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Island leaders move to allay fears of coup violence

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Island leaders move to allay fears of coup violence | The Thaiger
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PHUKET CITY: At a meeting held at Phuket Provincial Hall at 2 pm today, Phuket Governor Udomsak Uswarangkura, along with other key island figures, reassured residents that life will carry on as normal following Tuesday night’s coup.

He said that Thai people already understood the national situation but that it could be misread by foreigners. He added that he had already explained to the British, Swedish and Norwegian consuls on the island that martial law “just means” empowering the military to give orders to civilian officials, and that it would not impact on people’s everyday lives.

Gov Udomsak said that, in Phuket, the police and navy are responsible for security. He added that troops from Krabi were posted at the airport as he thought the increased security measures and military presence would not deter tourists.

He also explained that his impending retirement, on October 1, and the annual redeployment of government officials on the same day would not be affected by the coup. “The changes in Bangkok will not interfere with the everyday running of the province, and I will carry on reporting to the Ministry of Interior,” he said.

Phuket Provincial Police Commander Pol Maj Gen Decha Budnampetch agreed, saying that the situation in Phuket remains normal and calm. He added however that he is concerned about the potential impact to tourism, especially in the coming high season.

“Phuket Provincial Police had already heightened security measures following the bombings in Haad Yai [on Saturday]. We are now prepared for any new security threats that might emerge, although nothing much has actually changed following the coup,” Gen Decha said.

He added, “In Singapore, they have had armed soldiers at the airport for years and that has never bothered people.”

Runjuan Tongrut, Assistant Director of Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Southern Region 4 Office, said that tourism to Phuket should not suffer any real setbacks due to the political changes.

“The TAT agencies in 18 countries outside Thailand are helping their customers understand the situation here. They are also reporting the tourism situation in the markets they are responsible for to the central TAT office in Bangkok,” she said.

“We know that the Korean government is very concerned about this situation and we have had some cancellations from Korean tourists. The Japanese government has warned tourists of the situation but so far we still have no reports of canceled trips.

“The British Government have warned tourists to keep away from crowds but has not advised people not to come to Thailand. News about the situation has also been posted in the Scandinavian market but the big agencies are still confirming bookings for trips to Thailand.”

K. Runjuan added that all activities organized by TAT , such as the Thailand Travel Mart 2006 (TTM 2006) scheduled to be held in Bangkok on September 24 to 28 will go ahead as planned, as will the vegetarian festival in Phuket next month.

President of the Phuket Tourist Association, Maitree Narukatpichai also agreed that the tourism situation in Phuket will not be greatly affected by the situation and that, as long as there is no violence, will soon be back to normal.

Phuket Hotel Association President Sithi Tantawanich said that he has had no reports of any cancellations and that hotel managers in Phuket have explained to guests that they will not be effected by the coup.

Eam Thavornwongwongse, President of Phuket Chamber of Commerce, said that he had not heard of any hoarding of goods and that all businesses in Phuket are operating normally.

British Honorary Consul in Phuket, Alan Cooke, said, “In my experience, Thailand has developed a unique technique for dealing with coups; they are operated and managed extremely well and extremely successfully. I hope very sincerely that this occasion will be no different.”

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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 airports are 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 manner. The Phuket health chief says the 5T’s stand for Target, Testing, Treating, Trusting and Tracing.

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 and will be tested tomorrow with its operation to start on September 30. As large groups of tourists could arrive, the lab is reportedly capable of testing 96 people at a time with test results becoming available in 6 hours.

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. 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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Politics

Phuket’s Sri Panwa Resort’s land title deed to be investigated for legality by DSI

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket’s Sri Panwa Resort’s land title deed to be investigated for legality by DSI | The Thaiger

Back in the news again. Phuket’s Sri Panwa Resort’s land title deed is now to be investigated by the Department of Special Investigation after a petition was filed to determine whether the deed was procured legally. Veera Somkwamkid, the secretary-general of the People’s Network Against Corruption, filed the petition along with 167 pages of documents pertaining to his accusations that Thawatchai Anukun, a land fraud suspect, had unlawfully issued land title deeds to plots of land in Phuket before he mysteriously died in a detention room while in DSI custody in 2016.

He was allegedly being investigated for falsifying land deeds between the years of 1998 and 2001. Veera claims before the title deed was issued on the plot, the land was part of a forest known by locals as Pa Kae.

“Back then, 10 families that had occupied the plots for about 40 years had title deed requests rejected. The reason given was the land was part of a forest reserve used by the navy.”

However, Watchara Buathong, Phuket’s current land official, says the Sri Panwa resort had legally acquired its 56-rai, none of which was ever state land. Local resident Khwanjai Khumban, backed this claim, saying her father and cousins had sold most of the land to the resort, and she could produce documents to account for at least 12 rai of the disputed area.

Phuket's Sri Panwa Resort's land title deed to be investigated for legality by DSI | News by The Thaiger

Meanwhile, the Social Security Office, is also under fireas it is being asked to explain why it invested in the hotel’s trust fund. The department, which is under Thailand’s Ministry of Labour, in which its minister says he doesn’t know if the property has been legally built and points to the responsibility to the DSI to investigate. This was echoed by at least one opposition MP and anti-corruption activists.

The hotel, situated on Cape Panwa, in Phuket’s Muang district, has been under recent scrutiny due to its owner, Vorasit Issara, accusing Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul, a co-leader of the anti-government United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration group, of offending the monarchy at last weekend’s protest at Sanam Luang.

Vorasit posted on Instagram that Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul should be jailed, further falsely claiming that she is not Thai when, in fact, Panusaya was found to have been born in Nonthaburi and is a Thai citizen.

“This bullshit has got to stop. She is not Thai. Who is she working for? This one needs to be in prison”.

Such a statement has received wide backlash from netizens with some taking to Trip Advisor and other websites to post bad reviews of the resort, prompting it to suspend advertising on such sites.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post
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Phuket

Female prisoner on the run after escaping from Phuket Hospital

The Thaiger

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Female prisoner on the run after escaping from Phuket Hospital | The Thaiger

A female prisoner is on the run after escaping from Vachira Hospital in Phuket during a doctor’s appointment. 58 year old Siri Phodam allegedly escaped after asking her prison escort officer to use the toilet. But she took a long time to come back, and was found to have escaped. CCTV cameras caught her dressed in a blue hospital patient shirt and a sarong leaving the hospital quickly. A Phuket prison officer says the woman is 158 centimetres tall and has dark skin.

“Some of our own officers are searching for her, and we have also sent the prisoner’s description to all Phuket police stations. However, at this stage we have not found any clues.

Female prisoner on the run after escaping from Phuket Hospital | News by The Thaiger

“If anyone finds a person matching the prisoner’s appearance, please inform us by calling 076 212 104.”

Siri was imprisoned after being charged with posessing illegal drugs and lived in Moo 2, Rawai.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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