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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: D-Day – Rallies in Bangkok hit critical mass; ICJ ruling on Preah Vihear temple today; Woman confesses to Jakkrit slaying

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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: D-Day – Rallies in Bangkok hit critical mass; ICJ ruling on Preah Vihear temple today; Woman confesses to Jakkrit slaying | The Thaiger
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– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Anti-amnesty groups step up rallies in bid to topple PM
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Today is D-Day for Yingluck Shinawatra’s government, which is under pressure from all-out resistance to the amnesty bill from various groups. Several anti-amnesty movements will today join forces to hold street marches with the objective not just of killing the amnesty bill, but of over throwing the Yingluck government.

Apart from the bill – which many see as a case of the govern ment having shot itself in the foot – the administration is also on the defensive against nationalist groups fired up by the Preah Vihear land dispute, which is expected to reach its conclusion today in a much-awaited ruling at 4pm by the International Court of Justice.

Depending on what action the court takes, a possible outcome is that Thailand will have to cede some of its soil to Cambodia.

In another move by the anti-amnesty movement to pile up pressure on the Pheu Thai-led government, demonstrators belonging to the People’s Army Against the Thaksin Regime camping at the Phan Fa Lilat Bridge will this morning march to three undisclosed locations. The largest anti-amnesty rally is being held at Democracy Monument.

Four newly formed groups, rallying their supporters through the social media, have also announced separate marches to be held today on several Bangkok streets. The first group, calling itself the Civil Community, vowed to gather in front of the Silom Complex at noon and begin a march at 12.34pm.

They will be joined by marchers from the Asoke Community, the Ratchadaphisek Community and a group based in the Saphan Khwai and Aree areas, in a march to Rajdamnoen Avenue to meet up with those currently rallying at the Democracy Monument under the guidance of the opposition Democrat Party.

Meanwhile, former leaders of the yellow-shirt People’s Alliance for Democracy Sondhi Limthongkul and Chamlong Srimuang will hold a press conference on the political situation today at 10.30am.

In defiance of the anti-amnesty movement, the red-shirt movement has sponsored a large gathering of around 10,000 red shirts at Muang Thong Thani in Nonthaburi in a show of unity between the ruling party and the pro-Thaksin Shinawatra red-shirt movement, despite the fact that a large number of red shirts are opposed to blanket amnesty.

In another move not to be missed today, the Senate will meet at 10am to vote on rejecting the bill in its first reading. Will it be in time? The anti-amnesty rally led by the Democrat Party has delivered an ultimatum for the ruling Pheu Thai Party to scrap the bill by this evening.

Political observers believe the government will miss the opposition’s deadline to abandon the bill by 6pm.

The protesters would then escalate their efforts to topple the government as their goal goes beyond the annulling of the bill, a key leader of a coalition party told The Nation.

A House dissolution could be demanded by the protesters.

However, for several reasons, the ruling Pheu Thai Party is not ready to call a snap election at this juncture.

Dissolving the House now will not ensure the bill is absolutely dead because the new House of Representatives can resubmit the same bill within 60 days. If there is a chance for the bill to be revived, that point will be used by the opposition Democrat Party in its election campaign.

These issues are coming to a crescendo as the government and Yingluck are losing popularity, according to poll results released yesterday.

Last week’s strategic retreat by the government on the amnesty bills also signals that dissolution of the House is not an option. On the contrary, it seems to be rather a tactical retreat before striking back.

A Pheu Thai source said the party would do anything to try to convince society that the government would not reaffirm the amnesty bill after it is rejected by the Senate.

The source said the red-shirt rally yesterday was a strategy of the party to show to its supporters it was not retreating and the show of force was also aimed at intimidating the military and independent organisations.

“But in the end, if the party sees that it cannot go further, the House will be dissolved,” the source said.

Pheu Thai denied yesterday that its strategic committee has recommended the government to dissolve the House following mounting protests against the amnesty bill.

“I think the false news was spread with a political purpose,” party spokesman Prompong Nopparit said.

He said he had checked with government leaders and they also ruled out a House dissolution.

The government’s opponents would hold simultaneous protests on Silom Road, the Asoke intersection and Soi Ari in the Saphan Kwai area before moving to the Democracy Monument, he said.

A complaint would be lodged with the attorney-general this week, seeking to dissolve the Democrat Party for allegedly attempting to bring down the government, he added.

Reds stage counter-rallies to back govt
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The red-shirt Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship (DAAD) yesterday held three rallies to counter anti-government protests, with the demonstration in the evening attracting tens of thousands of supporters.

The DAAD held its first rally at Don Muang Technical School at 9am, and then held its “Over 10,000” rally at the Ratchaprasong intersection.

The “DAAD-Pheu Thai Defending Democracy” evening rally was held at SCG Football Stadium Muang Thong Thani at 4pm, with several red-shirt leaders and Pheu Thai MPs attending.

The leaders who spoke on stage at the Muang Thong Thani rally included DAAD chairwoman Thida Thawornset, Deputy Commerce Minister Nuttawut Saikuar and Pheu Thai MP Weng Tojirakarn.

Weng told the Muang Thong rally that the government’s opponents – including the Democrat Party – were holding protests against the amnesty bill with the intent to topple the elected government. The red shirts were, therefore, left with no choice but to turn out and defend the administration they had elected, Weng said.

Sombat Boonngarmanong, editor of Laijud magazine, who is the leader of the Red Sunday Group, led thousands of red shirts to demonstrate at the Ratchaprasong intersection.

The red shirts gathered in front of McDonald’s fast-food restaurant at Amarin Plaza and walked to the intersection to tie up pieces of red cloth.

Sombat said his group was opposed to the amnesty bill because it would absolve former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and former deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban for their alleged roles in the killings of red-shirt demonstrators in 2010.

Education Minister Chaturon Chaisang, DAAD leader Jatuporn Promphan, former DAAD leader Veerakarn Musigapong and Weng, also joined the Ratchaprasong rally.

Jatuporn told the red shirts at Ratchaprasong the government would bring Abhisit and Suthep to justice.

Yuthasak confident calm will prevail after Preah Vihear temple ruling
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Deputy Defence Minister Yuthasak Sasiprapha yesterday expressed confidence that peace would be maintained following today’s announcement of the Internatio

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Win driver allegedly ran red light, hits teenage motorbiker

Caitlin Ashworth



Win driver allegedly ran red light, hits teenage motorbiker | The Thaiger
PHOTO: naewna

A Thai motorbike taxi driver, known as a ‘win’ driver, allegedly ran a red light and ran into a teenage student driving on Sukhumvit Road in Chon Buri’s Sattahip district. The 58 year old win driver and the 18 year old student were both taken to the hospital. Emergency responders did not report on the extent of their injuries.

The student, Chatwilai Laopanna, told police that she was driving through the green light when the motorbike taxi driver collided into her. The win driver, Tawin Samila, admitted to police that he drove through the red traffic light.

Na Jomtien Police are reviewing surveillance camera footage to determine what potential charges will be pressed on the win driver.

‘Win’ drivers are an indispensable form of public transport for people to travel short distances, or cut through the heavy traffic, especially around Bangkok. But they are notorious for protecting their ‘turf’, erratic driving and flouting the traffic rules.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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Struggling airlines to get reprieve through small loans, extension to fuel tax cut

Maya Taylor



Struggling airlines to get reprieve through small loans, extension to fuel tax cut | The Thaiger

Airlines in Thailand are being offered a financial lifeline, as the Government Savings Bank announces soft loans for carriers left struggling as a result of the current Covid-19 ‘disruption’. Nation Thailand reports that the GSB is offering the loans over a 60 month period, with an annual interest rate of 2%. Chairman Patchara Anuntasilpa says the proposal will shortly be put to Cabinet for approval.

Airlines have been left financially devastated by the fallout from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, with countries closing their borders, passenger numbers plummeting, and carriers forced to slash the number of flights on offer. The services available, including the food services, were also curtailed early on as a preventative measure but that restriction has since been lifted. The effect is being keenly felt by all the airlines in Thailand, with the Kingdom’s borders closed to nearly all international traffic since March.

In a further effort to ease the financial crisis faced by Thai airlines, the Excise Department says it will extend the fuel tax cut for low-cost carriers by another 6 months from the end of this month. Patchara, who also serves as director-general of the Excise Department, says the tax may end up being abolished completely. In normal times, taxation on aviation fuel generates around 1 billion baht a year.

Air Asia has also cut some of its ground costs by using airport buses to ferry passengers from a cheaper aircraft parking area, back to the terminals, foregoing the costs of the airport airbridges. Flights from Phuket to Don Mueang, for example, are now a full ‘bus’ service, sometimes adding an additional 15 minutes at either end for the loading up of the buses and the trip to the planes or the terminal.

It’s understood the excise tax collected since October 2019 totals 503 billion baht, down more than 6.5% on last year’s figure. Most of the income comes from oil or oil products, cars, alcohol, and cigarettes.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Navy divers find captain’s body after boat sank in weekend storm

Caitlin Ashworth



Navy divers find captain’s body after boat sank in weekend storm | The Thaiger

The body of a fishing boat captain trapped in sunken wreckage was found by Royal Thai Navy divers. The man’s boat sank during a weekend storm at the Surin Islands National Park, an archipelago of 5 islands in the Andaman Sea around 55 kilometres from the Phang Nga province coast.

The “Chan Udome Sombat 8” fishing boat reportedly sank around 9pm Saturday night from the storm’s strong winds and high waves. A Burmese crew member, Ammia Au, was able to swim to their nearby sister fishing boat “Chan Udome Sombat 6” and got help. The Third Area Thailand Maritime Enforcement Coordinating Center received a report from Khuraburi port officials about the incident.

Ammia told rescuers that strong wind and high waves caused the boat to take on water. He was sleeping and woke up as the boat was tipping over. He says he was able to grab a few things before jumping over.

The Navy searched the marine park the following day and found the body of the boat’s captain, Somchai Soonploy, trapped in the submerged boat. Divers came back yesterday and brought the man’s body back to the surface. The body was taken to a local hospital and the man’s family was contacted.

SOURCE: Phuket News

ศรชล.ภาค 3 ประสานการปฏิบัติ ช่วยเหลือเรือพลิกคว่ำ ในวันที่ 19 กย. 63 เวลา 21.00 น.ศรชล.ภาค 3…

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