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Weekly Intelligence Report: Monitoring in Thailand

 

Date: Sunday, 16 July 2017
Monitoring Period: 00:00 Hours 08 July 2017 to 23:59 hours, 14 July 2017 (GMT +7hrs)

Thailand Incidents – Last 7 Days

N.B. â The orange zone shown in the âIncidents â Thailand Wideâ graphic represents areas of Southern Thailand where the UK, USA, Australian, New Zealand and Canadian governments have advised to avoid travelling to (Bureau of Consular Affairs, 2017, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 2017, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 2017, Global Affairs Canada, 2017, New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 2017).
The following report is intended to highlight key incidents in the above reporting regions over the past week and provide analysis on what it means for the country. Numbered paragraphs detail a summary of the incident(s) in the report while paragraphs between âCOMMENTâ and âCOMMENT ENDSâ are intended to provide context to the incident(s) detailed above them.
Over the past week there have been 28 incidents throughout Thailand, much less than the 42 incidents recorded in the last monitoring period (PRATTEN 2017c). From these 28 incidents, the following appear to be significant:
North
1. Nothing Significant To Report
While an incident of trafficking occurred in this region, the circumstances appear to be an isolated case at this time.
North East

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2. 11 July 2017 â 27 Kindergarten Students Diagnosed With HFMD:
A municipal school in Yasothon’s Mueang district has been closed after 27 kindergarten pupils have been diagnosed with Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. According to the Yasothon Public Health Office, 303 children age 5 and under have been diagnosed with the disease since January 2017.
COMMENT. Previous reporting indicated a kindergarten student died after contracting the disease in Sa Kaeo province to the south. While the disease is common in Thailand, this is the second incident this month where the disease has been found outside of the areas of highest infection; those areas being Suratthani, Chanthaburi, Chiang Rai, Lampang, and Phuket (PRATTEN 2017b). All of these areas are quite a distance from this detection of the disease. COMMENT ENDS.
Central

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3. 11 July 2017 â Flood Warnings Issued For Central Plains Provinces:
During the week, the Regional Irrigation Office was required to increase the volume of water being discharged from the Chao Phraya dam; this increase prompted flood warnings to be issued for several surrounding provinces as well as requiring flood assistance to 80 homes in Sena District to the west of Ayutthaya (shown in the image below).

COMMENT. Floods are a frequent occurrence across Thailand during the monsoon season between May â October. Last week, two districts in Nakhon Sawan province were flooded due to heavy rain (Relief Web, 2017, PRATTEN 2017c). COMMENT ENDS.
4. 12 July 2017 â Influenza Death Occurs At Phichit Hospital
A staff member at Phichit Hospital, Phichit province died after being infected by a still-unidentified type of influenza virus that caused severe symptoms. According to reporting, this was the first death from influenza this year but comes amid a surge in the number of patients with flu-like symptoms. A normal level of people presenting the hospital is between 100-200 people per day, this number has recently risen to between 400-500 per day.
COMMENT. While the staff memberâs death has been confirmed to have been from influenza, the increase in patients with flu-like symptoms could point to a number of circumstances. Flu-like symptoms can be indicators of other kinds of illnesses such malaria, dengue fever, Zika virus or water-borne diseases. With the floods, rains and the monsoon season continuing until October, it would appear these kinds of viruses have a supportive environment to spread and could be behind the flu-like symptoms seen at the moment. (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 2017). COMMENT ENDS.
Bangkok

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5. 12 July 2017 â Police Raid Results In 28 Positive Drug Tests In Rong Muang:
Police from the Crime Suppression Division along with local police conducted a raid on the Tongpoon Hotel after receiving a tip-off about illegal activity. Drug tests carried out on 150 people at the venue resulted in 28 positive tests along with finding 1g of âIce.â
COMMENT. This incident, along with other incidents featured in this report and similar reporting in previous reports, adds further weight to the effectiveness of Thai authorities being able to work in combined teams effectively. They also appear to have the ability to carry out large-scale operations on short notice which can result in a large number of arrests, but will do little to address illegal activity at its source, especially when it comes to drug trafficking and use (PRATTEN 2017b, PRATTEN 2017c). COMMENT ENDS.
6. 12 July 2017 – Canadian Fugitive Wanted In US Hangs Himself While In NSB Custody:14 July 2017 – Royal Thai Army Hand Over Arms Trafficking Suspect To Police:
A Canadian national – Alexander Cazes, 26 â was found to have hung himself in a detention cell at the Narcotic Suppression Bureau (NSB). Cazes was arrested Cazes was arrested on July 5 by the NSB under a warrant issued at the request of the United States in order to have him extradited to face drug charges. Cazes was reportedly behind the AlphaBay online marketplace; a âdark webâ site where drugs, pornography and firearms were bought and sold.
7. 14 July 2017 – Royal Thai Army Hand Over Arms Trafficking Suspect To Police:
The Royal Thai Army handed over Sub Leutenant Sema Kochapet from the 722nd Artillery Division due to his involvement in an arms trafficking incident in Trat province near the Thai-Cambodia border. He, along with Pakin Dejpong, Pisit Liang and Chakkrapong Krairua, was arrested for their connection to an arms trafficking incident in Trat province.
COMMENT. The incident behind these arrests occurred on 03 June 2017. Thai Marines who were conducting a traffic accident investigation near the Cambodian border discovered an Air Force Flight Sergeant Pakin Dejpong – attached to the Internal Security Operations Command in Bangkok – and a Cambodian citizen transporting of a variety of small arms, explosives and ammunition in the pickup truck (pictured below).

There have been a number of incidents in Southern Thailand where weapons like the AK-47 rifles in the above picture have been discovered in the possession of suspected insurgents. Furthermore, shooting incidents that have occurred in the south have included the use of such weapons. COMMENT ENDS.
East

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8. 08 July 2017 â Drug Fugitive Suriya Monchatin Arrested In Bang Lamung District, Pattaya:
A major drug suspect – Suriya Monchatin (pictured below), alias “Lek Thung Song” â was arrested by police at Jomtien Beach. He was wanted on six arrest warrants linked to drugs cases in Southern Thailand issued five years ago. The 51-year-old from Nakhon Si Thammarat province (southern Thailand) had been on the run from police since 2012.

COMMENT. While the arrest in apprehending a fugitive like Monchatin is significant regarding the abilities of police to track down fugitives after a significant amount of time, the situation surrounding drug trafficking and use in Thailand would indicate he has long been replaced by others in the south of the country. COMMENT ENDS.
West
9. Nothing Significant To Report.
South

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10. 07 July 2017 â Combined Force Raids Medical Clinic In Koh Samui, Surat Thani:
Following a complaint and video footage about a gang of Israeli nationals demanding protection fees from foreign business owners on Koh Samui, a combined element of soldiers, police and public health officials raided the Doctor Sam Clinic. The raid resulted in the arrest of an Israeli citizen claiming to run the clinic â Netanel Hadad, 34 (pictured below). He was found to have â along with pistols and communication equipment (pictured below) â 2 x electrical prods, a bullet proof police vest, police identification and other forms of identification in his possession. Hadad has so far been charged with possessing these items and unlawfully operating a clinic. Information on the rest of the gang indicates some of the other gang members were form Chon Buri; they were known to people on the island for being involved in intimidating foreigners.

11. 10 & 14 July 2017 â Krabi Massacre And Arrests In Au Luk, Krabi Province:
On 10 July 2017, a group of 6-7 gunmen dressed in military fatigues conducted what appears to be a home invasion of Vorayut Sanglangâs house â the Village Chief of Ban Klang â house in Au Luk district. The men are believed to be former soldiers hired to guard local palm plantations. The men entered his home at approximately 16:00, restraining the family members present and warned them from escaping. When Vorayut arrived home at approximately 20:00, he and his family were handcuffed. Shortly after midnight Vorayut and his family were shot resulting in 8 dead â including Vorayut â and 3 wounded.
Follow up arrests and questioning on 14 July 2017 indicate the motive for the invasion and murders was a failed business venture between Vorayut and a rock milling business trying to establish a new grinding plant in the area. Vorayut was paid to apparently going to convince the villagers to allow the construction to go ahead. When he was unsuccessful, he was expected to return the money which he failed to do.
Police suspect the gunmen have fled east to Nakhon Si Thammarat province.
COMMENT. This incident in Krabi along with the arrest on Koh Samui would point to the presence of protection rackets being present in the south of Thailand. Incidents recorded before this monitoring period have not shown this kind of criminal activity anywhere else. COMMENT ENDS.
12. 12 July 2017 â Police Arrest Two Men Trafficking Yaba To Southern Thailand:
Police from the NSB and local police stopped a truck with Bangkok plates at a checkpoint in Hong Charoen, Tha Sae district. Noticing that the driver and his companion appeared nervous, a search was conducted which discovered 3 large bags â concealed under sacks of rice â containing 330 packages of Yaba containing 2,000 pills each (660,000 in total). The drugs had a face value of 132 million baht (US$ 3, 886, 926.12).
Both the suspects are both from Narathiwat province and confessed they were taking the drugs from Bangkok’s Wang Thonglang district to Narathiwat’s Muang district. They told police they were paid 100,000 baht a trip to deliver the drugs.
COMMENT. Recent reporting has shown that drugs like this will be redistributed among several more vehicles and taken across the border in Malaysia. Furthermore, previous reporting would indicate the drugs would be brought into Bangkok from Myanmar via Chiang Mai up in the North of Thailand (PRATTEN 2017b, PRATTEN 2017c). Although no incidents over May to present appear to have indicated a specific link, this incident along with activities in South East reporting region would be a lucrative source of funding for insurgent groups. COMMENT ENDS.
South East

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13. 11 July 2017 â Immigration Officers Allegedly Demanding âTea Moneyâ From Travellers:
Two Immigration Police officers at the Sadao immigration checkpoint province have been transferred to the 6th Immigration Police in Songkhla while two others will face an investigation. The action was influenced by Malaysian media publishing news that accused immigration police at the Sadao border checkpoint of demanding “tea money” from Malaysian travellers.
COMMENT. âTea moneyâ is a term used in Thailand to refer to bribes. Corruption amongst Thailandâs law enforcement agencies has been a long-standing issue. Recent reporting indicates a reform body has been set up by Prime Minister Chan-o-Cha to address reforming the police (Thai Public Broadcasting Service, 2017) COMMENT ENDS.
14. 12 July 2017 â High Profile Drug Trafficker, Two Accomplices Arrested with 11kg Of âIceâ In Hat Yai:
A high-profile drug trafficker – Niwat “Toon” Dokmai, alias “Nung Bin” or “Pilot”, 25, from Bangkok – was arrested with 11kg of ‘Ice,’ with a street value of 11 million baht (US$323,910.51). Niwat was apprehended with two accomplices – Apichart “Meng” Toommarin, 25, and Thanthorn “Dam” Yutthaphan.
Niwat confessed he and two other male suspects boarded a plane to Hat Yai to pick up 15kg of âIceâ left in front of Wat Hat Yai Sutaram in Kuan Lang on June 12 on the orders of another drug dealer, named only “Jae” or “Big Sister.” She allegedly told them to leave 4kg at the location and hide the remainder in the room and wait for her to tell them to deliver it to customers. The narcotics network these men work for distributed the drug to dealers in Songkhla and other areas in Southern Thailand, while some of the drugs were also trafficked to a neighbouring country.
COMMENT. Previous incidents reports have indicated the drugs are re-packaged at various locations to make supply lines resilient to law enforcement operations; it reduces the impact on overall supplies to customers.
Based on incident reports in this reporting period and previous ones, there are three main locations for the re-packaging to occur; Chiang Mai, Bangkok and main cities in the south such as Narathiwat, Yala and in this case Songkhla. At each location, the drugs will be broken down into smaller packages. When they are sent across the border to Malaysia, the packages – and the variety of routes available â have high chances of success.
This seizure of 11kg of âIceâ â while valuable â may have been a negligible amount. COMMENT ENDS.
15. 14 July 2017 – Suspect in Big C Bombing Shot Dead in Paka Harang:
An insurgent arrested in the raid that shot and killed Suding Mama (pictured below) was himself shot by a Thai Army element guarding him. Paoyee Tasamoh (pictured below) was brought to a site said to contain weapons belonging to the perpetrators of the May 9 bombing. Paoyee was to show them the weapons cache but while recovering the weapons, he grabbed a revolver and shot at the guards while trying to escape. He was killed by the guards pursuing him.

While this incident is significant and happened in the reporting period, it has been detailed and analysed in its own Post-Incident Report, refer to PRATTEN M. 2017a. Post Incident Report: Suspect in Big C Super Centre bombing killed in Paka Harang, Pattani. Intelligence Fusion [Online]. Available: https://www.intelligencefusion.co.uk/single-post/2017/07/13/Post-Incident-Report-Suspect-in-Big-C-Super-Centre-bombing-killed-in-Paka-Harang-Pattani [Accessed 13 July 2017].
Paoyee was arrested early at the Paka Harang mosque where Suding Mama was killed; for harbouring suspected southern insurgents. He confessed he had joined the insurgency in 2011 and also admitted to keeping a motorcycle used to transport a suspect after the bombs were planted at the Big C Supercenter on 09 May 2017 central. He also reportedly told authorities that he had buried weapons for the group.
COMMENT. Considering Paoyee had buried weapons for insurgents before and had led authorities to a weapons cache, his attempted escape suggests he may have known where other weapons were located and was trying to deny any further information being divulged on where other weapons were located.
A post-incident report written on Suding Mamaâs death assessed that, âbased on incidents since Lukman Madingâs death, the death of Suding Mama will PROBABLY elicit a similar response; insurgents will begin to carry out murders and ambushes against civilians linked to the Thai government â especially teachers â or ISOC as a means of reprisal to discourage further tip-offs being made to ISOC about the whereabouts of insurgents. Given that a tip-off was still given about Suding Mamaâs location despite the recent killings, insurgents will POSSIBLY try to make the reprisals even greater than before. Over the next seven days, there will POSSIBLY be several murders or attempted murders of civilians and will PROBABLY consist of the roadside ambushes (PRATTEN 2017a).â
Two shootings of teachers that contributed to the above assessment occurred in this reporting region during this monitoring period (see the âSkirmishâ and âClose Quarter Assassinationâ incidents plotted on the image above from 09-10 July 2017).
Since Suding Mamaâs and now Payoee Tasamohâs deaths, no further shootings of civilians have occurred. Although there is still time for shootings to occur to confirm the assessment made in the wake of Suding Mamas death, the loss of another insurgent linked to the Big C Supercentre bombing could create a scenario where those still at large will need to take extra precautions to avoid being captured or killed. COMMENT ENDS.
Gulf
16. Nothing Significant To Report
Assessment

The lower number of incidents which have happened over this period compared to last would indicates this week has POTENTIALLY been a period of low activity across the country. However, incidents that have occurred indicate the nature of threats in Thailand have not changed. The school closure due to HFMD in the North East could POTENTIALLY be a case where HFMD infections are increasing outside of usual areas around Thailand. With the increased number of patients in Phichit showing flu-like symptoms, the death of a staff member at Phichit hospital, the existence of what appear to be supportive environmental conditions for viruses like malaria, dengue fever, Zika virus and water-borne diseases and the restrictions to medical attention that flooding can cause; it is POSSIBLE that deaths from conditions featuring flu-like symptoms will begin to increase up in the Central region of Thailand.
The arrests along with the inter-agency and even international cooperation shown amongst Thai authorities over this week supports previous observations about the ability for Thailandâs military and law enforcement to work alongside and cooperate with one another. However, arrests and operations that have occurred point to an ability for Thai authorities to succeed in targeting low level personalities and drug users; but little ability to successfully undermine significant criminal personalities â high ranking drug traffickers especially. In regards to other kinds of criminal activity, reports from Southern region (Krabi and Koh Samui) at this time point to the POTENTIAL existence of protection rackets against local businesses in these areas.
The capture and later death of another insurgent linked to the Big C Supercentre bombing has broadened the scenarios that could occur. While insurgents will PROBABLY want to carry out reprisals for the recent deaths of those linked to the Big C Supercentre bombing, the capture and death of Paoyee Tasamoh not so long after Suding Mama and Lukman Mading before him will POTENTIALLY make the suspects still at large more cautious in their movements and actions. What they have at t their advantage at this point in time is any remaining weapons caches that Paoyee Tasamoh helped establish are POTENTIALLY protected from being discovered since his death denies Thai authorities the ability to learn the locations of other caches.
Overall, incidents recorded this week do not appear to indicate any changes or major developments to be occurring in Thailand. However, over the next fortnight it will become possible to take a snapshot of what has been developing over the long term in Thailand, especially towards issues of Crime, Corruption and Conflicts.
References
DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE. 2017. Thailand [Online]. Canberra: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade,. Available: http://smartraveller.gov.au/countries/asia/south-east/pages/thailand.aspx [Accessed 01 July 2017].
PRATTEN M. 2017a. Post Incident Report: Suspect in Big C Super Centre bombing killed in Paka Harang, Pattani. Intelligence Fusion [Online]. Available: https://www.intelligencefusion.co.uk/single-post/2017/07/13/Post-Incident-Report-Suspect-in-Big-C-Super-Centre-bombing-killed-in-Paka-Harang-Pattani [Accessed 13 July 2017].
PRATTEN M. 2017b. Weekly Intelligence Report: Monitoring in Thailand. Thailand [Online], 04 July 2017. Available: https://www.intelligencefusion.co.uk/single-post/2017/07/03/Weekly-Intelligence-Report-Monitoring-in-Thailand [Accessed 08 July 2017].
PRATTEN M. 2017c. Weekly Intelligence Report: Thailand. Thailand [Online], 11 July 2017. Available: https://www.intelligencefusion.co.uk/single-post/2017/07/10/Weekly-Intelligence-Report-Monitoring-in-Thailand [Accessed 11 July 2017].
RELIEF WEB. 2017. Thailand Country Profile [Online]. New York: United Nations. Available: http://reliefweb.int/updates?source=1503 [Accessed 15 July 2017 2017].
THAI PUBLIC BROADCASTING SERVICE. 2017. NCPO shrugs off call for military reform. Breaking News [Online]. Available: http://englishnews.thaipbs.or.th/ncpo-shrugs-off-call-military-reform/ [Accessed 10 Jul 2017].
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