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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Floods close factories; Laos crash bodies to return home; Chalerm in relapse; Jakkrit mourned

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

Industrial estate battles floodwater
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The Amata Nakorn Industrial Estate in Chon Buri is facing a severe battle keeping out floodwaters, which have forced 15 factories in its compound to suspend operations.

Another 78 factories outside the protection of estates, mainly in the Northeast, have reportedly been inundated.

The factories in the Amata Nakorn estate are not under water, but have been temporarily closed because of the difficulties their employees are having getting to work.

Some public areas within the estate are inundated. The highest floodwater level is between 30 and 40 centimetres.

“We expect to drain all floodwater from the estate within one or two days, if no more rain comes,” Amata Corporation’s chief marketing officer Viboon Kromadit said yesterday.

With support from various agencies, more than 100 pumps are working hard to clear all the floodwater. Some 43 boats have also been commissioned to help facilitate the flow of water out of the estate.

Amata Corporation operates the Amata Nakorn estate.

Royal Irrigation Department deputy director-general Suthep Noipairoj said the industrial estate was located in a low-lying area that was prone to take in run-off water from nearby areas.

Suthep said that water drainage would need to be done carefully out of concern for local communities already struggling with floods in the face of high tides. “The industrial estate and authorities will have to minimise the impact on these communities,” he said.

Meanwhile, Industry Ministry inspector-general Panithan Jindaphu said 78 factories outside the industrial estates had been flooded, mostly in the Northeast. He calculated the combined damage at about Bt85 million.

Of the total, 70 are small-scale businesses and eight are medium-sized.

These factories are located in 12 provinces: 11 in Ubon Ratchathani, 16 in Si Sa Ket, 13 in Nakhon Nayok, seven in Prachin Buri, five each in Chanthaburi and Chaiyaphum, six in Angthong, eight in Sa Kaew, two in Buri Ram, three in Nakhon Ratchasima and one each in Ayutthaya and Chachoengsao.

“Remedial measures will include waivers of licensing fees. We will also discuss with other agencies the offering of soft loans, as was done in 2011,” Panithan said.

First bodies from plane crash coming back today
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The bodies of three Thai men killed in last week’s Lao Airlines plane crash near Pakse will be transferred back to Thailand today, officials have said.

The three bodies will be flown back from Laos to Bangkok by a Thai government C130 plane, which will first drop Navy frogmen at U-tapao in Rayong province. The men were killed when the plane crashed on October 16 into the Mekong River in Champasak province in Laos.

The bodies of Phakkhawat Atiratanachai, Kamueng Chartkasemchai and Veekij Busarawuthanusorn will arrive in Bangkok by 4pm, officials said yesterday.

Five Thais died in the crash, but the other two deceased have yet to be identified. Officials in Laos are still awaiting the results of DNA tests.

The five Thais were among 44 passengers and five crew on the ill-fated Lao Airlines plane, which crashed into the Mekong during stormy weather on its approach to Pakse airport.

Meanwhile, there were indications late yesterday that search teams may have picked up signals from the plane’s black box, which could reveal the causes of the tragedy.

Divers were reportedly trying to retrieve the flight data recorder from an area about 400 metres from the crash site, but were battling with the strong current and muddy water. The river is thought to be about 12 to 13 metres deep in that section.

Foreign Minister Surapong Towichukchaikul said the Thai Consulate in Savannakhet, Laos, had informed him that Laos’ public works and transport minister had told Thai officials to end their search for bodies yesterday, as there were just a small number to be recovered and Laotian authorities could handle that task from now on.

Department of Information chief Sek Wannamethee said Laotian officials still wanted six Thai forensic experts to stay for a few more days to help them identify the 42 bodies that have been recovered. To date, only 16 have been officially identified – two of these were the Thai bodies coming back today.

Government offices in Laos observed a minute’s silence yesterday to pay tribute to the 49 people who died last week in the plane crash, state media said. The government instructed state officials to hold the event at 2.15pm, The |Vientiane Times and state-run radio reported.

Chalerm collapses again
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Labour Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung collapsed in his office at the Labour Ministry yesterday afternoon and was rushed to hospital.

He was talking to Pol General Pongsapat Pongcharoen, the secretary-general of the Office of Narcotics Control Board, about organising a meeting for drug suppression when he collapsed. He was rushed to Ramathibodi Hospital at 1.45pm. Chalerm had just returned to work for a week after undergoing an operation for bleeding on the brain.

Dr Surasak Leelaudomlipi, director of Ramathibodi Hospital, said that though Chalerm’s fists were clenched, he could talk to the doctors and interact with them normally.

Chalerm will be kept in hospital for observation.

Grenades fired at district chief’s home in Pattani
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Suspected insurgents fired M79 grenades from mountainous woods at the home of Pattani’s Ma Yor district chief on Sunday night but no one was injured.

The first grenade damaged the wall of a pavilion near the house while the second grenade hit a tree.

Police inspected the scene yesterday. They said district chief Supol Phokaew had returned from inspecting sub-district election booths and was in the house when the grenades were fired.

Inquiries revealed that district chiefs have been targeted for years, such as a 2008 incident in which then district chief Wirat Prasetso and several other officials were injured in a bomb attack in Krasoh sub-district. Last year M79 grenades were fired at the home of then district chief Pisal Awae – but missed, and on February 4 Pisal was ambushed by gunmen while going to work but emerged unharmed.

Shock, dismay at shooter’s slaying
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The Thai sports fraternity is mourning the death of national sharpshooter Jakkrit “X” Panichpatikum.

Famous athletes have joined fans and journalists in posting tributes on Twitter and Facebook, after pistol shooter Jakkrit was shot in his Porsche by a gunman on a motorbike on Saturday evening in Bangkok’s Sukhapiban 3 area while on his way to meet his family for dinner.

“I got to know him during a trip back from the London Olympics. That was the first time we met, but I never thought it w

— 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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