PHUKET: Two of the three teenagers allegedly struck by police officers investigating the rape of a pregnant woman in Phuket last Sunday night have publicly declared that the officers never struck them.
The declaration was made during a public meeting this morning at Provincial Hall in the presence of Phuket Governor Maitri Inthusut.
“Police did not hit or threaten any of us,” one of the teenagers told the press. “They just asked us if there was anything we would like to confess.”
Allegations that four police officers struck the teenagers while searching for the rapists (story here) sparked a blockade of Thepkrasattri Road on Wednesday night. The blockade brought traffic to a standstill for eight hours, creating Phuket’s worst traffic jam on record.
As part of the negotiations, the four officers – Lt Akarapol Siwilai, Sub Lt Manus Faipetch, Sgt Maj Sansak Choti and Sgt Yongyuth Ritplud – were immediately removed from active duty at Tah Chat Chai Police Station and ordered to report to the Phuket Provincial Police in Phuket Town.
Two of the teenagers were present in front of the press today. The third teenager was represented by his parents, though no reason was given for their child’s inability to attend the conference.
The four officers were present.
However, despite the teens publicly declaring they were never struck, Lt Akarapol offered an apology for the misconduct that apparently never happened.
“Everything we did was in accordance with the law. It might seem rough, but it is how police work,” he said, speaking on behalf of his fellow officers.
“Please accept our apology for anything we did that made you feel uncomfortable.”
Lt Akarapol affirmed that the three teenagers were in no way suspected of being associated with the twin brothers who have since confessed to the rape (story here).
“I would also like to affirm that we did not assault, handcuff or bring those three teenagers to the police station. We saw them at the gas station and just talked with them,” he said.
One of the teenagers explained that a photo of a gun saved in his mobile phone prompted the officers to search one of the teenager’s homes.
“After seeing the photo of the gun, they asked to search my house, but they didn’t find anything and they let us go,” he said.
No reason was provided as to why the teenager had a photo of a gun saved in his phone, who owned the gun or where the gun was being kept.
Governor Maitri offered advice of forgiveness.
“We must understand each other. Police have to do their best when investigating a case, but they have to be ‘softer’ when questioning people,” he said.
“And people have to understand how police work, because questioning suspects has led police to arresting suspects in many cases.
“Everyone makes mistakes, but the most important thing is forgiveness.”
Wiroj Manakit, chief (Kamnan) of Tambon Mai Khao, accused “third parties” of inflaming emotions among protesters.
“Our main purpose for the protest was to see justice for the woman,” he said. “But third parties, people who had been previously arrested by these officers, mixed in with the crowd and called for the four police officers to be removed.”
Mr Wiroj personally attested to working with the officers.
“I have close relations with these four officers, as we have worked together on arresting drug suspects,” he said.
“I understand the reasons for the behavior of all parties involved in this, but I am not sure that most people will come to the same understanding like me.”
Tah Chat Chai Superintendent Somchai Sanprasert requested that the officers be reinstated at the Tah Chat Chai Police Station.
“These four guys did great work which led to the arrest of the rape suspects within 30 hours of the incident,” Col Somchai said.
“Instead of getting a reward, they were wrongly accused by residents. Is this fair for police?”
However, Provincial Police Deputy Commander Peerayut Karajedee denied the request.
“We must honor our promise to the protesters,” he said. “We have to find replacements for them as soon as possible. Otherwise, I believe there will be a marked increase in crime in the Tah Chat Chai area,” he said.
— Saran Mitrarat
‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people
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.
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.
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.
The world’s fastest growing tourist destinations
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.
Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com
Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com
Rawai beachfront water shut-off tomorrow for mains works
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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