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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Yingluck calls for Lese Majeste probe; No Bangkok protests for Songkran; Romanians caught on credit card fraud

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

CAPO warns govt officials against talking to PDRC
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The visit of anti-government protesters to three government offices has prompted the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO) to issue a warning to state officials and civil servants not to support or join the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC)’s campaign for reform before an election.

In a press release yesterday, the CAPO invited permanent secretaries of all ministries to join a meeting on April 17 to clarify the role and duty of officials as stated in civil service laws.

The secretary-general of the PDRC, Suthep Thaugsuban, yesterday visited the Defence Ministry. It was Suthep’s third visit to government officials in a week and he received a warm welcome from officials of the three ministries.

On Tuesday, Suthep led his core leaders to seek the support of the Justice Ministry for its national reform campaign in a move apparently calculated to dispel criticism he has usurped the sovereignty of the country. Last Friday, the group visited the Education Ministry.

CAPO’s statement said the law stated civil servants have freedom of assembly but must not affect administration and the continuity of public service, or have a political agenda. Moreover, civil servants must support democracy and stay neutral in politics.

“We consider it is not appropriate for the PDRC to seek support from civil servants [for reform before elections] as it puts pressure on the civil servants in their work,” the statement said.

“We reprimand both Suthep and the permanent secretary of Justice [Kittipong Kittayarak], who welcomed Suthep and his group and joined a meeting as if they recognised the PDRC. The act of Kittipong is not appropriate because he should [have informed] police to arrest Suthep and [his associates], for whom arrest warrants had been issued,” the statement said.

Kittipong on Tuesday welcomed Suthep’s group with open arms and provided rooms for talks on political reform.

Following discussions between Suthep and Defence Ministry permanent secretary General Nipat Thonglek and senior officials at the Defence Ministry yesterday, Suthep said the anti-government protesters would not hold marches during the Songkran festival from April 12-15. This would allow troops and police to take a break and stay with their families during the holidays.

Suthep said Nipat was worried there were not enough troops to keep security during the Songkran holidays. As a result, Suthep said, he agreed to suspend marches during the holidays.

Nipat noted that while officials were ready to listen to Suthep’s proposals, they could act only within legal constraints.

After Suthep left the Defence Ministry he visited anti-government protesters led by the State Enterprises Workers’ Relations Confederation near the Interior Ministry on Assadang Road, where a bomb exploded on Tuesday evening.

During his visit, sounds of an explosion were heard but nobody was injured.

Meanwhile, the pro-government People’s Radio Media for Democracy Group (PRDG) yesterday performed a ceremony to expel bad spirits from five National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) members in front of the commission’s office in Nonthaburi.

The five members were Vicha Mahakun, Panthep Klanarongran, Prasart Pongsivapai, Pakdee Pothisiri and Vichai Vivitasevi.

Sornrak Malaithong, spokesperson for the group, said the five members should resign from the NACC because they had not received royal endorsement. The group set up a tent in front of the NACC and vowed it would continue the protest until April 11. It also invited 45 monks to pray for the cleansing of evil from the NACC.

PM calls for action on clips that insult the monarchy
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Wednesday asked police to take legal action against those involved in the distribution of electronic clips deemed insulting the monarchy.

The premier’s secretary general Suranand Vejjajiva said the premier had instructed him to send a complaint to the national police chief, seeking legal action against those who distributed the clips. Suranand said the premier mentioned the case of Wutthipong Kochathammakun, also known as Ko Tee, whose interview with a member of the foreign press has been slammed for insulting the monarchy.

Suthep will not hold marches during Songkran holidays
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Suthep Thaugsuban, secretary general of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee, said Wednesday that the PDRC will not stage marches from April 12 to 15.

He made the announcement following talks with Defence Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Gen Niphat Thonglek at the Defence Ministry. Suthep said Nipat was worried that there would not be an adequate number of troops to ensure security during the Songkran holidays.

As a result, Suthep said, he agreed not to lead any marches during the Songkran holidays so that troops and police could take a break and stay with their families during the holidays. Suthep and core leaders of the PDRC met Niphat and senior officials at the ministry Wednesday afternoon.

Niphat noted that while officials are ready to listen to Suthep’s proposals, they can act only within the legal constraints.

Romanians arrested over credit-card skimming
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Two Romanian men, suspected of being members of a credit-card skimming ring, were arrested in Bangkok on Tuesday along with some 800 credit cards.

Metropolitan Police Area 5 chief Pol Maj-General Seubsak Phansura told a press conference that the suspects – identified as Alexandrew Felsic, 26, and Elise George Sergi, 33 – had been arrested in Klong Toei district after reportedly withdrawing cash from ATMs in the Lumpini area.

Seubsak said the pair had confessed to police that they were hired at 500 euros (Bt22,230) per time to withdraw cash for a hacker gang that had stolen credit-card information from banks based in Italy.

He said they claimed they were doing it for the first time, and that they had not as yet withdrawn any cash.

The suspects maintained their innocence in the face of a police investigation’s finding that they and another accomplice had stayed at a hotel in Sukhumvit Soi 11 a month ago, during which time they had withdrawn almost Bt1 million from ATMs, he added.

Seubsak said 364 of the 795 credit cards seized from the duo contained customers’ information, while the rest were blank. Damages of up to Bt100 million could, therefore, have been involved if they had succeeded in withdrawing the maximum amount via the cards.

Yala business stands firm despite repeated attacks
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHU

— 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

Thaiger

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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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