After a long (short actually) holiday, I finally need to leave the place where I call home. It was very heavy to leave Thailand to come over to Malaysia for work. Not only the last time but everytime. Life must go on. So see you guys in the next entry. ^^
Last minute packing. I always do this as it is more fun than packing earlier. Well, I got only 1 luggage. So see you guys from Bangkok. Merry X’mas and Happy New Year in advance.
Sungai Kolok ( สุไหงโก-ลก) used to be famous with tourists from neighbouring country, Malaysia. However since the rise of the seperatist groups in Southern Thailand where there were shootings, bombings etc few years ago, the town slowly turns to be a very quiet town.
Normally on weekends, it might be very difficult to find a hotel room in this border town. However now, it is very easy and you might be given discount for weekends. The border security in Sungai Kolok is not that tight. The Sungai Kolok – Rantau Panjang Bridge connects Thailand and Malaysia.
Vendors from both countries use the bridge a lot. However, the checkpoint in Malaysia is very strict. You need to pass the immigration counter so that your passport or border pass will be stamped. However, after walking across the bridge, you can just walk straight without ignoring the Thai Immigration counter which is situated on the right hand side.
There are plenty of motorcycle taxis around that area. They charge around 20 Baht from the border into the town which is about 1km. Holding 2 nationalities is very comfortable for me to walk in and out between these two countries.
Sungai Kolok is like other Thai border towns. There are Thai, Thai Chinese and Thai Muslim all over. There are also army in almost every parts of the town. For me, without those bombings or shootings, Sungai Kolok is a very perfect town. Not so big or small. Just nice. In Sungai Kolok, the locals speak Yawi, one of the dialect in Malay Language. Thai is being use in the town as well. Some of the Chinese families in the town speak perfect Chinese language.
Five crew members of a North Korean plane impounded in Bangkok on Saturday will be charged, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Sunday.
The plane which was found loading with about 35 tonnes of war weapons including missiles and rocket propelled grenade was impounded as it landed for refuelling at Don Muang Airport.
The five crew members consisted one from Belarus and the rest from Kazakhstan were detained for further questioning.
Abhisit told reporters on Sunday, “We will strictly follow our own laws and UN resolutions. The investigation is progressing. Charges will soon be set.”
The prime minister said the authorities did not know where the were bound.
“We are not yet clear why they were transporting these weapons, we only know they were due to refuel in Colombo of Sri Lanka.”
“Security and intelligence services are continuing to investigate. It is not yet clear if this is terrorist activity,” he said.Abhisit said the plane start from North Korean capital of Pyongyang and the cache came from a North Korean company and the plane was registered in Georgia.
The crew requested permission to land for refuelling in Bangkok and then lied to inspectors about its cargo, saying it carried only oil drilling equipment.
“They committed two crimes, firstly they gave false information about their cargo, and secondly that cargo was found to be weapons,” Abhisit said.
“The plane landed on Friday. We received the tip off from intelligence reports that said this plane was suspicious. When the plane refuelled, we searched it and found the weapons,” he explained.
About 500 illegal Thai immigrants in Malaysia, mostly trafficked women, will return home on Tuesday in a first wave of repatriation of illegal Thai workers.
Deputy Interior Minister Thavorn Senniam said yesterday he had instructed the Songkhla governor to facilitate the repatriation of the workers. Some of these Thai citizens entered Malaysia without work permits, others were victims of human trafficking rings and sold into prostitution. Some of these Thai citizens have been held captive by human trafficking rings.
In terms of income, human trafficking ranked at No 3 behind illegal arms sales and drugs at the global level.The minister said these Thai workers and victims had suffered immensely and that anyone who has any leads about human traffickers can call hotline No 1880 to report at anytime.He said the government wants to solve the problem in cooperation with Malaysia and added that Malaysia is one of the destination for illegal migrant workers and trafficked women from Thailand and other countries in the region.Thavorn added that the Interior Ministry will work closely with the local administrative bodies and the Thai Foreign Ministry to find a lasting solution to the problem.
A fury of bomb attacks in the southern region greet Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his Malaysian counterpart, Najib Razak, who jointly opened and renamed a bridge in Narathiwat.
The two leaders arrived by a helicopter in Waeng district to commemorate the Thai-Malay Friendship Bridge over the Kolok River, a natural boundary that cuts through a Malay-speaking region where many people on both sides are relatives. The visit was billed as a model of how the two neighbouring countries, in spite of security challenge along their common border, can cooperate.
The trip was part of Najib’s three-day official visit to the country, his first as Malaysia’s prime minister. Thousands of security forces and bomb squads were dispatched to provide security for the delegations but militants on the ground took, as well as other disturbances, greeted the visit with bomb attacks in other parts of this violence-wracked region.
In the latest violence, four bombs went off in Yala’s provincial town Wednesday morning. One of them was a twin bomb blast that killed a forensic police officer and three security officials wounded in twin bomb blasts by a riverbank in Yala’s provincial town on Wednesday morning.
Earlier Wednesday, two Thai marines were wounded in a bomb and gun attack in Narathiwat as they tried to collect banners criticising Abhisit’s policies on the south. One series of banner, posted through out the three provinces in both Jawi and Rumi, reads “Patani Sebahagian daripada Malaysia”, which translated as “Patani is part of Malaysia”. “It could be anybody with an intention to irritate the delegations,” said Senator Worawit Baru, when asked who he think were behind such statement.
Worawit pointed out that the militants on the ground often spray paint the word “Patani Merdeka”, which mean “Free Patani” on the roads and streets. Another roadside bomb wounded two troops and a policeman assigned to a security details for teachers in Yala. On Tuesday a bomb killed a soldier and wounded another in a Narathiwat road where Abhisit and Najib were scheduled to pass through.
The second soldier died in the hospital. On Monday, two people were killed by a powerful motorcycle bomb in Narathiwat provincial town while two other civilians were shot dead earlier this week.
The two-lane bridge that was renamed yesterday open in December 2007 by Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Surayud Chulanont, the then-prime ministers of Malaysia and Thailand, in a bid to boost the border region’s economy. Badawi did not visit any other parts of southern Thailand at the time.
Future plans include linking the economy of the southernmost provinces to Malaysia’s northern states. The two leaders were later Wednesday due to visit one public school and one Islamic school, a handicraft village and a “widow village” that shelters some 140 families affected by the unrest.