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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: PM ordered to reinstate security chief; German fugitive enjoys Bangkok holiday; Smoking in spotlight

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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: PM ordered to reinstate security chief; German fugitive enjoys Bangkok holiday; Smoking in spotlight | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

PM ordered to reinstate National Security chief
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Transferred former National Security Council secretary-general Thawil Pliensri won a historic legal victory yesterday when the Central Administrative Court ordered Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to reinstate him in his previous position.

However, Government Spokesman Teerat Ratanasevi posted on Twitter that PM’s secretary-general Suranand Vejjajiva had ordered the PM’s Office’s legal expert to study the ruling closely, and an appeal against the ruling was expected.

A Government House source, who asked not to be named, said it was expected that it would take time to present testimonies during a hearing by the Supreme Central Administrative Court and the ruling might not be made until next year, after Thawil retires. The court ruling, hence, would have no effect on Thawil’s successors as NSC chiefs.

A joyful Thawil said the ruling would serve as a precedent for permanent officials to fight against unfair transfers.

If the prime minister appeals and the Supreme Administrative Court rules in favour of Thawil, upholding the Central Administrative Court’s verdict, the Cabinet will be obliged to reinstate the former NSC chief and find a new position for the current office holder, according to the law.

With yesterday’s court ruling, Thawil is eligible to petition the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) against the prime minister and her Cabinet for alleged malfeasance involving their order and decision to transfer him.

If the NACC agrees that the transfer was unfair and resolves to pursue the case, the PM and all her Cabinet members are required to suspend their duties, pending a verdict by the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division on Political Office Holders.

The Administrative Court yesterday rescinded Yingluck’s order, issued on September 7, 2011, to second Thawil as an adviser to the PM’s Office, and ordered the prime minister to reinstate Thawil retroactively from the day he was transferred.

Yingluck was ordered to take actions to reinstate Thawil as soon as possible.

Thawil had filed a lawsuit with the Central Administrative Court on April 30 against the Cabinet resolution of September 6, 2011, that removed him as the NSC secretary-general. The suit also challenged the decision of the merit protection committee that endorsed the Cabinet resolution.

Thawil said that although he was happy with the court ruling, he had yet to wait and see whether the prime minister would appeal against it in the Supreme Administrative Court.

“I have to see the reaction of the prime minister first. But I am happy that the Administrative Court issued the ruling. Still, there are several others who are suffering and have not yet received justice,” Thawil said.

“I would like other government officials to receive justice as well. It’s very good that I have come this far The merit protection committee rejected my appeal. Now that the Administrative Court has issued this ruling, it will serve as precedent for other officials.”

Thawil was replaced by Pol General Wichean Potephosree, who was subsequently replaced by Lt-General Paradorn Pattanathabutr last October.

Thawil was removed apparently as the Yingluck government wanted to promote Pol General Priewphan Damapong as National Police chief. At that time, Wichean was the police chief and he vowed not to let go of that position unless he was made the NSC chief. Thawil said yesterday that the court ruling, if not challenged by Yingluck in the Supreme Administrative Court, would require the prime minister to revoke her orders appointing Wichean and Paradorn to the NSC post.

Asked whether the peace dialogue with the southern insurgents would be affected if Paradorn were removed from the NSC post, Thawil said he did not want to comment on it as it would take sometime before he could get his post back.

Reacting to the court ruling, Paradorn said he would continue his duty as the NSC chief until there was a royal command to remove him from the position.

But, he said, the government could appeal against the court’s ruling.

He said that if the government complied with the court’s ruling, it would find him a new position. “I will have no problem with it,” Paradorn said.

He said the court’s ruling would not affect the peace dialogue with the BRN-Coordinate group on June 13 as the process to remove him from the position would take time.

Former permanent secretary of defence General Satien Permthong-in petitioned the Administrative Court over his allegedly illegal transfer last September. The court has agreed to consider the case.

German ex-convict ‘just holidayed’
THe Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The German ex-convict who managed to escape from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport while being escorted from Australia to Germany, said he simply wanted to enjoy the city’s tourist sites before going home.

Carlo Konstantin Kohl, 25, told police investigators after being rearrested on Thursday that he had heard about many interesting places for foreign tourists – like Patpong, Khao San Road and Soi Cowboy, said Immigration Police Commissioner Panu Kerdlabpol yesterday.

The man, who was arrested at the German Embassy in Bangkok, also said he was impressed after visiting those places and that he would certainly come back, according to Panu.

Police took Kohl to Suvarnabhumi in a van yesterday for a re-enactment of his escape. He was accompanied by some 50 policemen and security guards and was mobbed by a large group of media photographers and cameramen.

In a brief interview with the media at the airport, Kohl said he did not plan the escape on May 15 and that he was just “lucky”.

After his escape, the German said he had remained in Bangkok the whole time. “I holidayed for two weeks. It’s enjoyable – a very nice country,” he said with a smile. “I want to see Thailand again; it’s a beautiful country.”

Kohl told investigators he had escaped from the room where he was being held, while his Australian guards were asleep. He then hid inside a ventilator shaft, according to Sita Divari, the Airports of Thailand chairman, who also accompanied the German to Suvarnabhumi yesterday.

After remaining inside the airport for about 30 hours, Kohl used a coin to open a security door’s control box before cutting its wires. He managed to open the door without starting an alarm, and then jumped on a public bus heading into the city.

Anti-smoking campaigners vow to turn up heat on big tobacco
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Thirty anti-smoking agencies will soon submit a letter asking the government and Finance Ministry about measures to prohibit cigarette companies from taking part in Corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities, said Medical Council of Thailand head Dr Wanchat Supajaturas yesterday.

His comments were made on World No Tobacco Day (WNTD), during the launch of the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s campaigned “Ban Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship”. The campaign is aimed at giving its 194-member countries a glimpse into the world of big tobacco and the various schemes it employs to indirectly marke

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Thailand News Today | Waiting for vaccine, new face of Thailand expats, teacher complaints | Oct 1

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Thailand News Today | Waiting for vaccine, new face of Thailand expats, teacher complaints | Oct 1 | The Thaiger

Daily Thai news on The Thaiger. All the latest information about Thailand, Monday to Friday on Thaiger News Today.

Thailand beaches may limit visitors until Covid-19 vaccine is available

Beaches and national parks might not fully open to international tourists until a Covid-19 vaccine is available. The claim comes from the Tourism Council of Thailand president. Around 120 to 150 tourists departing from China are set to arrive in Phuket on October 8 after a 6 month ban on international tourists. They’ll have to go through a 14 day state quarantine, but after that, they may not be able to enjoy some of the island’s beaches. A report from Bloomberg says it’s “unlikely” beaches and parks will fully open to overseas travellers until a vaccine becomes available. At this stage there are still many questions about a successful vaccine either becoming available or the efficacy of such a vaccine even when it is. Then there are questions about whether getting a vaccine will become a condition of travel to Thailand or internationally. For the time being, only tourists on select charter flights with a 90 day Special Tourist Visa can enter the country. “It’s good for the country to reopen even if it’s just for trial … Once we’ve tested our reopening plan for a month, we can assess how to go forward and allow more visitors to come in.”

Changing face of Thailand’s expats

Thailand’s dominant working expat nationality in past decades has been Japanese, currently making up 18% of expatriates in the country. But that dominance is about to be overtaken. While Japanese expatriate numbers are decreasing, a CBRE report notes that Chinese and Filipino expats are on the rise in Thailand. There were 28,560 Japanese expats in Thailand as of Q3 2020, just ahead of the Chinese expat contingent at 25,811. As China’s manufacturing has shifted overseas and Filipino expatriates have increased in line with local demand for teachers fluent in English, there’s been a continuing de-centralisation of the expat communities living in Thailand. You can read more about that report, and the effects on the Thai property market at thethaiger.com

More reports of alleged student abuse, parents file complaint against teacher

More reports of teachers allegedly abusing their students have come to light after a Nonthaburi teacher was caught on video pushing a kindergarten student to the floor, pulling a student across the floor and repeatedly hitting other students. Now more classroom videos of teachers allegedly abusing their students are being widely shared online as well as photos of children’s marks and injuries from the alleged abuse. Meanwhile, the main Thonburi school, at the centre of the current allegations, has agreed to pay compensation, including refunding school fees, paying medical costs, and better screening and scrutiny of teaching staff.

Contestant eliminated from Miss Universe Thailand after manager infiltrates organising committee

One of the favourites to take the Miss Universe Thailand title when the contest is held on Saturday, October 10, has just been kicked out for breaking the rules. Chayathanus Saradat, also known as “Cheraim”, is accused of allowing her manager and chaperone to infiltrate the organising committee. It’s understood he manager, aka “Ken”, attended numerous committee meetings, potentially getting the inside scoop on what questions contestants might be asked, and giving his client an advantage. Thailand still has a fascination for the ‘beauty contestant’ format and there are hundreds of such contests conducted around the country each year.

Police confiscate 300 kilos of marijuana in central Thailand drugs bust

A drugs bust in the central province of Nonthaburi, just north of central Bangkok, has netted 300 kilos of marijuana, valued at around 2 million baht. Anti-narcotics officers confiscated the haul yesterday when they apprehended 3 men in a department store car park. Thai Residents reports that dried marijuana usually fetches around 6,500 baht per kilo on the black market. It’s understood this consignment was on its way to a Bangkok-based dealer when it was intercepted.

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Tourism

Travel agents push to end quarantine for tourists from countries at low risk for Covid-19

Caitlin Ashworth

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Travel agents push to end quarantine for tourists from countries at low risk for Covid-19 | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Qui Hotel

Travel agents are pushing to end the 14 day quarantine required for foreign tourists arriving from countries classified as a very low risk for spreading Covid-19, hoping the government will agree with the idea and start in December. The move could bring in at least 100,000 tourists per month, according to president of the Association of Thai Travel Agents, or ATTA, Vichit Prakobkoson.

The thought of 2 weeks in isolation before enjoying a vacation turns away a lot of potential tourists. Vichit says the idea of quarantine “repulses” them. But some tourists are still onboard with travelling to Thailand, even if that means spending 14 days in quarantine.

Around 120 to 150 tourists on the new Special Tourist Visa are set to arrive next week from China to Phuket after a 6 month ban on international tourists. The tourists are required to quarantine for 14 days at a state approved facility. The new visa allows a 90 stay and can be renewed twice, adding up to about 9 months.

Vichit says new measure won’t be enough to revive Thailand’s crippled tourism industry which took a hit when the country halted international travel to control the spread of the coronavirus. 1,200 foreign tourists are expected to arrive each month under the new Special Tourist Visa, but Vichit says the number of monthly tourists could increase to 100,000 each month if the quarantine is waived for people from countries consider low risk.

“The government should challenge and revoke the state quarantine, if possible, by this December for certain countries. If so, approximately 100,000 foreigners a month would travel to Thailand and might stay for 5 to 7 days.”

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Opening borders could cause a second Covid-19 outbreak, epidemiologist says

Caitlin Ashworth

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Opening borders could cause a second Covid-19 outbreak, epidemiologist says | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai Post

Opening Thailand’s borders to foreign tourists may open a “Pandora’s box” of Covid-19 infections, according to leading epidemiologist on the Chulalongkorn University Faculty of Medicine Thira Woratanarat. After a 6 month ban on international tourists, the first group of travellers on the new Special Tourist Visa are set to fly from China to Phuket on October 8. Thira says the move puts the country at risk of a second coronavirus outbreak.

“If the country decides to take risks, everyone must rely on themselves because this is a war between virus and humans and people need to survive… The country will be a new endemic area if the government cannot contain the spread of the disease effectively. And even if there is a Covid-19 vaccine, it might be too late.”

The 120 to 150 tourists arriving next week on the Special Tourist Visa are required to quarantine at a state approved facility for 14 days. They are also required to be tested for Covid-19 before their flight and before being released from quarantine.

Thira has been vocal for months on his disapproval for opening the borders to foreign tourists and has stood firmly against proposals like so called “travel bubbles.” He says the coronavirus cases across globe have continued to raise and warns that people in Thailand should still abide by coronavirus prevention measures like wearing a mask.

“Many countries are still under the severe pandemic and have an infection rate 20 times that of Thailand’s, so Thailand will be at a risk of becoming a pandemic hotspot after the country is reopened.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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