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Phuket Gazette: Thai Deputy Premier wants fast execution of drug convicts

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Phuket Gazette: Thai Deputy Premier wants fast execution of drug convicts | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

PHUKET (The Nation): A legal study is underway on orders from Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung to determine whether drug-related convicts on death row can be executed within 60 days after final verdicts have been reached.

With national drug-related crime statistics reflecting the surge in arrests in Phuket, swift killings would help to combat rampant drug dealing, Chalerm believes.

Chalerm says a new regulation stipulates that verdicts in drug-related convictions are regarded final at the Court of Appeals, not the Supreme Court as in all other charges. A legal study is working to find out whether immediate execution would violate the Constitution or the convicts’ right to appeal for a Royal pardon, or any other laws, he says.

“If immediate execution – which I think should be done within 60 days after the final verdict [by the Court of Appeals] – is approved after the study finds it is lawful, a bill will be submitted to Parliament for amendment to put it into effect,” he said yesterday.

Under Thai law, convicts condemned to death for all other crimes in the lower court have three chances to appeal against execution, through the Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court and royal pardons.

Chalerm said it was not widely known that drug-related convicts sentenced to death by the lower court and the Court of Appeals presently had no right to seek a third chance with the Supreme Court.

“The process for the changes [excluding the Supreme Court step] began when I was the justice minister [in 1996 in the Banharn Silapa-archa government].”

In practice, a large number of convicts guilty of other crimes and drug-related cases on death row are not often executed immediately, awaiting their turn for years after Royal pardons do not favour them.

Chalerm said he would visit China today and would meet with anti-narcotics agencies there to discuss bilateral policies against drugs, which were now transported along the Mekong River in addition to land routes. He said Burmese and Thai authorities were cooperating closely to combat drug abuse and dealing.

Chiang Rai police have arrested two suspects and seized 1,736,000 amphetamine tablets along with 37 kilos of crystal methamphetamine, or “ice”. They also yesterday found and seized 13 kilos of “ice” abandoned in a botched deal between local traders.

The Chief Justice of the Criminal Court, Justice Thawee Prachuaplarp, echoed Chalerm’s policy on the executions within 60 days, saying the judiciary could not simply stay put over rampant drug dealing after the administration was taking serious action.

“Following the government’s heightened suppression, if the Criminal Court still hands the same penalties to drug-related convicts, damage would be done to the entire justice system,” he added.

The criteria for handing down a death sentence to convicts has also changed, with those having only 10,000 amphetamine tablets now facing death, instead of 20,000 tablets as before. Judges considering arrest and search warrants will cooperate with police and anti-narcotics officials to speed up the process.

Drug users and addicts, normally granted leniency and considered victims rather than criminals, will now face harsher penalties in case of repeat offenders, while first-time offenders will still be eligible for rehabilitation and other measures, said Thawee.

Nationally, the number of drug-related trials increased to 8,787 last year, up from 6,004 the previous year, he said.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Thailand News Today | Week In Review | February 26

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Thailand News Today | Week In Review | February 26 | The Thaiger

Thailand News Today usually covers five days of the news week. This week only four days as today (Friday) is a public holiday. Now we have a weekend edition which goes over the biggest, or best stories, from the past week. Out every Saturday afternoon, catch up with Jett and Tim’s major Thai news stories. Welcome to the Thailand News Today Week in Review. Tim and Jett give you a quick recap of the main news stories.

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Thailand

45 new cases today, 37 local‐Covid‐19‐Update

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45 new cases today, 37 local‐Covid‐19‐Update | The Thaiger

Thailand reports 45 new cases of Covid-19cases today, with 37 infections being locally-transmitted. 8 of those infections were imported, raising the total amount of infections since the pandemic began to 25,809.

The Department of Disease Control reports that 32 cases were confirmed at hospitals with 5 confirmed through active case finding in communities.

Samut Sakhon province, the 2nd wave epicentre, reported over half of the new cases at 19. 14 of those cases were confirmed at hospitals and 5 were detected in Myanmar communities. Bangkok has reported 3 new cases, Nakhon Nayok reported 5, Chai Nat 3, Nakhon Pathom 3, Saraburi 2, Prachuap Khiri Khan 1, and Samut Prakan 1.

45 new cases today, 37 local‐Covid‐19‐Update | News by The Thaiger

The 8 imported cases were those under quarantine arriving from Pakistan, Bangladesh, the UK, Germany, France, The Netherlands, and Kuwait. The case from the UK was that of a 6 year old Thai schoolgirl.

Globally, Covid-19 cases rose by 444,466 over the past day to 113.54 million. The worldwide death toll increased by 10,552 to 2.52 million. The United States still has the most cases at 29.5 million, with the most deaths at 520,785.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Surveys show Thailand still one of the top holiday choices post-pandemic

Maya Taylor

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Surveys show Thailand still one of the top holiday choices post-pandemic | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Jakob Owens on Unsplash

The Stockholm office of the Tourism Authority of Thailand has conducted a survey in which 62% of respondents say they want to spend winter in Thailand provided restrictions are lifted. The top destinations are Phuket, Krabi and Khao Lak, followed by Koh Samui, Koh Pha-ngan, Koh Tao, Bangkok, and Hua Hin.

68% say they would cancel bookings if the 14-day quarantine remains in place. 26% say they would still go ahead, and 13% said they’d be in favour of quarantine being cut to 10 days. 99% of participants say they would be worried about testing positive for Covid-19 after travel plans have been made.

Meanwhile, the TAT’s London office has also been busy, carrying out a survey in conjunction with market research firm, YouGov. The idea behind the survey was to get an idea of the future of tourism once the pandemic is over.

4,127 people took part, with 75% of them saying they’re prepared to be vaccinated if it’s required for travel. 41% are against mandatory quarantine, although 52% would accept a 5-day quarantine. 62% of those planning holidays are over the age of 50 and interested in countries with low infection rates.

According to a Nation Thailand report, Siripakorn Cheawsamoot from the TAT says the findings of the survey indicate that up to 6 million people are interested in travelling to Thailand at some point this year.

Meanwhile, a number of online travel agency platforms in France have also carried out a survey. The poll, conducted by companies such as Go Voy, Opodo, and eDreams, showed that the number of hits to tourism-related websites rose by 15% once the success of Covid-19 vaccines was announced. The top destinations searched for were Dubai at 49%, Marrakesh at 27%, and Bangkok at 25%.

Another travel survey in the Americas found that most holidaymakers have chosen to postpone their trips by 7 months to a year, rather than cancelling completely. Siripakorn says that booking flexibility is a priority for Americans.

“Flexibility to reschedule is the top priority for American tourists, followed by safety. These tourists are looking for safety, no quarantine, flexibility, and no deposit.”

Meanwhile, a report issued by Skift Research shows that travel will not recover until 2023 and will not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2025.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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