October 9, 2023
BANGKOK – The ambassador was basing her declaration on unconfirmed information from employers.
Ambassador Pannabha Chandraramya reported the scenario to a meeting chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Phumtham Wechayachai in his capacity as caretaker prime minister.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Kanchana Patarachoke said Phumtham had chaired the urgent meeting on behalf of Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, who is currently in Hong Kong.
The meeting was informed that officials had been dispatched to pacify the families of affected workers.
The Consular Department has also spoken to Wanida Angkaew, the wife of one of the Thais being held hostage, to assure her that the authorities would take all possible measures to try and free him and other Thai hostages.
The spokesperson added that the Foreign Ministry has instructed the Thai embassy in Kuala Lumpur to coordinate with Palestine to secure the release of Thais captured by Hamas militants.
The meeting, which was held to discuss the latest situation in Israel in the wake of the unprecedented Hamas attack on Saturday, was held on Sunday at the Consular Department. The ambassador had joined the meeting via videoconferencing.
Attending were top officials, including PM’s Secretary-General Prommin Lertsuridej, Deputy Foreign Minister Jakkapong Sangmanee and representatives of the National Security Council, the Royal Thai Air Force, the Labour Department, the Public Health Ministry and the Social Development and Human Security Ministry.
The ambassador reported that clashes in the border towns near the Gaza Strip were ongoing and the Israeli government had blocked the area. She added that nobody living in the area was allowed to leave their homes.
Pannabha said that since internet connection in the area had been cut off, the embassy in Tel Aviv could only contact Thai workers through telephone.
Thai workers living in other parts of Israel were still not affected, she said.
The ambassador added that the embassy had received a preliminary report that eight Thai workers had been injured and two killed. One death was confirmed by Israeli officials and the other by the employer.
The ambassador added that some other employers had reported that more Thai workers had been killed, but said the embassy had yet to verify the information.
She also said that 11 Thai workers were reportedly captured by Hamas militants and the embassy was in the process of coordinating with the Israeli government to provide them with help.
Meanwhile, Kanchana said the meeting also discussed an operation to evacuate Thai workers and to provide remedies to affected people.
The meeting had learned that no other country has been able to evacuate its citizens so far, but the Thai government will take measures for evacuation and enforce it when it can be done.
She added that the evacuation of Thai workers will be done on a voluntary basis.
Meanwhile, the meeting has assured all government agencies concerned to monitor the situation closely and provide as much help to Thais in Israel as possible.