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Marine police alert for EU fishing checks

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Marine police alert for EU fishing checks
The Nation / Phuket Gazette


PHUKET: In a bid to improve Thailand’s illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing problems ahead of the upcoming inspection by representatives from the European Union (EU), coastal provinces such as Chon Buri and Songkhla yesterday launched checks on migrant workers and fishing vessels.

In Chon Buri’s Sattahip district, marine police divided into two teams for the operation – one on foot to inspect the piers in Ban Chong Saem San community and the other on boats to check on 10 fishing vessels in Saem San Bay.

They found all trawlers and migrant workers to have proper documents, said Marine Police Station 3 inspector Lt Col Patiya Khemlai.

Marine Police Division 5 commander Col Chatchai Chatiwet said the operation in Chon Buri followed the government’s instruction for all agencies to integrate and solve the IUU fishing issues as well as human trafficking.

Chon Buri reported a total of 1,800 registered fishing vessels and the provincial authority had issued 1,264 fishing licences.

In Songkhla’s Muang district, marine police and related agencies launched a similar operation by setting up checkpoints at piers and inspecting fishing boats as well as co-ordinating with the Songkhla Fishing Association in checking on fishing boat crew members prior to departure.

Marine Police Division 7 commander Col Wasan Kesarak said police would check if fishing trawlers had proper licences and if all crew members were legal. Col Wasan also thanked all parties for co-operating with the police inspections.

The EU recently gave Thailand six months, starting from April, to comply with its IUU fishing regulations.

If Thailand failed to adhere to the IUU rules – which required countries sending fishery exports to the EU to verify that such products were from fishing boats that complied with regulations against forced labor and underage workers – it could face a ban on its fishery exports.

Thailand currently is the third largest seafood exporter – after Norway and China – to the lucrative 28-country EU market.

The first group of EU officials is expected to visit Thailand next month to inspect fishing vessels and follow up on the installation of global positioning system (GPS) equipment on board all vessels, as they want to ensure that illegal and unreported fishing is reduced.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Thailand

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

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Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4 | The Thaiger

Thai Airways has submitted a rehabilitation plan in accordance with a Central Bankruptcy Court order after the the receiver’s appointment last September. The airline’s acting president says the rehabilitation plans aim to fully restructure and help the national flag carrier to regain profits.

The company has revealed its planned recovery to the media and says the savings and new profit centres will come from multiple aspects of the airline.

The Thai government is looking at offering free C‐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, estimated to cost 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.

Chiang Mai has ranked as the 3rd most polluted city in the world yesterday, according to AirVisual, following Lahor in Pakistan and New Delhi in India. The northern Thai city’s was recorded to have an average PM2.5 dust level higher than 200.
All 4 air quality monitoring stations in the municipal area reported the PM as exceeding the safe level, with the deputy chief of an air pollution command citing some 928 hotspots detected across the nation’s 17 northern provinces.

The Thai musician and anti-government activist, known as “Ammy”, has had his bail request declined. The singer was arrested at Ratchathani Hospital, in the central province of Ayutthaya on charges of lèse majesté, arson, and violation of the Computer Crimes Act. He is accused of being 1 of 3 people to set fire to a portrait of HM the King outside Bangkok’s Khlong Prem Central Prison on the night of February 28.

Thailand has hosted the first group of international tourists to carry out a “golf quarantine”. 42 golfers (41 from South Korea and 1 from Japan) flew into Thailand on February 19, entering quarantine at the Artitaya Golf Resort in the central province of Nakhon Nayok.

Guests following Thailand’s golf quarantine program are required to remain in their rooms for the first 3 days of their stay, after which they can roam freely around the resort and play golf. During their stay, guests are tested 3 times.

Thailand’s annual waste of water, the traditional Songkran festival, has been given the ‘all clear’ as long as the festivities are in line with C-19 prevention measures. PM Prayut Chan-o-cha says people will have to to abide by social distancing rules during the Songkran holiday from April 13 to 15. Looks like you’re going to need a bigger water pump pistol as short range shooters may infringe on the social distancing guidelines.

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Thailand

Thailand classified as a “not free” country in Freedom House report

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thailand classified as a “not free” country in Freedom House report | The Thaiger
October protest at the Asok-Sukhumvit intersection in Bangkok / Photo by Caitlin Ashworth

On a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 being absolute freedom, Thailand scores at 30, a “not free” country, according to the nonprofit Freedom House. Each year, the organisation reviews the political rights and civil liberties of countries around the world. According to their recent assessment, Thailand has declined in terms of rights and liberties, dropping on the scale from “partly free” to “not free.”

The main reason for the drop on the freedom scale, the organisation says, is “due to the dissolution of a popular opposition party that performed well in the 2019 elections, and the military-dominated government’s crackdown on youth-led protests calling for democratic reforms.”

The Future Forward Party was dissolved in February 2020 after the court found that the founder, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, had made a large donation to the party that exceeded the legal limit. The party’s leaders were then banned from politics for the next decade.

Youth-led protests started in February, but the demonstrations were put on pause due to Covid-19 restrictions banning large public gatherings. Protesters gathered in July as restrictions lifted, but some leaders then faced charges for holding a public gathering, which was still banned under emergency orders.

In October, the prime minister imposed what Freedom House calls a “severe” State of Emergency order in Bangkok that banned gatherings of more than 5 people. Some protesters were arrested for violating the order nearly immediately after it was imposed.

With activists pushing for monarchy reform and an end to the military’s involvement in government, raising subjects considered taboo and unprecedented in Thai society, the Thai government has increased its use of the draconian lèse majesté law. Since November, dozens of activists have faced charges for insulting or defaming the Thai Monarchy.

Freedom House scores countries on topics like the electoral process, questioning if politicians and leaders were elected in free and fair elections, as well as freedom of expression and individual rights.

Thailand’s military seized power in 2014 in a bloodless coup. The 2017 constitution was drafted by a committee appointed by the military’s National Council for Peace and Order. In 2019, the country transitioned to what Freedom House calls a “military-dominated, semi-elected” government.

The 2019 elections were overseen by the Election Commission of Thailand, whose members were appointed by the military. All 250 senators were appointed by the military in 2019 to serve 5 year terms.

In 2020, the combination of democratic deterioration and frustrations over the role of the monarchy provoked the country’s largest anti-government demonstrations in a decade. In response to these youth-led protests, the regime resorted to familiar authoritarian tactics, including arbitrary arrests, intimidation, lèse majesté charges, and harassment of activists. Freedom of the press is constrained, due process is not guaranteed, and there is impunity for crimes committed against activists.

SOURCE: Freedom House

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Riot police officer in Bangkok tests positive for Covid-19

Caitlin Ashworth

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Riot police officer in Bangkok tests positive for Covid-19 | The Thaiger
Protest in Bangkok on February 28 / Photo by Thai News Pix

A riot police officer, who was deployed at the recent pro-democracy protests in Bangkok, has tested positive for Covid-19. His supervisor, chief of Wang Thonglang station Ekapop Tanprayoon, says the officer had visited Samut Sakhon, a coronavirus hotspot.

Riot police who worked closely with the infected officer, Somyot Nuamcharoen, are ordered to quarantine. The Wang Thonglang police station and any items the police officer handled are being disinfected, the chief says.

The officer had met up with friends during a visit to Samut Sakhon, just southwest of Bangkok. He travelled to the coastal province on February 18 and returned to Bangkok the next day.

On the 20th, he was deployed to a protest outside of parliament, just after returning from his trip to the “red zone” province. On Sunday, he deployed the protest outside the military barracks in Bangkok. The demonstration turned violent and numerous people were injured.

On Tuesday, his friend from Samut Sakhon tested positive for the virus. The infected officer was tested for Covid-19 that day and his result came back positive yesterday.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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