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Phuket Airport possible base for US military support

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Airport possible base for US military support | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Thailand may allow the United States to use either Phuket Airport or U-Tapao in Rayong as a base for planes assigned to monitor the movement of migrants stranded in surrounding seas.

“The Foreign Ministry is reviewing the request,” Supreme Commander General Worapong Sa-nganet said on Tuesday.

Thailand is setting up the Operations Centre for Patrol and Humanitarian Assistance to Irregular Migrants in the Indian Ocean (OCPHAM) to liaise with the international community in extending help to any refugees set adrift, he said.

Gen Worapong’s comments suggested a change in course from the statement given by Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha one day earlier (story here).

“We agreed to a request by the US [United States] to help by having its planes patrol areas. Any country could do the same as the US, but they have to be under our supervision because it is our area. They will not independently patrol – they have to work with our task force,” Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Monday.

Foreign Minister Tanasak Patimapagorn said the Thai side had asked the US to provide more details on its proposed mission.

“I wish to emphasize that Thailand has not yet rejected the request. It’s a good request, but we have to take national security into consideration,” Minister Tanasak said.

The US has been asked to dispatch its warships to support a floating naval base that will be set up to help migrants found at sea [Video Report here].

“We accept assistance from international organizations in the form of necessities at our request, not cash, as that could possibly lead to problems,” Minister Tanasak said.

The cabinet on Tuesday approved the military’s operations off the Andaman Coast to help Rohingya and other migrants at sea on humanitarian grounds, a deputy government spokesman said.

OCPHAM will involve land patrols by the Army in border areas, maritime patrols by the Navy and mid-sea relief and medical operations, plus patrols by the Air Force over Thai waters in the Andaman Sea, Maj-General Weerachon Sukhonpatiphak said. All international relief agencies taking part in all assistance programmes would be granted permission to carry out activities in Thai waters and on Thai soil, he said.

More than 600 officers have been assigned to staff the floating patrol base, including doctors and nurses. Video: PGTV

The Third Naval Area Command, which is responsible for the Andaman Sea, issued a statement detailing its operations, which would involve 600 personnel, seven patrol and landing vessels, two planes and two helicopters, Vice Admiral Sayant Prasongsamrej told the press at his command headquarters in Phuket.

Gen Worapong said OCPHAM started yesterday and would run for two weeks or until further notice.

The HTMS Ang Thong, a large amphibious landing ship capable of holding many people, is joining the fleet. One doctor and two nurses would be on all seven ships. Serious patients will be sent to inland hospitals by helicopter, Gen Worapong said.

General Sujin Iam-pee, a senior official at the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC), said all migrants would be escorted by military personnel and police if dispatched from mid-sea platforms to inland shelters. They would be processed by local immigration offices and repatriated.

Thailand is now holding 779 new migrants since the exposure of the human trafficking tragedy earlier this month and paying for their meals, Gen Sujin noted.

In Ranong, Satun and Songkhla, 6,846 residents are participating in a scouts scheme started by police to watch for migrants or illegal entrants, a source said.

— The Nation

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Crime

Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room

The Thaiger

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Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Phuket Hot News

The security guard of a hotel in Nai Yang, northern Phuket, 52 year old Yingyot Butsabong, from Maha Sarakham province, was found dead yesterday (October 16) in his room. Police remain mystified how the man came to grief.

A woman named Supattra received a call from the hotel he worked at and was informed that he didn’t show up at work yesterday, so she went to his apartment to check on him.

She saw that his room was locked from the inside, so used the key she had in her possession to open the room and found Yingyot laying on the floor, face down. She thought he was just sleeping so she tried to wake him up but once she flipped him, she found that he already passed away.

She immediately called Saku police, and once on the scene, police found that there was some blood on the floor. The man had a 2 centimetre wound on his left eyebrow which was deep into his skull. There was also a wound on his chin about 1 centimetre long and about a centimetre deep. His left eye had a bruise which looked like he was attacked by a hard object.

Police report that he had been dead for around four hours in the room.

The room was not ransacked and there was no sign of fighting or theft. His body has been sent to Thalang Hospital for a detailed autopsy and to look into the cause of death.

SOURCE: Phuket Hot News

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People

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people

Nattha Thepbamrung

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‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | The Thaiger

On October 18, the ‘Always Smile Journey’ group and its partners will host an exhibition with plenty of fun activities at the Yak Yai Market, near Chalong Circle, in Phuket. This event was designed to raise funds to provide free English classes for underprivileged people on the island of Phuket on Saturdays and Sundays. The group does not accept donations but aims to raise money through the sales of the products available at the event.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

From 2 pm to 8 pm, there will be a number of artists, musicians and performers who will keep the attendees entertained along the way. There will be a short film about His Majesty King Rama 9 as well as fun activities and games for kids and families, which are all free of charge.

The big bike crew is also a part of this event. They will ride a parade from Rawai Beach heading to the market and showcase their gorgeous two-wheel buddies.

One of the highlights of the Always Smile Journey exhibition is the ‘Happening’ artists group, who will draw and paint a picture of the His Majesty King Rama 9 under the name ‘Street Art King Bhumibol’ on a 4×10 meter sign live at the event so the guests will experience this large-scale art in action. The Happening will also offer portrait sketching for the participants.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

One of the works created by the Happening team; a painting of HM the King Rama 9 on a huge wall (Photo credit: Chawat Chumpasan)

There will also be some western menus available at the event which will be donated to underprivileged children.

This free English class project has over seven years of experience through its cooperation working with individuals and other charity organizations. Throughout the years, the group visited several areas such as Ban Laem Hoy School, Ban Bopud School and Ban Angthong School in Samui, Surat Thani province, Ban Bueng Ao Oun School and Ban Kakoh Rayong, in Surin province, Jalae Village of Lahu (Muser) in Chiang Rai province, as well as community education centers in Siem Reap, Cambodia and in Luang Prabang, in Laos.

This event is a cooperation between several groups, including Happening, Yak Yai Market and Arrow Media, Tattoo artist group, Thonburi Art School Alumni, International School of Tourism, Suratthani Rajabhat University, big bike group from Phuket, artists/performers/musicians from many provinces as well as several businesses across Phuket.

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Bangkok

The world’s fastest growing tourist destinations

The Thaiger

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The world’s fastest growing tourist destinations | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Hello Phuket – destined for huge tourist growth in the next six years – fodors.com

In 2018, international tourist arrival traffic grew by 6% to reach a total of 1.4 billion world tourists, according to research by UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. And there’s a lot more to come with international travel predicted to increase by a massive 35% over the next six years to 2025.

But where is all that extra traffic going to go? Which destinations are quiet now that might be swarming with tourists in the years to come? Two destinations in Thailand are set for a prosperous future, according to the data. Whilst almost all the growth is excepted to be to Asian destinations, an under-visited resource for world tourism so far.

Euromonitor data has been used to simulate tourist growth models and reveal the fastest growing projected visitor arrivals in major cities and destinations around the world for 2025, compared to arrival figures in 2018.

In Thailand, Phuket’s tourist traffic is poised to increase up to 85% in the next six years, from nearly 12 million arrivals in 2018 to over 22 million in 2025. Bangkok is predicted to see the 8th most prolific rise in tourist traffic, with arrivals in Bangkok set to swell an additional 68% during the same period. Doha, the capital of Qatar, is set to explode with 104% increase in traffic over the next six years.

The data also predicts that both Bangkok and Phuket will rebound big time in 2020, Phuket in particular with a growth of around 20% for the next year, accord to the data from TravelSupermarket.com.

By 2025 the data predicts that Bangkok will be the world’s #1 tourist destination, a position it’s held before in recent years. The Thai capital will be followed by Singapore, Dubai, Phuket and Kuala Lumpur, making South East Asia the world’s emerging tourism hotspot.

Some of the world’s favourites – New York, Paris, London – will continue to grow their tourist numbers but not at the rate of most Asian destinations.

You can read the full list HERE.

The world's fastest growing tourist destinations | News by The Thaiger

Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com

The world's fastest growing tourist destinations | News by The Thaiger

Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com

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