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Jennings Murder Trial Resumes

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET TOWN: The court trying two people accused in connection with the murder of Patong-based British publican Roger Jennings reopened on March 24 to hear evidence from two witnesses. Jennings (56), was found stabbed to death at his home in Patong Hill Estate, a residential development between Le Meridien Phuket and Patong, on December 15, 1997. On trial before Phuket Provincial Court Judge Amornpoj Kulwijit are Nongnut Tungkaburi, Jennings’ common-law wife, and Kraisorn Kamnoun. The first witness, Santi Thonchaiyapoom, 25, a gardener at Patong Hill Estate, testified that apart from Jennings, three people lived in the Patong Hill Estate home — Nongnut, the housekeeper Ms Da, and a Mr. Wat, whose full names he could not recall. Santi said he lived in a separate building. He testified that on the day of the murder, around 5pm, Nongnut took him and his wife Jongjitr to dinner at a restaurant near Patong Beach. There they met Da and Wat, accompanied by the Jennings family dogs. At 8pm, Santi said, Nongnut went to the Alice Bar on Soi Bangla, which was owned by Jennings and operated by her. Meanwhile he, Jongjitr, Da and Wat went to Phuket Town, returning home about 10:30pm. Minutes after they arrived there, Da ran out of Jennings’ house and said that Jennings had been murdered. Santi rushed to the Alice Bar to tell Nongnut and then to notify the police. When the police arrived at the scene of the murder, they found Jennings’ body at the foot of the stairs. He was dead of multiple stab wounds. When the Prosecutor, Chestavit Tantiphanwadee, asked Santi whether Nongnut was in the habit of taking household staff out to dinner, Santi replied, “Never.” The witness added that the family dogs normally guarded Jennings’ house and usually did not leave it. At the time of the murder, Santi added, Jennings was alone in the house. Asked by the prosecutor whether he had ever seen the second accused, Kraisorn, Santi replied that he had not. The second witness, Weeranat Kammanochart, was a cashier at the Alice Bar at the time of the murder. The prosecutor asked him first whether he knew Wattana Yajaiman. Weeranat replied that he did. On the day of the killing, he said, he went to the Alice Bar around 4:30pm, where he saw Wattana and Nongnut. Later, he added, both of them left the bar, though he could not recall whether they left together. Weeranat testified that around 10:30pm Wattana returned and told him that Nongnut needed 4,000 baht. Weeranat gave the money to Wattana to give to her. He said that he could not recall when Nongnut returned to the bar, but said that she was there when, a couple of hours later, Da came into the bar and gave her the news that Jennings had been killed. The trial resumes on April 29.

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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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