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Phuket Gazette Thailand news: Tests needed to ID crash victims; Southern unrest during Ramadan; Deeds to be revoked for golf course

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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

Tests needed to identify many victims of bus crash
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Forensic experts are working to identify victims whose bodies were burnt beyond recognition after a horrific bus crash in Kaeng Khoi in Saraburi early yesterday.

The tragedy, which claimed 19 lives, has prompted Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt to consider additional measures such as safety briefings for people on interprovincial buses.

The Roi Et-Bangkok bus, operated by Transport Co Ltd, was travelling on Mittraphap Road – the main route to the Northeast – when it was hit by a trailer-truck going the opposite direction, which ran across a safety island and crashed into it. The impact caused the two-level bus to catch fire.

As well as the 19 deaths, some 20 passengers were injured. Most of those killed died inside the bus and their bodies were burnt.

“Preliminary investigation suggests the driver of the trailer-truck fell asleep behind the wheel,” Pol First Lieutenant Assavathep Jantanaree, an officer at Kaeng Khoi police station, said.

Truckdriver Sa-ard Boonyang, 29, survived the accident and is being treated at the Kaeng Khoi Hospital.

At press time, officials had only identified six of the dead. Saraburi volunteers with the Ruamkatanyu Foundation said the bus driver was among those killed.

Institute of Forensic Medicine (IFM) commander Pol Maj-General Dr Pornchai Suthirakhun said autopsies would determine if the deceased died before flames reached them.

“The level of carbon monoxide in their bodies will be the key indicator,” he said.

For victims with dental records, he said the identification process could be completed within one day.

“For victims without dental records, the process will be longer because it involves DNA testing of their parents or children,” Pornchai said. With the DNA tests, the process could be done within 48 hours.

Parichat Boonmueang, 31, said she was able to identify the body of her supervisor Sakhon Sawasdiphon from a ring he wore.

“He made a phone call to his elder sister right after the accident took place. He told her that he was trapped inside the bus,” she said.

Chadchart said the GPS record showed that the bus was travelling at a speed of 78 kilometres an hour at the time of the accident.

“That’s not very fast,” he said.

While he did not think the crash occurred because of any fault of the bus firm, he said he would meet with the company’s top executive today to discuss on safety measures for buses.

Transport Co Ltd is a state enterprise under the supervision of the Transport Ministry.

“We will discuss on additional safety measures. Perhaps, we can improve the design of emergency-exit doors or provide safety briefings to passengers the way flight passengers do once they get on an aircraft,” the minister said.

Chadchart said the bus firm and Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department had been instructed to set up a center to take care of crash victims and their relatives. “Kaeng Khoi police station serves as the coordination center,” he said.

Abhisit calls on govt to counter BRN’s claims
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The Democrat Party leader yesterday urged the government to issue a statement responding to the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN)’s accusation that Thailand breached the Ramadan ceasefire agreement.

Abhisit Vejjajiva also urged the government to affirm its stance on using non-violence and treating the Southern Unrest as a domestic issue.

He said the government should talk with Malaysia, the peace-dialogue facilitator, about rules for both sides to follow to ensure they work together, instead of the current practice of working separately and competing for advantages.

He also urged the government to not just allow National Security Council chief Paradorn Pattanathabutr or Deputy PM Pracha Promnok to answer questions separately.

Government deputy spokeswoman Sunisa Lertpakawat said Pracha and Paradorn were the correct people to provide news about the unrest as they were directly involved and had expertise in national security.

Abhisit said the government should tell the international community that Thailand did not use violence and had methods to investigate incidents of unrest. When the BRN made the accusations, it wanted to confuse outsiders and elevate the problem.

He suggested positive information could be spread through an appointed spokesman or press releases.

Abhisit said he was concerned about the government’s lack of sensitivity in solving the unrest, particularly its lack of protest against the declaration of Songkhla’s Sadao district as a violence zone. He said the government’s attitude should be firm and things should not be played down out of fear that people would criticize any dialogue attempt.

He said the dialogue, which has been going on for five months, was seemingly being used by the government to woo votes – and by the separatists to publicise the problem. Abhisit said Thailand must insist this was a domestic problem.

He said the authorities must wait for Ramadan to end before assessing incidents. In the meantime, the government should have a working team to coordinate with BRN to ensure both sides were on the same page.

Separately, in Narathiwat’s Tak Bai district, Buddhist couple Chuay Dermmuak and Prapa Sa-nguanpan were shot dead and their eight-year-old son wounded early yesterday afternoon. Two men on a motorcycle opened fire on them before fleeing with the victims’ motorbike.

In another incident, police investigators found that 10 spent bullet cases collected from where another Thai couple were shot dead on July 21 in Rangae district came from the gun used in the separate murders of two Narathiwat teachers late last year. Police suspect the Thai couple’s shooting was in retaliation for the July 19 killing of suspect Masupian Mama in Joh I Rong district.

At 2.25am yesterday, Tambon Klong Maning Adminsitrative Organisation president’s driver, Hama Jehnawae, 45, was shot dead in Pattani’s Muang district. Police are investigating if the death stemmed from a personal conflict rather than from the unrest.

Golf-course land deeds illegal: RFD
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The Royal Forest Department is seeking the revocation of title deeds for a popular golf course in Rayong after finding that they were issued illegally and the golf club had encroached on public land.

“We are now preparing an official letter to ask the Lands Department to investigate the issuance of title deeds for this golf course and withdraw the title deed of this area,” Boonchob Suthamanuswong, director-general of the Forest Department, said yesterday.

The golf links occupy 109 plots of land covering 1,344 rai in Tambon Huay Pong and Tambon Sam Nak Kra Thon of Muang district.

According to an investigation, about 32 plots located within the links’ grounds are areas where individuals are not allowed to own land.

Seven other plots were located in overlapping areas between the department’s land and private land.

The Lands Department is not authorized to issue title deeds for this golf course, he said.

Provincial authorities had set up a committee to investigate the issuance of

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Family sues prime minister, CCSA after Covid-infected relative dies

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo from Kunlasub Wattnaphon's Facebook.

The family of a man who died while infected with Covid-19 is demanding the prime minister, as well as other government officials, pay millions of baht in compensation, citing “negligence” after calls to Covid-19 hotlines went unanswered or were not of help.

35 year old Kunlasub Watthanaphon died on April 23. Kunlasub is said to have contracted the virus from a cluster in Bangkok. Many of the clusters of infections early in the recent outbreak were concentrated in nightlife districts in Bangkok including Thong Lor and Ekkamai.

When Kunlasub developed Covid-19 symptoms, he called the hotline numbers for those who think they make have contracted the virus. If he had received proper treatment quicker, the family says he might still be alive.

“The CCSA announced telephone helplines – 1330, 1422, 1668, 1669 and 1323 – for people who suspected they had contracted Covid-19. When my brother developed Covid-like symptoms he called these numbers. However, they were either busy or someone picked up but did not send help right away.”

Kunlasub had documented his illness on Facebook, posting updates, as well as photos and videos, up until the day of his death.

The death of the 35 year old man, who is well known in the esport, or video competition industry, sparked controversy. One person wrote on Facebook after Kunlasub’s death “My friend didn’t die because of a congenital disease. He died because he wasn’t treated in the early days.”

The case was filed at the Administrative Court today. It demands compensation of 4.53 million baht from the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration as well as PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, his secretary and the prime minister’s office.

The family is also suing Thong Lor entertainment venues, where the first clusters were reported in the recent outbreak, for negligence.

“Had the CCSA imposed a strict lockdown on entertainment venues and banned travel during the Songkran holiday, the latest wave of Covid-19 with over 2,000 new infections daily would never have happened.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

 

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Thailand

Thailand News Today | 8 clusters in Bangkok, Phuket party organisers charged | May 14

Tanutam Thawan

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Foreigners may face a slight delay in receiving their Covid-19 vaccines, The BMA has now confirmed 8 clusters of Covid infection in the capital, Thai Private Hospital Association is now working to offer a variety of Covid-19 vaccine brands to Thais and Patong police have announced that the managers of the Phuket venues that hosted the Kolour entertainment event swill be charged under Thailand’s Emergency Decree provisions.

 

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Economy

Market down as good US economy drives interest rate fears

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: The Thai stock market followed the rest of the world down yesterday, but long-term prospects may be looking up.

After US inflation exceeded targets and increased 4%, global stock markets including Thailand plummeted yesterday with fears of rising interest rates. Almost 144 billion baht was traded yesterday with the market at one point diving down 70 points in the late afternoon before recovering to a 23.72 point loss, closing at 1548.13.

2% is a high rate of inflation so the big numbers sparked fears that the US Federal Reserve will reduce quantitative easing and increase interest rate which decreases the market’s liquidity. The US economy is surging with the Consumer Price Index up 4.2% over last year.

The balancing out of the economy will likely push risky prospects like the stock market down while driving up commodity prices like energy and oil. This may hurt the Stock Exchange of Thailand in the short run, but will likely have long-term positive effects as the SET has a large number of energy stocks that will benefit from the market’s change.

Some long-term investors in Thailand fear quantitative easing and the market’s tightening because it drives away foreign investors which in the past made up 30% of the Thai market. But now foreigners only account for 20% so the negative effect should be much less. However, in the normal inflation range of 1 to 3%, the stock market should have a price-to-earnings ratio of 20 and some experts have downgraded it to 18 now.

Eyeing the US, some experts predict that even accelerated quantitative easing won’t come into effect until the end of the year and interest rates probably won’t rise significantly within the next 2 years. Watching the continued effect of the Covid-19 pandemic and US unemployment figures will be key indicators driving the global market up or down.

Even with the stock market down in Thailand, there’s still some good news as Thai corporations listed on the SET expected to cross the 200 billion baht profit threshold this week, after reporting 180 billion baht in the first quarter of the year, with 55% of the market recording a profit.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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