Thailand - updates

Rappler's latest stories on Thailand

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Fall of a royal consort and the Thai king's assertive reign

Oct 22, 2019 - 3:34 PM

It is not the first time King Maha Vajiralongkorn has made his powerful presence felt since ascending the throne in 2016. Here are 5 ways royal power has been displayed under Thailand's new king so far.

In this file undated handout from Thailand's Royal Office received on August 26, 2019, Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn walks with royal noble consort Sineenat Bilaskalayani, also known as Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi. Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn has stripped his 34-year-old consort of all titles, the palace announced October 21, a shock move less than three months after she was bestowed with a position that had not been used for nearly a century. Handout / THAILAND'S ROYAL OFFICE / AFP AFP

Thai king strips 'disloyal' royal consort of all titles – palace

Oct 21, 2019 - 10:17 PM

Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi is dismissed from the rank of Chao Khun Phra – or noble consort – for 'disloyalty to the king' and 'acting against the appointment of the Queen (Suthida)...for her own ambitions'

'DISLOYAL.' In this file undated handout from Thailand's Royal Office received on August 26, 2019, Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn stands with royal noble consort Sineenat Bilaskalayani, also known as Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi. AFP PHOTO / THAILAND'S ROYAL OFFICE

Shunned by Chinese tourists, Thailand's Phuket braces for rare slump

Oct 20, 2019 - 9:45 PM

Chinese tourists are usually present even during Phuket's low season, but that is 'not the case this year'

(FILES) In this file photo taken on October 02, 2019, a couple sit at a restaurant on Raway beach on Phuket island. - Hotels in Thailand's most popular holiday island have been forced to slash prices with rooms left vacant and beaches sparse as tourist chiefs struggle with a plunge in visitors from China caused by the US trade war and stronger baht. (Photo by Mladen ANTONOV / AFP)

13-foot king cobra captured from sewer in Thailand

Oct 19, 2019 - 4:42 PM

It takes 7 rescue workers one hour to pull out the 13-foot, 15-kilo king cobra

WRESTLED. This handout from the Krabi Pitakpracha Foundation taken on October 13, 2019 and received on October 15, 2019 shows members of the rescue foundation holding a 13-foot long king cobra that was found in a sewer in Krabi. Handout / Krabi Pitakpracha Foundation/AFP

Mouthwatering? Thai island hosts cheek-piercing veg festival

Oct 12, 2019 - 4:12 PM

In the tourist island of Phuket, the nine-day Taoist 'Nine Emperor Gods' festival is in full swing. Hundreds of participants march down streets showcasing a dizzying variety of piercings.

SKEWER. A devotee of a Chinese shrine with a skewer pierced through her cheek takes part in a procession during the annual Vegetarian Festival in Phuket on October 5, 2019.  Photo by Mladen Antonov/AFP

6 wild elephants drown after slipping off waterfall in Thai park

Oct 05, 2019 - 11:28 PM

Officials are able to rescue two elephants that were 'extremely distressed' because of the incident

DROWNED. This photo by Thai News Pix taken on October 5, 2019 shows a dead elephant at the bottom of a waterfall after it fell to its death at Khao Yai National Park in central Thailand. AFP photo/Thai News Pix

Shorthanded PH volleyball team folds to powerhouse Thailand

Oct 05, 2019 - 10:18 PM

Playing minus 4 key players, the Philippines bows to first-leg winner Thailand in straight sets

ASEAN Volleyball Grand Prix event

Thai judge shoots himself in court after railing at justice system

Oct 05, 2019 - 8:57 PM

Kanakorn Pianchana shoots himself after acquitting 5 suspects of a murder case

13 dead in Thailand after truck carrying students flips over

Sep 29, 2019 - 4:48 PM

The pick-up truck flips over while trying to change lanes

Trafficked to extinction: Malaysia and Thailand

Sep 26, 2019 - 6:00 PM

Demand for pangolins has penetrated even into villages deep in the Malaysian jungle. Near the Malaysia-Thai border, meanwhile, professional smugglers are hired to send the goods across the border.

Thai MPs call for PM to resign following oath omission

Sep 18, 2019 - 5:05 PM

Though Prayut Chan-O-Cha and his cabinet pledged loyalty to the king, they did not recite allegiance to the constitution upon being sworn in as the civilian premier in July

RESIGNATION CALLS. Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha speaks during the opening of the Indo-Pacific Army Chiefs Conference (IPACC) meeting in Bangkok on September 9, 2019. Photo by Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP

Thailand's northeast inundated after tropical storm

Sep 14, 2019 - 5:53 PM

The floods leave more than 23,000 people in evacuation shelters as anger grows over the government's 'slow' emergency response

THAILAND FLOOD. A dog stands on a boat on a flooded street in Thailand's northeastern province of Ubon Ratchathani on September 14, 2019. Photo by Krit Phromsakla Na Sakolnakorn/AFP

Pope Francis to visit Thailand, Japan in November

Sep 14, 2019 - 9:28 AM

Pope Francis will travel to Thailand from November 20-23, and then to Japan on November 26, the Vatican says

POPE FRANCIS. Pope Francis' and Father Pedro's Opeka arrives at the humanitarian association Akamasoa in Antananarivo, Madagascar, on September 8, 2019. Photo by Tiziana Fabi/AFP

Thailand first in Asia to roll out plain cigarette packaging

Sep 10, 2019 - 7:13 PM

Keeping a uniform typeface below graphic depictions of smoking-related illnesses will make the products less attractive to buyers, says Prakit Vathesatogkit, vice chair of the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance

PLAIN PACKAGING. This photo illustration shows new generic packaging for cigarettes in Bangkok on September 10, 2019. Photo by Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP

When the personal is political: Defending human rights in Thailand

Sep 10, 2019 - 6:00 PM

Angkhana Neelapaijit, the wife of an enforced disappearance victim, receives the Ramon Magsaysay Award 2019 for being a champion of human rights in Thailand

2019 Ramon Magsaysay awardee Angkhana Neelapaijit. September 5, 2019. Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

Bangkok is city with most international visitors in 2018 – report

Sep 06, 2019 - 10:25 AM

Bangkok, Thailand tops the list for the 4th straight year with almost 23 million international visitors in 2018, beating Paris and London

1st ASEAN-U.S. Maritime Exercise underway in Thailand

Sep 03, 2019 - 8:39 PM

The drills are aimed at strengthening alliances among the US and Southeast Asian navies for 'an unparalleled advantage that no competitor or rival can match,' says a US Navy officer

PHILIPPINE CONTINGENT. The BRP Ramon Alcaraz and a crew of around 200 sailors from the Philippine Navy and the Philippine Marines left Manila for Thailand on August 28, 2019, to join the first ever ASEAN-U.S. Maritime Exercise. Photo by JC Gotinga/Rappler

Beloved baby dugong 'Mariam' dies in Thailand with plastic in stomach

Aug 17, 2019 - 4:00 PM

One comment online says: 'It's a pity for those who fed her milk and collected sea grass for their little daughter that we have to lose Mariam because of plastic waste'

(FILES) This file picture taken on May 24, 2019 shows Mariam the dugong as she is cared for by park officials and veterinarians from the Phuket Marine Biological Centre on Libong island, Trang province in southern Thailand. A sick baby dugong whose fight for recovery won hearts in Thailand and cast a spotlight on ocean conservation died from an infection quickened by bits of plastic lining her stomach, officials said on August 17, 2019.   Sirachai ARUNRUGSTICHAI / AFP

5 Filipinos win blitz in Thailand chess tiff

Aug 05, 2019 - 1:00 PM

Daniel Quizon, Ruelle Canino, Allaney Doroy, Mark Jay Bacojo, and Franiel Angela Magpily all triumph in the Eastern Asian Youth Chess Tournament

ROMP. Ruelle Canino sweeps the nine-round under 12. Contributed photo


Footage shows Bangkok bombing in mall minutes from ASEAN meeting

Aug 03, 2019 - 6:38 PM

Thai authorities say there were 9 successful or attempted bomb blasts throughout Bangkok which left 4 wounded as the city hosted the ASEAN ministerial meeting

Police conduct an investigation at the scene of an explosion in Bangkok on August 2, 2019. At least two small bombs exploded in Bangkok on August 2, rattling the Thai capital as it hosted a regional summit attended by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and leaving two people wounded. Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP

No Filipino harmed in Bangkok bombing – DFA

Aug 03, 2019 - 7:15 AM

'Filipinos staying and traveling in Thailand are urged to remain calm, but take extra precautions,' the Department of Foreign Affairs says

BOMB SITE. A policeman conducts an investigation at the scene of an explosion in Bangkok on August 2, 2019. Photo by Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP

Steps with Theera: A coffee shop for a cause

Aug 02, 2019 - 2:23 PM

This vocational training center in Bangkok aims to provide job opportunities for people with special needs

PARTNERSHIP. Steps with Theera partners with companies to provide work experience for their trainees. All photos by Steps with Theera

Bombs rattle Bangkok during ASEAN summit

Aug 02, 2019 - 11:57 AM

(3rd UPDATE) At least 4 people are wounded when several small bombs explode as the Thai capital hosts the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting

A policeman conducts an investigation at the scene of an explosion in Bangkok on August 2, 2019. Two people were injured as at least two small explosions hit Bangkok, police said, as the political febrile country hosts a regional summit attended by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP

4 dead in rebel attack on Thai army base

Jul 24, 2019 - 2:53 PM

Militants strike at the remote base in Pattani province, throwing grenades and laying down nearly an hour of automatic fire, an army spokesman explains

ATTACKED. Police investigators and armed soldiers arrive at the site following an attack by militants at a military checkpoint in Pattani on July 24, 2019. Photo by Tuwaedaniya Meringing/AFP

Thai farmers on the cash trail with snail slime

Jul 21, 2019 - 4:55 PM

Snails, once the scourge of rice farmers, are now prized in the multimillion-dollar global snail beauty market

This picture taken on June 28, 2019 shows Phatinisiri Thangkeaw milking a snail of its serum at her farm in Nakhon Nayok province. - Giant snails inch across a plate of pumpkin and cucumber in central Thailand, an "organic" diet to tease the prized collagen-rich mucus from the molluscs, which to some cosmetic firms are now more valuable than gold. (Photo by Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP)

2 Filipinos missing at Phuket beach

Jul 18, 2019 - 5:40 PM

The Department of Foreign Affairs says the two Filipinos were reportedly playing in the sea when they were swept away by waves during a heavy storm

PH urges Thailand to comply with customs valuation reforms on cigarette exports

Jul 12, 2019 - 8:09 PM

The World Trade Organization rules in favor of the Philippines a third time in its decade-long cigarette export dispute against Thailand

Thai man sentenced to death for German tourist rape, murder

Jul 12, 2019 - 1:25 PM

A Thai court announces the verdict and sentences Ronnakorn Romruen, a 24-year-old garbage collector, to death on Wednesday, July 10

New Thai leader keeps junta powers of arbitrary detention

Jul 10, 2019 - 3:48 PM

Prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha defends his original invoking of junta-era powers as a way of 'solving problems'

NEW THAI LEADER. Prayut Chan-O-Cha smiles after the royal endorsement ceremony appointing him as Thailand's new prime minister at Government House in Bangkok on June 11, 2019. File photo by Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP

The Dugong Show: 24-hour webcast shows star Thai sea cows

Jul 08, 2019 - 1:15 AM

Thailand's beloved baby dugongs Mariam and Jamil can now be viewed through a 24-hour livestream

This picture taken on May 23, 2019 shows Mariam the dugong as she swims in the waters around Libong island, Trang province in southern Thailand. - An orphaned baby dugong rescued off a beach in Krabi province is Thailand's newest star, capturing the hearts of millions on social media and igniting an awarness for ocean conservation as authorities hand-raise the young mammal. (Photo by Sirachai ARUNRUGSTICHAI / AFP)

Thai beauty queen aspirant criticized for calling Catriona Gray 'fat'

Jul 07, 2019 - 12:24 PM

Coco Arayha Suparurk has since deleted the post but pageant fans aren't having it

New orphan dugong named 'handsome sea prince' by Thai royal

Jul 06, 2019 - 9:46 PM

The dugong or sea cow is under the care of Phuket Marine Biological Center, after being found with scratches on its back

DUGONG. This undated handout from Thailand's Department of Marine and Coastal Resources released on July 6, 2019 shows Jamil the dugong as he is being cared for at the Phuket Marine Biological Center in Phuket. Handout photo/AFP

Thailand's orphaned baby dugong becomes conservation star

Jul 03, 2019 - 8:49 PM

Found stranded on a beach in May at 6 months old, the ocean mammal has been receiving daily care from park officials, local conservation groups, and veterinarians at Phuket Marine Biological Center

CONSERVATION. This picture taken on May 23, 2019 shows Mariam the dugong as she is cared for by park officials and veterinarians from the Phuket Marine Biological Center on Libong island, Trang province in southern Thailand. File photo by Sirachai Arunrugstichai/AFP

Thailand's 'Wild Boars' pay respects to hero diver who died in rescue

Jun 25, 2019 - 9:11 AM

Thai Navy SEAL diver Saman Gunan died during the operation, the only fatality of the three-week ordeal at the Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand

A member of the "Wild Boars" football team places flowers in front of a statue of Saman Gunan, the Thai navy diver who died during the rescue of the team from the Tham Luang cave, during the first anniversary of their rescue in the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province on June 24, 2019. Thailand's "Wild Boars" footballers, who captivated the world one year ago after floods trapped them underground for nearly three weeks, paid respects on June 24 to the diver who died during the rescue efforts. Jittrapon KAICOME / AFP

Duterte asks Thai businessmen to invest more in PH

Jun 22, 2019 - 6:32 PM

The President also calls on Thai companies to participate in his administration's Build, Build, Build

THAILAND VISIT. Thai companies pay a courtesy call on President Rodrigo Duterte during his visit to Bangkok, Thailand. Photo by Allan Nawal/Rappler

'Wild Boars' deal with fame one year after Thai cave rescue

Jun 20, 2019 - 6:06 PM

Their newfound fame has also forced silence on them, as the boys and their families can no longer talk freely about their ordeal – the result of exclusivity contracts that ban them from speaking to the press

A YEAR AFTER. This picture taken on June 13, 2019 shows visitors posing for photos in front of a statue of Saman Gunan, the Thai diver who died during the efforts to rescue the 12 boys from the '€œWild Boars'€ football team and their coach who were trapped in the Tham Luang cave last year, at the cave's visitor centre in the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province. Photo by Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP

65 Rohingyas found shipwrecked in Thailand

Jun 12, 2019 - 2:20 PM

The boat is discovered on June 11 in the Tarutao Marine National Park in southern Thailand, some 400 kilometers from the border of Myanmar

SHIPWRECK. This handout picture taken on June 11, 2019 and released by Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) on June 12 shows a boat at the Tarutao Marine National Park on Rawi island, southern Thailand. Photo by DNP/AFP

Thai junta chief Prayut made prime minister in royal decree

Jun 11, 2019 - 4:32 PM

'I will promote a peaceful environment for a unified society based on love, unity and compassion,' Prayut says after the royal decree was read out at Government House

PRIME MINISTER. Prayut Chan-O-Cha smiles after the royal endorsement ceremony appointing him as Thailand's new prime minister at Government House in Bangkok on June 11, 2019. Photo by Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP

'Not here for decoration:' Thai transgender MPs make history in parliament

Jun 06, 2019 - 3:40 PM

Tanwarin Sukkhapisit, a lawmaker for the progressive anti-junta Future Forward Party, is one of 4 transgender MPs in the house – pioneers in a society where discrimination in education, employment and at home persists

A NEW THAI MP. In this picture taken on June 5, 2019, Future Forward Party MP Tanwarin Sukkhapisit poses before the parliamentary vote for Thailand's new prime minister in Bangkok. Photo by Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP

Thai lawmakers elect junta chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha as PM

Jun 06, 2019 - 12:25 AM

Prayut Chan-O-Cha sweeps aside his sole challenger, the charismatic 40-year-old billionaire Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit who led the anti-military bloc, comfortably passing the 375-vote threshold to win a majority

PRIME MINISTER. This file photo shows Prayut Chan-O-Cha at the Asia-Europe Meeting in Brussels, Belgium in October 2018. File photo by Emmanuel Dunand/AFP

Thai parliament to vote for PM with junta chief in prime position

Jun 05, 2019 - 2:16 PM

Prayut Chan-O-Cha, who seized power in 2014, is all but assured of completing his transformation from junta head to civilian leader with the support of 250 hand-picked senators

PRAYUT CHAN-O-CHA. Prayut Chan-O-Cha plays a traditional flute as he arrives at the Government House for a cabinet meeting in Bangkok on March 26, 2019, two days after the country's general election. File photo by Ye Aung Thu/AFP

50 children saved after police bust pedophile website – Interpol

May 23, 2019 - 4:25 PM

More arrests are expected as police in nearly 60 countries pursue investigations stemming from an Interpol operation launched two years ago into a hidden 'dark web' site with 63,000 users worldwide

Hero dog saves buried baby in northeastern Thailand

May 18, 2019 - 3:10 PM

The baby boy is healthy, recovering in hospital, and is so young he has no name yet

Keyboard predators: Southeast Asia's kids targeted by online pedophiles

May 18, 2019 - 9:00 AM

Technology is shifting the patterns of abuse in a region with growing access to broadband internet and encrypted technology

Rights groups, family demand answers on missing Thai activists

May 11, 2019 - 5:42 PM

A Thailand deputy prime minister denies the missing activists are in government custody

PRAYUT CHAN-O-CHA. This handout photo released and taken by Royal Thai Government on February 11, 2019 shows Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha presiding over a meeting at the Government House in Bangkok. Handout photo

Thai activist jailed for insulting monarchy freed in royal pardon

May 10, 2019 - 1:28 PM

Jatupat 'Pai Dao Din' Boonpatararaksa is greeted by hundreds of jubilant family and friends after leaving the Khon Kaen provincial prison

ROYAL PARDON. This file photo taken on May 14, 2018 shows Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn presiding over the annual royal plowing ceremony outside Bangkok's royal palace. File photo by Panupong Changchai/Thai News Pix/AFP

Thai junta-backed party needs few allies after election count

May 09, 2019 - 12:08 AM

The Junta-linked Palang Pracharat party now has 115 seats in the lower house, only 11 votes shy of a majority in the combined parliament thanks to 250 military-appointed senators

JUNTA-BACKED PARTY. In this file photo, candidates for the Palang Pracharath Party stand on stage in front of a screening of number one candidate and current Thai prime minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha, during a rally in the northeastern Thai province of Nakhon Ratchasima on March 10, 2019. File photo by Lillian  Suwanrumpha/AFP

Thai King praises 'unity' in speech on final coronation day

May 06, 2019 - 9:26 PM

'I want the unity shown here with this goodwill to be an encouraging sign for everybody, all sides to perform their duties for the prosperity of our country,' King Maha Vajiralongkorn says

KING. Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn (C), Queen Suthida and his daughter Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol (L) wave to well-wishers from the balcony of Suddhaisavarya Prasad Hall of the Grand Palace as they grant a public audience on the final day of his royal coronation in Bangkok on May 6, 2019. Photo by Jewel Samad/AFP

'Long live the King!': Thai monarch carried in grand coronation procession

May 05, 2019 - 6:29 PM

(UPDATED) Thais wearing yellow shirts flock to the streets to witness King Rama X's procession

Thai King Rama X set for first grand procession since coronation

May 05, 2019 - 12:40 PM

The king bestows royal titles on family members who crawl to his throne as he sits next to his new Queen Suthida.