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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: PM to fight NSC reinstatement; Gold hits 3 year low; Supercar duo surrender; Theft named as motive in Akeyuth murder

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

PM to fight Thawil’s return as NSC chief
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has decided to appeal to the Supreme Administrative Court against the reinstatement of Thawil Pliensri as secretary-general of the National Security Council.

Tongthong Chandransu, PM’s Office permanent secretary, said yesterday that Yingluck would follow the recommendation of the government’s legal advisory committee headed by PM’s secretary-general Suranand Vejjajiva that she appeal the Central Administrative Court’s order to transfer Thawil from his advisory post back to the NSC.

Tongthong, a member of the committee, said there was a legal ambiguity that might interfere in the government’s ability to transfer officials from an active position to an inactive position of the same grade.

The lower court had compared the two positions – NSC chief and government adviser – in terms of whether they were equally active and judged the transfer as unfair, he said.

“The government will not be able to transfer heads of state agencies to become advisers to the PM or ministers. At ministries, the government cannot transfer directors-general to inspectors’ posts even though they are at the same level and enjoy the same salary and perks,’ he said.

The PM not only wants to get a final determination but also to set a precedent that can be used in administration in the future.

“The decision to appeal is not to harass anyone but to bring about legal clarity,’ he said.

‘Decision questionable’

Thawil said he would look into the details of his case before taking further action. He questioned why the government did not lodge an appeal in the case of Interior Ministry permanent secretary Peerapol Traitossawit.

Tongthong said the government chose to close the Peerapol case because he had retired.

Thawil has threatened to petition the National Anti-Corruption Commission and the Ombudsman if the government files an appeal in his case.

The court earlier referred to the transfer of former national police chief Wichean Potephosree to replace Thawil at the NSC, saying it was done to clear the way for Pol General Priewpan Damapong to succeed Wichean as police chief and not for the sake of efficiency or the job. The transfer was also conducted in a hasty manner.

NACC member Klanarong Chantik, meanwhile, denied that he had pushed Thawil into filing impeachment proceedings against Yingluck for getting him unfairly transferred.

He said he had only commented that if Thawil could file a petition with the NACC, then the agency would decide whether it had the authority to rule on such a case.

Theft named motive in Akeyuth murder: police
The Nation Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Police investigators insisted yesterday that theft was the motive for the murder of businessman and government opponent Akeyuth Anchanbutr.

Pol Maj-General Parinya Chansuriya, deputy Metropolitan Police commissioner, said investigators have ruled out other motives.

Investigators were now in the process of concluding the case, after compiling strong evidence, Parinya said, adding that the case would be passed on to public prosecutors, who would charge the four suspects in court. The suspects include Akeyuth’s chauffeur, Santiparb Pengduang.

Investigators could answer all of the 13 points of suspicion raised by Akeyuth’s relatives and lawyer, Suwat Apaipak, Parinya said.

Also yesterday, the House committee on police affairs held a meeting on the Akeyuth case. Deputy Police commissioner-general Pol General Parnsiri Prapawat, Metropolitan Police chief Pol Lt-General Khamronwit Thupkrajang, Forensic Medicine Institute Commander Pol Maj-General Pornchai Suthirakhun and Suwat were summoned to testify.

Suwat told the House panel that several suspicious points relating to the chauffeur had led him to believe that Akeyuth was assassinated at someone’s order. Suwat added that Akeyuth had told him he had conflicts with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Suwat said he had learned that a group of men dressed like military and police officers were seen at the mouth of the soi in which Akeyuth had dinner before he was abducted.

But Wang Thonglang Police Station chief Pol Colonel Sanhakij Bamrungsuksawat told the House panel that police had checked security-camera footage and found no trace of such a group of men.

Suspects in luxury-car racket surrender to police
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Nareunart Kuansawat and Thanan Kuansawat, suspected of involvement in the trade of high-end cars modified to avoid taxes, turned themselves in Thursday to police.

Tarit Pengdith, chief of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI), said there was strong evidence to suggest the duo were investors behind the six imported high-end cars that mysteriously caught fire in Nakhon Ratchasima.

However, the two men denied all charges and told DSI investigators that they were in the housing estate property business. They declined to give any testimony about the luxury cars, gas receipts, or about their relationship with the owner of the transportation company responsible for transporting the vehicles.

Posting Bt2 million for their bail, the duo said they would submit documents to the DSI on June 28 at 1pm to back their testimony. Investigators initially released the two without asking for bail, but the duo insisted on posting Bt2 million in order to show their sincerity.

In accordance with the law, the DSI said, the two men were innocent until proven guilty. However, Tarit claimed evidence clearly suggested the duo were behind the six burnt luxury cars. He added that investigators would continue to look for the other suspects in the case, including the elusive Nathee Rewthong, 31, a one-armed amputee.

Meanwhile, some of the owners of the 548 luxury cars who were required by the DSI to submit their vehicles for inspection told investigators they had already sold their cars, but had not yet transferred the car registrations to the new owners. Tarit said each case would be checked carefully to ensure justice on all sides.

Gold prices hit 3 year low
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Gold fell to its lowest price in three years after US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said stimulus measures might be reduced this year as the US economy recovers. Market expectations are for the price to fall below US$1,300 (about Bt40,480) an ounce this month, while the local gold price declined slightly, eased by appreciation of the baht.

Gold for immediate delivery dropped as much as 3.4 per cent to $1,304.75 an ounce yesterday. Bullion for August delivery sank 5.1 per cent to $1,303.30 an ounce on the Commodity Exchange in New York.

In London, gold fell to the lowest in more than two and a half years, exceeding the drop in April.

Gold has slumped by 22 per cent so far this year amid speculation the Fed will pare its quantitative easing (QE), which helped the metal cap a 12

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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Bangkok

Protest leader tests positive for Covid-19 a week after being released from jail

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Facebook/ Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul

A pro-democracy movement leader has tested positive for Covid-19 after she spent 8 weeks in jail awaiting a trial on lese majeste charges which prohibit statements that insult or defame the Thai Monarchy. 2 other protest leaders facing similar charges have tested positive for Covid-19 while in court detention.

After being released from the Central Women’s Correctional Institution on May 6, Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul spent most of her time at home. She went to a drive-through Covid-19 testing venue on May 10. She went by the Bangkok Remand Prison the next day for the release of 2 other protest leaders, Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak and Chai-amorn Kaewwiboonpan. Rung has now been admitted to the Thammasat University Hospital in Pathum Thani for treatment.

Rung says had been denied an earlier Covid-19 test because she did not have some of the symptoms of the virus.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid UPDATE: 1,983 new infections and 34 deaths, provincial totals

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Facebook/ อนุทิน ชาญวีรกูล (Public Health Minister)

The daily Covid-19 death toll hit a record high today with 34 deaths reported. 1,983 new Covid-19 infections were reported today in the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration’s daily briefing. Since the start of the pandemic last year, the CCSA has reported 88,907 Covid-19 infections and 486 coronavirus-related deaths.

There are now 29,378 active Covid-19 cases in Thailand. Active cases peaked at just over 30,000 infections last week and have been on a very slight downward slope. The number of patients with severe symptoms has slightly increased to 1,200 with 401 of them on ventilators.

Around 75% of the new Covid-19 infections are in Bangkok and surrounding provinces. While the infection rate remains high in the capital, several provinces have reported no Covid-19 infections and many provinces report under 10 infections.

Most of the new Covid-related fatalities reported today are patients with underlying conditions of high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes. 12 of the 34 patients who died had contracted Covid-19 from family members, a trend in the deaths of patients. The elderly and those with chronic illnesses are at the highest risk of a severe Covid-19 infection.

A CCSA spokesperson notes that migrant workers are entitled to treatment under social welfare programs regardless of their legal status in Thailand.

“Legal or not, they will be treated. Legal status is not an issue at all. The priority is to get them treated and recovered as soon as possible.”

To combat the spread of Covid-19 in Bangkok, the CCSA is expediting the Covid-19 vaccination campaign in high-risk areas like Bangkok’s Khlong Toey slum. Since the nationwide vaccination campaign was launched in late February, 1.89 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been administered. Only 530,000 people have received both doses of the vaccine.

Provinces with the highest number of new Covid-19 cases…

Province New cases Total since April 1
Bangkok 976 21,405
Nonthaburi 266 4,035
Samut Prakan 110 3,420
Chon Buri 57 3,489
Surat Thani 53 1,256
Ayutthaya 38 743
Samut Sakhon 36 1,627
Chanthaburi 32 562
Pathum Thani 29 1,477
Pattani 28 240
Covid UPDATE: 1,983 new infections and 34 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

Daily Covid-related deaths in Thailand as of 11 May 2021, according to Worldometers.

Covid UPDATE: 1,983 new infections and 34 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

Active Covid-19 cases in Thailand as of 11 May 2021, according to Worldometers.

 

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Thailand

More than 15,000 foreigners arrested since January for illegal border crossings

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Facebook/ Kanchanaburi News

Thousands of foreign nationals have been arrested this year for illegally crossing land borders into Thailand. Due to fears that those entering Thailand illegally and evading the mandatory 14-day quarantine could possibly lead to the spread of Covid-19, particularly more contagious variants of the virus, Thai authorities say they will take tough legal action on illegal migrants and labour traffickers.

From January 1 to May 9, a total of 15,378 people have been arrested for illegally crossing land borders into Thailand. Out of the people arrested, 6,072 were from Myanmar, 5,114 were from Cambodia and 882 were from Laos.

The Thai Immigration Bureau is working with border patrol officers to tighten security along Thailand’s borders, the bureau’s chief Sompong Chingduang told the Bangkok Post.

“Those who enter Thailand illegally will be prosecuted under the immigration law, the communicable diseases and the emergency decree.”

In Thailand’s last wave of Covid-19 infections in December and January, fingers pointed at illegal Burmese migrants as the epicentre of infections were concentrated at a fishing hub in Samut Sakhon, affecting a large migrant worker population.

With the recent wave of infections peaking drastically higher than the past outbreaks in Thailand and said to be linked to the more contagious variant of the virus first found in the UK, health officials are now tightening security and control measures along the borders to prevent more cases.

Border security is also being increased to prevent the emergence of the variant of the virus first detected in India. The director of the Health Science Centre of Emerging Diseases at Chulalongkorn University’s faculty of medicine made a post on Facebook saying he was concerned the variant could be imported into Thailand and cause another wave of infections.

“In the next few months, the variant found in India may slip across the border into Thailand from Myanmar. Business operators are now importing illegal migrants again… If the border is left unchecked like this and no tough measures are imposed in Bangkok and adjacent provinces, brace yourselves for a fourth wave. The current third wave will pale by comparison.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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