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Thailand News: Renewed fears from seismic strikes

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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

Fears of ‘big one’ on Mae Chan Fault
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Sunday’s magnitude 6.8 earthquake and aftershocks in Myanmar have renewed fears in Thailand over safety from seismic strikes.

“We have to identify the quake risks of each type of building and prepare response measures,” Praneet Roybang, director-general of the Mineral Resources Department, said yesterday.


The department has called a meeting with five agencies, including the National Disaster Warning Center and Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, and experts to discuss the issue.

The tremors in Myanmar, which have killed at least seven people and injured dozens, also rocked parts of Thailand.

Praneet said that when a building starts shaking, people should quickly duck under a table to avoid getting hit by falling items.

A source from the department said people in Bangkok felt the shockwaves from more than 1,000 kilometers away in Myanmar because of the city’s geological foundation.

“Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani and Samut Prakan are also located on soft soil,” the source said.

These provinces are in Seismic Zone 1, or areas that can be affected by seismic upheavals from a great distance away, while 10 other provinces, mostly in the North, are in the Zone 2 or provinces close to fault lines, the source said.

Assoc Professor Sampan Singharajvarapan, director of the Earthquake Hazard Research Center at Chiang Mai University, noted that the Mae Chan Fault stretches from Chiang Mai’s Mae Ae to eastern Laos.

“I’m worried about the Mae Chan Fault,” he said.

It could cause a quake that could exceed magnitude 6.0.

Authorities need to constantly check the strength of structures along the Mae Chan fault line to ensure that they will not immediately collapse if a big one hits, he said.

“If the buildings can withstand a quake of up to magnitude 6.5, we will be able to minimize losses,” he said.

Eight fault lines run through the North, while the seven others are the Mae Hong Son Fault, Mae Ping Fault, Mae Tha Fault, Phayao Fault, Thoen Fault, Pua Fault and Uttaradit Fault.

Sahawat Naenna, director-general of the Fine Arts Department, said he had already instructed officials in the North to examine whether any ancient site had been damaged.

Sakon Haipitakkul, director of Lamphun irrigation projects, said he received information about lights and hanging items swinging back and forth.

“But there’s no report of casualties,” he said.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Politics

Former immigration chief, “Big Joke” suing PM over transfer

Maya Taylor

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Former immigration chief, “Big Joke” suing PM over transfer | The Thaiger
PHOTO: www.thailandtip.info

The former head of Thai Immigration, Surachet Hakparn, is taking legal action against PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, after the PM had him transferred to an inactive post last year. Surachet, commonly known by the nickname “Big Joke”, accuses the PM of transferring him without just cause and has been petitioning for a review of the decision, to no avail.

Following a complaint lodged with the Central Administrative Court, Surachet’s lawyer, Sitthi Ngarmlamyuang, says that in the 1 year and 5 months since his client’s transfer, there has been no investigation launched against him. Surachet accuses the PM of an abuse of power in ordering the transfer, pointing to a lack of investigations from either the National Anti-Corruption Commission, the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission, or the Office of the Auditor-General.

At the height of his fame, in 2017 and 2018, Surachet’s face was everywhere in the media, appearing as he did alongside errant foreigners who’d overstayed their visas, or criminals involved in drug offences. But at some point, he appears to have stepped on the wrong toes, calling into question procurement practices at the Immigration Bureau, amid plans to spend billions on smart cars and the much-lauded airports biometrics system. The upshot was his removal from office, while the purchases went ahead.

Since then, little was heard from the former immigration chief, until his parked car was shot at in January of this year. Although caught on CCTV, the 2 perpetrators, who were riding a motorbike, were wearing full-face helmets and could not be identified. In July, Surachet was seen making merit at a temple, where he said he was praying to be allowed return to his former duties.

Sitthi points out that most officials who were previously transferred to the PM’s Office have now been re-instated, after investigations cleared them of any offences. He insists that with no grounds to justify his transfer, Surachet must also be re-instated, adding that with the PM unwilling to act, his client will seek justice in the courts.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Thailand

Spas could become quarantine facilities, Krabi first in line for the project

Caitlin Ashworth

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Spas could become quarantine facilities, Krabi first in line for the project | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO

Spas could become state quarantine facilities. The Department of Health Service Support is looking into a proposal that would turn Thai massage parlours and spas into quarantine. The project would start in Krabi.

A 14 day quarantine at a state approved hotel can cost 30,000 baht to more than 100,000 baht. It’s unclear what the cost would be for a 2 week stay at a spa, but it would probably be pricey.

Right now, the spa quarantine idea is being talked about in a Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration subcommittee. It would be another 2 weeks before the project is approved by the administration, according to the department’s director general Thares Krasnairawiwong.

Thares says that under the proposed spa quarantine plan, clients must pass a Covid-19 check and pay the full cost of the quarantine within 72 hours of arriving. They also must have an insurance policy from their home country.

Thailand hotels and other tourism businesses are getting ready for an influx of foreigners coming in on the newly approved Special Tourist Visa. It allows a 90 day stay and can be renewed twice, adding up to about 9 months.

Those tourists have been required to quarantine for 14 days, although it has been discussed that they may need to go through quarantine in their home country before arriving in Thailand.

People entering the country are tested twice for Covid-19, usually at the start of the 14 day quarantine and again before they are released.

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Protests

Online entrepreneurs cash in on “People’s Plaque”

Maya Taylor

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Online entrepreneurs cash in on “People’s Plaque” | The Thaiger
PHOTO: ProgressiveMovementPNA / Facebook

After the removal of a commemorative plaque hours after it was installed by anti-government protesters, pro-democracy messaging has found a new home, now appearing on a range of merchandise. Products that bear the plaque’s wording, alongside a graphic of the 3-fingered salute adopted by protesters, are now being sold online by canny entrepreneurs.

Those who support the pro-democracy movement can now purchase a range of products allowing them to advertise their political stance. A report in Coconuts says buyers may want to consider a key ring for 112 baht, or a smartphone cover for 199 baht. T-shirts are available from 300 baht, as well as baseball caps in a variety of colours.

Meanwhile, in the south of the country, where surfers may find current seasonal conditions favourable, the Phang Nga Progressive Movement is selling surfboards for around 20,000 baht. The marketing blurb for the 8 foot boards encourages surfers to “feel freedom on the waves, practice surfing over dictatorship”.

On Sunday, protest leaders installed the People’s Plaque in Sanam Luang, next to the Grand Palace. Its wording translates as, “At this place the people have expressed their will, that this country belongs to the people and is not the property of the monarch as they have deceived us.”

Just hours after its installation, the plaque was pulled out of the ground, with protesters facing charges for having installed it at a registered historical site without permission. While the messaging is now getting out through other channels, it’s not clear if pro-democracy groups will benefit in any way from the sale of merchandise.

SOURCE: Coconuts

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