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Fury at proposal to close Phi Phi

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Fury at proposal to close Phi Phi | The Thaiger

KRABI (Gazette, Nation, AFP): Local businesspeople and officials have branded as “a big joke” a proposal that Phi Phi Don Island should be closed for two years to allow pollution in the tourism hotspot to be cleaned up. The proposal was put forward by Tourist Police Commander Pol Col Sanit Miphan, who told The Nation newspaper recently that the tiny island had become badly polluted due to a lack of facilities to cope with the explosion in tourism over the past few years. “The island should be closed for one or two years to improve basic facilities to keep it tidy,” the newspaper quoted Col Sanit as saying. He explained that poor infrastructure accompanied by a foreign tourism boom on the island had led to problems such as inappropriate waste disposal and water pollution. The lack of electricity also meant businesses had to generate their own power. Pankam Kitithorakul, Chairman of the Ao Nang Tambon Administration Organization (OrBorTor), which oversees the Phi Phi Islands, described the proposal as “Big Joke No 2”, a reference to another proposal, put forward in December last year by Phuket Governor CEO Pongpayome Vasaputi, that the government should buy the island, then clean it up. He launched a furious attack on the proposal: “This is the first I’ve heard about this,” he told the Gazette. “I just want to ask the tourist police, ‘Are you sure that you are really working hard for us?'” He said he was certain that it would be impossible to close the island –that there is no law allowing the government to do so. In any case, he added, “It’s not necessary to close the island if they want to tidy it up. We can go on doing business and clean it up at the same time. “This news will only confuse the tourists. Does he [Col Sanit] want to destroy tourism in Krabi?” K. Pankam agreed, however, that water and power facilities on Phi Phi Don are not good, “but that doesn’t mean that closing the island for one or two years would make them work perfectly.” Referring to the existing water and power plants, he said, “I plan to put signs in front of them – ‘Water Treatment Plant Monument’ and ‘Incinerator Monument’ because they have never worked since they were installed by the government. Saritpong Kiewkong, Vice-President of the Krabi Provincial Administration Organization (OrBorJor) and owner of the Phi Phi Pavilion Resort, also slammed the idea of closing the island. “It’s not the right way to solve problems. It’s like closing all the pubs because they let in people under the age of 20; the police should pay more attention to arresting the teenagers, [not closing the pubs].” He pointed out, “If the island were closed, every businessman there would be in trouble. How can [Col Sanit] guarantee that if the island is closed for one or two years, it will improve? How can he be sure that if it is closed, the garbage will disappear? “If you want to improve everything, this idea is a contradiction; you should fix things when the island is open, not when there’s no activity at all. “So many people say that they love Phi Phi Island but I don’t see anyone really living up to their responsibilities. We in the OrBorJor are keen to support every project – we are trying to push forward the 619-million-baht power plant project for the island, but the government is still silent [on funding]. “The Tourist Police should do their job properly first, before they say things like this.” Jaturong Pengnoraphit, Secretary to Somsak Thepsuthin, the minister who oversees the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), also rejected the proposal to close down Phi Phi for a year or more as completely unworkable. “It’s impossible to close down Phi Phi. I asked Col Sanit about this and he said it was merely a proposal under discussion. What we can do is to reorganize and beautify the island,” he said. However, Jaturong admitted the TAT had discussed restricting the number of tourists allowed on the island to reduce pressure on the environment.

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Crime

Now you see him, now you don’t… Patong Police hunt foreigner over $30k theft

Greeley Pulitzer

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Now you see him, now you don’t… Patong Police hunt foreigner over $30k theft | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Patong Police

Patong Police have yet to develop any tangible leads tracking down a foreigner who made off with US$30,000 in cash from a currency exchange booth in Kalim, north of Patong in Phuket, last Tuesday.

The man is about 168 centimetres tall with grey hair and around 60 years old, Patong police told The Phuket News.

“We have no clue what nationality he is.”

He was last seen at the currency exchange booth wearing a purple polo shirt, blue jeans and black cap. Police have checked hotels in the area, police stations across the island and Phuket Immigration, but have yet to join the dots and come up with firm leads.

“Investigators have checked CCTV in the area and collected what evidence we have but we still do not know the man’s name or where he was staying.”

The man had visited the booth several times before Tuesday, when he disappeared with the $30,000 in US banknotes, according to police.

“It was always small amounts”, he added, noting that the amounts didn’t warrant staff at the exchange booth to check the man’s passport before making the exchange.

The man arrived at the booth again at about 1pm on Tuesday, saying that he had 900,000 baht cash to exchange.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Crime

Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room

The Thaiger

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Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Phuket Hot News

The security guard of a hotel in Nai Yang, northern Phuket, 52 year old Yingyot Butsabong, from Maha Sarakham province, was found dead yesterday (October 16) in his room. Police remain mystified how the man came to grief.

A woman named Supattra received a call from the hotel he worked at and was informed that he didn’t show up at work yesterday, so she went to his apartment to check on him.

She saw that his room was locked from the inside, so used the key she had in her possession to open the room and found Yingyot laying on the floor, face down. She thought he was just sleeping so she tried to wake him up but once she flipped him, she found that he already passed away.

She immediately called Saku police, and once on the scene, police found that there was some blood on the floor. The man had a 2 centimetre wound on his left eyebrow which was deep into his skull. There was also a wound on his chin about 1 centimetre long and about a centimetre deep. His left eye had a bruise which looked like he was attacked by a hard object.

Police report that he had been dead for around four hours in the room.

The room was not ransacked and there was no sign of fighting or theft. His body has been sent to Thalang Hospital for a detailed autopsy and to look into the cause of death.

SOURCE: Phuket Hot News

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People

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people

Nattha Thepbamrung

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‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | The Thaiger

On October 18, the ‘Always Smile Journey’ group and its partners will host an exhibition with plenty of fun activities at the Yak Yai Market, near Chalong Circle, in Phuket. This event was designed to raise funds to provide free English classes for underprivileged people on the island of Phuket on Saturdays and Sundays. The group does not accept donations but aims to raise money through the sales of the products available at the event.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

From 2 pm to 8 pm, there will be a number of artists, musicians and performers who will keep the attendees entertained along the way. There will be a short film about His Majesty King Rama 9 as well as fun activities and games for kids and families, which are all free of charge.

The big bike crew is also a part of this event. They will ride a parade from Rawai Beach heading to the market and showcase their gorgeous two-wheel buddies.

One of the highlights of the Always Smile Journey exhibition is the ‘Happening’ artists group, who will draw and paint a picture of the His Majesty King Rama 9 under the name ‘Street Art King Bhumibol’ on a 4×10 meter sign live at the event so the guests will experience this large-scale art in action. The Happening will also offer portrait sketching for the participants.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

One of the works created by the Happening team; a painting of HM the King Rama 9 on a huge wall (Photo credit: Chawat Chumpasan)

There will also be some western menus available at the event which will be donated to underprivileged children.

This free English class project has over seven years of experience through its cooperation working with individuals and other charity organizations. Throughout the years, the group visited several areas such as Ban Laem Hoy School, Ban Bopud School and Ban Angthong School in Samui, Surat Thani province, Ban Bueng Ao Oun School and Ban Kakoh Rayong, in Surin province, Jalae Village of Lahu (Muser) in Chiang Rai province, as well as community education centers in Siem Reap, Cambodia and in Luang Prabang, in Laos.

This event is a cooperation between several groups, including Happening, Yak Yai Market and Arrow Media, Tattoo artist group, Thonburi Art School Alumni, International School of Tourism, Suratthani Rajabhat University, big bike group from Phuket, artists/performers/musicians from many provinces as well as several businesses across Phuket.

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