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Another Thai hotel management dispute flares up – The Peninsula Bangkok Hotel

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Another Thai hotel management dispute flares up – The Peninsula Bangkok Hotel | The Thaiger
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PHOTO: The Peninsula Bangkok Hotel

The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, which operates luxury brand The Peninsula Hotels, says it will “vigorously defend its rights” to manage The Peninsula Bangkok, following a legal win by the hotel’s Thai shareholder that paves the way for the management agreement to be terminated.

And so the open wounds of a business saga are now on full display between a international hotel management company and the local Thai owners. This time it’s involving one of Bangkok’s best known luxury hotels.

Thai business law prevents many of the international hotel brands actually owning the properties so wealthy Thai families acquire the properties and then contract international hotel expertise to manage the assets where two entities are trying to get a larger slice of the pie. And, for now, the pie is getting smaller with the contraction in the traditional hotel business and the challenges Thai tourism is currently facing.

Peninsula Hotel, the iconic 370 room Chao Phraya riverside hotel, is 50% owned by the Phataraprasit family and the other half by The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels’ subsidiary in Bangkok.

The Peninsula Bangkok is a 5-star hotel in Bangkok, Thailand. The hotel opened in 1998, counting 37 floors and 367 rooms.

Skift.com reports that the Thai shareholder went to court after it failed to end the agreement in the boardroom on January 26, as it was blocked by the Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels subsidiary, which has a voting majority in the board. But on September 10, the local Thonburi Civil Court ruled that the subsidiary should not have been allowed to vote on a resolution regarding the termination of the agreement.

The legal case between a Thai owner and hotel chain managers over non-performance, isn’t the first. Minor International is suing Marriott International is sueing the Marriott Group for a “highly disappointing” performance of the JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa in Mai Khoa. Minor fully owns the luxury beachside hotel and and Marriott manages. The lawsuit was filed on July 12. The case is ongoing.

The statement says…

“Any termination of Peninsula’s management would be tantamount to a breach of the shareholders agreement between Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels and the Phataraprasit shareholders, as well as the Peninsula’s management agreement. Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels will vigorously defend its rights. Pending the outcome of the appeal and other legal processes which are ongoing, The Peninsula Bangkok continues to be operated by The Peninsula under the hotel management agreement which continues to be legally binding.”

Some background, the Thai Phataraprasit family, who also have interests in The Mall Group (that manages the Siam Paragon and Emporium shopping centres in Bangkok), alleges that The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels had not run the hotel profitably in the last 20 years.

In an article in the Bangkok-based Travel Impact Newswire, Pradit Phataraprasit, head of the Thai family’s investments, had strong words.

“In the last 20 years, there has not been a single year in which the Peninsula hotel group’s management company has run the hotel profitably for its shareholders.”

“The Peninsula sits on one of the most expensive riverside land plots in this city but, very curiously, it cannot yield a dividend for its shareholders. We have been very patient with the management company belonging to our partners from Hong Kong. However, the time has come for another management company to run this hotel.”

For their part the COO of Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels, Peter Borer, says the group had always operated “with integrity” regarding the operation of the hotel.

“Over the past decade, the hotel’s financial performance has been affected by political uncertainties and a challenging luxury hotel market in Bangkok, but as a group with a long-term investment philosophy, we have always remained committed to Thailand.

Commenting on the ongoing legal fracas….

“The daily operations of the hotel are not currently affected pending the final outcome of the legal actions.”

The company’s Q1&2 results shows the hotel had a drop of 5% in revenue compared with January to June last year. The average room rate rose 8%, but the occupancy rate dipped 6%.”

Reporting on the results so dar this year….

“The Peninsula Bangkok reported a relatively soft start to the year, impacted by a slower economy and uncertainty over the country’s first elections since 2014. Our hotel was also negatively affected by extensive roadworks adjacent to our property which impacted our food and beverage and catering business.”

Again, the Phuket boat tragedy, killing 47 Chinese tourists in July 2018, was presented as a key reason for current woes.

“Chinese mainland tourist arrivals declined year-on-year following a tragic boating accident in Phuket in 2018 which led to reduced group tourism to the country overall.”

Two years ago Pradit Phataraprasit was named as being involved in the Dhammakaya Temple scandal.

“Prominent Businessman Pradit Phataraprasit has denied any involvement in alleged embezzlement or the scandal-hit Dhammakaya Temple after records show he bought a land plot from a suspected money launderer.”

SOURCE: skift.com

Another Thai hotel management dispute flares up - The Peninsula Bangkok Hotel | News by The Thaiger

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Air Pollution

Air pollution in Bangkok expected to get worse due to “cold spell”

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Air pollution in Bangkok expected to get worse due to “cold spell” | The Thaiger

Air pollution in Bangkok is expected to get worse over the next few days as pollutants are getting trapped in the atmosphere thanks to a recent cold spell and a lack of wind to blow the haze away from the city. In response to the unhealthy air pollution, The PM’s Office permanent secretary says he has asked several ministries to step up efforts in combatting the PM2.5 micron ‘dust’ particulate that has blanketed the city.

He says that the issue has been contained so far due to Covid-19 measures which have made many people work from home.

“But vehicle exhaust fumes, construction sites and burning garbage in open areas is not helping.”

“To add to the problem, the cold spell is creating an “inversion layer” as meteorologists call it, which stops air below it from rising and trapping pollutants.”

As usual, Bangkok officials are looking to some of the smaller, localised traffic issues to blame, although the annual “smoke from the north” problem is the key and overriding issue regarding Bangkok’s smog problem months. The local traffic pollutants, whilst ever-present, don’t cause the skyline smog and haze for the rest of the year.

And when the Thais refer to a “cold spell” it usually means the ambient temperature has dropped to the low 20s. In other parts of the world that would be considered a heat wave!

The secretary says police and other officials are being asked to curb traffic build-ups at intersections as some had seen a sharp increase in dust pollution. Motorists are also being advised to take their cars for routine engine check-ups but some owners are refusing, saying their cars are new and not releasing black smoke. Public transportation vehicles are also being checked for emissions that could further add to the pollution issue in the country’s capital.

Meanwhile, PM Prayut has recently asked people to avoid large gatherings out of what he says is “concern” for their health after the recent cold spell from China hit the nation. But, more particularly, he pointed out political gatherings and has also asked everyone to adhere to social distancing and mask wearing to help curb the recent outbreak of Covid-19 that has swept the country in the past couple of months.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Bangkok

Man arrested for allegedly importing millions of fake designer sunglasses

Caitlin Ashworth

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Man arrested for allegedly importing millions of fake designer sunglasses | The Thaiger
PHOTO: DSI

A 42 year old Chinese man was arrested for allegedly importing fake designer sunglasses after police raided 2 locations in Bangkok’s Thonburi area and seized 3 million pairs of fake designer sunglasses worth around 300 million baht.

Officers from the Department of Special Investigation raided multiple rooms at the Dao Khanong Condominium and the BMC Dao Khanong Cinema. The department posted photos of the raids showing rooms filled with boxes stacked to the ceiling.

Police say the sunglasses had major designer brand names like Ray Ban, Gucci, Oakley, Chanel, Christian Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Cartier, Mont Blanc, Marc Jacobs, Armani, Fendi and Versace.

Man arrested for allegedly importing millions of fake designer sunglasses | News by The Thaiger

Man arrested for allegedly importing millions of fake designer sunglasses | News by The Thaiger

Man arrested for allegedly importing millions of fake designer sunglasses | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: Thai Visa

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Bangkok

Police shoot and kill man suspected of dealing “K-powdered milk”

Caitlin Ashworth

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Police shoot and kill man suspected of dealing “K-powdered milk” | The Thaiger
PHOTO: HD.co.th

A man suspected of selling the ketamine-based drug cocktail, which is said to be tied to at least 10 deaths in Bangkok, was shot and killed in a shootout with police in Nakhon Pathom, just west of the capital. The narcotic cocktail, known as “K powdered milk,” is ketamine laced with methamphetamine, heroin and the anti-anxiety medication diazepam, all crushed up together resembling powdered milk.

Police tracked down 41 year old Wasan Khiaohom yesterday. He was in a pickup truck parked next to another car on a roadside in Nakhon Pathom’s Mueang district. As officers moved in to investigate, Wasan, who also went by the name Ple Kampangsaen, got out of a pickup and pulled out a gun, firing shots at the officers. Police fired back, shooting him. Wasan tried to flee the area, but collapsed and died in a wooded area by the road.

Police say they searched Wasan’s pockets and found a small bag of “K powdered milk” and 40 ecstasy pills. Police also arrested 2 alleged accomplices who were driving the car and pickup truck.

Police have been cracking down on illicit drugs after 10 people died reportedly after taking the narcotic drug cocktail while others were hospitalised. From January 13 to 18, police arrested 592 people in the drug crackdown. In a series of busts, police say they seized a total of 8,644,825 baht worth of drugs including methamphetamine pills, crystal methamphetamine, cannabis, ketamine, kratom leaves, kratom drink and ecstasy pills.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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