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Osotspa clan member alleges B293mn land swindle off Phuket

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Osotspa clan member alleges B293mn land swindle off Phuket | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Saowanee Osathanugrah, a member of the famous Thai “Osotspa” family, has filed a complaint against her husband for allegedly trying to swindle her out of land on Koh Yao Yai, an island off Phuket, valued at 293 million baht.

Osotspa Co Ltd, known worldwide for its M-150 and Shark energy drinks, last year reported a total operating income of about 2.1 billion baht.

Ms Saowanee, however, is embroiled in a drawn-out divorce from her estranged husband Chinnawes Sarasas.

She filed a complaint with Koh Yao Police Deputy Superintendent Sinchai Srikhumklip on Tuesday, alleging that Mr Chinnawes had used her forged signature on land ownership transfer documents in an attempt to acquire the land through a hotel company.

“I married Mr Chinnawes in 1977. In 1996, we agreed to buy three plots of land and register Mr Chinnawes as the owner,” Ms Saowanee explained to police.

The three plots, covering a total area of 17 rai, were all registered with the Phang Nga Land Office and were issued NorSor 3 Kor (NS3) titles, numbered 1132, 1280 1261.

“On November 24, 2003, Mr Chinnawes, Mr Suthi Sirprathum and Ms Phinya Chusa-nguanpong created a land ownership transfer document with my forged signature on it,” Ms Saowanee alleged.

“The document says that I agreed to transfer [ownership of] those three plots of land to Pakoh Hotel Co Ltd. I have never known anything about this,” she added.

Ms Saowanee also accused Mr Chinnawes of using her forged signature on copies of her house registration book and her ID card to attach to the land transfer document.

“Later, on December 18, 2003, Mr Chinnawes, on behalf of Pakoh Hotel Co Ltd management committee, authorized Mr Suthi to present the copies of my forged personal documents and the forged land transfer document to Koh Yao Land Office officials to register and conduct the transfer of the three plots of land to Pakoh Hotel Co Ltd,” she alleged.

Ms Saowanee did not explain exactly when she became aware of the alleged forgeries and the transfer of the land in question.

However, Suwat Apaiphuk, Mrs Saowanee’s lawyer, told the Phuket Gazette, “We found out about this after we discovered her forged signature was used by her ‘ex-husband’ [sic] to conduct a transfer of land ownership in Udon Thani.

“Ms Saowanee filed for divorce at Prachuap Khiri Khan Provincial Court in 2010. That application is still being processed by the court,” he added.

Regardless, Ms Saowanee stood firm in her resolve to not relinquish the land to her “ex-beloved”.

“The three plots were acquired during marriage, so no matter what Mr Chinnawes is going to do with them, he has to have my permission,” she said.

According to the Stock Exchange of Thailand, Pakoh Hotel Company, which operates from the registered address of 56 Moo 5 Koh Yao Noi, Phang Nga, 82160, was forced to hold a debt-restructuring meeting with TMB Asset Management Co Ltd in January this year in order to come to some “conciliatory” resolution with investors.

For more detailed information about the long-running problems encountered by Pakoh hotel Co, read Phuket Gazette property columnist Bill Barnett’s report dating back to 2010 (click here).

— Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Economy

70% of Phuket’s tourism businesses are closed, many for good

Caitlin Ashworth

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70% of Phuket’s tourism businesses are closed, many for good | The Thaiger
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Most tourism businesses in Phuket have closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and they probably won’t be up and running again until foreign tourists are let back in Thailand. Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew says around 70% of tourism businesses have closed, most of them just temporarily, but some have shut down permanently. But the statistics are not quite that simple, with the east side of the island, largely inhabited by locals with the central business district of Phuket Town and some of the more popular expat towns, doing far better than the tourist magnets of the west coast. The Thaiger estimates that on the west coast the number would exceed 90%.

Before the pandemic, tourism to Phuket brought in 450 billion baht a year with 400 billion baht from foreign visitors while the other 50 billion baht was from domestic tourists. Thailand has been trying to increase domestic tourism to help revive the industry after the pandemic. Phuket’s governor says it helps, but not enough.

“Their visits can help solve some of our economic problems, but they cannot replace the need of foreign tourists.”

66.8% of tourism businesses in Phuket have closed temporarily while 2.8% have closed permanently, according to data by the Digital Economy Promotion Agency. (Again the percentage along the west coast is MUCH higher – just take a drive through Paton, Kat, Karon). Phuket’s governor is trying figure out how to recover the economy. And fast.

“By the end of September, the number of businesses to be closed will increase up to 70% for sure.”

While many businesses are closed, the governor says Phuket is “almost 100% ready to welcome foreign tourists.” The governor says he can’t give an answer to when foreign tourists will arrive in Phuket, but he claims they’ve “prepared every step,” from checking in at the airport to hotel quarantine. They’re just going to install some new temperature check machines at the Phuket International Airport and review the procedures for welcoming the tourists.

“We have to work and prepare carefully to welcome foreign tourists… We have to gradually open our door to welcome small groups of people first, in order to test our system, and then open for bigger groups.”

At the moment, only 3 venues in Phuket have been approved to operate as alternative state quarantine facilities. Anantara Phuket Suites & Villas has 100 rooms available, Anantara Mai Khao Phuket has 36 villas and Trisara resort has 15 villas. All are 5 star venues with a commensurate 5 star cost.

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Phuket

Thailand’s Social Security Office forced to explain investment in Sri Panwa Phuket Resort trust fund

Maya Taylor

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Thailand’s Social Security Office forced to explain investment in Sri Panwa Phuket Resort trust fund | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Sri Panwa Phuket Resort - Sri Panwa Phuket

The Social Security Office, a department under the direction of Thailand’s Ministry of Labour, is being asked to explain its investment in the trust fund of Phuket’s Sri Panwa Phuket Resort. The demand comes as members of the opposition and political activists call for an investigation into the property’s land rights. The owner of Sri Panwa Phuket, Vorasit Issara, has been condemned online recently, with his property attracting multiple negative reviews, after he criticised anti-government protest leader, Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul.

Thai PBS World reports that the Civil Society for State Welfare is calling on the SSO to clarify its investment in the Sri Panwa Hospitality Real Estate Investment Trust, thought to be worth around 500 million baht. Nimit Thian-udom says that, while the SSO’s investment does not break any laws, the board must explain the reasons behind the investment decision and clarify the return on that investment. In addition, he says the SSO should attach more importance to good governance when choosing where to invest.

The call for clarity is echoed by opposition MP Chirayu Huangsap, from the Pheu Thai Party, who calls on the Labour Minister to explain the investment. He adds that any discrepancies will be reported to both the National Anti-Corruption Commission and the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission.

The land rights of the luxury Sri Panwa Phuket resort, which sits on prime land atop Phuket’s Cape Panwa, overlooking the south-eastern tip of the island, are also being called into question. Veera Somkwamkid, from the People’s Network Against Corruption, says he is looking into the property’s land rights and will pass his findings to the Department of Special Investigations.

For his part, the Labour Minister, Somsak Thepsuthin, says he doesn’t know if the property has been legally built, saying it’s up to the DSI to investigate and that a complaint does not need to be filed in order for them to do so.

Meanwhile, review site Tripadvisor has had to suspend reviews for the Sri Panwa resort, as anti-government netizens exact their revenge on the proprietor by posting negative feedback on the property.

“Due to a recent event that has attracted media attention and has caused an influx of review submissions that do not describe a first-hand experience, we have temporarily suspended publishing new reviews for this listing.”

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Thailand

Phuket, Chiang Mai, Chachoengsao join UNESCO’s learning cities

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket, Chiang Mai, Chachoengsao join UNESCO’s learning cities | The Thaiger
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3 cities in Thailand recently joined UNESCO’s membership of so called “learning cities” which are said to promote “lifelong learning” and sustainable development. Chachoengsao, Chiang Mai and Phuket joined the UNESCO’s Global Network of Learning Cities. Altogether, 55 cities from 27 countries, adding up to 230 cities in 64 countries around the world, according to UNESCO.

“These cities are outstanding examples of how lifelong learning can become a reality at local level. They have proven that effective lifelong learning policies and practices can support the development of inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities and contribute to the 2030 Agenda.”

The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning David Atchoarena says the recent new members have shown that they can make “lifelong learning a reality,” even after enduring the pandemic.

“With unprecedented urgency, the Covid-19-19 pandemic has underlined the necessity to build more resilient education systems for the future. With more than half of humanity living in urban areas, cities must be at the centre of this undertaking.”

David says he hopes it will inspire other cities in Thailand to follow.

“I very much hope that we will see many other cities from Thailand joining the network and working on providing lifelong learning opportunities for all to ensure a sustainable and peaceful future.”

The mayor of Chachoengsao, Kolayuth Chaisang, says his goal is to provide “effective education, thoroughly and equally to all citizens.” According to the Bangkok Post, the city is a key urban centre both economically and culturally.

The mayor of Chiang Mai, Tussanai Buranupakorn, says he wants to revitalise the city, while also maintaining the cultural significance. The city has a number of educational institutes, which goes along with UNESCO’s learning city principles.

Phuket is a hub of sustainable creativity, according to the Bangkok Post. The mayor of Phuket, Somjai Suwansupana, says he wants to preserve the city’s “identity, local wisdom assets and the charm of our multiculturalism.”

SOURCES: UNESCO |Bangkok Post

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