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Impact of investment crash “too early to tell’

Legacy Phuket Gazette



Impact of investment crash “too early to tell’ | The Thaiger

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Although the 30% withholding requirement on foreign capital inflows was quickly rescinded for certain transactions, including direct foreign investment and stock market transactions, at the time of going to press the rule still applied to other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

Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Phuket. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

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North East

Swiss man accused of overstaying visa and theft charges

The Thaiger & The Nation



Swiss man accused of overstaying visa and theft charges | The Thaiger

by Kamthon Kongsombat

PHOTO: Security footage from the Phuket jewelry store in December 2018 – Facebook

The Immigration Bureau says they’re going to blacklist and deport a Swiss man who overstayed his visa and is also accused of series of thefts in Nongkhai and Phuket.

The Nongkhai deputy immigration police chief Colonel Prasit Somjaiprasong says that Julien Andre Junior Cotting, a 25  year old Swiss national, was arrested yesterday at a guest house near the Mekong River in Nongkhai on theft charge.

He was arrested after 42 year old Sai-arun Konwan, the owner of the Chorfah Gallery Hotel in Muang district, filed complaint with police that a foreigner had stolen her bag that she left in the hotel’s lobby on January 8.

She told police that she noticed Cotting having coffee in the lobby. Security camera checked later showed the suspect picking up her handbag and leaving on a rented motorcycle.

The handbag contained 1,000 baht cash, an ATM and other credit cards as well as other important documents.

Sai-arun said Cotting was a regular customer at the hotel’s coffee shop.

After the complaint, police searched for the suspect and noticed a suspicious-looking foreigner at a guesthouse. His passport revealed that he was Cotting and he had overstayed his visa.

After Sai-arun identified the suspect it was found that he had an outstanding arrest warrant on a theft charge in Phuket province where he allegedly stole a diamond ring in December, 2018.

Cotting faces charges of theft and overstaying his visa and will be prosecuted and deported, immigration authorities said.

ไชยยศ ไชยพฤกษ์ covered the story in Phuket last year. Here’s one of the photos from that post…

Swiss man accused of overstaying visa and theft charges | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation

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What to do if a pet tests positive for Rabies

The Thaiger



What to do if a pet tests positive for Rabies | The Thaiger

PHOTO: PR Department

An announcement about animals in a Rabies Outbreak Zone.

These are things that pet owners must do when it has tested positive for rabies.

• Pet owners must follow Animal Epidemics Act 2015.

• No person may move an infected animal or carcass specified in such announcement into, out of, through or within such zone unless they have written permission from the veterinarian who is responsible for such area.

• Anyone who does not follow the guidelines shall be fined up to 40,000 baht or jailed up to two years.

In any event, follow the guidelines of your local vet and consult the authorities in such a situation.

A district livestock development office in Phuket province has announced a Rabies outbreak zone in the Chalong area yesterday.

Read more about the establishment of the ‘zone’ HERE and a response from the Soi Dog Foundation HERE.



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Soi Dog Foundation responds to Rabies outbreak zone in Chalong

The Thaiger



Soi Dog Foundation responds to Rabies outbreak zone in Chalong | The Thaiger

Following the announcement form the Phuket Livestock Development Office that a rabies outbreak zone was set in Chalong area yesterday (January 17), Soi Dog Foundation Co-Founder, John Dalley, explained about the incident as the dog, which was indeed infected with rabies, was sent to Soi Dog Foundation for treatment after it was found very sick. It is the first dog which was found positive for rabies after several years in the one and only ‘Rabies Free’ zone of Thailand – Phuket.

A district livestock development office in Phuket province has announced a Rabies outbreak zone in the Chalong area yesterday.

Read more HERE.

“A dog was brought into Soi Dog by our dog catchers after it was reported to be vomiting and unable to stand,” said John Dalley.

“It received treatment for several days but did not respond, and symptoms of staggering and being unable to open its mouth, and head tilted to one side led our veterinary staff to suspect rabies as these are classic symptoms.”

“The dog was euthanised and its body sent to the Government testing laboratory. The result indicated that the dog was positive to rabies, the first positive case seen in a dog on Phuket for many years.”

Right after the rabies was detected, Soi Dog Foundation has worked closely with the local Livestock Development Office in order to control the situation.

“Soi Dog are working closely with the Department of Livestock to vaccinate all dogs within a 5 kilometres radius of where the dog was picked up. Soi Dog will focus on strays and the DLD on owned dogs.”

He urged that people shouldn’t be panicked about the situation but be always aware about the importance of vaccination if they get bitten (or scratched or licked on an open wound).

“There is no cause for alarm. We see numerous positive cases in dogs in Bangkok, but no human cases have occurred there in the past 12 months. The traditional picture of a rabid dog foaming at the mouth and attacking people is not a true picture, as with this dog. Anybody being bitten by a dog at any time should always immediately wash the wound with soap and water and go along to their local clinic or hospital to receive the necessary injections.”

John also mentioned about the message that Soi Dog Foundation has been trying to tell government, entrepreneurs as well as people in general that importing unvaccinated puppies to the safe zone like Phuket can be the cause that brings rabies back in the area.

“Although this is likely an isolated incident it should be noted that Soi Dog has repeatedly, over the years, warned of the dangers and requested successive governors to stop the hundreds of very young puppies being imported to Phuket each year for sale at markets and pet stores, but nothing has ever been done. We hope the new Governor will take action. These puppies are generally coming from uncontrolled puppy farms in rabies endemic areas.”

“Puppies cannot be vaccinated against rabies until they are at least 12 weeks old and are reliant on the mother’s immunity providing she has some. The case of a puppy seller in Chatuchak market dying from a bite from a puppy shows the danger.”

“In addition, removing vaccinated sterilised dogs from the street increases the chances of rabies spreading. The World Health Organistion, The Food and Agriculture Division of the United Nations, The World Organisation for Animal Health and The Global Alliance for Rabies Control have issued joint statements advising that the way to eliminate rabies in humans is to eliminate it in dogs first as much cheaper and more effective to do that.

If 70% or more of dogs in a country are vaccinated and strict controls on entry imposed, then you will eliminate rabies.

If you remove vaccinated dogs and put them in a pound, then you are reducing the number of dogs on the street that are vaccinated which allows for others to take their place that may not be vaccinated.”

If a member of the public sees a dog that is staggering or unable to stand then they can call the Soi Dog Helpline on 076 681 029.

Soi Dog Foundation responds to Rabies outbreak zone in Chalong | News by The Thaiger

Rabies control in Chiang Mi last year

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