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Hurtling Phuket hill boulders continue to threaten resort

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Hurtling Phuket hill boulders continue to threaten resort | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Heavy rains in Phuket over the past week have caused more boulders to hurtle downhill into the L’Orchidee Residences in Patong.

Although the boulders were smaller than the original two-tonne “devil’s marbles” that crashed into the resort at the beginning of this month, they have still caused damage and much concern, said Wassana Yukhunthon, the resort’s public relations manager.

“Right now we are still obtaining quotations to fix the original damage, which is likely to cost more than 200,000 baht, so we can hand that to our insurance company.

“These latest boulders, although smaller than the two-tonne rocks that crashed into the resort earlier this month, may well cost an extra 50,000 baht,” Ms Wassana said.

She explained that the smaller boulders were likely pinned against trees halfway down the hill from the construction site above. They may have become dislodged after heavy rains during the week, and started tumbling into the resort.

“We keep asking Prasert ‘O-pal’ Auksornprommarat, the construction foreman, to clear the rocks on the hill for us, but he always postpones it. The last time we spoke he said he would do it on Friday morning,” Ms Wassana said.

However, Thanachart “Aod” Pibuncharoenpol, who was hired by Opal to operate the backhoes at the construction site, told the Gazette yesterday, “My contract finished on July 26. Right now, if any rocks roll down the hill, it is not my responsibility. None of my backhoes are at the site anymore. The ones there are not mine.”

He added that much more construction needed to be done at the site, where a shrine for the Chinese goddess Guanyin is being built.

However, Mr Aod did accept responsibility for the boulders unleashed up until July 26.

“I accept responsibility only up until July 26, but no rocks at the site tumbled down the hill [after the original incident],” he insisted.

“I suggest the resort contact the current contractor working at the site or the owner of the project,” he said.

In the meantime, the resort is footing the bill for providing temporary accommodation for residents who have had to move out of their damaged bungalows, said Ms Wassana.

“For safety reasons, the owners of four houses, including two damaged by the boulders, need to stay in other houses on the property until the problem is resolved.

“We have to pay rent to the owners of those four houses for those guests to stay there,” she lamented.

— Atchaa Khamlo

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thailand targeting specific Chinese provinces for “tourism bubble”

Jack Burton

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Thailand targeting specific Chinese provinces for “tourism bubble” | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Travelwire News

Thailand’s minister of tourism and sports says his ministry will target specific provinces in China in a bid to attract tourists back to the resort island of Phuket as travel restrictions are gradually eased. Pipat Ratchakijprakarn says the ministry will not splash out money launching a tourist campaign all across China but rather target some of the many provinces that have brought Covid-19 under control.

He didn’t specify which provinces, but said Phuket is being eyed to lead the planned “tourism bubbles” comprising Thailand and its selected partners. The primary target is selected Chinese cities and provinces.

“China is the first market with potential, because flying time to Thailand is less than six hours.”

Other markets being discussed include South Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and some south east Asian countries.

Before the pandemic, 1 in every 4 foreign visitors to Thailand was Chinese. There were almost 40 million foreign arrivals last year.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Crime

Officials raid 2 Phuket casinos, arresting 87 illegal gamblers

Jack Burton

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Officials raid 2 Phuket casinos, arresting 87 illegal gamblers | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Phuket Andaman News

Officials have raided 2 Phuket casinos resulting in 87 people being arrested for allegedly gambling after the island’s provincial police received complaints of gambling dens operating around the clock – a violation of the current Emergency Decree which bans crowds.

The first raid took place at about 3:30 pm and was at a casino in tambon Talat Nua of Muang district. The premises provided parking spaces for motorcycles and up to 30 cars, and was fenced on all sides with metal sheets. Officials arrested 45 gamblers-30 men and 15 women. They also seized 62,420 baht that was placed as wagers and a gold necklace that was 15 grams in weight.

Around the same time, a second team raided another casino tambon Sisunthon of Thalang district in Phuket’s north. It was also fenced with metal sheets and featured an ample amount of parking space. 42 people- 22 men and 20 women- were rounded up with police seizing 64,260 baht in placed wagers.

All have been charged with illegal betting and violating the Emergency Decree which was recently extended through July.

Officials raid 2 Phuket casinos, arresting 87 illegal gamblers | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Business

Phuket’s (in)famous “Soi Bangla” district reopens today

Jack Burton

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Phuket’s (in)famous “Soi Bangla” district reopens today | The Thaiger

Today is the official reopening of Phuket’s famous (or infamous) “Soi Bangla” nightlife district, but only about 20% of venues say they’re reopening during this early stage. The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration announced yesterday that all night entertainment venues may reopen but must strictly adhere to health guidelines set out to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Dr Taweesilp Visanuyothin, the spokesman for the CCSA, says night entertainment venues, including pubs, bars, karaoke venues and beer gardens will be allowed to open, but only until midnight. Social distancing measures will be strictly enforced, and customers must use the Thai Chana app to check in and out.

The Patong Entertainment Business Association president says only about 20% of the 324 registered members are expected to reopen initially, but he expects more to reopen soon. Among the 22 rules announced last week- to be presented to the CCSA for approval- were that all staff must wear face masks and face shields, but performers may wear face shields only. No bottles are to be served, and all drinks are to be served in glasses. No pool table games (including snooker and billiards) and no dart games are to be allowed.

The number of guests in each venue is to be restricted to cater for social distancing, with at least 2 metres between tables, or partitions must be installed to ensure patrons are seated at least one metre away from each other.

Undercutting the main reason people visit popular venues, the draft rules also call for groups to be limited to 5 people, and for guests to be prohibited from dancing and singing, gathering, shouting, or “wandering around the premises”.

“I have no idea what the rules will be, but we will open anyway. If the full list of 22 rules for pubs, bars and entertainment venues is to be applied, we won’t be able to enforce all the rules, because enforcing all these rules is impossible. But we can follow some of the rules, such as social distancing, wearing masks and checking temperatures.”

Even Patong’s mayor told The Phuket News that she is yet to receive a copy of all the rules to be enforced.

“The next thing to do is follow up with the CCSA about the rules. This is very important for the entertainment industry in Patong. I will help and consider being flexible with the rules for entertainment businesses in Patong, because the rules announced by CCSA are the general rules for many places. But some of these rules are not appropriate for businesses here. We have to apply the right rules and optimise them for businesses in Patong.”

The PEBA president dismissed a few entertainment zones being singled out in other countries as “hotbeds for starting a second wave” of Covid-19 infections.

“I do not care what some people claim is the risk of being in a bar. If the government is genuinely concerned about the risk of Covid-19 spreading, then it is not just about bars, pubs and entertainment venues. The risk of Covid-19 spreading applies anywhere where people are around, not only at bars and pubs.”

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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