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Kiwi teen in Phuket court tomorrow

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Kiwi teen in Phuket court tomorrow | Thaiger

PHUKET: A 17-year-old New Zealander arrested in Patong for possession of diazepam pills remains stranded in Phuket, where local police admit they are not seeking to arrest the seller of the drugs.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a police source told the Gazette his team asked the teenager where he bought the pills, but the youth declined to answer.

“He had the right to say nothing when asked a question he didn’t want to answer,” the source said. “But he accepted the charges against him.”

“Normally, if we know where a suspect bought Valium we check the shop,” he said. “If they don’t have a license to sell the drug or they’ve sold it without a prescription, we arrest them as well.”

The young Kiwi, due to appear in Juvenile Court tomorrow, cannot be named under Thai law. He has confessed to the charges against him.

In the early hours of December 7, he got on the back of a motorcycle taxi with nine diazepam pills, more commonly known as Valium, stashed in his pocket.

When Kathu Police officers saw the pair riding over a section of sidewalk on the Patong beach road, they stopped and searched the pair and arrested the young Kiwi.

More than five weeks after he was originally due to fly home, he remains in Phuket on bail.

“We’re trying to hurry up the process for him because we understand that he has to go back to school,” the source said.

Recently released statistics from the Phuket Provincial Police show this was the only arrest for diazepam possession in Phuket in 2009.

Over the same period, police seized 253 pills and 8 grams of alprazolam (trade name Xanax), arresting 18 people.

While such drugs are difficult to obtain without a prescription in most parts of Thailand, they remain readily available in tourist centers such as Patong.

High-ranking sources in the Phuket Provincial Health Office said shops registered with their office to sell category four drugs are allowed to do so on a discretionary basis and in small amounts – typically 10 pills or fewer.

Such shops must have a license and most have a Thai-language sign indicating that such prescription medications are available there over the counter.

Other big sellers in such shops include erectile dysfunction drugs like sildenafil citrate (Viagra) and tadalafil (Cialis).

Drug arrests in Thailand carry stiff penalties for adults, but the Juvenile Court system is based more on rehabilitation than punishment. First time offenders are seldom incarcerated for small seizures unless they are associated with violent crimes.

— D Waites & K Pornmongkhonwat

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

For travellers to Phuket, testing is out, quarantine is in

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Phuket Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong (via Facebook)

The on-again-off-again plans for testing people for Covid-19 as they arrive in Phuket will be replaced by quarantine after May 15, according to Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong’s latest announcement. In an online video broadcast last night, the vice governor confirmed the new scheme after Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew first mentioned it in an executive meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall yesterday.

There are now 25 provinces on the Phuket red zone list that they instated on April 22, with anyone arriving from those places required to have proof that they are either fully vaccinated or tested negative for Covid-19 within the last 72 hours. Without proof, people have to take a rapid antigen test to confirm they did not have Covid-19 before they would be allowed on the island. The test was first set to be 300 baht for everyone, and later controversially made free for Thai people and 500 baht for foreigners.

There had been some back and forth with budget concerns of being able to provide the mass testing and who would pay how much for continued testing. Perhaps requiring people to quarantine in Phuket is cheaper than testing them when they arrive. The original scheme was set to expire May 15, and announcements were made about extending the plan and stopping testing right away. For now, this debate seems to have settled on replacing the testing with a mandatory quarantine upon entering Phuket.

The vice-governor explained that the rapid antigen test will continue through May 14, and then starting May 15, anyone who arrives without a vaccine or a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of arriving in Phuket will be required to quarantine for 14 days. They set a goal of zero new infections by the end of the next two weeks. And he stated they are committed to doing whatever it takes as “Phuket cannot continue with this risk”.

Speaking to The Phuket News… “We want to send a sign to the country that we are cleaning up our province. The 3 vice governors [in Phuket] have been ordered to take care of each district by cooperating with local administration officers as well as community leaders to do proactive screening,”

After announcing the quarantine plan for Phuket, the vice governor spoke confidently that in the near future the island will have enough jabs to vaccinate every person on the island. Religious leaders from any faith are currently being vaccinated because of their general proximity to people during religious ceremonies and practices.

Vice Governor Piyapong pled with people with the people of Phuket who were on the fence about Covid-19 vaccinations, anti-vaxxers, or those otherwise resisting getting the jabs needed to reach herd immunity.

“If you are still deciding whether or not to get vaccinated, please come to get vaccinated”

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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Phuket

Thailand News Today | Pfizer vaccines on the way, Phuket’s July re-opening | May 7

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Disease Control Department back-peddled saying that that foreigners living in Thailand WILL also be vaccinated, governor of Chiang Mai is calling for the ban on dining in at restaurants in the northern city to be lifted and for eateries to be allowed to serve food on-site until 9pm, Tourism and Sports Minister insists the southern island of Phuket must record zero Covid-19 cases if a planned July re-opening is to go ahead, and 150 million baht worth of methamphetamine pills were impounded in Nakhon Phanom yesterday

 

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Phuket

We’re looking for a Video Editor/Production Assistant in Phuket

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The Thaiger is seeking a full time video editor and production assistant for a new project based in Phuket. The role is open to a Thai national but with great English skills as well. You will need to be able to work to deadlines with a crazy bunch of stressed out news hosts, guests and the rest of The Thaiger team.

You’ll also need a general knowledge of the Thai news cycle as the content will be largely centred around daily news and current affairs. Knowledge of social media, and especially YouTube, will be an advantage.

Prior work in the TV or video production industry would be a requirement; we couldn’t care less about your educational qualifications. The role would be Monday to Friday.

The work hours would be earlier in the day, probably starting around 7am. There may be some occasional travel to Bangkok involved as well. Salary would be between 30-40,000 baht per month, depending on experience with opportunities for bonuses. The initial contract would be for 3 months, renewable.

If you are interested, or know someone who could fit the job, send an email to THAIGER EDITOR at info@thethaiger.com

 

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