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Dive instructors not restricted to Phuket, says employment office

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Dive instructors not restricted to Phuket, says employment office | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Local dive instructors do not need to obtain work permits for every neighboring province they visit with students, dive professionals learned yesterday at a day-long seminar organized by the Phuket Provincial Employment Office (PPEO).

The purpose of the seminar was to clarify work permits and related legalities of working in Thailand, specifically for professionals in the dive industry (story here).

The seminar was organized in response to widespread complaints from foreign dive instructors that they had been extorted by police for violating job descriptions stated in their work permits.

The complaints led to a national-level investigation of the Chalong Police force, which resulted in the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) recommending two officers be charged with extortion (story here).

More than 100 members of the Phuket dive industry, both Thai and foreign, attended the seminar and submitted written questions to the speakers. The most popular question concerned geographical limits of the work permit.

“If my company has a program to take students diving in Phuket, Phang Nga, Krabi, Surat Thani and Ranong, are instructors allowed to accompany them?” was one such question.

“You have to work at the location indicated in the work permit,” responded Somchai Morakotsriwan, an officer from the Legal Division of the Department of Employment Bureau, who chaired the seminar.

“In this case, I advise the dive company to add this information to the employee’s job description as part of the work permit application. The description should state that the instructor sometimes has to train students out of Phuket and it should give the specific locations where the training will take place.”

Those divers who already have work permits that do not specify this information can get their work permits amended, Mr Somchai noted.

“You may request an addition or correction to the work permit at anytime, but please note that it will come into effect only once we have made the changes.”

The more precise companies are in describing jobs their staff will do, the fewer “holes” the job description will have, he added.

Phuket Governor Maitri Inthusut noted when the extortion allegations were made that “holes” in work permit job descriptions allowed corruption to occur (story here).

Job descriptions in work permits are stated only in Thai, and Mr Somchai was asked why they were not written in English as well.

“We don’t have enough officers who can communicate well in English. There are only about 10 in the employment office who speak English well,” Mr Somchai said through a translator.

“The solution is to ask a translator to provide you with an English version, and carry that with your work permit.”

Some attendees expressed frustration with the lack of English.

“I still don’t get it, why would the Thai government issue work permits in Thai language for foreigners who can’t read Thai at all,” said a dive company employee who declined to be named.

“They said they don’t have many staff who can speak English, but I think they could outsource the translations. It wouldn’t cost much.

“It doesn’t make sense that people who are affected by a document can’t understand what it says. However, it’s the law and we have to follow it.”

Addressing the issue of extortion was Maj Gen Ronnapong Saikaew, Deputy Commissioner of Region 8 Police.

“I can’t stand it when a few officers destroy the good image for all police. We have a lot of non-corrupt officers,” Maj Gen Ronnapong said.

“We have had no extortion complaints since the March 10 episode,” he said. “But sometimes it’s hard to know about them if the business operators do not tell the police.”

Gen Ronnapong expressed his support of dive operators and explained that he had taken the position of vice president of the Association of Thailand for Underwater Sports (ATUS), the organization founded recently to formally represent divers.

“This means that I will know about every problem right away, and will be able to assign Phuket Police to solve them,” he said.

A final question asked whether divers needed to have their work permits on their person at all times, even in the water.

Taking the permits underwater is not necessary, Mr Somchai said, but work permits should be nearby.

“Don’t leave them at home,” he said.

— Saran Mitrarat

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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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People

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people

Nattha Thepbamrung

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‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | The Thaiger

On October 18, the ‘Always Smile Journey’ group and its partners will host an exhibition with plenty of fun activities at the Yak Yai Market, near Chalong Circle, in Phuket. This event was designed to raise funds to provide free English classes for underprivileged people on the island of Phuket on Saturdays and Sundays. The group does not accept donations but aims to raise money through the sales of the products available at the event.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

From 2 pm to 8 pm, there will be a number of artists, musicians and performers who will keep the attendees entertained along the way. There will be a short film about His Majesty King Rama 9 as well as fun activities and games for kids and families, which are all free of charge.

The big bike crew is also a part of this event. They will ride a parade from Rawai Beach heading to the market and showcase their gorgeous two-wheel buddies.

One of the highlights of the Always Smile Journey exhibition is the ‘Happening’ artists group, who will draw and paint a picture of the His Majesty King Rama 9 under the name ‘Street Art King Bhumibol’ on a 4×10 meter sign live at the event so the guests will experience this large-scale art in action. The Happening will also offer portrait sketching for the participants.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

One of the works created by the Happening team; a painting of HM the King Rama 9 on a huge wall (Photo credit: Chawat Chumpasan)

There will also be some western menus available at the event which will be donated to underprivileged children.

This free English class project has over seven years of experience through its cooperation working with individuals and other charity organizations. Throughout the years, the group visited several areas such as Ban Laem Hoy School, Ban Bopud School and Ban Angthong School in Samui, Surat Thani province, Ban Bueng Ao Oun School and Ban Kakoh Rayong, in Surin province, Jalae Village of Lahu (Muser) in Chiang Rai province, as well as community education centers in Siem Reap, Cambodia and in Luang Prabang, in Laos.

This event is a cooperation between several groups, including Happening, Yak Yai Market and Arrow Media, Tattoo artist group, Thonburi Art School Alumni, International School of Tourism, Suratthani Rajabhat University, big bike group from Phuket, artists/performers/musicians from many provinces as well as several businesses across Phuket.

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