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Phuket Violence: Another tourist severely beaten by taxi drivers

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Violence: Another tourist severely beaten by taxi drivers | The Thaiger

PHUKET: An Australian tourist filed a police complaint yesterday alleging that he was severely beaten after confronting a taxi driver about a sexual comment made to his girlfriend.

Accompanied by the girl and an Australian consul, Peter Hulands filed the complaint with Patong Police shortly being released from hospital.

He suffered a broken nose and a shattered eye socket in the violence.

Maj Somsak Tongkliang of Patong Police explained that in his complaint, Mr Hulands said he and his girlfriend were walking past the taxi driver at about 2:30am on Tuesday near the eastern end of Bangla Road when the altercation occurred.

He alleged that the driver, 29-year-old Sathit Nuyuphai, made some comment “sexual in nature” about a hat that Mr Hulands’ girlfriend was wearing, and a fight ensued.

On her Facebook page, Kitty Cardway said the attack was carried out by “five Thai tuk tuk drivers”.

Her Facebook also shows she is very fond of felines, and features a photo of her sporting a novelty hat imitating a large cat on her head.

Mr Sathit, however, today denied the accusation and gave a different account of events.

“He seemed to have had an argument with his girlfriend, then crossed the road,” Mr Sathit said.

“I asked him ‘Taxi boss?'” Mr Sathit said. “Instead of answering me, he asked ‘Can you speak English?’ Then I said ‘yes’ and he swore at me, so I swore back.”

Mr Sathit alleged that Mr Hulands grabbed him by the neck.

Mr Sathit said he punched Mr Hulands, who then walked away from the fight.

“Later, he came back looking drunk with two friends, one Thai and one farang [westerner]. He kneed my friend, then we got into a fight,” Mr Sathit said.

Mr Sathit said one of his fingers was broken during the fight.

Patong Police told the Phuket Gazette that while brawling Mr Hulands fell down, hitting his face on the ground.

Some officers at the station noted that it was not the first time the Australian had been involved in a violent confrontation with local people in Patong.

The Gazette has yet to be informed of what, if any, action the police might take in response to the complaint.

Ms Cardway reported that Mr Hulands will need to consult specialists over the extent of his injuries, and that he may need reconstructive surgery.

The news of yet another tourist suffering a severe beating by Patong taxi drivers comes as Phuket’s top policeman is trying to establish a “Safety Zone” in the crime-ridden municipality. The zone is to be heavily monitored by public access CCTV.

It also comes amid pressure from the Prime Minister’s Office – and specifically from Deputy PM Chalerm Yoobamrung – for Phuket officials to resolve long-standing “problems” with local taxi drivers in Phuket.

In September last year, a gang of taxi drivers camped outside an upscale resort on Phuket’s west coast beat a local driver with an iron bar while a pair of horrified elderly Australian tourists were still sitting inside the vehicle.

Earlier that same month, German national Kurt Trotnow was left in intensive care fighting for his life after being beaten up by a mob of Patong tuk-tuk drivers for refusing to pay a fare of 200 baht (approx US$6.70).

And last month, an Egyptian tourist suffered deep lacerations to his face in an altercation with a tuk-tuk driver in front of the Jungceylon shopping complex, a site that has become notorious for taxi gangs involved in assaults against foreign tourists.

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Phuket

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

The Thaiger

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Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2 | The Thaiger

In today’s Thailand News Today…. The island of Phuket has a firm plan to get its residents vaccinated leading up to an October opening for tourists, the Thai PM backs up his police over last Sunday’s protest violence and Thai Airway’s employee union criticises the changes to employee contracts.

But the plan must be approved by the national government by April, if the province wants to open tourism by October 1. Phuket has a resident population of around 300- 400,000 people.

Before you go rushing off to book your plane tickets we’d stress that this is another in a long list of proposals that have not come to fruition and we’d urge patience until the Government approves the plans.

Meanwhile the island has taken delivery of 4,000 doses of the Chinese Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine. Vaccinations started yesterday, with priority given to 1,500 healthcare workers and 500 “at-risk” officials exposed to Covid-19 patients.

On a broader note… Thailand’s Tourism Minister says he has asked the Public Health Ministry to approve a vaccine passport scheme aimed at reviving Thailand’s devastated tourism sector. According to the Minister, the government is looking to the World Health Organisation to issue a statement on vaccine passports before it makes a final decision on the matter.

The Thai PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha has defended police action against protesters taking part in Sunday’s anti-government rally in Bangkok. Officers from the Metropolitan Police Bureau used tear gas, a water cannon and rubber bullets in an effort to drive protesters back from the PM’s residence. The PM insists the actions were in line with international standards. He says that police did not violate the protesters’ rights.

Thai researchers are claiming that horseshoe bats are not responsible for transmitting the Covid virus to humans. A researcher with the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Diseases-Health Science Centre, says that even though the bats have tested positive for a coronavirus, it is not the strain that is transmissible to humans, and it’s certainly not the virus that causes Covid-19.

As Thai Airways tries to sell new contracts and conditions to its remaining workforce, the labour union of the national carrier is challenging changes to the employment contracts, where Thai Airways employees are being asked to agree to changes as part of the bigger financial rehabilitation program.

But a union representative says the new contracts are unfair because it includes fewer leave days and shorter holidays. The union has filed a complaint with the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare.

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Phuket

Police investigate reports of women’s underwear stolen from Phuket homes

Caitlin Ashworth

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Police investigate reports of women’s underwear stolen from Phuket homes | The Thaiger
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Police in Phuket are looking for a suspect who residents say has been stealing women’s underwear. Surveillance camera footage from a resident’s home shows a teenager driving through a neighbourhood, then stopping and stealing ladies panties that were hanging up to dry.

One resident told Phuket News that numerous residents in Thalang’s Baan Lipon area have reported missing underwear.

“Recently neighbors have been reporting that many items of their underwear have been stolen. Many residents are worried about the man hovering around here trying to steal underwear.”

A man told the Phuket News that his wife’s underwear was stolen and he’s now worried about his family’s safety. Another resident says he’s also concerned.

“As a resident in this area, I am worried about the safety of the local residents. Underwear has been stolen, something else could happen as well.”

In a similar case back in October, a 46 year old man was arrested for allegedly breaking into homes in Ratchaburi and stealing women’s underwear. Police says they seized 70 pairs of panties.

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Tourism

Phuket pushes to open doors to vaccinated international tourists by October

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Phuket pushes to open doors to vaccinated international tourists by October | The Thaiger

Phuket is set to open its doors to vaccinated, international tourists by October, pending the government’s approval. The local government’s initiative, named Phuket First October, proposes vaccinating a majority of its population over 18 years of age in time for the high season. The move would allow thousands of vaccinated Europeans to enter Thailand, while locals would be protected from the virus symptoms.

Protecting the locals would include achieving herd immunity in time for reopening the province, which would need 70% of the population to be vaccinated. The local government’s goal would not wait for the government to roll out vaccines, and instead, use its own resources to vaccinate the public. Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, president of the Phuket Tourist Association told the Thai Enquirer over the phone, that they won’t stop pushing for ways to help the tourist destination survive.

“I think there must be a solution that balances controlling the outbreak and stimulating the economy.”

The island is also looking to waive the 14 day quarantine, with PM Prayut recently changing his stance by announcing that a quarantine waiver is being considered for those vaccinated tourists.

But the plan must be approved by the national government by April, if the province wants to open tourism by October 1. Initial research shows that around 250,000 citizens per month must be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.

Initially, the province’s request was denied by the federal government, but business leaders are not giving up hope. Recently, they submitted a petition to PM Prayut to appeal the denial citing lack of income, mounting debts and increasing financial disputes due to over eight months without international or domestic flights.

The second wave has also plummeted tourism even lower than before, as the industry has seen a 93% drop in visitors since the same time last year.

Phuket has already kicked off its vaccine rollout as of yesterday, after receiving a delivery of 4,000 doses of the Chinese Sinovac jab. Priority is being given to 1,500 healthcare workers and 500 “at-risk” officials that have been exposed to Covid-19 patients.

SOURCE: Thai Enquirer

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