Thailand Bulletin For Monday, June 25, 2012
Round up of Thailand news with AJW
WEATHER: A cloudy and hot day with a 60 per cent chance of rain once again in Bangkok.
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A ROUNDUP OF THAILAND NEWS
World: Chinese taikonauts dock spacecraft. Egypt declares Islamist Morsy won presidential election. After Syria shoots down its jet, Turkey calls NATO meeting.
Bangkok: Navy says Nasa has not sent planes, equipment to U-tapao. Red shirts near 100,000 signatures on petition to oust Constitution Court judges.
A 300,00 baht cash reward will be offered to anyone providing information leading to the arrest of two men who killed an Australian woman in Phuket on Wednesday night.
NASA: The US request for use of U-tapao airbase for atmospheric studied may be discussed in cabinet tomorrow, Science Minister Plodprasop said.
Sunday: World - China taikonauts space docking today. Egypt anti-army protests as vote results due. Syria reshuffles govt. Israel bombs Hamas. Rio 20 ends in failure.Bangkok - Police "know identity" of Phuket killers, offer 300,000 baht for arrest. Nasa offers full access to mission, denies conspiracies.
Perth travel agent death:
A 300,00 baht cash reward will be offered to anyone providing information leading to the arrest of two men who killed an Australian woman in Phuket on Wednesday night. Provincial Police Region 8, the Phuket provincial police chief and the owner of Katathani Phuket Beach Resort hotel each donated 100,000 baht towards reward, deputy national police chief Pansiri Prapawat said Saturday.
Michelle Smith, 60, of Joondalup in Western Australia, was a member of a group of travel agents visiting Phuket to inspect the resort She was stabbed to death by bag-snatchers on Wednesday night.
Smith and her friend and fellow travel agent Tammee Lynn, 42, of Attadale, also in Western Australia, were walking back to their hotel in the Karon area around 10.30pm when they were attacked.
As Smith struggled to hold on to the bag, one of the men stabbed her in the chest. She died at the scene. The men on the motorcycle fled empty-handed.
PHUKET LATEST: Two men accused of killing Phuket tourist Michelle Smith were being flown to Phuket by helicopter this afternoon as police released security camera images of them.
Thailand's Commander of Police was also reported to be on his way to Phuket for a media presentation of the alleged killer Surasak ''Boy'' Suwannachot, 26, and and his getaway motorcycle rider, Surin Taptong, 37.
The two men are accused of the murder of Australian travel agent Mrs Smith, 60, in a bag snatch that went wrong about 10.30pm on Wednesday night outside the five-star Katathani Beach Resort in Phuket's Kata Noi bay.
The big break came yesterday when police received a telephone call from a man who said he could identify the killers.
The man - who has not been named - told officers he met the two accused in a restaurant in Chalong, southern Phuket on Wednesday.
They offered him drugs, the informant said, but he turned them down. The accused pair headed off about 9.30pm from Chalong.
The following night, the man said, Khun Boy called to say he had knifed a tourist in an attempted bag snatch. He only discovered later from television news that the tourist had died, and at that point fled Phuket.
It is believed the Khun Boy had worked as a motorcycle mechanic on Phuket.
The informant told police that he had been watching coverage of the murder and, seeing how keen the police were to catch the men involved, had come forward to help them.
He told police that the 300,000 baht reward was not the reason why he had come forward.
''This is so bad for Phuket,'' he told police. ''I don't want these things to happen here.''
As a result of the man's information, police arrested one suspect at 8am today and the second at 2.10pm in another province.
Police in three task forces had been sifting through security camera footage around the west coast of Phuket and had been gradually gaining clues to their identities. It was one of Phuket's biggest manhunts.
Major Security Review in Thailand's Favourite Resort: Phuket: Mrs Smith's murder and the drowning of six tourists on Phuket beaches in five weeks sparked a top-level review of security and safety on Phuket, with all of the holiday island's resorts being urged to improve security camera coverage.
Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha was joined at Provincial Hall in Phuket City by Phuket's leading elected official, Paiboon Upatising of the Phuket Provincial Administrative Organisation, and Phuket Tourism Association leaders.
Governor Tri has to front Thailand's powerful Senate Committee on Tourism in Bangkok tomorrow to explain the murder and the spate of drownings, which total eight in five weeks if the two deaths of Phuket tourists while whitewater rafting just off the island are included.
The largest ever crisis meeting on Phuket is planned for Wednesday with the Governor, top police, local council leaders and virtually the entire region's tourism industry represented.
Historic Hotels - The Galle Face Hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka: Despite the claim that it's not what it once was, this hotel remains a special place to stay. Opened in 1884, the Galle Face is a masterpiece of Victorian architecture. Unlike many other colonial hotels in the region, it has not undergone extensive renovations. Only the Regency Wing has been restored, and a spa was added in 2004. The result is a delightful authenticity throughout much of the hotel. The large, teak-floored rooms with ceiling fans and the broad veranda overlooking the sea evoke a different era. The hotel has its own living history in the form of a famously long-serving employee: Kottarapattu Chatthu Kuttan is 91 years old and has worked at the hotel since 1938.
Thai Banks Merge?: Thailand's banking industry may shrink to as few as five lenders from 14 as competition and cost-cutting fuels consolidation, said Boontuck Wungcharoen, chief executive officer of TMB Bank Pcl. (TMB)
“Thailand has too many banks for the size of the market,” Boontuck, 55, said in a June 22 interview in his office in Bangkok. “The country should probably have five or six strong banks, so I think you will see consolidation over the next five years.” TMB is 26 percent owned by the Ministry of Finance.
Thailand nationalized more than half of its commercial banks during the 1997 Asian financial crisis, and has since sold controlling stakes in some lenders to help repay the cost of the bailouts. Bangkok-based TMB, the country’s seventh-biggest traded lender by assets, raised $1.1 billion in 2007 by selling shares to investors including UBS AG and ING Groep NV, which owns 30 percent of the bank.
“In a lot of markets the regulator is the main obstacle to consolidation, which isn’t the case in Thailand,” said Daniel Fineman, Credit Suisse Group AG’s Thailand research head. “The Bank of Thailand in its master plan said it would like to see fewer banks.”
Thailand’s three biggest lenders by market value, Siam Commercial Bank Pcl (SCB), Kasikornbank Pcl (KBANK) and Bangkok Bank Pcl (BBL), account for almost 69 percent of the 11-member SET Bank Index, which has climbed 19 percent this year, compared with a 13 percent advance for Thailand’s benchmark SET Index.
Football Euro 2012: Ashley Cole misses penalty, sending England out, Italy through after scorless 120 minutes.