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Hotly contested Phuket land earmarked for public park

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Hotly contested Phuket land earmarked for public park | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: A plan by Patong Mayor Chalermluck Kebsup to transform an area of 69 rai of long-contested land near Tri Trang Beach into a public park received special attention last weekend.

Maj Gen Intarat Yodbangtoey, adviser to Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Petipong Pungbun Na Ayudhya, inspected the site on Saturday.

Gen Intarat explained to the accompanying members of the press that the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry and the Interior Ministry were working on “returning the land to Patong locals”, after years of its ownership being contested in the courts.

“However, as of today, the land has yet to be returned to the state because of a recent claim to its ownership,” he confessed. “We want to take back the land, but we will wait until after the Supreme Court has made its final decision.”

DARK PAST

Ms Chalermluck told the Phuket Gazette yesterday that she had no idea that the ownership of the property was still being contested in the courts.

The Supreme Court had ordered that the land titles be revoked for 3,000 rai of land in Phuket; the titles for the 69 rai of land in question being among those deemed to be illegally issued under the notorious SorPorKor 4-01 Phuket land-grab scandal 10 years ago.

The SorPorKor program in Phuket began in November 1994, when then-Agriculture Minister Suthep Thaugsuban ceded title deeds to 592 plots, including land near the Kata Viewpoint, Kamala and other parts of the Nakkerd Hills, to 489 farmers.

The SorPorKor program aimed to give poor, landless farmers the right to use government land to farm in order to make a living.

However, in the unravelling of a national-level scandal that eventually led to the downfall of the Democrat Party under the leadership of Chuan Leekpai, investigators swooped on the Phuket branch of the national Agricultural Land Reform Office in 2003 (story here).

In 2004, SorPorKor papers for 3,000 rai were revoked, following a ruling by the SorPorKor Land Commission in Bangkok that the land was not being used by poor farmers as intended. (story here).

It was later found that members of 11 wealthy families in Phuket were among the recipients of the properties (story here).

Ms Chalermluck, who hails from a prominent Patong-based family, yesterday told the Gazette that she thought the rights to the 69 rai, as claimed by another prominent Patong-based family, the Tantiwit clan, had long been laid to rest.

“The Supreme Court ruled that Banlue Tantiwit was not qualified to receive SorPorKor land,” she said. “I thought that the land had been returned to the state since that is what the Supreme Court had ordered.”

“But now, another person has filed an appeal and claims to own the land. I do not know who that person is.”

Nonetheless, Ms Chalermluck vowed to have the site transformed into a public park.

“Once the land has been returned to the state, we will turn it into a Patong ‘green place’,” she said.

“This will become another tourist attraction. There will be a lot of things to do.

“It will take time, but I will do my best to give more to Patong and the tourists who visit here.”

— 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.

Phuket

Phuket told to prepare “response plan” in case of second Covid-19 outbreak

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket told to prepare “response plan” in case of second Covid-19 outbreak | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Daily News

As Phuket awaits foreign tourists, city officials are told to prepare a “response plan” in case of a second wave of Covid-19. An official from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports held a workshop in Phuket today to discuss the risk of another outbreak as the country opens up to those on the Special Tourist Visa.

The ministry’s permanent secretary Chote Trachu says now that the country is allowing tourists (who are required to quarantine upon arrival) an infection “may somehow slip through.” He says a response plan needs to be in place in case this happens, adding that there should be corporation from the Ministry of Public Health and Ministry of Defense.

“If any tourists are found to be infected, the disease must not be allowed to spread among the people. There should be no panic, and public health officers will investigate the case. Tourist Police will track down the suspected person in an investigation with the Ministry of Public Health.”

Chote says all provinces – not just Phuket – should have a response plan. Although tourists must go through a mandatory 14 day quarantine upon arrival, Chote says there are some cases where the incubation period for Covid-19 is longer than 14 days.

“There are a variety of cases. Sometimes, the infection does not show after 14 days, or even 15 or 16 days. Each situation is different.”

Recently, a woman in Koh Samui tested positive for the coronavirus 5 days after she was released from a Samut Prakan quarantine facility. Traces of the virus were found on gym equipment the woman used at the quarantine, leading health officials to suspect she was infected before arriving to the island.

“We urge Thai people to not let their guard down. Everyone must wear masks, wash their hands and take care of personal hygiene. This will help prevent them from contracting the disease.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Business

Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub

Maya Taylor

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Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub | The Thaiger
Mai Khao beach in north Phuket - PHOTO: www.makemytrip.com

Industry officials are seeking the go-ahead for a project to transform over 140 rai of government land in Phuket into a world-leading medical hub. The project is budgeted at 3 – 4 billion baht, depending on which report you read. Kitkong Tantijaraswarodom, from the Federation of Thai Industries, believes the development of a medical and wellness hub in the sub-district of Mai Khao, north Phuket, will help revive the southern island’s battered economy. Phuket has become increasingly reliant on a steady flow of tourists over the past 2 decades.

The southern division of the FTI covers Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Trang, Patthalung, Surat Thani, Ranong, Satun, Chumphon, and Songkhla.

“The FTI will ask the government to green-light the project during the scheduled mobile cabinet meeting on the island on November 3.”

Kitkong says businesspeople in the south are anxious for the government to approve the project, which will provide both locals and foreign medical tourists with state-of-the-art medical care. The facility is expected to include long-term care, hospice and rehabilitation services, in addition to a dental hospital, sports therapy centre, and a medical training school for doctors, nurses, pharmacists and medical laboratory scientists.

The chair of the FTI’s southern chapter is also calling on officials to provide small and medium-sized businesses with additional support, in the form of access to loans, in order to deal with cash shortages.

“In the short term, the FTI wants the government to help SMEs, especially those in the tourism sector.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Phuket

Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment

The Thaiger

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Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment | The Thaiger

A man has been found hanged in Phuket Town apartment yesterday. Police are treating the cases as a suicide at the moment.

The man was found hanged from the apartment’s ceiling fan. His lifeless body was discovered around 11am after neighbours complained to the manager about the smell coming from the man’s room.

Police and the local Kusoldharm Foundation rescue workers attended the scene. Police later confirmed the incident happened in room on the 3rd floor of an apartment lock in Soi Phoonphol Soi 1, Talat Nuea in Phuket Town. Police said the man was 35-45 years of age and had a 29 year old girlfriend from Chumphon. He was paying 1,000 baht a month and had been renting the room for 2 months. Police estimate that the man had been dead for at least 3 days.

Police told media that the man had used, what appeared to be a dress, tied around his neck and then to the room’s roof fan. The apartment manager told police that he had been late on on his recent rent, speculating that the man may have been suffering financial hardship.

The man’s identity has not been released at this stage.

His body was taken to Vachira Hospital for an autopsy.

If you or anyone you know is in emotional distress, please contact the Samaritans of Thailand 24-hour hotline: 02 713 6791 (English), 02 713 6793 (Thai) or the Thai Mental Health Hotline at 1323 (Thai).

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