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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Monster rally to target Thaksin; Pattaya rubble beach revamp; Olympic shooter gunned down

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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Monster rally to target Thaksin; Pattaya rubble beach revamp; Olympic shooter gunned down | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Plan for huge rally against amnesty bill
Thye Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: A massive rally is apparently in the making now as several groups have expressed the shared goal of fighting any move to “whitewash” former PM Thaksin Shinawatra to the bitter end.

The Democrat Party has also reaffirmed its plan to take to the streets if it fails to block the amnesty law in the Parliament.

“We have never changed our stance. It’s our duty to fight against the amnesty law,” the party’s leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said yesterday.

Democrat MP Nipit Intarasombat also urged opponents of the amnesty bill to start coming together, saying on his Facebook page that the bill’s third reading would happen very soon.

Last Friday, the House ad-hoc committee for the amnesty bill caused a stir when it voted to include people facing legal action in cases stemming from post-2006 coup investigations among those who would benefit from the law.

Initially, the bill sought to pardon only political demonstrators.

“Thaksin won’t be the only beneficiary,” the committee’s chairman and Pheu Thai MP Samart Kaewmechai said yesterday. “We don’t mention the return of his assets either.”

Still, Abhisit commented that the change to the core of the bill showed an intention to favour ousted prime minister Thaksin and his cronies.

Two years after the 2006 military coup removed Thaksin from power, he was found guilty of abuse of authority. The former premier fled overseas just before the ruling was announced and now lives in self-imposed exile to avoid a two-year jail term but assets of Bt46 billion were confiscated in a later ruling in early 2010.

Abhisit said if the amnesty bill sailed through and took effect, Thaksin would definitely try to get back that money. “If he reclaims that amount of money, it means Thai people lose the money to the corrupt,” he said.

Abhisit expressed an intention to try to block the amnesty bill in the Parliament, where the government has a comfortable majority, and to also ask the Constitutional Court to block the bill – before going all out with a protest on the streets.

Meanwhile, the People’s Assembly Reform Thailand (PART) convened a meeting yesterday with various civic groups to discuss several developments and address their concerns, especially about the apparent move to issue a blanket amnesty.

Most had the opinion that a blanket amnesty would effectively let Thaksin off the hook, as it was likely to undermine the legal basis under which he was convicted.

“If some Democrat MPs would like to join our activities, they can do so under their own name,” PART chairman Somkiat Pongpaiboon said.

He said the PART local leaders from 77 provinces would have a meeting on October 27 to plan their big move.

“Anyone who wishes to join us can come forward,” Somkiat said.

Green Politics co-ordinator Suriyasai Katasila showed up alongside Somkiat yesterday. “We have shared the stance against the issuing of an amnesty for Thaksin,” he said.

Nitithorn Lamlua, an adviser to the Network of Students and People for Thailand’s Reform, said the network was willing to join the protest against the amnesty bill. “We have seen the amnesty bill as the step towards dictatorship, [and] an infringement on the judiciary.”

The network is leading an anti-government rally at the Urupong Intersection. Thaksin is seen by many as the de facto head of the current government, which is led by his younger sister, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

General Preecha Iamsuphan, a leader of the People’s Army Against the Thaksin Regime, called on people to come forward and stop Thaksin’s regime from taking over Thailand.

Nipit believed the Parliament would start the third reading of the amnesty bill on November 6, the day he believed opponents of the bill should start a massive rally.

Some red shirts are also unhappy with the amnesty bill, because they wanted those behind the bloody dispersal of red-shirt demonstrators in 2010 to face justice.

Meanwhile, most people see that the amnesty bill, which is being vetted by a special House panel, would become a cause of political violence, a survey by Abac Poll of Assumption University has found.

Abac Poll said 80.3 per cent of respondents said yes when asked whether they think the bill was be a cause of political violence, while 19.7 per cent did not think so. The survey was conducted from October 15 to 19 among 1,488 respondents.

Critics of Pattaya landfill plan say encroachment is real problem
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Like other coastal cities, Pattaya is losing parts of its majestic beach to erosion at the rate of one metre every monsoon season.

A massive landfill project, to cost the central government Bt450 million, is planned to restore the city’s 2.7-kilometre beach to its former glory. About 50 years ago, Pattaya boasted 35 metres of beachfront, but presently, sandy areas are less than five metres in width during high tide. Under the project, tonnes of sand would be transported to the beachfront to restore the condition of the city’s North, Central and South Pattaya beaches.

Pattaya Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh was optimistic that the landfill project was a sustainable solution for keeping the beachfront in pristine condition. He said the area would first undergo an environmental impact assessment (EIA) under the supervision of the Marine Department.

The city has already spent Bt16 million in emergency funds to check the 29-metre erosion of North Pattaya beach. Hundreds of giant sandbags line the beach.

The idea of a landfill to counter coastal erosion was first conceived in 1994. The Pattaya Bay Area, one of Asia’s largest beach resort areas, appeals to both local and foreign travellers, each year attracting about 10 million visitors.

Over the past four years, Pattaya’s city administration and Chulalongkorn University have been working together to develop the project into a workable solution.

Chulalongkorn researcher Thanawat Jarupongsakul said the new landfill in Pattaya would be the first of its kind in Thailand. Should the project prove a success, it would be emulated in Hua Hin and coastal areas in the South, Thanawat said.

The Pattaya landfill, he said, would need over 360,000 cubic metres of sand and would take over eight months to complete. Barriers in the sea would have to be constructed 15 metres high to create a buffer zone and protect the 100-metre stretch of beach, before the sand to enlarge the beachfront could be introduced. The process would have to be repeated again in about 10 to 14 years to ensure the condition of the beach was maintained.

In a similar beachfront landfill in Germany, the landfill lasted 20 years before it had to be replaced, said Thanawat, adding that Thai contractors did not have the know-how to produce the kind of landfill needed, which could affect its longevity.

A simulated study indicated that as much as 10 metres of a beachfront landfill is washed away in the first year. According to Thanawat, the sand lost each year would have to be replaced for three years running, before the sand settled and the width of the beachfront remained naturally stable.

Conservationists have warned that a landfill might not be easy to implement in the face of strong winds, storms a

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Tourism

Pattaya springs back to life over the long weekend, more to come

The Thaiger

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Pattaya springs back to life over the long weekend, more to come | The Thaiger
PHOTO: The Pattaya News

Pattaya, struggling along for the past 7 months with a handful of domestic tourists and Bangkok weekenders, has had its busiest weekend for a long time, albeit a long weekend created by the public holiday in commemoration of King Chulongkorn. Much of the increased traffic were Thai faces, a big change to the city’s old demographic of international tourists and expats.

Tourists flocked to the city for the long weekend which included the Eastern Colorful Food, Culture and Music festival stretching along the Beach Road foreshore.

The focus of the weekend’s events was the Beach Road which was visibly busy with expats, locals and tourists joining in the foreshore festival, talent shows, music concerts and local food. Central Festival, in the middle of the Beach Road, hosted a range of activities and shows.

Several proprietors with businesses in the city’s red light areas also told The Thaiger that it was the busiest they’d seen areas like Walking Street and Soi 6 since the tourist tap slowed to a dribble after the borders were closed down in late March.

The city, along with the rest of Thailand, might have a few more good weeks ahead with the Loy Krathong and Halloween celebrations. The Central Festival Bikini Beach Run is also being held next week. Around the corner the Fireworks Festival on November 27 and 28, a seafood festival, and not too far away, Christmas and New Year celebrations.

Speaking to a number of participants in the foreshore festival on Friday evening, some people said they’d come down from Bangkok to escape the threat of disruptions from the ongoing government protests. Chad said he needed a Bangkok Break…

“Just had to escape for the weekend and get out of the city. All anyone is talking about now is the protests and I needed a bit of Pattaya pampering.”

Another expat, working in the tourism sector, (who didn’t want to be named) noted that Pattaya’s famous (or infamous) nightlife had sprung back to life.

“It didn’t take long for the bargirls to flood back and the shutters open on the bars again. Most of the faces I’m seeing are Thai. I figure it may be the first visit to Pattaya for many of them. Let’s hope they keep coming.”

“Very happy to see the events and festivals are coming back to Pattaya. We will see more in the last 2 months of the year,” said Sawas Dee.

Beyond the foreshore area there was still much of the city still closed up and hotels were offering excellent rates through the usual OTAs. Pattaya is still in a struggle to keep its businesses open but at least the last 3 days have given a much-need boost to city life.

The Thaiger has a full story about Pattaya’s struggles on our YouTube channel tomorrow.

Watch a quick video from Sawas Dee here…

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Tourism

Bangkok Airways add 3 new local routes to their schedule

The Thaiger

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Bangkok Airways add 3 new local routes to their schedule | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Bangkok Airways' ATR72, servicing the re-introduced routes

Some domestic routes are being added as local routes continue to expand. This time Bangkok Airways has announced it’s resuming its Samui-Phuket, Phuket-Hat Yai and Phuket-Pattaya/Rayong (U-Tapao) flights.

The first additions to the schedule will be the Phuket-Samui flights resuming this Sunday, October 25, and the Phuket-Pattaya flights start again next Tuesday, October 27. The Phuket-Samui flights will be operating on Sundays and Wednesdays only on the airlines’ ATR72 turbo prop regional planes, same as before.

A casual search on the Bangkok Airways website, for a return flight from Phuket to Samui on November 1, then back to Phuket on November 8 indicates the cheapest fare (promo) is 2,430 baht. Coming back, the cheapest fare we found, again labelled ‘promo’, was 2,630 baht. Bangkok Airways operate as a “full service” airline and don’t compete with the country’s discount airlines. But they operate these three routes exclusively – like it or leave it.

Bangkok Airways say that the flights will be operated “with the highest preventive measures and standards”. Around the country the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand have eased a few of the onboard restrictions, including the start of catering services which were originally banned under the initial flight rules when domestic routes started flying again at the start of July.

The daily direct services between Phuket and Hat Yai are also being operated on the ATR72 aircraft. The flight to Ha Yai leaves Phuket at 8.40am and arrives at Hat Yai at 9:.45am. The return flights leave Hat Yai back to Phuket at 10.25am each day. The route was very popular for the airline before the ‘disruption’ when airlines had their fleets grounded in April.

The service between Phuket and U-Tapao, linking the party city with the party island, will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, again with the ATR72. Phuket to U-Tapao will leave at 12.10pm and then from U-Tapao to Phuket at 4pm on the three days. U-Tapao is about a 50 minute drive from Pattaya and the airport also serves the greater Rayong area.

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Pattaya

Pattaya residents accuse Greek expat of throwing sewage, threatening neighbours, and damaging property

Maya Taylor

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Pattaya residents accuse Greek expat of throwing sewage, threatening neighbours, and damaging property | The Thaiger
PHOTO: The Pattaya News

Residents of a housing estate in the district of Banglamung in Pattaya, have filed a police report against an expat they accuse of threatening and damaging behaviour. According to The Pattaya News, neighbours say the Greek national has threatened them, as well as “throwing sewage” at their homes, and damaging their fences. They add that, despite filing a police report about the man’s behaviour, which has also been captured on CCTV, they feel nothing is being done.

Pattaya residents accuse Greek expat of throwing sewage, threatening neighbours, and damaging property | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: The Pattaya News

In the police report, neighbours say the man is from Greece and around 50 years old. They accuse him of destroying fences with a hammer, while threatening and screaming at residents. According to the report, he has also thrown bags of sewage and other trash over fences and onto other people’s property. He is also accused of attacking a security guard and an elderly woman in the estate.

Residents say they are mystified as to why the man is acting this way, insisting they have done nothing to provoke such behaviour. The man’s name has not been disclosed.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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