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Democrat’s Suthep joins rally in Phuket

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Democrat’s Suthep joins rally in Phuket | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Former Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban has arrived for a rally in the heart of Phuket Town to protest the reconciliation and amnesty bills that the yellow-shirt People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) are have been protesting against in Bangkok this week.

Also on the island to join the rally tonight is Sathit Wongnongtoey, current Democrat MP for Trang province and former Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office under the former administration of Abhisit Vejjajiva.

The rally, which began at 5pm, is being held at Queen Sirikit Park, on Thalang Road.

Mr Suthep is expected to address the crowd at 8pm.

The event is scheduled to end at 10pm.

Hundreds of supporters are expected to turn up to the event, organized by the “We Love Phuket Club”, headed by Boonsupaa Tanthai.

Mr Boonsupaa on May 10 led protests at Phuket Provincial Hall against a red-shirt event planned for the island.

Speaking to the Phuket Gazette immediately after coming off the stage early this evening, Mr Boonsupaa said, “We are holding this rally to protect our country from the ‘fake’ reconciliation bills from being passed through Parliament. These bills are fake because they are intended to help specifically just one person.”

“We have the right to hold this rally. It is the Thai people’s right to express what they want,” he said.

Speaking to the Phuket Gazette late this afternoon, Phuket yellow-shirt coordinator Don Limnunthaphisit explained that Phuket PAD supporters returned from the Bangkok protests at about noon today.

“We were planning to leave Phuket for Bangkok 6pm tomorrow to rejoin the rally, but since the situation has changed, we will wait until Monday and check with other PAD supporters in Bangkok to see whether or not we should return to the capital to join them,” he said.

Thailand’s House Speaker Somsak Kiatsuranont called off the debate on the reconciliation bills, scheduled for this afternoon, indefinitely as yellow-shirt activists and protesters blocked lawmakers’ access to parliament, reported state-run news agency MCOT.

Mr Somsak earlier called for the House to reconvene at 1:30pm only to cancel it shortly afterward, when 20 police vans carrying ruling Pheu Thai party MPs from party headquarters were unable to access the parliament building due to the protesters’ blockade.

All the vans were forced to return to the party headquarters.

The protesters continued their demonstration into the third consecutive day in frustration with the Speaker pushing forward discussion of the reconciliation bills onto today’s agenda.

The decision sparked the chaotic scenes in Parliament that have been nationally televised for the past two days.

“The postponement is just a strategy. The government knows we do not have much financial support,” said Mr Don. “They know if they keep postponing, they will finally get to push the bills through Parliament.”

He explained that the Phuket PAD supporters did not organize tonight’s protest in Phuket Town.

“We were not planning on holding a protest in Phuket. Instead we were just organizing a fundraiser. Just going up to Bangkok for the three days cost us 40,000 baht for each of the three buses,” he explained.

— Chutharat Plerin

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Tourism

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO | The Thaiger

There was the original Covid-19 outbreak and lockdowns back in April and May in 2020, then again just before Christmas and New Year when the new clusters emerged in Samut Sakhon and the eastern coastal provinces, Patong’s nightlife was quiet enough, almost non-existent.

Now when the restrictions are lifted, Nimz will take you through Phuket’s famous nightlife spot Bangla Road, Patong Beach and Phuket Town. It’s quiet, but there are still clubs open and operating and ready to welcome you.

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Expats

Deceased Phuket expat’s body stuck in hospital due to passport mix-up

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Deceased Phuket expat’s body stuck in hospital due to passport mix-up | The Thaiger

In a nightmarish scenario, a deceased Phuket expat’s body is stuck in a Thai hospital as his step‐daughter claims hospital administrators won’t release the body due to a passport mix‐up.

Gemma Swift, the step‐daughter of 75 year old David Donoghue, who died 2 weeks ago, says she is pleading with embassy staff in Thailand to resolve, what she says, is purely an administrative issue after Donoghue’s passport number at the hospital was from that of an expired one.

Donoghue’s current passport was on file with the British Embassy, but because it did not match what the hospital had, his body has remained at the hospital. Swift says it was something that could easily be corrected and the situation was “horrendous” for the family.

“The British Embassy over in Bangkok, they said that because [the number] was from his current passport, they were unable to change the letter. They have said that they won’t reissue a letter with the passport number that he’s got in the hospital with him.”

She said her family planned to arrange a funeral for him in Thailand, then bring his ashes back to the UK. As he retired to Phuket 15 years ago, her family would then take his ashes back to Thailand, as per his wishes, to scatter them.

However, none of his family members were able to travel to Thailand to be with Donoghue in his final days, as the mandatory 14 day quarantine period upon entering Thailand, would not have allowed them to see him.

“I thought this was a basic human right to be able to give somebody a funeral and I accept that there is always going to be red tape…but please just issue a letter and let us bring him home.”

She said before Covid-19, family members travelled often to Phuket to visit Donoghue, who once worked for the Thai tourist police. She says the entire ordeal has been heartbreaking as her family was unable to say goodbye.

“That on its own was heart breaking, and now to get this two weeks later, to find out we can’t give him a funeral, or get his ashes back, it’s just horrendous.”

“It’s like being on autopilot… once we know we have done everything we can, we can start the grieving process, but at the minute we can’t.”

A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokesperson said they are assisting Donoghue’s family during the difficult time.

“Our staff are in contact with the local hospital and funeral director to help his family obtain the necessary paperwork to ensure his body is treated in line with their wishes.”

If the situation isn’t fixed, Donoghue’s body will join a mass cremation at the hospital.

SOURCE: BBC News

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Phuket

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

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Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2 | The Thaiger

In today’s Thailand News Today…. The island of Phuket has a firm plan to get its residents vaccinated leading up to an October opening for tourists, the Thai PM backs up his police over last Sunday’s protest violence and Thai Airway’s employee union criticises the changes to employee contracts.

But the plan must be approved by the national government by April, if the province wants to open tourism by October 1. Phuket has a resident population of around 300- 400,000 people.

Before you go rushing off to book your plane tickets we’d stress that this is another in a long list of proposals that have not come to fruition and we’d urge patience until the Government approves the plans.

Meanwhile the island has taken delivery of 4,000 doses of the Chinese Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine. Vaccinations started yesterday, with priority given to 1,500 healthcare workers and 500 “at-risk” officials exposed to Covid-19 patients.

On a broader note… Thailand’s Tourism Minister says he has asked the Public Health Ministry to approve a vaccine passport scheme aimed at reviving Thailand’s devastated tourism sector. According to the Minister, the government is looking to the World Health Organisation to issue a statement on vaccine passports before it makes a final decision on the matter.

The Thai PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha has defended police action against protesters taking part in Sunday’s anti-government rally in Bangkok. Officers from the Metropolitan Police Bureau used tear gas, a water cannon and rubber bullets in an effort to drive protesters back from the PM’s residence. The PM insists the actions were in line with international standards. He says that police did not violate the protesters’ rights.

Thai researchers are claiming that horseshoe bats are not responsible for transmitting the Covid virus to humans. A researcher with the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Diseases-Health Science Centre, says that even though the bats have tested positive for a coronavirus, it is not the strain that is transmissible to humans, and it’s certainly not the virus that causes Covid-19.

As Thai Airways tries to sell new contracts and conditions to its remaining workforce, the labour union of the national carrier is challenging changes to the employment contracts, where Thai Airways employees are being asked to agree to changes as part of the bigger financial rehabilitation program.

But a union representative says the new contracts are unfair because it includes fewer leave days and shorter holidays. The union has filed a complaint with the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare.

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