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Foundation now accepting relief supplies for earthquake victims

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Foundation now accepting relief supplies for earthquake victims | The Thaiger

PHUKET: The Thai-Nepalese Foundation is now accepting donations of relief supplies to aid the victims of the disastrous earthquake in Nepal, the foundation’s president confirmed today.

Supplies being collected by the foundation include clothing, medicine, tents (family size), gloves and sanitary napkins.

The death toll from last Saturday’s quake has risen to 6,204, The Nation reported today (story here).

“If you have a lot of supplies and are unable to transport them to the foundation, please call us. We will arrange to pick the items up,” Panuphong Limbuprasertkul, president of the foundation, told the Phuket Gazette today.

“Call me on my personal mobile number [089-871 4172] if you need any additional information. I am available 24 hours a day.”

Mr Panuphong speaks both Thai and English.

Items can be dropped off in Patong at the Phuket branch of the foundation, officially called the Shree Bhagawat Dhaam Sanatan Mandir Foundation, which is located in Soi Kuan Yang off of Phra Baramee Road.

“I have spoken with Thai Airways representatives, and they have agreed to help us transport the supplies. I am sorting out the date and time when we will fly them over. This should be finalized soon,” Mr Panuphong added.

A Thai Airways representative based in Phuket, who asked not to be named, confirmed to the Gazette that they were working together with the Nepalese consulate and the Shree Bhagawat Dhaam Sanatan Mandir Foundation to arrange the transport of supplies to the affected areas.

“We are willing to help in any way we can, we just need to know the date and what needs to be transported,” he said.

Members of the Shree Bhagawat Dhaam Sanatan Mandir Foundation also walked along Bangla Road in Patong last night to collect donations to add to their ever-growing aid fund.

“We raised about 20,000 baht on Bangla Road last night. We now have more than 1 million baht raised to help survivors of the earthquake,” Mr Panuphong said.

Monetary donations to the ‘Phuket Together For Nepal Disaster Victims’ fund can be made at the Damrongtham Center (ombudsman’s office) at Phuket Provincial Hall; directly at the Phuket Provincial Hall in Phuket Town; at the Phuket Red Cross Center at Saphan Hin; or any government office on the island.

Donations can also be made directly into either of the following accounts:

Krung Thai Bank, bank account number 8050669254
Kasikornbank [Kbank], account number 5322397730

— Chutharat Plerin

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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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