Archive for the ‘Thai politics’ Category

New Poll Says People Are Not Ready For Reopening

October 18, 2021

A new poll from Suan Dusit Rajabhat University expresses the majority opinion that Thailand is not ready for a reopening to international tourism. The Suan Dusit Poll was conducted from October 11 to 14 with 1,329 people from all over Thailand responding online.
The poll was conducted to gauge the people of Thailand’s feelings about PM Prayut Chan-o-cha announcing that the country would undertake a large reopening on November 1, less than 2 weeks from now.
When the poll administers asked respondents the more vague question of if Thailand is ready to reopen to international travelers without any quarantine requirement, and when asked the more specific question of if November 1 was the right date to commence this reopening, the answer was nearly identical.
For both questions, 60% of the poll respondents said no and 40% said yes, indicating that the majority of Thai people don’t think November 1 is the right time to reopen and further believe that the country is just not ready for a reopening.
Some key questions and answers from the Dusit Poll on reopening:


75% – more than 70% of the population needs to be vaccinated with quality vaccines
69% – the ability to contain the pandemic
68% – health services, hospitals, and medical personnel must be ready
66% – mandatory testing of people before entering places
65% – confidence in safety in airports, public transport, restaurants, and hotels

72% – Thai population has not yet been fully vaccinated
70% – Covid-19 could spread further in the country
66% – tourists could bring in the virus
61% – worry over new variants
56% – no clear plans if Covid-19 spreads

77% – revival of the economy
75% – the return of employment and salaries
68% – national income from tourism
64% – revival of tourism-related businesses
58% – restore confidence in Thailand for investors and business operators

83% – Covid-19 infections might again rise
75% – lockdown could be reinstated
60% – health services might not be prepared
55% – illegal border crossings might increase
48% – people’s living conditions might be affected

Thai Crime: Korat Police Raid A Restaurant For Playing Live Music

October 8, 2021

On Wednesday night, police raided a restaurant in the Muang district where live music was being played and arrested 39 people, including 28 customers.
Around 10.30 pm, police, backed by health and administrative officials, closed the Lamer Restaurant & Karaoke on Sirinakhon Road.
The restaurant was open outside legal hours and serving alcoholic drinks to customers in violation of the provincial disease control order and the emergency decree, Muang district deputy chief Satthaphan Phaengchaemsri said.
There were 39 people on the premises, 11 employees, and 28 customers. “All were in violation of the night curfew, which prohibits people from leaving their homes between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m., he said.
Employees were also allowed to sit with customers in what was seen as an entertainment venue. Moreover, it violated the provincial order that dine-in services end at 9 p.m. and that alcohol cannot be consumed on the premises.
A total of 39 customers and staff were taken to Pho Klang police station.
Phurithat Sopiroy, the restaurant manager, was not present. The police were notified.

Thai Crime: Missing Baby Found In Cave, Supposed Sacrifice To Spirits

September 11, 2021

Several new developments have arisen in the strange case of Nong Gina, the 2-year-old girl abducted by a Burmese man who claimed he left her in a cave as a sacrifice to nature spirits. According to a report, the Mirror Foundation suspected more sinister trafficking reasons for the abduction, and police have now taken three people into custody for questioning in connection with the case.
Mae Taeng Police, in collaboration with the Chiang Mai Provincial Police Bureau and the Provincial Police Region 5, have taken one woman and two men into custody, and investigators are focusing on a suspected child trafficking ring involved in Nong Gina’s abduction.
Searches on foot, dogs, and drones led rescuers to the cave 3 km from the village where the baby had been abandoned as a sacrifice to the forest and mountain spirits. Nanong Gina disappeared from her home on Sunday evening.
Rescuers found the baby in a hut near the cave, which they had already searched the day before. Though Nong Gina suffered from exhaustion, minor cuts and insect bites, she appeared otherwise unharmed because mental health specialists are helping her cope.
According to the Mirror Foundation’s Missing Persons Information Centre, the majority of abductions are either due to family disputes, or sexual abuse, trafficking, and exploitation, and that there have never been cases of child abductions committed as an act of sacrifice to spirits.
Currently, police are following similar suspicions, saying that they think Nong Gina was a targeted victim of a trafficking network and that the suspect did not act alone. They suspect that the baby was brought to the cave and then stowed there as the first step in trafficking her.
Sources say police will work with social workers to interview Nong Gina’s brother who says he was there during the abduction, in an effort to shed more light on the case.

Thai PM Is Very Happy To Survive Censure

September 6, 2021

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was in high spirits despite receiving the second-fewest votes of confidence and the most no-confidence votes among six targets.
Despite rumours that some key figures in the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) plotted to unseat Gen Prayut, he and five of his cabinet ministers won a vote of confidence from the House with no surprises.
The premier scored 264 votes of confidence against 208 votes of no confidence, with three abstentions – the second-fewest vote of confidence after Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin of the PPRP, who scored 263-201 with 10 abstentions.
Additionally, he received the most no-confidence votes of all six on the list with 208.
Following the vote, Gen Prayut said he was satisfied with the outcome and would continue working. Additionally, he thanked the MPs for their support.
“My heart is big like my fist,” he said as he pounded his chest twice with a fist.
“My morale is high as well.”
Asked if he would spend more time with PPRP MPs and coalition partners, Gen Prayut said everyone was welcome to discuss public issues with him.
A number of renegade government MPs and some PPRP heavyweights attempted to topple him during the four-day censure debate.
On the eve of the election, General Prayut was said to have fended off the threat.
In addition, the prime minister dismissed MPs’ observations about the number of votes he received, saying he didn’t pay attention to details.
He replied, “Did I survive [the censure motion]? If I did, it’s done.”. During past censure debates, Gen Prayut won the most confidence votes with 274 both in February last year and this year.
Coalition MPs who cast a vote of no confidence for the prime minister were Democrat MP for Pattani Anwar Salae, Forest Conservation Party leader Damrong Pidech, Thai Rak Tham Party MP Peerawit Ruangluedolapak, New Democracy Party (NDP) leader, and list-MP Suratin Picharn, and New Economic Party list-MP Niyom Wiwatthanaditkul.
Democrat list-MP Panich Vikitsreth broke ranks and abstained from voting.
Agriculture Minister Chalermchai Sri-on of the Democrat Party won the most votes of confidence with 270-199 with eight abstentions while Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn, the new digital economy and society minister from the PPRP, received 267-202 with nine abstentions.
Anutin Charnvirakul, deputy prime minister and minister of public health, received 269 votes to 196 with 11 abstentions. Saksayam Chidchob received 269-195 votes with 10 abstentions. Both were members of the Bhumjaithai Party. Nutin thanked the MPs for their support but declined to discuss a possible cabinet reshuffle. A cabinet shake-up is the prime minister’s responsibility, he said.
Chalermchai said the result showed unity in the coalition government and for the government as a whole.
Two Democratic MPs who defied the party line were told to submit an explanation.
Seven Pheu Thai MPs abstained from voting, breaking ranks with their party.
Additionally, six renegade MPs voted against the party stance, with Kharom Polpornklang casting a vote of confidence for Gen Prayut and the five cabinet ministers.

Thai Bits: Thai PM and Other Thai Officials Help Fund COVID-19 Relief Bags, Investigation Into Shooting Of A Man By A Thai Police Officer

August 24, 2021

Thai Officials Help Fund COVID-19 Relief Bags

The Covid-19 relief bags have been distributed to vulnerable groups. The bags were funded by donations from PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, other cabinet ministers, and the Government Spokesperson’s team, as well as private and public donations. Anucha Burapachaisri, a government spokesperson, said the care packages were distributed to 6,800 vulnerable people.
Relief bags will contain basics like rice, unspecified dried food, as well as alcohol gel, masks, and green chiretta herbal medicine, also known as fah Talai Jone. From August 4 to August 19, 5,000 of these bags were distributed to vulnerable people in 50 areas. The remaining 1,800 people will receive more RBs.
Anucha explained that the bank accounts for the “Office of Permanent Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Office for Donation to Relieve Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)” are open for donations. Donations will help medical and other officials, as well as those in vulnerable groups such as those in “dark red” provinces and others affected by the ongoing Covid crisis.

Thai Police Officer Allegedly Kills Man While He Was Trying To Extort Money From Him

A report claims a police officer from Nakhon Sawan accidentally killed a suspect while attempting to extort the suspect for 2 million baht. The Royal Thai Police are investigating the report.
The investigation began after celebrity lawyer Decha Kittiwittayanan made the claim on Facebook. According to Decha’s post, the case involves the arrests of a man and a woman for drug offenses. Police officers pressured the twosome into paying 1 million baht to be released, but the police colonel wanted them to pay twice as much.
During a negotiation between the police and the suspects, an officer allegedly put a plastic bag over the suspect’s head in an effort to intimidate him. The lawyer claims that the man then suffocated to death.
According to the lawyer, the colonel instructed officers to report the cause of death as drug overdose as soon as the man’s body was taken to the hospital for examination. She was then released from police custody, as a quid pro quo for remaining silent. The official who witnessed the alleged extortion and subsequent killing decided to file a complaint.
Visanu Prasattongosoth responded to the complaint by saying police chief Suwat Jangyodsuk has ordered the investigation expedited since the incident has damaged the credibility of the police.
Inspector Chettha Komolwanna has been assigned to oversee the investigation, according to Visanu. As part of the investigation, the Muang Nakhon Sawan police superintendent has been called in.


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Thai PM Revokes Fake News Order After Thai Court Found It Against The Law

August 11, 2021

After the Civil Court issued an injunction against its use, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha revoked an order restricting freedom of speech under Section 9 of the emergency decree.
In the PM’s gag order, the government sought to prevent the spread of misinformation and news that might “frighten” people, and threatened internet censorship.
The Civil Court recently ruled that the prime minister’s regulation was illegal. There were already laws in place that could be used to accomplish this.
The regulation was issued in response to mounting criticism of the government’s handling of the Coronavirus outbreak and vaccination program.
On Tuesday, the Royal Gazette published Gen Prayut’s announcement revoking the 29th regulation issued under Section 9 of the Emergency Decree on Public Administration in Emergency Decree.
It stated that the Civil Court had temporarily suspended the enforcement of the regulation, which was issued on July 29, 2021.
According to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), officials have not yet enforced the regulation, and they may use other laws, as the court mentioned.
Therefore, the prime minister revoked the regulation.
General Prayut signed the announcement and it became effective immediately.
Human Rights Lawyer Alliance and 12 media outlets filed a complaint against Gen Prayut, also head of CCSA, with the Civil Court.
They asked for the repeal of the 29th regulation, which permitted the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) to block web access to social media users posting content that may “frighten” people.
The Reporters, VoiceTV, The Standard, The Momentum, The Matter, Prachatai, Dem All, The People, Way Magazine, Echo, and Plus Seven were among the media outlets that signed the petition.

Thai Media Associations Don’t Like New Fake News Law and Think It Is A Violation of Freedom Of Speech

July 31, 2021

It has been reported that the Thai government is cracking down on fake news. An order has been published in the Royal Gazette banning the distribution of false information that could lead to fear or misunderstanding. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha says the measure is intended to ensure the spread of false content online does not undermine the government’s response to the pandemic. Thai media associations say the ban on fake news infringes upon freedom of expression.
According to the Thai government’s news bureau, according to the order, published in the Royal Gazette yesterday and issued in compliance with the Emergency Decree, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission is obligated to direct internet services to check IP addresses and immediately suspend services. Afterwards, the providers must report details to the commission, which will then file complaints with the police. A provider’s operating license will be revoked if it fails to follow the rules.
Six leading Thai professional media associations called on the government to abolish the provision of the Emergency Decree that infringes upon freedom of expression in a joint statement.
According to the statement, the media associations reached the following conclusions:

  1. The Prime Minister’s insistence on enforcing these new measures, along with the government’s recent attempts to intimidate and take legal action against members of the public who criticize the administration during COVID-19, clearly show an intent to suppress freedom of expression.
  2. The government’s insistence that the new measures are needed to combat fake news underlines the administration’s failure to communicate with the public.

Occasionally, a few media organizations did report inaccurate news, but their actions were not the result of an intentional plot to spread falsehoods or damage society, as alleged by the government and its information officers. Media industry errors can sometimes occur, but they can be corrected by presenting accurate information. A journalist who makes such an error already pays a high price in terms of credibility.

  1. The media and news agencies should stand together against the government’s new measures. In addition, we urge the media establishment to ensure that their news coverage is accurate and compliant with the highest journalistic standards – so as to deny the government any excuse to interfere with media operations, which will, in turn, affect the public’s right to information.

Thai BIts: Thai COVID-19 Agency Does Not Want People To Travel in Thailand, A Factory Explodes in Samat Prakun

July 6, 2021

Don’t Travel Around Thailand, CCSA Warns

Health officials urge people not to travel as the number of Covid-19 patients is at an all-time high, and the fast-spreading Delta variant is becoming more prevalent. A spokesperson for Thailand’s Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration said during the daily press briefing, “the CCSA would like to encourage everyone to avoid trans-provincial travel at all costs.”
We urge travellers, if travel is necessary, to isolate themselves and to inform Village Health Volunteers or local health authorities of their arrivals as soon as they reach their destination as well as to follow the measures announced by the provincial health authorities.”
Domestic travellers are required to be tested for Covid-19 before entering some provinces. Thailand as well as Surat Thani, Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan, and Koh Tao require travellers to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test result issued no more than 72 hours before arrival. Individuals who have received both doses of Sinovac or at least one dose of AstraZeneca can enter the islands without being tested.

Facttory Explodes in Samut Prakan

A plastics facility exploded near Bangkok in Samut Prakan province recently. Several people were injured in the explosion.
Around 9:30 am, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation and Bang Phli district chief Somsak Kaewsena advised people living in a five-kilometer radius to evacuate. Residents have also been cautioned to avoid inhaling the smoke.
Around 3 am, the Ming Dih polystyrene factory caught fire. Witnesses report hearing multiple explosions in the area. Ten people were injured, and two were seriously hurt. It was also reported that a huge fireball erupted from the factory.
The fire that turned the factory into a scene from a post-apocalyptic movie is still under investigation.
Pattanaka was able to see smoke from the fire almost 20 kilometres away.
More than 60 people were hurt in the fire at a chemical factory in Samut Prakan, just outside Bangkok. The Ming Dih Chemical Co factory blew up overnight, sending black toxic smoke into the sky.
By this evening, the flame-retardant foam was sprayed at the scene. By late afternoon, the fumes were heading toward Bangkok. Residents within a 5-kilometer radius of the factory were asked to evacuate.
Thai media reports say 18-year-old Kornsith Laophan died in the fire.

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The Thai COVID-19 Vaccination Rollout Is Already Failing

June 14, 2021

Things have gotten a bit messy recently. After only a week of the government’s national vaccine rollout, it has already run into problems at Bangkok’s Bang Sue Grand Station. Both public and private hospitals are postponing appointments due to a shortage of vaccines, the media reports.

Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul blamed the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and the BMA blamed the Health Ministry.

Kiattiphum Wongrachit from the Ministry of Health admits the country has received fewer vaccine doses than expected this month. Hospitals have rescheduled appointments due to the shortfall, with most of the affected elderly and people with underlying health conditions booked through the Mor Prom app. A Bangkok hospital turned to social media to suggest who should be held responsible.

The call center can answer your questions regarding this (postponement). You can also contact the public health minister (directly) as to why the delay occurred.”

During a television interview, Anutin blamed the BMA, saying that his ministry had already delivered 500,000 doses to City Hall.

The ministry has already distributed all vaccine supplies received from the suppliers to eligible parties as instructed by the CCSA on time. Please don’t claim the ministry isn’t doing anything.

In response, the BMA said that the Health Ministry had promised 2.5 million AstraZeneca doses, of which only 350,000 have been delivered, in addition to 150,000 Sinovac doses.

Rural Doctors Society, which previously condemned the government for not keeping the public informed about vaccine supply issues, has also stepped into the fray, placing the blame squarely on Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, the head of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

The Thai PM Apologizes For Slowness of COVID-19 Vaccine Roll-out

June 9, 2021

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha admitted on June 9th, 2021, there had been some delays in the government’s mass Covid-19 vaccination campaign that launched on June 8th, 2021, but promised this would improve as more supplies were received.
“I must apologize to anyone who experienced inconvenience,” he said after the cabinet meeting at Government House.
On June 9th, 2021, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha acknowledged there had been some delays in the government’s Covid-19 vaccination campaign, but he promised that this would improve as more supplies arrive.
He apologized to anyone who was inconvenienced after the cabinet meeting at Government House.
The PM said the government was receiving vaccines in gradual lots rather than all at once, which limited the distribution of vaccines.
“The government will try to acquire as many vaccines as possible rather than wait for contracted vaccines,” General Prayut said. “I think more vaccine doses will be delivered next month and services at inoculation stations in the provinces will be improved.”
“We do not want people who have registered for vaccinations to experience any further delays.”
When vaccines become available, they will be distributed to infected people, at-risk workers, tourists, and key economic areas added the Thai PM.
At least 100 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine will be administered to the Thai people, the prime minister said.
Sinovac signed agreements to buy 61 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine produced by Siam Bioscience and six million doses from Sinovac.
The government will also order eight million more doses from Sinovac, 25 million from Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson, and hope to negotiate for additional supplies.
Additionally, the government will receive a vaccine developed in Thailand, he said.
More than 400,000 doses of vaccination have been administered since June 7th, 2021. General Prayut said the country has now received more than 4 million vaccinations.
More than one million doses of Sinovac vaccine will arrive in Thailand tomorrow, according to Kiattiphum Wongrajit, permanent secretary of public health. On June 14, AstraZeneca will boost supplies. In the last few weeks, 750,000 doses of Sinovac have been distributed throughout the country.
Anutin Charnvirakul, the Minister of Public Health, said vaccines had been allocated to all provinces, and it was up to officials to distribute them widely.

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