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Surachate on holiday in the US

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PHOTO: Bangkok Biz News

Former Immigration Chief and high-profile crime-buster, Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn, has been laying low since being dramatically sidelined two weeks ago, being demoted to ‘office duties’ at the Police HQ in Bangkok.

Now he’s on holiday in America.

Thairath says that government spokeswoman Patcharaporn Inthiang revealed that the Lt Gen Surachate had put in a request for a holiday break (given his almost daily appearance on Thailand’s media for the past two years, he’s probably accrued a lot of holiday time!)

He had put in a request for a holiday in the US and is expected to be back at the end of this month.

He will have to report himself back at the PM’s office when he returns. We hope the immigration queues aren’t too long when he returns.

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Woman sentenced to 43 years in prison for violating lèse majesté law

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Woman sentenced to 43 years in prison for violating lèse majesté law | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Siamrath

The Bangkok Criminal Court sentenced a former public official to more than 4 decades in prison for violating the country’s strict lèse majesté law on insulting or defaming the Thai Monarchy.

The woman, a former Revenue Department official known as Anchan, was found guilty on 29 counts of violating Section 112 of the Criminal Code, known as the lèse majesté law, as well as the Computer Crime Act. She was sentenced to 43 years and 6 months in prison.

Anchan had posted audio clips on Facebook and YouTube of a man making comments considered critical of the Thai Monarchy. The man has been arrested, but officials haven’t released any other details.

The ruling comes during an ongoing pro-democracy movement raising subjects that are considered taboo in Thai society. In recent months, dozens of protesters have been charged with violating the lèse majesté law. A senior researcher from the Human Rights Watch as the recent sentence sends a “spine-chilling” message.

“Today’s court verdict is shocking and sends a spine-chilling signal that not only criticisms of the monarchy won’t be tolerated, but they will also be severely punished.”

Section 112 of the Criminal Code:

Those who defame, insult or threaten the King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent shall be punished by a jail term of between three to 15 years.

SOURCES: Thai Enquirer | Bangkok Biz News| Independent

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Thailand

UPDATE: Confusion over Covid-19 tests for visa extensions

Caitlin Ashworth

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UPDATE: Confusion over Covid-19 tests for visa extensions | The Thaiger

UPDATE: Khaosod English removed a story on Covid-19 tests for those seeking visa extensions and replaced it with the article “Immigration backtracks on plan to require Covid-19 test for visa extensions.” They say the previous report sparked uproar among expats and immigration police spokesperson has since apologised for the misunderstanding.

Original article…

Confusion reigns today over whether Covid-19 tests will be required for visa extensions. While The Phuket News spoke with an immigration official who said “no… you don’t need a Covid-19 test to extend your visa or apply for a work permit”, Khaosod English wrote an article headlined “Covid-19 test will be mandatory for all visa extension”.

The Thaiger also contacted a respected visa agent who said Covid-19 tests are, indeed, now required for applying for both visa extensions and work permits, even renewals.

The Thai Immigration Bureau has not made any official announcement regarding Covid-19 tests. Talk about Covid-19 tests for foreigners was brought up after a rule was published in the Royal Gazette last month, officially adding Covid-19 to a list of dangerous diseases, prohibiting those infected with any of the listed illnesses from entering the country.

Immigration Police Bureau spokesperson Archayon Kraithong told Khaosod English that proof of a negative Covid-19 test will be required for visa extensions, regardless of how long a foreigner has stayed in Thailand. On the other hand, Phuket immigration deputy chief Nareuwat Putthawiro told The Phuket News that Covid-19 tests will not be required for visa extensions or work permit applications.

“We do not require any medical documents for an application to renew a visa, because there are few foreigners’ movements outside Phuket. Most of them live and work in Phuket, and have done so before the new wave of Covid-19… So they do not have to worry about it. Everything is still the same.”

Medical exams are currently already required for most work permit applicants (including tests for Syphilis and Elephantiasis). A visa agent told The Thaiger that Covid-19 tests have been added to the medical examination requirements for work permit applicants. But, on the other hand, Phuket immigration says they DO NOT require Covid-19 tests for work permit applicants.

“We have not received any notices about Covid-19 requirements for processing applications to renew visas. If we do receive any such orders, we will let the public know.”

It isn’t the first time there has been conflicting statements coming out of different officials, in different immigration offices on different days.

SOURCES: Phuket News| Khaosod English

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Outbreak in Samut Sakhon is “worrying,” CCSA spokesperson says

Caitlin Ashworth

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Outbreak in Samut Sakhon is “worrying,” CCSA spokesperson says | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Matichon

While the number of daily new Covid-19 cases continues to drop, health officials are still scrambling to contain the virus in the prime hotspot: Samut Sakhon. The outbreak in the coastal fishing province is “worrying,” according to Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration spokesperson Taweesilp Visanuyothin.

Health officials rolled out a proactive mass testing campaign after a spike of Covid-19 cases in mid-December. The vast majority of cases were concentrated around the Central Shrimp Market in the Mahachai fishing hub, which affected a large migrant population. The virus has since spread to 61 of Thailand’s 77 provinces.

With the help of proactive testing, more than 4,000 cases were reported in Samut Sakhon. Field hospitals have been set up on the fly to treat and quarantine those that are infected.

But public health officials are still racing to test as many people in the province as possible with plans to inspect 600 factories and test 50 factory workers per day. There are 12,000 factories in Samut Sakhon and Taweeslip says health officials are speeding up testing to “isolate infected people as soon as possible.”

“The outbreak in Samut Sakhon is worrying. It is difficult to conduct active case-finding there. There are many obstacles, including the number of factories… Meanwhile, factory owners and workers must cooperate. There are more than 10,000 small factories where 1-200 people are employed.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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