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Phuket beach turf war heats up as officials look to remove restaurants

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket beach turf war heats up as officials look to remove restaurants | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: With Maitree Intusut landing on the island on Monday as the newly appointed Phuket Governor, officials in Cherng Talay are wasting no time in their attempt to make a fresh start in clearing encroaching restaurants from the sands of Surin Beach.

While Governor Maitree and his wife, Mrs Palinee, were wading through throngs of well wishers welcoming the couple at Phuket International Airport, Ma-ann Samran, the president of the Cherng Talay Tambon Administration Organization (OrBorTor), was briefing his officers on his plan to clear encroachers from the beach.

“I will draft a letter to the governor requesting his support to establish a zone at Surin Beach, inside which only local people will be allowed to operate as food vendors,” Mr Ma-ann explained to the Gazette.

If the plan is approved with the support of the governor, Mr Ma-ann will have the power to clear any structures from the beach, including the long-debated “sea break” in front of Pla Restaurant.

The sea break became the focal point of high tension between local officials and the restaurant owners in September last year when a raid by 30 officers was called off at the last minute due to orders from Thalang District Chief Narunart Suwanpratheep.

The officers, acting under orders from Tri Augkaradacha, the Phuket governor at the time, were told to stand down after Chief Narunart issued a letter giving the owners of Pla Restaurant the right to keep the sea break, as it “helped protect against coastal erosion”.

The sea break also conveniently allowed Pla Restaurant to extend its tables and chairs closer to the water’s edge, effectively dividing the beach in two. No other restaurant along Surin Beach is permitted the same privilege.

“The owners of Pla Restaurant said they would remove the structure after staging one last large event on the beach last year. They still haven’t removed it,” Mr Ma-ann said.

“I do not have the power to order those vendors off the beach. Even if we receive a complaint that someone is encroaching on the beach, can we go and inspect it, but we cannot do anything substantial,” he added.

Mr Ma-ann explained that the Cherng Talay OrBorTor, as a local administration, is “less powerful” than the Thalang District Office, rendering the OrBorTor powerless to act against the district chief’s order last year.

He hopes the result will be different this time around.

Both Governor Tri and Chief Narunart retired on September 30. Mr Ma-ann expects to file his request within the coming days.

“I understand that everyone needs to make a living, but it needs to be contained so we can preserve the natural beauty that all tourists come to Phuket for, and the reason why they spend time at the beach restaurants.

“I am not going to stand and point at any particular person or business, but I will do my best to get a budget to develop the area for everyone’s benefit,” he added.

As a new Thalang District Chief has yet to be appointed since the retirement of Mr Narunart last week, Udom Siripreukphong, the Chief Administrative Officer at Thalang District Office, is now Acting District Chief.

“I have heard about this problem, and I have assigned another senior officer to investigate which laws apply in this case,” Mr Udom told the Gazette.

“I know no other details. If you want to know more, you will have to come and interview the officer in person,” he added.

— Chutharat Plerin

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

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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