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Chief medical inspector counters CBC’s Belanger sisters’ death report

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Chief medical inspector counters CBC’s Belanger sisters’ death report | The Thaiger

PHUKET: The chief medical inspector called in to investigate the mysterious deaths of Canadian sisters Noemi and Audrey Belanger on Phi Phi Island in 2012 has dismissed reports that said the sisters died from poisoning from a specific pesticide.

The news follows a report by Canadian news network CBC quoting Dr Pasakorn Akarasewi as saying, “The most likely explanation is the acute intoxication and it is intoxication from the chemical that belongs to the pesticide group [story here].” CBC proceeded with an in-depth report about a single pesticide, aluminum phosphide, being the possible cause. Aluminum phosphide is used to control bedbugs in some hotels.

Yet Dr Pasakorn, Director of the Bureau of Epidemiology at the Ministry of Public Health’s Department of Disease Control, told the Phuket Gazette in an exclusive interview that he did not affirm the cause of death and did not believe aluminum phosphide was a factor.

“All I said to the media was that the most likely explanation was acute intoxication from a chemical belonging to the pesticide group. We do not know exactly which one.

“DEET was the only chemical we could find in the two sisters’ bodies, according to the autopsy report,” he said. “But the bodies were sent to Canada a long time ago and we have not been able to further investigate the case.

“I have no idea how aluminum phosphide came up in the CBC report. To my knowledge it came from the Canadian side, as they have been talking about it. According to our report, there was no such chemical found in the women’s bodies,” Dr Pasakorn explained.

The Belanger sisters were found dead in their room at the Phi Phi Palms Residence on June 15, 2012, covered in vomit, with similar signs of trauma on their bodies and blue fingernails and toenails (story here).

Initial autopsies conducted by forensic police in Thailand identified undisclosed amounts of DEET in the women’s systems. Those results were refuted by Quebec coroners, who then conducted secondary autopsies (story here).

“I was not here when the case happened, but I am aware of it,” said Col Phrutthipong Nutchanart, who took up the post of Krabi City Police Superintendent little over a month ago.

“There was the initial theory the women drank a cocktail spiked with DEET, then the theory the women were poisoned by some pesticide in their hotel room, but we do not know how the chemical got into their bodies,” Col Phrutthipong said.

“I have spoken with the case investigators and forensic police, and the general consensus is that the women suffered a severe allergic reaction to some chemical, exposure to which might be tolerated by other people.”

Col Phrutthipong pointed out that the case was closed before his arrival (story here) and said that any further comment about the case must be from the Belanger family or the Canadian Embassy.

“We do not know what exactly killed the sisters. The cause of death in the police report to the embassy remains listed as ‘unknown’,” he stated.

“This has left us with very little to move forward on. We cannot stage a special campaign or crackdown on chemicals used in Krabi when we do not know exactly which chemical killed the sisters or how they came to ingest it,” he added.

Weerapong Dollar, chief of the Disease Control Department at the Krabi Public Health Office, concurred.

“When we were notified about the deaths, we went to the hotel room with police and forensic police to inspect the scene and the bodies, but we found no traces of chemicals at above-normal levels that could have caused death,” said Dr Weerapong.

“As we do not know what killed the Belanger sisters, all we can do is continue with our regular health campaign.”

— Irfarn Jumdukor

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People

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people

Nattha Thepbamrung

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‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | The Thaiger

On October 18, the ‘Always Smile Journey’ group and its partners will host an exhibition with plenty of fun activities at the Yak Yai Market, near Chalong Circle, in Phuket. This event was designed to raise funds to provide free English classes for underprivileged people on the island of Phuket on Saturdays and Sundays. The group does not accept donations but aims to raise money through the sales of the products available at the event.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

From 2 pm to 8 pm, there will be a number of artists, musicians and performers who will keep the attendees entertained along the way. There will be a short film about His Majesty King Rama 9 as well as fun activities and games for kids and families, which are all free of charge.

The big bike crew is also a part of this event. They will ride a parade from Rawai Beach heading to the market and showcase their gorgeous two-wheel buddies.

One of the highlights of the Always Smile Journey exhibition is the ‘Happening’ artists group, who will draw and paint a picture of the His Majesty King Rama 9 under the name ‘Street Art King Bhumibol’ on a 4×10 meter sign live at the event so the guests will experience this large-scale art in action. The Happening will also offer portrait sketching for the participants.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

One of the works created by the Happening team; a painting of HM the King Rama 9 on a huge wall (Photo credit: Chawat Chumpasan)

There will also be some western menus available at the event which will be donated to underprivileged children.

This free English class project has over seven years of experience through its cooperation working with individuals and other charity organizations. Throughout the years, the group visited several areas such as Ban Laem Hoy School, Ban Bopud School and Ban Angthong School in Samui, Surat Thani province, Ban Bueng Ao Oun School and Ban Kakoh Rayong, in Surin province, Jalae Village of Lahu (Muser) in Chiang Rai province, as well as community education centers in Siem Reap, Cambodia and in Luang Prabang, in Laos.

This event is a cooperation between several groups, including Happening, Yak Yai Market and Arrow Media, Tattoo artist group, Thonburi Art School Alumni, International School of Tourism, Suratthani Rajabhat University, big bike group from Phuket, artists/performers/musicians from many provinces as well as several businesses across Phuket.

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Bangkok

The world’s fastest growing tourist destinations

The Thaiger

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The world’s fastest growing tourist destinations | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Hello Phuket – destined for huge tourist growth in the next six years – fodors.com

In 2018, international tourist arrival traffic grew by 6% to reach a total of 1.4 billion world tourists, according to research by UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. And there’s a lot more to come with international travel predicted to increase by a massive 35% over the next six years to 2025.

But where is all that extra traffic going to go? Which destinations are quiet now that might be swarming with tourists in the years to come? Two destinations in Thailand are set for a prosperous future, according to the data. Whilst almost all the growth is excepted to be to Asian destinations, an under-visited resource for world tourism so far.

Euromonitor data has been used to simulate tourist growth models and reveal the fastest growing projected visitor arrivals in major cities and destinations around the world for 2025, compared to arrival figures in 2018.

In Thailand, Phuket’s tourist traffic is poised to increase up to 85% in the next six years, from nearly 12 million arrivals in 2018 to over 22 million in 2025. Bangkok is predicted to see the 8th most prolific rise in tourist traffic, with arrivals in Bangkok set to swell an additional 68% during the same period. Doha, the capital of Qatar, is set to explode with 104% increase in traffic over the next six years.

The data also predicts that both Bangkok and Phuket will rebound big time in 2020, Phuket in particular with a growth of around 20% for the next year, accord to the data from TravelSupermarket.com.

By 2025 the data predicts that Bangkok will be the world’s #1 tourist destination, a position it’s held before in recent years. The Thai capital will be followed by Singapore, Dubai, Phuket and Kuala Lumpur, making South East Asia the world’s emerging tourism hotspot.

Some of the world’s favourites – New York, Paris, London – will continue to grow their tourist numbers but not at the rate of most Asian destinations.

You can read the full list HERE.

The world's fastest growing tourist destinations | News by The Thaiger

Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com

The world's fastest growing tourist destinations | News by The Thaiger

Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com

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Phuket

Rawai beachfront water shut-off tomorrow for mains works

The Thaiger

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Rawai beachfront water shut-off tomorrow for mains works | The Thaiger

The Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority says Rawai’s mains water supply will be shut off tomorrow (Tuesday, October 15) as new water pipes are fitted in front of The Title Beach Front condo resort complex on the town’s beachfront.

The mains water supply will be shut off from 9am until 4:30pm along the beachfront strip.

The PWA says the areas affected will be along Wiset Road along the Rawai beachfront road, as well as Soi Yanui and Soi Ruafaed.

Residents and businesses are being urged to collect water for use during the day today, before tomorrow morning’s shut-off.

As usual, the PWA say…“We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

Contact the Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority on 076 319173 or 082 7901634 for more details.

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