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Five arrested over attack on Kedah royal family bodyguard

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Five arrested over attack on Kedah royal family bodyguard | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Police today arrested five men for the attack on a Kedah royal family bodyguard at a high-end resort in Patong just after midnight on Tuesday.

Four of the men, including three Malaysians, were arrested while trying to exit Thailand at the busy Sadao checkpoint in Songkhla province.

The first arrest was made at a rented house in Sikao District in Trang province, south of Phuket.

Prakorn Leesopa, 32, from Phattalung, was taken into custody after a manhunt sweeping across Southern Thailand was launched following the attack on Mohd Sobri Bin Said, 53.

Mr Said was one of the bodyguards accompanying Kedah Council of Regency chairman Tan Sri Tunku Annuar Sultan Badlishah during his stay in Phuket at the Millennium Resort Patong hotel.

In his statement to police, Mr Prakorn said he received a call on Tuesday night from his older brother Sakorn Srisopha, 34, asking him to drive to him to Patong.

He was to be paid be 5,000 baht just to drive.

“Sakorn and three Malaysian men arrived at my house in Trang in a pickup truck. When we arrived at the hotel in Patong, the three Malaysian men collected a room access key card from the reception desk, then all five of us went upstairs to the room,” he said.

When the men entered the room, they grabbed Mr Said, tied his hands, sat him in a chair and began to hit him, Mr Prakorn said.

“One of the Malaysian men pushed me into the bathroom and locked me in there so I couldn’t see what was going on,” he told police.

“I heard the men searching for something in the room and asking about a passport and mobile phone,” he added.

About five minutes later, Mr Prakorn was let out of the bathroom and escorted downstairs and out of the hotel, he said.

“They brought me all the way back to my house in Sikao. Someone else drove. The long-haired Malaysian man gave me 5,000 baht and then they left,” he said.

Mr Prakorn protested his innocence in the crime.

“I had never seen the three men before. If I knew they were going to attack a VIP [sic] I wouldn’t have taken any part in it,” he said.

Lt Thawatchai Srimai of the Patong Police, who responded to the report of the attack on Tuesday night, confirmed that initially only four men were wanted for the attack after questioning the bodyguard, Mr Said, at Patong Hospital.

“Mr Said was covered in blood from a head injury and covered with bruises,” said Lt Thawatchai.

Mr Said told police he had received a tip-off about the attack and switched rooms in order to protect Tunku Annuar.

Tunku Annuar and his party booked more than 10 rooms at the hotel when they checked in on Monday.

“They used a key card to enter the room and waited for Tunku Annuar,” Lt Thawatchai said.

“When Mr Said entered the room, they grabbed him by the throat and threatened him with a knife. They used electric wire to tie his hands, hit him with a hard object on the head and beat him,” he added.

Following the arrests today, Provincial Police Commander Choti Chavalviwat confirmed to the Phuket Gazette that Mr Prakorn has been charged with gang robbery.

“The total value of items reported stolen is about 42,000 baht. Seized as evidence today were 14,660 baht and 640 Ringgit in cash, a passport, a Malaysian ID card, an ATM card and an iPhone 5,” he added.

Following the arrest of Mr Prakorn in Trang, Patong Police Superintendent Chiraphat Pochanaphan this afternoon said that the four other suspects, including Mr Sakorn, were arrested today in Sadao.

Capt Opas Chaiboon of the Sikao Police confirmed that all four arrested in Sadao have also been charged with gang robbery.

Police have yet to release the names of the three Malaysian men involved in the attack.

A source told the Gazette that the men were already known to hotel staff as part of the security personnel who checked in with Tunku Annuar.

The source said the incident was an “internal affair that will be dealt with when they return to Malaysia.”

Phuket Police have yet to confirm or deny this.

Tunku Annuar and his party checked out of the hotel today.

In its statement to the Gazette, the Millennium Resort Patong said: “An incident involving a guest occurred in one of the hotel rooms on 28 May 2013 at the Millennium Resort Patong Phuket. Hotel staff immediately rendered assistance upon the alert.

“The guest was taken to the hospital and has been treated. The hotel is doing its utmost to offer assistance to the guest. No one else was affected, and the hotel assures all guests that business is as usual.”

Additional reporting by Kritsada Mueanhawong

— Thawit Bilabdullar

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

Thailand

UPDATE: Confusion over Covid-19 tests for visa extensions

Caitlin Ashworth

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UPDATE: Confusion over Covid-19 tests for visa extensions | The Thaiger

UPDATE: Khaosod English removed a story on Covid-19 tests for those seeking visa extensions and replaced it with the article “Immigration backtracks on plan to require Covid-19 test for visa extensions.” They say the previous report sparked uproar among expats and immigration police spokesperson has since apologised for the misunderstanding.

Original article…

Confusion reigns today over whether Covid-19 tests will be required for visa extensions. While The Phuket News spoke with an immigration official who said “no… you don’t need a Covid-19 test to extend your visa or apply for a work permit”, Khaosod English wrote an article headlined “Covid-19 test will be mandatory for all visa extension”.

The Thaiger also contacted a respected visa agent who said Covid-19 tests are, indeed, now required for applying for both visa extensions and work permits, even renewals.

The Thai Immigration Bureau has not made any official announcement regarding Covid-19 tests. Talk about Covid-19 tests for foreigners was brought up after a rule was published in the Royal Gazette last month, officially adding Covid-19 to a list of dangerous diseases, prohibiting those infected with any of the listed illnesses from entering the country.

Immigration Police Bureau spokesperson Archayon Kraithong told Khaosod English that proof of a negative Covid-19 test will be required for visa extensions, regardless of how long a foreigner has stayed in Thailand. On the other hand, Phuket immigration deputy chief Nareuwat Putthawiro told The Phuket News that Covid-19 tests will not be required for visa extensions or work permit applications.

“We do not require any medical documents for an application to renew a visa, because there are few foreigners’ movements outside Phuket. Most of them live and work in Phuket, and have done so before the new wave of Covid-19… So they do not have to worry about it. Everything is still the same.”

Medical exams are currently already required for most work permit applicants (including tests for Syphilis and Elephantiasis). A visa agent told The Thaiger that Covid-19 tests have been added to the medical examination requirements for work permit applicants. But, on the other hand, Phuket immigration says they DO NOT require Covid-19 tests for work permit applicants.

“We have not received any notices about Covid-19 requirements for processing applications to renew visas. If we do receive any such orders, we will let the public know.”

It isn’t the first time there has been conflicting statements coming out of different officials, in different immigration offices on different days.

SOURCES: Phuket News| Khaosod English

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Visitors to Phuket from “highest risk” areas must show Covid-19 test results

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Visitors to Phuket from “highest risk” areas must show Covid-19 test results | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Chiang Rai Times

People arriving Phuket from the “highest risk” areas are required to take a swab test by the staff at emergency operation centres (EOC) or show the test result document endorsed by the EOC staff made within 72 hours of their arrival. The revised order is effective from now until January 31, according to the Phuket Governor.

Those people who are on a brief business trip to Phuket need to show certificates from their employers describing the reason and necessity of their trips. If they want to leave their accommodations, they have to make a request to the EOC and clearly explain the reason as well as the time and destination. Visitors are also asked to avoid going to the community areas to avoid crowded gatherings.

It is noted that the revised order by the governor has not been officially promoted by the Phuket office of the Public Relations Department. However, all visitors are still asked to register online via the Mor Chana contact tracing application and via www.gophuget.com according to the order re-issued on Friday.

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Tourism

The road less travelled – trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint

The Thaiger

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The road less travelled – trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint | The Thaiger

There are two well known ways to get from Kathu to Kalim or Kamala – one is across the Patong Hill, and the other is much longer, through Srisoonthorn and along the coastal road from Surin the Kamala (very scenic too).

But there’s also another way. Also very scenic but will take you about 2 hours through dense forest although there is a well-worn walking track. The track will take you from Kathu up to the Kalim Viewpoint. From here you can head back to Kathu along a different path, or down into Kalim, near Patong.

Starting about halfway down Soi Namtok in Kathu, you head up a nondescript road past the Flying Hanuman zipline attraction, although there’s no sign at the entrance to the soi (below). About the first kilometre is paved but then becomes increasingly ‘agricultural’ as you get higher into the hills, heading towards the Kalim Viewpoint. There’s also a small temple on the way up.

The road less travelled - trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: The start of the trek, a small soi off Soi Namtok – Google Maps

It will take around 2 hours to trek up to the Kalim Viewpoint. The walking is quite strenuous and you’ll need to be wearing the right shoes and take plenty of water – there’s no 7/11s on the way! As you get nearer the top, to the viewpoint, the track becomes less drivable although the track is still quite open and easy to follow. If you’re feeling a bit lazy you can take a motorbike about halfway up the road until you’ll need to proceed on foot from there.

From the Kalim Viewpoint you can see across Kalim to Patong Bay and the land that stretches along the bay south of Patong Beach. From the top you can either make your way down to Kalim or another exit along the Kalim-Kamala Road, just near the Iguana Beach Club.

You can also head back another way to Kathu, a longer return track that skirts around the top of the Kathu Waterfall. A lot of that track gets very narrow and parts of it are up and down the hills, some of it very steep.

The views are amazing and you get to see a vast swathe of Phuket, still very close to popular locations like Patong, Kamala and Kathu, but untouched by any civilisation.

You’ll need to be in reasonable health to take on the trip but, just to go up to the Kalim Viewpoint and back, or down into Kalim, should take around 5 hours in total. On a scale of 1 – 5 for difficulty, we’d rate it a 3. An easy trek for experienced people but will need a bit of planning if you’re not an experienced trekker.

Even on a hazy day, as it was today, the views were amazing. But best to start off early morning when the weather is cooler. Well worth the time for the views and the opportunity to see more of Phuket, away from the bars and beaches.

Thanks to BT for the pics and information.

The road less travelled - trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint | News by The Thaiger

The road less travelled - trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint | News by The ThaigerThe road less travelled - trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint | News by The Thaiger

The road less travelled - trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint | News by The Thaiger

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