The historic embassy, which is centrally situated only a few hundred metres from the famous Temptations Ladyboy bar in the Nana Plaza Go-Go complex, has sold for about 500 million pounds. It is one of the last buildings with any architectural merit in Bangkok, it will be demolished and replaced with a Department store to sell luxury goods to Thailand’s fabulously rich racketeers. It is also the home of Britain’s first gay ambassador to Thailand, Brian Davidson, and his husband Scott Chang.
Prin Chirathivat, Executive Director of the Central Group, previously told Prachachat that CPN, the Group’s property development and mall management company, planned to put the group’s largest investment into the land. He revealed later that the plan is to turn it into a huge mixed-use property connected to Central Embassy.
A petition called “Save the British Embassy Bangkok” was launched in 2016. Richard Leitch, who started the petition, said that they didn’t want the historic land with its beautiful architecture and huge trees, to become a lifeless and faceless office building or shopping mall. The petition received little support, however.
The criticism over selling the land stems from reports that the parcel was reportedly gifted to the Brits by the late king in the 1920s so, therefore, the British should not be able to sell gifted land. However, others have said that the land was purchased fair and square by the British government. Either way, it’s a glorious old landmark in the city.
We are making inquiries to see if this sale means that the British Embassy has sold all of their land. If so, the colonial buildings that sit on the Ploen Chit parcel will likely be leveled to make way for commercial development while the Embassy would need to be relocated.
For those that haven’t had the chance to visit, the compound holds historic buildings, including the ambassador’s residence, tropical gardens, ponds and a statue of Queen Victoria. Queen Elizabeth has also visited the Embassy on at least two occasions.
The worst dressed Prime Minister in Asia is looking good now that he no longer needs to pretend to be a civilian. Lovable Hun Sen began work as a Battalion Commander in the Khmer Rouge. So, its ironic that new legislation (that gives him more power) comes at the time when a Jolie film about the Killing Fields Premieres at Angkor Wat.
Private Tye has been following the career of this endearing and honest person. Hun Sen is good friends with President Dirty of The Philippines, they see eye to eye on legal matters such as Extra-judicial killing and political Assassination. He used to be friends with Hilary Clinton but not anymore.
He still enjoys great popularity on facebook especially with people working at Indian click farms.
The story from ABC (20 Feb):
Cambodia changes political rules in 'triumph of dictatorship', critics say
Cambodia's authoritarian government has changed the law covering political parties, in what some commentators are calling the "final triumph of dictatorship".
The amendments make it easy for Cambodia's Ministry of Interior and Supreme Court — both widely seen as controlled by the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) — to dissolve a political party on the basis that it threatens "national unity".
A new ban on people with criminal convictions from holding senior political party roles or standing for office effectively bars opposition figure Sam Rainsy.
He lives in France to avoid defamation charges he says were politically motivated.
"The passage of these amendments marks the final consolidation of absolute power in the hands of Prime Minister Hun Sen and the ruling Cambodian People's Party," said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
Hun Sen has served as Prime Minister for more than three decades.
"This day will be remembered for the triumph of dictatorship over the dream of the Paris Peace Accords for a rights-respecting, multi-party democracy," Mr Robertson said.The National Assembly vote was never in doubt after the opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) boycotted the vote.
Approval by the Senate and the King is considered a formality.
Silly Samarn Fukrakul has, for the last decade, been a pain in the backside of everybody who has the occasional beer or glass of wine with lunch. Finally, after ten years at the head of the Alcohol Control Board, he has been transferred.
Starting during the Yingluk Administration, Simple Samarn was the prime mover behind a series of anti-alcohol laws that nobody could understand. First, you cannot buy alcohol from shops between 14.00 and 18.00 hours. But wait a bit, you can buy provided you buy more than ten litres. So what happened? When we went to buy a crate of beer, we were told it was not enough. So, we would buy a bottle of wine to take us over the ten litres. In other words, we bought more alcohol not less because of this legislation. Stupid Samarn may have realised his mistake because this was stopped later.
Of course, during the hours of prohibition, you can still buy gut-rot rum under-the-counter from a Mum & Pop shop. So, instead of a healthy bottle of wine you can get the alcoholic’s favourite (Sang Som or Lao Kow) instead.
Selling and serving alcohol is forbidden during Buddhist holidays. Which is a problem because there are lots of them and they are determined by the phases of the moon with no fixed place on the Gregorian calendar. So, few people know when they are. And of course, not all Buddhist holidays are public holidays. Try asking a Thai waiter when the next Makha Bucha Day will be.
Then there was the outright ban on sales of alcohol within 500 metres of a University or a school. But does that include private schools, kindergartens, cram schools? And what is a University anyway? Some of them are very old and own bits of property all over the place. They tried to enforce this and many businesses were shut down, now its been forgotten about and people sell alcohol right next to University gates.
The photograph shows senseless Samarn targeting the sellers of Popsicles made of beer - the horror, the horror. Problem with this is that beer is comprised of alcohol and water but alcohol has a much lower freezing point than water. So, when you freeze a beer the water turns to ice and the alcohol separates out. There can not be more than a tiny amount of alcohol in a beer Popsicle. One thing is for sure, if you go on a beer Popsicle binge you will die of frostbite before you get drunk.
Ostensibly the measures pushed by sodding Samarn are for the benefit of public health. On this count they make no sense at all. There is ample evidence that drinking wine and beer in moderation is good for health. Heavy drinking is not. Restricting alcohol sales tends to cause heavy drinking as in Australia’s “six o’clock swill”. It also encourages sales of moonshine and other far worse things. There is now massive use of methamphetamine (Yar Bar) in Thailand’s villages. Villagers can not buy a beer between 14.00 and 18.00, but they can buy a tab of Yar Bar for twenty baht (a beer costs twice that).
Of course, slimy Samarn’s crusade is not about public health, like all crusades its about religion. Sicko Samarn claims to be a Buddhist and also claims that drinking alcohol is a sin. It seems we got Buddhism wrong. We thought it was an ascetic religion about contemplation and self realisation. Evidently it is not, good Buddhists should be out there on the streets hunting down sinners like Jihadists, Jesuits and puritan Protestants. Its the same old thing with these fanatics, a perverse interpretation of religious teachings that allows them to make a name for themselves by making other peoples lives a misery.
So septic Samarn is out of the Alcohol Control Board, thats the good news. Now for the bad news. He is now heading the Bureau of AIDS, TB and STIs. No doubt he believes that sex is a sin. So, he’ll be crusading against sex (ostensibly, as a public health measure). We can expect to see the age of consent raised from 18 to 25, jail terms for sex out of marriage and canings for adulterers.
So the Government has got it wrong again. Sociopathic Samarn should have be posted as a permanent special advisor to the Thai Embassy in Riyadh.
The story from Khaosod (18 Feb):
BANGKOK — The official whose name is synonymous with stringent enforcement of anti-alcohol laws lost his job in a surprise ministry reshuffle announced Friday night.
After 10 years at the helm of the Alcohol Control Board, during which he introduced series of sweeping measures designed to cut alcohol sales and consumption, Samarn Futrakul was transferred to head a bureau dealing with sexually-transmitted diseases. His transfer followed a week of allegations that authorities were pressured by beer monopolies to silence Samarn.
Speaking by telephone Saturday morning, Samarn said he had heard about such speculation but could not say if it had any basis.
“I know as much as reporters do. I don’t know whether it’s true,” Samarn said. “But if it’s true, it will clearly indicate that the work that we have done is the right way. If it’s true, it means we affect their business and reduce their sales … if it’s true, it means the alcohol businesses feels shaken.”
Samarn’s new post is heading the Bureau of AIDS, TB and STIs. He is replaced by Nipon Chinanonwait, who was transferred from a department that handles bug-borne diseases.
Samarn added that he is not upset by the move but he is concerned about unfinished works at the alcohol control department, like numerous lawsuits he had filed against violators of alcohol laws.
“It’s not a problem for me,” he said. “My only worry is the old works that I started there.”
A physician by trade and an avowed Buddhist by spirit, Samarn has said in previous media interviews he believes alcohol is both sinful and harmful. He is most well known for helping draft the draconian 2008 Alcohol Control Act, which prohibits any activities that “induce people to drink such alcoholic beverages either directly or indirectly.”
He also went after beer buffet, pre-mixed cocktails, instant beer, booze advertisements, beer gardens, and even threatened to prosecute anyone posting pictures of themselves drinking alcohol on social media.
Samarn’s most recent pledge to curb booze sales came last week, when he said he would ban major beer companies from showing their logos in their CSR events or using them in products not related to alcohol. Such practice is routinely done by both ThaiBev and Boonrawd Brewery, but Samarn called it a “subtle advertisement.”
Following his comment, advocates of anti-booze legislation told the media they were informed that the two monopolies are lobbying the Ministry of Health to remove Samarn from the post. Officials at the time denied the reports.
Samarn said he would let his successor work in the Alcohol Control Board without his involvement.
“My style is, whenever I am assigned to any work, I will be most committed to that work. I won’t interfere with other people’s works,” he said.
Another Story from Khaosod (16 Nov 2015)
On Booze and Buddhism, Culture Warriors Grasp for a Past That’s Passed
BANGKOK — From booze bans to censoring “Arbat,” a surge in virtue campaigns has been pushed by social conservatives looking to assert influence – and relevance – by firing broadsides at mainstream culture.
Assaults on the availability and marketing of alcohol, the push to legally enshrine Buddhism as the national religion and other culture battles stem from reactionary elements who feel increasingly insecure about the rapid pace of change, according to a philosophy professor at Chulalongkorn University.
“These people resort to various measures they can think of in an attempt to ‘freeze’ society,” Soraj Hongladarom said.
Soraj said the rapid transformation of virtually all aspects of Thai society, from politics and the economy to behavior and belief has left some feeling out of place in a world they find increasingly unfamiliar.
Forestalling Change After the Fact
While most people take such changes in stride, Soraj said others finds it too much to bear and thus anchor themselves to something, adding that he has friends who feel lost.
“I don’t think ordinary folks are disturbed by the change, as they’re part of the change themselves.” he said. “To this group of people, it’s not a problem. For conservatives, it’s difficult. They feel like there are being thrown into the ocean, lost and unable to rely on anything, as all they have been clinging to over the years disintegrates before their very eyes.”
The lecturer urges conservatives to take time to readjust rather than resisting the turn of the clock.
“It’s like they’re used to being under the shade of a large tree, but now the tree is dying. That’s how change affects them,” he said.
No one can reverse globalization, he added, and even junta leader Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha was heavily criticized for saying Oct. 28 he would shut Thailand off from the outside world if the kingdom is not peaceful.
Prominent Buddhist scholar and social critic Sulak Sivaraksa said the call to establish Buddhism as the national religion threatens to alienate and marginalize Muslims, Christians and those of other faiths in Thailand. Sulak said the penchant for banning or censoring “Arbat,” a film some saw as critical of the monkhood and religion, reflects the weaknesses of Thai Buddhism.
“They are afraid to face the music while the fact is we should be facing reality more,” Sulak said. “The way is not to say, ‘I am a good person and you are bad.'”
As for the aggressive moves against alcohol consumption, Sulak said people should be allowed their own discretion and not be overwhelmed by an overreaching state imposing more and more bans and restrictions.
In July and again in October, the state imposed a vaguely worded and virtually unenforceable ban on the sale of alcohol “in the vicinity” of any school property, without exception. The nation’s top alcohol regulator, Samarn Futrakul, said it could be left up to the judgement of police to determine how close was “close.”
Apart from anecdotal reports, the law appears to be all but ignored nationwide.
For nearly a month beginning in October, Samarn was in the news almost daily for investigating celebs who posted photos of beer onto Instagram, threatening to prosecute anyone doing the same, and threatening prosecution over products entirely unfamiliar.
Earlier this month Samarn might have gone too far when he suggested seasonal beer gardens, a popular social staple during the cool season, illegally promoted alcohol and the musicians performing at them could face criminal prosecution.
That prompted a backlash beyond already-rampant criticism on social media, with the head of Thailand’s lawyers association accusing Samarn of overreaching.
Since then he’s stayed out of the press and did not return calls seeking comment for this story.
Thanakorn Kuptajit, president of Thai Alcohol Beverage Business Association, said attempts to demonize drinking as evil and call for outright prohibition will continue, when what’s needed is regulation and enforcement of existing laws.
He disagrees that there’s any general conservative backlash to alcohol consumption and attributes the latest anti-alcohol campaigns to organizations such as the Thai Health Promotion Foundation and allies seeking to prove their worth amid recent government scrutiny of their spending.
‘Going Too Far’
Even to a non-drinker such as labor activist Sakdina Chatrakul Na Ayudhya, the latest moves by conservative groups have crossed the line.
“I feel like they’re infringing on individual rights,” Sakdina said.
Sakdina said many Thais still respond to the dictates of the nation’s strong paternalistic culture. He said the phenomena might be exacerbated by the weakness of democracy in Thailand in favor of a more top-down consolidation of power. The trend reflects intolerance towards cultural diversity and treats differing opinions anomalous, he said.
Such radical conservative mobilization is possible under the current autocratic military rule because those who might push back against the social conservatives have less space to express themselves due to curtailed freedom of expression under the junta.
“This doesn’t mean the majority of the people approve of whatever that’s going on now,” Sakdina said.
Time to black up your faces and enjoy sea-side frolics within easy march of Pattaya (Thailand’s most popular resort). But watch out! The Russians are not far behind you. Actually, they are in front of you, because Pattaya has been over-run by Russian tourists getting drunk, starting fights, walking about naked and jumping to their deaths off high-rise condominiums.
If an East Coast beach seems a strange place for military maneuvers, it must be remembered that Pattaya came into being to cater to the needs of American soldiers on Rest & Recreation leave during the Vietnam War. Long after the war was over American fleets continued to visit Pattaya and, we can say that, American Sailors have made Pattaya what it is today. No doubt business people and Professionals in Pattaya are happy about Cobra Gold.
The military reason for the exercise is a bit more difficult to fathom. Is the US and Thailand planning a joint amphibious invasion somewhere? If so where? China perhaps, but as China has the world’s largest army and nuclear missiles, this does not seem like a very good idea.
Maybe its just a deterrent. We all know that if you build up military alliances and give a strong show of military force then peace is the result. It worked in 1914 and again in 1939, so why shouldn’t it work now.
There is another possibility. The USA may be planning to save Thailand from a Chinese invasion. This is what will happen. Millions of screaming Chinese will charge through Laos, then through the North-East and then attack Bangkok. The Americans will land on the East Coast and sweep North, thereby cutting off the Chinese lines of supply. Its a classic maneuver, just what McArthur did during the Korean war. This makes sense because American military strategists learn their trade by reading text books that were written in the 1950s. It can be noted that every American military action since the Korean war has been a disaster.
This being said, Private Tye is still a bit worried about Cobra Gold. The last time the Americans made a serious amphibious landing in Asia was in Vietnam’s Cam Ranh Bay in 1960s, and the result of that was more than a million Vietnamese dead. Is the Shogun really sure that Cobra Gold is a good idea?
The story from RT (14 Feb):
US sends admiral to launch massive Cobra Gold war games in Thailand
Admiral Harry Harris, the highest-ranking US military commander to visit Thailand since a coup in 2014 placed it under military rule, has arrived to launch a joint annual military exercise, the biggest of its kind in the region.
Harris, the chief of US Pacific Command, launched the Cobra Gold exercise at a ceremony at the Sattahip Royal Thai Marine Corps on Tuesday. The multinational drill involves 29 nations, although only the US and hosting Thailand have significant forces involved – some 3,600 and 4,350 respectively.
The scale of the event is still a far cry from the years preceding the 2014 military coup in Thailand. The US responded to the change of the Thai government by reducing its presence at Cobra Gold from over 8,000 in 2014 to about 3,700 in consequent years and cutting US military assistance to Bangkok. Last year Ambassador Glyn T. Davies attended the opening ceremony of the exercise.
Speaking at the opening ceremony alongside Harris, Davies called the exercise “the crown jewel of our enduring bilateral alliance and a symbol of America's unwavering commitment to the peace and prosperity of both the kingdom and the region.”
“We stand with the Kingdom of Thailand as we have for 10 generations,” he said as cited by the Straits Times. “We look forward to Thailand's return to (a) strengthened sustainable democratic system so the country and our alliance can reach its full potential.”
Bangkok has so far declined to schedule democratic elections and return the reins of power to a civilian government.
Ahead of the exercise, the Thai government said it didn’t want to speculate on whether the presence of a senior US military official this year marked a change of attitude in Washington.
Cobra Gold war games have been held since 1982 and are traditionally focused on three elements – a joint combat exercise involving amphibious troops, a seminar for senior commanders and a humanitarian relief exercise.
BBC (Malaysia) is to rebroadcast “Whack-O”, to show that British culture is compatible with Sharia caning
In the 1950s the BBC thought that flagellation was good family entertainment. “Whack-O” was a comedy that centered around a drunken headmaster (Jimmy Edwards) whacking his pupils on the backside with a cane. In those days boys were regularly beaten for heinous behaviour such as making mistakes in arithmetic or not wearing a cap in the school yard.
Then times changed. Everybody got a calculator so nobody needed to learn arithmetic. Caps went out of fashion so nobody needed to wear one in the school yard. So, schoolboy flagellation went out of vogue. Jimmy Edwards (who was a homosexual before it became fashionable) wrote a auto-biography, “Six of the Best”, and made a film, “Bottoms Up”, and then passed into obscurity.
Now, its gone full circle. Neo-Liberal, Post-Feminist, Alt-Muslim, Fetishists’ Rights, Anti-Trump, Politically Correct Ideas have become the norm with BBC types. So, we find that Sharia Law is now avant-garde and that “caning is the new black”.
A story from the, normally dull as ditch-water, Economist (Sept 2016):
Malaysia’s government is stirring up religious tensions to distract attention from its own shortcomings
FOR decades Malaysia’s Islamist opposition party, PAS, has been agitating for the adoption of bloodthirsty Islamic punishments, such as amputations and stonings. It had seemed a forlorn quest. Malaysia is a multi-religious, multi-ethnic country, with Muslims (most of them ethnic Malays) accounting for only 60% or so of the population. The Indian and Chinese minorities and indigenous people from the Malaysian part of Borneo are largely Buddhist, Christian and Hindu. The governing coalition includes parties representing each group. Successive governments, with the backing of Malaysia’s moderate Muslims, have shrugged off PAS’s demands.
Malaysia’s current government, alas, is unlike its predecessors. It lost the popular vote at the most recent election, remaining in power thanks only to assiduous gerrymandering. Since then news has emerged of the looting of hundreds of millions of dollars from a state development agency. Officials in America have indirectly accused Najib Razak (pictured), the prime minister, of pocketing some of the missing money, along with his stepson and others. Mr Najib acknowledges that $681m showed up in his personal bank accounts, but says the money was a legal donation, most of which was returned.
Malaysians are disgusted. The scandal has accelerated the decline of UMNO, Mr Najib’s party, among urban voters, so Mr Najib is courting less sophisticated rural Malays. Malaysia already has Islamic courts, to handle disputes among Muslims in matters of family law, such as divorce and inheritance. The government has said it is willing to put to a vote a bill introduced by PAS to expand the Islamic punishments these outfits can prescribe. PAS wants adulterers, for example, to receive as many as 100 lashes with a rattan cane.
UMNO’s sudden turn has created an uproar. Moderate Malaysians, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, are appalled. The idea that their relatively rich and cosmopolitan country might resort to flaying the promiscuous is bad enough; worse, perhaps, is any concession to a party that suggests such floggings are a step on the path to amputations. Mr Najib has pooh-poohed such talk as alarmist, but Malaysians know all too well that the ratchet of imposed piety turns only in one direction.
No attempt used to be made to enforce rules barring Muslims from consuming alcohol, for example, or having sex outside marriage. Now the religious authorities raid bars and hotels to check the patrons’ religion. The law in effect bars Muslims from converting to other religions, and the Islamic authorities can jail those who stray from the official interpretation of the faith, including Shias. Brides have been dragged out of weddings because a long-absent parent turns out to have registered them as Muslims. Transgender Muslims have been arrested in droves, their very existence seen as an affront to Islam. A pop star was recently detained over a video that appeared—horrors!—to show dancing in a mosque.
In theory, non-Muslims are exempt from all this. But in practice they can be dragged into the Islamic courts, too. For instance, a Hindu man who was worried that he would lose custody of his children in an impending divorce converted to Islam. The Islamic courts, as is their wont, handed the kids to the Muslim parent, stoking outrage among minorities.
Mr Najib’s implicit embrace of the idea that the government must enforce a dour version of Islam has two baleful consequences, beyond the distress of those persecuted by the religious authorities. First, it emboldens the country’s most reactionary Muslims. In a recent survey, an alarming 11% of Malaysians said they had a “favourable view” of Islamic State. Police recently arrested three Malays planning to mark Malaysia’s national day with attacks on nightclubs and a Hindu temple. Second, the increasing emphasis on Islam threatens the social compact that underpins Malaysian society. Indians and Chinese must already put up with an elaborate system of official handouts and preferences for Malays. By championing Islam, the government is heightening the sense that minorities are second-class citizens. The country was riven by race riots in the 1960s, before Mr Najib’s father, Abdul Razak Hussein, put together the multi-ethnic coalition that has kept the peace ever since. It would be ironic, and tragic, if Mr Najib undid his father’s legacy to preserve his own career.
Seems that the Thai police can not see further than facebook in their search for Internet porn. Have they never heard of “xHamster”? If they think a striptease is bad they must be living in the 1950s.
The Technology Crime Suppression Division gets the Private Tye “Prude of the Year Award”. With computer and credit card scams prolific in Thailand, you would think they would have something better to do.
The full scandalous story from Khaosod English (15 Feb):
BANGKOK — A net idol was charged Wednesday afternoon for stripping naked in a Facebook livestream tuned into by hundreds of thousands of viewers and shared throughout the online kingdom.
The woman, identified only as “Mayple” by police, was fined for appearing in a roughly 30-minute video on Feb. 6 in which she stripped and danced provocatively. She was charged with violating the Computer Crime Act and fined 500 baht for distributing and profiting from indecent material.
“We charged her, and she confessed to all the charges that she did it,” Lt. Col. Santapet Nhootong of the Technology Crime Suppression Division said.
The video was posted to a Facebook page called 24lives, which has since been deactivated.
Mayple said she was hired by the page to strip live for 3,000 baht. At a police news conference, she apologized to all Thais for damaging the image of Thai women and promised not to do it again. She also warned net idol pretties not to “fall into the same trap as her.”
Before stripping on Facebook live, Mayple, who’s identified on Facebook as Ponpan Mayple Promdum, worked as a product reviewer and stripped at adult venues around town.
The press think that the cocaine was to be extracted from the cream. Rubbish! Skin cream sells for much more than cocaine in Thailand. Photographs in the papers show the cops could not keep their fingers out of the cream, especially those cops with bad skin.
Thailand’s skin care business is worth billions. Everybody wants soft, wrinkle-free, white skin; and members of Thailand’s high society will pay a fortune for the stuff. Here is how the business works: Somebody with a face like a dried prune uses some skin cream from a seven-eleven for a month and still looks like a prune. Then they buy more expensive cream from Boots, after a month they still look like a prune. Then they go to the Department store cosmetics section and pay a fortune for their cream and they still have a prune face. Then there is the exclusive department store that sells fabulously expensive cream with exotic French names like “Le Fou” and “Merde alors”. We find that one tub of “Merde alors” costs more than it does to feed a family of four for a year. And the users still look like prunes. The psychology is exactly the same as the compulsive gambler. No matter how many times they loose, they always go back to the roulette table convinced that they will win next time, provided they lay down more money.
There are now thousands of companies and individuals fighting for the “creamer” market. Anybody can get into it, and you can make it in your backyard. Just buy a 52 gallon drum of the stuff from a chemical wholesaler, add a bit of perfume and put it in your own designer plastic bottles.
With so many brands on the market, cocaine cream offers a fully differentiated product. Normally people take cocaine by snorting it up the nose with a rolled up 100 dollar bill. However, it will be absorbed through the skin if applied in a cream form, it is not as efficient as a snort but it will work. So, with cocaine cream (made with rare herbs and fruits from the town of Eldorado, atop the Andes Mountains) the users will get high on coke. With a good cocaine high the consumers will not notice, or care, that they still have a face that looks like a dried prune.
Thailand’s most famous tweaker sells skin care products. Private Tye assumed she was taking tablets, but maybe she has been putting meth in her skin products and getting high on her own supply.
The story from the Bangkok Post
A senior police officer shows an opened jar containing moisturising cream laced with cocaine during a media briefing on three drug cases on Tuesday. Six jars of skin cream mixed with cocaine were seized from an Ecuadorian woman who arrived at Suvarnabhumi airport on Monday from Peru, and her alleged Russian contact was later arrested at a Bangkok hotel.
An Ecuadorian woman has been arrested at Suvarnabhumi airport with six jars of moisturising cream mixed with cocaine in her luggage, and her alleged Russian contact apprehended at a Bangkok hotel. Jenny Pacheco, 56, from Ecuador, was apprehended at Suvarnabhumi airport when she arrived on a Royal Dutch Airlines flight from Lima, Peru, on Monday afternoon.
Narcotics police and customs officials searched her luggage and discovered six large jars of moisturising cream;laced with cocaine, weighing 2.3 kg, said Wutthipong Phetkamnerd, the narcotics officer leading the case. "It was mixed in with the skin cream - a new smuggling tactic to avoid arrest," he told reporters.
He did not explain how the traffickers intended to extract the cocaine from the skin cream. Ms Pacheco allegedly confessed to drug smuggling, and said she was to deliver the cocaine to a Russian man, Thai media reported.
Police subsequently arrested Russian national Shabanov Mikhail, 31, at a hotel room in Lad Krabang district of Bangkok. They also seized 278,320 baht, 31,700 Russian roubles and US$100 US from the suspect. Mr Mikhail initially denied any knowledge of a drug delivery. The two suspects were held in police custody for legal action.
The horror, the horror, apparently brushes made of pig bristle have made their way into Malaysian shops. Authorities have seized thousands of brushes and shopkeepers could face three years in jail.
Private Tye thought it was just eating pig that was offensive to Muslims, and so did many others. With the news that Muslims can not abide being near anything porkie, worldwide reaction has been swift. Trump learned about the scandal on twitter, he is now planning to have all American airports fitted with pig bristle carpets. This, he hopes, will keep all Muslims out without interference from Judges or Congress.
The Israelis have already started manufacturing pig bristle fencing to protect their settlements in the West Bank. Marine Le Pen is pressing for all French police to be issued with pig-skin jackets. While in London, shoe shops have sold out of Hush Puppies due to massive demand from members of the UK Independence Party. There are, also, rumors that the Pentagon has started work on a “Bristle Bomb” for use in Afghanistan and the Middle East.
Despite the furor in the Press, nobody has pointed out that China has a monopoly on pig bristle. The offending brushes in Malaysia can only have come from China. So there we have it, another fiendish plot by the Chinese to undermine the foundations of an independent state in order to advance their ambitions in the South China Sea.
The Story from from Associated Press (8 Feb):
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia
Malaysian authorities have seized thousands of paint brushes suspected of containing pig bristles after consumers in this Muslim-majority nation demanded a crackdown, officials said Wednesday.
Pigs and dogs are considered unclean by many Muslims, who make up some 60 percent of Malaysia's 30 million people. It is illegal in the country to sell products made from any part of a pig or a dog, unless the goods are labeled and kept separately.
Zarif Anwar, an enforcement official with the domestic trade and consumer ministry, said that since Tuesday, officials nationwide have been inspecting shops selling paint brushes for art and commercial use.
He said the brushes seized were not labeled and found to have a different texture from other brushes and frayed ends, signs that they could be made from pig bristles. In some cases, the brushes had a "halal" certification that had expired, he said. The halal tag is issued by an Islamic government body to certify products safe to be used by Muslims.
The seized brushes will be sent to a lab to be examined, Zarif said.
"We want to protect consumers and we want traders to be aware of the religious sensitivity involved. This is a big offense," Zarif told The Associated Press.
He warned that traders who flout the rule face up to three years in jail, a fine of 100,000 ringgit ($22,522) or both.
Conservative attitudes have been on the rise in Malaysia. A wide range of products have been certified halal, from mineral water to a newly launched internet browser, to appeal to Muslims.
The Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia called for stricter enforcement not just for paint brushes, but for other products as well. An official from the group, Nadzim Johan, said the association also received complaints that culinary brushes used in eateries may also contain pig bristles.
"The key issue here is about labeling," he said. "We want Muslim consumers to be forewarned. It's not fair to deceive them.
A drug suspect attempting to flee police had his car thrown into a ditch by Bumblebee. When the famous transformer, who had been parked in his Camaro mode in a PTT petrol station, saw the chase, he strode across the road, grabbed the white sedan, and hurled it into the ditch.
In Thailand, where most transformers hang around in bars on Patpong Road, Bumblebee is a true crime fighter. However, we live in an era of fake news. All the Thai press attributed the entire incident to police action. Private Tye is the only magazine that has reported on Bumblebee’s role in the affair.
The Fake News report from the Bangkok Pest (8 Feb):
SURAT THANI – A drug suspect fleeing from police who fired at him crashed into three vehicles before his car plunged into a roadside ditch and overturned. No one was injured in the incident.
Police arrested Weerapong Sookchareon, 34, after his car was found lying upside down in a drainage ditch in front of a petrol station on Na San-Surat Thani Road in Ban Na San district of this southern province on Wednesday evening.
The spot was about four kilometres from where he escaped a police sting operation. Pol Col Thitirat Arsakij, chief of Ban Na San station, said undercover officers had contacted Mr Weerapong, a Surat Thani native, to buy 2,000 methamphetamine pills, or yaba, and they agreed to meet outside a Chinese foundation in Na San sub-district. The operation came after the team arrested a man on Tuesday over possession of crystal meth, known as ya ice, and marijuana.
The suspect said he had bought the drugs from Mr Weerapong. Pol Col Thitirat said Mr Weerapong arrived in a white Chevrolet sedan with Bangkok licence plates. When the police approached him to search for the meth pills, the suspect sped away. Officers fired three shots at the car’s front left tyre and gave chase. Mr Weerapong crashed into a pickup truck and a sedan shortly after he fled the meeting point. He went on to hit a Toyota Fortuner so forcefully that his car flipped and came to a stop in the ditch.
Pol Col Thitirat said an initial search did not find any illicit drug in the suspect’s damaged car. Police were draining water from the ditch to look for illegal items that may have fallen into the water.
Are you the son of a Wall Street Banker or a Saudi Prince? Have you never done a real day’s work in your life? Do you spend your time traveling the globe looking for entertainment? Have you got more money than sense? Then “Thailand Elite” is just for you.
With Thailand Elite you get flunkies to carry your bags at Bangkok Airport, you get the use of yet another VIP lounge, you get an airport pick up service just like the one at your hotel, and you get a special immigration counter with a subservient officer to process your passport.
However, looking at the Thailand Elite web page, it seems that the visas issued by the Thai Government to “Elite” members are just the same as those issued to common, vulgar folk. But what the hell, its only 500,000 to 2,000,000 Baht and people get to see you with all those flunkies. (Editors Note: 2,000,000 Baht will buy you a new three bedroom Western style house in Thailand).
The news from the Nation (8 Feb):
THAILAND PRIVILEGE Card Co (TPC) has launched four diversified products to lure more wealthy members, aimed at securing more than 600 new members and increasing revenue to Bt1 billion this year.
Company president Pruet Boobphakam said TPC would focus on three marketing activities and strategies this year. It will diversify its assets to fulfil the current needs of targeted clients, diversify pricing for each target group of clients to create as many choices as possible, and appoint more sales representatives.
The company now is offering the Elite Card in four new categories, in addition to the original four. The new ones are Elite Family Excursion for five years at a cost of Bt800,000, Elite Family Alternative, which is valid for 10 years at a cost of Bt800,000, the 10-year Elite Privilege Access for Bt1 million, and Elite Superiority Extension, which is valid for 20 years at a cost Bt1 million.
Pruet said the four new categories of the Thailand Elite Card and renewed marketing strategies would bolster the company’s goal of 10-per-cent revenue growth this year.
“TPC is introducing the four new packages in a bid to attract more European-based clients, as they are considered to be among Thailand’s highest-spending visitors. The move is expected to stimulate tourism and lure more international income,” Pruet said.
Last year, Thailand Elite Card had a total of 4,037 members. The new members are expected to spend Bt200 million in Thailand this year, Bt300 million in 2018 and Bt400 million in 2019. TPC’s overall income is predicted to reach Bt1 billion this year.
The company’s database shows that Elite Card members entered Thailand 14,768 times in the 2016 fiscal year, and are estimated to have contributed more than Bt1.7 billion.
The company believes that these high-spending foreigners will indirectly stimulate Thailand’s economy as they will invest in real estate, luxury cars, and infrastructure investment.
According to the database, since 2013, Elite Card members travelling to Thailand were 30 to 60 years old, and 80 per cent were male.
Previously, there were four Thailand Elite Card categories, one for individuals, one for real-estate networking, the Elite Easy Access card, and a family category. The new categories bring the total to eight.
The top 10 sources of Elite Card members visiting Thailand are Britain, China, the United States, France, Japan, Australia, Bangladesh, Russia, Scandinavian countries, Germany and Singapore.
TPC recently appointed Henley & Partners Holdings as a concessionaire to market Elite Cards through its portfolios across the world.
The company is also adding 38 more individual sales representatives and 21 general sales and services agents. Thailand Privilege Card also offers direct sales through its own staff and website.
The company next year will expand its client base by focusing on European and African countries and India, while rolling out in the Asean region including Laos, Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam and Malaysia.