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Phuket

Evason Phuket opens books to prove “no capacity to pay’

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Evason Phuket opens books to prove “no capacity to pay’ | The Thaiger

PHUKET: At a closed meeting today, representatives from the Evason Phuket & Bon Island resort revealed financial statements to prove that the resort company does not have the capacity to pay for demands made by workers summarily dismissed last Tuesday.

“The Human Resource Manager and the Accounting Manager from the resort are here today to present financial statements from their company,” said Thanapong Orachorn, the officer at Phuket Provincial Labour Protection and Welfare Office, assigned to meet the representatives.

“They say that the company even has to borrow from the buyer just to pay for the redundancy packages being offered and that they cannot afford to offer any more to the workers in terms of financial assistance.

“If the firm can prove that it lacks the capacity to pay the claims, then no action will be taken… I will pass this information on to the union,” Mr Thanapong added.

Mr Thanapong’s statement of no action under the “capacity to pay principle” follows that of his chief, Kittipong Laonipon, Director of the Phuket Provincial Office of Labor Protection and Welfare Office, last Thursday.

Mr Kittipong, who is personally overseeing the complaint filed by the resort staff through the Phuket Island Union, was unable to attend today as he was in Satun province on a work seminar.

Mr Thanapong also confirmed that the redundancy package being offered comprises salary payment according to Thai law, plus one month advance notice, a bonus as per agreement with the union, health insurance cover until November 2012 and a job reference, as announced by Sonu Shivdasani, founder and CEO of the Soneva Group, in the hotel press release on Saturday.

However, union vice president Warin Sungkong today told the Gazette that the union had yet to hear from resort management since filing a complaint with Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha last Thursday.

“We were not invited to join the talks today, but I previously acknowledged that the hotel will pay us in accordance with labor law, a bonus, health insurance and compensation since they didn’t notify us one month in advance.

“But they still have not mentioned anything about compensation based on length of service with the hotel, which we requested in the complaint [filed with Governor],” said Mr Warin.

He added that the union was invited to join talks with hotel management at the Labor Protection and Welfare Office on June 12, at 2 pm.

“In the next meeting, I will again talk to them about the redundancy package we have requested, and tell them that if the new hotel opens and starts hiring staff, we want them to consider hiring the former employees of the Evason Phuket resort first,” he said.

In his statement on Saturday, in addition to confirming the full redundancy packages being offered, Mr Shivdasani said, “I would like to take this opportunity to give my personal thanks to all of the hosts at Evason Phuket for their commitment and hard work.

“We are working hard to provide alternative employment to as many hosts as possible. In addition, we have agreed a package for any Evason Phuket hosts whom we can’t employ elsewhere.”

— Orawin Narabal

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Crime

Phuket police arrest meth dealer, discover drugs valued at 15 million baht

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket police arrest meth dealer, discover drugs valued at 15 million baht | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Newshawk Phuket

Drugs valued at 15 million baht have been seized in a drug crackdown in Phuket. On October 22, Phuket police, along with Phuket Governor Pakkapong Tawipat, reported to the media about a drug crackdown that ended up with a total seizure valued around 15 million baht.

Earlier, the police received a report from an undercover agent that a woman named ‘Ying’ or ‘Suthicha Thirawut’ was a local drug dealer trading drugs in Phuket area, so police planned to purchase drugs from the woman. They contacted Ying through another woman named ‘Noina’, Ying’s close friend. Around 10pm on October 20, police bought 1 gram of crystal methamphetamine from Noina before arresting Ying and another man, Thanet Thongtan, at the Naka Condominium.

The two confessed that they receive the drug from a man who they weren’t able to name, in order to sell in Phuket. They were paid 40,000 – 50,000 baht per time and admitted to police that they have done this for the man three times already. This time, the drugs hadn’t been sold to customers as they were arrested before being able to make a sale.

Apart from 2.4 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, valued around 4.8 million baht, the police also discovered 76,800 methamphetamine pills, worth around 11 million baht.

The three are now assisting Phuket police with their enquires related to the case.

SOURCE: Newshawk Phuket

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News

30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands

Greeley Pulitzer

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30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands | The Thaiger

Tourists were treated to the sight of a school of dolphins in the Similan Islands off the Phang Nga coast on Sunday.

Tour organisers said that around 30 dolphins swam close to the boat six or seven miles offshore, creating excitement for passengers. It was the first time dolphins had been seen in the vicinity since October 15.

The Similan Islands National Park director said they were bottlenose dolphins and were among several species now returning to the area following a five-year closure of the park for environmental rehabilitation. Food is again plentiful there for them, he said.

Tourists are forbidden to feed wildlife lest the free handouts alter the animals’ natural behaviour, and the park’s waters are also very sensitive to contamination from human disease and marine debris, according to the director.

SOURCE: nationthailand.com

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Patong

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms

The Thaiger

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Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | The Thaiger

by Sophie Deviller

Hotels on Thailand’s most popular holiday island are being forced to slash prices, with rooms left vacant and beaches sparse as Thailand’s tourism chiefs struggle with a plunge in Chinese visitors caused by the US trade war and a stronger baht. Phuket was the most visited destination in the country last year, after Bangkok, and a good gauge of the state of its crucial travel industry.

Tourism accounts for 18% of Thailand’s gross domestic product and Chinese holidaymakers make up more than a quarter of total arrivals. But while 2.2 million people from the country visited in 2018, according to official figures, the numbers for January-September were down almost 20% year on year.

Claude de Crissey, the French Honorary Consul in Phuket and owner of about 40 rooms in the Patong Beach area, says Chinese tourists are usually present even during the current low season.

“That was not the case this year,” he said, adding he had to lower his prices by as much as 50%.

The problem is not only in Phuket, with hotels also struggling to fill rooms in the seaside resort of Pattaya on the mainland and on Koh Samui.

Trade tensions with the US have already made some Chinese reluctant to take holidays owing to uncertainty back home, while the Thai baht has risen about 10% against the yuan this year.

A boating disaster off Phuket’s coast that killed 47 Chinese holidaymakers in July 2018 also scared some off.

“We are worried,” said an industry insider, declining to be named due to the sensitivity of the topic in a country where tourism provides tens of thousands of jobs. Adding to the headache is the fact that more than 3,000 new hotel rooms are being constructed on the island, raising the question of who will fill them.

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | News by The Thaiger

“In terms of business, it’s not good,” said Kongsak Khoopongsakorn, vice-president of the association of hotels in Thailand and director of Vijitt Resort.

“Because … we have more hotels, more rooms to sell, we have more restaurants, more coffee shops.”

Still, tourism authority chairman Yuthasak Supasorn said he remained “optimistic.”

“We should reach our goal of 39.8 million foreign visitors.”

However, that is only up from 38.2 million in 2018, much less than the jump seen from the previous year’s total of 35.6 million.

Counting on India

Now hoteliers and tour package operators are targeting visitors from elsewhere, particularly India, which experts see as a huge untapped market.

A rapid expansion of the middle class in India, increased direct flights and visa-free travel have prompted Thailand to revise forecasts upwards.

It now expects two million Indian tourists this year, after an increase of nearly 25% on-year in the first seven months. But for now, the lower arrivals is evident on the streets of Phuket.

“I’ve never seen anything as bad as what it is at the moment,” said Paul Scott from Australia, who said he has been coming to Thailand for 15 years.

He mainly blamed the stronger baht for the drop-off but also the fact that Thailand wasn’t the untouched vacation paradise it once was. “Now it’s not so new … and it’s not cheap,” he said.

SOURCE: AFP

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | News by The Thaiger

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