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Boatman arrested for killing tourist in Krabi

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Boatman arrested for killing tourist in Krabi | The Thaiger
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KRABI: Police arrested a suspect this morning in connection with the murder of the 21-year-old German student, Cao Ghu, who disappeared Monday morning and was found floating face-down in the sea near Koh Gai two days later. Cao Ghu, who was Vietnamese by descent, was an Asian Culture major at Bonn University. She was visiting Thailand for the fourth time with her boyfriend, Jörg Zaungger, 25. They were staying at the Grand Tower Hotel in Krabi Town, close to the Saphan Chao Fa pier. On Monday morning, Ms Ghu took a longtail boat to Railey Beach from the pier, a 45-minute ride. Before leaving, she told Mr Zaungger that she would be back by 5 pm. When she failed to return that evening, Mr Zaungger reported her disppearance to the tourist police. Her battered body was found by fisherman two days later. Reports of Ms Ghu’s death caught the attention of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who expressed concern over the effect the murder would have on the tourism industry. He sent special police investigators from Bangkok to work together with the local police and tourist police to solve the crime. Police brought in two boat drivers and one of the fishermen who had found Ms Ghu for questioning at the Krabi police station yesterday. Early this morning, after being questioned for about two hours, longtail boat driver Kasem “Maew” Dumdee, 34, confessed to killing Ms Ghu. Kasem told the police that he saw her at Railey Beach and suggested that she visit some nearby islands in his boat. Kasem said that he took her to an island and pretended that the boat had an engine problem, telling Ms Ghu that they would have to wait there awhile. While Ms Ghu was looking around the area, Kasem picked up a piece of wood from the boat and hit her on her back of the head. He then used a nylon rope to tie her right wrist to the boat so he could search through her bag. The rope came loose and Ms Ghu, barely conscious, fell into the sea. Kasem told police that he called out to her and asked her to swim back to the boat. When she reached the side of the boat, he grabbed her hand and hit her again in the face and on the head until she drowned. Kasem told police that he intended to rob Ms Ghu because he needed money to repay debts in an investment scheme he was involved in. Kasem said that he found 1,000 baht, a Walkman and a mobile phone in her bag. He told police that he took the money and tossed the Walkman and phone into the sea. After getting Ms Ghu’s number from her boyfriend, police tried calling the mobile phone. It was answered by a man speaking in a Southern Thai dialect, who said that that he was in Korat. In Kasem’s boat, police found a red hairband, which matched another found in Ms Ghu luggage at the hotel, which her boyfriend showed to police. Deputy Prime Minister Pongpol Adireksarn said at the Chalong Pier opening ceremony in Phuket today that he felt sorry that this had happened in Thailand. He added that, although this does not happen in Thailand often, the news is nonetheless very damaging to the country. “Every authority and all local people have a responsibility to take care of the tourists, not only the police. We do not have enough police to take care of every area,” K. Pongpol added. Kasem remains in custody at the Krabi police station while the investigation continues.

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Tourism

Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce to propose Guangzhou-Phuket tourism route

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce to propose Guangzhou-Phuket tourism route | The Thaiger
PHOTO: 77 kaoded

A tourism route from Guangzhou, China to Phuket could help the island province recover from the recession brought on by the pandemic and lack of foreign travel, according to the Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce. The president of the organisation, Narongsak Puttapornmongkol, says they plan to submit a letter proposing the route under a travel bubble scheme to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

The Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce is proposing a travel bubble with around 20 cities in China with no recent coronavirus infections and considered to be at a low risk of spreading the virus. Travellers from Guangzhou recently entered Thailand on the new Special Tourist Visa. It was the second flight of international tourists since travel restrictions were imposed in late-March.

“We believe that the Travel Bubble and the quarantine reduction will resolve the tourism business, which is a huge economic opportunity to recover.”

Once a vaccine is widely available, Narongsak suggests that those who wish to Thailand could also present their vaccination certificate or examination reports from the place of origin. He adds that the mandatory state quarantine period is likely to be reduced.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket officials concerned about virus risk from undocumented migrant workers

Maya Taylor

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Phuket officials concerned about virus risk from undocumented migrant workers | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

The discovery that 3 Thai nationals infected with Covid-19 returned from Myanmar and bypassed health checks and quarantine, has officials in Phuket on high alert. Over the weekend, it was discovered that a 29 year old Thai woman had illegally crossed from Myanmar and subsequently tested positive for Covid-19 after admitting herself to a Chiang Mai hospital. 2 other women who worked with her have also tested positive for the virus.

Phuket’s deputy governor, Pichet Panapong, says news of the 3 infected Thai women who managed to enter Thailand without undergoing any health checks or mandatory quarantine, has officials on the southern island worried. He adds that local authorities are monitoring Burmese workers, calling on them to follow disease control measures if returning to Phuket from Myanmar. (It would appear he missed the bit about the 3 infected women being Thai, not Burmese)

In a report in the Bangkok Post, Pichet says officials are considering setting up a quarantine facility for any migrant workers already in Phuket illegally, adding that of the 59,900 registered migrant workers on the island, 80% are Burmese. The Thailand/Myanmar border is longer than 2,000 kilometres with hundreds of official and “natural” border crossings.

“People can also act as eyes and ears for the authorities. If they find something suspicious in their communities, they should alert immigration police or local police.”

Phuket has 21 alternative quarantine properties, offering over 2,500 rooms in total, but arrival numbers are low. It’s understood that only 11 people have applied to enter Phuket in the period December 4 – 12, and so far, only a single application has been received for January. There are currently 726 people in local quarantine, 20 in alternative local quarantine, and 4 people carrying out yacht quarantine. Since Phuket agreed to receive foreign-registered yachts, 6 vessels have entered its waters, with all passengers and crew carrying out quarantine on board, 6 kilometres from shore.

Pichet says that, at a meeting of the communicable disease control committee, the Thai Yachting Business Association submitted a proposal to manage cruise ships, and officials have also received a request to extend the opening hours of shopping malls over the New Year holiday.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Re-opening Thailand to tourism will be vaccine dependent

Bill Barnett

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Re-opening Thailand to tourism will be vaccine dependent | The Thaiger

Bill Barnett from c9hotelworks.com continues to follow the difficult journey of the Thai hospitality industry. Traditionally, now would be the start of the country’s highly profitable high season for the tourism industry. But not this year. Thai hotels find themselves in the middle of an existential crisis – either still closed, only partly open, or one of the few converted to limited ASQ traffic. The situation is dire, when you consider that between 15-20% of Thailand’s GDP is linked to tourism.

In a speech this week Thailand’s Prime Minster Prayut Chan-o-cha spoke clearly that only when a vaccine is approved, produced, and implemented, would the country open to substantial tourism. Given the current timelines and forecasts, this may not be likely until mid-2021 at the earliest, though subject to advancement if the process could be accelerated, which is unlikely.

For tourism and hotel stakeholders, the writing is on the wall that 2021, for the most part, will see a continued reliance on domestic travellers, and only in 2022 will there be a large-scale return in numbers of overseas visitors.

Given the winter spike in Asia, Europe, and North America of Covid-19, Thailand is not alone in relying on the vaccine to return tourism but the process will not be instant and the re-openings of borders will most certainly be staged.

HERE’s a list of 113 Alternative State Quarantine hotels.

The business reality for Phuket and across Thailand is to plan for the worst in the coming six months and only expect 2022 to see a notable uptick.

Currently, the hotel sector continues to advocate to the Thai government and Central Bank for debt and financing relief measures and assistance in a social security supplement to retain staff.

While it’s negative news, it at least allows for hotels to understand the challenges ahead, plan and adjust their operating models going forward. ‘Survive the downturn’ is the new mantra.

No vaccine, no entry. Read more HERE.

No vaccine, no flight. Read more HERE.

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