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  • Entry regulations to be relaxed, government says

    The government announced on Friday that they will relax entry regulations for the country’s Test and Go procedure, adopting faster testing. The Test and Go procedure is only available for vaccinated travelers from 63 designated “low-risk” countries who have passed an RT-PCR test within 72 hours prior to arrival.  According to current regulation, travelers going […]

    The post Entry regulations to be relaxed, government says appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    The government announced on Friday that they will relax entry regulations for the country’s Test and Go procedure, adopting faster testing.

    The Test and Go procedure is only available for vaccinated travelers from 63 designated “low-risk” countries who have passed an RT-PCR test within 72 hours prior to arrival. 

    According to current regulation, travelers going through the Test and Go procedure must be tested with yet another RT-PCR test upon arrival, then they must wait at a SHA+ accommodation, or a quarantine facility for their test results to be negative before they can leave the venue.

    But starting December 16, the RT-PCR test upon arrival will be replaced with a rapid antigen test (ATK) which can provide a faster result.

    “Since they have to be tested with RT-PCR test within 72 hours prior to arrival, the ministry of public health already approved the changes that another ATK test would be enough,” said Dr Taweesin Visanuyothin, the spokesperson of the CCSA.

    “Basically, the new measure is ATK and Go,” Taweesin said.

    Taweesin added the reason for the new process is because only 0.13 per cent of people who entered the country since the official reopening of the country have tested positive for the virus so far.

    A total of 104,065 air passengers arrived between November 1 and November 25. Out of that number, only 135 tested positive for Covid, according to CCSA’s data. 

    The government hopes that simplifying the testing will result in less time spent on processing arrivals, as more people are expected to fly into the country following the country’s reopening. 

    The post Entry regulations to be relaxed, government says appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    26 November 2021
    Current Affairs
    https://www.thaienquirer.com/?p=35362
  • Numerous Thai SMEs looking to shut down as financial burden heightens

    Small and medium-sized enterprise (SMEs) across Thailand are considering shutting their doors due to a lack of access to the government relief measures to withstand the economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 epidemic. A survey of 625 SMEs nationwide conducted by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) shows that 40 per cent […]

    The post Numerous Thai SMEs looking to shut down as financial burden heightens appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    Small and medium-sized enterprise (SMEs) across Thailand are considering shutting their doors due to a lack of access to the government relief measures to withstand the economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 epidemic.

    A survey of 625 SMEs nationwide conducted by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) shows that 40 per cent of them are looking to quit their businesses.

    Small businesses are the most vulnerable sector since the economy has been struck by the pandemic’s unprecedented effects, resulting in low purchasing power and rising household debt.

    “Although the state has issued several steps to mitigate the damage, most SMEs are unable to access them,” UTCC president Thanawat Polvichai told a briefing. 

    Thanavat cited a lack of collateral and inhibiting government requirements as challenges for SMEs to access government subsidies.

    He urged the government to infuse another 200-300 million baht to provide additional cash to those SMEs so that they could keep operating.

    Meanwhile, the Bank of Thailand (BOT) has been rolling out relief measures to mitigate the financial burden for Thais during the economic downturn such as debt restructuring, debt consolidation, and rehabilitation loans. 

    The BOT had also adjusted some requirements to help SMEs be able to join those schemes. About 39,800 enterprises, 43 per cent of them are SMEs, have secured rehabilitation loans totaling around 127 million baht of credit, according to the bank’s data.

    “Without further help, SMEs will be waiting for their final day,” Thanavat warned. 

    The post Numerous Thai SMEs looking to shut down as financial burden heightens appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    26 November 2021
    Main
    https://www.thaienquirer.com/?p=35355
  • Dozens of Din Daeng protesters charged with possession of deadly weapons, explosives

    Legal experts with Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) say police are using increasingly severe criminal charges to crack down on young Din Daeng protesters, including possession of deadly weapons and explosives. The legal monitoring group has documented numerous cases where young men, and many children, are facing serious criminal charges for their involvement in […]

    The post Dozens of Din Daeng protesters charged with possession of deadly weapons, explosives appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    Legal experts with Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) say police are using increasingly severe criminal charges to crack down on young Din Daeng protesters, including possession of deadly weapons and explosives.

    The legal monitoring group has documented numerous cases where young men, and many children, are facing serious criminal charges for their involvement in the protests.

    According to the legal group’s data from August to October, police have arrested 176 young people, aged 15-18, and another 46 children under the age of 15 for a range of charges.

    TLHR found that since August, 25 people have been charged with possession of explosives and dozens of others for carrying weapons.

    Khumklao Songsomboon, a lawyer from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) said police must consider each individual case carefully and set up investigations based on facts.

    “Some were charged with attempted murder, illegal possession of a gun and weapons,” Khumklao said. “The officials must also look over all related facts, including what happened before the clash had started. What started the clash? Did the clash happen before or after the protest started being dispersed?”

    Khumklao added that Thai crowd control officials mainly adhere to domestic law, such as the Emergency Decree according to the constitution. She said police must follow international laws on how to disperse protests.

    “The police should try to avoid any situations which could lead to long-term violence,” she said.

    “If a protester is being arrested under an overly enforced charge which they haven’t done, they have the right to say no, whether they have a lawyer with them or not.”

    But the majority of the young people accused of these crimes deny the charges, saying they have never possessed deadly weapons nor explosives.

    The latest two men to be arrested are Theeraphat, 21, and Pataveekan, 25 for a rally on October 31.  Authorities say they threw a bomb at a police car.

    Teeraphat was arrested in front of his home on Soi Samsen 4 at around 4:50 p.m, while Pataveekan turned himself into Makkasan police station around 1 p.m on the same day. 

    After his arrest, police forced him to go to his home to look for evidence. Officers raided his home without a search warrant. Police also held him without a lawyer at Din Daeng police station for hours.

    Police are charging them with possession of weapons, explosives, and assaulting police officers. But the young men deny the charges.

    “They don’t carry guns or own any explosions,” said Nokdaeng, a mother-like figure for many of the disenfranchised young men challenging the government.

    “They don’t have enough money to buy those weapons. And they don’t have the genuine feelings to hurt anyone. The explosions they used were made of only rocks, tape, and paper which can’t cause severe violence. These are more like small fireworks,” she said.

    Nokdaeng views the young men like her own children. She’s been offering emotional support, giving them food and some pocket money to travel back home for several months. She doesn’t agree with violence but feels that these young men need emotional support as that is the source of their pain.

    Thai police could not be reached by the time of publishing. However, police have been injured in clashes and one officer was even shot with a live bullet in early October.

    “This will only bring more revenge and violence over time,” Nokdaeng said about the ongoing violence in Din Daeng.

    “It will only create more animosity when they see their friends beaten and threatened.”

    The post Dozens of Din Daeng protesters charged with possession of deadly weapons, explosives appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    26 November 2021
    Current Affairs
    https://www.thaienquirer.com/?p=35346
  • Opposition parties accuse the government of alleged Pegasus attacks

    Opposition parties, including Pheu Thai Party and Move Forward Party, have accused the government this week of being behind the latest wave of cyber-attacks targeting activists and critics. On Wednesday, Apple sent out alert messages to at least 20 critics of the government, including an academic, a musician, and a prominent politician.  But representatives of […]

    The post Opposition parties accuse the government of alleged Pegasus attacks appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    Opposition parties, including Pheu Thai Party and Move Forward Party, have accused the government this week of being behind the latest wave of cyber-attacks targeting activists and critics.

    On Wednesday, Apple sent out alert messages to at least 20 critics of the government, including an academic, a musician, and a prominent politician. 

    But representatives of the government said that there is no evidence to back their allegations.

    “The Pheu Thai Party completely disagrees with actions that violate people’s rights which is extremely dangerous,” says Chonlanan Srikaew, the leader of the main opposition party.  “And we urge the government to stop with such actions and show responsibility to what has happened.”

    Apple said that they were “being targeted by state-sponsored attackers” and that the perpetrators were trying to remotely compromise their devices. Most of those who received the alerts were either involved with the latest pro-democracy movement, or critics of Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-ocha’s administration.

    Some of those targeted include, protest leader, Elia Fofi, Anon Nampa from the Ratsadon, and musician Dechathorn “Hock” Bamrungmuan from Rap Against Dictatorship. The cyberattack also targeted prominent academic Prajak Kongkirati, along with activist Yingcheep Atchanont from the legal monitor group, iLaw. 

    Apple said in a statement on Tuesday that they have filed a lawsuit against NSO Group Technologies, an Israeli technology firm primarily known for its spyware, Pegasus. They said they will attempt to hold it accountable for the surveillance of Apple’s users with NSO’s Pegasus spyware.

    Chonlanan also said the warning messages from Apple clearly state that the attack was “state-sponsored,” and most of the victims have disagreed with the government in some way. Although he noted that Prayut’s government must be held responsible, he did not show evidence to support his claim that the Thai state was directly involved. 

    Nattacha Boonchaiinsawat, an MP from Move Forward Party, also accused the current government of being behind the attacks. He pointed towards Apple’s lawsuit against NSO as evidence that his claim was not unfounded. 

    He said Prayut and his administration must clarify whether or not the government was involved with the attacks. 

    Nattacha questioned if the military’s secret budget was used to fund such attacks. And he also asked Digital Economy and Society Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn, whether the government will be able to prevent similar attacks in the future. 

    However, government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, denied that the government was involved with attacks. 

    “We insist this is untrue, the government respects individual liberties,” he said on Thursday.

    “If Pheu Thai claims they have received the notification email from Apple, then they should show evidence so that procedures can be followed, not just make an announcement to attack the government,” Thanakorn added. 

    He went on to say that the opposition parties have no evidence to indicate that the state was responsible for any of the alleged cyber-attacks, and encouraged people with evidence to file complaints.

    The post Opposition parties accuse the government of alleged Pegasus attacks appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    26 November 2021
    Current Affairs
    https://www.thaienquirer.com/?p=35339
  • Thailand’s reopening fails to save businesses inside airports, AOT says

    Airports of Thailand (AOT) said that business partners that had concessions granted by the company are unlikely to survive despite the country’s reopening in November. This is due to lowered demand in the aviation industry that is unlikely to recover to pre-Covid levels yet.  As a result, AOT announced additional relief measures late Thursday for […]

    The post Thailand’s reopening fails to save businesses inside airports, AOT says appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    Airports of Thailand (AOT) said that business partners that had concessions granted by the company are unlikely to survive despite the country’s reopening in November.

    This is due to lowered demand in the aviation industry that is unlikely to recover to pre-Covid levels yet. 

    As a result, AOT announced additional relief measures late Thursday for businesses operating under concession contracts in all six of AOT-controlled airports nationwide. 

    “Many concessionaires continue to terminate their contracts and are cautious in resuming their businesses,” AOT said in a statement, citing prolonged impact by the pandemic.

    “Full business recovery is unlikely to be achieved by 2022,” it said.

    The new measures will stretch the time of the existing measures, which will end by March 2022, for a year to March 2023. They also granted operators another year of concession period without requiring collateral.

    Those existing measures include cuts in concession charges and other service charges, as well as an exemption of property tax. 

    Falling share price

    Following the announcement of new relief measures, AOT stock dropped over 4 per cent to 64 baht on Friday, the lowest in two months.

    Analysts at KTB Securities revised down the company’s results in 2022 fiscal year to slip further to 7.7 billion baht of loss, from the previous 5.5 billion. 

    Earlier AOT’s price rose up in accordance with the reopening of Thailand and the potential return of the tourism sector, but now the outlook has turned dark again. 

    “The return of the Covid-19 outbreak remains the main risk that might threaten tourism recovery, since some European nations are facing record-high infections,” KTB said.

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    The post Thailand’s reopening fails to save businesses inside airports, AOT says appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    26 November 2021
    Main
    https://www.thaienquirer.com/?p=35330
  • Netizens clash with public health minister over Moderna comments

    Thai netizens on Friday took to social media to vent their anger, after the government told them to give up their paid Moderna registrations and get Pfizer jabs from the state. The hashtag #ขายสิทธิ์โมเดอร์นา (selling Moderna) came following comments that Anutin Charnvirakul, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Health, made urging people […]

    The post Netizens clash with public health minister over Moderna comments appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    Thai netizens on Friday took to social media to vent their anger, after the government told them to give up their paid Moderna registrations and get Pfizer jabs from the state.

    The hashtag #ขายสิทธิ์โมเดอร์นา (selling Moderna) came following comments that Anutin Charnvirakul, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Health, made urging people to quickly receive government-provided free Pfizer vaccines instead of waiting for the private sector to bring in Moderna.

    Over nine million Thais pre-paid for the Moderna vaccines earlier this year and are still waiting to receive it.

    Thai netizens blamed the government for its missteps in vaccine procurement and distribution.

    “No one should pay for the right to have proper access to public health” a popular user said. “The people paid because they can’t wait. They paid for their own safety, but today they feel betrayed over and over again.”

    Public Health experts told Thai Enquirer that the comments made by Anutin was not wrong.

    “Yes there were problems with supply earlier on but right now to help the country, it is important that everyone who is not vaccinated get jabbed right away regardless of vaccines,” a senior doctor at Siriraj Hospital said.

    The post Netizens clash with public health minister over Moderna comments appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    26 November 2021
    Covid-19
    https://www.thaienquirer.com/?p=35325
  • The News Summary – November 26

    The post The News Summary – November 26 appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    The post The News Summary – November 26 appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    26 November 2021
    Current Affairs
    https://www.thaienquirer.com/?p=35323
  • Opinion: Welcome to the Thailand special administrative region

    This past week Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha praised Chinese President-for-life Xi Jinping as a visionary while our Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai gave thanks to the gods of diplomacy that Thailand was not invited to the United States forum on democracy. Don said he was glad we were not invited to Joe Biden’s Democratic round table […]

    The post Opinion: Welcome to the Thailand special administrative region appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    This past week Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha praised Chinese President-for-life Xi Jinping as a visionary while our Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai gave thanks to the gods of diplomacy that Thailand was not invited to the United States forum on democracy.

    Don said he was glad we were not invited to Joe Biden’s Democratic round table because it saved the government from deciding whether or not to go. Such decisions, he said, could be a double-edged sword.

    Oh guided democracy, how I love thee.

    No longer democratic

    For all our government’s lip service about wanting to transition to democracy, the two statements by our leaders this week should push aside any qualms that we might have over the state of our government.

    Our leaders have made it perfectly clear, through their statements, that Thailand should no longer be considered a democratic state or even a semi-democratic one.

    Hold on one second, let me call Freedom House.

    To make matters worse, a senior minister in the cabinet this week said that he plans to lead a government campaign to oust Amnesty International out of the country. That’s right, the same Amnesty that currently operates in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Ukraine is being driven out of [squints: check notes)…Thailand.

    What is their crime? The audacity to call for humane treatments for political prisoners, to call for the right of expression, and to call for access to bail for detained protesters.

    Hell, in my humble opinion, Amnesty aren’t even going far enough. Detained leaders in Thailand should be labeled prisoners of conscience by the group but they have stopped short because they didn’t want to push the line too far or ruffle any feathers.

    Well, a lot of good that did.

    Now they’re being run out of town. You know where else that happened? Hong Kong and Beijing. Our government can only be so inspired.

    So what the hell kind of political system are we?

    So for political observers scratching their heads and wondering what kind of political system currently runs Thailand, I have a suggestion to make.

    Stop calling my country a guided democracy or semi-democratic state or run by a system of despotic paternalism. None of those actually hit the nail on the head.

    My suggestion is call Thailand for what it is. In light of Prayut and Don’s statements this week, just call Thailand the new special administrative region.

    After all our leaders are beholden to Chinese capital and good will, our companies court Beijing’s influence, our tourism industry is held hostage by Chinese tourism money, and our biggest conglomeration is run by the same man who was the first foreigner to invest in the People’s Republic. [Read more here]

    So as Thailand sails off into the sunset onboard a Chinese submarine, counting our Yuan in one hand and eating our moon cakes in the other hand, let us give thanks to the current government.

    Thank them for not only guiding our country away from the ills of western democracy but being so inspired by Xi Jinping and the Chinese political system that we have adopted it whole sale.

    Workers of the world unite and buy Evergrande stock!

    The post Opinion: Welcome to the Thailand special administrative region appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    26 November 2021
    Current Affairs
    https://www.thaienquirer.com/?p=35316
  • PTT, GULF sign 35-year contract to develop 3rd phase of Laem Chabang port project

    National oil and gas conglomerate PTT Group (PTT) said on Thursday its joint venture GPC International Terminal has signed a 35-year contract to build the third phase of Laem Chabang port project with a budget of 30.9 billion baht. The joint venture GPC is formed by PTT’s subsidiary PTT Tank, Chec Oversea Infrastructure Holding, and […]

    The post PTT, GULF sign 35-year contract to develop 3rd phase of Laem Chabang port project appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    National oil and gas conglomerate PTT Group (PTT) said on Thursday its joint venture GPC International Terminal has signed a 35-year contract to build the third phase of Laem Chabang port project with a budget of 30.9 billion baht.

    The joint venture GPC is formed by PTT’s subsidiary PTT Tank, Chec Oversea Infrastructure Holding, and Gulf Energy Development.

    PTT, Chec Oversea, and GULF will hold 30, 30, and 40 per cent stake in GPC, respectively. 

    The agreement was completed in the form of a public-private partnership to develop the Laem Chabang port phase III project at the Terminal F, which was approved by the cabinet earlier this month, PTT president Auttapol Rerkpiboon said in a statement. 

    He said the goals are “to operate a seaport and to provide services” such as transporting goods and running warehouses with the capacity up to 4 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) per year. 

    GPC plans to start constructing the first part, Terminal F1, in 2023 and begin commercial operation in 2025. 

    The second part, Terminal F2, will be built in 2027 and will launch its operation in 2029.

    “This is in line with PTT’s strategy in pursuing Logistics & Infrastructure business and supporting infrastructure growth in Thailand,” Auttapol said.

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    The post PTT, GULF sign 35-year contract to develop 3rd phase of Laem Chabang port project appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    25 November 2021
    Main
    https://www.thaienquirer.com/?p=35308
  • Bars should be allowed to reopen, opposition MP argues

    An opposition parliamentarian on Thursday responded to the ruling Palang Pracharat Party’s condemnation of those who have pushed for the reopening of entertainment venues and said that government support to the sector was imperative. Taopiphop Limjittrakorn, a Member of Parliament from the Move Forward Party, told Thai Enquirer that the government should not neglect the […]

    The post Bars should be allowed to reopen, opposition MP argues appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    An opposition parliamentarian on Thursday responded to the ruling Palang Pracharat Party’s condemnation of those who have pushed for the reopening of entertainment venues and said that government support to the sector was imperative.

    Taopiphop Limjittrakorn, a Member of Parliament from the Move Forward Party, told Thai Enquirer that the government should not neglect the difficulties night entertainment business owners are facing.

    “Many business owners are willing to follow the government’s Covid-19 restrictions. They should be allowed to open with strict measures,” he said.

    Taopiphob said only a small group of venues do not comply with restrictions in response to a statement a government official blaming the industry for their irresponsibility.

    Sira Jenjaka, a Member of Parliament from the Palang Pracharat Party, spoke to reporters at the Parliament House that the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has to reconsider its decision to open the entertainment venues in January.

    “People who are associated with this wrong decision must take responsibility in this matter. They are putting people’s lives at risk,” he said.

    Taopiphop disagreed and said the government should set up standards for all businesses to reopen again.

    “The government can make sure the rules are enforced while the business owners are building their reopening strategy,” he said.

    Entertainment venues including bars, clubs, karaoke joints, and other nightlife venues have been shut down since the beginning of the pandemic early this year.

    Dr Tanatip Suppradit, Vice Chairman & Chief Executive Officer for Thonburi Healthcare Group, told Thai Enquirer that he is worried that the reopening of night entertainment businesses could lead to more Covid-19 cases.

    “A new surge of Covid-19 cases is expected. However, if the vaccine coverage reaches 80 per cent of the population, the risk of severe illness will decrease,” he said.

    The post Bars should be allowed to reopen, opposition MP argues appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    25 November 2021
    Current Affairs
    https://www.thaienquirer.com/?p=35301