Bangkok reported back to normal
A visiting Honolulu businessman calls the coup a "nonevent"
Things are returning to normal in Bangkok, except for the tanks and other military vehicles in the streets, said former Honolulu resident Greg Chiu.
Chiu arrived in Bangkok on Tuesday afternoon, just before the Thai military took control of the government. He runs a consulting company in Hong Kong and travels to Thailand on business frequently.
He said initial uneasiness over the military coup has calmed. "It's turning out to be a nonevent," Chiu said. There is no evidence of a counter-coup by ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra supporters, he said.
The country's new military ruler, Army commander Gen. Sondhi Boonyaratkalin, yesterday won crucial royal backing for his bloodless coup from Thailand's revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Sondhi also announced that he would not call elections for another year and that he would serve as de facto prime minister for two weeks until the junta -- which calls itself the Council of Administrative Reform -- chooses a civilian to replace him and drafts an interim constitution.
The Royal Thai Consulate General office in Hawaii said the Bangkok International Airport remained open during the military takeover. And none of the airlines that travel from Honolulu to Thailand reported any interruption in service.
Automated teller machines, banks, government offices, schools and Thailand's stock exchange reopened today. They were closed yesterday after the military declared a holiday.
Chiu said major stores were also closed yesterday.
He went out at about 2:30 a.m. yesterday and found the streets mostly clear. He said the 15 minutes to one hour it normally takes to travel just one kilometer in the city took just 5 to 10 minutes. Soldiers manned the traffic kiosks normally occupied by police.
And because nobody was exchanging foreign currency, tourists were complaining they couldn't buy anything, Chiu said. If they had U.S. dollars, Japanese yen or euros, tourists could negotiate with vendors. But they were out of luck if they had Hong Kong or Canadian dollars, he said.
Chiu was supposed to meet a government official yesterday. Because the official is a civil servant and not a political appointee, Chiu is hopeful he can reschedule the meeting before he returns to Hong Kong tomorrow. If not, he'll be back in Bangkok next month.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.