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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Bangkok rallies underway; Chamber warns of economic collapse; Child rapist killer gets life

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

PDRC mass rallies in Bangkok take hold
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The People’s Democratic Reform committee led by Suthep Thaugsuban march from Lumpini Park to the Royal Plaza and Parliament began this morning to affirm its stand that reform must be done before the next election.

By 8:30am, Leaders on the rally stage of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee inside the Lumpini Park started organising protesters into groups for the march. At 9:40am, Suthep Thaugsuban and his wife, Srisakul Promphan, arrived at the King Rama VI statue in front of the Lumpini Park. to pay respect to the King Rama VI statue.

Leaders urged protesters in front of the park start marching at 10am, with Suthep leading the main procession of protesters, who were divided into six groups.

By 10:30am, Suthep’s procession had reached the Rajprasong Intersection. Scenes from the Blue Sky channel show people crowd the intersection and the pedestrian flyovers around the area.

Govt should step aside to avoid economic collapse, warns commerce chamber
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The Thai Chamber of Commerce has urged the caretaker government to suspend performing its duty to pave the way for negotiations before national reform and prevent the collapse of the economy.

The call yesterday came as pressure continued to build against Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her government.

Recent court rulings have been unfavourable to her administration and independent agencies are investigating allegations against the PM.

The anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) has called for another mass rally in Bangkok today in a bid to pile on the pressure. The group, which is campaigning to rid the country of the so-called Thaksin regime, has demanded that the PM and her cabinet resign and make way for national reform ahead of the next election.

Yingluck yesterday said she would not be “taking a break from politics” to reduce political pressure against her family. She said she was focused on how to get all the parties involved to agree to have a new election soon, after the Constitutional Court last week nullified the February 2 election. In that poll, protesters prevented candidates in 28 constituencies from registering, ensuring it could not be completed.

The National Anti-Corruption Commission has accused the caretaker prime minister of dereliction of duty for allegedly failing to stop corruption in the government’s rice-pledging scheme. The anti-graft agency has given Yingluck until Monday to defend herself against the allegation. But she said the time given was too short and suggested that the NACC was treating her unfairly.

If the prime minister is formally indicted, she will have to suspend performing her duties.

Isara Vongkusolkij, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce and Board of Trade, said the private sector expected a new election and a new government soon in order to have a budget to help prop up the economy. He said the country needed a permanent government in place by the third quarter if gross domestic product were to expand by 2.5-3 per cent this year. But if it were later than that, growth was projected to be lower than 2.5 per cent.

Isara said exports and tourism were expected to be the main drivers of the economy, with help from border trade. He anticipated that a solution to the prolonged political unrest would be achieved soon, with a “neutral prime minister” in place and one-year national reform.

Thai Chamber of Commerce deputy secretary-general Pornsilp Phatcharintanakul said: “The government may pause operating to pave the way for negotiations and the national reform, which could be done within three months, while I expect the national conflicts cannot be eased this year.”

Given the national conflicts and not having a new government to deliver an investment promotion policy, Thailand has become less attractive to investors and some foreign companies that had manufacturing bases here have relocated to neighbouring countries such as Indonesia. Reportedly, some electronics companies and Japanese carmakers relocated their manufacturing bases to that country partly because of its larger population.

Pornsilp does not expect a new government to be formed until early next year. The country’s economy will recover in the third quarter of 2015. He said there was no new public investment at present, while the private sector was afraid to invest.

Pornsilp said export growth this year might be less than 5 per cent, as Thailand’s key trade partners are underperforming.

No Democrats at multi-party meeting on new election
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Some 53 political parties that ran in the February 2 election want a new poll to be held 45-60 days after the election’s nullification was announced in the Royal Gazette, Pheu Thai Party legal expert Bhokin Bhalakula said yesterday.

Speaking after a meeting of representatives from the political parties, Bhokin said the Election Commission (EC) and the government should discuss who would issue an election decree, which would amend the House dissolution decree issued earlier.

The EC should meet with the parties in early April, he said.

Yesterday’s meeting was held at the Royal Police Cadet Academy in Nakhon Pathom.

The Constitutional Court nullified the election on March 21. Bhokin said it had yet to be discussed who would be responsible for the cost of the election that has now been nullified and whether the parties that contested it must submit expense reports to the EC.

He said anyone who obstructed the election must face legal action.

Asked whether the parties still trusted the EC, Bhokin said: “We have to accept [the agency], anyway.”

It has been revealed that some Pheu Thai MP candidates were gathering signatures in an attempt to impeach EC member Somchai Srisutthiyakorn.

While key members of the Chart Thai Pattana, Chart Pattana and Phalang Chon parties attended the meeting, no representative from the Democrat Party was present.

Meeting coordinator Suratin Picharn, the leader of the New Democracy Party, said he invited all registered political parties and learnt that Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva had been in an accident. He had understood that a deputy party leader would come instead, but no one showed up.

Yesterday was the first day of the Democrat Party’s two-day general assembly.

Pheu Thai secretary-general Phumtham Wechayachai said the objective of yesterday’s multi-party meeting was to gather information for the EC so it could learn from the mistakes of the February 2 election.

“We insist that the election must go ahead. If the EC says it is not ready or it wants more time, we have yet to consider what to do with the EC,” he said.

“Today, we think only that there must be an election. Therefore, we have no thought about a back-up prime minister or ‘neutral PM’, because that’s the way of thinking of those who don’t support elections.”

Meanwhile, Suthep Thaugsuban, the top leader of the anti-

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Facebook/ศูนย์ข้อมูล COVID-19

1,630 new Covid-19 cases and 22 coronavirus-related deaths were reported today in the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration’s daily briefing. There are now 29,376 active Covid-19 cases. Since the start of the pandemic last year, the CCSA has reported 85,005 Covid-19 cases and 421 Covid-related deaths.

Out of the 22 deaths, most of the patients had chronic illnesses. Many contracted the virus from family members or close friends.

Most of the new cases were detected in Bangkok, particularly in districts with crowded communities and markets. While cases in Bangkok continue to be high, CCSA spokesperson Natapanu Nopakun says the number of new cases in most other provinces in Thailand is decreasing.

Health officials are rolling out proactive case finding campaigns in several high-risk communities, testing 9,000 to 10,000 per day, Nopakun says, adding that officials are working to provide the appropriate treatment as quickly as possible.

Those who test positive for Covid-19 and are asymptomatic must stay at an official field hospital for 14 days and then self-isolate at home for another 14 days.

Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

 

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Thailand

Thailand donates cash, equipment to Laos to help combat Covid-19 outbreak

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Facebook/ Royal Thai Embassy Vientiane

With Laos, just north of Thailand, under lockdown measures to control a spike of Covid-19 infections, the Royal Thai Embassy to Laos helping the country combat the outbreak and has donated cash and materials valued altogether at more than 16 million baht.

While cases have remained low in Laos since the start of the pandemic last year with active cases typically under 10, there was a spike in cases in mid-April and active cases are now at 1,302. The country reported its first coronavirus-related death yesterday.

Thailand donates cash, equipment to Laos to help combat Covid-19 outbreak | News by Thaiger

Active Covid-19 cases in Laos as of 9 May 2021, according to Worldometers.

Donations from Thailand help supply mobile biosafety labs to conduct swab Covid-19 testing and beds for Covid-19 patients as well as protective equipment such including 50,000 medical masks and more than 2,000 Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, outfits.

An order of supplies valued at 8.5 million baht is set to be delivered by the end of the month. That order will have 2,000 more PPE outfits, Covid-19 test equipment, DNA/RNA extraction kits, and 2,500 test kits. Other equipment provided by Thailand include a defibrillator, patient monitoring machine, infrared thermometers, oxygen regulators, and pulse oximeters.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

 

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Politics

Royal Thai police say new uniforms will help in pursuit of criminals

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Stock photo via US National Archives

The Royal Thai Police say new uniforms will help them be more “agile” in their pursuits of criminals. The uniform’s prototype is still under trials and has yet to be launched. The move to change uniforms has been attempted in the past, with tourist police once seeing their usual long-sleeved khaki shirt with shoulder pads and metal badges morph to short-sleeved shirts and blue shorts. But previous modifications to their attires was short-lived.

Somprasong Yenthuam, the deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau has been assigned by the police chief to oversee the uniform change this time around. A committee has been formed to study the input gathered from officers across the country, as well as the public. But the police chief wants the new uniforms to be suited to patrol operations with a final decision being made after a 10-day trial period of the uniforms.

The new style of uniform is currently being tested at the 3 police stations of Chakkrawat, Bang Yi Khan and Bukhalo in Bangkok. The trial started on May 3 and will run until this Thursday, with 10 active-duty officers, at the operational level, trying out the new uniforms.

“The three police stations were chosen because they are ready for the trial as the areas under their jurisdiction are fairly large with many residents.”

The uniforms feature a baseball-style cap, which is much lighter than the traditional police helmets, and a shirt with 2 panels. The upper panel is made of khaki while the lower is made from a more breathable fabric which is easy to launder. The new badges are made of cloth, taking into account previous complaints by officers of the badges’ jagged edges injuring them while working. The new pants feature an elastic waistband and multiple pockets. The new shoes are designed for running without causing foot pain.

“The committee has studied police uniforms from around the world before deciding on the prototype. But what is most important is the opinion of police officers who use it, and the public. Whether the proposed new police uniform will convey less power or authority remains to be seen. It is not finalised yet and can still be changed.”

The new uniforms cost around 2,000 baht but Somprasong says the department will use its annual provision to pay for the uniforms without needing to add more money. Krisanaphong Poothakool, an associate professor of criminology and assistant president at Rangsit University, says the new uniform must help officers be more agile.

“However, how the officers perform their duties and behave themselves in public is more important than their uniforms. Changing the uniform will be useless if the officers fail to improve their behaviour.”

Royal Thai police say new uniforms will help in pursuit of criminals | News by ThaigerSOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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