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Phuket Gazette partner journalist shot in Bangkok

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Gazette partner journalist shot in Bangkok | Thaiger
Phuket NEWS Hound

– A daily digest of news from around the world compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

PHUKET: Chaiwat Phumpuang, a photo-journalist in the Nation/Gazette news pool, has become the latest victim of the protest violence in Bangkok.

The award-winning lensman, who has covered many political crises, was shot in the leg while recording the demonstrations in the military’s “live firing zone” last night.

A bullet smashed into a bone in Mr Chaiwat’s leg and he ended up in Phya Thai 1 hospital. He had just returned to work a few weeks ago after suffering partial paralysis.

He had to undergo an operation last night, but “Mai pen rai (never mind),” Chaiwat told friends who visited him at the hospital this morning.

“He was sitting beside me at the corner of a building when the bullet hit him. We couldn’t move at first because the gunfire was still going on,” a colleague said later.

Chaiwat is the fourth journalist casualty in the latest protest rampage. On Friday, three journalists – from Matichon, France 24, and Voice TV – were wounded in clashes between government forces and protesters.

The Nation/Gazette news pool is a joint reporting force for sharing breaking news in Phuket and Bangkok.

The Nation Multimedia Group owns 19% of the Phuket Gazette, and their respective newspapers, including the Thai-language Kom Chad Luek and business daily Krungthep Turakij, entered into an editorial sharing agreement in January 2000.

Phuket hotel construction delayed

Bangkok Post
MBK Plc, operator of the MBK shopping center in Bangkok, says it will put off new hotel projects in Phuket and Samui, worth from 2-3 billion baht, for one year.

MBK will instead focus on expansion of existing property projects and community malls to reduce risks amid Thailand’s political uncertainty.

The company says the prolonged demonstrations have so far cut visitors to its flagship shopping center, located near the center of the Bangkok protests, by 20% from the normal rate of 100,000 a day.

Once the demonstrations end, MBK says it will take about one year to re-activate its Phuket and Samui hotel projects.

South Africans still in Phuket

The Times Online
Bangkok hotel occupancies have dropped to ten percent and the hospitality industry has been forced to slash prices. Even The Peninsula hotel, twice voted the best in the world, has cut prices from R2,500 (10,700 baht, or $330) to R1,500 (6,400 baht, or $198) a night.

In Phuket, where the vast majority of Thais strongly support the ruling government and there is ‘no chance’ of any political disturbance, the hotels and resorts are doing far better.

The number of South Africans visiting Phuket appears to have remained fairly steady. Hotels popular among South African visitors say they have a significant number of visitors from that country currently visiting the island.

And they say the number is likely to increase next month due to special rates being offered to commemorate the relaunch of Thai Airways flights between Johannesburg and Bangkok, despite the fact that passengers arriving in Bangkok need to change planes there to get to Phuket.

Phuket turtle race

The Nation
Phuket’s Maikhao Beach is holding its annual Mini Marathon & Fun Run on May 23 to raise funds for the care of sea turtles at the Phuket Marine Biological Centre.

There’s a 10.5-kilometer mini-marathon (registration costs 250 baht) and a 3.5km Fun Run (200 baht).

Registration starts at 4.30am with the race kicking off at 6am from Pru Jeh San Lake.

Both fees include a T-shirt and the chance to win trophies, medals and lucky draw prizes.

For more details of this and all other Phuket events (and Thai public holidays), see the Phuket Gazette‘s online Events Calendar.

— 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.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket restrictions and bans to stay in place until end of May

Tim Newton

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Phuket’s list of current ‘Covid’ restrictions have been extended until at least May 31. All the current levels of restrictions will remain until the end of the month after the Phuket Governor announced the continuation of restrictions this afternoon.

Daily new infection numbers continue to add to the island’s total of 556 since the start of April. The island’s latest wave started after a series of events, mostly Bangkok partygoers flying down for parties at Café Del Mar in Kamala, Illusion and Shelter, both in Bangla Road. The parties were organised by a Thong Lor based events company called Kolour. The daily numbers, whilst relatively stable, have not been going down as officials were hoping.

The announcement also puts any hope of a July 1 ‘quarantine free’ tourism opening in severe doubt. The island’s vaccine roll out has also slowed since the initial flurry of enthusiasm. Only 22% of Phuket’s population has currently been vaccinated (a long way ahead of the rest of the country) whilst the minimum vaccination level has to reach 70% according to the Government before they will entertain the ‘Sandbox’ opening proposal.

Entry to the island, by road or air, will remain restricted and anyone without proof of vaccination or a current PCR Covid test (within 72 hours) will have to do a full 14 day quarantine period (after May 15). The rapid Covid tests that were being conducted at the airport and Tha Chatchai Checkpoint are being stopped from this Saturday.

Notably, following the story of foreigners in Cherngtalay being fined 6,000 baht each for hosting a party at their home on Sunday night, the ban on gatherings and parties will continue.

Meanwhile, the island has reported its first death during the third wave of cases since the start of April, and a new cluster of infections in the Phoon Pon district in Phuket Town. The man that died was a 71 year old man who died yesterday morning.

Phuket restrictions and bans to stay in place until end of May | News by Thaiger

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid-19 infections cast doubt on plan to reopen Phuket July 1

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: Phuket may not be ready to welcome back visitors July 1st.

With surging Covid-19 infections, the original plan for Phuket to reopen the international border to tourism on July 1st without quarantine may be unlikely. The governor warned today that the plan may be in jeopardy if they don’t reach the proposed May 15 goal of reducing infections to less than 10 each day. Governor Narong Woonciew called on everyone to work together to keep the infections down as the current rate of 10 to 15 per day will almost definitely delay the sandbox plan for international visitors to arrive in Phuket without quarantine in July.

Daily infections are on the rise in Phuket and high-risk people in local quarantine are still spreading infections, according to the provincial health officer’s assessment of the Covid-19 situation. During proactive screening an active case finding, new clusters of infections continue to be uncovered, a problem that has been attributed to continued partying and social gatherings that violate current Covid-19 restrictions. The health officials warned that, as a result, more aggressive actions may be necessary to control the spread of the Coronavirus in Phuket if it is to reopen in July.

Under the current restrictions of the Covid-19 emergency decree, even two people that aren’t from the same household joining together for socializing or mingling could be considered a gathering and punishable with legal action. Officials are speaking out about the threat of more Covid-19 outbreaks due to large gatherings, citing several events that were broken up recently.

One such group in Phuket garnered a lot of attention online with many people surprised that it was considered a gathering and busted up. A group of six British and Thai people that the police raided yesterday at a home in Thalang were reportedly drinking and celebrating. This is a violation of the disease decree and local Covid-19 safety measures, and 2 British nationals were charged a 6000 baht fine each.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

 

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Patong

30 year old Thai woman found dead in car in Patong from apparent suicide

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Photo via The Phuket News

The Thaiger acknowledges that the names of the family and the contents of a suicide note were published in error in an earlier version of this story. We have spoken to the writer and can assure readers that this will never happen again. We apologise for the distress caused.

A 30 year old Thai woman has been found dead in her car, in Patong, from an apparent suicide. The woman’s car was parked by the side of the Sirirat Road, which links Patong and Karon. Police and rescue workers arrived at the scene to find the body of ‘Kanokwan’ (surname withheld), slumped in the driver’s seat of a Phuket-registered Honda Jazz.

Police say they found an electric pan with burnt charcoal behind the driver’s seat in the back. They say this was the cause of death as she likely died from asphyxiation. They also say they found a suicide letter.

The woman’s mother ‘Boonlap’ says that she has accepted her daughter’s death was from a probably suicide. Her body was taken to Patong Hospital for further examination before being released to her relatives for a funeral.

It is not known whether the Covid pandemic had any effect on Kanokwan but job losses, bankruptcies, sickness and fear are just a few of the side-affects during the Covid-19 pandemic.

For many in Thailand and all over the world, this has a profound impact on the mental health of everyday people. The suicide rate in Thailand has also seen a spike, with 22% more suicides recorded in the first half of 2020 when compared to the same period in 2019. A sharp increase not witnessed since the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.

Even before the pandemic struck, Thailand was on record as having the most suicides of any country in SE Asia. As per WHO data, in 2019 Thailand’s suicide rate was 14.4 per 100k population, compared to a global average of 10.5 per 100k population.

If you or anyone you know is in emotional distress, please contact the Samaritans of Thailand at their 24-hour hotline 02-713-6791 (English), 02713-6793 (Thai) or Thai Mental Health Hotline at 1323 (Thai).

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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