Thailand in the News Week Ending 6/12/10

Tsunami Rumors came true?

There have been rumors all week of an impending tsunami in the region that everyone had a good laugh over but now those forecasts have come true in a way.  Sunday  a 7.7 magnitude earthquake was registered by the United States Geological Survey in India around the Nicobar Islands region which Can give rise to a possible tsunami.

The news Spread this week about such an event happening on Sunday and at first it was just Thai’s passing the knowledge on. Mike over at My Thai Friend wrote two stories about the event entitled Crazy Thai Rumors and Crazy Thai rumors Part Two where he proceeded to tell the tale of a tsunami forecast being spread around and his imminent departure for the farm on Sunday to stay out of harms way. Of course there were no warnings to be found anywhere and Mike’s last words on the matter were…”

Bloody hell are you all crazy?” I exploded, “there’s no storm forecast and Tsunamis usually follow earthquakes.” “For God’s sake give it a rest and tell Yai she is talking rubbish,” I added barely able to contain myself.

From there the news went national being reported in the papers and through Thai meteorological channels and everyone was having a good laugh at this …until now.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center initially issued a warning for the entire Indian Ocean region. The agency later downgraded the warning to India only, before canceling the alert altogether.  The Hawaii-based center said:

Sea level readings indicate that a significant tsunami was not generated

No damage was reported in the Andaman and Nicobar islands, although a total blackout sparked panic in the capital, Port Blair, witnesses said More than 350,000 people live on nearly 600 islands in the remote archipelago. In 2004, a powerful earthquake off Sumatra’s coast triggered a tsunami that killed more than 220,000 people around the rim of the Indian Ocean.

So, here is the question of the week. How did someone predict a  tsunami days before the actual event? Now, a tsunami didn’t actually occur but an earthquake did and that earthquake happened in an area that could have generated a massive tsunami in the region just like in 2004. We all had a good laugh this week over tsunami warnings…bet none of us laughs next time.

World Cup Fever

It’s World Cup time once again, from June 11th to July 11th it will be football, football,m football from Issan to Bangkok. This years World Cup is being held in South Africa and even though Thailand doesn’t have a team in the event the Thais do love their football. I’ve been in Thailand during the World Cup and it’s amazing how quiet Pattaya can get during a match when you see televisions everywhere and Thais and tourists alike cheering on their teams.

Hopefully everyone has reason to be proud of their team and everyone has a great time enjoying the World Cup.

Briton Arrested During Protests Worked for the Queen

Famous Red shirt protester Jeff Savage

This story just keeps getting better with age. Jeff Savage, who was arrested last month during the Red Shirt protests on a charge of violating the state of emergency set in place by the Thai government, apparently has connections. While Savage was very vocal and very much so acting like a hooligan by many accounts it turns out now that he worked for the Queen of England at Buckingham Palace between 1993 and 1998. The Daily Mail newspaper said:

Savage had been employed as a general porter at the Palace, Queen Elizabeth II’s official residence. It said his duties included preparing state rooms for official functions, such as banquets and investitures.

Savage has been accused by the Thai government of inciting protesters to set fire to a major shopping mall, Central World. He was seen on a video clip saying of Central World: “We’re going to loot everything, gold, watches, everything, and then we’re gonna burn it to the ground.”

Just goes to show you how differently people can act in Thailand. I’ve said on more than one occasion that I feel like a different person while in the Kingdom…just not a different person that wants to loot and burn down a mall.

And there you have it, a very odd week in Thai news but better than protests and bloodshed any day of the week…


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18 Responses to Thailand in the News Week Ending 6/12/10
  1. Martyn
    June 14, 2010 | 6:09 am

    Talen I read both of Mike’s stories on the rumoured tsunami’s and enjoyed them immensely. I can imagine him slipping his humble pie over the fence to his neighbour.

    Football, I love football like crazy and still do even after England’s goalkeeper dropped a giant blunder against your American boys last night. The Thais absolutely adore the game and I contemplated putting off my May trip until the World Cup started, as you know I decided against it.

    Britain has had a few strange sods who have worked for the Queen in the past and your news doesn’t surprise me. I somehow don’t think Queen Elizabeth will be putting some good words in for him.

    Your last sentence is oh so true and long may it last.
    Martyn recently posted..This One’s For You BudMy Profile

    • Talen
      June 14, 2010 | 8:44 am

      Martyn, I enjoyed mikes stories too and laughed my ass off…but when he said she offered money for diesel I wondered a little.

      I was never a big fan of football but my first trip. to Thailand coincided with the world cup and I loved watching all the games. I have a feeling I will become a big football fan once I make the move to Thailand.

      With the Queen crying poor and asking for more money I would think she has bigger pr problems than Savage…

  2. Mike
    June 14, 2010 | 7:54 am

    Talen thanks for the plug… will help the humble pie slide down. Its almost unbelievable but I did add a link to the report on the tsunami warning centre site as penance on the latter post.

    A friend of MTF phoned last night to see if we had survived!! MTF also told our neighbours about the earthquake……last seen heading for the hills!

    Talking of humble pie I reckon a few English soccer fans might be eating a large slice today……well done the USA.

    Finally I have to agree with Martyn about the Queens servants. Over the years the Royal family has attracted some odd-balls, mind you they have a few inside the family too. Charles and Camilla spring to mind.

    PS. Nice to be able to comment like that about the British Royal family without fear of being locked up :-)
    Mike recently posted..Wat Bang Koh Theppasak-Samut SongkhramMy Profile

  3. Talen
    June 14, 2010 | 8:48 am

    Mike, the stories were great and I guarantee any one of us would have reacted the same way. When I saw there was an earthquake and a possible tsunami Sunday my jaw dropped.

    As for the USA and football…well, flukes do happen.

    They might not lock you up for speaking poorly of the royal family but looks like they might be hitting you up for more money for the Queen…sounds like she’s in dire straights and may have to actually take on some borders or rent out a castle or two.

  4. Catherine
    June 14, 2010 | 11:03 am

    So nice to see Thailand back to normal. Mostly. I’m not much of a footie fan either, but I can be persuaded.
    Catherine recently posted..Total Cuteness: Learning the Thai Alphabet on YouTubeMy Profile

  5. Chuck Wow
    June 14, 2010 | 2:28 pm

    More Tsunami fears ! I will never be able to get my wife back out to Koh Larn.

    Two times a year I do not relish being in Pattaya – Songkran and now.

    Too many Soccer Hooligans in the watering holes for my taste.

    Thank goodness for the peace and quiet of Nakhon Sawan!

  6. harry jones (liverpool)
    June 14, 2010 | 7:42 pm

    Can someone please tell if their is a limit to the amount of cash(£ sterling) that I can take into Thailand for my months holiday expenses.I do not want to transgress the Thai law system.
    I have emailed the Thai embassy several times, but They do not reply.Thank you Harry Jones

    • Talen
      June 15, 2010 | 1:35 am

      Harry, there is no limit on the amount of Foreign money you can bring into Thailand.

      • Mike
        June 15, 2010 | 7:51 am

        Talen true but you should declare over $20,000(especially if you wish to remove an equivalent amount later) on arrival to Thai customs.

        UK citizens must declare to UK Customs on departure any amounts over 10,000 Euro’s that they are taking to a country outside the EU. Failure to do so can lead to a fine. There is no limit but the declaration should be made.

        Money laundering regs I think.

        BTW I agree with Martyn to a point but perhaps the Harry has expensive tastes :-)
        Mike recently posted..Wat Bang Koh Theppasak-Samut SongkhramMy Profile

        • Talen
          June 15, 2010 | 12:23 pm

          Mike, I would say it depends…if you are just spending it in Thailand on holiday I wouldn’t because then there may be red tape hassles but if you are bringing it in for business or visa reasons then you definitely should.

          Some other interesting facts I uncovered. While there is no limit to the amount of currency brought into Thailand anything over 2 million baht needs to be reported to the AMLO anti money laundering office.

          There is also no limit to the amount of Thai baht brought into the country but only 50,000 baht can be taken out of the country without a permit unless you are visiting neighboring countries such as Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia etc. when the limit goes up to 500, 000 baht.

          • Mike
            June 15, 2010 | 12:30 pm

            Talen your last point is interesting, since some types of visa extension require a deposit in a Thai bank, can be as high as 800,000 Baht on retirement options.

            I wonder what happens if you want to transfer it back to the UK/US?

            Appreciate this is off topic but it made me wonder.
            Mike recently posted..Wat Bang Koh Theppasak-Samut SongkhramMy Profile

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  8. Martyn
    June 15, 2010 | 5:54 am

    Harry there may not be a limit on how much money you can take into Thailand but there is on the amount of cash (not traveller cheques) you can take out of Britain. I think it’s £8,000 but I’m not totally sure.

    You have to be a right nutter if you spent that much in one month.

  9. harry jones (liverpool)
    June 15, 2010 | 4:09 pm

    Hello, and thank you to every one who kindly replied to my query concerning taking cash into Thailand. Co-incidentally that very morning I received a detailed explanation from the Thai embassy in Hull.Previously I had been mis-informed that you were only allowed to take £1k cash.So I was a little concerned that this would be insufficient for my holiday expenses for one month.(This is to cover all costs), so I am not what you would call a spendthrift!!!!!
    Thanks for all your helpful replies and comments.
    Best wishes from
    Harry Jones

    • Talen
      June 15, 2010 | 8:54 pm

      Glad we could help some Harry. Hope you have a wonderful month in the LoS.

  10. Talen
    June 15, 2010 | 8:53 pm

    Mike, these rules only apply to cash. Bank transfers are handled differently and apparently the necessary permits come from the banks themselves so they know if it was used for visa purposes.

  11. Erich
    June 16, 2010 | 9:29 am

    I had no idea there was an earthquake several days ago. I was in Phuket during the tsunami, but very lucky to be in Kathu at the time and spared any damage.

  12. Lloyd
    June 16, 2010 | 5:00 pm

    All international money transfers using either CHAPS or Interbank FX Payments are reported. In Thailand amounts above 500,000 Baht are subject to a secondary reporting requirement that the end receiving bank does automatically prior to the funds being “cleared”.

    There are tax implications for funds transfered for private and commercial usage. Although not often enforced international funds that are registered as private yet are used in a commercial manner are subject to an impost and duties, funds that are used to purchase articles of “investment” ie: properties, shares, commodities etc, are subject to tax reporting requirements and a higher rate of Capital Gains Tax and an impost linked to the exchange rate difference. The often unknown implications are for funds used for person “gain” in lieu of employment (money paid to a partner or spouse) or for the purchase of items that are deemed “non personal or for non educational purposes” such as cars, motorbikes, electronic entertainment equipment etc can be treated as actual taxable income as well as have social welfare implications, so any amount over 4300 Baht per month paid to a Thai partner could result in taxes between 6% and 45%.