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Thailand Weekly Intelligence Report

Date: 19 November 2017
Period Covered: 12:01hrs 11 NOV 2017 to 23:59hrs 17 NOV 2017 (GMT+8)

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Overall, this week has seen a normal level of activity occur across Thailand. However, the rate of incidents per day has almost doubled since last week. At the moment, incidents per day are at normal levels but given the amount of time left in the month; next week could see November become a month of high activity across the country. Based on incidents logged on the Intelligence Fusion platform, these will PROBABLY consist of âCriminalityâ and âOtherâ incidents and POSSIBLY âDirect Weapons,â occurring predominantly Bangkok and the South reporting regions. The absence of floods this week and âHazardâ incidents being replaced by âDirect Weaponsâ incidents, it is PROBABLE next week will see an absence of âHazardâ incidents amongst the most recurring incidents and POTENTIALLY from now until he wet season returns next year.
INTRODUCTION

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This Intelligence Report aims to display all the incidents that have occurred during the past week in Thailand, expand on the key incidents and analyse what it means for the country. Over this period there have been 47 incidents throughout Thailand which have been logged on the Intelligence Fusion platform; a slight decrease from last week. Despite the slight decrease, the rate of incidents per day appears to have doubled from last week; from 2.77 incidents per day to 4.30. Furthermore, this week has seen current incident trends in the South begin to return to levels seen in September 2017.
The majority of incidents have been Criminality, Other and Direct Weapons, these incidents have been concentrated in Bangkok and its neighbouring provinces in the South and South-Eastern reporting regions; along with Southern Province of Phuket, Songkhla, Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat (McCabe and Harrington, 2017, PRATTEN 2017d).
COMMENT. Last weekâs summarised assessment was the next week will PROBABLY see Criminality and Other types of incidents continue to be the most frequent incidents while Hazards will POSSIBLY continue in the South and emerge in the South East due to the presence of TC TWENTYNINE-17 and forecasted weather conditions (PRATTEN 2017d).
While âCriminalityâ and âOtherâ types of incidents have consistently been the top two incidents, this is the first time that âHazardsâ has not been in the top three and the first week since the end of the wet season where incidents of flooding have not been found in monitoring. This week, Hazard incidents relating to flooding have been replaced by incidents relating to âDirect Weaponsâ down South. COMMENT ENDS.
COUNTRY-WIDE SIGNIFICANCE

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1. 17 NOV 2017: Meteorological Department Warns of Heavy Rain from TC THIRTYONE-17
Thialandâs Meteorological Department has assessed that heavy rain will occur from 19-21 NOV 2017 in Bangkok and its outskirts, Chanthaburi, Chon Buri, Kanchanaburi, Prachin Buri, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Ratchaburi, Rayong, Sa Kaeo, Trat, Chumphon, Krabi, Phangnga, Phuket, Ranong and Surat Thani provinces (see red areas marked in imagery above). The Department has warned people operating boats are advised to take precautions in the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea where waves would be about two metres high. People living along the eastern coast of the South should beware of waves during the period.
The heavy rain is assessed to be caused by Tropical Cyclone THIRTYONE-17 which is off the coast of Vietnam at the time of this report and is expected to move west to Trat province. TC THIRTYONE-17 is assessed to have a low humanitarian impact (Joint Research Centre, 2017).
COMMENT. Last week saw TC TWENTYNINE-17 in the Gulf of Thailand and make landfall in Prachuap Khiri Khan. Monitoring of Thailand has not indicated any major damage or flooding being caused from it. TC THIRTYONE-17 appears to be a similar strength and will need to move across two countries before reaching Thailand.
People operating boats are advised to take precautions in the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea where waves would be about two metres high. People living along the eastern coast of the South should beware of waves during the period. COMMENT ENDS.
NORTH, NORTH EAST AND CENTRAL
2. NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT
BANGKOK

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3. 13 NOV 2017: Deputy PM States That Ban on Political Parties Will Lift for Local Elections
Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan has said the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) will soon allow political activities starting with certain local polls that are needed. Specific details of the local elections were not unveiled at the time, but they could include elections for a new Bangkok governor and mayors of Pattaya and Khon Kaen.
The talk of lifting the ban came as political parties are calling on the NCPO to ease restrictions on political activities, reasoning that the NCPO had given the promise to lift the ban after the end of the Royal Cremation ceremony and the one-year mourning period.
COMMENT. Political activities remain prohibited in Thailand, with gatherings of no more than five people illegal under the current military government. The coup they staged in 2014 came as a result of instability and mass protests causing significant instability. The coup was not the first time this has happened either; Thailand has a history of switching between democracy and military dictatorship; with the military often taking power due to protest groups causing large scale disruptions (PRATTEN 2017a).
Previous incidents and reports surrounding elections in Thailand have featured the progress on passing 10 Organic Acts for the new constitution to come into effect, four of which are necessary for the conduct of the next election. At this point in time, only one of the Organic Acts â Political Parties â has come into effect while the remainder are either yet to be drafted or are currently going through readings and amendments in the National Legislative Assembly (McCabe and Harrington, 2017).
Since the Organic Acts have not been passed and gained royal approval, the conduct of these potential elections will be difficult to judge for the moment. COMMENT ENDS.
SOUTH EAST

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4. 13 NOV 2017: Gaurs Suspected to Have Been Killed by Poachers in Nakhon Ratchasima
Authorities have sought police intervention after two large gaurs were killed in a forest in Wang Nam Khieu district. The two gaurs were apparently shot by poachers, and one of them, a female, was stripped of its meat and innards but its head was intact. This incident came just after a new report compiled jointly by World Wildlife Federation and TRAFFIC of the alarming growth of animal trafficking from the Golden Triangle up in the border areas between Thailand, Myanmar and Laos. Gaurs are among the wildlife that is traded due to demand for its horns. In addition, depleting habitats for this species are also threatening its survival (TRAFFIC, 2017).
COMMENT. This is the first incident of endangered wildlife being killed in this area. However, this forest area in Nakhon Ratchasima province has been featured a number of incidents surrounding illegal activities; as shown in the imagery below. There is currently a transnational criminal network in this part of the province which has been carrying out a number of illegal logging operations (McCabe and Harrington, 2017). Those responsible for killing the gaurs appear to have discarded the part which is in demand in the illegal wildlife trade, suggesting the gaurs could have been killed for food instead. COMMENT ENDS.

SOUTH

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5. 12 NOV 2017: Details of Police Investigation into Illegal Immigration Corruption Revealed
Police investigating into alleged corruption which includes an estimated Bt100 million (US$3047852.00) in bribes to not handover illegal immigrants to Immigration have publicly revealed the extent of the alleged racket. Phuket Provincial Police had learned that 142 illegal immigrants had been arrested but not presented to immigration, thus sparking a fuller probe into all police stations across Phuket.
COMMENT. Prior reporting on this issue had named 15 Police Officers across Phuket with two having been transferred to positions outside the province. The 15 Officers are a mix of 4 x Police Lieutenant Colonels, 5 x Police Captains and 6 x Police Lieutenants (McCabe and Harrington, 2017). Transferring Officers to new posts is a common occurrence for Government or Law Enforcement when they are suspected of corruption. COMMENT ENDS.
6. 12 NOV 2017: CWIED Wounds Four Rangers
Four rangers were wounded by an improvised explosive device â IED â in Ban Dalapae, tambon Khuan Banglang, Bannang Sata district en-route to a village. Police and members of an explosive ordnance disposal â EOD â unit found a slightly-damaged Nissan Navara pick-up belonging to Rangers Company 3310 next to an IED crater about 1.5 metres deep and 1m in diameter.
The IED was made from a gas cylinder, weighing about 20kg, buried in a drainpipe laid under the road. A 100m-long electric wire was found stretching from the bomb into a wooded area beside the road; making it a Command Wire IED or CWIED. The IED was detonated as two armoured vehicles belonging to the rangers were passing by. The explosion damaged only the first vehicle.
COMMENT. Prior reporting and analysis on IED incidents in the South indicates previous IEDs have been Remote-Controlled â or RCIED â usually though the use of walkie-talkie radios (PRATTEN 2017b, PRATTEN 2017c). The use of a CWIED would suggest a change in tactics; perhaps a more reliable means of detonating the IED. COMMENT ENDS.
7. 15-17 NOV 2017: Insurgent Arrests Across Southern Thailand
This week has seen several insurgents arrested in Southern Thailand. They include:
Charnchai Borisut, 37 alias Sua Tao â the most wanted gunman in Southern Thailand â was arrested at a resort in Songkhla’s Singhanakorn district. He has seven arrest warrants from 2007 to 2015. In one of the major cases, he is charged with killing the head of Wat Chan sub-district and his man in Songkhla in 2013.Seven insurgents being arrested in Pattani. These men are suspected of being involved in several Small Arms Fire â or SAF â and IED incidents. The seven are shown in the imagery below.A man known as Sayuti Alimamat handed himself in to the Internal Security Operations Command Region 4 Forward Headquarters. Sayuti Alimamat has been involved with several SAF and IED incidents in Pattani

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COMMENT. Prior reporting indicate there are known leaders in each sub-district and district across these parts of Southern Thailand. No information has come to light as to whom these insurgents were commanded by; indicating these men are not leadership figures at this time. At this point in time, these men are assessed to be part of the Mueang district in Pattani group. Prior analysis indicates these men are part of Manasae Saideeâs group. With regards to their involvement in prior incidents, the seven arrested men and Sayuti Alimamat could be linked to several SAF, IED, Complex Attacks and Murders going as far back as 01 May 2017 (McCabe and Harrington, 2017, PRATTEN 2017c). COMMENT ENDS.
WEATHER FORECAST â NEXT 7 DAYS (Time & Date.com, 2017)

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COMMENT. Contrary to the warning issued by the Meteorological Department, these weather forecasts indicate that the Saturday 25 NOV 2017 will see a large amount of rainfall and only in the South. The rest of the country appears to have regular weather for this time of year. COMMENT ENDS.
ASSESSMENT

Overall, this week has seen a normal level of activity occur across Thailand and no real change in its overall stability. However, the rate of incidents per day has almost doubled since last week. At the moment, incidents per day are at normal levels but given the amount of time left in the month; next week could see November become a month of high activity across the country. Based on incidents logged on the Intelligence Fusion platform, these will PROBABLY consist of âCriminalityâ and âOtherâ incidents and POSSIBLY âDirect Weapons,â occurring predominantly Bangkok and the South reporting regions.
The weak TC THIRTYONE-17 and above weather forecasts would indicate that âHazardâ incidents â specifically flooding â will only POTENTIALLY occur, making the threat posed by floods in Thailand lower than what has been seen in recent months. The absence of floods this week and âHazardâ incidents being replaced by âDirect Weaponsâ incidents, it is PROBABLE next week will see an absence of âHazardâ incidents amongst the most recurring incidents and POTENTIALLY from now until he wet season returns next year.
While a positive indicator for a return to democracy in Thailand, the remarks made by Deputy PM Wongsuwon about lifting political bans for the purpose of conducting elections will POSSIBLY mean an election of some description will be held in the near future. However, given that a number of Organic Acts are to be passed, it will be very difficult for an election to be carried out as there currently appears to be little available in the way of institutions to organize and carry out any necessary elections. With the planning that appears to be necessary, the earliest time for an election to occur is POTENTIALLY January 2017.
The poaching incident in Nakhon Ratchasima was POTENTIALLY from the illegal logging network which has been active in the area given those responsible for killing the gaurs appeared to have left the horns which could have been sold up in the Golden Triangle. Given this and recent incidents in this area, it is POSSIBLE that further arrests will occur as this part of the South-East is beginning to feature more activity in relation to illegal logging and now killing of endangered species.
While the corruption allegations against police in Phuket appear to be quite serious and wide-reaching, it is POSSIBLE that these officers will be transferred to other locations for the time being. With these positions needing to be filled and the alleged activities in mind, it is POSSIBLE the replacement officers will be keen to clamp down on illegal migrant activity; meaning it is POSSIBLE next week and on will feature several incidents of illegal immigrants being arrested and deported. Those in the area would POTENTAILLY be at risk if they are a foreigner and do not have correct documentation to poresent.
In addition to the number of incidents which have occurred in Phuket, the several incidents surrounding Crime, IEDs, and SAF in Pattani, Narathiwat, Songkhla and Yala this week have shown that activity in the South reporting region has started to return to levels last seen September 2017. With the weather appearing to be improving, next week will POTENTIALLY see more of the same in Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla. However, the arrests in Pattani will POTENTIALLY mean that insurgent activities in this province will be low; there could POTENTIALLY be further arrests made as authorities gain further information from the ones captured this week; however, these insurgents appear to be low level members and will POSSIBLY be able to provide limited information only.
References
JOINT RESEARCH CENTRE. 2017. Global Disaster Alert Coordination System [Online]. Brussels: European Commission. Available: http://dma.jrc.it/map/?application=GDACS [Accessed 19 November 2017].
MCCABE, M. & HARRINGTON, D. 2017. Intelligence Fusion Platform [Online]. London: Ambix. Available: https://www.intelligencefusion.co.uk/ [Accessed 19 November 2017].
PRATTEN M. 2017a. Fortnightly Snapshot: Thailand’s Red and Yellow Shirts. Intelligence Fusion [Online].
Available: https://www.intelligencefusion.co.uk/single-post/2017/09/21/Fortnightly-Snapshot-Thailands-Red-and-Yellow-Shirts [Accessed 19 November 2017].
PRATTEN M. 2017b. Thailand Fortnightly Snapshot: Armed Conflict in Thailand. Intelligence Fusion [Online]. Available: https://www.intelligencefusion.co.uk/single-post/2017/07/24/Thailand-Fortnightly-Snapshot-Armed-Conflict-in-Thailand [Accessed 19 November 2017].
PRATTEN M. 2017c. Thailand Fortnightly Snapshot: Update on the Insurgency. Intelligence Fusion [Online]. Available: https://www.intelligencefusion.co.uk/single-post/2017/10/04/Thailand-Fortnightly-Snapshot-Update-on-the-Insurgency [Accessed 19 November 2017].
PRATTEN M. 2017d. Thailand Weekly Intelligence Report – 14 November 2017. Thailand [Online], 12 November 2017. Available: https://www.intelligencefusion.co.uk/single-post/2017/11/14/Thailand-Weekly-Intelligence-Report [Accessed 19 November 2017].
TIME & DATE.COM. 2017. Weather in Thailand [Online]. Stavanger: Time and Date.com. Available: https://www.timeanddate.com/weather/thailand [Accessed 19 November 2017 2017].
TRAFFIC. 2017. Golden Triangle Under Spotlight As Illegal Wildlife Trade Hub. Wildlife Trade News [Online]. Available: http://www.traffic.org/home/2017/11/1/golden-triangle-under-spotlight-as-illegal-wildlife-trade-hu.html?printerFriendly=true [Accessed 18 November 2017].
NB â For the sake of efficiency and to avoid potential misunderstandings, references mentioning myself or the Intelligence Fusion platform are built upon the collection and logging of incidents based on the combination of numerous open sources such as mainstream media, social media and open source mapping tools.
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