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Thailand says looking for four Syrians amid Islamic State warning

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Thailand says looking for four Syrians amid Islamic State warning | The Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Thailand says looking for four Syrians amid Islamic State warning
Phuket Gazette / Reuters


PHUKET: Thailand said on Sunday it was looking for four Syrian nationals who have overstayed their visas, as the country is on high alert after a Russian warning of possible attacks by suspected Syrian members of Islamic State.

The authorities did not suggest the four men were a security threat but said they were unaccounted for, and released their names and photographs.

Last week, a document from the Thai Special Branch police leaked to social media showed it had been warned by the Russian intelligence service that 10 Syrians linked to Islamic State had entered Thailand in October intending to attack Russian interests.

The warning prompted Thailand to step up security around potential targets, including in the cities of Pattaya and Phuket, both popular with tourists and home to large Russian expatriate communities.

However, the Immigration Bureau said the four Syrian men being sought had entered Thailand between April and October, not in the timeframe specified by Russian intelligence.

“Of the four who are unaccounted for, we may just want to locate them to charge them for overstaying, that is all,” Immigration Bureau commissioner Nathathorn Prausoontorn said.

Russia began air strikes in Syria on Sept. 30 and has stepped up attacks in recent weeks. An IS affiliate claimed responsibility for downing a Russian airliner over Egypt’s Sinai peninsula in October, killing all 224 people on board.

Some foreign embassies in Bangkok and the United Nations, which has its regional headquarters in the Thai capital, issued security warnings for staff following the warning from Russia.

In August, 20 people were killed in a bombing of a Bangkok shrine, the worst incident of its kind in Thai history. It dealt a fresh blow to Thailand’s important tourism industry, which had just begun to recover after political protests last year.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Songkran

Pattaya announces plans to hold Songkran Festival

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Pattaya announces plans to hold Songkran Festival | The Thaiger

The tourist city of Pattaya is planning to hold Thai New Year, or Songkran Festival, this year as long as they receive the “go ahead” from the government. The Pattaya City Mayor, Sonthaya Khunplume, made the announcement today, saying that the water festival will be held with all the traditional activities including those taking place at temples.

Songkran is the biggest holiday of the year for Thai people and falls on the public holidays from April 10 to 15. Pattaya City officials say they have a plan to celebrate the “Big Day” of Wan Lai on April 19, which will include water fights, as long as the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration and the Ministry of Public Health approves it.

The event, which is hoped to domestic tourism and the local economy, will feature covid precautions. Mask-wearing and going through screening checkpoints will be part of the safety measures for the event, as well as crowd limits, temperature checks and social distancing.

The Pattaya City mayor has pointed towards the city’s past successes in holding events under the Covid-19 safety measures. Such events included fireworks and music festivals. He went on to assure that holding the Songkran Festival would be successful as well under the Covid safety regulations.

Recently, Pattaya City launched the “Welcome Back Pattaya” campaign to lure domestic tourists back to the city as Covid-19 situation has continually improved. The campaign is aimed towards attracting domestic tourists and is expected to boost the local economy after many businesses in the province were ordered to close last month.

Those businesses were already struggling to survive as many hotels took their featured restaurants to the streets by offering take-away meals and street stalls. Schools, entertainment venues, gyms, pools among others have reopened with travel restrictions, for people entering the province, also having been lifted.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Tourism

Thailand to introduce “area quarantine” for international visitors from April

Maya Taylor

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Thailand to introduce “area quarantine” for international visitors from April | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Andreas M on Unsplash

From next month, foreign visitors to the Kingdom will be able to experience the delights of “area quarantine”, after the government confirmed the scheme for 5 provinces. Following a meeting with the Public Health Ministry, the Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn confirmed that Phuket, Krabi, Chiang Mai, Chon Buri (Pattaya), and Surat Thani (Koh Samui and Koh Pha-ngan) have been chosen to pilot the scheme.

Foreign tourists opting for area quarantine will be required to remain in their hotel rooms for the first 3 days of their stay. They will be tested for Covid-19 and, if negative after 3 days, will be allowed to leave their room and roam freely around the resort for the remainder of their 14-day quarantine. At the end of the 14-day period, they will once again be tested for the virus and, if negative, allowed to travel around the quarantine area.

In order to avail of the scheme, tourists will still need to fulfil the other requirements for travel, including obtaining a Certificate of Entry, a negative Covid-19 test 72 hours prior to travel, and adequate health insurance. Nation Thailand reports that the area quarantine plan will be run by 29 travel agencies, under TAT supervision.

The area quarantine scheme comes as the TAT hails the success of the first “golf quarantine” scheme, which operates in a similar manner. Travellers from countries considered “low-risk” for Covid-19 can come to Thailand for a golf holiday at approved golf resorts in the Kingdom. Conditions are similar to those attached to area quarantine, with the golfers having to spend the first 3 days in their room, test negative for the virus, and then enjoy free rein of the resort, with a few rounds of golf thrown in.

Thailand’s economy has been decimated by the fallout from the pandemic, in particular the loss of international tourism. The current mandatory 14-day quarantine period is seen as the biggest hurdle to overcome in order to re-ignite the sector. In 2019, international tourism contributed 2 trillion baht out of a total 3.01 trillion baht tourism trade. In the same year, tourism made up 17% of Thailand’s GDP.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Pattaya

Pattaya police raid nightclub suspected of presenting pornographic shows

Caitlin Ashworth

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Pattaya police raid nightclub suspected of presenting pornographic shows | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook/นิธิธร จินตกานนท์

Pattaya City Police inspected a nightclub after reports that the venue was hosting pornographic shows on the weekends. Although the nightclub, Dragon Man Club, wasn’t presenting a sexually explicit show when officers came by, the owner was arrested for operating an entertainment business and selling alcohol without the proper permit.

Police say a tip was made through social media from an anonymous source. Officers asked the nightclub owner for the venue’s license, but the owner did not have the document at the time. Police arrested the owner. The nightclub owner was not named in reports.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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