6 June 2024

The Permanent Secretary of the Defence Ministry has recalled an army major-general from Suvarnabhumi international airport and ordered an investigation into his reported decision to let 152 Thais, arriving from abroad yesterday, to return home instead of being quarantined in state facilities.

Defence Ministry spokesman Lt-Gen Kongcheep Tantrawanich said today that the fact-finding committee will determine whether Maj-Gen Kosol Chujai, a specialist attached to the Office of the Defence Permanent Secretary, had acted beyond his authority.

He explained that the Defence Ministry has deployed military personnel to support health officials in screening passengers arriving at Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang international airports.

A stand-off ensued after several arriving passengers protested and refused to be quarantined at state facilities, claiming that they were not told in advance about the requirement.

Maj-Gen Kosol reportedly spoke to the passengers and agreed to let them leave the airport, over the reported objections by health officials at the scene.

On March 3rd, the Sports Authority of Thailand sent a letter to the manager of Lumpini boxing stadium, in the Ramintra area of Bangkok, instructing a postponement of a major boxing tournament, to be held on March 6th.  The manager is also head of the Army Welfare Department.

The warning was ignored and the tournament went ahead, resulting in a cluster of over 50 COVID-19 infections scattered across the country.