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Phi Phi construction ban eased

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Phi Phi construction ban eased | The Thaiger
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PHI PHI ISLANDS: The government has finally allowed construction of tsunami relief homes on Koh Phi Phi Don, along with temporary structures so that locals may conduct business.

Phankam Kitithorakul, Chairman of the Ao Nang Tambon Administration Organization (OrBorTor), the local authority responsible for the Phi Phi Islands, told the Gazette, “[It is] lucky for us that I had the chance to meet with Deputy Prime Minister Suwat Liptapanlop before the [tsunami] memorial service at Phi Phi.

“I told him about the government ban on any construction and the problems it has caused for people here. He understood, and immediately gave permission for charities to build homes for tsunami victims, and for local people – with the correct paperwork – to erect temporary buildings [for business],” K. Phankam said.

He added that, on January 27, officers from the Organization for Specific Areas Administration for Sustainable Tourism Promotion (OSAASTP) will finally meet with local people on Koh Phi Phi Don to sound out public opinion on development plans that will shape the island’s future in tourism.

The meeting is crucial to the island’s recovery from the tsunami – all construction, including renovation work, was banned in the middle of 2005, pending approval by Cabinet of the OSAASTP’s development plans.

K. Phankam said that the OSAASTP should be prepared for criticism of its proposal that Phi Phi be developed to target high-end tourists only.

“We don’t want to see Phi Phi being designated a special area [for high-end tourists only], but if they want to change us to a Special Administration, just like Bangkok or Pattaya, then we’d be happy to be that,” K. Phankam said.

He argued, however, that Ao Nang OrBorTor is perfectly capable of regulating the islands competently. “In fact, the OrBorTor has managed the islands for a long time. [The government should] just give the OrBorTor the authority to manage [Phi Phi], and not persecute us by not approving budgets.

“Phi Phi could generate a lot of income for Thailand from tourism, and there’s no need to cater to high-end tourists only, because I worry that high-end tourism will benefit just one group of people.”

It has been rumored that the OSAASTP will propose that islanders move to homes in the hills for their own safety should another tsunami strike the island.

K. Phankam stoutly opposes this idea. “All we need is a good warning system, then everyone would survive [in the case of another tsunami],” he said.

He said that two tsunami warning towers are already installed on Phi Phi Don, but the alarm cannot be heard all over the island. “It would be best if the government installed about five more towers,” he concluded.

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

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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Thailand

Phuket Muay Thai fighter is the first Thai national to compete in UFC

The Thaiger

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Phuket Muay Thai fighter is the first Thai national to compete in UFC | The Thaiger

The upcoming Ultimate Fighting Championship Fight Night event in Abu Dhabi will feature Thailand’s only national marking her third fight with the UFC, the world’s largest mixed martial arts competition. 24 year old Loma Lookboonme, from Burirram in northeastern Thailand, will fight in the event on October 3, 2020.

Loma is a Muay Thai fighter who has adapted her MMA skills to fight in the UFC where she currently trains at the Tiger Muay Thai gym in Phuket. Loma qualified for the national team at the age of 19 and has fought in over 12 nations worldwide. She currently trains 6 days a week starting daily at 6:30am with a 3 kilometre run. In the UFC, she will be competing against China’s Angela Lee who is the undisputed champion of the 52 kilogram fist weight category.

Phuket Muay Thai fighter is the first Thai national to compete in UFC | News by The Thaiger

Loma’s parents are former Muay Thai fighters and her 2 sisters currently compete as well. She reportedly started training at 8 years old after being inspired by her father, whom she describes as her “hero.”

Like most Thais in such fighting sports, Muay Thai offers a way to rise out of poverty-and fighting for the UFC can be financially lucrative. But Loma says her only Thai sponsor is the gym where she trains, with the rest of her sponsors being from foreign brands. She says she is trying to get more Thai sponsors but feels that maybe she needs to win the UFC first before Thai brands notice her.

Loma lost her last fight and says her new opponent gives her nothing to lose. She says her goal is to get into the Top 10, but is not sure when it will happen. Loma says for now, it would be good to fight against someone in the Top 10 to help her prepare for her future.

FULL INTERVIEW: Thisrupt.co

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Tourism

Phuket airport ready for tourists after finishing Covid screening labs

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Phuket airport ready for tourists after finishing Covid screening labs | The Thaiger

Phuket Airport is officially ready for tourists as authorities say they have finished installing Covid screening labs in an effort to welcome international travellers. The 5T Model for Covid-19 is being used at the airport with the goal of screening large groups of people in a quick and efficient manner. The Phuket health chief says the 5T’s stand for Target, Testing, Treating, Trusting and Tracing.

Phuket has one large airport at the north end of the island but is separated into two separate terminals – a domestic terminal (the original airport terminal), and a new international terminal opened in 2016.

The target category refers to the target groups of tourists while the tracing stands for software that will be used to monitor their movements. The testing category refers to Covid tests that will be implemented to travellers upon arrival along with the treatment and trust categories signifying the readiness of resources for medical treatment and confident communications between all parties respectively.

The Covid-19 lab container module has been set up at Phuket airport’s Terminal X (the terminal opened for charter flights opened in 2014) and will be tested tomorrow with its operation to start on September 30. As large groups of tourists could arrive (later in the year, the lab is reportedly capable of testing 96 people at a time with test results becoming available in 6 hours. What the airport would do withe tested passengers whilst waiting for 6 hours, has not been detailed at this stage.

Such a readiness plan to welcome foreign tourists originally singled out Phuket due to its popularity with travellers, and as a so-called guinea pig model to test in a controlled environment (Phuket is an island joined to the Thai mainland by a single 300 metre road bridge). Once dubbed the Phuket Model, authorities have proposed to rename the plan to “Special Tourist Visa” due to the confusion and opposition it reportedly caused. The scheme is reportedly now being proposed for all areas of Thailand but only allowing foreigners from specific countries.

SOURCE: Pattaya Mail

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