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20 more people suspected of being involved in corruption at Thai Airways

Caitlin Ashworth

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20 more people suspected of being involved in corruption at Thai Airways | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS World
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20 people are suspected of corruption and mismanagement within the national airline that led to massive losses for Thai Airways International. The news, announced by police and deputy head of the commission investigating the airline, Saroj Nimaroen, comes as little surprise to anyone who has been following the demise of Thailand’s legacy airline over the past decade. The airline is tackling a debt of around 300 billion baht.

The story follows many other tales of corruption and bad deals that have been part of a larger puzzle that is now being unraveled by accounts and committees who are handling the airlines’ bankruptcy. You can read other stories about alleged corruption in Thai Airways HERE and HERE and HERE.

So far, 20 people are suspected of corruption in 6 different aspects of the company’s management, according to Saroj. One is excessive overtime pay for the airline’s mechanics department. He says the department disbursed more than 6 million baht to 567 staff members as overtime pay for 1,500 hours per year.

“This will require further investigation into the reason and necessity of disbursing such a large amount as overtime pay.”

The investigation into alleged corruption at the airline started in August. In September, 18 documents showing evidence of corruption and mismanagement at the airline was submitted to the Finance Ministry, which is a major shareholder for Thai Airways.

Along with excessive overtime pay, earlier reports say sellers of discounted tickets at the airline were given incentives based on numbers sold, not on the value of the tickets or any sales deficit. This practice of selling discounted tickets to agents cost the airline billions of baht each year, according to the head of the corruption panel, Komkit Wongsomboon.

Also, the airline’s decision to buy 10 Airbus A340 aircraft for 100 billion baht in 2004 was catastrophic. With the increase in maintenance costs, the airline lost money on all 10 airplanes. All but 1 of them have been decommissioned and stored at the U-Tapao airport.

The investigation panel will meet with the National Anti-Corruption Commission on December 14. Along with providing additional information about the alleged corruption at Thai Airways, Saroj says he will submit a list of people suspected of being involved in corruption.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Avatar

    James Pate

    Thursday, December 3, 2020 at 1:16 pm

    Who really uses a ticket agent anymore? Are they living in 1995? I guess the bigger question is who really uses THAI anymore. One of the very few times I ageed with old Square Face was when he said that if he wasn’t PM, he would never use THAI.

  2. Avatar

    Kim

    Thursday, December 3, 2020 at 2:23 pm

    Thai is overpriced, with overage carriers and overage personnel with none existent service.

  3. Avatar

    Tony

    Thursday, December 3, 2020 at 2:34 pm

    It was a brilliant airline – made broke by corrupt managers. A pitty.

  4. Avatar

    Maag

    Thursday, December 3, 2020 at 4:14 pm

    Mechanic overtime……focusing on small fishes is so far to be honnest !

  5. Avatar

    Ian

    Thursday, December 3, 2020 at 4:55 pm

    Only 20 lol why isn’t anybody looking at the corrupt dictatorship then they will get the Dons of the operations

  6. Avatar

    Mark

    Thursday, December 3, 2020 at 10:26 pm

    As if anyone is surprised ! As night follows daybCorruption…. and the lack of oversight by Gov that continued to pour billions into the failed unreformed organisation ling before any covid implications!

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

AstraZeneca vaccine could be approved for emergency use in Thailand this week

Maya Taylor

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AstraZeneca vaccine could be approved for emergency use in Thailand this week | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Hakan Nural for UnSplash

Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration is likely to approve a Covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca in partnership with Oxford University as early as this week. The vaccine, already given the go-ahead in the US and UK, would be approved for emergency use, with administration likely to begin next month. Healthcare workers and those with underlying conditions will be prioritised.

Opas Karnkawinpong from the Disease Control Department says the FDA’s review of the vaccine’s efficacy and safety is going well. Thailand has fallen behind its neighbours in terms of vaccine administration, with a number of countries in the region already starting their roll-out. Indonesia kicked things off last week, with President Joko Widodo the first to receive China’s Sinovac jab.

Thailand is expected to take delivery of 200,000 doses of the Chinese vaccine next month, but questions linger over its efficacy, which was recently revised downwards by researchers in Brazil. The vaccine has not yet completed phase 3 trials and Thailand’s health officials say it may not gain FDA approval until February 14, as the manufacturer has no representation in the Kingdom.

Thailand has signed a technology-transfer agreement with AstraZeneca to produce that vaccine locally. The jab will be manufactured by Siam Bioscience, a pharmaceutical company owned by the Monarchy. Surachok Tangwiwat from the FDA says the doses currently subject to approval have been produced by other countries, but did not specify which ones, how many doses have been imported, or at what cost.

The AstraZeneca vaccine has completed phase 3 trials and has been shown to be 70% effective, less than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. However, the World Health Organisation has previously stated that a vaccine only needs to be over 50% effective to meet the global threshold for regulatory approval.

SOURCE: Coconuts

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Visa

Covid-19 test NOT required for visa extensions (at least not today)

Maya Taylor

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Covid-19 test NOT required for visa extensions (at least not today) | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Pixy

No, you don’t, yes, you do… Expats are reeling in shock at the idea that there might be mixed messages circulating in relation to Thailand’s immigration requirements, not to mention the announcements (and retractions) published in the nation’s English-language media outlets.

It all began over the weekend, when the nation’s favourite blogger, Richard Barrow, shared the news that foreigners who wished to remain in the Kingdom would need a negative Covid-19 test. According to his post, this update to the country’s immigration law was published in the Royal Gazette on December 25, taking effect from January 25. Needless to say, Richard’s post attracted hundreds of comments from the bewildered, the despairing, and the angry, not to mention the usual slew of social media epidemiologists.

Covid-19 test NOT required for visa extensions (at least not today) | News by The Thaiger

Twitter/Richard Barrow in Thailand

Yesterday, an article published by Khaosod English also stated that Covid-19 testing would be required for all visa extensions. The story has since been removed and replaced with a retraction, following a statement issued by Archayon Kraithong from the Immigration Bureau.

The story was also picked up by The Phuket News, who spoke to the deputy chief of Phuket Immigration, Nareuwat Putthawiro. He confirmed that his office had received no such order from the powers-that-be in Bangkok or from regional headquarters in Songkhla. The immigration chief in Chon Buri said something similar.

Archayon’s original statement had claimed a negative Covid-19 test would be a requirement for all types of visa extensions. Within an hour, he was forced to backpedal and apologise for the… well, you guessed it.

“I apologise for the misunderstanding. It will only apply to certain types of visa, most likely the permanent resident visa.”

Archayon says his office is now waiting for the Council of State to provide an interpretation of the update published in the Royal Gazette last month, which saw Covid-19 added to the list of diseases foreigners must be clear of in order to take up residency in the Kingdom. The virus now joins other prohibited ailments such as elephantiasis, leprosy, and syphilis.

SOURCE: The Phuket News| Khaosod English

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

The Thai government threw a tourist party (sound of crickets) | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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The Thai government threw a tourist party (sound of crickets) | VIDEO | The Thaiger

The Thai Government, flushed with the success of their containment of Covid-19, decided to market the Land of Smiles to the world as the safe place to travel. With the annual wet season starting to weaken the tourists would flock back to the S E Asian country that had such a remarkable success containing, then almost eradicating itself, of the coronavirus.

Then they came up with the STV – the special tourist visa which would have the world’s eager travellers packing their sun cream for up to 270 days of Thai tourism.

There were promises of plane loads of tourists and even published flights and carriers. A few flights arrived, most didn’t.

In fact, since the start of the STV, the Special Tourist Visa, with its long list of restrictions and requirements, was floated, along with a re-vamped Tourist Visa, less than 400 people have arrived per month, on average, since the end of October. In the October and November of the year before more than 3 million people arrived in Thailand. Even the government’s limit of 1,200 new tourist arrivals per month was even slightly tested.

The government had bought all the streamers and a pretty new dress for the party but no one came.

What went wrong?

Where was the much-anticipated pent-up demand and people banging on the doors of the world’s Thai embassies?

It was the European winter and the ‘snowbirds’ would surely be back to soak in some Thai sun rays. But no.

The first problem was there wasn’t much for them to come back to. They would have the beaches of the islands all to themselves, they wouldn’t have to wait in line for anything, the domestic airlines were still selling low fares to Tavel anywhere around the country.

But otherwise there wasn’t a lot for them to do. The tourism magnets were a shadow of their former selves. Walking Street, Bangla Road, tours and tour boats, all the tourist strip restaurants. The buzz of the crowds was gone and more than 90% of the tourist-related business had closed up.

Their staff, their families, their bank loans, their stock and investments – all on hold and forced to find come other means to make ends meet. 931 of some of the larger official tourism operators have now gone out of business, according to Bloomberg News. There would be thousands of the smaller family operations that have also been swept aside by the Thai government’s responses to the world pandemic.

 

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