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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Suthep sets for Bangkok seige; Bus terminal brawl bumps holiday death toll; Deep South insurgency deaths double

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

Capital siege set for Jan 13
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee last night announced details of its plan to lay siege to Bangkok from January 13. PDRC leader Suthep Thaugsuban said the siege could last for a month, or until the caretaker government of Yingluck Shinawatra resigns so political reform is possible.

He said that from Sunday, daily marches will be held so PDRC members can further promote the siege. He added that from today, the PDRC would be accepting suggestions from local Bangkok communities on how they could contribute to the siege. He also cited PDRC supporters attached to Chulalongkorn University, who say they may set up a stage at Pathum Wan intersection and businessmen who will do the same on Silom Road.

PDRC supporters may also gather outside the homes of key government figures, essentially keeping them captive in order to limit their activities, Suthep said.

He had earlier pressured police chiefs to look into the widely distributed video clips of so-called “men in black” apparently firing projectiles at protesters from a building inside the Labour Ministry compound during a skirmish at the Thai-Japanese stadium on December 26. The protesters were trying to disrupt candidacy registration.

Suthep has given Bangkok police chief Pol Lt-General Camronvit Toopkrajank until Tuesday to identify these “men in black” and seek their arrest. He also named national police chief Pol General Adul Saengsingkaew as being responsible for the presence of men dressed in anti-riot gear at the Labour Ministry.

In related news, the possibility of a February 2 general election being held still looks bleak, with legal complications disrupting registration procedures.

MP candidates were unable to register at 24 constituencies in five southern provinces on the final day of registration yesterday. But nobody showed up in 28 constituencies in eight provinces, the EC said.

The Pheu Thai Party is pressuring the Election Commission (EC) to extend candidacy registration and accept the legitimacy of MP candidates who registered at police stations.

However, the proposals have been turned down by Election Commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn, who said the election law clearly states candidacy registration must be carried out at places earlier announced by the EC. Extending registration, he said, might adversely affect the election’s timetable.

He added, however, that the EC would look for and discuss solutions to the problem, and whether to extend the election registration period.

Somchai said the EC would today hold a meeting with Pheu Thai and Democrat leaders to find solutions to the country’s political deadlock.

EC to seek solutions

EC secretary-general Puchong Nutrawong said the EC would meet today to try and resolve the problems, especially the severe ones in 40 constituencies.

He said the EC would also talk about the action that can be taken in relation to the 123 MP candidates who filed police complaints after failing to register. The commission promised to protect their rights.

As for extending the registration period, Puchong said it would be difficult as changing the deadline would also affect the number of eligible voters.

Pheu Thai party-list MP candidate Panas Tassaneeyanont dismissed Somchai’s statement that registration cannot be extended. He cited Article 7 of the Constitution’s organic law, which he said stipulates that candidacy registration can be carried out for more than five days but not beyond election day.

He insisted that Article 36 also empowers election chiefs at constituency level to select a new location where registration can be held. He added that if election officials did not carry out their duties, they could face charges punishable by up to 10 years in jail and a 10-year political ban.

Speaking after a meeting with the EC on Tuesday, Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said the government’s move to push for the general election would lead to political chaos.

As long as the government did not change its stance, he said, he was left with nothing to talk about.

“If the government leaves other options open, then talks are possible. If the government refuses to do so, it would lead to confrontation and intensifying political tension,” he said.

A total of 168 candidates representing 23 political parties, not including the opposition Democrat Party, have registered for constituency candidacies in Bangkok, the Election Commission said yesterday. Of those, 46 submitted their applications yesterday, the deadline for registering.

Anti-government protesters yesterday laid siege to the 42nd Border Patrol Police camp in Nakhon Si Thammarat’s Thung Song district after 20 MP candidates from five parties registered early on Tuesday allegedly with the support of high-ranking police officers, who ordered a helicopter to transport the MP candidates there.

A police official said the incident had further tarnished the image of the police, as they were seen as siding with the Yingluck government at the expense of the country.

Trang Provincial Election Commission chief Saneh Rakrong said his commission had decided to cancel candidacy registration to prevent confrontation and clashes because of heavy public opposition throughout the five days of the registration.

Meanwhile, the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) yesterday forged ahead with its efforts to shut down the Yingluck Shinawatra caretaker government, announcing a planned blockade of Bangkok after the New Year break.

Core leader Satit Wongnongtaey, speaking onstage at the group’s main rally site at Democracy Monument, said the dates of the anticipated marches and other measures would be announced within the next few days, quoting an earlier speech by fellow leader Kaewsan Atibodhi.

Satit said caretaker premier Yingluck’s time was up and her government must end its tenure by the end of this month. “It’s a cancer in the penultimate stage, which will stop spreading once it is removed,” he added.

Celebratory events and a New Year countdown were held on Rajdamnoen Avenue, which is occupied by a large number of PDRC supporters, from Tuesday night into yesterday morning.

Security has been tightened at the rally site and other areas occupied by two other protest groups, with visitors and their bags being searched thoroughly.

Former Thai Rak Thai Party executive Suchart Tancharoen yesterday applied for an MP candidacy in Constituency 3 of Chachoengsao under the Bhum Jai Thai Party banner.

Suchart is a former deputy House speaker and deputy premier. He was slapped with a five-year ban when Thai Rak Thai was dissolved in 2007.

In Nakhon Ratchasima, 49 MP candidates from nine parties registered in all of the province’s 15 constituencies yesterday. Former Bhum Jai Thai deputy leader Boonjong Wongtrairat, a former interior minister elected to several consecutive terms as an MP in the province, registered on the last day.

Election officials in Prachuap Khiri Khan said the province is ready for the February 2 election as they have registered candidates for all three constituencies.

In Narathiwat, 21 MP candidates registered to run in four constituencies.

They include candidates from the Pheu Thai, Bhum Jai Thai, Chart Thai Pattana and New Democracy parties.

MISSING CANDIDATES

Provinces with the number of constituencies

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid UPDATE Wednesday: 3,394 new infections and 29 deaths

Tim Newton

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Today the public health department has reported 3,394 new cases and 29 new Covid-related deaths. 1,498 of today’s cases come from Thailand’s prisons (more below). Taking the shameful inmate toll out of the equation and the trend is still steady with around 2,000 – 2,500 new cases each day over the past 3 weeks across Thailand.

Around the world the trends for new infections and deaths are starting to fall quite quickly.

Covid UPDATE Wednesday: 3,394 new infections and 29 deaths | News by Thaiger

β€’ Roll up, roll up your sleeves. But the Thai PM says… hold on! PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has poured cold water on walk-in vaccination centres for Covid vaccinations. In the past week the public health department has been rushing to set up private vaccination locations around the country to hasten the roll out of vaccines for the first public vaccine category next month.

PM Prayut told a cabinet meeting yesterday he didn’t prefer the idea of the walk-in centres (Central Lad Phrao was already to open as yesterday) because “people would turn up in droves causing chaos”. He was particularly worried about centre around Bangkok where there is a population of 8 million+

The PM has asked that the Mor Prom app is working properly with registrations preferred so the Government can monitor the demand and act accordingly. The government says they’re working on an English, and other languages, version of Mor Prom to open registration for non-Thais soon.

β€’ The Department of Corrections reports that there are now 11,670 prisoners infected with Covid in 13 prisons across Thailand.

β€’ A major Japanese medical association is calling on Tokyo and the International Olympic Committee to cancel the 2020 Tokyo Games. The Games are set to start on July 23.

The appeal, made in a letter to Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga and comes amid concerns that the health-care system in Asia’s second-largest economy cannot accommodate both the potential medical needs of thousands of international athletes, coaches and media while fighting yet another spike in coronavirus infections.

β€’ The Chon Buri (including Pattaya) public health officials announced 39 new and confirmed cases of Covid and 1 more death today. According to The Pattaya News, “officials are asking for the public to remain working from home if possible and especially to avoid small social gatherings with people who are not members of your own household until the situation improves”.

As usual we will have an update of all the provincial totals this afternoon.

SOURCES: Nation Thailand | FRB

 

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Pattaya

20 people arrested at Pattaya restaurant for allegedly violating alcohol ban

Tanutam Thawan

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Stock photo by Bence Boros for Unsplash

Police in Pattaya arrested 20 people last night at a local restaurant where alcohol was reportedly being sold. While Chon Buri recently eased disease control restrictions, now allowing restaurants in the province to offer dine-in services again, alcohol sales and consumption at restaurants are still prohibited.

Saewana restaurant was raided at around 11pm last night by officers from Pattaya and the Banglamung district station. Alcohol was served in glasses and the bottles were hidden, police say.

Pattaya News says all 20 people at the restaurant were arrested, including the owner. They face charges for allegedly violating the provincial disease control order. Those who violate the Emergency Decree could face a hefty fine or even imprisonment.

A police officer who spoke to a Pattaya News reporter said that there is a zero-tolerance policy for alcohol consumption at restaurants as the policy has been made clear to the public.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

 

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Thailand

Thailand News Today | Releasing 50,000 prisoners, Covid sniffer dogs, bungled kidnap | May 18

Tanutam Thawan

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Following an abortive attempt at a kidnap for ransom at the end of March, 3 people are currently under arrest, National vaccine rollout could finally get underway next week, pecially trained sniffer dogs will soon be deployed on the streets of Bangkok to sniff out cases of Covid-19 infection, Koh Samet reopening to visitors after being closed for 3 weeks and Local fishermen have found space debris, possibly from a satellite or parts of a used launch rocket.

 

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