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Phuket cops speak on tourist murders

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket cops speak on tourist murders | The Thaiger

PATONG, PHUKET: Patong’s most senior cop says perceived injustice, drunkenness and robbery attempts are the three factors that lead Thais to assault foreigners.

Kathu Police Superintendent Grissak Songmoonnark says it is important to examine the underlying causes of Thai-on-farang violence.

The comments come just after the announcement of Col Grissak’s transfer from the bright lights of Patong to Phang Nga’s sleepy Kuraburi district in the latest police reshuffle.

They also follow a number of attacks on tourists in Phuket and other parts of Thailand.

In early January, Canadian tourist Ivan Anwar got into a punch-up with a tuk-tuk driver following an argument over fares.

More recently, a 32-year-old Thai man confessed to stabbing elderly German expat Wolf-Dieter Kesselheim to death in an apparent case of road rage.

Two weeks earlier, another German man was shot dead after ‘giving the finger’ to a Thai motorist in Chiang Mai.

We should look at why Thai people are doing this,” said Col Grissak, who doesn’t believe Thai people are predisposed to random acts of violence.

It’s impossible that they’re stabbing or harming people they don’t know for no reason. Thai people are naturally nice.”

Col Grissak said Thais sometimes attack foreigners if they feel feel cheated or under attack.

Lately there was the case of the tuk-tuk driver beating up the foreign tourist because of the fare,” he said.

The tourist agreed to the fare before taking the tuk-tuk, but when he got to the destination he thought it was too nearby and didn’t want to pay so much. At the same time, the tuk-tuk driver was angry that he didn’t get the amount of money that had been agreed,” he said.

Col Grissak moved on to the murder of Wolf Kesselheim, whose funeral took place on Wednesday.

The case in Chalong of the German being stabbed to death began when the German didn’t notice the Thais’ bike and nearly crashed into them,” he said.

Then they chased him and honked at him, so the farang gave them the middle finger. The case was down to neither side showing any kindness to the other.”

A second common cause of such incidents are drunken tourists, Col Grissak said.

The third and least common cause was when tourists fight back during robbery attempts, he said.

If foreigners think they haven’t been treated fairly, the best thing for them to do is inform the police or call related organizations like the Tourist Police on the1155 hotline number,” he said.

Chalong Police Superintendent Chinnarat Ritthakananon, who is also getting transferred off Phuket later this month, said tourists needed to follow the rules of the road and be kind to other drivers.

They should educate themselves about the place they are visiting, especially dangerous places,” he added.

— Atchaa Khamlo

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News

30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands

Greeley Pulitzer

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30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands | The Thaiger

Tourists were treated to the sight of a school of dolphins in the Similan Islands off the Phang Nga coast on Sunday.

Tour organisers said that around 30 dolphins swam close to the boat six or seven miles offshore, creating excitement for passengers. It was the first time dolphins had been seen in the vicinity since October 15.

The Similan Islands National Park director said they were bottlenose dolphins and were among several species now returning to the area following a five-year closure of the park for environmental rehabilitation. Food is again plentiful there for them, he said.

Tourists are forbidden to feed wildlife lest the free handouts alter the animals’ natural behaviour, and the park’s waters are also very sensitive to contamination from human disease and marine debris, according to the director.

SOURCE: nationthailand.com

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Patong

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms

The Thaiger

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Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | The Thaiger

by Sophie Deviller

Hotels on Thailand’s most popular holiday island are being forced to slash prices, with rooms left vacant and beaches sparse as Thailand’s tourism chiefs struggle with a plunge in Chinese visitors caused by the US trade war and a stronger baht. Phuket was the most visited destination in the country last year, after Bangkok, and a good gauge of the state of its crucial travel industry.

Tourism accounts for 18% of Thailand’s gross domestic product and Chinese holidaymakers make up more than a quarter of total arrivals. But while 2.2 million people from the country visited in 2018, according to official figures, the numbers for January-September were down almost 20% year on year.

Claude de Crissey, the French Honorary Consul in Phuket and owner of about 40 rooms in the Patong Beach area, says Chinese tourists are usually present even during the current low season.

“That was not the case this year,” he said, adding he had to lower his prices by as much as 50%.

The problem is not only in Phuket, with hotels also struggling to fill rooms in the seaside resort of Pattaya on the mainland and on Koh Samui.

Trade tensions with the US have already made some Chinese reluctant to take holidays owing to uncertainty back home, while the Thai baht has risen about 10% against the yuan this year.

A boating disaster off Phuket’s coast that killed 47 Chinese holidaymakers in July 2018 also scared some off.

“We are worried,” said an industry insider, declining to be named due to the sensitivity of the topic in a country where tourism provides tens of thousands of jobs. Adding to the headache is the fact that more than 3,000 new hotel rooms are being constructed on the island, raising the question of who will fill them.

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | News by The Thaiger

“In terms of business, it’s not good,” said Kongsak Khoopongsakorn, vice-president of the association of hotels in Thailand and director of Vijitt Resort.

“Because … we have more hotels, more rooms to sell, we have more restaurants, more coffee shops.”

Still, tourism authority chairman Yuthasak Supasorn said he remained “optimistic.”

“We should reach our goal of 39.8 million foreign visitors.”

However, that is only up from 38.2 million in 2018, much less than the jump seen from the previous year’s total of 35.6 million.

Counting on India

Now hoteliers and tour package operators are targeting visitors from elsewhere, particularly India, which experts see as a huge untapped market.

A rapid expansion of the middle class in India, increased direct flights and visa-free travel have prompted Thailand to revise forecasts upwards.

It now expects two million Indian tourists this year, after an increase of nearly 25% on-year in the first seven months. But for now, the lower arrivals is evident on the streets of Phuket.

“I’ve never seen anything as bad as what it is at the moment,” said Paul Scott from Australia, who said he has been coming to Thailand for 15 years.

He mainly blamed the stronger baht for the drop-off but also the fact that Thailand wasn’t the untouched vacation paradise it once was. “Now it’s not so new … and it’s not cheap,” he said.

SOURCE: AFP

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | News by The Thaiger

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Events

The 15th Mai Khao Marine Turtle fun run attracts more than 4,000 runners

The Thaiger

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The 15th Mai Khao Marine Turtle fun run attracts more than 4,000 runners | The Thaiger

4,000 runners from Thailand and overseas took part in the 15th Mai Khao Marine Turtle Fun Run and Half Marathon 2019 yesterday, starting from the Phuket Gateway.

The event is expected to raise 700,000 baht for the charity, now in its 15th year. The money raised goes towards to The Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation, which is committed to protecting the marine and coastal environment, and ecosystems, for the wellbeing of sea turtles that nest in the Mai Khao beach and the surrounding areas.

The annual race also provides funds for thePhuket Marine Biological Centre’s Injured Turtle Rehabilitation Program and The Third NavalArea Command’s Turtle Hatchery Program.

The race was in its 15th year and runners of all ages and abilities took part in the race. The morning’s racing was divided into five categories – the 21.1km half marathon, 10.5km mini- marathon, 5km fun run and 3k family run and VIP participants for all the races. The route of 21.1 kilometre race took runners northwest along the Haad Sai Kaew beach towards Thao Thepkasattri bridge, past the rural road No. 3006, run along the road – Pi Lai viewpoint area returned back along the T. Baan Tha Nun to the iconic Sarasin bridge before finished the half marathon in the Phuket Gateway.

For Mini Marathon 10.5 km – Over all category, Mr. Chinnawat Changlek clocked 39 minutes and 40 seconds to clinch victory in the male half marathon, winning prize money and a trophy with the signature of Phuket’s Governor. The winner in the female mini marathon was Surakarn Wanna with a time of 47 minutes and 47 seconds.

Winners also received a prize gift voucher as well as a medal. Congratulations to all participants.

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