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B26mn bid for lucky plates

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: A little more than 26 million baht (26,013,000) was earned at the 8th annual “Lucky License Plate Action” held recently at the Phuket Merlin Hotel in Phuket Town.

This was five million baht short of the initial expectation of 31 million baht, and four million baht less than last year’s auction which raised 30 million baht.

This year, a total of 301 “Gor Por” series (the first two Thai characters) license plate numbers were auctioned off to an eager group of elite yet superstitious bidders, including at least three automobile accident victims.

The method of auction was what is known in Thai as “Ja Ja“, in which final bids are confirmed with the strike of a gavel.

The first plate number put up for auction was 8899, which got 205,000 baht.

In Thai-Chinese belief, the number 8 represents infinity, while the number 9 symbolizes progress, since the word for the number 9, in Thai, gao, also means ‘step up’ or ‘step forward’.

Therefore, it was of little surprise that the highest final bid was made for the plate number 9999, which was auctioned for 1.45 million baht.

This was followed by 7777 (900,000 baht), 8888 (800,000 baht), a single digit, 1 (500,000 baht) and a single digit, 9 (500,000 baht).

Presided over by Major General Prin Suwanthat, the Deputy Minister of Transport, other VIP guests taking part were Phuket Land Transport Office (PLTO) chief Teerayut Prasertpol, Somchai Siriwatanachok, director-general of the Department Land Transport (DLT) and Phuket Vice Governor Sommai Prijasilpa.

Maj Gen Prin Suwanthat said that the LTD held its first license plate auction in 2003, at the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel in Bangkok, for the Thai series of “Sor Ngor“, which generated a total of 45,222,000 baht.

Outside of Bangkok, the first auction was held in Phuket in 2004, for the “Kor Jor” series. That auction generated just over 8 million baht.

Although seeming like a small amount, Maj Gen Prin assured that it was not less than any other province of that time.

Since then, Phuket has held a lucky license plate auction nearly every year, with the total amount of funds raised in all eight auctions just over 147 million baht, he said.

Maj Gen Prin went on to explain that the DLO puts the proceedings into a fund used to promote and support road and automobile safety campaigns. These include accident reduction campaigns launched during Thai New Year (the Songkran festival) and (western) New Year periods.

The Deputy Minister added that the campaigns will focus on raising road and automobile safety awareness and understanding, specifically among youth – from young children to teenagers.

He said that the fund is also utilized to acquire and implement new technologies, such as traffic cameras and lights, to help regulate and facilitate increased traffic safety.

Moreover, the fund will also be applied towards assisting injured and handicapped automobile accident victims to procure wheelchairs and prosthetic limbs, he concluded.

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO | The Thaiger

We look at the recent changes made by the Australian and Indian governments to except control over the world’s biggest social media platforms. India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social. There is now an open battle between the rise of social media platforms and the governments and ‘old’ media that have been able to maintain a certain level of control over the ‘message’ for the last century. Who will win?

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told. The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO | The Thaiger

“The rules signal greater willingness by countries around the world to rein in big tech firms such as Google, Facebook and Twitter that the governments fear have become too powerful with little accountability.”

India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social.

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The companies are also being made to publish a compliance report each month with details about how many complaints they’ve received and the action they took.

They’ll also be required to remove ‘some’ types of content including “full or partial nudity,” any “sexual act” or “impersonations including morphed images”

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told.

The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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Business

Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO | The Thaiger

When the airlines, in particular, were asking the government to put their hands in their pockets for some relief funding in August last year, it was genuinely thought that international tourists would be coming back for the high season in December and January. At the very least local tourists and expats would head back to the skies over the traditional holiday break. And surely the Chinese would be back for Chinese New Year?

As we know now, none of that happened. A resurge in cases started just south of Bangkok on December 20 last year, just before Christmas, kicking off another round of restrictions, pretty much killing off any possibility of a high season ‘bump’ for the tourist industry. Airlines slashed flights from their schedule, and hotels, which had dusted off their reception desks for the surge of tourists, shut their doors again.

Domestically, the hotel business saw 6 million room nights in the government’s latest stimulus campaign fully redeemed. But the air ticket quota of 2 million seats still has over 1.3 million seats unused. Local tourists mostly skipped flights and opted for destinations within driving distance of their homes.

As for international tourism… well that still seems months or years away, even now.

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