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Celebrity’s birthday “Covid-19 cluster” organisers and partygoers may face charges

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Celebrity’s birthday “Covid-19 cluster” organisers and partygoers may face charges | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS

With more infections linked to the “birthday party Covid-19 cluster” and some concealing their timeline, the Disease Control Department is urging the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to take legal action against people involved.

Thai media are calling it a “super spreader” party. So far, 26 cases are linked to the birthday event for the 33 year old Thai actor Techin Ploypetch, aka DJ Matoom, at a Bangkok hotel. 113 people are at risk and another 53 are considered low risk, according to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

The event organisers could face charges for violating the ban on crowded gatherings. Partygoers could face charges for violating the Emergency Decree. Covid-19 patients who attended the party and concealed their timeline from health officials could also be charged under various laws.

A singer, a government official, and a PR manager, who all went to the party and later tested positive Covid-19, hid crucial parts of their timelines from health authorities, according to Thai PBS.

The department says those people could face charges under the Communicable Disease Act for allegedly concealing personal information and may be fined up to 20,000 baht. They could also be charged under the Criminal Code for allegedly giving false information to government officials.

The department’s director-general Opas Karnkawinpong says concealing or delaying the provision of information increases the spread of the virus and makes it harder for authorities to control the pandemic.

SOURCES: Thai PBS World| Bangkok Post

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Protests

Pro-democracy activist hit with 6 million baht fine for removal of plants at rally site

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Pro-democracy activist hit with 6 million baht fine for removal of plants at rally site | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook / Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul

Protest leader Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, aka “Rung”, has been hit with a fine of nearly 6 million baht, after removing plants at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument. Panusaya and 5 other activists have been charged with removing plants placed as decoration around the monument, during a political rally on February 13.

She says Samran Rat police station has ordered her to pay 5.9 million baht as a result of the action. She has also been charged with violation of the emergency decree and various disease control measures. In addition, she faces the serious charge of lèse majesté, following her role in a September 19 rally at the public square of Sanam Luang in Bangkok.

The Democracy Monument rally on February 13 was organised by the People’s Movement, calling for the release of 4 fellow activists. According to a Bangkok Post report, the plants were removed to make way for the rally. Another prominent pro-democracy activist, Panupong Jadnok, aka “Mike Rayong” accuses officials of deliberately planting the trees to create an obstruction. The rally ended in skirmishes with police at the Supreme Court, near Sanam Luang. Protesters were attempting to reach the Bangkok Pillar Shrine, but had their passage blocked by police.

Meanwhile, over the weekend, the government banned mass gatherings, including political protests, ostensibly due to Covid-19 fears. The law has been published in the Royal Gazette, coming into effect on Saturday. However, activists from the People Go network defied the law over the weekend, gathering in protest at the Democracy Monument and calling for the release of the 4 activists held on lèse majesté charges.

Various groups, including Amnesty International and the UN Human Rights Committee, have criticised the government’s use of the country’s lèse majesté law, with Amnesty International describing it as an attempt to silence dissent.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Protests

Thailand’s pro-democracy activists ignore emergency decree warnings over weekend

Maya Taylor

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Thailand’s pro-democracy activists ignore emergency decree warnings over weekend | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook / People GO network

Ignoring a police warning not to violate the emergency decree, pro-democracy activists gathered in their hundreds at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument yesterday. Although the anti-government protests have kicked off again after a 2 month hiatus, the numbers are well down on last years crowds, now measuring more in the hundreds than the thousands.

The Bangkok Post reports that members of the People Go network came together to call for 4 fellow activists to be released from Bangkok Remand Prison. The 4… Anon Nampa, Parit Chiwarak (aka. Penguin), Somyos Prueksakasemsuk, and Patiwat Saraiyaem… are being held on charges of violating section 112 of the Criminal Code (more commonly known as lèse majesté – criticising members of the Thai royal family). All 4 have been denied bail.

Officers from Samran Rat and Songkhram police stations issued statements to say the rally was in violation of the emergency decree. On Saturday, the government used the all-encompassing Covid-19 umbrella to issue a ban on political rallies across 6 provinces, including Bangkok.

Activist Jatupat Boonpattararaksa, aka, Pai Dao Din, ignored a police order for the rally to disperse and proceeded with setting up a stage at the Democracy Monument. He also gave assurances that the gathering would remain peaceful.

“We are not fighting the police deployed in front of us. We are fighting against dictatorship.”

Activists had walked 250 kilometres, from the north-eastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima (also known as Korat), reaching Bangkok’s Kasetsart University on Saturday. Yesterday, they ended their mammoth trek with a walk to the Democracy Monument.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Protests

Motorists told to avoid certain areas in Bangkok as protests planned for today

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Motorists told to avoid certain areas in Bangkok as protests planned for today | The Thaiger

Bangkok motorists are being told to avoid areas where protests are planned to take place today. Kasetsart intersection, Lat Phrao intersection, Rachaprasong shopping district’s Central World shopping mall and 11th Infantry Regiment barracks in Bangkhen are the sites where demonstrators are set to infiltrate.

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner says he is most concerned about the Lat Phrao intersection, due to the Redem or Restart Democracy group planning to hold a leaderless protest, which has been prone to violence in the past as demonstrated last Sunday. The group is an offset of the Free Youth movement, which is one of the main groups that have been demonstrating against the military-backed government.

The Redem protesters plan to march from the Lat Phrao intersection to the Criminal Court on Ratchadapisek Road, despite a law announced in the Royal Gazette last night which banned protests, mass gatherings and assemblies. The law stated the reasoning was not political, citing fears over Covid-19 instead.

The newly announced law would give the government a wider range of power in enforcing such public gatherings, with law-breakers being subjected to up to a 40,000 baht fine or up to 2 years in jail. The Redem group is expected to demand the release of core Ratsadon leaders and others being held in jail without bail.

The Ratsadon group reached the outskirts of Bangkok yesterday, after a nearly 250 kilometre-long march from the Thao Suranaree statue in Korat province’s Muang district province. But they were met by police who tried to prevent them from marching further into Bangkok, but eventually allowed them to keep marching until they reached the Kasetsart intersection. The group is expected to end the march tomorrow, at Democracy Monument.

Despite the groups’ plans to ignore the recent law that bans protests, police have warned that they will face charges if they defy the new order. 32 companies of anti-riot police have been placed on standby in light of the expected protests taking place in Thailand’s capital today.

SOURCE: Thai Pbs World

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