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Chiang Rai

“Alert and in good spirits.” Team alive. Rescuers now face evacuation challenges.

Thaiger

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The twelve boys and their coach have been discovered alive following nine days of frantic searching. They were trapped by floodwaters in a cave complex in the far north of Thailand. The governor of Chiang Rai Province said rescue workers were providing care and managing their extended stay whilst they await a supervised extraction.

Divers reached the group after enlarging a narrow, submerged passageway that was too small for them to get through while wearing their air tanks.

The group, captured on video by one of the English specialist diver, were alert, appeared in good spirits and engaged in conversation with the rescuers. The first worlds they said, in English, were “Thank you.”

"Alert and in good spirits." Team alive. Rescuers now face evacuation challenges. | News by Thaiger "Alert and in good spirits." Team alive. Rescuers now face evacuation challenges. | News by Thaiger

Getting the boys and their coach out of the caves. in their weakened condition, and without diving training, is the next challenge.

The Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osottanakorn confirmed at 10.25pm last night (Monday) that the teenagers and their coach had been found.He also made clear that rescue operations would continue non-stop until the victims were safely transferred out of the cave and to hospitals.

Doctors with diving skills have been heading to the spot where the victims were found. Checkups are needed to determine whether the football’s team members can be moved out of the dark cave immediately. If not, they will receive medical treatment and food inside the cave and evaluations made how to best extract the group. Victim evacuation and transportation plans have already drawn up.

The announcement by Governor Narongsak received loud cheers.

"Alert and in good spirits." Team alive. Rescuers now face evacuation challenges. | News by Thaiger "Alert and in good spirits." Team alive. Rescuers now face evacuation challenges. | News by Thaiger

Meanwhile, the families of 13 victims could hardly contain their joy when they learned that the 10 day long rescue operation had been successful and their children had been found, safe and reasonably alert and in good spirits.

I am so glad that I cannot think of anything else,” an uncle of a 13 year old football player from Mu Pa Academy Mae Sai said. A mother in the waiting group of families said, “I’m over the moon.”

The efforts of rescuers now turn to the tricky challenge of extracting the 13 members of the group. Teams are still trying to reduce the amount of water in the caves but it’s likely that the boys will have to put on diving equipment to get out of the caves.

Meanwhile the Thai Meteorological Department says that more rain is on the way from Wednesday, so rescuers will be keen to get the extractions started before more rain makes their operation more difficult.

"Alert and in good spirits." Team alive. Rescuers now face evacuation challenges. | News by Thaiger

SOURCES: Thai PBS, The Nation, The Thaiger

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Chiang Rai sees 2 new infections linked to Bangkok, Chiang Mai entertainment venues

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Facebook photo via สำนักงานสาธารณสุขจังหวัดเชียงราย (Chiang Rai Provincial Health Office)

Chiang Rai is reporting 2 new Covid infections that are linked to entertainment venue clusters from Bangkok and Chiang Mai. The people who tested positive for the virus have entered a 14 day mandatory hospital quarantine. The governor of Chiang Rai and chair of the Communicable Diseases Committee ordered anyone travelling to the province from a red zone to self-monitor for 14 days and avoid contact with others.

He also noted that anyone returning to Chiang Rai from a controlled area must contact the village headman and community leader to organise village health volunteers. All of those who enter the province must follow Covid safety precautions with anyone violating the measures to be fined up to 20,000 baht under the Communicable Disease Act B.E. 2557.

Chiang Rai’s local officials have also voiced concern over Songkran, or the Thai new year festivities, and have banned water-splashing, foam parties, food catering and other types of close contact activities. Entertainment venues, pubs, karaoke, bars, and taverns are temporarily closed. And, other facilities like gyms, and tutoring companies are also ordered to limit visitors.

Health officials are also waiting for Covid-19 test results from 2 other people in Mae Sai district who returned from the same entertainment venues in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. The news of another Covid outbreak has prompted the government to cancel the Songkran festivities in Bangkok.

Meanwhile, Chiang Rai Province has received 5,000 doses of the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine that will be administered to certain groups of people who are on the frontlines in areas of Muang Chiang Rai District and border areas in 7 districts: Mae Sai, Mae Chan, Mae Fah Luang, Chiang Saen, Chiang Khong, Wiang Kaen, and Thoeng. The government also plans to distribute 800,000 doses of Sinovac’s Covid-19 vaccine to 22 provinces sometime in April.

But the vaccine’s effectiveness has come under scrutiny after Brazilian officials reported that the vaccine was only 50.4% effective in preventing Covid infections. That number is apparently quite low compared to what Sinovac Biotech quoted at 78%.

 

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Crime

Officials tracking down foreigners with fake IDs opening up illegal businesses in Chiang Rai

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Thai news site TNA is reporting that the Department of Special Investigation is investigating 255 foreigners who are allegedly in possession of fake Thai IDs in the Wiang Kaen district of Chiang Rai. The report also claims that they were operating illegal businesses.

One of the suspects is Chinese but carried a Thai ID saying that he was a Thai citizen “Apao Saesoen”. The man later registered a company to run a business reserved for Thai citizens. The DSI believe that the issuing of fake Thai IDs could affect national security. The Chinese man, whose real name is Wen Haomiao, is now being tracked down after the issue of an arrest warrant.

The origins of the other foreigners, reported as ‘aliens’ in the Thai media, were not made apparent in the article.

The DSI director-general says his department is working with the local Department of Provincial Administration as they track down the sources of the fake documents. So far the investigation is concentrated in the Wiang Kaen district, in the far east of the province, on the Laos border.

The provincial office is trying to find and revoke Thai ID cards earlier issued for 50 foreigners. 7 of them had already set up alleged fake Thai companies.

Fake Thai IDs and other documentation was readily available is various markets around the country, especially in touristy areas. But recent crackdowns have pushed the lucrative market underground although fake documentation remains a popular business in Thailand. Khao San Road was a hive of fake documentation until a crackdown in 2018 forced most of the illegal vendors off the streets.

SOURCE: TNA

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Border officials on alert for Burmese coup protesters fleeing military crackdown

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Wikimedia

Border police have increased patrols in the northern province of Chiang Rai amid concerns that Burmese protesters may try to cross into the Mae Sai district. This follows a military crackdown in the Burmese border town of Tachilek as the army tries to quell anti-coup rallies.

According to a Bangkok Post report, Sompong Chingduang from Thailand’s Immigration Bureau says the authorities in Mae Sai continue to monitor the situation in Tachilek. On Saturday, 2 protesters were killed in the Burmese city of Mandalay after officials opened fire on demonstrators protesting the February 1 coup.

The following day, thousands rallied in the town of Myawaddy, on the border of the Mae Sot district in the Thai province of Tak, while another protest was held in Tachilek. The Tachilek protest led to the border between Thailand and Myanmar being shut for 2 hours. It’s understood the largest rallies yet are being planned for today.

Meanwhile, Sompong has issued a warning that nobody fleeing the military crackdown in Myanmar will be granted entry to Thailand but will instead be turned away from the border. He says to do otherwise would pose too much of a health risk for Thailand, given the Covid-19 situation.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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