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Thailand News: Kidnapped Thais in Nigeria still alive; Taib will lead BRN team; Channel 7 journo seeks help with libel charge; ICT scoffs at online control

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Kidnapped Thai calls to say all safe
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: One of the four Thai workers, who were abducted by an unknown gang in Nigeria, called his company to say he and the others were safe and had not been harmed, Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman Manasvi Srisodapol said yesterday.

The victim told the company that he would make contact again, the spokesman said, without identifying the caller. The kidnapped Thais are husband and wife Somchok Punpinit, 55; and Bussaya Sripanya, 38; Somchok’s brother Thanawut, 50; and Chaiyan Taichompu, 46.

The four Thais and two Nigerians were on their way to work at an Israeli-operated fish farm in the southern Rivers State in Nigeria on Friday when a gang of about six people kidnapped them. Manasvi said Thai Ambassador to Nigeria Somchai Powcharoen has assigned his minister counsellor to go to Rivers State to take charge of the issue.

“The kidnappers have not demanded a ransom or anything else. When the demand is made, we can start negotiating,” he said.

Meanwhile relatives of the abducted Thais met in Udon Thani’s Nong Han district to seek help from MP Thongdee Manissarn. They said the four victims had travelled to Nigeria in December last year with a six-month visa, and returned home on June 9 when their visas expired.

They returned to Nigeria on June 20 with new visas. Somchok and Bussaya’s son, Panu Punpinit, 23, said his parents contacted him everyday via Facebook. Since there were no signs of danger, he and one of his cousins were scheduled to go to work in Nigeria and had already obtained a six-month visa.

“We are about to leave. We’re just waiting for air tickets and my father’s confirmation of the travel date,” Panu said.

Keep checking the Phuket Gazette’s Thailand news pages, join our Facebook fan page or follow us on Twitter @PhuketGazette for the latest national news updates.

Malaysia confirms Taib will lead BRN team in talks
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: National Security Council secretary-general Paradorn Pattanatabut said yesterday that he had received the confirmation from Malaysia, which is playing the role of dialogue facilitator.

Aziz Benhawan, a Thai representative, said he was confident the fourth round of talks would take place on Sunday as scheduled. The peace talks officially began in March. Yet, bloody attacks in the deep South have continued and rumours have been spreading that the peace process is collapsing.

Over the past two days, several incidents have taken place in the region, with at least two deaths reported.

Aziz explained that the upcoming meetings would be important because both sides would likely raise questions and demand clear answers from the other.

Paradorn said the Thai team expected to use Sunday’s meeting to develop tangible results.

“We need tangible solutions,” he reiterated.

He went on to say that the government-appointed steering committee would meet this week to discuss the BRN’s five demands.

Separately, a bomb exploded yesterday as officials were inspecting the site where unknown gunmen opened fire on a vehicle carrying Sayan Chanachaiwong, the chief of Narathiwat’s Sungai Padi district, on Monday night. The district chief got away unharmed as the vehicle was bullet proof.

The explosion injured 11 people, including two assistant reporters. Of the victims, Pol Corporal Rungroj Netrat succumbed to his injuries on the way to a hospital, while another policeman, Lieutenant Supanit Wijitsopa, is in serious condition.

Police say about seven kilograms of explosives were used in the bomb attack. In Pattani, a bomb exploded as soon as territorial-defence volunteers arrived at a scene where burning tyres were reported earlier yesterday. Six people were injured, including a 13-year-old boy.

Two of the victims are in critical condition. In Yala, a former village chief was shot dead as he was about to enter his home on Monday evening. In Narathiwat, two gunmen opened fire on a territorial-defence-volunteer base on Monday night.

Fortunately, none of the 14 volunteers and an assistant village head was hurt. “We ran for cover when they opened fire,” team leader Abdulloh Dormi said.

“We also fired back and they sped away on their motorcycle.”

Keep checking the Phuket Gazette’s Thailand news
pages, join our Facebook fan page or follow us on Twitter @PhuketGazette for the latest national news updates.

Channel 7 journalist seeks support over libel charge
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: An assistant chief of the Channel 7 television station’s news team is seeking help from various organisations after his work exposing alleged budget-use irregularities in the Samut Prakan Provincial Administrative Organisation resulted in him being charged with defamation.

Sompoch Toraksa yesterday met with the chief of the Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand (ACT), the Thai Journalists’ Association, the Lawyers Council of Thailand, and the Thai Broadcast Journalists Association.

His news coverage reportedly raised questions about the local administrative organisation’s Bt800-million budget for temples. Sompoch yesterday said he had not accused any organisation of being corrupt, but just wanted to alert the public about abbots’ concerns about budget use.

“I will continue to do my duty,” he said. ACT chief Pramon Sutivong said his organisation would look into how to help Sompoch and to prevent such cases from hurting the morale of people working against corruption.

“When media present news related to corruption, society pays more attention to corruption issues,” he said. He said he wanted to see the public become more aware of anti-graft efforts.

According to Pramon, the case against Sompoch is now being handled by investigators and it remains to be seen whether it will go to court.

Keep checking the Phuket Gazette’s Thailand news pages, join our Facebook fan page or follow us on Twitter — Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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Phuket

Thailand News Today | Pfizer vaccines on the way, Phuket’s July re-opening | May 7

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Disease Control Department back-peddled saying that that foreigners living in Thailand WILL also be vaccinated, governor of Chiang Mai is calling for the ban on dining in at restaurants in the northern city to be lifted and for eateries to be allowed to serve food on-site until 9pm, Tourism and Sports Minister insists the southern island of Phuket must record zero Covid-19 cases if a planned July re-opening is to go ahead, and 150 million baht worth of methamphetamine pills were impounded in Nakhon Phanom yesterday

 

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Economy

Stimulus package gives more back the more you spend

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: A new stimulus package aims to get the middle class spending. (via Flickr - Marco Verch)

A new stimulus package targeting middle and high-income people aims at increasing spending by offering more e-voucher the more you spend. Ying Chai Ying Dai, which translates to “the more you spend the more you get”, will reward those who spend between 46,000 and 70,000 baht with a 7,000 baht e-voucher. This part of the government’s 225 billion baht stimulus package hopes to encourage 4 million qualifying middle- to upper-class people to spend more money by refunding 10-15% back, according to the Finance Ministry’s Fiscal Policy Office.

People wishing to participate must register and make their purchases through a government e-wallet system. The system works by refunding 10 to 15% of purchases with a maximum of 7,000 baht. So at 15%, a person who spent 46,000 baht would receive back the full 7,000. On the 10% scheme, 70,000 baht in spending would be necessary to reach 7,000 cashback. No details were available on what determines the percentage level.

An additional 2,000 baht will be available for people participating in the “Section 33 Rao Rak Kan” and “Rao Chana” scheme. The plans are expected to push 85.5 billion Baht back into the economy as recipients must spend the cash by the end of June.

The 50/50 stimulus program that has been popular with the government covering half of what people spend for half for food, drink, and other items up to 150 baht per person per day will also be expanded. That plan began on October 23, and ended at the end of 2020, covering 10 million people with each receiving 3000 baht. The second phase of the popular program added 5 million more people and raised the limit to 3,500 baht per person.

A third phase of the “Khon La Khrueng” stimulus plan is expected to begin in July with participants getting a maximum of 3,500 baht each to spend, and opening the program to 16 million new people. This massive expansion though will stipulate that anyone participating in this program cannot also participate in the Ying Chai Ying Dai scheme.

All of these cash and voucher benefits aimed at supporting vulnerable groups, along with cash handouts for people who have state welfare cards, are part of 245 billion baht the government is spending in an attempt to keep the economy from collapsing. This falls under an emergency loan decree allocating the government 1 trillion baht total to cope with Covid-19.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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Thailand

Covid UPDATE: 2,044 new cases and 27 deaths, provincial totals

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Deputy spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Natapanu Nopakun / Photo courtesy of the Royal Thai Government

2,044 new Covid-19 cases and 27 coronavirus-related deaths were reported today in the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration’s daily briefing. There are now 29,320 active Covid-19 cases. 1,170 Covid patients are in critical condition including 367 on ventilators.

Since the start of the pandemic last year, the CCSA has reported a total of 78,855 Covid-19 infections and 363 virus-related deaths.

Out of 27 new fatalities, patients were ages 30 to 90. Most of the deaths were in Bangkok and surrounding provinces. Several contacted the virus from family members.

Provinces with the highest number of new confirmed cases…

Province New cases Total cases since April 1
Bangkok 869 16,917
Nonthaburi 201 3,032
Samut Prakan 165 2,902
Chon Buri 89 3,128
Samut Sakhon 69 1,299
Surat Thani 60 1,035
Pathum Thani 39 1,099
Chiang Mai 33 3,180
Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya 32 607
Nakhon Pathom 29 746
Ranong 29 329

 

Districts in Bangkok with the highest number of confirmed cases…

District New cases
Khlong Toei 46
Pathum Wan 24
Bang Khae 24
Lat Phrao 13
Ratchathewi 10
Pom Prap Sattru Phai 9
Bueng Kum 9
Phasi Charoen 8
Bang Khun Thian 8
Din Daeng 8

Covid UPDATE: 2,044 new cases and 27 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

 

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