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Gov takes tough line on airport taxis

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Gov takes tough line on airport taxis | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Within two weeks meter taxis will have a desk inside the arrivals hall of Phuket International Airport, and three cabs at a time will be allowed to park right outside arrivals – the sacred territory of the island’s airport limousines.

The decision was made by Governor Udomsak Uswarangkura after a meeting yesterday to discuss the simmering dispute between meter taxis and airport limousine groups.

Also at the meeting were Airport Director Sq/Ldr Pornchai Eua-aree, Phuket Provincial Police Commander Pol Maj Gen Decha Budnampeth, Theerayuth Prasertphol of the Phuket Province Transportation Office (PPTO), and representatives of Phuket’s sole meter taxi association.

Limousine groups were invited to send representatives to the meeting, but did not.

Manod Chusak, manager of the Airport Limousine and Business Service Co-operative, said that the drivers did not attend because an agreement had already been struck between them and meter taxi drivers that the meter taxis could have a desk in the car park, nearer to the terminal than the current one.

He added that he did not understand, in light of this deal, why the taxi drivers’ representatives went to the meeting.

K. Manod said that he would relay the decision of the Governor to his members, and it would be up to them to decide what action was appropriate.

K. Teerayuth pointed out that the deal K. Manod referred to was informal only – it did not have the seal of approval of the airport management, which owns the car park.

He added, “Gov Udomsak is aware that his decision will not make the airport limousine operators happy, and that they are likely to stage another protest.” The protest could come within days, he added.

Gov Udomsak said that he was not particularly worried about the possibility of a protest, saying that his main concern was that tourists and other airline passengers should have good choices of transportation in Phuket.

K. Teerayuth added, “We know that when limousine drivers don’t like something they always protest. Many times we have given in to them because we did not want them to stage a big protest, which could affect tourism.”

The Governor’s decision is still subject to the approval of the Airports Authority of Thailand (AAT) in Bangkok, and another meeting will be held once the AAT has responded, but the Governor appeared confident of receiving approval.

Airport Director Sq/Ldr Pornchai said that once approval was forthcoming he would cut by half the 995,794-baht monthly concession fee levied on airport limousines.

K. Teerayuth said, “We believe that, within two weeks, the meter taxis will be able to set up a counter inside the terminal and passengers will then have more choices.”

He added that, subject to AAT approval, the new airport buses operated by Phuket Mahanakorn Co would also be allowed to stop outside the terminal for a limited period to load passengers.

Suwan Tamchoo, President of the Phuket Private Meter Taxi Association, told the Gazette that he is just waiting for the go-ahead to set up the desk in arrivals. He said he felt the Governor’s decision was fair, because the limousine group would also receive the benefit of their concession fee being halved.

He added that he could not understand why the limousine drivers’ representatives believed some kind of deal had been struck. “We cannot just move our desk closer to the terminal. That has to be a decision of the airport management. No deal was struck – we just discussed the idea.”

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Tourism

Phuket prepares to welcome first Chinese tourists in over 6 months

Maya Taylor

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Phuket prepares to welcome first Chinese tourists in over 6 months | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Jing Daily

The first group of tourists to arrive under Thailand’s new Special Tourist Visa scheme are expected to land in Phuket on October 8. The Bangkok Post reports that a flight from Guangzhou in southern China will carry 120 tourists, who will spend their first 14 days in alternative state quarantine. They are reported to be travelling under the government’s new STV.

Arrivals who do not pass the initial health screening will be transferred to specially chosen hospitals, as “Patients under Investigation”. Those who do pass the screening will be transported to alternative state quarantine once they’ve gone through immigration processing.

A Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration spokesperson says the resort islands of Phuket and Koh Samui will be the first to welcome travellers under the Special Tourist Via scheme. He pointed out that Guangzhou has not recorded any new cases of the Covid-19 virus for a prolonged period, meaning next week’s tourist arrivals are deemed “low risk”. His assertion is confirmed from the official figures at worldometer.info website recording world Covid-19 cases.

The CCSA reports that there will be a limit of 300 foreign tourists admitted each week, but this will be reviewed after the first phase of the re-opening. All arrivals will be subject to 14 day quarantine, although the Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn has suggested reducing this to 7 days eventually. The CCSA says they are not considering reducing the quarantine time at this stage.

Thiravat Hemachudha from the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Disease Health Science Centre is not opposed to the idea.

“We can study this with foreign visitors who will arrive next month. During the 14 day quarantine they will be tested on the first, the seventh and the fourteenth day. If they are free of infections, we can shorten the quarantine to 7 days.”

However, not all are in agreement, with a doctor from Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University cautioning against any shortening of the quarantine period.

Meanwhile, Phuket governor, Narong Woonsiew, says the province is ready to welcome the new arrivals, with Covid-19 labs in place at Phuket airport, and officials due to carry out a full dress rehearsal today.

Thanit Sermkaew, chief of the Phuket Public Health Office, says over 1,200 rooms at 9 hotels have been chosen as alternative state quarantine properties, with a total of 73 hotels, providing over 5,800 rooms, applying for consideration.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Phuket

Woman arrested for abandoning newborn baby on a bench in Phuket

Caitlin Ashworth

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Woman arrested for abandoning newborn baby on a bench in Phuket | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Siangtai/Newshawk Phuket

Police tracked down and arrested a Burmese woman who allegedly left her newborn baby on a bench in Phuket’s Patong area last week. The mother faces charges of abandoning a baby.

The newborn was left in a reusable shopping bag on a bench behind a Krungthai Bank branch. A woman in the area heard the baby crying and found the newborn in the bag along with a bottle of milk, diapers and clothing. Police reviewed surveillance camera footage shows a woman, police later identified as Ei Ei Phyu, leaving the bag on the bench.

Police say the woman gave birth on September 9 at a local hospital in Surat Thani’s Phun Phin district. Ei Ei allegedly took a van from Surat Thani to Phuket on September 22 and stayed with a friend in Patong. The early the next morning, she allegedly left her baby on the bench before boarding a bus back to Surat Thani.

Burmese workers in the Patong area told police Ei Ei used to work at a local Indian food restaurant before she moved to Surat Thani to work as a rubber tapper. Ei Ei allegedly told police she is not in the position to raise a child.

In earlier reports, police said the baby is healthy and does not appear to have any injuries.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand

Phuket police arrest 6 after finding large amounts of methamphetamine in raid

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket police arrest 6 after finding large amounts of methamphetamine in raid | The Thaiger

Phuket Provincial Police have arrested 6 people after finding large amounts of methamphetamine and other drugs during a raid. One suspect alone allegedly had 7.6 kilograms of crystal meth (ya ice) and over 12,500 methamphetamine pills (ya bah). 29 year old Surasak ‘Bank’ Wijit and 27 year old Panida ‘Mei’ Saeyang were arrested at an apartment car park in Soi Lookkaew, Moo 6, Rassada, in eastern Phuket, after they were found in possession of the drugs.

Police also found 2 mobile phones and a red Honda PCX, registered in Phuket, as evidence. Both suspects have been charged with posessing a Category 1 drug with the intent to sell.

Other suspects arrested at the same time include 36 year old from Chiang Rai, 42 year old Sarawut ‘An’ Srichanon, from Ranong and 31 year old Pornthep ‘Iew’ Thepchampa, who were charged with the same crimes in Chalong after police found more drugs in their possession. 33 year old Kamon ‘Kung’ Sae-ngow, was arrested as well after police found kratom juice and leaves at a house in Rassada. He was taken to Phuket City Police station and was charged with a Category 5 drug possession.

SOURCE:The Phuket News

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