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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Amnesty is over; Bangkok ATMs hacked; Russian boy in ferry tragedy dies

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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Amnesty is over; Bangkok ATMs hacked; Russian boy in ferry tragedy dies | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Push for amnesty has ended: PM
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: As opposition rises and protests spread to key areas of capital, govt withdraws all six draft bills from the house

The embattled Pheu Thai government yesterday yielded further to the spreading public outrage over the bill for blanket amnesty by withdrawing all draft amnesty bills from the legislature, except the one to be debated by the Senate today.

The move came after many groups of people staged protests at different locations in Bangkok, some even moving into the area where the Internal Security Act (ISA) has been imposed by the Cabinet and some even calling on the government to “get out”.

The Network of Students and People for Thailand’s Reform, which yesterday moved their protest closer to Government House, now plan to campaign for the Yingluck government’s ouster, according to group leader Uthai Yodmanee.

A number of people yesterday also called on the prime minister to dissolve the House of Representatives and call a new election to “return the power to the people”. These included Ramkhamhaeng University rector Wuthisak Lapcharoensap and a number of senators.

Senate Speaker Nikom Wairajpanit brought forward a meeting of the upper house today, from next Monday, to discuss the amnesty bill passed last week by the House of Representatives.

A source from the group of 40 senators said yesterday that they would not attend the meeting today in order to deprive it of quorum.

Bangkok Senator Rossana Tositrakul said there was an attempt to undermine the protesters’ legitimacy by rushing the Senate debate to approve the original amnesty bill proposed by Pheu Thai MP Worachai Hema. The original bill seeks amnesty for protesters who committed criminal offences during the recent political conflicts.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra affirmed yesterday that all draft bills related to amnesty have been withdrawn from the legislature. “I want to alleviate the people’s concern – the amnesty bill has already been dropped and all amnesty-related drafts are withdrawn,” she said.

The embattled premier has made statements on three successive days since Tuesday on the amnesty bill, aiming to pacify the anti-amnesty protesters.

She said her Pheu Thai Party had sought and received House approval to remove the draft legislation on political clemency. “The people should rest assured that the push for amnesty has ended,” she said.

Yingluck said there was no truth to the allegation that the amnesty bill was designed to void corruption cases. She also dismissed concerns that her government would crack down on the protests.

The prime minister said she wanted to see the restoration of peace and a return to normalcy. Therefore, only police were deployed to keep the peace, she said.

There were no plans to deploy soldiers to control the crowds, she said, pledging not to use force to disperse the rallies. She called for an end to the street protests. “My government will not do anything contrary to the people’s feelings,” she said.

She urged her opponents to submit their demands and grievances to the government instead of protesting on the streets.

The House yesterday cast a 310-1 vote to drop six draft bills related to political clemency. The six include the reconciliation bill sponsored by Matubhum Party leader Sonthi Boonyaratglin.

In removing his draft, Sonthi said he wanted the political conflict to end. “The country will become extinct should divisiveness persist,” he said, urging all sides to talk and forgive each other.

The remaining four bills were sponsored by Pheu Thai MPs.

Yesterday, thousands of Thammasat University lecturers, staff members and students marched from their Tha Phachan campus to the United Nations office on Rajdamnoen Road to show their opposition to the amnesty bill.

Surin Pitsuwan, former Asean secretary-general, also took part in the march.

At midday, a large group of people gathered near the Asoke intersection in a protest against the bill organised by the Business Club for Democracy. Another large group, organised by the Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand, gathered at the Ratchaprasong intersection in the evening. The protesters whistled for a long period to show their opposition.

Meanwhile, Air Force commander-in-chief ACM Prajin Jantong yesterday commented that the government’s retreat over the amnesty bill appeared to have reduced the political temperature. He suggested that a law should be written in a way that respects the legal principle and the public sentiment.

Political protests to take a toll on GDP growth: UTCC
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Gross domestic product growth could reach only 3.3-3.4 per cent, short of the forecast of 3.5 per cent, if the political tensions smoulder till the end of the year, the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce said.

“The government needs to solve the problem soon, as the political conflict is a key factor in destroying consumer confidence, tourism growth and investment. And it would hit the economy severely,” Thanavath Phonvichai, director of the university’s Economic and Business Forecasting Centre, said yesterday.

Consumer confidence has plunged to its lowest level in 19 months, amid concern over demonstrations against the blanket amnesty bill.

The Consumer Confidence Index has drifted down for the seventh month from 77.9 points in September to 76.6 last month. Other confidence indices and spending power also fell to their lowest in almost two years.

The expected drag on economic growth would come mainly from the fall of 5-10 per cent of foreign visitors and the loss of Bt10 billion-Bt20 billion from their spending.

The economy next year would expand only 4.8-5 per cent instead of 5.1 per cent.

Based on 1,200 survey responses, if the demonstration is prolonged to the end of this year, and some serious conflict arises, the economy would expand by only 3-3.2 per cent this year, or Bt30 billion to Bt60 billion less than it should have, as arrivals would drop 10-20 per cent.

Economic growth next year would be only 4.8-5 per cent.

In the worst-case scenario, growth could go down to 3-3.2 per cent this year and recover to only 4.5-4.7 per cent next year, if the political mess extends into next year.

The ball is now in the government’s court. It could do its best to calm down the situation if it was still worried about the economy.

“The lower confidence and the current chaos were caused by an unnecessary event. The government needs to fix the situation as quickly as possible. Confidence has dropped to nearly the lowest point of the political turmoil in 2010,” he said.

Saowanee Thairungroj, president of the university, said the poll suggests that the government should withdraw the amnesty bill as the best solution to end the current political strife.

Other possibilities are to amend the draft bill, create a better understanding of the proposed act, conduct a public survey before passing the bill and focus more on economic growth.

Almost 70 per cent of the respondents believe the political confrontations would end if the government kills the bill. About 20 per cent said the protests would disperse if the government revised some details, and almost 10 per cent said the demonstrations would disa

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Thailand

Thailand News Today | German Embassy, More STV tourists, Thanathorn in trouble | October 27

The Thaiger

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Thailand News Today | German Embassy, More STV tourists, Thanathorn in trouble | October 27 | The Thaiger

Today’s latest Thai news from The Thaiger, hosted by Tim Newton with full, echoey sound! Sorry about the minor audio issues!

From Bangkok to Berlin – protesters deliver letter to German Embassy

Protesting students last night submitted a letter to the German Embassy, to be passed on to the German Government. The protest started around 4pm when the rally gathered at the Sam Yan intersection, near the Chulalongkorn University, and made its way along Rama IV Road to the German Embassy in Sathorn Road, some 1.5 kilometres.

After some 10,000+ students descended on the Embassy compound in Sathorn Road, the German embassy said it would be “ready to receive the petition and convey it to Berlin on condition it was conveyed in a peaceful manner”.

The rally disbanded peacefully at around 9pm. Here are a few lines from the letter… the full contents are published on thethaiger.com

Addressed to His Excellency German Ambassador to Thailand.

During the last few days, we believe that Your Excellency have had the occasion to observe numerous alarming human rights violations in The Kingdom, including the excessive use of force against peaceful protestors and the suppression of free speech.

The protestors. at the receiving end of these egregious violations, were advocating for nothing more than democracy and accountability from the Government.

One of the most significant and courageous demands from the protestors is the accountability of the monarchy as an institution under the constitution.

In this regard, we are certain that Your Excellency is well aware of the open secret that H.M. does not habitually reside in Thailand, but rather in Bavaria, Germany. Khana Ratsadon International profoundly believes that this violates International custom, law, as well as Article I of the German Constitution.

We sincerely hope that Your Excellency would convey our grievances to the German Government.

Yesterday’s Germany’s Foreign Minister responded directly to the situation out side the German Embassy in the German parliament….

“Of course we are following developments taking place in Thailand, and know there are demonstrations and people taking to the streets for their rights. And, of course, I am also watching what the Thai King gets up to in Germany.”

Earlier yesterday a group of some 500 supporters of the government and royalists dressed in yellow shirts also demonstrated outside the gates of the German Embassy voicing their support for His Majesty and a continuation of the current system.

Both rallies outside German Embassy broke the law – deputy police chief

Meanwhile both of the rallies outside the German Embassy in Bangkok – the royalists and government supporters earlier yesterday afternoon and the pro-democracy protesters in the evening – have been deemed illegal by Thai police.

Deputy Metropolitan Police Chief says both rallies held outside the embassy on Sathorn Road did not have the permit required to hold a gathering and demonstrators violated Covid-19 prevention measures under the emergency order (presumably the Covid 19 emergency decree as the State of Emergency was rescinded last Thursday by the Thai PM).

Around 500 royalists got to the embassy first in the afternoon to show support for the Thai Monarch. Most were dressed in yellow, the colour representing the Thai Monarchy, and many waved the Thai flag and held up photos of the Royal family.

6 face extortion charges after allegedly posing Thai immigration police officers

Police have arrested 3 people and issued arrest warrants for 3 others on extortion charges after they allegedly posed immigration police officers in Rayong and visited business owners with migrant staff, asking them for money.

Police say 6 men wearing immigration police uniforms visited business owners in Rayong on September 15. They allegedly asked for money from the businesses with migrant labourers.

Investigators where able to track down 3 of the suspects and found the immigration police uniforms they allegedly used.

145 more on Special Tourist Visa arrive in Bangkok

145 people on the new Special Tourist Visa arrived in Bangkok yesterday from Guangzhou, China, the second group after Thailand’s 7 month ban on international tourists.

39 people on the new long stay visa arrived last week, a small, yet significant step forward for Thailand as it pries open the borders for tourists, albeit with a lot of paperwork, restrictions AND the 14 day quarantine.

In 2019, nearly 40 million tourists visited Thailand.

3 Chinese casino workers arrested with 8 million baht after illegal crossing from Myanmar

Officers from the Thai police and military have arrested 3 Chinese nationals after they crossed illegally into Thailand from the Burmese town of Myawaddy.

The 2 women and 1 man were workers at a casino in Myanmar and were arrested in possession of 8 million baht in Mae Sot, Northern Thailand. Officers detained them as they were getting into 2 cars allegedly arranged for them by 2 Thai men .

Thanathorn, other former Future Forward Party officials, are facing criminal charges

16 people from the dissolved Future Forward Party, including the former leader Thanathorn , could face criminal charges pressed by the Election Commission.

The charges are over a large donation that allegedly exceeds the maximum allowed under the Political Parties Act. The timing of the politically-charged legal action coincides with a peak of anti-government protest activity.

The 191 million baht loan, which exceeds the limit of 10 million baht per donor per year, led the Constitutional Court to dissolve the Future Forward Party back in February. The Court also ordered the party’s executive MPs be stripped of their parliamentary status and banned from politics for 10 years.

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Don’t forget to extend your visa! Thai Immigration warns about fines for late applicants

Caitlin Ashworth

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Don’t forget to extend your visa! Thai Immigration warns about fines for late applicants | The Thaiger

Still need to extend your visa? You have until Halloween, October 31. With the visa amnesty deadline approaching, Thai Immigration Bureau is reminding foreigners to get their visa in order by the end of this month. Late applicants will be fined, they say.

No matter when the visa is extended, as long as it’s before the deadline, it will go into effect on November 1 and allow a 60 day stay. The immigration bureau says foreigners should file an application with their local immigration office.

Since the recent amnesty period was put in place a few days after the initial September 26 deadline, those who paid 1,900 baht for 30 day visa extensions last month are now allowed to stay until November 30, but they need to go to immigration to get a stamp with the new expiration date.

The amnesty was first put in place in April due to travel restrictions and the global spread of the coronavirus. The grace period was set to end in July, then extended to late-September, and then extended again after many were unable to leave the country or get their visa in order before the deadline.

SOURCE: Thai Immigration

Don't forget to extend your visa! Thai Immigration warns about fines for late applicants | News by The Thaiger

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Thailand

145 more on Special Tourist Visa arrive in Bangkok

Caitlin Ashworth

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145 more on Special Tourist Visa arrive in Bangkok | The Thaiger
PHOTO: 77 kaoded

145 people on the new Special Tourist Visa arrived in Bangkok yesterday from Guangzhou, China, the second group after Thailand’s 7 month ban on international tourists. 39 people on the new long stay visa arrived last week, a small, yet significant step forward for Thailand as it pries open the borders for tourists, albeit with a lot of paperwork, restrictions AND the 14 day quarantine.

The country went from welcoming millions of tourists each month before the pandemic to zero from late-March until a few weeks ago. In 2019, nearly 40 million tourists visited Thailand.

All the tourists passed the Covid-19 screening upon arrival at the Suvarnabhumi Airport. They are now required to go through a 14 day quarantine at an approved hotel or facility before travelling the country.

The tourists were on the same China Southern Airlines flight as 118 foreigners with Thai work permits who were entering Thailand for business purposes, according to the airport’s deputy director Kittipong Kittikachon. 16 Thais were also on the flight, travelling back home from China.

While some have been concerned that opening the borders to foreign tourists could cause another outbreak (even though the tourists are also required to quarantine), Kittipong says there is “no chance” that the coronavirus will spread from the tourists. He says strict health measures are in place and the tourists are coming from areas that are considered a “very low risk” with no recent local transmissions of the virus.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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