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Alcohol relief: National ban details cleared up for businesses

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Alcohol relief: National ban details cleared up for businesses | The Thaiger

PHUKET: A collective sigh of relief could be heard from Phuket officials as clarification of a national alcohol-sales ban officially arrived this week.

The ban, passed by the Cabinet and signed into law by Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, forbids the sale of alcohol within 300 meters of an ‘educational institution’. However, what qualifies as an educational institution was originally unclear, leaving Phuket Excise Office (PEO) Chief Pairuch Kulima prepared to strip hundreds of tourism-related businesses of alcohol-sales licences due to their proximity to schools on the island.

“I am worried about the definition of ‘educational institutions’. I hope it will be clarified exactly which types of schools fall under that definition,” said Mr Pairuch ahead of the official announcement.

“My initial understanding is that the law will name only universities and technical colleges as ‘educational institutions’. This is better, as many big businesses, such as Central Festival Phuket, would be affected by this if it applied to all schools.”

In Phuket, there are 106 primary educational institutions, four technical colleges and two universities, as well as 122 private schools that are not included in the system, according to the Phuket Primary Educational Service Area Office.

The clarification made it official that only businesses within a 300m radius of the four technical colleges and two universities will be affected by the ban.

“Before this new law, the Department of Excise issued alcohol sales permits for all shops except for the ones located directly adjacent to academic institutions and temples,” explained Mr Pairuch.

“After the new law is put into effect, we only have 30 days to revoke the permits. We will have to visit all bars, mini-marts, grocery stores and other businesses that sell alcohol in the prohibited areas. We are not sure how we will be able to tackle this efficiently.”

Dr Prapa Nakara, director of the Non-communicable Diseases Division of the Phuket Provincial Health Office (PPHO) told the Gazette that it is her officers’ duty to enforce the law.

“Although the draft law is yet to take effect, the PPHO has already prepared for it,” Dr Prapa said.
Earlier last week, the Thai Alcohol Beverage Business Association released a statement noting that the law covers sales of alcoholic beverages, but not consumption, thus failing to tackle the root of the underage drinking problem.

Calling the law a ‘blanket measure’ that will hurt businesses that are in full compliance with current laws and are not selling alcohol to underage customers, the statement mentioned the effects the new law would have on Thailand’s economy.

“The declaration is a severe blow to the service sector and Thailand’s employment situation with damages estimated at 115 billion baht, along with the possible loss of 125,000 jobs,” read the statement.

“Sales of alcoholic beverages are not limited to just entertainment and service venues. Instead, they also take place via retailers, wholesalers, shopping malls, restaurants, food outlets, hotels and tourist attractions – all of which represent key components in Thailand’s economy and
society.”

The objective of the law is to prevent underage individuals from consuming alcohol. However, there are already laws in place that make it illegal to sell alcohol to anyone under the age of 20.

“The key is that it will come down to whether individuals will choose to obey the law or if they are willing to break the law when it comes to alcohol sales,” said Provincial Police Commander Patchara Boonyasit.

Maj Gen Patchara declined to comment on whether or not the law will be effective in preventing teenagers from drinking.

“Our duty will be to simply enforce the law,” he said.

Though clarification of what is considered an educational institution comes as a great relief to most vendors and those involved in the tourism industry, it could be failing to protect those most at risk.

“It is logical that if there is no alcohol sales near schools, students will choose different activities to pursue after class, as there will be less accessibility to alcohol,” explained Chalam Attatham, director of the Phuket Primary Educational Service Area Office.

“Normally, students, especially high school students, will loiter after class – if there is alcohol sold nearby, this could influence their decisions. We would be better off with ice cream parlors to attract their attention.”

— Kongleaphy Keam

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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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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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People

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people

Nattha Thepbamrung

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‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | The Thaiger

On October 18, the ‘Always Smile Journey’ group and its partners will host an exhibition with plenty of fun activities at the Yak Yai Market, near Chalong Circle, in Phuket. This event was designed to raise funds to provide free English classes for underprivileged people on the island of Phuket on Saturdays and Sundays. The group does not accept donations but aims to raise money through the sales of the products available at the event.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

From 2 pm to 8 pm, there will be a number of artists, musicians and performers who will keep the attendees entertained along the way. There will be a short film about His Majesty King Rama 9 as well as fun activities and games for kids and families, which are all free of charge.

The big bike crew is also a part of this event. They will ride a parade from Rawai Beach heading to the market and showcase their gorgeous two-wheel buddies.

One of the highlights of the Always Smile Journey exhibition is the ‘Happening’ artists group, who will draw and paint a picture of the His Majesty King Rama 9 under the name ‘Street Art King Bhumibol’ on a 4×10 meter sign live at the event so the guests will experience this large-scale art in action. The Happening will also offer portrait sketching for the participants.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

One of the works created by the Happening team; a painting of HM the King Rama 9 on a huge wall (Photo credit: Chawat Chumpasan)

There will also be some western menus available at the event which will be donated to underprivileged children.

This free English class project has over seven years of experience through its cooperation working with individuals and other charity organizations. Throughout the years, the group visited several areas such as Ban Laem Hoy School, Ban Bopud School and Ban Angthong School in Samui, Surat Thani province, Ban Bueng Ao Oun School and Ban Kakoh Rayong, in Surin province, Jalae Village of Lahu (Muser) in Chiang Rai province, as well as community education centers in Siem Reap, Cambodia and in Luang Prabang, in Laos.

This event is a cooperation between several groups, including Happening, Yak Yai Market and Arrow Media, Tattoo artist group, Thonburi Art School Alumni, International School of Tourism, Suratthani Rajabhat University, big bike group from Phuket, artists/performers/musicians from many provinces as well as several businesses across Phuket.

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