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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: White masks rally; Democrats win Don Mueang; Monks and supercars; Crime re-enactments under the gun

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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

White mask rallies spread
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Anti-government white-mask protesters gathered in many provinces yesterday despite opposition from red-shirt supporters of the government.

In Bangkok, about 1,000 people – many wearing white Guy Fawkes masks – gathered at the Central World shopping complex yesterday afternoon.

It was the third weekly gathering for the white maskers in the capital.

The demonstrators walked past the Royal Thai Police headquarters, located not far from Ratchaprasong shopping district. The walk was intended to protest against police “inaction” over red shirts’ acts of intimidation against white-mask people in Chiang Mai on Friday.

White maskers also gathered in other provinces to show solidarity with the Chiang Mai protesters, despite earlier physical abuse by red-shirt supporters of the government and ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

In Bangkok, the demonstrators shouted “Thaksin’s lackeys, get out!” when they walked past the police headquarters.

About 50 red shirts gathered at the nearby Gaysorn department centre, but there were no reports of clashes between the two groups.

Street demonstrations by the white-mask people were also held in other provinces. These included the northeastern provinces of Nakhon Ratchasima, Buri Ram and Khon Kaen, and the southern provinces of Songkhla and Nakhon Si Thammarat.

The number of mask-wearing demonstrators was estimated at a few hundred in those provincial gatherings.

According to the Facebook page of ‘V for Thailand’, which releases information about the white mask movement, similar gatherings were held in more than 22 provinces in all regions.

Earlier yesterday, red shirts gathered in Khon Kaen in a show of support for the Yingluck government, lambasting the anti-administration white mask group and the Democrat Party. Around 200 red shirts gathered at the city shrine opposite the Central Department store, taking to a stage to attack the white mask group and the opposition party. They also issued a letter of protest to Central for allowing the white mask group to use its compound to stage anti-government protests on June 9.

Meanwhile, Phumjai Chaiya, a red-shirt leader known as DJ Tom from Chiang Mai, has called on red shirts via a “red” community radio from Lamphun, Lampang and Chiang Mai to travel to the Three Kings monument on Phra Pokklao Road in Chiang Mai for a show of force against the white mask protesters.

Phumjai said although there was a clash between the white masks and the red shirts during the anti-government protest at Chiang Mai University’s Health Park and Hillside Condominium on Friday, red shirts had been instructed not to resort to violence. They would gather peacefully so that their rally does not trouble members of the public and tourists.

Pheu Thai MP for Lamphun, Sanguan Pongmani, yesterday contested allegations that the red shirts resorted to violent suppression of the white-mask group. He said the red shirts did not start the assault as alleged, claiming that reds were enraged because “their leaders were killed during the protest at the Ratchaprasong intersection in 2010”. He said the red shirts were also challenged by white mask protesters holding placards lambasting Thaksin Shinawatra.

Green Politics coordinator Suriyasai Katasila demanded that the Yingluck government rein in the red shirts to prove that it does not support violence or intend to lead the country into anarchy so that it can stage a coup against its own government.

Suriyasai said the conflict between the red shirts and the white masks was intensifying and likely to spread to many provinces. The government and police must stop the red shirts, especially those in Chiang Mai carrying out illegal acts. The government camp had been acting like a hypocrite and police had been lax, he said.

“The government has not taken any action over the clash of protesters as it wants such reports to divert public attention or overshadow reports of rice pledging losses. The government’s failure in its major policies and its failed administration could trigger a repeat of ‘dark power’ taking control of the country as happened in 2006,” he said.

“The government is creating the conditions for a coup because not only should it have prevented the clashes, it has actually been pulling the strings behind them.”

Pheu Thai MP Prompong Nopparit denied the party’s MPs were behind the red shirts in instigating a violent clash against the white masks.

Democrat Tankhun wins in Bangkok polls
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The opposition Democrat Party yesterday gained the upper hand in Don Muang district after its candidate Tankhun Jitt-itsara snatched a narrow victory over the ruling Pheu Thai Party’s Yuranunt Pamornmontri in the MP by-election for Constituency 12, according to unofficial results.

Tankhun was leading with 32,710 votes against Yuranunt’s 30,624 when 99 per cent of the ballots were counted. Constituency 12, which covers most of Don Muang district, has 108,495 eligible voters.

They showed up in force at polling stations, despite the downpours in many areas of the constituency.

Pumipat Damrongkiatisak, director of the Don Muang District Office, said that at least 70 per cent of eligible voters braved the weather to cast their ballots. The voter turnout was 72 per cent in past general elections.

The Election Commission is expected to release the official election results within seven days, he added.

Tankhun also won the advance voting on the previous Sunday. Of the 168 ballots cast, 102 went to No 8, Tankhun’s candidacy number, and 59 to Yuranunt’s No 9.

One vote each went to two candidates from little known parties. There were two spoiled ballots and three “no vote” ballots. The advance ballots were tallied at the Don Muang District Office.

In the July 2011 general election, Tankhun lost to Pheu Thai candidate Karun Hosakul. However, the Supreme Court, at the recommendation of the Election Commission, disqualified Karun for framing his closest rival Tankhun.

The EC then called the by-election to fill the House seat vacated by Karun, who was deprived of his electoral rights for five years.

DSI net closing in on ‘real’ luxury car owners
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Investigators had already gathered information on the suspected owners of six luxury cars that mysteriously caught fire on a transporter in Nakhon Ratchasima while en route to be registered as re-assembled vehicles in Si Sa Ket late May.

Department of Special Investigation (DSI) chief Tarit Pengdit said yesterday as forensic investigators worked to identify the burned cars’ registration numbers, the transporter owner, A-ngoon Jeungsaengmanee, had volunteered information about others involved in hiring her company to transport the cars, besides Nathee Rewthong.

However, Tarit declined to give any details about the alleged involvement of others, or whether they were the real owners of the cars in question.

As for the rumour that the owners of the luxury cars were linked to people with political clout, Tarit said the DSI would look into the claims and any wrongdoers would be

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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Phuket

Thailand News Today | Pfizer vaccines on the way, Phuket’s July re-opening | May 7

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Disease Control Department back-peddled saying that that foreigners living in Thailand WILL also be vaccinated, governor of Chiang Mai is calling for the ban on dining in at restaurants in the northern city to be lifted and for eateries to be allowed to serve food on-site until 9pm, Tourism and Sports Minister insists the southern island of Phuket must record zero Covid-19 cases if a planned July re-opening is to go ahead, and 150 million baht worth of methamphetamine pills were impounded in Nakhon Phanom yesterday

 

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Economy

Stimulus package gives more back the more you spend

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: A new stimulus package aims to get the middle class spending. (via Flickr - Marco Verch)

A new stimulus package targeting middle and high-income people aims at increasing spending by offering more e-voucher the more you spend. Ying Chai Ying Dai, which translates to “the more you spend the more you get”, will reward those who spend between 46,000 and 70,000 baht with a 7,000 baht e-voucher. This part of the government’s 225 billion baht stimulus package hopes to encourage 4 million qualifying middle- to upper-class people to spend more money by refunding 10-15% back, according to the Finance Ministry’s Fiscal Policy Office.

People wishing to participate must register and make their purchases through a government e-wallet system. The system works by refunding 10 to 15% of purchases with a maximum of 7,000 baht. So at 15%, a person who spent 46,000 baht would receive back the full 7,000. On the 10% scheme, 70,000 baht in spending would be necessary to reach 7,000 cashback. No details were available on what determines the percentage level.

An additional 2,000 baht will be available for people participating in the “Section 33 Rao Rak Kan” and “Rao Chana” scheme. The plans are expected to push 85.5 billion Baht back into the economy as recipients must spend the cash by the end of June.

The 50/50 stimulus program that has been popular with the government covering half of what people spend for half for food, drink, and other items up to 150 baht per person per day will also be expanded. That plan began on October 23, and ended at the end of 2020, covering 10 million people with each receiving 3000 baht. The second phase of the popular program added 5 million more people and raised the limit to 3,500 baht per person.

A third phase of the “Khon La Khrueng” stimulus plan is expected to begin in July with participants getting a maximum of 3,500 baht each to spend, and opening the program to 16 million new people. This massive expansion though will stipulate that anyone participating in this program cannot also participate in the Ying Chai Ying Dai scheme.

All of these cash and voucher benefits aimed at supporting vulnerable groups, along with cash handouts for people who have state welfare cards, are part of 245 billion baht the government is spending in an attempt to keep the economy from collapsing. This falls under an emergency loan decree allocating the government 1 trillion baht total to cope with Covid-19.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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Thailand

Covid UPDATE: 2,044 new cases and 27 deaths, provincial totals

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Deputy spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Natapanu Nopakun / Photo courtesy of the Royal Thai Government

2,044 new Covid-19 cases and 27 coronavirus-related deaths were reported today in the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration’s daily briefing. There are now 29,320 active Covid-19 cases. 1,170 Covid patients are in critical condition including 367 on ventilators.

Since the start of the pandemic last year, the CCSA has reported a total of 78,855 Covid-19 infections and 363 virus-related deaths.

Out of 27 new fatalities, patients were ages 30 to 90. Most of the deaths were in Bangkok and surrounding provinces. Several contacted the virus from family members.

Provinces with the highest number of new confirmed cases…

Province New cases Total cases since April 1
Bangkok 869 16,917
Nonthaburi 201 3,032
Samut Prakan 165 2,902
Chon Buri 89 3,128
Samut Sakhon 69 1,299
Surat Thani 60 1,035
Pathum Thani 39 1,099
Chiang Mai 33 3,180
Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya 32 607
Nakhon Pathom 29 746
Ranong 29 329

 

Districts in Bangkok with the highest number of confirmed cases…

District New cases
Khlong Toei 46
Pathum Wan 24
Bang Khae 24
Lat Phrao 13
Ratchathewi 10
Pom Prap Sattru Phai 9
Bueng Kum 9
Phasi Charoen 8
Bang Khun Thian 8
Din Daeng 8

Covid UPDATE: 2,044 new cases and 27 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

 

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