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A Decade Ago: Airline safety no April fools joke

Legacy Phuket Gazette



A Decade Ago: Airline safety no April fools joke | The Thaiger

PHUKET: The April 1, 2006 edition of the Phuket Gazette was no joking matter, as the European Commission (EC) blacklisted the now-defunct Phuket Airlines due to safety concerns. However, even as the Gazette went to press a decade ago, the company had applied to launch another airline, to be called Holiday Airplanes.

Phuket is no stranger to horrific airline crashes, only a year and half after Phuket Airlines was blacklisted, One-Two-Go flight OG269 crashed during landing, killing 89 of the 130 people on board. That company wasn’t added to the EC blacklist until April 8, 2009 – you can only imagine what Phuket Airlines was up to, to find themselves banned from the airspace of the European Union and Switzerland.

Then again, we don’t have to imagine.

The airline began to have problems with its safety image in 2005, when passengers aboard one of its Boeing 727s bound for London forced a takeoff to be aborted after seeing fuel pouring from a wing tank after a refueling stop in the United Arab Emirates.

A few days later, another flight was abandoned after it had to turn back to London with a hydraulics problem. The company tried to switch to an Amsterdam route, but authorities barred a flight from taking off there after it was discovered that the emergency lighting inside the plane was not working properly. The saga continued when a small aircraft skidded off the end of the runway at Tak Airport in northern Thailand – only one passenger was injured.

If the looming threat of an EC ban of flights from Thailand doesn’t seem to just be coming from the annals of history, that’s because the EC and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) are currently working with Thai authorities to improve safety standards.

The Commission and EASA will closely monitor future developments, and if the protection of air passengers against safety risks so requires, the Commission could then propose to include one or more air carriers from Thailand in the Air Safety List, said the EC in a statement in December.

Though Thailand airlines narrowly escaped being added to the blacklist in December, they had already been downgraded by the Federal Aviation Administration, which regulates United States air safety, to category 2. Prior to this, the International Civil Aviation Organization placed the airlines under ‘special measures’, which prompted Japan and South Korea to block new flights from the Kingdom.

Clearly, despite the golden opportunity of having an April 1 issue date, the Gazette a decade ago – and now – did not see aviation safety as a laughing matter.

Regardless of the ban on Phuket Airlines in Europe, the importance of the European market was still enormous for Phuket. So, the ‘Inside Story’ a decade ago dived into the International Tourism Bourse (ITB) in Berlin.

Tourism business people from Phuket, Phang Nga and Krabi returned from Berlin optimistic about the prospects for the 2006-2007 high season, having received positive feedback during the ITB 2006.

Though the European market pipeline has been constricted to the point that it only produces a trickle of what it once did, having been replaced by a strong Russian market (until the bottom dropped out on Russian ruble) and now the Chinese market, the Tourism Authority of Thailand continues to attend the ITB – pushing the wonders of the Andaman region to Europe.

These wonders – deserted beaches in Krabi and Phang Nga, the island speckled Gulf of Phang Nga and the Phuket infrastructure that makes all of these places easily accessible – will continue to draw people from around the world to the region. Now, whether or not they arrive in Thailand on a Thai airline is a different matter altogether.

— Isaac Stone Simonelli

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North East

Swiss man accused of overstaying visa and theft charges

The Thaiger & The Nation



Swiss man accused of overstaying visa and theft charges | The Thaiger

by Kamthon Kongsombat

PHOTO: Security footage from the Phuket jewelry store in December 2018 – Facebook

The Immigration Bureau says they’re going to blacklist and deport a Swiss man who overstayed his visa and is also accused of series of thefts in Nongkhai and Phuket.

The Nongkhai deputy immigration police chief Colonel Prasit Somjaiprasong says that Julien Andre Junior Cotting, a 25  year old Swiss national, was arrested yesterday at a guest house near the Mekong River in Nongkhai on theft charge.

He was arrested after 42 year old Sai-arun Konwan, the owner of the Chorfah Gallery Hotel in Muang district, filed complaint with police that a foreigner had stolen her bag that she left in the hotel’s lobby on January 8.

She told police that she noticed Cotting having coffee in the lobby. Security camera checked later showed the suspect picking up her handbag and leaving on a rented motorcycle.

The handbag contained 1,000 baht cash, an ATM and other credit cards as well as other important documents.

Sai-arun said Cotting was a regular customer at the hotel’s coffee shop.

After the complaint, police searched for the suspect and noticed a suspicious-looking foreigner at a guesthouse. His passport revealed that he was Cotting and he had overstayed his visa.

After Sai-arun identified the suspect it was found that he had an outstanding arrest warrant on a theft charge in Phuket province where he allegedly stole a diamond ring in December, 2018.

Cotting faces charges of theft and overstaying his visa and will be prosecuted and deported, immigration authorities said.

ไชยยศ ไชยพฤกษ์ covered the story in Phuket last year. Here’s one of the photos from that post…

Swiss man accused of overstaying visa and theft charges | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation

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What to do if a pet tests positive for Rabies

The Thaiger



What to do if a pet tests positive for Rabies | The Thaiger

PHOTO: PR Department

An announcement about animals in a Rabies Outbreak Zone.

These are things that pet owners must do when it has tested positive for rabies.

• Pet owners must follow Animal Epidemics Act 2015.

• No person may move an infected animal or carcass specified in such announcement into, out of, through or within such zone unless they have written permission from the veterinarian who is responsible for such area.

• Anyone who does not follow the guidelines shall be fined up to 40,000 baht or jailed up to two years.

In any event, follow the guidelines of your local vet and consult the authorities in such a situation.

A district livestock development office in Phuket province has announced a Rabies outbreak zone in the Chalong area yesterday.

Read more about the establishment of the ‘zone’ HERE and a response from the Soi Dog Foundation HERE.



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Soi Dog Foundation responds to Rabies outbreak zone in Chalong

The Thaiger



Soi Dog Foundation responds to Rabies outbreak zone in Chalong | The Thaiger

Following the announcement form the Phuket Livestock Development Office that a rabies outbreak zone was set in Chalong area yesterday (January 17), Soi Dog Foundation Co-Founder, John Dalley, explained about the incident as the dog, which was indeed infected with rabies, was sent to Soi Dog Foundation for treatment after it was found very sick. It is the first dog which was found positive for rabies after several years in the one and only ‘Rabies Free’ zone of Thailand – Phuket.

A district livestock development office in Phuket province has announced a Rabies outbreak zone in the Chalong area yesterday.

Read more HERE.

“A dog was brought into Soi Dog by our dog catchers after it was reported to be vomiting and unable to stand,” said John Dalley.

“It received treatment for several days but did not respond, and symptoms of staggering and being unable to open its mouth, and head tilted to one side led our veterinary staff to suspect rabies as these are classic symptoms.”

“The dog was euthanised and its body sent to the Government testing laboratory. The result indicated that the dog was positive to rabies, the first positive case seen in a dog on Phuket for many years.”

Right after the rabies was detected, Soi Dog Foundation has worked closely with the local Livestock Development Office in order to control the situation.

“Soi Dog are working closely with the Department of Livestock to vaccinate all dogs within a 5 kilometres radius of where the dog was picked up. Soi Dog will focus on strays and the DLD on owned dogs.”

He urged that people shouldn’t be panicked about the situation but be always aware about the importance of vaccination if they get bitten (or scratched or licked on an open wound).

“There is no cause for alarm. We see numerous positive cases in dogs in Bangkok, but no human cases have occurred there in the past 12 months. The traditional picture of a rabid dog foaming at the mouth and attacking people is not a true picture, as with this dog. Anybody being bitten by a dog at any time should always immediately wash the wound with soap and water and go along to their local clinic or hospital to receive the necessary injections.”

John also mentioned about the message that Soi Dog Foundation has been trying to tell government, entrepreneurs as well as people in general that importing unvaccinated puppies to the safe zone like Phuket can be the cause that brings rabies back in the area.

“Although this is likely an isolated incident it should be noted that Soi Dog has repeatedly, over the years, warned of the dangers and requested successive governors to stop the hundreds of very young puppies being imported to Phuket each year for sale at markets and pet stores, but nothing has ever been done. We hope the new Governor will take action. These puppies are generally coming from uncontrolled puppy farms in rabies endemic areas.”

“Puppies cannot be vaccinated against rabies until they are at least 12 weeks old and are reliant on the mother’s immunity providing she has some. The case of a puppy seller in Chatuchak market dying from a bite from a puppy shows the danger.”

“In addition, removing vaccinated sterilised dogs from the street increases the chances of rabies spreading. The World Health Organistion, The Food and Agriculture Division of the United Nations, The World Organisation for Animal Health and The Global Alliance for Rabies Control have issued joint statements advising that the way to eliminate rabies in humans is to eliminate it in dogs first as much cheaper and more effective to do that.

If 70% or more of dogs in a country are vaccinated and strict controls on entry imposed, then you will eliminate rabies.

If you remove vaccinated dogs and put them in a pound, then you are reducing the number of dogs on the street that are vaccinated which allows for others to take their place that may not be vaccinated.”

If a member of the public sees a dog that is staggering or unable to stand then they can call the Soi Dog Helpline on 076 681 029.

Soi Dog Foundation responds to Rabies outbreak zone in Chalong | News by The Thaiger

Rabies control in Chiang Mi last year

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