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Roll the drums Phuket. Prepare the balloons. Chalong Underpass opens Friday.

The Thaiger

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Roll the drums Phuket. Prepare the balloons. Chalong Underpass opens Friday. | The Thaiger
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But it’s not Friday yet and there have been plenty of other delays. Chalong Circle’s 350 metre underpass should be open on Friday according to local highway officials.

The roadworks have profoundly changed business and movement of locals in the southern part of the island for nearly four years. Many businesses were forced to move, others went broke, some residents had to move. Getting through the mess has certainly changed the way people moved around and through Chalong and Rawai.

Electrical systems are now being tested and are the final part of the underpass’s systems to check before the all-clear is given to open to long-awaited two-lane road.

But it will take months, if not years, for the local community to recover from the redirections, delays, blocked traffic and extended journeys that could take hours to get through the construction mess.

The underpass will open on Friday, one lane in each direction. The two 3.5 metre lanes will be divided by orange plastic poles. The Highways Department is assuring drivers that the lanes will be wide enough for large trucks and buses.

The underpass is the longest of the four already constructed around the island. At 350 metres in length, curved along the way, it is longer than the Darasamuth, Samkong, Airport or Bang Khun underpasses.

The new clock tower sitting on the original ‘Chalong Circle’, called the Golden Lotus Tower, cost 3 million baht and is also set to be ready by the opening date. As of 5pm on Wednesday afternoon the clocks had stopped on the new tower – perhaps part of the electrical works underway. Or perhaps not.

Roll the drums Phuket. Prepare the balloons. Chalong Underpass opens Friday. | News by The Thaiger

The new Golden Lotus Tower – PHOTO: Sue Ultmann

Roll the drums Phuket. Prepare the balloons. Chalong Underpass opens Friday. | News by The Thaiger

A photo, mid construction, of the mess that will now be called Chalong Underpass – Phuket 9

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

US delegation arrives, submits to Covid-19 screening

Jack Burton

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US delegation arrives, submits to Covid-19 screening | The Thaiger
PHOTOS: SMART Soldiers Strong ARMY Facebook page

The chief of staff of the US army, General James C. McConville, arrived in Thailand today with an entourage for a 2 day trip, at the invitation of the Royal Thai Army. He has also granted permission for the publication of the results of his Covid-19 swab test. McConville and his entourage landed at Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport at 10:15am after completing an official visit to Singapore. The entire delegation had to undergo Covid-19 tests immediately upon arrival.

Army chief Apirat Kongsompong was on hand to welcome his guests as well as provide information on the preventive measures Thailand has taken, leading to its success in containing the spread of the virus, an extremely low mortality rate and a recovery rate of over 95%. The US delegation is the first group of government guests to arrive since the fifth phase of the easing of lockdown measures was announced.

The guests, as well as Thai Army officials, are required to strictly follow measures set out by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, including ensuring seats in all vehicles are partitioned, cleaned and sanitised as per guidelines.

The vehicles must also carry alcohol based sanitising gel and pads, waste bins for disposal, radio for communication with drivers and disinfectant spray for the driver to use to sanitise the vehicle.

The Thai Army chief says that if this system proves successfully, the government will use it for future official visits.

US delegation arrives, submits to Covid-19 screening | News by The ThaigerUS delegation arrives, submits to Covid-19 screening | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Expats

Facebook group names and shames “farang prices”

Jack Burton

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Facebook group names and shames “farang prices” | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thailand Red Cat

In days gone by, a foreigner visiting a national park or tourist site could often expect to be charged several times the price charged to a local. Now, thanks to a Facebook community naming and shaming venues that apply “farang prices” to foreign visitors, those days are, well, numbered. Members of the 2PriceThailand Facebook group are warning each other about price gouging for foreigners regardless of their residence status, a practice openly endorsed by state and private businesses alike, despite calls of outright discrimination.

The double pricing or dual pricing debate has been around ever since foreigners stepped onto Thai shores. It’s a hotly debated topic with strong opinions on both sides.

“The intention of this group is to give foreigners the right to choose. We don’t think it is fair that some tourist attractions disguise the fact that they have a dual price system. Our opinion is that if they want to overcharge foreign tourists by as much as 200% then that is their decision. But, don’t do it in a way that is both sneaky and insulting.”

The group also says they hope to see the abolition of the dual pricing system in Thailand.

“Thai people are internationally known for their kind and generous hospitality. The actions of a few tourist attractions are damaging that reputation.”

Popular British blogger Richard Barrow, who regularly writes about Thailand’s tourist attractions and scams on his websites, is the group’s admin. In 1 post, user Aisha Moller Pedersen warns that the “foreigner” admission fee for Phra Nakhon Khiri Historical Park is 150 baht; it’s 20 baht for Thais.

Just to step on the beach at Nangyuan Island Dive Resort, foreigners pay 200 baht (doubled from 100 baht due to Covid-19), while Thais pay 30, a member posted Monday.

Facebook group names and shames

Another user wrote that at Koh Chang Waterfall, the entrance fee is 200 baht for foreigners, while (adult) Thais only pay 20. A tourist attraction in Bangkok features its ticket prices in Thai and Arabic numbers. The “farang price” is nearly twice as high.

“I was there during the weekend and brought my work permit as well but no luck, and worst of all the ticket seller was very rude,so, we decided to leave. This is a widespread and systematic racism which should be stopped immediately.”

Another member wrote yesterday that adult foreigners pay 100 baht to enter the Queen Sirikit Botanical Garden in Chiang Mai, while Thai adults pay 40. But it’s not all negativity – members also post places that offer the same prices for Thais and foreigners. “Sukhothai Historical Park offering same prices for Thai and farang,” wrote one user in a Sunday post.

“Doi Tung Tourist Attraction – no dual pricing, and the nicest gardens I’ve seen in Thailand,” wrote another, referring to the Mae Fah Luang Botanical Garden in Chiang Rai.

Facebook group names and shames

SOURCE: Khaosod English

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Thailand

Separate tragedies across the nation

Jack Burton

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Separate tragedies across the nation | The Thaiger
PHOTOS: Nation Thailand

Tragedy has struck around the nation in separate incidents. In the Hat Yai district of the southern Songkhla province, the bodies of the owners of the locally well known Nattharika Furniture were discovered this morning by a relative who had been instructed to show up at the shop at 6am. In an apparent suicide pact, 55 year old Somsak, and his 60 year old wife Nattharika Suwankijwat, were found lying dead in a blood soaked bed.

Police say Nattharika was embracing her husband and both bodies had a single gunshot wound to the head. The gun was found on the floor and officials found gunpowder residue on Somsak’s left hand. There was no sign of ransacking or struggle in the room. Somsak’s brother, who found the bodies, told officers his brother messaged him at 3am, asking him to visit the shop at 6. As the shop was silent when he arrived, the brother said he went upstairs to their bedroom and found the bodies.

He says his brother and sister-in-law may have committed suicide as they had been struggling with huge debts, and the situation became worse with the Covid-19 crisis.

Somsak’s mother also lives above the shop, while the couple’s 2 daughters live in Bangkok.

In the western province of Sa Keao, 200 kilometres east of Bangkok on the Cambodian border, 2 couples were devastated when they found that the children they had come to pick up from kindergarten had drowned because the school did not have enough teachers to supervise all the children. The incident took place yesterday and police were notified of the tragedy at 10am.

Officers arrived at the Ban Tha Tasi School to inspect the bodies of 2 young students, which had been fished out of the pond by local villagers. The children, identified as 3 year old Thanakorn and 4 year old Peerawat, were believed to have been dead for more than an hour. They were first and second grade students and their classes didn’t have a supervisor.

Ban Tha Tasi School’s management said that since the school has just reopened, they don’t have enough staff to watch over all the children. The bodies were found by an older child who had gone hunting for the pair and found them floating in the pond.

The parents say they are not angry and understand that their children must have been mischievous. The school has promised to be more cautious to prevent a similar tragedy.

Separate tragedies across the nation | News by The Thaiger

Also yesterday, animal rights group Watchdog Thailand’s Facebook page gave details of the gruesome killing of 2 Siberian huskies in Udon Thani’s Nong Sang district. According to the post, the owners came home from the temple on Tuesday to a grisly sight… the bodies of their 2 dogs with their heads smashed in, eyes gouged out and bodies slashed.

WDT say the owners believe the attacker’s goal was to only kill the dogs, as nothing in the house had been stolen or damaged. They also said the dogs were always kept in their kennel to ensure they didn’t go out and kill chickens owned by nearby locals.

WDT say they are monitoring the case and have urged the owners to report the case to police. It’s believed that one of the locals may believe the dogs hunted their chickens, so decided to kill them in revenge.

Earlier this month, WDT rescued more than 50 Thai Ridgeback dogs being held in wretched conditions, from an alleged puppy farm run by an elderly American man in Chiang Mai.

Separate tragedies across the nation | News by The Thaiger

Elsewhere, a 23 year old woman was arrested yesterday for allegedly leaving her newborn baby in the woods in Isaan’s Sakon Nakhon province. The woods were only 100 metres from her house in Khok Ang village in Na Phiang subdistrict.

On Monday local villagers found a newborn girl, still covered in blood and with the umbilical cord freshly cut, wrapped in an old rice sack. They rescued the baby and named her “Phansa”, as they found her on Buddhist Lent Day or “Khao Phansa Day”.

Police traced the abandoned baby to the house of the suspect and arrested the woman after seeing bloodstains on her clothes. Officials say the suspect had a high fever from infections caused by cutting herself with the scissors used to cut the umbilical cord, and not treating the wound properly. Police sent the suspect to a hospital for treatment and haven’t charged her at this stage.

The suspect’s neighbours told authorities the suspect was married and had 2 sons before divorcing her husband and leaving to work in Bangkok, while her children stayed with their grandmother. They say she came home during the Covid-19 crisis and looked pregnant, but told others she was just gaining weight.

SOURCES: Nation Thailand | Nation Thailand | Nation Thailand | Nation Thailand |

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