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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

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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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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FULL TIME WRITER – English language

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FULL TIME WRITER – English language | The Thaiger

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Phuket

Lost in translation – Karon seafood restaurant staff chase American customer

The Thaiger

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Lost in translation – Karon seafood restaurant staff chase American customer | The Thaiger

SCREENSHOT: เหยี่ยวข่าว ภูเก็ต Newshawk Phuket

A post on the Facebook page ‘Newshawk Phuket’ has a 30 second video captioned ‘in Karon, what happened?This happened on December 2 at 4PM, on the road, in front of Karon Beach, Phuket’.

The video shows a group of people running after a western man and attacking him.

Today , Karon Police Superintendent, Pol Col Prawit Suthiruang-Arun, told media that he has ordered Karon police to investigate the incident as depicted in the video.

🔴 #ที่กะรน เกิดอะไรขึ้น….. เหตุเกิดเมื่อวันที่ 2 ธันวาคม 2562 ช่วงเวลา 16.00 น. ที่เกิดเหตุบนถนนหน้าหาดกะรน จังหวัดภูเก็ต

Posted by เหยี่ยวข่าว ภูเก็ต Newshawk Phuket on Monday, December 2, 2019

Karon police received a report about a physical assault in front of a seafood restaurant located on the beachfront of Karon. At the scene, police found an American man, 44 year old ‘Conelly’, and three restaurant staff including 27 year old Teeraporn Thitayaporn, 20 year old Aomin Wen from Myanmar and 21 year old Nadee from Myanmar.

After speaking to the people involved, and witnesses, police found that there was a ‘misunderstanding’ when Connelly was having a conversation with the staff about food, which resulted in the fight as seen in the video.

Police allowed the two sides to talk so police could get a better understanding about what happened. The two sides confessed to the police that they both attacked each other. However, they only suffered minor injuries.

The staff, as well as the American man, were fined 500 baht each by the Karon police. The matter was settled by the local police without any arrests.

Later, all the ‘players’ told media they had no intention to file criminal or civil charges.

SOURCE: Newshawk Phuket

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Strong interest of foreign investors in Phuket’s resorts – JLL report

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Strong interest of foreign investors in Phuket’s resorts – JLL report | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Dhawa Phuket

“In the Asia Pacific, Phuket is one of the three hotel investment markets in the region that have been highlighted.”

Buoyed by the rise of experience-driven travel and an affinity toward locally-inspired hotel offerings, resort assets remain a top target among investors. According to JLL Hotels & Hospitality’s Global Resort Report, resort sales accounted for 20% of all hotel sales in the Americas, while Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Asia-Pacific’s resort sales totalled 7% of all hotel sales. Across all regions, private equity funds emerged as resorts dominant buyer, accounting for 20-50% of annual resort transaction volume in each market.

In the Asia Pacific, Phuket is one of the three hotel investment markets in the region that have been highlighted.

Phuket saw a total of 4.85 billion baht of resorts sold between 2014 and the first half of 2019. Half of these resorts achieved a transacted price at above 950 million baht. According to JLL’s report, investment activity over the period was dominated by foreign investors whose acquisitions accounted for 79% of the total investment volume, with the largest inbound capital coming from Singapore (58%). Findings from JLL also show that developers were the most acquisitive group, accounting for over 65% of total transaction volume on the island, followed by hotel operators at 20%.

Strong growth in tourism has contributed greatly to Phuket’s appeal as a hospitality investment destination. Total overnight visitors to the island have grown steadily over the past decade (2008 to 2018), with international and domestic visitation registering a CAGR of 10.9% and 9.9%, respectively. International overnight visitors accounted for 72.7% of total arrivals.

Pitinut Pupatwibul, Senior Vice President – Strategic Advisory, JLL’s Hotels and Hospitality Group, says the number of international visitors to Phuket is likely to taper off slightly due primarily to surging Thai Baht and unfavourable global economic conditions.

“However, investors have continued to show keen interest in acquiring quality resort assets in Phuket as they remain confident in the long term outlook for the tourism market of one of the world’s most popular holiday destinations.”

“In addition, increased air connectivity, lower barriers of entry through visa fee waivers and limited future supply are expected to bode well for Phuket’s resort segment in the medium to long term.”

According to JLL’s Hotels and Hospitality Group, the total stock of resorts in Phuket stood at 14,300 rooms at the end of June 2019. An estimated 540 resort rooms are planned for completion between the second half of 2019 and the end of 2021, accounting for less than 4% of the existing stock.

Read the full JLL Global Resort Report HERE.

 

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