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Phuket sails in China; Phuket air lift; Reliable police?

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Phuket sails in China; Phuket air lift; Reliable police? | The Thaiger
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– A daily digest of news about Thailand from around the world, compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community.

Team Phuket to sail in China

PHUKET: TheNation reports that ‘Team Phuket King’s Cup Regatta’ has entered the China Cup International Regatta, to take place in Daya Bay, Shenzhen, China from October 29 to November 1.

Team Phuket is made up of former national representatives and sailors with experience in the SEA Games. Skippered by King’s Cup Regatta President Kevin Whitcraft, the crew includes Biranubongse and Koravic Bhanubandh Na Ayudhaya; Nicky, Tom and Malee Whitcraft; Viroj and Kawin Nualkhair; and Dave Littlejohn.

The Phuket team sails regularly at regattas in Thailand and has had notable successes at the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta.

Last year, they trained on the GP42 AA, and took ninth place in AA‘s first outing at the Phuket King’s Cup in December.

In their second competitive outing, AA took fifth in the IRC 1 class at the ‘Top of the Gulf’ Regatta.

The Nation, along with the Phuket Gazette and PGTV, are media sponsors of the annual Phuket King’s Cup Regattas.

Another Phuket air lift

E Global Travel News
AirAsia is offering flights from Australia to KualaLumpur from as low as A$149 one way; and 20% off fares to some of the hottest spots in Asia, including Phuket.

The airline’s ‘Red Spot Sale’ runs until September 13, with the travel period from Australia to Kuala Lumpur running from September 14 to November 15, 2010.

The travel period from Kuala Lumpur to Phuket is ‘open’.

One-way economy fares to Kuala Lumpur from the Gold Coastand from Perthstart at just A$149. Fares from Melbourne start at A$199.

Red Spot fares from Kuala Lumpur to Phuket start at just A$41 (approx 1,140 baht).

For bookings or further information visit AirAsia.Com.

Chiangmai echoes Phuket air hub

Bangkok Post
Thai AirAsia will make Chiangmai its third hub, after Phuket and Suvarnabhumi airports, as the no-frills carrier creates an additional sub-network to complement its expanding coverage.

The Chiang Mai hub, through which the airline will operate direct links with other destinations in Thailand and overseas, is due to be up and running in January.

The airline, part of Asia’s largest low-cost carrier group, will inaugurate its northern hub with three routes, from Chiang Mai to Hat Yai, Bangkok and Singapore, all with daily frequencies.

Thai AirAsia chief executive Tassapon Bijleveld says the new services directly out of Chiangmai will help the carrier to build traffic, especially in the leisure sector.

“By offering non-stop flights between Chiang Mai and other destinations, we’ll encourage more people to fly more conveniently, with less time, cost and hassles [than those involving flight connections],” he says.

Sheraton Phuket on top

E Travel Blackboard
The Sheraton Grande Laguna, a Luxury Collection Resort in Phuket, has been named in the “Top 25 Conference Hotels” in the 2010 Smart Travel Asia ‘Best in Travel Poll’ for the fourth consecutive year, and is the only Phuket resort to make the Top Ten in this annual list.

“It is an honour for Sheraton Grande Laguna Phuket to be recognized as the top Phuket resort in the prestigious ‘Top 25 Conference Hotels’ travel poll, and an even greater accomplishment to have made the list for the fourth year running,” said Klaus Christandl, General Manager of the resort.

“This impressive accolade is a testament to the commitment and dedication of the resort team in positioning the Sheraton as one of the leading conference and incentive resorts in Phuket,” he added.

Wanted: Reliable Police

The Nation
The new national police chief, General Wichean Potephosree, issued a four-point policy statement yesterday in his inauguration ceremony at the Royal Thai Police compound.
“The monarchy shall be protected and honoured to the full, and not violated by anyone,” he said, adding that this policy took immediate effect.

The second policy, to be set in train over the next six months, was to boost police performance so the force was “fully reliable” to the public.

“Police officers will be friendly and polite to people seeking help,” he said. Interpersonal relationships between superiors and subordinates will be enhanced, with social activities held at police stations at least once a month.

The third policy, with a one-year implementation period, was suppressing crime to a level at which people’s lives would be little affected by crime, with public participation in crime-busting operations encouraged.

The fourth policy, that would take up to three years to achieve, was a major overhaul of the Royal Thai Police to “go forward in the right direction,” with police methods and budgeting included in new strategies and revised handbooks.

Housing, welfare and other benefits would also be improved, he said.

Other key issues to be tackled were nepotism, interference by outside factors, and narcotics, a problem he said was rampant.

Corrupt police would be the first to be arrested if found to be involved, he warned.

Another Airport Scandal

TTR Weekly
Following allegations of irregularities in a scheme to lease out Suvarnabhumi’s long term parking lot, the board of directors of Airports of Thailand yesterday ordered the removal of its president and airport director from an important revenue committee.

AOT President Serirat Prasutanond and Suvarnabhumi Airport Director Niran Thiranartsin were both removed from the revenue committee.

Mr Niran was also transferred to Don Mueang Airport as its director, effective 1 October, while Don Mueang Director Aniroot Thanomkulaboot will replace Niran at Suvarnabhumi.

The AOT board also ordered a halt to the revenue committee’s decision to lease the 62,380 sqm parking lot at Suvarnabhumi to Pangrum Retail, claiming the committee overstepped the authority given it by the board. The 15-year lease was to have started in December this year.

AOT Chairman Piyapan Champasut conceded that the problem may have arisen due to misinterpretation of the authority the board had given, but noted that the board had lost trust in the committee.

THA caught in language riddle

TTR Weekly
Nearly all the presentations at the Thai Hotels Association’s (THA’s) up-coming 12th Thailand Hospitality Industry Congress will be in Thai language without any translation service.

Ironically, the event, which takes place 15-16 September at Siam Paragon in Bangkok, is being promoted to both local and expatriate travel and hotel executives. But of the many presentations, only four, on 16 September, will be in English without

— Gazette Editors

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Phuket

Phuket’s annual Vegetarian Festival lowers flags, spirits return to the heavens

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket’s annual Vegetarian Festival lowers flags, spirits return to the heavens | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Marina Krasnopolska

WARNING! Content below contains photos of self-mutilation that some may find disturbing.

The flags on Go Teng poles were lowered on Monday, ending Phuket’s annual Vegetarian Festival and symbolising that the spirits have returned the heavens. The flags are raised at the start of the festivities each year at participating shrines, calling on the spirits to descend from the heavens.

This year, 2 men were electrocuted while taking down the festival flags. A steel pole with the flag touched a power pole, electrocuting and burning the workers as they were trying to lower the flags. They were taken to the hospital.

During the festival’s street processions and ceremonies so-called “mah songs” channel the descended spirits. They enter a trance-like state and many practice self-mutilation to channel the spirits. “Mah” means horse in Thai, and some say the mah song acts as a horse for the spirit to ride.

Some mah song pierce their cheeks and other parts of their body with steel spikes and sometimes swords or other bizarre choices (we’ve seen petrol pumps, javelins, samurai swords and kitchen utensils). During the street procession, they walk for hours with the self-inflicted piercings, seemingly posessed by ‘spirits’ and muttering all sort of strange chants, verging on mild cases of Tourette syndrome. A team of devotees for each mah song wipe away blood and keep the wounds clean. Some mah songs even slice their tongue for the street procession. Blood drips on their chest and the ground. Waiting bystanders line the streets hoping for the blessing of a passing mah song. Some mah songs carry a black flag.

The event is an annual spiritual ‘cleansing’ for those in watching the processions. Onlookers lining the street bow their heads and place their hands in the “wai” position as the mah song waves flags and banners over their heads. Businesses along the procession route often set up an altar outside their shop and mah songs stop at each one to do a short ritual.

The Phuket government gave the festival organisers the “okay” to hold this years event with hopes that it would increase domestic tourism and generate much-needed revenue after the Thai government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic crippled Phuket’s tourist economy. Before this year’s festival, Phuket City Mayor Somjai Suwansupana asked that the mah songs “limit the level of torturing.” He also called for a limit on the number of people at ceremonies to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

His calls were largely ignored.

The spirits will again return in 2021 to Phuket again cleanse the island’s large Thai-Chinese community.

Photos of the 2020 Vegetarian Festival by Marina Krasnopolska.

Phuket's annual Vegetarian Festival lowers flags, spirits return to the heavens | News by The ThaigerPhuket's annual Vegetarian Festival lowers flags, spirits return to the heavens | News by The ThaigerPhuket's annual Vegetarian Festival lowers flags, spirits return to the heavens | News by The ThaigerPhuket's annual Vegetarian Festival lowers flags, spirits return to the heavens | News by The ThaigerPhuket's annual Vegetarian Festival lowers flags, spirits return to the heavens | News by The ThaigerPhuket's annual Vegetarian Festival lowers flags, spirits return to the heavens | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Phuket

Phuket told to prepare “response plan” in case of second Covid-19 outbreak

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket told to prepare “response plan” in case of second Covid-19 outbreak | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Daily News

As Phuket awaits foreign tourists, city officials are told to prepare a “response plan” in case of a second wave of Covid-19. An official from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports held a workshop in Phuket today to discuss the risk of another outbreak as the country opens up to those on the Special Tourist Visa.

The ministry’s permanent secretary Chote Trachu says now that the country is allowing tourists (who are required to quarantine upon arrival) an infection “may somehow slip through.” He says a response plan needs to be in place in case this happens, adding that there should be corporation from the Ministry of Public Health and Ministry of Defense.

“If any tourists are found to be infected, the disease must not be allowed to spread among the people. There should be no panic, and public health officers will investigate the case. Tourist Police will track down the suspected person in an investigation with the Ministry of Public Health.”

Chote says all provinces – not just Phuket – should have a response plan. Although tourists must go through a mandatory 14 day quarantine upon arrival, Chote says there are some cases where the incubation period for Covid-19 is longer than 14 days.

“There are a variety of cases. Sometimes, the infection does not show after 14 days, or even 15 or 16 days. Each situation is different.”

Recently, a woman in Koh Samui tested positive for the coronavirus 5 days after she was released from a Samut Prakan quarantine facility. Traces of the virus were found on gym equipment the woman used at the quarantine, leading health officials to suspect she was infected before arriving to the island.

“We urge Thai people to not let their guard down. Everyone must wear masks, wash their hands and take care of personal hygiene. This will help prevent them from contracting the disease.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Business

Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub

Maya Taylor

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Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub | The Thaiger
Mai Khao beach in north Phuket - PHOTO: www.makemytrip.com

Industry officials are seeking the go-ahead for a project to transform over 140 rai of government land in Phuket into a world-leading medical hub. The project is budgeted at 3 – 4 billion baht, depending on which report you read. Kitkong Tantijaraswarodom, from the Federation of Thai Industries, believes the development of a medical and wellness hub in the sub-district of Mai Khao, north Phuket, will help revive the southern island’s battered economy. Phuket has become increasingly reliant on a steady flow of tourists over the past 2 decades.

The southern division of the FTI covers Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Trang, Patthalung, Surat Thani, Ranong, Satun, Chumphon, and Songkhla.

“The FTI will ask the government to green-light the project during the scheduled mobile cabinet meeting on the island on November 3.”

Kitkong says businesspeople in the south are anxious for the government to approve the project, which will provide both locals and foreign medical tourists with state-of-the-art medical care. The facility is expected to include long-term care, hospice and rehabilitation services, in addition to a dental hospital, sports therapy centre, and a medical training school for doctors, nurses, pharmacists and medical laboratory scientists.

The chair of the FTI’s southern chapter is also calling on officials to provide small and medium-sized businesses with additional support, in the form of access to loans, in order to deal with cash shortages.

“In the short term, the FTI wants the government to help SMEs, especially those in the tourism sector.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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