Thailand - updates

Rappler's latest stories on Thailand


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.

King Maha Vajiralongkorn crowned Rama X of Thailand

May 04, 2019 - 1:42 PM

(UPDATED) This is the highlight of an elaborate 3-day coronation ceremony

This screengrab from Thai TV Pool video taken on May 4, 2019 shows Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn as he was crowned during his coronation in Bangkok. (Photo by Thai TV Pool / THAI TV POOL / AFP)

From bodyguard to Queen, Thailand's Suthida makes public debut

May 02, 2019 - 10:48 PM

Thailand's Queen Suthida is seen kneeling alongside the king as they pay their respects to statues of previous Chakri dynasty monarchs in Bangkok's historic quarter

PUBLIC DEBUT. Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn (L) and Queen Suthida (R) pay their respect at King Rama V monument in Bangkok on May 2, 2019, ahead of the royal coronation which will take place from May 4 to 6. Photo by Dailynews/Pool/AFP

Thailand set for coronation of King Rama X, first in 69 years

May 02, 2019 - 4:05 PM

The May 4-6 coronation comes more than two years after Vajiralongkorn ascended the throne at the death of his father Bhumibol Adulyadej.

THAILAND'S KING. A woman walks past a portrait of Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn in Bangkok on May 1, 2019, ahead of his coronation which will take place from May 4 to 6. Photo by Jewel Samad/AFP

Thai King announces consort to be Queen ahead of coronation

May 01, 2019 - 11:01 PM

The Royal Gazette has published an announcement saying Suthida Vajiralongkorn na Ayudhya, a former flight attendant, has 'legally married' the king in accordance with royal traditions

QUEEN. This screengrab from Thai TV Pool video taken on May 1, 2019 shows a ceremony in which Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn 'legally married' Suthida Vajiralongkorn na Ayudhya in Bangkok. Photo by Thai TV Pool/THAI TV POOL/AFP)

Royalist volunteers toil overtime for Thai King's coronation

May 01, 2019 - 4:01 PM

The 'Jit Arsa' program – or Spirit Volunteers – billows out across Thailand. It was founded in 2017 by Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn ahead of the cremation of his late father Bhumibol Adulyadej.

VOLUNTEER CORPS. This picture taken on April 25, 2019 shows Thailand Post Company Ltd employees arranging themselves for a group photograph in honor of Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn in Bangkok, ahead of his royal coronation. Photo by Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP

FALSE: Aquino admin officials 'stole, deposited' 3,500 metric tons of gold in Thailand

Apr 25, 2019 - 11:31 PM

The value of gold allegedly stolen and shipped is more than the value of the total gold reserves in the country

Thailand anti-junta party leader faces possible disqualification

Apr 24, 2019 - 9:34 AM

Last month's elections in Thailand remains in dispute after a political party backed by the junta that has ruled Thailand since 2014 and its main rival both claimed victory

UNDER SIEGE. File photo of Future Forward Party leader Thanatorn Juangroongruangkit (in white shirt) arrives at Pathumwan police station to hear sedition charges brought against him by the National Council for Peace and Order, in Bangkok on April 6, 2019. Photo by Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP

Thai new year splashes in with water fights, raves

Apr 13, 2019 - 6:14 PM

As the sun sets, tens of thousands of ravers from across Asia are expected to dance into Saturday night under massive water cannons and spectacular pyrotechnics

NEW YEAR. Revellers spray water on two men pretending to study during the annual Songkran, or Thai New Year, celebrations on Khaosan Road in Bangkok on April 13, 2019.  Photo by Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP

Against the tide: Thailand 'floating temple' defies coastal erosion

Apr 13, 2019 - 2:26 PM

In Thailand, a quarter of the country's shores – or about 700 kilometers – are eroding, some 'severely', according to data by the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources

FLOATING TEMPLE. This aerial photo taken on March 9, 2019 shows a view of a Buddhist temple isolated by coastal erosion in Samut Chin village, off the shore of Samut Prakan. Photo by Jonathan Klein/AFP

Water battles with elephants kick off Thai New Year

Apr 11, 2019 - 6:05 PM

Traditionally marked by paying respects to elders and sprinkling water over Buddha figures at local temples, the Songkran holiday has largely evolved into a raucous water fight

SONGKRAN. Revellers and elephants splash water at each other during a ceremony to celebrate the Buddhist New Year, locally known as Songkran, in Ayutthaya on April 11, 2019. Photo by Jewel Samad/AFP

Rising Thai political star hit with sedition charges

Apr 06, 2019 - 6:37 PM

'We believe we are innocent. I did everything in good faith,' says Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, who heads the youth-oriented Future Forward Party

CHARGED. File photo of Thai tycoon, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, leader of the Future Forward Party. Photo by  Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP

Scores of poll winners could be disqualified in Thai vote

Apr 05, 2019 - 5:26 PM

An election commissioner says the body will investigate '66 people who got the highest votes in the constituency system' who were hit with complaints

ELECTIONS. Security personnel stand guard as voters arrive to cast their ballots at a polling station in Narathiwat on March 24, 2019 during Thailand's general election. File photo by Madaree Tohlala/AFP

Thai pro-marijuana party in high demand after disputed vote

Apr 03, 2019 - 11:33 PM

The Bhumjaithai Party is fronted by mega-wealthy Anutin Charnvirakul, an amateur pilot, son of a construction tycoon, and unlikely proponent of the medical benefits of marijuana

ANUTIN CHARNVIRAKUL. Bhumjaithai Party leader Anutin Charnvirakul speaks during an interview with Agence France-Presse in Bangkok on April 3, 2019. Photo by Romeo Gacad/AFP

Thai demonstrators protest alleged cheating in election

Mar 31, 2019 - 8:43 PM

Full results will be ratified by May 9 but anger has mounted as the wait continues, prompting demonstrations at two Bangkok landmarks

Thai candidates lodge complaints over 'election irregularities'

Mar 29, 2019 - 4:25 PM

There have been more than 140 complaints filed since the Sunday vote in Thailand, the Election Commission says

THAI ELECTIONS. Security personnel stand guard as voters arrive to cast their ballots at a polling station in Narathiwat on March 24, 2019 during Thailand's general election. Photo by Madaree Tohlala/AFP

Bodybags, rats, waste: Disaster response turns to VR for grim training

Mar 27, 2019 - 2:28 PM

Virtual reality is increasingly sought after for skills training. Disaster zone rescue is the latest in a series of VR simulations from the Red Cross.

VR FOR TRAINING. This photo taken on February 26, 2019 shows a Thai forensic police officer using a virtual reality headset to search for victims in a simulated city in ruins at the police headquarters in Chon Buri province. Photo by Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP

7 Thai parties form coalition to thwart junta

Mar 27, 2019 - 8:55 AM

(3rd UPDATE) Pheu Thai, affiliated with self-exiled former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, joins forces with 6 other parties in a bid to halt military-backed factions from leading the country

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha arrives at the Government House for a cabinet meeting in Bangkok on March 26, 2019, two days after the country's general election.  Ye Aung THU / AFP

Messy days ahead as Thai factions jostle to lead next government

Mar 26, 2019 - 3:39 PM

(UPDATED) The junta is in pole position to return to power as a civilian administration after preliminary results from the March 24 poll showed its proxy party had secured an unexpected majority of the popular vote

PRAYUT CHAN-O-CHA. Thailand's Prime Minister 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. Photo by Ye Aung Thu/AFP

Thai military accused of 'rigged' election by former PM Thaksin

Mar 25, 2019 - 3:15 PM

(UPDATED) The junta is primed to retain its grip on power despite only having a slight edge in the popular vote, after election officials released the first unofficial early results for seats in the lower house

THAILAND ELECTIONS. A vendor arranges newspapers at her newsstand in Bangkok on March 25, 2019 a day after Thailand's general election. Photo by Ye Aung Thu/AFP

Thai junta party takes shock lead in first general election since 2014 coup

Mar 24, 2019 - 6:57 PM

(3rd UPDATE) The election pits a royalist junta and allies against the election-winning machine of billionaire ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra and an unpredictable wave of millions of first-time voters

HISTORIC VOTE. A woman casts her ballot at a polling station in Narathiwat on March 24, 2019 during Thailand's general election. Photo by Madaree Tohlala/AFP

Rival rallies grip Bangkok as election crunch time looms

Mar 22, 2019 - 9:17 PM

Thailand is broadly divided between pro-Shinawatra factions and an elite aligned with the military, which has portrayed itself as a stabilizing force and defender of the country's monarchy

FINAL RALLY. Thailand's junta leader and Phalang Pracharat party's candidate for prime minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha speaks during the party's final major campaign rally in Bangkok on March 22, 2019, ahead of the March 24 general election. Photo by Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP

Man of Zeal: #SupermanBangkok champions voting ahead of Thai poll

Mar 22, 2019 - 3:51 PM

Dressed in a Superman suit with a red cape flowing behind him, a sweaty David Pfizenmaier jogs through Bangkok's standstill traffic and stops to unfurl a sign: 'If you love Thailand: Vote'

Thai-German national David Pfizenmaier walks up a pedestrian bridge in a Superman costume whilst encouraging Thais to vote in the upcoming election in Bangkok on March 21, 2019. - Dressed in a Superman suit with red cape flowing behind him, a sweaty David Pfizenmaier jogs through Bangkok's standstill traffic and stops to unfurl a sign. The 40-year-old Thai-German said on March 21 he is not campaigning for a specific party, but is instead on a mission to boost turnout, especially among younger voters, "because the military government is not the solution for the long term." (Photo by Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP) / TO GO WITH Thailand-politics-vote, SCENE by Joe FREEMAN

Cliffhanger election looms as record number of Thais turn out for early voting

Mar 18, 2019 - 10:39 PM

With election day looming, voter enthusiasm is writ large across the country and online, with Thais sharing memes and engaging in online debate

EARLY VOTING. A woman casts her ballot during early voting in Bangkok on March 17, 2019, ahead of the March 24 general election.Photo by Jewel Samad/AFP

Fast cars, polo, parties: Thai 'High Society' flourishes in unequal kingdom

Mar 16, 2019 - 3:35 PM

Thailand boasts 50 billionaires, according to the latest rich list published by China-based researchers at the Hurun Report, the ninth-most in the world and more than France, Japan and Singapore

(FILES) This file photo taken on January 19, 2019 shows Thai women and foreign guests gathering on the field for photos after the Thai Polo Open 2019 tournament, the country's premier annual equestrian sporting event at a polo club in Pattaya. Wealth is a hot button election issue ahead of polls this month after nearly five years of junta rule. Party leaders from across the political spectrum wield promises of raising incomes and addressing inequality.   Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP

Thai junta chief says cybersecurity bill not used to 'tap' phones

Mar 15, 2019 - 10:48 AM

Thailand's junta leader Prayut Chan-O-Cha says: 'When I talk about cybersecurity, don't get this confused with human rights... No one will tap phone calls of others'

Thailand to begin testing medical marijuana on patients

Mar 09, 2019 - 8:59 AM

Thailand is the first in Southeast Asia to embrace medical marijuana though recreational use remains illegal

MEDICAL MARIJUANA. Cannabis plants in bloom. File photo by Pablo Porciuncula/AFP

WATCH: Erich Gonzales reunites with Mario Maurer in Thailand

Mar 08, 2019 - 12:46 PM

The two catch up in a video posted on Erich's YouTube channel

REUNITED. Erich Gonzales and Mario Maurer catch up in Thailand. Screenshot from

Thai court dissolves Shinawatra-linked party over princess PM bid

Mar 07, 2019 - 4:49 PM

(3rd UPDATE) Thai Raksa Chart party executives – including two Shinawatra family members – are banned from politics for a decade

THE SHINAWATRAS. Former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra receives gifts from supporters as she arrives at the Supreme Court in Bangkok on July 21, 2017. File photo by Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP

Thai general who led coup pines for 'democracy' in election ballad

Mar 04, 2019 - 4:50 PM

A former army chief who seized power in 2014, Prayut Chan-o-cha wants to return after March 24 polls as a civilian prime minister and pens songs intended to inspire the nation

PRAYUT CHAN-O-CHA. This handout picture taken and released by Royal Thai Government on February 16, 2019 shows Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha (R) speaking with a woman at the Chatuchak market in Bangkok. Handout photo by Royal Thai Government/AFP

Thousands stranded in Thailand after Pakistan closes airspace

Feb 28, 2019 - 2:29 PM

The disruption follows a snowballing crisis between nuclear-armed neighbors Pakistan and India, which has raised fears of an all-out war

STRANDED IN THAILAND. Stranded passengers wait at the check-in area at the Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok on February 28, 2019. Photo by Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP

Maverick tycoon and darling of Thai millennials decries political attacks

Feb 27, 2019 - 3:41 PM

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, the scion of a billionaire auto-parts maker, is the charismatic frontman of Future Forward, a new party targeting the Thailand urban youth vote with a staunchly anti-junta platform

Thai tycoon, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, leader of the Future Forward Party, greets supporters on arrival at the Office of the Attorney General in Bangkok on February 27, 2019. Thanathorn faces charges over anti-junta speech on Facebook ahead of the March 24 national election.  Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP

Alab Pilipinas blasts Travis-less Mono Vampire

Feb 23, 2019 - 6:44 PM

The defending ABL champion cruises to its 16th triumph against a Thai side sorely missing PBA champion import Romeo Travis

BACK AT IT. PJ Ramos quickly gets to work after a one-game suspension. Photo by Michael Gatpandan/Rappler

[OPINION] Thailand puts its spice in ASEAN 2019

Feb 23, 2019 - 5:00 PM

Thailand has been cooking up a set of major 'dishes' it plans to serve at this year’s ASEAN 'party'

Thai junta shoots down proposal to slash defense spending

Feb 19, 2019 - 12:02 AM

The country spends among the most on defense in Southeast Asia and recent big purchases have drawn criticism in a state riddled with inequality and corruption

DEFENSE SPENDING. In this file photo, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha arrives at Government House before a cabinet meeting in Bangkok on August 9, 2016. File photo by Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP

Junta chief's bid for prime minister intact after whirlwind week in Thai politics

Feb 15, 2019 - 4:35 PM

Still standing after the spin-dryer events of the last week, loyalists of Prayut Chan-O-Cha say his bid for premier is in robust shape

PRAYUT CHAN-O-CHA. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

Thai court to hear case against party behind princess political bid

Feb 14, 2019 - 10:27 PM

Party officials fear the case is being hustled through ahead of the March 24 election, which is already stacked in favor of the ruling junta, whose leader Prayut Chan-O-Cha wants to return as a civilian premier

THAI ELECTIONS. In this file photo, an official of Raksa Chart party holds the registration document bearing the photograph of Thai Princess Ubolratana prior to submitting to election commission officials in Bangkok on February 8, 2019. File photo by Krit Phromsakla Na Sakolnakorn / Thai News Pix/AFP