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Phuket Governor requests Navy, police protection for sea gypsies

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Governor requests Navy, police protection for sea gypsies | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Governor Nisit Jansomwong has requested that naval officers and Chalong Police carry out random checks at the Rawai sea gypsy village to boost security and ensure locals that they will be safe during ongoing land dispute cases.

The security boost follows news reports from June 22 that 200 sea gypsies had begged Phuket authorities for protection after a group of men allegedly threatened to shoot them if they moved concrete blocks that had been placed on the public access road to their village (story here).

Then, on June 26, a group of 40 men demanded that the gypsies demolish their spiritual ceremony hall (story here).

Civil defence volunteers were ordered to watch over the area after the two incidents last month.

Governor Nisit, along with Rawai Mayor Aroon Solos, Damrongtham Center Chief Prapan Kanprasang, Lt Somphop Kamthana of the Royal Navy and other relevant officers, visited the gypsy village on Wednesday to discuss the issues.

“This problem was brought to my attention at the time. However, I was abroad then, so I was unable to personally receive the complaints from the gypsies,” Gov Nisit explained.

“Regardless, everyone living in Thailand has the right to be secure.

“We will not let such threats occur again, and violence is certainly not the answer.”

The Rawai sea gypsies have been fighting for many years to prove their rights to the land their families have been living on for generations.

“Many cases have gone to the courts. There have been about 100 cases since 2008; some we have won, and some we have lost,” Niran Yangpan, a sea gypsy representative, told the Phuket Gazette yesterday.

“I cannot remember the names of the alleged land owners, as there are too many. Recently 50 more complaints have been filed against us by people who claim to own the land.”

Last year, DNA tests on skeletal remains unearthed in their village confirmed that the seafaring nomads have called Phuket’s southern beach home for more than 100 years (story here).

The Department of Special Investigations (DSI) stepped in after the DNA test results were revealed and vowed to provide evidence to support the villagers’ fight to continue living at the village.

Establishing long duration of residency is a key element in the gypsies’ fight against private investors who had won court orders to evict some villagers from the site (Video Report here).

“We hope the court will consider the evidence and dismiss the private land claims,” Chatchawal Suksomjit, then-director of the DSI, said. “But it is now up to the court, and we cannot interfere in its decision.”

Gov Nisit on Wednesday ensured that the officers would watch over the safety of the villagers, but re-iterated the same thoughts as Mr Chatchawal did last year.

“The land dispute cases between the sea gypsies and the people who claim to own the land are now in the court process,” Gov Nisit noted. “I do not have the authority to intervene in the trials.”

During his visit, the governor also handed out 15 packages containing food and water to the elderly in the community.

— Kritsada Mueanhawong

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

Phuket

Phuket workshop helps residents cope with high stress brought on by the economic crisis

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket workshop helps residents cope with high stress brought on by the economic crisis | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook: ประชาสัมพันธ์ เทศบาลตำบลวิชิต

Hundreds of residents in Phuket’s Wichit subdistrict attended a workshop focused on reducing stress from to the pandemic-induced economic crisis. A psychologist was even on site to help those who had extreme mental stress and a Buddhist monk taught meditation techniques to reduce physiological effects of stress.

The event was planned in response to an online survey conducted by the municipality asking residents about how much stress they were experiencing from the economic climate. They found that some residents had serious stress issues brought on by the pandemic and financial problems, according to Wichit Mayor Kreetha Chotiwichphiphat.

“The loss of income due to the economic crisis brought on by the Covid-19 situation has resulted in some people in the area suffering serious stress, which can lead to serious mental health issues.”

Around 350 people attended the event. The mayor says it was the first step in caring for the residents’ mental health. Local officials plan to hold similar workshops in the future.

“It was a good opportunity for people to realise the importance of mental health and to learn techniques of how to deal with stress, which will help people to maintain their physical health and avoid developing mental health problems.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Phuket

Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter

The Thaiger

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Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | The Thaiger

The Soi Dog Foundation has officially opened its Humane Education Centre, the first of its kind in Thailand dedicated to the welfare of stray animals. The centre, located at the Soi Dog shelter in northern Phuket, forms part of the foundation’s Humane Education program. Rolled out in 2017, the program sees a team visit Thai schools to teach the next generation the basic principles of animal welfare and promote empathetic attitudes towards both owned pets and free-roaming strays.

The program has reached a total of 15,058 students and 861 teachers to date. With a dedicated classroom as well as educational tools and resources now on site at the shelter, Soi Dog will be able to expand the programme and reach an even greater number of young minds.

Co-founder and president of Soi Dog Foundation International John Dalley said, “The cornerstones of what we do – what I believe very firmly are the answers to the stray dog problem throughout Asia – are large-scale sterilisation of stray dogs and cats and education of, particularly, the next generation.

“We see all the time the problems that are being caused through us not respecting the environment and not respecting the other animals with whom we share this planet. That’s why education is so important.”

John also thanked the supporters and donors who made the construction of the centre possible. After cutting the ribbon, the students filed into the brand-new facility for the very first on-site class – a fun and interactive hour of roleplaying, brainstorming and problem solving.

Humane Education Manager Nuttawut “Film” Kumngern. said… “We want to encourage kindness toward animals, especially free-roaming dogs and cats, and teach youngsters to be responsible pet owners. This will sustainably reduce animal cruelty and pet abandonment.”

“We hope to one day see animal welfare incorporated into the curriculum in Thai schools, and our education centre is a great start.”

Soi Dog is ready to welcome school groups from Phuket and other provinces to the centre which can accommodate up to 40 students at any one time. Schools interested in participating are encouraged to email film@soidog.org

Phuket's Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | News by The ThaigerPhuket's Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | News by The Thaiger

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International Schools

Police have yet to investigate illegal hiring of foreign teachers at international school in Phuket

The Thaiger

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Police have yet to investigate illegal hiring of foreign teachers at international school in Phuket | The Thaiger

Chalong police in Phuket say they have yet to start investigating the illegal hiring of foreign teachers at an international school in Rawai, south of the island. Palm House International School allegedly hired foreign teachers illegally in which 2 were arrested by Phuket Immigration police on November 4.

Somkiet Sarasin, the leading investigator of the case, says the 2 Brits were informed that police were processing a charge of working illegally in the country against them, in which both denied the charges. Somkiet says the 2 were released on bail, but did not confirm the amount of bail that was set by the police.

“They are still staying in Thailand. I am not worried. I have their passports. I am not available to explain [any details] because the investigation is still ongoing.”

“This is normal for an investigation when the suspects deny the charge against them. I have to check more information against their claims. This case will probably be concluded next month.”

However, the investigation has yet to begin, with Somkiet saying he has not even questioned the owner of the school, despite his claims the case would be finished next month.

“The investigation into the school will take time. The investigation into the two British people must be finished first.”

Such allegations of foreign teachers working illegally have recently been in the news after Sarasas Witaed Sainoi Pitiyakarn School, in the central province of Nonthaburi, saw 7 foreign teachers probed for being hired illegally. That school, along with others in its private network, made nationwide news after CCTV caught a Thai teacher hitting, pushing and dragging a young student in the classroom. Such widespread violence against students has long been a sad component of many Thai schools, in which some of the teachers are unqualified and unlicensed to teach, but are hired anyway.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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