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29 March 2000

First Cyber Laws Expected in June

The president of the National IT Committee has stated that the first two of the IT laws, the Electronic Transaction Law and the Digital Signature Law are expected to be submitted to the Parliament in May. the two laws were passed by the Cabinet in March. If approved the laws will become effective in the middle of the year.

Thailand's proposed IT laws comprise the following six proposed laws: (1) Electronic Transactions, (2) Electronic Signature, (3) Computer Crime, (4) Electronic Funds Transfer, (5) Data Protection and (6) Universal Access. NITC expects the remaining four laws to be completed by the beginning of next year.


18 February 2000

Legal Drive to Prevent Organ Deals

The Law Society and the Medical Council are jointly drafting a bill which intends to prevent the illegal trade of human organs. One of the aims of the bill is to establish a legal definition of death, the absence of such definition is considered to be one of the contributing factors to unethical medical practice concerning illegal organ trading.

A representative from the Law Society stated that doctors engaged in organ trade should face criminal action for falsifying documents and breaching regulations concerning brain death. Brain death is considered by some leaders in the medical community to be the true measure of death. The process of diagnosing brain death, which is currently governed by a regulation and is not believed to be strictly followed by all doctors, would be specified under the newly proposed law. Organs should not be removed unless, pursuant to a series of actions required under the law, brain death is conclusively determined.


16 February 2000

New Laws Approved To Strengthen Banking System

Yesterday the Cabinet a[proved five new draft laws the objectives of which are to strengthen the banking system, assist in restructuring and lay the foundation for future monetary policies.

One of the key changes would be to allow for taxes and transfer fees to be waived for assets transferred from asset management companies back to their parent banks. This change is intended to make it easier for borrowers whose loans are being restructured.

Changes with regard to the central bank include a new draft charter being drawn which clearly defines the role of the Central Bank and also a restrictions on the government borrowing form the Central Bank. New committees wil be set up to improve transparency and accountability.

The new Financial Institutions Act was also approved. The Act consolidates the existing Commercial banking Act, the Finance Securities Act and the Credit Foncier Act. The new act will strengthen the authority of the central bank in intervening in ailing institutions.


9 February 2000

Atec Computer Slammed Again

Atec Computer Company has been convicted of computer piracy for illegal hard disk loading. This is the second conviction for the company. The Criminal Court fined Atec 400,000 baht and also punished the company director with a substantial fine and a suspended jail term.

Kenny Cheung. legal officer for Microsoft law and corporate affairs believes that this conviction signifies a harder stance by the courts against software piracy. Atec Computer was caught loading unauthorized copies of Microsoft software on computers and selling them to consumers.


3 February 2000

House of Representatives Passes Initial reading of Names Act

The House of Representatives passed its first reading of an amendment to the Names Act seeking to allow married women to use their maiden names. However, there was debate concerning the appointment of various representatives from women's groups to the committee in scrutinizing the bill. As a result the committee was not formed. The proposed amendments would allow married women to choose between their maiden name and their husband's surname. The bill also allows children to take the surname of either parent.


22 January 2000

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Public Forum

A forum concerning the United nations Conference on Trade and Development was held on February 12-29 at Chulalongkorn University and participants included state employees, NGOs and consumer groups. Concern was expressed over the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Trade Related Agreements on Intellectual Property (Trips) which does not protect signatory countries from trade sanctions based on laws deemed to be in the public benefit. One example is in the area of compulsory licensing, ie, certain drugs for the treatment of AIDS may not be allowed based on fear of being in breach of the Trips Agreement.. Compulsory licensing in effect forces a company to either use its patent or allow anoither to use it thereby preventing a company from simply holding a patent for a product it does not put on the market. Compulsory licensing has been considered desirable when such a product is necessary for public health such as various medicines.


18 January 2000

SEC Liberalized Rule Re Debt Market

The Securities and Exchange Commission has approved allowing Inter-dealer brokers to handle anonymous deals between investors. Inter deal brokers will also be prepare real time bid and offer quotes for dealers and offer other financial services. A broker will be required to be a new limited or public company and not a subsidiary of another firm. Further, Inter-dealer brokers will be prohibited from trading securities themselves and thus avoid conflicts of interest.

The SEC has also proposed that regulations concerning the scope of securities licenses be liberalized to allow greater flexibility for firms underwriting debt instruments. Ultimately the Thai Bond Dealing Centre is expected to be transformed into a self-regulating organization similar to the Stock Exchange of Thailand.


11 January 2000

Drop in Bankruptcy Suits

Although the Bankruptcy Court handles 441 cases in its first six months the number of cases recently files has declined sharply. Since its establishment, the Court has dealt with assets worth 164 billion baht. Of the total number of cases, 25 involved business rehabilitation involving 153.8 billion baht and 416 cases were bankruptcies totaling 10.15 billion baht. The new court has approved rehabilitation plans for 17 companies.


12 December 1999

New Law to Prevent Theft of Airline Signal

Telecommunications laws are expected to be amended soon to allow mobile telephone owners to file theft charges against frequency hijackers. The intent of the new laws is to takes the place of obsolete existing laws and provide consumers with more protection. Under the current law, only the Communication Authority of Thailand is authorized to file complaints against people tuning their mobile phones to the same frequency as those of legal holders. Previous court rulings have stated that frequencies are not tangible assets and therefore could not be stolen. As a result the police and the prosecutors considered ti necessary to amend the existing laws so that frequencies could be classified as an "asset" and therefore theft cases could be filed by consumers themselves.

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