Thailand’s arms purchase plans get the chop hinh anh 1Thai Military Police officers wearing protective masks are seen at a checkpoint, after a curfew was imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease in Bangkok on April 3, 2020. (Photo: Reuters)

Bangkok (VNA) –
Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who also serves as Defence Minister, has ordered the suspension of a plan by the armed forces to procure arms, including the Royal Thai Navy's plan to buy two submarines, according to a government source.

The source said Deputy Defence Minister Gen Chaichan Changmongkol met PM Prayut to discuss a proposal to cut the military budget by 10 percent so that the money could instead be used to support the government's efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

PM Prayut has instructed the Defence Ministry to halt all arms procurement projects, including the navy's plan to buy its second and third submarines, as well as the air force's plan to upgrade its fleet of aircraft and buy new training aircraft.

According to Prayuth Phetchakhun, deputy spokesman of the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG), 5,264 people have been prosecuted for violating the emergency decree, imposed from March 26 to April 30 contain the spread of COVID-19.

When bringing the cases to court, the prosecutors will ask for additional measures to keep the offenders safe, Prayuth said, adding that if the defendant violates the stay-at-home order, he faces a maximum jail term of six months and/or a maximum fine of 10,000 THB.

The PM slammed the curfew violators for lacking a social conscience but insisted he will not impose any tougher restrictions as current measures in dealing with the pandemic over the past 100 days are proving effective.

Thailand now has the number of infected patients at a controllable level, and a low death rate compared to other leading countries, he said./.