A long siege ? A nightmare… Let’s do some math


Saturday gave plenty of signs of the current confusion. The police is not organized and not very keen anyway to follow orders. The army is still silent… The PAD adamant : they won’t move.

Hidding in Chiang Mai, Somchai, the alleged Prime Minister, shows his cowardness. Not really a proper way to deal with a national crisis, is it ? … But he’s adamant too : he won’t step down.

Sunday is the… sixth day of the blockade !

One point to consider : According to AOT, it would take 48 hours minimum to reopen the airport, when the protesters will leave.

The keyword is backlog. Not very nice since we speak about people… but that’s a fact. Tourists who want to leave Thailand are pilling up. Literally. And every passing day. Plus 30 000 per day.

So because the unbelievable (a long siege of the airport) starts to be possible… it could be a massive problem. It is already one.

Olarn [Deputy Prime Minister] said it would take a month to clear all stranded tourists, who now exceeded 100,000.

Weerasak [Transport Minister] said the government was preparing international airports like Phuket and Chiang Mai for the task, aside from U-tapao airport. Some landing equipment has been transferred to these airports, and they should be ready for service in 1-2 days, he said. (Nation)

By the way, let’s talk about U-Tapao. This airport was a big military base during the Vietnam war. It is located near Pattaya. But it can’t replace Suvarnabhumi. It’s just impossible. Plus the fact that many maintenance equipments for aircrafts are located in Suvarnabhumi.

Here is a report published by a ThaiVisa Forum member who is working for the tourism industry.

I was in U Tapao this afternoon (2 to 6 PM). […] But then at 5 PM people traffic into the hall from the curb started jamming up and people with megaphones called for people who’s flight was on to come forward and they couldn’t.

It felt pretty bad. Also coach and car traffic was massive at 5 PM. I dont know I had the impression it would be going into some kind of gridlock/chaos.

[…] I hope everyone gets through but not 100 airplane loads a day.

I had exactly 12 people from over 100 make it through today (check in Centara World, get boarding pass, TG transfer to U Tapao, luggage goes through in van. Nicely done and TG made a terrific effort to get them through but at this rate, I’m starting to feel a little stressed, because more people add each day to my numbers than the number I manage to get out.

International Herald Tribune give us more details :

But the tiny airport was overwhelmed by the influx. U-tapao airport’s parking lot has room for just 100 vehicles and its terminal can accommodate only 400 people at once, according to its Web site.

And Bangkok Post achieves to kill the beast ! 😉

Built in the 1960s by the US air force and equipped with just one X-ray scanner for bags, the airbase can only handle around 40 flights a day, compared to the 700-flight capacity of Bangkok’s gleaming Suvarnabhumi international airport.

And what about… the tourists who should arrive in Thailand ?

We have very detailed statistics. In october, 749 000 international tourists arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport. 25 000 per day... And normaly, november sees higher trafic (beginning of the high season).

The losses for the whole tourism industry are already huge.

To summarize : it’s already a nightmare. And it could get worse.

30 Responses to “A long siege ? A nightmare… Let’s do some math”

  1. 1 Fish 29 November 2008 at 9:07 pm

    Nice picture you have used there.. The numbers are staggering aren’t they.. wonder how many 0’s will be on the end of the cost of it all..

    I did laugh when i saw this on Reuters the brave police force;

    The onslaught lasted 15 seconds but left the five-lane highway, the main access route to the $4 billion airport, littered with broken glass and discarded police helmets and truncheons..

    a whole 15 seconds.. running away stripping as they flee ..bless em !

  2. 2 Doug 29 November 2008 at 11:01 pm

    You are doing a great job of monitoring and keeping us updated on the situation. You are now my primary news source, as the Nation and Post are far behind everything and you are on top of all the various news sources. Thank you, and keep up the good work.

  3. 3 tsr 30 November 2008 at 12:19 am

    when the airport siege began my flight home to the US on Dec 11 seemed ages away, now ??

  4. 4 thaichris 30 November 2008 at 1:19 am

    Where is the gorvernment? How leads this country? They should DO at least something, whatever it is. If they can not handle it, they should quit, leave.

    Oh, I forgot, they already left … to Chiang Mai. But they forgot to put somebody powerfull in charge during there “trip” up-country. Maybe they should have transfered the power to the current owner of the government house.

    Everybody calls for PAD to step back. Why should they? The only commen for the PAD is to make sure that Thaksin never returns to power. It they leave now, they gain nothing. If they stay, they loose nothing. Because they have nothing to loose. They already went to far. For them it is point of now return.

    So it is for others to make a move. Maybe the international community should stop to blame the PAD only and ask: Where is the government of Thailand? Because it’s there duty to keep law and order, notthe duty of PAD.
    And where was the STRONG reaction of the international community during the extrajudical killing (2’500+) during the ‘war against drug’? And who helped to launder the money made by the various corruption cases? Oh, I forgot, this didn’t affect the foreigners. Only Thai people have been killed and Thai tax money has been waisted. Au contraire – some international multis even profited from the various mega projects. International community – it’s payment day now. Just see the struggle of your citizens as a littel payback.

    And maybe somebody can convince the Somchais, Chalerms, Shinawatras, Chitchobs, Olarns that they are history and they should just leave. And pave way for a new generation of political leaders. Because thats all that PAD requests. PAD don’t intends to govern this country. They just only want to make sure, that this country is governed in the intresst of ALL people of Thailand.

    The winner takes NOT ALL – the winner takes ONLY the responsability for 70 Million Thais.

  5. 5 Bedwyr 30 November 2008 at 1:49 am

    From today’s Bangkok Post:

    “Nisit Sinthuprai, a PPP MP for Roi Et, said the UDD’s core leaders in the Northeast will meet today in Roi Et to assess the political situation and discuss preparations for pro-government rallies.

    He said the rallies will either take place in the Northeast or supporters might travel to join the pro-government rallies in Bangkok.”

    This is a real danger sign. Today (Sunday) in Thailand is going to be important in what follows. If the Government supporters in the North and North-East come to Bangkok there will be some seriously shitty times and it may escalate very quickly after Tuesday.


  6. 6 thaichris 30 November 2008 at 2:01 am

    How long can the government stand? When will the government understand?

    Business leaders yesterday threatened to stop paying taxes unless the government ended the civil chaos.

    The Thai Chamber of Commerce called on the government to step down and coalition parties to withdraw from the administration because the government is seen as incompetent and the country is plunging deeper into a political and economic crisis.

    In a statement issued yesterday after the 26th meeting in Songkhla of hundreds of Thai Chamber of Commerce members from around the country, the chamber said the government should step aside and open the way for other parties to form a government. (Bangkok Post)

  7. 7 Luke 30 November 2008 at 3:37 am

    Ditto… just wanted to say you are doing a great job, you say the things we all think. The local press make me cry and the international press rarely give enough depth when dealing with Thailand. Keep it up.

    P.S. Are you on twitter, if not you really should be.

  8. 8 chinesethai 30 November 2008 at 3:53 am

    You can disregard Somchai Wongsawat from the equation now. He has been under the influence of his wife and Thaksin from the beginning.

    :::::::EYEWITNESS REPORT::::::::

    Thaksin has arrived in Goh-Gong, a Cambodia province adjacent to the Thai-Cambodian border. Expect the situation to escalate to another level. This signals that Thaksin is taking command of his “revolutionary” forces himself. The blast in the Government House should be a proof.

  9. 9 chinesethai 30 November 2008 at 7:05 am

    I’ve just received a call from one of my Chinese friends, a Shanghainese. He is now in Phi-Phi Island. He said businesses in Phuket and Phi-Phi are going as usual as if there were no turmoil!?!? He said this is probably because:

    1. Unlike the North, Northeast and Central, Southern Thailand is entirely Anti-Thaksin. So the probability of clashes between Yellow-Red political factions as occurred in Chiangmai, Bangkok, and elsewhere is zero.

    2. Many foreign tourists aiming to vacation in places other than the south may have been changing their destinations down south.

    3. Most foreign tourists who previously had programs to leave Thailand through 3 main gateways in Bangkok and U-Tapao have decided to stay longer and depart the country from Phuket to transit points in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

  10. 10 anon 30 November 2008 at 7:16 am

    The PAD are good boys and girls who are just protecting their country. That’s what somebody said, right? So what Somchai is doing isn’t really cowardice, it’s just displaying loyalty.

  11. 11 Fish 30 November 2008 at 7:33 am

    I will echo Doug’s comments, great job, great site,

  12. 12 ThaiCrisis 30 November 2008 at 7:49 am

    -CT : who is this eyewitness ? You know him ?

  13. 13 thaichris 30 November 2008 at 8:07 am


    Your economical prediction will come true. You always predicted a downturn, in number of visitors, in GDP, in export. An the last figures and outlooks of the government prove it. Tourist down 40%, export blocked, 1 million layed of in the tourist industry (in addition to the 1 mio in manufacturing). And the good thing for current goernment is: they have somebody to blame -> PAD. They don’t have to take it on there incompetent shoulders.

    Maybe the government is behind PAD and its actions. The perfect excuse.

  14. 14 ThaiCrisis 30 November 2008 at 8:08 am

    -TC : I wouldn’t give a lot of attention to the Thai Chamber of Commerce.

    Those people are followers… trying to catch the wind’s direction. They’re very good at issuing press releases about anything.

    A bomb somewhere ? “The Thai Chamber of Commerce thinks that it won’t affect tourism”.

    The first signs of the global financial crisis : “The Thai Chamber of Commerce believes that Thailand won’t suffer”.

    And then…. when things start to be obvious… the wind’s direction changes… totally. 🙂

    “According to the Thai Chamber Of commerce 25,8 millions of jobs could be lost due to the financial crisis”.

    “The Thai Chamber of Commerce warns the government : 86 millions of thai people could die of hard attack caused by the stress of the airport blockade”…

    Okay, I’m having a crack at them, but you get my point.

    Other example : the famous “unions” at public companies (SRT, TOT etc.). So called very powerful. How many times they called for…. “general strike in order to oust the government” ?

    A few times… And then absolutly nothing.

    Words, words, speeches… wind… nothing substantial.
    A pathetic theater of shadows.

  15. 15 chinesethai 30 November 2008 at 8:15 am

    It’s her, not him. I have a customer, a Chinese Cambodian from Phnom Penh, who sent a SMS to me now that Thaksin was seen in Goh Gong today. Instead, my Thai friend said Thaksin is already in Chiangrai or Chiangmai but I disregarded the news because Thaksin never risks his life entering Thailand. Coz to take command of important fight, you gotta be as closest to the battlefield as possible.

  16. 16 ThaiCrisis 30 November 2008 at 8:29 am

    Well, you might have a super scoop there ;-). But it’s too early to talk about it. Let’s wait for other sources.
    If it’s true… the news will spread like bushfire in california in august.

  17. 17 chinesethai 30 November 2008 at 8:52 am

    You know what, taking the morality (my bond with this birthplace and my concern about death tolls) aside, I want the showdown to play out ASAP. By taking the morality aside, I want to see Thaksin’s victory. I really wanna know what the new Thailand would be like under Thaksin – Pax Thaksina. Will the Pax be like Cambodia now, where Hun Sen effectively takes control of every one of the Cambodian institutions even its Royal Palace? Or will it become a Republic as many of our blog contributors have been longing for?

    When that time comes, I would re-appear in your blog as “chinesecanadian” 😀

  18. 18 chinesethai 30 November 2008 at 9:18 am

    10 schools around Sao Chingcha area near Bangkok Metropolitan Authority Building will be closed tomorrow as UDD Red Shirts are using the place to stage a large-scale gathering.

  19. 19 thaichris 30 November 2008 at 9:40 am


    PM visits Nakhon Panom province

    Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat travelled to northeastern province of Nakhon Panom on Sunday, People’s Power Party MP Paijit Srivorakarn said.

    Somchai visited the province to pay respect to Pratart Panom Temple, he said.

    ??? Will he drive PAD out of the airport with candle sticks ??? Or VooDoo ???


    Anybody complaining about school kids kept away from learning? I mean, there would be an uproar if the PAD does the same.

  20. 20 moo 30 November 2008 at 10:01 am

    PAD are nothing more than thugs and paid protesters. Who in their right mind can afford to take so much time off work to protest?
    What they are doing has overstepped the mark.
    Thailand’s new Tourist motto will be Welcome to Thailand – The Land of Stupidity!

  21. 21 Fish 30 November 2008 at 10:09 am

    Thai chris;

    Maybe he is praying..

    Of course people will condemn the closing of school, the same people condemning the closing of an airport..and holding the country at ramsom.. I am sure people will uproar as you put it, With the job loses that will follow all this the poor kids will be the ones that suffer, for the actions of but a few out of millions..

  22. 22 Fish 30 November 2008 at 10:13 am

    from the other very good site bangkok pundit;

    The complexity of taking back the airport cannot be underestimated. PAD have shown they are willing to use violence and with them using women and children as human shields, the storming of the airport will result in a large loss of life,

    Human shields take note thaichris and the like… Children as human shields… Adults fine they decide to be there or not but children please even you cant agree with that !!!???

  23. 23 chinesethai 30 November 2008 at 10:18 am


    Well, the answer already lies in your question.

    This is probably the same injustice pain that most Thai-Malay muslims in the Southernmost provinces have felt for years. They can’t voice their grievances to anybody. They were persecuted by corrupt authorities. Mainstream media portray them as terrorists. The rest of the country ignore them because it is so far away. So here we are.

    I can no longer tolerate watching clips and pics of unarmed people who either died or lost their limbs in bomb blasts because they believe in building a better future for their country. Those people are somebody’s father, mother, wife, husband, sister, brother, son and daughter. But they are mercilessly derided and branded rioters. It’s unfair. Totally unfair. I shed my tears for them. Lies have prevailed in this country.

    BTW, I speculate a big turmoil on Dec 2 in front of the Constitution Court Building. The building could be burned down, you know. It is possible coz this is anarchy.

  24. 24 Fish 30 November 2008 at 10:32 am

    This time it would be trivial to say that democracy is the issue. It’s whether or not those others, “unworthy to bear the dust under his shoes”, as the royal inflection goes, can finally be worn out. Just wait — the king will wave his magic wand and the crisis will be over. The army — or some other appropriate delegate — will take power, and the country will find the patience to wear out the endurance of an expiring Thaksin, who in exile loses wealth and legitimacy by the day. Mai pen rai, things will quiet down and everyone will be wondering what all the fuss was about. It will end not with bang but a whimper.

    Lets hope this is the outcome..

    New Straits Time via Bangkok Pundit.

  25. 25 Gloomy Observer 30 November 2008 at 10:38 am

    I’m curious if the PPP will ignore the court ruling or not; after all, the PAD ignore everything the courts say…

  26. 26 A FRIEND 30 November 2008 at 11:00 am

    Mr Crisis…….Sorry to be picky but … do you think you could use a spell checker before you post?

    It undermines your credibility when simple words are misspelled.


  27. 27 ThaiCrisis 30 November 2008 at 11:19 am

    -A FRIEND… You should read my “About” page.

    I write clearly that english is not my native language ! And I even apologize.

    I do apologize to my readers. I try my best to avoid mistakes (wrong spellings and other grammar issues), but English is not my native language.

    So please, you should remember that not all living organisms on this planet were born in the US or the UK, etc.

    Thanks you. 😉

    You might be lucky to be american or english… But for me, it’s actually an effort to write in english. Therefore I assume that my readers can, politely, dismiss my spelling mistakes…

    I enjoy very high skills in my native language… So it’s always a strong frustration to write in english with my poor level. But it’s like that. I have to accept to use a poor writing to express my ideas.

    The other part of the deal (by visiting this blog), if I may say, is that you have to accept it too. 😉

  28. 28 ray 30 November 2008 at 12:11 pm

    hi chinesethai .

    i totally agree with yr last post. i am watching the thai news and the udd rally will drag on. but rest assured on 2nd december there will be at least 50,000 ppp supporters at the constitution court. if thaksin is really in combodia (i hear he is in hongkong) then anarchy will happen on the 2nd dec. most people posting should remember that the govt. will distance itself from the udd claiming these are democracy loving people fighting the judicial coup. the term ” judicial coup ” was actually used by veera today.

    i dont think the military will be greeted with roses as on 19th sept coup. this time it will be ugly. and also the red mob is not women and children. they are men with arms and will make the situation worse. and i think deep down weera/chakapob relish the oppurtunity to make this a not-so-happy birthday for hmk.

  29. 29 chinesethai 30 November 2008 at 12:44 pm


    “the red mob is not women and children. they are men with arms and will make the situation worse.”

    Telling the truth these days, you will be derided and branded as brainwashed, anti-democratic, a thug, fascist, royalist, extremist etc.

    You gotta be praising election, no matter how fraudulent it is. You gotta be praising elected crooks, no matter how corrupt they are.

    I swear that I will not let my children grow up in such corrupt environment.

  30. 30 tsr 30 November 2008 at 1:32 pm

    TC – as an American business woman here for 6 weeks, 2 more to go (then back again in January), I truly appreciate your blog, information and insight.

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Thailand Crisis

Coup, Economic slowdown, Terror In the South... The situation is worsening in Thailand. Bumpy road like often before.

But this time, it's different.

The key to understand the present turmoil is the inevitable... succession of King Bhumibol.

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