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Democrats in landslide victory

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET TOWN: The ruling Thai Rak Thai (TRT) party’s attempt to become a force in provincial politics in Phuket received a stinging setback in yesterday’s elections for the presidency of the Provincial Administration Organization (OrBorJor), with the TRT candidate coming last by a long way. The winner, after vote-counting ended at about 4 am today, was Democrat candidate and former member of parliament Anchalee Vanich-Thepabutr, who polled 59,639 votes, followed by independents Wisut Santikul (34,505 votes) and Soratham Jinda (11,106), and TRT candidate Pol Col Apirak Hongtong (4,977). The Democrats also managed to get 19 of their 20 OrBorJor member candidates elected, giving them an overwhelming majority in the 24-seat council. “I’d like to thank all those people who voted for us,” K. Anchalee told the Gazette. “They trusted us, so we will do our best to develop Phuket along the lines we explained [in the election campaign].” She said, “I’ve heard that someone filed a complaint with the Provincial Election Commission (PEC) that I gave calendars to people. The PEC will consider if there’s anything wrong but we are confident we have done nothing to break the regulations.” Wisut Santikul, the leader of the recently-formed independent OrBorJor Gao Mai – Khon Baan Rao (New Step – Our People) party told the Gazette that he believed he had lost because of the recent steeply rising popularity of the Democrats in Phuket. “Another reason is that people got the mistaken impression that I was somehow representing the TRT, even though I kept telling them I was not,” he said. At least one candidate was not beyond using dirty tricks, he noted. “One day before the election a leaflet was circulated, accusing me of raping a 13-year-old student. The leaflets were distributed everywhere, even to my home.” Though K. Wisut failed to get elected, two of the 20 candidates his party fielded made it into the council. He added that he will be watching the new administration closely, and has no plans to withdraw from politics any time soon. The TRT candidate, Col Apirak, asked to comment on his performance, declined to do so, saying that he would wait until after the results have been officially verified. “Until the results have been approved, nobody can draw any conclusions,” he said. Phuket Election Commission (PEC) President Dr Prapa Kayee told the Gazette that the PEC has received some complaints about OrBorJor Presidency candidates but none, so far, about member candidates. She declined to give further details. The OrBorJor election center announced that 114,322 people voted out of an electorate of 181,806 – a turnout of 63%. There were 4,095 spoiled ballot sheets.

 

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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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