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Cockfighting a gamble in Phuket

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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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

ETN
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

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

Phuket

4 billion baht medical hub planned for Phuket

Maya Taylor

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4 billion baht medical hub planned for Phuket | The Thaiger
Mai Khao beach in north Phuket. PHOTO: Booking.com

Phuket officials are setting aside around 4 billion baht to transform medical tourism in the southern province of Phuket, by developing a state-of-the-art treatment hub in the north of the island. The Bangkok Post reports that the Treasury department is planning to give the Public Health Ministry permission to use 141 rai of government land in the sub-district of Mai Khao, close to Phuket International Airport. It’s not the first time the proposal has come to light.

The concept is gathering support as Phuket battles to diversify its attraction beyond a tropical holiday island.

The aim is to develop Phuket as a world-class health and wellness destination, with facilities that will attract medical tourists from all over the world, as well as providing a high standard of treatment to the local population. It’s understood the facility will provide a full range of health services, including long-term care, and hospice and rehabilitation services.

The island already has a well-developed medical tourism market, but has been based around local hospitals and clinics linking up with foreign marketing companies in the past. “The International Medical and Public Health Service” has been conceived to create more long term financial security and diversification, and value-added tourism in Phuket, as the island has taken a heavy financial hit over the past 7 months.

4 billion baht medical hub planned for Phuket | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Phuket Andaman News

The plan was first suggested in 2017, by then governor, Noraphat Plodthong and confirmed by the director of Phuket’s Vachira Hospital, Dr. Chalermpong Sukontapol, in July. At that stage, the estimated budget was 3-4 billion baht. The director-general of the Treasury department, Yuthana Yimkarun, says the plot is being offered to the Health Ministry for free. The land is thought be worth around 1 billion baht.

Yuthana says the ministry will manage investment, with approximately 2 billion baht required for the first stage of the project. Construction of the facility is expected to be completed over 2 years.

Meanwhile, it’s understood that unused government land that is currently managed by various government agencies may be moved under the remit of central government, with a view to increasing its worth. According to the Bangkok Post report, just 4% of government land is directly managed by the Treasury. The other 96% is controlled by various government agencies. Yuthana says the plan is to increase the percentage of state-owned land under the Treasury’s management to 10% within 2 years.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

“Open the borders, safely”, Bill Heinecke, Minor International interview – VIDEO

The Thaiger

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“Open the borders, safely”, Bill Heinecke, Minor International interview – VIDEO | The Thaiger

Bill Heinecke speaks to Bill Barnett. The two heavy-hitters of Thailand’s hotel and hospitality sector, mull over the current Covid situation and the reopening of Thailand’s borders to some form of tourism. Bill Heinecke is the Chairman and Founder of Minor International.

Bill Barnett is the Managing Director of c9hotelworks.com

Now the Thai government has approved the special long-term tourist visa scheme (STV), hoteliers are remaining skeptical about reopening due to the lack of clarity in the recent announcement, which will reportedly take effect next month. The president of the Thai Hotels Association’s southern chapter says more hoteliers will consider reopening if the government gives further information about the plan in terms of prospective markets, arrival dates, origin countries, and flights.

Such details would allow hotels to prepare themselves ahead of time to offer services as alternative state quarantine premises as at least 60 hotels in Phuket are awaiting approval to operate such facilities.

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Bangkok

Now they’re coming… Special Tourist Visa flight set for Tuesday – Tourism and Sports Minister

Caitlin Ashworth

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Now they’re coming… Special Tourist Visa flight set for Tuesday – Tourism and Sports Minister | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Unsplash: Suhyeon Choi

After much confusion and a few apparent ‘misunderstandings’, Chinese tourists on the Special Tourist Visa will actually arrive on October 20 and 26. At least that’s what Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn says, according to the Bangkok Post. The first group is said to arrive 4 days from now in Bangkok (if they actually applied for the visa this time).

Reports circulated for weeks about a flight of 120 to 150 tourists set to arrive in Phuket on October 8 from Guangzhou, China. An announcement was made shortly after the flight was due to arrive with Tourism Authority Governor Yuthasak Supasorn saying “administrative issues” had caused the delay.

It was later reported that no one from Guangzhou had actually applied for the visa and it was all just a misunderstanding after the Tourism Authority of Thailand reportedly passed off a list of those “interested” in the visa as actual applications.

This time, the Post is reporting the first group of 120 tourists from Guangzhou will arrive at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport on Tuesday. Another group of 120 tourists, also from Guangzhou, will arrive on October 26, but the Post didn’t say where that flight will land.

It’s apparently the same group that was planned to arrive in Phuket on October 8, but the minister claims the trip was postponed due to the Vegetarian Festival which is planned to run until October 25. Both the Phuket governor and National Security Council secretary general had claimed the festival was the reason for the delayed flight and was intended to ease fears of Covid-19 for the festival-goers coming in from the rest of Thailand.

Even though the new long stay tourist visa is good for 90 days, and can be renewed twice, the tourists will only stay in the country for 30 days, with 14 of those days in quarantine. Phiphat says the Tourism Authority of Thailand will find activities to keep the tourists occupied while in quarantine.

The visitors will be the first international tourists after a 6 month ban to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Thai officials have been discussing plans for months about how to safely reopen borders to revive the country’s economy which is heavily driven by the tourism industry. Officals are now talking about cutting down the mandatory time for quarantine from 14 days to 7 days to help entice people to visit.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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