Bangkok dismayed as report maintains lowest tier 3 status, with US pointing to lack of progress in tackling modern-day slavery and corruption

Thailand has hit back after being blacklisted in a US report for the second consecutive year for not combatting modern-day slavery, arguing it has made serious steps to tackle human trafficking.

The ministry of foreign affairs said the US state department’s annual Trafficking in Persons report, released on Monday, “does not accurately reflect the significant efforts undertaken by the government”, which had made “tangible progress”.

We commend many committed indivs w/in THgov,law enf &civ soc who are working hard to eliminate #HumanTrafficking(4/4) http://t.co/YizFXzHtgN

Continue reading... Read more...
BANGKOK, 28 July 2015: Bangkok’s Don Mueang made it into the record books as the world’s largest LCC airport, overtaking Kuala Lumpur International airport, Barcelona and Las Vegas, according to a Centre for Asia-Pacific Aviation analysis. CAPA said Bangkok’s Don Mueang airport saw passenger traffic surge by 50% in the first half of the year, enabling it to […] Read more...
The U.S. State Department has followed up on its controversial proposal to take Malaysia off its blacklist of countries failing to combat modern-day slavery, leaving it open to criticism that politics is swaying the often-contentious rankings in its annual human trafficking report. Read more...
BANGKOK, 27 July 2015: Thailand’s Cabinet approved, last Tuesday, a reciprocal agreement with Myanmar to allow visa-free visits by passport holding citizens of both countries for up to 14 days. Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister, Thanasak Patimakorn, is tasked with signing the agreement later this week in Chiang Mai. An agreement for mutual visa-free […] Read more...
BANGKOK, 27 July 2015: THAI will provide roundtrip flights for Thai Muslims joining the annual Haj pilgrimage to Mecca. The flights will facilitate travel from Narathiwat in the deep south to Medina, Saudi Arabia and Hat Yai to Medina, Saudi Arabia. Flight departures are set for 16 to 22 August outbound and return flights from […] Read more...
BANGKOK, 27 July 2015: To mark THAI and Tourism Authority of Thailand’s 55th anniversaries, this year, the national airline hosed 100 children on flights to Bangkok in a project shared with the national tourist office. It was part of the airline’s Corporate Social Responsibility programme that offered three-day field trips, 21 to 23 July, to children living […] Read more...
On the face of it, the Thai junta’s attempts to limit the sale of alcohol around schools and universities is laudable. The reality, however, could see hundreds of bars and restaurants being put out of business in the coming weeks if authorities refuse to backtrack. Read more...
BANGKOK, 24 July 2015: Two of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s campaign commercials have won awards at the recent Pacific Asia Travel Association’s annual PATA Gold Awards. The viral hit “I Hate Thailand” took home a Gold Award for marketing in the social media category, while a second PATA Gold Award went to the “Discover […] Read more...
BANGKOK, 23 July 2015: Airports of Thailand reports its June data showed increases in both aircraft movements and passengers at the six airports under its management. AoT reported, Wednesday, that all of its supervised airports handled 8,044,421 passengers up 37.79% from 5,838,276 during the same month last year. Overall aircraft movements also increased by 25.33% […] Read more...
If you happened to live in Thailand during the '90s, chances are you have heard at least one song written by Nitipong “Dee” Honark. The popular and prolific songwriter has produced over 100 hits in the past few decades and now sits as one of the 'Thailand's Got Talent' judges. Beyond his musical abilities, Dee is also an outspoken patriot. Read more...
BANGKOK, 21 July 2015: Thailand’s Minister of Transport has confirmed South Korea’s agreement to allow Thai AirAsia X to add flights between Bangkok and Seoul, starting this October. Thailand’s National News Bureau reported details ,Monday, following meetings with South Korea’s ambassador. Transport Minister, ACM Prajin Juntong, confirmed South Korea would allow Thai AirAsia X, to operate […] Read more...
PATTAYA, 21 July 2015: Tourists scattered in panic as a double-deck passenger boat rammed ashore at full throttle on Pattaya’s main beach, Sunday. The incident happened late Sunday evening  when the resort beach road was packed with tourists. A small speedboat anchored in the path of the runaway vessel was swept aside. Thai PBS TV news […] Read more...
BANGKOK, 21 July 2015: The 17th edition of Thai Travel International Fair is scheduled for 13 to 16 August at Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre. Speaking at the pre-event press conference, late last week, Thai Travel Agents Association president, Suparerk Soorangura, said the event should boost tourism for domestic and international markets. “Travellers can buy […] Read more...
BANGKOK, 21 July 2015: A change in security procedures at Don Mueang International Airport was causing chaos at the airline check-in zones over the weekend, forcing the Airports of Thailand to cancel the experiment earlier today. As of Monday, the change in baggage security resulted in airlines delaying departures because passengers had not given enough […] Read more...
BANGKOK, 20 July 2015: There are moves  to position Thailand as a quality destination and revive earlier strategies to develop tourism clusters throughout the country, according to Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul. She made the comments on clusters during a seminar presentation on the Tourism Reform Development Strategy Plan (2015 to 2017)  that […] Read more...
BANGKOK, 20 July 2015: Tourists visiting Thailand should adopt a behaviour that is compatible with the ‘Thainess’ concept, Association of Domestic Travel former president, Maiyarat Pheerayakoses told a gathering of tourism experts last week. She called on the government to act to improve tourist behaviour without giving details how that could be achieved. The comments […] Read more...
BANGKOK, 17 July 2015: Thailand has to improve transport, especially high-speed rail links and establish infrastructure that will ensure tourism prospers in a quality environment. Addressing a seminar on the topic Moving Thailand’s Tourism Forward, Deputy Prime Minister,  Pridiyathorn Devakula, said fast high quality rail services would encourage travellers to explore the country overland from […] Read more...
BANGKOK, 17 July 2015: Tougher rules will soon apply to end alcohol sales close to schools as well as fuel and transport stations, according to the latest report from the Ministry of Public Health. Thailand’s National News Bureau said the health ministry was pushing forward with its alcohol sales ban at shops near schools and […] Read more...
BANGKOK, 17 July 2015: Thailand’s tourism future lies firmly in pursuing quality after decades of prioritising mass tourism based on a head count at the expense of revenue or high spend travel. That was the key message to emerge from a presentation given by Thailand’s Tourism Minister, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, to members and guests of Skäl […] Read more...

Phuketwan website editor Alan Morison says he is optimistic after his trial on charges of defaming Thai naval officers with human trafficking article ends

A court hearing for an Australian website editor and his colleague accused of defaming Thai naval officers by alleging their involvement with human traffickers ended on Thursday, with the prosecution absent for two out of three days of the trial.

“It could go one way or another,” defendant Alan Morison told the Guardian over the telephone after leaving the courtroom in Phuket in southern Thailand.

Related: Malaysian police arrest own officers over involvement in migrant death camps

Continue reading... Read more...
BANGKOK, 16 July 2015: Travel agents enjoyed a whopping 67.94% increase in travel clients arriving at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, January to June this year. Association of Thai Travel Agents confirmed its member companies handled 2,185,018 international tourists through their airport meet-and-greet service, up from 1,301,080 visits during the same period last year. ATTA released its […] Read more...
SINGAPORE, 16 July 2015: InterContinental Hotels Group has signed a management agreement with Grand Uniland company to open a new Holiday Inn Express hotel in Bangkok’s Chinatown. The 240-room Holiday Inn Express Bangkok Chinatown will join three Holiday Inn Express hotels in Thailand’s capital: Holiday Inn Express Bangkok Siam, Holiday Inn Express Bangkok Sathorn and […] Read more...
BANGKOK, 15 July 2015: Thai AirAsia X will increase flights from daily to two daily between Bangkok Don Mueang (DMK)-Seoul Incheon (ICN), starting 25 October this year. The airline CEO, Nadda Buranasiri, said Seoul and Bangkok continue to be a very popular destination for both Thai and Korean travellers. “Since our inaugural flight to Seoul […] Read more...
BANGKOK, 15 July 2015: As many as 89% of Thais, who participated in the latest Visa Global Travel Intentions Study, said they have travelled overseas for leisure in the past two years, logging in five trips in the period, and spending about THB44,000 per trip. (1) The study surveyed 13,603 travellers, 18 and up, during […] Read more...
BANGKOK, 15 July 2015: The Thai Cabinet will maintain the value-added tax (VAT) rate at 7% for one more year, owing to the poor performance of the Thai economy, the National News Bureau of Thailand reported, Tuesday. According to Finance Minister, Sommai Pasi, VAT will remain unchanged at 7% until 30 September 2016. It was […] Read more...
BANGKOK, 15 July 2015: Thailand Tourism Authority reports tourism revenue could reach THB2.23 trillion in 2016 on the back of its highly successful ‘Discover Thainess’ campaign. National News Bureau of Thailand quoted TAT’s deputy governor for international marketing, Juthaporn Rerngronasa, who addressed a seminar, ‘A Compass for Thailand’s Tourism Industry’, Monday. She confidently forecast tourism […] Read more...
The perceived relative homogeneity of Thai culture and society is being challenged on multiple fronts today. So much has been said about the socio-economic division within Thai society, epitomized by the 'red' versus 'yellow' shirt movements, and political outcomes over the last decade and a half. However very little is said, publicly anyway, about the growing influence upon society that Thailand's Muslim population is now projecting at many levels. Read more...

“It says a lot about the future of media freedom in Thailand,” Alan Morison tells the Guardian

An Australian website editor and his reporter colleague faced criminal defamation charges in a Thai court on Tuesday for reporting on Thai naval officers’ alleged involvement in the trafficking of Burmese Rohingya migrants.

Alan Morison, editor of independent news website Phuketwan, and reporter Chutima Sidasathian face up to seven years in jail and thousands of US dollars in fines if found guilty.

Related: Malaysia mass graves: villagers tell of migrants emerging from secret jungle camps

Continue reading... Read more...
Harrison George

Ladies and, er, …

Start again.

One hundred and nine gentlemen.  Captain Yu-er Phuct and his 218-member cabin crew would like to welcome you aboard this China Repatriation Airlines flight to Life Imprisonment.  We look forward to serving you in the best traditions of Chinese human rights.

Today’s flight time from Had Yai to an undisclosed destination somewhere in western China is scheduled to last 9 hours and 15 minutes in the air and decades and decades and decades in prison on the ground.

We apologize for any inconvenience caused by having to board the aircraft while wearing hoods, caused by limitations in local ground services.  A full terrorist restraint protocol including shackles of your hands and feet and duct tape across your mouths has now been distributed by the cabin crew.  Please do not forget to return this equipment to our cabin crew before disembarking from the aircraft as we will need it for the next bunch of unpatriotic whingers who thought they could escape the glorious People’s Republic.

We offer a full inflight personal entertainment centre with a wide range of films, information videos and games, which you are free to enjoy as far as is physically possible when you cannot see anything.  And as soon as this announcement is over, you will be issued with compulsory ear-plugs, so you won’t be able to hear anything either.

If you experience any difficulty in operating your inflight personal entertainment centre, please do not hesitate to call a member of our cabin staff, who will be only too happy to teach you what happens when you complain.

China Repatriation Airlines is honoured to offer our award-winning full menu of inflight meals and snacks with a complete range of dietary preferences.  Unfortunately, however, none of this will be available for you because if you think we’re taking your hoods off, even for a second, you’ve got another thing coming.  And as for the thought of letting you anywhere near even plastic cutlery, just forget it.

The cabin crew seated on both sides of each of you, however, will be served hot meals and we hope that the aroma of their food will satisfy your hunger pains even if you won’t be allowed to taste any of it.

We will shortly be displaying our inflight safety video, and we ask that you give this your full attention, even if you a frequent terrorist flyer.  Please note that in the unlikely event of an emergency landing on water, there is no life vest under your seat, you will never be able to find your way to the clearly marked emergency exits, and the amount of ironware we’ve padlocked to your limbs will ensure that you will sink like a stone.

Should cabin pressure for any reason begin to fall, emergency oxygen masks will drop from the overhead lockers.  The children among you should fail to put these on first so that the adults can fail later, leading to mass asphyxiation which will solve a lot of problems for the authorities who are waiting for you wherever it is we’re going.

Please note that there are toilet facilities provided throughout the plane though since we put you all in adult diapers before we set off, this is a total irrelevance to you.

Please note that in accordance with international aviation rules, this is a non-smoking flight.  Smoking is also forbidden in the toilets, unless some of you turn stroppy and the cabin crew are forced to use lighted cigarettes to burn holes in your flesh to ensure compliance.

Our cabin crew will be offering a full range of duty-free items during the flight including thumb screws, tasers, and a variety of sharp objects for inserting into bodily orifices.

On arrival wherever it is we’re going, you are kindly asked to contact our ground staff who will be happy to escort you through customs and immigration to your summary trials.  Please have your passports ready and also credit card details of your families in China because if you think we’re giving you a free flight, think again, sunshines.

This is the end of our pre-flight announcement; you will now hear First Officer Thang Yu-tai finalizing take-off procedures.

*    *   *    *    *   *    *    *   *    *    *   *    *    *   *   

Cabin crew cross-check doors and Uighurs locked and prepare for take-off.

Flight tower Had Yai, this is China Repatriation Airlines aircraft November Oscar Hotel Oscar Papa Echo to somewhere secret, request clearance for take-off.

Flight tower Had Yai to November Oscar Hotel Oscar Papa Echo, you are cleared for take-off runway 08/26 and General Prayut says any time and does this mean we get a discount on the subs?


About author:  Bangkokians with long memories may remember his irreverent column in The Nation in the 1980's. During his period of enforced silence since then, he was variously reported as participating in a 999-day meditation retreat in a hill-top monastery in Mae Hong Son (he gave up after 998 days), as the Special Rapporteur for Satire of the UN High Commission for Human Rights, and as understudy for the male lead in the long-running ‘Pussies -not the Musical' at the Neasden International Palladium (formerly Park Lane Empire).

 

Read more...
Violence between students from rival colleges again made the headlines last weekend after a student was hospitalized on Friday night with multiple stab wounds to the chest. This assault came just weeks after another high profile incident in which a 19-year-old student was shot in front of Dusit Polytechnic College in Bangkok by students from a rival college. Read more...
BANGKOK, 13 July 2015: Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister, Kobkarn Wattavrangkul, has signed the agreement on the establishment of a regional secretariat to support  the ASEAN Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Tourism Professionals. ASEAN ambassadors and representatives from ASEAN member states, executives, stakeholders from governmental and private sector were also present to witness the signing ceremony, […] Read more...