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

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Phuket

Phuket calls for immediate government help over coronavirus impact

Greeley Pulitzer

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Phuket calls for immediate government help over coronavirus impact | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Phuket Chamber of Commerce President Thanusak Phungdet details the problems Phuket faces as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak - Phuket Chamber of Commerce

Phuket’s Chamber of Commerce has asked the Thai govenment for swift action to help cope with the economic impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus, particularly on tourism. According to Chamber president Thanusak Phungdet:

“I explained to Tourism Committee President Surasak Phanchalernworakul about the situation and how coronavirus is affecting tourism and business in Phuket. I requested them to share this information with the PM and other relevant officers in Parliament. The situation is much worse than the government knows.”

Thanusak told reporters that he met yesterday with Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee on Tourism and Phuket MP Nattee Thinsakhu; Thai Hotels Association Vice President Kongsak Khoopongsakorn; Phuket Tourism Council President Sarayut Mallam, and other Phuket tourism industry representatives to try to find a solution to crisis.

“The Phuket private sector has been massively impacted by COVID-19. I’m not sure if the Government is aware of the situation as they have not yet visited to see the problems firsthand.”

“It has drastically affected tourism-related businesses. Many staff have been forced to take a pay cut, although the cost of living cost here remains the same. If this situation lasts six to 10 months, Phuket may well become an empty island.”

Thanusak lamented the absence of Chinese tourists, noting that some 20 hotels on the island have “temporarily” closed.

“Many boats and buses are not being used, [and are] parked and empty. Currently we have only 50% of the usual number of European tourists, and it will go down to around 30% next month, and possibly continue to decrease to zero. This situation is out of the hands of the private sector and local administrative officers.”

“We want government support for the tourism sector here, to help unemployed staff and to attract Thai people to come to Phuket in order to support local business and help everyone.”

Thanusak says he has requested help from the Minister of Tourism and wants swift action to safeguard Phuket’s standing as the second highest income-generating province in the country.

“It is worrying that the Government [does] not know the real impact of this bad situation. [The] Government have not yet come to Phuket. It may be because nobody has sent information about the coronavirus and its impact. Governors have to see the truth and listen to people’s complaints.”

As of today, Thailand’s toal confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus remain steady at 35, 17 of whom have made full recoveries and been discharged from hospital. Thailand has reported no fatalities from the virus, and no case has been reported in Phuket.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Crime

American man arrested for theft at Phuket mall

Greeley Pulitzer

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American man arrested for theft at Phuket mall | The Thaiger
Christopher Braman takes Gucci wallets from a closet after police took him to his rented room to look for the reportedly stolen items - Achadtaya Chuenniran, Bangkok Post

An American man has been arrested for theft after allegedly stealing three designer wallets from a shop at Phuket’s Central Floresta shopping mall. Twenty-one year old Christopher Braman was arrested at the shopping centre in tambon Ratsada on charges of theft and overstaying his visa, police said yesterday.

After the arrest, police took Braman him to his rented room in tambon Chalong, where they found three Gucci wallets.

Kanthima Niyakit, 37, manager of the Gucci shop at Central Phuket Floresta, had earlier filed a complaint with accusing a male foreigner of stealing three Gucci wallets from her shop on Wednesday night. The stolen items were a brown wallet, priced at 15,500 baht, a tiger-print wallet worth 13,440 baht, and a bee-print wallet valued at 14,100 baht.

Police examined CCTV footage at the shop and tracked down the suspect, who was caught while walking at the mall on Thursday afternoon.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Phuket

Unemployment rises 34% in Phuket due to virus’s impact

Greeley Pulitzer

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Unemployment rises 34% in Phuket due to virus’s impact | The Thaiger
The number of people registered as unemployed has jumped 34% compared with last year due to fallout from the coronavirus - Tanyaluk Sakoot, the Phuket News

Unemployment on the resort island of Phuket is up 34% year on year due the impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, according to the Phuket Provincial Employment Office (PPEO).

“After Chinese government banned their citizens from travel abroad because of COVID-19, the number of people coming to register as unemployed has been rising quickly. About 80 people come to register as unemployed every day. In total about 1,000 people registered as unemployed between January 26 and February 20. They all used to work in the hospitality industry, as tour guides, hotel staff or boat drivers.”

The rise marks a 34% increase on the number of people formally registered as unemployed compared with the same period last year.

PPEO spokeswoman Thatkwan Surin told reporters that “Staff of hotels, tour operators and restaurants that opened especially to serve Chinese tourists are the main ones affected, as their companies have lost their main source of income and need to cut costs” The spike in Phuket’s jobless has created a surplus of qualified candidates, according to Thatkwan.

“The PPEO currently has only 112 vacancies recorded in our system, with 335 people qualified for those positions. We have helped those people seeking work by registering them to receive compensation from social security, suggesting new jobs to them and we will hold a job market event on March 15.”

“At the event, there will be more than 40 vacancies available, but that will be for around 1,000 people to apply for.”

(The Thaiger thinks this statistic of 34% sounds extremely high and will follow up the numbers reported in Phuket News with the PPEO.)

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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