AAPH chairman Teo says no real
crisis seen in Thailand
The chairman of the Asean Association for Planning and
Housing, Mr. Daniel Teo Tong Hao, said he had not seen a real economic crisis in Thailand.
He said that there were still shoppers crowded into the citys department stores, the
whole Kingdom seemed to be less hit by the regional crisis and is likely to start an
upturn this year.
According to Mr. Teo, a Singaporean, besides the banking and finance
sectors, the property development industry in every Asian country has been hardest hit by
the regional crisis. Singapore has not suffered any less, as property prices in the city
state island nation have fallen more than 50 percent after the crisis started, he said.
"The crisis is not new, however," Mr. Teo said. "A man
of my generation has seen such crisis three times. However, the present one might be the
most devastating one," he said. Mr. Teo believes that Singapores economy will
be stable this year while the Thai economy is yet to pick up and begin its upturn.
Thanks to Singaporean government whose timely tax and the
US$10.5-billion property loan package helped stopped the crisis; the Kingdom has suffered
less because of its richness in natural resources, said the chairman.
French mineral water faces 10-year
The Excise Department has imposed 20-percent, 10-year
back taxes on Frances renowned mineral water Perrier after finding that it is not
pure and natural but processed. The move is suspected by the European Unions Bangkok
office to be trade discrimination.
The departments sources said Perrier, imported by Perrier Vittel
(Thailand), is not bottled pure from its natural well in the Vergaze district of the
French city of Gard, but is carbonated to add minerals. This, according to Thai laws,
makes it a soft drink and thus subject to different tax rates.
Replying to the EU office regarding the question of discrimination, the
department said that the retroactive taxation has been in accordance with Thai laws. The
tax is in line with GATTs National Treatment accords and is not discrimination.
France has been accused of spearheading EUs moves to end the GSP
tax privileges enjoyed by a number of Thai products to the EU market.
Campaign against French-made chemicals still goes on in local farm
sector; EU mission asked if back taxation on Perrier could be relaxed; talks under way
between the importer and the department.
Yanhee clinic now rivals Taiwans
Yanhee Hospital, with its renowned beauty clinic, has
become the chief rival of Taiwans Shing Kang Hospital. Over the past 10 years Shing
Kang has become internationally recognized for its plastic surgery services.
Thailands Yanhee Hospital has, however, gained an edge with its lowest-in-Asia price
policy, while maintaining the same quality and technology.
According to the hospitals director Dr Supoj Samritvanitcha,
Yanhees healthcare service is in line with the governments policy to promote
services with potential for foreign tourists and foreign customers in general. The baht
depreciation has been a competitive edge in competing, he said.
Yanhee Hospital has been regionally recognized for its advance
transsexual operations. The hospital was in fact the only place in Asia which had the
technology to implant female sexual organs on male clients, said Dr Supoj. The hospital
also offers hair transplant operations to cure baldness, with only a Baht 25,000 servicing
cost. The Hair transplant machine and the latest hair care technology are imported from
The hospitals 6 plastic surgeons can cover all types of beauty
surgery. Though it is difficult to compete in the world market with Shing Kang, Yanhee has
already had a good start, as the beauty clinic has attracted a number of foreign
customers, mainly Japanese.
Fujitsu General lodges complaints
against estate neighbor
Fujitsu General (Thailand) has filed complaints against
its neighbor Thailox, accusing Thailox of emitting chemical fumes harmful to the
environment. Fujitsu said its was hit by the toxic fumes while applying for the ISO14001
good environmental management certification.
According to Mr. Yukio Tanaka, Fujitsu Generals chairman of
working safety, Thailox, which produces industry screws and bolts, has been sending
chemical fumes into the neighborhood inside the Laem Chabang Industrial Estate for 9
straight months. The stench has caused the working efficiency of Fujitsu employees to
suffer, Mr. Tanaka said in a recent complaint.
The estate manager, Mr. Sanit Banthuchan, said a security team has
looked into the problem and will tell Thailox to get it solved. Part of the problem was
that Fujitsu General expanded its facility closer to that of Thailox, and was disturbed by
the fumes, said Mr. Sanit.
There are 101 companies inside the estate, almost all are small and
medium-scaled industries. 44 produce auto parts. Very few environment-related problems
have been reported since operations began in 1991. The environmental quality of companies
is inspected every four years. The Thailox case might have been caused by worn out
Local contractors feel the heat
of special yen loan conditions
Contractors working on the new Nong Ngu Hao
international airport projects have expressed concern over the governments plan to
switch to a Japanese "Special Yen Loan" scheme.
The Transport and Communication Ministry is reportedly exploring its
options, and is reportedly keen to use about Baht 40 billion from the special yen loan
scheme to refinance another loan with a much higher interest rate from Japans
Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund. But the conditions attached to the new loan package
would require Japanese companies to be the main contractors working on the Nong Ngu Hao
Transport and Communication Minister Suthep Thuagsuban leaves for Tokyo
early this month to talk with Japanese officials about easing the terms and conditions of
the loan. According to ministry sources, Minister Suthep is to ask Japan to include Thai
sub-contractors or Thai-Japanese consortiums.
The special yen loan scheme offers a 1 percent interest rate and a
10-year grace period, while the government currently pays a 2.75 percent rate to OECF
loans. New Bangkok International Airport Co. has Baht 60-70 billion in loans from OECF,
but only Baht 10 billion of the package has been disbursed. The ministry has been under
pressures from the 6 NBIA tigers - large contractors constructing the airport.
A small tube of urine could cost
A small, unique, plastic tube of urine costs as much as
Baht 1,500 in certain Bangkok nightclubs. Bangkok police perform spot checks as part of
their campaign against ecstasy and other drugs, and there is always urine for sale inside
many of Bangkoks elite pubs to help customers evade urine tests done by police.
Selling urine does make money. Waiters and waitresses are told by
operators to prepare their own urine. They then contact guests at clandestine "E
parties" organized by the pubs, to be ready for possible police raids. The evading
tactic is proposed, which is simple but highly effective in most cases.
The loophole is that the police do not follow suspects into the
pubs toilets after small plastic tubes, the size of a color film case, are
distributed to be filled with urine. That was where pure urine was given to
drug takers, said business sources.
A tube costs from Baht 500 to Baht 1,500 depending on clients
name- the richer, the more expensive tubes; 500 party-goers were arrested in a raid on XJ
Pub on Ram Khamhaeng Soi 83 last year, but fewer were arrested in recent raids on major
parties; more were arrested in most recent raid on an E party on Petch Kasem 20, but most
of those were foreigners who were not privy to the evading trick.
Viagra faces true rival - Thai
A group of Thai scientists have announced a herbal
formula which permanently cures impotency and erection loss in males. The scientists also
claim the formula is of much better quality than Viagra made by Pfizer. Moreover, the
formula, with a natural extract from red kwao krue plant called phytoendogent, is far less
expensive than a Viagra tablet.
The formula, now available in gel form, costs patients only Baht 500 a
pack for one-month use. "Patients just apply the gel and later find it comes to life
with sexual sensitivity," said Dr Vichai Cherdcheevasart of Faculty of Science at
"The herbal extract, when regularly applied, could permanently
cure lost efficiency in sex, while Viagra tablets only help bring about erections per
use," said Dr Vichai.
The Kwao Krue plant is not new to Thai traditional medical practices,
Dr Vichai said. Its sister, white kwao krue, has been used for many years as a
revitalizing agent in cosmetics for females, he said.
The formula has been patented internationally; the gel formula will
soon be available in the market, while a local company is producing the medicine in
capsules; with twice a day applications, normal sex efficiency could come back in just 4
Members form alliance in move to
Phone calls last week jammed telephone lines at a radio
station during a broadcast on UBCs plan to increase its service fee. Callers who
claimed to be UBC subscribers said the network had taken advantage of its members.
The cable TV industry has now been monopolized and the monopoly should
be abolished, said many of the callers. Those subscribers had formed a loose alliance to
spearhead campaigns against what was called the exploitation of members by the
Universal Broadcasting Corporation. One member, who introduced himself as Mr. Montri
Sritaptim, has been chosen as the campaign leader.
Law and communication arts academics have questioned the Mass
Communication Organization of Thailand over the status of UBC, as to whether or not it is
a monopoly. Mr. Vissanu Varanyoo, a Thammasart University law lecturer, said MCOT has
never disclosed the legal interpretation on the status of UBC made by the office of the
Council of State.
Law experts, academics to discuss the UBC question in a seminar planned
at Chulalongkorn University on April 5; service fee is even much higher than that in
Japan, argued leading academics; UBCs new fee structure, scheduled for May 1, was
approved by MCOT; while maintaining its fee for the basic package at Baht 400, the network
brings its popular package from Baht 890 to Baht 1,090 a month; the company said the new
fee structure would help it survive the costs, which is 60 percent in US dollars.
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