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FantaSea owner facing smuggling charge

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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FantaSea owner facing smuggling charge | Thaiger

BANGKOK (The Nation): The owner of Safari World and Phuket FantaSea will be charged with illegally importing orangutans, Forestry Police commander Maj Gen Sawek Pinsinchai said yesterday.

Safari World and FantaSea managing director and owner Pin Kiewkacha is accused of violating provision 23 of the Wildlife Conservation Law by importing orangutans without permission, and provision 53 for concealing the wildlife.

The two offences are punishable by up to four years in jail and a 40,000-baht fine. K. Pin will be summoned to face his charges twice, and if he does not turn up an arrest warrant will be issued, Gen Sawek said.

A team of Indonesian forestry officials and police were due to tour Safari World, on the eastern outskirts of Bangkok, this morning to inspect the orangutans seized by police late last year, which have been kept in captivity at the zoo.

Forestry Police who raided the zoo found 115 orangutans, five of which have since died. The zoo claims it had permission to possess them.

Dr Widodo S. Ramono, Director of Conservation Areas at the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry, said Indonesia will request that DNA tests be performed on the orangutans to determine whether they are from Indonesia.

“We suspect the orangutans in Safari World were illegally smuggled from Borneo. Farmers there fell trees for plantations, and they probably sold the wildlife,” Dr Widodo said.

K. Pin said the orangutans – only about a dozen of which were registered – were either bred in the zoo or were donated. But activists say there is no way the small number of females legally registered at Safari World could have bred so many babies, given that well over half of them are only a few years old.

Gen Sawek said officials at Kasetsart University would test the DNA of the orangutans, adding that it would not initially be necessary for the Indonesian team to do so.

At a press conference, Thai and Indonesian wildlife groups spoke of the urgent need for an Asean taskforce to combat the illegal wildlife trade. They also discussed a raid conducted several days ago by Forestry Department officials on the Wildlife Friends Rescue Centre in Phetchaburi.

The Foundation’s Edwin Wiek said legal advisers for Bangkok MP Siri Wongboonkerd believe the raid was illegal and told him (Wiek) he should lodge an official complaint.

“Gen Sawek refused to arrest me today, and virtually said I’d done nothing wrong,” he said later.

He added that he believed the raid was conducted to intimidate him and other wildlife activists into ceasing their campaigning about the orangutans at Safari World.

Bangkok will stage a major conference on the trade in endangered species in October.

 

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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)

For travellers to Phuket, testing is out, quarantine is in

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Phuket Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong (via Facebook)

The on-again-off-again plans for testing people for Covid-19 as they arrive in Phuket will be replaced by quarantine after May 15, according to Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong’s latest announcement. In an online video broadcast last night, the vice governor confirmed the new scheme after Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew first mentioned it in an executive meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall yesterday.

There are now 25 provinces on the Phuket red zone list that they instated on April 22, with anyone arriving from those places required to have proof that they are either fully vaccinated or tested negative for Covid-19 within the last 72 hours. Without proof, people have to take a rapid antigen test to confirm they did not have Covid-19 before they would be allowed on the island. The test was first set to be 300 baht for everyone, and later controversially made free for Thai people and 500 baht for foreigners.

There had been some back and forth with budget concerns of being able to provide the mass testing and who would pay how much for continued testing. Perhaps requiring people to quarantine in Phuket is cheaper than testing them when they arrive (cheaper for Phuket officials anyway).

The original scheme was set to expire May 15, and announcements were made about extending the plan and stopping testing right away. For now, this debate seems to have settled on replacing the testing with a mandatory quarantine upon entering Phuket.

The vice-governor explained that the rapid antigen test will continue through May 14, and then starting May 15, anyone who arrives without a vaccine or a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of arriving in Phuket will be required to quarantine for 14 days. They set a goal of zero new infections by the end of the next two weeks. And he stated they are committed to doing whatever it takes as “Phuket cannot continue with this risk”.

Speaking to The Phuket News… “We want to send a sign to the country that we are cleaning up our province. The 3 vice governors [in Phuket] have been ordered to take care of each district by cooperating with local administration officers as well as community leaders to do proactive screening,”

After announcing the quarantine plan for Phuket, the vice governor spoke confidently that in the near future the island will have enough jabs to vaccinate every person on the island. Religious leaders from any faith are currently being vaccinated because of their general proximity to people during religious ceremonies and practices.

Vice Governor Piyapong pled with people with the people of Phuket who were on the fence about Covid-19 vaccinations, anti-vaxxers, or those otherwise resisting getting the jabs needed to reach herd immunity.

“If you are still deciding whether or not to get vaccinated, please come to get vaccinated”

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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Phuket

Thailand News Today | Pfizer vaccines on the way, Phuket’s July re-opening | May 7

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Disease Control Department back-peddled saying that that foreigners living in Thailand WILL also be vaccinated, governor of Chiang Mai is calling for the ban on dining in at restaurants in the northern city to be lifted and for eateries to be allowed to serve food on-site until 9pm, Tourism and Sports Minister insists the southern island of Phuket must record zero Covid-19 cases if a planned July re-opening is to go ahead, and 150 million baht worth of methamphetamine pills were impounded in Nakhon Phanom yesterday

 

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Phuket

We’re looking for a Video Editor/Production Assistant in Phuket

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The Thaiger is seeking a full time video editor and production assistant for a new project based in Phuket. The role is open to a Thai national but with great English skills as well. You will need to be able to work to deadlines with a crazy bunch of stressed out news hosts, guests and the rest of The Thaiger team.

You’ll also need a general knowledge of the Thai news cycle as the content will be largely centred around daily news and current affairs. Knowledge of social media, and especially YouTube, will be an advantage.

Prior work in the TV or video production industry would be a requirement; we couldn’t care less about your educational qualifications. The role would be Monday to Friday.

The work hours would be earlier in the day, probably starting around 7am. There may be some occasional travel to Bangkok involved as well. Salary would be between 30-40,000 baht per month, depending on experience with opportunities for bonuses. The initial contract would be for 3 months, renewable.

If you are interested, or know someone who could fit the job, send an email to THAIGER EDITOR at info@thethaiger.com

 

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