Here is a look at the top NATIONAL stories, chosen by our Pattaya News/TPN National team, from last week, November 16th to the 22nd, with some commentary. They are not in any particular level of importance but are listed in order of date of publication.
1. Thailand legalizes distribution and possession of some narcotic drugs, including cocaine, for limited medical use and research
After Thailand has legalized cannabis for medical and scientific research purposes last year, more than 100 controversial narcotic drugs are now also given the green light to be used, distributed, and possessed for similar purposes. The legitimate use of the narcotics must be conducted strictly under the narcotic license issued by relevant authorities. However, the drugs in question remain listed in Thailand’s narcotics list. Therefore, the use, distribution, and possession of such drugs for other purposes are still considered illegal in Thai law.
2. Taxi meters in Bangkok now allowed to charge passengers with additional baggage fees, according to Ministry of Transport
Those Thai and foreign tourists who are planning to travel to both Bangkok airports via hired taxi-meters will now have to save some cash for additional charges for their pieces of luggage. The fees will be categorized according to the linear size of each luggage, starting from 20 to 100 baht, and will only be implemented for passengers traveling from either Don Mueang Airport or Suvarnabhumi Airport , the Transport Minister stated.
3. Pro-democracy protesters to face several charges after gathering and spraying Royal Police Headquarters with paint, spray-paint and water pistols yesterday
The protest last Wednesday was staged after the announcement of the first escalating protest from prominent protest leaders at a gathering in front of the parliament on Tuesday as a response to what they believed to be an unjust protest dispersal during their march on Tuesday and in which many protesters were reportedly injured from major clashes with opposition groups and law enforcement. A group of furious protesters had marched from Ratchaprasong intersection to Royal Thai Police headquarters before splashing paint and spraying water pistols into the headquarters, mocking the police dispersal on the protesters. Nearby roads were also painted with artwork and graffiti against the police, the government, and the highest institution. One day after the end of the demonstration, a Royal police spokesman stated that some protesters will be charged for causing the property loss, violating the Cleanliness Act, and allegedly physically assaulting police officers.
4. Five drafts of charter amendments, including “People’s Draft”, rejected by Thailand’s lawmakers at parliament session last week
The rejection of the “People’s Draft” had sparked outrage among pro-democracy protesters since the draft, sponsored and handed into account by civil group iLaw, was supported and signed by more than 100,000 Thai people. For them, the rejection also implies that the majority of Thailand’s lawmakers has ignored the demands of “the people” and has chosen to stand on the military-based government of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-O’Cha. The iLaw draft seeks to revoke all policies implemented by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) and some measures related to Thailand’s highest institution. The rejection also results in another escalating pro-democracy demonstration in front of the Crown Property Bureau this Wednesday.
5. Sixty bags of ketamine seized in Chachoengsao warehouse contain no ketamine, ONCB secretary-general claims yesterday
A huge contraband ketamine bust worth nearly 30 million baht in Chachoengsao earlier this month turned out not to be what it seems as the deputy secretary-general of the ONCB announced yesterday that 60 random sacks were not ketamine but rather trisodium phosphate, commonly used in food and pharmaceutical industries. The Office of the Narcotic Control Board (ONCB) said that further examination will be conducted again in all 475 bags by the end of this week with related national and international agencies, including officials from UNODC who has just visited the ONCB to witness the total seized bags today.
That is all for this week, thank you as always for reading the Pattaya/TPN National News!