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NEWS Hound: Officials concerned about Phuket as terrorism rises in deep south

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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NEWS Hound: Officials concerned about Phuket as terrorism rises in deep south | Thaiger
Phuket NEWS Hound

– A daily, pocket-sized packet of news from around the world, compiled by Phuket Gazette reporters for foreigners who want it short, sharp and straight to the point.

PHUKET: Thai and U.S. officials are preparing for another year of unrest due to the continuing insurgency in the Muslim Malay-dominated provinces in Thailand’s ‘deep south’. Officials are bracing themselves for the negative effect it might have on the Thai tourist economy if the insurgency spreads.

According to the Jamestown Foundation’s website at jamestown.org, Phuket has been receiving U.S. anti-terrorism support since 2004, when bomb blast suppression blankets were given to provincial leaders by the U.S. embassy.

“The recent ranking of Thailand in the ‘extreme’ category of the Terrorism Risk Index developed by Maplecroft, a private U.S. risk analysis firm, will undoubtedly add to the decline in Thai tourism,” the Foundation says. In 2009, the death toll in the “Deep South” was well over 1,000, while tourism nationally dropped 7%, fueled primarily by the global economic slump.

It is to be noted, however, that Phuket province itself, though located only about 200km from the ‘deep south’, has never been drawn into the civil strife afflicting that region.

Foreign investors wary of Thailand’s lack of solid regulations

BBC
Foreign investors and managers in Phuket and elsewhere in Thailand frequently complain about lack of clarity in Thai laws and regulations, and in the uniformity of enforcement of these rules.

It comes as no surprise, then, that Thailand’s economic prospects face continuing uncertainties due to a the current disputes at the Map Ta Phut industrial estate in Ranong province. Economists and investors are warning that political instability, and the legal morass at the industrial site have the potential to derail Thailand’s ascent to recovery.

Map Ta Phut has been driving Thailand’s industrial growth for decades as one of the nation’s biggest petro-chemical hubs. Local environmentalists successfully argued that several projects were in breach of the 2007 pollution laws, and the court ruled that more than 70 projects should be suspended. However, due to the frequent changes of government in Thailand, regulations were never properly established, so companies maintain that they could not possibly comply.

The legal limbo has made investors, domestic and foreign, increasingly nervous. A special committee has been set up to resolve outstanding differences.

Thailand braces for March 12 protests

The Nation
Thailand’s Security Situation Monitoring Committee has declared that March 12, when the red shirts plan to gather at six locations around Bangkok, will be the “most worrying” day on the protest group’s agenda over the next few months. The day may be declared an extra public holiday.

Deputy PM Suthep Thaugsuban instructed the Royal Thai Police to minimize the impact of expected traffic congestion during the street protests to help Bangkok residents, who already suffer heavily from the problem. The army commander-in-chief rejected reports that soldiers were blocking protesters from joining the red shirts’ rallies, insisting that, “The Army is for the benefit of the country. We take no [political] colours or sides.”

Singapore hopes casinos will attract Asian tourists

Earth Times
Singapore expects strong growth for its tourism in 2010, with visitor arrivals forecast to increase by 19 to 29 per cent from 2009, and revenues are expected to jump between 41 and 49 per cent as well. Hopes for Singapore’s tourism sector are riding on two new multi-billion-dollar casino resorts, designed to attract visitors from across the Asia-Pacific region, who account for seven of the top ten nationalities visiting Singapore.

Resorts World Sentosa has already opened its casino, and Marina Bay Sands will open in April. South-East Asia’s first Universal Studios theme park is also set to open in Singapore this month.

Vietnamese artist has exhibition in Phuket

Pr-inside.com
Artist Nguyen Tan Cuong will be displaying his work at a new exhibition in Phuket, opening Friday, April 2, at the Royal Phuket Marina’s D Gallery. The exhibition, titled ‘Day-Night and Day’, is due to run until May 31, and includes 15 new paintings.

Born in Hanoi in 1953, Cuong is currently based in Ho Chi Minh City and has shown his work at galleries around the world, including venues in Japan, Singapore, Belgium, Italy, England and the US. According to the show’s organisers, the painter is “a master at manipulating light”.

Further details of this event and a sample of the artist’s work are available here.

— Gazette Editors

 

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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 (cheaper for Phuket officials anyway).

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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