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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Gold sales soar as price falls; Teachers charged for toddler’s death; Police corruption probe continues

Legacy Phuket Gazette



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

Gold sales soar as price dips below Bt20,000 per baht weight
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Local gold has been sold below Bt20,000 per baht weight for the first time since 2011, following a sharp fall in global prices over the past few days.

Bullion for immediate delivery was at US$1,379.50 (Bt39,770) an ounce at one point in London trading, while gold fell to a two-year low of $1,321.95 an ounce yesterday on growing optimism that an economic recovery – particularly in the US – will curb demand for the precious metal as a protection of wealth.

The price of gold bullion has gone down 18 per cent so far this year, after rising six-fold in a 12-year rally through last year.

In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Cypriot Finance Minister Haris Georgiades confirmed yesterday that the Cyprus government planned to sell part of its gold reserves within the next few months.

Sales of assets and gold are a way to raise revenue in order to unlock the €10-billion (Bt380 billion) European Union bail-out package for the ailing island-state.

Thai gold prices were adjusted eight times yesterday for an aggregate cut of Bt2,400 per baht weight to Bt18,950, as business resumed after the long Songkran holiday period.

People buying up

The falling prices drew heavy traffic to Yaowarat gold shops. As some shops remained closed, others were crowded and inventory, particularly that of bullion, ran out.

Hua Seng Heng, the oldest gold shop in Bangkok’s Chinatown, had to issue coupons to clients, urging them to pick up their purchases on April 24.

As gold and silver prices changed more than 10 per cent, the Thailand Futures Exchange temporarily halted trading in order to help investors digest news.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong, trying to calm the nervousness, said the dip would be short-term as gold remained an asset with relatively high security. Gold-price speculation is normal, he added.

Mathee Supapongse, Bank of Thailand’s senior director at the Macroeconomic and Monetary Policy Department, said sliding prices had no impact on the growth prediction, as gold prices had not been taken into account in predicting the economic outlook.

“Gold was set up for having a proper correction,” Jim Rogers, chairman of investment company Rogers Holdings, said on Bloomberg TV. “This may be the proper correction and, if so, then it will make a bottom and we can all buy gold again because it is going to be much higher over the decade.”

During March and April, many researchers revised down their gold-price predictions for this year. Goldman Sachs, for example, cut its prediction for the precious metal to $1,545 an ounce from the $1,610 it predicted earlier.

“Given gold’s recent lacklustre price action, and our economists’ expectation that the acceleration in US growth later this year to above-trend pace will support US real rates, we are lowering our dollar-denominated gold-price prediction once again,” said the US investment bank. “While higher inflation may be the catalyst for the next gold cycle, this is likely several years away.”

France’s Societe Generale has also lowered its gold outlook for 2013, to $1,500, while Nomura has cut its prediction from $1,981 to $1,602.

“For the first time since 2008, the investment environment for gold is deteriorating as economic recovery, rising interest rates and still-benign Western inflation [for now] will leave some investors rethinking their cumulative $240-billion investment in gold over the past four years,” said the Japanese institution.

Teachers face jail term for toddler’s death
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Police are preparing to press harsher charges against a teacher and an assistant teacher over the death of a young girl who was accidentally locked inside a school van early this month.

Three-year-old Manassanan Thongphu never regained consciousness following the April 3 incident, and died at Bangkok Hospital yesterday morning.
Bang Poo Police Station superintendent Pol Colonel Wichit Boonchitwuttikul said Daorong Srisamung, an assistant teacher, and Santiparp Wanjai, the computer teacher-cum-school van driver, would be charged with recklessness leading to the girl’s death.

Initially, they were charged with recklessness that led to her being hospitalised. According to the ongoing investigation, Daorong was responsible for checking arriving students and closing the van’s door on April 3. Santiparp was the van driver that day.

If convicted, both face up to 10 years in jail and a maximum fine of Bt20,000.

Wichit said the school would also be held responsible for Manassanan’s death.

“This is separate from the civil lawsuits that her parents can file,” he added.

The girl’s mother, Rattana Nakhonsopa, said she would now focus on arranging the funeral for her daughter and leave it to police to pursue the case.

“I loved my girl so much, it’s heartbreaking for us to lose her,” said her tearful husband.

The grieving father urged schools to improve safety precautions for all children, irrespective of their age.

Police cancel contract with PCC
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The Royal Thai Police announced yesterday that it was cancelling the Bt5.848-billion contract it had signed with PCC Development and Construction Co to build 396 police stations nationwide.

Police spokesman Piya Uthayo said the bureau had the right to cancel the contract because the police logistics office and regional committees had reported that the contractor had failed to meet the completion deadline. He said only 12 per cent of the project had been completed over the past 755 days.

Hence, he said, the national police chief had approved the cancellation, effective from today, and the police bureau would notify PCC and other related agencies later.

The police bureau plans to seek Cabinet approval to hire a new contractor for each of the 396 projects so they can start the e-bidding right away. Deputy police chief Worapong Chewpreecha said he had already called a meeting of related officials in relation to the development of the project.

As for the Royal Thai Police’s plan to seek compensation from PCC, Piya said the bureau’s legal team was working on it, adding that PCC was within its legal rights to file a lawsuit against the police bureau as it had threatened earlier. He said the Royal Thai Police was ready for a court battle.

When asked if taking the case to court would affect the construction of police stations, Piya said there should not be a problem because the goal was to build the stations as soon as possible.

Pol Lt-Colonel Santhana Prayoonrat, who works as adviser to PCC executive Pibul Udomsithikul, was also present at the press conference yesterday.

In response to questions, Santhana said PCC did not know former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, former deputy PM Suthep Thaugsuban and veteran politician Newin Chidchob and that it was just being dragged through the mud for the sake of politics. Abhisit and Suthep are being investigated for alleged abuse of authority in relation to this project.

Santhana said the PCC h

— Phuket Gazette Editors


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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Poll: Work from home popular, reduces Covid-19, helps gov’t

Neill Fronde



PHOTO: Working from home is believed to help slow the spread of Covid-19 among other advantages. (via PxHere)

As far as strategies to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infections goes, work from home policies may be the most popular, far more liked than masks and lockdowns. In a recent poll by Suan Dusit Rajabhat University, 1,533 people in Thailand were asked about their opinions on working from home. The majority of responses were well in favour of it.

The Suan Dusit poll was conducted online and found that when asked about various opinions and attitudes towards working from home, nearly 75% of respondents believed that staying home to work made them feel safer and could prevent Covid-19 from spreading more. Nearly half also felt like working from home was a good way to cooperate with government policies regarding Covid-19.

Nearly 43% of those polled were working from home. Only about 23% of people never worked from home, while just under 35% of people worked in some combination of home and at their office or place of business. Just over 40% of respondents said they lacked the equipment at home that would allow them to work from home.

While people generally like to work from home, those surveyed did believe that there were pros and cons to it. 44% felt working from home gave them more personal time for themselves and more time with their families. 88% believed it had a positive effect on the Covid-19 pandemic and 70% loved how working from home reduced travel and commute costs. Over 60% viewed it as a way to help the government in their struggle against Covid-19.

On the downside, about 66% of those surveyed complained that they saw an increase in their household bills as their usage of water, electricity and internet went up. 62% had trouble without their normal work equipment and 46% said slow communication was an issue.

Oddly though, when asked which they preferred, only 18% completely favoured working from home, while double the amount preferred the office and 37% liked both equally. Just under 9% gave no opinion. Overall though, work from home as a Covid-19 fighting policy had a success rating of 70% by those polled.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid UPDATE: 2,302 new infections and 24 deaths, provincial totals

Tim Newton



The CCSA have announced 2,302 new infections and 24 Covid-related deaths over the past 24 hours. There’s now been a total of 101,447 infections and 589 deaths since the start of Thailand’s tally on January 18, 2020. More than 64,000 are registered as ‘recovered’. 35,055 people remain under treatment at public and field hospitals.

More news briefs on the Covid situation below.

Here are the provincial totals for Sunday as reported from the past 24 hours.

Covid UPDATE: 2,302 new infections and 24 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerCovid UPDATE: 2,302 new infections and 24 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerCovid UPDATE: 2,302 new infections and 24 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerCovid UPDATE: 2,302 new infections and 24 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerCovid UPDATE: 2,302 new infections and 24 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerCovid UPDATE: 2,302 new infections and 24 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaigerβ€’ A new study highlights the often maligned effectiveness of the Sinovac and AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, showing they are both quite effective in boosting the immune system against the Coronavirus. The Center of Excellence in Clinical Virology of the Faculty of Medicine at Chulalongkorn University conducted the study that found that one month after the first shot of AstraZeneca, over 97% of people had developed immune responses. Results were not yet in for the second injection.

Three weeks after the first injection of the Sinovac vaccine, just under 66% of people had developed immune responses, but four weeks after the second injection, that number jumped to an impressive 99.49%.

Full report HERE.

β€’ Indonesia is temporarily halting distribution of a single batch of AstraZeneca vaccine to check for “sterility and toxicity” The temporary action follows reports of a few adverse effects after immunisations.

The batch consists of 448,480 vaccine doses that arrived in the southeast Asian nation last month, part of a delivery of more than 3.85 million doses. Some of the doses have been distributed in part of the capital, Jakarta, and the province of North Sulawesi.

β€’ Starting Monday, restaurants in Bangkok, Nonthaburi (immediately north of Bangkok), Pathum Thani, and Samut Prakan (south east of Bangkok) will be allowed to offer dine-in services at 25% of seating capacity until 9pm.

Restaurants in other 17 Red Zone provinces will be allowed to stay open until 11pm without seating limitations. Restaurants in the other Orange Zone provinces will be allowed to resume “normal operations”, though alcoholic beverages may not be served anywhere across the country. In the Red Zones, schools can open as normal with permission from local and provincial authorities. In the Orange Zone schools can open without permission but under the latest rules.

Covid UPDATE: 2,302 new infections and 24 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaigerβ€’ The Office of the PM has dismissed as false online rumours that Her Majesty the Queen was infected with Covid-19.

The office urged people to monitor Covid-19 news from a reliable channel, such as the Facebook page of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

β€’ Chonburi and Chiang Mai are being removed rom the dark red zone, or maximum control area, due to an improvement in the Covid situation in those 2 areas.

β€œIf this proposal is approved by the prime minister, there would only be 4 provinces designated as dark red zone, namely Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani and Samut Prakan.”

Chonburi, with only 33 new infections yesterday, will be moved to the orange zone, or medium control area, joining 16 other provinces… Kanchanaburi, Chachoengsao, Tak, Nakhon Pathom, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Narathiwat, Prachuab Khiri Khan, Ayutthaya, Phetchaburi, Yala, Ranong, Rayong, Ratchaburi, Samut Sakhon, Songkhla and Surat Thani.

Phuket was also downgraded into the Orange Zone category.



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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thailand’s colour zones change from Monday – some restrictions ease

Tim Newton




From tomorrow we’ll see the resumption of limited dine-in services in restaurants located in the remaining 4 Dark Red zones of Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani and Samut Prakan.

Restaurants in these 4 provinces will now be able to resume dining on premises, until 9pm. But they can only seat 25% of their full capacity. So, a table for 4 can only seat 1 person, while takeaways can still be provided until 11pm. The serving of alcohol in these areas is still prohibited.

Schools and other educational institutions in Dark Red zones also remain prohibited from holding in-person classes and activities in their buildings.

Meanwhile, Chiang Mai and Chon Buri were removed from the list of Dark Red zones. Currently, there are 17 provinces considered Red zones, where dine-in services are permitted until 11pm, without the serving of alcohol. Phuket was downgraded to an Orange Zone.

Thailand still had no provinces categorised as Green or even Yellow yet, but hopefully, the downward trend continues. The zone layout now is: 4 Dark Red zones, 17 Red zones, 56 Orange zones for 77 provinces total.

The updated province colour-coded zones are…

Bangkok Nonthaburi
Pathum Thani Samat Prakan
Ayutthaya Chonburi Chachoengsao Kanchanaburi Nakhon Pathom Nakhon Si Thammarat
Narathiwat Prachuap Khiri Khan Phetchaburi Ranong Rayong
Ratchaburi Samut Sakhon Songkhla Surat Thani Tak Yala
Amnat Charoen Ang Thong Bueng Kan Buriram Chai Nat Chaiyaphum Chanthaburi Chiang Mai Chiang Rai Chumphon Kalasin Kamphaeng Phet Khon Kaen Krabi Lampang Lamphun Loei Lopburi Mae Hong Son
Maha Sarakham Mukdahan Nakhon Nayok Nakhon Phanom Nakhon Ratchasima Nakhon Sawan Nan Nong Bua Lamphu Nong Kai Pattani Phang Nga Phatthalung Phayao Phetchabun Phichit Phitsanulok Phrae Phuket
Prachinburi Roi Et Sa Kaeo Sakon Nakhon Samut Songkram Saraburi Satun Sing Buri Sisaket Sukhothai Suphanburi Surin Trang Trat Ubon Ratchathani Udon Thani Uthai Thani Uttaradit Yasothon

There may still be some provincial-centric restrictions remaining. Keep up with your local media for the latest announcements.

SOURCE:PR Thai Government


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