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Vote buying on the rise in Phuket: Governor

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Vote buying on the rise in Phuket: Governor | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha yesterday ordered all police officers across Phuket to keep an eye on specific communities where vote buying is reportedly taking place, ahead of the July 3 general election.

The governor yesterday chaired a meeting of Phuket Election Commission (PEC) and representatives from every police station on the island.

“The PEC has received many complaints about vote buying,” Governor Tri told the law enforcement officers.

Complaints had been received by several communities in Phuket Town, Rassada, Koh Kaew and Mai Khao, he said.

“I have assigned police officers, at the meeting today, to keep an eye out for and to investigate any instances [of vote buying].

“Phuket Provincial Police Deputy Commander Peerayut Karajedee said police will independently confirm whether or not any tip-offs about vote buying were true. If the reports are substantiated, then police will carry out their duty,” he said.

Governor Tri said “national ID card buying” had been gaining in popularity in Phuket.

“Some [election campaigners] will note down the name from the ID cards [of vote sellers], while some will take possession of the cards.

“Money, typically 500 baht to 1,000 baht, will be paid to each card holder as a deposit. On election day, the ID cards are returned. If the vote results turn out as they expect, the canvassers pay the rest of the money according to their previous agreement,” Gov Tri explained.

On July 3, as with any other general election, ballots will be counted at polling stations, he said.

“So the candidates can [easily] check whether the money they paid [to buy votes] and the vote results are balanced or not. This is unlike local elections in which ballot counting takes place at an outside location specified by the Election Commission,” he explained.

This form of vote buying is hardly new and has been endemic in the North and Isarn for years, Governor Tri said.

“It is just gaining popularity in Phuket. Past elections here went well. Vote buying was not as widespread as it reportedly is this time around, according to the media,” he added.

All canvassing efforts should conform strictly to electoral law, he said.

Foul play not only corrupts the political process, but also wastes taxpayer’s time and money, he added.

“If there is a foul play, it will waste the Election Commission’s time by forcing them to conduct investigations. Then if red or yellow cards are issued, new elections must be conducted at the taxpayers’ expense,” said Gov Tri.

“No matter who wins or loses, they should accept the result as the voice of the electorate,” he concluded.

— Janpen Upatising

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Thailand

Thai Airways to resume flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Phuket

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai Airways to resume flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Phuket | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai Airways

After nearly 9 months on the ground due to the coronavirus pandemic, along with problems balancing their accounts, Thai Airways will resume flights between Bangkok and Chiang Mai as well as Bangkok and Phuket later this month. The flights will start back up on Christmas day.

Flights from Bangkok to the 2 key tourist provinces have been grounded since April 1. Starting December 25, the airline will run 3 flights a week on both routes. A source told the Bangkok Post that the new schedules will run until at least February 28.

Thai Lion Air, Thai Air Asia, Nok Air, Thai Smile, VietJet Air and Bangkok Airways have returned to the domestic skies since July and slowly adding frequency to their routes.

In addition to resuming the domestic flights, the Thai Airways is relaunching some international flights from January 1 to March 27 including weekly flights to Frankfurt, London, Copenhagen, Sydney, Seoul, Manila, Taipei and Osaka. Flights from Bangkok to Tokyo will be available 3 times a week and flights from Bangkok to Hong Kong will be available every day.

Thai Airways has been tackling bankruptcy throughout the lockdown and trying to make up for more than 300 billion baht in losses. Since many flights were suspended due to travel restrictions, Thai Airways has tried to make money by business ventures on the ground, like a pop-up restaurant serving in-flight meals and selling off unwanted equipment from their warehouse. There also disposing of much of their older fleet, including all of their Boring 747-400s.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

97 police officers investigated for fiddling Covid-19 payments

Maya Taylor

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97 police officers investigated for fiddling Covid-19 payments | The Thaiger
PHOTO: www.newsbeezer.com

97 police officers, from 41 police stations, are currently being investigated for an alleged scam involving Covid-19 payments meant for officers who worked extra shifts during the crisis. The case was assigned by national police chief Suwat Jangyodsuk in November, when it came to light that some officers may have fraudulently claimed allowances meant for others.

In one incident, an officer responsible for transferring extra payments to police on the southern island of Phuket transferred the money to his own accountant instead. At the time, the transfer was dismissed as a mistake (in his favour), with the officer in question receiving a warning, and payments then made to the qualifying officers.

Wissanu Prasatthong-Osot from the National Internal Affairs Police says the investigation should reach a conclusion within the next 10 days.

“The result of the investigation should be ready in 10 days. Currently, 97 officers in 41 police stations ranging from non-commissioned to generals are under investigation for being involved in the swindle. The bureau aims to provide justice to all policemen involved. After the investigation concludes, the victims will receive their full allowance, while the offending officers will be punished under the law and disciplinary standards.”

Nation Thailand reports that a full list of alleged offenders has been sent to Suwat, with Wissanu promising that none will escape prosecution.

“The National Police chief had also ordered the transfer of offending officers at the commander and sub-commander levels out of their areas as per the investigation procedures.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Tourism

Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce to propose Guangzhou-Phuket tourism route

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce to propose Guangzhou-Phuket tourism route | The Thaiger
PHOTO: 77 kaoded

A tourism route from Guangzhou, China to Phuket could help the island province recover from the recession brought on by the pandemic and lack of foreign travel, according to the Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce. The president of the organisation, Narongsak Puttapornmongkol, says they plan to submit a letter proposing the route under a travel bubble scheme to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

The Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce is proposing a travel bubble with around 20 cities in China with no recent coronavirus infections and considered to be at a low risk of spreading the virus. Travellers from Guangzhou recently entered Thailand on the new Special Tourist Visa. It was the second flight of international tourists since travel restrictions were imposed in late-March.

“We believe that the Travel Bubble and the quarantine reduction will resolve the tourism business, which is a huge economic opportunity to recover.”

Once a vaccine is widely available, Narongsak suggests that those who wish to Thailand could also present their vaccination certificate or examination reports from the place of origin. He adds that the mandatory state quarantine period is likely to be reduced.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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