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Army declares martial law

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Army chief declares martial law
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Army Commander-in-Chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha Tuesday declared martial law that covers the entire nation.

Martial law took effect at 3am.

Gen Prayuth stated that the declaration was necessary to prevent people from committing violence and to return peace and order to the country.

Following the martial law declaration, the Army chief issued an order to set up the peacekeeping command to replace the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order. The Army chief is the chief of the peacekeeping command.

The peacekeeping command would have the authority to summon people to be interrogated and to hand over documents and evidence to the authorities.

The order, which appointed the command, stated that all government agencies that are parts of the structure of the CAPO, except the Army, Navy and Air Force, must return to their agencies and their normal activities.

The peacekeeping command also has the authority to demand the Internal Security Operations Command, the Royal Thai Police, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Interior Ministry and other government agencies to support their personnel to support the operations of the command.

Reacting to the martial law declaration, Jatuporn Prompan announced that the red shirts would continue their rally at the Utthayan Road.

The People’s Democratic Reform Committee announced that it would cancel a planned march Tuesday because of the martial law.

Military commanders in troubled areas have the authority to enforce martial law, if it looks like war or riots may break out.

Martial law gives military officers the power to:

– Take action against war or riots;

– Use arms to suppress unrest;

– Search, confiscate or occupy any premises or vehicles;

– Censor information;

– Block, search and control postal services;

– Activate the military court to judge on crimes within the area under

martial law;

– Mobilise civilians to help the military;

– Procure resources such as vehicles or logistical materials to support

military operations;

– Prohibit public gatherings, publications, broadcasting, transport,

communication, travel, the movement of people or any action that the

Defence Ministry deems necessary;

– Enforce curfews;

– Destroy, remove or adjust any premise or location for the purpose of

military operations;

– Arrest and detain suspects for a maximum of seven days.

– People are not entitled to any compensation for damage incurred during such military operations;

– Martial law can only be ended with a Royal Decree.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Protests

Security guard slaps student for displaying protest sign at Bangkok mall – VIDEO

Maya Taylor

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Security guard slaps student for displaying protest sign at Bangkok mall – VIDEO | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook / Benja Apan

A security guard at the luxury Iconsiam shopping mall in Bangkok has slapped a student activist after she held up a protest sign at the facility. The confrontation occurred at around 2.30pm yesterday, when the Thammasat University student displayed a sign that read, “You monopolised the vaccine so the Monarchy could take the credit.”

The student, named as 21 year old Benja Apan, was quickly surrounded by at least 7 staff members, with one security guard grabbing the sign before pushing away a camera that was recording the development. A sharp sound is then heard, followed by Benja screaming that the guard has hit her. She proceeds to call for help, while the men continue trying to restrain her.

VIDEO: Matichon TV

According to a Coconuts report, Benja and an unnamed associate appeared shortly after at Pak Khlong San Police Station, saying the security guards from the mall had taken them there. It’s understood the organisation Thai Lawyers for Human Rights have provided Benja with a lawyer. A number of protesters also gathered at the police station in a show of support for the student, while speaking to police about the actions of the security guard accused of hitting her.

A representative of the shopping mall has apologised for the confrontation, saying it’s investigating what happened. It says people should not voice political opinions on its premises.

Thailand has set aside 6 billion baht to produce the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine locally. The manufacturer, Siam Bioscience, is a new pharmaceutical company owned by the palace.

SOURCE: Coconuts

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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 scratching their heads over the mixed messages circulating in relation to the latest Thailand 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, and Bangkok Post fanboy, 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 keyboardologists.

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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