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Koh Tao party zone plan amid security concerns

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Koh Tao party zone plan amid security concerns
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Designated entertainment and activity areas and a special management team will be implemented on Koh Tao, Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said yesterday.
The scheme, dubbed the “Koh Tao Model”, is a response to the unsolved murder of two British backpackers on the island this month.

“The island has no areas for tourists to party or hold events, so this should help prevent underestimating the problem,” she said.

Kobkarn said the Tourism and Sports Ministry was also considering applying the model to all resort islands in a bid to make them safer for tourists.

In an effort to restore Koh Tao’s island’s image and tourists’ confidence in the site, she said the government planned to run “mega events” there once the double-murder has been resolved. The Tourism Authority would soon be asked to begin preparations for events.

Kobkarn visited the island, located off Surat Thani, on Sunday on a fact-finding trip.

After meeting local administrators, she approved the establishment of a tourist police centre on the island. She also met with tourism operators and tourists to gauge their opinions on the situation.

Surat Thani Governor Chatpong Chatputi told the minister that Koh Tao needs more state officials working on the island and there was insufficient water for consumption. The island also faced an electricity issue because it used power from the private sector only, Chatpong said.

Meanwhile, the number of “prime” suspects in the killing of two Britons on the island has been cut to seven from a total of 20 people |not already ruled out, a police source said |yesterday. DNA samples of all 20 suspects have been collected and identified, the source said.

However, the source did not clarify whether the 20 samples were from the 50 male workers from Myanmar living some 600 metres from where the bodies were found on Chor Por Ror beach between 2am and 4am on September 15.

The seven unidentified men have been barred from leaving the island, as verification of their DNA is under way, the source added.

Police are still looking for a shirtless man who was captured on surveillance camera between 3.44am and 4.48am.

He was seen running, with a panicked look, and has since disappeared.

Pol Lt-General Panya Mamen, an area police commander, said it was possible all DNA samples collected from migrant workers would be verified by yesterday. He said police were also tracking three new male suspects who left Koh Toh on Sept 15 for Surat Thani and neighbouring provinces.

“There could be good news [about these three men] soon,” he said.

Deputy national police chief Pol General Aek Angsananont said police were doing their best to investigate the double murders but, at this point, could not set a timeframe for the identification and possible arrest of the killers. “

The investigators need time to complete their work,” he said.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Illegal border crossings bringing in new Covid-19 infections

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Covid-19 infected border hoppers cross borders like this one betwen Malaysia and Thailand (via Wikimedia)

Authorities are worried about illegal border crossings into Thailand bringing in the Coronavirus after 5 recent Covid-19 infections from such crossings. Bypassing all health and security checkpoints along the border, 5 Thai nationals were identified today as being positive for Covid-19 after they snuck into the country, according to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

Authorities nabbed 2 after border crossings from Malaysia illegally on April 28 and May 3rd, while another snuck across the Burmese border into Tak on May 2. The last 2 came from Cambodia on Thursday across the Sa Kaeo border. All 5 illegal border crossers are now in state hospitals for Covid-19 treatment.

According to CCSA data in the first four months of 2021 a total of 15,378 people were arrested by Thai authorities while sneaking across borders. Even after security forces increased patrolling along the borders, people managed to sneak in from Myanmar, Malaysia, Laos, and Cambodia. 6,700 of those who crossed the border were Burmese citizens, while another 1,700 of them were Thai nationals.

With nearly 400 lives lost to Covid-19 and over 83,000 people having been infected in the pandemic, the CCSA declared that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and National Security Council Secretary-General Natthapol Nakpanich agree that these illegal border crossers without Covid-19 screening are a serious problem.

Many Thai people work in Malaysia and as the pandemic drags on they are sneaking across the border, desperate to make it home to their family. Another recent case found illegal Burmese border hoppers in a taxi en route to Hat Yai after they crossed into Thailand from the Malaysian border. They were trying to travel incognito across Thailand in order to cross the border again back into their home country of Myanmar.

The dilemma is even worse at the Burmese border as the often violent protests following the February 1 military coup has been pushing much of the country into poverty, and creating refugees who are flocking to the border in hopes of crossing over to safety. Many are seeking to escape the conflict and find work in Thailand.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Economy

Thailand Consumer Confidence Index hits record low

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Thailand's Consumer Confidence index slips again to below the pre-pandemic record. (via CNN)

The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce has reported that the Consumer Confidence Index has hit another new record low of 46.0 in April. The Covid-19 global pandemic has had a devastating effect on the economy and consumer confidence has fallen frequently to the lowest points that it has seen since 1998.

The president of the UTTC believes that consumers generally don’t feel like there has been much of a recovery for the economy since the global pandemic began and without a stimulating event to motivate economic growth, the index is expected to continue to fall further. The university estimated that if the third wave of Covid-19 continues past the end of May the economy can expect to lose 400 to 600 billion baht.

The UTTC president stressed that the government should hasten to step up relief measures and make sure they continue relief and economic stimulus throughout the pandemic to avoid economic catastrophe. He predicted that the economy and the Consumer Confidence Index will continue on a downward slope without any hope of improvement until the vaccine rollout gets well underway towards herd immunity, and new Covid-19 infections are decreased dramatically.

Today saw another 2,101 new Covid-19 infections and 17 deaths in Thailand. Vaccination efforts are continually being stepped up, but still remain woefully slow.

The Consumer Confidence Index first started falling last year, with a drop below the previous record low in 1998 in April of 2020, when it fell to 47.2. A few months later, by July of last year, it had recovered significantly, climbing back over 50. But by March of this year, the index had fallen again to 48.5. With April’s tumble of 2.5 points, the Consumer Confidence Index pushes once again to a new record low.

SOURCE: Thai Business News

 

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Thailand

Thailand searches for cow vaccine for lumpy skin disease

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: An example of a cow with Lumpy Skin Disease. (via newindianexpress)

Move over Covid-19 there’s a new disease sweeping the country as Thailand’s cow population is afflicted with a lumpy skin disease. The Department of Livestock Development is now working on procuring vaccines from overseas manufacturers to import and treat the cattle population in Thailand. The lumpy skin is caused by pustules that are the most visible symptom, perhaps more detectable than other bovine signs such as drooling, loss of appetite and drowsiness.

The cow disease is spreading in the North, Northeast, and Central Plains area of Thailand and has been found in 18 provinces total. First identified in Roi Et, it has now spread in Chiang Rai, Kalasin, Kanchanaburi, Khon Kaen, Maha Sarakham, Nakhon Pathom, and Nakhon Phanom. The first case of the lumpy skin disease was reported in Don Daeng village last month and on April 9th officials reported it to the World Organisation for Animal Health.

The lumpy skin disease is found in cow pens and spread through flies, ticks, and mosquitoes, but the DLD says not to panic, it is not transmissible to humans. The department is distributing important information about symptoms and how the disease spreads to breeders and farmers in the area. They’re requiring the breeders to monitor their cattle closely and have imposed measures to control the disease in heavy hit areas.

To prevent the spread of disease in livestock, traders are being requested to not buy and sell cattle within 50 km from disease-stricken regions. And for farmers caring for cattle, the DLD recommends spraying insecticide in all areas to prevent transmission via insects. Finally, in case the cattle were jealous of traveling humans, the DLD is advising farmers to prevent disease spread by isolating any new cow that comes into their farms with a 28-day bovine quarantine where they should be kept under nets to keep insects away.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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