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Samui charity battles to feed island’s remaining residents

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Samui charity battles to feed island’s remaining residents | The Thaiger
PHOTOS: Sisters on Samui
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by Ann Carter

As around 2,000 Thai workers have reportedly left the island of Koh Samui due to the Covid-19 economic fallout, ‘Sisters on Samui’, the island’s largest charity is changing up the way in which to help feed those remaining residents. Keyt Topcu, co-president of SOS, says the effort involves cutting out bags as the organisation realised that they could save over 500 USD by having those receiving aid bring their own bags.

“We hand out rice and other goods two times per week, but the bags alone cost 4,000 baht per week. If we cut out bags, we can put that money towards more food for the island’s residents in need.”

The first three months of feeding islanders since Covid hit included many Burmese people that were out of work. Now, those receiving handouts is mostly comprised of Thais as a lot of Burmese left the island after being put out of work.

“Those that are left are the ones that maybe had savings and could survive without work, and they are now our main clients that we serve.”

Wai, a Thai mother of 4 on Samui, says she has been unemployed for 5 months and struggles to feed her children on a daily basis. Recently, she started working again but says the money isn’t enough.

“I only get 300 baht per day and my mother is 65 years old. It is not easy now.”

As Covid hit, many people on Samui have lost their jobs and have resorted to finding new ways to make ends meet. Mr. O, a taxi driver, now sells oysters and seaweed in a roadside stall after receiving only a few clients per day in his taxi.

“Now, many people have left the island after living here for 15 to 20 years. It is hard for me now to make a living only selling street food.”

“Sometimes, I get money and other times I get nothing.”

Sisters on Samui is continuing their fight to help those on the island who are still here but struggling. This Thursday, they will start the bag-free handouts in order to save plastic and money with the hopes of putting the money saved back into the community’s mouths.

“We have a handout at Chaweng Lake this Thursday, September 17, in which we ask everyone to bring their own plastic bags. Also, if you want to help the cause, we are accepting monetary and food donations. A 1,000 baht donation will get us a 40 kilogram bag of rice to give out.”

Apart from rice, the organisation says they need other items like eggs, noodles, milk, formula, vegetables, and tin fish to help stock their emergency stash. Yvonne Roberts, co-president of the charity says the effort to reduce plastic waste and spend the money elsewhere came about after receiving more and more volunteers to help the cause.

“As the operation slowed down a bit, we were able to logistically cut down on handing out bags as we had more volunteers to help distribute the food. In the beginning, we were trying to just get the food out as quickly as possible as it was a dire need.”

As tourists make up over 90 percent of Samui’s economy, the situation is grave. Sisters On Samui remains the largest charity on the island and has largely helped keep the residents afloat. To donate to SOS, you can visit their GoGetFunding page or visit the SOS website.

Links to GoGetFunding

Links to Sisters On Samui

Samui charity battles to feed island’s remaining residents | News by The Thaiger

Samui charity battles to feed island’s remaining residents | News by The Thaiger

Special guest writer, Ann Carter

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    September 14, 2020 at 5:35 pm

    The remedy is in their own hands.
    Turn out the tyrants in government, who with fraud, are stopping foreign tourists coming to the island.
    What do they want: the .001 percent chance of dying from the virus, or starving.
    The tyrants are using the tiny threat of the virus to run a dictatorship, and are banning elections.

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Economy

Covid-19 shuts down 70% of Phuket’s tourism businesses

Caitlin Ashworth

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Covid-19 shuts down 70% of Phuket’s tourism businesses | The Thaiger
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Most tourism businesses in Phuket have closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and they probably won’t be up and running again until foreign tourists are let back in Thailand. Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew says around 70% of tourism businesses have closed, most of them just temporarily, but some have shut down permanently.

Before the pandemic, tourism to Phuket brought in 450 billion baht a year with 400 billion baht from foreign visitors while the other 50 billion baht was from domestic tourists. Thailand has been trying to increase domestic tourism to help revive the industry after the pandemic. Phuket’s governor says it helps, but not enough.

“Their visits can help solve some of our economic problems, but they cannot replace the need of foreign tourists.”

66.8% of tourism businesses in Phuket have closed temporarily while 2.8% have closed permanently, according to data by the Digital Economy Promotion Agency. The governor is trying figure out how to recover the economy, fast.

“By the end of September, the number of businesses to be closed will increase up to 70% for sure.”

While many businesses are closed, the governor says Phuket is “almost 100% ready to welcome foreign tourists.” The governor says he can’t give an answer to when foreign tourists will arrive in Phuket, but he claims they’ve “prepared every step,” from checking in at the airport to hotel quarantine. They’re just going to install some new temperature check machines at the Phuket International Airport and review the procedures for welcoming the tourists.

“We have to work and prepare carefully to welcome foreign tourists… We have to gradually open our door to welcome small groups of people first, in order to test our system, and then open for bigger groups.”

At the moment, only 3 venues in Phuket have been approved to operate as alternative state quarantine facilities. Anantara Phuket Suites & Villas has 100 rooms available, Anantara Mai Khao Phuket has 36 villas and Trisara resort has 15 villas.

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Economy

Ministry of Labour, CP Foods to hire 8,000 graduates to help reduce unemployment

Caitlin Ashworth

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Ministry of Labour, CP Foods to hire 8,000 graduates to help reduce unemployment | The Thaiger
PHOTO: CP Foods

To help reduce unemployment and boost the economy after the pandemic, 8,000 graduates will be hired by the company Charoen Pokphand Foods, known as CP Foods. Thailand’s Ministry of Labour recently signed a memorandum of agreement with the company.

4,000 of those jobs will be in Bangkok and metropolitan areas while the other 4,000 more in the upcountry. The job offers vary from positions in the computer science field to positions in the culinary industry.

Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin says the government has a policy to unite all sectors of the society to revive the economy from the coronavirus crisis that caused job cuts, leaving many unemployed, especially new graduates.

He adds that CP Foods has been constantly supporting the government in Covid-19 relief effort since the beginning of the outbreak. This post Covid-19 collaboration will create stability for people at all levels and build more small and medium sized enterprise, or SME, owners that are the foundation of Thai economy.

There’s also a discount coupon giveaway from CP Foods and the minister says it will help reduce cost of living for people who are eligible for social security benefits.

CEO of CP Foods Prasit Boondoungprasert says CP Foods is managed in line with the parent group CP Group’s policy, to solve the Thailand’s unemployment problem, particularly for new graduates, by creating job opportunities and job security. He says it’s an “engine for economic revival.”

CP Foods will also provide a business opportunity for SME franchises like FiveStar and STAR Coffee, which need a small budget and small space to kick off.

The company will also offer training courses with experts to guide them to start up the business. It expects to create 4,500 franchise owners nationwide.

CP Foods will have a book at the Job Expo Thailand 2020 this Saturday until Monday at the Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Centres, or BITEC. Those interested can click HERE for more information.

To learn more about starting a FiveStar franchise click HERE and for a STAR Coffee franchise click HERE.

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Economy

4 Thai banks to be investigated for “suspicious transfers” after FinCEN files report

Caitlin Ashworth

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4 Thai banks to be investigated for “suspicious transfers” after FinCEN files report | The Thaiger
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4 Thai banks are being investigated after an international money laundering report said the Thai banks had “suspicious financial transactions.” The report found 92 “suspicious” transactions in and out of Thailand totalling to $9,558,752 USD received in Thailand and $31,750,000 USD sent out.

Files were allegedly leaked from the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, known as FinCEN, and journalists from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, or ICIJ, tracked the money. The FinCEN Files report from the ICIJ says it “reveals the role of global banks in industrial scale money laundering,” citing a total of $2 trillion USD in suspicious global transactions from 1997 to 2017.

The Anti-Money Laundering Office plans to investigate Kasikorn Bank, Bangkok Bank, Krungthai Bank and the Export Import Bank of Thailand. The office’s acting secretary general Preecha Charoensahayanont says the office is discussing the report with the Bank of Thailand and financial intelligence organisations, according to the Bangkok Post. He says the information needs to be verified first.

“The information from the media has yet to be verified and no one knows if it came from an official intelligence organisation of the United States… There will be an appropriate response. It does not mean that whenever there is any news report, a big investigation will follow. That would cause panic.”

The Kasikorn Bank allegedly had 37 suspicious transactions, sending out $9,450,000 USD in suspicious funds and receiving $835,606 USD. Bangkok Bank allegedly had 52 suspicious transactions, receiving $5,966,141 USD and sending out $22,300,000 USD. Krungthai Bank allegedly had 2 suspicious transactions, receiving $200,000 USD. Export Import Bank of Thailand allegedly had 1 suspicious transaction, receiving $2,557,005 USD.

In 2016, the Bangkok Bank allegedly sent out $22,300,000 USD to the CIMB Bank Berhad. The Bangkok Bank also allegedly received a total of $5,920,731 USD from the Israel Discount Bank in 45 different transactions from June 2,2013 to November 12, 2013.

Kasikorn Bank allegedly sent out $9,450,000 USD to the DNB Nor Bank Asa. They also allegedly had 18 transactions with the VP Bank AG, receiving $511,606 USD, and 5 transactions 18 transactions with DMS Bank & Trust, receiving $324,000 USD.

Thailand suspicious transaction data by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists FinCEN Files report. Click HERE to follow the money.

4 Thai banks to be investigated for

SOURCES: ICIJ | Bangkok Post

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