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Global scorching; Thai Banks also scorched; Tales of two TATs

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Global scorching; Thai Banks also scorched; Tales of two TATs | The Thaiger
Phuket NEWS Hound

– A daily digest of news about Thailand from around the world, compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community.

Scorching forecast for Thailand

PHUKET: In the next 35 years, the temperature in Thailand will rise a whopping 3 to 4 degrees Celsius, which will result in the eastern provinces being inundated in 300 millimetres of rainfall every year, an expert said yesterday.

Arnon Sanidwong na Ayudhaya, director of the Southeast Asia START Regional Research Centre, was speaking at an academic conference held by the Office of the Higher Education Commission.

The Nation reports this morning that his analysis was based on eight climate prediction models over the next 35-55 years.

The models, dividing Thailand into eight geological and geographic zones and looking into factors including temperature, rainfall and sea-level changes, found that in the next 35 years the country’s average daily temperature would rise by 3-4 degrees, particularly in the mountainous areas of the North.

The temperatures would rise in both the rainy season and the winter months, he said.

Climate change also functions as a reinforcing factor for the severe urban heat island phenomenon, in which a metropolitan area is significantly warmer than its surroundings at all times, he said.

Citing satellite photos from 2005 until now that showed more frequent flooding, usually in the same locations, he noted that Thailand’s sea levels rose by 2.8-4.3cm, much higher than the world’s average rate of 1.8cm.

The director’s models showed that sea levels would rise by 14-15 centimetres over the next 35 years, affecting coastal areas, including Phuket, from Bangkok all the way down to the Malaysian border.

The rise in temperature would affect people’s metabolic systems and cause deaths, he said.

Expats, tourists bear brunt of ATM fees

The Nation / Phuket Gazette
Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij’s vow to scrutinise bank fees, mostly those for ATM use, won solid backing on social media yesterday.

But despite getting the banks’ customers on his side, he will have a tough time trying to dissuade bankers to cease the draconian imposts at the nation’s ATM machines.

Before he meets leading bankers today in what promises to be quite a showdown, here are some of the initial reactions gathered from tweets to The Nation as well as messages posted on Mr Korn’s Facebook page.

DD4Wheels: 150 baht for international withdrawals thru an ATM is ridiculously high. Downright robbery.

Sathornstreet: Banks are not charities but they should not be robbers either.

Pakornw: Wholeheartedly agree with Khun Korn; bank fees should not create friction in business.

AmSarosha: The banks pay us petty interest for our savings money. We don’t owe them any more money. Scrap the fees, I say.

JorisGeeven: I hope it includes cancelling of the hefty 150-baht fee for withdrawals using foreign cards, which is scandalous and unfair.

Kanatporn: [I do] not protect bank business, but [the] fees people pay [at the] Thai post office [are] higher than bank fees, poor people use this service.

Rebel_bay: Well, I just don’t feel robbed by bank fees and I use ATMs extensively. Maybe there are more urgent issues to consider?

LisaMajesty: Haven’t seen anyone claim responsibility for the fee. Just institutions pointing at other institutions saying ‘not our fault’.

Chamsai Menasveta: finally… some justice to the poor downtrodden hardworking people who are always getting robbed. Please don’t let them win this one!

Pintira Singhalaka: This will be a glorious victory of David over Goliath! You [Korn] are in our prayers.

Phaisit Phianphithak: Talking from perspective of an ex-banker, fee-based income is what already keeps the interest spread down. One way or another, profit has to come from somewhere. To effectively tackle both u need to simultaneously fix the spread and fee-based without reducing competitiveness of the Thai banking system.

Ke Ket: (translation) Help me please. Bank profits are my blood.

Dee Leesakul: (translation) May God bless you.

Nipoj Jakkrawankul: (translation) Can you really do it?

Mangkorn Sornkam: (translation) [You have] my support. But it’s no piece of cake what you’re dealing with here.

Taweeyos Nakosiri: (translation) When banks suffer losses, [our] tax money is used to shore them up. But they won’t make any change to benefit customers.

Kajonsak Suwattanakorn: (translation) A bit late. But better late than doing nothing.

Pick Pickkie: (translation). Banks are saving their time, space and manpower on services. The transactions cost them very little, so they should cost customers nothing or be very cheap.

The Phuket Gazette has not tweeted on this issue, but would like to suggest that the 150-baht fee imposed on ATM withdrawals from foreign accounts is extracted primarily from expat residents and Thailand’s millions of foreign tourists.

It could be said that the fee is thus somewhat discriminatory, or ‘politically incorrect’, and therefore not an item the TAT would want to feature in its brochures.

But it’s a banker’s delight. Unlike a loan, which requires funding and eats into a bank’s capital adequacy, the fee is revenue for old rope. As a yield, it delivers something close to infinity. And unlike loan interest, which is expressed on a per annum basis, the fee is earned in about a minute.

TAT says Japanese wary of Thailand

TTR Weekly
The Tourism Authority of Thailand’s (TAT’s) Tokyo office reported on Tuesday that Japanese tourists have shunned Thailand because of domestic political unrest and have shifted their travel bookings to Vietnam, Taiwan and China.

“About 1 million Japanese visit Thailand yearly. However, visits have declined over the past few years, said TAT Tokyo office director Benjawan Sunatevorakul.

“In 2007, Japan supplied 1.3 million tourists to Thailand but this dropped to 1.1 million in 2008 and [went] down again, to 1.05 million, in 2009.”

He was speaking at a seminar on “Chiangmai’s opportunities to tap Japanese long-stay travel”, held at Kantary Hills in Chiangmai.

Ministry of Tourism and Sports data, however, showed the Japanese market had made a 3.60% improvement in January to July 2010 with 546,917 visits, compared to 527,937 in the same period of 2009.

However the TAT director warned that Japanese tourists were booking holidays in Vietnam and Taiwan, or opting to visit the Shanghai World Expo in China, rather than visiting Thailand.

TAT Pattaya sees tourism recovery

TTR Weekly
Pattaya should make a robust recovery in the up-coming high season, predicts Niti Kongkrut, director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Pattaya office.

“Earlier this year, the tourism business looked good and Pattaya hotels were reporting improvements in occupancy,” he said. “But everything changed after May and every single hotel, regardless of their ranking, suffered.

“Pattaya’s tourism business is always linked to

— Gazette Editors

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Environment

Phuket’s water bosses claim there will be enough water

The Thaiger

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Phuket’s water bosses claim there will be enough water | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Bang Neow Dam in Thalang, just a few muddy ponds

Well into the second half of the Phuket wet season and the three main dams are well below capacity, Bang Wad Dam just over 13% capacity and the Bang Neow Dam in Thalang district around 5%, mostly unusable muddy ponds. The newer Khlong Katha in Chalong is at a much higher level, about 30% of capacity.

But this time of the year the three dams need to be well on their way to full capacity if the island is to get through the high tourists season and dry season without a repeat of last year’s muddle where provincial obfuscation and confusion put the health of thousands of residents at risk by cutting off their water supply and water trucks became more populous than passenger vans.

The lack of water also co-incides with increased development and more tourists arriving each year.

Now the Director of the Phuket Provincial Irrigation Office, Somsawat Chaisinsod, is calling for province administrators and the Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority to begin water saving campaigns as the annual heavy rains in October may not arrive or be less frequent. The suggestion of water ‘restrictions’ was not mentioned in the meeting.

At a meeting attended by Phuket’s Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana, Mr. Somsawat claimed that the island’s annual rainfall, for the first seven months of 2019, has only been 10% less than average.

But the dams are a LOT more than 10% lower in capacity. In the case of the Bang Neow Dam in Srisoontorn, it’s virtually empty.

A representative from the PWA said that the Authority is currently buying 45,000 cubic metres of water per day from undisclosed “private sources” to top up the island’s potable water needs.

“The PWA is in the process of securing water supply from a new supplier to improve the water supply and reduce the volume of water drawn from the dams.”

Meanwhile Prapan Kanprasang, chief of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation in Phuket, told The Phuket News he “believes Phuket has enough water to the island through the next dry season, after the annual rains cease early November”.

“We have enough water to use.”

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Crime

Norwegian out on bail following death of British man at Centara Grand Resort in Phuket

The Thaiger

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Norwegian out on bail following death of British man at Centara Grand Resort in Phuket | The Thaiger

SCREENSHOT: bbc.com

The bbc.com are reporting that a British man died at the Centara Grand Hotel in Phuket in a fight after telling another guest to “keep the noise down” as his wife and son tried to sleep, according to the man’s family.

The details in the BBC report conflict with earlier local reports out of Phuket.

The BBC report says that 34 year old Amitpal Singh Bajaj from the UK complained about noise from the next room at the five-star Centara Grand Hotel on Karon beachfront in Phuket.

The man’s family claims that another man forced his way into their room via the balcony early on Wednesday, August 21. The family claims that the man strangled Mr Bajaj.

In a statement Amitpal’s 34 year old wife Bandhna Kaur Bajaj described to police how the attacker “barged” into their room naked and attacked her husband.

“My husband sacrificed his life to save my son’s life and mine. He will always be our hero.”

“My husband tried to block the man and move me and my son away. As the man was kicking, punching and just, beating him up, my husband told me to please leave and save our son,” according to the BBC report.

The rendering of the report from the BBC is quite different from Phuket’s local news reports.

In Phuket reports it stated that a fight started at 4am, when the British man Amitpal Singh Bajaj confronted Norwegian Roger Bullman over the amount of noise coming from his room.

“Mr Bullman was drunk, and security had already visited his room twice to ask him to keep the noise down. When Mr Bajaj confronted him, he stabbed Mr Bullman in the shoulder with a steak knife.

Mr Bullman, trained in martial arts, then got the British man in a choke hold and maintained his grip on him. He says he did not mean to kill him, and did not think he had.”

The BBC report says that Mrs Bajaj grabbed the couple’s 2 year old son and fled the hotel room to look for help. She says she ran down a staircase and hid under a tree with her son in her arms while calling the reception from her mobile to tell them what had happened.

“I asked the reception to please make sure someone attends to my husband… “please give him some medical help, I’m very scared, I’ve escaped”, according to the BBC report.

“I could still hear the attacker screaming. I didn’t want to be attacked.”

Mr Amitpal was taken to Patong Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The Norwegian Foreign Ministry has confirmed that a Norwegian citizen has been arrested in Thailand and is being provided consular assistance.

According to Phuket News, Karon police said that “Mr Bullman had been released on bail posted at the court, but was unable to confirm how much bail was posted at. Reports in the Norwegian media said that bail was posted at about 200,000 baht.”

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Phuket

Huawei technology working with the ‘smart city’ project in Phuket

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Huawei technology working with the ‘smart city’ project in Phuket | The Thaiger

Huawei Technologies impressed participants at this week’s ASEAN Smart Cities Network Conference & Exhibition in Bangkok with its white paper on smart city development in Phuket.

The paper aims to drive Thailand 4.0 initiatives to pave the way for major digital and infrastructure development in Phuket, one of Thailand’s pilot smart cities, and to provide insights and guidance on an integrated framework needed for a successful and sustainable urban transformation.

Inspired by Thailand 4.0 economic development program launched in 2016, the paper focuses on a practical ideas that helps empower Phuket communities for digital future.

Huawei conducted an assessment and case studies on the services and utilities required for a fully-developed smart city. The resulting white provides comprehensive insights into action plans to transform Phuket into a smart city by 2020.

The services include smart energy and utilities, smart mobility, smart environment, smart living and smart economy while the enablers are smart governance, smart infrastructure and smart people.

In his opening address, Digital Economy Promotion Agency (Depa)’s president Dr. Nuttapon Nimmanpatcharin noted that thanks to the support from the National Smart City Committee and organizations from both public and private sectors, the smart city developments have already begun in 6 prioritized cities: Phuket, Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen and 3 EEC provinces.

“As one of our pilot cities, Phuket needs a clear development plan and a sustainable management model in order to fully transform into a smart city in 2020, this white paper will surely help facilitate smart city project for Phuket and other smart city candidates as well.”

Chanchai Tanatkatrakul, Principal, Roland Berger Thailand added: “We looked at global best practices and analysed local issues and requirements to develop this Smart City Framework for Phuket. Talking to various stakeholders helped us tailor our recommendations that can address the needs of Phuket and its people very well:”

Deng Feng, Managing Director of Huawei Thailand agreed, saying: “At Huawei, we promote industry development at all levels. As Thailand embarks on the journey to become one of the first countries in the region to develop a smart city scheme, we will provide practical recommendations and solutions to ensure a smooth and complete city development for Phuket and the rest of Thailand.”

SOURCE: The Nation

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