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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Thaksin makes birthday call; Nenkham family to be probed; BRN behind some Ramadan attacks; Police Station fraud charges loom

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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Thaksin makes birthday call; Nenkham family to be probed; BRN behind some Ramadan attacks; Police Station fraud charges loom | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Birthday boy Thaksin calls on Thais to rely on one another
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra may have been in Beijing, but his figure was standing right there next to Deputy Education Minister Sermsak Pongpanit as he lit and blew out candles on a 29-kilogram cake to celebrate the former leader’s 64th birthday yesterday.

In a brief phone-in at the event, Thaksin said Thais had no choice but to rely on one another to solve the country’s conflicts.

Meanwhile, many Pheu Thai MPs flew to Hong Kong yesterday and more were to follow today to deliver their birthday wishes in person.

Hundreds of people flocked to Nonthaburi’s Wat Kaew Far to join the event, while hundreds of others held similar events in their home towns.

Just before Thaksin called after the clock struck noon, Sermsak performed Buddhist, Hindu and Chinese blessing rituals using 65 candles to extend the former leader’s life span.

In a five-minute video clip posted by Thaksin’s son Panthongtae on Facebook yesterday, Thaksin is heard calling on people to trust one another to help solve their problems.

“Brothers and sisters, I care for Thailand. There are many things that can be fixed but haven’t been fixed because of doubts and distrust owing to the conflicts. If we turn towards each other, we can achieve reconciliation in the country.

“We talk like Thais, in our language, when we discuss the core of the problems and how we can solve them together. If we focus on our country, I’m sure it will become prosperous again,” he said.

Thaksin recalled that he was overthrown when he was 57, and though he returned briefly when he was 59, he had not returned since.

He said the benefit of his exile was that he was able to see the world and learn new things. He promised to share his new knowledge on Facebook when he returns to Dubai.

He went on to say that he missed his family, but commended his children for visiting him often so he is not lonely.

Up to 50,000 cards, depicting a caricature of Thaksin along with a message written in his own hand, were handed out along with a “reconciliation dessert”, which came in the form of red and white intertwined pastry.

“I thank my Thai brothers and sisters for not having forgotten me. I would like to see peace return for the future of our descendants and the country.

“I hope to pass on happiness from all corners of the world to each and every Thai,” the message on the card read.

Thousands of people gathered at temples nationwide to make merit on Thaksin’s behalf and wrote birthday wishes on a long, white cloth that will be taken to the former leader as a present.

In Chiang Mai, the Rak Chiang Mai 51 group hosted an event titled “64 Years: The Good Man of the Country” to toast the birthday boy at the Warorot Grand Palace Hotel.

In Nakhon Ratchasima, red-shirt supporters prepared a 4.5kg cake to mark the event.

In Udon Thani, Pheu Thai MPs along with 500 supporters attended a merit-making ceremony at Wat Thip Santiwan, where up to Bt65,000 was raised in donations.

Red-shirt leader Kwanchai Sarakham was unable to attend because he had a court appointment, though his wife arranged a similar event at another temple.

In Trang, which is a Democrat Party base, a few hundred red shirts from that province and adjacent ones gathered at the Rose Inn to celebrate Thaksin’s birthday.

Indian duo nabbed in huge Samui meth haul
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Customs officials in Koh Samui have arrested two Indian nationals for allegedly smuggling more than 12 kilograms of the illegal drug crystal methamphetamine, known on the street as “ice”.

The illicit haul of drugs found in the possession of the suspects is estimated to be worth Bt43 million.

Deputy Finance Minister Benja Louicharoen announced the arrests of Virdi Hardev Singh, 51, and his accomplice Puran Singh, 41, who said they had flown from India to Singapore and then to Koh Samui where the illicit drugs were discovered in their luggage.

Initial investigations suggest the two were allegedly hired to deliver the drugs to a contact in Koh Samui, who would then arrange for the massive stash to be delivered to Bangkok.

Between October last year and July this year, the Customs Department said it had confiscated more than 73 kilos of crystal meth-amphetamine, over 8,000 kilograms of heroin and 260,000 meth-amphetamine tablets,

According to the department, more than 92 drug suspects have also been arrested over the same period.

BRN behind a few of the Ramadan attacks: study
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: A study claiming that the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) is so far responsible for a few of the 20 insurgent attacks during the holy month of Ramadan was cited yesterday by National Security Council secretary-general Paradorn Pattanathabutr during a seminar in Bangkok.

According to the study, a number of incidents have been proved to be conducted by the BRN, which is currently in peace talks with the Thai government. Other insurgent groups were allegedly behind the other 15 incidents cited in the study, though Paradorn did not identify the groups allegedly involved at the seminar, which was organised by the Royal Thai Navy.

During his presentation, Paradorn said the BRN had readily admitted to him that it was responsible for the latest bomb attack in Narathiwat on Wednesday. However, he said the insurgents’ umbrella group claimed it had not intended to harm ordinary citizens. Two government teachers travelling by car were killed by shrapnel in the roadside bomb blast, which is thought to have been laid to ambush a military vehicle that was also in the area.

Navy Captain Somkiat Pholprayoon, who also spoke at the seminar, said there were about 2,900 insurgents among the 1.8-million Muslim population who live in the deep South, while another 400,000 were Buddhists. He said the majority of Muslims in the region wanted to be part of Thailand.

General Ekkachai Sriwilas, a senior official with the King Prajadhipok’s Institute, cited several internal conflicts around the world that had had positive outcomes, including the unrest in Northern Ireland, which took 26 years to end, and the seven-year insurgency in Aceh, which had also ended favourably.

Meanwhile, a number of new notices have been erected by insurgents in Narathiwat calling on military units to withdraw from outposts in the deep South. Two fake bombs were also reported at two locations where notices had been placed. Security forces said they believed the notices were erected by the same group who posted 38 notices in eight of Narathiwat’s 13 districts on Monday. Police said they were trying to track down the source of the paints used to make the signs.

A network of government teachers based in the deep South yesterday condemned the Wednesday attack, saying the two female teachers were truly dedicated to their professions. Their absence would result in a drop in educational standards at the school where they taught, the network said.

Nineteen schools in Chanae district where the bomb attack took place have closed and will reopen on Monday.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Drugs

Positive test for ketamine now a “technical error” after authorities tout biggest drug bust ever

The Thaiger

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Positive test for ketamine now a “technical error” after authorities tout biggest drug bust ever | The Thaiger

A “technical error” in field testing had led to the false claim that 11.5 tonnes of ketamine had been seized at a warehouse in Chachoesngsao province. Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin, made the admission at a media briefing called to clear up the matter.

The 475 sacks containing were seized by ONCB officials during a raid on a warehouse at tambon Tha Kham in Bang Pakong district, in Chachoengsao province, on November 12 which prompted authorities to tout the discovery as the biggest drug bust ever. But officials jumped the gun as the testing fluid that turned purple, indicating ketamine was found, was wrong after 66 sacks were further tested.

The further testing revealed the sacks were filled with trisodium phosphate, a compound used legally as a food additive and stain remover. Somsak said a “technical error in the field” led to the assumption it was ketamine as trisodium phosphate would also turn the testing fluid purple.

“No matter, we have admitted the mistake, and it may not be corrected in the short term.”

“I accept the fact it might have been premature to hold a press conference to announce the seizure of a substance suspected to be a kind of drug. But in this case, the ONCB had been informed of the seizure of ketamine in Taiwan, investigated and found an undeniable link to it. It would have been a mistake if I did not make it public.”

“The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime said this also happened two or three times in other countries. This was the first time in Thailand. Moreover, on the day I held the press conference, I did not say it was 100% ketamine.”

Authorities are saying they would find out where the substance in the warehouse came from, and for what purpose as they believed it could be used to conceal illicit drugs, including ketamine. The ONCB chief said the man who rented the warehouse to store the sacks had fled before the raid and avoided arrest. However, they are currently compiling a case to apply for a court warrant for his arrest in connection with the seizure of ketamine in Taiwan.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand may have to wait for US vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna

The Thaiger

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Thailand may have to wait for US vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna | The Thaiger

As news that US may acquire its first shipment of Covid vaccines in mid-December, Thailand may have to wait to share the vaccines as they will likely be made available to the US and Japan first, before the rest of the world. Pfizer and Moderna recently announced their vaccines were about 95% effective, with some countries starting to preorder the vaccines despite shipment challenges that include maintaining a low temperature during transport.

Already, the US and Japan have preordered 300 and 120 million doses respectively, according to Kiat Ruxrungtham, the director of Covid-19 vaccine research and development project of the Faculty of Medicine at Chulalongkorn University. But Thailand may have other options as Kiat said 11 other pharmaceutical companies are developing the vaccine that could be distributed on a large scale. Out of Thailand’s 7 potential Covid-19 vaccines, 2 have successfully completed the animal testing stage and will proceed to human testing starting in April 2021.

However, Kiat says BioNet-Asia Co’s vaccine may be lagging behind due to the short supply of vaccine precursors, as many have been bought by bigger companies. He adds that a team has been testing Cu-Cov19, an mRNA vaccine, on macaques at Chulalongkorn University’s National Primate Research Centre in Saraburi with BioNet-Asia being the centre’s partner.

He said the project does not had sufficient funding from the government, but the state is finding ways to preorder vaccines from Covax, a company working with the World Health Organization and cooperating with AstraZeneca and Oxford University.

Today, Thailand’s CCSA reports 2 new imported cases of Covid, 1 of which is a 5 month old Indian baby girl, bringing the total number of cases to 3,922 with 0 new deaths. The Centre for Covid Situation Administration reported that the girl arrived on November 11 on the same flight as 2 previously confirmed cases. The baby tested positive 5 days later, while displaying symptoms such as a fever and vomitting.

 

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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5 month old Indian baby among 2 new imported cases of Covid

The Thaiger

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5 month old Indian baby among 2 new imported cases of Covid | The Thaiger

Today, Thailand’s CCSA reports 2 new imported cases of Covid, 1 of which is a 5 month old Indian baby girl, bringing the total number of cases to 3,922 with 0 new deaths. The Centre for Covid Situation Administration reported that the girl arrived on November 11 on the same flight as 2 previously confirmed cases.

The baby tested positive 5 days later, while displaying symptoms such as a fever and vomitting. The infant was staying at an alternative state quarantine facility in Bangkok, but was later sent to a private hospital and then to the Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health for treatment.

The 2nd case is that of a 31 year old Pakistani businessman who arrived via Dubai on November 16, testing positive 5 days later while displaying no symptoms. He was admitted to a private hospital upon receiving positive test results for Covid after staying at an alternative state quarantine facility.

Thailand has reported 3,922 cases since the onset of the coronavirus outbreak, with 3,772 being listed as recovered while 6 have been discharged over the past 24 hours. Currently, 90 patients are hospitalised while the death toll has remained at 60.

The number of Covid cases worldwide has increased by 503,724 in the past day, bringing the total to 59.51 million diagnosed since the virus began. The curent worldwide death toll has risen by 7,949 over the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 1.4 million.

The United States still ranks number 1 in the amount of cases reported, at 12.78 million. Its death toll is also the worst in the world as it sits at 263,687. India ranks 2nd with 9.18 million cases and 134,254 deaths.

Recently, out of Thailand’s 7 potential Covid-19 vaccines, 2 have successfully completed the animal testing stage and will proceed to human testing. Dr Nakorn Premsri from the National Vaccine Institute says the 2 vaccines are the mRNA vaccine from the Chula Vaccine Research Centre and BioNet-Asia’s DNA vaccine. Meanwhile there are 3 other international candidate vaccines now vying for an anticipated full release before the end of 2020.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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