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Children of murdered bar hostess to receive scholarship funds

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: The two young children of Wanphen Pienjai, the Phuket bar hostess murdered by American Ron Fanelli, have been accepted into the Scholarship Program of the Rotary Club of Patong Beach (RCPB) and will receive financial support on an ongoing basis.

Meanwhile, Wanphen’s mother, Sa-ard Maliwan, 59, has told the Phuket Gazette that she gave 5,000 baht of the 20,000 baht in donations raised through the newspaper’s website (for immediate funeral expenses) to the family’s local temple in Petchaboon, where her daughter’s ashes are now kept.

“I received 20,000 baht on Tuesday [July 20] and I donated 5,000 baht for building a section of temple wall. Wanphen’s ashes arrived on Thursday and they will be put in the temple. The rest of the money will be kept for the children,” said Mrs Sa-ard.

Wanphen’s body was cremated in Phuket on July 14.

She was murdered on June 18 and her remains were discovered in a suitcase in a remote area off Chao Fa Thani Rd, on June 24.

Reached by telephone to her home late last week, Mrs Sa-ard said, “I haven’t seen the guy [Fanelli] yet, but people have called me and asked how such a handsome man could be so cruel. I am happy the police caught him, but I still feel very sad at losing my daughter. Nothing can ever bring her back.”

“Normally, Wanphen sent us money. I don’t know who else can support us now. She was the only one who gave us hope and now she is dead.

“She was my only daughter. Her ex-husband knows what happened, but never came to visit. He probably has a new family already,” she added.

Wanphen, who used to work in Pattaya, was last at the family home in April this year, just before her move to Phuket.

Mrs Sa-ard described her daughter as a straight-talking person, loyal and generous, always inviting neighbors to join them for dinner. “She was kind and never abandoned me,” said Mrs Sa-ard, who is blind in one eye.

“My left eye is blind because I fell into a fire when I was one year old. I didn’t get any treatment because the village was in a remote, rural area back then,” she explained.

To earn at least some money Mrs Sa-ard has a part-time job cutting grass.

She also now takes care of Wanphen’s two orphaned children: a boy nicknamed Iang who is in sixth grade at Ban Nong Bua Thong School, and his sister Farm, age three.

“The older child knows his mother is dead, but the little one doesn’t realize it yet. I haven’t told her because she hasn’t asked.

“Iang hasn’t said anything about it. Farm just thinks her mom is off working. Sometimes when women walk past our home she [Farm] yells out how happy she is that her mom has finally come home,” Mrs Sa-ard said.

Readers wishing to make donations to the Rotary Club of Patong Beach can be made to the following account:

Rotary Club of Patong Beach Charity Account
Siam Commercial Bank
46/3 Chao Fah Rd
T. Taladneung, A. Muang
Phuket Thailand 83000
Account: 633-2-49363-2
SWIFT: SICOTHBK
Phone: 076-222010

For further details about the RCPB’s Scholarship Program, click here.

— Atchaa Khamlo & Stephen Fein

 

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

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket restrictions and bans to stay in place until end of May

Tim Newton

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Phuket’s list of current ‘Covid’ restrictions have been extended until at least May 31. All the current levels of restrictions will remain until the end of the month after the Phuket Governor announced the continuation of restrictions this afternoon.

Daily new infection numbers continue to add to the island’s total of 556 since the start of April. The island’s latest wave started after a series of events, mostly Bangkok partygoers flying down for parties at Café Del Mar in Kamala, Illusion and Shelter, both in Bangla Road. The parties were organised by a Thong Lor based events company called Kolour. The daily numbers, whilst relatively stable, have not been going down as officials were hoping.

The announcement also puts any hope of a July 1 ‘quarantine free’ tourism opening in severe doubt. The island’s vaccine roll out has also slowed since the initial flurry of enthusiasm. Only 22% of Phuket’s population has currently been vaccinated (a long way ahead of the rest of the country) whilst the minimum vaccination level has to reach 70% according to the Government before they will entertain the ‘Sandbox’ opening proposal.

Entry to the island, by road or air, will remain restricted and anyone without proof of vaccination or a current PCR Covid test (within 72 hours) will have to do a full 14 day quarantine period (after May 15). The rapid Covid tests that were being conducted at the airport and Tha Chatchai Checkpoint are being stopped from this Saturday.

Notably, following the story of foreigners in Cherngtalay being fined 6,000 baht each for hosting a party at their home on Sunday night, the ban on gatherings and parties will continue.

Meanwhile, the island has reported its first death during the third wave of cases since the start of April, and a new cluster of infections in the Phoon Pon district in Phuket Town. The man that died was a 71 year old man who died yesterday morning.

Phuket restrictions and bans to stay in place until end of May | News by Thaiger

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid-19 infections cast doubt on plan to reopen Phuket July 1

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: Phuket may not be ready to welcome back visitors July 1st.

With surging Covid-19 infections, the original plan for Phuket to reopen the international border to tourism on July 1st without quarantine may be unlikely. The governor warned today that the plan may be in jeopardy if they don’t reach the proposed May 15 goal of reducing infections to less than 10 each day. Governor Narong Woonciew called on everyone to work together to keep the infections down as the current rate of 10 to 15 per day will almost definitely delay the sandbox plan for international visitors to arrive in Phuket without quarantine in July.

Daily infections are on the rise in Phuket and high-risk people in local quarantine are still spreading infections, according to the provincial health officer’s assessment of the Covid-19 situation. During proactive screening an active case finding, new clusters of infections continue to be uncovered, a problem that has been attributed to continued partying and social gatherings that violate current Covid-19 restrictions. The health officials warned that, as a result, more aggressive actions may be necessary to control the spread of the Coronavirus in Phuket if it is to reopen in July.

Under the current restrictions of the Covid-19 emergency decree, even two people that aren’t from the same household joining together for socializing or mingling could be considered a gathering and punishable with legal action. Officials are speaking out about the threat of more Covid-19 outbreaks due to large gatherings, citing several events that were broken up recently.

One such group in Phuket garnered a lot of attention online with many people surprised that it was considered a gathering and busted up. A group of six British and Thai people that the police raided yesterday at a home in Thalang were reportedly drinking and celebrating. This is a violation of the disease decree and local Covid-19 safety measures, and 2 British nationals were charged a 6000 baht fine each.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

 

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Patong

30 year old Thai woman found dead in car in Patong from apparent suicide

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Photo via The Phuket News

The Thaiger acknowledges that the names of the family and the contents of a suicide note were published in error in an earlier version of this story. We have spoken to the writer and can assure readers that this will never happen again. We apologise for the distress caused.

A 30 year old Thai woman has been found dead in her car, in Patong, from an apparent suicide. The woman’s car was parked by the side of the Sirirat Road, which links Patong and Karon. Police and rescue workers arrived at the scene to find the body of ‘Kanokwan’ (surname withheld), slumped in the driver’s seat of a Phuket-registered Honda Jazz.

Police say they found an electric pan with burnt charcoal behind the driver’s seat in the back. They say this was the cause of death as she likely died from asphyxiation. They also say they found a suicide letter.

The woman’s mother ‘Boonlap’ says that she has accepted her daughter’s death was from a probably suicide. Her body was taken to Patong Hospital for further examination before being released to her relatives for a funeral.

It is not known whether the Covid pandemic had any effect on Kanokwan but job losses, bankruptcies, sickness and fear are just a few of the side-affects during the Covid-19 pandemic.

For many in Thailand and all over the world, this has a profound impact on the mental health of everyday people. The suicide rate in Thailand has also seen a spike, with 22% more suicides recorded in the first half of 2020 when compared to the same period in 2019. A sharp increase not witnessed since the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.

Even before the pandemic struck, Thailand was on record as having the most suicides of any country in SE Asia. As per WHO data, in 2019 Thailand’s suicide rate was 14.4 per 100k population, compared to a global average of 10.5 per 100k population.

If you or anyone you know is in emotional distress, please contact the Samaritans of Thailand at their 24-hour hotline 02-713-6791 (English), 02713-6793 (Thai) or Thai Mental Health Hotline at 1323 (Thai).

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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