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People flock to beaches to honour 2004 tsunami victims

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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People flock to beaches to honour 2004 tsunami victims | The Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

People flock to beaches to honour 2004 tsunami victims
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: One decade on, people gathered at various seaside spots in tsunami-hit provinces to remember those who perished in the deadly waves.

Yesterday marked the 10th anniversary of the tsunami that killed more than 5,000 people of various nationalities in this country.

In Phuket province, people laid flowers and lit candles in memory of tsunami victims on Patong Beach.

The Light Up Phuket event, which runs until tomorrow, also offers musical performances and exhibitions on emergency responses so people can take care of themselves should a similar event happen in the future.

In Phang Nga province, Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda joined several high-ranking officials in an event at Baan Nam Khem Tsunami Memorial Park.

Anupong read a statement from Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-ocha that emphasized the need to promote a culture of safety among Thais.

Anupong said he hoped the 10th anniversary of the tsunami would remind people of the need to be on the alert and well prepared to deal with disasters.

In Phuket, the Tambon Mai Khao Administrative Organisation organised Buddhist, Muslim and Christian rituals in dedication to tsunami victims. There was also a one-minute vigil among people who showed up in memory of those who died in the tsunami 10 years ago.

In Krabi province, a commemorative event was held at Loh Dalum Bay, Ban Koh Phi Phi, Muang district. There, the tsunami killed 722 people and left 587 missing on December 26, 2004.

“I still vividly remember what happened that day,” said Mard Wangsen, 76.

“I hope the commemorative event will nudge people into understanding that they need to rush uphill if there are signs of tidal waves coming.”

Baan Nam Khem approach wins praise

In Ranong province, religious rituals were conducted to make merit for tsunami victims. The giant waves killed 152 people and affected 45 communities in this southern province.

Preecha Pinang, a kamnan in the province, said he was still worried that preparations in the wake of the 2004 tsunami would not be good enough to protect people’s lives if the waves hit again.

“On existing evacuation routes, it would take locals half an hour to reach a safe spot. But a tsunami can ravage everything in less than five minutes,” he lamented.

Margareta Wahlstrom, the United Nations secretary-general’s special representative for disaster risk reduction, who came to Thailand to attend commemoration events, yesterday emphasized that Thai government agencies and local administrative bodies must collaborate closely to prepare for emergency responses at the community level.

She praised the impressive approach used by the Baan Nam Khem community in Phang Nga province and suggested that it should expand further.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Thailand

Her Royal Highness Princess Sirindhorn hospitalised for infection

May Taylor

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Her Royal Highness Princess Sirindhorn hospitalised for infection | The Thaiger

The Bureau of the Royal Household confirms that Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn is being treated for an infection and inflammation of the digestive tract at King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital in Bangkok.

The Palace has reported that the princess was admitted yesterday on the recommendation of a medical team caring for her. She had been suffering with stomach pains and a fever.

The hospital has diagnosed an infection and inflammation of the large intestine, and is now being treated with antibiotics.

Her Royal Highness has been advised to remain in hospital for the duration of her treatment and postpone any official engagements.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post | Thai PBS World

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Crime

Convicted human traffickers ignore 99% of court orders in Thailand

Greeley Pulitzer

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Convicted human traffickers ignore 99% of court orders in Thailand | The Thaiger

Human traffickers in Thailand have ignored court orders to pay compensation to victims in more than the 99% of convicted cases in recent years. The flouting of the court orders is fuelling fears that many survivors could be victimised again.

Thai courts have ordered traffickers to pay their victims more than $4.3 million for damages caused in about 1,335 cases since 2014, but the compensation was paid in only five cases, excluding cases settled out of court, according to Reuters.

While Thailand has rescued a record-breaking 1,000+ trafficking victims this year along, activists are concerned that the failure to pay compensation leaves them in fresh danger. A spokesman for the Human Rights and Development Foundation says… “It’s an important issue that is unfortunately being neglected.”

The Human Rights and Development Foundation provides free legal aid to migrant workers and trafficking victims.

The Thai government is considering amending its 1999 anti-money laundering laws to allow offenders’ assets to be seized to compensate victims. Seized assets are currently state property but it’s unclear when this will be reviewed by the cabinet.

“This money will enable victims to start a new life and prevent them from being re-trafficked. However the government’s role in assisting victims in pursuing the claims is still not clear.”

Thailand is home to about 610,000 modern ‘slaves’, according to the Global Slavery Index published by the rights group Walk Free Foundation. This means that about one in 113 of its 69 million people is enslaved – forced or blackmailed into working against their will, often with little or no pay.

Trafficking victims are automatically compensated through a government fund which provides living and rehabilitation expenses and lost wages. But the Human Rights and Development Foundation says these sums are insufficient for victims to rebuild their lives.

While Thai law allows victims to claim compensation from convicted traffickers, offenders have refused to pay in more than 1,000 cases.

The US called on Thailand in June to increase compensation to victims in its annual Trafficking in Persons report. They ranked Thailand as a Tier 2 country, meaning it is making significant efforts to combat the crime.

SOURCE: Reuters

Convicted human traffickers ignore 99% of court orders in Thailand | News by The Thaiger

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Economy

Twin TAT campaigns will boost domestic travel

Greeley Pulitzer

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Twin TAT campaigns will boost domestic travel | The Thaiger

In November the Tourism Authority of Thailand plans two campaigns – “Visit Thailand with 100 Baht” and “Shocking Price Weekday Travel”, – aimed to generate 400 million baht in local tourism revenue before the end of the year.

The TAT’s executive director of product promotion said “Shocking Price Weekday Travel” would encourage upper and middle-class Thai tourists to travel more on weekdays, enjoying discounts of up to 80% on high-end tourism products, including five-star hotels, airlines, spas, yachting, Michelin-star restaurants and other privileges from online travel agents. The TAT says at least 4,000 tourism operators and members of tourism associations have registered to take part in the scheme.

A second campaign, “Visit Thailand with 100 Baht”, will feature 40,000 tourism products priced at just 100 baht, offering 10,000 products per day on November 11-12 and December 11-12. You’ll need to be 18 or older and have e-banking and a mobile phone number to join the campaign via the TAT’s website, and can shop for only one tourism product outside their hometown.

Registration will run from 6am until midnight or whenever the 10,000 products for that day run out, the TAT said. The campaign will offer air and bus tickets, hotels, food and drink, tour packages and attractions.

The TAT’s governor said 116 million baht will be used for the two additional programs, above the government’s 1,000 baht cash giveaway Chim-Shop-Chai (Taste-Shop-Spend) scheme, and a 15% cash rebate for spending on tourism products. He expects the new campaigns should add about 400 million baht in tourism revenue and increase the number of Thai tourists travelling domestically by 10-20% .

“The new campaigns, are expected to raise domestic tourism revenue to 1.12 trillion baht this year.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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