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Outta here! Phuket red shirts off to Chiang Mai during Asean meetings

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Outta here! Phuket red shirts off to Chiang Mai during Asean meetings | The Thaiger

PHUKET CITY: Even as military troops and hardware deploy in Thalang, the leaders of Phuket’s small ‘red-shirt’ movement say they have no plans to disrupt the Asean-led meetings set to begin in Cherng Talay a week from today.

In fact, they plan to be in Chiang Mai for a meeting of their own while the talks are on, their leader says.

Phuket UDD leader Wisut “Ae Inside” Tangwittayaporn, head of the National United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) movement in Phuket, says his group wishes the talks are a success.

The group has no intention of disrupting the meetings, he said.

“We have already confirmed with the UDD leadership in Bangkok that we will not take any action during the Asean meetings and that we will oppose any red-shirt members who try to disrupt proceedings.

“To quell any uneasiness the governor may have, we informed him that all red-shirt leaders in Phuket, about 80 of us, plan to leave Phuket for Chiang Mai to attend a big meeting while the talks are on,” he said.

The exact date of the UDD meeting has not been set, but Mr Wisut said he expects the red-shirt leaders to return only after the Asean meetings conclude.

Mr Wisut says there are about 20,000 red-shirt supporters on the island.

He hopes all of them will sign a nationwide UDD petition to be presented to HM The King requesting a Royal Pardon for fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Thus far about 10,000 signatures have already been collected in Phuket, he said.

However, the UDD petition has drawn scorn from many quarters, both for legal reasons and because it is seen as a way of pressuring HM The King, who is bound by the constitution to remain above politics.

On the other side of the political chasm, the leaders of the Phuket branch of the yellow-shirted People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) also say they hope the Asean-led meetings go off without a hitch.

Krich Thepbamrung, a consultant to the PAD branch in Phuket, yesterday told the Gazette, “Like anyone who wishes the best for Phuket, members of the Phuket PAD will be keeping watch for any potential problems that might arise.

“We have already been in touch with the Internal Security Operations Command and related agencies and know what danger signs to look out for. If anything bad happens that is beyond the ability of security forces to handle, we will come together as Phuket people and do our best to prevent disruption of the meetings,” he said.

“We have a network of PAD supporters in nearby provinces such as Surat Thani, Krabi and Phang Nga and will inform police of any intelligence we get about possible movements to disrupt the meetings in those areas as well,” he said.

Meanwhile, yesterday afternoon at Phuket Provincial Hall, Phuket Governor Wichai Phraisa-ngop chaired a large meeting with representatives of all related agencies to prepare for the event.

While security was a key issue, preparations for decorations and a welcoming ceremony were also discussed.

The province is planning to line sections of the road from Phuket International Airport with scores of flag-waving students to greet the delegates as their motorcades pass by.

The dates and times of the spectacle have not been confirmed, however.

Foreign delegations from at least 27 nations are expected to attend the talks, which include the 42nd Asean Ministerial Meeting, Post Ministerial Conferences and 16th Asean Regional Forum.

— Atchaa Khamlo

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Chiang Mai

Hostage drama in Chiang Mai – Man holds seven 7-Eleven employees hostage.

May Taylor

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Hostage drama in Chiang Mai – Man holds seven 7-Eleven employees hostage. | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Chiang Mai City Life

A former Thai soldier has killed himself following a stand-off with police in Chiang Mai where he had taken seven 7-Eleven employees hostage. Eyewitnesses told Chiang Mai Citylife that a man with a gun arrived at the 7-Eleven in Mae Rim district on Chotana Road at around 5am yesterday and took one of the employees hostage.

The sergeant, who is described in reports as being “frantic and depressed”, demanded that staff in the 7-Eleven live-stream the event on LINE, which they did.

Local police were called and were attempting to negotiate with the man when he shot himself in the head. Sergeant Punghong was rushed to Nakhon Ping Hospital where he later died from his injuries three hours later.

The dead man has been named as Sgt. Phongphan Kunhong, a 37 year old former soldier from Pha Mueang Force in the Chiang Rai district.

The soldier’s superior confirmed to police that the man had been suffering from a depressive disorder. He died after several attempts to save him.

SOURCE: Chiang Mai City Life

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Air Pollution

Less monitoring, more enforcement – Prawit warns northern officials

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Less monitoring, more enforcement – Prawit warns northern officials | The Thaiger

PHOTO: The Thaiger

Thai Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan and Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa were in Chiang Mai yesterday to give provincial governors and state agency officials a ‘heads up’ in preparation for another looming season of forest fires and haze.

The North suffers perennial choking smog from approximately February to April, and Prawit passed on a message from PM Prayut Chan-o-cha who, he said, was fretting over the impact on people’s health.

He said the Environment Ministry would take the lead in coordinating with neighbouring countries and related local authorities to monitor the fire problem both in and outside Thailand.

The fires are lit in northern Thailand, and over the border in Myanmar, as burn-offs to prepare for the next year’s crops. Last year’s choking smoke haze was headline news for months.

SOURCE: The Nation

Less monitoring, more enforcement - Prawit warns northern officials | News by The Thaiger

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Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai hotels face a quiet end to 2019

The Thaiger

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Chiang Mai hotels face a quiet end to 2019 | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Spice Roads

Chiang Mai hotels are bracing for a quiet end to 2019, along with other Thai tourist hotspots, due to the strength of the baht, an over-supply of rooms and the growing popularity of home-sharing accommodations like Airbnb.

Hoteliers in the northern city are also suffering the fall-out from the smoke haze crisis earlier in the year which put off a lot of forward tourist bookings.

Occupancy rates have fallen in Q3 20%, compared to an 80% rate at the same time last year. Hoteliers say that, usually, this is a relatively busy time for the northern city with school holidays in Europe and China. This year’s Chinese ‘Golden Week’ (October 1-7) was also very quiet compared to previous years.

They predict the average occupancy rate of less than 60% may be the ‘norm’ for the rest of the year. At the same time the number of rooms in Chiang Mai has risen an additional 10,000 rooms to 60,000 rooms in just two years, so there is a glut of rooms competing for dwindling business.

The rise of home-sharing accommodation in northern Thailand is further exacerbating the problem for the traditional hotel market. Hoteliers are also blaming this year’s negative publicity about the smoke and haze during March and April.

According to the Bangkok Post, in the first eight months of this year Chiang Mai welcomed 6.38 million tourists, down 2.2% compared to the same period last year.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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