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  • UPDATE: Expelled French Provocateur Thinks He Can Return to Thailand Someday

    UPDATE: Expelled French Provocateur Thinks He Can Return to Thailand Someday is a story originally published on the Bangkok Herald website. This work is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without express written permission.

    The Frenchman critical of the monarchy who was denied entry returning to Thailand Friday was deported early Saturday. Yan Eric Marchal, 48, left Thailand, his wife, children and business likely forever on Thai Airways Flight 930 to Paris at 12:05 a.m., ending a short final chapter to a long life living on the knife’s edge […]

    UPDATE: Expelled French Provocateur Thinks He Can Return to Thailand Someday is a story originally published on the Bangkok Herald website. This work is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without express written permission.

    UPDATE: Expelled French Provocateur Thinks He Can Return to Thailand Someday is a story originally published on the Bangkok Herald website. This work is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without express written permission.

    The Frenchman critical of the monarchy who was denied entry returning to Thailand Friday was deported early Saturday.

    Yan Eric Marchal, 48, left Thailand, his wife, children and business likely forever on Thai Airways Flight 930 to Paris at 12:05 a.m., ending a short final chapter to a long life living on the knife’s edge in Thailand.

    Marchal was denied entry at Phuket International Airport about 7 a.m. Friday and was presented with an official notice of expulsion after being deemed a “threat to national security”.

    The software developer and Tik Tok influencer with more than 560,000 followers, was flown to Bangkok, put in the Immigration Detention Center and told he could appeal, or leave immediately.

    Marchal, who jeopardized his life in the kingdom by sticking his nose repeatedly in Thai politics to puff up his online ego, at first considered appealing, until his lawyers advised him that his anti-monarchy posts could see him charged with lese majeste.

    Rather than face jail time of 15 years per offending post, he opted for Gate E7 at Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

    Whatever happens, I will have to live with it,” Marchal messaged a sympathetic, anti-government writer, a copy of which was posted to Twitter. “I’d rather look at the upsides that I may find in my new life. But I do hope Thailand’s regime will change for the better someday and enable free speech, which would indeed allow me to come back.

    Marchal was blacklisted after he left the country earlier in the pandemic. That list is unlikely to change, no matter the regime.

    The Frenchman dug his own grave in Thailand. And foreigners reading his story had little sympathy.

    “Your right to freedom of speech does not fit into your suitcase when you travel to many countries. It is wise to be aware of that,” wrote Facebook user William Minehan on the Bangkok Herald’s Facebook page.

    “An imbecile who had nothing going for him but to do stupid things to make a name for himself,” added user Oliver Ruc. “He is a joke to the locals and to me too, good riddance … One less wannabe!”

    UPDATE: Expelled French Provocateur Thinks He Can Return to Thailand Someday is a story originally published on the Bangkok Herald website. This work is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without express written permission.

    28 November 2021
    Featured
    https://bangkokherald.com/?p=6722
  • Pattaya Mismanaged Music Festival Crowds; Now Mayor Blames Fans for Covid-19 Outbreak

    Pattaya Mismanaged Music Festival Crowds; Now Mayor Blames Fans for Covid-19 Outbreak is a story originally published on the Bangkok Herald website. This work is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without express written permission.

    Pattaya will continue its plans for weekly events through the year-end even though its mismanagement of the crowd at the Pattaya Music Festival led to coronavirus cases among concertgoers. In the first two weeks of the four-week concert series last month, Pattaya drastically limited the number of people allowed into the seating area near the […]

    Pattaya Mismanaged Music Festival Crowds; Now Mayor Blames Fans for Covid-19 Outbreak is a story originally published on the Bangkok Herald website. This work is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without express written permission.

    Pattaya Mismanaged Music Festival Crowds; Now Mayor Blames Fans for Covid-19 Outbreak is a story originally published on the Bangkok Herald website. This work is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without express written permission.

    Pattaya will continue its plans for weekly events through the year-end even though its mismanagement of the crowd at the Pattaya Music Festival led to coronavirus cases among concertgoers.

    In the first two weeks of the four-week concert series last month, Pattaya drastically limited the number of people allowed into the seating area near the stage – 150 the first week and 500 the second – and required those people who did get in to be fully vaccinated and tested for Covid-19.

    No precautions of any sort were taken for those who couldn’t get in. Crowds instead massed outside the fences with no social distancing, vaccination or testing required.

    The result has been some of those people congregating on the beach came down with Covid-19. Chonburi health officials this week urged everyone who were in the sandy mosh pit on the beach to get tested.

    Mayor Sonthaya Kunplome on Friday blamed the music fans, not himself or the city, for the infections, admonishing people for “not complying with disease-control measures”, including not wearing face masks and grouping together.

    Photos showed the overwhelming majority of people were wearing masks.

    Sonthaya said future events will see a stepped-up police presence outside stage areas to cut crowding and ensure face mask use.

    The original version of this story appears in the Pattaya Mail, a Bangkok Herald partner.

    Pattaya Mismanaged Music Festival Crowds; Now Mayor Blames Fans for Covid-19 Outbreak is a story originally published on the Bangkok Herald website. This work is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without express written permission.

    28 November 2021
    Coronavirus
    https://bangkokherald.com/?p=6718
  • Girl, 8, Orphaned When Pickup Hits Motorbike Near Pattaya

    Girl, 8, Orphaned When Pickup Hits Motorbike Near Pattaya is a story originally published on the Bangkok Herald website. This work is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without express written permission.

    An 8-year-old girl was orphaned when a pickup truck hit a motorbike outsie Pattaya, injuring her and killing her parents. None of the three people on the bike were wearing a helmet. Prawit Thongtanon, 24, claimed the motorbike cut off his Chevrolet truck around 1:30 a.m. Nov. 27 on Sukhumvit Road at Banglamung Soi 12. […]

    Girl, 8, Orphaned When Pickup Hits Motorbike Near Pattaya is a story originally published on the Bangkok Herald website. This work is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without express written permission.

    Girl, 8, Orphaned When Pickup Hits Motorbike Near Pattaya is a story originally published on the Bangkok Herald website. This work is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without express written permission.

    An 8-year-old girl was orphaned when a pickup truck hit a motorbike outsie Pattaya, injuring her and killing her parents.

    None of the three people on the bike were wearing a helmet.

    Prawit Thongtanon, 24, claimed the motorbike cut off his Chevrolet truck around 1:30 a.m. Nov. 27 on Sukhumvit Road at Banglamung Soi 12. Driving home from the Pattaya Fireworks Festival, he was unable to brake in time.

    The girl was hospitalized and her parents taken to the morgue. Police are investigating.

    This story appears in the Pattaya Mail, a Bangkok Herald partner.

    Girl, 8, Orphaned When Pickup Hits Motorbike Near Pattaya is a story originally published on the Bangkok Herald website. This work is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without express written permission.

    28 November 2021
    Featured
    https://bangkokherald.com/?p=6714
  • Phetchaburi Unique Foods Lands Thai Province on UNESCO Creative Cities List

    Phetchaburi Unique Foods Lands Thai Province on UNESCO Creative Cities List is a story originally published on the Bangkok Herald website. This work is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without express written permission.

    Phetchaburi Province has been accepted as Thailand’s latest member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in the field of gastronomy. Phetchaburi is the fifth province in Thailand to have earned the UCCN title, after Phuket was named a Creative City of Gastronomy in 2015, Chiang Mai a Creative City of Crafts and Folk Arts in […]

    Phetchaburi Unique Foods Lands Thai Province on UNESCO Creative Cities List is a story originally published on the Bangkok Herald website. This work is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without express written permission.

    Phetchaburi Unique Foods Lands Thai Province on UNESCO Creative Cities List is a story originally published on the Bangkok Herald website. This work is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without express written permission.

    Phetchaburi Province has been accepted as Thailand’s latest member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in the field of gastronomy.

    Phetchaburi is the fifth province in Thailand to have earned the UCCN title, after Phuket was named a Creative City of Gastronomy in 2015, Chiang Mai a Creative City of Crafts and Folk Arts in 2017, Bangkok a Creative City of Design in 2019 and Sukhothai a Creative City of Crafts and Folk Arts in 2019.

    “The addition of Phetchaburi to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network as a Creative City of Gastronomy is much welcomed and could not have come at a better time, with Gastronomy featuring as a key element of the ‘Visit Thailand Year 2022’ new tourism marketing campaign,” said Tourism Authority of Thailand Gov. Yuthasak Supasorn.

    Located around 160 kilometers south of Bangkok, Phetchaburi is known for the production of high quality sea salt and key limes, palm sugar, rose apples, pineapples and bananas among other items, giving it the nickname ‘City of Three Tastes’ – for salty, sweet and sour. The farm-to-fork practice is also in use in the province, where farmers deliver fresh produce and seafood direct to food outlets and manufacturers as well as local households.

    Phetchaburi is synonymous with a number of local dishes having gained particular popularity and for its production of certain food products. Local recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation, cuisine from the royal courts of Ayutthaya and Rattanakosin, and Chinese and Mon cuisine have combined into dishes unique to Phetchaburi.

    Among the well-known dishes that reflect Phetchaburi’s cultural roots are Kaeng Kua Hua Tan (toddy palm curry), Khanom Cheen Thotman (fermented rice-flour noodles with fried fish cake), Khao Chae (rice soaked in water accompanied by a variety of side dishes) and Kuaitiao Nam Daeng (red-soup noodles).

    Phetchaburi is also known for its desserts, including Khanom Mor Gang (caramelised custard sweetened with palm sugar), Khanom Tan (toddy Palm Souflé), and Lod Chong Namtan Khon (pandanus cendol with palm sugar fudge).

    Tourists visiting Phetchaburi can combine the delectable cuisine on offer with exploration of the various attractions. These include Phra Nakhon Khiri Historical Park or as it’s also known locally Khao Wang (meaning ‘hill with palace’) with its palace and temple buildings on a hill overlooking the city; the temples Wat Mahathat Worawihan, Wat Kamphaeng Laeng, Wat Yai Suwannaram; and picturesque beaches the most famous being Cha-am.

    Last but not least, Kaeng Krachan National Park which covers part of Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, and Ratchaburi provinces, at 464,000 hectares is the largest national park in Thailand, and is known for its wildlife watching, hiking and ‘sea of mist’ views during the cooler months of November to February. It is also home to Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex which was recently added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

    The UCCN was launched in 2004 to promote cooperation among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development. There are seven categories of membership in the network – Crafts and Folk Arts, Media Arts, Film, Design, Gastronomy, Literature and Music – which currently numbers around 250 cities worldwide. These cities work together toward a common objective – placing creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans at the local level and cooperating actively at the international level.

    Phetchaburi Unique Foods Lands Thai Province on UNESCO Creative Cities List is a story originally published on the Bangkok Herald website. This work is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without express written permission.

    27 November 2021
    Featured
    https://bangkokherald.com/?p=6730
  • Biggest Thai Tourism Expo of Year at Bitec Bangkok

    Biggest Thai Tourism Expo of Year at Bitec Bangkok is a story originally published on the Bangkok Herald website. This work is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without express written permission.

    The 60th Thai Teaw Thai Fair aimed at boosting tourism following the country’s reopening wraps up today at the Bitec Bangna Exhibition Center in Bangkok. The aim of the expo was to stimulate tourism by promoting must-see destinations in the country, and offering travel deals at an affordable price. The event is Thailand’s biggest annual […]

    Biggest Thai Tourism Expo of Year at Bitec Bangkok is a story originally published on the Bangkok Herald website. This work is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without express written permission.

    Biggest Thai Tourism Expo of Year at Bitec Bangkok is a story originally published on the Bangkok Herald website. This work is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without express written permission.

    The 60th Thai Teaw Thai Fair aimed at boosting tourism following the country’s reopening wraps up today at the Bitec Bangna Exhibition Center in Bangkok.

    The aim of the expo was to stimulate tourism by promoting must-see destinations in the country, and offering travel deals at an affordable price.

    The event is Thailand’s biggest annual tourism fair of 2021. It features over 600 exhibitors including hotels, resorts, car rentals, spas, restaurants, and more. Event-goers will have a wide array of deals to choose from.

    The fair is expected to generate over 200 million baht.

    he Tourism Authority of Thailand is also part of this event. There are booths that demonstrate the magnificence of the south, giving visitors a glimpse of what they would experience if they visited one of the southern provinces. One of the most famous cities is Nakhon Si Thammarat, which is well-known for its natural attractions and gastronomy.

    Sirikamol Kaewsaeng-orn, the president of Nakhon Si Thammarat Tourism Association, said the fair is going to revive tourism across the country.

    Biggest Thai Tourism Expo of Year at Bitec Bangkok is a story originally published on the Bangkok Herald website. This work is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without express written permission.

    27 November 2021
    Business
    https://bangkokherald.com/?p=6727
  • Frenchman Tossed From Thailand for Sticking Nose Too Far into Politics

    Frenchman Tossed From Thailand for Sticking Nose Too Far into Politics is a story originally published on the Bangkok Herald website. This work is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without express written permission.

    A Frenchman who stuck his nose too deeply in Thai politics was tossed out of the country Saturday when he arrived in Phuket. Yan Eric Marchal, 48, told Thai media that he was denied entry at Phuket International Airport about 7 a.m. this morning and was presented with an official notice of expulsion after being […]

    Frenchman Tossed From Thailand for Sticking Nose Too Far into Politics is a story originally published on the Bangkok Herald website. This work is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without express written permission.

    Frenchman Tossed From Thailand for Sticking Nose Too Far into Politics is a story originally published on the Bangkok Herald website. This work is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without express written permission.

    A Frenchman who stuck his nose too deeply in Thai politics was tossed out of the country Saturday when he arrived in Phuket.

    Yan Eric Marchal, 48, told Thai media that he was denied entry at Phuket International Airport about 7 a.m. this morning and was presented with an official notice of expulsion after being deemed a “threat to national security”.

    “I knew it was a possibility,” Marchal reportedly told a sympathetic anti-government journalist via telephone. They say it’s because of my behavior posting on Facebook.”

    The French expat said he planned to call his embassy, but wasn’t holding out much hope.

    He arrived at Suvarnabhumi International Airport before noon and will be held in the immigration detention center where he has 48 hours to appeal. Marchal claimed, however, he is being pressured to fly back to Paris tonight.

    “Basically the officer told me I am attacking the king, causing problems for the king.”

    A software developer and Tik Tok influencer with more than 560,000 followers, Marchal has been on thin ice in Thailand for years.

    In November last year, he posted on social media that he’d been told by immigration officials in Bangkok that his visa had been canceled and he was going to be deported over his online comments.

    Facebook Yan Eric Marchal French Thailand Deported Visa Canceled Protest Democracy

    His expulsion was defused by a lawyer, who reached an agreement with the Immigration Bureau to have them say it was just a “misunderstanding”. The Frenchman simply had to delete his controversial posts on his 31,000-follower Facebook page and keep his trap shut in the future.

    He didn’t, of course.

    Marchal continued to be an outspoken supporter of Thailand’s pro-democracy movement, which has been seeking to force Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to resign.

    Marchal also posted comments critical of Prayut, a former junta leader who seized power in a coup in 2014.

    “I knew there’s a risk,” Marchal noted at the time, referring to the fact that as a foreign national he can be stripped of his long-term visa any time by Thai authorities over his outspoken political stance.

    “Since we [foreigners] are here on a visa, it’s a risk that we face if they want to revoke it. But I [prefer] to be outspoken anyway because that is my nature.”

    He can now be outspoken from his armchair in France, a ticket to return to he must pay himself.

    Frenchman Tossed From Thailand for Sticking Nose Too Far into Politics is a story originally published on the Bangkok Herald website. This work is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without express written permission.

    27 November 2021
    Featured
    https://bangkokherald.com/?p=6710
  • Thailand Entry Rules Eased, Curfews Ended

    Thailand Entry Rules Eased, Curfews Ended is a story originally published on the Bangkok Herald website. This work is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without express written permission.

    .
    CCSA makes Test & Go less of a lie, while creating more confusion over on-arrival testing

    Thailand Entry Rules Eased, Curfews Ended is a story originally published on the Bangkok Herald website. This work is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without express written permission.

    Thailand Entry Rules Eased, Curfews Ended is a story originally published on the Bangkok Herald website. This work is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without express written permission.

    Thailand on Friday made entering the country a little cheaper and easier as the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration continued ease coronavirus restrictions.

    The agency lifted the last curfews, eliminated all “dark red” coronavirus maximum and strict control zones, announced the reopening of a key land border and made changes to the “Test & Go” and “sandbox” tourist schemes.

    However, the CCSA did not, as many hoped, agree to reopen nightlife venues earlier than Jan. 16.

    Entry Requirements

    Test & Go is now a little less of a lie.

    For the first month, the government basically lied to incoming travelers, telling them all they needed was a test and a ticket. Some people even fell for it, and were denied boarding. Others gave up in frustration.

    As of Dec. 16, Thailand’s “no quarantine” entry finally will be just that. There no longer will be a need to book one night quarantine at a pricey, government-certified hotel. But, as usual, the caveats the CCSA added to the rule change made it as clear as mud that anything would actually change.

    Under Test & Go, those entering Thailand needed proof of full Covid-19 vaccination, US$50,000 in insurance, a confirmed one-night booking at an AQ/SHA+ hotel and a pre-flight negative RT-PCR coronavirus test result.

    The vaccination certificate, insurance and PCR test will still be required after Dec. 16, but instead of taking a pointless second PCR test upon arrival, tourists can take a cheap, fast, non-invasive antigen test instead, with results available in as little as 15 minutes.

    But Foreign Affairs Ministry English-language spokesman Nopakun Natapanu said the test must be taken at a hotel and that “approved transportation” must be booked from the airport.

    “You will not need to book the actual hotel room, because of course the (antigen) test gives out a faster result.”

    CCSA reports 2 locally spread coronavirus cases in Tak border province

    Exactly how that will work is uncertain. What hotels will accept Thais and expats only for tests without them renting a room? And will proof of “approved transportation” now be required in the buggy Thailand Pass online application? When will that change be implemented? And will more bugs come with the change?

    Foreign Affairs spokesman Sangrat tweeted today that, to accommodate the changes, Thailand Pass will not accept any applications for travel to Thailand after Dec. 16 until Dec. 1.

    For those not on Thailand’s list of 63 approved countries for the Test & Go scheme, “sandbox” stays in the province where they arrived now will be shorter, just five days instead of seven.

    The CCSA also agreed to reopen the Khon Kaen border with Laos, yet another move to reopen border crossings.

    Curfews & Rezoning

    More confusion reigns over the list of color-coded provinces rezoned by the CCSA. The “dark red” designation has retired (for now) and the last the nighttime curfews in the country.

    Kanchanaburi, Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani were rezoned as “blue” pilot tourism areas where tourists can go directly upon arrival. However, adding to confusion, specified districts in other provinces also were marked “blue”, although the CCSA didn’t release a list of what districts those were.

    Of particular note is Chonburi, which continues to report only handfuls of new coronavirus cases a day. Banglamung District, which includes Pattaya, reported 48 new cases on Friday with the province as a whole reporting 202. Chonburi was upgraded to an “orange” zone Friday yet, but will Banglamung and Sattahip – the province’s intended blue zones – be allowed to sell alcohol in restaurants? The decision likely will be left to the provincial governor.

    Thailand Entry Rules Eased, Curfews Ended is a story originally published on the Bangkok Herald website. This work is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without express written permission.

    26 November 2021
    Business
    https://bangkokherald.com/?p=6700
  • Thailand Bars to Remain Closed Until Jan., CCSA Reaffirms

    Thailand Bars to Remain Closed Until Jan., CCSA Reaffirms is a story originally published on the Bangkok Herald website. This work is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without express written permission.

    The Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration on Friday dashed hopes of a happy new year for Thailand’s bar and club operators, confirming nightlife entertainment venues will remain closed until Jan. 16. While holding out hope that the reopening could be moved up “if” the Covid-19 situation improves, no criteria what “improves” means nor any possible […]

    Thailand Bars to Remain Closed Until Jan., CCSA Reaffirms is a story originally published on the Bangkok Herald website. This work is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without express written permission.

    Thailand Bars to Remain Closed Until Jan., CCSA Reaffirms is a story originally published on the Bangkok Herald website. This work is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without express written permission.

    The Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration on Friday dashed hopes of a happy new year for Thailand’s bar and club operators, confirming nightlife entertainment venues will remain closed until Jan. 16.

    While holding out hope that the reopening could be moved up “if” the Covid-19 situation improves, no criteria what “improves” means nor any possible earlier date was mentioned at the CCSA briefing this afternoon.

    A CCSA advisor, Professor Udom Kachinthorn, said today the coronavirus situation in Thailand has not improved with daily infections fluctuating between 5,000 and 7,000. Improvement, he believes, would be 1,000-2,000 new cases a day.

    Foreign Affairs Ministry English-language spokesman Nopakun Natapanu said the CCSA will continue to work closely with the industry to ensure they can “reopen at the earliest opportunity.”

    Nightlife business associations and operators across the country had been pressing local, provincial and national government agencies this month after the CCSA said reopening would not come until mid-January.

    Earlier, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha had told the national on television that nightlife’s rebirth would be “considered” for Dec. 1. Many people foolishly took that as a hard date and accused the government of breaking a promise and “pushing back” a date it had never confirmed.

    The decision now not to yield to pressure and move up the reopening date before New Year’s Eve should surprise no one, especially given a new Covid-19 outbreak tied to illegally open bars on Phuket’s Bangla Road.

    Masquerading as “restaurants” with an easily obtained restaurant license as a pretense, the beer and hostess bars along the popular nightlife strip have been packed for weeks, with local police happily taking a payoff to turn a blind eye. Until people started falling ill with Covid-19.

    Mass testing was performed Nov. 23 and, according to the Phuket News, 10 bars were ordered closed for at least three days. On Thursday, the News reported that 24 customers and bargirls at Bangla bars had tested positive for the coronavirus.

    The island’s case count has climbed steadily this week, with 128 new cases reported Friday, up from 110 Thursday and 86 Nov. 22.  Dr Witita Jang-iam, deputy director of Vachira Phuket Hospital, pointed the finger directly at bars for the surge.

    Also weighing loudly against reopening bars was blowhard conservative Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, who railed Thursday against illegally opened bars in Bangkok. He conveniently failed to point out those bars were open due to illegal bribes to Bangkok’s corrupt police force.

    Talking as if his screws were loose again, Anutin used vocabulary that equated bars being opened to “treason” and left reporters contorting themselves to stop laughing when he claimed Prayut has done “everything right” when it comes to managing the pandemic.

    His vote – and to be clear, Anutin doesn’t get a vote – would be to keep bars closed. Probably the right-wing zealot would prefer to see them closed and alcohol banned forever.

    Against such headwinds, and despite the pontifications of self-interested online pundits – there was nearly zero chance the CCSA would strap on a pair of flip-flops on the Jan. 16 date.

    The CCSA said nightlife venue could now “apply” for an as-yet-unspecified certification to reopen next month. Requirements likely will be that all staff is fully vaccinated and health officials still haven’t given up their unworkable pursuit of having all customers also be fully vaxed.

    What likely will emerge over the next three weeks is a list of soon-ignored requirements that were put out last June mandating no singing, no dancing and no lady drinks.

    Thailand Bars to Remain Closed Until Jan., CCSA Reaffirms is a story originally published on the Bangkok Herald website. This work is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without express written permission.

    26 November 2021
    Business
    https://bangkokherald.com/?p=6697
  • Thailand May See 4,500 Suicides This Year, Most in SE Asia

    Thailand May See 4,500 Suicides This Year, Most in SE Asia is a story originally published on the Bangkok Herald website. This work is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without express written permission.

    .
    Pandemic, mental health issues caused by social media use are worsening suicide rate, largely among teens

    Thailand May See 4,500 Suicides This Year, Most in SE Asia is a story originally published on the Bangkok Herald website. This work is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without express written permission.

    Thailand May See 4,500 Suicides This Year, Most in SE Asia is a story originally published on the Bangkok Herald website. This work is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without express written permission.

    The suicide rate in Thailand, especially among teenagers, continues to rise, with experts attributing it to increased stress and despondency fueled by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and resultant economic problems.

    According to data from last year, the nationwide suicide rate has risen to 7.37 per 100,000 people from 6.64 the year before.

    Among Thai teenagers between the ages of 10 and 19, the rate is five per 100,000, which is especially worrying, according to experts at the country’s Mental Health Department.

    Many youngsters commit suicide after feeling depressed over their situation in school or at home, experts say.

    Extensive use of social media and other online tools can also lead to mental health issues in young Thais, many of whom spend as many as 10 hours a day on the internet.

    At the same time, a severe economic downturn owing to the Covid-19 pandemic has worsened the state of mental health for millions over the past year.

    Thai males are more than four and a half times more likely to commit suicide than females, data shows.

    The current rate of suicides in Thailand, which takes on average between 4,000 and 4,500 lives annually in a nation of 70 million, is considered very high by regional standards.

    By way of comparison, the Philippines had a suicide rate of 2.2 per 100,000 or less than a third of the rate in Thailand.

    Even before the recent marked increase in the rate of suicides, Thailand already had the highest rate within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as the World Health Organization (WHO) found in 2019.

    “It has to be accepted that economic factors have become a serious issue [in 2021],” said Nattakorn Jampathong, director of the National Suicide Prevention Centre, which operates a 24-hour hotline for people feeling suicidal.

    In one widely reported incident on Nov. 15, a 34-year-old woman got out of her car on a bridge at a motorway near Bangkok at night, leaving her three-year-old daughter in the vehicle, and jumped to her death into a canal.  

    Her family said the woman, who was a single mother, had been experiencing emotional and financial problems before her suicide.

    Prominent observers have warned that many Thais, especially younger ones, are at risk of suicidal despondency and that many of them lack adequate access to counseling and mental health provision.

    A holistic approach to suicide prevention is needed if Thailand is to avoid seeing the rate of people who take their own lives rise even higher, Nattakorn stressed.

    “We should not be looking at the problem of suicides as just a [mental] health problem but as a social and economic problem that has a complex relationship with personal factors,” the physician said.

    The original version of this story appears in UCA News, a Bangkok Herald partner.

    Thailand May See 4,500 Suicides This Year, Most in SE Asia is a story originally published on the Bangkok Herald website. This work is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without express written permission.

    26 November 2021
    Featured
    https://bangkokherald.com/?p=6687
  • 6 Dead as Thailand Scales Up War on Drug Smugglers

    6 Dead as Thailand Scales Up War on Drug Smugglers is a story originally published on the Bangkok Herald website. This work is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without express written permission.

    Thailand is stepping up measures to stop the intensifying influx of narcotics into the country from strife-torn Myanmar and communist Laos through its porous borders. As part of armed operations, an army border patrol unit killed six drug smugglers at dawn on Nov. 23 in a shootout in the northern province of Chiang Rai after […]

    6 Dead as Thailand Scales Up War on Drug Smugglers is a story originally published on the Bangkok Herald website. This work is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without express written permission.

    6 Dead as Thailand Scales Up War on Drug Smugglers is a story originally published on the Bangkok Herald website. This work is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without express written permission.

    Thailand is stepping up measures to stop the intensifying influx of narcotics into the country from strife-torn Myanmar and communist Laos through its porous borders.

    As part of armed operations, an army border patrol unit killed six drug smugglers at dawn on Nov. 23 in a shootout in the northern province of Chiang Rai after around a dozen smugglers had crossed into Thailand from Myanmar, according to an official account.

    The alleged couriers opened fire when they encountered the army patrol, whose members returned fire during a shootout that lasted half an hour. The Thai soldiers killed six of the illegal border crossers, said Col. Sutkhet Srinilthin, commander of a locally based unit.

    The officers found nine straw bags, each of which contained about 200,000 methamphetamine pills, or 1.8 million in total.

    Before this incident Thai officials had this month seized a total of 6.4 million methamphetamine pills, 300 kilograms of crystal meth and 200 kg. of marijuana in several cases, according to the police’s Narcotics Suppression Bureau.

    Meanwhile, police in Laos last month seized more than 55 million methamphetamine pills and 1.5 tons of crystal meth in what a senior official at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime called “by far the largest seizure in the history of East and Southeast Asia.”

    The vast quantities of narcotics were about to be smuggled by truck into Thailand at a border crossing where the borders of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar converge in the so-called Golden Triangle when Laotian police stopped the vehicle to search its cargo, discovering the illicit drugs packed into beer crates.

    UNODC has warned that political unrest in Myanmar, where the military seized power in a coup in February, has led to an upsurge in the production and trafficking of narcotics, especially in Shan State where minority ethnic militias seek to finance their armed struggle against the military through the sale of locally produced narcotics.

    “Neighbors and the wider region are getting absolutely flooded with methamphetamines, and there is little doubt it is connected to the governance situation in Shan [state],” Jeremy Douglas, the UN agency’s regional representative in Southeast Asia, said last month.

    Drug traffickers are seeking to smuggle their illicit merchandise into Laos and Thailand as another smuggling route, into China, has been sealed shut because of rigorous Covid-19 measures in China’s Yunnan province, which borders Myanmar, Douglas said.

    “This is related to the security and governance breakdown in the [Golden] Triangle and Shan [state] — spillover is hitting the region,” the UN expert said.

    At the same time, demand for cheap methamphetamines remains considerable in Thailand where a severe economic downturn has worsened the already high rates of substance abuse and drug addiction, experts say.

    Many Thais, including some officials, are seeking to profit from the sale of illegal narcotics.

    In late September, acting on a tip, police in Chiang Rai arrested an assistant village chief and seized 3.8 million speed pills and 1 kg. of ketamine.

    The local official, who was also found to have a handgun on him without a license, was charged with being part of a trafficking ring in the area and other crimes.

    This story appeared in UCA News, a Bangkok Herald partner.

    6 Dead as Thailand Scales Up War on Drug Smugglers is a story originally published on the Bangkok Herald website. This work is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without express written permission.

    26 November 2021
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