Thai government to use Pokémon Go craze to boost tourism

Pokamon Thailand

The Ministry of Tourism and Sports plans to promote the country’s tourist spots with the popular smartphone game Pokémon Go.

Since the augmented reality game requires players to walk around real-life places to capture the digital monsters on their screen and level up, why not use it to encourage tourists to come catch some Pokémons in Thailand?

In the ministry’s initial plan, twelve cities in Thailand have been selected as must-see tourist sites. The selected cities are aligned with the Ministry’s own Tourism Gateway campaign.

They expect Thailand’s tourism revenue could increase by 15 percent with the launch of Pokémon Go Thailand, reported National News Bureau of Thailand.

However, reports of accidents and crimes associated with users of the game have made it a controversy. This has led to a ban in several countries.

Addressing this issues, the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Pongpanu Sawetaroon said that authorities involved in the project have a list of protocols and policies in place to ensure the highest degree of safety and convenience for tourists as the game is expected to kick off in September.

The Ministry is now making preparation for their negotiation with the telecom company True Corporation, who will own the exclusive right to Pokémon Go in Thailand. This will be done in order for both parties to decide on an appropriate course of action, reported Thai PBS.

In the negotiation, True will be expected to come up with safety measures for users of the game. Pongpanu was quoted as saying that he did not want a repeat of the incident where two men walked off a cliff while playing Pokémon Go in California.



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Light of Happiness: Doubts emerge over Bangkok’s THB40 million light installation

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The Office of the Auditor General of Thailand is investigating Bangkok’s THB40 million “Light of Happiness” light installation after it was widely criticized by the public.

The three-dimensional light exhibition in front of City Hall, which consists of five million light bulbs, will shine bright in Bangkok from Dec. 30 to Jan. 31 as the government’s New Year gift to citizens and tourists.

But Auditor-General Phisit Leelavachiropas said the City Administration used emergency budget for the project, which was unnecessary as the installation had been planned months in advance.

Phisit also pointed out that the procurement of supplies for the project was done even before the City Administration announced the winner of the bidding for the project, reported Thai PBS.


Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra posted photos of the light installation on his Facebook as the public questioned if the pretty lights were really worth the money.

“Excuse me. Could you spare some budget and fix some surveillance cameras? Citizens are in trouble. When there’s a crime, you can never catch the criminal,” the top comment said.

“Please show us the receipt from the contractor,” another comment said.








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Thailand -Farmers to rally at Govt House and round the country

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CONSUMER rights and organic farming advocates will rally at Government House today – and in 43 other provinces – to protest against the Biological Safety Bill, which will allow use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) for commercial purposes.


Biothai official Kwanchai Muanying said yesterday his non-governmental organisation planned a symbolic protest to express their objection to the bill, which recently received Cabinet approval, and to “jointly protect their food sovereignty”, at their respective city halls at 10am today.

Biothai ( had earlier put out a poster on Thai social media inviting people to join this movement.

Kwanchai said the demonstrators in Bangkok would submit a petition to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and National Legislative Assembly President Pornpetch Wichitcholchai demanding that approval of the bill be postponed, so all sides can present information and concerns over possible impacts.

“If this government just passed this bill, it would mean the granting of freedom to grow GMO plants,” he explained.

He said farmers were concerned most about the fact that the bill has no measures to prevent contamination.

“In Thailand, the requirement for GMO plants to be 200 metres from other farms would make it impossible to say there was no contamination to crops outside,” he said. Biothai and its allies would continue to provide information to farmers about the bill because many had very little knowledge about it.

Nanthawan Handee, from an alternative farmers’ group in Sanamchai Khet district in Chachoengsao, said her group, established over a decade ago, would join people from public, private and civil sectors in a rally at Chachoengsao City Hall under the banner “Paed Rew Muang Yang Yeun Assembly”.

She said if the bill was implemented, it would seriously affect her group, which grows organic plants and rice for export to Europe.

“We obtain a high-class standard certification from the International Foundation for Organic Agriculture and we export rice to food-processing companies to make pasta for sale in Europe,” she explained.

“Organic agriculture is the future of the world and Thailand. If the government passes this bill, it will destroy Thai farmers. GMO plants should only be in experimental labs,” she said, adding that Thailand had already been affected by GMO papaya contamination and this move would bring about more serious damage.

Foundation for Consumers director Saree Aongsomwang wrote on Facebook that she and network members would certainly attend the symbolic protest at Government House against the bill, which she said had many weak points. They included allowing GMO plant production for commercial purposes and no punishment for biotech businesses whose products turn out to be environmentally harmful.

Meanwhile, Democrat Party member and former Science and Technology Ministry secretary Pumsan Seniwong na Ayuthaya urged the government yesterday to be more sensitive in handling this matter because of public opposition – it should postpone approval for this controversial bill.

He said he would be disappointed if the Science Ministry had made a claim, circulating in media, that GMO plants could exist with normal plants. He urged ministerial executives and people in science not to prioritise research and economic gain while disregarding social impacts and people’s health.

He also raised questions for the government and ministry to answer, including who would carry the burden of creating a 200-metre-wide buffer zone and managing the rotation of GMO plants, grown apart from normal crops, and whether there would be a law to control that.

Source: The Nation

Close watch on reds ahead of ‘show of support’ for Yingluck, #Thailand

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 THE authorities are closely following the moves of red shirts in different provinces ahead of a planned symbolic show of support for former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra scheduled for tomorrow.

However, some red-shirt leaders denied yesterday that planned gatherings of red shirts in different provinces had any political implication.

Earlier, there was a campaign on social media calling for Yingluck’s supporters to wear red on November 1 to give her moral support, as she faces legal action over her government’s corruption-plagued rice subsidy scheme.

Former premier Yingluck posted a photo on her Facebook page yesterday of her with a new book written by her brother, the ex-PM, entitled “Thaksin Shinawatra: Life and Work”.

“Let me hug this book in place of him. I miss my brother. Don’t forget to find this book for your reading, and you will know why I want to hug this book,” she wrote.

Yingluck has no specific plans for tomorrow, but a source close to her said she might go shopping.

Colonel Jatupong Bokbon, deputy head of the Internal Security Operations Command’s Khon Kaen office, said yesterday the authorities were concerned that a “third party” may try to abuse the wearing-red campaign by creating unrest, despite local red-shirt leaders’ promises that they would not hold any such event in the northeastern province.

“The authorities want to maintain peace and order, so we will have to take legal action against anyone who breaks the law,” he said.

In Khon Kaen, police, military and administrative officers met at the Provincial Hall yesterday to assess the situation and discuss preparatory measures. Colonel Jatupong was among the participants.

Meanwhile, Kanchanaburi police deputy commander Colonel Chinnapat Tansrisakul said yesterday there were no reports that red shirts would gather in his province tomorrow and he did not think they would. However, police were closely monitoring the situation and following relevant movements in all villages of the province, he said.

Earlier, the Metropolitan Police said they were also closely monitoring the situation – and preparing to deal with any rally by the red shirts.

Jakkrawut Traiwallop, a red-shirt leader in Nakhon Ratchasima, said yesterday it was possible some red-shirt groups might get together normally tomorrow but he did not think they would “cause unease” for the authorities.

He said red-shirt leaders had often been under watch by the authorities following the coup in May last year.

In regard to the campaign to wear red this Sunday, Jakkrawut said red was synonymous with Sunday so it was not unusual for people to wear red on that day. “Please don’t try to link this to politics, so that reconciliation can be achieved in a concrete way,” he added.

In a related development, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said last night that reconciliation could not be achieved if accusations continue to be made.

“I must ask dissenters not to point fingers at people and demean others. The kind of democracy everybody wants is coming in the future. Everybody has had strong motivations, which has lead to some people taking actions that have endangered themselves and others. Come forth and talk. I have been informed of promises for dialogue and participation in reforms, and I must thank these parties in advance,” he said.

“I have asked people to have a dialogue with students and lecturers, and to ask for their understanding and to do what is best for the country,” the PM told his audience during his weekly address in the TV programme “Returning Happiness to People in the Country”.

“I have asked officials to talk to teachers and students at Thammasat University and appealed for them to understand the circumstances Thailand is facing at the moment and that democracy is returning while reforms are underway. If everyone thought reform is unnecessary, then I would be discouraged,” he said.

Source: The Nation

Labour union drags #Thailand to the ILO

Labour union drags Thailand to the ILO 1
Workers from different labour groups stage a demonstration to mark World Day for Decent Work yesterday. They campaigned for employment under the International Labour Organisation

Complaint cites 18 cases of worker and labour abuses; govt rejects allegations as ‘untrue’

THAILAND is facing a fresh complaint about abuse of its workers, which emerged this week just as the country is preparing to welcome next week an inspection team from the European Union.

Government Spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd yesterday insisted that the complaint was not true.

On Tuesday, a global labour union with 50 million members filed the complaint against Thailand.

Labour union drags Thailand to the ILO 2

The complaint by the IndustriALL Global Union was filed at the International Labour Organisation in Geneva, with details of 18 alleged cases of worker and labour abuses. It also accused the Thai government of failing to protect its workforce of 39 million people.

Sansern was quick to defend Thailand’s labour record.

“The Thai government has always given importance to the country’s workforce. We’ve organised the foreign and local workforce to ensure equal rights so that there are no abuses,” Sansern said.

“The complaint by IndustriALL is not true,” he added. “This government is very serious about ensuring there is no abuse of the workforce, especially in the fisheries industry.”

IndustriALL was instrumental in helping create the landmark Accord on Fire and Building Safety after Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza garment-factory complex collapsed in April 2013, killing at least 1,130 people. The legally binding accord, signed by more than 150 apparel companies and trade unions, requires factories to have independent safety inspections with the results made public.

Thailand, the world’s third-largest supplier of seafood, was issued a so-called yellow card by the European Union in April. The EU extended the deadline to make a final decision on Thailand’s illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing status from October to December.

During the past many months, Thai authorities have been enforcing various measures in a bid to tackle IUU fishing.

For instance, thousands of fishing trawlers have been barred from going out to the sea when they were found not to have all the necessary documents for fishing operations. Some fisheries operators have complained that some of the government’s measures are unfair.

Labour union drags Thailand to the ILO 3

An informed source disclosed yesterday that a steering committee of the military’s ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) was preparing to ask the Cabinet to approve a Bt228-million budget to compensate the owners of about 4,500 fishing trawlers who had been required to stay ashore.

Efforts against IUU fishing in Thailand have continued. Yesterday, more than 100 soldiers, policemen and Department of Marine and Coastal Resources officials scoured Pak Phanang Bay in Nakhon Si Thammarat province to crack down on illegal fishing. The operation managed to remove about 500 fish traps.

However, labour abuses in the Thai fishing industry are well documented.

Since 2014, the United States has put Thailand on the bottom-ranked Tier 3 in its annual “Trafficking in Persons” (TIP) report.

The US State Department said in its 2015 TIP report that some Thai and migrant workers were subjected to forced labour on Thai fishing boats, with some remaining at sea for several years, or paid very little, or threatened or beaten.

The environmental group Greenpeace on Monday urged Thai Union Group, the world’s largest producer of canned tuna, to rid its supply chains of destructive fishing practices.

More than 200 people submitted a letter to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha outside his Bangkok offices yesterday demanding stricter labour laws and better compensation.

Source: The Nation

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Thai Government moves to head off tourist fears

Thai Army
Lack of equipment retards blast probe

The government is vowing to ratchet up patrols to provide security and is moving to assure foreigners that travel to Thailand is safe.

The regime is preparing to issue a statement to the international community today, even as police admit their probe into the Erawan shrine blast has been retarded by a lack of modern equipment.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has assigned authorities to release the statement, said government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd.

Bomb probe slows: Police chief blames inferior equipment.

According to the statement as read to the foreign media on Sunday by Maj Gen Sansern, “You will be safe during your stay in Thailand and you will also experience friendliness, smiles and kindness that we always provide.”

The blast at the Erawan shrine in the Ratchaprasong area last Monday killed 20 people and wounded 130. Fourteen of the dead and many of the wounded were foreigners.

Another bomb went off at the Sathon pier on the following day, but no one was harmed.

“The government wants to assure everyone the situation is under control,” the statement says.

“There will be reinforcement of both uniformed and plain clothes officers providing security in every spot to ensure optimum safety.”

The administration is also relaying a message to foreigners planning to visit Thailand, saying: “The government wants all of you have confidence that you will be safe during your stay in Thailand.”

The statement will be translated by the Foreign Ministry and distributed to Thai embassies overseas, said Maj Gen Sansern. It comes after 23 countries and territories last week issued advisories about travel to Thailand.

Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said she was concerned about tourism prospects for the rest of the year following the blast.

Tourism is seen as the only growth engine boosting the Thai economy at a time of slumping exports. Last year, it contributed 16% of the country’s GDP of 12 trillion baht.

Speaking on TV Sunday, National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) spokesman Col Winthai Suvaree said the Royal Thai Police Office reported the investigation was making “modest” progress.

He said the relatives of 14 foreigners and two Thais, killed in the shrine explosion, had received financial assistance from the Justice Ministry and the Tourism and Sports Ministry.

A total of 100 requests for financial assistance have been lodged and the government will speed up payments, Col Winthai said. Fifty-two people remained in hospital Sunday, he added.


Bomaanslag Bangkok: Thaise overheid komt met verklaring om toeristen gerust te stellen

‘Toeristen zijn veilig in Thailand’, dat is in het kort de verklaring die de Thaise overheid heeft opgesteld om buitenlandse toeristen gerust te stellen.

De regering heeft een verklaring opgesteld, die vertaald zal worden en via de Thaise ambassades in het buitenland zal worden verspreid. daarin laat de regering weten dat de situatie onder controle is. Er komen meer politieagenten zowel in uniform als in burger die voor bewaking en veiligheid zullen zorgen (zie foto). De verklaring komt nadat 23 landen hun reisadviezen voor Thailand hadden aangescherpt.

De regering maakt zich zorgen om het toerisme die goed is voor 16 procent van Thailand’s bruto binnenlands product en als enige sector in de economie wel groeide. 

NCPO-woordvoerder Winthai laat weten dat de politie een bescheiden voortgang boekt in het onderzoek naar de daders van de twee aanslagen in Bangkok. De nabestaanden van 14 omgekomen buitenlanders en twee Thais hebben van de overheid een financiële tegemoetkoming ontvangen. In totaal zijn 100 verzoeken om financiële hulp gedaan. In het ziekenhuis liggen nog 52 slachtoffers.

Politiecommissaris Somyot zegt dat de politie de politie groep van verdachten kent. Hij wil niet zeggen of het buitenlanders of Thais zijn. De trage voortgang van het onderzoek is volgens hem de oorzaak van verouderde apparatuur. Hulp van andere landen bij het onderzoek wil hij niet.

Bron: Bangkok Post –

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