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Phuket mob attack on police yields results

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket mob attack on police yields results | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Tension between police and local residents in Phuket province that escalated into a riot at a local police station on Saturday evening appeared to ease after an inquiry panel was formed to look into the death of two young men during a police pursuit.

Police representatives met with families and relatives of Pathomwat Panarak, 22 and a 17-year-old teen, whose name was withheld, at a school yesterday with a military officer as a mediator. The meeting was held under a tense environment as supporters of the pair gathered around the venue, occasionally booing and jeering.

The meeting was held after local residents, including families of both victims, rallied in front of Thalang police station, angry over the death of the pair. They claimed police, without solid evidence, used excessive action on the young victims who allegedly refused to be searched and rode off on a motorbike from a police checkpoint.

Dozens of vehicles parked at the police station were burnt and police buildings damaged during the clash that involved hundreds of residents and officials on Saturday night and early yesterday. Four police involved in the case were transferred out of the area at about midnight on Saturday.

Suksri Kaentakian, mother of the teenage victim, said that if her son was involved in drugs, her family would certainly be very rich. “Police involved in the death of my son should be fired from the service and face legal action like ordinary people. I cannot accept that the incident came to an end after the involved police were simply transferred out of the area.”

Thaweesit Panarak, father of the 22-year-old, wept and said he had only one son. He admitted that his son used to use crystal meth or ‘ya ice‘ and was in jail. “I don’t think that my son would have had narcotics, as I believe he did not want to go back to jail again.”

“It is not acceptable that my son and his friend lost their lives this way. When police conducted the hunt, they had no evidence in hand that the boys had narcotics,” the father said.

Phuket Governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada said a committee would be set up to investigate the case and a fund set up to help the victims’ families.

At 3pm, protesters demanded that police discuss the case and bring the officers responsible for the pursuit to talk with them. However, police did not heed their demand.

The situation escalated in the evening when the protesters threw sticks and stones into the station, then hurled Molotov cocktails that destroyed the vehicles.

The protesters were angered by the police claim that they found 50 pills of methamphetamine and one kilogram of kratom leaves in the young men’s bags.

The tension seemed to decrease at 3am after Major General Theenachat Jinda-ngen, chief of Military Circle 41, came to stop the protest. After talks, they agreed to attend the meeting yesterday at Wat Bandon School. The protest dispersed at about 3.30am, ending a 12-hour stand-off.

Governor Chamroen said preliminary agreements were made at the meeting to set up an inquiry between police and local authorities to investigate the case, and set up a fund for the men’s families. “The case will be investigated without any bias and will bring justice to both sides,” he said.

Damage to the police station has yet to be calculated, but all windows in the three-storey police building were shattered, while the fence and signpost outside were wrecked and some 27 vehicles belonging to the authorities and private owners were burned. Fourteen police officers suffered minor injuries.

The riot also forced the road outside the station to be closed, which affected transport to Phuket Airport. Officials at the airport said 35 people missed their flights and nine planes were delayed on Saturday night.

Police spokesman Lt General Prawut Thavornsiri said National Police Chief General Chakthip Chaijinda had ordered police to investigate the case in a straightforward manner to bring justice to everyone and ordered the officers responsible to get people to understand the situation so the tension might be relieved.

“The next thing we’ll do is investigate the police who were responsible for the chase – and if they were really excessive [in their actions], they will be punished and aid given to the teenagers’ relatives,” he said.

He said police, doctors, local authorities and soldiers would conduct the autopsies, which would be done as soon as possible, so results could be known within seven days.

The prime minister expressed sympathy to the families of the deceased.

How the Thalang riot unfolded

October 10

11:20am: Two young men die after being chased on their motorcycle by Phuket’s Thalang police.

1pm: Thalang police inform the public that they found 50 amphetamine pills and one kilogram of kratom leaves in the young men’s bags.

3pm: Relatives and friends of the teenagers gather in front of Thalang Police Station and demand its chief tell the truth and bring the four officers responsible for the chase before the public.

4:30pm: Around 100 people protest in front of the police station.

6.30pm: The protesters close the road in front of the station after the authorities fail to provide them with an acceptable answer.

8pm: A suspected gunshot is heard, leading the protesters to believe the police fired at them, so they besiege the police station.

9:30pm: The situation gets worse. The protesters throw sticks, stones and eggs at the station.

10:30pm: The protesters start to set fire to police vehicles and other cars parked at the station.

11:25pm: Thalang police ask for and receive reinforcements, but they still cannot control the situation.

October 11

Midnight: The four police officers involved in the deadly chase are ordered out of the station, while the reinforcement squad is asked to help other staff trapped inside the station.

3am: Maj-General Theenachat Jinda-ngen, the Military Circle 41 commander, and a group of soldiers negotiate with the protesters and ask them to stop the protest.

3:30am: The protesters agree to disperse and have further talks with the authorities at 9am at Wat Bandon School.

9am: The talks between the relatives of the dead young man and teenager, police and the military commence.

11am: It is decided a joint committee will be established to investigate the deaths, with a fund to be set up for the young men’s families.

— The Nation

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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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Events

‘Phang Nga Bay and Beyond’ exhibition by Marilyn Band at Mom Tri’s WOK Gallery Kitchen in November

The Thaiger

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‘Phang Nga Bay and Beyond’ exhibition by Marilyn Band at Mom Tri’s WOK Gallery Kitchen in November | The Thaiger

The Art exhibition “Phang Nga Bay and Beyond” by Marilyn Band is being held at Mom Tri’s WOK Gallery Kitchen, Chalong, Kata Hill, Phuket from November 30, 2019 – January 31, 2020. The opening will take place on Saturday November 30, 2019 at 6.30 pm.

Artist’s Statement

“For the current exhibition, I am presenting recent work, a more abstract expression of Phang Nga Bay’s beauty, which intends to encourage the viewer the opportunity to interpret and appreciate a little bit of paradise. I am quite excited about these more abstract works as it has allowed me to explore the essence of these limestone monuments in the bay.

“I find the natural world a beautiful, magical place. My paintings are inspired by many sea voyages. Though based on reality I try to introduce my own feelings and vision which will delight others.”

Biography

Marilyn Band has been creating art since childhood, influenced by a family who surrounded her with paintings and the creations of several generations of her ancestors who were famous stained glass artists. She went to Florence, Italy for life drawing and then went on to study graphics at High Wycombe Technical College in Buckinghamshire, England and started her career as a graphic designer in a variety of advertising agencies in London.

On Holiday in the Seychelles, she met her future husband, Nick Band, and they have been sailing around the Indian Ocean and SE Asia for more than forty years allowing Marilyn the chance to draw and paint the now disappearing tropical cultures from Zanzibar to Sri Lanka to Phuket, and beyond.

She arrived in Phuket in 1980 and immediately built a studio that has been the center of her art projects. Between sea voyages and other travels, Marilyn has become one of Phuket’s most significant artists with one person exhibitions at Mom Tri’s Boathouse and Villa Royale Galleries.

She has also designed and developed the graphics for the island’s world famous Phuket King’s Cup Regatta media.

She continues to explore new avenues of self- expression in acrylic, oil, watercolour, ink, collage and silkscreen.

'Phang Nga Bay and Beyond' exhibition by Marilyn Band at Mom Tri’s WOK Gallery Kitchen in November | News by The Thaiger

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