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JetSki crashes into shop in Kamala, Phuket

Thaiger

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PHOTOS: Newshawk Phuket

Not often we get to write this headline… “JetSki crashes into shop in Kamala”.

The jetski was being towed by a Saleng (motorcycle and side-car) through the streets of Kamala this afternoon when, for reasons we don’t yet (probably brake failure), the whole shebang went AWOL and ended up running into the front window of some tourist shops.

The jetskis are a common sight going through the backroads of the various west-coast shopping areas at the start and end of each day, on their way to the beach to hire to tourists, usually in a convoy with the jetski staff riding shotgun on top.

This time it was a lone JetSki, being towed by a saleng, that somehow veered off the street and into the roadside Kamala shops.

JetSki crashes into shop in Kamala, Phuket | News by Thaiger

 

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Economy

Bangkok’s Union Mall will close until May 27, casualty of Covid-19

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Union Mall in Bangkok will be closing until at least May 27 due to Covid-19. (via Wikimedia)

In another sign of Thailand’s Covid-19 battered economy, the Union Mall in Bangkok has announced that it will close temporarily, purportedly for Covid-19 safety but likely because of a lack of customers during the pandemic. The mall, in Ladprao opposite the Central Ladprao shopping mall, took to Facebook this week to announce that they were closing.

Mall management made an exception for food vendors, announcing that restaurants and food service businesses inside could continue to operate. But in-person dining will not be allowed and the businesses could cook food only for pick-up takeaway or delivery service.

The mall made a statement announcing the mall will be closed from now until at least May 27, but the closure may be extended further in future announcements. They stated that the decision was made to close the mall to help prevent any outbreaks or spread of Covid-19. The move would give businesses renting stores inside the mall a rest from worrying about running a business during the pandemic and risking infection, and also give them a break on rental expenses for a bit.

But altruism aside, the Union Mall will also close because it just doesn’t have the patronage to sustain operation as the pandemic rages on. Before Covid-19, the mall was a popular hangout spot for young hip mallrats shopping for the latest fashions. But for the last year, shops and promenades have been mostly empty, a ghost town beaten down by the pandemic.

In the announcement to close, the mall management shared a letter from a frustrated shop-owner, lamenting the plight of businesses renting stores during an unrelenting pandemic. He complained that the economy began to look better a few times, but was repeatedly dashed by another Covid-19 wave. An end is still not in sight in an uncertain pandemic, and the business owner pointed out that people can start getting jabs, but there’s no vaccine to immunise small businesses that don’t have the savings to keep fighting as the customerless months drag on.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

 

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Expats

Pineapple defamation case finally dismissed for activist Andy Hall

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: British activist Andy Hall had his final pending defamation case dismissed. (via Facebook)

After fighting multiple defamation charges for nearly 10 years, British activist Andy Hall has been finally cleared of the last pending charge. Hall had lived for 12 years in Thailand before leaving in 2016 after fighting charges brought by the pineapple company Natural Fruit in Prachuap Khiri Khan when he had reported on their poor work conditions.

In 2012, Hall contributed to a report about these bad working conditions, child labour, and low wages at a local factory in Pranburi of the Natural Fruit company. Hall was originally found guilty of criminal defamation in 2016 and was given a suspended three-year prison sentence. Last June that conviction was overturned. Natural fruit then filed a 300 million baht civil defamation case but that was dropped last year before reaching trial.

The final case was a separate defamation charge stemming from a 2013 Al Jazeera interview that Hall had given. The Supreme Court overturned a lower Court’s ruling that Hall should pay 10 million baht in compensation charges. The Supreme Court dismissed the case after concluding that Hall’s criticisms were fair and that his reporting was honest and therefore the company did not deserve any financial compensation.

While Natural Fruit denied Hall’s original allegations of poor working conditions, the courts ruled that his interview was justified. In Thailand, defamation laws are strong and strict. Many human rights activists criticise these laws for allowing big businesses to silence activist and investigators with heavy-handed defamation cases.

Hall made a statement declaring that this dismissal of the last defamation charge was a relief but not a victory. He said he never had any intention of doing any damage to any legitimate business practices, and legal harassment for nearly a decade had affected his work, his family, and himself.

That relief was long-awaited as it turns out the Supreme Court decision Hall received yesterday about this final defamation case had actually been ruled by the courts nearly a year ago in June 2020. The official declaration was severely delayed in seeing the light of day because of delays and backups due to Covid-19.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Weather

Nakhon Phanom man struck and killed by lightning bolt

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: A Farmer was killed by a lightning strike in his rice field. (via Pixabay)

An unfortunate farmer seems to have been killed by a lightning bolt in his rice field in the Phon Sawan district of Nakhon Phanom. His wife found his body on Monday afternoon in a condition described as unconscious and burned. Kamol Praking was 49 years old and lived and farmed near Huay Hai Village.

After calling for emergency help, medics, rescue workers, and police arrived at the farm to find his body lying flat on his back with electrical burn markings all over it, consistent with being killed by lightning. According to his wife’s statement to the police, the man was ploughing the fields in preparation to sow the area with rice seeds as the daily rain has made the land fertile and ready for growing.

Heavy rains and turbulent weather have been common in the area recently and many parts of Thailand had suffered from severe thunderstorms and high winds in advance of the nearing wet season. Powerful storms had damaged nearly 100 homes in the nearby districts of That Phanom and Pla Pak last week.

Kamol had been ploughing on a tractor just before the lightning killed him, but his body was found away from it near a farm hut. The man was dressed in simple farm clothing and he was not wearing anything made of metal, not even a watch, that might have attracted the lightning bolt.

His wife heard a huge thunderclap and a loud bang come from the field though she did not investigate immediately. But after 2 hours, when her husband still had not returned, she went to go check it out. That was when she found her husband lying unconscious in the field. Her first call was to neighbours for immediate help and then she alerted the police. The man was pronounced dead on the scene.

The chances of being hit or killed by lightning are estimated to be about 1 in 500,000.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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