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Tweet forces Suvarnabhumi immigration to explain long lines

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Tweet forces Suvarnabhumi immigration to explain long lines | The Thaiger
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PHOTO: Travel Daily Media

“Suvarnabhumi hell for tourists. Look at queues today. Never seen this long.”

In response to English-language teacher Andrew Biggs complaining about the long queues at Suvarnabhumi Airport, the Immigration Bureau says it had already mobilised more personnel to facilitate immigration clearance.

Biggs, the owner of Andrew Biggs Academy and co-director of andrewbiggs.com, an English language-learning website for Thais, posted a Twitter message in Thai on Wednesday: “Suvarnabhumi hell for tourists. Look at queues today. Never seen this long.”

“Several counters are closed during rush hours. Don’t understand.”

The day after Biggs posted another Twitter message in Thai.

“Suvarnabhumi is not hell but it is the gateway to our beloved Thailand. Yesterday, I was very dissatisfied with what I saw because I was worried about Thailand’s image in the eyes of foreign tourists who have just arrived. I would like to ask the authorities to consider this issue and I believe we could solve it.”

Pol Colonel Choengron Rimpadee, deputy commander of Immigration Police Division 2 and spokesman of the division, responded yesterday saying he ordered an inquiry into the issue. He noted that Biggs had arrived at the same time as 44 flights with 4,500 passengers between noon and 2pm.

“Immigration Police Division 2 always mobilises all its immigration officers to be stationed at all counters in all zones to speed up clearance of arriving passengers when many flights arrive at the same time.”

Each immigration officer is in charge of carrying out seven steps for immigration clearance: checking each passenger’s face with the passport photo, checking visas, checking possible blacklisting, scanning fingerprints, taking a photo, stamping the entry approval, and interviewing the passenger. He said each immigration officer took about 50 seconds to handle a passenger’s clearance.

“During rush hours, the immigration counters at Suvarnabhumi Airport could clear about 2,000 passengers within an hour, but the immigration officers also had to be on alert for foreign criminals trying to pass themselves off as tourists, and many passengers were not allowed to enter the Kingdom.”

He said their inquiry found that Biggs had waited for about an hour to pass through an immigration counter.

He said Biggs used a Bus gate, coming by a bus from his plane to the arrival terminal at 1.01pm. He said Biggs started waiting in his queue at 1.06pm and he passed through the counter at 2:06pm.

Choengron said the hall where Biggs had waited for immigration clearance could accommodate some 500 passengers but some 20 flights arrived at nearly the same time and hence more than 1,200 passengers had to wait in queues in the hall, causing the lines to extend beyond the hall.

He added that officials managed to shorten the lines within 30 minutes.

A spokesperson for the Immigration Police Division 2 added that the bureau had contingency plans to handle the overwhelming number of passengers arriving at the same time. For example, officials resting after their shifts are called in urgently to help, and volunteers are also called in to advise passengers on filling the immigration forms.

The spokesman said the bureau appreciated Biggs’s concerns and would invite him for consultation and his opinions would be referred to when the bureau consults with other concerned agencies on how to deal with long queues at the airport.

(The Thaiger notes that the additional process of taking imprints from each finger and the thumbs adds another 20-30 seconds to the processing time of each passenger)

Original story: The Nation

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Bangkok

Thai “net idol” arrested on attempted murder charges over alleged Bangkok shooting

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai “net idol” arrested on attempted murder charges over alleged Bangkok shooting | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook: เสี่ยโป้ อานนท์

Police arrested internet “idol” and self-professed gambler Apirak “Sia Po” Chat-anon who allegedly shot 2 men outside a massage parlour on Bangkok. Sia Po had turned himself in to police, saying he was at the shooting, but wasn’t carrying a firearm. Police arrested him on charges of attempted murder, illegal possession of a firearm, carrying the gun in public and firing shots.

The shooting happened around 10:30pm Tuesday night outside the Saree Sauna & Shop on Ratchaphurek Road in the Phasicharoen district, injuring 2 men. Reports don’t go into detail about the men’s conditions, or if they have been interviewed by police.

Sia Po told police he is a regular customer at the massage shop and was there on Tuesday with 3 of his friends while his brother was out on an “appointment” with 2 “rival” men at a nearby liquor store. Apparently, it didn’t go well. Sia Po’s brother along with 10 friends met up with him at the massage shop, but then the rival group arrived with possibly around 200 people. Sia Po says the rival men pointed guns at them and he estimates 60 shots were fired.

Sia Po claims he didn’t have a firearm and says he quickly fled the scene. He asked police to review surveillance camera footage. Police searched his family’s home and did not find any illegal weapons or other evidence.

The Bangkok Post once called Sia Po the “Gambler King.” Sia Po has advocated for the legalisation of gambling and the government even asked him to be an advisor on a committee reviewing the gambling law.

Sia Po is also a former boxer and a so-called “net idol.” Various Facebook pages and accounts are under Sia Po’s name. One account posts photos of himself with stacks of cash, many 1,000 and 500 baht bank notes, saying that he will pay girls who “make me happy.”

SOURCES: Bangkok Post| Facebook

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Bangkok

2 shot outside Bangkok massage parlour

Caitlin Ashworth

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2 shot outside Bangkok massage parlour | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook: วิเวก เตาปูน อาสากู้ชีพ

Police are investigating a shooting at a Bangkok massage parlour where a person was shot in the neck and another person shot in the backside. Police have not identified the shooter, but a post by a Facebook user accused an alleged “well known gambler” of shooting the 2 people.

Police were called at 3am Wednesday to the Saree Sauna & Spa on Ratchapruek in the Phasi Charoen, a Bangkok district just across the west side of the Chao Phraya. A fight allegedly broke out around 10:30pm Tuesday between the 3 people. A person then allegedly pulled out a gun and shot the other 2.

The suspect has not been identified by police at this stage. Investigators are collecting more evidence and reviewing surveillance camera footage before naming a suspect and issuing an arrest warrant.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Protests

Opposition MP slashes his arm in protest at treatment of anti-government activists

Maya Taylor

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Opposition MP slashes his arm in protest at treatment of anti-government activists | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Naew Na

An opposition party MP has slashed his arm in front of officials in Parliament, in protest at the treatment of political activists. Visan Techatirawat, a partY member of the opposition Pheu Thai Party, says the gesture was his own personal protest to oppose the government’s action against peaceful protesters at a rally in the capital on October 17. Police remain accused of using high-powered water cannons laced with chemicals to disperse the gathering, although police chiefs have denied using any chemicals.

Visan slashed his left hand and arm 3 times on the second day of a parliamentary debate aimed at finding a way out of the current political impasse. He says that, while he’s been in politics since 1986, he still doesn’t know how to solve the political problems facing the country and would rather shed his own blood than have the young protesters have to shed theirs.

Opposition MP slashes his arm in protest at treatment of anti-government activists | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Nation Thailand

It’s understood the opposition politician used a fruit knife he’d borrowed from a maid in the parliament building. He says he did not announce his plans to anyone, including his family, before carrying out the act.

Nation Thailand reports that officials and others who witnessed the act were left shocked, with Parliament President, Chuan Leekpai, calling on first-aiders to help. Visan was subsequently taken to hospital and later apologised for the shock he caused. He says the Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha must listen to the protesters, rather than resorting to the use of force and standing behind the fence of legal barriers put in place by the unelected NCPO.

Since mid-July, anti-government protesters, primarily students and the younger population, have been taking to the streets with a list of demands. They include the PM’s resignation, the dissolution of parliament, and fresh elections. They are also calling for a re-write of the 2017 constitution and for reform of the monarchy.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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