Heavy rain, big protest tomorrow, special tourist visa | Thailand News Today | September 18

Daily TV news from around Thailand.

Police catch inmate who escaped prison dressed as a guard

He was smart enough to get hold of a prison guard uniform and escape, but was wasn’t smart enough to not get caught. The inmate who walked out of Phetchabun Provincial Prison yesterday, disguised as a guard, has now been recaptured.

Police were able to track him down and found him later in the day, hiding in an abandoned house in the province’s main city district.

The 35 year old was incarcerated on charges over 6 burglary cases. The man told police he decided to escape because he faced a long prison sentence. The man has a long track record with similar criminal offences.

Wutthichai walked out of the prison’s front gate yesterday. No one noticed at first and no alarms went off. Surveillance camera footage shows him wearing a prison guard’s uniform and was carrying documents.

Travel businesses told to prep for long stay tourists, with an October kick-start looming

The first round of long-stay tourists on the newly approved special tourist visa will be able to enter Thailand by the start of October and the Tourism Ministry is pushing for tourism business to get ready…. now.

On the other hand, not much has been said about the thousands of foreigners who are already here, many of them trying to figure out how to stay in the country as the September 26 deadline for the visa amnesty is only a week away.

Whilst the country’s TAT and the ministry of sports and tourism hammered out the arrangements for the new Special Tourist Visa, the online reception has been less than enthusiastic. Many foreigners, hoping to return to Thailand to live, or as tourists, believe the minimum 90 day stay and 14 day quarantine, plus the need to book only on charter flights, remains overly restrictive.

The new long-stay visa, called a Special Tourist Visa, is expected to help boost Thailand’s tourism dependant economy. But many restaurants, hotels, tour companies and attractions that rely on foreign tourists say they can’t make a profit again until international tourists are let back in the country, without restrictions or 14 day quarantines.

Heavy rain across the country this weekend

Heavy rain is expected across much of Thailand over the next few days, mostly as a result of the intensity of a tropical storm crossing into Vietnam today, ‘Noul’, from the South China Sea.

The low pressure cell will help intensify the effects of the south west monsoon too. There will probably be a lot of rain and increased winds, especially in the north east, but Noul will be weakened by the time it passes through Laos and reaches the Thai north east border, sometime tomorrow morning.

Around the country, Saturday will be the worst with rains easing during Sunday. Here are the forecasts in your part of Thailand for the weekend….

Thai PM uses Covid fears to persuade protesters to postpone Saturday rally

The Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is rolling out his biggest weapon, fear, to try and persuade anti-government protesters to postpone tomorrow’s rally at the Thammasat University Tha Prachan campus. He asked them to consider putting off their plans to hold the rally at least “until the Covid-19 outbreak is over”.

In a televised address, he asked Thais to unite in ending the Covid-19 crisis “before focusing on political issues”. PM Prayut has not mentioned ‘Covid’ as an issue before the other student rallies.

The rally has been planned for tomorrow with student and anti-government groups demanding amendments to the 2017 Thai constitution, dissolution of the parliament, an end to intimidation of government critics and changes to the role of the Thai Head of State.

His appeal, using Covid-19 as his main argument to stop the rally, will probably do little to dampen the enthusiasm of the anti-government groups. But the forecast for a 90% chance of rain around Bangkok tomorrow probably will.

Speaking about the planned protest, the PM has said, numerous times, that he wants to avoid any violence “at all costs”.

Travellers from Thailand can enter United Kingdom without quarantine

No more quarantine for those travelling from Thailand and entering the United Kingdom. Thailand and Singapore will be added to the UK’s so called “travel corridor” list ,starting tomorrow.

The Thailand Foreign Ministry says this is “good news, adding that Thailand’s Covid-19 prevention methods have been recognised by other nations. He says several countries have removed Thailand from their so called “watch lists.” Israel and Germany also recently stopped requiring quarantine for travellers coming from Thailand.

The UK Department of Transport says travellers need to complete a passenger locator form before entering the UK. The form can be completed online up to 48 hours before arrival. A confirmation email must be shown to border office.

Other countries on the travel corridor list include Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and Malaysia.

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