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Phuket taxi cartel grants US Military safe passage

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket taxi cartel grants US Military safe passage | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: More than 4,000 United States Military personnel arrived at Phuket’s Deep Sea Port yesterday with no reports of transport problems as they made their way to destinations around the island.

The USS Boxer amphibious-ready group consisting of three ships – the USS Boxer amphibious assault ship, the USS Green Bay amphibious transport dock ship and the USS Comstock amphibious dock landing ship – are here on a “goodwill” visit that will see its crew participate in community service projects.

Several times in the recent past, taxi drivers at Ao Makham blockaded the Deep Sea Port, preventing passengers from cruise ships and US Military vessels from venturing into Phuket. The drivers protested the fact that local tour companies provided transport for the passengers who disembark at the port, leaving them with no work or income.

Taxi drivers and tour operators on August 16 signed an agreement to end the blockades. Under the terms of the agreement, the taxi operators and tour agencies serving the port are to have “equal access” to arriving passengers, with no more than a “10 per cent difference in share”.

The tour companies also agreed to inform the taxi cartel one day in advance when tours were scheduled to arrive in Phuket and how many passengers were expected – so that sufficient taxis would be available.

Wichit sub-district Deputy Mayor Chairat Kumban said yesterday that “There have been no more problems between taxi drivers and tour companies following the signing of the MoU. Everything is fine. The companies have been informing the taxi drivers about the situation.”

Many of the men and women of the amphibious-ready group booked tours in Patong and were transported by a pre-booked company. Cars were available for high-ranking officers and vans and buses for others.

“The ships informed us that they had their own transport, so we didn’t have any problems with that,” Mr Chairat said.

Also arriving in Ao Makham yesterday was a Star Cruise ship.

“There are many people arriving today, so taxis from other areas had to come in because there are only 190 registered taxis, transport vans and tuk-tuks in Ao Makham,” Mr Chairat said.

As the US sailors and Marines boarded the buses and vans waiting for them, tour company representatives tried selling them tour packages by showing pictures and providing brochures.

Many of the men and women of the USS Boxer group – about 1,500 sailors and 2,500 Marines from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit – volunteered to paint a fence and wall at Muang Phuket School today and Wednesday. The ships are scheduled to depart Phuket on Thursday morning.

The sailors also plan to relax in Phuket.

“We are very much looking forward to enjoying the beaches, people and culture. I want to thank the Kingdom of Thailand and all its people for this opportunity to visit,” USS Boxer Commanding Officer Capt Kevin P. Flanagan told the Phuket Gazette during a visit to the Third Naval Area Command in Phuket yesterday.

“I haven’t heard of any taxi blockades at the pier. We are not afraid of Phuket and are very happy to be here as we have a lot of friendships here,” Capt Flanagan said.

— Atchaa Khamlo

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

Phuket

Phuket workshop helps residents cope with high stress brought on by the economic crisis

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket workshop helps residents cope with high stress brought on by the economic crisis | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook: ประชาสัมพันธ์ เทศบาลตำบลวิชิต

Hundreds of residents in Phuket’s Wichit subdistrict attended a workshop focused on reducing stress from to the pandemic-induced economic crisis. A psychologist was even on site to help those who had extreme mental stress and a Buddhist monk taught meditation techniques to reduce physiological effects of stress.

The event was planned in response to an online survey conducted by the municipality asking residents about how much stress they were experiencing from the economic climate. They found that some residents had serious stress issues brought on by the pandemic and financial problems, according to Wichit Mayor Kreetha Chotiwichphiphat.

“The loss of income due to the economic crisis brought on by the Covid-19 situation has resulted in some people in the area suffering serious stress, which can lead to serious mental health issues.”

Around 350 people attended the event. The mayor says it was the first step in caring for the residents’ mental health. Local officials plan to hold similar workshops in the future.

“It was a good opportunity for people to realise the importance of mental health and to learn techniques of how to deal with stress, which will help people to maintain their physical health and avoid developing mental health problems.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Phuket

Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter

The Thaiger

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Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | The Thaiger

The Soi Dog Foundation has officially opened its Humane Education Centre, the first of its kind in Thailand dedicated to the welfare of stray animals. The centre, located at the Soi Dog shelter in northern Phuket, forms part of the foundation’s Humane Education program. Rolled out in 2017, the program sees a team visit Thai schools to teach the next generation the basic principles of animal welfare and promote empathetic attitudes towards both owned pets and free-roaming strays.

The program has reached a total of 15,058 students and 861 teachers to date. With a dedicated classroom as well as educational tools and resources now on site at the shelter, Soi Dog will be able to expand the programme and reach an even greater number of young minds.

Co-founder and president of Soi Dog Foundation International John Dalley said, “The cornerstones of what we do – what I believe very firmly are the answers to the stray dog problem throughout Asia – are large-scale sterilisation of stray dogs and cats and education of, particularly, the next generation.

“We see all the time the problems that are being caused through us not respecting the environment and not respecting the other animals with whom we share this planet. That’s why education is so important.”

John also thanked the supporters and donors who made the construction of the centre possible. After cutting the ribbon, the students filed into the brand-new facility for the very first on-site class – a fun and interactive hour of roleplaying, brainstorming and problem solving.

Humane Education Manager Nuttawut “Film” Kumngern. said… “We want to encourage kindness toward animals, especially free-roaming dogs and cats, and teach youngsters to be responsible pet owners. This will sustainably reduce animal cruelty and pet abandonment.”

“We hope to one day see animal welfare incorporated into the curriculum in Thai schools, and our education centre is a great start.”

Soi Dog is ready to welcome school groups from Phuket and other provinces to the centre which can accommodate up to 40 students at any one time. Schools interested in participating are encouraged to email film@soidog.org

Phuket's Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | News by The ThaigerPhuket's Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | News by The Thaiger

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Police have yet to investigate illegal hiring of foreign teachers at international school in Phuket

The Thaiger

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Police have yet to investigate illegal hiring of foreign teachers at international school in Phuket | The Thaiger

Chalong police in Phuket say they have yet to start investigating the illegal hiring of foreign teachers at an international school in Rawai, south of the island. Palm House International School allegedly hired foreign teachers illegally in which 2 were arrested by Phuket Immigration police on November 4.

Somkiet Sarasin, the leading investigator of the case, says the 2 Brits were informed that police were processing a charge of working illegally in the country against them, in which both denied the charges. Somkiet says the 2 were released on bail, but did not confirm the amount of bail that was set by the police.

“They are still staying in Thailand. I am not worried. I have their passports. I am not available to explain [any details] because the investigation is still ongoing.”

“This is normal for an investigation when the suspects deny the charge against them. I have to check more information against their claims. This case will probably be concluded next month.”

However, the investigation has yet to begin, with Somkiet saying he has not even questioned the owner of the school, despite his claims the case would be finished next month.

“The investigation into the school will take time. The investigation into the two British people must be finished first.”

Such allegations of foreign teachers working illegally have recently been in the news after Sarasas Witaed Sainoi Pitiyakarn School, in the central province of Nonthaburi, saw 7 foreign teachers probed for being hired illegally. That school, along with others in its private network, made nationwide news after CCTV caught a Thai teacher hitting, pushing and dragging a young student in the classroom. Such widespread violence against students has long been a sad component of many Thai schools, in which some of the teachers are unqualified and unlicensed to teach, but are hired anyway.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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