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Phuket dive companies move to end alleged police corruption

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket dive companies move to end alleged police corruption | The Thaiger

PHUKET: A new consortium of dive operators staged a meeting on Saturday calling for Phuket dive companies to sign up as members in order to present a unified front in combating alleged corruption by the Chalong Police.

The meeting, held by the recently formed Association of Thailand for Underwater Sports (ATUS), drew an estimated 50 representatives from dive companies across Phuket.

“More than 20 dive instructors were arrested at Chalong Pier on March 10, but no charges were pressed [story here],” said ATUS Secretary Pongsawan Sathatham.

“Instead, we were told that police asked for money from the instructors,” he said.

Mr Pongsawan, a lawyer and member of the Lo Yung Tambon Administration Organization (OrBorTor) in Takua Thung District, Phang Nga, said that restrictive definitions listed in dive instructors’ work permits presented officials an opportunity to exploit the dive community as a source of unofficial fines for breaking the law.

“What appears to be the problem is what is written in the dive instructors’ work permits. The work is listed as ‘diving instructor’ and under this definition dive instructors are not allowed to do anything else, not even carry their own dive equipment,” he said.

Consequently, dive companies across the island have suffered an ongoing barrage of raids, mainly carried out by the Chalong Police, aimed at snaring foreign dive staff for working beyond the remit of their work permits, he alleged.

Mr Pongsawan said ATUS will draft letters to be sent to Phuket Governor Maitri Inthusut, the Phuket Employment Office and the Region 8 Police, who outrank their counterparts in Phuket.

“We will send a letter explaining the problem to the Phuket Governor and ask his advice on what to do,” Mr Pongsawan said.

“The letter to the Employment Office [which issues work permits] will also explain the problem, and ask if there is any way the definitions can be expanded so that dive instructors will not be arrested for appearing to do work not listed in the work permit.

“We will also send a letter to Royal Thai Police Region 8 Commander Panya Maman and to Deputy Commander Maj Gen Ronnapong Saikaew, who is the current ATUS Vice President. We will ask what should dive instructors do to make sure they follow the law and not be arrested.”

Claude de Crissey, the French honorary consul for Phuket and former head of the Tourist Police Volunteers in Patong, explained that the ATUS was formed after direct talks with Ministry of Tourism and Sports officials in Bangkok.

“They asked for us to first set up an organization to represent the dive industry. We did this years ago under the Thai Diving Association [TDA], but that fell by the wayside as people declined to join for a variety of reasons,” he said.

“Now we have a new organization [ATUS] and we can conduct talks – and explain our problems – directly with the Ministry of Tourism and Sports in Bangkok.

“All we need now is members.”

— 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.

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Hua Hin

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain

May Taylor

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Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | The Thaiger

The Thailand Meteorological Department issued a weather warning for southern Thailand with torrential rain forecast to hit the region throughout the weekend. The heavy monsoon over the Gulf of Thailand and south of the country is being blamed for the rough weather, with the TMD predicting flash flooding in many areas.

(Phuket, Hat Yai and Hua Hin’s forecast below)

“Waves are expected to reach 2 metres in height in the lower Gulf of Thailand and possibly higher at the height of the storm. Ships are advised to proceed with caution.”

For the north and northeast of Thailand, the TMD forecasts strong winds and cooler mornings as the arrival of the “winter” season, coupled with a moderate high-pressure system, causes temperatures to dip.

Hua Hin’s five day forecast

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | News by The Thaiger

Phuket’s five day forecast

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | News by The Thaiger

Hat Yai’s five day forecast

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation | weather.com

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Crime

Now you see him, now you don’t… Patong Police hunt foreigner over $30k theft

Greeley Pulitzer

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Now you see him, now you don’t… Patong Police hunt foreigner over $30k theft | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Patong Police

Patong Police have yet to develop any tangible leads tracking down a foreigner who made off with US$30,000 in cash from a currency exchange booth in Kalim, north of Patong in Phuket, last Tuesday.

The man is about 168 centimetres tall with grey hair and around 60 years old, Patong police told The Phuket News.

“We have no clue what nationality he is.”

He was last seen at the currency exchange booth wearing a purple polo shirt, blue jeans and black cap. Police have checked hotels in the area, police stations across the island and Phuket Immigration, but have yet to join the dots and come up with firm leads.

“Investigators have checked CCTV in the area and collected what evidence we have but we still do not know the man’s name or where he was staying.”

The man had visited the booth several times before Tuesday, when he disappeared with the $30,000 in US banknotes, according to police.

“It was always small amounts”, he added, noting that the amounts didn’t warrant staff at the exchange booth to check the man’s passport before making the exchange.

The man arrived at the booth again at about 1pm on Tuesday, saying that he had 900,000 baht cash to exchange.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Crime

Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room

The Thaiger

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Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Phuket Hot News

The security guard of a hotel in Nai Yang, northern Phuket, 52 year old Yingyot Butsabong, from Maha Sarakham province, was found dead yesterday (October 16) in his room. Police remain mystified how the man came to grief.

A woman named Supattra received a call from the hotel he worked at and was informed that he didn’t show up at work yesterday, so she went to his apartment to check on him.

She saw that his room was locked from the inside, so used the key she had in her possession to open the room and found Yingyot laying on the floor, face down. She thought he was just sleeping so she tried to wake him up but once she flipped him, she found that he already passed away.

She immediately called Saku police, and once on the scene, police found that there was some blood on the floor. The man had a 2 centimetre wound on his left eyebrow which was deep into his skull. There was also a wound on his chin about 1 centimetre long and about a centimetre deep. His left eye had a bruise which looked like he was attacked by a hard object.

Police report that he had been dead for around four hours in the room.

The room was not ransacked and there was no sign of fighting or theft. His body has been sent to Thalang Hospital for a detailed autopsy and to look into the cause of death.

SOURCE: Phuket Hot News

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