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Grounded Thai pilot now does motorbike food deliveries

Jack Burton

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Grounded Thai pilot now does motorbike food deliveries | The Thaiger
PHOTOS: CNN Travel
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I have my motorbike, so I found my part time job. And now I am a food delivery man.”

With many of the world’s international airlines grounded by the Covid-19 pandemic, many in the aviation industry, including even pilots, have been forced to find other ways to make a living. Here in Thailand, a ban on international arrivals remains in place, and with domestic air travel currently limited, some aviators have shifted from the skies to the roads, taking jobs as motorbike delivery drivers or as with ride-hailing apps.

One such airman is co-pilot Nakarin Inta, who has been a commercial pilot for Thai Lion Air for about 4 years. He now delivers orders in Bangkok for Line Man, a local food delivery, taxi, messenger and parcel app. For now, Nakarin has traded in the skies for a Scoopie.

“Some airline staff have been on leave without pay. And for most of us, income has been cut by more than 70%. I still have expenses every month, so I had to find something on my own.”

Like in major cities around the world, food delivery service apps in Bangkok have exploded in popularity due to lockdown measures imposed by the government in March. Following the example of a fellow pilot, Inta realised he could generate a small income to support his wife and four year old daughter by delivering food on his motorbike.

“I thought, I cannot just sit here and wait for help. I have to fight for my family. I have to do something.”

The 42 year old always dreamed of a life in the skies but, fearing economic instability in the industry, held back on pursuing that dream for years. But about 5 years ago he decided to go for it. Seeing the rise of low cost carriers in Thailand, he studied for his commercial pilot degree and was soon hired by Thai Lion Air.

“To be a pilot was always in my dreams when I was a child. The best thing is travelling around the world and seeing so many people; I see the passengers smile when I dress up and go to the airport. I see their smile when they meet each other or they’re travelling to their vacation to beaches or mountains. And, more than everything, I can earn money to support my family.”

As a pilot, Inta says he would normally earn between 187,000 and 249,000 baht a month. Now, grounded mid-March, he says making 1,000 a day would be a big win for him.

Inta says he knows of more than 50 Thai pilots, including personal friends, now working as food delivery men, ride-hailing app drivers or food vendors, while waiting to resume their regular jobs. He and his friends have not been laid off, but their salaries are based on their flight assignments.

“I think everybody was impacted by Covid-19, everyone in the world, but look at the one beside you, your loved ones. You have to fight for them and fight for yourself. I miss every moment of my career. I miss my colleagues, my captain, my cabin crew and dispatchers and all the staff since we have worked together as a team for many years. And, mostly, I miss my office in the sky.”

Grounded Thai pilot now does motorbike food deliveries | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: CNN Travel

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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.

Bangkok

Around 10 villagers hospitalised after chemical spill in Samut Prakan

Caitlin Ashworth

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Around 10 villagers hospitalised after chemical spill in Samut Prakan | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Sanook

Around 10 people were hospitalised after a chemical tank spilled at a village in Samut Prakan, just southwest of Bangkok. Those near the spill reported feeling nauseous and some had trouble breathing. Officals do not known what chemical was in the tank.

The 1 metre tank had been taken to the woods by 2 employees at a Bangphli Niwet Village second hand shop who hoped they could take it apart and sell the scrap metal. The 2 employees fainted when the tank spilled. Trees and grass in a 100 metre radius of the chemical spill died.

The chemical let off a strong odor and Thai media says the fumes spread to the village. Those at the second hand shop, close by to the chemical spill, started to feel nauseous and some had trouble breathing. Some people reported skin rashes after the incident. Around 10 villagers, including children, were sent to hospital.

Thai media says police secured the area and sprayed water into the air. 500 metres around the tank has been sealed off and workers are cleaning the area to remove the chemical. Medics are doing health checks to make sure others are not experiencing symptoms from the fumes.

SOURCE: Thai Residents

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Crime

Man arrested for fake immigration documents operation at Bangkok grocery store

Caitlin Ashworth

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Man arrested for fake immigration documents operation at Bangkok grocery store | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Naewna

A Burmese man was arrested after he allegedly faked work permit documents and stamps, operating at a produce shop in Bangkok near the Myanmar Embassy. After a number of cases involving Burmese migrants with fake visa documents and bogus stamps, immigration officers investigated the grocery store, posing as customers.

Many customers entering the grocery store didn’t buy vegetables and were seen exchanging documents, according to Thai media. After going undercover and collecting evidence, immigration officials arrested the Burmese man, Thai media reports as Ong, and 2 women allegedly involved in the scheme. They searched the property and found a large number of Myanmar passports and various kinds of stamps.

Ong allegedly admitted to producing fake immigration stamps, work permit applications and other immigration documents. He charged around 2,000 to 3,000 baht for his services, police say. Ong, who has lived in Thailand for a while and can read Thai, allegedly told police he acquired legal work permits and the proper documents, becoming familiar with the stamps and documents needed by immigration. He allegedly told police he copied immigration stamps as well as stamps from hospitals used on medical certificates.

Thai media says immigration police are now expanding their investigation to crack down on other operations producing fake visa documents and stamps.

SOURCE: Thai Residents

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Bangkok

Immigration police arrest 3 at Bangkok airport, 2 Thais allegedly had fake US visas

Caitlin Ashworth

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Immigration police arrest 3 at Bangkok airport, 2 Thais allegedly had fake US visas | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO

Thai immigration police arrested 3 people at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport after immigration officials checked their biometrics system. Police arrested 2 Thai nationals who were attempting to leave the country with fake United States visas and another Thai woman who was allegedly involved in a romance scam gang.

The Thai man and woman were caught while going through an immigration check at the airport. They say they each paid 50,000 baht for the visas, hoping to travel to America. They sent their passports to the visa seller and had set up a meeting to pick them up. Thai media did not give details on who was selling the visas. Police called the United States Embassy, confirming the visas are fake and no visas from the United States have been issued under the 2 names.

Immigration police also arrested a Thai woman allegedly involved in money laundering and a romance scam gang, according to Thai media. Reports don’t go into detail about the woman’s charges, but say she was allegedly involved in international crime and had an Interpol red notice. Immigration officials confirmed her location by checking the airport’s biometrics system.

SOURCE: Thai Residents

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