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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Gunfire slays protester; Min Buri bomber identified; Military urges Songkran talks; PM calls witnesses in graft probe

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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Gunfire slays protester; Min Buri bomber identified; Military urges Songkran talks; PM calls witnesses in graft probe | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Gun attack targets anti-govt protesters
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: One protester was killed and four others injured yesterday when gunmen fired in broad daylight at their convoy while travelling on an expressway in Nonthaburi province, in a further inflammation of the political conflict.

The group from the Students and People’s Network for Thailand’s Reform (STR), travelling in a three-vehicle convoy, were returning from a rally led by core protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban at the Chaeng Wattana rally site. The convoy was hit by gunfire as it was passing a tollgate and entering the expressway.

The slain man was travelling in the lead vehicle with STR leaders, while the four injured protesters were in the following two vehicles. At a press briefing, STR adviser Nitithorn Lamlua said the attack showed that police could not be trusted to protect members of his group, adding that the STR would travel with maximum self-defence capability when conducting future activities, and was ready to counter any threat.

The slain man was identified as STR guard Wasan Khamwong. He was pronounced dead at Ramathibodi Hospital, while the four injured people, including two women, were being treated there. The risk of political violence has heightened with the two rival groups organising mass gatherings on Saturday. The pro-government red shirts are set to converge in large numbers around Bangkok, while a key anti-government movement is arranging a meeting of provincial reform councils from across the country at Lumpini Park.

Since November 30, there have been 21 deaths and 733 cases of injuries related to the political strife. The first outbreak of violence, at Rajamangala Stadium, between red shirts and Ramkhamhaeng University students saw five people killed. The latest violence before yesterday’s incident near the Ratchaprasong protest site saw two children killed in an M79 grenade attack.

United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) chairman Jatuporn Promphan said about 500,000 red shirts would converge at Aksa Road, off Phutthamonthon in western Bangkok. UDD chief adviser Thida Thavornseth said Aksa Road was a good, spacious venue and the gathering on Saturday was also regarded as an exercise that could serve as preparation for an actual battle.

UDD secretary-general Nuttawut Saikuar said there would be no confrontation between the red shirts and the anti-government protesters, but the red shirts were ready to enter Bangkok if there were a military coup.

The gathering was organised by local and provincial red-shirt leaders, however, with the aim to ready them for further mobilisation, possibly moved further inside Bangkok, in case of any sudden development such as a coup, or the appointment of a non-elected prime minister, Nuttawut said.

A meeting of key UDD leaders will be held tomorrow about this further movement, he added. He called on military leaders not to declare martial law aimed at preventing the red shirts from moving into Bangkok.

“The Armed Forces should stay put and remain neutral while a new general election is announced and voting takes place without disruption. With all these [measures], the country can go forward,” he said.

The government’s Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO)’s chief advisor Surapong Tovichakchaikul said police were capable of coping with political gatherings of the two camps under the Internal Security Act. He said CAPO’s chief Chalerm Yoobamrung had repeatedly told Nuttawut to ensure that the red shirts remained peaceful during Saturday’s rally.

Army commander-in-chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha said the military’s stance and security measures remained unchanged to cope with the red-shirt gathering on Saturday.

Min Buri bombing suspect identified
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Police are seeking an arrest warrant for the prime suspect in a fatal bombing in Bangkok’s Min Buri district on Saturday night.

The suspect has been identified as Ao Issara, based on an identification paper he allegedly used to rent a house for a group of more than 10 men.

Two of the men were killed in the bomb blast on March 29, reportedly while they were carrying explosives on a motorcycle.

Witnesses told police that following the deadly explosion, all the men in the rented house disappeared.

“They left in a white van. We will try to locate that vehicle,” Min Buri Police Station superintendent Pol Colonel Kanchon Intararam said.

An ongoing investigation has suggested that Ao Issara is a false identity the suspect had used to rent the house. The tenant had told his landlord his group was a bunch of electricians.

“When signing the rental contract he produced what looked like an ID card of a Ratchaburi community-police member. But there was no real person registered under the name of Ao Issara in the country’s household registration,” Kanchon said.

He said more than 10 men had moved into the house on March 8. Kanchon said police had a photo of the alleged suspect and locals could remember his face.

Metropolitan Police Division 3 commander Pol Maj-General Sukhun Prommayon said available evidence and witnesses’ statements had proved useful to the ongoing inquiries.

“But we can’t disclose details at this point,” he said.

He has disclosed that police were now examining fingerprints inside the rented house as well as materials left behind them.

“Further evidence will determine whether this bombing is related to other bomb blasts,” Sukhun said.

National police chief Pol General Adul Saengsingkaew said the ongoing investigation suggested the group involved in the Min Buri bombing was part of an illegal network.

“We have to dig deep and find out about this illegal network’s motive. We will also need to determine whether it is related to any other group,” he said.

Adul has instructed assistant national police commissioner Pol Lt-General Winai Thongsong to urgently look into the case.

Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha said he believed the Min Buri case might have been linked to the arrest of four suspects in Bangkok’s Bang Na district in January. However he refused to elaborate.

Military urges Songkran negotiations
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The military still wants all parties involved in the current political conflict to talk to each other, and prevent violence, Royal Thai Air force Commander-in-Chief ACM Prajin Juntong said in an exclusive interview with Nation Multimedia Group editor in chief Thepchai Yong.

He said the Songkran festival could be a good timing for the negotiations.

The military does not rule out staging a coup because it does not know if the political crisis facing the country will end peacefully as it wishes, Prajin said.

“The military has to be pessimistic and prepare for unfortunate eventualities. We have selected several options for action in light of events that could affect national security,” he said.

Prajin, who will retire in six months, made the remark in response to Army Chief General P

— 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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