Residents started gathering at the checkpoint in front of the Tesco-Lotus Cherng Talay store at about 6pm yesterday evening (May 2).
The villagers massed and called for a change of officers stationed at the checkpoint. The only reason given publicly for the wanted change was that they were “dissatisfied” with the officers currently stationed at the checkpoint.
The mass gathering soon saw Thalang District Chief Suwit Suriyawong together with Phuket Provincial Police Deputy Commander Col Chanuchan Cholsuwat, Cherng Talay Police Chief Col Phirachai Pomboonmee and a host of other leading officers and community leaders arriving to deflate the rising mob.
During talks local residents said they were “requesting” that “local” officers be stationed at the checkpoint “because they had an understanding of the context of the area”.
The top-ranking officials soon agreed.
Satisfied, the large gathering soon dispersed.
Officials made no mention of any action being taken against any persons at the scene breaking any health orders, despite daily reminders by health officials and much-repeated threats of prosecution delivered by Phuket’s Governor.
Currently villages Moo 2, Moo 3 and Moo 5 in Cherng Talay, which include the area of Bang Tao, are all under lockdown by order of the Phuket Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Incident Command Center, headed by the Phuket Provincial Health Office.
According to Cherng Talay Tambon Administration Organisation (OrBorTor) Chief MaAnn Samran, who is responsible for those villages, “No people are allowed to enter or exit those areas except for in case of emergencies or for health officials or other officers to perform their duties.”
New infections continue to be confirmed in the “high-risk” areas, also called “red zones” by officials. Three new cases reported as confirmed there yesterday, all three in Bang Tao, brought the total number of people in Phuket infected with the disease since the outbreak began to 220.