The Bangkok Protests

It's certainly been awhile! To say I've been busy would be an understatement.

But I couldn't help myself but to talk about the protests that have been going on in Bangkok the past week.

The anti Thaksin people are protesting, blocking major intersections, closing government buildings and doing everything they can to make life hard for the current government to operate.

Unfortunately they are making life hard for normal Bangkokians like myself as well.

Look, I fully support their effort of getting the Shiniwatra family out of Thai politics.

Thaksin and his cronies are bad people who are keeping Thailand from realizing it's full potential.

They are corrupt, violent and rule with one goal and one goal only, to get Thaksin's money back that was frozen in the 2006 coup.

However a one day protest has now extended to a week and word has it that it could go into February.

Tourism has taken a major hit and at the worst possible time, right in the middle of the peak tourist season.

And you have to think that the average Bangkok citizen who doesn't turn out to these protests is just getting a bit pissed off about the inconveniece this is causing.  I know I am, despite my support for their efforts.

And there is absolutely no crowd control.  The police are nowhere to be found.  So the PDRC "guards" decide what real estate is theirs, like roping off buildings at Asoke and skytrain walkways.  Ridiculous!

But the biggest problem here is that the protest leaders do not have an end game.  There is no plan in place.  They do things on a day to day basis.

When dealing with dirtbags that are as sophisticated as Thaksin's people are, that is no way to operate.

My feeling is that these people could protest for months and nothing will get accomplished.  Except they will piss many people off, people who could have been their supporters.

So here's my suggestion.  Sit down with Thaksin and his lovely sister Yingluck.  Propose a solution to them.  Tell them they can have their money back.  But they and all of Thaksin's cronies have to stay out of Thai politics forever.  And to make sure the deal sticks, give them a certain amount of money every year, possibly over a 10 year payment plan.

If at any point that the Shiniwatras get back into politics, the deal is off.

If Thaksin wants to come back to Thailand let him come back.  But he has to face the jail time that he's been sentenced to.

If he would rather stay abroad, all the better.

This would make all sides happy, at least to a point.  Thaksin gets his money back, albeit over a period of time.  The protestors get their wish and rid the country of the Shiniwatra family.  And Thailand can vote on some leaders other than Thaksin's people.

I know it's not perfect, but it's the best I can come up with.

Have a better idea?  Feel free to comment.


Thai Justice at it’s finest

This is Thai "justice" at it's finest.  The rich guy walks and the little guy pays:

BANGKOK, October 22, 2013 (AFP) – The owner of a Bangkok nightclub destroyed by a fire that killed 67 people on New Year's Day in 2009 was acquitted of gross negligence Tuesday on appeal.
Visuk Setsawat, whose Santika Club was set ablaze by pyrotechnics during a performance by rock band Burn, was sentenced to three years in prison in September 2011 but was cleared by the Appeal Court in the Thai capital.
"The decision has changed to an acquittal of the first defendant (Visuk) on every charge," the court said in a statement posted on its website.
Boonchu Laosrinak, owner of Focus Light Sound System Company, the company that installed the pyrotechnics, was also sentenced to three years in jail in September 2011. His appeal was rejected by the court.
More than a hundred people were wounded, including 32 who suffered critical or life-changing injuries, according to the prosecutor at the original trial.
Hundreds of partygoers were inside the upmarket nightclub when it caught fire.
Three Singaporeans, one Japanese and a Myanmar national were among the dead, while scores of foreigners including some from Australia, France and Britain were injured.


You’ve got to love those superstitious Thai people

It doesn't surprise me when individual Thai people are superstitious. Hell my wife is as bad as anybody. We had to get married on a certain day of the month, because the number was lucky. God forbid we got married on an unlucky day! Would have made all the difference I'm sure… But when a Thai company, owned by the Thai government does it, I scratch my head.

Here's the piece from Coconuts Bangkok: The managing director of Thai Aiways, Sorajak Kasemsuvan, has said that his company will conduct a major ceremony to appease the malevolent spirits said to be haunting Suvarnabhumi airport. The ceremony will thank the spirits for assisting with the successful operation to salvage the Thai Airways plane from the runway. A ghost in traditional costume was rumored to have helped evacuate the passengers from the aircraft shortly after it slid off the runway READ MORE

Thailand’s Public transport issues to be solved in 2 months – Hooray!

Just saw this on Thai Visa, courtesy of the National News Bureau of Thailand. Almost fell on the floor laughing:

BANGKOK, 16 July 2013 (NNT) – The Ministry of Transport is expected to improve the entire public transport system within two months as several issues, such as passengers being rejected by taxi drivers and illegal parking, remain unresolved.

According to Deputy Permanent Secretary for Transport Theerapong Rodprasert, a meeting has been held to find solutions to problems concerning the public transport system in Thailand.

Related agencies and operators of all transport vehicles participating in the meeting were instructed to assess and compile pending issues for submission to Transport Minister Chatchart Sitthipan for consideration within August.

Mr. Theerapong further added that the current issues, including vans parking in prohibited areas, taxi drivers rejecting passengers as well as buses not pulling over at the stop, are expected to be handled within two months.

Well it's nice to know that one meeting will stop taxi drivers from not picking up passengers, make the busses run on time, stop vans from crashing and killing people, stop the illegal taxi drivers in Phuket from wreaking havoc, stop tuk tuk drivers from ripping people off.  I could go on and on, lol

Human Trafficking In Thailand

First I saw this today from AFP:


Thai policeman charged over rape of Rohingya refugee

BANGKOK, June 28, 2013 (AFP) – A policeman has been charged with trafficking after a Rohingya woman was allegedly lured from a shelter in southern Thailand and subsequently raped by a man from the refugee Muslim minority, police told AFP Friday.


It is believed to be the first time a Thai official has been charged with trafficking of Rohingya boat people, despite probes into alleged people smuggling by authorities including the army.


The officer is accused of driving the 25-year-old victim along with her daughters, aged 12 and nine, and two other women, from the shelter in Phang Nga in late May.


The woman was told she would be taken to Malaysia to be reunited with her husband, who is also from the minority group, but was instead held at several places in the region in an ordeal lasting several weeks, police said.


The woman was allegedly raped repeatedly by the Rohingya man, believed to have worked as a translator at the shelter, who has been charged for the assault.


The victim and her children were found on a roadside and returned to the shelter last week when she contacted the police.
"The officer has been charged with taking part in human trafficking and abuse of his position", Police Colonel Weerasin Kwansaeng, commander of Kuraburi Police Station told AFP.


"The victim said he drove the car from the shelter," he said, adding it was the first time charges had been brought against police over the trafficking of Rohingya.


Dozens of Rohingya women and children who fled communal violence in Myanmar, are housed at the shelter while hundreds of men from the ethnic group are being held at an immigration detention centre in the same province.


Rights groups have repeatedly voiced concerns over the treatment of destitute Rohingya refugees by Thai authorities, saying they are held in poor conditions and are vulnerable to exploitation.


The rape "demonstrates the vulnerability of Rohingya women to human traffickers — even when they are living in government-run shelters where they should be protected," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.


In January Thai authorities opened an investigation into allegations that army officials were involved in trafficking Rohingya.


Then I saw this from MCOT:


Thailand upset by human trafficking Watch List

Sek Wannamethee, director general of the America and South Pacific Department, said the US recently released its Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report which placed Thailand on the Tier 2 Watch List for the fourth consecutive year.

The US granted Thailand a waiver from an otherwise required downgrade to Tier 3 because the government has a written plan that, if implemented, would constitute making significant efforts to meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.

Mr Sek said he has discussed with related agencies including the Courts of Justice on the possibility of speeding up trials of human trafficking cases.

Thailand will update the TIP on development of the country’s trafficking solutions in November this year and January next year while a TIP delegation will visit the kingdom in August – an opportunity for Thailand to thoroughly explain the issue.


"We hope that Thailand will be lifted from the unfavourable list next year," Mr Sek said. (MCOT online news)

So what is the Thai government upset about here?

You hear these reports all the time.

Bottom line is, human trafficking is still a huge issue in Thailand and in the neighboring countries.

But when you have their own police and military involved (granted not all of these guys are exactly the salt of the earth), you have nobody to blame but yourself.

Until next time, enjoy yourself!

Time To Crack Down on Crimes Against Children in Thailand

I saw this on Pattaya One just now:

Pattaya Police arrest Swiss man accused of lewd acts with 12 year old boys

On Tuesday Night Pattaya Police Officers arrested a 62 year old Swiss man on the strength of an arrest warrant detailing allegations of lewd acts he is alleged to have committed with 12 year old boys.

Mr. Gaston Murer aged 62 was arrested in front of a Motorbike Rental Shop on 3rd Road in South Pattaya just before 10pm on Tuesday based on arrest warrant number 435/2556 dated 25th June 2013.

The warrant details allegations of Mr. Murer conducting lewd acts with 12 year old boys on two separate occasions in November and December 2012. A Ladyboy named as Khun Lachan is suspected of providing Mr. Murer with the boys for a fee of 400 Baht per boy.

Mr. Murer was taken to his apartment at the Bongkai Resort and then taken to Pattaya Police Station where he is being held pending criminal proceedings against him.

It's about time that the Thai authorities make a major crackdown on crimes against children.  

Unfortunately Thailand has a reputation as a place you can come and easily have sex with minors. Even more unfortunately that reputation is very true.

Pattaya seems like the hotbed for sexual crimes against minors.

The Thai police and politicians don't do near enough to root out not only the people committing these crimes, but the people who provide the children, such as this ladyboy mentioned in the article.

People who committ crimes against children are the lowest form of degenerate in the world.

Actually I think it would be better to threaten them with time in places like the Bangkok Hilton as opposed to sending them back to their own countries for prosecution.  That's getting off way too easy in my humble opinion.

Until next time, enjoy yourself!

Bangkok becoming a pricier place for expats

Saw this in Coconuts Bangkok:

Bangkok has become a more expensive home for expats during the last 12 months according to a new study.

The Thai capital has jumped to the 147th most expensive destination globally in 2013, having been ranked at 162nd last year. 

The research, published by ECA International – a provider of solutions for the management and assignment of employees around the world – calculates the cost of living for expatriates and includes items such as food, drink, miscellaneous good and services, clothing, electrical good and dining out. Costs for accommodation, schooling and car purchases are not included in the study.

For the first time in three years, Tokyo is no longer the most expensive location for international assignees. The Japanese capital has been overtaken by Norway's capital, Oslo, and now lies in sixth place in the ranking. 

"Tokyo has always been an expensive place for global companies to send staff, and, despite its five-place fall since last year, that remains the case," said Lee Quane, ECA's Regional Director, Asia. 

"The significant depreciation of the Yen against other major currencies in recent months is the primary reason for this drop. It means that for many companies, the cost of maintaining their assignees’ purchasing power while posted there has fallen. But it's important not to exaggerate the position – Tokyo is still the world's sixth most expensive city, and the most expensive in Asia."

Within Asia, Japanese cities still dominate the top of the cost of living ranking; four of the region's top five most expensive locations are found there. 

Seoul joins them, having jumped from 7th to 3rd most expensive Asian location (and from 29th to 14th globally). Not only have the prices of goods and services there increased at a faster rate than the previous year, but the Won has also strengthened against major currencies thereby pushing up costs there for many international assignees.

Beijing (24th globally), Shanghai (26th), Singapore (36th) and Hong Kong (38th) complete the list of the top 10 most expensive locations in Asia. 

On average, prices of items in ECA's cost of living basket for Chinese locations have increased little or even seen small decreases this year. As a result, Chinese locations have fallen slightly down the ranking but the on-going strength of the Yuan against major currencies has prevented them from dropping too far.

Hong Kong, ranked 38th in the global list is 10th most expensive location in Asia. Prices of goods and services in ECA's cost of living basket have gone up approximately 4% over the year on average there. This is a slightly slower rate of increase than the year before when prices rose 6% on average. With the Hong Kong dollar pegged to a stable US dollar, the cost of living for assignees in the SAR has remained steady.

Indian locations continue to be among the region’s cheapest in terms of cost of living for international assignees. New Delhi, ranked 200th position globally is followed by Mumbai (215th).
Karachi, ranked 256th globally, is the least expensive Asian location for expatriates.

Bangkok (147th) remains a cheaper home for expats than Jakarta (127th) but more expensive than Yangon (176th) and Kuala Lumpur (182nd).

To anyone who lives here, this is no surprise.  For me, being from the US, the exchange rate has worsened over the years by about 50% since I first came here and by about a third in the last 10 years.  In addition, the price of goods in Thai baht has continued to go up.

The Thai government really needs to take heed of reports like this and think seriously if they want a strong baht.  Expats fuel this economy as do tourists.  If the baht keeps going up (in fact if it doesn't go down), people will move away from here and stop visiting here.  Once again Thailand will have shot itself in the foot.  Something they've become experts at.

I think if they would let the baht go to anywhere from 35 to 38 and keep it there with some QE measures, they would help the overall Thai economy and make things nicer for people like me and my family.

Do I expect it to happen?  NO.  Just like just about everything else here, the morons in government have no idea what they're doing.

Until next time, enjoy yourself!

Injured man dies after cop tells ambulance to move

Just saw this in the Nation:

A screen grab from a video clip that went viral on Facebook shows a traffic policeman apparently ordering medics to clear away as they try to revive an accident victim.

BANGKOK: — A man seriously injured in a motorcycle accident yesterday died shortly after medics attending to him were ordered by a police officer to move their ambulance to ease a traffic jam, according to a Facebook complaint that linked to a widely viewed video.

After the complaint including photos and a video clip of the incident was posted on RKU News' Facebook page yesterday, Metropolitan Police deputy chief Police Maj-General Worasak Noppasittiporn, who is responsible for traffic, wrote on his own Facebook page that the incident occurred in an area under Min Buri Police Station's responsibility.

The complaint alleged that the man crashed his motorcycle into an electric post opposite the Big C supermarket's Romklao branch at 9.08am. An emergency-medical-services team from Nopparat Rajathanee Hospital attended the accident scene, and found that the man was unconscious.

An unidentified police officer told them via walkie-talkie that they should move the injured man and their ambulance away as it was blocking traffic. The medics continued to help the man.

After that, a policeman rode up on his motorcycle to tell them to move their ambulance 100 metres from the scene to ease the traffic jam. The man was confirmed dead at 9.35am.

This is just another example of the fucked up priorities in this country and in this city in particular. "Cars over people". It appears that anyone driving a car can do anything to pederstians and pretty much get away with it. People drive like maniacs and totally disregard the people walking in the street. And the police do nothing.

In this case you have a seriously injured person and all the cop cares about is that the traffic isn't moving. This guy should be fired and put in prison for doing this.

Thailand Elite Card to be relaunched in June

I just had to be among the first to pass along the happy news, that the Thailand Elite Card is coming back!

Yes, after two failures to sell a card that gave too little and cost too much, the Thai government is going to do it yet again, amazing as it seems.

Here's the news story:

BANGKOK, 31 May 2013 (NNT) – The Tourism Authority of Thailand is planning a global relaunch of the Thailand Elite Card in June.

The TAT has instructed 18 TAT offices abroad and authorised sales representatives in 12 Asian countries to start seling the cards.

The Thailand Elite card project is revamped with a new marketing strategy aimed at attracting Chinese and Russian customers.

The agency expected to attract around 300 new members from China alone, out of the projected 650 members in total.

Under the new membership terms and conditions, cardholders will be able to sign up with an initial down payment fee of two million Baht followed by a 20,000 Baht annual fee over a 20-year validity period.

Cardholders will be eligible for a five-year Multiple Entry Visa to Thailand and a one-year stay privilege per visit.

They will also be entitled to use the Thailand Elite Personal Assistance service at Suvarnabhumi Airport and Phuket Airport.

Interpol to lead piracy crackdown in Thailand

Saw this in the Nation today. Almost fell out of my chair laughing:

BANGKOK: — Thai police will be joining the Interpol-led weeklong crackdown on pirated goods, which kicks off tomorrow. Also participating are Bangladesh, Fiji, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Police adviser Pol General Chalermkiat Sriworakhan said officers will raid eight areas in Bangkok, namely the Khlong Thom Market, Ban Mor, Saphan Lek, MBK, Pantip, Sukhumvit Sois 13-19, Silom and Soi Patpong. Raids are also planned for Pattaya, Phuket, Samui, Hua Hin, and Chiang Mai.

So basically the Thai Police are announcing to the guys selling pirated goods, not only here, but all over Southeast Asia that there will be a "crackdown" tomorrow.  It's like calling a murder suspect on the phone and telling the guy "we'll be over tomorrow to get you".  Oh yeah, he'll be waiting at the door with his hands up, won't he?

But I think it's nice they picked a Thai holiday weekend to do it on.  At least the guys can go visit their families and hide their stuff to avoid being arrested or getting their goods taken away.

Come Monday it will be business as usual, or as we like to say out here "same, same".

Until next time, enjoy yourself!