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Thailand News Today, February 25, 2020 – Daily news for Thailand

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Two news cases confirmed in Thailand, pushing total to 37

The Thai Public Health Ministry has announced two new Coronavirus cases in Thailand, up from 35 to 37 cases since the outbreak starts in late December last year.

A 31 year old woman and a 29 year old taxi driver are the two new cases.

Permanent secretary for health confirmed that the woman was a housemaid and was initially diagnosed with a pneumonia of “unknown causes”. Doctors later discovered she had a relative who had recently returned from China.

The male patient has been admitted to a hospital in Nonthaburi. He told doctors he had been in close contact with many Chinese tourists and initially showed up with a fever and cough.

Health officials are now tracking down any people that had been with the pair during the past few weeks.

22 of Thailand’s 37 cases have already fully recovered.

8 people injured, including school children, in Songkhla bomb attack

Eight people have been injured by shrapnel from a roadside bomb, including two school children, in a Songkhla bomb blast today.

The eight were amongst a group gathered near a public park in the Sabayoi district of Songkhla, in Thailand’s south. Also amongst the injured were the local district assistant chief, a local defence volunteer and Sabayoi villagers.

Security authorities currently speculate that southern insurgents detonated the bomb as a converted pickup truck passed the spot. The blast blew the vehicle onto the side of the road.

British sailor, adrift for 3 days, rescued by Thai navy

A British man had to be towed back to shore along with his yacht after the vessel’s motor broke down off Phuket, leaving him adrift for three days before he was rescued.

The operations centre of the 3rd Naval Area in Phuket got a request from a cargo shipyesterday afternoon to help a sailboat, the Pollen Path, which was spotted helplessly drifting at sea, about 40 nautical miles from Phuket.

The Navy towed the Pollen Path to shore arriving in Phuket at 9.30am this morning.

Bangkok has a surplus of 100,000 new condos as Chinese buyers stay home

Bangkok’s condominium market is facing its biggest challenge in decades with one of its key feeder markets sitting it out at home.

The capital’s soaring condo market, once a favourite for Chinese investors, looks towards a bleak year with Chinese investors having other things to worry about, or simply unable to travel to Thailand, due to coronavirus fears.

Bloomberg economists predict that foreigners could account for as little as 10% of purchases this year, that’s down nearly 50% from last year.

The president of Agency for Real Estate Affairs, estimates there is 100,000 vacant completed condominiums in and around Bangkok.

Thai Baht on the slide over fears of spread of Coronavirus outside China

What goes up must go down. The Thai baht has continued to weaken against leading international currencies.

As of this morning the baht was trading at 31.70 baht to the US$ . The falls reflect regional concern over the coronavirus spreading beyond China. In the past few days both central South Korea and parts of northern Italy have reported outbreaks of the virus. We have a daily coronavirus update at the thaiger.com

Meanwhile the Thai stock exchange plunged 4% in trade yesterday.

At least 30 injured in head-on train collision

There was a train collision yesterday at Pak Tho station in Ratcha Buri province, just west of Bangkok, injuring at least 30 people.

Traffic Police radio and local Jor Sor 100 radio reported the crash between a passenger express train and a freight train , which took place around 6:30pm.

Thai media report that station staff couldn’t switch the tracks in time for one of the trains to pass on the main track while another was waiting on another track. At least 30 people were injured, including railway staff, but no fatalities have been reported.

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Pattaya

Pattaya men allegedly posed as police officers, extorted $50,000 from a woman

Caitlin Ashworth

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Pattaya men allegedly posed as police officers, extorted $50,000 from a woman | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Line Today

A group of 4 men in Pattaya allegedly posed as police officers and extorted 50,000 baht from a woman. The 20 year old woman says the men claiming to be police officers raided her condominium and a friend visiting had drugs in his possession.

In the report filed with Pattaya City Police, the woman says the men asked both her and her friend for a bribe of 25,000 baht each. If they didn’t pay up, the men said they would arrest them on drug charges, according to the complaint. The woman says she gave the men 50,000 baht.

The men who allegedly posed as police officers were not in uniform and did not show any identification or badges, the woman says. After giving it some thought, the woman became suspicious and decided to file a complaint with police. Police are still investigating.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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Crime

Facebook, Twitter may face charges for allegedly allowing lèse majesté content

Caitlin Ashworth

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Facebook, Twitter may face charges for allegedly allowing lèse majesté content | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Standard

Facebook and Twitter could face charges for failing to block so called lèse majesté posts that allegedly violate Thailand’s Computer Crime Act. The Ministry of Digital Economy and Society says the social media platforms were warned about Thailand’s laws regarding content that insults the Thai Monarchy or threatens national security and peace, but failed to remove all the illegal posts.

Letters were sent out to the operators of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube giving them 15 days to take down the illegal posts or charges would be pressed, according to Minister of Digital Economy and Society Buddhipongse Punnakanta. Since not all the posts were removed, the ministry has asked the Technology Crime Suppression Police to step in and prosecute the social media platforms.

The Thai government has been using the blunt tool of “shooting the messenger” in its battle against content deemed disrespectful of the Thai Monarchy under its lèse majesté laws.

“It is the first time in Thailand that the (computer crime) law is exercised to prosecute the service providers. Charges will go to the parent company of all the organisations. The police will use Thai laws because the offences happened in Thailand. I believe the police can do it.”

The minister says Facebook was told to take down 661 posts, but they only removed 225. Twitter was told to remove 69 posts, he says, but only took down 5. YouTube was told to remove 289 posts and all of them were blocked. Social media platforms that violate the Computer Crime Act could face an up to 200,000 baht fine per illegal post and a daily fine of up to 5,000 until the content is removed.

Buddhipongse filed the complaint which also cited nearly 1,000 social media posts that allegedly violate the act. They say the posts offending the Thai Monarchy were made during the pro-democracy protest in Bangkok last weekend.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand

982 lèse majesté social media posts cited in police complaint

Caitlin Ashworth

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982 lèse majesté social media posts cited in police complaint | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Line Today

Nearly 1,000 so called lèse majesté posts on social media have been cited in a police complaint for allegedly violating Thailand’s Computer Crime Act, some allegedly criticising and insulting the Thai Monarchy. The complaints were filed by Digital Economy and Society Minister Buddhipongse Punnakanta.

The police report says the social media posts were shared during the pro-democracy protest over the weekend. Altogether, 982 social media posts allegedly violate Thailand’s Computer Crime Act. The ministry has also applied for a warrant to block content on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter at violate the act.

In Thailand, lèse majesté (insulting the monarch) is criminalised by Section 112 of the Thai Criminal Code… Since 2018, there have been no known new (lèse majesté) cases, but the authorities have invoked other laws, such as the Computer Crimes Act and sedition laws, to deal with perceived damages and insults to the monarchy. – Wikipedia

The complaints and subsequent legal threats, are a rear-guard action by a government and officialdom rattled by the number of protesters and by the extent of their demands, touching on the culturally taboo topic of Thailand’s revered monarchy. Another protest is on today at the front of the Thai parliament in Bangkok.

Out of the 982 posts, 661 were on Facebook, 289 were on YouTube, 69 were on Twitter and 5 were on other websites. Buddhipongse says 2 Facebook posts and 3 Instagram posts violate an Article 14 in the Computer Crime Act which regards posts that many cause damage to the country’s national security or cause a public panic. Those who violate Article 14 face up to 5 years in prison and an up to 100,000 baht.

Social media platforms could also face charges for violating the act’s Article 27 for failing to comply with orders from the court to take down the posts. They could face a fine up to 200,000 baht and a daily fine of 5,000 until the posts are taken down.

Other posts allegedly violate the act’s Article 20 which prohibits the spread of information online that might have an impact on national security, or that might be contradictory to the peace. The Nation Thailand says each post that violates Article 20 could face a 200,000 baht fine.

Click HERE to read an unofficial English translation of the Computer Crime Act.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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