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Thailand News Today | Another holiday, Business closures | September 15

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Ready for another holiday? Cabinet considers a long weekend to boost the economy

There might be another long weekend coming up soon. So much revenue was brought in from the recent 4 day holiday weekend earlier this month that some government officials think another couple days off could help give the slumped economy another shot in the arm.

The 4 day weekend earlier this month (a replacement for the annual Songkran holiday) circulated some 8.8 billion baht in revenue, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam says the cabinet has talked about another holiday, most likely a 4 day long weekend again, and the idea has been passed on to PM Prayut Chan-o-cha. Wissanu says the long weekend might be scheduled for November, since there are no public holidays scheduled during that month.

Mother allegedly kills 3 year old daughter in Surat Thani

A mother allegedly slashed her 3 year old daughter’s throat in Surat Thani’s Phun Phin district whilst she was sleeping at their rubber plantation home.

Police say they found the child dead on the mattress, soaked in blood. They say the child’s throat had a deep cut. The 43 year old mother has already admitted to the murder, according to police.

According to the woman’s husband, she had a panic attack the night before saying she was worried her daughters would be gang raped.

The man said he was sleeping in another bed and woke up to find his wife trying to cut her own throat. He quickly took away the knife but saw his 3 year old daughter laying in a pool of blood, and called the police.

The family moved from the Isaan province down to Surat Thani to work as rubber tappers. The family had three children.

Phatthalung 20 year old arrested for killing girlfriend and putting body in a cage

A 20 year old Phatthalung man has been arrested over the killing of his 23 year old girlfriend.The man allegedly smashed her head repeatedly, killing her because she said she wanted to break up with him.

Phatthalung Police say they receiving reports of a female corpse being found packed inside a cage outside a house in the north of the southern Thailand province. The body was found laying face down with critical injuries to the head. Police estimated the woman must have been killed at least 9 hours before.

Neighbours told police the couple had been quarrelling often but paid little attention because they were always fighting.

Natthapol initially denied being involved in the case but Police say he confessed to the assault after a long interrogation.

Business closures up 38%, pandemic ‘scarring’ the economy

The coronavirus pandemic has led to a spike in business closures in Thailand, increasing nearly 40% since last year, and those numbers are expected to continue to go up.

Many of those businesses were in the tourism industry, leading to the highest unemployment rate in the past 10 years.

From June to July, business closures went up by 38.4% compared to numbers the same time last year, according to the Economic Intelligence Centre. Even worse, they expect higher numbers in the 2nd half of the year due to the economic decline brought on by the responses to the pandemic. As of mid-August, 13,400 businesses had already closed their doors.

While some people lost their jobs during the pandemic, many people faced lower work hours.

Government sets a deadline on Boss investigations

The government has set a 7-day deadline for state agencies whose officials are alleged to have been involved in the mishandling of the 2012 hit-and-run case involving the Red Bull heir Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya to provide updates on their investigations.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam says the Office of Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission had not yet informed him of its progress but he understood it might not be able to meet the deadline given the scale of its probe. Audio recordings of investigators, Boss and his lawyers, have also surfaced and under investigation.

Other government agencies that must report back to the deputy PM include the Office of the Attorney-General, the Royal Thai Police, the National Anti-Corruption Commission, the Department of Special Investigation and the Lawyers Council of Thailand.

Boss, now 35, was driving the family’s silver Ferrari when it hit and killed a 47 year old police officer whilst he was riding his motorcycle on Sukhumvit Road in Thong Lor in the early hours of Sept 3, 2012. After the statute of limitations clock ran out on other charges, the most serious charge, reckless driving causing death, was dropped in July this year by the Office of the Attorney general, sparking widespread outrage and the broad investigation into the case.

As for Boss, he remains a fugitive living overseas.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid task force calls for extension to Thailand’s emergency decree

Maya Taylor

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Covid task force calls for extension to Thailand’s emergency decree | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS World

Thailand’s Covid-19 task force is advising the government to extend the country’s state of emergency by a further month. The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration plans to discuss the matter next Tuesday and put it to Cabinet for consideration on Wednesday.

The state of emergency, which has been extended several times since its introduction in March, is due to expire at the end of this month. However, the CCSA says an extension is vital to ensure various government agencies can work speedily to combat any threat from Covid-19, particularly as neighbouring countries experience a spike in infections.

Thailand has already taken steps to seal the porous border with Myanmar after a surge in cases means that country is now recording over 500 new infections a day.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Tourism

Quarantine could be reduced to 7 days from November, if border re-opening succeeds

Maya Taylor

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Quarantine could be reduced to 7 days from November, if border re-opening succeeds | The Thaiger
Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister says the mandatory quarantine period for those arriving from overseas could be reduced to 7 days if there is no spike in Covid-19 infections after the border re-opens to limited arrivals from October.

Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn says more details on the planned Special Tourist Visa will be made available following a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday. The STV is expected to grant entry to long-stay arrivals from October 1. Visitors can then extend their stay by 90 days twice, meaning a stay of nearly 9 months in total.

The government is currently being extremely cautious with its plans to re-open the borders to international arrivals. However, in a Bangkok Post report today, Phiphat says that if the first 2 groups of arrivals, 300 foreign tourists in total, fulfil the 14-day quarantine period without testing positive for the virus, it may be possible to increase the number of visitors granted entry to the Kingdom.

“Only 300 tourists per week will not be enough to fill up the whole supply chain and help operators. However, the figure has to comply with the capacity of the healthcare workforce from the Public Health Ministry to prepare swab tests.”

It’s understood the Tourism Ministry has been in talks with private hospitals about supplying additional manpower to facilitate the testing being carried out at airports. Another option is to test arrivals at quarantine facilities, in order to avoid holdups at airport arrival terminals. Currently, the Phuket Provincial Health Office has the ability to conduct 1,000 tests a day.

Should the gradual re-opening in October pass without a significant spike in Covid-19 cases, Phiphat says the government may consider halving the 14-day quarantine period from mid-November. Visitors will still be required to be tested prior to arrival, several times while in quarantine, and again before being released.

“In the event there are 5 positive cases from 300 tourists, the plan to welcome foreigners has to move forward anyway. But we will set up new alternative plans to cope with the situation.”

A reduction in the quarantine period may succeed in attracting more visitors, particularly given the high cost of staying at certain alternative state quarantine facilities, which tourists must foot the bill for themselves. An increase in foreign arrivals is seen as essential to the recovery of the tourism sector in areas currently struggling to survive since the border shutdown 6 months ago.

The Tourism Council of Thailand has visited places such as Phuket, Chiang Mai, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Udon Thani, and Rayong, to talk to local business owners. In presenting its findings to the Tourism and Sports Ministry, TCT president, Chairat Trirattanajarasporn, says the government must find a solution to help the tourism sector. It predicts that once the global Covid situation is brought under control, foreign arrivals to Thailand should reach the 60 million mark and contribute 25% of the country’s GDP by 2023.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand

Some immigration offices set to open on Saturday, September 26, as visa amnesty looms

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Some immigration offices set to open on Saturday, September 26, as visa amnesty looms | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Pattaya Immigration queues yesterday morning - Richard Barrow in Thailand

With September 26 just a day away, Thailand’s Immigration offices have never been busier. Many expats and visitors, who have been either stranded in Thailand, or decided to wait out Thailand’s outbreak of Covid-19, need to get their visas sorted out, officially, by September 26. Whilst many foreigners have left things to the last minute, here’s the latest in the situation.

Many Immigration offices will be open on Saturday as well, due to the enormous demand, mostly people wanting to get a 30 day extension to their visa. Some offices say they will open until 3pm, others 10pm… it is not a uniform time for the additional opening hours on Saturday. So check you local immigration. The Thai immigration office in Samut Prachan, for example, says they will open on Saturday between 9am – 3pm.

Many of the immigration offices stayed open late every day this week to work through the appointments that had been made. We should at least applaud the work ethic of the officials as they are doing their best to apply the Government’s immigration rules and are open extra hours to help foreigners. Be assured the officials are probably as stressed as you. Smile and say ‘thanks’ when you get you stamp!

Also, because the amnesty finishes on a Saturday, you will legally be able to go in on Monday as well to sort out your lapsed visa, or roll over onto a 30 day extension, if you are eligible.

In most cases, it needs to be stressed, you will need to make an appointment before going to immigration. Don’t just arrive there with a handful of documents and your passport and hope for the best. The link to the Thai Immigration website is HERE. It is not particularly easy to navigate so be patient.

If you don’t have a visa extension or a new visa by the end of Monday, or a visa pending, by the close of business on September 28, you will living in Thailand illegally and will face hefty fines, arrest and possible deportation.

The social media on the matter has been just as busy, with people sharing their views on the amnesty and the Thai government’s reluctance to further assist the foreigners that have remained in the country since the borders were closed in April. Different Immigration offices, different stories. (We’ve fixed up some of the grammar and spelling)

“This is absurd and insulting. People that are here, healthy and contributing to the economy, and they have no easy way to remain. All the while the government is trying to attract people to come here. Let those who are here stay and continue spending money.”

“Thai immigration did not create this problem. It was created by everyone who waited till the last week. Self fulfilling karma.”

“In Bangkok it takes the travellers who are stuck here about 2 hours to get there and people who do get there without appointment send home to make one and there are no new appointment up to the 26 any more so no choice for people to be illegal soon.”

“Not to state the obvious, but anything can change last minute here in Thailand. You never know…”

“Here in Chonburi immigration they only allocating 100 que numbers per day. About 500 waiting with no que number. Official look to close off processing before lunch time leaving the office closed for business. Amazing Thailand indeed.”

“It really doesn’t help that UK (embassy) in Thailand decided, with total disregard for the Thai immigration system and the British citizens it serves, to wait until the very last minute of the amnesty to grant TV extension letters. Flooding the system at a time when it is already significantly overstretched.”

“Many here in Phuket went before and were told to come back this week!”

“Not necessarily waiting till the last minute, but I think many have been trying to make arrangements via any number of visa schemes while at the same time, even before Covid, the various offices would need months to process. It could be muddled further when they announced the new tourist visa (STV) which many thought the logical move would be to allow the rollover to happen, and still could.”

What are your thoughts and experiences with the amnesty and your extension, or failure to secure an extension? Respond in the COMMENTS section below.

Some immigration offices set to open on Saturday, September 26, as visa amnesty looms | News by The Thaiger

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