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Phuket tourist may be charged in jet-ski death

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket tourist may be charged in jet-ski death | The Thaiger
Phuket NEWS Hound

– A daily digest of news from around the world compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

PHUKET: The young man whose jet ski allegedly crashed into 20-year-old Loh Ying Jie in Phuket has not been allowed to leave Thailand and will likely face criminal charges on Thursday, according to the New Straits Times.

But the charges against Mr Tang Jun Han will depend on the ongoing mediation sessions between the families of the two young men, said Col Arayapan Pukbuakao, police superintendent for Phuket’s Kathu District.

Both families are now locked in discussions in Phuket over the amount of compensation. Initially the Lohs asked for S$500,000 (approx 11.7 million baht) before lowering it to S$250,000. The Tangs made a counter-offer of S$100,000.

In a phone interview, Col Arayapan said Tang could be charged with a ‘wrongful act’ that ’caused the death of another’.

The accident occurred on April 2 off Phuket’s Patong Beach and Mr Loh died in hospital on April 13.

Army chief to handle protests

Earth Times
Thailand’s Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Friday night appointed General Anupong Paochinda to head the government’s Centre for the Resolution of Emergency Situations, which is responsible for enforcing emergency law. He replaces Suthep Thaungsuban who has had little luck in quelling the month long demonstrations in the streets of the capital.

Anupong is generally regarded as more peaceful than Suthep. Protest leader Weng Tojikarn says, “It may be good news for us because Anupong is a pigeon, not a hawk”.

Suthep has been blamed for several botched security operations against the red shirts, such as the April 10 violence in which 24 people died, and Anupong has stated publicly that he would be reluctant to use violence to settle the anti-government demonstrations.

Protest leaders may surrender

CNN
Leaders of Thailand’s anti-government protests said Saturday that they we would turn themselves in to police on May 15.

Lawyers for the protesters sent letters to the Thai government saying that 24 members of the group would turn themselves in. Those intending to do so have been named on arrest warrants and were wanted by the Thai police.

Three of the leaders embarrassed the government on Friday during a botched raid. The three were able to elude security forces who had surrounded them in a Bangkok hotel.

More trips canceled

Asia One News
The worsening political situation in Bangkok has prompted more Singapore schools to put off their plans to travel to Thailand.
During the holidays from March 13 to 21, at least four schools scrapped field trips to the country when unrest was deemed imminent.
For the coming June break, tour agencies have reported that at least nine secondary schools that had booked student field trips to Thailand have now either put the trips on hold or changed their country of destination. Three have changed to Cambodia, three have put their trips on hold, and three have cancelled their travel plans entirely.

Woes persist for tourism

Bangkok Post
Apichart Sankary, an executive member of The Federation of Thai Tourism Associations (Fetta), says the private sector is extremely worried over the political conflict in Thai society, suggesting that “the situation might deteriorate as has happened in Burma.” In his view, the dissolution of Parliament or the premier’s resignation would not resolve the conflict, and negotiations are the solution.

Prakit Chinamornpong, the president of the Thai Hotel Association, said currently there were no new bookings for the low tourism season from May to September. Visitors from Asian markets normally help maintain low-season occupancy at 50-60%.

He says promotions similar to last year are needed, when hotels and tour operators cut prices by 30% to encourage Thais to travel domestically to compensate for the drop in foreign visitors.

— Gazette Editors

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Crime

Phuket police arrest meth dealer, discover drugs valued at 15 million baht

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket police arrest meth dealer, discover drugs valued at 15 million baht | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Newshawk Phuket

Drugs valued at 15 million baht have been seized in a drug crackdown in Phuket. On October 22, Phuket police, along with Phuket Governor Pakkapong Tawipat, reported to the media about a drug crackdown that ended up with a total seizure valued around 15 million baht.

Earlier, the police received a report from an undercover agent that a woman named ‘Ying’ or ‘Suthicha Thirawut’ was a local drug dealer trading drugs in Phuket area, so police planned to purchase drugs from the woman. They contacted Ying through another woman named ‘Noina’, Ying’s close friend. Around 10pm on October 20, police bought 1 gram of crystal methamphetamine from Noina before arresting Ying and another man, Thanet Thongtan, at the Naka Condominium.

The two confessed that they receive the drug from a man who they weren’t able to name, in order to sell in Phuket. They were paid 40,000 – 50,000 baht per time and admitted to police that they have done this for the man three times already. This time, the drugs hadn’t been sold to customers as they were arrested before being able to make a sale.

Apart from 2.4 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, valued around 4.8 million baht, the police also discovered 76,800 methamphetamine pills, worth around 11 million baht.

The three are now assisting Phuket police with their enquires related to the case.

SOURCE: Newshawk Phuket

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News

30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands

Greeley Pulitzer

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30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands | The Thaiger

Tourists were treated to the sight of a school of dolphins in the Similan Islands off the Phang Nga coast on Sunday.

Tour organisers said that around 30 dolphins swam close to the boat six or seven miles offshore, creating excitement for passengers. It was the first time dolphins had been seen in the vicinity since October 15.

The Similan Islands National Park director said they were bottlenose dolphins and were among several species now returning to the area following a five-year closure of the park for environmental rehabilitation. Food is again plentiful there for them, he said.

Tourists are forbidden to feed wildlife lest the free handouts alter the animals’ natural behaviour, and the park’s waters are also very sensitive to contamination from human disease and marine debris, according to the director.

SOURCE: nationthailand.com

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Patong

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms

The Thaiger

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Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | The Thaiger

by Sophie Deviller

Hotels on Thailand’s most popular holiday island are being forced to slash prices, with rooms left vacant and beaches sparse as Thailand’s tourism chiefs struggle with a plunge in Chinese visitors caused by the US trade war and a stronger baht. Phuket was the most visited destination in the country last year, after Bangkok, and a good gauge of the state of its crucial travel industry.

Tourism accounts for 18% of Thailand’s gross domestic product and Chinese holidaymakers make up more than a quarter of total arrivals. But while 2.2 million people from the country visited in 2018, according to official figures, the numbers for January-September were down almost 20% year on year.

Claude de Crissey, the French Honorary Consul in Phuket and owner of about 40 rooms in the Patong Beach area, says Chinese tourists are usually present even during the current low season.

“That was not the case this year,” he said, adding he had to lower his prices by as much as 50%.

The problem is not only in Phuket, with hotels also struggling to fill rooms in the seaside resort of Pattaya on the mainland and on Koh Samui.

Trade tensions with the US have already made some Chinese reluctant to take holidays owing to uncertainty back home, while the Thai baht has risen about 10% against the yuan this year.

A boating disaster off Phuket’s coast that killed 47 Chinese holidaymakers in July 2018 also scared some off.

“We are worried,” said an industry insider, declining to be named due to the sensitivity of the topic in a country where tourism provides tens of thousands of jobs. Adding to the headache is the fact that more than 3,000 new hotel rooms are being constructed on the island, raising the question of who will fill them.

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | News by The Thaiger

“In terms of business, it’s not good,” said Kongsak Khoopongsakorn, vice-president of the association of hotels in Thailand and director of Vijitt Resort.

“Because … we have more hotels, more rooms to sell, we have more restaurants, more coffee shops.”

Still, tourism authority chairman Yuthasak Supasorn said he remained “optimistic.”

“We should reach our goal of 39.8 million foreign visitors.”

However, that is only up from 38.2 million in 2018, much less than the jump seen from the previous year’s total of 35.6 million.

Counting on India

Now hoteliers and tour package operators are targeting visitors from elsewhere, particularly India, which experts see as a huge untapped market.

A rapid expansion of the middle class in India, increased direct flights and visa-free travel have prompted Thailand to revise forecasts upwards.

It now expects two million Indian tourists this year, after an increase of nearly 25% on-year in the first seven months. But for now, the lower arrivals is evident on the streets of Phuket.

“I’ve never seen anything as bad as what it is at the moment,” said Paul Scott from Australia, who said he has been coming to Thailand for 15 years.

He mainly blamed the stronger baht for the drop-off but also the fact that Thailand wasn’t the untouched vacation paradise it once was. “Now it’s not so new … and it’s not cheap,” he said.

SOURCE: AFP

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | News by The Thaiger

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