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Bypass road 6 months behind schedule

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Bypass road 6 months behind schedule | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Work on the 111-million-baht project to widen the bypass road will be completed about six months behind schedule, in March 2006, the government official in charge of the work estimates.

The artery is being widened to 24 meters in order to accommodate Phuket’s ever-growing number of vehicles. The section from Tesco-Lotus to the Darasamut School Intersection will be six lanes wide when the work is completed and the northern section between Tesco and the Boat Lagoon will have four lanes.

There will be a building exclusion zone 40 meters from either side of the median strip.

Highway Department engineer Boonyakiat Kongketyaisaid blasting will continue until the end of December. Project contractors Chiang Rai Harn Charoen Enterprise Ltd (CHRC) are now blasting rock every other day between 1 am and 3 pm.

The blasting, previously limited to Mondays and Thursdays, had been increased to alternating days in order to finish the project as soon as possible, he said.

Commuters should expect delays while the blasting is taking place and traffic is detoured to Soi Paniang, he said.

CHRC originally had 210 days from May 7, 2004, to complete the work, or until September 28, 2005. The deadline was extended until January 26, 2006, after red tape resulted in the province taking some eight months to issue the necessary blasting permit, he said.

The company will face a fine for each day the work runs over the January deadline, he added.

“The rain has also been partially responsible for the delay in the project, which I expect to be completed some time in March” he said.

Tour bus driver Niphon Pholkaew told the Gazette that traffic congestion associated with the project can add an hour to the time it takes him to drive passengers from a tour office on the bypass road to the Kata Thani Hotel.

But like most island residents he sees the project as a necessary evil and is willing to put up with the inconvenience.

“There are more and more cars using the road every day, so it makes sense to widen it. They have done a good job putting up signs to show the detour routes,” he noted.

The owner of a batik shop opposite the current site of the blasting work is no fan of the project, however.

One round of blasting caused rocks to rain down on his building, damaging the roof, he said. CHRC later repaired the roof, he added.

He also told the Gazette that the work had hurt his business by limiting the amount of parking space available.

K. Boonyakiat said that the contractor was responsible for any damages related to the blasting work. Anyone suffering damage could contact the company directly to seek compensation or, if that does not work, file a complaint with the police, he said.

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Phuket

Female prisoner on the run after escaping from Phuket Hospital

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Female prisoner on the run after escaping from Phuket Hospital | The Thaiger

A female prisoner is on the run after escaping from Vachira Phuket Hospital during a doctor appointment. 58 year old Siri Phodam allegedly escaped after asking her convoy officer to use the toilet, in which after she took a long time to come back, was found to have escaped. CCTV cameras caught her dressed in a blue hospital patient shirt and a sarong leaving the hospital quickly. A Phuket prison officer says the woman is 158cm tall and has dark skin.

“Some of our own officers are searching for her, and we have also sent the prisoner’s description to all Phuket police stations. However, at this stage we have not found any clues.

Female prisoner on the run after escaping from Phuket Hospital | News by The Thaiger

“If anyone finds a person matching the prisoner’s appearance, please inform us by calling 076 212 104.”

Siri was imprisoned after being charged with posessing illegal drugs and lived in Moo 2, Rawai.

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Phuket’s annual vegetarian festival gets the green light – VIDEO

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket’s annual vegetarian festival gets the green light – VIDEO | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Caitlin Ashworth

WARNING: The content below contains photos and videos of self-mutilation that some may find disturbing.

Somehow Phuket’s annual vegetarian festival is to go ahead next month, but officials say they will ask participants to strictly observe social distancing. Good luck with that! For those who don’t know, the festival isn’t exactly known for the food. It’s known for blood, body mutilation and more blood.

During street processions for the weeklong event, also known as the Nine Gods Festival, so called “mah songs” are known to practice self-mutilation and are said to enter a trance-like state, channeling spirits through their body. “Mah” means horse in Thai, and many suggest the mah song acts like a horse for the spirit to ride.

Many mah songs pierce their checks, ears and lips, some with large swords and thick needles. Some slice their tongues continuously for hours, blood dripping down on the street. Others appear to be in a trace walk barefoot as firecrackers explode on the ground.

Mah songs march down Phuket’s streets for hours with a team of devotees to help tend to their wounds, adjust the piercings, wipe away drool and blood, and keep them hydrated. It’s understood that devotees wear white as a symbol of purity. It’s also reported that they abstain from eating meat, drinking alcohol and having sex during the weeklong festival.

It seems gruesome, but it’s actually very spiritual. Business owners and locals line the street, some setting up altars. Mah songs stop at each one and do a quick ritual. Some mah songs carry a black flag, waving it over onlookers who bow their heads and place their hands in the “wai” position. Some spend time blessing the elderly and handing out bracelets to children. During a procession last year, a woman held up a bracelet as said “the ‘Spirit’ gave this to my mother.”

This year, the festival will have to be a little different to abide by coronavirus prevention measures. The Bangkok Post says it’s the first festival since the outbreak. The head festival organiser Prasert Fukthongphol says “we will seriously enforce social distancing measures and require all participants to wear face masks.”

The grotesque piercings, noisy parades and visits to the shrine, are good news for Phuket’s tourism and bad news if you’re a vegetable. Many adherents to the Chinese-heritage local festival will go without sex, alcohol and meat for the week of so of the festival. The week of events and ceremonies hopes to scare away the bad gods again but, especially this year, attract some extra visitors to the festival.

Another Vegetarian Festival in Chon Buri has also been given the green light. The event is planned for October 16 to the 26. This year’s main event for the festival will be in Naklua at Sawangboriboon Thammasathan Foundation at the Sein Sua Chinese Temple, but many other events will be around the city throughout the week.

Phuket's annual vegetarian festival gets the green light - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

Phuket's annual vegetarian festival gets the green light - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

Phuket's annual vegetarian festival gets the green light - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

Phuket's annual vegetarian festival gets the green light - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

Phuket's annual vegetarian festival gets the green light - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | Pattaya News

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Phuket

Officials says no illegal land encroachment at Phuket’s Sri Panwa resort

Maya Taylor

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Officials says no illegal land encroachment at Phuket’s Sri Panwa resort | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Sri Panwa Phuket Resort - Sri Panwa Phuket

After coming in for some negative online attention recently, the land title deeds of the Sri Panwa Phuket resort have been investigated and found “to be in order”. The 5-star hotel first attracted the attention of netizens when its owner, Vorasit Issara, publicly criticised anti-government activist Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, calling for her arrest. He also claimed she wasn’t Thai, a factually wrong and inflammatory statement.

His Instagram tirade prompted outrage from those who support the current protest movement, with netizens calling for a boycott of his property and leaving several negative comments on various review sites. Trip Advisor suspended the hotel’s account due to the online attack.

Shortly after, the Civil Society for State Welfare called on the Social Security Office to clarify its investment in the resort’s trust fund. This was echoed by at least one opposition MP and anti-corruption activists.

Responding to the land rights issue, the Phuket Land Office has issued a statement to say the hotel does not occupy state land. The resort stands on 56 rai of prime real estate, overlooking Phuket’s south-eastern coast. The land office has confirmed its paperwork is all in order.

Meanwhile, it’s understood Charn Issara Development, owners of the property, have threatened to sue the resort’s critics for defamation.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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