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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thai Airways starts to trim back schedules due to loss of demand

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PHOTO: Airbus A380 landing - ttgasia.com

Thai Airways is cutting back services to South Korea and Singapore out of Bangkok due to “a dramatic fall in demand” and cancellations caused by the coronavirus outbreak. The vice president of sales at Thai Airways, Nond Kalinta, says the national carrier had adjusted flight schedules to match commercial demand. He confirmed the following changes.

• Flights reduce on the Bangkok-Seoul-Bangkok route from five to four daily February 26 to March 28.

• The airline will cancel flights on the Bangkok-Busan (South Korea)-Bangkok route on February 27 and March 5 & 6.

• Flights on the Bangkok-Singapore-Bangkok route will be cut from five to four flights daily from February 20 to March 27.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s major airlines are suspending some services to Bangkok and Chiang Mai. The South Korean government issued a travel advisory that recommends Koreans should refrain from travelling to countries that have confirmed cases of the coronavirus. The travel advisory recommended travellers refrain from visiting Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Macau, Singapore, Thailand and Taiwan.

Asiana Airlines suspended flights to Bangkok and Chiang Mai while Jeju Air and Korean Air halted services from Busan to Bangkok.

 

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Crime

Murder of Thai wife may have been 2nd attempt by US man

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PHOTO: Jason Balzar, pictured with his wife before he murdered her, and during his arrest. (via uk.granthshala.com)

The American man accused of the murder of his Thai wife in Chiang Mai has now confessed to the brutal crime. And it may not have been the first time he tried to kill her. The 32 year old man, who was a computer programmer in the United States, admitted that he killed his wife while she was 3-months pregnant. Jason Matthew Balzar is now in custody at Muang Nan police station and has reportedly told police that he stabbed his wife Pitchaporn “Som O” Kidchob in the chest with a knife while she slept.

Police said after stabbing his wife, Jason put her body in a plastic bag and dumped it on the side of the road on Ban Srikerd-Samun Road, about 10 kilometres from their rented home at Tambon Chaiyasathan in the Muang district. A crime re-enactment was held at their home, a common occurrence in Thailand for police to piece together criminal acts and record details.

The murder was not Jason’s first accusation of violent crime, with details surfacing of his 2019 conviction for threatening to murder a woman in the US. There is unconfirmed speculation that the victim of that attack was the same Thai wife murder victim, but in Colorado domestic violence cases withhold the names of victims.

He was sentenced to 2 years of probation after an attack in Longmont, Colorado that was originally charged as attempted murder, but lessened due to a technicality. According to the arrest report, Jason attacked her after she refused sex, hitting her head and pointing a gun at her, which fired near her head. He was again arrested for violating his probation by possessing 73 guns in December 2020.

After confessing to killing his pregnant Thai wife, Jason is being charged with the murder and with concealing her body. The American man claimed that he decided to kill her in her sleep because he was upset that she wanted to leave him. The couple had plenty of rough patches with frequent arguments being common in their household.

The victim’s family don’t believe the murder was a sudden crime of passion. Her sister and mother said they have often seen him carrying a knife.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Thailand

American arrested for alleged murder in Chiang Mai has past record of abuse in Colorado

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Photo via Facebook/ตำรวจภูธรจังหวัดน่าน

The American man who was recently arrested for allegedly murdering his pregnant Thai wife in Chiang Mai had been sentenced to 2 years of probation back in 2019 on assault charges after his gun went off while he was threatening a woman in Colorado. A report from the Associated Press says it appears to be the same woman.

Jason Matthew Balzer, 32, had initially faced attempted murder charges for assaulting a woman in Longmont, Colorado, but those charges were dropped. A Boulder District Attorney’s Office spokesperson told a local reporter in a previous report that “in every case, we need witnesses to testify at a trial. Unfortunately, due to issues with the victim’s availability, the higher charge had to be dismissed.”

The victim had called the police saying Jason had asked to have sex and then assaulted her when she said “no,” according to the arrest report. She told police he hit her face and slammed her head onto the bed’s headboard several times before taking out a revolver and threatening to kill her, the report says. The woman told police she pushed the gun and it went off near her head.

Balzer pled guilty to third-degree assault in December 2019 and was sentenced to 2 years of probation. In December 2020, Jason was arrested in Colorado after police allegedly found 73 guns in his van. Possession of firearms is a violation of probation. It’s unclear when Jason travelled to Thailand.

Since the case in Colorado involved a victim of domestic violence, the name was redacted in public court records, but a spokesperson for the District Attorney’s Office told AP reporters that the victim has the same name as the woman killed in Thailand. Based on photographs, the spokesperson says they appear to be the same person.

On Thursday, Jason was arrested in Chiang Mai. Reports say he confessed to stabbing and killing his wife, 32 year old Pitchaporn Kidchop, who was 3 months pregnant. Police say Jason sealed his wife’s body in a garbage bin before taking it to the woods about 5 kilometres away. In Thailand, a murder charge carries a maximum penalty of death.

Local police posted photos of the crime reenactment on Facebook. In Thailand, it is common for suspects to admit to crimes and reenactment the crimes to law enforcement officers and the press.

 

SOURCE: Time Call | Associated Press

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Chiang Mai sees 2 elderly deaths from UK Covid variant including French woman

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Chiang Mai province is reporting the deaths of 2 elderly women from the UK Covid-19 variant, including a French woman. The provinces death toll is now 9 according to the governor. The 81 year old French woman was suffering from high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes. She fell down on April 22 and received treatment at a hospital. After coming home, she started feeling Covid-like symptoms and was readmitted to the hospital on April 26. Doctors say she succumbed to the UK variant of the virus on May 3.

The second death was that of an 87 year old woman who had diabetes and kidney issues. She reportedly contracted the UK variant of the virus from a family member. She was admitted to the hospital on April 27 with Covid-like symptoms and died on May 3 as well.

Chiang Mai health officials recently reported a new cluster of the UK Covid-19 variant, as it was discovered in people who went to a Lotus market in Ruam Chok. The new cluster yielded 9 new infections. Today, Chiang Mai is reporting 33 new, daily infections. But 244 Chiang Mai Central Prison inmates are also infected but are not being included in the daily count. The prisoners are being counted in a ‘Bubble & Seal’ cluster.

Chiang Mai University and Mae Jo University field hospitals are planning to close next week. They currently have 46 and 90 patients respectively. A group of 125 people in Chiang Dao, who are considered to be high-risk, have been tested, with results to come tomorrow.

The tally for Covid-related infections and deaths reported over the past 24 hours reports 19 new deaths and 2,419 cases. There have been 52,411 confirmed Covid-19 infections in the recent outbreak with more than 16,000 cases in Bangkok, the epicentre of infections.

Over the past week, new clusters of Covid-19 infections have been detected in crowded Bangkok neighbourhoods, including the Khlong Toey slum. Poor communities in Bangkok have been seen as vulnerable to coronavirus outbreaks as people live in close proximity to each other and many cannot afford to stop working to abide by stay-at-home orders.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

 

 

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