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Thailand News: Thawil pledges to rethink Deep South policy; Pregnant official slain; Bt2.9mn ATM robbery; Warrants sought for red shirt poet killers

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Thawil to review Deep South policy
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: National Security Council chief Thawil Pliensri says his first mission will be to review policy on the unrest in the Deep South and national security work there.

The guideline of having a peace dialogue with separatist groups – according to the caretaker government’s policy – would still be implemented along with other solutions for problems, Thawil said yesterday.

He would continue his previous work throughout the remaining five months of his term, said Thawil, who will retire in September.

Meanwhile, Army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, is on his way to inspect the northern-based Army in Chiang Mai.

He said yesterday he had urged the Army Region 4 commander to adjust the southern insurgency-tackling operations and strategies to be more precise, fast and proactive, while also involving and integrating other state agencies.

On Sunday, the 10th anniversary of the Krue Se massacre in which 32 people were killed in clashes between authorities and suspected insurgents went without violence.

More caution needed

However, Prayuth said the situation still required extra caution because the insurgents were determined to launch attacks to pressure and discredit state officials.

He said the Army would perform various proactive measures – political and military as well as social development – in the region and that the southern unrest was a complicated issue.

All agencies were doing their best in the hope the situation would improve soon.

First Army Region chief Lt-General Theerachai Nakwanich urged state officials to watch out for attacks during the Red Cross fair in Narathiwat’s Muang district from May 2-11.

He was told that there were 34 bomb attacks and 21 gun attacks, killing 29 persons, from October 2013 to March 2014 in Narathiwat and that officials had arrested 30 out of 93 wanted suspects in national security cases.

He was speaking during a visit yesterday to lift the morale of soldiers in the deep South.

In Yala, Police Operations Centre for Southern Border Provinces’ chief Pol Maj-General Yongyuth Jaroenphanich reported that national security cases were only 6.88 per cent of all crimes in the restive region in the past decade (2004 to March 31, 2014).

The three southernmost provinces and Songkhla’s four districts had a total of 138,979 criminal cases (Pattani 33,203, Yala 42,781, Narathiwat 43,506 and Songkhla’s four districts 19,489), most of which stemmed from personal conflict, including political disputes and illegal trade (smuggled gasoline, narcotics).

Pattani had 3,241 national security cases, Yala 2,861, Narathiwat 3,216, and Songkhla’s four districts’ 245 cases.

In Narathiwat’s Muang district, Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre secretary-general Pol Colonel Thawee Sodsong presented awards to eight outstanding health volunteers at a ceremony to mark Health Volunteer Day yesterday.

Pregnant health official killed in Narathiwat gun attack
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: A two-month pregnant health official was killed and her colleague wounded in a gun attack yesterday afternoon in Narathiwat’s Si Sakhon district.

When the two women arrived on a motorbike at a market in front of Si Sakhon Hospital at around 2pm, four suspects on two motorbikes approached them before one opened fire at the victims before fleeing.

Health official Jariya Phromnuan, 29, who was married to Si Sakhon precinct’s Pol Sub-Lieutenant Jessada Panyachotikul, succumbed to a gunshot wound in the head at Si Sakhon hospital. The other victim, 25-year-old health employee Pinyupa Wachirakijkosol, sustained a gunshot wound in right cheek and was later transferred to Pattani Hospital. Police believe insurgents might be behind the attack.

Separately, a police bomb squad defused a 20-kilogram bomb that was planted behind a roadside garbage bin in Narathiwat’s Yi-ngo district at 1pm yesterday following a tip-off. Police suspect the bomb, which was to be detonated by a communication radio, had been planted to hit a team of security officials who were meant to use the route.

Arrest warrants sought for two key suspects in red-shirt poet’s murder
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: At least two people were involved in the April 23 killing of red-shirt poet Kamol “Mainueng Kor Kuntee” Duangphasuk, a senior police officer said yesterday. Police were also trying to find out the motive behind the killing – if it was a personal conflict, or if it had something to do with the late poet’s political campaigns, national police deputy chief Pol General Aek Angsananont said.

Arrest warrants for the two suspects were to be confirmed later yesterday after the case investigators met, he said, adding police were checking to see if the sketches made from eyewitness accounts matched the two people captured in security camera footage.

Judging from the attack, reported area scouting and victim stalking, he said police believed a team of more than two people carried out this killing.

Meanwhile, Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha dismissed reports that Kamol was on the Army’s blacklist, saying that such allegations should be backed by evidence and urged people to not link the Army to any particular side because the armed forces were duty-bound to take care of all sides.

ATM robbed of Bt2.9mn in Chon BuriThe Nation / Phuket GazettePHUKET: Four men broke into Siam Commercial Bank’s ATM booth in Chon Buri’s Bang Lamung district and escaped with about Bt2.9 million in cash early Tuesday morning.

Police were alerted around 1am about the incident. At the scene, they found the back part of the ATM machine broken down by cutting torch.

A security guard told police that he smelt something was burning at the ATM booth around midnight so he went to check and found four men wearing hood were transferring two money boxes from the booth to their vehicle.

They intended to steal more money boxes but gave up and fled after seeing him, the guard said.

The bank later said that the stolen money was about Bt2.9 million, but would check the exact amount of money again.

Police said the investigation from security camera footage showed that the robbers may be Thais. The robbery was well prepared, police said, there was no alarm signal from the booth to police station so the suspects spent about half an hour to break into the ATM.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Thailand

‘Safe zone’ in Thailand for refugees fleeing Myanmar violence

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Facebook/ Karen Information Centre

Due to the ongoing violence between the Myanmar military and ethnic troops, the Thai military has set up a “safe zone” for thousands of refugees in Mae Hong Son near the Salween River, the natural border between Thailand and Myanmar.

The prominent armed wing of the Karen National Union has openly supported the anti-coup movement in Myanmar, leading to clashes with the military junta. Recently, the Karen National Liberation Army reported took over a military outpost near the Thai border. Those just across the Salween River in Thailand said they could hear the gunshots and explosions.

Defence Ministry spokesperson Kongcheep Tantravanich says shelter and humanitarian assistance are being provided for around 2,200 people who have fled Myanmar.

Kongcheep says the “safe zone” is under tight security and only those authorised can enter. There are strict health and disease control measures are in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

His statement comes after the local civil rights group People of Salween River Basin Network called on the Thai government not to push refugees back, claiming that Thai soldiers had been ordered to tell the refugees to return to their home country due to a potential negative impact with border trade.

They say the Myanmar military has been carrying out airstrikes on Karen army bases and many Karen villagers fear for their safety.

Mae Hong Son governor, Sitthichai Jindaluang, also told a United Nations representative last week that refugees have been given shelter and assistance.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Facebook/ศูนย์ข้อมูล COVID-19

1,630 new Covid-19 cases and 22 coronavirus-related deaths were reported today in the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration’s daily briefing. There are now 29,376 active Covid-19 cases. Since the start of the pandemic last year, the CCSA has reported 85,005 Covid-19 cases and 421 Covid-related deaths.

Out of the 22 deaths, most of the patients had chronic illnesses. Many contracted the virus from family members or close friends.

Most of the new cases were detected in Bangkok, particularly in districts with crowded communities and markets. While cases in Bangkok continue to be high, CCSA spokesperson Natapanu Nopakun says the number of new cases in most other provinces in Thailand is decreasing.

Health officials are rolling out proactive case finding campaigns in several high-risk communities, testing 9,000 to 10,000 per day, Nopakun says, adding that officials are working to provide the appropriate treatment as quickly as possible.

Those who test positive for Covid-19 and are asymptomatic must stay at an official field hospital for 14 days and then self-isolate at home for another 14 days.

Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

 

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Thailand

Thailand donates cash, equipment to Laos to help combat Covid-19 outbreak

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Facebook/ Royal Thai Embassy Vientiane

With Laos, just north of Thailand, under lockdown measures to control a spike of Covid-19 infections, the Royal Thai Embassy to Laos helping the country combat the outbreak and has donated cash and materials valued altogether at more than 16 million baht.

While cases have remained low in Laos since the start of the pandemic last year with active cases typically under 10, there was a spike in cases in mid-April and active cases are now at 1,302. The country reported its first coronavirus-related death yesterday.

Thailand donates cash, equipment to Laos to help combat Covid-19 outbreak | News by Thaiger

Active Covid-19 cases in Laos as of 9 May 2021, according to Worldometers.

Donations from Thailand help supply mobile biosafety labs to conduct swab Covid-19 testing and beds for Covid-19 patients as well as protective equipment such including 50,000 medical masks and more than 2,000 Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, outfits.

An order of supplies valued at 8.5 million baht is set to be delivered by the end of the month. That order will have 2,000 more PPE outfits, Covid-19 test equipment, DNA/RNA extraction kits, and 2,500 test kits. Other equipment provided by Thailand include a defibrillator, patient monitoring machine, infrared thermometers, oxygen regulators, and pulse oximeters.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

 

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