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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Isarn floods worst in 50 years; Pattaya on fire; Santika Pub owner aquitted

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Isarn floods worst in 50 years; Pattaya on fire; Santika Pub owner aquitted | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Flooding in East worst in 50 years: Plodprasop
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Flooding in Phimai district in Nakhon Ratchasima, one of the hardest hit areas, is expected to peak over the next few days.

“At this point, I am most worried about Phimai,” Water and Flood Management Commission chairman Plodprasop Suraswadi said yesterday.

Phimai was in a low-lying zone and would take in run-off water from nearby areas, he said.

Plodprasop, who is also a deputy prime minister, said the East was facing its worst floods in 50 years.

Floodwater recently swamped some public areas of the Amata Nakorn Industrial Estate in Chon Buri, a part of the East. While no factories have been inundated, the flooding forced some companies to suspend operations as workers found it hard to get to work.

Plodprasop said that although the flooding situation in the East was like the big flood in 2011 in many ways, collaboration between the government and the private sector plus their growing experience had allowed all stakeholders to protect economic zones.

Big fire behind Walking Street in Pattaya
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Five commercial buildings including a construction shop were damaged by a fire that broke out yesterday afternoon in the Walking Street area in southern Pattaya.

But there were no deaths and just one man – a rescue worker – suffered a minor leg injury.

The total damage bill was initially put at over Bt10 million.

The fire started at about 3pm in a back storage room where thinner and other highly flammable chemicals were stored. There were reports of explosions, which attracted about 30 fire engines and many fire fighters to put the fire out.

It took them two hours to get the blaze under control.

Phuket’s biggest ever fire at the main SuperCheap store has finally been extinguished and the area sealed off for 45 days, pending probes by police and other agencies and a clean-up by municipal officials.

So far, all people reported missing at the time have been found and a search of 95 per cent of the site has not revealed any bodies.

A meeting, presided over by Phuket Governor Maitree Inthusut, was told some 67 affected people had registered for help.

Phuket official Suwimol Saelim told the meeting that the store was insured for fire with two companies for Bt620 million in total.

Court clears Santika Pub owner over deadly blaze
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Wisuk Setsawat, owner of the Santika Pub, which caught fire on New Year’s Eve 2008, killing 67 revellers and injuring 117 others, was yesterday acquitted by the Appeals Court.

The court found that the charges in his indictment for directly causing death through carelessness were unclear and lacked evidence.

However, the verdict also upheld a lower court decision, reached in September 2011, which sentenced Bunchoo Laoseehanart, executive of Focus Light Sound System, to a three-year imprisonment term without suspension.

Bunchoo was held responsible for the use of pyrotechnics in the upscale pub that resulted in the fire.

The court ordered Bunchoon and the company to pay a total of Bt8.7 million to families of some fire victims. Bunchoo has been released on a Bt500,000 bail guarantee.

The Appeals Court judges said Wisuk’s failure to provide adequate fire-safety equipment in the pub, located off Soi Sukhumvit 33, though in violation of the 1979 Building Control Act, was not a direct cause of the fire.

The prosecution lacked evidence to support an allegation that more than 500 revellers were allowed inside the pub in violation of the legal limit, the judges said.

Malee Thanompanyarak, a relative of a victim, expressed surprise over what she dubbed “an about-turn” in the sentence. The unlawful lack of fire-safety equipment cited against the owner in the Bangkok South Criminal Court verdict was simply overlooked by yesterday’s verdict, Malee said.

A survivor, Rattana sae-Lim, whose face and upper body were severely disfigured, said the verdict was a huge letdown. She is still pursuing Bt8 million in damages in a civil class action filed against all defendants by 47 co-plaintiffs who are relatives or representatives of the dead or injured victims.

The verdict elaborated on evidence against Bunchoo in upholding the sentence and an order that he pay compensatory payment. But it said testimony against Sarawut Ariya, singer of the musical band Burn, was contradictory and inadequate. Sarawut’s band was playing live music prior to the pyrotechnics. He was acquitted of lighting the fireworks, upholding the lower court’s decision to give his evidence the benefit of the doubt.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Pattaya

Woman and 2 children escape unharmed after car flips over in Pattaya

Maya Taylor

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Woman and 2 children escape unharmed after car flips over in Pattaya | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Rak Siam News

A woman who lost control of her car, making the vehicle flip over, has had a lucky escape, along with her 2 young children, who were unharmed in the incident. 36 year old Suweena Rodpan says she was driving in the rain, on Pattaya’s Sukhumvit Road, when she lost control of the car due to the wet surface. She subsequently collided with another vehicle in front of her, before her own car flipped over.

Suweena, along with her 11 year old son and 8 year old daughter, were not injured in the incident, nor was the driver of the other vehicle.

Pattaya City Police have launched an investigation into the accident, but it is not yet known if Suweena will face charges.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Crime

5 arrested in Pattaya with machine gun and crystal meth

Caitlin Ashworth

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5 arrested in Pattaya with machine gun and crystal meth | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai Visa

Police arrested 5 people, including juveniles, who were allegedly carrying a machine gun, a handgun and bullets as well as crystal methamphetamine and ecstasy. One suspect allegedly told police he needed the machine gun to protect himself from a “powerful enemy.” Police say all of the suspects tested positive for methamphetamine use.

The car was passing through a police checkpoint in Pattaya city near the Sukhumvit intersection on North Pattaya Road when police searched the vehicle, finding the 2 guns and ammunition as well as 5 bags of crystal methamphetamine and 3 bags of ecstasy. Police did not say how much each bag weighed.

Police say there 2 women and 3 men were in the vehicle. They did not release the names or ages, but say some of the suspects were juveniles. One of the suspects took responsibility for the illegal weapons, saying he needed the machine gun to protect himself, police say. Police did not say why the suspect needed to be protected.

At the Pattaya City Police station, the 5 suspects took a urine drug test. Police say all of the urine samples came back “purple,” a positive result for methamphetamine use. Police are continuing their investigations before pressing charges.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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Pattaya

Pattaya City council pushes for action against abandoned Waterfront condo project

The Thaiger

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Pattaya City council pushes for action against abandoned Waterfront condo project | The Thaiger

The Pattaya City Council is pushing for action, any action, against the abandoned 53 story Waterfront Suites and Residence luxury condo after it has been left as an eyesore for many years overlooking the Bali Hai Pier. The Waterfront Suites and Residence is a half-finished condo project that was stalled in 2014 after safety inspectors discovered that the building’s fire escapes and elevator systems designs varied from the already approved construction designs.

Thai Engineering, however, allegedly ignored the stop-work order and continued, but the company says it was not informed from the developers to stop. The project was originally launched and proposed back in 2004.

In July, 2014, Pattaya city officials halted construction of the condo and hotel project following an internet firestorm after photos showing the tower obstructing a “classic” Pattaya viewpoint. The majority of comments were negative, claiming the project ruined the viewpoint hill and the area around Bali Hai pier and was an “eyesore”. The mayor at the time, Itthiphol Kuneplome spoke up for the project and said that it had continually followed correct and fully transparent legal processes.

Then the condo’s Israeli-owned Bali Hai Company, due to complaints about the condo’s obstruction of the natural landscape and land permit issues, filed a petition with the Central Bankruptcy Court in Bangkok for debt restructuring which subsequently failed as the company went bankrupt.

The Pattaya Court has ordered for the condo to be legitimately demolished but due to legal proceedings against the company dragging along, the condo continues to sit abandoned. Furthermore, Pattaya City authorities were rejected by the departments that would carry out the demolition citing that the authorities were not specialised in estimating the cost of such a demolition. Now the authorities are still trying to get estimates from 11 different companies to outsource the demolition which is contributing to the delay.

But the Pattaya City Council chairman says that law firms should take control and use photographs and other documents before collecting the evidence to speed up the process. Regardless, the demolition of the condo is in limbo as pending lawsuits are preventing it from moving forward.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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