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Thaksin eyes London move

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BANGKOK (Nation): Sources claim that Thaksin Shinawatra may fly from New York Thaksin to join his family in London, where he owns a luxury real estate.

As last evening’s coup took shape Khunying Pojaman Shinawatra, the wife of the caretaker prime minister, escaped to Singapore.

It was reported that the former Cabinet members of the Thaksin government may try to form a government in exile, prompting coup leader Gen Sonthi Boonyaklin to invite ambassadors and representatives of foreign countries in Bangkok for a meeting to clarify the situation.

It was not clear at press time this morning as to whether Thaksin has conceded power.

But any chances of his hope of regaining his power hinges upon strong military backing, whose support he appears to have lost.

Sources have said that Gen Ruengroj Mahasaranond, the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, was placed in custody together with Pol Gen Chidchai Vanasatidya, Deputy Prime Minister, as they tried to ward off the coup attempt last night.

Thaksin last night declared a state of emergency from New York by announcing the removal of Gen Sonthi and ordering him to answer to Chidchai at the PM’s Office. He also appointed Gen Ruengroj as in charge of all security aspects in Bangkok.

But Thaksin’s military supporters were subjugated. State television this morning aired a short broadcast showing Gen Sonthi with other heads of the armed forces making their way to the Chitralada Palace to brief His Majesty the King about the political situation.

It was reported that Gen Prem Tinsulanonda, the president of the Privy Council, had an audience with HM the King late last night as the coup was under way.

The coup effectively tore apart the 1997 Constitution, abolished the Constitution Court, dissolved Parliaments and the Cabinet.

Gen Sonthi has emerged as Thailand’s most powerful magnate at the moment.

Thaksin was still in New York last evening and was scheduled to give an address at the UN General Assembly to discuss the current crisis in Thailand. But the event was canceled.

The ousted government’s spokesman Surapong Suebwonglee said from New York that Thaksin would decide soon if he would still return to Thailand. “Prime Minister Thaksin is now in New York and he has not yet made up his mind where he will go. But he will have to make a decision soon,” he said.

After canceling his UN speech he holed up in a top New York hotel for much of the day as the coup went ahead in Bangkok.

The billionaire politician still has an official plane at his disposal. He has a private residence in London, where one of his daughters is studying.

A senior Thai official in New York said earlier that Thaksin planned to leave the United States overnight but that his destination was unknown.

A US official in Bangkok said the United States viewed the coup negatively and was keeping a close watch on the political developments in Thailand.

“We hope that Thai society and the political actors find a way peaceful solution. But, the US reacts negatively to what is happening in Thailand now,” he said last night.

It is not known where Panthongtae, the family’s only son, is, or whether he followed his mother to Singapore last night. The whereabouts of the PM’s daughters Paethongtae and Pinthongta were also not known. Pinthongta is a student in London while Paethongtae is a political science student at Chulalongkorn University.

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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

Phuket police arrest 6 after finding large amounts of methamphetamine in raid

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket police arrest 6 after finding large amounts of methamphetamine in raid | The Thaiger

Phuket Provincial Police have arrested 6 people after finding large amounts of methamphetamine and other drugs during a raid. One suspect alone allegedly had 7.6 kilograms of crystal meth (ya ice) and over 12,500 methamphetamine pills (ya bah). 29 year old Surasak ‘Bank’ Wijit and 27 year old Panida ‘Mei’ Saeyang were arrested at an apartment car park in Soi Lookkaew, Moo 6, Rassada, in eastern Phuket, after they were found in possession of the drugs.

Police also found 2 mobile phones and a red Honda PCX, registered in Phuket, as evidence. Both suspects have been charged with posessing a Category 1 drug with the intent to sell.

Other suspects arrested at the same time include 36 year old from Chiang Rai, 42 year old Sarawut ‘An’ Srichanon, from Ranong and 31 year old Pornthep ‘Iew’ Thepchampa, who were charged with the same crimes in Chalong after police found more drugs in their possession. 33 year old Kamon ‘Kung’ Sae-ngow, was arrested as well after police found kratom juice and leaves at a house in Rassada. He was taken to Phuket City Police station and was charged with a Category 5 drug possession.

SOURCE:The Phuket News

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Thailand

Phuket Muay Thai fighter is the first Thai national to compete in UFC

The Thaiger

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Phuket Muay Thai fighter is the first Thai national to compete in UFC | The Thaiger

The upcoming Ultimate Fighting Championship Fight Night event in Abu Dhabi will feature Thailand’s only national marking her third fight with the UFC, the world’s largest mixed martial arts competition. 24 year old Loma Lookboonme, from Burirram in northeastern Thailand, will fight in the event on October 3, 2020.

Loma is a Muay Thai fighter who has adapted her MMA skills to fight in the UFC where she currently trains at the Tiger Muay Thai gym in Phuket. Loma qualified for the national team at the age of 19 and has fought in over 12 nations worldwide. She currently trains 6 days a week starting daily at 6:30am with a 3 kilometre run. In the UFC, she will be competing against China’s Angela Lee who is the undisputed champion of the 52 kilogram fist weight category.

Phuket Muay Thai fighter is the first Thai national to compete in UFC | News by The Thaiger

Loma’s parents are former Muay Thai fighters and her 2 sisters currently compete as well. She reportedly started training at 8 years old after being inspired by her father, whom she describes as her “hero.”

Like most Thais in such fighting sports, Muay Thai offers a way to rise out of poverty-and fighting for the UFC can be financially lucrative. But Loma says her only Thai sponsor is the gym where she trains, with the rest of her sponsors being from foreign brands. She says she is trying to get more Thai sponsors but feels that maybe she needs to win the UFC first before Thai brands notice her.

Loma lost her last fight and says her new opponent gives her nothing to lose. She says her goal is to get into the Top 10, but is not sure when it will happen. Loma says for now, it would be good to fight against someone in the Top 10 to help her prepare for her future.

FULL INTERVIEW: Thisrupt.co

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Tourism

Phuket airport ready for tourists after finishing Covid screening labs

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket airport ready for tourists after finishing Covid screening labs | The Thaiger

Phuket Airport is officially ready for tourists as authorities say they have finished installing Covid screening labs in an effort to welcome international travellers. The 5T Model for Covid-19 is being used at the airport with the goal of screening large groups of people in a quick and efficient manner. The Phuket health chief says the 5T’s stand for Target, Testing, Treating, Trusting and Tracing.

Phuket has one large airport at the north end of the island but is separated into two separate terminals – a domestic terminal (the original airport terminal), and a new international terminal opened in 2016.

The target category refers to the target groups of tourists while the tracing stands for software that will be used to monitor their movements. The testing category refers to Covid tests that will be implemented to travellers upon arrival along with the treatment and trust categories signifying the readiness of resources for medical treatment and confident communications between all parties respectively.

The Covid-19 lab container module has been set up at Phuket airport’s Terminal X (the terminal opened for charter flights opened in 2014) and will be tested tomorrow with its operation to start on September 30. As large groups of tourists could arrive (later in the year, the lab is reportedly capable of testing 96 people at a time with test results becoming available in 6 hours. What the airport would do withe tested passengers whilst waiting for 6 hours, has not been detailed at this stage.

Such a readiness plan to welcome foreign tourists originally singled out Phuket due to its popularity with travellers, and as a so-called guinea pig model to test in a controlled environment (Phuket is an island joined to the Thai mainland by a single 300 metre road bridge). Once dubbed the Phuket Model, authorities have proposed to rename the plan to “Special Tourist Visa” due to the confusion and opposition it reportedly caused. The scheme is reportedly now being proposed for all areas of Thailand but only allowing foreigners from specific countries.

SOURCE: Pattaya Mail

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