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Phuket sea gypsies perform turtle exorcism ritual

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket sea gypsies perform turtle exorcism ritual | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Sea gypsies in Rawai held an exorcism ceremony on Mai Thon Island recently to seek forgiveness from their guardian spirit.

They were hoping to appease spirit Balai Da Toe after two fellow sea gypsies died from food poisoning in June after eating Hawksbill turtle meat.

Many others fell seriously ill, but survived the meal.

The late-August ceremony, involving the release of three sea turtles, took place at a shrine to Balai Da Toe on Koh Mai Thon.

The release ceremony, presided over by sea gypsy shaman Hari Fongsaitan, began at about 10am.

About 20 villagers took part by bringing the remaining deadly meat for ritual cleansing.

Phuket Public Health Office workers reportedly said that while the poisonings of the sea gypsies were unprecedented in Phuket, they suspected toxins might have accumulated in the turtle’s flesh due to its diet, which includes sponges and jellyfish.

The sea gypsies taking part in the ritual think otherwise. They believe the deaths and illnesses may have stemmed from harming a turtle under the protection of Balai Da Toe.

To eradicate any lingering effects on those who ate the meat and survived, Shaman Hari blew incense smoke over the heads of survivors and pleaded to Balai Da Toe for forgiveness before releasing the three Hawksbills.

“We believe the turtle was caught in this area and thus under the spiritual protection of Balai Da Toe. From now on the sea gypsies in Rawai will refrain from eating the flesh of any sea turtle species,” said Shaman Hari.

This will come as good news to the local office of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR), which operates the Phuket Marine Biological Center on Cape Panwa.

The DMCR provided the three Hawksbill turtles used in the ceremony as well as the boat used to transport the group to the island.

Paitoon Panchaiphum, head of the regional DMCR office in Phuket, said the ceremony would lift the sea gypsies’ spirits.

The DMCR has an uneasy relationship with the community, whose poverty and traditional way of life often puts them in direct conflict with the marine conservation laws the agency is sworn to uphold.

Sea gypsies are often referred to as khon Thai mai (new Thais) in the Thai media.

As a people, they are slowly integrating into Thai society. Although an increasing number of the younger generation have little or no knowledge of the long-standing traditions or the language of their ancestors, many still live in extreme poverty.

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Phuket

Woman arrested for abandoning newborn baby on a bench in Phuket

Caitlin Ashworth

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Woman arrested for abandoning newborn baby on a bench in Phuket | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Siangtai/Newshawk Phuket

Police tracked down and arrested a Burmese woman who allegedly left her newborn baby on a bench in Phuket’s Patong area last week. The mother faces charges of abandoning a baby.

The newborn was left in a reusable shopping bag on a bench behind a Krungthai Bank branch. A woman in the area heard the baby crying and found the newborn in the bag along with a bottle of milk, diapers and clothing. Police reviewed surveillance camera footage shows a woman, police later identified as Ei Ei Phyu, leaving the bag on the bench.

Police say the woman gave birth on September 9 at a local hospital in Surat Thani’s Phun Phin district. Ei Ei allegedly took a van from Surat Thani to Phuket on September 22 and stayed with a friend in Patong. The early the next morning, she allegedly left her baby on the bench before boarding a bus back to Surat Thani.

Burmese workers in the Patong area told police Ei Ei used to work at a local Indian food restaurant before she moved to Surat Thani to work as a rubber tapper. Ei Ei allegedly told police she is not in the position to raise a child.

In earlier reports, police said the baby is healthy and does not appear to have any injuries.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand

Phuket police arrest 6 after finding large amounts of methamphetamine in raid

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket police arrest 6 after finding large amounts of methamphetamine in raid | The Thaiger

Phuket Provincial Police have arrested 6 people after finding large amounts of methamphetamine and other drugs during a raid. One suspect alone allegedly had 7.6 kilograms of crystal meth (ya ice) and over 12,500 methamphetamine pills (ya bah). 29 year old Surasak ‘Bank’ Wijit and 27 year old Panida ‘Mei’ Saeyang were arrested at an apartment car park in Soi Lookkaew, Moo 6, Rassada, in eastern Phuket, after they were found in possession of the drugs.

Police also found 2 mobile phones and a red Honda PCX, registered in Phuket, as evidence. Both suspects have been charged with posessing a Category 1 drug with the intent to sell.

Other suspects arrested at the same time include 36 year old from Chiang Rai, 42 year old Sarawut ‘An’ Srichanon, from Ranong and 31 year old Pornthep ‘Iew’ Thepchampa, who were charged with the same crimes in Chalong after police found more drugs in their possession. 33 year old Kamon ‘Kung’ Sae-ngow, was arrested as well after police found kratom juice and leaves at a house in Rassada. He was taken to Phuket City Police station and was charged with a Category 5 drug possession.

SOURCE:The Phuket News

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Thailand

Phuket Muay Thai fighter is the first Thai national to compete in UFC

The Thaiger

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Phuket Muay Thai fighter is the first Thai national to compete in UFC | The Thaiger

The upcoming Ultimate Fighting Championship Fight Night event in Abu Dhabi will feature Thailand’s only national marking her third fight with the UFC, the world’s largest mixed martial arts competition. 24 year old Loma Lookboonme, from Burirram in northeastern Thailand, will fight in the event on October 3, 2020.

Loma is a Muay Thai fighter who has adapted her MMA skills to fight in the UFC where she currently trains at the Tiger Muay Thai gym in Phuket. Loma qualified for the national team at the age of 19 and has fought in over 12 nations worldwide. She currently trains 6 days a week starting daily at 6:30am with a 3 kilometre run. In the UFC, she will be competing against China’s Angela Lee who is the undisputed champion of the 52 kilogram fist weight category.

Phuket Muay Thai fighter is the first Thai national to compete in UFC | News by The Thaiger

Loma’s parents are former Muay Thai fighters and her 2 sisters currently compete as well. She reportedly started training at 8 years old after being inspired by her father, whom she describes as her “hero.”

Like most Thais in such fighting sports, Muay Thai offers a way to rise out of poverty-and fighting for the UFC can be financially lucrative. But Loma says her only Thai sponsor is the gym where she trains, with the rest of her sponsors being from foreign brands. She says she is trying to get more Thai sponsors but feels that maybe she needs to win the UFC first before Thai brands notice her.

Loma lost her last fight and says her new opponent gives her nothing to lose. She says her goal is to get into the Top 10, but is not sure when it will happen. Loma says for now, it would be good to fight against someone in the Top 10 to help her prepare for her future.

FULL INTERVIEW: Thisrupt.co

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