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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Second grenade attack in Bangkok injures 28; Agitators blamed for Friday blast; Rice farmers warn of final showdown

Legacy Phuket Gazette



Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Second grenade attack in Bangkok injures 28; Agitators blamed for Friday blast; Rice farmers warn of final showdown | The Thaiger
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– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Second grenade attack
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Some 28 people, including a number of anti-government protesters, were wounded yesterday afternoon when two grenades were thrown at a rally site at Victory Monument.

Seven victims sustained serious injuries and were receiving treatment at four hospitals. One of the wounded is a female Post Today reporter, Sitthinee Huangnark.

Witnesses said the first grenade was thrown near a bus stop near the rally stage, which is located in front of Rajvithi Hospital.

After the first grenade went off at around 1.30pm, a group of protesters and rally guards chased a man suspected of throwing it. The suspect fired three shots in the air to scare away those chasing him, before lobbing another grenade down from a pedestrian flyover, injuring a second group of victims.

The suspect continued to flee on the pedestrian flyover, running into Rajvithi Soi 14. The man fired another shot at one of his pursuers, wounding him in the stomach, before running further into the soi and jumping on a waiting motorcycle, on which he fled.

Police later inspected the scene and identified two grenade pins as belonging to Russian-made RGD-5 grenades – the same type used in the attack on Friday on protesters at Banthad Thong Road. At least 36 people were wounded in that attack, and one died of his injuries early on Saturday.

Former Democrat MP Thaworn Senneam, a core leader of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee, which is staging the Shutdown campaign, said the attack was meant to harm him. Thaworn is supervising the Victory Monument stage. He said feedback from PDRC guards was that there were probably six men who took part in the latest attack.

Army commander General Prayuth Chan-ocha deplored the attack, deputy Army spokesman Colonel Winthai Suvaree said yesterday, adding that the Army chief had ordered the military to adjust security plans with the government’s Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO).

The areas of adjustment include the location of road checkpoints and a request for police to hasten investigations into previous attacks, especially in gathering information on who was behind the attacks on protesters.

In an earlier attack on the PDRC’s Lat Phrao rally site at 11.20pm on Saturday, shots were fired at a

gate, seriously wounding a 53-year-old guard, the Erawan Emergency Medical Services Centre said.

Yesterday’s grenade attacks at Victory Monument prompted heightened security at all seven rally sites, especially the main venue at Pathumwan intersection.

PDRC core leader Satit Wongnongtaey said the additional measures include inspections of all protesters’ baggage, an expansion of security rings around all rally sites, and more patrol teams around them.

Satit said joint operations between PDRC guards and police at road checkpoints seemed useless to him, as no ordinary vehicles going in or travelling near protest sites had been searched. Instead, only ambulances had been searched by police, he said.

PDRC leader Suthep Thaugsuban led a march yesterday from the Lat Phrao rally site to nearby areas and return without incident.

PDRC spokesman Akanat Promphan said that daily marches by protesters would continue unabated, but the government and the police had failed to bringing those responsible for the attacks to justice. They had only put blame on the protest leaders. He said the anti-government movement and protesters would gain nothing from carrying out such attacks.

Friday’s attack blamed on third party
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The grenade attack on the anti-government march last Friday was the work of an ill-intentioned group bent on stirring up trouble and pointing blame toward the government, chief of the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO) Surapong Tovichakchaikul said yesterday.

Surapong, who is also caretaker Deputy PM and Foreign Minister, said police could not gain access to the scene shortly after the attack because the PDRC leaders did not let them enter.

“There was an attempt to prevent police from getting inside to control the situation and collect evidence, which suggests that an ill-intentioned group wanted to create a situation whereby the government would be blamed [for the attack]. The attack was not aimed at protest leaders as [first] claimed,’ he said.

Deputy Bangkok Police Chief Pol Maj-General Adul Narongsak said ini?tial investigations found that the area where the BB guns were found was far from the scene of the bomb blast. Shortly after the attack, PDRC guards refused to allow police entry to the scene, which hampered the investiga?tion. A number of military personnel were the first to be allowed access. Police were allowed entry later.

Adul said it was unlikely the grenade was thrown from a building nearby, as there were many obstacles in the way. And CCTV footage did not show any object being thrown into the area just before the blast occurred.

Adul said the footage showed a sus?pect in a white cap quickly take cover behind a telephone-exchange box just before the deadly explosion. After the blast, another man got out of a pick-up and ran straight to the man with the white cap. The two quickly collected some objects near the blast site with?out paying attention to the injured peo?ple. The footage, he said, had led police to believe that the suspects mingled with protesters before the blast.

“We can confirm that people responsible for the attack were among the protesters as the footage captured both their images and voices,’ he said.

Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission issued a statement condemning those responsible for the attack on Friday and called on all sides to refrain from using violence and to urgently hold talks to end the crisis.

Police officers from North, NE removed from Govt House
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The police have agreed to withdraw about two of their companies from the Government House area after being asked to leave by the Students and People Network for Thailand’s Reform (STR). The policemen were mainly from provinces in the North and the Northeast.

STR security chief Nasser Yeema led network supporters to Government House to ask the police to maintain only two companies from Samut Sakhon and Suphan Buri inside the compound.

Demonstrators destroy ballot papers
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: People’s Democratic Reform Committee protesters have torn up some ballot papers for the February 2 election that were kept at a printing house on Lat Phrao Road, Election Commission (EC) secretary-general Puchong Nutrawong said Saturday.

The protesters on Friday laid siege to the Kurusapa printing house, where ballot papers are printed. Election officials found that some ballot papers had been destroyed.

The EC has yet to check the extent of the damage because the protesters declared that no official was to go inside the printing house. They also put glue in the building’s locks, Puchong said.


— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Facebook, Twitter may face charges for allegedly allowing lèse majesté content

Caitlin Ashworth



Facebook, Twitter may face charges for allegedly allowing lèse majesté content | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Standard

Facebook and Twitter could face charges for failing to block so called lèse majesté posts that allegedly violate Thailand’s Computer Crime Act. The Ministry of Digital Economy and Society says the social media platforms were warned about Thailand’s laws regarding content that insults the Thai Monarchy or threatens national security and peace, but failed to remove all the illegal posts.

Letters were sent out to the operators of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube giving them 15 days to take down the illegal posts or charges would be pressed, according to Minister of Digital Economy and Society Buddhipongse Punnakanta. Since not all the posts were removed, the ministry has asked the Technology Crime Suppression Police to step in and prosecute the social media platforms.

The Thai government has been using the blunt tool of “shooting the messenger” in its battle against content deemed disrespectful of the Thai Monarchy under its lèse majesté laws.

“It is the first time in Thailand that the (computer crime) law is exercised to prosecute the service providers. Charges will go to the parent company of all the organisations. The police will use Thai laws because the offences happened in Thailand. I believe the police can do it.”

The minister says Facebook was told to take down 661 posts, but they only removed 225. Twitter was told to remove 69 posts, he says, but only took down 5. YouTube was told to remove 289 posts and all of them were blocked. Social media platforms that violate the Computer Crime Act could face an up to 200,000 baht fine per illegal post and a daily fine of up to 5,000 until the content is removed.

Buddhipongse filed the complaint which also cited nearly 1,000 social media posts that allegedly violate the act. They say the posts offending the Thai Monarchy were made during the pro-democracy protest in Bangkok last weekend.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand News Today | Visa amnesty, sealing Burmese border, Thai airways creditors | September 24

The Thaiger



Thailand News Today | Visa amnesty, sealing Burmese border, Thai airways creditors | September 24 | The Thaiger

Latest update for September 26 deadline of visa amnesty.

Deadline set for THAI creditors

A date has now been set for creditors to recover their money from Thai Airways. Applications for debt repayment through corporate bonds started yesterday. Applications filed by private individuals are being received at the Securities and Exchange Commission office in Bangkok. The deadline for applications is November 2. It’s ben reported that there are some 10 million creditors. The airline’s total debt stands at 352.4 billion baht.

Thailand seals its 2,000 kilometre border with Myanmar

Thailand’s Department of Disease Control remains on alert, and patrols increased along the Thai/Myanmar border, as Thailand’s western neighbour continues to register a spike in new Covid 19 cases. Between 430 and 670 people each day, over the past 4 days, have tested positive for Covid-19. The DDC’s director-general says that Thai “business operators should stop hiring foreign workers, especially Burmese people, to help prevent a second wave of Covid-19 infections in Thailand.” Myanmar’s number of confirmed cases has now reached 7,177 with 129 Burmese succumbing to the virus at this stage. Yesterday the four national papers suspended circulation, waiting out the sudden surge of cases. In some border districts, police have placed barbed wire along the leaky jungle border to deter people from crossing the 2,000 kilometre-long border illegally.

Deputy PM says “Big Joke” transfer not necessarily unlawful

Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam says former immigration chief, Surachate Hakparn, shouldn’t assume his transfer to an inactive post in the PM’s Office was unlawful. Surachate, known by the nickname “Big Joke” headed up Thailand’s Immigration Bureau until he was unceremoniously side-lined by the PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha early last year. It’s understood he is now planning to sue the PM, claiming that the lack of any investigation against him shows there were no grounds for the transfer. For his part, Deputy PM Wissanu says Surachate has the right to sue the PM if he so wishes but shouldn’t assume his transfer is similar to that of the former National Security Council chief, who was transferred under former PM Yingluck Shinawatra in 2011. That transfer was subsequently deemed unlawful by the Supreme Administrative Court. Wissanu doesn’t rule out the possibility of Surachate being re-instated. For his part, Surachate claims his petitions to the PM have fallen on deaf ears.

New army chief declares he’ll protect Thailand’s monarchy and restore peace

Thailand’s new army chief says he pledges to restore peace and protect the country’s monarchy. In a ceremony formerly saying farewell to retiring generals, incoming army chief Narongphan Jitkaewtae (jit-gow-tear) said he would restore peace and be loyal to the Thai Monarchy. His statement comes at a time when many people are speaking out against Thailand’s military-run government, and calling for changes to the constitution (voted for by referendum in 2017). He said… “Protecting the monarchy with absolute loyalty and supporting the government to resolve national problems and working to advance the country are tasks for which the generals deserve the honour.”

Thailand’s Social Security Office forced to explain investment in Sri Panwa Phuket Resort trust fund

The Social Security Office, a department under the direction of Thailand’s Ministry of Labour, is being asked to explain its investment in the trust fund of Phuket’s Sri Panwa Phuket Resort. The demand comes as members of the opposition and political activists call for an investigation into the property’s ownership of the land. The owner of Sri Panwa Phuket, Vorasit Issara, has faced flak online recently, with his property attracting multiple negative reviews as a consequence, after he criticised one of the student anti-government protest leaders. Thai PBS World reports that the Civil Society for State Welfare is calling on the SSO to clarify its investment in the Sri Panwa Hospitality Real Estate Investment Trust, thought to be worth around 500 million baht. Meanwhile, review site Tripadvisor has had to suspend reviews for the Sri Panwa resort, as the travel review website has been flooded with negative reviews.

Bangkok officials issue advice to motorists to avoid parliament area due to protest

Bangkok motorists have been told avoid the roads around Thailand’s new parliament building today, with a political rally taking place there as we speak. The rally was announced by anti-government protesters at the end of their weekend demonstration. The Metropolitan Police Bureau advise drivers to avoid Kiak Kai Road, in front of the parliament building, as well as a number of other roads in the vicinity. The Thaiger will bring you some of the latest vision from the protest this afternoon which you can watch on our Facebook page with a full report on tomorrow’s Thailand News Today.

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982 lèse majesté social media posts cited in police complaint

Caitlin Ashworth



982 lèse majesté social media posts cited in police complaint | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Line Today

Nearly 1,000 so called lèse majesté posts on social media have been cited in a police complaint for allegedly violating Thailand’s Computer Crime Act, some allegedly criticising and insulting the Thai Monarchy. The complaints were filed by Digital Economy and Society Minister Buddhipongse Punnakanta.

The police report says the social media posts were shared during the pro-democracy protest over the weekend. Altogether, 982 social media posts allegedly violate Thailand’s Computer Crime Act. The ministry has also applied for a warrant to block content on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter at violate the act.

In Thailand, lèse majesté (insulting the monarch) is criminalised by Section 112 of the Thai Criminal Code… Since 2018, there have been no known new (lèse majesté) cases, but the authorities have invoked other laws, such as the Computer Crimes Act and sedition laws, to deal with perceived damages and insults to the monarchy. – Wikipedia

The complaints and subsequent legal threats, are a rear-guard action by a government and officialdom rattled by the number of protesters and by the extent of their demands, touching on the culturally taboo topic of Thailand’s revered monarchy. Another protest is on today at the front of the Thai parliament in Bangkok.

Out of the 982 posts, 661 were on Facebook, 289 were on YouTube, 69 were on Twitter and 5 were on other websites. Buddhipongse says 2 Facebook posts and 3 Instagram posts violate an Article 14 in the Computer Crime Act which regards posts that many cause damage to the country’s national security or cause a public panic. Those who violate Article 14 face up to 5 years in prison and an up to 100,000 baht.

Social media platforms could also face charges for violating the act’s Article 27 for failing to comply with orders from the court to take down the posts. They could face a fine up to 200,000 baht and a daily fine of 5,000 until the posts are taken down.

Other posts allegedly violate the act’s Article 20 which prohibits the spread of information online that might have an impact on national security, or that might be contradictory to the peace. The Nation Thailand says each post that violates Article 20 could face a 200,000 baht fine.

Click HERE to read an unofficial English translation of the Computer Crime Act.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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