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Thailand News Today | More Thai Airways debt, Korean soldier, TripAdvisor warning | November 12

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Today’s Thailand News Today coming to you from the 17th floor of The Thaiger Bangkok offices.

Thai Airways adds another 21.5 billion baht in debt in Q3 report

Thai Airways has accumulated more losses, on top of a decade of annual losses, for the latest quarter.

At the moment the national airline’s debt is four times higher than last year’s debt. The airline, already struggling, has been mostly grounded since the end of March. At the end of last week Thai Airways put 34 of its old planes up for sale (you have until tomorrow to put in a bid). 5,000 employees were also being shed in an early retirement offer under its current rehabilitation plan. It’s also selling spare parts and other random stock in its warehouse as well as leasing out part of its offices to save costs.

Passenger numbers were down 92% in the last quarter compared to the same time last year.

Public concern prompts government to shelve 10-day quarantine plans

The Public Health Minister says concern from members of the public have led the government to shelve plans to reduce quarantine for overseas arrivals from 14 days to 10.

Anutin Charnvirakul’s statement comes after a number of mystery local infections.

One involves a woman recently returned from France who tested positive for Covid-19 after she’d completed her quarantine period and travelled to Koh Samui. Another is the case of an Indian man in Krabi province who was found to be infected, despite no recent international travel, and the Hungarian Foreign Minister and Hungarian diplomat, both of whom tested positive in Bangkok. And then the South Korean soldier who tested positive after returning home from a training exercise Thailand.

While acknowledging that the decision will not help efforts to revive foreign tourism, Anutin says the health and safety of Thai residents must take priority.

Thai health officials investigate South Korean military officer Covid-19 case

Now to the curious case of the Covid Korean. Thai health officials are trying to determine how the South Korean military officer, who tested positive for Covid-19 after returning home from Thailand’s annual Cobra Gold training, became infected with the virus.

Local health authorities investigating the case are asking South Korean authorities for more information about the officers whereabouts to figure where exactly the officer might have come in contact with the virus.

Here’s the timeline of the officer’s movements…

October 17: The 32 year old South Korean military officer arrived in Thailand and checked in at an ASQ hotel in Bangkok.

November 1: He was released from the ASQ after 2 tests came out negative. He checked out and stayed at a hotel for a night in Bangkok’s Sukhumvit area.

November 3: He travelled to Rayong’s Ban Chang district and participated in the Cobra Gold military training exercise.

November 6: He travelled back to Bangkok and stayed at a hotel for 2 nights.

November 8: The military officer left from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport and landed at the Incheon Airport in Seoul where he tested positive for Covid-19.

Those who came in close contact with the infected officer are now having to quarantine for 14 days. Others who participated in Cobra Gold’s 5 day training exercise are being advised to self-quarantine at home.

Police to deploy more female officers ahead of Saturday’s rally in Bangkok

Police in Bangkok say they plan to deploy more female officers to assist with crowd-control measures ahead of this Saturday’s rally in the capital.

The Royal Thai Police says most of those gathering at the Democracy Monument and the Education Ministry are expected to be students. An RTP spokesperson says…  Metropolitan Police Bureau was ordered to deploy more female crowd-control officers to monitor the situation and prevent any violence that might occur. 

There was no mention as to why deploying more female police was somehow relevant to the protests. 

Since October 13, 89 activists have been arrested and charged, mainly with sedition.

TripAdvisor slaps warning on Thailand’s ‘Sea View Resort & Spa’ review page

TripAdvisor, the review website everyone loves to hate, is warning potential travellers to a particular Thai hotel that they could face severe consequences for sharing negative opinions about their experience.

Be careful if you want to trash a Thai hotel in the land of fragile egos who use the handy tools of eager lawyers and draconian libel laws. 

One visitor, Wesley Barnes from the US, was arrested after he waxed lyrical in his opinions about poor service at the particular establishment. Mr. Barnes was freed and eventually apologised in a settlement between him and the hotel. But TripAdvisor slapped this notice on the hotel’s listing…

Management at the hotel made an official complaint to the local police about the critique at the time. Mr. Barnes’ review strayed somewhat from the usual commentary about dirty bathrooms and cold soup to include the term “modern day slavery”. The resort’s management claimed that it had first tried to reach Mr. Barnes directly to “resolve the matter”, but took legal action because other reviews had been posted across different platforms, a few weeks apart.

Parliament to debate draft charter amendments in 2-day meeting next week

Parliamentary Speaker Chuan Leekpai says members will meet on November 17 and 18 to vote on 7 draft amendments to Thailand’s 2017 constitution. 

6 of the drafts are the work of the government and a number of opposition MPs, while the seventh has the support of more than 100,000 citizens.

The government chief whip says they will attempt to persuade senators to support its proposed charter amendments. To be approved, each draft requires at least 375 parliamentary votes including support from the 250 senators hand-picked by the military junta. Protesters say they will assemble outside the parliament in support of the amendments.

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