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Boy killed by lightning strike in Surat Thani, 5 others injured

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Boy killed by lightning strike in Surat Thani, 5 others injured | Thaiger
Stock photo by Philippe Donn for Pexels

A 12 year old boy was killed by a lightning strike while he was playing football at a field in Southern Thailand’s Surat Thani. 5 other children were also injured from a bolt of lightning and were rushed to the Surat Thani Hospital.

Heavy rain had just cleared up and the boys were playing football when lightning struck the middle of the field in the Khian Sa district.

The 12 year old Mathayom 1 student (grade 7) was pronounced dead at the hospital. Reports do not go into detail about the conditions of the other boys, ages 13 to 16, who were injured from the lightning strike.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

100+ Covid-19 infections cancels all prison visits

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100+ Covid-19 infections cancels all prison visits | Thaiger
PHOTO: Close quarters in prisons make dangerous conditions for Covid-19 spread

After a small Covid-19 outbreak reported yesterday, the Corrections Department has now cancelled all prison visits from tomorrow through May 5, after testing revealed more than 100 people infected within the prison systems in Narathiwat, a border province in the south of Thailand, and Surat Thani. Originally 2 prisoners in Narathiwat Central Prison were confirmed to have Covid-19 Friday, with contract tracing and testing revealing 5 inmates and a prison staffer who travelled to Surat Thani also have the virus. Now, further testing revealed that 112 infections have been identified in Narathiwat’s prison.

In order to prevent the spread in the confined spaces of a prison, several actions have been implemented. Aside from suspending all visitors, inmates will not be allowed to participate in any off-site work programs, and incoming prisoners will be tested twice and be isolated for 2 to 3 weeks before being assimilated into the common prison population. With visitations cancelled, the Corrections Department confirmed they will allow “virtual visits” through the Line app. Plans are being worked out to handle problems like court appearances remotely for any detainees or prisoners affected.

In Surat Thani, after the 5 prisoners and 1 prison official contracted Covid-19, testing was done on 135 inmates who were considered high risk. The preliminary results seem to be all negative. In the far south, the Deputy Governor of Narathiwat reported that medical officials had administered Coronavirus tests to 791 prisoners and prison staff thought to be high risk. Narathiwat Central Prison has a total population of 2,334 inmates and 97 staff members.

Of the 112 positive Covid-19 test results at Narathiwat Central Prison, 87 are male inmates, 23 are prison officials. Also afflicted are 1 female prisoner and 1 nurse. Prisons present some unique challenges and controversies when dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic. For example, last week arrested protestors complained of human rights violations when prison guards claimed to be attempting to administer Covid-19 tests at unusual hours.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Economy

Southern Thai people turn from tourism to gold panning

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Southern Thai people turn from tourism to gold panning | Thaiger
PHOTO: Traditional panning for gold replaces tourism for income in Southern Thailand

Thars gold in dem hills!

With tourism in Thailand struggling due to Covid-19, and an economy needing some help, some people in the southern Thai region of the country have found income in an unusual source: panning for gold. The Sukhirin region close to the Malaysian border is known for gold deposits in the Sai Buri River and surrounding mountains. Villagers who made money before with tourism have now returned to panning for gold using old-fashioned manual techniques their ancestors used, without the aid of any machinery. Well, just an old pan.

Locals had previously made money selling food to passing tourists or acting as a tour guide to take people around the area, where travellers seeking to get away from the crowded and overdeveloped tourist areas that attract the most foreigners find many unique activities. Kayaking was a popular local activity with up to 150 people a day sailing down the rivers that are now filled with locals panning for gold. The prospectors are now making their income from the gold they collect which sells for 1,500 baht per gram. Families that work together can often collect at least one gram a day.

Thai Gold prices have reached record highs over the last 2 years and many Thai people have traditionally used gold and gold jewellery as a form of savings and investment, pawning their gold rings and bracelets in times of financial emergencies. The gold collected from these Southern villages will be used to make jewellery in Bangkok.

The region had invested in expanding into ecotourism but the pandemic put all their construction plans on hold. A cable car was being built to transport people up to the tops of the mountains to beautiful temples. The area’s unique history attracted people to their annual Rocket Festival, typically a north-eastern celebration.

In 1932, France was granted a 25 year mining contract in the jungles. They extracted almost 2000 kg of gold before World War II forced closure. The mining tunnels still exist and sometimes attracted adventurous tourists, but now sit vacant aside from snakes. In the 1960s the Thai government incentivised northerners with 18 rai of land each to move to the region. As a result, the area stands out in the Muslim region with 90% of the population being Buddhist, and most still speaking Isan dialects.

SOURCE: France 24

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Insurgency

Roadside bomb explodes in Yala, injuring policeman and volunteer

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Roadside bomb explodes in Yala, injuring policeman and volunteer | Thaiger
Photo via Facebook/ศูนย์แม่หลวง ปัตตานี

A roadside bomb in Thailand’s southern Yala province, is being blamed for injuring a tourist policeman and a police volunteer. The bomb exploded, causing shrapnel to hit the pair while they were driving through Bannang Sata district at around 8pm.

The pair was travelling on Road 410, the Yala-Betong route, when the bomb went off, hitting their pickup truck and scattering debris all over the road. The shrapnel hit their faces, and officials say they had ear damage from the bomb’s noise, and chest pains. They were rushed to the Yala hospital where the governor later visited them.

Just yesterday, Yala police were investigating after diffusing a bomb they had found in a stolen delivery truck behind a police station. They say the truck was stolen by holding the driver, Baihakee Longluwa, of Kerry Express, at gunpoint. The armed men allegedly pushed Baihakee inside of a house, tied up his hands, and left with the truck.

According to Chiang Rai Times, Baihakee was able to free himself and called the police who then were dispatched to intercept the stolen vehicle. Police found the truck parked behind the Raman police station in Muang Yala. But, the story doesn’t stop there.

Police say bomb disposal officers were called to examine the truck after finding home-made bombs stuffed into 2 cooking gas cylinders under the driver’s seat. They found another bomb stuffed into a bottle of mosquito repellant in a rubbish bin nearby the truck. The bomb squad says they successfully destroyed the bombs.

CCTV caught a black motorcycle arriving to pick up a man who had driven the truck to the police station. Another incident last Saturday occurred in which a group of people burned car tires on 2 different roads and stole 5 CCTV cameras, 3 4G devices and 2 Wi-Fi devices in the Than To and Muang districts of Yala. Police say they found a spray painting at 1 location and a suspicious object that has not yet been identified.

The recent incidents are only a small part of the ongoing South Thailand insurgency, which is a conflict centered on southern Thailand’s disputed border region with Malaysia. Although there’s been bubbling discontent around the region since the start of the 20th century, it emerged as a serious issue for the Malaysian and Thai governments in 1948 as an ethnic and religious separatist insurgency in the historical Malay Patani region.

It has become a more complex ‘land grab’, and increasingly violent since the early 2000s due to drug cartels, oil smuggling networks, and occasionally even pirates. The area has been coined the ‘deep south’ or the ‘restive south’ and has become, statistically, a more bloody conflict than the situation on the Gaza Peninsula in the Middle East.

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วันที่ 25 มี.ค.64 เวลาประมาณ 2025 เกิดเหตุ 511…

Posted by ศูนย์แม่หลวง ปัตตานี on Thursday, March 25, 2021

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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