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Phuket officials scramble over missing Rohingya

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket officials scramble over missing Rohingya | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Officers at the Phuket Shelter for Children and Families on Koh Sireh this afternoon called an emergency meeting to discuss reports of Rohingya refugees disappearing from the center early yesterday morning.

The meeting was called when news reports surfaced that Muslim women and children were noticed missing from the shelter at about 2:30am.

The mass disappearance followed two other incidents since January of Rohingya refugees fleeing the shelter, never to return.

Some of the “escapees” were taken back into custody near a mosque in Phuket Town, said one report.

However, Phuket City Police Superintendent Sermphan Sirikong told the Phuket Gazette today that he had not received any reports of Rohingya being arrested in Phuket Town in the past few days.

“We were notified of the missing women and children, but I have yet to receive confirmation that any of them have been taken back into custody,” he said.

Jiranun Jeamcharoen, director of the welfare center on Koh Sireh, declined to confirm or deny the report, saying in a brief conversation with the Gazette that she was on her way into the meeting,

“We cannot give any comments to the public right now. We are now in the meeting. More information will be revealed as soon as possible,” said Ms Jiranun.

Reports of refugees fleeing the shelter came after ITN Channel 4 News in the UK broadcast a report (story here) highlighting the cramped conditions many Rohingya are facing in detention at the Phang Nga Immigration Office.

The program showed more than 270 Rohingya men being held in two wire-bound holding cells, each designed to hold only 15 men.

Many of the men in the cells barely had enough room to sit. Some had swollen feet and withered leg muscles due to lack of exercise. Some of the men said that they have not been let out of the cells in months.

Phuket Immigration chief Sunchai Chokkajaikij this morning expressed his concern for the Rohingya refugees being held at the detention cells at the Phuket Immigration Office on the south side of Phuket Town.

“We have 38 Rohingya refugees detained here, but the facility has no more room,” said Col Sunchai.

“We have already transferred 25 to the Immigration Police shelter in Ranong and 20 children were handed over to the Phuket Shelter for Children and Family [on Koh Sireh],” he explained.

“Right now, the shelters in other provinces have no more room for refugees. The shelter in Phang Nga has almost 300 Rohingya already,” Col Sunchai added.

Col Sunchai said his concern stemmed from the ongoing influx of Rohingya from Myanmar.

“I have no idea what we are going to do if they keep coming,” he said.

“Our superiors have reported the problem to the Cabinet. They told us they were going to talk to the United Nations and ask a third country to take them,” Col Sunchai explained.

“But it seems to be very difficult. No neighboring countries want to take them. In the end, they might end up staying in Thailand,” he added.

Immigration Bureau Commissioner Pharnu Kerdlarpphon was in Phuket last month for a closed-door meeting of high-ranking officials, after which he expressed his concern for the growing number of Rohingya refugees being detained in Thailand (story here).

“The shelters are supposed to be for temporary detention before illegal immigrants are deported, but in the case of the Rohingya, we cannot really deport them because their home country [Myanmar] does not welcome them,” he said.

Gen Pharnu confirmed that as of May 5, Thai Immigration had 1,936 Rohingya in custody across the country, including 399 boys and 304 girls.

“Now the Thai Government is in discussions with other countries to find a place the refugees can be transferred to.

“I have been assured that the Rohingya will be treated in a way that meets international-standards,” he said.

— Orawin Narabal

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Bangkok

Suspected British Coronavirus patient, confirmed NOT to have the virus – UPDATE

The Thaiger

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Suspected British Coronavirus patient, confirmed NOT to have the virus – UPDATE | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Doctors have confirmed Mr Shorley doesn't have the Chinese Coronavirus - Go Fund Me

It’s now been confirmed that a British man, in critical condition in a Thai Hospital, has not contracted the Chinese Coronavirus. Ashley Shorley, who was holidaying on Koh Phi Phi at the time, became seriously ill with a “flu virus” on December 27. He was rushed by boat (reported as a sea plane in other media) to Phuket where his condition worsened. He is now reported to remain in critical condition in a Bangkok hospital.

However, doctors have now confirmed the 32 year old, from Lancashire in the north of England, does not have the Chinese virus. They have confirmed that the virus is “a severe strain of flu”.

It was initially reported that doctors feared he may have contracted the Chinese Coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan and has been contracted by more than 250 people, along with 4 deaths from the new strain of virus.

Ashely’s parents, Chris and Julie, were on holiday in Spain when they received the news about their son being taken ill. They are now in Phuket with their son. While Ashley has medical insurance, his friends and family set up a crowdfunding page to help support the mounting costs during his stay in Thailand.

The mysterious SARS-like virus has so far killed 4 and infected up to 250 confirmed (as of Tuesday afternoon) cases.

Thai Visa reports that Ashley in the intensive care unit at Bumrungrad Hospital in Bangkok.

SOURCE: Thai Visa

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Environment

32 year old British patient recovering in Phuket, suspected Coronavirus victim

The Thaiger

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32 year old British patient recovering in Phuket, suspected Coronavirus victim | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Ash Shorley remains in critical condition in a Phuket Hospital - Go Fund Me

UPDATE HERE.

A British tourist is reported to be fighting for his life in a Phuket hospital. He could be the first Western victim of the coronavirus strain sweeping through China, according to Doctors at the hospital, but is yet to be confirmed. This latest coronavirus, related to the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) viruses, is new and was first discovered in the Chinese city of Wuhan last month.

32 year old Ash Shorley remains in critical condition in a Phuket hospital after being infected with a virus while visiting Koh Phi Phi, in the Krabi province. He has been in hospital for nearly a month. His parents, Chris and Julie, who live in Lancashire, are now in Phuket whilst tests are being processed to determine the virus that has attacked Mr Shorley. His parents report that Ash has lost 52 kilograms since contracting the mystery disease.

“He was two days from death. If he wasn’t so fit, he wouldn’t be with us now. We are now waiting on tests. It is very serious.” – Ash Shorley’s father.

Ash was transported to Phuket by seaplane because “his lung had collapsed”, according to the Daily Mail Online. Phuket doctors claim his symptoms are consistent with the Chinese coronavirus but a confirmation on their suspicions is yet to emerge. Experts, speaking to Daily Mail Online, say Mr Shorley’s symptoms are consistent with the new Chinese coronavirus, but could also be a sign of other respiratory infections, as yet, undetermined.

The mysterious SARS-like virus has so far killed 3 and infected up to 220 confirmed (as of Tuesday) cases, although estimates by the WHO speculate that there are as many as 1,700 cases in Wuhan, central China, since December.

The virus is now confirmed to have spread to other parts of China – 5 cases in Beijing, 14 in Shenzhen and one in a province adjacent to Shanghai. Four other confirmed cases have been reported in Thailand, Japan, and South Korea.

The spike in reported cases comes as millions of Chinese are packing their bags to travel overseas for the Chinese New Year holiday. Meanwhile, a spokesperson from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs maintains the country has “stuck to a serious, earnest and professional attitude” to prevent and control any further outbreak of the disease.

SOURCE: Daily Mail Online

32 year old British patient recovering in Phuket, suspected Coronavirus victim | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Instagram32 year old British patient recovering in Phuket, suspected Coronavirus victim | News by The Thaiger

GRAPHIC: Daily Mail Online

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Bangkok

The rise of the e-bicycle in Thailand, a bit of motorised assistance

The Thaiger

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The rise of the e-bicycle in Thailand, a bit of motorised assistance | The Thaiger

by Nicole Kash

Cycling tours offer a unique way to explore Thailand. Faster than walking but slower than driving, cycling tours cover plenty of ground while allowing cyclists to immerse themselves in the sights, smells, and culture of Thailand without the boundary of a car window.

Cycling tours can cover up to a heart-pumping 150 kilometre a day. Though exciting for many, some find longer distances daunting, especially newer cyclists or those out of practice. This is where the e-bike has begun filling a unique gap in Thailand’s adventure tourism industry. Thanks to e-bikes, longer distance day tours and challenging multi-day cycling tours are no longer reserved for fitness fanatics. 

Popular in the US and Europe, the e-bike has made its way to Thailand is now thriving within the Kingdom’s tourism industry. These motorised bicycles offer the option to assist cyclists with pedaling, which is especially useful for long distances and tough uphill climbs. Even with the help of the motor, cyclists still get plenty of exercise, as the pedal-assist system requires the rider to put some work in.

Unlike a scooter or motorbike, an e-bike does not run without the pedaling effort of the rider. They feature rechargeable batteries and an and off switch, allowing cyclists to challenge themselves as much as they’d like and get a little extra help when needed. 

The option of swapping our traditional bikes for e-bikes on cycling tours offer more tourists the opportunity to join in on cycling tours than ever before, growing the number of potential clients for Thai adventure tourism companies while fostering a climate of inclusivity.

Looking to join in on the fun? Here’s a look into a few of the single-day and multi-day bicycle tours with e-bike options offered by Bangkok based SpiceRoads Cycling! 

Road Cycling Bangkok to Phuket (10 days)

Starting in bustling Bangkok and ending in along Phuket’s sparkling coastline, this 10-day bicycle tour with e-bike options is the perfect mix of must-see sites and tucked away local spots all on smooth roads. Pedalling toward the scenic south, ride beyond the city lights and explore rural Thailand’s rich culture and welcoming villages while making stops at the east and west coast’s local beach spots along the way.

Rolling hills, golden sunsets, a real taste of local life, and of course serene sea views await you! This trip is fully supported with an air-conditioned van and riders can take a break and cool off while still enjoying the same views as the rest of the group. 

Phuket Highlights (½ day) 

Take a break from beach life to explore Phuket’s unique and often overlooked old town on this ½ day bicycle tour with e-bike options. We start on the town’s peripheral, exploring Koh Sirey’s community of sea gypsies and on to see and smell the fresh catch of the day as locals bid for the best deals at the fishing port.

Then we head downtown to admire Phuket Old Town’s Sino-Portuguese architecture, Jui Tui Shrine museum, and unique shops by bike. This leisurely 27 kilometre tour ends with a drive to stunning Khao Khad viewpoint for a scenic sea view and bird’s eye view over where we have ridden. 

Kanchanaburi Explorer (3 days) 

Immerse yourself in Kanchanaburi’s natural beauty and historic sites on this 3 day bicycle tour with e-bike options. Cycle along country roads and through local villages, enjoying mountain views and the thrill off jungle clad and dirt trails along the way.

Then explore off the bike, boarding a local train for a stunning train ride on Death Railway, visiting the historic and dark Hellfire Pass, and taking an optional boat trip to visit a Mon village. A diverse itinerary combining Kanchanburi’s stunning natural sites with stops at historical must-sees on a mix of tarmac and dirt trails assures you will never get bored on this 102 kilometre bicycle tour!

The rise of the e-bicycle in Thailand, a bit of motorised assistance | News by The Thaiger

To find out more, and see more tours from the Spice Roads team, click HERE.

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