Thailand: Jail scandal
Comment: An investigation has found that officials at Nakhon Si Thammarat Central Prison allowed inmates to use banned items – for cash – and secured a reduction in punishment for some.
“A drug convict on death row has been said to have behaved well and because of that he has now been ordered to serve just 33 years in jail. He’s confident he will be able to walk free soon too,” Nakhon Si Thammarat police chief Maj-General Ronnapong Saikaeo said yesterday.
He said police now had evidence solid enough to see prison officials’ assets seized.
Ronnapong spoke after more than 600 officials conducted a surprise search of the local jail on Sunday, which uncovered hundreds of mobile phones, weapons and illicit drugs.
He insinuated that many drug traffickers were able to get their jail terms commuted through good-behaviour reports because of corrupt ties with prison officials.
A round up of Thailand’s news:
World: NKorea ready for new nuke test. US troops to stay in Afghanistan until 2024. James Murdoch questioned on UK phone hacking. Sudan war heats up.
Bangkok: Ch. Karnchang stands to earn 15 billion with Xayaburi dam. 3 prison guards fired in drug probe. Four govt banks to give 3-year moratorium.
The Transport Ministry has scrapped the bid for the construction of an electric railway section from Bang Sue in Bangkok to Rangsit in Pathum Thani province because the lowest quote is too high.
A planned meeting between Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, several cabinet ministers and Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda will have negative repercussions, a senior red shirt official Tida warned yesterday.
Police combed through Nakhon Si Thammarat Central prison in their third raid this week. Half of the inmates tested for drugs produced positive results. Three officers of the prison were fired after being implicated in smuggling drugs and mobile phones.
Millions of borrowers are set to benefit from the government’s latest populist policy, as the cabinet yesterday approved a moratorium for payments on small debts to state banks.
The 45 billion baht debt suspension would apply to more than 3.75 million small borrowers from four state banks, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong said.
The scheme, starting on Sept 1 and lasting until Aug 31, 2015, will cost the state about 45 billion baht, Mr Kittiratt said. Half of the cost would be shouldered by state budget and the remainder by the banks.
Top beef exporter the United States revealed Tuesday that a case of mad cow disease had been discovered in California as it scrambled to reassure consumers around the world.
Apple’s coffers continued to swell in the first three months of the year due to record sales of iPhones and iPad tablet computers, particularly in China and other parts of Asia.
Apple reported on Tuesday that it made a profit of $11.6 billion on revenue of $39.2 billion in the quarter ended March 31. The amount of cash Apple had on hand grew $12 billion to $110.2 billion.
Sales of iPads more than doubled from the same quarter the previous year and iPhone sales surged 88 percent.
“We’re thrilled with sales of over 35 million iPhones and almost 12 million iPads in the March quarter,” said Apple chief executive Tim Cook.
“The new iPad is off to a great start, and across the year you’re going to see a lot more of the kind of innovation that only Apple can deliver.”
Apple’s net income for its second fiscal quarter was nearly double that seen in the same period a year earlier, when sales tallied $24.7 billion.
A car bomb rocked Damascus on Tuesday a day after nearly 60 were killed across Syria, as international peace envoy Kofi Annan said violence levels were “unacceptable” 12 days into a promised truce.
Protestors said they would hold a protest against the Mekong River’s Xayaburi dam project again next month on Phuket, where the Mekong River Commission is scheduled to meet. PM Yingluck Shinawatra will preside over the conference, which will include river management bodies from around the world. After holding the protest in Phuket, they will lodge a petition with the Administrative Court to demand that the project be scrapped. [Nation]
Phuket: Phuket Airport welcomed more than 99,500 international arrivals during April 1 to 16, up 16.82 percent compared to the same period last year.
[Asia Travel Tips]
The 2012 Rotary International Convention is scheduled to be staged from May 6 to May 9. The event will attract 30,000 Rotarians from more than 160 countries and is set to become the grandest international convention ever staged in Thailand.
The temporary ordination of young men has long been part of Thai culture, with men spending a few days as monks and returning to their normal professions after time at a monastery. But the ordination of “mae ji” or “nuns” is less common, and the idea that women should not play an active role in monastic life still prevails among more conservative Thais. Fully ordained Buddhist nuns are not legally recognised, as they are in Burma and Sri Lanka – one sign of the inequality women still face in certain fields in Thailand. [Reuters]
Funny: So I went to the Chinese restaurant and this duck came up to me with a red rose and says “Your eyes sparkle like diamonds”. I said, “Waiter, I asked for a-ROMATIC duck”.
Written by: Andrew J Wood