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Governor attempts to revive Phuket International Convention and Exhibition Center

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Governor attempts to revive Phuket International Convention and Exhibition Center | The Thaiger

PHUKET: The Phuket governor is attempting to resurrect the Phuket International Convention and Exhibition Center (ICEC) after the plan was killed during the Yingluck Adminsitration’s rule.

“I am willing to breathe new life into this project in Mai Khao; as a member city of Thailand’s MICE [Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conventions, Exhibitions], the only thing we are missing to fully comply with this effort is such a facility,” Phuket Governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada said on December 14.

“This facility would not only benefit tourism, but would also help to steer Phuket toward becoming a hub of trade for Thailand. It will help us to draw commercial interests to the island. It is time to reconsider this project.”

Governor Chamroen established four key points that needed to be addressed: the location of the facility, to see if Mai Khao is still the most appropriate location; the design, to ensure appropriate usage of land allocation; the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), to ensure that officials fully understand what impact the facility would have; and investment, to establish a balance between the government and the private sector.

The failure of the Phuket ICEC to move forward in 2012, while the budget and execution of a similar plan in Chaing Mai received the green light, led to accusations that the project was ‘stolen’ from the province.

In response to the cancellation of the project, Phuket MP Anchalee Vanich Thepabutra stood in Parliament and called for the government to answer why the 2.6-billion-baht project to build a Phuket ICEC had been scratched.

Branding the Cabinet ‘narrow-minded’, Ms Anchalee explained that the funds for the project were secured through the Thai Khem Kaeng (Strong Thailand) fiscal stimulus program rolled out by the Democrat government under former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

“Former PM Abhisit devised a plan under which Bangkok would become the hub for Asean tourists, and Phuket the gateway for international tourists, with 2.6bn baht allocated to building the Phuket ICEC and 2.3bn baht to building the Chiang Mai ICEC,” Ms Anchalee explained.

“At that time, people asked PM Abhisit to re-allocate the 2.3bn baht dedicated for the Chiang Mai ICEC to other projects, but he didn’t, because he believed the ICEC would be a very good opportunity for the people of Chiang Mai to boost their income generated through tourism.

“Today, the Chiang Mai ICEC is a reality and ready to open,” she said.

Three days later, Ms Anchalee and Phuket received their answer – laying the project to rest, at least until this week.

“We did not ‘steal’ the project. We cannot continue with it because it failed to pass its Environmental Impact Assessment [EIA] requirements; it failed that because the proposed site was at Baan Mai Khao, which is the site of Phuket’s last mangrove forest,” Mr Woravat told the Phuket Gazette days after Ms Anchalee stood in Parliament.

Mr Woravat’s explanation laid the responsibility of the decision to shelve the Phuket ICEC squarely with the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP), a fully dependent department operating under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE).

Even in 2011, the Gazette noted that ICEC was a ‘decades-old saga of fruitless efforts’ (story here).

However, Gov Chamroen was confident and ready to present the plan to Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak.

— Kritsada Mueanhawong

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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

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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