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MediaWATCH: Central World Collapses; Temple Gunfight, Six Deaths; Banks to Reopen; Red Leaders Surrender; Curfew Continues

MediaWATCH: Central World Collapses; Temple Gunfight, Six Deaths; Banks to Reopen; Red Leaders Surrender; Curfew Continues

Thursday, May 20, 2010
UPDATE: Photo Album Above

THE DEATH toll in the latest crackdown has been put at 14, which includes the six bodies of alleged ''black-hand'' members from last night's shootout at Pathumwanaram Temple.

BANKS throughout Thailand are to be allowed to reopen on Friday, Saturday and Sunday following complaints from business and tourists who could not exchange money. [An industry leader said later that banks would remain closed on Friday but open branches in supermarkets and shopping centres over the weekend.]

THAILAND'S top forensic scientist, Dr Porntip Rojanasunan, joins police in a national television broadcast that produces evidence showing that the men killed in last night's temple shootout were probably ''black hand'' militants.

POLICE say they have uncovered a plot to bomb four MTR underground stations in Bangkok.

TWO MORE red shirt leaders; Veera Musikapong and Dr Weng Tohjirakarn, have surrendered.

CENTRAL WORLD, badly damaged in fires, has collapsed, officials report. Firefighters were kept at bay by reds with guns.

A GUNFIGHT at a Bangkok temple in last night's curfew involved ''strong resistance,'' six deaths and 5000 people who were trapped at one stage in the temple compound, a government spokesman said on television today. He said looting and arson last night became ''organised terrorism'' and the government remained determined to make residents and guests of Thailand ''safe and secure.''

FOOTAGE screened by police on national television today shows red leader Nuttawut Saikuer yesterday urging red supporters to ''Burn the whole country.'' Half an hour later, he told them he was giving himself up to police.

THE curfew for Bangkok and 23 state-of-emergency provinces will continue for three nights, May 20, 21 and 22, but shortened to 9pm-5am, government officials have revealed. Central's two Chiang Mai stores are staying closed today.

OFFICIALS are concerned that Central World might collapse after being destroyed by fire. The future of the huge Bangkok shopping centre is just one of a long list of priorities after 24 hours of violence. Early reports say parts of the city are still not under the control of the army. Thirty-nine banks, stores, hotels - including the Grand Diamond and Centara Grand - plus landmark buildings have been torched. The official toll: seven dead, with 81 injured, including three non-Thais.

Phuketwan MediaWATCH

A daily wrap of Thailand news, with a Phuket perspective, plus relevant reports from national and international media.

WITH A blackout curfew overnight from 8pm to 6am, news will be anxiously awaited today from Bangkok and the provinces. Did raging mobs target Bangkok landmarks, including Central Word and the Stock Exchange, by chance, or was it a planned strategy to follow the end of the mass red protest?
Confrontation and violence will change Thai politics forever.
. Rioters set fires at the stock exchange, electricity headquarters, banks and government offices. Siam Theatre, a much loved city institution, collapsed in flames. Hundreds of people had to be rescued from the burning headquarters of Channel 3 television. Even the most ardent fan of Thailand must realise this isn't over yet. Armored vehicles and snipers may win the battle to push the red shirt protesters out of Bangkok, but the government is losing the war to hold back the course of Thailand's history. Mr Abhisit may succeed in sweeping the red shirts out of Bangkok, but with the Thai understanding of legitimate power taking on a much more inclusive flavor, they will certainly be back. No surprise, really, that the younger and more thuggish of the reds chose to run amok, burning banks, the stock exchange, a TV station regarded as favoring the Government and a shopping centre. Such destruction can never be excused, but this has never been a conflict with clear rights and wrongs. Central Bangkok became a flaming battleground and exiled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra warned that a military crackdown on anti-government protesters could lead to guerrilla warfare. Thaksin also accused the Thai government of defaming him by saying he was the mastermind behind the violence. ''I never approve nor agree to any use of violence,'' he said. ''I believe in peace. I love my country as much as any member of this government. I believe in peaceful and non-violent means to end conflict and reject any use of force.'' ''There is a theory saying a military crackdown can spread resentment and these resentful people will become guerrillas,'' Thaksin told Reuters as troops fought protesters in Bangkok, sparking violence in outer provinces. ''There are lots and lots of people across the country who are upset because they were prevented from joining the Bangkok rally.''

afp The US has led world condemnation of unrest in Thailand while the UN called for renewed efforts to end the violence. Red shirt protesters in Bangkok set more than two dozen buildings ablaze in an upsurge of violence that prompted authorities to declare a curfew across about one third of the country. Reungvit Nandhabiwat writes: The truth is, the Thai government has been too accommodating by withholding the use of force since the rally started two months ago (with the exception of the April 10 event, when the soldiers were ordered to move in without live ammunition and subsequently got slaughtered by unknown gunmen shooting from among the red shirt protesters). The situation was like Bangkok was being held for ransom. For the record, the people of Phuket have always been staunch supporters of the ruling Democrat Party. Roughly 1000 people out of the island's estimated population of some 500,000 support the red shirt cause, and they have been careful not to disrupt island life. Even so, the Bangkok chaos has a nationwide fallout on tourism.

Agencies Indonesia is the latest member of Asean to call on the Thai government to exercise restraint and resume dialogue. Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah said Jakarta is willing to help Thailand end the political violence, if asked. But, he says, Asean must lend support as a group because the battle is bad for Thailand and the region. Tour groups have cancelled trips to Thailand and airlines are offering full refunds after the Australian government warned citizens not to travel to Bangkok. The government upgraded its travel advisory for Bangkok to the highest warning, telling Australians ''do not travel.'' Singapore has surpassed Hong Kong and the US in a global ranking on competitiveness for the first time in decades. In the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2010 released by Swiss business school IMD, Singapore's resilience in weathering the crisis lifted it to top. The yearly ranking is said to be a reference point for competitiveness among nations.

Associated Press Indonesian police have confiscated 71 endangered giant sea turtles from a food stall on the resort island of Bali. The owner of the stall was arrested when the turtles were found inside his storehouse in Denpasar. He purchased the turtles, with an average size of more than one meter, from fishermen who caught them off Sulawesi island. The 6th World Islamic Economic Forum kicked off in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, bearing the theme Gearing for Economic Resurgence. The three-day forum will look at the role of Islamic banking and finance in paving the way for a more stable global financial system. The event has some 2000 participants.

Phuket Coming Events

May21 Phuket fightback: Watermark meeting of key Phuket networking groups, from 5pm.
May 21-23 Paragliding on Phuket.
May 23 Tourism Authority of Thailand bicycle ride around Old Phuket Town. A guided tour, with meals and a t-shirt, for just 100 baht. Bookings from May 10. Details: 076 217138 or 076 211036.
May 26 Boy George plays at Seduction, Phuket.
May 31-June 5 Eight-nation football tournament for players over 55 at Surakul Stadium in Phuket City. Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Taiwan, Iran, Armenia competing.
June 4-13 Phuket International Film Festival, Coliseum Cineplex, Phuket City.
June 13 Laguna Phuket International Marathon. Fun runs, too.
June 25 to 27 Second Kathu Culture Road Fair, recalling the region's history
July 21-25 Phuket Six Senses Race Week, Evason, Rawai
July 4 Planned US Phuket Navy League Independence Day party on Patong shorefront at Loma Park
December 4-11 Phuket King's Cup Regatta

January 6-9 PIMEX boat show, Royal Phuket Marina
February 9-13 The Bay Regatta - Phuket, Phang Nga, Krabi
Phuket Stays Safe, Says Island's Police Chief
UPDATE Police numbers are down because of reinforcements being sent to Bangkok, but Phuket remains a safe place for residents and tourists, says the island's chief of police.
Phuket Stays Safe, Says Island's Police Chief

Bangkok Curfew: Angry Reds Lighting the Night
Latest The red radicals exploded like a cancer this afternoon across Bangkok when the army allowed protesters to disperse. Fires are burning in small and large buildings all over the capital.
Bangkok Curfew: Angry Reds Lighting the Night

LIVE UPDATE Looters, Arsonists Loose; Curfew in Bangkok Extended to 21 Provinces; Central World, Stock Exchange Set Ablaze by Mobs; Thaksin Blamed for Tragedy
LIVE UPDATE Thaksin blamed; Central World, Stock Exchange set on fire; Bangkok curfew extends to 21 provinces.
LIVE UPDATE Looters, Arsonists Loose; Curfew in Bangkok Extended to 21 Provinces; Central World, Stock Exchange Set Ablaze by Mobs; Thaksin Blamed for Tragedy

Phuket Flights Cancelled, Travel Alerts Bite
News Analysis Thai Airways cuts flights between Phuket and Bangkok as passenger arrival and departure figures drift lower, towards a desolate June.
Phuket Flights Cancelled, Travel Alerts Bite

Phuket Music Fest to Rekindle Noise Debate
Latest A free full moon music festival over two nights on a Phuket beach is expected to attract thousands of fans and turn up the decibels on the debate about noise versus sound.
Phuket Music Fest to Rekindle Noise Debate


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Monday October 25, 2021
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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