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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     4 November  2011

Police chase dike-busters
Bangkok police have vowed to arrest the people who destroyed the dy-ikes protecting Khlong Prapa canal that feeds raw water to Bangkok's tap water production facilities.
They also warned of harsh prison sentences and fines.

Bangkok Deputy Police Chief Anuchai Lekbamrung said yesterday the destruction of dikes, bridges, pipes and sluice gates along Khlong Prapa canal violated the 1983 Khlong Prapa Protection Act and offenders were liable to up to three years in prison and/or a fine of up to 60,000 baht (US$2,000).

Any acts that cause flooding or disruption of the water supply which is a public utility in a way that will harm individuals and others' properties also violates Section 228 of the Criminal Code.

The sentence is up to five years in jail and/or a fine of up to 10,000 baht.
Pol Maj Gen Anuchai said the destruction of the dikes would have a far-reaching impact on the population of the capital and many people had been arrested in connection with the incidents.

Justice Minister Pracha Promnok, who is also director of the Flood Relief Operations Command (Froc), said yesterday the 17 recently destroyed sections of dykes of Khlong Prapa canal had been repaired on Wednesday night.

Workers are racing to reinforce the weak sections of the dikes.

The Irrigation Department, Italian-Thai Development Plc and the Public Works and Highway departments have supplied backhoes for the task.

The Engineering Institute of Thailand yesterday expressed its concern that a collapse of the tap water system in Bangkok would force a mass exodus of people from the capital.

Suwat Chaopreecha, the institute president, urged people in flooded communities along the raw water canal not to tamper with the dykes. If more polluted water drains into the canal, it could halt the city's water production, he said.

"If the main purifying facility [in Bang Khen] ceases operation, we won't survive. I wish to appeal to the government to take care of the canal at all costs," he said.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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