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Phuket car used in mega-heist; foreigners suspected

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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– A daily digest of news from around the world compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

PHUKET: Police say a Toyota sedan owned by a Phuket person is believed to have been the vehicle used by the robbers in Friday’s 12-million baht robbery. The heist occurred outside the Krung Thai Bank headquarters in Bangkok.

The car is said to have been a rental vehicle managed by a Phuket car rental company.

The Bangkok Post reports that police have identified two suspects, both foreigners, and that an investigation unit will travel to Phuket to talk to the car owner. The suspects are believed to be professional thieves working for a gang.

In the robbery, Wirat Panyapluattichote of Thaimart Store was at the bank depositing money owned by Thaimart when 12 million baht was stolen from his car.

He had picked up bags containing 25 million baht from an exchange currency trader and went to the bank to deposit it.

The cash was divided into bags containing 5 million, 8 million, and 12 million baht.

Mr Wirat carried the bag with 5 million baht into the bank. When he returned he found that a window of his vehicle had been broken and the bag containing 12 million baht was missing.

Golf victory for Pagunsan in Phuket

Inquirer sports
Juvic Pagunsan from the Philippines won the Mercedes-Benz Masters Thailand tournament on Saturday with a runaway seven-stroke victory while Thai teen prodigy Pinsawat Pariwat finished in a tie for fifth.

Starting the day with a four-stoke lead, Pagunsan closed with a five-under-par 65 at Laguna Phuket Golf Club for his first win on the Mercedes-Benz Tour.

Thailand’s Udorn Duangdecha claimed outright second after shooting a 68, while Lam Chih Bing from Singapore was one stroke further back in third position after carding a 67.

Thirteen-year-old amateur Pinsawat closed with a 70.

The event was sponsored by the Phuket Gazette and PGTV.

Nok Air snorkeling into Phuket

TTRWeekly
Nok Air’s Nok Fan Club members can buy a snorkeling package at Racha Island for 1,200 baht (for two persons) when they purchase standard fares to Phuket through the airline’s call centre.

Racha Island is located a few minutes’ boat ride off Phuket.

The promotion is available for two persons travelling together and both have to be Nok Fan Club members. The booking period ends September 23, or until the allotment of 1,000 packages is fully taken up. The travel period runs until September 30.

The roundtrip fare to Phuket from Bangkok is reported at “around” 2,980 baht per person.

Phuket resort laments

Brisbane Times
The upheaval that’s engulfed Thailand recently has hit tourist hubs hard, and Phuket’s luxury health resort Six Senses Destination Spa has not been spared.

Six Senses Managing Director Ana Maria Tavares last month lamented not only the Bangkok civil unrest that has dissuaded holiday-makers but a raft of other uncontrollable factors that have plagued Phuket and her resort since its opening in November 2008.

“We’re nearly empty and we should be about 60 per cent full,” she said.

“We’ve suffered the financial crisis, the global swine flu epidemic and then the closure of Bangkok airport because of the political situation there.”

Despite the bad-timing, Ms Tavares said the Phuket resort had won eight international awards last year.

Phuket not alone in road disgrace

The Nation
In Phuket, where motorists have been pleading for stricter enforcement of traffic laws for decades, the results of last week’s nationwide road safety survey come as no surprise:

– Many minors under 15 ride motorcycles in Thailand, although the law prohibits that.
– 78.9 per cent of road accident victims weren’t wearing a helmet at the time of their accident(s).
– Drunk driving is responsible for 31.6 per cent of all injuries and deaths.
– Speeding accounts for 31.1 per cent of all accidents.

Nurse Sirikul Kullieub from Khon Kaen Hospital’s Emergency Centre said a survey of 1,200 motorcycle accident victims at 12 hospitals around the country found that most were young persons:

– 37 per cent aged 19-30
– 14.7 per cent 15-18; and
– 7.1 per cent below 15.

The survey results will be used for proposals to the government for stricter traffic law enforcement, and for a plea that driver’s licenses for motorbikes of 100cc or more be issued to over 18s only.

State of emergency continues

Online

Thailand’s Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday said that it was too early to lift a two-month-old state of emergency in place across about one-third of the country, including Bangkok, because of fears of fresh unrest.

“We have to accept that even though the situation seems to be normal now, the problems of terrorism and security still exist,” Mr Abhisit said in his weekly television address.

He added that the government was “reviewing the appropriate time to lift the state of emergency.”

The emergency rule decree bans public gatherings of more than five people and gives broad powers to the police and military, but its visibility in current day-to-day life in Thailand is negligible to zero.

— Gazette Editors

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Business

Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub

Maya Taylor

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Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub | The Thaiger
Mai Khao beach in north Phuket - PHOTO: www.makemytrip.com

Industry officials are seeking the go-ahead for a project to transform over 140 rai of government land in Phuket into a world-leading medical hub. The project is budgeted at 3 – 4 billion baht, depending on which report you read. Kitkong Tantijaraswarodom, from the Federation of Thai Industries, believes the development of a medical and wellness hub in the sub-district of Mai Khao, north Phuket, will help revive the southern island’s battered economy. Phuket has become increasingly reliant on a steady flow of tourists over the past 2 decades.

The southern division of the FTI covers Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Trang, Patthalung, Surat Thani, Ranong, Satun, Chumphon, and Songkhla.

“The FTI will ask the government to green-light the project during the scheduled mobile cabinet meeting on the island on November 3.”

Kitkong says businesspeople in the south are anxious for the government to approve the project, which will provide both locals and foreign medical tourists with state-of-the-art medical care. The facility is expected to include long-term care, hospice and rehabilitation services, in addition to a dental hospital, sports therapy centre, and a medical training school for doctors, nurses, pharmacists and medical laboratory scientists.

The chair of the FTI’s southern chapter is also calling on officials to provide small and medium-sized businesses with additional support, in the form of access to loans, in order to deal with cash shortages.

“In the short term, the FTI wants the government to help SMEs, especially those in the tourism sector.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Phuket

Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment

The Thaiger

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Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment | The Thaiger

A man has been found hanged in Phuket Town apartment yesterday. Police are treating the cases as a suicide at the moment.

The man was found hanged from the apartment’s ceiling fan. His lifeless body was discovered around 11am after neighbours complained to the manager about the smell coming from the man’s room.

Police and the local Kusoldharm Foundation rescue workers attended the scene. Police later confirmed the incident happened in room on the 3rd floor of an apartment lock in Soi Phoonphol Soi 1, Talat Nuea in Phuket Town. Police said the man was 35-45 years of age and had a 29 year old girlfriend from Chumphon. He was paying 1,000 baht a month and had been renting the room for 2 months. Police estimate that the man had been dead for at least 3 days.

Police told media that the man had used, what appeared to be a dress, tied around his neck and then to the room’s roof fan. The apartment manager told police that he had been late on on his recent rent, speculating that the man may have been suffering financial hardship.

The man’s identity has not been released at this stage.

His body was taken to Vachira Hospital for an autopsy.

If you or anyone you know is in emotional distress, please contact the Samaritans of Thailand 24-hour hotline: 02 713 6791 (English), 02 713 6793 (Thai) or the Thai Mental Health Hotline at 1323 (Thai).

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Tourism

Bangkok Airways add 3 new local routes to their schedule

The Thaiger

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Bangkok Airways add 3 new local routes to their schedule | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Bangkok Airways' ATR72, servicing the re-introduced routes

Some domestic routes are being added as local routes continue to expand. This time Bangkok Airways has announced it’s resuming its Samui-Phuket, Phuket-Hat Yai and Phuket-Pattaya/Rayong (U-Tapao) flights.

The first additions to the schedule will be the Phuket-Samui flights resuming this Sunday, October 25, and the Phuket-Pattaya flights start again next Tuesday, October 27. The Phuket-Samui flights will be operating on Sundays and Wednesdays only on the airlines’ ATR72 turbo prop regional planes, same as before.

A casual search on the Bangkok Airways website, for a return flight from Phuket to Samui on November 1, then back to Phuket on November 8 indicates the cheapest fare (promo) is 2,430 baht. Coming back, the cheapest fare we found, again labelled ‘promo’, was 2,630 baht. Bangkok Airways operate as a “full service” airline and don’t compete with the country’s discount airlines. But they operate these three routes exclusively – like it or leave it.

Bangkok Airways say that the flights will be operated “with the highest preventive measures and standards”. Around the country the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand have eased a few of the onboard restrictions, including the start of catering services which were originally banned under the initial flight rules when domestic routes started flying again at the start of July.

The daily direct services between Phuket and Hat Yai are also being operated on the ATR72 aircraft. The flight to Ha Yai leaves Phuket at 8.40am and arrives at Hat Yai at 9:.45am. The return flights leave Hat Yai back to Phuket at 10.25am each day. The route was very popular for the airline before the ‘disruption’ when airlines had their fleets grounded in April.

The service between Phuket and U-Tapao, linking the party city with the party island, will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, again with the ATR72. Phuket to U-Tapao will leave at 12.10pm and then from U-Tapao to Phuket at 4pm on the three days. U-Tapao is about a 50 minute drive from Pattaya and the airport also serves the greater Rayong area.

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