Thailand in the News Week Ending 10/25/09

It’s been a rather busy week for Thailand news with some big stories and a lot of interesting smaller stories making the rounds. The two biggest stories revolving around the King’s health and the ASEAN summit finally taking place without protests.

I’m thinking this might become a regular weekly post so we’ll see where it goes. I’m sure there will be more than enough interesting stories weekly to fill a few blogs to say the least.

Officials Seize 22 Pounds of Opium Shipped to California from Thailand

Well it looks like in these tough economic times the drug trade is still booming and with resurgence of opium world wide South East Asia might be poised for a comeback. Customs officials at the Oakland California inspection facility noticed some oddities in a cargo container from Thailand and found that the inside of the container was slightly smaller than it should be. When searched further they found a false wall with several drums behind it containing the opium wrapped in plastic bags.

Considering customs officials have the capacity to search 10% of all incoming cargo to the United States you can bet that a lot more than 22 pounds of opium is headed to a drug den near you.

Thai Restaurant owner pleads Guilty to Immigration Fraud

Another interesting story from America this week. Varee Bradford, an owner of the Thai Ginger chain of restaurants in the Seattle area pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District court in Seattle to setting up sham marriages between Thai nationals and American citizens. Apparently Thai restaurants are recession proof and doing quite well as Mrs. Bradford was paying these American citizens $20,000 each for the pleasure of marrying a Thai woman. If she would have been smart about it she could have had the men paying her for setting up marriages with beautiful Thai women.

Everything was going fine for Mrs. Bradford for a few years as she married off Thai relatives to her restaurant employees but then she either ran out of employees or became too Americanized and thought outside the box, or restaurant as it were. Her next arranged marriage didn’t work so well as the undercover agent it seemed already had a wife…but she did get a wonderful parting gift of a pair of chrome handcuffs. She faces 10 years in jail for each count as well as a $250,000 fine.

Hitler Finally Dies…Again

Well, the fiasco that began with a tasteless billboard on the main road to Pattya finally ended with Hitler getting covered up and soon to be replaced by another dead figure from History. The billboard was to promote the grand opening of Louis Tussaud’s  latest Waxworks museum set to open in Pattaya this November. You can read much more than you ever wanted to know in Hitler’s Not so Triumphant Return.

The Palace Says the King’s Condition is Good

Thailand’s 81 year old monarch has been hospitalized for the majority of this past month with what is being called a lung inflammation,  code words for what is most likely pneumonia.  He was admitted to the hospital earlier in the month with fatigue and a loss of appetite, the lung inflammation happened after being hospitalized. The king of Thailand is the worlds longest living monarch and some would say the most revered as well.  His  health is a concern for many and one not to be taken lightly.

Hopefully the King has many more years left to give to his country but as with every life his too will some day pass and many are worried that Thailand will be thrown into a very dark period when he does.

ASEAN Summit & Human Rights

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations met on Friday to inaugurate the  new human rights body but that didn’t work out so well when 5 of it’s members, Laos, Burma, Cambodia, The Philippines and Singapore refused to meet with individuals chosen by civil rights groups that represent their countries. Many saw this coming as last year when the ASEAN countries signed their human rights charter the wording reflected the promotion of human rights rather than the protection of human rights.

Prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva who is also the current ASEAN Chairman side stepped the controversy saying

For members of civil society, you should be assured that you now have a partner with which to work.

I’m sure those red shirt protesters and members of the press that have been jailed under Thailand’s strict Lese Majeste laws are looking forward to this new relationship with their government. It would seem the ASEAN summit members have a bit of a problem in the human rights arena.

Last but most definitely not least is the best story of the week and it comes form the Phuket Gazzete.

Monkey Kills Owner with Coconut

You know it’s been a bad week when your pet monkey kills you. A Thai man with a monkey he trained to pick coconuts was hired by a neighbor to pick some coconuts when it all went bad. While throwing down coconuts to his owner the monkey inadvertently hit his owner upside the head and killed him.

It seems the monkey was very well trained and could pick up to 300 coconuts a day. It also seemed he had a problem with management.  It’s reported that the monkey stayed near the body and seemed upset and the family has stated that they will be keeping the monkey…well he did do all the work.  The full story can be read here.

That was the week in Thai news lets see if anyone can top the monkey in the coming week.

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8 Responses to Thailand in the News Week Ending 10/25/09
  1. brodie
    October 25, 2009 | 11:46 pm

    I would like it if these Thailand news updates became part of your regular blog

    • Talen
      October 26, 2009 | 1:55 am

      Thanks Brodie, We’ll see how it works out.

  2. Mike
    October 26, 2009 | 12:41 am

    I guess the monkey was a bit cheesed off at having just been beaten by the owner (see article) perhaps there was malice aforethought!
    Mike´s last blog ..Samut Sakhon Thailand My ComLuv Profile

    • Talen
      October 26, 2009 | 1:57 am

      Well, I said he had a problem with management. And who could blame the monkey. How stupid do you have to be to beat an animal that is smart and will soon be 20-30 feet above you with heavy artillery?

      I have a feeling we haven’t heard the last from this monkey or the family.

  3. Martyn
    October 26, 2009 | 4:59 pm

    Talen I think your weekly news brief is a great idea for someone like me. I work 12 hour shifts which chop and change frequently leaving me no regular spot to catch daily news reports. Whilst on my shift pattern I have little surplus time to read the Bangkok Post online and so getting an all in one weekly report would be a bonus for me. Excellent reporting.
    Martyn´s last blog ..Possibly A Greater Discovery Than Potatoes My ComLuv Profile

    • Talen
      October 26, 2009 | 9:36 pm

      Well, that’s enough for me Martyn…I’ll give it a go and see where it leads…Hopefully there are some more good Monkey incidents to keep it interesting.

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