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Thailand News: Police to replace soldiers in Bangkok; EC warms to Abhisit’s reforms; NACC refuses more Yingluck witnesses

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Thailand News: Police to replace soldiers in Bangkok; EC warms to Abhisit’s reforms; NACC refuses more Yingluck witnesses | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Prayuth against use of force to end impasse
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha yesterday voiced concerns about some local leaders and political groups opting for violence to end the prolonged political conflict.

“There are several groups that talk about violence. You know which groups I am referring to. We need to look back and see what is causing the problem. If you can resolve the symptoms but not the cause, then you cannot end this crisis,” he said.

Prayuth also called on all sides to refrain from issuing threats or making remarks that might deepen the current impasse, adding that it would take time to remove the root cause of the problems faced by Thailand.

“As long as the conditions from which the conflicts originate remain, we cannot move forward. Don’t depend on the military to find a way out because we have to do our job of maintaining security,” he said.

Prayuth also threatened to file lawsuits against newspapers that published reports accusing him of not doing anything.

“I will take legal action against some papers that have published reports accusing me of doing nothing because I have allegedly accepted some interests. Nobody can ‘buy’ the military. We will not change no matter what is offered to us. Nobody wants so much power that one has to accept all sorts of offers.’ he said.

He also warned different groups to refrain from widening ongoing conflicts, pointing out that respected senior figures had good intentions for the country, but were misunderstood due to miscommunication. “Look at their intention – whether they achieve their purpose depends very much on the mechanisms in place. There are legal and Constitution-related obstacles,” he pointed out.

Prayuth was referring to retired supreme commander Gen Saiyud Kerdphol’s announcment on Saturday that Privy Council President General Prem Tinsulanonda had accepted his group’s plan to seek help from His Majesty to end the political crisis. Prem later had his aide deny this report, saying Saiyud had misunderstood the elder statesman.

Separately, Prayuth said he had informed the Centre for Administration of Peace and Order to look into allegations that former supreme commander General Chaiyasith Shinawatra had established a militia and was behind armed personnel being trained in Nakhon Ratchasima. “I am getting the Internal Security Operation Commands monitor and report to me about what kind of training is being done,” Prayuth said.

However, Chaiyasith has flatly denied the allegation, saying he had gone to Si Sa Ket province in the Northeast to visit old military colleagues.

Prayuth also said he would speak to the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order about its plan to adjust security measures for the capital by replacing soldiers with police.

“We have to find out if the police can ensure public safety without our support. I have no problems in working with anyone, I just want the country to be safe and sound,’ Prayuth said.

Police to replace military for security duties: CAPO
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO) will adjust the deployment of troops to provide security in Bangkok by replacing soldiers with police, the caretaker deputy premier said on Tuesday.

Surapong Tovichakchaikul, as CAPO chief adviser, said that once the caretaker cabinet approved extending enforcement of the Internal Security Act (ISA) for another 61 days until June 30, the number of the military would be reduced while police would be increased.

There were currently 58 companies of soldiers deployed in Bangkok and adjacent provinces for security, he said, but now the police will assume wider responsibility More details will follow in one to three days, he said. The adjustment is designed to ensure more effective law enforcement. The Army will remain in place at Government House.

The change is in part a result of the easing situation, with the number of protesters shrinking and the progovernment United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) announcing they would not confront rival groups, Surapong said.

EC warms up to Abhisit’s ideas for election reform
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The Election Commission (EC) yesterday agreed to take into consideration the proposal of Democrat party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva to reform the electoral process before holding an election. However, both sides remain concerned whether an election could be held while the political impasse continues.

The Democrat leader yesterday led key party members to meet the poll body to propose a solution to end the country’s prolonged political conflict.

EC secretary-general Puchong Nutrawong said Abhisit had proposed eight points to the EC about how to reform the election mechanism to hold a fair, smooth, and peaceful poll in order to convince voters to cast their ballots.

Abhisit’s proposal was in line with that of EC commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn, who is in charge of election management, Puchong said.

“We agree that we have to review election regulations or announcements, which have been proposed by Somchai as well,” Puchong said.

The eight proposals have not been revealed to the public though the EC said it would consider them.

According to Puchong, Abhisit has proposed that the EC issue regulations to penalise politicians or parties who fail to deliver policies promised in their election campaign. For example, their electoral rights could be revoked if they failed to deliver, he said.

Abhisit has proposed that the EC consider issuing yellow or red cards to candidates within 30 days after the election day, instead of within one year according to the current law. Otherwise it would be difficult to take legal actions against them when they had already taken a political post for a while, he said.

Abhisit said the EC would pass on his proposals to the caretaker government when the EC was scheduled to meet Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra today.

“I want to make a plea to the premier to consider my initiative and not rush into holding an early election without having a solution on how to reform the country,” he urged.

“The EC and I agree that the current atmosphere makes it difficult for the EC to hold a complete election. Although the EC thinks they can hold a lawful election, there is also concern if the House of Representatives could be convened for its meeting,” Abhisit said. “If we can’t find a common ground [between the stakeholders before holding an election] the country will remain in stalemate. An election will create more problems. People would rather accept a poll delay,” he said.

Asked if his party members would contest the next election if others agreed with Abhisit’s proposal, he said he has to make his party accept it, too. Abhisit said he would conclude his proposals and reveal them to the public by this week. Before the meeting, Supachai said he personally believed Abhisit’s move could possibly break the impasse and lead to a smooth election.
< — Phuket Gazette Editors

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Thailand

Thai netizens say pro-government royalists carried out Wednesday’s protest shootings

The Thaiger

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Thai netizens say pro-government royalists carried out Wednesday&#8217;s protest shootings | The Thaiger
Thailand’s netizens are refuting police’s claims that pro-democracy protesters carried out Wednesday’s rally shootings. The shootings occurred at the rally site near Bangkok’s Siam Commerical Bank head office, where the rally site was originally planned but was then moved after protesters tried to avoid a clash with pro-government royalists. However, shots were fired, with police arresting a suspect on charges of attempted murder, shooting in public without reason, and carrying a firearm in public.

The netizens found footage of the scene, in which they say they identified the faces of the offenders. The revelation came after Deputy Metropolitan Police Bureau commissioner Piya Tawichai blamed Ratsadon guards for the shootings and injuries.

Meanwhile, the pro-democracy leaders have been called into questionby donors to the movement, as they have criticised how the leaders have used the donations, when a guard was shot and injured. Netizens took to social media to ask what “fairy godmother” Inthira “Sine” Charoenpura and Pakorn “Hia Bung” Pornchewangkurn were buying with the donation money with some online comments mentioning the display of yellow ducks and props as a poor use of donation funds. Some criticisers pointed towards using the donations to buy protective gear for protesters after the shootings occurred, prompting the 2 leaders to issue a statement that they would now use such funds for the injured guards.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Thai protests to continue in full force into December in line with symbolic calendar events

The Thaiger

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Thai protests to continue in full force into December in line with symbolic calendar events | The Thaiger

The pro-democracy protests are set to continue well into December, according to Thai security officials. Officials have been preparing to cope with a rise in anti-government activities as symbolic calendar events are coming up. Today the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration group says a protest will take place outside the 1st Infantry Battalion on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road in Phaya Thai District, giving credit to the predictions that there will no end in sight to the protests.

Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, a secretary to PM’s Office Minister Anucha Nakasai, made the announcement yesterday in light of the Constitutional Court being set to pass a ruling this Wednesday on whether PM Prayut is guilty of occupying a house that is meant for military officials.

Prayut is accused by the opposition of engaging in the conflict of interest by occupying the army residence. Such a move should have ended with his army chief tenure in 2014, according to critics.

Following the upcoming ruling on Wednesday, the symbolic calendar event of Constitution Day falls on December 10, a day which will ignite more protests as one of the main demands of pro-democracy demonstrators is to have a new Thai charter, along with the resignation of Prayut and reform of the Thai monarchy.

But despite the anticipated rise in rallies, security officials have ruled out the possibility of a military coup. Critics remain sceptical as many demonstrators claim the government has put police on the front lines of the protests, dressed in yellow shirts, in an attempt to spark a clash to pave the way for a coup. The current PM, when he was the head of the Thai Army in 2014, also said there would be “no coup” against the elected Yingluck Shinawatra government. A month later the NCPO led a bloodless coup and installed Prayut Chan-o-cha as the interim prime minister.

Piya Tawichai, the deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, says protesters yesterday gathered near the Imperial World Samrong shopping mall in Samut Prakan before marching to the Bang Na intersection to rally, partially blocking the road. According to Kissana Phathanacharoen, the deputy spokesman for the national police, the protesters did not obtain permission for staging the rally.

Some protesters also reportedly spray-painted traffic police kiosks with messages that criticised the police for “ditching the people,” and smashed kiosk windows. Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul, a protest leader, posted on Facebook yesterday that she has been summoned for violating Section 112 of the Criminal Code, which bans anyone from criticising the King which states:

“Whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent, shall be punished with imprisonment of three to fifteen years.”

Rung says she believes the summons is linked to the September 10 anti-government rally.

SOURCE:The Phuket News

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Chiang Rai

Ron Howard to direct cave rescue feature film ‘Thirteen Lives’ in Australia

The Thaiger

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Ron Howard to direct cave rescue feature film &#8216;Thirteen Lives&#8217; in Australia | The Thaiger
PHOTO: The entrance to the real Tham Luang cave near the Myanmar border in far north Thailand

The Australian Government is putting up A$13 million to Imagine Entertainment and film giant MGM to shoot a live-action feature film called Thirteen Lives, based on the Chiang Rai Tham Luang cave rescue story. The film will be shot in Queensland, Australia in the hinterland areas behind the Gold Coast.

The film will be directed by Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13, The Da Vince Code, Cocoon, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Splash, Frost/Nixon), and start filming in March 2021. The state’s Gold Coast hinterland will double for Thailand with a similar hot, humid climate.

The Australian Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, Paul Fletcher MP, says the production ishould inject more than A$96 million into the Australian economy, “directly creating around 435 jobs for cast and crew”.

Thirteen Lives will tell the remarkable story of the effort by many volunteers, including Australians, to undertake an incredibly complex rescue. And I am proud to say that this story will be told here in Australia.”

“I understand this project will also undertake a significant amount of cutting-edge visual effects work here, a great opportunity for our local post, digital and visual effects companies.”

Thirteen Lives follows the true story of the 2018 Tham Laung cave rescue of the Mu Pa (Wild Boar) football team, trapped in a cave by heavy rain and flooding in Chiang Rai, far north Thailand. After the team was stuck for days with no supplies and falling oxygen levels, a group of diving and rescue experts from all over the world were called up to work together with their Thai counterparts to save the 13 young men. Among those experts were a group of divers from the United Kingdom and Australia.

The first major feature film about the rescue operation was The Cave, released in October 2019. The film was quite critical of the Thai red-tape which hampered much of the early rescue efforts.

Ron Howard has worked with plenty of Australians in the past.

“From Thirteen Lives to the animated projected I am directing with Animal Logic in Australia, I am excited about the opportunity to film and work in Australia and dramatically expand on that list of collaborators whose sensibilities and work ethic I have long admired and respected.”

Imagine Entertainment and MGM’s Thirteen Lives will be distributed by Universal Pictures International.

Watch a message from director Ron Howard HERE.

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