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Chilean cyclist on world tour killed by pickup truck in Korat

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Chilean cyclist on world tour killed by pickup truck in Korat
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: A Chilean man has become the latest intercontinental cyclist to lose his life on Thai streets, on the final leg of a five-year, round-the-world cycling journey that was to finish in November.

Two years ago, two world-famous British cyclists died after being struck by a pickup truck in Thailand.

The latest victim, Juan Frangisgo, 48, was killed at about 2.30pm on Saturday while cycling his rickshaw on Mittraphap Road (“Friendship Road”) in Nakhon Ratchasima, also known in Thailand as Korat.

The accident injured his two passengers – his 39-year-old Singaporean wife and their 14-month-old son. They are receiving treatment at Buayai Hospital.

Lt Bantoon Sri-tiang, the on-duty officer at Bua Lai Police Station, said that a pickup smashed into the rickshaw, instantly killing Frangisgo, then lost control and overturned.

The pickup driver, Tiwarat Chaipidej, 64, survived the crash unscathed but remained at the scene.

He admitted he was at fault and said he was ready to take responsibility for the accident.

He said he did not see the rickshaw travelling along the roadside and ended up clipping it with his vehicle.

Police said they have charged Tiwarat with reckless driving causing death and injuries.

Frangisgo began his journey in November 2010 on a cycling trip that would take him 250,000 kilometers across five continents with the goal of reaching Australia in November.

Not only was his lifelong ambition snuffed out on the last leg of his grand tour, the lives of his wife and son were also turned upside down.

His wife appeared distraught and declined to testify to police, saying she would provide |information after she holds a proper funeral |for her deceased husband.

The Singaporean said she had planned to fulfill one of her late husband’s last wishes – to have his funeral held at Wat Pa Thamma Utthayan School in Khon Kaen.

“We stayed at the temple for about a week before we moved on to Nakhon Ratchasima. He was so impressed with the temple’s atmosphere that he told me that if he died, to conduct religious rituals for his funeral there,” she said.

She said she would talk to the temple’s abbot to find out how to schedule the ceremony.

Pichet Dechakhamphu from the Nakhon Ratchasima Tourism Office and police visited Frangisgo’s family at the hospital yesterday.

The officials proffered Bt300,000 compensation and promised to help pay up to Bt100,000 of the medical bill for the wife, who sustained a broken |leg in the accident, and the boy, who was only slightly hurt.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Thailand

Work permits for top tier Thailand Elite Card members

Caitlin Ashworth

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Work permits for top tier Thailand Elite Card members | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thailand Elite

In an effort to give the economy an extra boost, the government will discuss adding work permit privileges for top tier Thailand Elite Card members who invest a minimum of $1 million USD in Thailand.

The scheme will draw more investment to Thailand, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, or TAT, governor Yuthasak Supasorn. While the types of investments are up to the members, the government recommends property investment. The property sector was hit hard during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Thailand Elite members are on Elite Visas for 5 to 20 year stays. The website says the goal of the program is to “encourage more tourists to come over and stimulate the Kingdom’s bustling tourism industry, as well as to attract more foreign capital to boost the economy.”

There are 9 membership categories for the Thailand Elite Card. Members get privileges like expedited immigration lines at the airport and limousine pickup at the airport. Only those in the top tier categories costing 1 to 2 million baht, plus a minimum investment of $1 million USD within 1 year, will be eligible for the work permit.

Member applications have been at a record high over the past 2 months with a monthly average of 300 to 500 applications, according to Somchai Soongswang, the president of Thailand Privilege Card which operates the Thailand Elite Card scheme.

In August and September, 200 applicants were approved each month. Before the pandemic, only 100 memberships were approved per month. It takes 15 to 45 days to have the membership approved. Members must be screened through the Immigration Bureau, and some also need to pass additional screening through national intelligence agencies.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand

Win driver allegedly ran red light, hits teenage motorbiker

Caitlin Ashworth

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Win driver allegedly ran red light, hits teenage motorbiker | The Thaiger
PHOTO: naewna

A Thai motorbike taxi driver, known as a ‘win’ driver, allegedly ran a red light and ran into a teenage student driving on Sukhumvit Road in Chon Buri’s Sattahip district. The 58 year old win driver and the 18 year old student were both taken to the hospital. Emergency responders did not report on the extent of their injuries.

The student, Chatwilai Laopanna, told police that she was driving through the green light when the motorbike taxi driver collided into her. The win driver, Tawin Samila, admitted to police that he drove through the red traffic light.

Na Jomtien Police are reviewing surveillance camera footage to determine what potential charges will be pressed on the win driver.

‘Win’ drivers are an indispensable form of public transport for people to travel short distances, or cut through the heavy traffic, especially around Bangkok. But they are notorious for protecting their ‘turf’, erratic driving and flouting the traffic rules.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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Business

Struggling airlines to get reprieve through small loans, extension to fuel tax cut

Maya Taylor

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Struggling airlines to get reprieve through small loans, extension to fuel tax cut | The Thaiger
PHOTO: TAT News

Airlines in Thailand are being offered a financial lifeline, as the Government Savings Bank announces soft loans for carriers left struggling as a result of the current Covid-19 ‘disruption’. Nation Thailand reports that the GSB is offering the loans over a 60 month period, with an annual interest rate of 2%. Chairman Patchara Anuntasilpa says the proposal will shortly be put to Cabinet for approval.

Airlines have been left financially devastated by the fallout from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, with countries closing their borders, passenger numbers plummeting, and carriers forced to slash the number of flights on offer. The services available, including the food services, were also curtailed early on as a preventative measure but that restriction has since been lifted. The effect is being keenly felt by all the airlines in Thailand, with the Kingdom’s borders closed to nearly all international traffic since March.

In a further effort to ease the financial crisis faced by Thai airlines, the Excise Department says it will extend the fuel tax cut for low-cost carriers by another 6 months from the end of this month. Patchara, who also serves as director-general of the Excise Department, says the tax may end up being abolished completely. In normal times, taxation on aviation fuel generates around 1 billion baht a year.

Air Asia has also cut some of its ground costs by using airport buses to ferry passengers from a cheaper aircraft parking area, back to the terminals, foregoing the costs of the airport airbridges. Flights from Phuket to Don Mueang, for example, are now a full ‘bus’ service, sometimes adding an additional 15 minutes at either end for the loading up of the buses and the trip to the planes or the terminal.

It’s understood the excise tax collected since October 2019 totals 503 billion baht, down more than 6.5% on last year’s figure. Most of the income comes from oil or oil products, cars, alcohol, and cigarettes.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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