Thailand News Today | Visa amnesty extended, first STV tourists, teacher sacked | September 29

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Get your visa figured out by October 31

In a surprise decision that arrived late yesterday afternoon, following a week of denials and threats to prosecute foreigners on overstay, the Thai government has granted another stay of grace to foreigners up to the end of October.

Foreigners stuck in Thailand will now be able to stay until October 31 to get their visa in order. The Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, in announcing the new visa amnesty, recognised that travel restrictions are still in place around the world and the coronavirus continues to spread with global deaths surpassing 1 million.

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After rumours floated around about a possible amnesty yesterday, a spokesperson for the government’s Covid-19 task force confirmed that a new visa amnesty will be in place until October 31, allowing foreigners stranded in Thailand a ‘free pass’ until then.

Under the new regulation, 60 day extensions will be issued to foreigners who are unable to leave the country due to limited flights or other issues preventing them from going home.

The first tourists to arrive next week on the Special Tourist Visa

Meanwhile… The first group of foreigners under the new Special Tourist Visa will be arriving to Thailand next week.

About 120 people are set to fly from Guangzhou, China and land in Phuket on October 8. As some would say, at least it’s a start!

The new tourist visa scheme comes after months of discussion on how to safely reopen Thailand’s borders to foreign tourists. The effort is aimed at boosting the country’s tourism dependent economy after it was crippled by the lack of travel during the coronavirus pandemic, border closures and the virtual grounding of airlines around the world.

There have been no local Covid-19 transmissions reported in Guangzhou for many months. Another group of long stay tourists from China will arrive at the end of October. A group of tourists from Scandinavian countries is scheduled to arrive at the start of November. All STV applicants have to arrive on special charter flights at this stage. The new STVs are clearly aimed at the high-spend tourists with time on their hands.

All 42 Sarasas private schools to be investigated after teacher is sacked for beating students

All of the 42 Sarasas private schools throughout Thailand will be investigated by the Office of the Private Education Commission, or OPEC, after a teacher was caught on camera allegedly hitting kindergarten students.

The teacher, Ornuma Plodprong, allegedly beat young students at the school in Nonthaburi, a suburb in Bangkok on the western banks of the Chao Phraya.

Along with other teachers who witnessed the abuse, the named teacher has been fired and may face criminal charges pressed by parents of student victims.

Surveillance camera footage of the classroom shows the teacher hitting kindergarten students and forcefully pushing them around.

It’s also been revealed that the named didn’t have a teaching license.

Russian man stabs Chiang Mai park officer, also arrested for breaking into tourist bungalows

A Russian man has been arrested after he allegedly tried to break into tourist bungalows and stealing property at a Chiang Mai national park and stabbed a park officer with a pair of scissors.

The incident follows months of complaints from Thai tourists at the national park reporting missing property after they woke up in the morning.

Thai media reports the 32 year old Russian man allegedly tried to rob a tourist bungalow at Doi Suthep-Pui National Park. He was nabbed by park offices after stabbing a night patrol park officer in the neck and head with a pair of scissors and ran off. The wounded park officer was taken to a local hospital where he has been reported as being in a stable condition.

Alcohol ban for the end of Buddhist Lent this Friday

An alcohol ban is looming for this coming Friday, as Buddhists mark the end of the Lent period.

While officials have so far remained silent on the possibility of a ban on the purchase and consumption of alcohol, previous years have seen one implemented at the end of the Buddhist Lent.

This will mean bars, clubs, and other nightlife venues will need to close for 24 hours until midnight Friday night. The ban on alcohol sales will also apply to supermarkets, hotels, and restaurants.

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