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Separate tragedies across the nation

Jack Burton

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Separate tragedies across the nation | The Thaiger
PHOTOS: Nation Thailand

Tragedy has struck around the nation in separate incidents. In the Hat Yai district of the southern Songkhla province, the bodies of the owners of the locally well known Nattharika Furniture were discovered this morning by a relative who had been instructed to show up at the shop at 6am. In an apparent suicide pact, 55 year old Somsak, and his 60 year old wife Nattharika Suwankijwat, were found lying dead in a blood soaked bed.

Police say Nattharika was embracing her husband and both bodies had a single gunshot wound to the head. The gun was found on the floor and officials found gunpowder residue on Somsak’s left hand. There was no sign of ransacking or struggle in the room. Somsak’s brother, who found the bodies, told officers his brother messaged him at 3am, asking him to visit the shop at 6. As the shop was silent when he arrived, the brother said he went upstairs to their bedroom and found the bodies.

He says his brother and sister-in-law may have committed suicide as they had been struggling with huge debts, and the situation became worse with the Covid-19 crisis.

Somsak’s mother also lives above the shop, while the couple’s 2 daughters live in Bangkok.

In the western province of Sa Keao, 200 kilometres east of Bangkok on the Cambodian border, 2 couples were devastated when they found that the children they had come to pick up from kindergarten had drowned because the school did not have enough teachers to supervise all the children. The incident took place yesterday and police were notified of the tragedy at 10am.

Officers arrived at the Ban Tha Tasi School to inspect the bodies of 2 young students, which had been fished out of the pond by local villagers. The children, identified as 3 year old Thanakorn and 4 year old Peerawat, were believed to have been dead for more than an hour. They were first and second grade students and their classes didn’t have a supervisor.

Ban Tha Tasi School’s management said that since the school has just reopened, they don’t have enough staff to watch over all the children. The bodies were found by an older child who had gone hunting for the pair and found them floating in the pond.

The parents say they are not angry and understand that their children must have been mischievous. The school has promised to be more cautious to prevent a similar tragedy.

Separate tragedies across the nation | News by The Thaiger

Also yesterday, animal rights group Watchdog Thailand’s Facebook page gave details of the gruesome killing of 2 Siberian huskies in Udon Thani’s Nong Sang district. According to the post, the owners came home from the temple on Tuesday to a grisly sight… the bodies of their 2 dogs with their heads smashed in, eyes gouged out and bodies slashed.

WDT say the owners believe the attacker’s goal was to only kill the dogs, as nothing in the house had been stolen or damaged. They also said the dogs were always kept in their kennel to ensure they didn’t go out and kill chickens owned by nearby locals.

WDT say they are monitoring the case and have urged the owners to report the case to police. It’s believed that one of the locals may believe the dogs hunted their chickens, so decided to kill them in revenge.

Earlier this month, WDT rescued more than 50 Thai Ridgeback dogs being held in wretched conditions, from an alleged puppy farm run by an elderly American man in Chiang Mai.

Separate tragedies across the nation | News by The Thaiger

Elsewhere, a 23 year old woman was arrested yesterday for allegedly leaving her newborn baby in the woods in Isaan’s Sakon Nakhon province. The woods were only 100 metres from her house in Khok Ang village in Na Phiang subdistrict.

On Monday local villagers found a newborn girl, still covered in blood and with the umbilical cord freshly cut, wrapped in an old rice sack. They rescued the baby and named her “Phansa”, as they found her on Buddhist Lent Day or “Khao Phansa Day”.

Police traced the abandoned baby to the house of the suspect and arrested the woman after seeing bloodstains on her clothes. Officials say the suspect had a high fever from infections caused by cutting herself with the scissors used to cut the umbilical cord, and not treating the wound properly. Police sent the suspect to a hospital for treatment and haven’t charged her at this stage.

The suspect’s neighbours told authorities the suspect was married and had 2 sons before divorcing her husband and leaving to work in Bangkok, while her children stayed with their grandmother. They say she came home during the Covid-19 crisis and looked pregnant, but told others she was just gaining weight.

SOURCES: Nation Thailand | Nation Thailand | Nation Thailand | Nation Thailand |

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Protests

Met police deny arresting Thai musician “Ammy” for setting fire to royal portrait

Maya Taylor

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Met police deny arresting Thai musician “Ammy” for setting fire to royal portrait | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Bright Today

The Metropolitan Police Bureau has denied reports that the Thai musician and anti-government activist, Chai-amorn Kaewwiboonpan, aka, “Ammy” has been arrested. The musician and 2 other people are suspected of setting fire to a portrait of His Majesty the King. The Bangkok Post reports that his whereabouts are currently unknown.

Piya Tawichai from the MPB says there is no record of the musician being taken into custody. He was responding to local media reports that Chai-amorn had been arrested.

“We haven’t received any report that Mr Chai-amorn was arrested or put in police custody.”

Chai-amorn and 2 others face charges of lèse majesté, arson, and violation of the Computer Crimes Act. They are suspected of setting fire to a portrait of His Majesty the King outside Klongprem Central Prison in the Chatuchak district of Bangkok in the early hours of Sunday morning. They also face charges of damaging state property.

It’s understood officers conducted a search for the musician yesterday, following the Criminal Court’s approval of arrest warrants for the 3 suspects. Piya says the MPB has sufficient evidence to back up the charges, including CCTV footage at the scene of the crime. It’s reported that Chai-amorn got out of a vehicle in order to set fire to the portrait, while the other 2 suspects remained in the car.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Protests

PM defends measures used against Sunday protesters

Maya Taylor

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PM defends measures used against Sunday protesters | The Thaiger
PHOTO: AFP

The Thai PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha has defended police action against protesters taking part in Sunday’s anti-government rally in Bangkok. Officers from the Metropolitan Police Bureau used tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets in an effort to drive protesters back from the PM’s residence at the 1st Infantry Regiment barracks, King’s Guard. The PM insists the actions were in line with international standards.

“I insist the crowd-control measures were in accordance with international standards and police did not violate the protesters’ rights.”

The PM has also criticised some media outlets for their reporting of the rally, claiming they only focused on officers’ use of force against protesters. 33 people were injured at the rally – 23 police officers and 10 protesters. One police officer, named in a Bangkok Post report as Wiwat Sinprasert, died of heart failure. 22 protesters have been arrested, 4 of whom are minors who will have their cases heard in the Central Juvenile and Family Court.

Phukphong Phongpetra from the MPB says the use of rubber bullets was necessary in order to stop things getting out of control. He says protesters also gathered outside Din Daeng and Suthisarn police stations, where they set fire to police cars. He claims 90 officers were injured in the clashes, with 27 receiving hospital treatment.

National police chief Suwat Jangyodsuk says the measures used by police were not aimed at dispersing protesters, but rather to arrest anyone using violence against officers. He claims this latest protest was different to others, in that some activists kicked things off by attacking police officers.

“We’ve discussed it several times that we will enforce the laws where necessary. If the protesters didn’t harm officers or destroy barriers, we wouldn’t have had to act. And the protesters, they were unable to control each other.”

Opposition politicians have slammed the measures used against protesters, with Rangsiman Rome from the Move Forward Party claiming police fired rubber bullets at random and not at any particular targets.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Bangkok

Thailand News Today | Bangkok protest fallout, northern fire bans | March 1

The Thaiger

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Thailand News Today | Bangkok protest fallout, northern fire bans | March 1 | The Thaiger

Coming up today… the fallout from yesterday’s latest protest violence in Bangkok, the first vaccine in Thailand who got it, and a major drug haul along the Mekong.

But first we’ll start up north where Lampang Province is joining other northern provinces todday by putting a total fire ban in place from today, March 1, until the end of April. Chiang Mai also started a ban on all deliberately lit fires from today and Lamphun, just south of Chiang Mai, already has one in place.

The bans are timely after a horrid weekend of air pollution in many of Thailand’s provinces over the long weekend, even as far south as the tourist destination of Phuket where visibility was down to about 1 kilometre and the smell of smoke was noticeable.

Whilst up in the north… 4 Thai women were arrested at a security checkpoint in Tak’s Mae Sot district after they illegally crossed the border from Myanmar into Thailand.

Illegal casinos and fancy hi-so massage parlours in Myanmar in areas near the border, have attracted wealthy Thais and Burmese. The establishments have also attracted plenty of Thais looking for well-paid work across the border.

In a major bust along the Mekong River, a notorious hotzone for drug trafficking, border patrol police seized 920 kilograms of dried, compacted cannabis from a boat along the Nakhon Pathom riverbank, bordering Laos.

Now to the weekend violence as the protests resume where they left off last year…

At least 22 people were arrested during the major Bangkok protest yesterday. It turned violent as pro-democracy activists marched toward the Thai PM’s residence. It’s been reported that one officer died during the rally, reportedly due to heart failure.

At least 33 people were injured… that includes 23 police officers. The clashes happened in front of 1st Infantry Regiment barracks on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road and involved around 1,500-2,000 activists from the Restart Democracy movement, part of the Free Youth group. The group has been protesting against the government and calling for reform of the country’s constitution and monarchy since protests began in July of last year.

And Thailand’s Covid-19 vaccine campaign started with Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul who received the first of China’s Sinovac vaccine yesterday. PM Prayut Chan-o-cha was initially planned to be the first to kick off Thailand’s immunisation plan with the AstraZeneca vaccine, but due to problems with paperwork, the PM’s injection was postponed.

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