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Phuket calm after coup

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket calm after coup | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Top government and tourism industry officials in Phuket have largely adopted a wait-and-see attitude following the bloodless military coup staged in Bangkok last night.

Meanwhile, Phuket Governor Udomsak Uswarangkura has announced that he will hold a press conference at Phuket Provincial Hall at 2 pm tomorrow to answer questions about the military takeover and its effect on the province.

Earlier today, Gov Udomsak reported to Army Region 4 Command in Krabi with a list of government officials who have maintained their posts despite military takeover.

Phuket International Airport Director Sq/Ldr Pornchai Eua-aree, told the Gazette this morning that the situation at the airport was normal, with no reports of canceled flights.

However, a group of about 100 military personnel stationed in Krabi arrived at the airport at around 2 am today to maintain security, he said.

Their presence there had not disrupted activity or created any unease among people using the airport, he reassured.

“They are are just there to provide security and will continue to conduct security checks, especially at the entrance to the departure lounge. I would like to inform the public that there are no problems whatsoever flying in or out of Phuket,” he said.

“I think the tourism situation in Phuket will quiet down for about a week, given that some tourists may be alarmed by the turn of events. But when travel agents explain to them that this type of thing is fairly common in Thailand and that the situation here remains peaceful, they will begin to return,” he said.

Phuket Tourist Association (PTA) Vice-President Panu Maswongsa was less optimistic.

Speaking sarcastically the day after the coup, he said that it would not affect prospects for the upcoming high-season for tourism much – the terrorist bombings in Haad Yai had ruined the outlook already.

“If you were a tourist, would you still want to come to Thailand?” he asked.

Like most tourism industry experts the Gazette talked to, K. Panu declined to speculate further, saying that it was still too early.

“With the bombs in Haad Yai and now this coup, I am not really sure about the tourism situation in Phuket at the moment…There might be a short-term downturn in occupancy rates, but if the situation remains non-violent then we might start to see the outlook return to normal in a week of ten days.”

The man charged with maintaining security on the island, Phuket Provincial Police Commander Pol Maj Gen Decha Budnampetch, said the situation in Phuket remains normal and calm.

In his view, the coup amounted to little more than an administrative overhaul at the national level.

Phuket Provincial Police had already heightened security measures following the terrorist bombings in Haad Yai last weekend and were therefore prepared for any additional threat that might arise, he said.

His department was ready to deal with any mob action that might arise, whether they be celebrating the coup or protesting against it – but thus far there has been none.

Under the martial law imposed last night, police are authorized to break up assemblies of more than five people, he said.

The press would be subject to increased censorship, he warned.

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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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