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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 | The Thaiger
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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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Phuket

Phuket told to prepare “response plan” in case of second Covid-19 outbreak

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket told to prepare “response plan” in case of second Covid-19 outbreak | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Daily News

As Phuket awaits foreign tourists, city officials are told to prepare a “response plan” in case of a second wave of Covid-19. An official from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports held a workshop in Phuket today to discuss the risk of another outbreak as the country opens up to those on the Special Tourist Visa.

The ministry’s permanent secretary Chote Trachu says now that the country is allowing tourists (who are required to quarantine upon arrival) an infection “may somehow slip through.” He says a response plan needs to be in place in case this happens, adding that there should be corporation from the Ministry of Public Health and Ministry of Defense.

“If any tourists are found to be infected, the disease must not be allowed to spread among the people. There should be no panic, and public health officers will investigate the case. Tourist Police will track down the suspected person in an investigation with the Ministry of Public Health.”

Chote says all provinces – not just Phuket – should have a response plan. Although tourists must go through a mandatory 14 day quarantine upon arrival, Chote says there are some cases where the incubation period for Covid-19 is longer than 14 days.

“There are a variety of cases. Sometimes, the infection does not show after 14 days, or even 15 or 16 days. Each situation is different.”

Recently, a woman in Koh Samui tested positive for the coronavirus 5 days after she was released from a Samut Prakan quarantine facility. Traces of the virus were found on gym equipment the woman used at the quarantine, leading health officials to suspect she was infected before arriving to the island.

“We urge Thai people to not let their guard down. Everyone must wear masks, wash their hands and take care of personal hygiene. This will help prevent them from contracting the disease.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Business

Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub

Maya Taylor

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Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub | The Thaiger
Mai Khao beach in north Phuket - PHOTO: www.makemytrip.com

Industry officials are seeking the go-ahead for a project to transform over 140 rai of government land in Phuket into a world-leading medical hub. The project is budgeted at 3 – 4 billion baht, depending on which report you read. Kitkong Tantijaraswarodom, from the Federation of Thai Industries, believes the development of a medical and wellness hub in the sub-district of Mai Khao, north Phuket, will help revive the southern island’s battered economy. Phuket has become increasingly reliant on a steady flow of tourists over the past 2 decades.

The southern division of the FTI covers Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Trang, Patthalung, Surat Thani, Ranong, Satun, Chumphon, and Songkhla.

“The FTI will ask the government to green-light the project during the scheduled mobile cabinet meeting on the island on November 3.”

Kitkong says businesspeople in the south are anxious for the government to approve the project, which will provide both locals and foreign medical tourists with state-of-the-art medical care. The facility is expected to include long-term care, hospice and rehabilitation services, in addition to a dental hospital, sports therapy centre, and a medical training school for doctors, nurses, pharmacists and medical laboratory scientists.

The chair of the FTI’s southern chapter is also calling on officials to provide small and medium-sized businesses with additional support, in the form of access to loans, in order to deal with cash shortages.

“In the short term, the FTI wants the government to help SMEs, especially those in the tourism sector.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Phuket

Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment

The Thaiger

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Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment | The Thaiger

A man has been found hanged in Phuket Town apartment yesterday. Police are treating the cases as a suicide at the moment.

The man was found hanged from the apartment’s ceiling fan. His lifeless body was discovered around 11am after neighbours complained to the manager about the smell coming from the man’s room.

Police and the local Kusoldharm Foundation rescue workers attended the scene. Police later confirmed the incident happened in room on the 3rd floor of an apartment lock in Soi Phoonphol Soi 1, Talat Nuea in Phuket Town. Police said the man was 35-45 years of age and had a 29 year old girlfriend from Chumphon. He was paying 1,000 baht a month and had been renting the room for 2 months. Police estimate that the man had been dead for at least 3 days.

Police told media that the man had used, what appeared to be a dress, tied around his neck and then to the room’s roof fan. The apartment manager told police that he had been late on on his recent rent, speculating that the man may have been suffering financial hardship.

The man’s identity has not been released at this stage.

His body was taken to Vachira Hospital for an autopsy.

If you or anyone you know is in emotional distress, please contact the Samaritans of Thailand 24-hour hotline: 02 713 6791 (English), 02 713 6793 (Thai) or the Thai Mental Health Hotline at 1323 (Thai).

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