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PM vows crackdown on Koh Tao scourge

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PM vows crackdown on Koh Tao scourge
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: N THE WAKE of the murder of two British citizens on Koh Tao, off Surat Thani coast, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday vowed to tackle influential rackets and illegitimate businesses on the tourist island, and pledged to punish soldiers or police patronising these people or their activities.

A fact-finding probe is needed to identify those involved but assigning soldiers to spearhead the crackdown would have been deemed a bit draconian, he said. However, this is the right time to launch the crackdown, as military personnel had been deployed on the island to assist the police in probing the murder, he added.

The Interior Ministry yesterday ordered provincial authorities across the country to work out urgent measures to ensure extra safety for tourists, including surveillance at tourist sites during the risky hours, setting up of road checkpoints and monitoring of people involved in suspicious activities.

The measures and the surveillance will be conducted jointly by the police, soldiers and civilian authorities, Interior permanent secretary Wibool Sa-ngaunphong said. Long-term measures would involve the installation of more surveillance cameras and lights in vulnerable areas.

Meanwhile, a man who had allegedly left the island on September 14 morning after the double murders, spoke to Kom Chad Luek daily yesterday and pleaded his innocence. “I am not afraid [of being implicated], as I have done nothing wrong,” said the unnamed man, 22, who is said to be a son of a village head and owner of a resort where the victims were seen drinking until late at night before they were found killed at Chor Por Ror beach at dawn.

Suspect ‘not on the run’

The man was identified yesterday in media reports as Warot Toowichien, a son of AC Resort owner and former village headman Worraphan who has been cleared by the police. Warot came under the scrutiny of police, because he had allegedly left Koh Tao on the morning of the double murder.

Speaking to the Thai-language newspaper yesterday, Warot denied that he was on the run, but was in Bangkok – where he studied at a university – on Sunday when the crime took place.

“I have witnesses – university friends and lecturers who saw me at the apartment where I reside. They include the apartment residents. They are all ready to testify to help me. Also there is surveillance camera footage showing me staying at the university and the apartment,” he added.

He added that he “could not comprehend” why his father had been interviewed and initially suspected by the |police, despite his cooperation and even assistance in providing police with leads and tip-offs.

Police have collected DNA samples from 300 Thai, foreign and immigrant men based on the island in an effort to match theirs with either semen found on the female victim’s bodies, or other evidence found on the murder weapon or at the crime scene.

Deputy national police chief Pol General Somyot Poompanmoung said Worra-phan and the other man, owner of Intouch Pub, were interviewed and had never been apprehended as suspects. He said police investigation into the murder had been plagued by rumours and unauthorised information spread on the social media.

He asked reporters to follow up progress into the investigation or seek interviews with Police Region 8 chief Pol Lt-General Panya Mamen, as the area commander directly supervised the police’s work. Somyot added that there were certainly no influential figures on Koh Tao, as residents and business owners had been helpful in the police investigation.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Monks gather for a special ceremony in Pattaya to pray Covid-19 away

Tanutam Thawan

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Hands placed together in the “wai” position and seated in chairs placed a safe “social distance” apart, monks in Pattaya gathered together at a local temple for a special ceremony to pray Covid-19 away.

The Wat Chai by the Pattaya Walking Street was given special permission to hold the event where dozens of monks from other temples in the area came together to pray. To prevent the spread of Covid-19 at the ritual, monks wore face masks, practised social distancing, used hand sanitiser and had their body temperature checked.

The monks chanted several mantras and performed rituals that they believe will help slow the spread of Covid-19 in Chon Buri and help the local economy recover.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

 

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Bangkok

Protest leader tests positive for Covid-19 a week after being released from jail

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Facebook/ Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul

A pro-democracy movement leader has tested positive for Covid-19 after she spent 8 weeks in jail awaiting a trial on lese majeste charges which prohibit statements that insult or defame the Thai Monarchy. 2 other protest leaders facing similar charges have tested positive for Covid-19 while in court detention.

After being released from the Central Women’s Correctional Institution on May 6, Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul spent most of her time at home. She went to a drive-through Covid-19 testing venue on May 10. She went by the Bangkok Remand Prison the next day for the release of 2 other protest leaders, Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak and Chai-amorn Kaewwiboonpan. Rung has now been admitted to the Thammasat University Hospital in Pathum Thani for treatment.

Rung says had been denied an earlier Covid-19 test because she did not have some of the symptoms of the virus.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid UPDATE: 1,983 new infections and 34 deaths, provincial totals

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Facebook/ อนุทิน ชาญวีรกูล (Public Health Minister)

The daily Covid-19 death toll hit a record high today with 34 deaths reported. 1,983 new Covid-19 infections were reported today in the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration’s daily briefing. Since the start of the pandemic last year, the CCSA has reported 88,907 Covid-19 infections and 486 coronavirus-related deaths.

There are now 29,378 active Covid-19 cases in Thailand. Active cases peaked at just over 30,000 infections last week and have been on a very slight downward slope. The number of patients with severe symptoms has slightly increased to 1,200 with 401 of them on ventilators.

Around 75% of the new Covid-19 infections are in Bangkok and surrounding provinces. While the infection rate remains high in the capital, several provinces have reported no Covid-19 infections and many provinces report under 10 infections.

Most of the new Covid-related fatalities reported today are patients with underlying conditions of high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes. 12 of the 34 patients who died had contracted Covid-19 from family members, a trend in the deaths of patients. The elderly and those with chronic illnesses are at the highest risk of a severe Covid-19 infection.

A CCSA spokesperson notes that migrant workers are entitled to treatment under social welfare programs regardless of their legal status in Thailand.

“Legal or not, they will be treated. Legal status is not an issue at all. The priority is to get them treated and recovered as soon as possible.”

To combat the spread of Covid-19 in Bangkok, the CCSA is expediting the Covid-19 vaccination campaign in high-risk areas like Bangkok’s Khlong Toey slum. Since the nationwide vaccination campaign was launched in late February, 1.89 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been administered. Only 530,000 people have received both doses of the vaccine.

Provinces with the highest number of new Covid-19 cases…

Province New cases Total since April 1
Bangkok 976 21,405
Nonthaburi 266 4,035
Samut Prakan 110 3,420
Chon Buri 57 3,489
Surat Thani 53 1,256
Ayutthaya 38 743
Samut Sakhon 36 1,627
Chanthaburi 32 562
Pathum Thani 29 1,477
Pattani 28 240
Covid UPDATE: 1,983 new infections and 34 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

Daily Covid-related deaths in Thailand as of 11 May 2021, according to Worldometers.

Covid UPDATE: 1,983 new infections and 34 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

Active Covid-19 cases in Thailand as of 11 May 2021, according to Worldometers.

 

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