Curfew lifted nationwide

Curfew lifted nationwide

The junta on Friday announced the end of a curfew in other parts of the country minutes after coup leader Prayuth Chan-ocha pledged for a quick end of the nighttime ban.

The ban on activities between midnight and 4am had already been lifted in 25 provinces including most tourist areas, but its enforcement in Bangkok was dismaying businesses looking to cash in on the World Cup.

The curfew was just one of many issues covered by Gen Prayuth during his third weekly televised address. He also offered a clearer timeline for the formation of an interim government "in September", with a cabinet to administer policy expected to be in place by October.

Because conditions had returned to normal, the curfew enforced in all parts of the country had ended immediately, said the order of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) signed by Gen Prayuth and announced on Friday night.

The army chief had said on TV earlier: "We are considering whether a curfew will be lifted in all areas and will do it as soon as possible."

Gen Prayuth said an interim constitution and a legislative body were expected to be announced in October, one month after an interim government is formed to end the direct rule of the NCPO, which took over national administration on May 22.

"The administration of the country will be undertaken by a government and cabinet. They will move the country in a direction very similar to the administration in normal circumstances," he said.

"We expect the formation of the [interim] government in September," he added.

The interim government and legislative body were expected to take charge of the country for about one year, according to Gen Prayuth.

The coup leader has said before that once all necessary reforms, including electoral laws, are completed, then elections could be held.

The NCPO chairman also said that debts owed to all farmers under the rice-pledging programme would be cleared on June 22 as promised, and that 80% of 600,000 farmers had received money already.

He also touched on the issue of illegal workers, saying the problem could be resolved in about one year after they are verified by a nationality verification centre to be set up. Workers found illegally entering the country will be deported, he added.

Thousands of Cambodians are reported to have fled the country already, panicked by rumours that the military intends to round them up.

About 900,000 illegal labourers are believed to be in the country, including those crossing the border into Thailand for day labour and seasonal job seekers.

Meanwhile, the crackdown on weapons continues. Security authorities have seized almost 1,400 weapons since the campaign was launched on May 20, when Gen Prayuth declared martial law. They have captured 88 war weapons and 1,268 guns, more than 7,000 bullets and more than 300 grenades.

The military rulers have extended the deadline for those controlling illegal weapons and explosive devices until June 25 from June 11 to hand them over to authorities or face legal action.

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