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Bangkok relaxes six-month rule for yachts

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Bangkok relaxes six-month rule for yachts | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Apparently recognizing the damage done to the Thai economy in a world competing aggressively to harbour yachts, Bangkok has rolled back the ‘six-months-and-go-home’ rule against foreign-registered pleasure vessels, replacing it with a 12-month deadline for leaving the country. It is understood that in some cases boats will be allowed to stay even longer. In a notice issued by the Customs Department and dated March 22, customs offices around Thailand were told that foreign vessels may now stay in the country for up to one year without their owners having to “import” the craft and pay the crushing taxes and duties that have kept neighboring Malaysian marinas full over the past few years. A source at the Customs Department in Bangkok said that owners wishing to keep their boats in Thailand for a year must submit an application to Customs, backed by a letter from the marina at which the boat is berthed, stating that the boat is berthed there or has to be repaired there, and needs to remain in the country for more than six months, though not longer than one year. A highly-placed source at the Phuket Customs Office said that this rule applies only to foreign vessels entering the country after March 22 this year. “Vessels already in the country [before that date] may apply for an extension after the six months, according to the old rules. An extension of not more than four months would be subject to scrutiny by the Chief of Phuket Customs, and not more than six months by the Director of the Customs, Region 5. A period longer than six months would have to be approved by the Customs Department in Bangkok.” However, he said, for vessels entering the country after March 22, an extension after the first year might be possible if there was a necessity for the vessel to remain in the country longer. The Customs Office would consider whether to grant an extension or not. According to the Phuket source, the word “necessity” will be liberally interpreted with the aim of getting boats to stay longer. Just how liberal the interpretation will be remains to be seen. The Phuket Customs Office received the notice only in the past couple of days. Although a handful of applications have already been submitted, it is too early for any to have been approved – or denied. Thana Tharadolporb, Harbor Master at the Boat Lagoon, expressed concern about marinas having to issue letters guaranteeing that the vessels were staying in the marina. “We have more than 200 customers here. We don’t know who’s good or who’s bad. “If [the new rule] can be implemented successfully, it will be good for our long-term customers; we will be able to issue letters [supporting their applications]. “But for those who are not long-term customers, we won’t be able do it because we don’t know them well. We don’t know if they really will stay with us for a year or not.” Much more upbeat was Andy Stephens, Marina Manager at the Yacht Haven Phuket, who said, “It’s fantastic. It’s the best thing that’s happened to the marina industry in Thailand in years. “For Phuket, it’s the best thing that’s happened to boating in a long, long time, more so than the reduction of taxes from over 200% to 50% – that doesn’t really make much of a difference, because 50% is still a lot of money. “But with this [change in the] rule, people will stay here instead of going down to Langkawi [Malaysia] and spending money there. They’ll spend the money in Phuket instead.”



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The 5th Annual Stargazer talent contest returns to CC’s Hideaway

The Thaiger

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The 5th Annual Stargazer talent contest returns to CC’s Hideaway | The Thaiger

This year the winner will receive 35,000 baht in prize money!

CC’s Hideaway, located in Kata, proudly presents its fifth ‘Stargazer Talent Contest’ which will take place on April 27 between 6 pm and 11 pm. 

The goal of Stargazer is to create an opportunity for new individuals and groups to perform and promote their special talents and, with media and hundreds of guests in attendance, maybe even get their big break.

Stargazer is open to the Thai and expat communities alike. In previous years, the contest has attracted contestants from around the world, including Thailand, the US, Russia, Australia, Singapore, the UK, Italy, Canada, Kyrgyzstan and The Philippines.

Stargazer brings together a wide range of singers, bands, dancers, acrobats and actors who are scored by spectators and professional judges.

This year, the winner will receive 35,000 baht and a the Stargazer trophy, second place will receive 20,000 baht and third place will receive 10,000 baht. There is also the ‘People’s Choice’ award, as chosen by the audience.

The 5th Annual Stargazer talent contest returns to CC's Hideaway | News by The Thaiger

Past winners include Same Size Crew, Bboys dance team (2015), Khun Maatam Rapter from Chiang Mai who sing’s like an lady (2016), Spectrum dance team (2017) and Daisy & Alvin, popular local Phuket performers (2018).

In line with CC’s Hideaway commitment to give back to the Thai community, the resort will donate a portion of the revenue generated by Stargazer to the Life Home Project Foundation whose mission is to offer children who are affected or infected with HIV/AIDS a more dignified life, prevent the spread of this disease in Phuket and fight against the stigmatisation of people living with it. 

To apply, email [email protected] with a short biography, a photo and a link to a video of your performance. Contestants must be aged 13 or over.

Entry is free for the first 25 people who come before 7 pm and is 250 baht thereafter, including a drink. Guests and contestants are encouraged to dress in neon colours.

For more details, visit HERE, call 076 333 222 or email [email protected]

https://web.facebook.com/thethaigernews/videos/1688011211276700/

Tim Newton speaks to last year’s winners, Daisy and Alvin Tumulak

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Phuket

Legality of Seastead likely to be tested in an international court

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Legality of Seastead likely to be tested in an international court | The Thaiger

The perceived naiveté of the team surrounding the seastead structure off Phuket’s south-east coast are about to be tested as the matter is likely to end up in an international court.

Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam says that the Thai government has the right to demolish the floating sea home and welcomed the threat of a lawsuit by its builder, Ocean Builders. Ocean Builders is a well-funded group backed by Peter Theil.

“Peter Andreas Thiel is an American entrepreneur, venture capitalist, philanthropist, political activist, and author. He is a co-founder of PayPal, Palantir Technologies and Founders Fund.”

The media narrative has been of a naive couple who wandered into the offshore lifestyle project and then went into hiding when questions started to be asked and the Navy came knocking at their offshore front door.

At the same time the Thai Government has rolled up its sleeves and showed its angry face claiming that the project was a threat to national sovereignty and security.

Some enthusiast local media included the threat of ‘death penalty’ in its reportage (covered in the Act relating to treasonous acts against the sovereignty of Thailand)  providing sensational headlines for international tabloids.

Speaking at a press conference at the King Prajadhipok’s Institute yesterday, Wissanu said Thai officials could remove the floating structure, which is located to the southeast of Koh Racha Yai, approximately 22 kilometres  from the Thai mainland, because its presence clearly violated Article 119 of Thailand’s Criminal Code as threatening the Kingdom’s security and sovereignty.

(These claims continue to be made by Thai officials without any explanation or evidence on how the 6 metre aluminium and steel structure threatens the country’s security.)

Wissanu says the structure would also be an obstacle to marine navigation as it is located near a sea drilling site.

But the company behind the project, Ocean Builders, has announced it will sue Thailand in an international court if the government removes the seastead. This legal test in a court, predicted by The Thaiger, will force the Thai Government to measure its hard-line position on the seastead in an international court of law.

But Wissanu kept pouring on the local rhetoric yesterday…

“The Thai government would be glad if a lawsuit is filed. We want a lawsuit to be filed so that we will have a chance to explain the truth.”

“Attempts have been made to build seasteads in several nations but no government had allowed them and builders were always arrested and legal action taken against them,” according to Wissanu.

From the Ocean Builder website…

“We are just beyond 12 nautical miles from shore. Under International law this puts us just outside of the territorial waters of Thailand but within their 200 nautical mile excusive economic zone. This means that we are not subject to Thailand laws other than those that deal with their natural resources (drilling for oil, mining, etc.) and no interfering with their customs (can’t act as a way to get goods and people into Thailand to get around their import and visa laws). As well as following the law of the sea which prevents “egrevious acts” such as murder, slave trade, etc.”

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Phuket

Phuket seastead will be removed today

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket seastead will be removed today | The Thaiger

The Third Naval Area Command will remove the seastead stationed off Phuket south-east coast today, belonging to an American bitcoin investor and seasteading innovators Ocean Builders.

Thai authorities plan to seize the structure as evidence in a criminal case. They fear the structure will continue to be a navigation hazard if left there.

US national Chad Elwartowski and his Thai girlfriend, Supranee Thepdet (aka Nadia Summergirl), are facing charges of threatening the Kingdom’s sovereignty. Last Sunday officials from the Royal Thai Navy and Phuket Maritime boarded the structure saying it violated Article 119 of the Criminal Code and also posed a navigational hazard.

The couple launched the ‘Ocean Builders’ seastead on February 2 off the coast of Phuket. The structure is located to the southeast of Koh Racha Yai, approximately 12 nautical miles (22.2 kilometres) from the mainland.

Elwartowski has claimed that his seastead is outside Thailand’s territorial waters, but Thai authorities insist that it violates Article 119 and challenges Thailand’s territorial rights.

“The Royal Thai Navy has full authority and duty to protect national interest and marine sovereignty in the area,” according to a Navy spokesperson.

Regarding the couple’s claim that they feared for their lives, Vice Admiral Sitthiporn Maskasem, commander of the Third Naval Area, said that authorities had followed the legal procedures.

“We are neither hunting them down nor threatening them,” said the commander.

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