Thailand Bulletin For Friday, December 14
Roundup of Thailand news with AJW
BKK Weather 35C
Hot sunny and partly cloudy
SET Index 1354
PM greeted with terrorist leaflet threats to kill more teachers in South. Democrat deputy leader Thaworn Senneam: Abhisit Vejjajiva and Suthep Thaugsuban denied murder charges at the Department of Special Investigation. Elton in Bkk.Thailand to play Singapore Wednesday in Suzuki Football Cup final.
China fights UN attempt to add to North Korea sanctions. Chief backer Russia says Assad losing Syria civil war. UK, Europe pay "victims" of CIA rendition.
-UNLUCKY DAY IN THAILAND: Computer software glitches frustrated many couples trying to register their marriages Wednesday on the auspicious date of 12/12/12.
Couples who hoped to have the special date printed on their marriage certificates faced hours of delays at district offices after computers slowed to a crawl. The process stopped altogether at times, as the software of the ministry's the Bureau of Registration Administration hit snags.
Bureau officials and the computer supplier were trying to pinpoint the cause of the problem, and they expected the glitches to be sorted out in a few days.
Delays in marriage registration were also experienced at the Bang Rak district office, which is a popular place to register marriages, given its name in Thai which means the district of love.
Bang Rak district chief Suachana Sudcharoen said about 100 couples applied for marriage certificates at the office yesterday.
-ARRESTED FOR HONESTY: A taxi driver has been arrested in Bangkok for an armed robbery he committed 18 years ago, after he attempted to pay a fine on a traffic ticket.
Wichai Thampaisal, 56, was apprehended at Choke Chai police station in Lat Phrao district on a charge of armed robbery, committed in 1995.
Mr. Wichai and four accomplices allegedly robbed and beat the owner of an animal feed factory at gunpoint in Chachoengsao province and made away with nearly 160,000 baht. Mr. Wichai received his share of 60,000 baht and fled to a relative's house in the eastern part of the country.
He returned to his native Chachoengsao about 5 years ago and learned that all of his accomplices had already been caught. He also thought that police were no longer looking for him and decided to live a law-abiding life, police said.
Mr. Wichai became a taxi driver about a year ago.
On December 6, he made an illegal U-turn and was given a ticket and told to pay the fine at Choke Chai police station. When he went to pay, he was arrested. The statute of limitations for his crime would have expired in 2 more years.
-QANTAS: Qantas's link-up with Emirates means that passengers will, from next April, pass through United Arab Emirates rather than Bangkok on their way to Europe.
-SIMPLIFIED UK VISA FOR CHINA: Home Secretary Theresa May is to simplify the visa application process to make it easier for Chinese visitors to holiday in the UK.
In a recent speech, which was flagged last month by sports and Tourism Minister Hugh Robertson, May signaled the introduction of a less demanding regime for Chinese tourists and students.
This includes a shortened online application form, with translated forms available from April 2013, dedicated Embassy staff to help business travelers with their applications, and the option for applicants to keep their passports while visas are processed.
Tourism body VisitBritain welcomed the announcement, saying it would attract more Chinese visitors. Its recent research found that 61% of Chinese people who chose not to come to Britain were put off by the visa process. The application forms are currently in English, rather than Mandarin.
"The introduction of shorter and translated application forms, as well as reduce documentary requirements is extremely welcome as these were identified by VisitBritain as areas where the UK could improve its visa service to out compete those of the Schengen member states, as well as Australia and the USA. In addition, we are pleased to support UKBA's efforts by adding a visa module to our BritAgent program, which provides training to tour operators and travel agents in China.
"China is a key growth market for international tourism and a market in which Britain needs to compete effectively to ensure that we continue to be in the top 10 of tourism destinations. Improvements in the visa process will support our ambition to attract 40 million visitors a year by 2020, and we have been working closely with UKBA to inform their thinking."
Britain attracted around 149,000 visits from China last year, up 35% on 2010, but it was outperformed by European rivals such as France and Germany.
VisitBritain is looking to increase this to 382,000 visits by 2020. As Chinese visitors spend around 3 times as much as other visitors, it said that anything that could be done to attract more Chinese tourists would be a welcome boost for the economy.
-PATTAYA MURDER: A 66-year-old German man has been found dead inside a 28th floor condo unit on Jomtien beach in Pattaya with a deep slash on his neck, and police suspect foul play, he was drinking with 6 Thai women inside the condo. Police suspect robbery.
-AIRLINE DRINKS: The Skytender Trolley dispenses hot and cold drink options without the cabin crew having to pour and open traditional drink containers for passengers. Flight attendants using the system are able to serve hot and cold drink items like juices, soft drinks, cocktails, and hot drinks in less time.
Airlines and passengers will like the more efficient operation, enabling cabin crew to serve more people, faster. Cabin crew can forget about making coffee or going back and forth to the aircraft galley for water refills as Skytender holds 30 liters of hot and cold water.