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OAG to tackle corruption in Phuket

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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OAG to tackle corruption in Phuket | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: The Office of the Auditor General’s (OAG) two-day public forum designed to raise the public’s awareness of the negative effects of corruption and what issues are faced in combating it started yesterday at the Royal Phuket City Hotel.

“This is about raising people’s awareness of the need for anti-corruption efforts. People need to see why corruption is bad and unacceptable,” said Chairman of the State Audit Commission Chaisit Trachoetham, who headed the meeting.

Speaking on the panel to an assembly of about 200 people were Auditor-General Pisit Leelavachiropas, Phuket Governor Nisit Jansomwang, Phuket City Mayor Somjai Suwansupana, President of the Phuket Anti-Corruption Network Surin Bamrungphol and Phuket Gazette Managing Editor Isaac Stone Simonelli.

“The biggest benefit from today’s forum was discussing which issues are preventing us from battling corruption and what the public thinks should be done,” Dr Chaisit said. “On the other hand, the forum offered us an opportunity to explain to the people what the OAG does and how important public input is.”

Governor Nisit took the opportunity to call on the OAG to spearhead investigations into construction companies that have won government contracts on the island.

“There are so many multi-million-baht infrastructure projects taking place in Phuket, and when there is a problem, I’m the one who is blamed,” Governor Nisit said. “However, there is nothing I can do. I would like to see the OAG investigate why there are delays in some of these construction projects, as well as other problems, and root out the corruption.

“Because the mega projects are taken care of by departments in Bangkok, the OAG is in a much better position to take action against these companies.”

Dr Surin opened the discussion in broader terms, pointing out that the way to tackle corruption was by focusing on the next generation.

“We have to make sure they deeply believe that there is no room in society for corrupt people,” Dr Surin said.

The Phuket Anti-Corruption Network regularly holds anti-corruption talks at schools and universities, Dr Surin noted.

Mr Simonelli, who was asked to join the meeting to represent the English-language media on the island, pointed out the effect this type of media can have when dealing with Thailand’s image.

“Though the English-language media caters to a minority group in Thailand: expats, tourists and English-speaking Thais, it wields a great deal of power in the way Thailand is perceived by the rest of the world. The reports written in English are the ones that have the greatest impact on many Ultra High-Net Worth Individuals and other markets sought by the Tourism Association of Thailand,” Mr Simonelli said.

“Clearly understanding what actions the OAG is taking and why they are taking them is fundamental to accurate reporting. Vagueness and lack of clear explanations of why some projects are being audited and others are not leaves room for foreign readers to speculate what corruption may lie behind the paperwork.”

Mr Pisit assured all in attendance that it isn’t too late to send the OAG anonymous tip-offs.

“Provide us information so we can check up on possible corruption. You don’t need to be directly involved, you just need to point us in the right direction,” Mr Pisit said. “Even if money has already been inappropriately spent, we can still work to return that money to the state.

“We need everyone to join us in fighting corruption.”

The OAG can be contacted at 02 271-8000.

— Chutharat Plerin

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Tourism

Phuket prepares to welcome first Chinese tourists in over 6 months

Maya Taylor

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Phuket prepares to welcome first Chinese tourists in over 6 months | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Jing Daily

The first group of tourists to arrive under Thailand’s new Special Tourist Visa scheme are expected to land in Phuket on October 8. The Bangkok Post reports that a flight from Guangzhou in southern China will carry 120 tourists, who will spend their first 14 days in alternative state quarantine. They are reported to be travelling under the government’s new STV.

Arrivals who do not pass the initial health screening will be transferred to specially chosen hospitals, as “Patients under Investigation”. Those who do pass the screening will be transported to alternative state quarantine once they’ve gone through immigration processing.

A Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration spokesperson says the resort islands of Phuket and Koh Samui will be the first to welcome travellers under the Special Tourist Via scheme. He pointed out that Guangzhou has not recorded any new cases of the Covid-19 virus for a prolonged period, meaning next week’s tourist arrivals are deemed “low risk”. His assertion is confirmed from the official figures at worldometer.info website recording world Covid-19 cases.

The CCSA reports that there will be a limit of 300 foreign tourists admitted each week, but this will be reviewed after the first phase of the re-opening. All arrivals will be subject to 14 day quarantine, although the Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn has suggested reducing this to 7 days eventually. The CCSA says they are not considering reducing the quarantine time at this stage.

Thiravat Hemachudha from the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Disease Health Science Centre is not opposed to the idea.

“We can study this with foreign visitors who will arrive next month. During the 14 day quarantine they will be tested on the first, the seventh and the fourteenth day. If they are free of infections, we can shorten the quarantine to 7 days.”

However, not all are in agreement, with a doctor from Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University cautioning against any shortening of the quarantine period.

Meanwhile, Phuket governor, Narong Woonsiew, says the province is ready to welcome the new arrivals, with Covid-19 labs in place at Phuket airport, and officials due to carry out a full dress rehearsal today.

Thanit Sermkaew, chief of the Phuket Public Health Office, says over 1,200 rooms at 9 hotels have been chosen as alternative state quarantine properties, with a total of 73 hotels, providing over 5,800 rooms, applying for consideration.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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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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