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Thai families in mourning over mystery killing of two Thai students in the US

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“The room was locked from the inside when the building manager tried to gain entry, apparently adding substance to the theory there was nobody else involved.”

Kornkamol Leenawarat left from Thailand back to Seattle, Washington on August 21. Just two weeks later she has been found dead in her apartment along with the body of her roommate Thiti-orn Chotchuangsap.

The only daughter and youngest child in her family, Kornkamol returned home early last month to celebrate Mother’s Day on August 12 with her father and older brothers; her mother had already passed away.

Seattle police are investigating the murders of both Washington University post-graduate students.

Reports of the killings detailed how the victims’ bodies were riddled with knife wounds, causing alarm in Seattle that such a vicious act could occur in the quiet residential area close to the university and in a city regarded as one of the safest in the United States.

Kornkamol was studying law in Seattle, having graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Thammasat University and attained a master’s degree, also in law, from a university in Boston, Massachusetts.

Her family lives in Pathum Thani province, where they are well known, due to some of them being local politicians. They say Kornkamol’s ultimate goal was to one day become a judge. The only information to have emerged so far about Thiti-orn is that she was from Samut Sakhon province.

Deputy immigration police commissioner Itthipon Itthisarnronnachai said yesterday he had been notified that both bodies had been discovered on Tuesday bearing multiple stab wounds.

He declined to speculate on details surrounding the deaths, in particular on speculation in US media reports that this was a murder or murder-suicide.

The murder-suicide theory was raised following a report that the apartment was locked from the inside when a building manager went to check it at the request of Kornkamon’s family, made through their relative in the US.

Kornkamol contacted her family almost daily, so they were immediately concerned after they failed to reach her and university administration officers told them she had been absent from class for many days.

Ittipon confirmed the report that the room was locked from the inside when the building manager tried to gain entry, apparently adding substance to the theory there was nobody else involved. Moreover US police have declared that they are not seeking any suspects.

Speaking at the same press conference, Pol Lt General Suthipong Wongpin, immigration police commissioner, said immigration records showed that Kornkamol had left Thailand on August 21 and Thiti-orn on August 27.

Immigration police will liaise with relevant authorities to help the families of both women travel to the US.

An elder brother of Kornkamol, Weerasak Leenavarat, said that his family is in deep mourning for the loss of their friendly and lively daughter and sister.

SOURCE: The Nation

Thai families in mourning over mystery killing of two Thai students in the US | News by The Thaiger

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Economy

“Protests could affect the economy” – Bank of Thailand

Caitlin Ashworth

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“Protests could affect the economy” – Bank of Thailand | The Thaiger

The ongoing political protests could have a negative impact on Thailand’s already crippled economy by weakening domestic consumption and tourism even more, according to the Bank of Thailand. The bank’s newly appointed governor Settaput Suthiwart-Narueput, who started this month, says they need to keep a close watch on the situation.

“Basically, the political factor is one of the uncertainties… It could affect the economy, particularly consumer confidence and tourism. The central bank has been monitoring the situation closely especially how all the parties concerned handle the protests.”

The halt of foreign tourist arrivals over the past 7 months have heavily impacted the economy. Thailand lost 1.6 trillion baht, or 10% of the GDP. Around 40 million foreign tourists visited Thailand last year while this year is only expected to have a total of 6.7 million. The bank’s governor says it’s going to take some time for the economy to recover.

“It will take at least 2 years for the economy to return to pre-pandemic levels… From now on, the economy is likely to see a continuous contraction on a quarterly basis. It is expected to begin to show a positive growth rate in the second rate in the second quarter of 2021 and be back to normal growth in the third quarter of 2022.”

President of the Tourism Council of Thailand Chairat Tirrattanajarasporn also says the continuing pro-democracy protests could negatively impact the tourism industry and is urging government officials to engage in dialogue with the protesters. He also says that people tend to save their money during protest movements rather than spending it on trips.

Those interested in travelling to Thailand on the Special Tourist Visa are not concerned with the political climate and ongoing protests, according to Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn.

“It is too early to assess the impact on tourism as mass gatherings have occurred recently and there has been no violence.”

While monitoring the protests and the potential effect they have on the economy, the governor says the Bank of Thailand will also tackle the debt crisis. Debt relief measures, put in place by the bank to aid businesses battered by the pandemic, are lifting this month. The bank is now working on debt solutions.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Politics

Former Pheu Thai chair to challenge legality of emergency decree

Maya Taylor

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Former Pheu Thai chair to challenge legality of emergency decree | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

Thai politician and former chair of the Pheu Thai Party, Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan, has confirmed she plans to challenge the legality of the emergency decree in court. She joins a number of opposition MPs and other activists who are petitioning to have the decree lifted. Bangkok awoke to a state of emergency declared by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha in the early hours of last Thursday, amid growing political unrest.

Posting on her Facebook page, Sudarat points to the PM himself, who she describes as, “the source of the problem”. She says the current political protests are a result of him using a military coup to take control from the people, and then drafting a charter that supported the transfer of power to Thailand’s military.

“Other politicians and I have followed the situation with concern and tried to prevent the government from applying their power. We had a discussion yesterday and agreed that we should use the right in the court to protect the protesters.”

Two MPs from the Pheu Thai Party have also expressed their intention to sue the PM for having invoked the emergency decree. Cholnan Srikaew and Jirayu Houngsub are calling on the Civil Court to rescind the state of emergency and guarantee the protection of anti-government activists.

Nation Thailand reports that former judge, Kasem Suphasit, and former Democrat MP, Watchara Petchthong, have also confirmed they are taking legal action against the PM, claiming the implementation of the emergency decree is unlawful.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Protests

Letter calling for Thai PM’s resignation signed by over 1,000 academics

Maya Taylor

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Letter calling for Thai PM’s resignation signed by over 1,000 academics | The Thaiger
Anusorn Unno, anthropology lecturer at Thammasat Universit. PHOTO: www.db.sac.or.th

A petition calling for the resignation of Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, has been signed by up to 1,118 academics and delivered to Government House. The petition was created by the Thai Academic Network for Civil Rights. Nation Thailand reports that a group of university lecturers and students have marched to Government House to deliver the letter. They include Anusorn Unno, anthropology lecturer at Thammasat University, and Thamrongsak Petchlertanan, a lecturer in Political Science at Rangsit University.

In the letter, academics slam the government’s clampdown on an October 16 rally in Bangkok, when police used water cannons, allegedly laced with blue-dyed chemical irritants, to disperse protesters at the Pathumwan intersection.

Anusorn claims the action injured several people and only served to ignite further anger at the government. He is calling on the administration to refrain from violence when dealing with protesters, to stop the gagging of government critics, put an end to laws that infringe on freedom of speech, and to cede to the protesters’ demands.

Those demands are outlined in a 10-point manifesto and include the PM’s resignation, the dissolution of parliament, and a call for fresh elections. The manifesto appeared at a protest in early August and has since provided a consistent ‘script’ for the protest movement. Protesters are also calling for a re-write of the 2017 Thai Charter (Constitution) and for reforms to the role of the Thai Monarchy.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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