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Phang Nga Court convicts 11 men over gang rape of 14 year old

The Thaiger

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Phang Nga Court convicts 11 men over gang rape of 14 year old | The Thaiger
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A Phang Nga court has convicted 11 men and sentenced them to lengthy jail terms for gang-raping a 14 year old girl in the province last year.

Read the original story we broke on The Thaiger HERE.

News about the assaults came to light in September 2017 after the mother filed charges with police. She outlined a litany of abuses accusing up to 40 men in her Koh Raet community of repeatedly assaulting her daughter. It came to light that the daughter was often left home alone in the evenings while her parents went out to work in a nearby rubber plantation.

Community elders and relatives of the men turned the attack onto the family accusing them of being liars saying that their reputations had been tainted.

The Phang Nga provincial court handed down findings that all defendants were guilty of multiple counts of rape on the underage girl. The Court said they gang-raped the victim in her home at least 16 times between May 2016 and February 2017.

The Court sentenced the following to life in prison: Worachit Kongbut, Chatchai Srirat, Boonpoj Nonsee, Chalerm Samin, Sucheep Sumen, Thawatchai Thaogu and Nuttawut Butnoi.

The Court determined that Worachit was the first to assault the girl and forced her onto the beach to be raped by other men from the village. He also filmed and took photos of the assaults to blackmail her. Warachit and Boonpoj forced the girl to take drugs before the other men assaulted her.

In other convictions, Keerati Sumen was sentenced to 45 years in jail. Rangsan Chailiang received a 20 year sentence, Sayan Sumen and Nawik Jareuk got 15 years each. All have been ordered to pay the girl and her mother 18 million baht in damages.
A representative of the Muslims for Peace Foundation, who represented the young victim, said he was pleased with the ruling. Rochitdee Raimancha says the Foundation will continue to assist the girl and her mother, who have since to Bangkok to start a new life.
An attorney representing the accused says they will file an appeal over the convictions as he believes some of them are innocent.
The story was one of the most reported on The Thaiger in 2017. Here’s another of the reports as the full extent of the crimes unravelled, to the horror of Phang Nga locals.
Phang Nga Court convicts 11 men over gang rape of 14 year old | News by The Thaiger
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Tourism

How Thailand’s domestic tourism market fell in love with Khao Lak during a pandemic

Bill Barnett

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How Thailand’s domestic tourism market fell in love with Khao Lak during a pandemic | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Robinson Club Khao Lak

While Thailand’s doors remain mostly shut to international tourists, Thailand’s domestic travel wanderlust has turned Khao Lak into an Instagram hero. In the first 2 months of this year, according to research by consulting group C9 Hotelworks’ new Khao Lak Hotel Market Update occupancies soared above 80%.

With the Covid-19 lockdowns, occupancy plunged in April and May, but as domestic travel re-started mid-year on the back of government-initiated ‘We Travel Together ‘incentive, the destination has slowly but surely gained traction from both fly and drive-in Thai markets.

Khao Lak’s surf scene has become a national social-media sensation with Pakarang Beach and Memories Beach Bar the epicentre of a photo tourism movement – bolstered further by Instagram favorite hotels, Michelin Guide Southern-Thai restaurants, and the rediscovery of Takua Pa Old Town.

Over the past five years, the expansive white sand oceanfront strip of destination hotels in Khao Lak has continued a march North towards Takua Pa. Fueling much of this development is larger greenfield land parcels and a nearly completed four-lane highway expansion from the gateway airport in Phuket. C9’s report indicates a hotel supply of 114 registered tourism establishments with 9,542 rooms and a further 2,283 keys in the pipeline.

With 73% of incoming supply being chain-operated, the influx of global brands includes Pullman, Marriott, Sheraton, AVANI, and Holiday Inn.

How Thailand’s domestic tourism market fell in love with Khao Lak during a pandemic | News by The Thaiger

Despite Thailand’s tourism downturn, some hotel owners are taking the opportunity to complete projects and launch their properties in the marketplace. One example is Kamontip Phunratanamala, Managing Director of Khao Lak Inter Co. and co-owner of the new 253-key Pullman Khao Lak Resort which will soft-open on December 1, who says “owning a hotel is a long-term proposition, you have to take a long-term view of the destinations’ tourism potential and take the bad times with the good times.”

How Thailand’s domestic tourism market fell in love with Khao Lak during a pandemic | News by The Thaiger

Talking about the evolving geographic changes in Khao Lak’s hotel scene, while the panoramic pristine seaboard continues to stretch upwards into an emerging tourism Gold Coast, there is an increasingly grassroots ‘sense of place’ movement afoot. Take the Pullman’s commissioning of noted Thai sculptor Jatuporn (Yui) Wongtong also the co-founder of Artslonga. Her signature ‘Tree of Life”’ sculpture that is installed in the arrival area is heavily influenced by the culture of Takua Pa and speaks of nature and indigenous materials.

Looking beyond the end of surf season which runs from just the after Songkran holiday period (April) through November, local hotels are pinning hopes that the government domestic travel incentive which is due to expire at the end of January will be extended to at least mid-2021 or until international tourists are allowed to come back to the country in larger numbers. Adding to that, the continued influx of social media bloggers and influencers heading South is already creating a ripple effect in demand, most notably with the Similan and Surin islands as day trips from Khao Lak. It may not be a typical high-season but for now, the domestic tourists are a welcome sight for stressed hoteliers and tourism businesses.

To read and download the full report click HERE.

(Khao Lak is in the province of Phang Nga, a 2 hour drive north from the Phuket International Airport)

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Phang Nga

5 injured after engine explodes on Phang Nga speedboat

The Thaiger

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5 injured after engine explodes on Phang Nga speedboat | The Thaiger

5 people have been injured, 3 seriously, after a moored speedboat caught fire in Phang Nga province yesterday. The incident happened around 8.30am. The boat was tied up to the Thap Lamu boat pier, where most Similan Island-bound private tour boats depart from and return to. The injured were all crew from the boat.

According to witnesses, the captain started the boat’s engines and sparks started spitting out for the engine casing, followed by an explosion. 5 crewmen were injured, 3 of them seriously, including the boat’s skipper. They were rushed to Vachira Phuket Hospital, about a 90 minute drive away, and the other 2 with minor injuries were sent to the Khao Lak medical centre, just 8 kilometres away. There were no tourists on the speed boat at the time of the incident.

A Navy boat dragged the burning vessel away from the pier into the middle of the channel to prevent the fire from spreading to other boats moored at the pier.

The commander of the 2nd Naval Area, sent the HTMS Panyi to the scene to try and put out the fire, secure the area and tow the burning boat away.

The harbour’s entrance is small and an isthmus of land offers protection to boats from the Andaman Sea’s wind and waves. Many speed boats are usually moored in the harbour servicing the popular dive trips out to The Similan Islands. Local fishing boats also use the harbour.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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Tourism

Similan Islands to reopen on October 15 with ‘new normal’ policy

Caitlin Ashworth

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Similan Islands to reopen on October 15 with ‘new normal’ policy | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO

After being closed for the season, the Similan Islands National Park is opening back up on October 15, but this time with a “new normal” policy like social distancing, temperature checks and requiring staff and visitors to wear face masks. The national park in the Phang Nga province closes every year from mid-May to mid-October due to unsafe weather conditions.

The province’s deputy governor Boonterm Ranumas says he expects the park’s opening bring in domestic tourists, boosting revenues for vendors and tourism operators in the area.

The islands have a limit on the number of visitors to prevent ongoing environmental damage. Since the island is just opening under the new normal policy, visitors need to register before arriving to the island. Scuba diving excursions and overnight boat tours will be available.

“Some areas on the island are still closed during the re-opening but every national park officers are ready to assist and monitor travelers throughout their visit. A group of local volunteers would also gather to collect garbage around the island and to encourage visitors to protect the island environment.”

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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