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In case you missed it… Here’s a weekly roundup of top news in Thailand

Caitlin Ashworth

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Protest in Bangkok on February 28 / Photo by Thai News Pix

Social distancing for Songkran, Thailand’s New Year water festival

Thailand’s massive water festival Songkran, celebrating the Thai New Year, got the “okay” as long as the festivities are in line with Covid-19 prevention measures. PM Prayut Chan-o-cha says people need to abide by social distancing rules during the Songkran holiday from April 13 to 15… So make sure your water gun shoots at a long range.

Allowing Songkran to take place this year is intended to help stimulate Thailand’s battered economy. The culture minister insisted that disease prevention must be strictly maintained, adding that social distancing and capacity limits are “chief” among the measures.

Read the full story HERE.

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military

Facebook has confirmed the removal of 185 accounts run by the Thai military and allegedly involved in information-influencing. The social media giant says the accounts were deleted for engaging in what it calls, “coordinated inauthentic behaviour”. In total, 77 accounts, 72 pages, and 18 groups have been removed from the platform, in addition to 18 Instagram accounts. It’s the first time Facebook has taken such action against accounts linked to the Thai government.

Read the full story HERE.

Deceased Phuket expat’s body stuck in hospital due to passport mix-up

In a nightmarish scenario, a deceased Phuket expat’s body is stuck in a Thai hospital as his step‐daughter claims hospital administrators won’t release the body due to a passport mix‐up.

Gemma Swift, the step‐daughter of 75 year old David Donoghue, who died 2 weeks ago, says she is pleading with embassy staff in Thailand to resolve, what she says, is purely an administrative issue after Donoghue’s passport number at the hospital was from that of an expired one.

Read the full story HERE.

Houseowner discovers 3,000 year old skeletons on land in Ang Thong province

A houseowner in the central province of Ang Thong, has discovered 3 skeletons on his land that are thought to be over 3,000 years old. 54 year old Somkiat Briboon says this most recent discovery isn’t the first, as the first lot of bones was found last year after preparing his 17 rai worth of land, in Sawang Ha District, to be rented out for sugarcane farming.

Read the full story HERE.

Gunman kills mayoral candidate, injures 4 other municipal candidates at funeral

A gunman shot and killed a woman running for mayor and wounded 4 others at a funeral in Ratchaburi, a province west of Bangkok near the Myanmar border. Police say they suspect the shooting was politically motivated. Out of the 4 people injured, 3 were running in the March 28 municipal election while another was the kamnan, a government official of a tambon, which is a sub district.

Read the full story HERE.

At least 22 people arrested at Bangkok protest, officer dies of heart failure

At least 22 people were arrested during the Bangkok protest last Sunday, which turned violent as pro-democracy activists marched toward the prime minister’s residence, according to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights. An officer died during the rally, which the human rights group says was due to heart failure.

Some protesters threw ping pong bombs and firecrackers in the violent clash with police, the group says. Police armed in riot gear fired rubber bullets and hit protesters with batons. Water cannons and tear gas were used to break up the crowds after some protesters had breached the barricade of shipping containers that had been blocking the way to the prime minister’s residence at a military base on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road, according to the Bangkok Post. At least 33 people, including 23 police officers, were injured.

Read the full story HERE.

Thai army medic accused of injecting troops with fake Covid-19 vaccines

The Bangkok Military Court has issued an arrest warrant for a Royal Thai Army medic who is accused of injecting troops with a fake Covid-19 vaccine, which ended up just being saline solution. The troops were on an United Nations peacekeeping mission in South Sudan. The army says the medic, who is also a lieutenant, charged troops 500 baht for a legitimate vaccine for tetanus as well as a saline solution shot he claimed was the Covid-19 vaccine. An investigation was prompted after a soldier noticed the bottles of “Covid-19 vaccines” were unlabelled.

Read the full story HERE.

Thailand’s vaccine campaign kicks off, health minister gets the first dose

Thailand’s Covid-19 vaccine campaign started with Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul who was jabbed with China’s Sinovac vaccine. PM Prayut Chan-o-cha was initially planned to be the first to kick off Thailand’s immunisation plan with the AstraZeneca vaccine, but due to problems with paperwork, the prime minister’s injection was postponed. Doctors advised Prayut to get the AstraZeneca vaccine due to his age. Prayut is 66 and doctors say the Sinovac vaccine has been declared safe for people ages 18 to 59.

Read the full story HERE.

 

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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.

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