Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Thailand

Newsline: Iranian self-immolates outside embassy in Bangkok

Thai police said an Iranian man set himself on fire Friday in front of the Iranian Embassy in Bangkok to protest his country’s presidential election. The unidentified man doused himself with gasoline before lighting himself on fire outside the gate of the embassy around noon, police said. The man suffered burns all over his body and was taken to a hospital. Pol Lt Col Noppadol Samart said the man was protesting Friday’s presidential vote in Iran, though he did not know exactly what about the election the man was opposed to.

http://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/iranian-self-immolates-outside-embassy-in-election-protest/

Newsline: Russian embassy in Bangkok says turbulence injured 27 on Aeroflot flight to Bangkok

Passengers on an Aeroflot flight from Moscow to Thailand were slammed into the ceiling after their aircraft hit a patch of severe turbulence injuring 27 people, some of them suffering fractured bones, witnesses and officials said Monday. Denis Antonyuk, an official at Russia’s embassy in Bangkok said 24 Russian nationals and three Thais were injured. “Fifteen Russians and two Thais are still in hospital,” he told AFP, adding the rest had been discharged. The terrifying ordeal occurred when the plane flew through a pocket of “clean air” turbulence — so-called because there is no cloud warning of its presence — shortly before landing in Bangkok after midnight, the airline said. The head of the Russian embassy’s consular department Vladimir Sosnov told RIA Novosti news agency that some of the injured were undergoing operations but he could not give exact numbers. He added that none of the injuries were life-threatening. “All the injured were taken to a local hospital with injuries of varying degrees of severity — mainly fractures and contusions. Some need an operation,” the Russian embassy in Bangkok said in a statement.

https://au.news.yahoo.com/world/a/35235834/turbulence-injures-27-on-aeroflot-flight-to-bangkok/

Newsline: US Embassy treats Thai visa applicants like crime suspects

US people in Thailand are treated much better by the Thai government than Thai people are treated by the US Embassy. I have never had a problem with getting a visa to visit or work in Thailand, but my Thai friends tell me the same isn’t true of them getting visas for the US. The guidance given on the Internet to apply for a US visa is not only unhelpful, but is outright misleading as it gives the impression that, to receive a visa, all a person needs is a current passport, a government form, some photos and money. If you read the instructions carefully, you see that unlike the US legal system, there is NO appeal if you are refused a visa and they keep your money. There seems to be a culture within the US Embassy, especially those who deal with visa interviews, that Thai people are dishonest and only trying to get tourist or business visas so they can stay in the US illegally and not return to Thailand. I’ve been told the interviewers are arrogant and unfriendly, and often refuse to give any reason if a visa isn’t given.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/news/opinion/letter_to_editor/30313369

Newsline: Security stepped up at Russian embassy in Bangkok after blast

Police have stepped up security at the Russian embassy in Bangkok following an explosion at the Saint Petersburg metro Monday that killed 11 people. Bang Rak police chief Pol Col Nakhon Thongphanit said he has deployed more police officers to guard the embassy around the clock. He said they normally deploy officers to guard the embassy and patrol the area, but that will be increased following the incident in Russia. He said they were working with the Black Tiger unit of the Special Branch Police Bureau and officers from the Patrol and Special Operation Division to step up security at the embassy on Sap Road, Surawong, Bangrak.

http://news.thaivisa.com/article/668/security-stepped-up-at-russian-embassy-in-bangkok-after-blast

Newsline: Australian embassy site in Thailand up for sale

The site of the Australian embassy in Sathorn area, almost eight rai of land, is being offered for sale by expression of interest, according to the appointed sole agent JLL. The compound covers 12,728 square metres of freehold land on South Sathorn Road, one of Bangkok’s prime commercial and residential addresses. The closing date for offers is early June.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/business/news/1219933/australian-embassy-site-on-sathorn-road-up-for-sale

Newsline: Thai diplomat summoned by Foreign Office over Thailand killings response

A Thai diplomat has been summoned to the Foreign Office over concerns about the country’s investigation into the murders of two British backpackers. Foreign minister Hugo Swire took the step amid fears over Thai authorities’ handling of the deaths of Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24. Mr Swire told Thai charge d’affaires Nadhavathna Krishnamra of his “real concern” after two Burmese workers were charged with the killings and paraded in front of cameras having apparently made confessions – before reportedly later withdrawing them. The men, named in reports as bar workers Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun, are accused of the brutal murders of Miss Witheridge, from Great Yarmouth, and Mr Miller, from Jersey, on the paradise island of Koh Tao in September. The two suspects, both 21, were charged with three offences – conspiracy to murder, conspiracy to rape and robbery. But later reports – denied by the Thai police – suggested that a Burmese embassy official had formally retracted their confessions amid allegations the pair were tortured. Following Mr Krishnamra’s meeting with Mr Swire today, the Foreign Office said in a statement: “Mr Swire stressed that there was a real concern in the UK about how the investigation has been handled by the Thai authorities. He said that it was crucial for the investigation to be conducted in a fair and transparent way. Earlier this month, Mr Swire spoke to Thailand’s deputy prime minister Tanasak Patimapragorn about the case.

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/thailand-killings-diplomat-summoned-to-foreign-office-amid-criticism-of-authorities-9792430.html

Newsline: UK and Myanmar embassies in Thailand said to “have no problems” over murder probe

The government has insisted both the British and Myanmar embassies in Thailand “have no problems” with the Thai police’s handling of the Sept 15 murders of two British tourists on Koh Tao even as police face claims the Myanmar suspects were tortured. Foreign Minister Tanasak Patimapragorn said he was confident the case would not lead to any disputes between Thailand and Myanmar because he had spoken with the embassy and it did not have any problems with the investigation results. His remarks came after the police held a press conference Tuesday to insist on the accuracy of the investigation which had resulted in charges against two Myanmar men. Police and diplomatic sources said that the British ambassador or a senior embassy official would attend the press conference. Instead, the embassy was not represented. The bodies of Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24, were found on a beach of the southern island of Koh Tao in Surat Thani province on Sept 15. Police pursued the case for more than two weeks before they detained three Myanmar migrant workers, two of whom were charged over the murders while the other was treated as an eyewitness. National police chief Somyot Pumpanmuang defended the arrest of the two Myanmar men for the murders even though the suspects claimed they were tortured by police while in custody. Contradicting earlier reports that Myanmar embassy officials were satisfied with explanations provided by Thai authorities over the arrest of their nationals, Htun Aye, the embassy’ s second secretary, told the Bangkok Post Tuesday it was too early to say whether his team was satisfied with all the information they were given by authorities.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/learning/learning-from-news/436512/koh-tao-murders-probe-credible-police-insist-as-claims-of-torture-surface