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Germans arrested for removing coronavirus barrier in Chiang Mai

Jack Burton

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Germans arrested for removing coronavirus barrier in Chiang Mai | The Thaiger
PHOTOS: Chiang Mai News
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A number of German expats have been arrested in Chiang Mai for allegedly trying to remove a community Covid-19 coronavirus barrier. The expats claim the barrier was blocking access to their home.

Locals, however disagreed, claiming the barrier was vital in stopping the spread of Covid-19 and filed a police report. The district headman claims the moving of their barrier was an illegal act and says the Germans should be prosecuted and fined. Chiang Mai Immigration was also called in to investigate the visa status of the Germans involved.

Chiang Mai One News claims it isn’t clear whether the barrier was completely preventing the Germans from accessing their properties. However from Chiang Mai News’s photo the barrier looks like it would stop a herd of stampeding elephants, let alone the German expats trying to get back to their property.

Germans arrested for removing coronavirus barrier in Chiang Mai | News by The Thaiger

Chiang Mai One says it’s one thing to require a temperature check before being allowed to enter an area, but if these people were being denied access to the homes that would be another matter.

Xenophobia against foreigners, mainly ‘farang’ or caucasians, is popping up from time to time across Thailand where some Thais are blaming foreigners for the coronavirus outbreak in the Kingdom, despite the disease originating in China. Thais, restricted to their homes and unable to work, are looking for someone to blame and becoming increasingly frustrated and distressed about the situation.

This week a Phuket-based Facebook page ‘Spotlight Thailand’, mostly an anti-corruption advocate, went full rogue when the owner of the page called on local Phuketians to grab slingshots and rocks to fire at “shit tourists” who were defying the curfew or not wearing face masks. The original post was followed up with pictures of ‘foreigners’ travelling around the island or visiting various locations in a ‘shame file’.

Whether intended as a joke or not, there were hundreds of vicious responses in the comments to the posts endorsing the post and showing photos of their slingshots at the ready.

“Get out from my country if you cannot stay at home. Shit tourist#”

At this stage there have been no cases of foreigners being hit by high-speed rocks and the offending Facebook page has been taken down, by Facebook.

The Covid-19 outbreak in Thailand has been economically ruinous to Thais and working expats, particularly in the country’s tourist areas which will one day hope for the foreigners to return and open up their pockets once again.

SOURCES: Chiang Rai Times | Chiang Mai One | Chiang Mai News

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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.

Chiang Mai

Russian man allegedly stabs Chiang Mai park officer, tries to break into tourist bungalow

Caitlin Ashworth

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Russian man allegedly stabs Chiang Mai park officer, tries to break into tourist bungalow | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thairath

A Russian man has been arrested after he allegedly tried to break into tourist bungalows and stealing property at a Chiang Mai national park and stabbed a park officer with a pair of scissors. The incident follows months of complaints from Thai tourists at the national park reporting missing property.

Thai media reports the 32 year old Russian man as ‘Cemnh Semin’ allegedly tried to rob a tourist bungalow at Doi Suthep-Pui National Park. Cemnh allegedly stabbed a night patrol park officer in the neck and head with a pair of scissors and ran off. Other park officers on duty were able to catch the man and call Chiang Mai Police. The wounded park officer was taken to a local hospital where he has been reported as being in a stable condition.

For months, Thai tourists at the Doi Suthep-Pui National Park say they’ve woken up in the morning with some of their belongings missing. Park officers stepped up their night patrol after the complaints. The officers say they were surprised at finding out the alleged robber was a Russian man.

The man will face a range of charges following further investigation.

SOURCES: Chiang Rai Times | Thai Residents

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Thailand

Thai Chamber of Commerce urges visa amnesty to be extended after today’s deadline

The Thaiger

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Thai Chamber of Commerce urges visa amnesty to be extended after today’s deadline | The Thaiger

The Thai Chamber of Commerce is urging the government to extend the visa amnesty for the country’s 400,000 tourists after today’s deadline but has so far been turned down. The move comes as such provinces like Chiang Mai’s immigration office sends messages giving tourists until Monday to sort out their visas (which is under the law as Saturday, the final day of the visa amnesty, is usually closed).

“For the foreigners that visas will expire on September 26, 2020, if come to continue the visa on Monday, September 28, 2020, no need to pay for overstay. If you haven’t been able to sort through the queues and online bookings for an appointment, you also have Monday (at any immigration office) to get things sorted. Many of the country’s immigration offices are open today. Good luck.”

TCC chairman Kalin Sarasin says they have repeatedly asked the Immigration Bureau to extend the amnesty by 90 days but have been met with unclear answers as the deadline for sorting visas hits today.

“We were told that this agenda was in the process, but there’s been no progress so far.”

Kalin says the deadline will bring even more chaos to those who await flights out of the country as they are not yet fully allowed. Furthermore, such provinces as Chiang Mai attribute stranded tourists as helping generate revenue at a time when the country desperately needs it. As these tourists need long-term accomodations, they undoubtedly bring revenue to the domestic tourism sector at a time when hotels and other types of accommodations are struggling.

“Instead of blacklisting those foreigners, the government should accommodate them with a more flexible period, particularly when the country cannot reopen for inbound tourists. The uncompromising stance towards visa extension scares tourists away despite the fact that they help drive the local economy in these tough times.”

This week has been the busiest on record for stressed out Immigration officials who have been trying to cope with the last minute influx of tourists and expats whose visas had expired and were trying to extend, or apply for, visas to stay in the country.

Anantorn Hochindarat, president of the Tourism Association of Chiang Mai, says some businesses have received recurring revenue from international tourists which can help a lot when facing difficult times.

Although the profits from such tourists are much lower now, Anantorn says it can help businesses stay afloat. Despite such calls for an extension of visa amnesty, the Immigration Bureau has yet to announce any leeway to be given after today’s deadline.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Air Pollution

PM to tackle Northern Thailand’s seasonal haze… again

Caitlin Ashworth

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PM to tackle Northern Thailand’s seasonal haze… again | The Thaiger
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The Thai prime minister says he’s working on a plan to tackle Northern Thailand’s seasonal haze problem by cutting back manmade bushfires known to largely contribute to the air pollution. The issue has been broadly covered in Thai and foreign media for years, and been followed up with ministerial visits, promises, and little else.

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha spoke with governors of 17 northern provinces affected by seasonal haze, saying that he plans to supply villagers and local organisations with equipment, but reports did not go into much detail about what tools locals would get. He says authorities and state agencies need to step in to help combat the haze problem, suggesting that provincial governors head the local fight against wildfires.

“It’s important to eradicate the root cause of wildfires that result from villagers’ way of life… Even more farming space should be provided to farmers who need it to protect natural resources from being destroyed.”

Prayut added that it’s important for state agencies to collaborate on the firefighting effort and said members of the public can help raise awareness about wildfires.

The annual haze/smoke/air pollution problem is not just a Thai issue with the neighbouring countries, particularly Myanmar, causing their fair share of the illegal plantation fires, as shown in sharp detail in the satellite images.

Read The Thaiger’s take on the annual ‘smoke’ problem HERE.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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