Tuesday, December 18, 2018
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Bang Na hardest hit with 138mm rainfall

Posted by pakin On January - 31 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

The Bang Na district was the hardest hit by freak rainfall early on Wednesday, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration’s drainage and sewerage department reported.

At 10.30am, the department said Bang Na district had accumulated rainfall of 138 millimetres from rains that started at about 5am.

The department said variable rainfall happened in Yannawa, Klong Toei, Vadhana, Phayathai, Ratchathevi, Huay Kwang, Din Daeng, Wang Thong Lang, Bang Kapi, Saphan Sung, Suan Luang, Phra Khanon, Prawet and Bang Na districts.

The Meteorological Department has predicted heavy rainfalls this week as a harbinger of another sharp drop in temperature. Forecasters attribute this to a high pressure mass that has moved down from China into Vietnam and Thailand.

 

POLICE ARE ATTEMPTING to determine whether anyone financed recent protests by anti-junta activists, a deputy national police chief said yesterday.

Amid the crackdown on protesters, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday continued to insist he was willing to listen to everyone’s voice.

The prime minister said in a weekly press briefing that he understood that protesters had their own reasons to rally publicly, but he warned them against violating the law.

Prayut also said he listened to all groups of people. Regarding the delay in the next election that protesters opposed, he said it would certainly bring advantages and disadvantages to different groups of people but he did not think the government would benefit.

Pol General Sriwara Ransibhramanakul, the deputy police commissioner-general in charge of security affairs, said investigators would summon seven activists who had been accused of violating the junta ban on political gatherings and instigating disturbances.

He said the ongoing police investigation could lead to more suspects being called in, but he declined to disclose a number.

His comments came after Colonel Burin Thongprapai, an official with the ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), filed a complaint at Pathum Wan Police Station against seven activists who organised a rally last Saturday on the skywalk above the Pathum Wan intersection.

The demonstration, which included more than 100 participants, called for a general election by November, as had been promised by Prayut. The seven activists are Rangsiman Rome, Sirawit Sereethiwat, Nattha Mahatthana, Anon Nampha, Ekachai Hongkangwan, Sukrit Piansuwan and Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal, most of whom are members of the Democracy Restoration Group.

Sirawit yesterday asked “people power” to rise up against the “NCPO dictators”.

He said in his Facebook message that, “On February 10 I will never back off,” referring to the date of a planned rally by anti-junta activists at the Democracy Monument.

However, Netiwit said in a Facebook message yesterday that he had joined Saturday’s rally as a citizen, and not as an affiliate of any group. “I feel honoured to be one of the seven accused,” he added.

Sriwara said yesterday that police were investigating to determine who was behind this “regular” group of protesters, but he declined to provide further details.

“Wait until arrest warrants are approved by the court, and you will know. The supporters are no mystery. They are behind the gatherings in five to six areas,” he said.

As the activists were being charged with political assembly, Prayut yesterday said the government was not guilty of discrimination. For example, he said, he had also been criticised by the media and yet had not prohibited their coverage.

“Don’t create misunderstandings. It is reported to the international community and now they view that the government as discriminatory,” Prayut said to Government House reporters.

He said activists should consider whether their rallies affected peace in society, adding that actions should be in line with the law.

“The Administrative Court has already granted an injunction [to the We Walk marchers]. Now try not to violate the law,” he said, apparently referring to activists marching to Khon Kaen to address public policy issues.

Prayut also advised people to look at the motives of the activists, while adding that he did not want to be in conflict with anyone.

He also admitted that the government’s popularity was in decline, saying it was common for every government in its fourth year of ruling. But the government would try to work hard and serve the people, he said.

Meanwhile, Sriwara yesterday met Pathum Wan district chief Nawaporn Klinbuakaew, who maintained that the rally site at Pathum Wan intersection was a public area. Police said protests were prohibited in the area under the Public Rally Act because it is located less than 150 metres from royal premises.

The case’s chief investigator, Pol Lt-Colonel Samak Panyawong, yesterday said the seven accused had been summoned to meet with police on Friday to be formally notified of charges against them. If they fail to meet with the investigators after being summoned twice, arrest warrants would be issued against them, he added.

Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan yesterday said authorities would rely on relevant laws and junta orders in dealing with protesters. He also noted that the junta was still in power and its ban against political gatherings of more than four people remained in effect.

“I have measures to take care of them. According to the intelligence, there is only one group [of anti-junta protesters]”, Prawit said.

Meanwhile, the National Security Council (NSC) was looking into reported moves by “hardline” groups and “foreign instigators” in support of the activists, NSC secretary-general General Wanlop Raksanoh said yesterday.

“We are trying to verify the reports,” he said, adding that there should be no problem as long as their acts were not against the law.

 

THE GOVERNMENT will step up surveillance of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies by requiring digital currency exchangers to report their transactions to the country’s anti-money laundering agency.

Pol Maj-General Romsit Viriyasan, the acting chief of the Anti-Money Laundering Organisation (AMLO), said the agency would amend its law to impose the requirement in order to suppress money-laundering activities using bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as media of exchange.

Investing in digital currencies carries a high risk because Thai law does not recognise them as legal tender, so the public should exercise caution to avoid misleading and cheating tactics, he said.

Local and international criminal networks relied on digital currencies to hide ill-gotten gains, he added.

Moreover, the methods used to lure unsuspecting investors had become diverse and sophisticated, including the buying and selling of goods with the digital coins to conceal ill-gotten wealth, Romsit said.

In response, the AMLO needed to be empowered to investigate and pursue digital money trails, he added. Bitcoin and another cryptocurrency, ripple, are currently the two most popular units used by criminals to launder money in Thailand.

‘Ponzi schemes’

Even though digital currencies are not legal tender, they have market value and can be traded internationally on digital platforms in Thailand and overseas.

Romsit said the current AMLO law empowered the agency to investigate cases in which ill-gotten money, such as the proceeds of cheating and investment scams, was converted into other assets, while the planned amendment would relate to bitcoin and all other digital currencies.

If there is solid evidence, the agency will also be empowered to freeze all assets arising from illegal activity, pending further investment and prosecution. The AMLO will require people providing digital exchange services to file reports about transactions, with a special focus on people involved in suspicious activities that could be covering up money laundering.

Meanwhile, AMLO chairman Pol General Chaiya Siri-ampunkul said the public should be careful when investing in bitcoin and other digital currencies since they could be joining illegal Ponzi schemes using digital currencies.

Most of the schemes promised very high returns but payments were typically delivered for a short time only, after which they stopped and the schemes collapsed, Chaiya said.

He added that investors would not be able to contact criminal networks involved and could lose their investments.

The public should reach AMLO via its 1710 hotline for inquiries, he said.

 

Labour Minister Adul Sangsingkeo sought Cabinet approval on Wednesday to extend by three months a March 31 deadline for verifying the nationalities of the 900,000 foreign migrant labourers in Thailand.

Adul said he would personally inspect the verification process to ensure it was being handled smoothly and fast, but he noted that the ministry still needed more equipment, such as retina-scanning devices.

Enforcement of a new law governing the management of migrant workers, which stipulates tough penalties for their illegal employment, is to begin once the verification process is completed.

The law would see employers of illegal migrants fined Bt400,000-Bt800,000 for every labourer hired.

 

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