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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Rubber protests flare; Trang Airport fears; Tourist Court opens in Pattaya; Film fest loses to lese majeste

Legacy Phuket Gazette




Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Rubber protests flare; Trang Airport fears; Tourist Court opens in Pattaya; Film fest loses to lese majeste | The Thaiger

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

Close eye on rallies as talks with government fail
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Authorities are keeping a close eye on protesting rubber farmers amid fears they may step up the rallies currently being held in several southern provinces following the government’s decision to reject their demand for intervention in the price of raw rubber sheets, while only granting them subsidy relief.

The protest situation has not changed in the last three days. Announcing the results of tense negotiations on Wednesday evening between farmer groups and the government, Deputy Prime Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong said yesterday that the annual Bt1,260 per-rai subsidy for farmers owning 10 rai of rubber plantations would be extended to 25 rai.

However, he made no mention of the protesters’ key demand that the price of raw rubber sheets, which averages at around Bt70 at present, be boosted to a minimum of Bt101 or Bt120 maximum. Speaking at a Government House press conference, he said those qualifying for the subsidies, in the case of 10-rai plantations extended to cover 25 rai, must not be engaged in rubber farming on state-owned properties. The whole process of seeking an additional budget of Bt10.6 billion, in addition to the Bt22 billion already approved for the 10-rai cases, would take no more than two weeks, he added.

The annual Bt1,260 subsidy will be transferred to the bank accounts of rubber farmers who have registered for it, and would not be paid in the form of cheaper fertilisers and other farming subsidies, Kittiratt said, as was understood by some protesting farmers. He said the price of raw rubber sheets might rise to Bt90 in October. “We must let the price be decided by the market mechanism,” he added.

A special government committee was set up yesterday to solve problems with the price of rubber in the long run. The 10-member panel will today travel to Nakhon Si Thammarat to meet a group of rubber farmers at Twin Lotus Hotel to find a way to end the ongoing protest as well as open the blocked roads, Deputy Prime Minister Pracha Promnog said.

A group of protesters in Prachuap Khiri Khan brought 200 car tyres and a fuel drum to a rally site by a Phetkasem Route section at the 413-kilometre marker in Bang Saphan district where they were gathering. They did not say openly what they would do with the tyres and no details were available whether the drum was empty or if it contained something.

Police later dispersed this group of protesters and arrested 10 people. There were bottles thrown at the police during a charge but no serious injuries were reported.

Meanwhile, protesters in Nakhon Si Thammarat agreed to allow access to the railway section of the Ban Toon intersection, though their rally continued at a nearby site. Iad Seng-iad, a protest leader, said the movement would be taken to another level if the government is unable to meet their demands within the seven-day deadline.

Separately, Trang airport officials, guarding against a group of protesters holding a rally nearby, yesterday called on the authorities to provide protection fearing the rubber growers might decide to seize the airport. Songkhla provincial authorities have beefed up security around the Songkhla City Hall and Hat Yai Airport.

Confirming that flights were still operating as usual, Trang Airport director Thaworn Saengamphai said the protesters in Trang’s Huay Yot district, which entered its third day yesterday, had made no moves to block the airport yet. As many as 200 police officers are on a standby to handle the situation from possibly escalating.

A special law to enable rescue operations during emergencies has come into effect at the airport and the City Hall compound of Nakhon Si Thammarat, Governor Wiroj Jiwarangsan said. He said anyone found trespassing into both compounds or holding any rally there would face three months imprisonment and/or a Bt6,000 fine.

In Songkhla, provincial officials and police beefed up security at strategic locations, including the City Hall, where all cars are being strictly checked and all visitors have to get their ID cards scanned for record. Security has also been beefed up at Hat Yai Airport.

Meanwhile, Provincial Police Region 9 called on the protesters to gather peacefully and respect other people’s rights, adding that police officers manning rally sites will only be equipped with standard crowd-control equipment and would not carry weapons or explosives. He also warned protesters that the punishment for blocking roads was three years in prison and/or a fine of Bt60,000.

In addition, Songkhla protest leaders have warned that if the national policy committee does not accept their demand of boosting the prices of rubber products, they would get protesters from all 14 rubber-growing provinces to escalate their movement. The rubber growers are demanding that the price of ribbed smoked sheets (RSS) be increased to Bt101 per kilogram; raw sheet to Bt92/kg; rubber latex to Bt81; and pure scrap rubber to Bt83. The national police committee was set to discuss the situation yesterday.

In a related development, Nok Air tweeted yesterday that the Nakhon Si Thammarat airport had closed its entrance from the direction of Tha Phae Market and passengers were advised to use the Bang Pu intersection. The airline also urged passengers to show up earlier as a precaution.
Trang airport calls for protection from rubber growers protest
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Trang airport authorities on Thursday called for protection due to fears that protesting rubber growers might up their movement and seize the airport. Songkhla also beefed up security around the City Hall and Hat Yai airport as a precaution.

Affirming that flights were still operating as usual, Trang airport director Thaworn Saengamphai said the rubber growers’ protest, which has been in place for the past three days at the Andaman Intersection in Tambon Khao Kob, Huai Yod district where 200 crowd control police remain on hand, had not shown any indiciations that they would move to block the airport. However, Thaworn had already put precautionary measures in place, including closing all entrances to the airport except the eastern gate on Trang Palian Road because of insufficient police manpower. Thaworn apologised to travellers for the inconvenience.
First Tourist Court opens in Pattaya Thursday
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Thailand’s first tourist court opened in Chon Buri’s Pattaya City on Thursday, as part of a move to reassure travellers of their safety while visiting the country.

From 4.30pm to 8.30pm, foreign visitors could file civil and criminal complaints at this specialised court, so the cases would be tried faster that in an ordinary court hence a verdict could be delivered before the plaintiffs leave the country.

Consideration of cases will be cut to one day for uncomplicated disputes from the usual six months, while consideration of felony cases could be cut to weeks instead of months.

With officials capable of speaking foreign languages to help out, the specialised court would encourage negotiation

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Hua Hin

Tale of two cities – Hua Hin vs Pattaya

The Thaiger



Tale of two cities – Hua Hin vs Pattaya | The Thaiger

by Kornrawee Panyasuppakun

Property buyers looking to buy a seaside villa or condo in a coastal town in Thailand, relatively close to Bangkok, confront one question – should I buy a property in Hua Hin or Pattaya?

And rightly so, because these two choices have similar aspects. Both have kilometres of coastline, good beaches, and are just a couple of hours away from Bangkok – 3 hours for Hua Hin and 2 hours for Pattaya. They also have good year-round weather, large expat populations, and are some of the best places in Asia for water-sports and playing golf.

Yet, each place suits buyers with different lifestyles and goals.

Town or City?

If you want a laid-back beach town feel, Hua Hin is the right choice. If you like to live in the middle of action, with a greater range of things to do, Pattaya is the winner. It is simply more established and has a longer development history in terms of western-style villas and condominiums.

Hua Hin has a population of around 100,000 plus a growing tourist reputation. The lazy town offers long, sandy beaches that run 5 kilometers along the coast and are not fully obstructed by high-story condos on the beach, due to building regulations.

Hua Hin may not be the best place to swim in Thailand, as the sea-bed is a bit rocky, but it makes up for it with clean beaches, dedicated beach cleanup groups consisting of locals and expats, and regulations which, among others, restrict commercial tourism on the beaches on Wednesdays, and town planning which controls high-rise along the coast.

Hua Hin also suits those in search of a peaceful getaway because the town does not have a seedy reputation and is far from any industrial enterprises. This is thanks to a strong tradition of royal patronage and residence in the district, such as Mrigadayavan Palace and Klai Kangwon Palace, the latter is owned by the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX).

Nevertheless, the town has a growing reputation for restaurants and new attractions for tourists; it is a favourite resort town for Thai upper-class and Bangkokians who like to go to Hua Hin on weekends.

Check out the largest selection of properties in both towns HERE.

Tale of two cities - Hua Hin vs Pattaya | News by The Thaiger

Pristine beaches of Hua Hin, larger and longer than Pattaya

Pattaya, on the other hand, is home to almost 400,000 people, plus plenty of international tourists. The city is highly developed and has a higher density of high-rise buildings along the coastline and many great sea-view villas on the hillside, both of which are harder to find in Hua Hin due to the tighter building regulations.

During the day, the beaches in Pattaya attract sun worshippers and all different types of water sports, from kitesurfing to waterskiing. At night, Pattaya’s Walking Street is an international adult entertainment playground. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a quiet place in Pattaya. There are less-popular beaches like Jomtien Beach and nearby islands like Koh Larn and Koh Samet.

Pattaya is part of Thailand’s eastern seaboard, the Eastern Economic Corridor, meaning the city is situated close to Thailand’s main industrial facilities and sea ports, as well as airports like Suvarnabhumi Airport, which is around an hour and a half away by car. It also has its own airport about 40 minutes from town called U-tapao International Airport.

Tale of two cities - Hua Hin vs Pattaya | News by The Thaiger

The famous sweeping coastline of Pattaya, a haven for nightlife and entertainment options

Holiday home, Retirement, or Investment?

Hua Hin and Pattaya are both highly qualified for holiday home buyers with an impressive choice of villas and condominiums. But Hua Hin is better known for retirement and Pattaya for investment.

Hua Hin has been named as one of the best retirement locations in Asia by countless surveys. It offers a high standard of living, great golf courses, first-class restaurants, quality medical care, close proximity to Bangkok, as well as “the big foreign community that connects through reading clubs, festivals, cycling clubs, soccer leagues, wine tastings and darts tournaments,” wrote the US News and World Report in 2019.

Foreign property buyers are those who buy a holiday home or a retirement residence. Most are from western countries, especially those from Scandinavia, Germany and England. Many buy in Hua Hin to spend the winter with their families, rent out when they are away, and eventually live there when they retire. Also, a hi-speed railway will soon be built to link Hua Hin with Bangkok, which will make travelling to Bangkok airports even more convenient. It already has a multi-lane highway, train and bus services.

Pattaya is a popular choice for investment. It has a large and growing tourism industry, with over 12 million tourists last year, as well as a healthy mix of nationalities, including Israeli, Russian, European, Indian, and Chinese, making its tourism less susceptible to change from a single demographic.

Additionally, Pattaya is part of the Eastern Economic Corridor, the Eastern seaboard that targets high-tech industries and attracts foreign direct investments, especially from Japan. It is also linked to Bangkok airports, sea ports, and main industrial facilities in Chon Buri and Rayong by the upcoming hi-speed rail. Plus, the city itself is positioned as an international medical hub.

Overall, a stream of foreign tourists and business travellers means a steady source of income for investors. Those who buy the property to rent out short-term and long-term can enjoy a realistic Return On Investment of about 7 – 8% year. In Pattaya you can already see investors from Western countries as well as Asian countries, from China to India and the Middle East.

Tale of two cities - Hua Hin vs Pattaya | News by The Thaiger

There is an excellent selection of international-standard golf courses in Hua Hin


Both offer a cool selection of eateries, shopping malls, and activities, but if compared by the variety of choices, Pattaya is the hands down winner.

That isn’t to say that Hua Hin doesn’t have plenty of options. Most buyers in Hua Hin like to play golf and enjoy the outdoor spaces – town is one of the best golfing destinations in Asia. There are also first-class Thai and international restaurants, a huge eco-friendly water park, and several night markets that sell fresh seafood and local crafts, like Hua Hin Night Market and Cicada Market.

Furthermore, Hua Hin has stylish shopping malls like Blueport and Market Village, the latter of which offers so-called “you hunt, we cook” options. You can also try the new Latitude Wines at a vineyard in Hua Hin or head to a cool bar that offers familiar labels.

Pattaya may be infamous for its red light areas and nightlife – go-go bars, beer bars and nightclubs – but that is not the only side of Pattaya. In Pattaya you can find quality lifestyle with a burgeoning choice of family options and entertainments.

It offers a range of Thai and international cuisines, from award-winning restaurants with amazing views, sky bars, and Italian wine bars, to family-run restaurants, 100% vegan places, and local seafood. It also has a range of options to entertain people with different budgets.

Pattaya also offers lots of chic shopping centees like Terminal 21 Pattaya, Central Festival Pattaya Beach and Central Marina. There are also lots of family-friendly choices like water parks and museums, in addition to a wide range of extreme sports, such as Muay Thai, kitesurfing, waterskiing, and skydiving. You can also go snorkeling or plan a day trip to nearby islands like Koh Larn and Koh Samet.

In both cities, you can expect to find theatres with international blockbusters and supermarkets that sell western products. And there is a daily ferry between Hua Hin and Pattaya (during high season).

International Education

Expat families can find an excellent international school in both cities.

Hua Hin has a couple of options for expat families. With quality education and great sporting activities, Hua Hin International School, for instance, is one of the choices that follows the national British curriculum and the IB program, and recruits teachers from the UK. There are also several bilingual programs available.

Expats in Pattaya have more choice when it comes to international education. There are several internationally-recognised international schools with excellent facilities like hi-tech campus, drama studios, and a big theatre. Some of the best schools are St Andrews International School, Regents International School, and Tara Pattana International School.

Tale of two cities - Hua Hin vs Pattaya | News by The Thaiger

Health Care

Hua Hin and Pattaya offer high-quality hospitals that cover basic and advanced medical care and cater to patients with different budgets.

Top private hospitals in Hua Hin are, for instance, Sao Paulo Hospital which caters to lower budgets, and Bangkok Hospital Hua Hin which is part of the renowned BDMS group. These hospitals both offer quality specialist care including cardiology, urology, and orthopaedics, to name a few, and English is widely spoken.

For Pattaya, top hospitals are Bangkok Hospital Pattaya, Pattaya International Hospital, and Pattaya Memorial Hospital, with Bangkok Hospital Pattaya charging the highest fees. Also, as Pattaya is recognised as one of the best medical tourism centres in Thailand, and the region, there are tons of tourists flying to the city for medical care, and hospitals employ staff who are fluent in various languages.

Bangkok Hospital Pattaya, for instance, has interpreters in more than 20 languages, including Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish.

The bottom line … It depends on your goals and lifestyle. If you want a peaceful hideaway with grand royal history, or are a golf enthusiast, you may choose a property in Hua Hin. If you want to a city that is always switched on, close to investment areas and airports, and has lots of leading international schools and shopping malls, you may like Pattaya more.

Tale of two cities - Hua Hin vs Pattaya | News by The Thaiger

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Angry driver terrifies employees at Chonburi gas station

May Taylor



Angry driver terrifies employees at Chonburi gas station | The Thaiger


An employee at a Chonburi gas station has told a Sanook news team how the behaviour of an angry truck driver left her and her colleagues terrified.

Niracha, aged 23, used her phone to record a video of the angry customer driving at speed around the gas station and throwing alcohol bottles at another customer. Her colleague Atirut Someprasert posted the video on Facebook, with a plea for help to find the driver.

“If anyone sees this truck, please let me know. The driver tried to beat the gas station employees. If anyone knows the driver or has any information, please help us. Please share this post.”

Thai Residents reports that the incident took place at 2.30am last Wednesday, when a black Toyota truck arrived at the gas station and the driver went to use the bathroom. There, he appears to have gotten into a fight with a motorbike rider who had parked his bike in front of the bathroom while making some purchases at the convenience store nearby.

A verbal dispute quickly turned violent when the truck driver started grabbing alcohol bottles from his truck and launching them at the other man. He then proceeded to get back in the truck and drive at speed around the forecourt, trying to hit other customers and gas station employees.

Niracha, who used her phone to film the scene, says employees were all extremely scared and had to run and hide for fear of being hit by the truck. She says the man eventually drove off, but social media users are busy sharing the Facebook video of his actions in an effort to identify him.

SOURCE: | Thai Residents

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8 injured after pickup overturns on Highway 7, Pattaya

The Thaiger



8 injured after pickup overturns on Highway 7, Pattaya | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Pattaya Mail

8 people have been were injured after a pickup loaded with construction workers overturned on Highway 7 in Pattaya.

The 54 year old driver, Sombat Li, has told police that at 9am, on October 6, on his way to delivering the workers to a construction site in Pattaya, another car cut him off. He told police he had to swerve sharply to avoid contact and the pickup rolled.

The incident occurred at Part 5, Highway 7 KM 114, entering Pattaya City before the Pong sub-district tollgate. Five woman and three men were injured in the overturn and were taken to Banglamung Hospital in Pattaya.

SOURCE: Pattaya Mail


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