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Phuket aglow with tsunami memorial ceremony

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket aglow with tsunami memorial ceremony | The Thaiger

PHUKET: A dignified silence settled over Patong Beach yesterday evening as hundreds gathered to light candles in remembrance of the people who were killed or went missing in the 2004 tsunami that devastated Thailand’s west coast.

The Light Up Phuket memorial service was attended by Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha, Phuket Provincial Administration Organization (OrBorJor) President Paiboon Upatising and Dutch Honorary Consul in Phuket Seven Smulders.

The ceremony started at 7pm with a performance by Phuket Rajabhat University’s students, which was followed by the opening speech by Governor Tri.

“I was the governor of Mukdahan province when the tsunami struck Phuket in 2004. I remember donating many things for those who were affected by the tsunami,” said Governor Tri.

“It was sad that we lost so many lives and so much was destroyed. But we saw how people care and are willing to help each other. The tragedy was sad but everyone showed their generosity and never left anyone to suffer,” he added.

“I would like to tell all Phuket residents, Thai and foreign, who either live here or plan to visit in the future, that we now have a comprehensive operational emergency warning system. You can be at ease when you stay in Phuket. Any unusual [seismic] activity will be detected by our early warning system,” Governor Tri emphasized.

The opening ceremony was followed by a prayer by Pastor Brian Burton.

The highlight of the memorial service was a candle-lit ceremony, during which mourners placed candles into holes dug into the sand to form intricate designs along the beach.

Not wishing to give her name, one tearful woman clutching two lit candles told Phuket Gazette, “I am from Germany. I was here with two friends on the morning of December 26 when the tsunami struck Patong. I was the only survivor to make it back home.

“I come to Patong Beach every year at this time. I want my two friends to know that no matter where they are, I will always remember them. I would return for December 26 every year, even if there weren’t a memorial ceremony,” she confided.

The beach was illuminated by candle light provided by the many people who wanted to be a part of the event. Not only those who had lost love ones, but also people who wanted to pay their respects.

“I didn’t lose anyone [in the tsunami]. I’ve just moved to Phuket for work,” said Wijit Thammasorn, a hairdresser in Patong.

“Today is my day off and I was just out walking around the beach area. I didn’t know about the ceremony until I walked by. It felt like something pulled me here,” Miss Wijit said.

“I arrived for the beginning of the ceremony. Listening to it I got goosebumps and started to cry for no reason. I will light a candle and pray for those who lost their lives in the disaster,” she added.

As part of the memorial service, the OrBorJor organized a public debate during the morning aimed at educating the students of Phuket. Dr Smith Dharmasaroj, former head of the National Disaster Warning Center, staged a public discussion on disaster management.

“We should consider including a study of natural disasters in the high school curriculum. Students should have a basic knowledge of what to do in response to a tsunami, wildfire or flood,” said Dr Smith.

“It’s been seven years since the disaster. We should have better warning system, not only along the Andaman coast, but also along the coast of the Gulf of Thailand. The big waves that hit the Gulf of Thailand on December 25 indicates that we need a better system. Luckily, no one died and no people were injured,” he said.

In his closing address, Dr Smith stressed, “Don’t listen to tsunami predictions by people who claim that they know. Tsunamis are unpredictable. All we can do is monitor for unusual activity and then give a warning of when it will hit land.”

— Chaiyot Yongcharoenchai

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Crime

Thalang Police arrest local Phuket drug dealer with amphetamine pills

The Thaiger

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Thalang Police arrest local Phuket drug dealer with amphetamine pills | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: เหยี่ยวข่าว ภูเก็ต Newshawk Phuket

Thalang Police have arrested a local drug dealer with more than 192 amphetamine pills. Thalang police in Phuket arrested 29 year old Wimon Songkong from Nakhon Si Thammarat with 192 amphetamine pills that he was carrying when they nabbed him in front of a 7-Eleven store inside a PTT gas station on Thepkasattri Road, in Thalang District.

The amphetamine pills were packed in a black zip-lock plastic bag, which was hidden in his grey shoulder bag. Two of the pills were green and 190 of them were orange, while each pill had the letters ‘wy’ printed on them.

Wimon was charged for possessing and trading illicit drugs and was sent to Thalang police station for further investigation and processing.

STORY: Newshawk Phuket

Thalang Police arrest local Phuket drug dealer with amphetamine pills | News by The Thaiger

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Hua Hin

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain

May Taylor

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Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | The Thaiger

The Thailand Meteorological Department issued a weather warning for southern Thailand with torrential rain forecast to hit the region throughout the weekend. The heavy monsoon over the Gulf of Thailand and south of the country is being blamed for the rough weather, with the TMD predicting flash flooding in many areas.

(Phuket, Hat Yai and Hua Hin’s forecast below)

“Waves are expected to reach 2 metres in height in the lower Gulf of Thailand and possibly higher at the height of the storm. Ships are advised to proceed with caution.”

For the north and northeast of Thailand, the TMD forecasts strong winds and cooler mornings as the arrival of the “winter” season, coupled with a moderate high-pressure system, causes temperatures to dip.

Hua Hin’s five day forecast

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | News by The Thaiger

Phuket’s five day forecast

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | News by The Thaiger

Hat Yai’s five day forecast

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation | weather.com

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Crime

Now you see him, now you don’t… Patong Police hunt foreigner over $30k theft

Greeley Pulitzer

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Now you see him, now you don’t… Patong Police hunt foreigner over $30k theft | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Patong Police

Patong Police have yet to develop any tangible leads tracking down a foreigner who made off with US$30,000 in cash from a currency exchange booth in Kalim, north of Patong in Phuket, last Tuesday.

The man is about 168 centimetres tall with grey hair and around 60 years old, Patong police told The Phuket News.

“We have no clue what nationality he is.”

He was last seen at the currency exchange booth wearing a purple polo shirt, blue jeans and black cap. Police have checked hotels in the area, police stations across the island and Phuket Immigration, but have yet to join the dots and come up with firm leads.

“Investigators have checked CCTV in the area and collected what evidence we have but we still do not know the man’s name or where he was staying.”

The man had visited the booth several times before Tuesday, when he disappeared with the $30,000 in US banknotes, according to police.

“It was always small amounts”, he added, noting that the amounts didn’t warrant staff at the exchange booth to check the man’s passport before making the exchange.

The man arrived at the booth again at about 1pm on Tuesday, saying that he had 900,000 baht cash to exchange.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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