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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Bangkok shutdown begins; Pheu Thai objects May 4 polls; Businesses ready for downturn

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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Bangkok shutdown begins; Pheu Thai objects May 4 polls; Businesses ready for downturn | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Stage set for huge Bangkok shutdown
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) will today begin their Shutdown operation to try to seize seven sites in Bangkok at 9am after a series of blockades at state agencies – in a bid to paralyse Yingluck Shinawatra’s administration until she steps down.

The first anti-government group – from the Northeast and led by former Democrat MP Issara Somchai from Ubon Ratchathani – yesterday occupied Lat Phrao intersection to kick off the protest.

Meanwhile many groups were seen building a blockade and barriers in many locations across the capital including at the Government Complex in Chaeng Wattana and Pathumwan.

The Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO) announced yesterday that the authorities would ban people from entering seven locations – Sala Daeng, Pathumwan, Ratchaprasong, Asoke, Victory Monument, Lat Phrao and the middle of Rajdamnoen. Vehicles would be prohibited from entering those locations, it said.

People could not entry eight buildings without prior permission. These were the Government Complex, CAT headquarters in Chaeng Wattana and Bang Rak, TOT headquarters, Thaicom satellite stations, Aero Thai company on Rama IV and the Police Club in Vibhavadi.

PDRC chief Suthep Thaugsuban will begin with a march from Rajdamnoen to Lan Luang, Rajthevi before a group of protesters would separate to Victory Monument and another would go to Pathumwan, according to PDRC spokesman Ekanat Promphan.

Members of the Dharma Army Foundation will take charge at the Rajdamnoen stage when the PDRC moves to other locations. They will turn the capital into a Tambon (sub-district)-like community. The seven rally sites would be like seven villages in the subdistrict, Ekanat said. He noted that every village would have a phu yai baan (village head) to take care of the area and provide services to protesters.

Protesters had functions to work as soldiers to surround or perhaps storm into buildings of state agencies to stop their operation during working hours from 9am-4pm everyday, Ekanat said. Protesters would return to their respective seven stages in the evening everyday to listen to leaders’ conclusions about the mission and prepare for further missions, he said. But the shutdown was mostly aimed at government agencies. Mass transport would be operated as usual, he said.

People from southern provinces have reportedly joined the shutdown operation.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was seen at National Police Headquarters yesterday, where she had a meeting with many ministers and senior officials including Deputy Prime Minister Surapong Tovichak-chaikul, police chief Adul Saengsingkaew – to assess the situation.

Labour minister Chalerm Ubumrung, who was assigned to oversee the protest, said the government would not react to the rally with violence. It would mostly be in a defensive mode, he said. “We will allow them to do as they want to do. The only concern is the intervention of a third party to create violence,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission (EC) warned yesterday it may not be able to endorse any partylist MP if anything ruins ballot counts at any polling unit. “In that scenario, the February 2 election will not provide any of the 125 partylist MPs,” EC Commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn said.

Speaking to Nation Channel after sending a letter to the government seeking to postpone the poll till May 4, Somchai said preparations for the February 2 election were mired with problems. “We still lack about 100,000 staff members to man polling units,” he said. He also pointed to the fact that 28 constituencies in the South still did not have any MP candidates.

Meanwhile, pro-government red shirts poured onto the streets in many provinces yesterday to promote their causes. The reds tried to drum up support for the February 2 ballot by marching through provinces such as Samut Prakan and Pathum Thani. Red shirts also gathered in Ayutthaya and Nonthaburi and vowed to prevent the Shutdown.

In Udon Thani, redshirt leader Kwanchai Sarakham pledged to protect Prime Minister Yingluck if violence breaks out in the capital. “Supporters of the government from 20 northeastern provinces will gather here in Udon Thani where Yingluck is definitely welcome,” he said.

Rival groups on the move upcountry
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: On the eve of the Bangkok Shutdown, supporters of the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee and pro-government red shirts poured onto the streets yesterday to promote their causes in many provinces.

The PDRC is pushing for reform of the country before the next general election. If it gets its way, the poll will not take place on February 2 as scheduled.

The red shirts are trying to drum up support for the February 2 ballot by marching through provinces such as Samut Prakan and Pathum Thani.

But in Nakhon Ratchasima, about 80 PDRC backers briefly blocked a road in front of the luxury vacation home of Tarit Pengdith, director-general of the Department of Special Investigation. They accused Tarit of catering to political favourites and a corrupt government, but he was not there.

After demonstrating for about 20 minutes, they joined a stream of PDRC supporters from several provinces heading to Bangkok to help out with the Bangkok Shutdown activities.

From Surat Thani, Si Sa Ket and Roi Et, PDRC supporters were seen jumping on Bangkok-bound buses. About 500 Phitsanulok people boarded the train to the capital. They are preparing to help the PDRC pile up pressure on the caretaker government by staging the Bangkok Shutdown.

However, red shirts in Ayutthaya and Nonthaburi gathered and vowed to prevent the Shutdown.

In Udon Thani, red-shirt leader Kwanchai Sarakham pledged to protect Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra if violence breaks out in the capital.

“Supporters of the government from 20 northeastern provinces will gather here in Udon Thani where Yingluck is definitely welcome,” he said. In the evening, he joined a candlelit vigil to promote peace, saying about 500 red shirts on motorcycles will hit Udon Thani roads today to campaign against a coup.

Pheu Thai: Why delay vote till May 4?
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Pheu Thai Party leader and caretaker Interior Minister Charupong Ruangsuwan said the government was ready to consider the Election Commission (EC)’s proposal that the election be postponed, but said the agency should state why it believed the election would go smoothly if it was held on May 4.

Charupong said that legally, the election could not be postponed beyond February 6, as the election law stated it must be held within 60 days of a House dissolution. The only exceptions are in cases of disasters or riots, and only in the affected areas, not nationwide.

“If we postpone because of fears that there would be violence, it would set a bad precedent for future elections,’ he said.

Pheu Thai spokesman Prompong Nopparit yesterday submitted a letter to the EC to show the party’s stance that the poll must be held on Feb 2, since a budget of over Bt3.8 billion has been allocated fo

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Thailand

Thailand News Today | Immigration deadline, quarantine update?, arrests averted | October 30

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Thailand News Today | Immigration deadline, quarantine update?, arrests averted | October 30 | The Thaiger

Last day of the week and all the main stories from around Thailand. Thailand News Today, a bit late today but here it is…

Some immigration offices open tomorrow for last minute visa extensions

The latest amnesty is up tomorrow (October 31) and some immigration offices will be open for those who still need sort out their visa extensions.

Those who miss the deadline could face fines for overstay, immigration officials warn. The extensions all go into effect from November 1 and allow a 60 day stay.

Some immigration offices that are typically closed on Saturdays will be open tomorrow for those filing for extensions. Immigration Bureau commissioner Sompong Chingduang says immigration offices on Chaeng Watthana Road in Bangkok and at Muang Thong Thani in Nonthaburi, just outside Bangkok city, will be open tomorrow from 8.30am to 4.30pm. Check with your local immigration office.

Court rejects bid to arrest activists who led march on German Embassy

A bid to apprehend 5 anti-government activists who led a march to the Germany Embassy on Monday has failed, after a court in Bangkok rejected a police application for arrest warrants.

The Bangkok South Criminal Court has turned down the application for arrest warrants.

The 5 would have faced charges of sedition and other offences. But the court told officials to instead issue a summons, given that the protesters are students who only gathered for a short time and are unlikely to flee.

On Monday, protesters marched to the German Embassy to submit a petition calling on the country’s government to investigate whether Thailand’s Head of State conducted official business while in Germany. Which nicely segues to the next story…

German government does not believe the Thai Monarch broke the law on conducting state affairs

The German government does not believe the Thai Monarch broke the law on conducting state affairs during his time in the German state of Bavaria.

Germany says His Majesty the King has not violated the European country’s ban on conducting foreign politics on German soil where he resides. The government in Berlin briefed lawmakers this week, saying the Thai Monarch is allowed make occasional decisions regarding Thai state affairs, but he cannot continuously conduct business from overseas.

So far, the German government says they do not believe the King Maha Vajiralongkorn “continuously” conducted Thailand state business during his residence in Bavaria.

PM to visit Phuket on Monday as island’s economy lies in tatters

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is heading to Phuket on Monday, where he will meet with local business leaders and discuss proposals to help revive the southern island’s devastated tourism sector.

Despite Phuket Models and any number of promises from the Thai tourism sector, Phuket remains in a perilous situation whilst the government keeps its borders closed. Almost 100% of Phuket’s economy is derived directly or indirectly from tourist traffic.

Health officials propose reducing quarantine to 10 days

Health officials are suggesting cutting mandatory quarantine for international arrivals to 10 days. We’ve heard it all before but the idea has risen to the top of the Health Minister’s file again.

Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul says the proposal will be submitted to the CCSA for approval. It’s hoped that a reduction in the quarantine period could help revive Thailand’s battered tourism sector. Only a tiny handful of STV tourists have arrived on the the tourist visa over the past month. The health minister said…

”The priority now is to strike a balance between people’s health and the economy. Thailand still has to rely on foreign tourists. Re-opening the country to foreign visitors will help put the economy back on track.”

The Minister didn’t say where all these tourists might come from or speculate when a reduction on the quarantine period might be introduced.

Police arrest woman for allegedly selling fashion dental retainers

Police have arrested a woman for allegedly selling and fitting fashion dental retainers and braces.

Police seized equipment used for making dental casts and retainers found at her home in Ratchaburi and charged the 27 year old with illegally fitting fashion dental retainers.

The woman has allegedly been selling the retainers on a Facebook page under the name since November 2017, targeting mostly teenage students.

In Thailand, braces and retainers are a fashion trend and also seen as a symbol of wealth. The Thaiger suggests that if you want a set of straight teeth, go to an orthodontist.

Floods in NE Thailand as Vietnam mops up after typhoon

Flooding persists in four north eastern provinces, including Nakhon Rachasima as of this morning. All in the wake of the weakening tropical depression that crossed the Vietnamese coast on Wednesday as Typhoon Molave.

‘Molave’ was the most powerful typhoon to hit Vietnam in 20 years. The remnants of the tropical depression are now centred over the west of Thailand where it continues to drop plenty of rain.

At least 35 people are dead, 100s injured, and 50+ missing in Vietnam as disaster mitigation authorities are now reaching some of the worst hit areas in central Vietnam.

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Dengue Fever

Lockdown may contribute to Thailand’s rise in dengue fever cases, study suggests

Caitlin Ashworth

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Lockdown may contribute to Thailand’s rise in dengue fever cases, study suggests | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikipedia

Social distancing and lockdown measures may have contributed to a rise in dengue fever in Thailand, according to a recent study funded by the Singapore Ministry of Health’s National Medical Research Council.

Researchers, which included scientists from the University of Singapore, examined dengue fever cases in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. No impact on the dengue transmission was found in Malaysia or Singapore, but in Thailand, they found that social distancing may lead to an increase in the number of coronavirus cases. They say the largest impact is in Bangkok Researchers say social distancing is expected to lead to 4.32 additional dengue fever cases per 100,000 people in Thailand each month.

Many people in Thailand stayed at home during lockdown measures put in place to control the spread to the coronavirus, but the study found that people in Thailand are typically bitten by dengue-carrying mosquitos at home rather than at work. Some people even travelled back home to their home provinces to be with their families during the lockdown period.

“Although it is possible for dengue infections to occur in workplaces, it was found in one study that 60% of dengue cases live less than 200m apart came from the same transmission chain, revealing that residential areas are a focal point of transmission.”

Reported dengue fever cases in 2019

Lockdown may contribute to Thailand's rise in dengue fever cases, study suggests | News by The Thaiger

Reported dengue fever cases in 2020

Lockdown may contribute to Thailand's rise in dengue fever cases, study suggests | News by The Thaiger

To read the full study click HERE.

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Thailand

Man arrested for allegedly driving with monitor lizards tied to his motorbike

Caitlin Ashworth

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Man arrested for allegedly driving with monitor lizards tied to his motorbike | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Line Today

A man was arrested on animal abuse charges for allegedly catching water monitor lizards, tying them to his motorbike and driving around Prachuap Khri Khan, south of Phetchaburi province.

The man, who is identified as Chaowalit, posted photos on Facebook of lizards tied up to the back of his motorbike. One photo shows a large monitor lizard tied up to the back of the bike, hanging upside-down. Apparently, Chaowalit has been posting photos for about 4 months now on Facebook page on wildlife hunting.

Officials from the Kui Buri National Park were notified about the photos and a team of special unit officers were sent to Chaowalit’s house to arrest him. He was charged with catching and harming protected wildlife as well as violating the Wild Animal Reservation Protection Act. If found guilty, he could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine up to 1 million baht.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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