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Photographer offers B100,000 reward for return of life’s work

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Photographer offers B100,000 reward for return of life’s work | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: A professional travel photographer and boutique resort owner in Phuket is offering a 100,000-baht reward for any information leading to the return of his MacBook Pro and backup hard drive – which contain his life’s work.

Brian Skyum, owner of Coco Palace Resort in Rawai, returned to Phuket after five weeks in the Philippines to find his maid was the only staffer still working for him and electronic items worth reportedly more than 500,000 baht were stolen from his room.

Among the items reported missing were an Apple MacBook Pro, two Canon cameras, a tripod, a Panasonic home theater, a 2-terabyte hard disk, a Canon L series lens, a Sony DVD camcorder and a Samsung TV.

On the MacBook Pro and hard drive were 36 years of Mr Skyum’s processed photography from over 170 countries – now all gone.

“I could survive without the half-million baht of monetary value; the photos are all that matter,” Mr Skyum told the Phuket Gazette.

The widely published Danish photographer is the self-proclaimed “widest-travelled person in the world” and, up to this month, he had the photos to prove it.

“My photography is pretty much National Geographic style documentary. I presented public slideshows for 16 years, so I covered everything in each country,” he said. “It’s not just marking countries off a list.”

If Mr Skyum is unable to regain his life’s work, he plans to sell what equipment he has left.

“It’s difficult to stop something that you’ve done since you were 20 years old. I’ve committed my life to this. I have no family, no children and no wife. I am married to my job and the planet Earth.”

Though two-thirds of Mr Skyum’s photographs are backed-up in his homeland, they are saved only in “raw format”, meaning years of editing and fine tuning each photo is lost – with one-third of his photos completely gone.

“I’m not going to redo all of this again, this is the end of it because I lost so much of my work and tens of thousands of photos are gone completely, both jpegs and raws,” he explained.

Due to being about two years behind processing his photos, there are no other records of his photos taken during trips to various countries over the past two years.

“I just took over 6,000 images in Egypt last September,” he said.

Following Mr Skyum filing a complaint with the Chalong Police, Sub Lt Kraisorn Boonprasop is now investigating two main suspects: a Burmese handyman who was staying in Mr Skyum’s room while he was out of the country; and the Coco Palace Resort manager, who quit four days before Mr Skyum returned from his trip.

“Mr Skyum allowed ‘Mr Dam’ and his family to stay in the room while he was travelling. He gave him the key,” Lt Kraisorn told the Gazette.

“We didn’t find any traces of the place being ransacked and the thick dust in the room made it impossible to find fingerprints,” he added.

When Mr Skyum returned from his trip, his maid, the only staffer still working for him, told him that she had found the key to his room still in the door several days after Mr Dam had returned it to the resort manager and left.

The items missing from the room – in addition to the electronics – were only a couple small things from the minibar, Mr Skyum explained. However, the reception computer and all of the paperwork for the bookings, including calenders, were also missing.

Mr Skyum explained to the Gazette that he contacted the manger, who admitted to taking it home to remove some personal information.

The computer was returned the next day, but had been wiped clean, Mr Skyum alleged.

“I introduced her [the manger] to the [photography] business, my website and database in New York… I offered her 30 per cent commission, which is quite high. She didn’t sell anything, but at least she knows now the value of my collection,” Mr Skyum said.

The Coco Palace Resort, which has been on the market for eight years, was originally built for about 25 million baht, all of which Mr Skyum said was derived from his photography business.

Police are continuing their investigation into the missing items.

Any person who believes they have seen Mr Skyum’s stolen equipment (MacBook Pro with Danish keyboard) are urged to call Lt Kraisorn at Chalong Police Station at 076-381247 or contact Mr Skyum at 080-8831040.

Additional reporting by Saran Mitrarat.

— Isaac Stone Simonelli

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Crime

2 shot dead at Phuket Bus Terminal Saturday night

The Thaiger

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2 shot dead at Phuket Bus Terminal Saturday night | The Thaiger
PHoTO: Nashaplaneta.net

Police say 2 men were gunned down at the Phuket Bus Terminal by a colleague at the terminal along the stretch of Thepkasattri road heading into Phuket Town last night. The incident happened at about 10:15pm with the local police chief arriving along with medical staff from Vachira Hospital shortly after the incident.

60 year old Wian Iadchuthong, the alleged gunman, was waiting to surrender at the scene when police arrived. Police say Wian appeared to be drunk and told them he had a serious argument with the 2 men and decided to take their lives with the gun. Police say they found 50 year old Yod Sae Lee lying on the ground in front of a taxi service stand, badly wounded. He was given CPR before being rushed to Vachira Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

54 year old Prakob Chuthong was also found lying dead by the counter of a 24 hour car park service kiosk. Police say he had been shot 2 times, once in the left side of his head and once in his left rib cage, according to Bangkok Post.

Witnesses say before the shooting, Wian was quietly drinking alone. But after getting drunk, he walked to the counter of the car park service kiosk and allegedly fired 2 shots from a 9mm gun at point-blank range, killing Prakob instantly. Wian then ran towards Yod, who was sitting in front of the taxi service stand. Yod saw Wian coming at him with the gun and he ran away to 1 side of the terminal building, only to be intercepted by Wian who allegedly fired 5 shots. Yod was hit 1 time in the head, 2 times in the torso and 2 times in the legs. Yod was also rushed to Vachira Hospital where he later died.

An initial police investigation found that the 3 were close colleagues at the workplace, but often engaged in heated fights over motorcycle taxi and taxi services at the bus terminal.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Tourism

Phuket lifts mandatory quarantine restrictions for ‘high risk’ arrivals. But were they ever applied?

The Thaiger

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Phuket lifts mandatory quarantine restrictions for ‘high risk’ arrivals. But were they ever applied? | The Thaiger

Culminating 2 weeks of mass confusion over the apparent mandatory self-quarantine for arrivals to Phuket from Bangkok and other high risk provinces, Phuket’s provincial communicable disease committee has agreed to lift the mandatory 14 day quarantine “to help boost the local economy hit by the Covid-19 pandemic”.

But for the vast majority of arrivals from Bangkok (DMK and BKK) to Phuket there wasn’t even any mention of quarantine. Over the past 2 weeks, since Phuket’s Governor released a 3 page announcement about new restrictions for the island, people have mostly been coming and going as usual. The only additional impediments were all arrivees having to download and fill in the Mor Chana app and registering with gophuget.com.

In 2 weeks not a single person has reported to The Thaiger that they had been forced to self-quarantine. Last night, when checking in at Suvarnabhumi airport for a Thai VietJet flight to Phuket, the person at the Check-In counter told the passenger (we’ll call them Mic to protect their identity) they would have to serve 14 days in state quarantine upon arrival in Phuket. Mic, surprised, asked for some sort of confirmation of this from airline management or information from the Phuket Provisional officials. None was forthcoming. Nothing more was said or communicated to the passengers.

When the plane landed in Phuket officials checked that passengers had completed the Mor Chana app and scanned their phones after they’d completed the gophuget.com registration. And that was it. No mention of quarantine.

The situation has been repeated by other Thaiger staff over the past 2 weeks as well, but without any mention of quarantine during the check-in or boarding procedures with various airlines. In all cases they flew from Suvarnabhumi or Don Mueang airports.

Phuket’s Governor Narong Woonciew says the decision to ease the Covid-19 restrictions for visitors followed calls from the business community seeking to lure visitors to Phuket. (The Thaiger wonders if any of these officials had actually travelled over the past 2 weeks)

Local businesses met with provincial authorities on Friday proposing an end to the mandatory quarantine period “for people travelling from certain high-risk areas” in the hope of “stimulating the tourism industry”. The proposal was less about stimulating and more about raising the industry from its current flatline.

But whatever mandatory quarantine they were asking to be lifted appears to be have been, at best, loosely applied anyway.

Phuket has has a triple hit. The first when the borders were closed in April and the international airport closed. The second was when December arrived, the start of the busy tourist high-season. The third was the new restrictions added 2 weeks ago in response to the 2nd wave of clusters that started on December 20, tripling the total number of Covid infections in the country in just over a month.

According to Bangkok Post, Sarayuth Mallum, president of the Phuket travel industry council, says… “strict disease control measures remain necessary to protect local people and tourists from contracting the virus”.

Somehow, the mandatory quarantine requirement instructions never reached the airport officials. But, for now anyway, the “restrictions” have been lifted anyway. What was you experience arriving in Phuket over the past week? Were you asked to conduct a mandatory 14 day self-quarantine?

In the meantime the struggling domestic airlines have been forced to massively cancel or reschedule flights. Over the past 2 days most airlines only had 1 or 2 flights to and from Phuket and Bangkok, down from the 4 – 10 daily flights some airlines were offering.

More about the Mor Chana App here…

More about the direct effects on the island of Phuket…

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Crime

Phuket national park officer fired over peeping Tom incident

The Thaiger

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Phuket national park officer fired over peeping Tom incident | The Thaiger

A national park officer has been fired after being accused of spying on a woman in the public toilet on January 17 at Phuket’s Sirinath National Park. 28 year old Abdulrama Mahaderi, was accused by a woman named Sopita and her boyfriend Panupong Rungrueng of climbing a wall that separates the men’s and women’s sections of the toilet at Nai Yang beach in order to look at Sopita. Abdulrama allegedly also had his mobile phone in his hand.

Sirinath National Park Chief Pramote Kaewnam confirmed that an investigative committee had spoken to witnesses and determined that Abdulrama was guilty of “misbehaviour and improper actions.”

Pramote confirmed that Abdulrama’s employment contract was then terminated, effective last Wednesday, 3 days after the incident allegedly took place. On its Facebook page, the Sirinath National Park made a post about the incident.

“It has caused disgrace to the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation and affected the image of the overall department.”

Sura Lertthaisong of Sakhu Police confirmed that Abdulrama would be facing charges and that he was currently investigating whether a charge of “bullying in public” under Section 397 of the Criminal Code would be appropriate.

Abdulrama had previously posted on the official Sirinath National Park Facebook page that his understanding was that no charges would be pursued by Sopita and Panupong.

“The tourists told me that they did not want to press charges. They just told me that they did not want me to do anything like this again.”

But after Panupong posted a photo of Abdulrama, detailing his alleged indiscretion on social media, others came forward with similar accusations.

“One group of women said that they were also spied on by this man on the toilet wall 2 months ago, but they did not report it and did not press charges – and the truth faded away as if nothing ever happened.”

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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