era theme. During this era from the 18th until the 20th centuries, the British colonial powers wielded much influence in the Malay maritime area, and Saiburi was a town thriving both economically and culturally. During this era, English culture influenced and localized with Malay culture, creating the British Malaya-style buildings still standing in the old part of town today in Sai town. 
 
Visitors to the “Return Happiness to Saiburi” event were invited to dress up in period costumes: a sarong and outer shirt for men, and a banong dress for women, for example. 
 
The British Malaya-themed “Return Happiness to Saiburi” event 
 
“The ‘Return Happiness to Saiburi event highlighted the cultural diversity of our city. This diversity was really clearly seen during the British Malaya period, or about 70 years ago. At that time, the Deep South was under British influence, such as in a modern lifestyle and democratic principles. People listened to the BBC radio from Malaysia, sent their kids to study in Penang, gave their children English names, and dressed in modern clothes. It doesn’t mean that we’re so proud of being westernized, but to show we used to be like this back then” explained Anas.
 
Unlike most of the local Malays that go to the traditional Islamic ponoh school or the modernized private Islamic schools, Anas went to a Thai school, then lived in Bangkok for 10 years, during which time he studied Political Science at Ramkhamhaeng University. He led a lifestyle just like any other Bangkokian teen until he got tired of life in the capital, where he was always bombarded with news of unrest back in his hometown. Feeling alienated, he came back to Pattani to get in touch with his roots again.
 
“I was always educated in the state system, so history lessons were chock full of nationalism. Then I realized that I knew nothing of my actual home. I knew of my nation, but not my motherland. Once I realized that, I felt cornered. My identity and sense of self had disappeared,” continued Anas.
 
At the “Return Happiness to Saiburi” event, staff and visitors dressed up in British Malaya-era garb.
 
Lately, a historical and cultural trend relating to all things Patani has been resurfacing. The term conveys a sense of nationalism and pride that the area used to be a prosperous maritime Islamic empire, before becoming a colony under Siam around 1800, and later divided into seven largely autonomous states, one of which is Saiburi.
 
Asked why he chose to focus on the history of Saiburi, instead of Patani, he replied, “A group of people try to tie together today’s situation with a history 300 years ago. But I think the problems in this area haven’t been going on for 300 years, but only around 70 years. I think history that is more recent to the present day is more ‘real’ and ‘tangible’ than a 300-year old one.” 
 
“When this area was part of the Patani kingdom, it was multicultural and diverse, too. But present-day zealots motivated by nationalism look at only the Muslim Malay part of that old kingdom. They forget that they were, and are, also Buddhist Malays and Chinese,” continued Anas.
 
Pipitpakdee Mansion, built in 1885 and owned by the family of the Saiburi governor, portrays the wealth during the era when Saiburi was one of the main autonomous states in the region. In 1901, Saiburi became its own province before becoming a district of Pattani in 1932. 
 
“If people only pick and choose the parts of history they want to suit their needs, then what they do is no different than propaganda. We should retell our history in a fair way that doesn’t include oppression of ‘another’
group of people. If we do that, then we’re no different than those who spread propaganda. We have to speak of our own negative points as well. It’s history. It’s something that already happened, and should be discussed openly.”
 
When asked about whether Saiburi Looker had any political suggestions or intentions in mind, Anas replied that at this point in time, the important focus was on fostering basic trust within the community and establishing a free public sphere. “It would be skipping steps for us to go up on a big stage and throw out technical terms before asking regular people what they want.”
 
The proud Saiburian finished off with, “The process of peace should start from local people coming together and talking to each other, shedding their suspicions, distrust, and barriers. Only then can we move on to larger-scale goals.” 
 
 
Jun-guy Sae-giang, age 67
A Hokkien Chinese Saiburi local. She runs a construction materials shop in Saiburi.
 
“My family has been in Thailand for three generations. My grandparents sailed here by boat and landed at Bang Kao. They sold dried fish and exported it to Singapore before moving to Saiburi.”
 
“I have a lot of Muslim Malay friends. They’re always going in and out of the house. My mother taught us children some precepts from Islam. When she came from China, she didn’t have any religion, so when she came here she absorbed some from Islam.” 
 
“I can speak Melayu. I use it when selling goods to Melayu customers. My mother taught me to speak polite Melayu to our customers. My mother can speak only Chinese and Melayu.”
 
“During Ramadan, my mother taught me to prepare sugar to make sweets for our Muslim friends for them to eat at night time, after their fast during the day.”
 
“Although there’s violence in the area, for my close Muslim friends, they will always be my close friends.”
 
“I have no intention of moving anywhere else, because this is my home.” 

Waeng in Love: where violence nurtures nature 

 

A sea of mist as the sun rises over the Hala-Bala Wildlife Reserve. The forests here are rich and lush, and nature enthusiasts often come here to take photos and watch the hornbills. 
 
Weang district in Narathiwat Province is far from being modern and developed. The district’s first 7-11 branch opened here not long ago, and there are no gas stations or hotels. Unlike Saiburi, Waeng is zoned as a very low-violence district, like the other border districts. However, the locals here are still pressured by the surrounding violence.
 
Nirandorn Lokna, or Yee, and Sulaiman Chemae, or Lee, are two young men who love their home district, and try to present Waeng’s natural and cultural beauty to locals. 
 
Sulaiman (sitting) and Nirandon in a photoshoot to portray Malay life in Waeng in the days of yore, when elephants were everyday companions. This was taken in Su-ngai Padi, a neighbouring district to Weang. Photo by Wan Fazri
 
Malays in the region are so used to violence and oppression that living with it has sadly become a part of their everyday life.
 
“My home has had so many violent events over the years. These events accumulate, build up in the feelings of the people here, making many people mentally ill and physically sick. I think it’s affecting me badly, too. Since I was a kid, I would walk up to the district office, where they would lay out the bodies of the people shot dead. At one point, there were bodies there every day. This sight became so common that I’m now used to it,” said Nirandorn. Nirandorn used to be a scriptwriter and director for films and lakorns, and an experienced one at that. 
 
Both Nirandon and Sulaiman, therefore, have devoted themselves to promoting the natural and cultural beauty of Waeng and its neighbouring districts as a therapeutic balm to the violence of everyday life in the Deep South. 
 
Another photo from Nirandon and Sulaiman’s photoshoot, this time, of the “Elephant Taxi” that existed in Waeng when it was a multi-ethnic, multicultural hub and thriving gold mining town, in the period before the Indochina War. 
 
Nirandorn, who used to be the assistant director for Chatrichalerm Yukol, the director of the Naresuan epic films, produced a 12-minute short film called “Waeng in Love,” inspired by the book of the same name written by Chabaabaan. The novel tells of a Thai Buddhist girl growing up in Waeng 60 years ago.
 
The short film, set in the present day, tells the story of a Thai Buddhist girl and her relationships with Muslims, giving an overview of inter-religion relationships in the Deep South before violence erupted 11 years ago. 
 
Not only does Nirandorn make short films, he also teaches local youths to make short films in his camps. The camps teach all the steps of filmmaking, including scriptwriting, filming, and editing. He wants youths to have a creative outlet for their views.
 
The pair have also produced an ad to promote tourism in the Deep South, sponsored by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). Unlike other provinces’ tourism promotion ads that focus on iconic landmarks, Sulaiman chose to present “Patani” as a borderless area united through a common culture, and inviting viewers to discover for themselves the places to go. 
 
Sulaiman has found that in their attempt to tell the stories of their home, they have suffered discrimination and prejudice as “outsiders.”
 
 

Journey in Patani ยาวหน่อย แต่อยากให้อ่านนะครับวิดีโอชิ้นนี้ เป็นงานโฆษณา ของ ททท.สำนักงานนราธิวาส ที่ดูแลกำกับการท่องเที่ยว 3 จว ชายแดนใต้ โดยมี บังยี Nirundorn Loknaเป็น โปรโมเตอร์ประสานงานจัดหาทุนจาก ททท และมีบังบรี Mahamasabree Jehlohเป็น ช่างภาพ ตัดต่อ ขับรถ และผมเอง ร่วมคิดบท ค้นหาสถานที่ เป็นโปรดิวเซอร์ และร่วมเดินๆ วิ่ง ๆ ในวิดีโอชิ้นนี้ รวมไปถึงเพื่อนกินยันตาย อย่าง Anattata Naser Havilator Cucu ที่มาร่วมช่วยกันให้สำเร็จขึ้นนมา คลิปนี้ใช้เวลาตระเวนถ่ายทำ 6-7 วัน ไปในสถานที่เกิน 50 แห่ง ( มีอีกหลายที่ๆถ่ายมาแล้วไม่ได้เอาลง) แล้วก็ยังมีสถานที่ๆสวยมากๆ อีกหลายที่ ที่อยู่ในลิสต์ แต่ด้วยเวลา/ งบประมาณที่เป็นข้อจำกัดจึงทำให้ คลิปออกมาได้แบบนี้ ความจริงถ้าจะไปถ่ายสถานที่ในใจให้ได้ทั้งหมดคงต้องใช้เวลาซัก 2 เดือน วัดแสง วัดลม ให้สวย เหมาะกับการถ่ายทำ ที่ใช้คำว่า Journey in Patani เราอยากสื่อถึงคำว่า ปาตานี อันหมายถึง พื้นที่ใน 3จวแห่งนี้ มาใช้แทน โดยไม่มีเส้นแบ่งเขตจังหวัดมาแบ่งเขตพื้นที่อันมี นิเวศ ประเพณี วัฒนธรรม ศาสนา สิ่งแวดล้อมร่วมกันอย่างนี้ ..... ผมในฐานะที่เป็นคนชอบเดินทาง ไปไหนมาไหนมีโอกาสเห็นของสวยๆงามๆ ในที่แห่งนี้ มีไอเดียอยากทำแบบนี้โดยมีคลิปของฝรั่งนักเดินทาง รอบโลก เป็นต้นแบบ ตลอดเวลาที่เราไปถ่ายทำเราสนุกกันมากครับ ตื่นเต้น ปนประทับใจ เพราะบางที่ก็เป็นครั้งแรกของพวกเราเช่นกัน แต่กว่าที่คลิปนี้จะออกมาถูกใจเพื่อนหลายคนๆ เบื้องหลังก็มีเรื่องราว บ้าบอ ขมเปรี้ยวอยู่ ... บนการเดินทางของเราด้วยรถเก๋งคันเก่าๆ กับเราทีม งาน 2-3คน อุปกรณ์ถ่ายทำ เสื้อผ้า ของใช้เต็มคันรถ เราถูกเจ้าหน้าที่ๆมีปืนที่เอว มีเสื้อเกราะที่อก มีหมวกเหล็กสวมบนหัว และมีความอคติ กับพวกเราก้อนใหญ่อยู่ในหัวใจ แน่นอนล่ะพวกเค้าเป็นคนนอกพื้นที่กันทั้งนั้น โบกสกัดตามด่าน เป็น 10 ครั้ง มีอยู่2-3 ครั้ง ต้องโดนค้นของกันทั้งคันรถ( แบบระเนระนาด ) ถูกคำถามเชิง เย้ยหยัน ประชดประชด เข้ามา เพียงแค่เรา มีหน้าตา สารรูปแบบนี้ ( แบบคนที่ๆเกิดที่นี่และโคตรเหง้าเป็นคนที่นี่ ตกลง เราหรือเขาที่เป็นแขก ? ) เราก็ต้องตอบไปตามวาระโดยมีหลักฐานยืนยัน จาก ททท. ที่เป็นกระดาษแผ่นนึง ว่าเรามาถ่ายทำงานนี้ให้กับ ททท. นะเว้ย ไม่ได้มาสอดแนม มาแอบถ่ายอะไรทั้งสิ้น รวมไปถึง การเข้าไปถ่ายในสถานที่ท่องเที่ยวบางที่ไม่ได้ เอ่อ..หัวหน้าผู้ดูแล ก็เป็นข้าราชการมาจากนอกพื้นที่อีกเช่นกัน ซึ่งมันช่างแตกต่างกันมากกับเวลาที่เราเข้าไปถ่ายในวัด ถ่ายในศาลเจ้า บ้านคนจีน เพียงแค่ผมทักทาย สวัสดี ขออนุญาตด้วยวาจา ทุกท่านที่เป็นผู้ดูแลหรือเจ้าของสถานที่ ต่างให้เราเข้าไปทำงานกันอย่าง สบายใจฉิว ทำงานไปดูดใบจากไป พูดง่ายๆ คือ คนในกันเองไม่เห็นจะมีอะไรเลย มีแต่คนนอกนี่แหละที่เป็นปัญหา จุ้นจ้านขวางทางไปเสียหมด ...... ปล่อยให้คนในได้จัดการ ได้เล่าเรื่องราว ภายใต้แว่นและความรู้สึกของคนในเถิดครับ มันยังมีเรื่องราว ที่น่าสนใจอีกมากมาย เหมือนที่คลิปชิ้นนี้กำลังทำหน้าที่ของมันอยู่ปล.. ขอบคุณทุกกำลังใจสำหรับเพื่อนพี่น้องทุกท่านที่ไม่ได้เอ่ยนาม ขอบคุณสำหรับดอกไม้ และ ขอเอาหัวหลบสำหรับก้อนอิฐ แล้วเจอกันใหม่นะครับ #ไอเดียมีอยู่เต็มปอดแต่งบเรามีอยู่เท่าหางมด ใครชอบแล้วอยากช่วยเรายินดีมากกกกนะครับ

Posted by Simba Anda on Tuesday, 30 June 2015

 
“On our journey in a dinky old car, we were travelling with two or three other crew members. Our filming equipment, clothes, and luggage filled the car. Military officers with guns at their waists, vests on their chests, helmets on their heads, and a big problem with us in their hearts stopped us at checkpoints tens of times. Of course, they’re “outsiders” too, since they’re working here. A couple times they searched the entire car (in a 
haphazard fashion). We were asked questions that were ridiculing and sarcastic just because we look like this (We’re locals with roots here. Who’s the real outsider here, them or us?). We had to comply and answer their questions, showing them a piece of paper that said we were making a film for the TAT. The TAT, dammit! We had to confirm that we weren’t doing secret spy filming. We were also restricted from filming in some tourist attractions. (sigh) This happened when the caretaker of the site was a government official from somewhere else who was stationed there. This was so different than when we filmed in temples, Chinese shrines, and Chinese peoples’ houses. I just had to greet them, sawasdee, and then politely ask for permission and they would let me in with no problem. It was so relaxed that I could smoke while working. In short, there was no problem when conversing with locals, but the outsiders seemed to be the real problem … let us locals take care of our problems, let us tell our stories from our own points of view and feelings, please. We have a lot of interesting stories to tell, like this clip we produced that’s doing its job,” Sulaiman wrote, detailing the production process of making the short clip for the TAT.
 
Sulaiman also hosts activities to promote local music and sports which are in danger of disappearing. For example, Tari-e-na, Penjak Silat wrestling, and playing the Bano and Grue-toh drums. Playing the Bano and Grue-toh drums exists only in Waeng and Su-ngai Padi. 
 
The Dao Tong Troupe demonstrates how to play the Grue-toh drum, which used to be very popular in Waeng District, Su-ngai Padi District, and Su-ngai Kolok District in Narathiwat Province.
 
The Dao Tong Troupe demonstrates how to play the Bano drum, which used to be very popular in Waeng District, Su-ngai Padi District, and Su-ngai Kolok District in Narathiwat Province.
 
“The Melayu culture is disappearing because the Thai state does not understand or care about preserving it seriously. This made me feel that we have to stand up and talk about our own cultures,” said the 32-year-old Sulaiman. “The state pours money into security issues while completely forgetting about arts and culture, and the cultural authorities are not locals. They don’t understand or have the same love for our cultures as we locals do. Whenever they hold cultural events, they turn out wonky, wrong, and culturally awkward. They just slap some money into holding the event but have absolutely no heart in it. The state should sponsor such events, yes, but the locals should be allowed to organize the events and have maximum participation. 
 
Sulaiman (left) and the Grue-toh and Bano drum masters, both of whom are from the Dao Tong Troupe of Waeng
 
Nevertheless, Sulaiman sees a silver lining in the Deep South’s violence, which is that it draws more attention to the area’s cultures. “Whenever there’s an art contest and an entry by an ethnic Malay that shows their identity, then that entry gets more attention than it used to. Our identity has a louder voice, like a lotus flower rising above a blood-soaked landscape to bloom.”
 
 
Chokchai Anugul (Goji)
A Saiburi local and ethnic Hainanese, Chokchai owns the Neramit photo shop.
 
“This is the oldest photo shop in Saiburi; it’s older than 80 years. Running a photo shop used to be a cumbersome handicraft, but now it’s a lot easier and quicker with the use of computers.”
 
“I can only speak a few words of Chinese, but my Malay is good enough for everyday use. I learned Malay by listening to Malays speak, and remembering their words. Actually, I have more Malay friends than Thai ones. Malays are really honest people, and if they love somebody, it’s for real.”
 
“Over 80 per cent of my customers are Malay. Elderly Malay can’t speak Thai at all, so I have to speak Malay with them. Younger Malays can speak Thai.”
 
“Ever since the violence started, business has continued on as normal. There has been some wariness in the community toward certain groups, but with the people we know and are close to, everything has stayed the same.”
 
“I also take photos for hire, especially for the ponoh schools. I can take photos for an entire school. I have to travel to quite rural, out-of-the-way places. I try not to be afraid, though, because I think that I converse with people around here every day, so they know who I am, and they trust me.”
 
 
Goji’s best friend, a former principal at a religious school, visits him at his shop.
 
“There have been Chinese people who have moved out of the area. I can see why; it can be scary here. I think that it’s hard to live here if you’re always afraid.”
 
“Once a bomb exploded only 600 meters away from the shop, and three of my friends died. They were two Chinese, and a Thai-Chinese. I was really afraid at that time. There was no way of knowing if I would be next.”
 
“The operations here are faceless. We don’t know who’s in charge of the group, so we don’t know what direction the peace talks will go. [If the area becomes independent], we also don’t know who we will be governed by.” 
 
“When I pass through checkpoints, the soldiers see that I’m Chinese and quickly wave me by. If I were to smuggle weapons, it would be very easy to do so.”
 
“I want this area to be peaceful, but it’ll probably be a while. I don’t know if that’ll happen in ten years.”
 
 
Muhammad Duraemae from the Deep South Watch’s Deep South Journalism School contributed to this report. 
Translated into English by Asaree Thaitrakulpanich
 
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Happiness is … having dinner on the beach! We all know: Life is better by the beach! So why not celebrate the beach with great Happy Hour Promotions or a private Dinner on the Beach. Join us at Quote Tapas Bar & Restaurant by Royal Beach Boutique Resort & Spa. Besides Tapas you will find affordable […]

The post Happiness is … having dinner on the beach! Discover Royal Beach Samui appeared first on Samui Times.

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Police hunting Thai woman, 26, and foreign man in his 40s over blast at Hindu shrine on 17 August that killed 20 and injured more than 100

Police probing Thailand’s deadliest bombing issued arrest warrants on Monday for two suspects after a raid on a suburban apartment block uncovered possible bomb-making materials.

Police were hunting for a 26-year-old Thai woman and a foreign man in his 40s after a weekend search on a property in the Min Buri district uncovered fertiliser, digital watches and an explosives detonator, a police spokesman, Prawut Thawornsiri, said.

Related: Thai police arrest suspect in connection with Bangkok bomb

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BANGKOK, 31 August 2015: Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports says it will revive a proposal that would require independent international travellers to buy travel insurance when visiting Thailand. The proposal was first introduced, last year, but was not given the kind of support the ministry was expecting. In fact, it was lambasted by the country’s travel industry […] Read more...
BANGKOK, 31 August 2015: Nok Air took delivery of its first direct-purchased aircraft, a 737-800 from Boeing. It will take deliver of 14 more aircraft from the US aircraft manufacturer. In the past, its fleet was made up of aircraft leased from its major shareholder Thai Airways International or from leasing firms in the region. […] Read more...
BANGKOK, 31 August 2015: Police in Thailand are scrambling to find accomplices as they interrogate a foreign man whom investigators say is linked to the deadly bomb blast at Bangkok’s Erawan religious shrine. His arrest on Saturday is the first major success since the unprecedented and unclaimed 17 August attack that killed 20 people, mostly […] Read more...

Thai police carry out further examinations of an apartment block in Bangkok, where a foreign national was arrested on Saturday as part of the investigation into the bombing of a shrine in the city. 20 people died in the explosion at the Erawen shrine two weeks ago. A police spokesman tells the media that they are ‘certain’ the man arrested is part of the network responsible for the blast

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The apprehended bomb suspect is believed to be unrelated to international terrorist groups, while more culprits are expected to be involved in the bombing incident in Bangkok, the Police Chief says. The Commissioner General of the Royal Thai Police Pol Gen Somyot Poompanmoung has made a statement prior to the investigator’s meeting at the Royal […] Read more...

Police widen suspect search after the arrest of a 28-year-old foreigner though no group has yet claimed responsibility for Erawan shrine blast

Thai police have said that a bomb attack at the Erawan shrine in Bangkok, which killed 20 people two weeks ago, may have been launched by a people-smuggling gang in response to a crackdown on the trade.

The claim comes after security forces widened their search for suspects following the arrest of a foreign national who was found with bomb-making materials and fake passports on the outskirts of Bangkok.

Related: Bangkok bomb – in pictures

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Andrea Giorgetta

August 30 marks the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances. Thailand has not been immune to enforced disappearances. Over the past two years, two United Nations (UN) bodies, the Committee Against Torture and the Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, have expressed concern over the numerous cases of enforced disappearances in Thailand.

Regrettably, past and present Thai governments have done very little to adequately address the issue. They have consistently failed to protect individuals from enforced disappearance, to thoroughly and competently investigate pending cases, and to deliver justice and reparation to victims and their families.

Between 1980 and 2014, the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID), transmitted 89 cases of enforced disappearance to Thailand – the third highest number of cases in ASEAN after the Philippines and Indonesia. Eighty-one of them (91%) have remained unresolved.

Dozens of people are still missing from the bloody May 1992 military crackdown on the massive demonstrations against the government of General Suchinda Kraprayoon in Bangkok. Many disappeared during the disastrous ‘war on drugs’ conducted by the administration of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in 2003. Enforced disappearances are also a tragic consequence of the ongoing counter-insurgency campaign in the three southernmost Malay Muslim majority provinces of Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat. Finally, enforced disappearances have often been used to silence human rights defenders, including land and environmental rights defenders, as well as witnesses of human rights violations.

The case of human rights lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit illustrates how Thailand has failed victims of enforced disappearances. Somchai was abducted and disappeared on 12 March 2004. According to eyewitnesses, a group of individuals forced him into a car on Bangkok’s Ramkhamhaeng Road. Despite strong circumstantial evidence of his death, Somchai’s body was never found and, as a result, police never conducted a murder investigation. After relentless campaigns and court battles by Somchai’s wife, Angkhana Neelapaijit, to seek truth and justice for her husband’s disappearance, authorities are no closer in determining Somchai’s fate than they were 11 years ago.

Thailand has not only failed to implement the recommendations of UN bodies concerning enforced disappearances, it has also ignored its own promises on the issue.

During its first UN-backed Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in October 2011, Thailand made several commitments aimed at addressing enforced disappearances.

Thailand promised to become a party to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICPPED) and signed the ICPPED in January 2012. However, no visible progress has been made towards ratifying the treaty. In its Third Human Rights Action Plan, Thailand went only so far as to say that it would “study the possibility of ratifying” the ICPPED.

In addition, Thailand promised to issue a standing invitation to all the UN Human Rights Council’s special procedures – which include the WGEID. Despite repeated requests for a country visit to Thailand since June 2011, Thai authorities have not responded.

Thailand also pledged to amend its laws to be “more in alignment” with international human rights instruments, including with the ICPPED. However, to date, enforced disappearance continues to be absent from the list of criminal offenses under Thai law.

Finally, in its Third National Human Rights Plan for 2014-2018, Thailand pledged to “impose measures to protect members of the public from enforced disappearance.” Whatever measures might have been put in place, they did not prevent the disappearance of Karen environmental rights defender Porlagee “Billy” Rakchongcharoen, despite a known history of harassment and attacks against his community by the local authorities. Billy was last seen on 17 April 2014 when authorities from the Kaengkrachan National Park detained him while he was traveling from a village in the park to another location in Kaengkrachan District, Phetchaburi Province.

Thailand is due for review at its second UPR in April 2016. In order for Thailand to restore and rehabilitate its reputation of a rights-respecting nation, Thailand must ratify the ICPPED without delay and effectively incorporate the convention’s provisions into its domestic legislation. It must also issue an invitation for a country visit by the WGEID, and, above all, it must ensure that the cases of enforced disappearances are thoroughly and effectively investigated and that the perpetrators are brought to justice.

 

Andrea Giorgetta is the Southeast Asia Desk Director of FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights)

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Pattaya One -

Transnational Crime Suppression Police based at Pattaya Police Station, arrested a South Korean Fugitive on Saturday who has been on-the-run for the last 5 years. An Interpol “Red Notice” is the most urgent and serious of notices which can be issued by Interpol and is the closest equivalent to an International Arrest Warrant. The “Red […]

The post “Red Notice” Interpol Korean Fugitive caught in East Pattaya

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Pattaya One -

Based on a tip-off, Pattaya Police, Immigration Police and Chonburi Police raided a room at an apartment complex in Central Pattaya on Saturday Afternoon and discovered three Koreans in the process of setting-up an illegal call center. Police Major General Nittipong, the Chonburi Provincial Police Commander, led the raid at the Benjapan Mansion Apartments, located […]

The post Korean Call Center Operation found by Police in Central Pattaya

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Pattaya One -

A popular Bar located off Walking Street in South Pattaya is facing a possible 5 year closure order after authorities conducted a raid just before 7.30am and found the club was open. Over 20 officers from the Banglamung District Bar Licensing Unit, the Thai Navy, Pattaya City Officials and Pattaya Police conducted a raid of […]

The post Pattaya Bar faces possible 5 year closure order following Dawn raid

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Pattaya One -

Over 100 officers from various Police Divisions, along with District Officials, conducted a raid of a South Pattaya Apartment Complex on Saturday Morning, in search of illegal Burmese Nationals who were thought to be residing at the location. Police Officers from the Crime Suppression Division, Chonburi Immigration, Pattaya Police and the Army, took part in […]

The post Illegal Burmese Immigrants found at South Pattaya Apartment Complex

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