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Date: 12/6/98

Publication: The Nation

Section: Headlines

BRIEFS: Man arrested over Bt100,000 cocaine swoop in car park

A MAN was arrested with 94 grammes of cocaine worth Bt100,000 in a car park building in Bangkok's Yannawa district, Narcotics Control Board secretary-general Payon Phansri said on Saturday.

He added that Artsavayuth Osathanugrah had confessed he had bought the narcotics from an agent in Klong Toey to sell to his friends and celebrities.

The man was arrested on Friday on the third floor of the car park in the Royal Nawin Tower. He was charged with having cocaine in his possession and carrying a weapon in public without permission.

Artsavayuth said he planned to sell the cocaine for Bt2,500 to Bt3,000 per gramme.

Narcotics Suppression Bureau Commissioner Komkrit Patpongpanit said drug traders had exploited lax Customs controls.

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Dhammakaya Temple fails to inspire followers

FOLLOWING adverse publicity, Wat Phra Dhammakaya witnessed an unusually low turnout on Saturday even though the temple had vowed to mobilise over 100,000 followers in a show of public faith.

The temple has always been crowded with Buddhists making merit and meditating on the King's birthday.

However, on Saturday not enough food had been given in alms to cater for the temple because just 300 people showed up. The temple was also forced to prepare more food.

A man who works for the temple and who refused to be identified claimed that the reason for the low turnout this week was because the temple had postponed its activities to early next month since it had been asked to provide parking space for people coming to the Asian Games venues.

Another visitor to the temple said on Saturday that he had never seen so few people and said he doubted if the low turnout had anything to do with the adverse publicity.

The temple's disciples reportedly planned to mobilise students and other followers to offset the negative image it had earned from the media's tough scrutiny.

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Islanders sign up to support 'The Beach'

KRABI -- Residents of Phi Phi Island are collecting signatures to endorse the production of the controversial film ''The Beach'', chief of the Had Nopparatthara-Phi Phi Island National Park said on Saturday.

Weerachart Thepphipit, said he had received a list of more than 100 signatures from villagers together with copies of their identity cards supporting the Hollywood film.

He said it was not the villagers who were opposed to the filming but non-governmental organisations and environmentalists from the outside. He added that forestry officials would be sent to supervise the filming and protect the crew during the shooting at Maya Beach.

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Committee credits UN seat to Hun Sen

UNITED NATIONS -- The UN credentials committee on Friday agreed to award Cambodia's UN seat to representatives of the new coalition government of Prime Minister Hun Sen, committee members said.

A diplomat on the committee said the nine-nation committee approved the credentials of a delegation put forward in a letter from King Norodom Sihanouk.

No details were immediately available, but the 185-nation UN General Assembly is expected to endorse the credentials of the new delegation tomorrow, effectively welcoming the country back into the world community. -- AFP

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Hearing for Anwar's appeal put off again

KUALA LUMPUR -- Anwar Ibrahim's hearing on an appeal to free him on bail was adjourned on Saturday after a court debated if it had the right to hear the case.

The three-member Court of Appeal delayed ruling on Anwar's case a second time after asking lawyers from both sides to present arguments on an earlier ruling that says that not all appellate cases are to be heard by the court.

The higher court moved the hearing to Dec 12.

Last Saturday, the three appeal judges postponed the bail hearing for similar reasons. A decision by them not to hear Anwar's case could potentially thwart any further attempts to free Anwar on bail.

Anwar's bail application has been turned down by a lower court once and an appeal against it also failed. Trial Judge Augustine Paul said Anwar's lawyers were not able to prove that he would not tamper with witnesses if released on bail. -- Agencies

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