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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Supreme Patriach passes away; Furby fury reduced to suspended sentence; Mahouts in jumbo fight

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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

Supreme Patriach passes away
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: His Holiness the Supreme Patriarch Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara Somdet Phra Sangharaja passed away Thursday after enduring ailments and undergoing hospital treatment in recent months.

He turned 100 on October 3 and is considered the longest living Supreme Patriarch in Thai history.

According to the government’s announcement, the national flag will at half-mast during October 25-27 to commemorate his departure.

Meanwhile, all civil servants and government employees are ordered to wear unadorned black clothing for mourning for 15 days, starting from October 15.

From 8am on October 25, Buddhist followers will be allowed to pay respect to His Holiness. At noon, his body would be moved from Chulalongkorn Hospital to Wat Bororanives, via Rajadamri Road towards the expressway (Rama IV entrance). From Urupong exit, the motorcade will turn left to Petchburi Road, towards Rajadamnoen Klang Avenue, Democracy Monument and Phra Sumain Road where the temple is located.

The departure of the revered 19th Supreme Patriarch of the Rattanakosin Kingdom brings great sadness to his devout followers, who have been anxiously monitoring updates on his health.

Chulalongkorn University, where he was being treated, confirmed that His Holiness passed away at 7.30pm last night.

The late Supreme Patriarch underwent an intestinal surgery for bacterial infection on October 14 at Chulalongkorn Hospital.

Phra Nyanasamvara was the mentor of His Majesty the King during his 15-day ordination from October 22 to November 5, 1956. He held several prominent ecclesiastical positions after being ordained as a novice when he was 14 and then entering monkhood proper when he turned 20. He was appointed as Supreme Patriarch in 1988.

According to his secretariat office, His Holiness always reminded his followers about the “Three Marks of Existence” – impermanence, suffering and non-existence.

Wat Bororanives, which was his official residence, marked the Supreme Patriarch’s centennial with an exhibition of major historical events over the past 100 years.

Woman behind Furby fraud gets suspended sentence
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The woman who made up to Bt5 million by luring people into paying for Furby dolls that were never delivered, was sentenced to a suspended three-year jail term. The verdict was reduced from 75 years behind bars after she returned the money to all 25 victims and pleaded guilty.

Chonnikan Taichilasunthorn is also required to complete 30 hours of public service and pay Bt62,500 in fines. She was initially required to pay Bt5,000 in fines and faced three years in jail for each of the 25 cases.

The Criminal Court later halved the term to 37 and half years and the fine to Bt62,500, before finally suspending the term for three years thanks to her clean record.

Mahouts fight against elephant ownership bill
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Hundreds of mahouts gathered with their elephants yesterday at Ayutthaya’s elephant corral and called on the government not to approve the draft Wild Animals Preservation and Protection Bill, which would transfer the ownership of domesticated elephants to a state agency supervising wildlife protection.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister General Pracha Promnog is expected to visit Ayutthaya today to collect their complaints. The mahouts have said that if Pracha failed to show up, they would bring their elephants to the capital to rally outside Government House.

A public forum is being held on the draft bill, which will be considered by Parliament later. The mahouts also called on the government to remove Natural Resources and Environment Vice Minister Damrong Phidet – former chief of the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department – from his current position after he told the press that he would push for the draft bill to be taken to Parliament.

Netiwin Amornshing, a 36-year-old mahout from Surin, said the bill was unfair.

“The bill will not resolve the problems,” he said.

The bill proposed by the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department aims to prevent the poaching and illegal trade of elephants. However, some proposed measures would allow officials to confiscate elephants if they find that identification certificates do not match the animals’ physical characteristics.

Over the past few years many wild elephants in Thailand have been poached and domesticated, with some mahouts forging identification certificates. But instead of a bill to transfer ownership of domesticated elephants to a state agency, Netiwin said the government should plug that loophole by handing responsibility for issuing identification certificates to the Interior Ministry.

“The government should increase penalties instead of passing a new law to control everything,” he said, adding that if the government did not respond to their demands, thousands of mahouts nationwide would take their elephants to protest outside city halls.

Netiwin also said that if the government wanted to resolve the problem of mahouts taking their elephants into cities and built-up areas, it should set up an elephant fund.

Meanwhile, Damrong said he was not directly involved in the effort to push through the draft Wild Animals Preservation and Protection Bill.

“I think this bill is a positive step to protect wild elephants, so I am merely supporting it,” he said, adding that he was prepared to resign from his ministerial position if necessary. “It’s fine if they want me to go.”

Govt pays out more than Bt641m to Tak Bai victims
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The government has paid more than Bt641 million to victims wounded in the Tak Bai incident, and to the families of those killed during the violent crackdown by the Thai Army on protesters nine years ago this day.

The amount is in addition to Bt42 million paid in compensation by the Army in 2007 to the injured and to families of the deceased.

A total of Bt641.4 million has been paid – Bt561.1 million to families of 85 people killed, Bt60.4 million to 49 of those injured, and Bt6.3 million to a person disabled in the incident, according to the Isra News Agency.

Another Bt11.4 million was also paid to 766 people, who were detained as a result of the crackdown and later released, while an additional Bt2 million has been paid to 58 people who were sued by the government, but from which prosecutors later withdrew the cases against them.

A number of those affected still have not claimed their compensation.

Compensation by the government was pushed for by the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre, according to the news agency, which specialises in issues involving the Muslim-majority southern border region.

On October 25, 2004, several hundred people protested outside the Tak Bai district police station in Narathiwat against the arrest of six village defence volunteers accused of filing false reports about the theft of their

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Monks gather for a special ceremony in Pattaya to pray Covid-19 away

Tanutam Thawan

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Hands placed together in the “wai” position and seated in chairs placed a safe “social distance” apart, monks in Pattaya gathered together at a local temple for a special ceremony to pray Covid-19 away.

The Wat Chai by the Pattaya Walking Street was given special permission to hold the event where dozens of monks from other temples in the area came together to pray. To prevent the spread of Covid-19 at the ritual, monks wore face masks, practised social distancing, used hand sanitiser and had their body temperature checked.

The monks chanted several mantras and performed rituals that they believe will help slow the spread of Covid-19 in Chon Buri and help the local economy recover.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

 

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Bangkok

Protest leader tests positive for Covid-19 a week after being released from jail

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Facebook/ Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul

A pro-democracy movement leader has tested positive for Covid-19 after she spent 8 weeks in jail awaiting a trial on lese majeste charges which prohibit statements that insult or defame the Thai Monarchy. 2 other protest leaders facing similar charges have tested positive for Covid-19 while in court detention.

After being released from the Central Women’s Correctional Institution on May 6, Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul spent most of her time at home. She went to a drive-through Covid-19 testing venue on May 10. She went by the Bangkok Remand Prison the next day for the release of 2 other protest leaders, Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak and Chai-amorn Kaewwiboonpan. Rung has now been admitted to the Thammasat University Hospital in Pathum Thani for treatment.

Rung says had been denied an earlier Covid-19 test because she did not have some of the symptoms of the virus.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid UPDATE: 1,983 new infections and 34 deaths, provincial totals

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Facebook/ อนุทิน ชาญวีรกูล (Public Health Minister)

The daily Covid-19 death toll hit a record high today with 34 deaths reported. 1,983 new Covid-19 infections were reported today in the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration’s daily briefing. Since the start of the pandemic last year, the CCSA has reported 88,907 Covid-19 infections and 486 coronavirus-related deaths.

There are now 29,378 active Covid-19 cases in Thailand. Active cases peaked at just over 30,000 infections last week and have been on a very slight downward slope. The number of patients with severe symptoms has slightly increased to 1,200 with 401 of them on ventilators.

Around 75% of the new Covid-19 infections are in Bangkok and surrounding provinces. While the infection rate remains high in the capital, several provinces have reported no Covid-19 infections and many provinces report under 10 infections.

Most of the new Covid-related fatalities reported today are patients with underlying conditions of high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes. 12 of the 34 patients who died had contracted Covid-19 from family members, a trend in the deaths of patients. The elderly and those with chronic illnesses are at the highest risk of a severe Covid-19 infection.

A CCSA spokesperson notes that migrant workers are entitled to treatment under social welfare programs regardless of their legal status in Thailand.

“Legal or not, they will be treated. Legal status is not an issue at all. The priority is to get them treated and recovered as soon as possible.”

To combat the spread of Covid-19 in Bangkok, the CCSA is expediting the Covid-19 vaccination campaign in high-risk areas like Bangkok’s Khlong Toey slum. Since the nationwide vaccination campaign was launched in late February, 1.89 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been administered. Only 530,000 people have received both doses of the vaccine.

Provinces with the highest number of new Covid-19 cases…

Province New cases Total since April 1
Bangkok 976 21,405
Nonthaburi 266 4,035
Samut Prakan 110 3,420
Chon Buri 57 3,489
Surat Thani 53 1,256
Ayutthaya 38 743
Samut Sakhon 36 1,627
Chanthaburi 32 562
Pathum Thani 29 1,477
Pattani 28 240
Covid UPDATE: 1,983 new infections and 34 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

Daily Covid-related deaths in Thailand as of 11 May 2021, according to Worldometers.

Covid UPDATE: 1,983 new infections and 34 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

Active Covid-19 cases in Thailand as of 11 May 2021, according to Worldometers.

 

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