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Phuket calm as protests intensify

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket calm as protests intensify | Thaiger
Phuket NEWS Hound

– A daily, pocket-sized packet of news from around the world, compiled by Phuket Gazette reporters for foreigners who want it short, sharp and straight to the point.

PHUKET: Thousands of opposition activists paraded through Thailand’s sprawling capital on Saturday in a bid to attract people from Bangkok’s middle classes to their anti-government campaign.

Reuters reports that the red-shirted supporters of ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra moved around the city of 15 million people in a 13-km (8-mile) long convoy, handing out leaflets saying, “We love Bangkokians” and calling on urban sympathisers to join their push for new elections.

Analysts said the “red shirts”, about 1,000 of whom are said to be from Phuket, had earned many sympathisers in their seven days of rallies but face an uphill struggle to bring the politically powerful middle classes fully on board.

Pitch Pongsawat, a political scientist at Chulalongkorn University, said many residents sympathised with the movement, but chafed at the prospect of being labelled a Thaksin supporter.

Meanwhile, Phuket and all other major cities and provinces in Thailand remain calm, with no reports of disturbances or plans to initiate local protests.

Thai PM willing to talk with protesters

Sky News
Thailand’s embattled prime minister called for talks with leaders of the ‘Red Shirt’ movement after tens of thousands of protesters brought the capital to a standstill. An estimated 65,000 to 90,000 singing and horn honking protesters, many on motorbikes, descended on Bangkok yesterday, paralysing normal life in the capital.

Mr Abhisit said that the protesters must choose between “democracy or Thaksin,” repudiating allegations of the illegitimacy of his government. “If the answer is democracy, we can talk,” he said.

Cambodians step in while Thais protest

The Bangkok Post
Security measures at checkpoints on the Cambodian-Thai border have been strengthened following a rise in the number of Cambodian workers entering Thailand. The measures were implemented to stop smuggling of weapons and drugs into the country, particularly during the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) demonstrations in Bangkok, said a spokesman for a Thai paramilitary special task force stationed at the border.

Demand for Cambodian workers has surged after a large number of Thai factory employees left for the UDD protests, according to a Cambodian job agent supplying employees to Thai companies. The agent, who asked not to be named, added that he had supplied more than 2,000 Cambodian workers to companies in Thailand, and that he had orders for 5,000 more.

Protestors plan blood painting

The Jakarta Post
Protest leaders in Bangkok say they have 15 jugs of blood left over and plan to use it to create a massive work of art.

“Artists and Red Shirts will be invited to partake in a blood painting,” said Jatuporn Prompan, a leader from the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD).

They plan to unfurl a giant white cloth on which supporters will be invited to paint pictures, scrawl poems or express political sentiments. “The theme of this artwork will be the history of the people’s fight for democracy,” Jatuporn said.

“Actions like drawing blood, pouring it and throwing [it]… strictly speaking are not all legal,” Thai PM Abhisit Vejajjiva has said.

— 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.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket restrictions and bans to stay in place until end of May

Tim Newton

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Phuket’s list of current ‘Covid’ restrictions have been extended until at least May 31. All the current levels of restrictions will remain until the end of the month after the Phuket Governor announced the continuation of restrictions this afternoon.

Daily new infection numbers continue to add to the island’s total of 556 since the start of April. The island’s latest wave started after a series of events, mostly Bangkok partygoers flying down for parties at Café Del Mar in Kamala, Illusion and Shelter, both in Bangla Road. The parties were organised by a Thong Lor based events company called Kolour. The daily numbers, whilst relatively stable, have not been going down as officials were hoping.

The announcement also puts any hope of a July 1 ‘quarantine free’ tourism opening in severe doubt. The island’s vaccine roll out has also slowed since the initial flurry of enthusiasm. Only 22% of Phuket’s population has currently been vaccinated (a long way ahead of the rest of the country) whilst the minimum vaccination level has to reach 70% according to the Government before they will entertain the ‘Sandbox’ opening proposal.

Entry to the island, by road or air, will remain restricted and anyone without proof of vaccination or a current PCR Covid test (within 72 hours) will have to do a full 14 day quarantine period (after May 15). The rapid Covid tests that were being conducted at the airport and Tha Chatchai Checkpoint are being stopped from this Saturday.

Notably, following the story of foreigners in Cherngtalay being fined 6,000 baht each for hosting a party at their home on Sunday night, the ban on gatherings and parties will continue.

Meanwhile, the island has reported its first death during the third wave of cases since the start of April, and a new cluster of infections in the Phoon Pon district in Phuket Town. The man that died was a 71 year old man who died yesterday morning.

Phuket restrictions and bans to stay in place until end of May | News by Thaiger

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid-19 infections cast doubt on plan to reopen Phuket July 1

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: Phuket may not be ready to welcome back visitors July 1st.

With surging Covid-19 infections, the original plan for Phuket to reopen the international border to tourism on July 1st without quarantine may be unlikely. The governor warned today that the plan may be in jeopardy if they don’t reach the proposed May 15 goal of reducing infections to less than 10 each day. Governor Narong Woonciew called on everyone to work together to keep the infections down as the current rate of 10 to 15 per day will almost definitely delay the sandbox plan for international visitors to arrive in Phuket without quarantine in July.

Daily infections are on the rise in Phuket and high-risk people in local quarantine are still spreading infections, according to the provincial health officer’s assessment of the Covid-19 situation. During proactive screening an active case finding, new clusters of infections continue to be uncovered, a problem that has been attributed to continued partying and social gatherings that violate current Covid-19 restrictions. The health officials warned that, as a result, more aggressive actions may be necessary to control the spread of the Coronavirus in Phuket if it is to reopen in July.

Under the current restrictions of the Covid-19 emergency decree, even two people that aren’t from the same household joining together for socializing or mingling could be considered a gathering and punishable with legal action. Officials are speaking out about the threat of more Covid-19 outbreaks due to large gatherings, citing several events that were broken up recently.

One such group in Phuket garnered a lot of attention online with many people surprised that it was considered a gathering and busted up. A group of six British and Thai people that the police raided yesterday at a home in Thalang were reportedly drinking and celebrating. This is a violation of the disease decree and local Covid-19 safety measures, and 2 British nationals were charged a 6000 baht fine each.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

 

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Patong

30 year old Thai woman found dead in car in Patong from apparent suicide

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Photo via The Phuket News

The Thaiger acknowledges that the names of the family and the contents of a suicide note were published in error in an earlier version of this story. We have spoken to the writer and can assure readers that this will never happen again. We apologise for the distress caused.

A 30 year old Thai woman has been found dead in her car, in Patong, from an apparent suicide. The woman’s car was parked by the side of the Sirirat Road, which links Patong and Karon. Police and rescue workers arrived at the scene to find the body of ‘Kanokwan’ (surname withheld), slumped in the driver’s seat of a Phuket-registered Honda Jazz.

Police say they found an electric pan with burnt charcoal behind the driver’s seat in the back. They say this was the cause of death as she likely died from asphyxiation. They also say they found a suicide letter.

The woman’s mother ‘Boonlap’ says that she has accepted her daughter’s death was from a probably suicide. Her body was taken to Patong Hospital for further examination before being released to her relatives for a funeral.

It is not known whether the Covid pandemic had any effect on Kanokwan but job losses, bankruptcies, sickness and fear are just a few of the side-affects during the Covid-19 pandemic.

For many in Thailand and all over the world, this has a profound impact on the mental health of everyday people. The suicide rate in Thailand has also seen a spike, with 22% more suicides recorded in the first half of 2020 when compared to the same period in 2019. A sharp increase not witnessed since the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.

Even before the pandemic struck, Thailand was on record as having the most suicides of any country in SE Asia. As per WHO data, in 2019 Thailand’s suicide rate was 14.4 per 100k population, compared to a global average of 10.5 per 100k population.

If you or anyone you know is in emotional distress, please contact the Samaritans of Thailand at their 24-hour hotline 02-713-6791 (English), 02713-6793 (Thai) or Thai Mental Health Hotline at 1323 (Thai).

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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