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Interpol arrests couple wanted for Bangkok bombing

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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BANGKOK: Interpol has arrested Thai and foreign suspects for their alleged role in the Bangkok bombings in August, which claimed 20 lives and injured many others, Deputy Police Chief Gen Srivara Ransibrahmanakul said yesterday.

While Gen Srivara declined to reveal the names of the suspects, reliable police sources identified the suspects as Phang Nga native Wanna Suansan and her Turkish husband Emra Davuloglu.

Gen Srivara said the suspects were currently in detention in a foreign country and that Thailand was working on bringing them back to face legal action.

Arrest warrants for both suspects were issued soon after the Erawan Shrine blast for allegedly renting an apartment to a prime suspect in the case.

Initially, Ms Wanna told the media in a telephone interview – reportedly from Turkey – that she had nothing to do with the bombings and would return to testify. However, she did not turn up as promised.

Gen Srivara said the Public Prosecutors Office and the Foreign Ministry were coordinating with Interpol to have the suspects returned.

Sources said the arrests were made after Ms Wanna, who is a Thai passport holder, was found to have overstayed her visa and her husband’s Turkish passport was found to be fake.

Ms Wanna and another suspect left Thailand on July 1 through Phuket Airport. Further investigation showed that she had gone to Cambodia through the Sa Kaew border checkpoint on May 30 last year, and then to Malaysia through the Sadao border checkpoint in Songkhla province on October 23. The arrest warrant accused Ms Wanna of renting a room to the bomb suspects after police found bomb-making materials such as fertilizers, bolts and gunpowder.

Ms Wanna was also charged for having war weapons in possession without permission.

Sources said that investigation into Mr Davuloglu’s financial records showed that several transfers had been made to his bank accounts from abroad. These included transfers of 156,106 baht in February; 157,646 baht in March; 410,000 baht in April; and 14,495 baht in August.

Financial records also showed that a group of seven foreigners, including Chinese and Turkish nationals, had transferred more than 1 million baht to foreigners, including Mr Davuloglu, in Thailand. Evidence also showed that the money was used to purchase bomb-making materials and general necessities.

Under detention for their role in the attack so far are Bilal Mohammed and Mieraili Yusufu, who have been identified as Chinese Uighurs. The two have been formally charged by the Bangkok Military Court on 10 charges and are being detained in a special military prison (story here).

Mr Bilal, who was arrested in the room that he allegedly rented from Ms Wanna, confessed to planting the bomb at the shrine.

— The Nation

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

PM to receive AstraZeneca vaccine on Sunday

Maya Taylor

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PM to receive AstraZeneca vaccine on Sunday | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS World

The Thai PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha will receive the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine on Sunday, while Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul will receive the Chinese jab. According to a Bangkok Post report, Sopon Mekthon from the sub-committee on vaccine management says both politicians will receive their vaccines at the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Disease Institute. On Monday, the vaccination of priority groups in specific provinces will get underway.

Speaking about the arrival of the long-awaited vaccines yesterday, Anutin said the first batch would be distributed free of charge, with costs covered by the government.

“The vaccines are for Thais and those living in the country. Anyone who charges for the vaccine will face legal action.”

Thailand has taken delivery of 200,000 doses of the Chinese Sinovac jab and 117,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The arrival of the AstraZeneca jab took many by surprise, with no mention of its imminent arrival, unlike the PR hoopla surrounding the arrival of its Chinese counterpart. Another 800,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine are expected next month, followed by a further 1 million in April. After that, the rest of Thailand’s vaccines will be from AstraZeneca, with 26 million locally-manufactured doses expected to be available from May to June and another 35 million after that.

Nakorn Premsri from the National Vaccine Institute says the AstraZeneca vaccines arrived this week as a result of a commitment by the pharmaceutical giant to ensure equal access to Covid-19 vaccines.

“The AstraZeneca vaccines that arrived in Thailand must receive a lot release certificate from the Department of Medical Sciences before distribution to priority groups designated by the Department of Disease Control.”

Meanwhile, Thares Karasnairaviwong from the Department of Health Service Support says over 1.5 million village health volunteers are educating local residents about the importance of vaccination and establishing how many people fall into the priority groups who will be first to be inoculated.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Tourism

Day trip to Bangkok’s closest island – Koh Si Chang | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Day trip to Bangkok’s closest island – Koh Si Chang | VIDEO | The Thaiger

Ko Si Chang (or Koh Sichang) is a district of Chon Buri Province, Thailand. It consists of the island of Ko Si Chang and its adjoining islands. Ko Si Chang is in the Gulf of Thailand, 12 kilometres off the shore of the Si Racha District coastline. It’s the closest island to Bangkok and a popular weekend away for Bangkokians. Pangrum takes us on a quick visit to the island with today’s latest Thaiger Vlog.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thailand acknowledges wildlife markets could be dangerous to humans

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The Thai Ministry of Public Health is being praised after seemingly doing an about face over whether Bangkok’s Chatuchak Weekend Market could be the source of Covid‐19. After health officials denied that the World Health Organisation was investigating the market, a recent Facebook live press conference saw the Ministry acknowledging that wildlife trades may endanger public health.

The recent investigation by the WHO of Wuhan, the province in China where Covid19 is thought to have originated, has concluded that the virus most likely did not come from a laboratory, and instead, came from animals supplied by Chinese wildlife breeding farms, or from infected animals traded somewhere in Southeast Asia. As Chatuchak Market is arguably the region’s largest illegal wildlife trade market, a Danish virologist on the WHO investigation team pointed towards the Bangkok market as a potential source of the Covid19 virus.

Now, the Thai Ministry of Public Health is going to collaborate with the Ministry of Environment and its Department of National Parks to closely inspect Chatuchak market, and roll out a joint plan to increase wildlife protection and stop the wild animal trade in markets.

Southeast Asia has historically supplied most of China’s wildlife trade, which the virologist sees as worrisome. As commercially traded animals can carry pathogens that could compromise a human’s immune system. For example, in 2019, zebras that were legally imported into Thailand, carried a small fly species that jumped to local horses, causing African Horse Sickness. The mortality rate was over 90%, causing over 600 horse deaths.

Some animals are especially susceptible to viruses hosted by bats, such as the SARS virus. That virus jumped from a civet cat that was infected by a bat. Other viruses that are thought to have jumped from bats to other animals include rabies and Ebola. Minks and Pangolins have also been discovered to carry a coronavirus and are still being commercially traded in Southeast Asia today.

In a spotcheck carried out by Freeland, a global nonprofit organisation, Chatuchak Market is still selling ferrets, coati, civets, polecats, mongoose, raccoons, meerkats, scarlet macaws, capybara, african gray parrots, cougars, multiple species of turtles, snakes, rodents and lizards from Latin America, Africa and Australia.

SOURCE: Freeland

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