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Army rolls out reconciliation centers; confirms Yingluck free

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Army aims to heal rift
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: To patch up the rifts in society, coup leader Maj Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha yesterday ordered the four Army areas to set up reconciliation centres throughout the country.

The centres would be forums for people to exchange views and receive information on the junta. This would help avoid misunderstandings and false information spreading among the people that were stirring up more conflict, said Winthai Suvari, spokesman for the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).

Participation in the centre’s activities would be voluntary but groups of people might need someone to lead the political dialogue, he said.

Gen Prayuth staged a coup last week after negotiations among warring factions failed to produce any agreement to defuse the political crisis.

Ousted education minister Chaturon Chaisang was yesterday seized by soldiers in front of a crowd of foreign journalists after giving a snap press conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand (FCCT).

Chaturon, who did not report to the NCPO when summoned last Thursday, came out of hiding to appear before the international community at 2pm, reading a statement saying he was innocent of all charges. Half an hour earlier, he defiantly said he was “ready to be arrested”.

Thailand needs to return to democracy as soon as possible and all sides must avoid violence and suppression of viewpoints, he said. He also called for the Army to release all detainees. Winthai said Chaturon was taken away as he had failed to comply with the NCPO summons.

“Holding a press conference for the foreign media is deemed improper and against NCPO policy,” he said.

In the morning, the foreign press was informed that an unidentified politician would give a speech at the FCCT. Chaturon’s name was ann-ounced just 15 minutes before his arrival.

Yingluck Shinawatra’s release was confirmed by Winthai.

The junta has invited hundreds of people for questioning, but some have still failed to appear, including Petchawat Wattanapongsirikul, chairman of the Rak Chiang Mai 51 Group. Soldiers searched his Varorot Grand Palace Hotel in Chiang Mai for the third time since the coup. “The hotel has been practically closed for two years,” a cleaner said. “It has served more like a charity centre and a community radio station.”

The prominent red shirt was nowhere to be seen, but several rounds of ammunition and firecrackers were found.

In Lamphun, troops and police stormed a longan orchard in response to tips that claimed red-shirt guards had been undergoing weapons training there. Surprised by the raid, five people tried to run away, but two were caught. Explorations of the area uncovered several guns and signs of the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship.

In Udon Thani, members of the anti-coup Udon Peace group reported to the province’s internal security operations centre. They were warned not to rally and allowed to leave.

In Tak, the mansion of an adopted son of former interior minister Charupong Ruangsuwan was searched. Charupong has defied his summons. His adopted son, Danupon Thanapipatchai, was away and no suspicious items were found.

In Trat, police continued hunting for Narong Krachangklang, who was accused of fatally shooting a ranger on duty during a search at Narong’s house on Monday. Police rejected rumours that Narong who was not home at the time had already been gunned down.

The National Council for Peace and Order has appointed six advisors on five issues, with former defence minister general Prawit Wongsuwan leading the team.

Retired General Anupong Paochinda will oversee security measures, former finance minister Somkid Jatusripitak foreign affairs, ex-Bank of Thailand governor Pridiyathorn Devakula and ex-commerce minister Narongchai Akrasanee will focus on economy, while ex-secretary-general to the Cabinet Wissanu Krea-ngam will oversee legal affairs.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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

β€’ 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.

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

β€’ 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.

β€’ 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”.

SOURCES: Nation Thailand | FRB

 

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Pattaya

20 people arrested at Pattaya restaurant for allegedly violating alcohol ban

Tanutam Thawan

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Stock photo by Bence Boros for Unsplash

Police in Pattaya arrested 20 people last night at a local restaurant where alcohol was reportedly being sold. While Chon Buri recently eased disease control restrictions, now allowing restaurants in the province to offer dine-in services again, alcohol sales and consumption at restaurants are still prohibited.

Saewana restaurant was raided at around 11pm last night by officers from Pattaya and the Banglamung district station. Alcohol was served in glasses and the bottles were hidden, police say.

Pattaya News says all 20 people at the restaurant were arrested, including the owner. They face charges for allegedly violating the provincial disease control order. Those who violate the Emergency Decree could face a hefty fine or even imprisonment.

A police officer who spoke to a Pattaya News reporter said that there is a zero-tolerance policy for alcohol consumption at restaurants as the policy has been made clear to the public.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

 

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Thailand

Thailand News Today | Releasing 50,000 prisoners, Covid sniffer dogs, bungled kidnap | May 18

Tanutam Thawan

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Following an abortive attempt at a kidnap for ransom at the end of March, 3 people are currently under arrest, National vaccine rollout could finally get underway next week, pecially trained sniffer dogs will soon be deployed on the streets of Bangkok to sniff out cases of Covid-19 infection, Koh Samet reopening to visitors after being closed for 3 weeks and Local fishermen have found space debris, possibly from a satellite or parts of a used launch rocket.

 

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