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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Re-election turnout low; US shocked by deaths of children; Protesters on the move

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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Re-election turnout low; US shocked by deaths of children; Protesters on the move | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Low turnout in re-elections
Phuket Gazette / The Nation

PHUKET: RE-RUNS of the widely disrupted general election opened peacefully yesterday in five provinces, poll authorities said, in the first move to complete a troubled vote that could provide a mandate for a new government. But the turnout for the election in the five provinces was only 10.2 per cent, with 9,835 voters participating.

The five provinces are Phet-chaburi, Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkram, Rayong and Petchabun.

The election on February 2 failed to ease the months-long political crisis after anti-government protesters seeking to topple caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra obstructed the vote in many opposition strongholds.

Demonstrators prevented more than 10,000 polling stations from opening, affecting several million people, mainly in opposition strongholds in Bangkok and the South.

The Election Commission said the results would not be announced until voting had been completed in all constituencies, as well as in the party-list system, setting a rough deadline of April.

A total of around 120,000 people were registered in 101 constituencies across five provinces for yesterday’s vote, election commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn told AFP.

“The polls are going peacefully – everything is under control and there are no problems,” Mr Somchai said.

A trickle of voters arrived at two polling stations early yesterday in Phetchaburi – one of the affected provinces south of Bangkok – according to an AFP reporter, but there were no signs of obstruction of the polls.

Until the full results are announced, Ms Yingluck remains in a caretaker role with limited power over policy.

Under Thai election law, 95 per cent of the 500 seats in the Lower House of Parliament must be filled to enable a House convening session before the appointment of a new government.

The main opposition party, which boycotted the vote, in February lost a legal bid to nullify a controversial election.

Mr Somchai said the EC would invite four political parties to hold talks on Friday in Songkhla to discuss using measures and methods in the five provinces that have proven successful in solving problems that may arise from elections in the remaining provinces.

He dismissed criticism the EC was unable to hold the election quickly in all remaining provinces, reasoning that each province had its own problems.

The EC would allow an election to be held only in provinces that are ready and where the agency was confident polling could be held without violence.

Meanwhile, His Majesty the King yesterday signed a royal decree for a Senate election on March 30 for elected senators whose term expired yesterday.

The candidacy registration for the Upper House election has been scheduled for tomorrow until Saturday, Somchai said.

He said in some provinces, the MP election and senatorial election could be held on the same day, March 30, as the King had endorsed the royal decree for the Senate election.

US calls for investigation into children’s deaths
Phuket Gazette / The Nation

PHUKET: US Secretary of State John Kerry has called on Thailand to investigate “politically-motivated” attacks, denouncing the deaths of several children as “horrifying”.

“As allies and close friends of the Thai people, we are profoundly saddened by the deaths and injuries that have shaken the country,” Mr Kerry said in a statement on Friday.

“I call upon Thai authorities to investigate these attacks swiftly and bring those responsible to justice,” he said, adding “violence is not an acceptable means of resolving political differences”.

Thai opposition protesters seeking to force Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra from office said on Friday night that they would abandon most of rally sites in the capital, ending their “shutdown” of Bangkok, which has lasted about four months.

The move follows increasingly frequent gunfire and grenade attacks targeting the protest sites, mostly at night.

Violence linked to the rallies has left 23 people dead and hundreds wounded in recent weeks, including four children killed in two separate grenade and gun attacks on opposition rallies.

“As a father and grandfather, the death of several innocent children is particularly horrifying, and must at last be a wake-up call to all sides to refrain from violence, exercise restraint, and respect the rule of law,” said Mr Kerry.

He insisted that the United States does not take sides in Thailand’s politics, saying it was up to the Thai people to resolve their differences.

But he highlighted US concern about “the employment of other tactics that undermine Thailand’s democratic values and processes, inhibit compromise, and further exacerbate political tensions”.

“All sides should commit to dialogue in the spirit of seeking common ground to address differences and find a peaceful, democratic way forward,” he added.

Anti-government campaigners move to Lumpini Park
Phuket Gazette / The Nation

PHUKET: Rally leader Suthep Thaugsuban spoke to anti-government protesters at a new rally site at Lumpini Park on Sunday.

All rally sites except the one at the Government Complex on Chang Wattana road were closed.

Lumpini will be the main rally site for People’s Democratic for Reform Committee (PDRC), said Mr Suthep.

Mr Suthep, together with co-leaders and Student and People Network for Thailand’s Reform (STR) co-ordinator Uthai Yodmanee, led the protesters from the Pathumwan rally site to Lumpini Park Sunday morning.

In a related development, protesters from other protest venues – Asok, Silom and Ratchaprasong – have been moved to join the rally at the Lumpini protest site.

However, Buddhist monk Phra Buddha Issara did not move to join the Lumpini rally site.

The monk stood firm that the Chaeng Wattana stage would remain.

Mr Suthep on Friday announced an end to “Bangkok Shutdown,” which started on Jan 13 in an attempt to oust the caretaker government in order to pave the way for political reform.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Thailand News Today | German Embassy, More STV tourists, Thanathorn in trouble | October 27

The Thaiger

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Thailand News Today | German Embassy, More STV tourists, Thanathorn in trouble | October 27 | The Thaiger

Today’s latest Thai news from The Thaiger, hosted by Tim Newton with full, echoey sound! Sorry about the minor audio issues!

From Bangkok to Berlin – protesters deliver letter to German Embassy

Protesting students last night submitted a letter to the German Embassy, to be passed on to the German Government. The protest started around 4pm when the rally gathered at the Sam Yan intersection, near the Chulalongkorn University, and made its way along Rama IV Road to the German Embassy in Sathorn Road, some 1.5 kilometres.

After some 10,000+ students descended on the Embassy compound in Sathorn Road, the German embassy said it would be “ready to receive the petition and convey it to Berlin on condition it was conveyed in a peaceful manner”.

The rally disbanded peacefully at around 9pm. Here are a few lines from the letter… the full contents are published on thethaiger.com

Addressed to His Excellency German Ambassador to Thailand.

During the last few days, we believe that Your Excellency have had the occasion to observe numerous alarming human rights violations in The Kingdom, including the excessive use of force against peaceful protestors and the suppression of free speech.

The protestors. at the receiving end of these egregious violations, were advocating for nothing more than democracy and accountability from the Government.

One of the most significant and courageous demands from the protestors is the accountability of the monarchy as an institution under the constitution.

In this regard, we are certain that Your Excellency is well aware of the open secret that H.M. does not habitually reside in Thailand, but rather in Bavaria, Germany. Khana Ratsadon International profoundly believes that this violates International custom, law, as well as Article I of the German Constitution.

We sincerely hope that Your Excellency would convey our grievances to the German Government.

Yesterday’s Germany’s Foreign Minister responded directly to the situation out side the German Embassy in the German parliament….

“Of course we are following developments taking place in Thailand, and know there are demonstrations and people taking to the streets for their rights. And, of course, I am also watching what the Thai King gets up to in Germany.”

Earlier yesterday a group of some 500 supporters of the government and royalists dressed in yellow shirts also demonstrated outside the gates of the German Embassy voicing their support for His Majesty and a continuation of the current system.

Both rallies outside German Embassy broke the law – deputy police chief

Meanwhile both of the rallies outside the German Embassy in Bangkok – the royalists and government supporters earlier yesterday afternoon and the pro-democracy protesters in the evening – have been deemed illegal by Thai police.

Deputy Metropolitan Police Chief says both rallies held outside the embassy on Sathorn Road did not have the permit required to hold a gathering and demonstrators violated Covid-19 prevention measures under the emergency order (presumably the Covid 19 emergency decree as the State of Emergency was rescinded last Thursday by the Thai PM).

Around 500 royalists got to the embassy first in the afternoon to show support for the Thai Monarch. Most were dressed in yellow, the colour representing the Thai Monarchy, and many waved the Thai flag and held up photos of the Royal family.

6 face extortion charges after allegedly posing Thai immigration police officers

Police have arrested 3 people and issued arrest warrants for 3 others on extortion charges after they allegedly posed immigration police officers in Rayong and visited business owners with migrant staff, asking them for money.

Police say 6 men wearing immigration police uniforms visited business owners in Rayong on September 15. They allegedly asked for money from the businesses with migrant labourers.

Investigators where able to track down 3 of the suspects and found the immigration police uniforms they allegedly used.

145 more on Special Tourist Visa arrive in Bangkok

145 people on the new Special Tourist Visa arrived in Bangkok yesterday from Guangzhou, China, the second group after Thailand’s 7 month ban on international tourists.

39 people on the new long stay visa arrived last week, a small, yet significant step forward for Thailand as it pries open the borders for tourists, albeit with a lot of paperwork, restrictions AND the 14 day quarantine.

In 2019, nearly 40 million tourists visited Thailand.

3 Chinese casino workers arrested with 8 million baht after illegal crossing from Myanmar

Officers from the Thai police and military have arrested 3 Chinese nationals after they crossed illegally into Thailand from the Burmese town of Myawaddy.

The 2 women and 1 man were workers at a casino in Myanmar and were arrested in possession of 8 million baht in Mae Sot, Northern Thailand. Officers detained them as they were getting into 2 cars allegedly arranged for them by 2 Thai men .

Thanathorn, other former Future Forward Party officials, are facing criminal charges

16 people from the dissolved Future Forward Party, including the former leader Thanathorn , could face criminal charges pressed by the Election Commission.

The charges are over a large donation that allegedly exceeds the maximum allowed under the Political Parties Act. The timing of the politically-charged legal action coincides with a peak of anti-government protest activity.

The 191 million baht loan, which exceeds the limit of 10 million baht per donor per year, led the Constitutional Court to dissolve the Future Forward Party back in February. The Court also ordered the party’s executive MPs be stripped of their parliamentary status and banned from politics for 10 years.

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Don’t forget to extend your visa! Thai Immigration warns about fines for late applicants

Caitlin Ashworth

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Don’t forget to extend your visa! Thai Immigration warns about fines for late applicants | The Thaiger

Still need to extend your visa? You have until Halloween, October 31. With the visa amnesty deadline approaching, Thai Immigration Bureau is reminding foreigners to get their visa in order by the end of this month. Late applicants will be fined, they say.

No matter when the visa is extended, as long as it’s before the deadline, it will go into effect on November 1 and allow a 60 day stay. The immigration bureau says foreigners should file an application with their local immigration office.

Since the recent amnesty period was put in place a few days after the initial September 26 deadline, those who paid 1,900 baht for 30 day visa extensions last month are now allowed to stay until November 30, but they need to go to immigration to get a stamp with the new expiration date.

The amnesty was first put in place in April due to travel restrictions and the global spread of the coronavirus. The grace period was set to end in July, then extended to late-September, and then extended again after many were unable to leave the country or get their visa in order before the deadline.

SOURCE: Thai Immigration

Don't forget to extend your visa! Thai Immigration warns about fines for late applicants | News by The Thaiger

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Thailand

145 more on Special Tourist Visa arrive in Bangkok

Caitlin Ashworth

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145 more on Special Tourist Visa arrive in Bangkok | The Thaiger
PHOTO: 77 kaoded

145 people on the new Special Tourist Visa arrived in Bangkok yesterday from Guangzhou, China, the second group after Thailand’s 7 month ban on international tourists. 39 people on the new long stay visa arrived last week, a small, yet significant step forward for Thailand as it pries open the borders for tourists, albeit with a lot of paperwork, restrictions AND the 14 day quarantine.

The country went from welcoming millions of tourists each month before the pandemic to zero from late-March until a few weeks ago. In 2019, nearly 40 million tourists visited Thailand.

All the tourists passed the Covid-19 screening upon arrival at the Suvarnabhumi Airport. They are now required to go through a 14 day quarantine at an approved hotel or facility before travelling the country.

The tourists were on the same China Southern Airlines flight as 118 foreigners with Thai work permits who were entering Thailand for business purposes, according to the airport’s deputy director Kittipong Kittikachon. 16 Thais were also on the flight, travelling back home from China.

While some have been concerned that opening the borders to foreign tourists could cause another outbreak (even though the tourists are also required to quarantine), Kittipong says there is “no chance” that the coronavirus will spread from the tourists. He says strict health measures are in place and the tourists are coming from areas that are considered a “very low risk” with no recent local transmissions of the virus.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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