• ‘Visit Thailand Year’ was kicked off by an elaborate parade in a campaign to position the country as a top international tourist destination. Bangkok Governor Chamlong Srimuang issued a ban against all street vendors in the city, leading to a vendors’ protest outside Government House. Simultaneously the commissioner of the Bangkok Metropolitan Association (BMA) police force told his officers they could arrest sidewalk vendors who were obstructing pedestrian traffic.
• About a half million devoted Buddhists came from all over the country to the cremation ceremony of Luang Poo Waen Sujinno held at Wat Doi Mae Pang in Chiang Mai. He was one of the most revered monks in Thailand. About 10,000 Buddhist monks also attended the nationally televised ceremony presided over by the King and Queen. The monk passed away on July 2, 1985.
• One of the first refugee camps for Cambodian refugees in Thailand, Khao-I- Dang, located about 20 kms from Aranyaprathet, was closed as the Thai government started preparations to start repatriation of hundreds of thousands of Cambodians who had crossed over the border in the previous decade. The refugees at Khao-I-Dang were transferred to temporary camps before being sent to Cambodia.
• Dozens of Thai Army rangers gathered outside the home of elder statesman M R (Mom Rajawongse) Kukrit Pramoj to demand an apology from him for implying that General Chavalit Yongchaiyudt, Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Army (RTA), was a ‘communist’. During a speech about the future of Thai politics at Chulalongkorn University, Kukrit claimed that Chavalit had been ‘sort of brainwashed by some communists who say there are no longer communists. They brainwashed everyone at the ISOC (Internal Security Operation Command). This is the base of communist infiltration’. In the same speech Kukrit criticised Prime Minister Prem Tinsulanonda, saying he had accomplished nothing and become ‘a sort of gentleman of leisure’. Kukrit denied that he had accused Chavalit of being a communist. Meanwhile, House Speaker Chuan Leekpai said he believed the rangers’ protest was approved by their commanders.
• The King was conferred the title of ‘The Great’ at a party hosted by PM Prem at Government House. Prem praised the King’s development projects and local and foreign dignitaries sang ‘Sadudi Maha Raja’ in praise of the King.
• The Ministry of Interior proposed an amendment to the Condominium Act allowing foreigners to own 25% of the units in a condominium. By relaxing the rules the government was hoping foreign investors would buy condominiums under their own names rather than company names. The move was also seen as beneficial to real estate developers.
• Chirayu Issarangkul na Ayutthaya resigned as minister to PM’s office to take a post as director of the Crown Property Bureau. Chirayu said he was ‘delighted and proud’ to serve the monarchy. He was also made Grand Chamberlain and Deputy Secretary-general of the Office of the Royal Household Bureau.
• Pathet Lao soldiers numbering about 200 attacked Thai rangers along the disputed Thai-Lao border near Ban Rom Klao village. The Lao soldiers claimed that the village and strategic Phu Soi Dao hill were part of Laos.
• Thai security officers arrested Tomáš Beneš, a naturalised West German of Czech origin and British national Jeoffrey Higginson. Both were believed to be members of a Soviet spy ring in Thailand and in contact with Soviet intelligence agents here. Beneš’ Thai girlfriend operated a massage parlour on Sukhumvit Road where he was allegedly meeting diplomats and other people, both locals and foreigners, who may have had sensitive information. It was rumored that some rooms in the massage parlour were wired. Beneš purportedly passed intelligence to one Soviet spy agency. According to his own testimony, Higginson was trained for five days in the Soviet Union. He said he failed some assignments the Soviets gave him so he was told to collect information on US and Chinese military installations in the region. It is not clear if Beneš and Higginson knew each other. Both men were deported from Thailand within two weeks of their arrests.
• A 25-year-old up-country Thai woman measuring 2.1 metres in height travelled to Bangkok to meet with officials of the Public Health Ministry. The woman solicited government assistance after being told that doctors could perform surgery on her to help check her growth. The woman who asked that her name be withheld said life in her village was difficult for her and that she was treated poorly because of her size.
• The Thailand Cultural Centre opened in Huay Kwang district of Bangkok. The opening was part of the King’s 60th birthday celebration. Among other facilities the cultural centre boasts a 2,000-seat auditorium, a 500-seat auditorium and an outdoor stage. Construction of the centre was funded by a grant from Japan.
• Famous Thai actor Sombat Metanee made the Guiness Book of World Records for most film appearances – 600 in total. Sombat was a leading actor in action movies, romances, dramas, comedies and musicals during a career that peaked in the 1960s and 70s. In the 1980s he still appeared in TV soap operas, talk shows and commercials.
• Rama IX Bridge was officially opened to traffic to mark the King’s upcoming 60th birthday on December 5. PM Prem gave opening remarks and led a candle-light ceremony presided over by Her Royal Highness Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. Around 85,000 runners helped to inaugurate the bridge by participating in the ‘Royal Marathon’.
• The first heart transplant in Thailand was performed on a 19-year-old man at Chulalongkorn Hospital in Bangkok. A team of doctors led by Dr Chavalit Ongcharit performed the successful four-hour surgery.