Expats dismayed over shutdown of news after military coup

Published:  22 May at 6 PM
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Tagged: USA, UK, Thailand, Money, England
After the martial law introduced earlier this week by the Thai army was overtaken by today's fill-blown military coup, many thousands of US and UK expats living in Thailand are unable to access news in the English language.

Foreigners living in Thailand’s Pattaya, Phuket, Hua Hin, Bangkok, Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai expat communities are facing a lack of information after all TV channels were closed several hours after the army took power in the latest coup. As yet, fears that the internet and its essential social media channels will also be blocked are unfounded, but rumours suggest it’s a strong possibility.

Embassies and consulates are doing little to allay anxiety, apart from announcing the coup on their websites several hours after it happened. Should the internet be shut down, not only would business and commerce lose out but Thais as well as expat residents would be unable to draw money from their accounts at ATMs and stores would be unable to take card payments.

On a lighter note, social animals in Thailand’s large expat communities are bemoaning the 22:00 curfew imposed this evening across the country, especially as there’s now no English language TV to watch. For many who arrived pre-2006, it’s the second coup they’ve experienced, and parallels will, no doubt, be drawn on local internet forums should the service stay connected.

Sympathy for tourism operations is growing, especially in Chiang Mai, which has no beach to attract visitors, and foreign-owned businesses already having a tough time due to the protests’ effect on the November to February high season won’t be happy about a possibly prolonged stage of emergency in the kingdom. In general, the number of visitors has diminished considerably since the protests began six months ago.
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