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Protests

Activist Penguin transferred to hospital due to hunger strike

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Pro-democracy protest leader Parit Chiwarak, aka "Penguin" via Facebook

On the 46th day of his hunger strike in jail, activist student Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak has been checked into Ramathibodi Hospital to treat his weakening body. He was transferred from Bangkok Remand Prison after signs that his body was having trouble recovering from the food deprivation. After dropping 12.5 kilogrammes from 107 to 94.5 kg due to his hunger strike, officials feared his body was not absorbing enough mineral saltwater.

Fearing he could go into shock, doctors removed his saline drip and transferred him to the hospital. When his condition improves, he will be transferred back to his prison sentence.

Rumours circulated yesterday about Penguin and fellow jailed protester Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul, also on a hunger strike, and Corrections Department officials dispelled them saying the student activists were not in danger. Thai Lawyers for Human Rights released a statement on Twitter saying prison staff said blood was found in Penguin’s stool, so he will receive parenteral nutrition and an endoscopy in the hospital.

Penguin and Rung have been held with 6 other student protestors for 52 days, and Penguin began the hunger strike that has now landed him in the hospital on March 16th in protest of the prisoners being denied bail. They had requested and been denied bail for a ninth time yesterday. His lawyer has filed a tenth request today, and the court is expected to respond on Thursday.

Penguin’s grief-stricken mother is protesting as well, begging for attention to her son’s plight outside the court. A small gathering of protesters supported her as she called for justice for her son that she said committed no crime. To further call attention to the situation, she shaved her head outside the Criminal Court.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Dynamo Dave

    Friday, April 30, 2021 at 9:28 pm

    If ‘Penguin’ croaks, I can see one big reaction from his widely-supporting public. The Courts had better prepare for some explaining re their refusal to grant him bail. Did they, for a minute, believe that he’d try to flit the country, when the world and his dog know that Parit is too dedicated to his reform missions for that to happen. I’ll warrant that the court were instructed by ‘him up there’ to keep his trouble-maker under wraps. Let’s hope Parit pulls through, for the Bangkok streets’ sake.

  2. Avatar

    Sharingiscaring

    Saturday, May 1, 2021 at 1:32 am

    It would be tragic if he died but maybe this is what the thai people need for them to want to take back their country. They work the fields and run the businesses, they work in govt here, servicing the needs of thais, well they’re supposed to, granted they at least show up to work every day.

    People who only take and don’t produce real goods or services should in theory only live a very very basic life style out in the rice paddies in a tin roof hut hours away from two services.

    With out actually saying it, here’s what I want to say. This doesn’t have to be all or nothing, there ARE reforms that could be made that benefit the thai people. Just can’t be greedy. There’s enough to go around for everyone…. this is what irks me about wall street and US govt. But I digress.

  3. Avatar

    ynwaps

    Saturday, May 1, 2021 at 1:34 am

    A diet is not a hunger strike

  4. Avatar

    John Shepherd

    Saturday, May 1, 2021 at 2:35 am

    I also recently conducted a 46 day hunger strike in protest against corporate corruption in the global hotel industry (in Thailand and internationally) stemming from an illegal hotel owned by the Thai King, leased by Minor International and operated by Marriott International. In actual fact, the corruption works in such a way that the corporations were committing lese majeste themselves. This can be proved. Confronting the Thai government, they admitted that this was the case but refused to do anything about it. I sincerely wish Parit Chiwarak the best of luck. I know exactly how he feels physically. All I say to him is what was to said to me on day 46 of my hunger strike – “you are more of a threat alive than dead”. You are brave Parit; be even braver by continuing the fight alive

  5. Avatar

    Harvey

    Saturday, May 1, 2021 at 8:26 am

    Political prisoners…always a sign of a healthy democracy.

  6. Avatar

    Mister Stretch

    Saturday, May 1, 2021 at 8:51 am

    @ynwaps – I was astounded by the lack of humanity in your comment.

    The government is getting ready to create a martyr here if the Penguin dies, and he seems resolved since he has made it this far.

    This won’t be like before when students were shot in the street. This is a new age, one of social media and quick decisions by its consumers.

    Neither the government, nor the court, seems to have posited a reasonable cause for denying bail. That and the charge of endangering the queen just for being on the same road she was, is not going to go over well with those that want government reform. The Penguin’s death will highlight both of these issues.

    It will be a catalyst and a rallying cry and I believe many people ‘on the fence’, will add their voice to protests.

  7. Avatar

    Slugger

    Saturday, May 1, 2021 at 9:39 am

    @ynwaps Absolutely. I have gone from 89kg to 74kg this year and no-one is looking up my fundament to see the problem. He should be more respectful. Stretch – he’s not dead, just a tad more streamlined.

  8. Avatar

    Ynwaps

    Saturday, May 1, 2021 at 10:40 am

    I don’t approve of putting him into prison but I also don’t see Thais on the street. I hope what you say comes true..

  9. Avatar

    Gosport

    Saturday, May 1, 2021 at 11:10 am

    @ynwaps – Agreed, wish him out fit and healthy. Just getting rid of extra taf, the young opposition party leaders followers will flock to you.

  10. Avatar

    Mason33

    Saturday, May 1, 2021 at 12:36 pm

    This could be a very long hunger strike.

  11. Avatar

    keshava

    Sunday, May 2, 2021 at 7:24 am

    He could miss a few meals

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

Politics

Deputy PM declares Thammanat Prompow controversy finished

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Thailand's Deputy Agriculture Minister Prompao talks to reporters after a government cabinet meeting in Bangkok (via Reuters)

Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam says that the debate is over regarding Thammanat Prompow, the controversial Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives and influential Palang Pracharath Party ‘fixer’.

The Constitutional court has already ruled that he is qualified to hold office under Thai law and will keep his position, though a huge backlash followed the ruling, and the public wondered how his 1993 heroin trafficking conviction in Australia. Then using the name ‘Manat Bophlom’, he was convicted of conspiring to import a traffic able amount of heroin, serving 4 years of a 6 year sentence.

According to Wikipedia, Thammanat parliamentary declaration of assets in August 2019 listed “2 wives, 7 children, and a net worth of about $42 million, including a Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Tesla, and Mercedes-Benz along with 12 Hermès and 13 Chanel handbags, luxury watches, and Thai Buddha amulets.”

Thai law says that no one who has been convicted of an indictable offence is eligible to hold public office, but the new decision seems to imply that anything that happens outside of Thailand’s border does not qualify. A legal expert, the Deputy PM says that this ruling is not in opposition to the rules about convicts holding office.

He says that a conviction by Australia’s New South Wales Court is not legally binding in Thailand and therefore does not disqualify Thammanat. Only a jail sentence from a Thai court would be considered a roadblock to a candidate being confirmed to hold government office.

Thai immigration law, however, determines that convictions in home countries will bar people from entry into Thailand. The decision also calls into question the legitimacy of the Australian/Thailand extradition treaty which saw Thammanat deported back to Thailand after serving 4 years of his 6 year sentence.

But the Council of State had declared that someone in jail for 2 years cannot hold office within 5 years of release, regardless of whether the jailing was in Thailand or in another country. The 4 year jail term Thammanat served in Australia ended in 1997 so the 5-year grace period has already passed.

The Deputy PM says that this ruling by the Constitutional Court does set a new precedent for future issues of possible MP candidates that may have been in trouble with the law outside of Thailand. But he stopped short of supporting Thammanat’s prior conduct unconditionally, declining to comment.

The National Anti-Corruption Commission has been under pressure to investigate Thammanat and whether his conduct has been ethical. The Deputy PM said that the Constitutional Court ruling does not whitewash any other issues Thammanat may face.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

BMA admits Covid virus spreading fast in Bangkok, speeds up testing and jabs

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Stock photo via Flickr

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration says it is speeding up mass Covid-19 testing and inoculations in communities hit strongly by the virus, after admitting the virus is spreading fast in Thailand’s capital.

The city clerk says the administration, along with the Public Health Ministry and other agencies, are speeding up the collection of nasal swabs for Covid-19 tests, with a plan to test 3,000 people in high-risk groups per day. Those people deemed to be at an increased risk of the virus have been clustered by districts, with testing units in each of the 6 districts…

Laksi district, 70 Pansa Min Buri park in Min Buri district, Huai Khwang stadium in Huai Khwang district, under the Rama III expressway in Yannawa district, a public park under Rama VIII bridge in Bang Phlad district and The Mall Bangkae shopping centre in Bang Kae district.

The virus has been found in densely populated, low-income areas such as the Klong Toey community in Klong Toey district, Bon Kai community in Pathumwan district and Ban Khing community and The Mall Bangkae in Bang Kae district. In an effort to help those residents stay at home to prevent the possible spreading of the coronavirus, community-level organisations are teaming up to provide food, water, and supplements to those in the areas.

But stay at home orders are a problem for many as starvation is more frightening than the virus and 90% of residents in the slum communities still need to leave for work each day to keep food on the table. The daily average income for those in the slums is around 120 to 150 baht. The CCSA yesterday declared that is is focusing on containing major Covid clusters in 3 key Bangkok communities – the Klong Toey ‘slums’, Bon Kai in Pathumwan and Ban Khing in the Bang Kae district, on the west side of the Chao Phraya.

Today’s nationwide Covid update includes compiling the regional totals from yesterday, with a total of 27 new Covid-related deaths and 2,044 new Covid-19 infections over the past 24 hours. The numbers continue a statistically consistent rise in the number of Covid infections over the past 2 weeks.

Meanwhile, talking about Phuket’s plans to open in July, the Tourism and Sports Minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, said yesterday that the number of new cases on the island must reach zero before the government can contemplate the ‘Sandbox’ plan for no-quarantine travel.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Friday Covid UPDATE: 27 more deaths, 2,044 new infections

Tanutam Thawan

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The Friday report, compiling the regional totals from Thursday, indicates that has been 27 new Covid-related deaths and 2,044 new Covid-19 infections in the past 24 hours. The numbers continue a statistically consistent rise in the number of Covid infections over the past 2 weeks.

The CCSA yesterday declared that is is focusing on containing major Covid clusters in 3 key Bangkok communities – the Klong Toey ‘slums’, Bon Kai in Pathumwan and Ban Khing in the Bang Kae district, on the west side of the Chao Phraya.

Meanwhile, talking about Phuket’s plans to open in July, the Tourism and Sports Minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, said yesterday that the number of new cases on the island must reach zero before the government can contemplate the ‘Sandbox’ plan for no-quarantine travel.

He also disclosed that the government are planning to set a levy of 300 baht to be collected from foreign tourists starting from January 2020 “to set up a tourism fund for emergency use”. Speaking to Bangkok Post…

“Once the spread is under control, the government will resume travel bubble discussions with Singapore, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Laos and Malaysia.”

 

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