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Protests demand results and transparency from the EC

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Protests demand results and transparency from the EC | The Thaiger
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by Kai Chanwanpen and The Thaiger

The Thai Election Commission has to keep fending off criticism after protests yesterday were staged over its performance and the number of people demanding its members’ resignations was approaching one million.

A former EC commissioner Sodsri Satayathum is calling on the agency to clear up all issues immediately before citizens launch an impeachment process, warning that the commissioners’ removal from office could postpone endorsement of the final vote results. The EC says full results will be ratified by May 9, but anger is mounting as the wait continues, prompting demonstrations at two Bangkok landmarks.A small but enthusiastic group gathered near the tourist hotspot Erawan Shrine whilst a larger protest was held near Bangkok’s Victory Monument.

University students and other citizens expressed their impatience with the EC’s inability to declare the credible full tally a full week after the election. Discrepancies in numbers provided by the EC have raised suspicions and it has been unable to provide credible explanations to allay public frustration.

The EC has also failed to manage misunderstanding spread over the internet. Every statement the EC issues on its Facebook page has been met with more cynicism.

More than 820,000 people have now signed a petition at change.org to impeach the seven EC commissioners. University students across the country defied school and state officials in setting up tables to gather signatures on petitions with a similar message.

Demonstrators in Bangkok gathered yesterday on the skywalk above the Victory Monument and around the Ratchaprasong intersection to protest the alleged lack of transparency in the election and the performance of the EC. However, the public disaffection might have no real legal impact, according to rights and legislation watchdog iLaw.

The current Constitution rejects public petitions against independent agencies, iLaw said, adding that the complaints should instead be taken to the National Anti-Corruption Commission, which could determine whether there was cause to submit the case to court.

While the public is seething and wants the EC held accountable for its perceived ineffectiveness and lack of transparency, former commissioner Sodsri doubted that impeachment would be a sound option at this stage.

“The investigation could take considerable time before the NACC and the court reach their conclusions. The matter might not invalidate the election altogether, the expert said, but the suspension could interrupt endorsement of the final results and delay other post-election processes.”

It would be best if the EC “came clean” about everything, Sodsri said. In constituencies where results are in question, the agency should reopen the ballot boxes and clear all doubts, she suggested.

Sodsri warned that impeachment of the commissioners would stall post-election activities and the junta would continue to hold the reins of power.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Bangkok

Police arrest man suspected of producing ketamine drug cocktail linked to 11 deaths

Caitlin Ashworth

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Police arrest man suspected of producing ketamine drug cocktail linked to 11 deaths | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thairath

In the ongoing investigation into the ketamine-based drug cocktail linked to 11 deaths in Bangkok, police arrested a man who allegedly mixed large amounts of narcotics to make the drug cocktail known as “K powdered milk.” Police say the cocktail is ketamine mixed with methamphetamine, heroin and pharmaceutical pills for anxiety and sleeping.

38 year old Taiwan national Chou Yi Sen, aka “Lupin Taiwan,” was arrested yesterday after police raided his condominium in Bangkok’s Ratchathewi district. Chou allegedly admitted to mixing the drugs to make “K powdered milk” and police say the formulas for the drug mixture were found on his cell phone.

Earlier this month, 11 people died after taking the drug cocktail. The Bangkok Post says dozens more people are still in the hospital after taking the “K powdered milk.” Police have arrested numerous suspected drug dealers who ran small scale and large scale operations.

Chou allegedly ran the drug operation from various locations in Bangkok, selling the drugs overseas using the cryptocurrency Bitcoin as well as to buyers in Thailand. Police also searched Chou’s rooms at other condominium the Huai Khawang, Wang Thong Lang and Klong Toey districts, seizing a variety of illicit drugs and equipment as well as a pistol with 8 bullets.

Altogether, police seized 4 kilograms of ketamine, 376 ecstasy pills, 4 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, 8 kilograms of heroin, 48 LSD tabs, 11.6 grams of cocaine, 2 bottles of Dormicum sleeping pills and 265 Five Five sleeping pills. Police say they also seized 2 plastic sealing machines, 2 mixers that appeared to have drug-like residue and 2 digital scales.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Bangkok

Chatuchak market is in worst crisis in 5 decades due to Covid-19, vendors say

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Chatuchak market is in worst crisis in 5 decades due to Covid-19, vendors say | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Bucketlistly

Chatuchak Weekend Market, Bangkok’s biggest market and a popular tourist destination, is hit hard by the new wave of Covid-19. With the lack of foreign tourists due to travel restrictions over the past year, as well as more locals staying at home despite the market’s strict disease control measures, the number of visitors at the market has dropped by 90%.

Vendors at the market say this is the worst situation in 50 years. Most of them report no sales at all. With little to no income, many shops at the market have shut down. Although the BMA is trying to relieve the situation by lowering the rental fees by half, that seems not enough to help the business. Some of the vendors have tried online trading, but sales are still low.

SOURCE: Thai Visa

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Bangkok

Eating out until 11pm in Bangkok is waiting for approval

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Eating out until 11pm in Bangkok is waiting for approval | The Thaiger
PHOTO: GQ Thailand

Bangkok restaurants may soon be allowed to stay open a little later. Health officials are considering easing up Covid-19 prevention measures by extending restaurant dine-in closing times to 11pm. If the proposal by the Thai Restaurant Association is given a green light, it may lead to the lifting ban of alcohol drinking.

After the order of shutting entertainment venues and banning alcohol sales in Bangkok, Samut Prakan, and Chonburi, the revenues in the alcohol beverage business plummeted. Under disease control measures, restaurants in Bangkok are ordered to stop dine-in services at 9pm and all alcohol sales are banned at restaurants to limit gatherings.

According to the president of the Thai Alcohol Business Association, the current ban on alcohol is estimated to cost about 90 billion baht in revenue. The lifting of the ban is then believed to stimulate the economy.

The Thai Chamber of Commerce says the Cabinet might review the proposal on closing hours tomorrow and act immediately to provide relief to restaurant operators as well as those in the alcohol beverage business.

SOURCE: Coconuts Bangkok

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