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Phuket stolen passports may unravel missing Malaysian flight mystery

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket stolen passports may unravel missing Malaysian flight mystery | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Police are investigating how two passports reported stolen in Phuket were used by persons unknown to board Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which disappeared over the South China Sea on Saturday (story here).

The probe was announced yesterday after two tourists who visited Phuket on holiday were found alive and well after being listed among the 239 passengers on board Flight MH370.

Italian tourist Luigi Maraldi, 37, was found safe at a guesthouse on Nanai Road in Patong.

“Mr Maraldi filed a report to Patong Police on July 25 last year that his passport was lost on July 22,” Police Region 8 Commander Panya Mamen told a press conference yesterday.

“He returned to Phuket on holiday on March 1 this year. We began a search and located him after we were notified that he was listed as one of the missing passengers.”

Mr Maraldi explained to the press that he left his passport as security for a rented motorbike in Patong while on holiday in Phuket last year.

“The woman who ran the shop told me that a man had come to the shop and claimed that he was my partner – and he took my passport,” he said.

“I flew back to Italy on an emergency travel document on August 3.”

Mr Maraldi learned that he was listed as one of the missing passengers when his family called him from Italy to confirm that he was alive and well.

“I told them I am still alive and that I have never been to Malaysia,” he explained.

Mr Maraldi said he was due to conclude his holidays in Phuket on March 15, but was happy to assist police, as much as he could, in identifying the man who collected his passport.

Gen Panya told the press that his officers were also investigating the reported theft of a passport issued to Austrian tourist Christian Kozel, 30, who was also listed as missing on board Flight MH370.

“A spokesman for Austria’s foreign ministry confirmed to the media on Saturday that Mr Kozel is alive and well in Austria. The spokesman also confirmed Mr Kozel’s passport was reported lost in Phuket,” Gen Panya said.

“We are now checking which police station Mr Kozel reported his missing passport to.”

Why the men posing as Luigi Maraldi and Christian Kozel used the false documents is still unclear, reported The Guardian. Terrorism has been marked as a possibility, but so has asylum.

Six Syrians who were held in limbo at Phuket International Airport and supposed to be deported by the end of February, were hoping to seek refugee status in Sweden. However, their passports were seized in Bejiing and they were returned to Phuket (story here).

The group said they had chosen to fly through Phuket and Beijing because other refugees had reached Sweden using the same flight path, The Guardian reported.

The two men on board MH370 with the false documents had booked onward flights via Beijing to Amsterdam. One was then to depart for Copenhagen and the other for Frankfurt.

— Kritsada Mueanhawong

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

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People

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people

Nattha Thepbamrung

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‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | The Thaiger

On October 18, the ‘Always Smile Journey’ group and its partners will host an exhibition with plenty of fun activities at the Yak Yai Market, near Chalong Circle, in Phuket. This event was designed to raise funds to provide free English classes for underprivileged people on the island of Phuket on Saturdays and Sundays. The group does not accept donations but aims to raise money through the sales of the products available at the event.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

From 2 pm to 8 pm, there will be a number of artists, musicians and performers who will keep the attendees entertained along the way. There will be a short film about His Majesty King Rama 9 as well as fun activities and games for kids and families, which are all free of charge.

The big bike crew is also a part of this event. They will ride a parade from Rawai Beach heading to the market and showcase their gorgeous two-wheel buddies.

One of the highlights of the Always Smile Journey exhibition is the ‘Happening’ artists group, who will draw and paint a picture of the His Majesty King Rama 9 under the name ‘Street Art King Bhumibol’ on a 4×10 meter sign live at the event so the guests will experience this large-scale art in action. The Happening will also offer portrait sketching for the participants.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

One of the works created by the Happening team; a painting of HM the King Rama 9 on a huge wall (Photo credit: Chawat Chumpasan)

There will also be some western menus available at the event which will be donated to underprivileged children.

This free English class project has over seven years of experience through its cooperation working with individuals and other charity organizations. Throughout the years, the group visited several areas such as Ban Laem Hoy School, Ban Bopud School and Ban Angthong School in Samui, Surat Thani province, Ban Bueng Ao Oun School and Ban Kakoh Rayong, in Surin province, Jalae Village of Lahu (Muser) in Chiang Rai province, as well as community education centers in Siem Reap, Cambodia and in Luang Prabang, in Laos.

This event is a cooperation between several groups, including Happening, Yak Yai Market and Arrow Media, Tattoo artist group, Thonburi Art School Alumni, International School of Tourism, Suratthani Rajabhat University, big bike group from Phuket, artists/performers/musicians from many provinces as well as several businesses across Phuket.

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Bangkok

The world’s fastest growing tourist destinations

The Thaiger

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The world’s fastest growing tourist destinations | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Hello Phuket – destined for huge tourist growth in the next six years – fodors.com

In 2018, international tourist arrival traffic grew by 6% to reach a total of 1.4 billion world tourists, according to research by UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. And there’s a lot more to come with international travel predicted to increase by a massive 35% over the next six years to 2025.

But where is all that extra traffic going to go? Which destinations are quiet now that might be swarming with tourists in the years to come? Two destinations in Thailand are set for a prosperous future, according to the data. Whilst almost all the growth is excepted to be to Asian destinations, an under-visited resource for world tourism so far.

Euromonitor data has been used to simulate tourist growth models and reveal the fastest growing projected visitor arrivals in major cities and destinations around the world for 2025, compared to arrival figures in 2018.

In Thailand, Phuket’s tourist traffic is poised to increase up to 85% in the next six years, from nearly 12 million arrivals in 2018 to over 22 million in 2025. Bangkok is predicted to see the 8th most prolific rise in tourist traffic, with arrivals in Bangkok set to swell an additional 68% during the same period. Doha, the capital of Qatar, is set to explode with 104% increase in traffic over the next six years.

The data also predicts that both Bangkok and Phuket will rebound big time in 2020, Phuket in particular with a growth of around 20% for the next year, accord to the data from TravelSupermarket.com.

By 2025 the data predicts that Bangkok will be the world’s #1 tourist destination, a position it’s held before in recent years. The Thai capital will be followed by Singapore, Dubai, Phuket and Kuala Lumpur, making South East Asia the world’s emerging tourism hotspot.

Some of the world’s favourites – New York, Paris, London – will continue to grow their tourist numbers but not at the rate of most Asian destinations.

You can read the full list HERE.

The world's fastest growing tourist destinations | News by The Thaiger

Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com

The world's fastest growing tourist destinations | News by The Thaiger

Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com

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Phuket

Rawai beachfront water shut-off tomorrow for mains works

The Thaiger

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Rawai beachfront water shut-off tomorrow for mains works | The Thaiger

The Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority says Rawai’s mains water supply will be shut off tomorrow (Tuesday, October 15) as new water pipes are fitted in front of The Title Beach Front condo resort complex on the town’s beachfront.

The mains water supply will be shut off from 9am until 4:30pm along the beachfront strip.

The PWA says the areas affected will be along Wiset Road along the Rawai beachfront road, as well as Soi Yanui and Soi Ruafaed.

Residents and businesses are being urged to collect water for use during the day today, before tomorrow morning’s shut-off.

As usual, the PWA say…“We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

Contact the Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority on 076 319173 or 082 7901634 for more details.

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