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Aussie slaying in Phuket prompts increased security measures

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Aussie slaying in Phuket prompts increased security measures | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Local officials gathered at Phuket Provincial Hall on Thursday to draw up measures to try and prevent violent crimes like the stabbing murder of Australian tourist Michelle Smith in Kata earlier this week. The slaying has prompted the Government to order beefed up security for tourists throughout Thailand

“The incident that occurred that night [June 20] was totally unexpected,” said Phuket Vice Governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada. “Right now the police are working on producing sketches of the two men from images taken from CCTV footage.”

“We have reviewed all available information and drawn up measures for all organizations to help prevent such a crime from ever happening again,” said he added.

V/Gov Chamroen assured members at the meeting that he had instructed police to increase the number of security checkpoints and asked for amateur radio operators to keep an eye on “high-risk zones” around Phuket.

The vice governor also noted that that local officials had received much support from Bangkok.

V/Gov Chamroen informed those in attendance that a letter of condolence would be sent to the families of both victims on behalf of Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha.

Tammee Lee Lynn, a friend of the late Mrs Smith, suffered a slash to her right arm in the same attack.

Meanwhile, representatives of the Australian Consulate in Phuket late yesterday afternoon claimed the body of Mrs Smith from the Vachira Phuket Hospital morgue for repatriation to Australia.

Peerayuth Karachedi, one of the Phuket Provincial Police Deputy Commanders, told the Gazette that police had gained useful information from their questioning of Ms Lynn, local residents and security guards on duty in the area at the time.

Police are verifying the information they received from those questioned and are tracking the license plate number of the motorcycle used by the two men that night.

It has not yet been announced if the motorbike was rented or not. Criminals often use rented motorbikes to carry out such attacks in Phuket, where they can be found for as little as 150 baht per day.

The Smith murder case is one of the most high-profile murders in Phuket since the still-unsolved September 2007 stabbing attack that left 30-year Phuket resident Simen Knudsen dead on a remote stretch of road in Kata.

News of the latest killing and its potential to harm the Thai tourism industry reportedly caused Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to assign Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung to oversee tourist safety issues throughout the Kingdom.

He subsequently ordered Police Region 8 Commissioner Lt Gen Santi Pensuit to arrest the two suspects “as soon as possible”.

Deputy national police chief Gen Pansiri Prapawat is personally overseeing the Smith murder investigation, Mr Chalerm was quoted as saying.

Although attacks on foreign tourists are not unheard of in Phuket, the nature of Mrs Smith’s slaying has left a deep impact on officials at Provincial Hall.

Vice Governor Sommai Prijasilpa said Phuket Provincial Office, on behalf of Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha, had already sent a letter of condolence to Mrs Smith’s family in Perth.

“We wish to express our deepest sympathies to the families of both victims and assure them that the Provincial Office is taking serious action to prevent such an incident from ever happening again,” she said.

“I instructed every police station and local organization to increase tourist safety measures,” she said yesterday.

— Kritsada Mueanhawong

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

Phuket

Phuket workshop helps residents cope with high stress brought on by the economic crisis

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket workshop helps residents cope with high stress brought on by the economic crisis | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook: ประชาสัมพันธ์ เทศบาลตำบลวิชิต

Hundreds of residents in Phuket’s Wichit subdistrict attended a workshop focused on reducing stress from to the pandemic-induced economic crisis. A psychologist was even on site to help those who had extreme mental stress and a Buddhist monk taught meditation techniques to reduce physiological effects of stress.

The event was planned in response to an online survey conducted by the municipality asking residents about how much stress they were experiencing from the economic climate. They found that some residents had serious stress issues brought on by the pandemic and financial problems, according to Wichit Mayor Kreetha Chotiwichphiphat.

“The loss of income due to the economic crisis brought on by the Covid-19 situation has resulted in some people in the area suffering serious stress, which can lead to serious mental health issues.”

Around 350 people attended the event. The mayor says it was the first step in caring for the residents’ mental health. Local officials plan to hold similar workshops in the future.

“It was a good opportunity for people to realise the importance of mental health and to learn techniques of how to deal with stress, which will help people to maintain their physical health and avoid developing mental health problems.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Phuket

Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter

The Thaiger

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Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | The Thaiger

The Soi Dog Foundation has officially opened its Humane Education Centre, the first of its kind in Thailand dedicated to the welfare of stray animals. The centre, located at the Soi Dog shelter in northern Phuket, forms part of the foundation’s Humane Education program. Rolled out in 2017, the program sees a team visit Thai schools to teach the next generation the basic principles of animal welfare and promote empathetic attitudes towards both owned pets and free-roaming strays.

The program has reached a total of 15,058 students and 861 teachers to date. With a dedicated classroom as well as educational tools and resources now on site at the shelter, Soi Dog will be able to expand the programme and reach an even greater number of young minds.

Co-founder and president of Soi Dog Foundation International John Dalley said, “The cornerstones of what we do – what I believe very firmly are the answers to the stray dog problem throughout Asia – are large-scale sterilisation of stray dogs and cats and education of, particularly, the next generation.

“We see all the time the problems that are being caused through us not respecting the environment and not respecting the other animals with whom we share this planet. That’s why education is so important.”

John also thanked the supporters and donors who made the construction of the centre possible. After cutting the ribbon, the students filed into the brand-new facility for the very first on-site class – a fun and interactive hour of roleplaying, brainstorming and problem solving.

Humane Education Manager Nuttawut “Film” Kumngern. said… “We want to encourage kindness toward animals, especially free-roaming dogs and cats, and teach youngsters to be responsible pet owners. This will sustainably reduce animal cruelty and pet abandonment.”

“We hope to one day see animal welfare incorporated into the curriculum in Thai schools, and our education centre is a great start.”

Soi Dog is ready to welcome school groups from Phuket and other provinces to the centre which can accommodate up to 40 students at any one time. Schools interested in participating are encouraged to email film@soidog.org

Phuket's Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | News by The ThaigerPhuket's Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | News by The Thaiger

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Police have yet to investigate illegal hiring of foreign teachers at international school in Phuket

The Thaiger

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Police have yet to investigate illegal hiring of foreign teachers at international school in Phuket | The Thaiger

Chalong police in Phuket say they have yet to start investigating the illegal hiring of foreign teachers at an international school in Rawai, south of the island. Palm House International School allegedly hired foreign teachers illegally in which 2 were arrested by Phuket Immigration police on November 4.

Somkiet Sarasin, the leading investigator of the case, says the 2 Brits were informed that police were processing a charge of working illegally in the country against them, in which both denied the charges. Somkiet says the 2 were released on bail, but did not confirm the amount of bail that was set by the police.

“They are still staying in Thailand. I am not worried. I have their passports. I am not available to explain [any details] because the investigation is still ongoing.”

“This is normal for an investigation when the suspects deny the charge against them. I have to check more information against their claims. This case will probably be concluded next month.”

However, the investigation has yet to begin, with Somkiet saying he has not even questioned the owner of the school, despite his claims the case would be finished next month.

“The investigation into the school will take time. The investigation into the two British people must be finished first.”

Such allegations of foreign teachers working illegally have recently been in the news after Sarasas Witaed Sainoi Pitiyakarn School, in the central province of Nonthaburi, saw 7 foreign teachers probed for being hired illegally. That school, along with others in its private network, made nationwide news after CCTV caught a Thai teacher hitting, pushing and dragging a young student in the classroom. Such widespread violence against students has long been a sad component of many Thai schools, in which some of the teachers are unqualified and unlicensed to teach, but are hired anyway.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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