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Phuket police probe recovers 17 stolen cars

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: An investigation by Phuket Police has led to the recovery of 17 stolen cars from a warehouse in Nakhon Sri Thammarat, including several from car rental agencies based in Phuket.

Chalong Police Deputy Superintendent Boonlert Onklang told the Phuket Gazette that he initially received two theft complaints filed by car rental agency owners Pattarisiri Manokham and Boonying Thonglor.

The owners had rented out the two cars to women identifying themselves as Sukanya Janthanarak, 40, and Supaluck Krutmanee, 44. The women left Thai ID cards before driving off with the vehicles, one a Toyota Fortuner for one month for 70,000 baht.

The complaints were filed after the return date passed and the agencies were unable to contact the women by phone.

A third victim, Pitak Chansatien, filed a similar complaint shortly thereafter when three vehicles were not returned to his agency in Kata.

“Sukanya and Supaluck came to my shop to rent a car for three days. When the due date arrived, they called and said they wanted to extend the rental period and transferred money. They appeared to be quite honest, so I believed them,” he said.

“Not long after they rented the first car, they came back and rented two more for foreign boyfriends. In all, they rented two Honda City cars and one Toyota Vios from me,” he said.

All three cars were rented out for one month, with scheduled return dates in mid-March.

When the vehicles were not returned, he also reported the thefts to Lt Col Boonlert.

Fortunately, Mr Boonying’s Vios had a GPS transmitter, which allowed police to locate it in a rubber plantation in the Phromkiri District of Nakhon Sri Thammarat.

Maj Gen Werasak Menawanit, head of the Region 8 Police investigation unit, led investigators to the home of a man named Thanatat Eakkabutra.

“Behind his house is a big warehouse, where all of the cars were kept. Our investigation revealed the warehouse was a pawn shop for cars. If any person failed to claim back their vehicle, he sold it off to dealers,” explained Maj Gen Werasak.

The cars were from many provinces across the South, and as far north as Bangkok, including “six or seven” from Phuket. Police seized all 17 vehicles pending investigation.

Ten of the cars were deposited there by Sukanya and Supaluck, the investigators found.

Mr Thanatat claimed to know nothing about his best customers and said he ran a legitimate business, said Maj Gen Werasak.

“The duo are still at large. We found out that they changed their names more than 20 times, in many different provinces. They gave their identification cards to the agencies, then applied for new ones under new names,” he added.

“We hope we can find them soon,” he said.

After learning that stolen cars were recovered from the warehouse, Mr Pitak traveled to Phromkiri Police Station in the hope that all three vehicles would be there.

“I found only two of my cars. I think the third may have been sold already,” he said.

— Chaiyot Yongcharoenchai

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Tourism

Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce to propose Guangzhou-Phuket tourism route

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce to propose Guangzhou-Phuket tourism route | The Thaiger
PHOTO: 77 kaoded

A tourism route from Guangzhou, China to Phuket could help the island province recover from the recession brought on by the pandemic and lack of foreign travel, according to the Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce. The president of the organisation, Narongsak Puttapornmongkol, says they plan to submit a letter proposing the route under a travel bubble scheme to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

The Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce is proposing a travel bubble with around 20 cities in China with no recent coronavirus infections and considered to be at a low risk of spreading the virus. Travellers from Guangzhou recently entered Thailand on the new Special Tourist Visa. It was the second flight of international tourists since travel restrictions were imposed in late-March.

“We believe that the Travel Bubble and the quarantine reduction will resolve the tourism business, which is a huge economic opportunity to recover.”

Once a vaccine is widely available, Narongsak suggests that those who wish to Thailand could also present their vaccination certificate or examination reports from the place of origin. He adds that the mandatory state quarantine period is likely to be reduced.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket officials concerned about virus risk from undocumented migrant workers

Maya Taylor

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Phuket officials concerned about virus risk from undocumented migrant workers | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

The discovery that 3 Thai nationals infected with Covid-19 returned from Myanmar and bypassed health checks and quarantine, has officials in Phuket on high alert. Over the weekend, it was discovered that a 29 year old Thai woman had illegally crossed from Myanmar and subsequently tested positive for Covid-19 after admitting herself to a Chiang Mai hospital. 2 other women who worked with her have also tested positive for the virus.

Phuket’s deputy governor, Pichet Panapong, says news of the 3 infected Thai women who managed to enter Thailand without undergoing any health checks or mandatory quarantine, has officials on the southern island worried. He adds that local authorities are monitoring Burmese workers, calling on them to follow disease control measures if returning to Phuket from Myanmar. (It would appear he missed the bit about the 3 infected women being Thai, not Burmese)

In a report in the Bangkok Post, Pichet says officials are considering setting up a quarantine facility for any migrant workers already in Phuket illegally, adding that of the 59,900 registered migrant workers on the island, 80% are Burmese. The Thailand/Myanmar border is longer than 2,000 kilometres with hundreds of official and “natural” border crossings.

“People can also act as eyes and ears for the authorities. If they find something suspicious in their communities, they should alert immigration police or local police.”

Phuket has 21 alternative quarantine properties, offering over 2,500 rooms in total, but arrival numbers are low. It’s understood that only 11 people have applied to enter Phuket in the period December 4 – 12, and so far, only a single application has been received for January. There are currently 726 people in local quarantine, 20 in alternative local quarantine, and 4 people carrying out yacht quarantine. Since Phuket agreed to receive foreign-registered yachts, 6 vessels have entered its waters, with all passengers and crew carrying out quarantine on board, 6 kilometres from shore.

Pichet says that, at a meeting of the communicable disease control committee, the Thai Yachting Business Association submitted a proposal to manage cruise ships, and officials have also received a request to extend the opening hours of shopping malls over the New Year holiday.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Re-opening Thailand to tourism will be vaccine dependent

Bill Barnett

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Re-opening Thailand to tourism will be vaccine dependent | The Thaiger

Bill Barnett from c9hotelworks.com continues to follow the difficult journey of the Thai hospitality industry. Traditionally, now would be the start of the country’s highly profitable high season for the tourism industry. But not this year. Thai hotels find themselves in the middle of an existential crisis – either still closed, only partly open, or one of the few converted to limited ASQ traffic. The situation is dire, when you consider that between 15-20% of Thailand’s GDP is linked to tourism.

In a speech this week Thailand’s Prime Minster Prayut Chan-o-cha spoke clearly that only when a vaccine is approved, produced, and implemented, would the country open to substantial tourism. Given the current timelines and forecasts, this may not be likely until mid-2021 at the earliest, though subject to advancement if the process could be accelerated, which is unlikely.

For tourism and hotel stakeholders, the writing is on the wall that 2021, for the most part, will see a continued reliance on domestic travellers, and only in 2022 will there be a large-scale return in numbers of overseas visitors.

Given the winter spike in Asia, Europe, and North America of Covid-19, Thailand is not alone in relying on the vaccine to return tourism but the process will not be instant and the re-openings of borders will most certainly be staged.

HERE’s a list of 113 Alternative State Quarantine hotels.

The business reality for Phuket and across Thailand is to plan for the worst in the coming six months and only expect 2022 to see a notable uptick.

Currently, the hotel sector continues to advocate to the Thai government and Central Bank for debt and financing relief measures and assistance in a social security supplement to retain staff.

While it’s negative news, it at least allows for hotels to understand the challenges ahead, plan and adjust their operating models going forward. ‘Survive the downturn’ is the new mantra.

No vaccine, no entry. Read more HERE.

No vaccine, no flight. Read more HERE.

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