Thailand News Today | Tham Luang cave rescue divers receive honors

The University of Bristol has awarded honorary degrees to two British cave divers after recognizing their heroic efforts in rescuing 12 boys and a man from a flooded cave in Thailand.

The university cheered John Volanthen, Rick Stanton and the other rescue divers for performing an impossible task in rescuing 12 children and their soccer coach from the Tham Luang Nang Non collapse Chiang Rai Province in the North Thailand.

A statement said: “Through a combination of extraordinary courage and meticulous planning, they overcame all odds and pulled off one of the most extraordinary rescues ever attempted, and ultimately all 12 boys and their trainer despite the most dangerous conditions imaginable can, keep alive.”

The Thai government appealed to the men after heavy rains stranded 12 members of a junior football team and their coach from a cave complex in the north of the country.

The pair navigated 1.5 miles through narrowed underwater passages in near-zero visibility, against a fast-moving, debris-strewn current, in a rescue involving about 5,000 people

Against all odds, 9 days after the rescue began, the 12 stranded boys, aged between 11 and 16, and their 25-year-old trainer were found on July 2, 2018. But that’s not half yet. The stranded team was short on oxygen in their small air pocket and with more monsoon rains forecast, time was running out.

Volanthen, who was 47 at the time, said he was confident in his own safety but admitted he wasn’t sure he could save the boys and their coach.


Fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra says the opposition parties, or as he described them the “pro-democracy” parties, will win the next election by a landslide.

Thaksin spoke online from his home in Dubai at a clubhouse meeting on Tuesday.

The discussion follows the current parliamentary debate on party list MPs. Party-list MPs get their seats in Parliament according to a proportional system, not by winning the vote in their geographic province or seat.

Thaksin expected the pro-democracy parties to win 300 of the 500 available seats in the next parliament, with the two main winners being his Pheu Thai party and the progressive Move Forward party.

Thaksin alluded to the lessons he learned during the Bangkok gubernatorial election, when Palang Pracharat won just two of the 50 available district seats. Bangkok’s new governor, Chadchart Sittipun, a former Pheu Thai member who ran as an independent in the Bangkok elections, won in a huge individual landslide victory.

The current system of calculating the party list left the current parliament with many small parties winning a seat and left it to the larger parties to form alliances with the MPs of each seat to form majorities. The current governing coalition, led by Palang Pracharat, consists of 17 different parties.

Thaksin believes Prayut is now using the smaller parties to create a more supportive base for a future coalition after the next election.

The next general election will be held later this year or before March 2023. However, observers say the election campaign has already begun as the current prime minister is stepping out more and appearing at events.

Every political poll has shown that both Prayut Chan-o-cha and the current Palang Pracharat government have lost much support over the past two years and would lose an election to the opposition parties, assuming the election was fair and square of course.


Business owners on Koh PhaNgan are demanding cheaper ferry fares after rising more than 40% since early July, impacting businesses and cost of living.

For the average car, the ferry service from Don Sak Dock to Pha Ngan with the Raja Ferry was increased from 620 baht to 900 baht from July 1. Fuel and that it has been many years since fares were increased. They also have ferries to Koh Samui and Koh Tao where fares have also increased by the same amount.

According to Koh Phangan Hotel and Tourism Association President จันตะนา Limsuwan, locals and businesses are feeling the pressure with higher prices, especially now that Thailand is trying to attract as many tourists as possible.

They say that transportation, building materials and supplies, and food ingredients are currently increasing in price.

Later this month the Koh Phangan Hotel and Tourism Association and other Koh Phangan organizations will review the issues and petition the Governor of Surat Thani and the Ministry of Transport.

Those affected want the government to gradually increase the ferry fare to mitigate the sudden impact.

They say the occupancy rate on Koh Pha Ngan could rise to 60% this month, surpassing levels during the New Year holidays. The usual high season on the island lasts from mid-July to the end of August.

Some of the hotels in Haad Rin are fully booked for the Full Moon Party on July 15th. Hotels across the island are expected to be between 70% and 80% booked throughout the event.


A Thai police officer caught on camera drunk driving a motorcycle in Isaan’s Chaiyaphum province will not be prosecuted.

Chaiyaphum News Hunter’s Facebook page posted a video of police with the caption: “Locals sent me this. Is it too dangerous, boss? Is he drunk?”

The video shows the police officer driving slowly and uncertainly from the left to the right lane. The other cars look tentative, as if the policeman is swaying from side to side. A pickup truck watched for a while and tried to stay away from the swaying officer before quickly driving away. The police officer nodded to the pickup driver as he parked at an intersection and waited for the traffic light to change.

Thai netizens slammed the officer, saying, “Police will never be wrong” and “Police arrest others but never look at themselves,” while another said, “I experienced the same thing on the same street.”

The motorcycle’s license plate is registered with the บ้านเขว้า Police Station in the province. The reporters visited the police station to ask the superintendent for more details.

He said he identified and questioned the officer accused of being drunk on the video.

The superintendent added the officer had just finished his shift and was not drunk, just sleepy and there was no reason to prosecute him.

But under the Land Traffic Transport Act, drivers who drive recklessly and dangerously without regard to the safety of others can face up to 3 months in prison, a 2,000-10,000 baht fine, or both. So based on his behavior… should he go free? Or should I say stumble away?


The Bangkok Electrical Authority removed 2 power transformers belonging to the same property that caused a fire in Chinatown last month that killed 2 people. The fire was caused by a transformer exploding in a three-story commercial building, according to a preliminary inspection.

Now officials from the city’s Electricity Board plan to inspect the transformers to ensure they are safe for use. The MEA governor said his office has inspected over 450 power transformers in central Bangkok and on Rattanakosin Island so far this year. The controls ensured that the surrounding communities were safe and the power grid was stable.

Plans are in the works for a few different groups to do their part to prevent fires in Bangkok following the aftermath of the Chinatown fire. At a session last week, officials suggested telecom providers should clean up overhead lines in the city. Not a bad idea.

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