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Cops have licence to print money

I believe the Royal Thai Police (RTP) in Chiang Mai and other areas have been handed a golden money-making opportunity.

As I understand from Thai business colleagues, the government has handed over responsibility to check on the licences of accommodation providers to the RTP.

In practice this means that whole teams are devoted to raiding small businesses which can't and never will obtain a hotel licence. Instead of talking through the issues and working with these businesses, which may have been operating for decades, some of them have been turned into a mafia-style operation. This is a regulatory issue, not a criminal one, and they are terrorising Thai businesses.

So, it's a great time for criminals because some police officers are busy making money.

Chiang Mai

Decidedly 'Un-Buddhist'

Re: "Debating the death penalty", (Editorial, June 20).

The Bangkok Post's editor is right that the death penalty raises "deeply moral" issues that should be discussed. The most obvious is that such killing directly contradicts the first precept of Buddhism. That Thai Buddhism, loyally serving powerful political players who find killing highly acceptable, if not agreeable, for many reasons, does not categorically condemn the death penalty tells us something about the true nature of the religion known as Thai Buddhism, with its decidedly un-Buddhist in its teachings and customs.

Prime Minister Prayut's comments also illuminate issues worthy of note. First, there is the fake news claim apparently believed by the PM that the death penalty is necessary to deter violent crime. As the editorial notes, this is a false statement. To persistently spout such a falsehood shows either willful lying or a willful disregard for discovering the truth: neither of these are moral virtues.

But the PM has made an even more telling assertion in response to the condemnation of the latest legal killing by Thai authorities, insisting that not only is it necessary to maintain public order (a fake claim), but that the death penalty is necessary to teach lessons. He is, in fact, right that the death penalty teaches lessons.

The lesson learned is seen in the murder and violent crime statistics for states that have the death penalty, for example Thailand, with four murders per 100,000 people compared with Australia, with only one murder per 100,000 and no death penalty for many years. The lesson that has clearly been learned under the thinking espoused by the PM is that violence, up to and including vicious murder, is a solution to problems.

This lesson is, of course, consistent with the repeated use of coups as a violent solution to social and political problems: nothing peaceful or remotely in line with Buddhist teaching has ever been learned by this repetition in Thai modern history of using violence to overthrow a rule of civil law that some see as a problem to their vested interests.

Felix Qui

Old politics live on

Re: "Thanathorn hits out at treacherous politicians", (BP, June 22).

If this report is correct it means that old politics have not changed, or changed for the worst, considering the enormous amounts offered (50 million baht plus 500,000 baht salaries) to politicians to defect to other parties.There is no doubt that those parties, if elected, will need to recover their expenses. The sad conclusion is who wants elections when the most likely outcome will be that the party who wins is the one who has the most money to corrupt the voters.

Unfortunately this is all what politics have to offer to Thailand. In this case this military government is a better option. Why is Gen Prayut afraid of a referendum? Thailand is doing well. He must have his reasons, there is a lot happening underground that is not reported by the press.

Clara Holzer

Non-Halal food for thought

Re: "Flight of halal fancy", (PostBag, June 22).

Culinary Mango points out that many national airlines from Muslim Countries serve halal-only meals. Maybe so, but I did not fly with an airline from a Muslim country, I flew Thai Airways and in my original letter that was published in PostBag on June 14, I queried why they (the flag carrier airline of Thailand which is 93% Buddhist, that is, non-Muslim) can operate a flight out of the capital city of Thailand and discriminate against the majority of their countrymen (as well as myself, a non-Muslim) by not offering passengers a non-halal meat meal.

I praised Thai Airways for offering their Muslim passengers a choice with a halal meat meal, but criticised them for their obvious discrimination against those passengers like myself who do not want to eat halal meat.

Mr Mango also points out that had the meal I was offered not had a "halal" sticker on it then I would not have known the difference. Is it really OK to dupe non-Muslims like myself (or anyone else for that matter) by hiding the origin of the food they are given to eat? Is this not deceptive?

Though Mr Mango is probably right that there is no taste difference, he completely misses the point. It's not the taste I object to, as I have already pointed out -- I object to the way halal meat is slaughtered as well as the fact that the meat is "blessed" at the time of slaughter. Neither he nor Martin R (who responded to my original letter) have even attempted to refute my allegation of discrimination. Instead they both deflect, obfuscate and resort to whataboutery.

Peter Atkinson

Safety last in the US of A

The fourth of July is approaching and the US will celebrate her 242nd birthday. And as usual -- ta-da -- the annual hot dog eating competition!

Last year a guy gobbled up 72 hot dogs in 10 minutes and won. Heaven forbid, isn't that a health hazard, you think? How does the Surgeon-General allow this? This is ridiculous given that Uncle Sam is very picky when it comes to safety of American citizens.

There is a warning: "Do not iron clothes on body". Another warning: "Once used rectally, this thermometer should not be used orally". A warning on a jet ski: "Never use a lit match or open flame to check fuel level". On a box of fishing hooks: "Harmful if swallowed". And, this is the wackiest of them all, on a toilet brush: "Do not use for personal hygiene". (I did try it once on a hard-to-reach spot and it wasn't pleasant.)

A wet T-shirt contest is healthy, but a hot dog eating contest? In a country that has put men on the moon? I guess it will go on until somebody dies from choking or stomach rupture.

Somsak Pola

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