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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Bangkok deadlock; Academics fear coup; No bail for Abhisit; Tortoises snared at airport; B77mn ya bah bust

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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Bangkok deadlock; Academics fear coup; No bail for Abhisit; Tortoises snared at airport; B77mn ya bah bust | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Game reaches dead end
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra fought back tears yesterday when asked by reporters to respond to the anti-government group’s demand that the whole Shinawatra clan leave the country.

In a shaky voice, her eyes welling with tears, she said she has backed down to the point where she did not know how to back down any further.

“Everyone can get hurt. It is not that I have no feelings. I have paid attention to the protesters’ demands. We all are Thais. Do you want us not to even live on Thai soil?” Yingluck asked.

Suthep Thaugsuban, a former Democrat MP and leader of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), on Monday succeeded in mobilising over 100,000 protesters and demanded Yingluck and the entire Cabinet immediately relinquish administrative power after she announced the dissolution of the House of Representatives. He also vowed to create a “People’s Assembly” to reshape the country.

Though the new election date has been declared for February 2, the situation remains tense, as it is unclear if Thailand’s oldest party – the Democrats – would boycott the election, as they did in 2006.

The situation in Bangkok has caught international attention. Yesterday, Jen Psaki, spokesperson for the US Department of State, said in a statement: “We encourage all involved to resolve political differences peacefully and democratically in a way that reflects the will of the Thai people and strengthens the rule of law.”

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle also issued a statement, saying: “Confrontation is not a solution. Political exchange and a democratic dialogue is the right solution for now.”

He also noted that if Bangkok witnessed more use of force, and more bloodshed, it would be a backward step for democracy, political and social stability as well as for Thailand’s economic development.

Yingluck yesterday said she would stay on until the election was over. She also urged protesters to end their rallies and to go to the polls, to uphold democracy.

Thailand yesterday celebrated Constitution Day, remembering King Rama VII for the promulgation of the first constitution in 1932.

“What the government could do is to dissolve the House and return power to the people. We do not want to see violence,” Yingluck said. Though key members of the Pheu Thai Party want her to contest the election, she said there has been no consultation yet. She refused to say if she would quit politics.

“I did not think that the situation would turn out to be like this. I do not want to see Thai politics become violence-prone,” she said.

Former House speaker Somsak Kiatsuranont said the PDRC’s demand for the government to resign is driving the country towards a dead end.

In a televised programme, caretaker Justice Minister Chaikasem Nitisiri announced that in a consultation between government agencies including the Council of State, under the Constitution’s Article 181, the government cannot leave office before the election is complete.

“The Cabinet is working based on the principle of collective responsibility. We have been appointed by His Majesty the King. But Suthep tried to establish another government without any legal support. The legal government considered that the PDRC’s actions were violating His Majesty the King’s royal prerogative power,” he said.

Suthep urged protesters to stay with him until tomorrowDecember 12. In the announcement on Monday, he called officials across the country to report to the PDRC, rather than to their offices, in a bid to paralyse the administration.

PDRC moves similar to coup attempt, say academics
The NAtion / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: What the Suthep Thaugsuban-led People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) is doing is tantamount to an attempted coup and could lead to civil war, a group of 22 academics warned yesterday.

The group, calling itself the Assembly for the Defence of Democracy (AFDD), accused PDRC of trying to create a power vacuum so undemocratic elements could wind the clock back on democratic progress, pointing out that such a move would destroy democracy.

AFDD, which has won support from more than a 100 citizens, held a press conference at Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Political Science yesterday. They said Suthep and his supporters’ push for a royally appointed premier and a people’s council was unconstitutional.

Worajet Pakeerut, a lecturer of law at Thammasat, said Suthep’s demand for caretaker PM Yingluck Shinawatra to step down went against the Constitution as she was serving as caretaker premier while awaiting a snap election. He said even if Yingluck vacated her seat as prime minister, her first deputy would automatically assume her duties, and if none of her deputies were able to carry out their duty as premier, then a senior Cabinet member would have to take over.

“There’s no other way,” Worajet said. He went on to say that he believed the House dissolution was the best thing the premier could have done given the circumstances and that she was duty-bound by the Constitution to continue serving as caretaker premier until the election.

He also criticised deans of several universities, who have aired views in support of the PDRC, calling them shameless and accusing them of doing this for their own benefit, as they were likely to be appointed as members of the people’s council if it does materialise.

Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, another Thammasat law lecturer and member of AFDD, said the idea of a “people’s council” was inspired by Benito Mussolini’s fascist regime.

“Calling for a people’s council is tantamount to an attempted coup,” Piyabutr reiterated.

Kasian Tejapira, a noted political scientist at Thammasat, also asked how such a council could be held accountable and scrutinised if it ever eventuated.

“What if Suthep is corrupt? What if the Democrat Party and the armed forces are corrupt? What mechanisms are in place to scrutinise them [under the people’s council]?”

Charnvit Kasetsri, a former rector at Thammasat, said Thailand was facing anarchy.

“The protest has become a problem in itself and it is accelerating conflicts,” he said, adding that some academics had taken the anti-democratic stance of claiming to represent the entire academic community without seeking consent of others.

While academics like Worajet said Thailand was still far from being free from another coup, his colleague Thanet Apornsuwan, also from Thammasat, took the opportunity to thank the Army for not staging a coup yet.

AFDD’s statement proposed a referendum on how to amend the charter, which was approved when the junta-appointed Surayud Chulanont administration was in power and several provinces were under martial law.

Both sides urged to propose reforms, talk
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Both sides of politics should propose reform formats – and talk to one other – if there is no election within the legal time-frame of 60 days, a seminar on the crisis was told yesterday.

Ekkachai Sriwilas, a senior official at King Prajadhipok’s Institute, said proposals on reform should be presented to the public in

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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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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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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