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Wealthy Thai woman arrested over dodgy weight-loss pills in raids across the country

Thaiger

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PHOTO: Daily News

An extensive police operation has led to the arrest of wealthy operator of a business selling alleged weight-loss products. The woman has also been charged with possession of controlled substances.

Of the 13 targeted locations in Bangkok, one was the luxurious home of Wirairat Udthong on Soi Pattanakan 42 in the Suan Luang district.

Wirairat was charged with possessing with intent to sell Phentermine, a Schedule II controlled substance, and Diazepam and Clorazepate, which are controlled under Schedule IV.

Police said she owns assets with a value estimated around 50 million baht and a beauty-product business with up to 100 million baht. A court issued a warrant for her arrest in February.

Police accuse her of paying a clinic doctor 50,000-70,000 baht to legally order the substances through the Food and Drug Administration Office and give her a portion to distribute to customers, several of whom have allegedly died after consuming them.

The investigation stemmed from a complaint filed by a former magazine model who had used the products.

SOURCE: The Nation

 

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Protests

Activist lawyer contracts Covid-19 in prison

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Activiets lawyer Arnon Nampa has been infected with Covid-19 in prison. (via Wikimedia)

Arnon Nampa, an activist lawyer in jail without bail since February on lese majeste charges has been infected with Covid-19, according to his Facebook page. An anonymous source at the Corrections Department confirmed with Reuters that Arnon had tested positive yesterday and has been sent to the prison hospital for treatment. The department later released a press statement confirming the activist he had Covid-19.

Held without bail for more than 3 months, Arnon has been a leader in the pro-democracy demonstration calling for the resignation of PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, along with a revision of power for the Thai royal family. The protests had gained momentum last summer and still maintain widespread support though the government has cracked down on marches and demonstrations. They have discouraged political dissent by using the lese majeste law, which carries harsh penalties of up to 15 years in jail for anyone who insults royalty in Thailand.

Arnon, who is 36 years old, confirmed this morning he was being taken to the Medical Correctional Hospital in the Chatuchak District of Bangkok. He has been a key legal advisor who helped activists voice a push for reform that was previously unspeakable in Thailand. Once only whispered in private conversations, the call for reform has now been thrust into the spotlight by student protests.

Thailand has seen several outbreaks of Covid-19 within the prison system throughout the country. Clusters in Narathiwat that later spread to Surat Thani prisons as well, and outbreaks in larger prisons in Chiang Mai and Bangkok have recorded about 475 coronavirus infections within prison walls.

The jailed attorney is one of many protesters and activist leaders who have been held for weeks or months without bail on lese majeste charges. 22 year olds Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak and Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul are both on a hunger strike to protest being denied bail multiple times. Penguin was hospitalized last week after his health condition worsened, and there are reports that his trial may be delayed after the activist was exposed to Covid-19 by being held in a cell with a prisoner later confirmed to be infected.

SOURCE: Reuters and Coconuts

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket struggles towards herd immunity, vaccine rollout slow in other provinces

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Photo via Facebook/ วัคซีนภูเก็ต (PR Phuket)

So far, 22% of the population in Phuket is fully vaccinated against Covid-19 while the majority of provinces in Thailand have not vaccinated any of the residents, according to data compiled by researcher Peter Scully.

Bangkok, the epicentre of recent infections with more than 15,000 confirmed cases since April 1, has only fully vaccinated 1% of the population. Around 10 million people live in Bangkok. Surrounding areas Samut Sakhon, Samut Prakan, and Nonthaburi, which have all been hit hard by the recent outbreak, have each only fully vaccinated 1% of their populations.

Despite the recent wave of coronavirus infections, which has made up more than half of Thailand’s cumulative count of confirmed cases and virus-related deaths, the Thai government says they are still moving forward with plans to reopen Phuket to vaccinated tourists by July 1.

The island province has been rolling out a mass vaccination campaign in an effort to administer the 2-dose vaccine to 70% of the population by the end of June to reach herd immunity and reopen to foreign tourists. Tourism officials also plan to reopen Krabi, Phang Nga, Koh Samui, Pattaya, and Chiang Mai.

It’s unclear exactly how many vaccines have been administered on the island of Koh Samui where health officials are rolling out a mass vaccination campaign. Some expats who work as English teachers on the island say they have received the vaccine. According to Peter’s data, 2% of the population in Surat Thani, which includes Koh Samui and Koh Pha Ngan, have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Province Population fully vaccinated
Bangkok 1%
Nonthaburi 1%
Phang Nga 1%
Phuket 22%
Ranong 1%
Rayong 1%
Samut Prakan 1%
Samut Sakhon 7%
Surat Thani 2%
Tak 3%

*Data compiled by Peter Scully

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thursday Covid UPDATE: 18 deaths and 1,911 new infections

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The Thai ministry of health has announced the Wednesday tally from Bangkok and the provinces. There has been 18 new Covid-related deaths and 1,911 new infections in the past 24 hours.

The oddly consistent daily tally suggests that the infection rate is steady and not running “out of control”. (The Thaiger is not suggesting anything ‘sinister’ about the numbers but notes, statistically, that there is little variance in the daily figures despite a highly dynamic situation)

29,680 patients are still under state-controlled care. 2,435 people were discharged from care yesterday.

Here are the provinces with the highest number of new infections reported in the past 24 hours…

Bangkok – 739

Nonthaburi – 273

Samut Prakan – 143

Chonburi – 76

Samut Sakhon – 65

Surat Thani – 53

Nakhon Pathom – 47

Ayutthaya – 35

Chachoengsao – 35

Pathum Thani – 31

Nakhon Si Thammarat – 31

The worsening situation in the Klong Toey ‘slum’ area, a community of some 100,000, is the BMA and government’s most pressing issue. There’s been a surge of resources and mass testing in recent days. After recently testing, 1,336 Klong Toey residents over a period of 3 days, results showed 1 in 14 people testing positive. This could produce a new spike in the daily infection total in the next few days.

Meanwhile, a spokesman from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted that, following discussions with Thailand’s Centre of Disease Control relating to foreigners, expats and access to Covid vaccines, a further briefing on the matter will be made today.

On Tuesday, a ministry spokesperson Rungrueng Kitphati rolled back some of the earlier commitments to vaccinate “everyone”, including foreigners with a free Covid vaccine…

“The vaccines right now are only reserved for Thai people who are now at a high-risk level or living in the severe outbreak areas. Expats should wait for a clear policy from the government.”

He flatly denied reports of expats living in Thailand being allowed to register for free vaccines. But did offer a glimmer of hope…

“In the future, the country will provide more alternatives for vaccines so they could have a chance of getting it.”

Hopefully there will be some clarification of those comments. The Thaiger tips there will be another back-flip and foreigners will be offered some access to the next vaccine roll out (pure speculation on our part). We will report the results of that media conference as soon as it’s available.

Thursday Covid UPDATE: 18 deaths and 1,911 new infections | News by Thaiger

 

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