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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Scuffles end meeting; Canadian picked up in penny scam; Teachers still targets; Mass Rohingya escape; Fertility rite

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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Scuffles end meeting; Canadian picked up in penny scam; Teachers still targets; Mass Rohingya escape; Fertility rite | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Scuffles, boos bring chaos to constitution change meeting
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Parliament President Somsak Kiatsuranont, whose nickname is “Gavel Master”, lived up to his name and used his gavel vigorously for the first time yesterday during the House-Senate joint meeting deliberating constitutional amendments. However, his gaveling failed to bring order to the chamber.

Instead, they were followed by boos and MPs standing in protest. Somsak ordered the Parliament police to remove any lawmakers who refused to sit down. Several officers surrounded his chair for security. “Anyone failing to move [the standing parliamentarians] out must face a probe,” he warned the officers. This was followed by pushing, shoving and tugging between Democrat MPs and Parliament police.

MP Kulladej Puapattanakul pushed the police and put his hand on an officer’s neck. Other officers scrambled to lock his arms while MP Thani Thueksuban tried to help him. A female MP screamed.

Somsak called a 10-minute break which lasted more than half an hour.

Before the chaos, the lawmakers were to deliberate on a charter amendment related to the election, qualification and authority of senators.

Pheu Thai MP Samart Kaew-meechai, chairman of the vetting committee, told the meeting that 202 parliamentarians had registered to speak at the plenary. Two had withdrawn while some had submitted their motions after the deadline. Meanwhile, 57 motions were deemed by his committee as against the principle of the bill approved in the first reading. He asked the meeting to consider whether the sponsors of the motions should be allowed to deliberate in the plenary.

The Democrats claimed that all had the right to speak.

Democrat MP Nipit Intarasombat said he calculated the days differently from the committee, referring to the controversial closing of the meeting in the first reading.

To cut short the debate, which did not go anywhere in the morning, Somsak, who had taken the chairmanship in the afternoon, said he would allow only two representatives from the government and opposition MPs and senators to speak before voting. Following protests from the floor, he called for voting. The meeting voted 339:15 against the 57 speaking.

Democrat MP Attaporn Ponlaboot held a placard that said “Slave Parliament” in front of Somsak’s seat.

Opposition whip chief Jurin Laksanawisit said the House speaker might have violated the law as he had scheduled a second reading before the first reading was completed.

Jurin was referring to the meeting on the night of April 3 (early morning April 4) which lacked a quorum. It had agreed on a period for submitting motions of deliberation and the speaker assumed the motions must be submitted within 15 days.

Somsak called another House-Senate joint meeting on April 18 to complete the procedure, and the parliamentarians voted for the 15-day deadline schedule.

Jurin said MPs who lost the opportunity to speak had the right to petition the Constitutional Court. They included Democrat chief adviser Chuan Leekpai, Nipit and Jurin.

In the morning, Democrats and some senators opposed Senate Speaker Nikom Wairatpanij from chairing the meeting, saying he might have a conflict of interest.

Keep checking the Phuket Gazette’s Thailand news pages, join our Facebook fan page or follow us on Twitter @PhuketGazette for the latest national news updates.

Canadian wanted in global stock scam arrested in Prachin Buri
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: A Canadian was arrested in Prachin Buri yesterday morning over his alleged role in an international penny stock fraud scheme worth more than Bt4.2 billion.

Police identified the suspect as Gregory Joseph Curry, 67. The scam’s perpetrators reportedly received more than US$140 million (about Bt4.2 billion) from victims in as many as 35 countries. Of nine suspects targeted by US authorities in connection with this scam, two managed to flee to Thailand, both of whom have now been arrested.

Metropolitan Police Division 2 deputy chief Colonel Jarern Sisasalak said Curry was the second suspect arrested in Thailand in connection with the scam.

“The other one, Sandy Winick, was nabbed earlier by Special Branch police,” he said.

Keep checking the Phuket Gazette’s Thailand news pages, join our Facebook fan page or follow us on Twitter @PhuketGazette for the latest national news updates.

Teachers still targets in South
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The unrest in Thailand’s deep South has taken the lives of 162 teachers during the past decade. Fresh attacks seen aimed at pressing the government to meet BRN demands

This month, one teacher has been killed and four wounded in bloody attacks in the southernmost provinces. In the most recent of these attacks, Atikom Tiwong was killed while travelling from his school to his home in Pattani’s Yarang district on Monday evening.

“The deadly attack has seriously affected the morale of local teachers,” the chairman of the Federation of Teachers in Three Southern Border Provinces, Boonsom Thongsriprai, said yesterday.

He said the incident also reflected the many problems in the southernmost region and the need to provide better protection to teachers.

“Clearly, teachers remain a prime target [for attacks],” Boonsom said.

Police said gunmen on a moving pickup opened fire on Atikom – a teacher at the Ban Prachan School – while he was riding his motorcycle back to his home. Before the gunmen fled the scene, they spread leaflets announcing the attack was carried out in retaliation against state officials. In the wake of the attack, the Ban Prachan School has suspended classes to mourn Atikom’s death and to give some time for his colleagues and students to recover from the shock.

Some 11 nearby schools have also closed down temporarily, as their teachers plan to attend Atikom’s funeral and meetings with the Federation of Teachers in Three Southern Border Provinces. Civil Society Council of Southernmost Thailand chairman Prasit Meksuwan believed the violence in the deep South had intensified lately because some insurgents were trying to pressure the Thai authorities to accept the five demands made by the BRN (Barisan Revolusi Nasional).

Since March, the BRN and Thai authorities have engaged in a peace dialogue. While the Thai authorities have pressed for an end to the violence in Thailand’s southernmost provinces, the BRN’s demands include the unconditional release of inmates arrested in security cases.

Prasit said insurgents would l

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Drugs

2 million methamphetamine pills found in parked truck

Caitlin Ashworth

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2 million methamphetamine pills found in parked truck | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Line Today

Police found more than 2 million methamphetamine pills in a truck parked at petrol station at Prachuap Khiri Khan’s Bang Saphan Noy district. Police are still looking for the driver.

The Narcotics Suppression Bureau alerted local police about a truck in the area suspected of trafficking drugs. Police spotted a truck that matched the description and saw it turning in to a petrol station.

Police followed, but by the time they reached the vehicle, it was parked and the driver was no where in sight. Officers suspect the driver fled the scene.

The truck had a number of cardboard boxes containing thousands of methamphetamine pills. Police say all together they seized 2,002,000 pills. They also found a bank deposit passbook, 2 identification cards and other documents. The evidence was passed on to the Narcotics Suppression Bureau who are now working on the case.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Hua Hin

Hua Hin schools close after students get fever, families crossed Myanmar border

Caitlin Ashworth

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Hua Hin schools close after students get fever, families crossed Myanmar border | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS

Class is cancelled for a week at 2 schools after some students reported a high fever. School officials discovered many Burmese students and parents have been crossing the Thai-Myanmar border. The Thai government recently told immigration police to patrol the country’s natural borders such as along jungles and rivers after Myanmar reported a spike in coronavirus cases.

The 2 Prachuap Khiri Khan schools – Anun School and Wang Ta Krai School – will be closed until at least September 7. Some of the students need to quarantine for 14 days before returning to school. Public health officials have taken fluid samples to test for Covid-19. The results have not yet been released at this stage.

The province is on the Malay peninsula and borders Myanmar’s Tanintharyi region. The community has a large Burmese population. Out of the 576 students at Anun School, 300 of them are migrants. Out of the 310 students at the Wang Ta Krai School, 45 of them are migrants.

When students from the Anun School students did not show up in class due to high fever, school officials looked into their case and learned that their families had recently returned from areas around the Thai-Myanmar border. Wang Ta Krai School has not reported any suspected cases.

Most of the cases in the recent spike in Myanmar involve the western Rhakine state, on the other side of Myanmar from the Thai border.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Tourism

Air Asia and VietJet add some extra domestic routes

The Thaiger

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Air Asia and VietJet add some extra domestic routes | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai VietJet adds a BKK-Nakhon Si Thammarat flight to their schedule

Whilst much of the world waits to get back into Thailand, the local airlines are starting to flex their domestic muscles and add new routes.

Thai AirAsia is launching 2 new routes from Chiang Mai, starting yesterday, offering a one-way fare for as low as 790 baht on flights to Hua Hin, and Udon Thani in the northeast. The cheapie fares will only run until August 16, or when they’re booked out. The fares will cover travel from today up to March 26 next year.

Thai Air Asia is attempting to bump up its direct domestic travel from Chiang Mai that will avoid doing a stop-over in Bangkok for these new routes.

The new flight from Chiang Mai to the coastal town of Hua Hin is targeting Thais and expats living in the north who want a seaside break and couldn’t be bothered sitting in a bus for 24 hours.

The bi-weekly flights depart every Friday and Sunday which gives travellers at both ends of the route an excuse for weekend travel. Thai Air Asia are now servicing 30 domestic routes that started again in May when Thai-registered airlines restarted limited domestic services.

But the locally-based airlines are still not allowed to fly internationally, and, based on comments from the TAT, that may not happen until early 2021. A deputy governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand said last Friday there was “no signs to show international tourism would reopen this year and even Chinese New Year in February 2021 was now in jeopardy… It is not a rosy picture.”

Air Asia and VietJet add some extra domestic routes | News by The Thaiger

 

Meanwhile Thai Vietjet has started a new service from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport to Nakhon Si Thammarat in Thailand’s Deep South.

The first flight landed over the weekend to a water salute welcome at Nakhon Si Thammarat Airport. Thai Vietjet’s latest service into southern Thailand operates daily but they’re hoping to ramp up to four flights a day in October.

A promotional fare of just 199 baht, excluding tax and fees, is on sale at www.vietjetair.com.

Air Asia and VietJet add some extra domestic routes | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: TTRWeekly

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