Category Archives: Human Rights

Government spokesman hit back at Dhammakaya over the death of a temple’s volunteer

Government spokesman Lt-Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd hit back at Wat Dhammakaya for blaming the death of one of its volunteers on blockade of the temple by government forces which has prevented the patient from being taken to the hospital for treatment within a short period of time.

Earlier on Wednesday, Phra Palad Seksant Attathamo, a Dhammakaya monk, condemned the Department of Special Investigation for the death of Ms Pattana Chiangraeng, 48, an assistant pharmacist at the temple, from asthma.

The monk claimed that DSI officials prevented a rescue team to leave the temple in order to take Ms Pattana to a hospital. But when the rescue vehicle was allowed to leave the temple, it was already too late to save the life of the patient, he said.

Phra Palad claimed that it took about an hour and ten minutes for monks to get a clearance from the DSI to allow the rescue vehicle to leave the temple for hospital.

Lt-Gen Sansern said that Phra Maha Nopporn contacted the DSI at about 1.31 pm asking for an ambulance to be sent into the temple to pick up Ms Pattana, but when the ambulance arrived at the temple, police and doctors were already at the scene conducting an initial post mortem on the patient who was believed to have died at about 9 am.

The spokesman said that the monk's claim that officials had deliberately prevented the patient from getting out to get medical treatment was a distortion of fact.

He alleged that since the enforcement of Section 44 to declare the temple a controlled zone, Dhammakaya followers had resorted to the spreading of misinformation or distorted news to discredit the officials.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)

Abu Sayyaf group beheads German hostage

The Abu Sayyaf extremist group has beheaded the German hostage they were holding for ransom since last year, The Manila Times Online reported on Tuesday quoting SITE intelligence group.

A video posted by the terror group showing German hostage JurgenKantner being killed by a knife-wielding man. The video appeared to confirm preliminary reports received by the Philippine government officials that the extremist Islamic group had killed Kantner.

Presidential peace advisor Jesus Dureza has confirmed the barbaric beheading and condemned those responsible.

A report by Al Jazeera television network showed a video of the elderly captive slumped on a grassy lot and a man holding a knife to his neck. Now they will kill me, Kantner said before he was executed.

The extremists had previously demanded a ransom of P30 million ($600,000) by Sunday to spare the 70-year old hostage.

Kantner was abducted from his yacht the Rockall, in waters off Tawi-Tawi in Mindanao last year. The vessel was found drifting on November 27 with the body of Kantner's female companion, Sabine Merz, 50, bearing a gunshot wound.

The couple had previously been kidnapped and held for 52 days in Somalia in 2008 before they were freed.

In a statement, Dureza said: Up to the last moment, many sectors, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines exhausted all efforts to save his life. We all tried our best, but to no avail.

The terror group is holding at least 19 foreigners and seven Filipinos hostage, according to military resources.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)

Six volunteers injured in roadside bomb attack in Pattani

Six defence volunteers were injured, three of them in serious condition, in a roadside bomb explosion in Kapor district of Pattani province on Friday.

The six injured were among 12 defence volunteers riding on two armour-plated pickup trucks on their way back to base in Mai Kaen district from a training centre in Tambon Tha Sab, Muang district.

As the two pickup trucks were approaching a motorcycle with a side car rigged with about 50 kgs of explosives stuffed in a 15-kg gas canister which was parked on the roadside, the two drivers became suspicious and swerved their vehicles toward the other lane of the road in Tambon Nong Hoi, Kapor district.

Suspected militants who had been waiting in the bushes a safe distance from the parked motorbike then detonated the rigged bike, causing a loud explosion. The force of the blast damaged the second vehicle and injured six men on board.

The first pickup truck escaped undamaged and its driver and passengers were safe.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)

Power plant protesters end protest

Opponents of the Krabi's coal-fired power plant project have agreed to end their protest held in front of the Government House and to return to their home province after the government agreed to conduct a new environment and health impacts assessment (EHIA) study of the project.

The decision to end the protest was announced at the protest site in a joint press conference attended by First Army Region commander Lt-Gen Apirat Kongsompong, government spokesman Lt-Gen Sansern Kaeokamnerd and three core leaders of the protesters.

Police agreed to free five core protest leaders before noon today after their arrest on Saturday morning. 11 protesters were released earlier also in the same morning today.

Lt-Gen Apirat told the protesters and the media that the government was ready to listen to the protesters if they are honest in their protest and that their opposition to the project was not politically motivated.

He warned politicians not to get involved in the protest or they would be dealt with legally. He added that the cabinet, at its meeting next Tuesday, would be recommended to scrap the previous EHIA report and, instead, to conduct a new study.

Meanwhile, Mrs Raweewan Phuridet, secretary-general of the Office of Natural Resources and Environment Policy and Planning, said that the previous EHIA report had been dropped by a panel of experts over two years ago after a civic group, the Andaman Protection Network against Coal, had raised objection to her office.

She added that, until now, the project operator, has not submitted a new EHIA report to her office.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)

School director insists screening process was done on teacher arrested on drug charges

The director of British international school of Krabi has defended that the school had properly checked the background of an American teacher arrested on drug charges in the United States and found him cleared of any criminal record.

Mrs Kwanta Sooksai, the school director, said on Friday that the screening process was undertaken when the American, Alexander Jonathan Rosen, applied for a job as English teacher at the school.

She added that Rosen also presented certifying documents from the Khuru Sapha teachers' organization. However, she admitted that there might be a lapse of communication between US and Thai authorities when the US revoked Rosen's passport and issued a warrant for his arrest on drug charges.

However, Mrs Kwanta assured the incident would not affect the school and parents of students still have confidence in the school.

Rosen was arrested by police at his rented house in Ao Nang after the US embassy in Bangkok requested help from the national police chief, Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda, for the arrest of the American on drug charges.

Rosen had been in and out of Thailand seven times since he first arrived via Suvarnabhumi airport on October 31, 2015.

On September 14, Rosen submitted an application to the Krabi immigration office for a temporary stay in Thailand to work as an English teacher at an international school in Krabi.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)

Suspected killers of a British web designer in Pattaya escape to Cambodia

A Briton and a South African who were suspected to be involved in the killing of a British web designer in Pattaya on Tuesday January 24 have escaped into Cambodia on the same day, police said on Wednesday.

The two suspects were identified as Miles Dicken Turner, a 27-year old British national and 23-year old South African named Abel Caldeira Bonito.

The victim, Tony Kenway, was shot dead behind the steering wheel of his Porsche in Pattaya with a single bullet on his head by a lone gunman who escaped in a waiting motorcycle after the incident.

Pattaya police said they found an abandoned motorcycle with license plate number 1 kor lor 7994 in Soi Pattaya Park. Police traced the motorbike to a rental service whose proprietor said he rented the vehicle to Turner.

Police later traced the suspect to his apartment room and found out that he had already checked out. All immigration checkpoints were alerted to look out for Turner, but the alert came too late as the suspect had already crossed the border into Cambodia through Klongyai border crossing in Trat province.

Meanwhile, police managed to identify the suspected gunman from video footages as Abel Caldeira Bonito, a South African, who crossed the border into Thailand from Cambodia through the border crossing in Klongyai on December 19 and escaped through the same border crossing on Tuesday at about 3 pm.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)

Labour Minister Consults Delays in Citizenship Verification Process

The Ministry of Labour and executive committee are scheduled to attend the fourth Abu Dhabi Dialogue during 23-24 January 2017 at the Cinnamon Laheside in Columbo, Sri Lanka upon invitation by the Sri Lankan Ministry of Foreign Employment. The objective of the dialogue is for labour-sending and labour-receiving countries in the Gulf Arabic to consult on effective measures for recruitment of temporary labour. The dialogue is also a good opportunity for labour-related units in Thailand to strengthen relationships with governments in labour-receiving countries, as well as source and create measures to prevent illegal labour. The meeting will also promote labour protection and welfare for Thai workers abroad, preventing labour exploitation with the support of both regional and international organizations.

Labour Minister General Sirichai Distakul will also consult with countries sending workers into Thailand on suitable measures for the citizenship verification process which has been delayed by origin countries. The Labour Minister will also consult on sourcing workers from other nations if the verification process of Burmese, Laotian and Cambodian workers are not complete within the given period. This will help resolve labour shortages in Thailand and will ensure migrant workers enter and work in Thailand legally.

The Ministry of Labour's Inspector-General and spokesperson Mr. Ananchai Uthaipatanacheep said, The Labour Minister has assigned the Department of Employment to coordinate with units responsible for the citizenship verification process in neighbouring countries. Minister Counsellors on labour from neighbouring countries will be invited to consult measures to speed up the citizenship verification process.

Source: Ministry of Labour

Royal crematorium building is progressing

Work on the construction of the royal crematorium is progressing steadily with the main pillar scheduled to be erected in March.

This was disclosed by Deputy Prime Minister Gen Tanasak Patimapragon after he visited the Fine Arts Department to check on progress being made on the royal crematorium.

He also checked on the work that is being done to refurbish the royal chariots that will be used to bear the body of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej in the royal funeral ceremony.

Gen Tanasak said all the work was progressing according to schedule.

He said everybody involved is totally dedicated to the task at hand, adding that he expects all the preparations to be completed on time if not earlier than schedule.

However he said that the highest priority will be placed on being meticulous, exercising the greatest care and dedication to all the details on the crematorium.

Plans to hold a religious ceremony to bless the construction of the royal crematorium will be held at the end of February with the Prime Minister in attendance as the guest of honor.

This will be followed by the ceremony to raise the main pillar of the crematorium in March.

The greatest priority has been placed in the preparations for the funeral of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej as this was a very important task which everyone involved is proud to undertake, he added.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)