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Saudi woman refuses to meet her father

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PHOTO: Immigration chief Surachate Hakparn and other senior immigration police officers meet Saudi Arabia’s charge d’affaires in Bangkok.

The 18 year old Saudi young woman who fled her family in Saudi Arabia has refused to meet her father. The father, who flew in today and is taking the evening flight back to Riyadh, met with the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) officials to give his side of the story.

The announcement was made by Immigration chief Surachate Hakparn later this afternoon.

Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun’s problems have caught worldwide attention after she fled her family during a Kuwait visit and ended up being detained in Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. She was apparently on her way to Australia, where she intended to seek asylum.

The young woman is accusing her family of physical and psychological abuse.

It is still unclear why the woman was detained in Bangkok with Thai and Saudi providing conflicting reports that also differ from the young woman’s story.

Earlier reports claimed al-Qunun’s father had asked the Saudi Arabia Embassy in Bangkok to detain her, while another said that she had no ticket to Australia.

She later barricaded herself in the room she was being detained and used Twitter to plea for help, saying she would be killed if she were deported to Saudi Arabia.

She also demanded to meet UNHCR officials.

Her demands were met, when the authorities handed her over to UNHCR on Monday.

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

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

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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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Protests

Activist Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul granted bail

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul is finally free on bail. (via Wikimedia)

Jailed student activist leader Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul has been granted bail of 200,000 baht today after repeated denials of bail requests over the last 2 months. Rung was detained on charges using Thailand’s strict lese majeste laws that carry a 15-year maximum sentence for insulting the royal monarchy and has been held without bail since March 8.

She joined her fellow activist leader Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak on March 30 in his hunger strike to protest the bail denials. Penguin was recently hospitalised over health concerns due to his hunger strike that began March 16.

Rung was granted bail just after 5 pm by the criminal court, with conditions. The 22 year old activist was ordered to wear a monitoring device and not do anything that the court could deem damaging to the monarchy.

After 59 days in jail and 36 days without food in her protest for freedom, the release is a pivot by the government, which has denied fellow activist Penguin’s request for bail 9 times already. Many of the leaders of the pro-democracy movement are still being detained, even after Covid-19 has infected one from within the prison.

Rung rose to national fame after a passionate speech at Thammasat University where she is a student on August 10. She recounted a 10-point manifesto demanding reforms in the government and the monarchy. She became a familiar face in the growing movement that has been fueled since last July by students and young protesters, demonstrating almost daily despite the harsh punishment the government could hand down using the lese majeste laws.

SOURCE: Coconuts

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

160 infected in Bangkok’s Bang Kae Covid-19 cluster

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Bang Kae is the latest Bangkok district to see a Covid-19 cluster spreading. (via Wikimedia)

An outbreak of about 160 new Covid-19 infections was identified today in Bangkok’s Bang Kae district, according to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration. 1,413 people were tested by health workers in a Bang Kae department store on three dates – April 28, April 30, and May 1 – after 9 Cambodian employees in the store were confirmed to have Coronavirus infections on April 28. After testing the group, 4.8% of those tested returned positive results, a total of 68 Covid-19 infections.

In neighbouring Ban Khing, a community of about 1000 people, more and more residents are testing positive for Covid-19. On April 28 there were 30 infections identified, and on April 30 another 24 Covid-19 infections were diagnosed. 4 employees of the Route 7 buses were confirmed positive for the Coronavirus on May 2, with 70 more staff members waiting for test results. 25 more cases were identified on May 3. Testing yielded 4.3% infection rates on May 3 and an alarming 7.6% rate on April 30.

Bang Kae, along with Klong Toey and Pathumwan, was identified as urgent Bangkok locations with Covid-19 clusters spreading quickly according to the CCSA. Mass testing is underway to quickly isolate anybody with Covid-19, with locations being maintained by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.

Bang Kae currently ranks 10th out of Bangkok’s 50 districts, with 241 Covid-19 infections since April 1, but this new spread is worrisome. In the last month, an infection rate of just under 4% was found in Bangkok, with 1,677 infections found in 42,251 tests. This prompted the CCSA to issue a reminder urging people to be vigilant with 2-metre social distancing, and always wear a mask in public to try to slow the rate of infection and spread of Covid-19.

TOP 10 DISTRICTS IN BANGKOK WITH THE MOST INFECTIONS
RANK BANGKOK DISTRICT # OF INFECTIONS
1 Huai Khwang 463
2 Din Daeng 426
3 Bang Khen 357
4 Watthana 330
5 Chatuchak 356
6 Lat Phrao 325
7 Wang Thonglang 300
8 Suan Luang 290
9 Bang Kapi 282
10 Bang Kae 241

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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