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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
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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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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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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Thailand

Phuket Muay Thai fighter is the first Thai national to compete in UFC

The Thaiger

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Phuket Muay Thai fighter is the first Thai national to compete in UFC | The Thaiger

The upcoming Ultimate Fighting Championship Fight Night event in Abu Dhabi will feature Thailand’s only national marking her third fight with the UFC, the world’s largest mixed martial arts competition. 24 year old Loma Lookboonme, from Burirram in northeastern Thailand, will fight in the event on October 3, 2020.

Loma is a Muay Thai fighter who has adapted her MMA skills to fight in the UFC where she currently trains at the Tiger Muay Thai gym in Phuket. Loma qualified for the national team at the age of 19 and has fought in over 12 nations worldwide. She currently trains 6 days a week starting daily at 6:30am with a 3 kilometre run. In the UFC, she will be competing against China’s Angela Lee who is the undisputed champion of the 52 kilogram fist weight category.

Phuket Muay Thai fighter is the first Thai national to compete in UFC | News by The Thaiger

Loma’s parents are former Muay Thai fighters and her 2 sisters currently compete as well. She reportedly started training at 8 years old after being inspired by her father, whom she describes as her “hero.”

Like most Thais in such fighting sports, Muay Thai offers a way to rise out of poverty-and fighting for the UFC can be financially lucrative. But Loma says her only Thai sponsor is the gym where she trains, with the rest of her sponsors being from foreign brands. She says she is trying to get more Thai sponsors but feels that maybe she needs to win the UFC first before Thai brands notice her.

Loma lost her last fight and says her new opponent gives her nothing to lose. She says her goal is to get into the Top 10, but is not sure when it will happen. Loma says for now, it would be good to fight against someone in the Top 10 to help her prepare for her future.

FULL INTERVIEW: Thisrupt.co

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Tourism

Phuket airport ready for tourists after finishing Covid screening labs

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket airport ready for tourists after finishing Covid screening labs | The Thaiger

Phuket Airport is officially ready for tourists as authorities say they have finished installing Covid screening labs in an effort to welcome international travellers. The 5T Model for Covid-19 is being used at the airport with the goal of screening large groups of people in a quick and efficient manner. The Phuket health chief says the 5T’s stand for Target, Testing, Treating, Trusting and Tracing.

Phuket has one large airport at the north end of the island but is separated into two separate terminals – a domestic terminal (the original airport terminal), and a new international terminal opened in 2016.

The target category refers to the target groups of tourists while the tracing stands for software that will be used to monitor their movements. The testing category refers to Covid tests that will be implemented to travellers upon arrival along with the treatment and trust categories signifying the readiness of resources for medical treatment and confident communications between all parties respectively.

The Covid-19 lab container module has been set up at Phuket airport’s Terminal X (the terminal opened for charter flights opened in 2014) and will be tested tomorrow with its operation to start on September 30. As large groups of tourists could arrive (later in the year, the lab is reportedly capable of testing 96 people at a time with test results becoming available in 6 hours. What the airport would do withe tested passengers whilst waiting for 6 hours, has not been detailed at this stage.

Such a readiness plan to welcome foreign tourists originally singled out Phuket due to its popularity with travellers, and as a so-called guinea pig model to test in a controlled environment (Phuket is an island joined to the Thai mainland by a single 300 metre road bridge). Once dubbed the Phuket Model, authorities have proposed to rename the plan to “Special Tourist Visa” due to the confusion and opposition it reportedly caused. The scheme is reportedly now being proposed for all areas of Thailand but only allowing foreigners from specific countries.

SOURCE: Pattaya Mail

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