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Buried alive in Phuket: How much longer do we need to suffer the landslides?

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Buried alive in Phuket: How much longer do we need to suffer the landslides? | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Another rainy season in Phuket, and yet another death from a landslide. The trench collapse on Monday that killed Burmese laborer Min Hla Thein came just nine days after new workplace ‘health and safety’ legislation came into effect.

[See news feature, pages 4-5, current issue of the Phuket Gazette. Digital subscribers click here to download the full newspaper.]

Among the main aims of the new regulations is to make companies legally liable for not following safety requirements laid down by law and company policy.

Anyone in the construction industry would not have to look far to discover that when digging trenches in questionable earth, the first priority is to reinforce the walls to ensure that workers are not crushed by a cave-in.

Whether the lack of reinforcement of the trench walls will be unearthed by the “investigation” into this latest incident remains to be seen, but the news of another landslide death should not have come as a surprise. Phuket’s safety record in this regard speaks for itself.

Last year, project foreman Thawisak Nukaeo and a laborer identified only as “Neung” died while – in a bitter irony – they were building a retaining wall for a resort under construction on Soi Sang Krasee off Nanai Road in Patong.

The other worker caught by the landslide, identified only as “Sorn”, escaped death but was rushed to hospital for serious injuries.

In 2008, three Burmese were crushed by a landslide at a construction site on 50 Pi Road.

In 2007, a landslide off Nanai Rd left buildings hanging precariously while smothering a Burmese laborers’ camp below and trapping an 18-month-old child. Luckily, no one was killed in that incident.

Earlier this month guests and staff at the Orchidee Residences in Patong escaped almost certain death when boulders hurtled down from a road construction project high in the hills above them, crashing into the building, uprooting trees and bringing down countless tons of earth.

And just this week, several tumbling boulders threatened Orchidee and its occupants once again, the rocks having originated – again – from the very same construction site. [See story here.]

And all this follows year after year of public warnings and “landslide preparedness” training exercises. How much more warning do we need to stop the construction site carelessness?

One common denominator throughout all these landslides over the years is that the first to suffer are inevitably Phuket’s ubiquitous Burmese workers, the unsung heroes of the island’s construction boom.

But at least this year there’s something new: We have a person’s name to report, not just a nickname or a no-name somebody who paid with his or her life for helping to develop a “Greater Phuket”.

Perhaps now with a new death fresh in people’s minds, contractors might exercise more caution. The least they can do is to build the retaining walls and any other reinforcement barriers first and get on with the rest of the work thereafter.

Whether the island’s developers and contractors will start doing this as an “industry standard” remains to be seen, as does the matter of enforcement of the new regulations.



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Phuket

Phuket declares rabies outbreak zone in Chalong

The Thaiger

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Phuket declares rabies outbreak zone in Chalong | The Thaiger

A district livestock development office in Phuket province has announced a Rabies outbreak zone in the Chalong area yesterday.

Sutat Niyomthai, Chief of livestock development officer of Mueang Phuket District, has announced that the Baan Na Yai, Moo 4 village in Tambon Chalong is a designated outbreak zone after a dog tested positive for Rabies.

A rabies temporary control zone will run from January 17 to February 16 in a radius around the Moo 4 village in Tambon Chalong:

• North to Baan Ketho in Moo 7, Kathu.

• South: to Baan Bang Kontee in Moo 5, Rawai.

• East: To Baan Borea in Moo 6, Wichit.

• West: To Karon Temple in Moo 1, Karon.

Phuket declares rabies outbreak zone in Chalong | News by The ThaigerPhuket declares rabies outbreak zone in Chalong | News by The Thaiger

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Phuket

Chumphon woman, working in Phuket, wins first prize in lottery

The Thaiger

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Chumphon woman, working in Phuket, wins first prize in lottery | The Thaiger

A woman from Chumphon, who helps out her sister in Phuket, returned to her hometown last week where she bought a lottery ticket.

The ticket won her the first prize in the lottery.

38 year old Thai woman Chonrada Laimer from Chumphon went to Chalong Police Station yesterday with the first prize lottery ticket number 197079. The weekly lottery numbers were announced yesterday. She claims 6 million baht as the first prize.

Khun Chonrada says, “I am from Chumphon. I help my sister to sell goods in Rawai during high season. I had to visit my home in Chumphon last week and bought the lottery ticket there. It is the number of my car number plate. Then I returned to Phuket.”

“I am very happy. I will use this money to fix my parent’s house. I will still help my sister to sell goods.”

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Phuket

Australian woman deported for overstaying visa by over 100 days

The Thaiger

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Australian woman deported for overstaying visa by over 100 days | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Facebook/Claire Johnson

An Australian woman, who was caught overstaying her visa by 111 days, will be released from detention and deported by Thai authorities tonight.

She came to the media’s attention on Monday after sending urgent messages to a friend saying that she was being taken to a detention centre and that “they are taking my phone”.

46 year old Claire Amelia Johnson is an Australian Gold Coast resident. She will depart Bangkok on a QANTAS flight scheduled to arrive in Sydney tomorrow (Friday) morning.

She was due to return to Australia more than a week ago but on Monday evening sent messages to her friend Juliet Potter and told her that she was in an immigration detention centre in Bangkok and begged her to please “help me”.

Read The Thaiger story about her desperate pleas HERE.

Ms Johnson had been running a medical tourism business called Cosmetic Holidays International that offered cosmetic packages in Phuket”.

The business was voluntarily deregistered with the Australian Securities Commission in May 2017, after five years of operation, but her social media accounts continued to promote her cosmetic-surgery tourism business.

Thailand’s immigration chief, Surachate Hakparn, told Australia’s Fairfax media that Ms Johnson had been arrested, as well as fined, and would be deported after overstaying her tourist visa by more than 100 days.

“My Immigration Department will send her to Australia. She leaves tonight.”

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade would say only that it was “providing consular assistance to an Australian woman detained in Thailand”, without naming Claire.

Australian woman deported for overstaying visa by over 100 days | News by The Thaiger

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