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Interior ministry bans “crane claw” game machines as gambling tools

Jack Burton

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Interior ministry bans “crane claw” game machines as gambling tools | Thaiger
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Gambling, other than betting on horse races or the government-sponsored lottery, has been prohibited in Thailand since the Gambling Act 1935. Now the government has banned the familiar “claw crane” machines found at many shopping malls and supermarkets, calling them “gambling tools.” The order was signed by the acting permanent secretary of the interior on Wednesday. The order was issued to all provincial governors and is to be enforced nationwide.

The order specifies two types of game machines: claw crane machines, where customers use a claw to pick from among a pile of toys and dolls inside a display case, and dispenser and game machines, in which customers use a token to buy items inside a case or play games on a screen.

With the claw crane machines, customers insert a token, worth 10 baht each time, into the machine with no guarantee they will receive anything in return. This has been deemed a game of chance.

In the dispenser and game machines, the ministry determined that players always get something in return, whether it’s an item or just the enjoyment of playing the game, and that these machines don’t constitute gambling.

Officials will begin inspecting shopping malls, and operators of unlicensed machines will be given a warning or face arrest.

In January, youth activists urged the government to enact a ban on claw crane machines. A coordinator of the No Gambling Youth Club said the machines are found in many shopping locations throughout the country and young people have unrestricted access to them.

He said the Gambling Act categorises these machines as serving a betting purpose, a definition confirmed by Thailand’s Supreme Court. But the machines operate freely in malls, department stores and supermarkets, and attract many youngsters.

He cited a survey conducted by the No Gambling Youth Club in 92 shopping malls in 10 provinces, including Bangkok, which found more than 1,300 machines in place at 75 malls.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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Thailand’s Civil Aviation Authority announces health and safety regulations

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Thailand’s Civil Aviation Authority announces health and safety regulations | Thaiger
Stock photo via Wikimedia Commons

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand says airlines must continue to follow health and safety regulations as the country has seen a 3rd wave of the Covid-19 virus. The authority says new guidelines to take effect today include…

• Maintaining social distancing practises on passenger services at all levels of operations, from check-in and boarding and disembarking.

• Passengers are required to wear masks at all times during the flight, while using hand sanitiser and washing hands.

• Food and drinks cannot be served or consumed on board. Crews may offer drinking water to passengers in predetermined social distancing areas in the aircraft.

• Newspapers, magazines, or brochures provided on board are prohibited except for safety cards or pamphlets.

• Pilots are required to wear masks, while all cabin crew must wear both masks and gloves at all times when on duty.

• Flights longer than 90 minutes must set aside seats in the last 2 rows in case someone falls sick on board.

Today, Thailand has reported 965 people as infected with Covid-19 in the past 24 hours. The daily total is the first drop in daily numbers for 13 days. 28,288 people have fully recovered. The total deaths remains at 97 people since the start of the pandemic in Thailand. 6,190 people remain under hospital care or are being monitored. 654 of today’s cases are local community infections.

The country recently has seen a 3rd wave of the virus, with Bangkok entertainment venues being considered the epicentre. Thong Lor district in Bangkok has also seen the UK variant B117 in many of its infections. Now, it is the most prominent strain of Covid-19 in the UK.

Studies showed that the B117 strain is more deadly, with 1 study showing deaths from UK variant infections were 30 to 100% higher than earlier variants. The strain also has at least 23 mutations identified so far. However, a new study by The Lancet indicates that even though the strain has a higher reproductive and transmission rate, it is not more severe.

SOURCE: TAT News

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Thailand looks at proposal to make it easier for expats and long-termers

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Thailand looks at proposal to make it easier for expats and long-termers | Thaiger
Stock photo via Thailand Work Permit & Visa

Thailand is looking to make it easier for expats and long-term visa holders to stay in the country. The Immigration Bureau is hoping to boost investments and the economy once the pandemic is over. The proposed changes could do away with 90 day reporting requirements which have been well-received by expats.

Recently, the online website to report 90 day check-ins has been down, citing maintenance issues. Hotel staff have also been dealing with the TM-30 reporting system being down. Chayotid Kridakorn, a former head of JP Morgan Securities Thailand, told the Bangkok Post that immigration hoops are a key pain point for foreigners working in Thailand.

“We want to make it easier for foreigners to live and work in Thailand.”

Meanwhile, plans to help Thailand recover economically have been detailed in a framework to be proposed to the government’s economic panel in the next month. Improvements to immigration regulations, work permits for foreign experts, and visa applications are on the framework list. Relaxing location reporting requirements for foreign workers which is done through the 90 day reporting, is also slated to be amended.

The framework also will include inducements for foreign investors such as corporate income-tax cuts, relaxed property-holding rules and incentives for retirees and start-up companies. An adviser to Thailand’s Deputy PM, says he aims to bring in 1 million retirees or pensioners over the next few years. He says expats could collectively contribute as much as 1.2 trillion baht to the economy each year. But Thailand’s gross domestic product growth won’t return to pre-Covid levels until the 3rd quarter of 2022, according to the Bank of Thailand.

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Burmese students to hold Bangkok cultural event to support Civil Disobedience Movement

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Burmese students to hold Bangkok cultural event to support Civil Disobedience Movement | Thaiger
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Burmese students in Thailand are holding an art and culture concert to raise awareness and funds for the Civil Disobedience Movement. The concert, called “Myanmar Spring,” will be held on April 24 at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre. The event will help fund the movement, which has staged protests over the February 1 coup in Myanmar by the military. It will honour the families of internally displaced individuals and of those who have lost their lives in the conflicts.

Last Friday, the Myanmar military allegedly killed 82 civilians, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, an advocacy group. The military then told the families of those killed that they would have to pay US$85 to recover their loved ones’ bodies, according to Bago University Students’ Union’s Facebook page as well as Radio Free Asia’s Burmese service.

Eyewitnesses in Bago say the Burmese military used grenades, RPGs, and assault rifles to quell anti-coup protestors, forcing many villagers and activists to flee and go into hiding. Military security forces are going through the neighbourhoods now and have cut off internet access. Since the February 1 coup, the military has been systematically cracking down against peaceful protesters, detaining 3,000 civilians and killing over 700 more.

NGO Human Rights Watch had published a call for the EU to take action and implement strict sanctions on the Burmese military on Thursday. And yesterday the US Embassy in Myanmar joined the call, posting on Twitter, urging peace.

The art and cultural event will also be held virtually on the same day. Anyone wishing to support the event outside of attending can buy t-shirts at the food festival being held on April 13. The orchestral music concert will be performed by a group of student volunteers and others. There will also be a poetry recital and other heartfelt performances, which the artists say will reflect the struggles for democracy in Myanmar.

Information on tickets and performances for “Myanmar Spring” is on their Facebook page HERE.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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