Entries in Thailand (22)


US Citizens Warned of Possible Terror Attacks in Bangkok

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BANGKOK) -- American citizens in Thailand are being warned of potential terror attacks that may take place soon in Bangkok.

The U.S. embassy in Thailand issued an emergency message on Friday, alerting that "foreign terrorists may be currently looking to conduct attacks against tourist areas in Bangkok in the near future."

The embassy urged Americans to "exercise caution when visiting public areas where large groups of Western tourists gather in Bangkok."

"U.S. citizens are encouraged to maintain a heightened awareness when out in public; be alert for unattended packages/bags in public/crowded places and report any suspicious behavior to the nearest law enforcement personnel.  We also encourage you to keep a low profile in public areas, particularly areas frequented by foreign tourists," it added.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Thailand PM: Impossible to Protect All of Bangkok from Floodwaters

PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/ Getty Images(BANGKOK, Thailand) -- Describing Thailand’s worst floods in decades as a “national crisis,” Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra told reporters Thursday that protecting all of Bangkok from floodwaters would be impossible.

“Flood waters are coming from every direction and we cannot control them because it's a huge amount of water,” she said.  “The longer we block the water, the higher it gets.”

Up until Thursday, Shinawatra had maintained that Bangkok would be spared.  But efforts to keep the capital’s nine million people dry have been complicated by a seasonal high tide.

Central Bangkok has escaped major flooding so far, as the government diverts water to areas outside the main capital to prevent the Chao Phraya River from bursting its banks.  For now, the government has opted to use eastern Bangkok to drain floodwaters flowing in from the north.  That’s meant “sacrificing” seven districts, including Sai Mai.

Bangkok Gov. Sukhumbhand Paribatra has already advised residents in those areas to unplug electrical appliances, move belongings to higher ground and study the city's evacuation plan, saying they had 24 hours to prepare for possible flooding.

Thailand’s main international airport, Suvarnabhumi Airport, is operating normally and protected by a 3.5 meter wall.  But there is concern that Don Muang Airport, where the government has set up its emergency operation, could be flooded.  Thai military has already begun moving their aircraft there.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Thai Flood Waters Finally Receding; $3 Billion Reconstruction Expected

NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images(BANKOK) -- The Thai government is confident floods that have devastated large parts of the country have been stopped from reaching Bankok, after huge efforts by the people there to build up sandbag barriers.

North of the country's capital, flood waters finally have begun to recede.  

Still, authorities say the country's worst flood in nearly 50 years has claimed the lives of at least 307 people. Hundreds of thousands more have been left without jobs.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said deconstruction of areas affected by the massive floods could cost more than $3 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Bangkok Flooding: Officials Hope Floodwalls Will Protect City

Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/Getty Images(BANGKOK, Thailand) -- Thai government officials are bracing for the possible onslaught of flood waters Saturday as the capital city of Bangkok secures its floodwalls.

The Thai military has been working around the clock to firm up floodwalls just outside of Bangkok, as the government rushes to stay ahead of floodwaters and save the commercial heart of Thailand.

Prime Minister Yingluck Sinawatra said on Saturday that 10 provinces in Thailand were still at "critical risk" from flooding, but that Bangkok's 9 million residents would likely be spared.

Monsoon rains have swamped more than half of Thailand since July, killing nearly 300 people, and displacing millions more.

Soldiers have widened canals, and built floodwalls to keep the water from spilling south, into the capital.

The worst flood to hit Thailand in decades has now become the country's most expensive disaster, with damages topping $3 billion.

In central Bangkok, the waiting game continues. Paesita Dussaewlnwa, who works at a jewelry store, put up a concrete flood wall last week, and stacked sandbags behind it.

She moved all her products to higher ground, after watching rain pound the capital for days.

"Yes we are concerned. We worry about the water because In Ayutthaya, it is 100 percent flooded, and all of that will come here," Dussaewlnwa told ABC News.

Much of Bangkok lies behind a sturdy system of flood walls, dams and dikes that have been recently reinforced, according to officials.

"I insist that the floods will only affect outer Bangkok and will not be widespread in other areas," Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said Friday while touring the city's defenses.

U.S. marines joined the fight on Saturday by bringing sandbags and relief supplies.

"They'll be working of course with the Thai military. This is an important step for us to see how we can help Thailand best at a very, very difficult time," said Kristie Kenney, U.S. Ambassador to Thailand.

While the plan to divert water away from Thailand's economic center is working so far, it is little relief for those living outside of it.

In the old capital of Ayutthaya, residents walk through waist-deep water, as they try to save what's left of their homes and businesses.

Volunteers float supplies in, filling boats with water bottles. More than 200 major highways and roads are now underwater.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Flood Waters Threaten Bangkok Deluge

ABC News(BANGKOK, Thailand) -- The rain is coming down hard in Bangkok and there is more on its way -- this, at a time when rain is the last thing the city needs.

The city of 9 million people is working around the clock to save the city from floodwaters that have already submerged more than half of the country and killed nearly 300 people.

Historic temples are below water, major car factories have shut down, and even elephants are left stranded.

The next 48 hours will be crucial as flood waters cascade south from the northern part of the country towards the low lying city of Bangkok at the mouth of the Gulf of Thailand at the same time that high tide is expected.

The government said much of Bangkok lies behind a sturdy system of flood walls, dams and dikes that have been reinforced recently.

Others are not so sure. Along the outer banks of the city volunteers race to build floodwalls. In one village where people have been sandbagging for the last two weeks, they are running out of sand.

"If we cannot protect this dam, all the water will go through Bangkok...and...I don't know what's going to happen after that," one volunteer said.  

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


John McCain Pushes Democracy In Thailand, Burma

ABC News(BANGKOK) -- Sen. John McCain's trip to Thailand continued Tuesday, ahead of a scheduled visit to neighboring Myanmar, also known as Burma, where he will meet with government officials and pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, whom he called an inspiration.

The Arizona senator said he hopes Myanmar's military dictatorship will improve its human rights record. Last year the country held its first election in decades, and the government released Suu Kyi from house arrest.

"We should greet what's happened so far in Myanmar with a healthy dose of skepticism," McCain said.

McCain also noted that China is exerting its influence in Myanmar, but that China, too, needs to reform. He said the government there should loosen its grip on the Internet.

"In China you can't Twitter," he said. "I had a meeting with a high-ranking Chinese official in Washington a couple of weeks ago and I said if you really want to convince us that you're progressing then let your people Twitter. Let 'em tweet."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


John McCain In Thailand to 'Reaffirm' US-Thai Relations

ABC News(BANGKOK) -- Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is spending this Memorial Day in Thailand, where he met with Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and is working to reaffirm relations between that country and the United States.

"In Thailand to reaffirm our US/Thai relations & get an assessment on the situation in Burma," McCain twitted Monday.

McCain's office has not yet issued an official travel schedule.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Thailand Arrests American for Insulting the King

PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images(BANGKOK) -- An American citizen has been arrested in Thailand for allegedly insulting the Thai king.

Lerpong Wichaikhammat, 54, was born in Thailand, but could now face 3 to 15 years in prison for allegedly linking from his blog to an English language biography of Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej, one that is banned in Thailand.

The man has proclaimed his innocence.

A U.S. Embassy spokesperson confirmed that the man was arrested and has been visited by American officials, but could not comment further.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Thailand Busts Animal Trafficking Network

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images(BANGKOK) -- Anti-trafficking officers at Bangkok International Airport have hit pay dirt with the discovery of rare baby animals hidden in the suitcases of a man bound for Dubai. They found two leopards in the luggage, a bear in a bag, a pair of panthers and matching monkeys. All were sedated in the various pieces of baggage belonging to a 36-year-old man from the United Arab Emirates.

Agents had tracked the suspect since he was observed purchasing animals on the Thai black market. Authorities believe the individual was part of a larger wildlife trafficking network and a search is now on for accomplices.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Thailand's Annual Water Festival Underway in Bangkok

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(BANGKOK) -- Thailand's annual water festival kicked off in Bangkok Wednesday, bringing with it a country-wide party and massive water fights.

For three days every April, Thailand celebrates its traditional new year.  Businesses close and people take to the streets to drink, dance, eat food, and douse each other with squirt guns and buckets of water.

This year, nearly 3,500 people squared off with water pistols outside a Bangkok shopping mall Wednesday.  Organizers say it was a world record for the biggest-ever water fight, beating a 2007 gathering in Spain.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio