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Prosecutors agree to indict Yingluck

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Prosecutors agree to indict Yingluck | Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Nails in Yingluck’s coffin?
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Former PM Yingluck Shinawatra’s chances of avoiding impeachment on Friday got a lot slimmer yesterday after a joint working group of anti-graft officials and public prosecutors agreed to indict her on a long-standing criminal case.

The anti-graft agency has also charged former commerce minister Boonsong Teriyapirom and associates for corruption in the rice-pledging scheme.

The criminal case was first flagged in July last year, when the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) accused Ms Yingluck of dereliction of duty in relation to the rice scheme. Yesterday, the joint NACC and Office of Attorney-General group resolved that they have enough evidence to take a case against her to the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders.

“The Attorney General will file the case in court in days,” Sansern Poljieak, secretary-general of the attorney-general’s office, said.

Ms Yingluck will be indicted for dereliction of duty in regard to the rice-pledging scheme. If found guilty, she could face one to 10 years in prison or a fine of between 2,000 and 20,000 baht or both.

On the political front, this consensus and graft charges laid against the ministers offer solid ground for members of the National Legislative Assembly to vote to impeach her for negligence in handling the scheme, which caused huge damage to national coffers and the rice trade.

The NACC decided yesterday to file the charge, alleging that former commerce minister Mr Boonsong and former deputy commerce minister Poom Saraphol created illegal government-to-government (G2G) rice sale deals. The case will be filed at the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders.

Mr Boonsong said the NACC had a hidden agenda in charging him and other officials only two days before the NLA will vote on Ms Yingluck’s impeachment.

“I’m a victim for the NACC to link the case to the impeachment although the case could clearly be separated,” he said.

Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday instructed members of the junta and the Cabinet to help explain the impeachment case to the public. “The case will be an indicator to measure ethics and leadership of politicians in the [previous] government,” deputy spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd quoted Gen Prayut as saying.

Ms Yingluck had no leadership or ethics, as she was not prepared to answer questions [about the rice scheme] in the NLA by herself, Mr Sansern said.

The NLA will vote on Friday on whether to impeach Ms Yingluck for negligence over the rice scheme, as well as former Parliament president Somsak Kiatsuranont and his deputy Nikom Wairatpanij for supporting amendments to change the make-up of the Senate.

The NACC will set up a new investigation team to probe other rice sale contracts for a combined total of about five million tonnes of rice in G2G contracts during Ms Yingluck’s government after allegedly finding that partner companies in China were not assigned by China’s government.

An investigation team will also investigate a tapioca sale contract in an alleged G2G deal during the Yingluck government.

The NACC’s Wicha Mahakhun said the team would calculate total losses from the rice sale contracts and call for punishment and compensation. “Thailand has faced a huge loss from the scheme and somebody, including these groups of people should responsible for these huge losses,” he said.

However, he has not said how much of the losses will be sought from those involved, if they are convicted – only saying that the pledging scheme cost the country about 600 billion baht.

The two ex-ministers claimed the government won a deal to sell rice bought from Thai farmers under the pledging scheme to the Chinese government. But the NACC fact-finding committee said business firms were paid to undertake the G2G deal and sold the rice locally, instead of exporting it. They are also alleged to have claimed tax refunds from the government. It also found the Chinese firms were not assigned by Beijing.

The NACC alleges that rice was sold from government stock to Guangdong Stationery & Sporting Goods Import & Export Corp, plus Hainan Grain and Oil Industrial Trading Co at cheap prices and the firms resold the rice to Siam Indica – to resell the rice in Thailand.

Mr Wicha said two firms – Siam Indica and Siralai – would face charges along with mr Boonsong’s secretary-general, three government officials, and 13 individuals. He said the NACC would also summon over 100 rice trading firms to be questioned and they might be sued to pay compensation to the government to try to recoup some of the huge costs.

Mr Wicha said the outcome of the investigation into four G2G contracts was on schedule and should not involve the National Legislative Assembly’s move on whether to impeach Ms Yingluck.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Poll: Work from home popular, reduces Covid-19, helps gov’t

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Working from home is believed to help slow the spread of Covid-19 among other advantages. (via PxHere)

As far as strategies to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infections goes, work from home policies may be the most popular, far more liked than masks and lockdowns. In a recent poll by Suan Dusit Rajabhat University, 1,533 people in Thailand were asked about their opinions on working from home. The majority of responses were well in favour of it.

The Suan Dusit poll was conducted online and found that when asked about various opinions and attitudes towards working from home, nearly 75% of respondents believed that staying home to work made them feel safer and could prevent Covid-19 from spreading more. Nearly half also felt like working from home was a good way to cooperate with government policies regarding Covid-19.

Nearly 43% of those polled were working from home. Only about 23% of people never worked from home, while just under 35% of people worked in some combination of home and at their office or place of business. Just over 40% of respondents said they lacked the equipment at home that would allow them to work from home.

While people generally like to work from home, those surveyed did believe that there were pros and cons to it. 44% felt working from home gave them more personal time for themselves and more time with their families. 88% believed it had a positive effect on the Covid-19 pandemic and 70% loved how working from home reduced travel and commute costs. Over 60% viewed it as a way to help the government in their struggle against Covid-19.

On the downside, about 66% of those surveyed complained that they saw an increase in their household bills as their usage of water, electricity and internet went up. 62% had trouble without their normal work equipment and 46% said slow communication was an issue.

Oddly though, when asked which they preferred, only 18% completely favoured working from home, while double the amount preferred the office and 37% liked both equally. Just under 9% gave no opinion. Overall though, work from home as a Covid-19 fighting policy had a success rating of 70% by those polled.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid UPDATE: 2,302 new infections and 24 deaths, provincial totals

Tim Newton

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The CCSA have announced 2,302 new infections and 24 Covid-related deaths over the past 24 hours. There’s now been a total of 101,447 infections and 589 deaths since the start of Thailand’s tally on January 18, 2020. More than 64,000 are registered as ‘recovered’. 35,055 people remain under treatment at public and field hospitals.

More news briefs on the Covid situation below.

Here are the provincial totals for Sunday as reported from the past 24 hours.

Covid UPDATE: 2,302 new infections and 24 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerCovid UPDATE: 2,302 new infections and 24 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerCovid UPDATE: 2,302 new infections and 24 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerCovid UPDATE: 2,302 new infections and 24 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerCovid UPDATE: 2,302 new infections and 24 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerCovid UPDATE: 2,302 new infections and 24 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaigerβ€’ A new study highlights the often maligned effectiveness of the Sinovac and AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, showing they are both quite effective in boosting the immune system against the Coronavirus. The Center of Excellence in Clinical Virology of the Faculty of Medicine at Chulalongkorn University conducted the study that found that one month after the first shot of AstraZeneca, over 97% of people had developed immune responses. Results were not yet in for the second injection.

Three weeks after the first injection of the Sinovac vaccine, just under 66% of people had developed immune responses, but four weeks after the second injection, that number jumped to an impressive 99.49%.

Full report HERE.

β€’ Indonesia is temporarily halting distribution of a single batch of AstraZeneca vaccine to check for “sterility and toxicity” The temporary action follows reports of a few adverse effects after immunisations.

The batch consists of 448,480 vaccine doses that arrived in the southeast Asian nation last month, part of a delivery of more than 3.85 million doses. Some of the doses have been distributed in part of the capital, Jakarta, and the province of North Sulawesi.

β€’ Starting Monday, restaurants in Bangkok, Nonthaburi (immediately north of Bangkok), Pathum Thani, and Samut Prakan (south east of Bangkok) will be allowed to offer dine-in services at 25% of seating capacity until 9pm.

Restaurants in other 17 Red Zone provinces will be allowed to stay open until 11pm without seating limitations. Restaurants in the other Orange Zone provinces will be allowed to resume “normal operations”, though alcoholic beverages may not be served anywhere across the country. In the Red Zones, schools can open as normal with permission from local and provincial authorities. In the Orange Zone schools can open without permission but under the latest rules.

β€’ The Office of the PM has dismissed as false online rumours that Her Majesty the Queen was infected with Covid-19.

The office urged people to monitor Covid-19 news from a reliable channel, such as the Facebook page of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

β€’ Chonburi and Chiang Mai are being removed rom the dark red zone, or maximum control area, due to an improvement in the Covid situation in those 2 areas.

β€œIf this proposal is approved by the prime minister, there would only be 4 provinces designated as dark red zone, namely Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani and Samut Prakan.”

Chonburi, with only 33 new infections yesterday, will be moved to the orange zone, or medium control area, joining 16 other provinces… Kanchanaburi, Chachoengsao, Tak, Nakhon Pathom, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Narathiwat, Prachuab Khiri Khan, Ayutthaya, Phetchaburi, Yala, Ranong, Rayong, Ratchaburi, Samut Sakhon, Songkhla and Surat Thani.

Phuket was also downgraded into the Orange Zone category.

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thailand’s colour zones change from Monday – some restrictions ease

Tim Newton

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PHOTO: CCSA

From tomorrow we’ll see the resumption of limited dine-in services in restaurants located in the remaining 4 Dark Red zones of Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani and Samut Prakan.

Restaurants in these 4 provinces will now be able to resume dining on premises, until 9pm. But they can only seat 25% of their full capacity. So, a table for 4 can only seat 1 person, while takeaways can still be provided until 11pm. The serving of alcohol in these areas is still prohibited.

Schools and other educational institutions in Dark Red zones also remain prohibited from holding in-person classes and activities in their buildings.

Meanwhile, Chiang Mai and Chon Buri were removed from the list of Dark Red zones. Currently, there are 17 provinces considered Red zones, where dine-in services are permitted until 11pm, without the serving of alcohol. Phuket was downgraded to an Orange Zone.

Thailand still had no provinces categorised as Green or even Yellow yet, but hopefully, the downward trend continues. The zone layout now is: 4 Dark Red zones, 17 Red zones, 56 Orange zones for 77 provinces total.

The updated province colour-coded zones are…

DARK RED ZONE
Bangkok Nonthaburi
Pathum Thani Samat Prakan
RED ZONE
Ayutthaya Chonburi Chachoengsao Kanchanaburi Nakhon Pathom Nakhon Si Thammarat
Narathiwat Prachuap Khiri Khan Phetchaburi Ranong Rayong
Ratchaburi Samut Sakhon Songkhla Surat Thani Tak Yala
ORANGE ZONE
Amnat Charoen Ang Thong Bueng Kan Buriram Chai Nat Chaiyaphum Chanthaburi Chiang Mai Chiang Rai Chumphon Kalasin Kamphaeng Phet Khon Kaen Krabi Lampang Lamphun Loei Lopburi Mae Hong Son
Maha Sarakham Mukdahan Nakhon Nayok Nakhon Phanom Nakhon Ratchasima Nakhon Sawan Nan Nong Bua Lamphu Nong Kai Pattani Phang Nga Phatthalung Phayao Phetchabun Phichit Phitsanulok Phrae Phuket
Prachinburi Roi Et Sa Kaeo Sakon Nakhon Samut Songkram Saraburi Satun Sing Buri Sisaket Sukhothai Suphanburi Surin Trang Trat Ubon Ratchathani Udon Thani Uthai Thani Uttaradit Yasothon

There may still be some provincial-centric restrictions remaining. Keep up with your local media for the latest announcements.

SOURCE:PR Thai Government

 

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