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Impact of investment crash “too early to tell’

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Impact of investment crash “too early to tell’ | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: While the stock market took the brunt of the “Black Tuesday” sell-off triggered by the capital controls put in place to stem speculation against the rising Thai baht, experts say that it is still too early to gauge the long-term impact on Phuket’s property market.

Although the 30% withholding requirement on foreign capital inflows was quickly rescinded for certain transactions, including direct foreign investment and stock market transactions, at the time of going to press the rule still applied to other forms of foreign investment, including property funds.

The draconian measures, adopted by the Bank of Thailand (BOT) on December 18, initially affected all capital inflows of US$20,000 (about 70,000 baht) or greater.

Foreigners were required to make a 30% withholding deposit with the BOT. Where it still applies, the measure effectively freezes up investment capital without earning interest for at least one year, after which time the depositor can apply for a refund.

Phummisak Hongsyok, Phuket’s representative to the National Legislative Assembly, told the Gazette that the BOT’s methods were strong but effective in stemming the baht’s rise against the American currency. He agreed with the BOT’s decision to relax the measure for stock market investment, saying it was too strict.

The long-term fallout on direct investment and the real estate market can be assessed only after January 4, when the holiday period has ended and further BOT adjustments may be announced, he added.

The currency control measures were the second government announcement to have a major impact on foreign investment in the property sector this year. The first was a Ministry of Interior order issued last May instructing provincial governors to crack down on foreigners using Thais as “nominees” to set up real estate investment firms, he noted.

Investor confidence would improve if the BOT had issued an advance statement of how the currency control measures were intended to affect foreign property investment, he said.

“The government has to make a clear-cut decision as to what extent they want to open up Phuket, and Thailand, to foreigners wishing to stay and invest here. This would include revising visa regulations to support long-stay tourism as well as currency controls,” he said.

Neighboring countries, such as Malaysia and Vietnam, had already adopted measures to promote long-stay tourism, he added.

Graham Bibby, Managing Director of the Richmond Group and also an experienced currency analyst, views the BOT’s latest actions as misdirected.

“The whole problem is not about the Thai baht going up. It’s about the US dollar going down. The BOT is focusing on the wrong thing … The BOT needs to educate its exporters. They worry about the exporters, but in most countries exporters know how to hedge the the currency – to lock in the currency rate…This is not a Thai baht problem, it is a US dollar problem. In my view, the Thai baht is going to go to 30 to the US dollar in the next six to eight months,” he predicted.

“For property investment, in some respects it is not so bad. The only problem is that it was on the front page of every newspaper, which portrays Thailand in a negative way.

“What I have been telling clients is that this proves my point that Thailand is too international now. In the old days, 15 or 20 years ago, they could do this. But now they can’t do this even if they want to because the international community will not accept it,” he said.

He agreed with K. Phummisak that the government should consider relaxing its stance on foreign ownership of property, perhaps by allowing foreigners to own one property freehold or by introducing some sort of “perpetual lease”.

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Thailand

Phuket police arrest 6 after finding large amounts of methamphetamine in raid

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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

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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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