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Thailand News Update | Test & Go Improvements, Live Chat Function Added

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In the wake of lower-than-expected take up of the revised Test and Go program in the Thailand Pass, the Thai PM has made direct orders for quick improvements in the reliability of the digital systemApplicants have been complaining about delays, receiving spam and hacked emails. Now a new entry pathway called TPHS has now been approved and promises to cut the time travellers need to spend with Thailand Pass. TPHS stands for Thailand Pass Hotel & Swab System, and needs just 10-15 minutes until it can issue applicants with a “pending approval” message. In the meantime the Department of Foreign Affairs claims they will continue to issue QR codes for Thailand Pass applicants within 7 days. The tourism ministry and the foreign ministry are also adding the Thailand Pass Hotel sub-system to facilitate automatic approvals on the part of hotels. Hotels in Thailand are being asked to join this system so information from the travellers and the hotels can be cross-checked and automatically included in the applicant’s Thailand Pass. There’s also going to be a new live chat function added to help resolve problems for Thailand Pass users.


Thailand will be launching the Thailand Elite Card programme which offers a work permit to lure investments from international professionals. Tourism Authority of Thailand governor and chairman of the board of directors at Thailand Privilege Card or TPC the operator of Thailand Elite Card, Yuthasak Supasorn, said the privileges for cardholders in the Flexible Plus programme, include changing the Privilege Entry Visa to a non-B visa and five-year work permit. Cardholders receive these privileges if they apply for one of three types of cards worth 1 or 2 million Baht and invest at least one million US dollars in either real estate, a limited company or a public company, or the stock exchange. He said the 10-year visa may resemble a similar scheme called long-term resident (LTR) that the cabinet approved last month.
TPC will differentiate its products by offering exclusive services for members while staying in Thailand, such as concierge service in the immigration fast lane at airports, as well as limousine transfer, and golf, spa and personal liaisons, aiming to match demand for those seeking additional assistance.


The parents of the female eye doctor killed by a police motorcyclist on a crosswalk in Bangkok have filed a 72-million-baht lawsuit against the Royal Thai Police Office. The junior police officer who hit her has also had a lawsuit issued against him. The parents of the dead woman, and their lawyer, filed their suits in the Civil Court against the RTPO and Policeman Norawich Buadok.The young policeman was driving the Ducati that hit and killed Waraluck on a pedestrian crossing on Phaya Thai Road in Bangkok 4 weeks ago, today. Their Lawyer says they are suing for violation of rights, and demanding compensation of 72 million baht plus interest from the date of the violation. The amount covers funeral rites and compensation for the family’s loss of their daughter.The court has set April 20 for discussion of issues covered in the suit. Relevant to the lawsuit, the policeman who hit the woman, at speed, was on duty at the time of the incident.The suit also addresses the issue of police management of zebra crossings, which remain a site of frequent incidents but, the lawyers argue, no measures are ever taken to solve the problems.


Thailand is going a step further than the graphic photos printed on packs of cigarettes to discourage the public from smoking. The Thai Cabinet has approved a five-year road map focusing on lowering tobacco consumption to help improve overall public health. The plan, with a 498 million baht budget, will start this year.Here are some of the strategies… State agencies will be given more power to regulate the consumption of tobacco in Thailand, with current rules and regulations being improved. There will be more advertising to increase awareness of the harmful effects of smoking. There will be increased assistance for those who want to quit smoking. There will be greater transparency about contents of tobacco products.There will be better enforcement of smoking bans in public places.Finally, Tobacco taxes will be reformed with a crackdown on illegal tobacco sales.


A man was rescued after he hanged from a high cliff in Phattalung, southern Thailand, for almost two days, using his shirt to tie himself to the vines, stems, and roots. He was spotted by tourists by the Khao Hua Chang Reservoir and more than 50 people teamed up for the hours-long rescue effort. Last Tuesday, 47 year old Amnuay Rattanachotiyo decided to explore a cave in the Khao Hua Chang forest. He says he saw a light coming from the top of the cave and climbed up to explore, but ended up stuck and unable to get back downHe clung to vines and roots but was still suspended 30 metres above the ground. Amnuay used his shirt to tie himself to the cliff and spent the night there. Locals shared with the Thai media that he lived at a monastery near the cliff and he often went to the cave at the Khao Hua Chang forest for meditation. Officers say Amnuay was safe but was sent to the hospital for a medical check-up.


Ongoing fighting between the Burmese army and some of the civilian factions in Myanmar is now directly affecting Thailand. Soldiers from the Karen National Union and People’s Defense Force attacked the Burmese army with mortar guns and grenade launchers in Palu village on the Thai-Burmese border yesterday. Burmese soldiers fired back with their own mortar guns, and called for backup help from a helicopter dispatched to shoot at the enemy forces. Soldiers on both sides were killed and injured in the attack. The Karen hill tribe in Myanmar, and several other minority groups have been fighting for greater autonomy since Myanmar gained independence in 1948. Now, following last year’s army coup, the Burmese military has continually launched air strikes on the country’s Kachine State, where most Karen live. Many Karen have fled to refugee camps in Thailand causing additional problems for the crowded camps along the Thai border.

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