Thailand in the News Week Ending 04/17/10

190 Websites Ordered Closed by CRES


The Center for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation has ordered  MICT ( Ministry of Information and Communications Technology ) to close 190 websites, most of which are claimed to be politically seditious.  Since the beginning of the red shirt protests the MICT has ordered the blocking of about 500 URLs per day on average.

The CRES ordered MICT to close 190 websites largely do to video footage of the protests being broadcast, which they claim would provoke and incite violence. Included in this round of censorship were a handful of Youtube videos as well as several more high profile blogging sites reporting on the protests. Many bloggers and sites are starting to change names from .coms to .net to avoid closure.

The 190 sites affected are supposedly only closed temporarily until the situation in Bangkok cools down. While MICT closes down 400-500 sites a day the vast majority  ( 60% ) are political sites reporting on the government and the protests. It was also confirmed Friday that MICT can order these closures directly because they are authorized under the current State of Emergency.

Censorship is never a good thing, especially for those invoking it. Hopefully someone will realize this soon and stop tilting at windmills. The stories and footage are out there and will continue, closing sites will only cause more to rush in and fill the gap.

Thai & Cambodian Troops Clash on Border

Thai troops at Cambodian border

Picture Courtesy AFP

A small firefight erupted on the Thai/Cambodian border Saturday. The firefight, which lasted only 15 minutes happened on the NorthWest border with Cambodia during routine border patrols.

The 15 minute fire fight included rifles, grenades and rockets but apparently neither the Thai or Cambodian soldiers have good aim as there were no injuries reported. The Cambodian troops maintain that the Thai troops fired upon them first. The Thai military confirmed the encounter and put out a statement saying ” it was a misunderstanding and no one was injured in the clash“.

Tensions have remained high on the Thai Cambodian border since Preah Vihear temple was granted UNESCO world heritage status in 2008 and both countries claimed the temple was on their land. The border disputes surrounding the temple have been contained to that area but this latest clash took place in a different border area.

Tourism Takes a Big Hit

Land of Smiles

Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij said on Friday that Thailand’s tourism industry may be decimated by the continued political unrest in the country.

In an interview with Bloomberg television he stated:

The protests may hurt gross domestic product by as much as 2 percent, in bowing to pressure by the anti- government protesters isn’t the way to stability.

Thailand’s tourism makes up 6.7% of the economy and employs 7% of Thailand’s work force. Many analysts agree that Thailand could shed some 200,000 tourism industry jobs this year due to the political unrest. Even though the protests are largely centered in Bangkok many tourists just don’t want to take the chance.

While the tourism affects the airlines, hotels, attractions and resorts they will survive, the damage is much more apparent to the few hundred thousand Thai’s related to the industry driving cabs, operating food carts, trinket sellers, service personnel and cab drivers. They are being hit hard and the recovery will be slow.

On Red Shirts & Death Threats


I’ve been writing a good deal lately about the Red shirt protests going on in Bangkok and while I like to give my opinion on the story,  others may disagree and I welcome that. It’s not about being right or wrong it’s about the discussion and opinions from all sides. Apparently some of my more dim witted readers decided to send me death threats instead of joining in the healthy discussion on The Blood on Thaksin’s Hands article.

I had one German gentleman complain that I was a “Fascist” and if ever seen in Thailand I would “take a bullet to the head“. Another thought a shovel to my head would be a bit more productive while yet another wanted to see my entrails flowing out of my body while laying on a Bangkok street. The ” Fascist” man was upset because I deleted his comment which called for the execution of the highest profile couple in the country, he should consider himself lucky that I didn’t turn that comment & email over to Thai authorities.

This is what I have to say to those readers that resort to death threats. You are a bunch of pussies with the mentality less than that of a handicapped teenager. If you ever ran into me in Thailand or any other place on this earth you would be too scared shitless to open your mouth much less threaten my life. I will continue to write my opinions as I see fit and if you disagree with them please comment and tell me so.

Resorting to death threats is a tactic of the weak and powerless bereft of intelligence. So, do us all a favor and keep that shit to yourself because I am not beyond tracking your dumb ass down and giving you a real reason not to like me.


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15 Responses to Thailand in the News Week Ending 04/17/10
  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Talen. Talen said: Thailand in the News Week Ending 04/17/10 [...]

  2. Lloyd
    April 18, 2010 | 10:00 pm

    Tourism numbers for April should be on the rise, like me there are thousands stranded in Thailand due to the volcano in Iceland and the subsequent closure of just about every European airport. But surely as the sun will rise the Thai Government will use the extended stays as a way to raise revenue, through overstay charges etc instead of doing what other countries have done by waving immigration fines during the period of closure.

    My flight back to the UK was scheduled for April 24th, my visa expires April 24th, when I went into the Phuket immigration office on Friday after Thai airways announcement of total flight cancellations I was told I would be fined 500 Baht per day for every day of overstay as usual, or I could pay to travel outside Thailand and for a “visa run”.

    • Talen
      April 18, 2010 | 10:05 pm

      lloyd, That does seem the Thai way. Hopefully they rethink their stance as it is completely beyond your control.

  3. Martyn
    April 18, 2010 | 11:27 pm

    Talen that really is a terrible stance taken by the Thai immigration authorities towards people like Lloyd who are stranded in Thailand because of the volcano issue.

    The possible shedding of some 200,000 jobs is not good news for those at the lower end of the tourism sector. Just for once wouldn’t it be nice to see a few executives clear out their desks and hand back the keys to their company car.

    The Icelandic volcano incident couldn’t have come out a worse time for Thai tourism. When it rains it pours.

    Your red shirt post was excellent and the debate it brought was great reading but you really don’t need the kind of comments and emails you received. Well said and another enjoyable weekly round up.
    .-= Martyn´s last blog ..The Merlin’s a World Cup Wizard =-.

  4. Mike
    April 19, 2010 | 9:13 am

    Talen, unfortunately it seems that when we write publicly on the Internet we attract a small faction who seem to get off by making stupid and sometimes hurtful comments.

    What to do with such material is the question and in a way I suppose it fits in with the censorship debate. Do we publish or moderate? Since each of us can make a judgment. Are the Thais wrong to block certain sites-personally I think yes, but I can understand why they do it.

    At least they have left Twitter alone and this has proved an excellent source of information during these troubled times.

    I am not surprised with Lloyd’s findings regarding Immigration, its typically TIT, why only last week they announced yet another extension to the free tourist visas.

    Since I don’t know what the authorities are doing in Europe its hard to compare but knowing the UK they will probably offer anyone stranded political assylum. :-)
    .-= Mike´s last blog ..Wat Chalong-???????- Phuket =-.

    • Talen
      April 21, 2010 | 8:00 am

      Mike, it is hard sometimes to figure out what to do with such comments. Normally I let every comment through good or bad but in this instance the royal family was involved and I don’t want to chance something like that.

  5. Mike
    April 19, 2010 | 6:48 pm

    For Lloyd-its been announced today that there will be no charges for visa overstay resulting directly from the flight chaos in Europe.

    So you should be OK providing someone tells immigration!
    .-= Mike´s last blog ..Thai News-Life Goes On-For Some =-.

  6. Catherine
    April 20, 2010 | 6:51 am

    ‘Many bloggers and sites are starting to change names from .coms to .net to avoid closure.’

    Curious. How does that work? Do they keep two domain names handy, switching over when one is blocked?

    Death threats via internet. Sad. This is a hot topic and for reasons of my own I do try to stay neutral in posts. But I’m not always successful.
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..An Expat’s Eye-witness Report: Ratchaprasong Resort =-.

    • Talen
      April 21, 2010 | 8:02 am

      Cat. they buy up the .net .org . whatever and when one gets zapped they mirror it to the next domain and do a redirect.

      It’s definitely a story everyone has an opinion on but having a discussion about all points and opinions is always what I’m looking for…

      • Catherine
        April 21, 2010 | 8:24 am

        That makes sense. Prepare for the worse…

        I have two domain names pointing to WLT. The second one being

        I didn’t do it to prevent being muffled by Thailand (WLT is not a political site). It’s for the future, for when I get learning Thai licked and can switch roles. Domain names go fast so I grabbed that one…

        As you know, I’m still waiting for lightening to strike ;-)
        .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Learning Thai the Easy Way: Free Resources =-.

        • Talen
          April 21, 2010 | 8:40 am

          Smart idea Cat…just remember all us little people when you get become the premiere Thai language sites :)

  7. Tony
    April 20, 2010 | 9:20 pm

    The internet has done a fantastic job of bringing a voice to the mindless. Delete a death threat comment on your site and the same idiot will start crying about freedom of speech, and yet they rarely have a website of their own where they can speak all they want.

    Someone should create a mensa captcha to test the intelligence of commenters.
    .-= Tony´s last blog ..Questions about the shooting at Democracy Monument =-.

    • Martyn
      April 21, 2010 | 6:44 am

      Tony I think a densa not mensa captcha intelligence test would be enough to fool most of these unwanted and obviously very bitter commenters.

      • Talen
        April 21, 2010 | 8:04 am

        Tony & Martyn, excellent idea but for the most part I let all comments through so the rather dense beings usually out themselves anyway and I like it when people can see exactly who these idiots are.

  8. adriansabah
    April 21, 2010 | 9:24 am

    It is sad to see any kind of website being shut down by the government, and yet what if the websites are adding fuel to the fire? Having said that, I do not agree with any form of censorship on the internet, by any government.

    I haven’t been following the news on Thailand very closely, so I don’t really have any opinion on the matter. I just hope peace and common sense prevails. I think it must be horrid to live through any unrest, when every day citizens are just trying to get on with their lives.
    .-= adriansabah´s last blog ..Sutera Harbour Resort =-.