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Jan 30, 2014

Thailand braces for violence as PM Yingluck’s charm runs out

BANGKOK, Jan 30 (Reuters) – Six unmarked vehicles with
pitch-black windows threaded quietly through Bangkok’s northern
suburbs on a recent Thursday afternoon. Inside one sat the
curiously unruffled figure at the heart of Thailand’s latest
political maelstrom: caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck

Four months ago, police cars with wailing sirens would have
whisked her through the city.

Jan 27, 2014

Thai police rescue hundreds of Rohingya in raid on suspected traffickers’ camp

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thai police have rescued hundreds of Rohingya Muslims from a remote camp in a raid prompted by a Reuters investigation into human trafficking, police officials said on Monday.

Police detained 531 men, women and children in Sunday’s raid at a camp near the town of Sadao in the southern province of Songkhla, on a well-established route for human smugglers near Thailand’s border with Malaysia. It was the first raid on illegal Rohingya smuggling camps since January 9, 2013.

Jan 16, 2014

Thai protesters target revenue offices, government awaits graft ruling

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Protesters in Thailand trying to force out the government marched on revenue offices on Thursday, but their numbers appeared to be dwindling and ministers said the movement could be running out of steam.

A state anti-corruption panel is due to give a ruling later in the day on a rice-buying scheme introduced to support farmers, a money-guzzling subsidy program that has been a lightning rod for government critics, and that could give new ammunition to opponents of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Jan 15, 2014

Thai PM stands firm on election, says protests flagging

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand’s government stuck to a plan for a February election on Wednesday despite mounting pressure from protesters who have brought parts of Bangkok to a near-standstill, and said it believed support for the leader of the agitation was waning.

Some hardline protesters have threatened to blockade the stock exchange and an air traffic control facility if Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra does not step down by a deadline media said had been set for 8 p.m.

Jan 13, 2014

Thai government backs-up amid Bangkok shutdown

BANGKOK (Reuters) – The Thai Foreign Ministry once occupied a neoclassical palace built for a revered 19th-century king.

To find the ministry today, you must search the corridors of a half-deserted Bangkok convention center for a modest room where top officials relocated on Monday to avoid citywide protests – one of many back-up arrangements for a government struggling to fend off protesters besieging the capital.

Dec 13, 2013

High society hits the streets as prominent Thais join protests

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Chitpas Bhirombhakdi is heiress to a $2.6 billion family fortune and, according to high-society magazine Thailand Tatler, one of Bangkok’s “most eligible young ladies”. She can also handle tear gas and ride a tractor.

On December 2, as anti-government demonstrations in Bangkok turned violent, the 27-year-old climbed aboard a front-loader brought in by protesters to break down police barricades.

Dec 6, 2013

U.N., U.S. call for investigations into Thai trafficking of Rohingya

BANGKOK (Reuters) – The United Nations and the United States called Friday for investigations into the findings of a Reuters report that Thai immigration officials moved Myanmar refugees into human trafficking rings.

The report, published on Thursday and based on a two-month investigation in three countries, revealed a clandestine policy to remove Rohingya refugees from Thailand’s immigration detention centers and deliver them to human traffickers waiting at sea.

Dec 5, 2013

Special Report: Thailand secretly dumps Myanmar refugees into trafficking rings

RANONG, Thailand (Reuters) – One afternoon in October, in the watery no-man’s land between Thailand and Myanmar, Muhammad Ismail vanished.

Thai immigration officials said he was being deported to Myanmar. In fact, they sold Ismail, 23, and hundreds of other Rohingya Muslims to human traffickers, who then spirited them into brutal jungle camps.

Dec 5, 2013

Thailand’s anti-trafficking effort loses steam

BANGKOK (Reuters) – The U.S. State Department is gathering information for its next Trafficking In Persons (TIP) Report, due to be published in June. It ranks countries on their efforts to combat human trafficking. Thailand faces an automatic downgrade to Tier 3, the lowest rank, unless it makes “significant efforts” to improve its record, the State Department says.

In an interview with Reuters, Police Maj-Gen Chatchawal Suksomjit of the Royal Thai Police defended Thailand’s record for investigating and prosecuting traffickers and the Thai officials who help them.

Dec 3, 2013

Jubilant Thai protesters hug police but old enmities remain

BANGKOK (Reuters) – In jubilant scenes hard to imagine after days of clashes, protesters swept aside barricades in old Bangkok on Tuesday to occupy the grounds of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s office and warmly greet the police who, until just hours before, had rained teargas and rubber bullets upon them.

Cheering, flag-waving crowds marched through the gates of Government House, a heavily fortified flashpoint in a protracted protest aimed at toppling Yingluck’s government and banishing the influence of her brother, exiled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

    • About Andrew

      "I am Southeast Asia Special Correspondent for Reuters and winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting. I have lived in and reported from Asia for 20 years. I am the author of The Trouser People, a political travelogue about Myanmar and football, and co-author of The Cult at the End of the World, about Japan’s Aum Supreme Truth Cult and high-tech terrorism."
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