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Huge progress made in Patong cleanup

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Huge progress made in Patong cleanup | The Thaiger

PATONG: Just five days after the tsunami hit Patong Beach, astonishing progress has been made with the clean-up of the resort town.

Tourists are back in the water or strolling along the sand, though the view is very different from the clutter that existed before the wave hit. With no beach chairs or umbrellas, one can now look along the entire three-kilometer stretch of sand.

A few boats dot the bright blue sea, now flat calm after the massive upheaval on December 26, and gone are the troublesome jet-skis and para-sailing speedboats.

It’s quieter, too, with no vendors selling soft drinks, no motorbikes, no rental cars and no tuk-tuks to disturb the town’s new-found peace. It’s almost as though the beach has been sent back in time to 20 years ago.

On the other side of the beach road, however, the damage from the tsunami is all too evident, with huge piles of rubble dotting the landscape.

Workers from Patong Municipality are working alongside employees of local businesses cleaning up the area around their workplaces.

Sadly, many of the trees that were such a feature of the beachfront, offering welcome shade from the sun, seem fated to die. Yellowing leaves carpet the brown grass as too much salt in the ground takes its toll.

Panu Maswongsa, Marketing Director of Patong Beach Resort and Vice-President of Marketing of the Phuket Tourist Association, told the Gazette that the occupancy rate of the resort before the tsunami was about 70%, but after the wave hit, all the guests were moved to others hotels. The resort will be closed for repairs and renovation.

“The water was about waist-deep and damaged guest rooms, the generator, the swimming pool and the air conditioning, so we will be closed somewhere between a month and three months.

“I believe the damage to Patong overall is about 30% – mostly the businesses next to the beach,” K. Panu added.

Some anger is being felt in Patong about the depiction of the town by the media. A member of a Marine Security unit sent by the US Embassy in Bangkok to help with the clean-up, echoed those feelings when he said he was not happy with media, especially TV, for showing only pictures of the damage.

“Many people have been helping to clean up Patong since the first day and many employees are back at work, but the television stations still show pictures of the damage. In fact, everything looks much better now. In Patong only the [beach] road and some hotels were damaged, but the beach looks so beautiful now.

“Why don’t they update their pictures?” he asked.

In Kamala, the area of Phuket probably worst hit by the wave, the beach is also mostly clean, but infrastructural damage is much more apparent, with the large bites taken out of the beach road by the tsunami.

The area behind is a scene of devastation. The wooden school vanished when the wave smashed its way across the main road and into the village beyond. The nearby wat was also severely damaged.

Soldiers, Kamala council workers and local people are all working hard to clear up the area.



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Business

Some restrictions lifted for superyachts in the region

The Thaiger

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Some restrictions lifted for superyachts in the region | The Thaiger

PHOTO: katarocks.com

Thailand is poised to ease rules on bareboat charters as well as introducing new measures to attract more luxury and super yachts into the region.

The new measures were laid out in a presentation called “Highlighting Strategies for Attracting Yachts and Improving Safety at Sea” held at the 2019 Thailand Yacht Show and Rendezvous in Phuket.

Gordon Fernandes, Asia Pacific Superyachts co-founder, outlined new measures to attract Superyachts in the meeting attended by officials from Thailand’s Customs Department.

Representing Thailand’s Customs Department, Kanchana Suwanicho, updated delegates on the rules applying for a temporary stay for yachts as well as outlining revisions for bareboat charter rules.

ttrweekly.com reports that, under the revisions, bareboat charters will not need to hire a Thai registered captain and engineer to be present on board vessels for the sailing duration.

“Out-dated rules are being reviewed, but due to recent boating tragedies involving foreign tourists authorities are concerned about potential safety lapses.”

Stating that Thailand wants to continue being the ‘Yachting Hub for Asia’ Kanchana said bareboat charters would not be required to hire a Thai captain and engineer, but the charterer would be required to show they had qualified personnel to assume full responsibility.

The Revenue department confirmed it was actively working to resolve a stumbling block linked to Superyacht charter licences.

“Once this stumbling block has been removed foreign flagged yachts, over 30 metres long, will be allowed to legally charter in Thailand. This will be a major boom for the industry both in Phuket and across the region.”

The easing of restrictions for superyachts coming to the region has been a major issue of the founder of the Thailand Yacht Show and Singapore Yacht Show, Andy Treadwell.

Some restrictions lifted for superyachts in the region | News by The Thaiger

Attendees of the “Highlighting Strategies for Attracting Yachts and Improving Safety at Sea”

PHOTO: ttrweekly.com

Some restrictions lifted for superyachts in the region | News by The Thaiger

Gordon Fernandes, Asia Pacific Superyachts co-founder – PHOTO: Guy Nowell

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Phuket

Suspect hands himself in to police, denies charges in Saphan Hin shooting

The Thaiger

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Suspect hands himself in to police, denies charges in Saphan Hin shooting | The Thaiger

A suspect has handed himself in to police after an arrest warrant was issued over a Saphan Hin shooting last week. The suspect is denying the charges.

A Thai man was shot dead near Saphan Hin in eastern Phuket last week. An arrest warrant was issued for the suspect shortly after as police went hunting for the suspect identified by witnesses.

Read more about the shooting HERE.

Wichit Police Chief Col Nikorn Somsuk says, “The suspect is 23 year old Jakkrit Sangsaard. Yesterday he presented himself to police for the shooting and carrying gun in public changes. He has denied the charges and been bailed.”

“At this stage we believe that the suspect and the dead man, Teerasak, had a previous conflict.. Teerasak stopped his motorbike and tried to fire a shot at the suspect but the gun misfired. The suspect then shot back. We are continuing our investigation.”

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Phuket

Legal action taken against people who removed beer cans from beer truck accident scene

The Thaiger

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Legal action taken against people who removed beer cans from beer truck accident scene | The Thaiger

PHOTOS / VIDEO:  Thanakrit Asulyakul / Mana Sombat / Kanlaya Singkangrang / Kritsada Mueanhawong

Legal action has already been taken against four people who ‘removed’ beer cans after a truck carrying boxes of beer cans overturned in Phuket on January 11.

A logistic company representative has filed a report with police after more than 80,000 beer cans, valued at more than two million baht, mysteriously “vanished” after the truck overturned in Rassada.

Read more about the incident outside a Rassada 7/11 HERE.

The Phuket City Police Chief Col Sompong Thiparpakun says, “Four people have now been arrested. They have admitted that they saw other people taking beer cans, so they did too. They say they have consumed the contents of all beer cans. ”

“If evidence can be provided that other people took these beer cans and sold them, legal action will be taken against them too.”

“It was illegal to remove these items from the crash scene.”

Legal action taken against people who removed beer cans from beer truck accident scene | News by The Thaiger

Legal action taken against people who removed beer cans from beer truck accident scene | News by The Thaiger Legal action taken against people who removed beer cans from beer truck accident scene | News by The Thaiger Legal action taken against people who removed beer cans from beer truck accident scene | News by The Thaiger Legal action taken against people who removed beer cans from beer truck accident scene | News by The Thaiger

 

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