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Koh Tao suspects to be indicted by end of month

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Koh Tao suspects to be indicted by end of month | The Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Koh Tao suspects to be indicted by end of month
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Thawatchai Siangjaew, deputy director general of Regional Public Prosecution 8, announced yesterday that prosecutors should be able to indict two Myanmar men charged with the murder of two Britons on Koh Tao by the end of this month.

Citing his earlier chat with Provincial Police Region 8 deputy chief Pol Maj-General Praween Pongsirin, Thawatchai said the additional police investigation requested by prosecutors was about 80-per-cent complete and that police would submit the case report again in two weeks.

On receiving the report, prosecutors would be able to conclude it and pass it to the Samui public prosecutor to indict Win Zaw Htun and Zaw Lin, he said, adding that this should take place by the end of this month.

‘Case being handled carefully’

He confirmed that the public prosecutor and police working on this case were trying to be careful and as detailed as possible, while keeping the Office of the Attorney General constantly updated on developments.

He went on to say that British police had visited the crime scene and that they should be satisfied with the procedure followed as per the Thai justice system.

Meanwhile, police escorted the two men – both 21 – to Koh Samui court yesterday morning to apply for a fourth extension of 12-days in detention.

The duo appeared calm and less stressed compared to before, possibly because of frequent visits from their lawyer and representatives of the National Human Rights Commission, police said.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Transport

“Sealed route” set at Bangkok airport for international transfers

Caitlin Ashworth

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“Sealed route” set at Bangkok airport for international transfers | The Thaiger
Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok / Photo by Caitlin Ashworth

Thailand is now allowing international transits and transfers at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport by using a so-called “sealed route” arranged at the airport to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand has now set guidelines for passengers who have a layover at the Bangkok airport.

Passengers will not be allowed to leave Concourse E. A “sealed route” for the passengers will be set up at Gate E10 and E9, allowing passengers to enter the airport at Gate E10, go through security screening and then either board the transit aircraft at Gate E9 or go on a designated shuttle bus directly to an aircraft.

Social distancing is required for all passengers in waiting areas and a face mask must be worn at all times. The CAAT says food and beverage services will be available at the airport’s “sealed route” waiting area, but there will be “active oversight” on the services. Areas will also be cleaned and disinfected regularly.

Passengers must present the proper documents including…

  • A fit-to-fly health certificate
  • Medical certificate declaring a negative Covid-19 result issued no more than 72 hours before departure
  • Travel health insurance that covers Covid-19 treatment expenses up to $100,000 USD

If demand increases, the airport will add Gates E5, E7 and E8 to the sealed route. If Concourse E is under maintenance, then Concourse F will be used under the same plan.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Thailand

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

Maya Taylor

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Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook

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.

The accounts were associated with the Thai military and were targeting people in the southern provinces, Facebook said its regular report on coordinated inauthentic behavior. The south of the country has been the scene of decades-long conflict, with insurgent groups in the majority-Muslim, Malay-speaking region calling for independence. To date, around 7,000 people have died in the ongoing struggle.

Facebook says the deleted accounts were most active last year and used both fake and real accounts to manage pages and groups, both openly military pages and pages that hid their links to the military. Some of the fake profiles pretended to be people from the southern provinces.

The report mentioned a post by the now-removed account named “comprehending the operation” in Thai. The page posted the logo for Amnesty International Thailand and wrote “The NGO never cares about ordinary citizens because they have no role in society. Normal people are not famous. Any case is not big news. They are not worth the investment of foreigners so they will not do anything to help. This is why we don’t see anything from the NGO.”

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | News by The Thaiger

Image overlay translates to “The NGO never cares about ordinary citizens because they have no role nor money.”

On another now-removed account, named “truth about my home Pattani” in Thai, a post said “Muslim leader declares southern border is a peace zone. The southern separatists started a movement by spreading the idea that Thailand is under control by different believers so that people would come and fight for their religion. This was declared that the action clearly violates Islam faith.”

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | News by The Thaiger

Image overlay translates to “Southern border is not Jihad zone.”

When contacted by Reuters, the military had no comment on the removal of the Facebook accounts, with a spokesman saying the organisation does not comment outside of official press conferences.

The head of Cybersecurity Policy at Facebook, Nathaniel Gleicher, has confirmed the reasons behind the platform’s decision.

“This is the first time that we’ve attributed one of our takedowns to links to the Thai military. We found clear links between this operation and the Internal Security Operations Command. We can see that all of these accounts and groups are tied together as part of this operation.”

He adds that the accounts had spent around US$350 on advertising on both Facebook and Instagram. One or more of the pages had about 700,000 followers and at least one of the groups had 100,000 members. Gleicher says the accounts were removed because of their misleading behaviour and not because of the content being posted. The content included support for the military and the monarchy, with allegations of violence and criticism of insurgent groups in the south.

It’s not the first time accounts linked to the Thai military have been removed by a social media platform. In October, Twitter removed 926 accounts it says had links to the army and posted pro-military and pro-government content. The Thai army has denied any involvement with the accounts in question. In November, Twitter also suspended an account posting pro-monarchy content that was found to have links to the palace and to thousands of other accounts posting similar content.

To read the February 2021 Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior Report, click HERE.

SOURCES: Reuters| Facebook

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thailand may offer free Covid vaccines for migrant workers covered by national social security program

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Thailand may offer free Covid vaccines for migrant workers covered by national social security program | The Thaiger

The Thai government is looking at offering free Covid‐19 vaccines to migrant workers who are covered under the nation’s social security program. The Thai Ministry of Labour is set to discuss the move with the Social Security Board. If approved, over 2.3 million migrant workers would be inoculated for free, costing around 3 billion baht. The Labour Minister says migrant manual labourers are vital to Thai industries and the economy, therefore, they should not be left out of the vaccination program.

Frontline medical personnel, people who have been working in close contact with the infected, elderly people, those suffering from congenital diseases and people in high-risk areas are to be the first recipients of the vaccines, which could be either from Sinovac or Astrazeneca. After the highrisk groups are inoculated, the general public will follow with some tourist heavy areas to see expat residents included in the vaccination programme.

The Labour Ministry also plans to set up a hospital exclusively for people covered by the social security programme, as well as a social security bank to help people under the social security programme.

The move to cover migrant workers comes after Thailand closed at least 7 natural borders with the neighouring country of Myanmar as thousands of Burmese people are expected to flee to Thailand following the military coup in Myanmar. The Thai immigration police chief says he estimates around 400,000 Burmese migrants are looking to enter Thailand. He says the bounty for human traffickers has increased due to the political situation in Myanmar.

Illegal migrants to Thailand have been accused of spreading the Covid virus as many allegedly snuck into the country undetected after bribing border patrol police officers. Those who illegally entered, skirted mandatory quarantines and testing. At least 33 police officers and other government officials were investigated for their roles in the illegal smuggling of migrant workers into Thailand.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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