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Phuket SEZ a dream?; Mega-show for Phuket; Election fraud; court begins

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Phuket SEZ a dream?; Mega-show for Phuket; Election fraud; court begins | The Thaiger
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– A daily digest of news about Thailand from around the world, compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community.

Special Economic Zones: Phuket hopes remain a dream

In a development sure to raise eyebrows in Phuket, Sa Kaew province has been chosen to become a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) to promote trade and investment in eastern Thailand, as well as developing the area as an economic corridor to link with China and other countries via Cambodia and Vietnam.

Meanwhile, two decades of hope, effort and red herrings from Bangkok have yet to culminate in SEZ status for Phuket despite the island’s position as Thailand’s number two or three province for generation of foreign currency reserves.

For further background on Phuket as a candidate for SEZ, duty free or special administrative status, see the Phuket Gazette‘s reports of July 1, 2010; March 6, 2009; February 7, 2008; and December 1, 2004.

None of the Phuket proposals to achieve special economic status has ever reached the Cabinet in Bangkok for consideration.

Deputy Commerce Minister Alongkorn Ponlaboot said the SEZ in Sa Kaew would be a gateway to link Thailand’s eastern provinces to Cambodia and countries bordering the South China Sea.

The zone will be proposed for Cabinet approval early next month, he said. Moreover, the Commerce Ministry will ask for Cabinet approval to set up a committee on promoting cross-border growth and to ensure systematic management of the SEZ.

The new special economic zone will be developed based on the model of a similar such zone in Mae Sot, which has been successfully established for promoting trade and investment growth in the Northwest, Alongkorn said.

Phuket to host Asian Hospitality Show

The first annual Asian Hospitality and Travel Show is confirmed to take place October 1 – 3.

Presented by the PhuketInternational Academy Sports and Leisure Club, the show is the first of its kind to bring together vendors and buyers covering the whole spectrum of the Asian hospitality and tourism industry.

In addition to thousands of local visitors, the show is expected to attract more than 100 exhibitors and over 2,000 industry professionals to the Central Festival Phuket Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Organized by Events Thailand, the three-day show offers exhibits, seminars, workshops, demonstrations, special events and networking opportunities.

Among those attending from the region, the show is expected to attract most of Phuket’s major hotels, resorts, restaurants, travel agencies, and related businesses.

The event is sponsored by the Phuket Gazette and PGTV.

Thailand’s Constitution Court to investigate fraud claims

Earth Times
Thailand’s Constitution Court yesterday began examining witnesses in an election fraud case against the country’s ruling Democrat Party that could end in the party’s dissolution.

The court heard three witnesses from the Election Commission, which has accused the Democrats of misusing 29 million baht (906,250 dollars) in government-supplied campaign funds during the 2005 general election. The trial is expected to last several months.

The case is one of two filed by the commission against the Democrats that could lead to the party’s dissolution and the banning of its executives from politics, including party leader Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

Last month, the Constitution Court accepted another case against the Democrat Party, accusing it of receiving 25.8 million baht in illicit campaign donations from a private company in 2004.

No trial date has been set for this case.

Thailand joins fight against pirates

The Bangkok Post
The Royal Thai Navy is prepared to send two ships to join the United Nations and the United States in the suppression of piracy in Somalia, says navy chief Admiral Kamthorn Poomhiran.

He says the navy is ready in terms of personnel and equipment for the mission, but is still waiting for cabinet approval.

A source said the navy is interested in taking part in the suppression to gain experience in an international peace-keeping role. Moreover, Thai ships had earlier been hijacked by the Somali pirates.

Meanwhile, Col Sithichai Makkunchorn, the spokesman for the Royal Thai Armed Forces Command, said it was reported to a meeting of the armed forces commanders yesterday that the Thai army is preparing to dispatch Task Force 980, a battalion, or about 800 troops, to Darfur, Sudan, to serve on the UN peace-keeping mission there.

Weapons and equipment will be transported by boat to Sudan on Sept 1. They are expected to arrive in Mukja on Sept 25, Col Sithichai said.

The first group of 397 soldiers will leave for Sudan on a chartered flight on Oct 25, and the second group of 400 on Nov 23, he added.

Ethnic Thais press for rights

The Irrawaddy
Leaders of Thailand’shill tribes and other indigenous groups have established an ethnic council to press the government in Bangkok to guarantee their communities the same rights that Thaicitizens enjoy.

The council was formed at a three-day seminar in Chiang Mai that ended yesterday, which marked ‘International Indigenous Day’.

The seminar, attended by about 200 representative of Thailand’s hill tribes and other indigenous people, was organized by the Network for Indigenous Peoples in Thailand (NIPT).

Sakda Saenmi, the NIPT secretariat coordinator, said the council would provide a network for discussing the problems of Thailand’s indigenous people.

— Gazette Editors

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Thailand

Phuket police arrest 6 after finding large amounts of methamphetamine in raid

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket police arrest 6 after finding large amounts of methamphetamine in raid | The Thaiger

Phuket Provincial Police have arrested 6 people after finding large amounts of methamphetamine and other drugs during a raid. One suspect alone allegedly had 7.6 kilograms of crystal meth (ya ice) and over 12,500 methamphetamine pills (ya bah). 29 year old Surasak ‘Bank’ Wijit and 27 year old Panida ‘Mei’ Saeyang were arrested at an apartment car park in Soi Lookkaew, Moo 6, Rassada, in eastern Phuket, after they were found in possession of the drugs.

Police also found 2 mobile phones and a red Honda PCX, registered in Phuket, as evidence. Both suspects have been charged with posessing a Category 1 drug with the intent to sell.

Other suspects arrested at the same time include 36 year old from Chiang Rai, 42 year old Sarawut ‘An’ Srichanon, from Ranong and 31 year old Pornthep ‘Iew’ Thepchampa, who were charged with the same crimes in Chalong after police found more drugs in their possession. 33 year old Kamon ‘Kung’ Sae-ngow, was arrested as well after police found kratom juice and leaves at a house in Rassada. He was taken to Phuket City Police station and was charged with a Category 5 drug possession.

SOURCE:The Phuket News

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Thailand

Phuket Muay Thai fighter is the first Thai national to compete in UFC

The Thaiger

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Phuket Muay Thai fighter is the first Thai national to compete in UFC | The Thaiger

The upcoming Ultimate Fighting Championship Fight Night event in Abu Dhabi will feature Thailand’s only national marking her third fight with the UFC, the world’s largest mixed martial arts competition. 24 year old Loma Lookboonme, from Burirram in northeastern Thailand, will fight in the event on October 3, 2020.

Loma is a Muay Thai fighter who has adapted her MMA skills to fight in the UFC where she currently trains at the Tiger Muay Thai gym in Phuket. Loma qualified for the national team at the age of 19 and has fought in over 12 nations worldwide. She currently trains 6 days a week starting daily at 6:30am with a 3 kilometre run. In the UFC, she will be competing against China’s Angela Lee who is the undisputed champion of the 52 kilogram fist weight category.

Phuket Muay Thai fighter is the first Thai national to compete in UFC | News by The Thaiger

Loma’s parents are former Muay Thai fighters and her 2 sisters currently compete as well. She reportedly started training at 8 years old after being inspired by her father, whom she describes as her “hero.”

Like most Thais in such fighting sports, Muay Thai offers a way to rise out of poverty-and fighting for the UFC can be financially lucrative. But Loma says her only Thai sponsor is the gym where she trains, with the rest of her sponsors being from foreign brands. She says she is trying to get more Thai sponsors but feels that maybe she needs to win the UFC first before Thai brands notice her.

Loma lost her last fight and says her new opponent gives her nothing to lose. She says her goal is to get into the Top 10, but is not sure when it will happen. Loma says for now, it would be good to fight against someone in the Top 10 to help her prepare for her future.

FULL INTERVIEW: Thisrupt.co

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Tourism

Phuket airport ready for tourists after finishing Covid screening labs

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket airport ready for tourists after finishing Covid screening labs | The Thaiger

Phuket Airport is officially ready for tourists as authorities say they have finished installing Covid screening labs in an effort to welcome international travellers. The 5T Model for Covid-19 is being used at the airport with the goal of screening large groups of people in a quick and efficient manner. The Phuket health chief says the 5T’s stand for Target, Testing, Treating, Trusting and Tracing.

Phuket has one large airport at the north end of the island but is separated into two separate terminals – a domestic terminal (the original airport terminal), and a new international terminal opened in 2016.

The target category refers to the target groups of tourists while the tracing stands for software that will be used to monitor their movements. The testing category refers to Covid tests that will be implemented to travellers upon arrival along with the treatment and trust categories signifying the readiness of resources for medical treatment and confident communications between all parties respectively.

The Covid-19 lab container module has been set up at Phuket airport’s Terminal X (the terminal opened for charter flights opened in 2014) and will be tested tomorrow with its operation to start on September 30. As large groups of tourists could arrive (later in the year, the lab is reportedly capable of testing 96 people at a time with test results becoming available in 6 hours. What the airport would do withe tested passengers whilst waiting for 6 hours, has not been detailed at this stage.

Such a readiness plan to welcome foreign tourists originally singled out Phuket due to its popularity with travellers, and as a so-called guinea pig model to test in a controlled environment (Phuket is an island joined to the Thai mainland by a single 300 metre road bridge). Once dubbed the Phuket Model, authorities have proposed to rename the plan to “Special Tourist Visa” due to the confusion and opposition it reportedly caused. The scheme is reportedly now being proposed for all areas of Thailand but only allowing foreigners from specific countries.

SOURCE: Pattaya Mail

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