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Phuket Gazette Sports: Australian Open update

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Phuket Gazette Sports: Australian Open update | The Thaiger
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Juggernaut Sharapova blasts into Melbourne semi-finals
Reuters / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Maria Sharapova continued her perfect run in Australian Open quarter-finals by swatting aside Russian compatriot Ekaterina Makarova on Tuesday.

Sharapova had not lost any of her previous five Australian Open quarter-final matches, a record she extended with ease against the 19th-seeded Makarova with a 6-2 6-2 victory. The pair had met in the same round last year at Melbourne Park.

The 24-year-old Makarova had beaten 11th seed Marion Bartoli and fifth seed Angelique Kerber to make the quarter-finals, but was unable to stop Sharapova’s rampant march through the tournament.

Sharapova has dropped just nine games in total, the fewest number conceded by a semi-finalist at the tournament.

Monica Seles conceded just 12 games on her way to the 1991 semi-finals.

Sharapova, who won the Australian Open title in 2008, will now meet sixth seed Li Na in the semi-finals on Thursday after the Chinese upset fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska 7-5 6-3 earlier on Rod Laver Arena.

Ferrer survives in “miracle” fight back
Reuters / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: David Ferrer stared defeat full in the face three times but staged an epic comeback from two sets down to beat fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro and reach the semi-finals of the Australian Open on Tuesday.

The fourth seed looked to be heading for the exit when, having been dominated by some brilliant play from the 10th seed for the first two sets, he faced Almagro serving for the match at 5-4 in the third.

It is not for nothing that Ferrer is known as one of the best fighters in tennis, however, and he hustled along the baseline to claw his way back into the contest and take the third set on Rod Laver Arena.

Twice more Almagro had chances to serve out for victory but he blew them both and Ferrer, who had won all 12 of their previous meetings, emerged a 4-6 4-6 7-5 7-6 6-2 winner after three hours and 44 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.

“It was a miracle I won this match,” said Ferrer, who will face Novak Djokovic or Tomas Berdych in the last four.

“I tried to fight and do my best (but) next round… I need to play my best tennis, better than today. Now I will need to rest but I have a day and a half.”

Almagro contributed to his own downfall by stuttering when he had victory within his sights and his body let him down in the last two sets when he was hindered by a leg injury.

“I think I played my best tennis today but it wasn’t good enough to beat David,” he said.

“I don’t want think that it’s a mentality problem. If I had a mentality problem, I think I wouldn’t have won the first two sets.”

Ferrer, 30, has lost all four of his previous grand slam semi-finals, including defeats to world number one Djokovic at the U.S. Open in 2007 and last year.

He will undoubtedly be hoping the defending champion is still tired after his marathon fourth round victory over Stan Wawrinka when he takes on fifth seed Berdych in the final singles match on Rod Laver Arena.

Li beats Radwanska to make Melbourne last four
Reuters Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Li Na wore down Agnieszka Radwanska with a barrage of power-hitting to beat the fourth seed 7-5 6-3 and advance to her third semi-final at the Australian Open earlier today.

The Chinese sixth seed overcame her customary slow start to edge the Pole in a tight first set and after trailing 2-0 in the second, reeled off five straight games to march to the brink of victory in bright sunshine at Rod Laver Arena.

Li survived a late wobble conceding two break points when serving for the match, but reeled off five straight points to seal it after 102 minutes when Radwanska pushed a forehand long.

Li, runner-up to Kim Clijsters in 2011, will face the winner Of the match between second seed Maria Sharapova and fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova for a place in the final.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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

Politics

Phuket’s Sri Panwa Resort’s land title deed to be investigated for legality by DSI

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Phuket’s Sri Panwa Resort’s land title deed to be investigated for legality by DSI | The Thaiger

Back in the news again. Phuket’s Sri Panwa Resort’s land title deed is now to be investigated by the Department of Special Investigation after a petition was filed to determine whether the deed was procured legally. Veera Somkwamkid, the secretary-general of the People’s Network Against Corruption, filed the petition along with 167 pages of documents pertaining to his accusations that Thawatchai Anukun, a land fraud suspect, had unlawfully issued land title deeds to plots of land in Phuket before he mysteriously died in a detention room while in DSI custody in 2016.

He was allegedly being investigated for falsifying land deeds between the years of 1998 and 2001. Veera claims before the title deed was issued on the plot, the land was part of a forest known by locals as Pa Kae.

“Back then, 10 families that had occupied the plots for about 40 years had title deed requests rejected. The reason given was the land was part of a forest reserve used by the navy.”

However, Watchara Buathong, Phuket’s current land official, says the Sri Panwa resort had legally acquired its 56-rai, none of which was ever state land. Local resident Khwanjai Khumban, backed this claim, saying her father and cousins had sold most of the land to the resort, and she could produce documents to account for at least 12 rai of the disputed area.

Phuket's Sri Panwa Resort's land title deed to be investigated for legality by DSI | News by The Thaiger

Meanwhile, the Social Security Office, is also under fireas it is being asked to explain why it invested in the hotel’s trust fund. The department, which is under Thailand’s Ministry of Labour, in which its minister says he doesn’t know if the property has been legally built and points to the responsibility to the DSI to investigate. This was echoed by at least one opposition MP and anti-corruption activists.

The hotel, situated on Cape Panwa, in Phuket’s Muang district, has been under recent scrutiny due to its owner, Vorasit Issara, accusing Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul, a co-leader of the anti-government United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration group, of offending the monarchy at last weekend’s protest at Sanam Luang.

Vorasit posted on Instagram that Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul should be jailed, further falsely claiming that she is not Thai when, in fact, Panusaya was found to have been born in Nonthaburi and is a Thai citizen.

“This bullshit has got to stop. She is not Thai. Who is she working for? This one needs to be in prison”.

Such a statement has received wide backlash from netizens with some taking to Trip Advisor and other websites to post bad reviews of the resort, prompting it to suspend advertising on such sites.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post
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Phuket

Female prisoner on the run after escaping from Phuket Hospital

The Thaiger

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Female prisoner on the run after escaping from Phuket Hospital | The Thaiger

A female prisoner is on the run after escaping from Vachira Hospital in Phuket during a doctor’s appointment. 58 year old Siri Phodam allegedly escaped after asking her prison escort officer to use the toilet. But she took a long time to come back, and was found to have escaped. CCTV cameras caught her dressed in a blue hospital patient shirt and a sarong leaving the hospital quickly. A Phuket prison officer says the woman is 158 centimetres tall and has dark skin.

“Some of our own officers are searching for her, and we have also sent the prisoner’s description to all Phuket police stations. However, at this stage we have not found any clues.

Female prisoner on the run after escaping from Phuket Hospital | News by The Thaiger

“If anyone finds a person matching the prisoner’s appearance, please inform us by calling 076 212 104.”

Siri was imprisoned after being charged with posessing illegal drugs and lived in Moo 2, Rawai.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Phuket

Phuket’s annual vegetarian festival gets the green light – VIDEO

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket’s annual vegetarian festival gets the green light – VIDEO | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Caitlin Ashworth

WARNING: The content below contains photos and videos of self-mutilation that some may find disturbing.

Somehow Phuket’s annual vegetarian festival is to go ahead next month, but officials say they will ask participants to strictly observe social distancing. Good luck with that! For those who don’t know, the festival isn’t exactly known for the food. It’s known for blood, body mutilation and more blood.

During street processions for the weeklong event, also known as the Nine Gods Festival, so called “mah songs” are known to practice self-mutilation and are said to enter a trance-like state, channeling spirits through their body. “Mah” means horse in Thai, and many suggest the mah song acts like a horse for the spirit to ride.

Many mah songs pierce their checks, ears and lips, some with large swords and thick needles. Some slice their tongues continuously for hours, blood dripping down on the street. Others appear to be in a trace walk barefoot as firecrackers explode on the ground.

Mah songs march down Phuket’s streets for hours with a team of devotees to help tend to their wounds, adjust the piercings, wipe away drool and blood, and keep them hydrated. It’s understood that devotees wear white as a symbol of purity. It’s also reported that they abstain from eating meat, drinking alcohol and having sex during the weeklong festival.

It seems gruesome, but it’s actually very spiritual. Business owners and locals line the street, some setting up altars. Mah songs stop at each one and do a quick ritual. Some mah songs carry a black flag, waving it over onlookers who bow their heads and place their hands in the “wai” position. Some spend time blessing the elderly and handing out bracelets to children. During a procession last year, a woman held up a bracelet as said “the ‘Spirit’ gave this to my mother.”

This year, the festival will have to be a little different to abide by coronavirus prevention measures. The Bangkok Post says it’s the first festival since the outbreak. The head festival organiser Prasert Fukthongphol says “we will seriously enforce social distancing measures and require all participants to wear face masks.”

The grotesque piercings, noisy parades and visits to the shrine, are good news for Phuket’s tourism and bad news if you’re a vegetable. Many adherents to the Chinese-heritage local festival will go without sex, alcohol and meat for the week of so of the festival. The week of events and ceremonies hopes to scare away the bad gods again but, especially this year, attract some extra visitors to the festival.

Another Vegetarian Festival in Chon Buri has also been given the green light. The event is planned for October 16 to the 26. This year’s main event for the festival will be in Naklua at Sawangboriboon Thammasathan Foundation at the Sein Sua Chinese Temple, but many other events will be around the city throughout the week.

Phuket's annual vegetarian festival gets the green light - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

Phuket's annual vegetarian festival gets the green light - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

Phuket's annual vegetarian festival gets the green light - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

Phuket's annual vegetarian festival gets the green light - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

Phuket's annual vegetarian festival gets the green light - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | Pattaya News

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