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Phuket officials “reprimand’ The Village

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Phuket officials “reprimand’ The Village | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: During a day-trip inspection tour to Koh Maphrao off Phuket’s east coast on Tuesday, Phuket Vice Governor Somkiet Sangkhaosutthirak reprimanded The Village resort for environmental and licensing law infractions.

Accompanied by an entourage of no fewer than 30 officials and members of the press, V/Gov Somkiet inspected the upscale resort in response to a complaint filed at the Damrongtham Center (Ombudman’s Office) at Phuket Provincial Hall.

Local residents complained that the resort was releasing untreated wastewater into the sea.

The Village Managing Director Christopher Gordon showed V/Gov Somkiet how each unit had wastewater treatment tanks built in, explaining that by the time wastewater discharged into the resort sewer mains, the water was safe to release.

He even offered to show V/Gov the project plans.

“All of the villas have their own [sewage treatment facilities]. These all connect up to the central system. The wastewater is absolutely treated before it is released to the sea. It is a Thai-government approved system,” Mr Gordon explained.

V/Gov Somkiet was not fully convinced, however.

“I understand that the project is ongoing. We will need a team to return and inspect the project once it is completed,” he said.

As chance would have it, a two-hour downpour that hit the island during the inspection tour revealed what was probably the real cause for the complaint: silt-laden runoff from the still-under-construction second phase that flowed into the sea, turning it a murky red.

Subsequent questioning by V/Gov Somkiet revealed that the developers had not fully complied with the terms specified in its Environmental Impact Assessment report, which stipulated that the project must have a 13,000 cubic meter catchment to trap runoff and allow sediment to settle out before discharge.

V/Gov Somkiet gave Mr Gordon 15 days to a month to install the specified catchment and warned that failure to do so could result in legal action.

Mr Gordon was happy to oblige.

“Please give me some time. I cannot do it all in one day,” he said.

As for licensing issues, Mr Gordon revealed that some of the “jacuzzi suites” in the incomplete second phase were already being rented out, even though the resort had yet to obtain a hotel license for that part of the development.

“Some are now under construction. There will be 116 suites. Only about half of them are now open. They opened to guests only about two to three months ago,” he said.

“We have done an EIA, but we don’t have a hotel license for that section yet. We have yet to apply for one. We are thinking of applying after we finish the development,” Mr Gordon added.

V/Gov Somkiet said he was very concerned that the resort was operating without a proper license.

“The houses won’t be a problem because they are under the Land Development Act. But opening some parts for guests to rent out daily, and in the middle of the construction, must be considered as operating a hotel business,” he explained.

“We would like to suggest that you apply for a hotel license in order to let guests stay nightly, weekly or whatever, legally. You may not fully understand Thai law, but what you are doing is risky – it can be construed as contravening the Hotel Act,” V/Gov Somkiet said.

Again, Mr Gordon said he had no problem in abiding by the law, adding that he might apply for a hotel license to cover the entire project.

“For me, it makes no difference. Hotel or rental, it is still the same. We make money, and we pay our bills and we pay our taxes. It’s the same business. In fact, I think if we had a hotel license it would be an advantage,” he said.

— Janpen Upatising

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Phuket

Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter

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Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | The Thaiger

The Soi Dog Foundation has officially opened its Humane Education Centre, the first of its kind in Thailand dedicated to the welfare of stray animals. The centre, located at the Soi Dog shelter in northern Phuket, forms part of the foundation’s Humane Education program. Rolled out in 2017, the program sees a team visit Thai schools to teach the next generation the basic principles of animal welfare and promote empathetic attitudes towards both owned pets and free-roaming strays.

The program has reached a total of 15,058 students and 861 teachers to date. With a dedicated classroom as well as educational tools and resources now on site at the shelter, Soi Dog will be able to expand the programme and reach an even greater number of young minds.

Co-founder and president of Soi Dog Foundation International John Dalley said, “The cornerstones of what we do – what I believe very firmly are the answers to the stray dog problem throughout Asia – are large-scale sterilisation of stray dogs and cats and education of, particularly, the next generation.

“We see all the time the problems that are being caused through us not respecting the environment and not respecting the other animals with whom we share this planet. That’s why education is so important.”

John also thanked the supporters and donors who made the construction of the centre possible. After cutting the ribbon, the students filed into the brand-new facility for the very first on-site class – a fun and interactive hour of roleplaying, brainstorming and problem solving.

Humane Education Manager Nuttawut “Film” Kumngern. said… “We want to encourage kindness toward animals, especially free-roaming dogs and cats, and teach youngsters to be responsible pet owners. This will sustainably reduce animal cruelty and pet abandonment.”

“We hope to one day see animal welfare incorporated into the curriculum in Thai schools, and our education centre is a great start.”

Soi Dog is ready to welcome school groups from Phuket and other provinces to the centre which can accommodate up to 40 students at any one time. Schools interested in participating are encouraged to email film@soidog.org

Phuket's Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | News by The ThaigerPhuket's Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | News by The Thaiger

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International Schools

Police have yet to investigate illegal hiring of foreign teachers at international school in Phuket

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Police have yet to investigate illegal hiring of foreign teachers at international school in Phuket | The Thaiger

Chalong police in Phuket say they have yet to start investigating the illegal hiring of foreign teachers at an international school in Rawai, south of the island. Palm House International School allegedly hired foreign teachers illegally in which 2 were arrested by Phuket Immigration police on November 4.

Somkiet Sarasin, the leading investigator of the case, says the 2 Brits were informed that police were processing a charge of working illegally in the country against them, in which both denied the charges. Somkiet says the 2 were released on bail, but did not confirm the amount of bail that was set by the police.

“They are still staying in Thailand. I am not worried. I have their passports. I am not available to explain [any details] because the investigation is still ongoing.”

“This is normal for an investigation when the suspects deny the charge against them. I have to check more information against their claims. This case will probably be concluded next month.”

However, the investigation has yet to begin, with Somkiet saying he has not even questioned the owner of the school, despite his claims the case would be finished next month.

“The investigation into the school will take time. The investigation into the two British people must be finished first.”

Such allegations of foreign teachers working illegally have recently been in the news after Sarasas Witaed Sainoi Pitiyakarn School, in the central province of Nonthaburi, saw 7 foreign teachers probed for being hired illegally. That school, along with others in its private network, made nationwide news after CCTV caught a Thai teacher hitting, pushing and dragging a young student in the classroom. Such widespread violence against students has long been a sad component of many Thai schools, in which some of the teachers are unqualified and unlicensed to teach, but are hired anyway.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Tourism

Phuket sees 300 million baht boost over long holiday weekend

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Phuket sees 300 million baht boost over long holiday weekend | The Thaiger

The Tourism Authority of Thailand says that Phuket has received a much-needed 300 million baht boost over the 4 day long weekend with around 54,000 tourists flocking to the island from last Thursday through to yesterday.

Phuket Office Director Nanthasiri Ronnasiri, reports that the average expenditure per visitor was about 5,500 baht, which was higher than the average spend for a Thai tourist to Phuket 2 years ago. She also noted that random checks on hotels showed that occupancy rates climbed to about 35%, with most guests staying 2 nights. But most of Phuket’s hotels remain closed.

Nanthasiri also says that many of the tourists concentrated themselves in the Phuket Old Town area, especially around Thalang Road, Phang Nga Road, and Dibuk Road in order to enjoy at the Sino-Portuguese shophouse architecture and historical locations. In fact much of Phuket Town, including its many markets and alley eateries, were doing roaring business, The Thaiger can vouch for the heavy traffic, on the roads and footpaths, over the past 4 days.

“This special holiday made Phuket tourism livelier, even though it was not as same as the situation before the Covid-19 pandemic.”

In fact, despite the welcome surge of visitors, it was still a long, long way from its previous tourist levels with much of the west coast, which has largely catered for the international tourist traffic, was still very quiet in places like Patong, Kata and Karon.

Phuket wasnt the only destination that has profited off of the long weekend as Chiang Mai saw droves of Thai tourists visiting its Royal Park Rajapruek as well as the northern city’s other nearby national parks and tourist areas. Visitors came from all over to see the blossoming of flowers in a beautiful display at the park as well as enjoying the air-purifying flowers as they relaxed. Tourists were able to rent a bicycle for 60 baht if they wanted to exercise while taking in the scenery and could also pay a visit to the orchid greenhouse, which hosts a variety of orchids in bloom. TripAdvisor recommends to set aside 2 hours to visit the park.

Next holiday weekend, on November 27 and 28, Pattaya is expected to get a tourism boost as its annual fireworks festivalis set to bring in travellers who have taken advantage of package deals offered by some beachside hotels. Such packages were offered for advance bookings, where holidaymakers could view the firework shows on the rooftops of their hotels. The firework displays are said to be long with breaks of entertainment-packed shows, featuring live music and student bands amongst others.

Phuket sees 300 million baht boost over long holiday weekend | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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