HD Research Institute
Monthly Security Report – September, 2014October 13, 2014 | By admin | Category: HD Research Institute
Due to the closure of religious holidays and since the resumption of the peace dialogue in August between the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) and the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) as biggest separatist Muslim movement group in the South, violence is on the decline in the three provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat.
In the month of September nine people were killed and another nine persons were injured by attacks. The primary targets belong to the local government administration.
The graph above suggests that bombs are the main reason for a high number of wounded people, but that gunshot injuries cause the greatest number of deaths.
The charts below depict the attacks which have occurred over the year in the four provinces of Pattani, Narathiwat, Yala and Songkhla. It indicates the frequency of attacks in the different districts of the provinces, and displays the most dangerous regions from January to October 2014.
In Songkhla, the last attack relating to the conflict in the Deep South was reported in June.
The most dangerous province in Thailand is Pattani, with the most attacks, and subsequently the most injured and killed people.
The peace talks had already begun in August, but Prime Minister Prayuth has forecasted an end to the violence in the Deep South within one year before Thailand joins the ASEAN Economic Community 2015 (AEC). Goals of the negotiations are long-term peace in the three provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat between the Thai authorities and the insurgent groups. (Bangkok Post)
National Security Council (NSC) secretary-general Thawil Pliensri said that there is a three-year plan to solve the “Southern problem”, beginning next year.
Early Monday morning, 15 September 2014, two British tourists, 24-year-old David Miller and 23-year-old Hannah Witheridge, were killed on Koh Tao, Surat Thani province. Both joined a party at the beach, but what happened during the night from Sunday to Monday cannot be entirely reconstructed. The DNA found on a cigarette close and on the female victim was tested and failed to provide a match. Miller and Witheridge both died from head injuries caused by blunt objects. Additionally, there was water in the lungs of the male victim who may have been fighting with his attacker. Two weeks later, three Burmese migrant workers were accused of the murders of the two British tourists. At the moment, it seems that one of the suspects left the crime scene when the murder took place, but there are still some unanswered questions and criticisms of the investigation. (Bangkok Post)
Officials stated that, in order to make the situation for tourists safer, identification wristbands with a serial number from the hotel which matches their ID and have the contact details of the hotel may be used. (The Guardian)
Pattaya is one of the most popular places for drugs and sex tourism in Thailand, especially the area known as “Walking Street.” Plans have been announced to clean up its image. (The Guardian)
On 27 September, a 23 years old Danish woman was raped. The police have been searching for a suspect of Thai nationality. A 25 to 30-year-old man claiming to be a taxi driver, offered to give her a ride from the PTT petrol station in Baan Amphur to their home to Naklua. The man changed the route and forced her to accompany him to a remote place where the sexual assault took place. The woman accepted the drive back to the petrol station but jumped off the motorbike near a group of people and contacted the police immediately. (PattayaOne)
To download the pdf version please click here: Monthly Security Report – September, 2014
For further information on separate attacks, please consult HDFF’s South Thailand Security Map: https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=210050514500444605871.0004bf948a6668f516ba6&msa=0
Monthly Security Report – August, 2014September 4, 2014 | By admin | Category: HD Research Institute
In August 2014, seven people died and eleven were wounded in the Deep South of Thailand. The attacks occurred in only two provinces, Pattani and Yala. This means a decrease of attacks in comparison to July. In the province of Narathiwat no attack was reported.
The victims were injured and killed by bombs or gunshots in Yala’s Yaha, Than To and Raman districts as well as in Pattani’s Mayo, Yarang and Khok Pho districts. The graph below shows the groups the victims belong to. Most of them are from the official sector. For example, policemen who provide security for teachers in the Deep South region are the most at risk group for attacks. Of the ten attacks this month, four resulted in law enforcement casualties. Followed by the group, “Other/ Unknown”, includes civilians.
Peace talks in the Deep South
The reasons behind the violence in the southern border provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat can be traced back to the history, identity and different religious ideology of the parties. After the unrest in May, and an increase of attacks in July 2014, there is a noticeable decline in the month of August. One reason may be due to the closure of religious holidays and festivals. Another reason may be due to the continuation of peace talks in the Deep South of Thailand between the separatist movement, Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) and the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) who resumed their efforts for peace in this region.
Goals of the dialogue are to figure out better ways to stabilize the situation in the three provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat and to rebuild an environment that will be conducive for peace, stability and security, said General Akanit. (Bangkok Post)
The peace process will proceed in two phases. First, the provisional government makes laws for national reform and doctoral regulations. The second will be to pass on the work to the next government. The NCPO set up an executive policy committee for the action and a peace dialogue commission for the strategies of the peace talks with General Prayuth as the chairman. Former negotiations between the NSC und the government under the former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawathra and the insurgent groups, led by BRN, started on 28 of February and failed in October 2013 after only five rounds. (Bangkok Post)
Mr. Culbert, former member of the IRA said that in Thailand’s case the “military wings” of each group involved might see the need to continue fighting, but it is important for the “political wings” of all groups to be involved in negotiations leading to the peace process. (Bangkok Post)
There is a two track peace process for the Deep South region. The first is the official process for international and public consumption. The second one involves talks between Thai security forces and mid-ranking separatist leaders who have direct command over the insurgents. One goal, for example, could be the declaring of demilitarized zones. However, there is no sign for autonomy in any of these regions. The Thai Army has resisted any calls for autonomy and it is very likely that they will continue resisting. (The Nation, VOA)
To download the PDF Version please click here: Monthly Security Report – August, 2014
For further information on seperate attacks, please consult HDFF’s South Thailand Security Map: HDFF South Thailand Incident Map
Monthly Security Report – July, 2014August 19, 2014 | By admin | Category: HD Research Institute
In July 2014, 20 people died and 85 were wounded in the Deep South of Thailand. That means an increase of attacks in the three provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala; the latter being where the majority of bombs and gunshots were reported.
At the beginning of 2013, statistics and records of attacks in the Deep South of Thailand show that most of the attacks occur over the weekend. One reason could be due to the heavy flow of traffic of people going to and from various locations or at public places where they are easy targets for attackers.
Despite the military coup in May, attacks in the Deep South of Thailand have not decreased. In July, there was a significant increase of violence compared to June. One of the reasons can be attributed to the start of Vassa, the Buddhist equivalent of Lent, on the 12th of July which coincided with the end of Ramadan.
The biggest attack occurred in late July, in the Province of Yala where 15 people died and 52 were wounded by a car bomb in Betong district. Most of the injured people were civilians, Bangkok Post reported. The statistic below shows the highest number of killed and injured people in this region.The end of Ramadan on 28th of July was followed by an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) detonation in Pattani’s Sai Buri district, which killed one child and injured six .
There were no attacks reported during the month of August in the province of Songkla, but Narathiwat witnessed targeted attacks in the districts of Rueso, Tak Bai, Sukirin, Su-ngai Padi and Cho-airong where eight people died, seven of them were killed by gunshots. Attacks in Pattani happened in Mayo district, Sai Buri district, Nong Chik district and Thung Yang Daeng district. Five of the six victims died by gunshots and belonged either to officials or were reported militants. It seems like civilians are not direct targets of attacks, but remain the most at risk group and represent the majority of the victims. This is illustrated by the bomb explosions that occurred in Yala’s Betong district in late July where 52 people were injured and two killed by a car bomb.
Vehicle bombs are one of the most dangerous weapons in conflict regions because it causes not only a high number of casualties but also causes damageto buildings and roads resulting in high infrastructural costs for the government.
On 7 July, two IEDs exploded in Yala and Pattani. These were two separate but related attacks, which injured 3 people. One defense volunteer died in Yala’s Than To district.Despite the high damage rate of vehicle bombs, more people were killed by gunshots in July. Victims of these kinds of attacks are not only officials, but are also civilians.
The graph below shows that the most at risk group is called Other/ Unknown, which includes civilians. There is a higher risk of casualties and injuries for civilians, followed by the police force due to the security they provide for local officials like teachers.
In mid July, the NCPO decided to build fences around schools in 136 villages located in high risk regions in the Deep South of Thailand. They also plan to install CCTV cameras in these areas. This illustrates the high priority of peace talks. After a disruption of peace talks between the Yingluck government and the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) following the end of Ramadan from the previous year, both sides are interested in continuing peace dialogues for resolving southern conflicts behind closed doors. The two parties are BRN separatist movement and the NCPO under General Prayuth Chan-ocha. The statement of the army chief is clear: “The Thai side is aware that resorting to violence as a means to fight violence is not a sustainable solution and at the same time I will not allow a land separation or administrative separation of Thailand’s deep South.” (Bangkok Post)
Aside from the peace talks, the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc), the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre (SBPAC), and the ministries are supposed to work together and create transparency for a public understanding of how the government tries to bring peace and unity into the Deep South region of Thailand.
To download the PDF Version please click here: Monthly Security Report July 2014
For further information on seperate attacks, please consult HDFF’s South Thailand Security Map: HDFF South Thailand Incident Map
Monthly Security Report – June, 2014July 4, 2014 | By admin | Category: HD Research Institute
Ten deaths and twelve injuries were reported in the month of June in connection to the conflict in the Deep South – a big difference to May, which saw a total of 107 injuries, and ten deaths. Whereas last month experienced several very large-scale and indiscriminate bomb attacks, resulting in huge numbers of casualties, June witnessed an increase in smaller-scale targeted attacks.
Overview of attacks
Throughout the month of June, Pattani witnessed targeted attacks in Sai Buri district, Yarang district, Yaring district, Panare district, and Khok Pho district. Four military personnel were victims, two of whom were killed by gunshots from a pick-up truck on June 3, and the other two injured by an improvised explosive device (IED) on June 4, as they guarded a road used by teachers on their route to school. A male defense volunteer was killed by gunshot on June 11 in Sai Buri, and on June 23, two rangers were wounded when an IED was remotely detonated, also as they patrolled the route teachers take to school in Yaring district. No details have emerged as to who the perpetrators were. At the start of Ramadan, shots were fired near a mosque in Panare district, wounding the father of the Mosque’s Imam, and killing an assistant village chief and religious leader. Rumors amounted that the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) were behind this attack, but they have denied all responsibility. (Bangkok Post)
Narathiwat witnessed two separate, but related targeted attacks on June 16. The first – a roadside bomb explosion – injured two defense volunteers providing security for teachers in Cho Ai Rong district at around 8am. The second occurred when a bomb targeting a police Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) team exploded, missing the targets and killing a civilian motorcyclist passing by. A further attack in Narathiwat occurred in Tak Bai on June 28 when at least ten men opened fire on a team of policemen, killing two, in addition to wounding two civilians nearby.
Songkla witnessed one attack, on June 16. The owner of a grocery shop was killed, and his wife wounded when a group of four men on motorcycles arrived at their shop, one of whom walked inside and opened fire. The perpetrators then set fire to the shop before escaping. Police are investigating the attack.
Type of attacks
Despite the fact that most of the incidents in June appear to have been targeted attacks, civilians still make up the largest number of victims, with five killed and five injured. In all cases of civilians being attacked, the intent behind them remains so far unknown to official sources. The second biggest victims are both the police and the military. Two military personnel and two policemen were killed in June, and two of each injured. Furthermore, one defence volunteer was killed and two were wounded.
Guns were the most common type of weapon used in attacks in June, and also the most likely to cause fatalities. A total of nine people were killed by gunshot, and five injured, in comparison to one death by IED, and six injuries.
Media reports on southern conflict
A large challenge when it comes to regular reporting on the conflict in the South is the lack of reliable sources and documentation of the situation and all related activities, including the number and nature of the attacks. As a step towards ending media bias, and promoting factual knowledge about the situation, Panu Uthairat, the secretary-general of the Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre, met with local networks and government officials to put in place a set of basic standards and rules for discussing and reporting on the violence. He urged that all news outlets put more emphasis on accuracy, and reporting from all angles, to prevent the spread of misinformation and misunderstanding. (Bangkok Post)
Another problem occurs when considering the fact that the insurgency has no defined goals or leader at the forefront of it, with insurgent cells disconnected and diffuse. This poses problems for reporters and for the public trying to understand the issues. The dominant source of news for the conflict comes from Bangkok-based press, who have been accused of media bias against the Malay-Muslim minority. It has been observed that these outlets fail to give balanced reports, focusing solely on attacks against Thai Buddhists, and not on the systemic discrimination of the Muslim population. Furthermore, reports on abuses by security forces against the Malay Muslims in the south are few and far between. (The Boston Globe)
To download the PDF version please click here: HDFF South Thailand Security Report June 2014
For further information on seperate attacks, please consult HDFF’s South Thailand Security Map: HDFF South Thailand Incident Map
Bi-Weekly Newsletter: June 10-24, 2014June 25, 2014 | By HS | Category: HD Research Institute
In politics, the nationwide curfew has been lifted. The NCPO and Gen Prayuth have begun to clarify the planned steps that will be taken to restore the country to normalcy. While many Cambodian workers retreated due to crackdown scare, assurance from Thailand and cheaper passport prices have begun to draw them back into the country. The NCPO promises to regulate migrant workers and stop human trafficking leaders just as Thailand is condemned as being a Tier 3 trafficking country according to the TIP report. Suthep has reported frequent correspondence with Gen Prayuth, which Prayuth denies. EU is urging democracy by cutting ties to Thailand. NCPO states neutralism but many still feel the inequality. A new, official anti-coup makers group has been established outside Thai borders.
In security, NCPO has lifted curfew however martial law is to remain. Police have issued arrest warrants for Rama IX Rd explosion suspects. Large amount of weapons found in Ayutthaya. Random violence continues in the deep South of Thailand. Warning issued about potential increase in car bombs before Ramadan. General Prayuth has taken charge of solution planning in the South of Thailand. Former director-general of the Central Institute of Forensic Science (CIFS) has been reinstated to in hopes of improving the situation in the South.
In economy, since the military coup, the army appears to be making moves to encourage national reconciliation, decrease corruption, and boost the Thai economy, targeting areas such as illegal gambling and tax fraud. As the political situation settles, Kasikorn Research Centre has predicted higher growth estimates than previously forecast, but in a negative blow to Thailand’s economy and external relations, the EU has announced its suspension of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, until democratic rights are restored.
(Source: Bangkok Post)
On Friday, 13 June the curfew from 12am to 4am was lifted in Bangkok and across the nation shortly after Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha made his weekly televised address. The curfew had previously been lifted in 25 provinces being mostly tourist areas. During his weekly address to the people he also clarified the proposed timeline of events to take place in government. He stated that an interim government will be determined and in place in September, with an interim constitution and legislative body to be formed in October. This would end the direct rule of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) that took over on May 22. Gen Prayuth, NCPO chairman, additionally stated that the plan is to have the interim government and legislative body in charge of the country for about a year. After reforms, elections can take place. With regards to the rice farmers, Gen Prayuth intends to have them repaid on June 22. (Bangkok Post)
The NCPO has stated that it will begin to target human traffickers, planning to go after trafficking leaders and officials, and regulate migrant workers. This announcement was made during Gen Prayuth’s, weekly report on Friday June 20. At about the same time the United States announced that Thailand had fallen to a Tier 3 human trafficking country, after remaining Tier 2 and being warned to take action for four years. Tier 3 is the lowest level on the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report and puts Thailand among countries such as North Korea, Syria, and Iran in human trafficking numbers. This could cause sanctions and aid cuts to be taken against Thailand. In addition to loss of national aid from the US, trade and consumption could be affected with companies and individuals reconsidering investing in and buying Thai products. Some Thai officials such as foreign affairs secretary, Sihasak Phuangketkeow, have condemned the U.S. for measuring Thailand’s performance and demand it take into consideration the recent efforts Thailand has made. (Bangkok Post)
The NCPO has urged those working in the justice system and law force to be impartial and avoid taking any actions that could be seen as deepening social divides. However, red-shirt leader in Udon Thani, Kwanchai Praiphana, claims he was treated unfairly by military on Thursday, June 12. He stated that People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) supporters were allowed to demonstrate while the military silenced red-shirt supporters. He questions how reconciliation will become with the current inequality. (Bangkok Post)
Many Cambodian workers returned to Thailand this past week to work as fears of a military crackdown and arrest were subdued. Thai troops and Cambodian authorities assured workers that there would be no crackdown. Additionally Cambodia cut the price of passports from $135 to $4 on June 20, making it affordable for Cambodians to work in Thailand legally. (Bangkok Post)
On June 23, Pol Gen Somyos Poompanmuang, charged with the suppression of political rallies, announced a 500 baht reward for anyone who can provide “useful” photos of anti-coup activity participants. He stated that police would not use force against demonstrators, but talk to them so they will “understand and adjust their attitude.” Pol Gen Somyos said small amounts of anti-coup activity could create disorder, and that demonstrators should take into consideration the fact that most people support the NCPO’s work. In a Suan Dusit Poll, the NCPO received an approval rating of 8.82 out of 10 and a National Institute for Development Administration (NIDA) poll reported that a majority of the poll participants, 41.30 percent, said that the NCPO should nominate Gen Prayuth for the post of provisional government prime minister. (Bangkok Post)
PDRC leader, Suthep Thaugsuban, stated at a dinner of about 100 PDRC supporters on Saturday, June 21 that he has been advising and chatting with Gen Prayuth about ousting Thaksin Shinawatra’s influence and allies since the political violence that occurred in 2010. While Suthep has promised not to return to politics, he said the PDRC would create a new fund to promote national reform and aid victims of the demonstrations, holding weekly dinners at the Pacific Club, the fund’s new office. In response to Suthep’s claims of common correspondence with Gen Prayuth, Gen Prayuth denied the private exchange of messages prior to the May 22 coup. (Bangkok Post)
The NCPO is urging the EU to understand the need for the coup. Currently, the EU has curtailed diplomatic ties with Thailand, trying to pressure the nation to return to democracy. After a meeting in Luxembourg on June 23, official visits and partnerships will be put on hold until democracy is restored. The EU is calling for credible and inclusive elections, along with respecting people’s freedoms and rights. (Bangkok Post)
Former Pheu Thai party leader, Charupong Ruangsuwan, created the first official anti-coup opposition group called the “Organisation of Free Thais for Human Rights and Democracy” on June 24. He will run the group from an unnamed country in self-exile. He has decried, what he sees as, the junta’s violation of power, abuse of democracy and removal of human rights. The group will be run outside of Thailand and provide moral support for anti-coup groups in and out of Thailand. (Bangkok Post)
(Source: Bangkok Post)
NCPO stated June 14 that the curfew was lifted to boost the atmosphere among the public and tourists but that it could be reinstated at anytime if violence or political movement erupts in an area. The martial law will remain in place stated an NCPO spokeswoman, however authorities will first enforce normal laws for most crimes. (Bangkok Post)
Police have issued 3 arrest warrants for men suspected of involvement in the grenade attack that took place by Rama IX Rd on June 13 prior to the curfew lift. The attack caused damage to several cars and a police kiosk but no one was injured. Previously arrested red-shirt gaurd, Vichien Toomtaku, told police the other men were involved also and hired him to throw the grenade to make Bangkok seem unstable still. (Bangkok Post, Thai PBS)
Weapons, including M79 grenade launcher with grenades, hand grenades, an AK-47 with ammunition and bullet proof vests, were found in a canal in Ayutthaya during a house search on June 15. Renter of the house, Wattana Sapwichien had been summoned to report to the NCPO after suspicion of possessing weapons. Police believe the weapons can be linked to him and an investigation is taking place. (Bangkok Post)
In Pattani, a woman was killed and two men injured on Sunday, June 15 in a gun attack. The incident took place in front of grocery store where the three were shopping when two motorcycles with 3 men opened fire on them before fleeing the scene. On June 16, two volunteers were slightly injured in Narathiwat by a bomb explosion. The bomb was planted along the side of the road and detonated as they walked passed. Also, on June 16 in Narathiwat’s Chanae district a bomb trap killed a motorcyclist. The attack happened as four police explosives disposal team members were traveling in two vehicles nearby. The explosion killed the passerby motorcyclist and damaged the two police vehicles, but left the police officers unharmed. In Songkhla’s Thepa district, a grocer was wounded and his wife injured when a gunman accompanied by 3 others opened fire on them. The men set fire to the shop before fleeing. Neighbors helped put out the fire and take care of the injured woman (Bangkok Post)
The Police Operational Centre for the Southern Border Provinces’ car theft prevention centre warned on Monday, June 16 that 40 vehicles had been stolen. These vehicles may be turned into car bombs. The Centre warned that the vehicles may be used by insurgents before the fasting month of Ramadan, which will begin later this month. They also warned that past militants used vehicles to make car bombs which were used against military, police and civilian targets during this time. The vehicles were stolen from residents and government offices in Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat, and Songkhla. (Bangkok Post)
On Saturday, June 21, Abdulkolik Cheha, a villager of Khao Tum and military informant, was killed on his way home from Panare district of Pattani. A group of hidden men opened fire on him, killing him instantly. Police assume militants are responsible for the attack since Abdulkolik had been a military informant. (Bangkok Post)
On Sunday June 22 two rangers were killed and five others injured in a gunfight after an unknown group of militants attacked their vehicle in the Si Sakhon district of Narathiwat. The militants fled the scene when reinforcements arrived. The seven injured soldiers were rushed to the hospital, were two later died. (Bangkok Post)
General Prayuth Chan-ocha has taken control of restructuring plans to solve issues in the deep South of Thailand. Solutions will be separated into 3 levels. Gen Prayuth will develop new policies to take place from 2015 to 2017 at the policy-making level. The national Security Council (NSC) will act as the general’s adviser. After, at the level of turning policy into action, a working group will be responsible. This group will be led by army Gen Udomet Sitabutr and NSC secretary general Thawil Pliensri. Solutions, covering security and development, will be implemented by the working group through the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc) and the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre. The third level will be consisted of Isoc handling the operational level across the South. Currently, Isoc plans to continue to remove troops from the South and strengthen local volunteers in hopes of gaining support and trust from residents. (Bangkok Post)
The NCPO re-appointed Khunying Porntip Rojanasunan as director-general of the Central Institute of Forensic Science (CIFS) in hopes of enhancing forensic science investigation and solving problems in the South of Thailand. Forensic science officials had been removed from the South before, and local authorities were required to work with the police. DNA tests were not allowed to be sent to the military. This personnel change is an effort to bring the southern insurgency to a halt. (Bangkok Post)
(Source: Bangkok Post)
It has been announced that the Revenue Department will begin an investigation into tax evasion, targeting owners of residential properties worth over 40 million baht. They aim to catch those whom they believe may be under-valuing their property to evade paying the correct tax. Anyone owning cars worth over 3 million baht will also be forced to report their possessions. The Land Transport Department has already been requested to provide lists of owners of luxury cars, who will be contacted by the department. Residences on golf courses are coming under particular spotlight. A Geographic Information System will be used as a mapping tool to evaluate the tax payments of each household member in certain areas, and to increase the efficiency of tax collection. The department stated that this is a move to increase tax efficiency, fairness and transparency, aiming to eliminate those who evade tax and the injustice this causes to those who pay. Revenue officials of various regions already have ideas of who may be guilty of tax evasion, but the challenge remains of whether they would be willing to confront wealthy and influential individuals in this sensitive matter. (Bangkok Post)
Kasikorn Research Centre (K-research) has made a revision to earlier estimates of economic growth, from between 1.8% and 2.6% to 1.3% and 2.4%. Key economic engines are expected to see positive boosts in the latter part of the year as a result of the improving business climate, increasing confidence in private sector investment, and higher demand for domestic consumption. The institute views this boost as a result of the junta’s quick action regarding economic policies. The six-month deadlock during the political protests has been lifted, state agencies reopened, and business is returning to normal, giving previously wary investors greater confidence to continue their activities. K-research also forecasts GDP to rise from 1.8% to 2.3% for the full year, and for government spending to accelerate. (Bangkok Post)
It is unclear at this stage which economic policies the military will retain from the previous Shinawatra government, but it is evident that they are pushing to co-opt certain populist policies of the past. Tax cuts are being extended and the ambitious infrastructure plans re-launched, such as the neglected rail network, and the multibillion dollar blueprint for Thailand’s flood defenses. The army also repaid around $2.7 billion to the 800,000 plus farmers who lost out on the rice subsidy scheme of the previous government, and are making further moves to revive the debilitated agricultural sector. Furthermore, in a bid of reconciliation and improving sentiment amongst Thais, the government paid World Cup rights-holders $13 million for all games to be shown live on free-air television shows. Some have criticized these populist ‘quick-fixes’, and are waiting for time to show their success or failure. (The Wall Street Journal)
Since the start of the World Cup, and expectations of an increase in gambling in Thailand, the military government has cracked down on the illegal activity in an attempt to ‘restore the country’s image’. Between June 9 and June 21, the police arrested 1,677 people taking part in World Cup gambling, and shut down 675 illegal betting websites. It is still expected that Thais will spend an estimated 45 billion baht on betting during the world cup. Although the national lottery and horse racing are the only forms of legal gambling in Thailand, the habit is still perceived as a large problem, and one in which the military government is seeking to address. (Reuters)
In a blow to Thailand’s economy and reputation since the May 22 coup, the European Union (EU) has decided to delay signing an agreement which would bring economic and political ties with Thailand closer. Until the military government restores democracy and respect of human rights, the EU has suspended official visits to and from Thailand and refused to press on with the signing of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the two countries, which, once ratified, would boost links in tourism, employment, education, migration, transport, and environment. The total amount of goods traded between Thailand and the EU during 2013 came to around 32 billion Euros, a number which was set to increase if a bilateral trade agreement was to be signed. However, negotiations regarding this will likely be affected too. Other factors such as military cooperation between the two parties are also threatened with this recent drawback. (Reuters) Key figures in Thailand’s private sector, however, claim that the EU’s response would have no lasting damaging impact, and Mr. Suphan, Chairman of the Federation of the Thai Industries, stated that trade between the two parties would continue. Thai production and exports would not take a big hit as the EU only amounts to 10% of the market space. (Bangkok Post)
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