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AirAsia joins Interpol’s I-Checkit campaign against using stolen passports

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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AirAsia joins Interpol’s I-Checkit campaign against using stolen passports
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: nterpol has agreed to expand its I-Checkit initiative under the Turn Back Crime campaign to other businesses after its cooperation with AirAsia, Asia’s largest budget airline, proved successful.

Commencing in June, the initiative saw the passports of passengers wishing to board the airline checked against Interpol’s Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) database that has about 43 million records. The aim is to detect individuals attempting to use stolen or fraudulent travel documents and provide better aviation security.

By using stolen passports, people are able to conceal their real identity, move between borders and access key services in a bid to conduct illegal activities and escape justice. Therefore, enhanced measures to detect illegal use of stolen travel documents are seen as critical for crime prevention around the world.

Malaysia-based AirAsia is the first airline that applied I-Checkit after Interpol approached its executive, who immediately agreed to join. Some hotel chains in Europe have also agreed to participate in the testing stage of the system. When a passport is found in the database, security officials will be alerted to handle the person who presented it.

Last week the General Assembly of Interpol members endorsed expansion of the initiative to cover a wider range of industries, such as more airlines, banks and hotels.

Some six million AirAsia passengers have been screened against the database since June when checking-in for flights with 69 found to have lost or stolen documents. Some 18 of them were not allowed to board their flights.

“As an airline that flies to more than 23 countries, we take international security very seriously, which brought us to collaborate with Interpol,” AirAsia’s Group CEO Tony Fernandes said.

“We are proud to be the first airline in the world to have our check-in system fully integrated with I-Checkit solution to screen passengers travelling with our network of 100 airports across Asia and 600 international flights per day.”

During I-Checkit queries made by a partner hotel in Monaco in July, a “positive” response occurred against the passport number of a guest wanted by Austrian police for aggravated theft and robbery – resulting in his arrest.

Interpol’s outgoing chief Ronald Noble said during the assembly: “This is solid evidence that the initiative can stop potentially dangerous criminals and terrorists from boarding an airplane and threatening the safety of their fellow passengers, as well as can stop them from checking into a hotel and endangering the welfare of the other guests.

“Passengers travelling with AirAsia know that the airline has their safety and security in mind and is doing all it can to prevent anyone using a stolen passport from boarding. With the overwhelming support of the member countries for expanding the system, my hope is that one day soon, all citizens the world over will feel as secure when conducting their daily activities.”

American Noble will be replaced next year by German Jurgen Stock, who won endorsement from the General Assembly.

Under the system, no airline gains direct access to Interpol’s database of some 43 million lost/stolen passports from 168 countries. But it can enter searches through the I-Checkit. Personal information would not be disclosed to companies, but the system would flag passports if there was any concern, and there is a procedure to refer passengers to the authorities. AirAsia also said no personal data would be transmitted to Interpol other than passport numbers and issuing nation.

Important partnership

To give importance to the partnership with Interpol, AirAsia has painted one of its A320 aircraft with a special livery which flags Interpol’s “Turn Back Crime” campaign. The airline sent this special aircraft to Nice Airport in France, touching down just hours before the opening of the General Assembly.

The theme of this year meeting is “Turn Back Crime: 100 years of International Police Cooperation”. This special aircraft livery took six days or 130 hours to complete and will join the AirAsia fleet travelling to 23 countries.

Malaysia’s Home Affairs Minister Ahmad Hamidi said AirAsia had been proactive and taken positive steps to screen all of its passengers with Interpol, as well as through their commitment to using the latest technology to stop crime.

The five-day General Assembly was attended by more than 1,000 delegates from 166 countries members to discuss key issues including building strong law enforcement institutions, and increasing collaboration between police and the public and private sectors.

Executive director of the campaign Roraima Andriani said she hoped AirAsia’s innovation approach would inspire others to identify new and exciting ways to help us turn back crime.

At the Interpol summit, Qatar Airways became the second airline to join the initiative. It became the first full-service airline to use the pilot project.

Meanwhile, an AirAsia source said the airline was willing to pay if Interpol decides to collect fees – reportedly a few cents each time the database is consulted by a business – as the initiative would certainly help boost security for its passengers and aviation as a whole.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thai government expects to open vaccine registration to foreigners by August

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Mehmet Turgut Kirkgoz on Unsplash

A Health Ministry spokesperson has confirmed that foreigners living in Thailand should be able to register for Covid-19 vaccination by August. Ratchada Thanadirek says the government is working on a dedicated registration platform for foreign nationals living in the Kingdom, which it’s hoped will be ready in 3 months’ time.

Meanwhile, Thai Visa News reports that vaccine registration for Thais has been extended to those aged between 18 and 59 years old, who can now sign up from May 31. Registration had initially been limited to Thai nationals over the age of 60, as well as those with underlying health conditions. However, the third wave of the virus means registration for younger Thais has been brought forward from July.

Thai nationals can register for vaccination through the Mor Prom platform or the Mor Prom Line account. They can also register at government hospitals. According to Ratchada, the vaccines that will be used in the government rollout will primarily be AstraZeneca, manufactured in-country by Siam Bioscience.

However, she points out that there are 3 other vaccines that have been approved by the Thai Food and Drug Administration. They are the Chinese-made Sinovac, the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and the vaccine from US manufacturer, Moderna. The latter is expected to be available for purchase at private hospitals, although there has been no confirmation of when supplies might arrive.

SOURCE: Thai Visa News

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Some Covid-19 restrictions relaxed across Thailand, fewer “dark red” provinces

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Facebook/PR Thai Government

The Thai government has relaxed some Covid-19 restrictions across the country, while downgrading the risk level of a number of provinces. The number of provinces designated as “strictly controlled” areas, or “dark red” zones, has been reduced from 6 to 4. They are Bangkok and the central provinces of Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, and Samut Prakan.

So, what, if anything, has changed where you are? Below is a summary of the situation across the country, courtesy of TAT News.

The “red zone” or “maximum control” areas now consist of the following 17 provinces:

Central Thailand: Ayutthaya, Kanchanaburi, Nakhon Pathom, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Ratchaburi, and Samut Sakhon

Eastern Thailand: Chachoengsao, Chon Buri, and Rayong

Northern Thailand: Tak

Southern Thailand: Nakhon Si Thammarat, Narathiwat, Ranong, Songkhla, Surat Thani, and Yala.

There are now 56 provinces designated as “orange” or “controlled areas”, up from 26. They are as follows:

Central Thailand: Ang Thong, Chai Nat, Lop Buri, Nakhon Nayok, Samut Songkhram, Saraburi, Sing Buri, and Suphan Buri

Eastern Thailand: Chanthaburi, Prachin Buri, Sa Kaeo, and Trat

Northern Thailand: Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Kamphaeng Phet, Lampang, Lamphun, Mae Hong Son, Nan, Nakhon Sawan, Phayao, Phetchabun, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Phrae, Sukhothai, Uthai Thani, and Uttaradit

North-Eastern Thailand: Amnat Charoen, Bueng Kan, Buri Ram, Chaiyaphum, Kalasin, Khon Kaen, Loei, Maha Sarakham, Mukdahan, Nakhon Phanom, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nong Bua Lam Phu, Nong Khai, Roi Et, Sakon Nakhon, Si Sa Ket, Surin, Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani, and Yasothon

Southern Thailand: Chumphon, Krabi, Pattani, Phang Nga, Phatthalung, Phuket, Satun, and Trang.

Restaurants across the country can now resume in-house dining, with various restrictions based on their risk status. In the dark red zones, dining in is permitted until 9pm, with take away service allowed until 11pm. In red zones, dining in has been extended to 11pm. In orange zones, dining-in hours can return to normal. Of note, however, is that the ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol in restaurants remains in force across the country.

All other disease prevention measures remain in place, including mandatory mask-wearing outside of the home and the closure of “high risk” venues such as nightclubs, bars, karaoke bars, and massage parlours. Department stores, shopping malls and community malls must close by 9pm and refrain from holding promotional activities.

In dark red zones, there is a ban on gatherings of more than 20 people, with this number extended to 50 people in red and orange zones. In Phuket, an orange zone, officials have stipulated a ban on people visiting each other’s homes, with only those residing at a property permitted to be there.

In dark red and red provinces, convenience stores and markets can only open between 4am and 11pm, while they can return to normal operating hours in orange zones. In addition, people in dark red zones are urged to cancel interprovincial travel or to submit to strict health screening. Businesses in the private sector are asked to allow employees work from home if possible.

SOURCE: TAT News

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid UPDATE Wednesday: 3,394 new infections and 29 deaths

Tim Newton

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Today the public health department has reported 3,394 new cases and 29 new Covid-related deaths. 1,498 of today’s cases come from Thailand’s prisons (more below). Taking the shameful inmate toll out of the equation and the trend is still steady with around 2,000 – 2,500 new cases each day over the past 3 weeks across Thailand.

Around the world the trends for new infections and deaths are starting to fall quite quickly.

Covid UPDATE Wednesday: 3,394 new infections and 29 deaths | News by Thaiger

• Roll up, roll up your sleeves. But the Thai PM says… hold on! PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has poured cold water on walk-in vaccination centres for Covid vaccinations. In the past week the public health department has been rushing to set up private vaccination locations around the country to hasten the roll out of vaccines for the first public vaccine category next month.

PM Prayut told a cabinet meeting yesterday he didn’t prefer the idea of the walk-in centres (Central Lad Phrao was already to open as yesterday) because “people would turn up in droves causing chaos”. He was particularly worried about centre around Bangkok where there is a population of 8 million+

The PM has asked that the Mor Prom app is working properly with registrations preferred so the Government can monitor the demand and act accordingly. The government says they’re working on an English, and other languages, version of Mor Prom to open registration for non-Thais soon.

• The Department of Corrections reports that there are now 11,670 prisoners infected with Covid in 13 prisons across Thailand.

• A major Japanese medical association is calling on Tokyo and the International Olympic Committee to cancel the 2020 Tokyo Games. The Games are set to start on July 23.

The appeal, made in a letter to Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga and comes amid concerns that the health-care system in Asia’s second-largest economy cannot accommodate both the potential medical needs of thousands of international athletes, coaches and media while fighting yet another spike in coronavirus infections.

• The Chon Buri (including Pattaya) public health officials announced 39 new and confirmed cases of Covid and 1 more death today. According to The Pattaya News, “officials are asking for the public to remain working from home if possible and especially to avoid small social gatherings with people who are not members of your own household until the situation improves”.

As usual we will have an update of all the provincial totals this afternoon.

SOURCES: Nation Thailand | FRB

 

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