Yet more delay! Plans to link Andaman to Gulf by train and motorway won’t happen until 2029

Jul 01, 2021 | 

Ambitious plans for a so-called land bridge between the deep sea port in Ranong on the Andaman Sea and Chumporn on the Gulf of Thailand will be further delayed.  A study has already been completed in 2018 but now Daily News‘ sources at the State Railway authority have said they are about to call for yet another new environmental and economic impact assessment by a company called MAA Consortium.  The new EIA won’t be finished until the end of 2022. Thereafter the cabinet will make a decision in 2023 and are expected to use budgets from the 2024 fiscal year.  With four years of construction ahead on the 35 billion baht project Daily News were reporting that the railway and motorway would not be opened anytime before 2029.  Chief sticking point that has caused the new assessment is changes to the precise route that the new infrastructure will follow.  This involves the positioning of the railway in relation to existing Route 4 and the motorway.  Ultimately the plan for the Land Bridge is to connect everything up to roads and sea links ending up in China. This will lead to shipping firms coming from the west saving money by offloading cargo in Ranong rather than going south around Singapore then travelling up to ports like Laem Chabang on the eastern seaboard of Thailand.

Quarantine on a raft! Idea in south floats the boat of officials looking for field hospital beds

Jun 28, 2021 | 

Health officials in Yala in the far south of Thailand are battling Covid-19 infections that have shot past 1,000 and are rising at up to 200 a day, reported INN.  Field hospitals are full and using schools is not practical as staff have returned to them even if they are not open. So Dr Matcharan Taleh said they had hit on the idea of renting large rafts used in the tourism industry. Picture: INN They suited the requirements perfectly as there were no tourists and the rafts – situated on the Bang Lang Dam – were well away from other people. They could be kitted out with things like beds and fans and necessary equipment and cater to 40 people in quarantine on each boat.  They are being rented from the owners for 2,500 baht a night to provide extra field hospital capacity. 

Thai man arrested for attempted murder of cousin – attacked him with scythe after he didn’t pay vehicle instalments

Jun 28, 2021 | 

Railway police under the command of Pol Maj-Gen Amnat Traiphot arrested 35 year old Kittipong “Noi” Pengsakun from Surat Thani. He was named in a warrant for attempted murder issued in Wiang Sa in November of last year. He was arrested on train number 447 from Surat Thani to Sungei Kolok when it was at Ban Toon station in Nakhon Sri Thammarat, reported Daily News.  Kittipong attacked his cousin with a scythe and nearly killed him after he had leased a vehicle for his cousin who didn’t keep up with the payments. Kittipong lost his temper when the finance company contacted him. He admitted attacking his cousin and then going into hiding. He was taken to the Bang Sawan police station in Surat Thani for prosecution.

VIDEO: Two insurgents killed after gun fight with security forces at resort in Pattani

Jun 23, 2021 | 

A video taken at the Awada Resort in Pattani in the far south of Thailand was more than three minutes long and featured the sound of dozens of rounds of gunfire.  Holed up in the resort were three men believed to be involved in the death of three family members in April. Security forces surrounded the resort – on the beach in Yaring district – at 3 am when there was ten minutes of shooting, reported Daily News. By 5 am religious leaders were brought in to try and diffuse the situation. Picture: Daily News The standoff came after a male trader, his daughter and a younger male relative were killed then set on fire on the way to sell their goods in Narathiwas in April.  Thai media reported that two suspected insurgents were killed during the battle and a local fisherman was injured in the crossfire.

Huge drug haul found in mangrove swamps in far south of Thailand

Jun 21, 2021 | 

Daily News reported that Thai authorities including the Marine Police found 1.2 tons of heroin and crystal meth in mangrove swamps in Satun, southern Thailand. They were in the area of Klong Tammalang and were believed destined for Malaysia.  The drugs had the logo of the “lion’s foot stamping on the world” brand.  They were concealed in packets of green and regular tea within plastic containers usually used for fruit. Some containers were floating in the water when retrieved.  The haul was worth 60 million baht in Thailand but if it reached a third country successfully the value would rocket to half a billion baht. 

Thai man, aged 70, spends eight hours under water at sand pit but survives

Jun 17, 2021 | 

Workers at a sand suction pit near the Trang River in southern Thailand wondered what had happened to their colleague Narong, 70, after he went under water to position a sand suction head.  Attached to an oxygen stream he entered the water at 9 am but by 11.40 he still had not surfaced.  It soon emerged he had got stuck under the water and the Sawang Phakdee Trang rescue services and a large dive team rushed to the pit.  They found Narong – an experienced worker at the site – was under 5 meters of water but still alive thanks to the oxygen support line.  His body from the waist down to the legs had become squashed by a large log. Though bleeding profusely he had managed to remain conscious throughout his ordeal.  Picture: Daily News Rescue workers and two divers utilizing a backhoe managed to remove the log and free him in a four hour operation. He was seriously hurt but was now recovering and out of danger in Trang Hospital, reported Daily News. The head of the rescue team said that during the suction process the log had someone moved and trapped Narong under the water. 

Thailand Road Carnage: Three dead in crash in southern Thailand

Jun 16, 2021 | 

A scene of utter carnage faced Khiansa police, firemen and rescue services in Surat Thani in southern Thailand yesterday after a collision and resulting fire left three dead and one injured.  Daily News called it “theung khaat” – when your number’s up, it’s up. Two trucks carrying wood had stopped on Route 44, the road to Krabi from Surat Thani.  The lead driver had got out to discuss the way with the second driver when a truck carrying car tires plowed into the back. Picture: Daily News It took fire services an hour to get the blaze under control.  Rittipong, 21, a passenger in the tire truck, and Wirawat, 47, an 18 wheeler driver, were dead at the scene. Decha, 44, a driver of one of the timber trucks died on the way to hospital. Pornphiphat, 58, the driver of the tire truck was injured and now is in police custody in hospital.  He managed to flee his cab in time. 

Koh Lipe hopes for “New Normal” return to tourism on July 1st

Jun 13, 2021 | 

Thai business media Thansettakij reported on Koh Lipe, the famed holiday island in Satun province in the far south of Thailand. The media said that pre-pandemic it had almost a million Thai and foreign tourists visiting per year. Despite the fact there were no Covid-19 cases on Koh Lipe, and only a few in Satun province, the island’s tourism fortunes were devastated.  Satun recieved 22,200 doses of vaccine – 17,200 Sinovac and 5,000 Astra Zeneca – and on May 20-21st 720 of these went into the arms of tourism personnel on the island.  The second dose was being administered Thursday and Friday June 10th/11th. This will mean that 50% of the island’s inhabitants will have been vaccinated. Now there are hopes that a “New Normal” return to tourism will begin on Koh Lipe starting next month, July 1st. 

Police seize ‘ice’ worth 135 million baht – Chonburi guys were paid 300K to take the drugs south

Jun 11, 2021 | 

Pol Col Pahon Katekaew of the Region 4 police announced the arrest of three men and one woman and the seizure of 135 kilos of crystal meth worth 135 million baht. Naew Na reported that police became aware of drugs being moved in Songkhla province in the far south of Thailand.  A Honda Jazz and a Toyota Vios were traced to a resort in the Khao Roop Chang sub-district. The police found the drugs in fertilizer sacks in a room at the resort but there were no suspects to arrest on June 8th. But soon on the same day Withoon, 23, and Akkrawin, 22, both from Chonburi were arrested nearby. Two other suspects – Phanupong, 32, from Samut Sakhon and Orawan, 24 from Bangkok – were intercepted in a minivan in Nakhon Sri Thammarat after they had fled to Hat Yai bus station and taken public transport north.  They have all been charged with possessing and dealing in Class 1 drugs.  The drugs were supplied by a person called “Boy” or “Tee” who paid the mules 300,000 baht to deliver them to Tak Bai in Naratiwas province on the border with Malaysia. 

Video: Netizens irate after car blocks ambulance carrying unconscious man – 500 baht’s the fine

Jun 07, 2021 | 

Sanook reported that netizens on Facebook were furious after a video showed a white car going along a road in Nakhon Sri Thammarat in southern Thailand blocking an ambulance.  The car was in the right lane and despite a blaring siren and many honks on the horn the driver did not pull over.  Worse – the driver was deliberately braking and nearly caused a collision on seveal occasions as the Chulalongkorn Hospital ambulance tried to pass.  In the back was a person who had fallen from a height, had broken their leg and suffered a head injury that had left them unconscious.  The patient was being transferred to Maharat Nakhon Sri Thammarat Hospital  on Saturday afternoon.  A video showed the driver of the ambulance eventually decide to undertake. Sanook did not say why the ambulance driver did not take this option before though previous reports have suggested that ambulance drivers are reluctant to do this for fear of causing an accident themselves. They said that under Article 76 this irresponsible driving blocking an ambulance was an offence punishable by a 500 baht fine.  If the patient were to die as a result of this driving then they could be charged with negligence causing death, with a far more serious penalty. Advocates of changes to the fines for traffic offences in Thailand have said that such paltry fines are no deterrent to appalling driving like this, notes Thaivisa. But despite reviews the fine remains 500 baht – just US $16.