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Minister buries underground cable pleas

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PATONG: It appears unlikely that Patong will get the 350 million baht it wants for burying power cables, after Sports and Tourism Minister Pracha Maleenont sternly shot down a budget proposal for the project at a meeting on post-tsunami redevelopment.

The meeting, at the Graceland Resort and Spa on Wednesday, was held to discuss progress reports on tourism redevelopment efforts in the six tsunami-affected provinces.

As host – and the only province to be represented by its provincial Governor – Phuket was the first province to report to K. Pracha, who chaired the meeting.

Phuket Tourism Association Chairman Pattanapong Aikwanich mentioned that Patong’s last request for 350 million baht in central government funding to lay underground power cables had been rejected by former Deputy Prime Minister Suwat Liptapanlop, who was responsible for Phuket and Phang Nga Provinces after the tsunami.

However, he said, the local business community was very much in favor of the project, and Patong Municipality had already cleared a two-meter-wide path along the beach road to accommodate the subterranean cables.

“If we don’t go ahead with this project now, it will be very difficult to get it done in the future. We requested a budget from the government, and the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) has agreed to budget 40 million baht, but we will need more than that,” he said.

He then turned over the floor to Patong Mayor Pian Keesin to make a budget request for the project, estimated at 350 million baht.

“Patong really needs to have underground cables. So if it’s possible, could the Office of Tourism Development provide 100 million baht and the Ministry of Sports and Tourism another 100 million? If the PEA could [increase its contribution] to 100 million, then Patong Municipality could pay the remainder.

“Could the Ministry please help us with just 100 million baht for this project?” he asked.

Mayor Pian then began to ask K. Pracha to help lobby the government to designate Patong as a “special tourism zone”, where entertainment venues would be allowed to remain open until 3 am or 4 am.

K. Pracha cut the mayor off in mid-flow. “Local administrations are always making requests for this and for that,” he said. “Please be aware of what the Ministry of Tourism and Sports is responsible for and what it can accomplish. You continually ask and ask, but the government still has other parts of the country to take care of.”

Former Phuket Chamber of Commerce Chairman Pamuke Archariyachai then suggested that finishing the national tsunami warning system by the start of the high season should be a top priority to restore confidence among foreign tourists.

He also asked the Ministry to promote the region in other Asian countries, because they are an important source of low-season tourists, and encouraged the Ministry to host a top-level sports tournament, such as an Asian Circuit golf tournament, that would bring well-heeled tourists to the island.

K. Pracha said he agreed with these ideas, but noted that the warning system would not likely be finished by September.

The other five provinces then presented their own progress reports. Many of these, such as Krabi Province’s request for funding to extend the runway at Krabi Airport, included a series of budget requests.

K. Pracha told the media after the meeting that most of the requests were more about infrastructure development than sports and tourism and, as such, should be submitted to other ministries.

However, he added, the redevelopment of Patong and Kamala remains the top policy objective at his Ministry.

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Juthamas Siriwan, also present at the meeting, added that the TAT would finish the first phase of its redevelopment plan for Patong and Kamala by September as a “gift” to high-season tourists. The work involves landscaping areas along the tsunami-damaged beaches.

K. Juthamas said she expects hotel occupancy rates in the coming high season to average 70% to 80%.

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Phuket

Woman arrested for abandoning newborn baby on a bench in Phuket

Caitlin Ashworth

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Woman arrested for abandoning newborn baby on a bench in Phuket | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Siangtai/Newshawk Phuket

Police tracked down and arrested a Burmese woman who allegedly left her newborn baby on a bench in Phuket’s Patong area last week. The mother faces charges of abandoning a baby.

The newborn was left in a reusable shopping bag on a bench behind a Krungthai Bank branch. A woman in the area heard the baby crying and found the newborn in the bag along with a bottle of milk, diapers and clothing. Police reviewed surveillance camera footage shows a woman, police later identified as Ei Ei Phyu, leaving the bag on the bench.

Police say the woman gave birth on September 9 at a local hospital in Surat Thani’s Phun Phin district. Ei Ei allegedly took a van from Surat Thani to Phuket on September 22 and stayed with a friend in Patong. The early the next morning, she allegedly left her baby on the bench before boarding a bus back to Surat Thani.

Burmese workers in the Patong area told police Ei Ei used to work at a local Indian food restaurant before she moved to Surat Thani to work as a rubber tapper. Ei Ei allegedly told police she is not in the position to raise a child.

In earlier reports, police said the baby is healthy and does not appear to have any injuries.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand

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

The Thaiger & The Nation

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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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