The Southeast Asian Times
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established 2000
Friday, 31 October 2014
An informed guide to happenings throughout the region.

The Wolf bridge: An insult to Thai monarchy
From News Reports:
Bangkok, October 31: Thai University students, Patiwat Saraiyaem, 23, and Pornthip Mankong, 26, were charged in the Ratrachada Court on Monday, with defamation of the Thai monarchy in a play titled "The Wolf Bridge" performed at the Thammasat university in October 2013, reports the Bangkok Post.
The students were charged with insulting the Royal Thai family in the fictional depiction of the monarchy in a play performed in commemoration of the 37th and 40th anniversaries of the October 6, 1976 and October 14, 1973 pro-democracy student uprisings at Thammasat University.
The prosecution cites nine passages from the plays's script, a work of fiction that depicts a fictional monarch, that allegedly insults the monarchy and as such is in violation of the lese majeste law.
Patiwat Saraiyaem, actor and Pornthip Mankong, producer of the play, in detention since arrested on 13 August, have been refused bail are scheduled to appear in court to enter pleas on December 29.
The Southeast Asian Times

World including
Asean PM's and Presidents to attend inauguaration of Indonesian president
From News Reports:
Jakarta, October 18: World Prime ministers, Presidents and State representatives including US Secretary of State, John Kerry and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott will attend the inauguaration of Joko “Jokowi” Widodo as President of Indonesiaon on Monday.
The speaker of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) Zulkifli Hasan said that representatives from the ten Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) member nations have also been invited to attend the swearing in of the former governor of Jakarta, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo as president of Indonesia.
"The Prime Ministers and Presidents of Malaysia, Singapore, Japan and South Korea are also expected to attend", he said.
He said that the Indonesian People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) has also invited "domestic VIP's" including former Presidents and Vice-Presidents.
“All chairpersons of political parties have also be invited,” said the speaker.
The Southeast Asian Times

Banned ISIS flag found flying in Aceh

From News Reports:
Jakarta, September 12: The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) flag found flying from a coconut tree in Aceh on Sunday has been torn down, reports the Jakarta Post.
The discovery of the banned ISIS flag was reportedly the first in Aceh.
Police chief First Inspecter Azwan said that the flag of the nationally banned movement was discovered by chess players sitting at a food stall near the coconut tree in the Sungai Raya district of East Aceh regency in Aceh.
He said that a bomb disposal team inspected the area before the flag was taken down.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced Indonesia's rejection of the State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and banned the teaching of ISIL ideology in Indonesia last month at his parliamentary state-of-the-nation address and ahead of the 69th anniversary of Indonesias Independence.

The Southeast Asian Times

Singapore passes Trans- boundary Haze Pollution Act

From News Reports:
Singapore, August, 18: The passing of the 2014 Trans-boundary Haze Pollution Act by the Singapore parliament last week will enable Singapore regulators to sue individuals or companies in neighbouring countries for causing severe air pollution in Singapore.
The Act that was first proposed in 2013 would enable Singapore to impose fines of up to S$2 million on companies that cause or contribute to transboundary haze pollution in Singapore.
Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said that under the Act, Singapore will have the legal right under the Objective Territorial Principle to take legal action against air polluters.
"While neighbouring countries have the sovereign right to exploit their natural resources in accordance with their policies they also have a responsibility to ensure that "slash and burn" agricultural practices do not cause damage to Singapore", he said.
The passing of the 2014 Trans-boundary Haze Pollution Act gives Singapore the legal power to serve notices on those that do not have assets or a presence in Singapore.
Indonesia is yet to ratify an Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution that was signed by ASEAN member counries in November 2003 in order to
address haze pollution arising from land and forest fires.
A bill passed in the Indonesian House of Representatives in July 2013 gave the Indonesian goverment the power to seize assetts gained from illegal logging and illegal clearing of forests for palm oil plantations.
The new bill, designed to protect more than 13 million hectres from deforestation, gave the Indonesian government a mandate to establish a task force including police to monitor the prevention and eradication of deforestation.
The Southeast Asian Times

Papua Biak massacre remembered in Sydney
with 136 white carnations
From News Reports:
Sydney, July 5: A ceremony to mark the 16th anniversary of the Biak Massacre in West Papua ua on 6 July 1998 will be held at the Waverley Cliffs cemetery in Sydney on Sunday.
The Waverley Cliffs community will throw 136 white carnations from the waverley cliffs into the Pacific Ocean in memory of the Biak massacre.
A citizens tribunal, hosted by the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS) at the University of Sydney last year on the 15th anniversary of the Biak massacre found that 136 West Papuan protesters were thrown into the sea by Indonesian security forces.
The tribunal heard eye witness testimony that the West Papuan demand for the right to vote for independence from Indonesia was met with gunfire by Indonesian security forces.
Survivors of the massacre told the international team of jurists that the unarmed West Papuan protesters were surrounded and shot by Indonesian security forces and that survivors were thrown into the sea on 6 July 1998.

The Southeast Asian Times

Thai military not invited to
US 4 July celebrations in Bangkok
From News Reports
Bangkok, July 2: Senior Thai military officers have not been invited by the US embassy in Thailand to attend Independence Day celebrations on 4 July in Bangkok, reports the Nation.
National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) spokesman Colonel Werachon Sukondhapatipak said that Commander of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), General Prayuth and four other senior military officers have not received an invitation from the US embassy to attend the annual US Independence Day celebration on the 4 July in Bangkok.
The US embassy in Thailand will reportedly hold a reception on Thursday at a Bangkok hotel to celebrate Independence Day.
Invitations were extended to senior government officials, selected members of the public and the diplomatic community but did not include senior Thai military officers.
Invitations for the US Independence Day celebrations that began arriving last week and that did not include senior Thai military officers
follow the ban last week on the participation of the Thai navy in the US led Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) attended by 22 navies.
The ban on the Thai navy participation in the biennual maritime exercise in the Asia-Pacific follows the declaration of martial law by Commander of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), General Prayuth Chan-ocha on May 22.
The Southeast Asian Time

Public demonstration bill debate brought forward
From News Reports:
Hanoi, June 10: The proposed draft public demonstraton bill, prepared by the Vietnam Ministry of Public Security, is to be presented to the National Assembly for possible approval earlier than planned, reports Thanh Nien.
The draft public demonstration bill that was expected to be completed within the next five years was brought forward for possible approval by legislators following public protests in 22 provinces against the deployment of the Chinese oil rig in alleged Vietnam waters on May 1.
HCMCity National Assemblyman, Truong Trong Nghia said that the government has yet to offer the public a legal means to demonstrate.
"The government is required to protect the people's right to express themselves despite conflicting interests", he said.
371 of 436 legislators agreed to debate the proposed draft public demonstration bill at a mid year session next year with voting on the possible passing of the bill to follow at the end of the year.
The Southeast Asian Times

'Islam is not a state,' says author of book published for Indonesian high school students

From News Reports:
Jakarta, May 3: The book titled, 24 Weeks to a Civic Example: A Muslim Student’s Agenda, that was launched by pro pluralism organisation, the Maarif Institute, in Indonesia last month, encourages the idea that being religious is synonymous with being a good citizen, reports the Jakarta Post.
"Being a good Muslim is analogous to exemplary civic conduct but one should not conflate Islam with the state," said co-author Bambang Q. Anees, philosophy at the Bandung State Islamic University (UIN).
He warned of the dangers of religious instruction that he said must be addressed in the national curriculum.
“The current Islamic studies curriculum needs to be revised", he said.
He said that Muslims have been brought up to think that Islam is all about the history of Muslim wars and
"This belief translates into the belief that Islam is a state,” said the co-author at the launch of the book at the Muhammadiyah Center of Study in Menteng, Jakarta.
The Southeast Asian Times

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Philippine woman escapes death penalty in HCMCity court

From News Reports:
HCMCity, October 31: The Supreme People's Court of Vietnam annulled the death sentence and ordered a retrial into the verdict handed down in August to a Philippine woman convicted of importing cocaine in December last year, reports Thanh Nien.
Dona Buenagua Mazon, 39 was arrested at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi minh City on December 31, 2013 with two plastic bags containing 1.5 kilograms of cocaine concealed in her hand luggage.
The Supreme People's Court declared the guilty verdict null and void pending further investigation to determine the weight of the cocaine found in the possession of the Philippine woman.
The production or sale of 100 grams of heroin or 300 grams of

HCMCity court ordered a retrial on Wednesday for Philippine woman Dona Buenagua Mazon, 39, charged with drug trafficking
other illegal narcotics including cocaine are included in the list of 39 crimes that are punishable by death in Vietnam.
The Philippine woman told the HCMCity police that she was employed by an African identifed as Rudica to carry the drugs from Brazil to Vietnam.
She said that her employer had paid her US$1,500 to transport the illegal narcotics.
In August 2013 the Ho Chi Minh City's People's Court found Thai woman, Chaimongkol Suracha, 31, guilty of importing illegal narcotics to Viet Nam.
Cocaine concealed in two photo albums was found in the woman's luggage on arrival from Brazil at HCMCity's Tan Son Nhat airport on October 1, 2012.
Chaimongkol Suracha told the court that she was "duped" into trafficking the drug by an unidentified African in Brazil.
The Thai woman was sentenced to death by lethal injection which had replaced death by firing squad earlier in the month.
In April 2013 the Ho Chi Minh City's Peoples Court sentenced Thai woman, Chutima Khonkla, 30, to life in prison for trafficking in six kilograms of methamphetamine.
Chutima Khonkla, 30, was the mother of a month old child when sentenced.
Vietnam exempts women with children from the death sentence.
The Southeast Asian Times

Singapore bloggers charged with organising demonstration without a permit

Bloggers, Roy Ngerng, 34, and Han Hui Hui, 23 are charged with organising a demonstration without approval and face a fine of up to $5,000 if convicted although the public Order Act exempts the Speakers Corner that is located within Hong Lim Park. The bloggers who also face a public nuisance charge and fine of up to $1,000 if convicted

From News Reports:
Singapore, October 30: Six protesters including bloggers Roy Ngerng, 34, and Han Hui Hui, 23 were charged in a Singapore court on Monday with causing a public nuisance and organising a demonstration without approval, reports the Straits Times.
Low Wai Choo, 54; Chua Siew Leng, 42; Goh Aik Huat, 41; and Koh Yew Beng, 59 together with the bloggers were charged with causing a public nuisance in Speakers corner last month, an area designated for public protests in Hong Lim Park.
All six are charged with disrupting a YMCA charity event with shouting, chanting of slogans, waving flags, holding placards, blowing whistles and beating drums
Bloggers, Roy Ngerng and Han Hui Hui are also charged with organising the "Return our Central Provident Fund (CPF)" demonstration without approval.
Singapore blogger, Roy Ngerng, was accused in June of posting a blog that "constitutes a serious libel against Singapore Prime Minister Lee,
Lawyer, Davinder Singh, for Prime Minister Lee says that he understood that the article posted by Roy Ngerng in May to mean that Lee Hsien Loong the Prime Minister of Singapore and chairman of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation Pte Ltd, (GIC) is guilty of criminal misappropriation of the monies paid by Singaporeans to the Central Provident Fund (CPF).
"The blog post disparages the Singapore Prime Minister and impugns his character, credit and integrity", he said
The Government of Singapore Investment Corporation Pte Ltd, (GIC) is a sovereign wealth fund that manages more than $100 billion of the city-state's foreign reserves.
The Central Provident Fund (CPF) is the state pension fund.
The Southeast Asian Times

Myanmar President called on to investigate alleged murder of journalist by military
From News Reports:
Yangon, October 29: Than Dar, 46, wife of Myanmar journalist Aung Kyaw, 49, has called on Myanmar President, Thein Sein and Commander-in-Chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing to investigate allegations that he was allegedly shot dead in Kyaikmayaw by the Myanmar Armed Forces on October 4, reports The Irrawaddy.
"I want to know how they will deal with the brutal murder of a citizen by the Myanmar Armed Forces" she said.
Journalist, Aung Kyaw, 49, was detained by the Light Infantry Battalion 208 in Kyaikmayaw on 30 September while reporting in Mon State on the conflict between Myanmar Armed Forces and the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA).
He was shot as he "grabbed a weapon from a guard" while
Than Dar, 46, wife of journalist Aung Kyaw, 49, allegedly murdered by Myanmar Armed Forces says that she had made numerous enquiries about her husband at the Kyaikmayaw police Station in the Myanmar state of Mon , the local army base of light Infantry Battalion 208 and the Myanmar army Southeastern Command since his disappearance on September 30
attempting to escape, reports The Irrawaddy.
The office of Commander-in-Chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing said in a report sent to the Interim Myanmar Press council that an unidentified military unit in Kyaikmayaw had shot journalist Aung Kyaw Naing also known as Par Gyi, dead on October 4, claiming that he was a member of the Klohtoobaw Karen Organization, the political wing of the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA).
The Myanmar Press Council says that soldiers had buried the journalist at She War Chong village about 20 km from Kyaikmayaw.
The Southeast Asian Times

Vietnam court orders death in custody case against police reopened
Five of six former police officers charged with the death in custody of a suspected thief before the court in the northern province of Phu Yen
From New Reports:
Hanoi, October 28: The Supreme People’s Procuracy in Vietnam's northern province of Phu Yen has ordered the case against six police officers charged with causing the death of suspected thief, Ngo Thanh Kieu, 32, while in police custody in 2012 reopened.
The court order follows widespread public discontent with the verdict handed down in April that included suspended sentences and up to five years in prison for five of the six police officers.
The family of the victim appealed to the court, asking for heavier penalties for the six police officers.
Ngo Thanh Kieu, 32, died of injuries allegedly inflicted by four of the six police officers on 13 May 2014.
The suspected thief was reportedly forcibly taken from his home to the Phu Yen province Tuy Hoa City Police station in handcuffs without an arrest warrant.
He was allegedly beaton with rubber batons while in police custody where he died of his injuries including head injuries.
Le Duc Hoan, 51, former senior lieutenant colonel, deputy chief of the Tuy Hoa City Police Department, the police officer who was not charged has since been charged with “negligence of responsibility, causing serious consequences,” pursuant to Article 285 of the Penal Code
Nguyen Minh Quyen, 42, former major and deputy head of the reconnaissance team of the provincial police department, charge of “negligence of responsibility." remains.
Pham Ngoc Man, 34, former senior lieutenant; Nguyen Than Thao Thanh, 30, former junior lieutenant; Do Nhu Huy, 29, former lieutenant; and Nguyen Tan Quang, 39, former major, charges of “applying corporal punishment” pursuant to Article 298 of the Penal Code remains.
The Supreme People’s Procuracy order to reopen the case against the six police officers coincides with the United Nation convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) submission to the National Assembly last week for ratification.
President Truong Tan Sang proposed that the National Assembly ratify the United Nations (UN) CAT in a statement delivered to the 8th session of the National Assembly on Thursday.
The Vietnam bar Association condemned "police brutality" at a session of the National Assembly Justice Commission on "the illegal use of torture during police investigations" in Hanoi in September.
Vietnam Bar Association, vice chairman Truong Trong Nghia said that the use of "police brutality" during police investigations threaten the integrity of the judicial system itself.
The Southeast Asian Times
Arrest warrant for Malaysian diplomat lifted on his arrival in New Zealand
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, October 27: The warrrant for the arrest of Malaysian diplomat reportedly 'recalled' to Malaysia after New Zealand police charged him with breaking and entering and assault with intent to rape were lifted by the court after his return to Wellington on Saturday, reports the Star.
Muhammad Rizalman Ismail, 38, former second warrant officer to the defence ministry Malaysia High Commission in Wellington, who fled New Zealand on May 22 after he was charged with the alleged sexual assault of Tania Billingsley, 21, appeared before Justice of the Peace Hewitt Humphrey at the Wellington District Court on arrival in New Zealand.
The Malaysian diplomat, father of
Malaysian diplomat, 38, Muhammad Rizalman Ismail was ordered to appear in the Wellington District Court today charged with the alleged sexual assault of a 21 year old woman in May
three, who allegedly followed the woman to her home in Wellington on May 9 where the alleged assault took place, was remanded in police custody by the court on Saturday following the lifting of the arrest warrant that was issued on May 30.
The Malaysian diplomat reportedly returned to Malaysia from New Zealand in May under diplomaic immunity protection claiming protection under the 1961 Vienna Convention that gives protection to diplomats and their embassy employees but not from "certain civil maters", reports the Star.
Malaysia foreign minister Anifah Aman said in July that the Malaysian diplomat would be extradited if there was a request from the New Zealand government for his extradition.
“Diplomatic immunity is not about having a licence to commit crime", he said
In July the Malaysian foreign minister gave his assurance to the New Zealand High Commission in Malaysia that Muhammad Rizalman Ismail would be tried under New Zealand law.
The return of Muhammad Rizalman Ismail to New Zealand on Saurday for a court hearing today follows months of delay as the diplomat underwent physical and mental examinations to ensure that he was fit to stand trial and as lawyers drafted an extradition document in lieu of an exradition treaty between Malaysia and New Zealand.
The Southeast Asian Times

Bangkok cosmetic surgeon charged with death of British patient
Cosmetic surgeon, Sompob Saensiri, 51, charged with causing the death of a British woman at his Bangkok cosmetic surgery clinic on Thursday, is in police custody
From News Reports:
Bangkok, October 26: The owner of a Bangkok cosmetic surgery has been charged with causing the death on Thursday night of a British patient, reports the Bangkok Post.
Chayut Maryat, acting commander of the Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) Division 2, said police had charged the owner of the SP Clinic, Dr Sompob Saensiri, 51, on Friday with recklessness causing the death of a 24 year old British woman whose name has been withheld pending relative notification.
The Bangkok Post reports that Dr Sompob Saensiri has denied the charges on the grounds that he had treated the patient "strictly" according to approved medical procedures.
The Bangkok Post reports that police were called to the clinic in Bangkok's Huay Kwang district late on Thursday night and found the British patient dead on an operating table, saying that intial reports indicate that the woman died under anesthesia during cosmetic surgery.
Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) deputy commander Pol Maj Gen Ittipol Piriyapinyo said an autopsy would be held at the Institute of Forensic Science at Police General Hospital to establish the actual cause of death.
The Bangkok Post reports that the British woman first visited the SP Clinic on October 14 for cosmetic surgery and returned again on Thursday.
Health Department director-general Boonrueng Trairuengworawat said that the SP Clinic was closed for further investigations and because it provided services at night without authorisation.
The Health Department has called on the Medical Council of Thailand to investigate medical proceedures carried out by the cosmetic surgeons at the SP Clinic.
The owner of the Bangkok SP Clinic, Sompob Saensiri, could be jailed for a maximum 10 years and fined up to 20,000 baht if found guilty as charged.
Thai woman Athitiya Eiamyai, 33, died on 16 September 2012 at the Kluaynamthai Hospital following an injection of filler material into her buttocks by an unlicensed surgeon.
The Southeast Asian Times

Prosecutors demand imprisonment for French journalists for working on tourist visa in Papua
French journalists, Thomas Charles Dandois and Marie Valentine Bourrat admitted their guilt to carrying out journalisic activities on a tourist visa in the Jayapura District Court on Thursday
From News Reports:
Jayapura, October 25: Prosecutors demanded four months’ imprisonment and a Rp 2 million (US$166) fine for French journalists, Thomas Charles Dandois and Marie Valentine Bourrat, found guily in the Jayapura District Court on Thursday for alleged violation of the Indonesian immigration act by working as journalists in West Papua on a tourist visa.
The journalists were found guilty by judges Marthinus Bala, Maria Sitanggang and Irianto of violating Law No.8/2011 of the immigration and Criminal code in the trial that began on Monday and ended on Thursday.
French journalists Valentine Bourra, 29, Thomas Dandois, 40, were arrested in Wamena on August 6 together with West Papuan, Areki Wanimbo, for filming a documentary on the West Papuan separatist movement for Franco-German television channel Arte TV on a tourist visa and have been in police custody since.
Prosecutor Sukanda said that the two journalists were proven guilty of carrying out journalistic activities on a tourist visa.
"They could use any information they obtained from their illegal activities to report on Indonesia in a negative light," he said
Lawyer for the two French journalists, Aristo MA Pangaribuan said that Valentine Bourra and Thomas Dandois should be freed because they had not been proven guilty of misusing their visas as charged by the prosecutors.
He said that the information from witnesses that was presented during the trial does not prove that Valentine Bourra and Thomas Dandois carried out journalistic activities, saying that the two journalists "only conducted research".
"Research is different from journalistic activity,” said lawyer for the journalists.
Indonesian Press Council legal commission official, Yoseph “Stanley” Adi Prasetyo who was presented as a witness for the defence said that criminal charges against Dandois and Bourrat were a blight on freedom of the press in Indonesia.
"The activities conducted by Dandois and Bourrat could not be categorized as journalistic activities because they had simply conducted research for a
documentary they would make on Papua," he told the court.
Siti Sofia Sudarma, director of information and media at the directorate general of information and public diplomacy at the Foreign Ministry, said that French journalists, Thomas Charles Dandois and Marie Valentine Bourrat carried out journalistic activities in accordance with Press Law No. 40/1999, that covers seeking, owning, keeping, processing and airing information, be it news, oral, audio, visual, audio and visual and distribution in print, electronic and other media.
"The journalists should have applied for a permit at the Indonesian representative office in their place of origin and sent it to the Foreign Ministry for processing to obain clearance", she said.
Director of information and media, Siti Sofia Sudarma said that the French journalists did not follow the correct procedures and entered the country on tourist visas to carry out journalistic activities.
"The Indonesian government would allow the foreign journalists to carry out news coverage in Papua provided they met the existing requirements and guidelines to do so, " she told the court.
The Southeast Asian Times

Prosecution of Myanmar migrant workers detained for murder of Bristish toursts to go ahead
Parents of the accused, Zaw Htun, U Tun Tun Htike and May Thein and mother of Zaw Lin, Phyu Shwe Nu, distraught on arrival in Bangkok from Myanmar with the help of the Myanmar government and the Myanmar Association Thailand to visit their sons who are in police custody at Koh Samui prison in Thailand
From News Reports:
Bangkok, October 24: Thai prosecutors say that the withdrawal of confessions made by two Myanmar migrant workers in Thailand for the murder of British tourists last month will not affect the prosecutors judgement of the case, reports the Bangkok Post.
Thawatchai Siangjaew, director-general of the Office of Public Prosecution said that prosecutors will pay attention to witness statements and evidence in their judgement.
"Forensic evidence and statements given by medical practictioners are treated as important elements in the decision to indict the suspects," he said.
Ratsada Manurassada, lawyer for Zaw Lin and Zaw Htun, is seeking a decision on the retraction of the confessions by the two Myanmar suspects. accused of the murder of British tourists Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24, including the rape of Hannah Witheridge last month from the prosecution.
Lawyer for the two accused Myanmar migrant workers says that the suspects, Zaw Lin and Zaw Htun, had been forced to confess to the rape and murder of the British tourists on September 15 at Koh Tao Sairee beach on September 15.
"The suspects said they were assaulted by the translator while he was translating and the police were asking the interpreter questions," he said.
The two accussed also say that the translator was not able to communicate effectively.
Lawyer Ratsada Manurassada says that the two accused are from Myanmar's Rakhine state and are buddhists not Rohingya Muslim as is the translator.
Zaw Lin and Zaw Htun have reportedly signed a legal document stating that they did not commit rape or murder as charged.
Lawyer Ratsada Manurassada has reportedly filed a petition with the state prosecutor, Paiboon Achawananthakhun, seeking a decision on the retraction.
Thawatchai Siangjaew, director-general of the Office of Public Prosecution said that prosecutors are still waiting for the police to submit their final reports on the murders.
Police spokesman Pol Lt Gen Prawut Thawornsiri meanwhile denies that Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun assaulted or forced to confess, reports the Bangkok Post.
He said that both the Myanmar migrant workers had been examined by at least three doctors from various medical clinics inclsuding the Rights and Liberties Protection Department who also did not detect signs of physical assault.
The Southeast Asian Times

Suspects in murder of British tourists
in Thailand retract their confession
Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun in police custody at Koh Samui prison in Thailand claim they had been coerced into admitting that they had murdered two British tourists
From News Reports:
Bangkok, October 23: Two Myanmar suspects, in the murder of two British tourists last month on Koh Tao Sairee beach, have retracted their confession to the murders, saying they had been coerced into admitting that they had murdered the tourists, reports the Bangkok Post.
Lawyer for the accused, Ratsada Manurassada, says that the suspects, Zaw Lin and Zaw Htun, say that they had been forced to confess to the rape of Briish tourist Hannah Witheridge, 23, and of killing on September 15 both Hannah Witheridge and David Miller, 24.
"The suspects said they were assaulted by the translator while he was translating and the police were asking the interpreter questions," he said.
The two accused also say that the translator was not able to communicate effectively.
Lawyer Ratsada Manurassada says that the two accused are from Myanmar's Rakhine state and are buddhists not Rohingya Muslim as is the translator.
Zaw Lin and Zaw Htun have reportedly signed a legal document stating that they did not commit rape or murder as charged.
Lawyer Ratsada Manurassada has reportedly filed a petition with the state prosecutor, Paiboon Achawananthakhun, seeking a decision on the retraction.
Parents of the accused Zaw Htun, U Tun Tun Htike and May Thein and mother of Zaw Lin, Phyu Shwe Nu have travelled from Myanmar to Thailand with the help of the Myanmar government and the Myanmar Association Thailand.
Mother of Zaw Lin, Phyu Shwe Nu says that "the case had been fixed" and her son was a "scapegoat".
"My son should tell the police the truth - that he is not guilty", she said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Former Labor Prime Minister of Australia, Gough Whitlam, dead at 98
A parliamentary inquiry attended by the former Labor Prime Minster Gough Whitlam was held in 1999 into the consequences of the agreement made in Townsville in the Australian state of Queensland in April 1975 between the Australian Prime Minister and Indonesian President Suharto for the intergration of East Timor into Indonesia
From News Reports:
Canberra, October 22: Former Labor Party Prime Minister of Australia, Edward Gough Whitlam who died in Sydney yesterday aged 98 offered Australians a vision of what Australia "might be" said Australian Labor Party leader Bill Shorten yesterday.
"Gough Whitlam redefined our country and changed the life of a generation and generations to come" he said.
He said that free universiy education and universal healthcare, the Racial Discrimination, Aborignal Land Rights and the Family Law Act and the Protection of the great Barrier Reef from oil drilling were included in the vision implemented during the three year Whitlam government.
The former Labor Party Prime Minister ended conscription, the death penalty and he changed the British national anthem to "Advance Australia Fair".
The Whitlam administration reportedly established public schools, hospitals, municipal libraries and swimming pools and national sewerage infrastructure in the nations new suburbs.
"He put our suburbs at the centre of national debate", he said
Former Labor Prime Minister, Julia Gillard said that Gough Whitlams legacy would never be forgotten.
"He is alive in our universities and the many lives he changed by giving free access to university education, my life included in that count," she said.
"Alive in Medicare and the uniquely Australian health system we now take for granted. Alive in our suburbs and in our family law. Alive in our relationship with China and our multicultural society," she said.
Australian foreign policy under Whitlam recognised Communist China, independence for Papua New Guinea and final military withdrawal from Vietnam.
Australian Broadcasting Corporation chairman, James Spigelman who occompanied the former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam on Australia's first official visit to China in 1973 says that Whitlam "leaves a legacy of unprecendented and unmatched change in Australian politics."
He said that the hisorical meeting with Deputy Premier Den Xiaoping in China still resonates today with a great impact.
"It's many many years later but it's still important in terms of our relations with China," he said.
Gough Whitlam led the Labor party to its first victory in 23 years at the December 1972 election. He was dismissed from office by Governor General John Kerr three years later in a unprecedented step that was prompted by the refusal of the parliament's upper house, where the Labor party held the minority, to pass a budget bill until the government agreed to call a general election.
The dismissal of Gough Whitlam by the Governor General in 1975 was the first and only time in Australian history that the head of state used his constitutional powers to dismiss the government of the day.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thousands of Northern Australia's indigenous rock art sites are under threat from buffalo, fire and feral animals. Tim Lee reports page here

The Yogyakarta Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) want the murder of Yogyakarta journalist in 1996 remembered in proposed Anti-Violence against Journalists here

Can educators from a country with one of the highest literacy rates in the world help keep young people out of jail in outback Australia? ..Reporter Chris Ray here

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Copy of letter dated 29 May 2012 from Vietnam Womens Union to International Olympic here


What they're saying open page here


A cartoon goes inside the tour bus in Manila on the day that ended with the slaying of eight Hong Kong tourists ...Open page here


Bombed by the Americans for Christmas in 1972, Ha Noi Bach Mai hospital is still a war zone...Christina Pas reports...Open page here

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Penang health department shuts down soya bean factory
From News Reports:
Penang, October 19: Five Penang food factories including a 100 year old soya bean factory at Tanjong Bungah were ordered closed by the state health department for failure to observe health standards.
State health, food safety and quality division, deputy director Ku Nafishah Ku Ariffin said soya bean products were processed in an unclean "rusty and moldy kitchen".
"Our inspectors found that wet products were left to dry on "dirty" bamboo sticks along with bathing towels. The bamboo sticks were also dirty and dusty," she said.
A "sweets" factory in Teluk Kumbar, a noodle factory in Simpang Ampat and a sauce factory in Bukit Metajam were also closed by the state health department
The Southeast Asian Times

Fuel smugglers including military personnel under arrest
From News Reports:
Jakarta, September 15: Riau Islands Police have arrested 30 suspects including several Indonesian Military (TNI) personnel and seized 64 cars, two boats and 106 tons of fuel.
Riau Islands Police chief Brig. Gen. Arman Depary said in Batam last week that the seized cars had been modified to hold 100 litres of fuel.
"The Military (TNI) personnel are suspected of fuel smuggling and have been handed over to the military base", he said.
TNI Commander Gen. Moeldoko said that the alleged suspected fuel smugglers are honor-based service military personnel.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thai coup blammed for fall in tourist arrivals
From News Reports:
Bangkok, August 18: The Thai tourism sector suffered its largest fall in international visitors to Thailand in June, the first month after the establishment of marshal law and the military seizure of the Yingluck Shinawatra government.
Tourism reportedly accounts for 10 percent of the Thai economy.
Data from the Thai Department of Tourism shows that inernational tourist arrival numbers in July fell by 10.9 percent compared to the same time last year.
International arrivals in July totalled 1.91 million compared to 2.15 million in July 2013.
Arrivals from China with a18 percent share of all visitors to thailand and the largest group of visitors to Thailand, fell by 25.3 percent.
Arrivals from the United Kingdom with a 4 percent share of all visitors to Thailand, was one of the few large markets to record a gain, of 6.2 percent
The Southeast Asian Times

US Senate approves sales of nuclear equipment to Vietnam
From News Reports:
Hanoi, July 31: The US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations passed legislation approving a 123 agreement on civil nuclear commerce with Vietnam at a business meeting of the committee last week.
The 123 agreement under the US Atomic energy Act of 1954 establishes a civil nuclear commerce agreement that allows the US to export nuclear reactors, research information and equipment to Vietnam.
The civil nuclear commerce agreement between the US and Vietnam is "part of Vietnam's effort to ease its shortage of energy towards meeting over 10 percent of the domestic power demand by 2030", reports the Vietnam News Service
The Southeast Asian Times

Court for construction
in Malaysia
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, May 3: The first two Construction Courts for Malaysia were opened by Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria in Kuala Lumpur and Shah Alam last week, reports the Star.
The courts will deal with disputes in the construction industry.
Works Minister Datuk Haji Fadillah bin Haji Yusof said that the establishment of the courts will transform the way the construction business in the country operates.
"The construction industry stakerholders can now have their disputes resolved by judges with expert knowledge and experience in construction industry disputes', he said.
The proposal by the Construction Industry Board (CIDB) for the establishment of the construction courts was first put to the Judiciary in January 2013.
Britain is the only other country that has a specially designated court that deals with construction industry disputes.

The Southeast Asian Times

Bali communities want larger share of tourism revenue

From News Reports:
Denpasar, April 14: Bali community-based tourism operators have called for amendments to regulations that stipulate that the local community pay the Bali regency administration 60 percent of their total tourism revenue.
Penglipuran tourist village in Bangli, community-based tourism manager, Nengah Moneng, said that he objected to the fact that his community received only 40 percent of the total revenue.
"We want to have 60 percent share of the tourist revenue to pay for operating costs", he said.
The Penglipuran tourism manager said that operating costs for trekking, traditional dance, cultural shows including religious rituals had increased.
The cost of operating lodges and community halls for tourism had also increased.
"An increase in revenue for not only the Bangli community but for tourism based communities across Bali would benefit tourism island-wide" said the tourism manager.
The Southeast Asian Times

Riau forest fires force Chevron to shut down oil wells
From News Reports:
Jakarta, March 21: PT Chevron Pacific Indonesia (CPI), the Indonesian subsidiary of US-based oil company Chevron has shut down 573 oil wells in the Riau province of Sumatra.
The deteriorating quality of air due to forest fires that have been raging for the last month has forced PT Chevron Pacific Indonesia (CPI) to shut down its oil wells and evacuate workers and there families.
Indonesia's upstream oil and gas regulator, SKK Migas, public relations officer, Handoyo Budi Santoso, said that oil assets in Riau province are important to national crude oil production.
"The biggest production loss came from the shutdown of Rokan block, operated by Chevron Pacific Indonesia, the country's biggest producer of crude oil production", he said
The Jakarta Posts reports that potential losses are estimated at about 12,000 barrels of oil a day.
The Southeast Asian Times

Sabah caters to influx of tourists from China

From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, March 5:
The New Straits Times reports that there was an 86 percent increase in tourist arrivals from China
to Sabah in the last two years.
Data from the Sabah Tourism Board reportedly shows that 193,010 tourist tourists arrived in Sabah from China in 2011 increasing to 360,361 in 2013
Sabah West Coast Coffeeshop Association chairman, Yong Chee Yun, said coffee shop operators were catering to the influx of tourists from China.
"Coffee shops displayed tourist friendly signs in Chinese saying 'how are you?' and menues included China's favourite foods", he said.
Sabah and Labuan Chapter chairman of the Malaysian Association of Hotels and general manager of the At Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort,
said that staff members are encouraged to learn Mandarin.
"So that they can converse better with guests" he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Pilots strike forces Merpati to cancel

From News Reports:
Jakarta,January 29: A pilots strike forced State-owned PT Merpati Nusantara Airlines to cancelled all scheduled flights to Surabaya, Merauke and Timika on Saturday, reports The Jakarta Post.
Merpati corporate secretary Riswanto Chendra Putra said that the airline had not paid salaries to pilots and cabin crew for two months.
The Jakarta Post reports that PT Merpati Nusantara Airlines was required to restructure its operations.
Merpati corporate secretary Riswanto Chendra Putra says that Merpati has signed a memorndum of understanding (MoU) with PT Armagedon Indonesia and PT Bentang Persada Gemilang to restructure the company.
The airline has debts of Rp 6.5 trillion (US$533 million) reports the Jakarta Post.
"The management would pay the salaries around March or early April, said the Merpati corporate secretary.
Merpati’s workers union advisory board official, Erry Wardhana, said about 200 Merpati pilots planned to strike again next Saturday for an indefinite period.
"The pilots would strike until 1,600 Merpati employees were paid", he said.
The union advisory board official says that this is the first time that Merpati workers have gone on strike over unpaid wages.
The pilots are owed wages for December and January reports the Jakarta Post.
The Southeast Asian Times