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Temple banned from making money off tigers

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Temple banned from making money off tigers
The Nation / Phuket Gazette


PHUKET: THE controversial “Tiger Temple” has been banned from charging tourists to visit dozens of big cats in their care, the parks department has said, following a dispute between monks and officials over the welfare of the animals.

Wat Pa Luang Ta Bua in Kanchanaburi province has long proved a hit among visitors who flock there to visit the monks and be photographed next to their huge feline pets.

But the temple has long had a controversial reputation among animal rights groups and Thai wildlife officials who say it is breaking the law by keeping the cats.

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation said the temple had been keeping the animals without the proper paperwork and had vowed to seize them, sparking stand-offs in recent weeks between officials and angry monks blocking their way.

DNP officials conducted a headcount on Friday, discovering 147 tigers in the monk’s care. Officials had earlier indicated they would take the animals, despite concerns that the department might not have adequate facilities to look after such a large number of cats.

On Saturday the DNP released a statement saying it had reached a deal with the monks allowing them to continue keeping the tigers under certain conditions including a ban on any further breeding or profiting from the cats.

“The temple should not gain commercial benefit from the tigers without permission from [the] department such as selling tourists admission fees or charging them money to take photos,” the department said in the statement.

The DNP said the temple had also agreed that the tigers were officially “confiscated state assets and under the responsibility” of the parks department but added that the monks were still responsible for the costs of looking after the cats.

Any breach of the deal, the statement added, would result in the DNP seizing the animals.

The temple could not be reached for comment on Saturday but the deal raises doubts over whether the sanctuary can continue as a tourist attraction.

Friday’s headcount was sparked by allegations by a former temple vet last week who complained to police that three tigers had recently disappeared from the sanctuary, sparking fears they may have been sold.

“We still don’t know yet where the missing tigers are or what happened to them,” Edwin Wiek, of the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand, told AFP. The foundation has campaigned to have the tigers removed.

Wiek said he was sceptical the temple would close as a tourist attraction or a breeding centre because previous deals struck with the authorities had failed.

“I don’t see that happening. The temple never kept their promises on previous deals, why would it be different this time?”

The monks have previously insisted they are a genuine conservation project providing a home for tigers that cannot be returned to the wild.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Crime

Woman talks about the life of a Thai “pretty” after model’s death

Caitlin Ashworth

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Woman talks about the life of a Thai “pretty” after model’s death | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Instagram/ wawa_manika

Following the news of a model who died after working as a hostess at a Bangkok party, Thai media spoke with a woman, known in Thailand as a “pretty,” about what it’s like to work in the lucrative, yet shady Thai model entertainment industry where many work as hostesses at parties and events that often involve alcohol, drugs and sex work.

“Miss Cake” told the Thai news outlet Daily News that pretties are sent to parties by “modelling agencies.” The parties are even categorized depending on if drugs or sex are involved. Apparently the parties are either “En-Up,” “En-V” or just “En” for entertainment. En-Up means drugs are involved, while En-V means the pretties will offer sexual services. Other pretties work at promotional events like auto shows. Since nightclubs and other entertainment venues in Bangkok have been closed due to the pandemic, many of the parties are now held at private homes.

If a pretty is working at an En-Up party, Miss Cake says that means there will be ecstasy, known as “khanom,” the Thai word for a dessert or snack. She says good “khanom” shipped from overseas costs around 900 to 1,000 baht while the poor quality, Thai-made drugs cost 500 baht. Just about every pretty takes drugs, she says. If mixed with ketamine, Miss Cake says it can be dangerous.

Daily News spoke with Miss Cake following the death of a 33 year old Witchayaporn “Wawa” Wisetsombat who worked died in a hospital after working as a hostess at a party in Bangkok’s Chatuchak district. She had been hired by a modelling agency to serve drinks at a private party. Her younger sister told the Bangkok Post that Wawa was a product presenter and never sold sex or used narcotics. Doctors told the Post Wawa died from respiratory and blood system failure. They are still waiting for the results for a toxicology test.

The death of another model back in 2019 shed light on the abuse and danger many pretties face in the industry. 25 year old Thitima “Lunlabelle” Noraphanpiphat died from “extreme alcohol intoxication,” according to an autopsy report. Her dead body was found in the lobby of a Bangkok condominium. 6 people were found guilty for involvement in Lunlabelle’s death.

Abuse is common in the industry and many women working as pretties are often pressured into drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. The work of pretties is looked down upon in Thai society. Due to the stigma, many due not file complaints when they are abused.

SOURCE: Thai Visa

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Thailand

PM Prayut postponing Covid‐19 vaccination citing paperwork issues

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PM Prayut postponing Covid‐19 vaccination citing paperwork issues | The Thaiger

Thailand’s PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is postponing his inaugural Covid‐19 vaccination citing paperwork issues with the AstraZeneca vaccine shipment. According to Khaosod English, the vaccine shipment was sent to Thailand last Wednesday from South Korea, but was missing the additional required paperwork.

Prayut was supposed to receive the vaccine tomorrow, but the highly‐publicised event will not be happening. According to Khaosod English, an official at the Secretariat of the Prime Minister has also confirmed the news of the postponement without citing a reason.

Although the Sinovac vaccine is also being administered in Thailand, healthcare officials say Prayut is too old to receive it as its age limit is 60. Prayut is 66 years old, which is well over the oldest age that can receive the vaccine.

The Sinovac vaccine drive is set to commence on Monday, 2 weeks behind schedule. Those frontline health workers, hospitality workers and vulnerable groups will receive the vaccines first.

Meanwhile, Phuket is waiting for the green lightto start administering vaccines and has already held a vaccine administration rehearsal overseen by Phuket Vice Governor Pichet Panapong along with other health officials.

Pichet says the first vaccine round of 4,000 doses should arrive early in March, with the 2nd and 3rd set of doses, 16,000 and 48,000 respectively, to arrive in April and May.

The government pandemic center reported 72 new confirmed infections on Friday, after first only reporting 45 new cases. 37 of those cases were locally-transmitted, and one 6 year old Thai girl returning from the UK was found to have tested positive for the virus. Samut Sakhon, again, reported over half of the new cases yesterday, as it remains the epicentre of Thailand’s second wave of the coronavirus outbreak.

The total virus tally in Thailand sits at 25,764, with 83 fatalities. The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration has not yet announced the amount of new cases for today.

There is no word yet on when PM Prayut will be rescheduled to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine.

SOURCE: Khaosod English

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Thailand

Thailand News Today | Week In Review | February 26

The Thaiger

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Thailand News Today | Week In Review | February 26 | The Thaiger

Thailand News Today usually covers five days of the news week. This week only four days as today (Friday) is a public holiday. Now we have a weekend edition which goes over the biggest, or best stories, from the past week. Out every Saturday afternoon, catch up with Jett and Tim’s major Thai news stories. Welcome to the Thailand News Today Week in Review. Tim and Jett give you a quick recap of the main news stories.

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