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Media, don’t be fooled by protesters – Finance secretary

Jack Burton

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Media, don’t be fooled by protesters – Finance secretary | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Khaosod English
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Media outlets are being duped by highly visible protesters trying to attract media attention in their efforts to receive the 5,000 baht “No One Left Behind” handouts, according to Finance permanent secretary Prasong Poonthanate. He even accuses the protesters and says many have already received the subsidy cash, but are demanding more. As an example he mentioned the recent case of a taxi driver who tried to scale the perimeter fence of the Finance Ministry as media filmed the incident.

The cabbie, identified as Pongpicharn Thanathirapong, was at the Ministry on Thursday to demand that the handout be wired to his account that day, saying he’d gotten a text message telling him to show up at the Ministry to file his claim.

Prasong told the media on Friday that the Ministry is ready to help people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, adding that his officers have been working nonstop to speed up distributing the money those in urgent need. He also mentioned another protester who, he alleges, brought arsenic with him, which he had intended to swallow in front of the media.

On Monday, a 59 year old woman swallowed a large volume of rat poison in front of the Finance Ministry after shouting “None cares about me! There’s no one to take care of me!” She collapsed and went into shock, and was rushed to hospital. She survived. Several other suicides have been linked to desperation over the financial ruin brought by the pandemic.

Prasong alleged another incident in which a woman collapsed in front of the Finance Ministry, then falsely accused a guard who rushed to help her of trying to assault her.

“What can we do? We are civil servants who must be patient and try to explain the situation to them. We asked them to return home after completing complaint forms, to avoid the risk of spreading the virus, but some refused.”

He urged the media not to accord the protesters “an undue level of coverage.”

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Thailand

Woman sentenced to 43 years in prison for violating lèse majesté law

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Woman sentenced to 43 years in prison for violating lèse majesté law | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Siamrath

The Bangkok Criminal Court sentenced a former public official to more than 4 decades in prison for violating the country’s strict lèse majesté law on insulting or defaming the Thai Monarchy.

The woman, a former Revenue Department official known as Anchan, was found guilty on 29 counts of violating Section 112 of the Criminal Code, known as the lèse majesté law, as well as the Computer Crime Act. She was sentenced to 43 years and 6 months in prison.

Anchan had posted audio clips on Facebook and YouTube of a man making comments considered critical of the Thai Monarchy. The man has been arrested, but officials haven’t released any other details.

The ruling comes during an ongoing pro-democracy movement raising subjects that are considered taboo in Thai society. In recent months, dozens of protesters have been charged with violating the lèse majesté law. A senior researcher from the Human Rights Watch as the recent sentence sends a “spine-chilling” message.

“Today’s court verdict is shocking and sends a spine-chilling signal that not only criticisms of the monarchy won’t be tolerated, but they will also be severely punished.”

Section 112 of the Criminal Code:

Those who defame, insult or threaten the King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent shall be punished by a jail term of between three to 15 years.

SOURCES: Thai Enquirer | Bangkok Biz News| Independent

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Thailand

Man arrested for allegedly overstaying 60 day tourist visa by 7 years

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Man arrested for allegedly overstaying 60 day tourist visa by 7 years | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai Crime Thailand

Immigration police arrested a 40 year old Nigerian man for allegedly overstaying his visa by 2,683 days. The man entered Thailand in April 2014 on a 60 day tourist visa. He was arrested in in Ratchathewi district of Bangkok.

Illegal immigration is considered as a major factor of the second wave of Covid-19 after the outbreak Samut Sakhon seafood market affecting a large migrant population.

Thai Visa says immigration officers were “targeting Africans to check on their visa status as part of measures associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The penalties for overstaying in Thailand are as follows…

When surrendering at airport immigration when leaving Thailand…

  • Overstay less than 90 Days = 500 Thai baht/day overstay fine (maximum 20,000 Thai baht)
  • Overstay more than 90 Days = 1 year ban from Thailand and 20,000 Thai baht overstay fine
  • Overstay more than 1 Year = 3 years ban from Thailand and 20,000 Thai baht overstay fine
  • Overstay more than 3 Years = 5 years ban from Thailand and 20,000 baht overstay fine
  • Overstay more than 5 Years = 10 years ban from Thailand and 20,000 baht overstay fine

When caught while overstaying…

  • Overstay of 1 day to 1 Year = 5 years ban from Thailand and 500 to 20,000 Thai baht overstay fine.
  • Overstay more than 1 Year = 10 years ban from Thailand and 20,000 Thai baht overstay fine.

SOURCES: True Crime Thailand | Thai Embassy| Thai Visa

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BTS Skytrain’s Green Line maximum fare to rise, Rail Transport Department disagrees with the move

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BTS Skytrain’s Green Line maximum fare to rise, Rail Transport Department disagrees with the move | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thairath Online

After the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration agreed to raise the maximum fare on the BTS Skytrain’s Green Line from 59 baht to 158 baht, the Rail Transport Department is calling on city officials to suspend the maximum fare ceiling, saying it would put an unfair burden on passengers.

Bangkok Governor Aswin announced earlier that the maximum fare of 158 baht is to be imposed on February 16, but a discount to 104 baht is offered during the Covid-19 outbreak. The City Hall needs to increase the fare rate because it can’t pay the debt to Bangkok Mass Transit System.

Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob says the BMA should halt its policy on the new BTS maximum fare and wait for other authorities to find proper solutions.

The Chairman of a House committee on transport, Sophon Sarum, a former transport minister, dismisses the BMA’s claim of its financial inability to repay the Green Line’s loans while suggesting the BMA to manage the Green Line’s finances by raising funds from banks and other financial institutions.

The Rail Department and BMA will meet to discuss the maximum fare ceiling this week.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post | Coconuts Bangkok

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