CHONBURI, 11 June 2015 - The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) has recently held a meeting with representatives from Indonesia and Myanmar in an attempt to solve human trafficking crisis in the fishery industry.

The meeting was held at Dusit Thani Hotel in Chonbur. More than 30 participants and high ranking police officers from Indonesia and Myanmar attended this event.

Many Thai and migrant workers have fallen victim to human traffickers in their pursuit of jobs in the fishery industry on Ambon and Benjina islands in Indonesia.

The Thai government has reportedly had difficulties in taking legal action against the perpetrators as the crime took place overseas.

The DSI has also cooperated with those working in the Australia-Asia Program to Combat Trafficking In Persons (AAPTIP) in organizing this event, during which participants vowed to provide financial support and cooperation in order to crack down on human trafficking once and for all.

BANGKOK, 11 June 2015,  Minister of Tourism and Sports Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul revealed a reform plan for the tourism sector, which aims to generate at least 2.5 trillion baht in revenue by 2017.

The comment came after her meeting with the National Tourism Policy Committee chaired by Foreign Affairs Minister General Thanasak Patimaprakorn.

Ms. Kobkarn explained that of the 2017 target income, 1.6 trillion baht would come from foreign visitors and the remaining 900 billion baht would come from domestic tourists.

She said the Kingdom should be able to generate 2.3 trillion baht in revenue by 2016, of which 1.5 trillion baht would come from foreigners and 800 billion baht from locals.

As for this year, the minister expects 1.4 trillion baht from foreign visitors and another 800 billion baht from domestic travelers.

She said reforms in marketing, management, and tourism goods and services are needed in order to achieve this revenue trajectory.

BANGKOK, 11 June 2015,  Industry Minister Jakkamon Phasukkhawanitch said that currently, a minimum wage hike from 300 baht per day is unlikely.

The minister added that the rate should be determined by each sector’s performance, rather than using the same minimum wage nationwide.

Mr. Jakkamon said using the same rate ignores the actual business climate in each sector, especially those that are underperforming. Uniform hikes can hurt small- and medium-sized enterprises and cause them to fold operations.

On the other hand, he said he believed the rate should not fall below the national 300 baht per day. Business operators can choose to pay more, but should proceed carefully before making the wage adjustment.

BANGKOK, 11 June 2015 - Industry Minister Jakkamon Phasukkhawanitch revealed Japanese investors are interested in the aeroplane parts manufacturing industry, and their government is eyeing to establish a consulate in Thailand’s eastern industrial estate.

The comment was made after his meeting with Japanese Ambassador to Thailand Shiro Sadoshima. Minister Jakkamon said Japan considered Thailand as holding high potentials in airplane parts manufacturing which has similar aspects to the automotive parts industry that Thailand has the expertise.

Besides, Japan shows interest to invest in the production of medical equipment and the setting up of a consular office in an industrial estate in Chonburi Province. Mr. Jakkamon said as the estate has already been accommodating a lot of Japanese entrepreneurs, a consular office would facilitate its people.

He also told the media that the Office of Industrial Economics (OIE) has recently discussed with the Japanese commercial attache the iron import quota in line with the Japan–Thailand Economic Partnership Agreement (JTEPA).

The minister said the OIE would later determine whether Thailand would make an adjustment to the iron import quota, adding that there were certain terms of the JTEPA agreement that Japan needs to fulfill. He said Thailand had long completed her part of the deal.

BANGKOK, 11 June 2015, The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) Research Institute has stated that stock trading last month stood at 1.496.05 points, decreasing by 0.1 percent from the same period last year.

Director of the SET Research Institute Kiattipong Ariyapratya told news media that the figure also represents a 0.2 percent contraction from April. He attributed the drop to the lower-than-expected gross domestic product during the first three months, which was 3.4 percent lower than expected.

Mr. Kiattipong said although listed companies performed close to the SET Research Institute’s prediction, there are still many significant external factors, like the US Federal Reserve adjusting its benchmark rate and the Greece financial crisis.

The director pointed out that local stocks reflected trends in other stock markets in the region.

BANGKOK, 11 June 2015, The Office of Transport and Traffic Policy Planning (OTP) has decided to proceed with the original orange line subway construction plan, given preliminary work has already been carried out.

BANGKOK, 10 June 2015 - The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has resolved to maintain the policy interest rate at 1.5 percent on expectation that the Thai economy will gradually rebound.

Mr Methee Supapongse, Assistant Governor of the Bank of Thailand’s Monetary Policy Group, disclosed that the MPC decided unanimously during its meeting today to keep the interest rate unchanged at 1.5 percent per annum. Despite sluggishness, the committee believed the Thai economy will begin to pick up steadily from now, thanks to the government’s acceleration of budget disbursement and the lively tourism scene.

Following the interest rate cuts at its two previous meetings, Mr Methee said the MPC is evaluating the effects of the move while keeping a close eye on the economic trend. Thus far, he claimed the previous reductions have caused the baht to depreciate and, in turn, provided a boost for the export sector.

Nonetheless, the Assistant Governor conceded that Thai exports will likely see contraction this year, instead of the zero percent growth predicted earlier. He said the MPC will consider revising down its annual growth estimates for the GDP and exports during its June 19 meeting.

PRACHUAP KHIRI KHAN, 10 June 2015 - Local fishermen and environmentalists gathered at the City Hall of Prachuap Khiri Khan Province to urge their governor to disallow the fishing of comb pen shells.

The villagers, armed with banners denouncing the fishing of comb pen shells, demanded that related agencies help solve their hardships by imposing a ban on comb pen shell hunt which is posing a threat to the environment and their livelihood.

They said hundreds of fishermen from nearby provinces did cause extensive damage to the marine conservation zone by digging up comb pen shells which live in sand. Hunters normally cut off the shells’ muscles which will be sold to markets. Their remaining parts will be dumped and left to decompose in the sea, leading to pollution. Their shell scraps are also said to have damaged locally-made fishing tools.

The villagers have called on authorities to announce provincial regulations to outlaw the fishing of comb pen shells in Prachuap Khiri Khan as the sustainable solution. The residents also appointed representatives from each village to discuss the matter with provincial body later on

CHAIYAPHUM, 10 June 2015 - About 145 villages in Chaiyaphum Province remain affected by droughts and need water support from provincial authorities despite periodical rains. Chaiyaphum has less accumulated rainfall by 40 per cent when compared to the same period of the previous year.

The Governor of Chaiyaphum Wichian Chanthanothai called a meeting of provincial authorities today to follow up on the water situation. He ordered them to give immedicate response to requests for water trucks to ensure local residents have enough water for consuming purposes.

Water-containing trucks had recently been sent to distribute water to two rural units of the Provincial Waterworks Authority including one in Nong Bua Daeng District where six groundwater wells were dug but raw water was still insufficient for producing potable water.

The provincial authorities were assigned to raise public awareness about economic use of water and to manage proper use of water reserved in various dams. The governor advised the release of some water from reservoirs in order to leave more space for new rainfalls in the next few months. The governor also stressed that budget allocations in the 2016 fiscal year would give priority to development of water sources, particularly in the 145 drought-hig villages

The 12th Thailand Paper-folded Airplane Competition has started to select a winner to participate in the 7th Japan Paper-folded Airplane Competition organized in Hiroshima by Japan Origami Airplane Association (JOAA). The selection begins in various parts of Thailand to expand opportunities for all youths to take part.