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Mixed emotions over tsunami mini-series

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Mixed emotions over tsunami mini-series | The Thaiger

PHUKET CITY: Mixed reactions greeted the filming of scenes for the TV mini-series Aftermath at Bangkok Hospital Phuket this week.

While some people said they saw the movie as potentially good for promoting Phuket, others – particularly victims – felt disturbed.

Kudos, the company making the movie for the BBC and HBO, recently came under fire in the British media for insensitivity, causing the BBC to issue a defensive press release. Another critical story by the Associated Press was published widely in the US and elsewhere. Kudos itself has made no public comments.

Some have also questioned the effect that the mini-series, due to be screened in the autumn, will have on tourism in Phuket and neighboring provinces.

But Panu Maswongsa, Vice-President of Marketing of the Phuket Tourism Association, told the Gazette that he did not believe the drama, which covers the day of the December 26, 2004, tsunami and the following few days, will damage Phuket tourism.

“I am sure that the authorities have been involved and read the script before allowing shooting to start. If they have approved it, there should be no negative effect. We should trust the [judgment of the] government officials.”

He noted that the movie Hurricane was made about a disaster in Hawaii, with no negative effect on tourism there.

“Tourism is sensitive, but everyone knows that the tsunami is history. Also, everyone knows that we have a warning system on the beaches to protect lives,” he added.

The production came under particular scrutiny after the crew recreated scenes of devastation, complete with corpses, alongside the main road into Khao Lak, Phang Nga.

Buaphun Phumsanid, 54, a construction worker who was injured when the tsunami hit Baan Nam Khem and who lost her daughter, son-in-law and unborn child, was in two minds about the production.

She said that she had heard that many of the extras in the movie “were running and smiling at the same time,” because they had had no experience of the real thing. She added that people like her should have been hired as extras. “I want to show them how was it,” she said.

That said, she admitted that she found some TV footage disturbing. “I was on a bus coming to Phang Nga and there was a movie or documentary with scenes showing big waves. It make me feel bad.

“I told the bus driver to turn it off or change the movie because it took my mind right back to that day. I still feel bad. I miss my daughter every day.”

Another tsunami victim in Phuket, who asked not to be named, told the Gazette that she had come across some of the extras, still in bandages and fake blood, and that the sight had immediately taken her mind back to the day of the tsunami.

“It has taken me and my husband more than a year to stop having nightmares. We have been trying to forget it,” she said, adding that they both found even small things such as TV commercials with images of flooding – like a current ad for Ford pick-up trucks – disturbing.

“I still have terrible memories about the horrible waves that took away so many thousands of lives in moments. It was a real nightmare for me and I don’t want to be reminded of it again,” she added.

Piyanooch Ananpakdee, Senior Marketing Communications Manager of Bangkok Hospital Phuket, explained that the hospital felt obliged to cooperate with the makers of the mini-series because of a formal request from the Office of Tourism Development in Bangkok.

“We read the script. The plot is good, and emphasizes the kindness of Thai people after the tsunami. I think it will help to promote the country,” she said.

Asked about the effect on people who come across post-tsunami scenes being re-enacted in the hospital, she said, “I don’t think that the filming will have a psychological effect except in the case of people who experienced the tsunami – they might start thinking about it again.

“But the number of tsunami victims coming into the hospital during the three days of filming is likely to be a very low.

“Yesterday some children came in with their parents and we explained to them that it not real. Even though the actors were covered with blood or something, they were always smiling and did nothing to scare anyone during breaks in shooting.”

She noted that shooting had also taken place in three other hospitals – Thalang Hospital and two hospitals in Phang Nga.

“We have allowed them to shoot scenes here on the strict condition that they do not interfere with patients. They are professionals, and gave us a schedule of when and where they would be shooting. We also have our staff keeping them apart from patients,” she added.

“We have a sign informing people about the production and we have been handing fliers to anyone coming to the hospital, apologizing for any inconvenience.”



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Phuket

Power outage in parts of Chalong tomorrow

The Thaiger

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Power outage in parts of Chalong tomorrow | The Thaiger

PHOTO: PEA

Residents of Chalong should be aware that there is a scheduled power outage from 9am to 4.30pm tomorrow (Tuesday) as the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) continues its work on high power voltage systems in the area.

The blackouts will affect the areas from the Shell petrol station on Patak Road to Bayshore law office opposite Chalong Beach Hotel on Wiset Road.

As always, the PEA apologises for the inconvenience.

For more information contact the Operations and Maintenance Department of the Provincial Electricity Authority on 07 652 1099 (24 hr)

 

 

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Phuket

Free water schedules for residents in Patong and Rassada

The Thaiger

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Free water schedules for residents in Patong and Rassada | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: PWA

Authorities have announced schedules of free water distribution for residents in Patong and Rassada.

In Rassada by the Phuket Waterworks Authority (PWA)

  1. Koh Siray, from 8pm to midnight every day at Supitcha housing estate
  2. Soi Kingkaew and Soi Honsaithong, from 9am to 3pm every day.
  3. Nattakamon housing estate, one time per three days.
  4. Thep Buri housing estate, one time per three days.
  5. Sri Suchart 2 housing estate , Rock Garden housing estate and Kietsin hosuing estate, one time per three days.

In Patong by Patong Municipality

Free water is available on Phra Baree Road, Phisit Koranee Road and Nanai Road on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10am, onward starting today.

Residents are told they need to bring water buckets.

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Alleged Greek murderer of Phuket beautician remains at large

The Thaiger

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Alleged Greek murderer of Phuket beautician remains at large | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Dimitrios ‘Dim’ Chairopoulo, wanted and believed to be living in Greece

Local Phuket police are yet be informed of the latest in an international hunt for a Greek alleged murderer Dimitrios Chairopoulos. He remains wanted as a suspect in the murder of local beautician 43 year old Niramon ‘Bea’ Aewkaew in Phuket during February.

Cherng Talay police say they want an Interpol Red Notice issued so that they can track down and arrest 42 year old Dimitrios ‘Dim’ Chairopoulos, wanted for the murder. Bea and Dim were seen leaving their accommodation on February 11. It was the last time Bea would be seen alive.

Mr Chairopoulos was recorded as clearing Immigration at Phuket International Airport to board a flight to Dubai in the hours after Ms Niramon was last seen alive. He boarded an Emirates flight EK0379 to Dubai, departing Phuket at 2am. Police also confirmed that he arrived in Dubai on the same day.

“If he comes back to Thailand he will be arrested,” said Chief Col Sen Kwannimit of the Cherng Talay Police.

A request for a Red Notice was submitted with the Foreign Affairs Division of the Royal Thai Police on February 19 but, for now, no formal international’s notice has been published..

Cherng Talay Police confirmed that Dim was seen leaving the room at a guesthouse in Bang Tao where Ms Niramon’s body was found on Saturday, February 16.

In the days leading up to her murder her family had been desperately trying to contact her.

‘Bea’ was the eldest of 5 children from Phatthalung province and had been working in Phuket as a beautician at the time.

One of her sisters, May’ was contacted on February 15 by one of Bea’s workmates trying to locate her.

Neither May or Bea’s other sisters, relatives or friends were able to contact her. Bea had just moved to a new house so nobody knew where she was living. Another sister, Pichy, spoke to friends and was able, using Google Maps, to locate the guesthouse she was staying.

The owner of the room told the family that the air-conditioning was on in the room but there was no response. When the owner returned with a key he informed the family that Bea was found on the bed with a black cloth stuffed in her mouth and her hands and feet bound.

CCTV footage shows the couple leaving the room in the afternoon of February 11, the last time that Bea was seen alive.

Alleged Greek murderer of Phuket beautician remains at large | News by The Thaiger

Dimitrios ‘Dim’ Chairopoulos with his daughter from another relationship

What we know about the alleged murderer?

Dimitrios ‘Dim’ Chairopoulos, who remains at large and thought to be in Greece, worked as security in a night club in Athens. He already had a daughter to another woman in Greece.

During his relationship and marriage with Bea he was said to be ‘controlling’ and ‘jealous’ by members of Bea’s family. A close family friend told The Thaiger that the family had concerns for Bea’s safety and were ‘uncomfortable’ with her ongoing relationship and marriage with Dim.

“We tried to get to know him at family functions but he was not easy to know and seemed very possessive of Bea,” said one of the close family members who asked not to be named.

“He did threaten to kill her if she ever left him and Oh, another of her sisters, went with Bea to file a report of the threats at the Cherng Talay police station at the time,” they explained.

That report was made to police in 2016. A year later the pair married and were still married at the time of the murder.

“He would drive past the beauty shops that Bea worked at and spy on her.”

The family claim that, apart from his own possessions, he also stole Bea’s phone before he headed to the Phuket International Airport on the evening of the murder.

So where is Dimitrios Chairopoulo?

At this stage the Greek Embassy has made no comment about the case or followed up with Greek Police about the pursuit for the fugitive man.

There are currently approximately 58,000 valid Red Notices worldwide of which only 7,000 are public. An Interpol Red Notice has not been issued to alert international police or Immigration officials to be on the look-out for Dim.

For now, the alleged murderer of Bea – an innocent Phuket beautician, beloved sister and family member – remains at large, most probably in Greece.

If anyone has any information about Dimitrios ‘Dim’ Chairopoulo’s whereabouts or information that may lead police to arrest him, please send a confidential message to The Thaiger.

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