Standoff in Khlong Toei as police were called at 8 pm after a European Union diplomat insisted on access. The incident drew clarification today from the government when it announced that, in future, all diplomats and accredited personnel must now enter the alternative state quarantine system for a mandatory 14 day period after arriving in Thailand.
A female European diplomat was refused entry to an upmarket condominium complex on Thursday evening after the assistant manager discovered that she had just arrived off a plane from Germany and had not entered into quarantine. The condominium complex manager refused her admittance. Police were called at 8 pm to deal with the incident creating a standoff which finally ended at 10 pm when the foreign woman agreed to enter the state quarantine system.
A European diplomat was involved on Thursday evening in a standoff with the manager or juristic person of a high-class condominium complex in Bangkok.
The diplomat, a woman, had arrived at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport on a flight at 2 pm from Frankfurt in Germany.
Blonde haired woman accredited to the European Union sought access to a room booked through the diplomatic corps for her on Thursday evening
The blonde-haired woman, an accredited diplomat with the European Union, was seeking access to her accommodation at the expensive apartment block which had, reportedly, been booked for her through the diplomatic corps in Bangkok.
Police were called to the scene at 8 pm as the representative of the building refused to allow the woman, who had exited her official car to enter.
Arrived at Suvarnabhumi from Frankfurt, Germany
The EU diplomat had earlier been tested at Suvarnabhumi Airport at the new Covid 19 test facility. She had stayed at the airport to retrieve her test result, which came back negative.
Sources at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also point out that she was taken to the condominium complex in a personal car with a driver who was physically separated from her compartment.
Manager of the top condo building refused her entry
On arrival at the Millenium Residences in Khlong Toey, off Sukhumvit 20, Mrs Natasha Roys, the official at the building, refused her admittance after hearing that she had just come from Germany and had not quarantined.
Diplomatic sources suggest that the woman intended to self-quarantine at the apartment complex.
One of the points of confusion on Thursday evening was that the booking for the European woman at the upmarket apartment complex was reported to have been made in her personal name.
Tense atmosphere following an Egyptian military junket to Rayong last weekend that incensed locals
The atmosphere in Thailand, and particularly Bangkok, has grown somewhat nervous after a positive Covid test scare involving the daughter of a Sudanese diplomat whose family also stayed temporarily at a condominium building in Sathorn last weekend on arrival from Khartoum.
This followed a flying visit by an Egyptian military party to Rayong last weekend which resulted in another infection outside state quarantine.
The incident caused Prime Minister Prayut Chan ocha to apologise to the public but also to appeal for calm.
Late last week, a party of Egyptian soldiers flew into Thailand on a junket with 31 aboard a military plane that was able to fly on to China and back again, in one day. One of the soldiers later tested positive after the group had flown home.
The debacle caused disquiet among the Thai public who have paid dearly in economic terms for the strict controls that the government has mandated to ward off the infection but which has caused financial hardship for millions.
Thailand may have to live with some level or threat of infection if it is to fully re-open its economy
Indeed, this week, some commentators in Thailand have argued that the current, vigilant state of mind impressed on the public by the government may be counterproductive to Thailand’s longer-term interests.
It has been suggested that Thailand, like other Asian countries, may have to accept the virus at a reduced level of infection, once it does not threaten to overwhelm the health system if it is to reopen its export-orientated and tourism-dependent economy.
The medical quest for zero infections is becoming an issue not just in Thailand but in many other countries living with restrictions but with a growing economic imperative and need to reopen all areas of trade and commerce.
All ‘privileges’ cancelled for elite travellers
This week, the PM cancelled all ‘privileges’ for state guests including the diplomatic corps insisting that all visitors to Thailand must now undergo 14 days state quarantine before being admitted to the country.
Yesterday’s tense situation was resolved at around 10 pm, two hours after police were called to the scene.
The European diplomat eventually agreed to enter into the alternative state quarantine system where she will stay for 14 days under strict supervision.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman warns that no diplomats are VIPs or above the law but pointed to diplomatic rights under the Vienna Convention
A briefing was given, on Friday, by Cherdkiat Atthakor on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign affairs.
Mr Cherdkiat made it plain that the instructions of the Thai government this week were that there should be no exceptions to the quarantine rule.
However, he did point out that accredited diplomatic personnel have rights under the Vienna Convention.
The Vienna Convention was a treaty adopted in the Austrian capital city in 1961 and implemented in 1964 which set out protocols for the operation of diplomatic missions and the rights of diplomatic personnel in foreign countries.
Article 29 of the treaty states that diplomats have immunity from any sort of arrest or prosecution either on a civil or criminal basis. However, the country, they are accredited to, can waive such rights in any given situation.
The European Union mission to Thailand, which is based in Wireless Road, was established in Bangkok in 1979.
Nonetheless, on Friday, Mr Cherdkiat explained to the media that there were no VIPS or anyone above the law in Thailand.
Estonia’s top diplomat denied any link to the furore
On Friday, the Consul -General for Estonia waded into the controversy by making it clear that the diplomat at the centre of the storm on Thursday evening was not from Estonia, as earlier reported by Thai TV and other media, but rather attached to the European Union diplomatic mission to Thailand.
Clarification by the government – all diplomats arriving in Thailand must now enter state quarantine
It is understood that the matter was raised by the Centre of Covid 19 Administration on Friday.
The spokesman for the unit at the top tier of Thailand’s governments during this emergency, Dr Taweesin Visanuyothin, clarified that from now on, all ambassadors and diplomatic personnel entering Thailand will be required to enter into the alternative state quarantine system involving approved hotels working with the Ministry of Public Health.