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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: PM seeks Japanese transportation deal; People’s Army on the move; Thaksin no terrorist; Floods not a crisis

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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: PM seeks Japanese transportation deal; People’s Army on the move; Thaksin no terrorist; Floods not a crisis | The Thaiger
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– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

PM seeks Japanese role in Bt2-tn transportation project
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has invited Japan Inc to take part in Thailand’s Bt2-trillion transportation development project.

She also proposed to Myanmar to jointly develop a “trilateral highway”, creating land bridges between India, Myanmar and Thailand.

She discussed these issues during bilateral talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Myanmar President Thein Sein on the sidelines of the 23rd Asean Summit in Brunei, PM Office’s spokesman Teerat Ratanasevi said yesterday.

She briefed Abe on the progress of the mega-infrastructure project. She also asked his government and Japan’s private sector to join the project.

Teerat said Abe was interested in having state agencies and the private sector become involved. Japan is not only keen to help roll out the high-speed train network but also to provide consulting services on train operations and ticketing systems.

Abe expressed sympathy over the flood situation in Thailand and asked the Yingluck government to take special care of Japanese factories.

Yingluck told Thein Sein that Thailand was ready to help Myanmar in achieving its reform agenda and to collaborate in trade and the development of the Dawei special economic zone.

The two leaders discussed the problem of smuggling across their borders, which cost the countries in lost tax collections.

Thailand was also eager to work with Myanmar on the implementation of the National Single Window, an electronic system ensuring secured and efficient electronic exchange of trade-related documents through a single point of entry.

The 23rd Asean Summit ended yesterday in Bandar Seri Begawan. In a statement, it was revealed that the grouping grew 5.7 per cent last year, was able to maintain its level of Foreign Direct Investment inflows at US$108.2 billion and recorded $2.47 trillion in total merchandise trade.

The leaders were also of the view that against the backdrop of weaker global growth, regional growth is expected to moderate in the immediate term. Nonetheless, in the longer term, economic activities in the region are expected to remain robust.

A number of measures – 279, or 79.7 per cent – of the AEC Blueprint have been implemented, encouraging the leaders that the regional integration would be completed by 2015, which would enhance Asean’s competitiveness and continue deepening and broadening the regional economic integration.

To spur infrastructure development in the region, Asean also looked forward to the commencement of the Asean Infrastructure Fund’s (AIF) lending operations this year. “We believe that AIF is an integral component of Asean’s efforts to strengthen regional physical connectivity, and narrow the infrastructure development gaps in Asean.”

Thaksin escapes terrorism charge
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Public prosecutors have dropped terrorism charges against fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra in connection with the unrest and riots of 2010, due to “weak evidence”, attorney-general Athapol Yaisawang said.

He said it was a decision taken by his predecessor Chulasingh Vasantasingh, who cited weak evidence as reason not to prosecute Thaksin.

The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) submitted its reports on the terrorism charges to the Office of the Attorney-General. In addition to Thaksin, charges were also filed against 23 red-shirt protesters, allegedly connected with the 2010 political violence.

Athapol said yesterday that prosecutors had reviewed the charges against Thaksin as a separate case, because the accused was a fugitive.

Chulasingh had the final word on whether to try Thaksin because the alleged offence happened outside the country.

Office of the Attorney-General spokesman Nanthasak Pulsuk said Thaksin had only phoned in from abroad and there was no clear evidence that he had instigated people to take part in terrorism.

“Thaksin’s address [to the red shirts] did not call on the protesters to violate the law by burning city halls, embassies, consulate offices, or by toppling the Constitution. The violence at the Ratchaprasong intersection was because the government used military force to reclaim the protest area – with armoured vehicles and war weapons – to disperse the red-shirt protest, leading to many injuries and deaths,” he said.

DSI chief Tarit Pengdith said yesterday that the attorney-general’s decision was deemed final and the DSI would not reopen the case.

People’s Army moves rally from Govt House to Lumpini Park
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The group that calls itself People’s Army to Overthrow the Thaksin Regime has agreed to move its rally site back to Lumpini Park, although it said it reserved the right to protest outside Government House.

Police and rally organisers struck a deal ahead of today’s visit by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

“The protest leaders have decided to vacate the Government House area and relocate to Lumpini Park,” rally organiser Preecha Iamsuphan said yesterday.

Preecha said the organisers would decide whether to return to the seat of the government after the departure of the Chinese delegation.

The announcement to relocate the rally site came yesterday afternoon following 30 minutes of talks between organisers and deputy national police chief General Worapong Chewpreecha.

Rally organisers said the relocation should not be construed as conceding defeat.

They said they would not back down despite the enforcement of the Internal Security Act.

A number of protesters voiced disappointment with the decision, saying it was tantamount to retreating.

They disagreed with the argument that the relocation should be seen as aimed at protecting the country’s good image at a time when the Chinese premier is paying a visit.

Police withdrew riot forces to pave the way for the clean-up and beautification of Government House.

Protesters continued to congregate near the Nang Lerng area before moving on to Urupong intersection, which is not covered by the ISA.

Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Pracha Promnog refused to hold talks with People’s Army to Overthrow the Thaksin Regime as requested by the group leaders.

He said he would answer a motion submitted by MPs during a House meeting. “I have assigned the representatives of the Peacekeeping Centre to talk to protesters,” he said.

He also said had he joined in the talks, he might have violated the law as the mandate had already been given to the Peacekeeping Centre.

Pol Maj-General Thawat Boonfueng, who is deputy secretary-general to the prime minister for political affairs, said the government had prepared 15 buses to transport the protesters to their destinations. Meanwhile, the Internal Security Act would remain in effect in three Bangkok districts until next Friday.

He refused to reveal other conditions negotiated between the protest leaders and the Peacekeeping Centre.

Temple wants remains from graveyard removed
— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Burmese child contracted Covid-19 while crossing the border, report says

Caitlin Ashworth



Burmese child contracted Covid-19 while crossing the border, report says | The Thaiger

The 2 year old Burmese child, who tested positive for Covid-19 after leaving Thailand, may have contracted the virus while travelling from Thailand to Myanmar, according to a report from Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health Disease Control Department.

The department says they suspect the child was exposed to the virus while crossing the border from the Mae Sot border district in Tak to Myanmar’s Myawaddy town. The child’s parents worked in Ayutthaya and quit their jobs last month. The department says the toddler probably contracted the virus around September 4 to September 10 while the family was travelling.

The family crossed natural, unofficial passageways into Myanmar. The news website Xinhua says it was an “apparent intent to evade anti-pandemic measures at the Mae Sot border checkpoint.”

Those in Thailand who came in close contact with the family tested negative for the virus. 146 people who worked with the family at Ayutthaya migrant worker camps all tested negative for Covid-19. Those in close contact with the family in the Nakhon Ratchasima province, where the parents worked prior to Ayutthaya, tested negative as well. 2,635 people in Mae Sot tested negative for Covid-19.

Health officials are still investigating 2 apparent local transmissions of Covid-19. Earlier this month, a Bangkok DJ tested positive for Covid-19, breaking Thailand’s 100 day streak without a local transmission. The DJ tested positive for G strain of the virus, a more infectious strain that is typically found in imported cases detected during state quarantine rather than local transmissions. Health officials do not know where the DJ contracted the virus.

A Uzbek football player for the Buriram United team recently tested positive for Covid-19. He was asymptomatic and tested negative for the virus multiple times during quarantine after he arrived to Thailand. Although it seems like a local transmission, some health officials speculate the virus has a longer incubation period than 14 days.


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Video & Podcasts

Thailand News Today | Amnesty finishes, protest round-up | September 21, 2020

The Thaiger



Thailand News Today | Amnesty finishes, protest round-up | September 21, 2020 | The Thaiger

Daily video news about Thailand with Tim Newton

Get a visa or go to jail.

Thai Immigration Tourists, and anyone else with a lapsed visa, ha ve only 5 days to renew their visa or they could get arrested. The current visa amnesty ends on September 26 and there isn’t going to be another sudden announcement for another grace period, according to immigration officials. Those who overstay will face arrest and be deported back to their home countries. Immigration officials estimate there are more than 150,000 foreign nationals who need to have their tourist visas renewed. Immigration officials said today that people without a valid visa after September 26 could face jail.

“Overstaying the tourist visa is punishable by both a jail term and fine under the Immigration Act.”

Some foreigners who arrived on tourist visas earlier in the year have been in Thailand since late March when the Thai borders closed and many international flights were cancelled due to the world coronavirus pandemic. The visa amnesty was renewed twice since many people were unable to their home countries, but now the amnesty is coming to an end this Saturday.

There were hopes that the end of the visa amnesty could co-incide with the introduction of the new Special Tourist Visa so that those either unable to leave, due to lack of flights or problems returning to their home countries, could ‘roll over’ onto the new 90 day visas. But that has not been announced at this stage and remains just wishful thinking. The best thing you can do, if you don’t currently have a valid visa to stay in Thailand, is urgently contact your embassy, make an appointment online at your nearest Immigration office, or speak to a professional visa agent. But, be warned, there are plenty of scammers posting official looking urgent posts in social media offering to issue you with a visa so you can stay in Thailand. Do your homework before spending money with any visa agent.

Weekend protest rallies draw 30,000 people but no formal response

Protesters gathered from early Saturday morning at the Thammasat Tha Prachan campus. Although officially denied permission to hold their protest on the Campus grounds, the demonstrators stormed the campus’s gates, without resistance from onlooking police or security officials. By the afternoon the crowd had reached some 30,000 people, less than the 50,000 expected but a lot more than the 15,000 expected by government officials in the lead up to the Saturday rally. Largely peaceful the protesters sat in the wet season drizzle to listen to speeches and performances before marching together to the adjacent royal parade grounds of Sanam Luang. Here the protest continued under the watchful eye of police, all unarmed, who barricaded off sensitive areas of the historic parade grounds and access to the Grand Palace.

The protest continued into the night and punctuated the themes of political freedom, new Democratic elections, the dissolution of the Thai parliament and, controversially, reforms to the country’s revered monarchy. On Sunday morning there was a symbolic placement of a brass plaque to commemorate the event, seen as a replacement to a similar plaque that commemorated the Siam Revolution in 1932 that mysteriously vanished in 2017. The protesters then marched to the Privy Council to officially hand over a copy of their 10 point manifesto.

Meanwhile, 45,000 books – a collection of speeches and poems by some of the protest leaders – were seized in a nearby Bangkok house. The books were to be handed out to protesters. 5 people were arrested at the time.

Alcohol banned at national parks after complaints of trash and drunk tourists Alcohol is now banned at national parks after tourists allegedly got drunk at a waterfall and others left a load of trash by their campsite. Just last week, trash left at a campsite at Khao Yai National Park was boxed up in a parcel and sent back to the campers. Other tourists were allegedly drunk and making a lot of noise at the Namtok Samlan National Park, Varawut says. He says both groups of tourists face charges for their actions.

• Alcohol is banned at national parks for the time being

• Loud noise is not allowed after 9pm and noise must be stopped at 10pm

• When renting a tent, tourists must provide identification, address and phone number

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MP files complaint against 3 opposition MPs for allegedly joining the protest

Caitlin Ashworth



MP files complaint against 3 opposition MPs for allegedly joining the protest | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Line Today

A member of parliament filed a complaint against 3 opposition MPs for allegedly joining the weekend’s pro-democracy protest where activists demanded reform of the Thai Monarchy. He’s also putting together a legal team aimed at dissolving the members’ 3 opposition parties.

Palang Pracharat MP Sira Jenjakha says he has a photo of the 3 members raising their hands in a 3 finger salute, a symbol of resistance against the military run government. He says the protest was illegal, and the location, the Royal Field next to the Grand Palace, is off limits to unauthorised people.

He filed the complaint with the Chanasongkhram police against Mongkolkit Suksintharanont, of the Thai Civilized Party, Peerawit Ruangluedolapark, of the Thai Rak Thai Party and Nattha Boonchai-insawat of the Kao Klai Party.

A legal team assigned by Sira will collect evidence and file a petition with the Constitutional Court calling on the dissolution of the 3 opposition parties: Thai Civilized Party, Thai Rak Thai Party and Kao Klai Party.

He says he also plans to ask the House Speaker to investigate the 3 members to determine if they breached the parliament’s ethical conduct.


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