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Vijitra Duangdee

Bangkok, Thailand
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About Vijitra
Vijitra Duangdee is a journalist based in Bangkok, Thailand.

Thailand’s Popular Politician Pita Cleared to Return to Parliament

24 Jan 2024  |  voanews.com
Pita Limjaroenrat, Thailand's most popular politician, was cleared by a Thai court to return to parliament, overcoming allegations of election rule violations related to media shareholding. His party, Move Forward, which won the most seats in the last general election, faces another legal challenge regarding a proposal to amend the royal defamation law. Pita's political survival allows him to potentially lead the opposition again. The Election Commission's case against him reflected the unpopularity of the previous military-led government. Despite the current Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin's struggles, Move Forward continues to push for structural reforms, representing a significant challenge to the royalist establishment.

Hamas' Release of Thai Hostages Sheds Light on Migrant Workers' Plight

05 Dec 2023  |  voanews.com
Twenty-three Thai hostages have been released by Hamas after a 50-day captivity in Gaza. Despite the risks, some are considering returning to Israel for work due to low wages in Thailand's rural Isan region.

Thailand’s cannabis sellers say US growers are eating their lunch

08 May 2023  |  aljazeera.com
Nearly a year after Thailand decriminalized cannabis, local growers and sellers are struggling against illegal imports from the United States, which are sold at lower prices. Despite the decriminalization led by Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul and the potential for an economic boom, the absence of a regulatory framework has allowed foreign brokers to flood the market with untaxed, smuggled cannabis. Local entrepreneurs are unable to compete with the potency and price of these imports. The Bhumjaithai Party, which advocated for decriminalization, attributes the issue to corrupt officials and emphasizes the need for the Cannabis Act to address smuggling. The Thai Chambers of Commerce estimated the industry's contribution to the economy at 40 billion baht last year, but local players are not seeing these benefits due to competition from foreign money and corruption.

Thai Politician Pita Cleared to Return to Parliament

24 Jan 2023  |  khmer.voanews.com
Pita Limjaroenrat, a prominent Thai politician, has been cleared by a Thai court of violating election laws related to media shareholding during his tenure. This decision allows him to lead the reformist Move Forward Party. Pita faced a political ban and potential imprisonment due to his shares in the now-defunct iTV media company. The court's ruling marks a significant legal victory for Pita and his party, which had won the most seats in the national election in May 2023. The Move Forward Party faces another legal challenge on January 31, which could lead to its dissolution if the court decides against a petition to amend the lèse-majesté law. Pita, a Harvard-educated politician, had previously been suspended from his parliamentary position due to the Election Commission's complaint. The ruling party has spent nearly 20 years attempting to overthrow democratically elected governments, leading to widespread support for the Move Forward Party's call for deep reforms in Thailand's power structure.

HRW Urge ASEAN Chair Indonesia to Pressure Myanmar on Violence

17 Jan 2023  |  voanews.com
Indonesia, as the new chair of ASEAN, faces pressure to address Myanmar's military crackdown on pro-democracy movements. Human Rights Watch highlights the ongoing human rights abuses in Myanmar, urging Indonesia to leverage its position to resolve the crisis. Despite ASEAN's principle of non-interference, Indonesia's President Joko Widodo has been a vocal critic of Myanmar's junta. The situation in Myanmar is escalating towards civil war, threatening regional stability and ASEAN's credibility. ASEAN's response is complicated by internal political dynamics, such as Thailand's military-backed government's relationship with Myanmar's junta. Experts suggest that ASEAN must consider stronger measures, including threats of suspension, to influence Myanmar's military and improve the situation.

After reopening, Thailand’s battered tourism struggles to rebuild

16 May 2022  |  aljazeera.com
Thailand's tourism industry, crucial to its economy, is struggling to recover after reopening. The country, which saw nearly 40 million visitors pre-pandemic, is now facing challenges due to changing entry rules and the absence of high-spending tourists. Despite dropping quarantine procedures and expecting 5 to 15 million visitors by year-end, the industry is still far below normal levels. Krabi, with a significant Muslim population, is aiming to attract Middle Eastern visitors with halal tours. However, the local economy has yet to feel the impact, and tour operators are focused on survival amid low earnings and reduced spending by tourists.

Russian exodus puts Thailand’s tourism rebirth at risk as Asia longs for absent visitors

14 Mar 2022  |  scmp.com
The conflict in Ukraine and resulting international sanctions have led to a significant decline in Russian tourists in Thailand, putting the country's tourism recovery at risk. Thailand had seen an influx of Russian visitors through the Phuket sandbox scheme and Test & Go plan, but sanctions have caused issues with payments and left some tourists stranded. The situation is also affecting other tourist destinations like Vietnam and Bali, where Russian-owned businesses and communities are facing financial challenges. Tourism authorities in Thailand are now looking to attract visitors from India, the Middle East, and Australia.

Gangsters’ paradise? Killing spotlights Thailand’s reputation as criminal hideout

02 Mar 2022  |  scmp.com
Thailand's reputation as a haven for international criminals is highlighted by the recent killing and subsequent Interpol red notice for two Canadians suspected of the crime. The suspects utilized Thailand's transport links to evade arrest and possibly set up criminal enterprises. A recent string of arrests, including an Indian mafia figure and three Chinese nationals, underscores the diverse criminal activities in the country. The pandemic has made it harder for criminals to blend in due to fewer tourists and increased document checks. Despite these challenges, criminals continue to adapt, taking advantage of Thailand's open and accommodating society.

As China-backed belt and road railway opens, high-speed change heads to Laos

01 Dec 2021  |  scmp.com
The opening of the China-backed railway in Laos is expected to transform the country's economic landscape, potentially turning its landlocked disadvantage into an advantage with a logistics and export boom. However, there are concerns about how the benefits will be distributed among the population, especially given Laos' authoritarian regime and the displacement of families for the project. The railway has increased Laos' debt, with China financing 30% of the $6 billion cost. While some see the project as a symbol of 'shared destiny' between Laos and China, others fear it will exacerbate inequality and that Chinese investment may not consider local interests. The Lao People's Revolutionary Party views the investment as a success in modernizing the nation, but there is growing unease and rare opposition to Chinese interests in the country.

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