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How many methamphetamine tablets!? PHOTO: The Nation

The Kathu Police Station Superintendent is heading to Patong to be the acting Patong Police Station Superintendent. This follows the transfer of several officers over the ongoing bribe scandal including former Patong Superintendent, Pol. Col. Tassanai Oladirek.

Pol. Col. M.L. Pattanachak Chakrabhan will move from Kathu Police Station to be acting Patong Police Station Superintendent while Pol.Col Chawalit Niemwadee from Phuket Police Station will replace him as the new Kathu Police Station Superintendent.

The shifts follow a week of mounting evidence indicating systemic corruption and ‘brown paper bag’ payments made by Patong businesses – principally in the entertainment, beverage, restaurant and gambling industries – to ‘dodgy’ police.

A submission to the Thai PM from a local Facebook portal called ‘Spotlight Phuket’ has exposed long-term corruption, extortion and blackmail between some Phuket police and local Patong businesses.

Hua Hin, on the Gulf of Thailand, is mopping up after a drenching yesterday. Rains continued from Monday night until noon yesterday.

Officials say the railway between Khao Tao Station in Hua Hin and Wang Pong Station in Pran Buri was under 30 centimetres of water for about 400 metres, forcing train service to be suspended all yesterday afternoon. Motorists travelling north and south were detoured along a bypass road instead of Phetkasem Road which was, itself, under 30 centimetres of water.

Just when you thought the quantities of illicit pills in drug busts couldn’t get any larger…. A 22 year old man has been arrested with 10.3 million “yaba” methamphetamine pills in Samut Prakan, just south of Bangkok.

Pongsakorn Phraworn was arrested yesterday and the drugs seized at his home in Tambon Bang Kaew. The arrest happened after the Metropolitan Police Area 8 determined that Pongsakorn was a major drug dealer and had been storing the narcotics for later distribution.

Five top players, two referees, four investors and one club executive have been accused of being involved in the match-fixing of recent Thai League games. The arrests mark the first serious crackdown on cheating in Thai football. The 12 men have been taken into police custody but have since been released on bail. The arrest warrants cite the alleged bribing of professional athletes to fix results, and of match officials to bend the rules.

After an investigation lasting more than six months, authorities, with the help of Sportradar – a Swiss sports data company – determined that the 12 were linked to match-fixing in four Thai League games between July 26 and September 23. Suspicions of irregular online betting arose when an unusual number of goals were scored at the late stages of all the games investigated.

Four Thai Navy FC players and a player from Nakhon Ratchasima Mazda FC were each allegedly paid as much as 200,000 baht to manipulate results.

Online critics are being warned to be careful what they say about the government’s performance, as the PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered his state officers to elevate their monitoring of Internet comments and enforce the laws relating to them.

Specifically, officers have been told by Prayut to strictly enforce the new Computer Crime Bill, which punishes online dissemination of information “deemed controversial to national security”. The bill also allows state officers to close websites deemed to have violated the law. Prayut said yesterday…. “There are false facts and hate speech everywhere. We just want to keep society in order.”

Police have caught five out of the 20 Uighurs who escaped from immigration facilities in Songkhla’s Sadao district yesterday morning.

The manhunt continues to find and arrest the remaining 15 escapees. Police are looking into the possibility that someone had helped the escapees by picking them up after their escape from detention. The escapees were among 300 Uighurs who had been detained in Thailand since 2014 pending an investigation into their origins. China has requested that Thailand deport Uighurs, claiming they are militants, with 109 of them already having been sent back to China. Police suspect that the escapees had already crossed the border to Malaysia but say that it won’t be easy for them as they speak neither Thai or Malay.

There are more outgoing military officers than incoming ones in the freshly reshuffled Thai Cabinet. The PM says his yet-to-be-publicised list has already been finalised. The fourth reshuffle of Prayut’s three-year-old Cabinet follows his announcement earlier this month of a shake-up shortly after General Sirichai Distakul abruptly resigned from his position as labour minister. There is speculation that the reshuffle will also revamp the Cabinet’s economy-related ministerial line-up. Prayut has previously said he considering reducing the number of military officers in the Cabinet and outnumbering them with civilian ministers.

SOURCES: The Nation, Phuket Gazette

- Tim Newton