Phuket car used in mega-heist; foreigners suspected

Phuket NEWS Hound

– 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

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


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

Phuket News

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