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Phuket

A Decade Ago: Immigration launches hospital visa visits

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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A Decade Ago: Immigration launches hospital visa visits | The Thaiger

PHUKET: The recent push in Phuket for a national-level policy to force foreign travellers entering Thailand to have some sort of health insurance is just the latest drive in ensuring better hospital experiences for those who do succumb to misfortune on this island of wonder – a place that has seen more than its fair share of dreams come true, and just as many nightmares become realities. However, a decade ago, a local policy change did move everything in the right direction, at least it was supposed to have done so: “Immigration launches hospital visa visits”, the page one headline read.

There have been accounts of the system not going as smoothly as it should. Nonetheless, the idea was simply to prevent foreigners who are too unwell to leave the hospital from overstaying their visas.

In a sweeping wave of technology on the island, which must have included the internet, expats and travellers were warned that ‘all information on foreigners living in Phuket is now being computerized’. Those were the days when ‘all’ information was ‘computerized’, yet we still had some semblance of personal lives unmonitored by our devilish dependence on social media.

More isn’t always a bad thing, at least when we get away from the context of Nineteen Eighty-four and United States National Security Agency. A perfect example is the steady growth of the King’s Cup, which also found itself on page one of the December 10-16, 2005 issue of the Phuket Gazette with 85 yachts lining up for the honors. Now, ten years later, the iconic Phuket regatta has 150 boats and 1,500 sailors.

However, the heart of the Gazette in December 10, 2005 was the Inside Story: We must ensure children do not become victims. In the aftermath of the tsunami, there were persistent rumors of children who had survived the disaster being preyed upon by pedophiles. None were verified, but in emergency situations, when the most immediate effort is focused on rescue attempts and providing relief to the population, children are at increased risk of abuse, wrote Gazette Desk Editor Sam Wilkinson. In hopes of putting protective measures in place, the End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT) network put together a seminar in Patong – an appropriate choice. The battle against sexual abuse of children rages on, ten years later. On December 8 of this year, three additional clauses were added to the Thai Criminal Code to tackle child pornography.

The new offences include the possession, sharing or distribution of child pornography.

Though the new clauses are clear steps in the right direction – although perhaps a bit late, as they are just now coming in line with the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Thailand ratified in 1992 – documenting and prosecuting cases of sexual exploitation remain extremely difficult, even under normal circumstances, which was a chief concern for the ECPAT executive director at the time.

Though Phuket has a reputation for not tolerating pedophiles, who have been known to seek refuge in Southeast Asia, the risks for child abuse remain. Those who have been on the island only a few years might still remember the arrest of British national Hugh Glass, who was wanted for multiple sex crimes involving children, and arrested in Patong in 2013. Just last year, a pedophile confessed to raping a 14-year-old undocumented Myanmar migrant worker with the help of his wife in Khao Lak, north of Phuket.

“In general, sexual violence has been a neglected area of research. The available data are scanty and fragmented… Many women do not report sexual violence to police because they are ashamed, or fear being blamed, not believed or otherwise mistreated,” the World Health Organization stated in the World Report on Violence and Health, the first comprehensive review of the problem of violence on a global scale, published in 2002.

However, this young teen had the courage, and fortunately the community backing, to seek justice. Our community must continue to support those assaulted, instead of ostracizing them. It can only be hoped that a decade from now, a writer looking back on these pages for modern parallels will have no recent cases in the region to draw a comparison to, not through lack of reporting the crime to officials, but through prevention.

— Isaac Stone Simonelli

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Hua Hin

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain

May Taylor

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Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | The Thaiger

The Thailand Meteorological Department issued a weather warning for southern Thailand with torrential rain forecast to hit the region throughout the weekend. The heavy monsoon over the Gulf of Thailand and south of the country is being blamed for the rough weather, with the TMD predicting flash flooding in many areas.

(Phuket, Hat Yai and Hua Hin’s forecast below)

“Waves are expected to reach 2 metres in height in the lower Gulf of Thailand and possibly higher at the height of the storm. Ships are advised to proceed with caution.”

For the north and northeast of Thailand, the TMD forecasts strong winds and cooler mornings as the arrival of the “winter” season, coupled with a moderate high-pressure system, causes temperatures to dip.

Hua Hin’s five day forecast

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | News by The Thaiger

Phuket’s five day forecast

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | News by The Thaiger

Hat Yai’s five day forecast

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation | weather.com

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Crime

Now you see him, now you don’t… Patong Police hunt foreigner over $30k theft

Greeley Pulitzer

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Now you see him, now you don’t… Patong Police hunt foreigner over $30k theft | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Patong Police

Patong Police have yet to develop any tangible leads tracking down a foreigner who made off with US$30,000 in cash from a currency exchange booth in Kalim, north of Patong in Phuket, last Tuesday.

The man is about 168 centimetres tall with grey hair and around 60 years old, Patong police told The Phuket News.

“We have no clue what nationality he is.”

He was last seen at the currency exchange booth wearing a purple polo shirt, blue jeans and black cap. Police have checked hotels in the area, police stations across the island and Phuket Immigration, but have yet to join the dots and come up with firm leads.

“Investigators have checked CCTV in the area and collected what evidence we have but we still do not know the man’s name or where he was staying.”

The man had visited the booth several times before Tuesday, when he disappeared with the $30,000 in US banknotes, according to police.

“It was always small amounts”, he added, noting that the amounts didn’t warrant staff at the exchange booth to check the man’s passport before making the exchange.

The man arrived at the booth again at about 1pm on Tuesday, saying that he had 900,000 baht cash to exchange.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Crime

Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room

The Thaiger

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Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Phuket Hot News

The security guard of a hotel in Nai Yang, northern Phuket, 52 year old Yingyot Butsabong, from Maha Sarakham province, was found dead yesterday (October 16) in his room. Police remain mystified how the man came to grief.

A woman named Supattra received a call from the hotel he worked at and was informed that he didn’t show up at work yesterday, so she went to his apartment to check on him.

She saw that his room was locked from the inside, so used the key she had in her possession to open the room and found Yingyot laying on the floor, face down. She thought he was just sleeping so she tried to wake him up but once she flipped him, she found that he already passed away.

She immediately called Saku police, and once on the scene, police found that there was some blood on the floor. The man had a 2 centimetre wound on his left eyebrow which was deep into his skull. There was also a wound on his chin about 1 centimetre long and about a centimetre deep. His left eye had a bruise which looked like he was attacked by a hard object.

Police report that he had been dead for around four hours in the room.

The room was not ransacked and there was no sign of fighting or theft. His body has been sent to Thalang Hospital for a detailed autopsy and to look into the cause of death.

SOURCE: Phuket Hot News

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