Diplomatic Briefing

Your exclusive news aggregator handpicked daily!

Archive for Thailand

Newsline: Hungarian diplomat in Bangkok tests positive for coronavirus

Health authorities in Thailand said that a Hungarian diplomat in Bangkok has tested positive for the coronavirus, and is believed to have become infected through contact with his country’s foreign minister, who tested positive last week during an abortive official visit. Cambodian officials had also said that Hungary’s ambassador to Cambodia and Vietnam had tested positive for the coronavirus in the wake of a one-day visit to Cambodia by Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto. Szijjarto was found to be infected when he was tested on arrival in Thailand from Cambodia. The unnamed 53-year-old Hungarian diplomat in Bangkok is the only locally transmitted case in Thailand so far to be linked to Szijjarto. He was described as asymptomatic but tested positive, and was sent to the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute in Bangkok’s northern suburbs for treatment. Szijjarto had been sent to the same facility before flying back to Hungary. Sopon Iamsirithaworn, director of the Division of Communicable Diseases of the Department of Disease Control, said the diplomat sat in the same car and had a quick dinner with Szijjarto on the day he arrived in Bangkok. After the foreign minister tested positive, the diplomat was quarantined at home, and transferred to the isolation facility after testing positive. (https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/health/hungarian-diplomat-in-bangkok-tests-positive-for-coronavirus/) The diplomat was not identified by name. However, in response to reporters’ questions, Sopon referred to him as “ambassador.” Hungary’s embassy in Thailand did not reply to questions for further details.

Newsline: Thai protesters march on German embassy to seek probe of king

Thousands of protesters marched on the German embassy in Bangkok to ask for an investigation of the Thai king’s activities during lengthy stays in Germany as months of protests give rise to growing calls for reforms of the monarchy. (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/10/26/thai-parliament-opens-to-discuss-pro-democracy-protests) Berlin has said it would be unacceptable for King Maha Vajiralongkorn to conduct politics in Germany and Foreign Minister Heiko Mass said the European country continued to look into his behaviour during long sojourns in Bavaria. Criticising the monarchy can mean a 15-year jail sentence in Thailand, but the protests have swept away the longstanding taboo on discussing it. Protesters accuse the monarchy of helping to enable decades of domination by military rulers. They also complain about spending on the king’s European visits at a time the coronavirus has hit the tourism-reliant economy hard.

Newsline: U.S. Embassy Denies Funding Anti-Government Protests in Thailand

The American Embassy in Bangkok on Monday denied the allegations that its government supported and funded the anti-government movement in Thailand. The embassy was implicated in the ongoing protests by speakers at a pro-establishment rally in Bangkok on Sunday, where they accused the Americans of meddling in Thai politics. But a statement released by the embassy said the United States does not support any political party, and urged all sides to engage in peaceful conversation with each other. “The United States government is not funding or otherwise providing support to any of the protests in Thailand,” the embassy said in response to an inquiry. “As friends of Thailand, we encourage all sides to continue to act with respect and restraint and engage in constructive dialogue on how to move the country forward.” (https://www.khaosodenglish.com/politics/2020/08/31/u-s-embassy-denies-funding-anti-govt-protests/) “The United States does not support any individual or political party; we support the democratic process and the rule of law.”

Newsline: Envoy refused entry to quarantine condo in Thailand

Disease controls are being tightened for arriving foreign diplomatic staff, the Foreign Ministry announced, as it emerged a European diplomat was refused entry by the management of a condominium building. Ministry spokesman Cherdkiat Atthakor said the Bangkok-based “Western diplomat” had returned from leave in his homeland. The diplomat departed Frankfurt at 10pm and arrived at Suvarnabhumi airport at 2pm. The diplomat tested negative for Covid-19 before boarding the plane and again after landing at Suvarnabhumi airport, the spokesman said. As required, the diplomat waited for the test result at Suvarnabhumi airport before leaving there for the residence assigned for quarantine by the embassy, Mr Cherdkiat said. However, the management of the condominium refused entry, and the Foreign Ministry had the diplomat move to a hotel for the night. (https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/1953188/envoy-refused-entry-to-quarantine-condo) Mr Cherdkiat, director-general of the ministry’s information department, said the diplomat proved to be free of Covid-19 and had observed the regulations of Thailand, which allowed diplomats to be quarantined at assigned residences for 14 days. The condominium in question was an assigned quarantine place, he said. “Measures are being tightened for diplomats. Right now, this is a transitional period,” Mr Cherdkiat said.

Newsline: Thai embassy in the Netherlands steps in for Covid-19 patient

The Thai embassy in the Netherlands has extended help to a citizen who contracted Covid-19 after a video of her comparing the healthcare systems of both nations went viral. The woman had been vlogging about her disease condition and said she was advised to take medicine prescribed by doctors. She said in one video that Dutch officials would only take her to a hospital if she developed fatigue and shortness of breath. (https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/1905345/embassy-steps-in-for-patient) The Royal Thai Embassy in The Hague said diplomats contacted the woman to offer help but said she does not need urgent help at this moment. According to the embassy, her neighbour, also a Thai national, helps the woman by preparing food every day.

Newsline: Ex-US Marine detained after parcel left outside embassy in Bangkok

A former US Marine working as a language instructor was detained after leaving a “suspicious parcel” in front of the US embassy in Pathumwan area of Bangkok on Tuesday. The parcel turned out to be harmless. Police and bomb disposal experts were sent to the area in front of the embassy on a report a suspicious object has been left there, said Pol Capt Noppha Thongbor, deputy investigation chief at Lumpini. (https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/1904355/ex-us-marine-detained-after-parcel-left-outside-embassy) They cordoned off the area and examined the parcel, which was found to contain a Thai boxing doll and three batteries wrapped in paper, and an empty bottle of water. No dangerous items were found. Police investigators found out it was left there by an American national identified later as Lucas William McCamy, 35. He was detained and taken for interrogation at Lumpini police station. Mr McCamy is a language teacher at a school in Chon Buri province, police said. They found medicines in his bag and he kept giving confusing statements. He was taken to Somdet Chaophraya Hospital for a psychiatric examination, police said. No charges had been pressed against him so far. His relatives in the US told police the man is a former US Marine who served in Iraq. He had been injured by an explosion and later developed mental problems. He was regularly taking medication before travelling to Thailand to work as a language teacher. He arrived in the country on Feb 10, an official said.

Newsline: Thai Embassy in Beijing ordered to care for nationals stranded in Wuhan

Thailand’s Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai ordered the Thai embassy in Beijing to take care of three Thai citizens stranded in Wuhan, the epicentre of the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak. (https://thethaiger.com/hot-news/coronavirus/embassy-ordered-to-care-for-3-thais-stranded-in-wuhan) The three didn’t join the 138 Thai evacuees who returned on February 4. One of the three is a woman who overstayed her visa and has yet to pay the fine. The second is a woman recovering from a fever, while the third is a man who had a fever at the time of the evavuation but has now completely recovered. “I have ordered the embassy to take care of Thai people in other Chinese cities as well. No one will be left behind no matter where they are, in virus-risk areas or not. Everyone will receive care from the Foreign Ministry.”

Newsline: Arizona man arrested for threatening violence at U.S. Embassy in Bangkok

A man has been arrested in Mesa, Arizona after he allegedly made a threatening call to U.S. Embassy officials in Bangkok, Thailand. Court records show that on October 8, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office arrested David Stephen Roberson near Gilbert Road and Main Street. He was arrested for allegedly making threatening calls to U.S. Embassy officials in Bangkok. (https://www.abc15.com/news/crime/mcso-mesa-man-arrested-for-threatening-violence-at-u-s-embassy-in-bangkok) Investigators say Roberson was upset because his wife, who is in Thailand, was denied a visa to travel to the U.S. Records show that Roberson made numerous calls to the embassy in Bangkok, saying, “If they don’t take care of this, the next mass shooting is going to be me.” He also allegedly threatened to blow up the embassy and threatened that “there was going to be a huge gun battle.”

Newsline: US Embassy helps citizen threatened with death penalty over ‘seastead’ off Phuket

The United States Embassy in Bangkok is providing assistance to its citizen who was accused of violating Thailand’s sovereignty by building a “seasteading” structure off the coast of Phuket. The US Embassy is aware of the reports that Thai authorities have charged US citizen Chad Elwartowski, said Robert Post, US Embassy Public Affairs Officer, on Apr. 19. “The Embassy is providing all appropriate assistance and understands Elwartowski has engaged an attorney,” Post told The Nation. (https://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/national/30367972) Elwartowski and his Thai girlfriend, Suprenee Thepdet (aka Nadia Summergirl), launched their seastead project on February 2 off the coast of Phuket. The floating structure is located to the southeast of Koh Racha Yai, approximately 12 nautical miles from the mainland. The couple are facing charges of threatening the Kingdom’s independence after the Royal Thai Navy and Phuket Maritime personnel boarded the structure on Sunday and said that it violated criminal law and posed a navigational hazard.

Newsline: US embassy urges retirees in Thailand to consider affairs after death

The US Embassy in Bangkok has issued an advisory for Americans living in Thailand as retirees, calling for US nationals to give special consideration to what happens to their effects in event of death. The notice, titled “Why You Should Have a Will”, was issued by the embassy on Feb 15. “You are retired and content, living alongside tens of thousands of US citizens who call Thailand home. Have you given thought to the last piece of the puzzle: having your final wishes carried out?” asks the missive. “Every year, the US Embassy in Bangkok, and the US Consulate in Chiang Mai, assist hundreds of bereaved families whose US citizen relatives pass away in Thailand. We have seen the peace of mind that comes from them knowing what their loved ones wanted – and the hardship that comes from confusion and lack of preparation,” the notice explains (https://www.thephuketnews.com/us-embassy-urges-retiree-expats-to-consider-affairs-after-death-70398.php). Sometimes US citizens do not have close family members who can serve as legal next of kin. Your will should clearly designate who you wish to act on your behalf, so we can make sure your wishes are followed quickly. Thai and US probate processes are separate and are governed by the laws in each country; your will should address both.