Cockfighting a gamble in Phuket

Phuket NEWS Hound

– A daily digest of news from around the world about Thailand, compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community.

PHUKET: Initially reported by the Phuket Gazette on Monday, a raid on a cockfighting ring in Phuket on Sunday has caught the attention of online gambling journal ‘Gaming Zion’, which in a report filed last night looks at the bloodsport in the context of Thai gambling laws.

In the Phuket raid, 42 people were arrested at the fights in a Rawai rubber plantation. For the Gazette report on the raid, click here.

Thai gambling laws actually permit cockfighting to take place in many parts of Thailand, provided the operations are properly licensed. In fact, some estimates say there are as many as 500 cockfighting dens operating across the country, despite widespread objections around the world over animal cruelty.

To prevent embarrassment in front of foreign tourists, however, Phuket province outlawed cockfighting seven years ago, making the ring at the Phuket rubber plantation illegal.

Sunday’s raid was led by Crime Suppression Division Area 5 Inspector Sitthikiat Srichan. All those arrested, including a pregnant woman, were charged with illegal gambling and held at Chalong Police Station Sunday night without bail.

They were transferred on Monday afternoon to Phuket Provincial Court where they were fined.

Among the evidence seized in the raid were four fighting cocks, their legs bound and their bodies bloodied from recent fights.

New province in Thailand

The Nation
The Cabinet yesterday approved the plan to establish Thailand’s 77th province, which will be called Bueng Karn.

The new province will be carved out of the existing province of Nong Khai along the border with Laos in northeastern Thailand.

The new province will be comprised of eight districts and will have a population of 399,000.

Phuket Westin now open

Asia Travel Tips
The first Westin resort in Thailand, the Westin Siray Bay Resort & Spa Phuket, has officially opened its doors to guests.

Uniquely, the resort is sited on Siray Island which lies in Phuket province and is connected to Phuket Town by a bridge. Siray can be reached from most areas of the town in less than ten minutes, and from Phuket International Airport in about 45 minutes.

The resort offers 261 guest rooms, all of which are appointed with open outdoor balconies, a Westin ‘heavenly’ bed and bath, and high speed broadband.

Some guestrooms, suites and villas feature their own private plunge pools and rooftop relaxation areas overlooking Siray Bay and sister island Phuket.

Big wind farm for Thailand

Earth Times
Germany’s Pro Ventrum International yesterday announced plans to build a 90-megawatt wind farm in northeastern Thailand with US-based GE Energy as a partner.

The firms signed an agreement for GE to supply wind turbines for the proposed Thepsathit Wind Farm, which will require an estimated investment of 5.8 billion baht ($178.5 million).

“When operational, the 90-megawatt wind farm, powered by 36 units of GE’s 2.5-megawatt wind turbines, could potentially be one of the first of its scale for Thailand and the greater ASEAN region,” GE Energy Thailand Director Kovit Kantapasara said.

The farm will be situated in Chaiyaphum province, about 250 kilometres from Bangkok. The power would be sold to the state-owned Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand.

Thai inflation rising

TTR Weekly
Thailand’s inflation rate accelerated to 3.4% in July, official data showed on Monday, fanning expectations of another interest rate hike by the central bank.

Consumer prices rose year-on-year for a 10th straight month, after an annualized gain of 3.3% in June, the commerce ministry said.

Core inflation, which excludes food and energy, rose to an annual rate of 1.2% in July, from 1.1% in June.

Last month, Thailand’s central bank raised its key interest rate for the first time in almost two years – by 25 basis points to 1.5% – saying the economy had remained resilient in the face of deadly political unrest.

Experts predict the bank will tighten its monetary policy again later this year as it withdraws emergency stimulus measures, following a relatively limited impact from the violent red shirt street protests in April and May.

THAI, Tiger in JV

On August 2nd, Thai Airways signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Singapore-based low cost carrier Tiger Airways to create a new low cost airline. Thai Tiger Airways is due to start operations by early 2011 out of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

Thai and Thai Airways funds will own 51% of the JV while Tiger Airways will hold the remaining 49%.

“Thailand has one of the best growth potentials in Asia for tourism. We are ourselves growing sequentially. We turned profitable after three years in Singapore; we made a profit after 18 months in Australia.

“We will concentrate on our new Thai venture to be sure to make it profitable,” said Tiger Airways CEO Tony Davis.

Neither Thai nor Tiger would unveil how Thai Tiger will look from day one. The only revelation is that the carrier will start with a fleet of 5 Airbus A320s. No destinations have been announced, but staff recruitment is due to start soon.

— Gazette Editors

Phuket News

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