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Devastated Khao Lak resembles war zone

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Devastated Khao Lak resembles war zone | The Thaiger

PHANG NGA: Hotels, resorts and other structures along the beach in Khao Lak were devastated by last Sunday’s tsunami waves, which ravaged everything in their path and pushed wreckage back all the way back past Highway 4, the main road through the area.

A fisherwoman, Sawaad, told the Gazette, “I saw the huge wave come over one kilometer onto the land. It was as high as the casuarina trees that line the beach.”

She lost her home and two family members and now has nowhere to live.

The road which, before the tsunami hit, was lined with lush vegetation, now affords an open view of devastation stretching for kilometers.

Khao Lak now more closely resembles a war zone than the beautiful resort area it once was, with military vehicles rushing about filled with blackened and bloated bodies and helicopters chopping through the skies above.

More dead bodies awaiting removal are lined up in rows under a makeshift awning, many with their limbs frozen through rigor mortis in grotesque positions. On several, arms and fingers point skyward as if frozen in a final, terrified plea to God – a plea that went unanswered.

The reek of rotting flesh from unrecovered bodies, mingling with mud and stagnant pools of sea water, permeates all.

One of the many volunteer relief workers – most of whom wear cloth surgical masks in an attempt to block out some of the stench – is Dusit Duangmanee, a teacher at Satree Phang Nga School.

He said local people who survived the disaster were still reeling in shock, with many refusing to come down from hillsides out of fear that more giant waves could hit the shoreline there.

As the area was cut off from traffic and telecommunications were down following the disaster, rumors spread and grew unchecked among the dazed survivors, he added.

Some feared that a weapons armory in the Royal Thai Navy base in Tab Lamu, just south of Khao Lak, was going to explode.

Others attributed the waves to the wrath of Mother Nature, saying the disaster was a form of divine punishment for their disregard for the environment during the area’s headlong rush to develop as a tourist destination in recent years.

Even among the least superstitious, the idea appears to have some eerie resonance; the devastation was so complete in many areas that they appear never to have been built upon at all.

In some places it is difficult to find even a single remaining landmark to determine if one is standing in, say, the Bang Sak or Pakarang Beach area.

K. Dusit said, “There are more than 50 relief units here from all over Thailand, bringing donations of food, water, clothes, and so on.

“But we still need more people to help us to uncover and carry out the dead bodies; more and more are being discovered all the time.

“There is mud and garbage everywhere, so it’s difficult to remove bodies from under the wreckage,” he added.

“I would like the government to help us build new houses, and also to educate us about tsunamis and other kinds of disasters so that we can be more careful in the future,” he said.

‘What happens now will depend on how much money the government is willing to give us to help us rebuild.

In Hawaii, they have a lot of earthquakes, but that has never kept tourists away from there,” he said.

At the District Office in Takuapa, more than 100 people were waiting for administrators to issue death certificates, and already many funerals were being held in local temples.

– Reported by Sangkhae Leelanapaporn and Anongnat Sartpisut



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Alleged Greek murderer of Phuket beautician remains at large

The Thaiger

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Alleged Greek murderer of Phuket beautician remains at large | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Dimitrios ‘Dim’ Chairopoulo, wanted and believed to be living in Greece

Local Phuket police are yet be informed of the latest in an international hunt for a Greek alleged murderer Dimitrios Chairopoulos. He remains wanted as a suspect in the murder of local beautician 43 year old Niramon ‘Bea’ Aewkaew in Phuket during February.

Cherng Talay police say they want an Interpol Red Notice issued so that they can track down and arrest 42 year old Dimitrios ‘Dim’ Chairopoulos, wanted for the murder. Bea and Dim were seen leaving their accommodation on February 11. It was the last time Bea would be seen alive.

Mr Chairopoulos was recorded as clearing Immigration at Phuket International Airport to board a flight to Dubai in the hours after Ms Niramon was last seen alive. He boarded an Emirates flight EK0379 to Dubai, departing Phuket at 2am. Police also confirmed that he arrived in Dubai on the same day.

“If he comes back to Thailand he will be arrested,” said Chief Col Sen Kwannimit of the Cherng Talay Police.

A request for a Red Notice was submitted with the Foreign Affairs Division of the Royal Thai Police on February 19 but, for now, no formal international’s notice has been published..

Cherng Talay Police confirmed that Dim was seen leaving the room at a guesthouse in Bang Tao where Ms Niramon’s body was found on Saturday, February 16.

In the days leading up to her murder her family had been desperately trying to contact her.

‘Bea’ was the eldest of 5 children from Phatthalung province and had been working in Phuket as a beautician at the time.

One of her sisters, May’ was contacted on February 15 by one of Bea’s workmates trying to locate her.

Neither May or Bea’s other sisters, relatives or friends were able to contact her. Bea had just moved to a new house so nobody knew where she was living. Another sister, Pichy, spoke to friends and was able, using Google Maps, to locate the guesthouse she was staying.

The owner of the room told the family that the air-conditioning was on in the room but there was no response. When the owner returned with a key he informed the family that Bea was found on the bed with a black cloth stuffed in her mouth and her hands and feet bound.

CCTV footage shows the couple leaving the room in the afternoon of February 11, the last time that Bea was seen alive.

Alleged Greek murderer of Phuket beautician remains at large | News by The Thaiger

Dimitrios ‘Dim’ Chairopoulos with his daughter from another relationship

What we know about the alleged murderer?

Dimitrios ‘Dim’ Chairopoulos, who remains at large and thought to be in Greece, worked as security in a night club in Athens. He already had a daughter to another woman in Greece.

During his relationship and marriage with Bea he was said to be ‘controlling’ and ‘jealous’ by members of Bea’s family. A close family friend told The Thaiger that the family had concerns for Bea’s safety and were ‘uncomfortable’ with her ongoing relationship and marriage with Dim.

“We tried to get to know him at family functions but he was not easy to know and seemed very possessive of Bea,” said one of the close family members who asked not to be named.

“He did threaten to kill her if she ever left him and Oh, another of her sisters, went with Bea to file a report of the threats at the Cherng Talay police station at the time,” they explained.

That report was made to police in 2016. A year later the pair married and were still married at the time of the murder.

“He would drive past the beauty shops that Bea worked at and spy on her.”

The family claim that, apart from his own possessions, he also stole Bea’s phone before he headed to the Phuket International Airport on the evening of the murder.

So where is Dimitrios Chairopoulo?

At this stage the Greek Embassy has made no comment about the case or followed up with Greek Police about the pursuit for the fugitive man.

There are currently approximately 58,000 valid Red Notices worldwide of which only 7,000 are public. An Interpol Red Notice has not been issued to alert international police or Immigration officials to be on the look-out for Dim.

For now, the alleged murderer of Bea – an innocent Phuket beautician, beloved sister and family member – remains at large, most probably in Greece.

If anyone has any information about Dimitrios ‘Dim’ Chairopoulo’s whereabouts or information that may lead police to arrest him, please send a confidential message to The Thaiger.

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Hermès opens its first store in Phuket at Central Floresta

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Hermès opens its first store in Phuket at Central Floresta | The Thaiger

Hermès has opened of its first store in Phuket at Central Floresta, the newly opened lifestyle shopping destination in the heart of the island, opposite Central Festival.

As Hermès’ first venture outside the Thai capital, the new Hermès Phuket store makes a significant statement of expansion and confidence in the market. The new address in this world-renowned island will allow the growing population of local residents, along with domestic and international tourists, to discover the abundant variety of Hermès métiers and savoir-faire.

Designed by the Parisian architecture agency RDAI, the elegant 172 m² retail space is located by the shopping centre’s main entrance and benefits from a double exposure with an exterior and an interior façade.

A bamboo claustra follows the line of the mall’s exterior glass, filtering the daylight that bathes the indoor space, and further illustrates Hermès’ high regard for local craftsmanship. The interior façade is composed of a refined lacquered metal, featuring a large window display, complemented by four recesses with illuminated silk scarves.

Upon entering the store, visitors are welcomed by the House’s ex-libris and signature Grecques lights, designed for Hermès in 1925. The store is decorated with natural and local materials – bamboo floors and claustra, cognac toned Cherrywood walls, toffee coloured silk and fibre fabrics – tastefully blending various elements of Thai culture and modern architecture. The soft colour palette evokes the sand and the sun in their various shades, providing a delightfully serene and convivial atmosphere.

The overall volume is divided into two main areas by the feminine silk grid facing the entrance. The first one, with the iconic Faubourg pattern mosaic floor, allows guests to explore the silk, fashion jewellery, fragrance, art of living, and equestrian departments.

Opposite the leather goods display, an intimate space invites guests to uncover the watch and jewellery collections. Further along, one can discover the women and men’s universes. A sand coloured carpet on the floor outlines the area dedicated to the shoe collections, enriched by a delicate custom-made bamboo light module as the ceiling centrepiece.

Hermès opens its first store in Phuket at Central Floresta | News by The Thaiger Hermès opens its first store in Phuket at Central Floresta | News by The Thaiger Hermès opens its first store in Phuket at Central Floresta | News by The Thaiger

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Phuket

Red car ‘gun flasher’ arrested in Phuket

The Thaiger

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Red car ‘gun flasher’ arrested in Phuket | The Thaiger

Phuket police have arrested and are questioning the driver of a red sedan following Friday’s incident on Thepkasattri Road in Srisoonthorn where he appeared to wave a gun out of his driver’s window (video in the link below).

Manop Sangpal was tracked down by police but they’ve confirmed that Mr Manop’s ‘gun’ was just a BB gun, not a firearm.

The video of the man driving the red sedan and waving the ‘gun’ out of the driver’s window spread around social media on Friday afternoon after a driver following recorded the incident and posted it.

Read the story and see the video below…

Police hunting for driver who threatened others with a gun on Phuket road – VIDEO

On the video the red Ford sedan cuts in front of the car with the dashcam then veers to the left lane while the driver waves the gun out of his window near Wat Srisoonthorn.

Police say Mr Manop was arrested at lunchtime yesterday (Saturday) in a workers camp in Soi Sukapibal where he lives with his Burmese wife and family.

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