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First round of zoning hearings completed

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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First round of zoning hearings completed | The Thaiger

PHUKET CITY: The Phuket Public Works and Town and Country Planning Office (PWTCPO), which is responsible for drawing up a comprehensive set of island-wide zoning regulations by October 1, has completed a first round of public hearings in each of Phuket’s three districts to gauge public opinion on zoning issues. The zoning is intended to curb the unregulated development that many feel is threatening the island’s future as a tourist destination. The plan is in line with government’s 1992 designation of Phuket as an environmental protection area, and is part of a government scheme to implement zoning throughout the country by 2006. Town Planner Prasert Termmart told the Gazette that two preliminary seminars were conducted in March and September last year to present the “vision and scope” of the zoning plan. Between March 19 and 23 this year, a series of hearings was held in Muang, Kathu and Thalang districts to elicit public reaction. Local leaders, including tambon council members, village headmen and tambon chiefs were invited to attend, along with business people and members of the general public. All were encouraged to express their concerns and opinions about the plan and to make suggestions, he said. K. Prasert said that the plan is to divide the island into six types of zones: 1. Information and Communication Technology (ICT); 2. Tourism; 3. Commercial-Industrial; 4. Environmental Conservation; 5. Residential; 6. Marine. After the regulations come into effect, all new projects will have to be located in appropriate zones. Exceptions will be granted only by special permission of the local tambon or municipal authority, which will use the zoning regulations as guidelines in coming to a decision, K. Prasert said. Developments that are in place before the new zoning regulations go into effect will be exempted under a “grandfather” clause. “In general, Phuket’s western side will be zoned for tourism whereas eastern areas are more likely to be zoned as residential,” K. Prasert noted. Future infrastructural development will support the zoning plan. For example, six areas to be designated as ICT zones, among them Cherng Talay, Kathu and Phuket City. These will be earmarked for installation of high-speed Internet services and fiber-optic cable. “We have to prepare the appropriate infrastructure for each zone, but some areas [such as Patong] could have dual-zoning, for example as both ICT and tourism areas,” he explained. Tourism zones would be sub-classified according to the type of tourism associated with them. While both Patong and Mai Khao are considered tourism zones, Mai Khao would be designated as an eco-tourism area, whereas Patong would be classified as an entertainment and recreational area. [Zoning by the PWTCPO is not specifically tied to the controversial effort to zone nightlife areas and institute new closing times. That initiative falls under a different branch of the Interior Ministry.] K. Prasert said that the area along the Phuket City bypass road would be zoned as commercial-industrial to support the government’s “shopping paradise” and “One Tambon One Product” schemes. Under the regulations, new agricultural projects such as farms could be sited only in commercial-industrial zones, he added. Marine zones will cover not only coastal areas, but will extend one kilometer out to sea in order to protect Phuket’s marine tourism and fishing industries. Apart from Patong’s “temporary” [high season] floating pier, local opinion was against construction of any permanent port or marina projects on the island’s west coast, he added. Each of the three districts is required to submit a report to the Phuket PWTCPO by the end of May, after which time there will be another round of public hearings to work out final details. The deadline for completion of the entire process at the provincial level is October 1 this year. The zoning plan will then be submitted to the Town and Country Planning Department in Bangkok for final consideration and approval.



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Election

Democrats toppled in Phuket

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Democrats toppled in Phuket | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva resigned the leadership position last night amid dismal polls around the country

The Democrat Party in Phuket, once a reliable strong-hold of Democrat votes, has yielded its customary monopoly, ceding two House seats to the junta-aligned Phalang Pracharat Party.

The unofficial tally, as of late last night, gave Phalang Pracharat’s Sutha Prateep na Thalang the victory in Constituency 1 with 32,338 votes.

He beat Democrat Rewat Areerob, who got 25,198 votes.

The voter turnout was 70.80 per cent.

In Constituency 2, Natthee Thinsakhu of Phalang Pracharat beat Democrat Chaiyos Panyawai, 26,787 votes to 23,492.

Voter turnout was 72.57 per cent.

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Phuket

Guyanese arrested over ‘magic’ bank note scam in Phuket

The Thaiger

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Guyanese arrested over ‘magic’ bank note scam in Phuket | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Surachete Hakparn

A Guyanese man has been arrested in Phuket after the owner of a local language school reported a money scammer with an unusual scam.

The Immigration Bureau Chief Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn reports that they have arrested the Guyanese man named Abdul Kalam Azad Sattaur at a mansion in Phuket Town last Friday.

The arrest follows a Thai woman, the owner of a language school in Phuket, filing a report to the Thalang Police that a suspect used a fake Facebook and LINE account and claimed that he was an American man who had worked in Syria.

He told the woman that he will send a security box which contained blank papers and a special liquid that would turn the blank paper into bank notes when she added the special liquid.

He claimed that the total money was 650,000 US dollar, about 20 million baht.

He said that the woman had to pay him an amount before he would send the security box. The victim had transferred money to the man’s bank account 10 times, a total of about 9 million baht.

Beware of magic bank notes!

Guyanese arrested over 'magic' bank note scam in Phuket | News by The Thaiger Guyanese arrested over 'magic' bank note scam in Phuket | News by The Thaiger Guyanese arrested over 'magic' bank note scam in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

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Phuket

Russian ‘mafia’ suspect arrested in Phuket

The Thaiger

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Russian ‘mafia’ suspect arrested in Phuket | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Siam Rath/Thai Immigration

A male Russian ‘mafia’ identity has been arrested in Chalong, wanted over a number of alleged offenses in his home country.

Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn says, “Officers have arrested a Russian man named Igor Tretiakov (spelt as ‘Ior’ on the Immigration poster), at an apartment in Chalong last Friday.”

“We were notified from the Russian Embassy about the man wanted over a number of ‘mafia’ style offenses in Russian. He was living in Thailand using a tourist visa.”

“He has threatened and extorted many people in Russian and then fled to Thailand. His visa will be revoked and he will be deported back to Russia to face charges.”

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