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British couple say they were ‘raped and robbed’ in Phuket

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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British couple say they were ‘raped and robbed’ in Phuket | The Thaiger

PHUKET: A British couple have alleged that they were robbed and raped while visiting Phuket during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

The couple, who were named by Belfast Live as Gerald Drumgoole and Michael Burnett, said they were attacked and robbed of 400 pounds and their iPhones after their drinks were spiked at a Phuket bar on New Year’s Eve. However, they did not reveal the name of the bar, the hotel they were staying at, or who they believe was behind the incident.

The couple also added that “Police in Phuket just laughed when we reported our attack. It seems that kind of thing happens regularly,” but they have not provided details of where and when the complaint was filed.

“So far, no report of the incident has reached us, but we will ‘look into it’ further,” Phuket Provincial Police Deputy Commander Peerayuth Karajedee told the Phuket Gazette today.

Belfast Live additionally reports that the couple returned home on Wednesday, where a doctor confirmed that they had been raped.

“We have been to Thailand before, but we have never experienced anything like this,” Mr Drumgoole told Belfast Live.

“On the night we were attacked, Michael and I decided to go out for some drinks to celebrate New Year’s Eve. We had a beer in one bar and then moved on to another. It was in the second bar that our drinks were spiked with a date-rape drug.

“After that we can’t remember anything. It was only well after the attack that we realized we had been attacked and raped.

“We went to our own doctor in Belfast who confirmed we had been raped. It has just been a very traumatic time for both of us. We have had to be tested for HIV and given an HPV vaccine and tested for syphilis.”

The couple added that their insurance provider “abandoned them” during their holiday.

“We were told that we had to contact the insurance company before deciding on which hospital to go to in Phuket. We phoned OUL Direct for five days and all they kept telling us was that they would send an email and get someone to call us,” Mr Drumgoole said.

“On the fifth day, my family back in Belfast got in touch with the British Embassy in Bangkok and we finally got sent to a hospital, but the hospital wouldn’t accept our insurance documents.

“We then got sent to a private hospital, which insurance companies don’t usually do, but because of our case they got us into this facility. The insurance company also said they would cover all charges, because they knew we had no money after being robbed.

“It was agreed that our excess fee would be paid, but after we received the treatment we were told we had to pay it.”

Mr Drumgoole added that their insurance provider told them to “leave the hospital without paying, as long as they still had possession of their passports”.

“They basically told us to flee the hospital. That is completely illegal. We could have ended up in a Thai prison,” he said.

UK-based insurance company OUL Direct has ‘responded’ to the claims and said they are investigating the matter.

— Zohaib Sikander

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Phuket

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

The Thaiger

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Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2 | The Thaiger

In today’s Thailand News Today…. The island of Phuket has a firm plan to get its residents vaccinated leading up to an October opening for tourists, the Thai PM backs up his police over last Sunday’s protest violence and Thai Airway’s employee union criticises the changes to employee contracts.

But the plan must be approved by the national government by April, if the province wants to open tourism by October 1. Phuket has a resident population of around 300- 400,000 people.

Before you go rushing off to book your plane tickets we’d stress that this is another in a long list of proposals that have not come to fruition and we’d urge patience until the Government approves the plans.

Meanwhile the island has taken delivery of 4,000 doses of the Chinese Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine. Vaccinations started yesterday, with priority given to 1,500 healthcare workers and 500 “at-risk” officials exposed to Covid-19 patients.

On a broader note… Thailand’s Tourism Minister says he has asked the Public Health Ministry to approve a vaccine passport scheme aimed at reviving Thailand’s devastated tourism sector. According to the Minister, the government is looking to the World Health Organisation to issue a statement on vaccine passports before it makes a final decision on the matter.

The Thai PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha has defended police action against protesters taking part in Sunday’s anti-government rally in Bangkok. Officers from the Metropolitan Police Bureau used tear gas, a water cannon and rubber bullets in an effort to drive protesters back from the PM’s residence. The PM insists the actions were in line with international standards. He says that police did not violate the protesters’ rights.

Thai researchers are claiming that horseshoe bats are not responsible for transmitting the Covid virus to humans. A researcher with the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Diseases-Health Science Centre, says that even though the bats have tested positive for a coronavirus, it is not the strain that is transmissible to humans, and it’s certainly not the virus that causes Covid-19.

As Thai Airways tries to sell new contracts and conditions to its remaining workforce, the labour union of the national carrier is challenging changes to the employment contracts, where Thai Airways employees are being asked to agree to changes as part of the bigger financial rehabilitation program.

But a union representative says the new contracts are unfair because it includes fewer leave days and shorter holidays. The union has filed a complaint with the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare.

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Phuket

Police investigate reports of women’s underwear stolen from Phuket homes

Caitlin Ashworth

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Police investigate reports of women’s underwear stolen from Phuket homes | The Thaiger
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Police in Phuket are looking for a suspect who residents say has been stealing women’s underwear. Surveillance camera footage from a resident’s home shows a teenager driving through a neighbourhood, then stopping and stealing ladies panties that were hanging up to dry.

One resident told Phuket News that numerous residents in Thalang’s Baan Lipon area have reported missing underwear.

“Recently neighbors have been reporting that many items of their underwear have been stolen. Many residents are worried about the man hovering around here trying to steal underwear.”

A man told the Phuket News that his wife’s underwear was stolen and he’s now worried about his family’s safety. Another resident says he’s also concerned.

“As a resident in this area, I am worried about the safety of the local residents. Underwear has been stolen, something else could happen as well.”

In a similar case back in October, a 46 year old man was arrested for allegedly breaking into homes in Ratchaburi and stealing women’s underwear. Police says they seized 70 pairs of panties.

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Tourism

Phuket pushes to open doors to vaccinated international tourists by October

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Phuket pushes to open doors to vaccinated international tourists by October | The Thaiger

Phuket is set to open its doors to vaccinated, international tourists by October, pending the government’s approval. The local government’s initiative, named Phuket First October, proposes vaccinating a majority of its population over 18 years of age in time for the high season. The move would allow thousands of vaccinated Europeans to enter Thailand, while locals would be protected from the virus symptoms.

Protecting the locals would include achieving herd immunity in time for reopening the province, which would need 70% of the population to be vaccinated. The local government’s goal would not wait for the government to roll out vaccines, and instead, use its own resources to vaccinate the public. Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, president of the Phuket Tourist Association told the Thai Enquirer over the phone, that they won’t stop pushing for ways to help the tourist destination survive.

“I think there must be a solution that balances controlling the outbreak and stimulating the economy.”

The island is also looking to waive the 14 day quarantine, with PM Prayut recently changing his stance by announcing that a quarantine waiver is being considered for those vaccinated tourists.

But the plan must be approved by the national government by April, if the province wants to open tourism by October 1. Initial research shows that around 250,000 citizens per month must be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.

Initially, the province’s request was denied by the federal government, but business leaders are not giving up hope. Recently, they submitted a petition to PM Prayut to appeal the denial citing lack of income, mounting debts and increasing financial disputes due to over eight months without international or domestic flights.

The second wave has also plummeted tourism even lower than before, as the industry has seen a 93% drop in visitors since the same time last year.

Phuket has already kicked off its vaccine rollout as of yesterday, after receiving a delivery of 4,000 doses of the Chinese Sinovac jab. Priority is being given to 1,500 healthcare workers and 500 “at-risk” officials that have been exposed to Covid-19 patients.

SOURCE: Thai Enquirer

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