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PM slammed for six questions

Posted by pakin On November - 9 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

POLITICIANS AND ACADEMICS SAY ‘DANGEROUS’ MOVE INDICATES NCPO’S INTENTION TO CLING TO POWER AND LEGITIMISE UNDEMOCRATIC RULE

PRIME MINISTER GENERAL Prayut Chan-o-cha’s latest efforts to survey people’s thoughts on politics with six controversial questions appeared to be an attempt not only to set a political agenda but also to legitimise the junta’s rule despite it being undemocratic, politicians and academics have concluded.

The comments came one day after the prime minister refused to rule out the possibility of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) setting up a military-backed party to contest the next elections.

Prayut abruptly came up with the six questions himself when he was attending a meeting yesterday morning at Government House and then made additional comments on the release of the questions a few hours later.

The new tack came shortly after the NCPO was criticised for maintaining the political ban although the political party bill has been implemented and the mourning period for the late King Rama IX has ended.

The questions are Prayut’s second “survey” after the first earlier this year. The previous questions, which required respondents to answer in person at Damrongdhamma centres, elicited about 1 million responses.

However, the government has not released a report on the outcome of the survey.

The earlier four questions were viewed as leading respondents to disapprove of politicians and cast doubt on Thailand’s democratic system. The six new questions follow a similar pattern – but with a stronger tone.

Key Pheu Thai Party figure Watana Muangsook said he believed that Prayut, who seized power in the 2014 coup, had no right to ask such questions to the public at all.

“He still casts doubts on politicians, although political mechanisms should have been ready by now,” Watana said. “We would like to move to be prepare for the election, not clash with anyone. How could we create any insecurity as claimed by Prayut?”

Independent political academic Trakoon Meechai said he believed the questions were asked based on an underestimation of the potential public backlash, particularly given speculation that the junta wanted to cling to power after the election.

The questions were leading, seeking answers legitimising the junta and discrediting politicians, Trakoon said. Ultimately, the questions were asking if it is okay for the junta to maintain a lingering political influence by backing a political party.

“This method of ensuring one’s own legitimacy may differentiate any emerging party submitted by the NCPO from those parties backed by the military in the past,” Trakoon said. “But it will be very dangerous for the junta itself to publicly show this kind of intention.”

 

THE CRIMINAL case against former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra for her role in the rice-pledging scheme technically closed on Friday when neither Yingluck nor the prosecutor submitted an appeal, her lawyer and the prosecutor both confirmed yesterday.

Yingluck, who is reportedly in the United Kingdom, was sentenced to five years in jail for her negligence in preventing corruption and irregularities in her government’s rice-pledging scheme before the 2014 coup.

The Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders convicted her in absentia and announced her prison sentence on September 27. The law allows her to appeal within 30 days of the date of the verdict delivery, but she would have to launch the appeal in person from inside Thailand.

“We have not yet received contact from her, therefore we did not make any request to the court to extend the period of appeal,” said her lawyer Norawit Lalang. “As we did not make an appeal, the case is technically final.”

Yingluck fled the country a few days before the court had originally been due to deliver its verdict on August 25 and Norawit said he had received no contact from his client since then.

The court issued an arrest warrant following her failure to turn up in August and delivered its verdict in absentia when she again missed her court appearance on September 27.

Location unknown’

State prosecutor Surasak Tritrattrakul said that since neither of the involved parties had made any appeals to the court, the case was now final and authorities would enforce the verdict to compel Yingluck to serve her sentence.

However, Yingluck’s location is still unknown, authorities have said. Local media reports, citing unnamed sources, have said she is in London, where her brother Thaksin Shinawatra has a home. While some reports said she was seeking political asylum in the UK, Thai officials were unable to verify the claim.

Police have said they have asked cooperation from Interpol to force Yingluck to be returned to Thailand to serve her sentence but there still remained no clear clues about her whereabouts.

The junta has shifted blame for her disappearance to a police officer. Pol Colonel Chairit Anurit of the Metropolitan Police allegedly drove Yingluck to Sa Kaew province on August 23 and has been dismissed from duty.

This follows a police fact-finding committee’s ruling that the officer committed a grave disciplinary offence. He had also committed a lesser breach of the code of conduct for illegal use of a vehicle, the committee ruled.

Yingluck is not the only person convicted in the controversial case – ministers in her cabinet and many senior government officials were found to be involved in the fraud, which cost the country hundreds of billions of baht.

Yingluck’s former commerce minister Boonsong Teriyapirom was jailed for 42 years and former deputy commerce minister Phumi Saraphol was sentenced to 36 years.

Both men have submitted appeals to the court.

Yingluck verdict ‘still being read’ at 2pm

Posted by pakin On September - 27 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Deputy spokesman of Pheu Thai Party Wim Rungwatanachinda told reporters the verdict in the case against former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra was still being read by the Supreme Court as of 2pm on Wednesday.

He had left the courtroom to talk to reporters

The Supreme Court took almost three hours to read the verdict on the fugitive former prime minister’s alleged negligence in her government’s rice-pledging scheme.

However, at 2pm, there was rumour that the court had finished reading the verdict.

 

Celebrities caught using drugs face uncertain fate

Posted by pakin On September - 21 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

FORMER MISS TEEN THAILAND and now-disgraced actress Amelia Jacobs, who was arrested on drug-related charges early on Tuesday morning, is not the first – and will not be the last – Thai star who has seen a bright future threatened by involvement with illegal drugs.

Indeed, the police blotter is littered with examples of celebrities being caught with narcotics, ending in lengthy jail sentences and hefty fines, although in some cases, canny public relations and efforts to rehabilitate have saved careers that seemed beyond repair.

Just this last March, the Supreme Court upheld a verdict against Chatchaya Ramos, or “Yuyee”, formerly a popular model, sentencing her to 15 years and three months in jail for smuggling cocaine into the country in November 2012.

During a search at Don Mueang International Airport, authorities found 251 milligrams of cocaine concealed in her suitcase. In addition to the jail sentence, she was also fined Bt1.5 million.

However, the trail of careers in peril reaches back years. In 2013, the young actress Sutatta “Punpun” Udomsilp saw all of her contracts suspended after photos of her using meth were leaked to the public and her family admitted that she used drugs.

However, the young celebrity stopped using drugs before returning to act in movies again and regaining her popularity as a teen idol.

In another particularly high-profile case in December 2011, renowned rockstar Seksan “Sek Loso” Sukpimai came out to admit that he used “ice” after his estranged wife at the time, Wiphakorn Sookpimay, posted on Facebook photos of him consuming drugs.

He too was able to restore his image after spending months in rehabilitation and then returning to the music arena where he has founded and managed many related businesses. He also divorced Wiphakorn.

In March the previous year, the once-rising star Athip Nana, or “Ball”, was arrested after police found him in possession of marijuana and cocaine.

He was sentenced to one year and three months in jail, fined Bt12,000 and ordered to enter rehab. However, his sentence was suspended for two years.

In the same year, a female comedian known as Nok Choenyim was arrested for trying to smuggle 560 milligrams of “ice”, 580 milligrams of marijuana and drug paraphernalia from Cambodia to Thailand. It was the second time she was charged for such an offence.

Going all the way back to 2004, the popular young singer Joyce Triumph Kingdoms and her boyfriend were arrested and charged with possession of 4,000 “yaba” amphetamine tablets with intent to sell.

 

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