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Convention center proposals fail to hit pay dirt

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Convention center proposals fail to hit pay dirt | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Three firms have proposed sites for Phuket’s International Convention and Exhibition Center (ICEC), but none afford the sea views that have long been considered a ‘must’ for the project.

Phuket Governor Niran Kalayanamit, who heads a committee formed to make a final decision on where to site the project, yesterday afternoon heard the proposals at a meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall.

Phummisak Hongsyok said his firm Anuphas and Sons Co Ltd was prepared to allot 165 rai of its 1,600-rai Chao Fa City project off Chao Fa West Rd. The area, which is already home to the company’s Honda dealership showroom, was offered as a site for the ICEC in July, 2003.

K. Phummisak, a former Phuket City mayor and current member of the National Legislative Assembly, pointed out that the site is centrally located near Central Festival Phuket.

The newly-paved Muang Chao Fa Rd ensures quick access to Kathu and the entire site sits in a “yellow zone”, where structures up to 23 meters tall are permitted, said K. Phummisak, who also heads the Phuket Real Estate Club.

Anuphas and Sons Co Ltd is prepared to invest about 2 billion baht to build the center and allow other firms to invest, either by renting or through a joint venture, he said.

Bangkok-based Chonthicha Property Co Ltd offered 150 rai on Luck Kongsri Rd in Rassada, near the new Phuket Provincial Juvenile and Family Court building.

The site, accessible from both Thepkrasattri Rd and the Sapam-Samkong road, is also centrally located.

The company is prepared to follow all government conditions and can develop the land under either a sale or rental agreement, said its representatives.

Chonticha is prepared to invest in the project construction, either alone or in a joint venture. The company has 250 rai in the area and is prepared to offer more land if needed, the representatives said.

Tri Eagles Co Ltd, a subsidiary of Three Dolphins Group, whose holding’s include Mom Tri’s Boathouse and the Trisara resort in Cherng Talay, proposed a 30-year lease of 155 rai near Thalang Chanasuk Memorial Field in Thepkrasattri.

Advantages of the site include easy access to the airport and luxury hotels, as well as its own water supply from tin mines, Tri Eagles’s representative said.

Development would not negatively affect nearby communities and the flat terrain would make it easy to install infrastructure and utilities, she added.

The Tri Eagles proposal did not specify whether the firm is prepared to invest in construction.

In closing the meeting, Gov Niran said that two plots of government land at Mai Khao were still being considered. However, while both plots offer impressive views and easy access to the airport, critics have argued that the sites are too far from the island’s major population centers.

At the meeting were representatives from ING Funds (Thailand) Co Ltd, a firm expected to play a major role in funding the project.

As it has been ING Funds’ willingness to fund the project in Mai Khao that has sparked the latest surge of interest in the project, Gov Niran asked ING’s representatives to discuss with landholders the possible joint development of the project and to submit detailed plans to the committee within 30 days.

The committee will then take another 30 days before forwarding its findings for final approval to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports (MoTS).

MoTS Minister Dr Suwit Yodmanee has said he wants the interminable delay in finding a site for the ICEC to finally come to end during his tenure.

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Expats

Deceased Phuket expat’s body stuck in hospital due to passport mix-up

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Deceased Phuket expat’s body stuck in hospital due to passport mix-up | The Thaiger

In a nightmarish scenario, a deceased Phuket expat’s body is stuck in a Thai hospital as his step‐daughter claims hospital administrators won’t release the body due to a passport mix‐up.

Gemma Swift, the step‐daughter of 75 year old David Donoghue, who died 2 weeks ago, says she is pleading with embassy staff in Thailand to resolve, what she says, is purely an administrative issue after Donoghue’s passport number at the hospital was from that of an expired one.

Donoghue’s current passport was on file with the British Embassy, but because it did not match what the hospital had, his body has remained at the hospital. Swift says it was something that could easily be corrected and the situation was “horrendous” for the family.

“The British Embassy over in Bangkok, they said that because [the number] was from his current passport, they were unable to change the letter. They have said that they won’t reissue a letter with the passport number that he’s got in the hospital with him.”

She said her family planned to arrange a funeral for him in Thailand, then bring his ashes back to the UK. As he retired to Phuket 15 years ago, her family would then take his ashes back to Thailand, as per his wishes, to scatter them.

However, none of his family members were able to travel to Thailand to be with Donoghue in his final days, as the mandatory 14 day quarantine period upon entering Thailand, would not have allowed them to see him.

“I thought this was a basic human right to be able to give somebody a funeral and I accept that there is always going to be red tape…but please just issue a letter and let us bring him home.”

She said before Covid-19, family members travelled often to Phuket to visit Donoghue, who once worked for the Thai tourist police. She says the entire ordeal has been heartbreaking as her family was unable to say goodbye.

“That on its own was heart breaking, and now to get this two weeks later, to find out we can’t give him a funeral, or get his ashes back, it’s just horrendous.”

“It’s like being on autopilot… once we know we have done everything we can, we can start the grieving process, but at the minute we can’t.”

A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokesperson said they are assisting Donoghue’s family during the difficult time.

“Our staff are in contact with the local hospital and funeral director to help his family obtain the necessary paperwork to ensure his body is treated in line with their wishes.”

If the situation isn’t fixed, Donoghue’s body will join a mass cremation at the hospital.

SOURCE: BBC News

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Phuket

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

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Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2 | The Thaiger

In today’s Thailand News Today…. The island of Phuket has a firm plan to get its residents vaccinated leading up to an October opening for tourists, the Thai PM backs up his police over last Sunday’s protest violence and Thai Airway’s employee union criticises the changes to employee contracts.

But the plan must be approved by the national government by April, if the province wants to open tourism by October 1. Phuket has a resident population of around 300- 400,000 people.

Before you go rushing off to book your plane tickets we’d stress that this is another in a long list of proposals that have not come to fruition and we’d urge patience until the Government approves the plans.

Meanwhile the island has taken delivery of 4,000 doses of the Chinese Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine. Vaccinations started yesterday, with priority given to 1,500 healthcare workers and 500 “at-risk” officials exposed to Covid-19 patients.

On a broader note… Thailand’s Tourism Minister says he has asked the Public Health Ministry to approve a vaccine passport scheme aimed at reviving Thailand’s devastated tourism sector. According to the Minister, the government is looking to the World Health Organisation to issue a statement on vaccine passports before it makes a final decision on the matter.

The Thai PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha has defended police action against protesters taking part in Sunday’s anti-government rally in Bangkok. Officers from the Metropolitan Police Bureau used tear gas, a water cannon and rubber bullets in an effort to drive protesters back from the PM’s residence. The PM insists the actions were in line with international standards. He says that police did not violate the protesters’ rights.

Thai researchers are claiming that horseshoe bats are not responsible for transmitting the Covid virus to humans. A researcher with the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Diseases-Health Science Centre, says that even though the bats have tested positive for a coronavirus, it is not the strain that is transmissible to humans, and it’s certainly not the virus that causes Covid-19.

As Thai Airways tries to sell new contracts and conditions to its remaining workforce, the labour union of the national carrier is challenging changes to the employment contracts, where Thai Airways employees are being asked to agree to changes as part of the bigger financial rehabilitation program.

But a union representative says the new contracts are unfair because it includes fewer leave days and shorter holidays. The union has filed a complaint with the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare.

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Phuket

Police investigate reports of women’s underwear stolen from Phuket homes

Caitlin Ashworth

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Police investigate reports of women’s underwear stolen from Phuket homes | The Thaiger
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Police in Phuket are looking for a suspect who residents say has been stealing women’s underwear. Surveillance camera footage from a resident’s home shows a teenager driving through a neighbourhood, then stopping and stealing ladies panties that were hanging up to dry.

One resident told Phuket News that numerous residents in Thalang’s Baan Lipon area have reported missing underwear.

“Recently neighbors have been reporting that many items of their underwear have been stolen. Many residents are worried about the man hovering around here trying to steal underwear.”

A man told the Phuket News that his wife’s underwear was stolen and he’s now worried about his family’s safety. Another resident says he’s also concerned.

“As a resident in this area, I am worried about the safety of the local residents. Underwear has been stolen, something else could happen as well.”

In a similar case back in October, a 46 year old man was arrested for allegedly breaking into homes in Ratchaburi and stealing women’s underwear. Police says they seized 70 pairs of panties.

SOURCE: Phuket News

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