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Compulsory insurance plan for Phuket jet-ski rentals

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Compulsory insurance plan for Phuket jet-ski rentals | The Thaiger

PHUKET CITY: In the latest bid to rein in the island’s controversial jet-ski rental industry, the province is considering imposing a mandatory insurance scheme.

A major aim of the policy is to cut down on the number of complaints about operators charging inflated fees for alleged damages to their machines.

A meeting was held at Phuket Provincial Hall on Monday to discuss the problem.

Vice-Governor Worapoj Ratthasima chaired the meeting, which was attended by representatives from jet-ski rental operators and officials from the Marine Department, Kathu Police and the provincial insurance office.

All agreed to meet again at the end of June, after a feasibility study has been carried out.

V/Gov Worapoj said that the province and other agencies continuously receive complaints form tourists about unfair treatment at the hands of jet-ski operators.

The provincial governor would like to see an end to the complaints by finding a solution acceptable to both the tourists and the jet-ski operators. This would also improve the overall image of tourism in the province, he said.

Kathu Police Superintendent Grissak Songmoonnark said that in 2008, Kathu Police dealt with 49 cases involving jet-skis. A total of three million baht in compensation for damage to the machines was paid out, with some individual claims in excess of 100,000 baht.

Col Grissak suggested that establishment of a central repair shop to determine the true cost of damage caused to jet-skis would be one way to tackle the problem.

Suwimon Saelim of the Provincial Insurance Office said that she would contact insurance companies to find out if the idea for mandatory insurance was feasible and, if so, how much it would cost.

Patong Deputy Mayor Chairat Sukban said that he agreed with the proposal.

Patong Municipality receives a steady stream of complaints from tourists about the behavior of jet-ski operators, he added.

Controlling jet-ski operators in Phuket has been a contentious issue for at least a decade. Following two tourist fatalities from jet-ski accidents at the end of 2003, then-governor Udomsak Usawarangkura announced a plan to gradually phase out the industry by 2011, giving operators enough time to find alternative ways to make their livelihoods.

New jet-ski registrations were banned with the intention of gradually reducing the existing fleet of 219 jet-skis to zero as they became inoperable due to wear and tear.

In 2007, Governor Niran Kalayanamit relaxed the ban, allowing operators to transfer registrations from old vessels to new ones, theoretically keeping the number of jet-skis on the island at a maximum of 219.

In reality, the number is far higher. In Patong alone there are now 167 registered jet-skis, compared to 126 in 2004, Mr Chairat said.

Factoring in the the number of jet-skis at the other beaches where they are allowed to operate (Kata, Karon, Kamala and Bang Tao), the total number of jet-skis on the island now far exceeds the 219 permitted under the provincial policy.

Olan Hengcharoen, of the Marine Department’s Phuket Office, which is responsible for jet-ski registrations, said some operators have brought jet-skis registered in other provinces to use in Phuket.

The department cannot legally prevent this, he said.

However, the Phuket office has written to Marine Department offices in other provinces asking for their co-operation in trying to prevent more jet-skis being brought into Phuket.

The Phuket office has also presented the problem to the department headquarters, asking that a clear-cut policy to be issued.

Jet-ski operators present at the meeting were reportedly in favor of the idea to impose mandatory insurance, though they said it would have to be established whether the insurance would cover only damage to the jet-ski itself or be extended to include injuries for the renters and damages to third parties.

Despite the provincial registration ban it is still possible to buy a jet-ski in Phuket.

Mr Ekachai Thongyon, who runs a shop selling Yamaha jet-skis in Cherng Talay for Bt110,000 each, said business has been poor, however.

Sales have fallen to about one jet-ski per month due to the economic downturn, he said.

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Hua Hin

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain

May Taylor

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Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | The Thaiger

The Thailand Meteorological Department issued a weather warning for southern Thailand with torrential rain forecast to hit the region throughout the weekend. The heavy monsoon over the Gulf of Thailand and south of the country is being blamed for the rough weather, with the TMD predicting flash flooding in many areas.

(Phuket, Hat Yai and Hua Hin’s forecast below)

“Waves are expected to reach 2 metres in height in the lower Gulf of Thailand and possibly higher at the height of the storm. Ships are advised to proceed with caution.”

For the north and northeast of Thailand, the TMD forecasts strong winds and cooler mornings as the arrival of the “winter” season, coupled with a moderate high-pressure system, causes temperatures to dip.

Hua Hin’s five day forecast

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | News by The Thaiger

Phuket’s five day forecast

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | News by The Thaiger

Hat Yai’s five day forecast

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation | weather.com

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Crime

Now you see him, now you don’t… Patong Police hunt foreigner over $30k theft

Greeley Pulitzer

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Now you see him, now you don’t… Patong Police hunt foreigner over $30k theft | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Patong Police

Patong Police have yet to develop any tangible leads tracking down a foreigner who made off with US$30,000 in cash from a currency exchange booth in Kalim, north of Patong in Phuket, last Tuesday.

The man is about 168 centimetres tall with grey hair and around 60 years old, Patong police told The Phuket News.

“We have no clue what nationality he is.”

He was last seen at the currency exchange booth wearing a purple polo shirt, blue jeans and black cap. Police have checked hotels in the area, police stations across the island and Phuket Immigration, but have yet to join the dots and come up with firm leads.

“Investigators have checked CCTV in the area and collected what evidence we have but we still do not know the man’s name or where he was staying.”

The man had visited the booth several times before Tuesday, when he disappeared with the $30,000 in US banknotes, according to police.

“It was always small amounts”, he added, noting that the amounts didn’t warrant staff at the exchange booth to check the man’s passport before making the exchange.

The man arrived at the booth again at about 1pm on Tuesday, saying that he had 900,000 baht cash to exchange.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Crime

Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room

The Thaiger

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Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Phuket Hot News

The security guard of a hotel in Nai Yang, northern Phuket, 52 year old Yingyot Butsabong, from Maha Sarakham province, was found dead yesterday (October 16) in his room. Police remain mystified how the man came to grief.

A woman named Supattra received a call from the hotel he worked at and was informed that he didn’t show up at work yesterday, so she went to his apartment to check on him.

She saw that his room was locked from the inside, so used the key she had in her possession to open the room and found Yingyot laying on the floor, face down. She thought he was just sleeping so she tried to wake him up but once she flipped him, she found that he already passed away.

She immediately called Saku police, and once on the scene, police found that there was some blood on the floor. The man had a 2 centimetre wound on his left eyebrow which was deep into his skull. There was also a wound on his chin about 1 centimetre long and about a centimetre deep. His left eye had a bruise which looked like he was attacked by a hard object.

Police report that he had been dead for around four hours in the room.

The room was not ransacked and there was no sign of fighting or theft. His body has been sent to Thalang Hospital for a detailed autopsy and to look into the cause of death.

SOURCE: Phuket Hot News

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