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Koh Tao Murders: Taxi driver accuses police of intimidation, bribe for false testimony

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Koh Tao Murders: Taxi driver accuses police of intimidation, bribe for false testimony | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Police promised cash reward to buy false testimony: taxi driver
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: A taxi driver on Koh Tao, off the Surat Thani coast, yesterday went public with his accusation that police investigating the murders of two British tourists had tried to intimidate him into providing false testimony.

In a media interview yesterday, Prasit Sukdam also accused the police of giving him a large sum of money in exchange for false testimony to frame the wrong people. He claimed the money was taken from the Bt700,000 offered as a reward by Koh Tao residents for information leading to the arrest of the killers.

Separately, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha dismissed reports that tourists will be encouraged to wear wristbands or register electronically upon arrival in addition to passport verification at the airport. “We can’t make them wear any chip-embedded device. We want them to keep visiting Thailand,” he added.

Meanwhile, Prasit brought the issue up with Assawin sae-Phoo, head of local taxi drivers on the tourist island, citing “fear for his life after turning down the offer”. Assawin later took Prasit’s complaint to Korbchai Saowalak, the kamnan of tambon Koh Tao.

Korbchai then spoke publicly to the police, calling on them to not work on the case in an aggressive manner and not find scapegoats. “Don’t harm innocent people or frighten them,” he said.

Speaking later to reporters, Prasit said: “I don’t want to take any action against the policemen, but want to demonstrate my innocence and I will cooperate with other requests in the future. Just don’t force me to acknowledge [something] I never knew [about],” he said.

Prasit admitted to celebrating with a football team after a match at an unnamed pub on the night of the murders, but said he knew nothing about the team members’ activities or police suspicions about them.

He said some policemen approached him at 1.30pm on Monday trying to convince him to cooperate and let him go five hours later.

Meanwhile, assistant national police chief Lt-General Jakthip Chaijinda has been instructed to supervise the investigation, taking over from Police Region 8 commander Lt-General Panya Manen who has been promoted to assistant national police chief. Officials said different police units should work together on the probe.

The Police Region 8 chief’s post has been filled by Lt-General Decha Butrnamphet, who said later that the same set of investigators would continue working on the case.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Weather

Summer storm warning for 55 of Thailand’s 76 provinces

Greeley Pulitzer

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Summer storm warning for 55 of Thailand’s 76 provinces | The Thaiger

Today Thailand’s Meteorological Department warned people in 55 northern, north-eastern, central and eastern provinces to prepare for possible “strong winds and hail from summer storms”, that are expected through until Sunday. This time of the year is also know as the bridging season between the annual dry and wet seasons. Weather can be unsettled in parts of thailand during this time.

According to the forecast, the storms are due to the convergence of southerly and south-easterly winds, driven by the cold front over Vietnam, Laos and the South China Sea, and the increasingly warm weather over northern Thailand.

Summer storms, some severe, could affect the following provinces from today…

  • Nan
  • Phrae
  • Uttradit
  • Tak
  • Kamphaeng Phet
  • Sukhothai
  • Phitsanuloke
  • Phichit
  • Phetchabun
  • Loei
  • Nong Bua Lamphu
  • Nong KhaiBung Karn
  • Udon Thani
  • Sakhon Nakhon
  • Nakhon Phanom
  • Chaiyaphum
  • Khon Kaen
  • Kalasin
  • Muk Dahan
  • Maha Sarakham Roi-et
  • Yasothon Amnat Charoen
  • Nakhon Ratchasima
  • Buri Ram
  • Surin
  • Si Sa Ket
  • Ubon Ratchathani
  • Nakhon Sawan
  • Lop Buri
  • Saraburi
  • Ayutthaya
  • Bangkok
  • Nakhon Nayok
  • Prachin Buri
  • Sa Kaew
  • Chachoengsao
  • Chon Buri
  • Rayong
  • Chanthaburi

Summer storm warning for 55 of Thailand's 76 provinces | News by The Thaiger

On Saturday and Sunday, the storms are forecast in:

  • Chiang Mai
  • Lamphun
  • Lampang
  • Phayao
  • Phrae
  • Uttradit
  • Sukhothai
  • Tak
  • Kamphaeng Phet
  • Phitsanuloke
  • Phichit
  • Phetchabun
  • Roi-et
  • Loei
  • Nong Bua Lamphu
  • Nong Khai
  • Bung Karn
  • Udon Thani
  • Sakhon Nakhon
  • Nakhon Phanom
  • Muk Dahan
  • Chaiyaphum
  • Kalasin
  • Khon Kaen
  • Maha Sarakham
  • Roi-et
  • Yasothon
  • Amnat Charoen
  • Nakhon Ratchasima
  • Buri Ram
  • Surin
  • Si Sa Ket
  • Ubon Ratchathani
  • Uthai Thani
  • Nakhon Sawan
  • Lop Buri
  • Chainat
  • Ang Thong
  • Sing Buri
  • Saraburi
  • Ayutthaya
  • Bangkok
  • Nakhon Nayok
  • Prachin Buri
  • Sa Kaeo
  • Chachoengsao
  • Chon Buri
  • Rayong
  • Chanthaburi
  • Trat

The weather department says people should beware of severe weather and keep off unsecured buildings and wilderness areas. Farmers should beware of crop damage. Ships at sea should proceed with caution and watch the forecast in their area..

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Thailand

More than 100 horses dead as African Horse Sickness strikes Thailand

Greeley Pulitzer

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More than 100 horses dead as African Horse Sickness strikes Thailand | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wiley Online Library

“This disease has just occurred in Thailand. We’ve never had it in the past”

The director-general of the Department of Livestock Development, Sorawit Thanito, says more than 100 horses in Thailand have died from African Horse Sickness (AHS). It’s the country’s first instance of the illness, which only affects animals. Latest government data show at least 131 horses have died across 4 provinces

Sorawit says the government has quarantined sick horses to limit the spread of the disease, adding that the government was notified in late March of AHS in the country.

“We have to investigate how this virus got to Thailand.”

“Horses that contract the illness can have fevers of over 39C, difficulty breathing and bleeding in the eyes.”

There has never been a case of AHS reported in humans and it is not related to the outbreak of the Covid-19 coronavirus, according to Sorawit.

The World Organisation for Animal Health suspended Thailand’s status as an “AHS Free Country” on March 27. Myanmar and Kyrgyzstan had their AHS-free statuses suspended in 2018. AHS is endemic in the central tropical regions of Africa, from where it spreads regularly to Southern Africa and occasionally to North Africa, according to the OIE.

SOURCE: Reuters

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Curfew in place from today – the details

Greeley Pulitzer

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Curfew in place from today – the details | The Thaiger

Under the state of emergency declared last week, the government of PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has imposed a nationwide curfew starting from today, banning all people from leaving their homes from 10pm to 4am, in its latest move to contain the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus. Existing curfew orders in other provinces with stricter requirements will remain in effect.

In a televised speech last night the PM announced the curfew, “effective until further notice”. He called for calm and asked the public not hoard food as they will still be allowed to go out during the day, though they will be required to observe social distancing (and wear a face mask at all times).

Exemptions from the curfew include medical and banking personnel as well as logistics workers handling consumer goods, agricultural produce, pharmaceutical products, medical supplies and equipment, newspapers, fuel, post, products bound for export and imported goods. The travel of people to quarantine venues is also allowed.

Exemptions also apply to employees working night shifts, individuals heading to or from airports with authorised documents stating their purpose, officials carrying out official duties and those who authorised to leave for emergencies.

Violators face a jail term of up to two years and/or a fine of up to 40,000 baht.

“I won’t let anyone hoard the products and take advantage of people during this difficult time.”

Prayut says more economic stimulus packages will be introduced, including financial aid, debt suspension and restructuring, and a liquidity boost. A centre will be set up to manage travel in and out of the kingdom with more strict screening, quarantine and monitoring measures. A press briefing will be held daily at the government’s Covid-19 centre.

The PM says that unauthorised people will not be allowed to give interviews, and again warned of the consequences of spreading fake news or sharing information from unknown sources. He urges everyone to cooperate for the ultimate goal of “zero infections”.

Earlier yesterday, Prayut announced that the government will block all entry to Thailand including by Thais, starting today until April 15, to prepare quarantine facilities after more local cases were linked to “imported” cases.

“In the meantime, agencies will prepare the venues and coordinate with Thai embassies to ensure all Thais returnees will be quarantined and get proper medical checks.”

Taweesin Visanuyothin, spokesman of the government’s newly formed Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, says Prayut told the officials at the centre that arrivals of both foreigners and Thais from abroad will have to be “slowed down to stop the disease.” He says arrivals from abroad have proved to be a major source of infections.

The new ban does not apply to people who already have permission to travel to Thailand, but Taveesin urges affected travellers to contact Thai embassies and follow their instructions.

Thailand yesterday reported 104 new infections, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 1,875. 3 more deaths were also reported, raising the death toll from the novel coronavirus disease in Thailand to 15.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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