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Phuket tuk-tuk driver gets suspended sentence for attack on tourist

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket tuk-tuk driver gets suspended sentence for attack on tourist | The Thaiger

PHUKET: A Phuket tuk-tuk driver who confessed to assaulting an Egyptian tourist in Patong last week has been sentenced to a three-month suspended prison term and fined 3,000 baht.

Patong Police Deputy Superintendent Kittipong Klaikaew identified the driver as 40-year-old Sirapob Ngamriab.

Patong Police were notified of an assault on a tourist in front of the Jungceylon shopping complex on Rat-U-Thit 200 Pi Road at about 8pm last Tuesday.

The area, a short distance from the entrance to the Bangla Road night walking street, has been the site of numerous assaults by tuk-tuk drivers against tourists in recent years.

According to the police report, when officers arrived they found 35-year-old Egyptian Ahmed Taha Taha sitting on the busy road, obstructing traffic. He refused to seek medical treatment until he had a chance to give his account of what happened to police through a translator.

Police eventually convinced him to move to the sidewalk. After telling police that he had been struck in the left eyebrow by a tuk-tuk driver, officers escorted him to Patong Hospital, where doctors closed the wound with eight stitches.

From there, he was taken to Patong Police Station to file a report of the incident.

Before the assault, Mr Taha Taha hailed a tuk-tuk to take him and his family back to their accommodations at the Centra Ashlee Patong Hotel, a distance of about one kilometer.

When asked how many people would be travelling, he told the driver “six”; they then agreed on a fare of 300 baht.

But noticing that more than 10 people had piled into the tuk-tuk, Mr Sirapob raised the fare to 400 baht, according to the official report.

An argument ensued, which resulted in Mr Sirapob losing control and striking the Egyptian in the face twice before fleeing on foot, according to the report.

Mr Sirapob came to the police station at about 11:30pm that night to give his version of events.

He told police that Mr Taha Taha refused to pay him 400 baht, berated him and approached him in an aggressive manner. He confessed to losing his temper and striking Mr Taha Taha before running away quickly to avoid retribution from the tourist’s family members.

At the police station, Mr Sirapob apologized to Mr Taha Taha, offering to pay him compensation.

The Egyptian accepted the apology, refusing to accept any compensation. He also said he did not want to press any charges against Mr Sirapob, Lt Col Kittipong told the Gazette.

However, as assault against a tourist is a non-compoundable offense under the Thai Criminal Code, it cannot be privately resolved between the parties concerned.

Mr Sirapob was thus charged with assault. He confessed and was sentenced by Phuket Provincial Court to three months in prison, suspended for two years, and paid a fine of 3,000-baht.

Lt Col Kittipong said Patong Police were constantly urging tuk-tuk and taxi drivers to exercise patience and restraint when disputes with tourists occur.

“We always have meetings with taxi operators, asking them to exercise self-control. Some of them are not very well-educated; they do not quite understand that when they harm tourists, they will have to suffer the consequences, or that it will damage the tourism industry that sustains them,” he 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.

Crime

2 Phuket Town nightclubs shut down after allegedly violating multiple laws

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2 Phuket Town nightclubs shut down after allegedly violating multiple laws | The Thaiger

2 Phuket Town nightclubs are shutting down after allegedly violating multiple laws. The Maldives and H20 on Lim Sui Ju Road, on the south end of Phuket Town were ordered by the Phuket Governor to close immediately, with the Maldives being orderd to close for 5 years.

The order comes after the Phuket City Police inspected the Maldives club, arresting the manager for operating an entertainment venue without a permit, allowing people under 20 years old to work or “use services in the venue,” and for selling alcohol without a permit.

Governor Narong cited his authority under Section 4 of NCPO order 22/2558 to order the Maldives nightclub to be closed for 5 years, from March 5, 2021 to March 4, 2026.

The order also prohibits the operators from opening any other entertainment venues during the same period. The H20 nightclub was ordered to close by a provincial order after Phuket City Police say they inspected the venue and charged the operator for selling or providing shisha, or baraku, without permission.

The owner was also accused of operating an entertainment venue without a permit and violating the provincial order for enforcing Covid-19 safety measures. But it is unknown what penalties were handed down to the operator of the H20 nightclub, unlike the Maldives operator, who received a penalty.

Instead, the governor cited the Revolution Council announcement of 1959, to shut down the establishment for 30 days from March 5, 2021 to April 3, 2021. The orders noted that both operators of the clubs have the right to appeal the closures, having 15 days to file an appeal directly with the Phuket Governor.

Meanwhile, Phuket is set to open its doors to vaccinated, international tourists by October, pending the government’s approval. The local government’s initiative, named Phuket First October, proposes vaccinating a majority of its population over 18 years of age in time for the high season.

The move would allow thousands of vaccinated Europeans to enter Thailand, while locals would be protected from the virus symptoms.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Drugs

Early morning drug busts in Phuket yield 9 arrests

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Early morning drug busts in Phuket yield 9 arrests | The Thaiger

An early morning drug bust in Rawai, Phuket has yielded 9 arrests. The first raid yesterday consisted of 30 task force members who raided a sea gypsy shack near the beachfront in Rawai.

43 year old Saroch Homhuan, and 34 year old Juree Bangjak, were arrested and charged with posession of a Category I drug with the intent to sell, after police found 9 pills of methamphetamine, or yaba in Thai, over 6 grams of crystal meth, or ya ice in Thai, and 3 other “items of evidence.”

31 year old Suriyan Na Takuathung, and 29 year old Prathip Areerop, were arrested and charged with possession of a Category 1 drug with intent to sell, and possession of a Category 5 drug respectively. Police say they found 20 pills of methamphetamine, 0.92 grams of dried marijuana and 5 items of drug paraphernalia.

Police also raided 2 houses in Moo 2, arresting 5 suspects, named as 21 year old Vikrom Kongwiriyakul, 32 year old Narunat Chanthamuwong, 18 year old Chanchai Damrongkaset, a woman named Chantha Hansaithong, and 21 year old Warut Rodphan.

Warut was allegedly found with a bottle containing 500 millilitres of kratom juice. Police also say they seized 150 grams of kratom leaf dregs which are used to boil leaves in order to make the juice. Police charged him with posession of a Category 5 drug.

Police say they confiscated a total of 13 litres of kratom juice from 4 other suspects, which was contained in 10 bottles along with other ingredients and equipment to produce the drug cocktail called ‘4×100.’

All 9 suspects were taken to the Chalong Police Station in which only 1 agreed to undergo drug rehabilitation.

The raids come after the Phuket Provincial Government ordered officers of the Muang District Office to target villages where drugs are prevalent. A spokesman for the government said police will continue to remove drug traffickers from the community while working to improve the quality of local people’s lives so they don’t have to use drugs anymore.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Tourism

Thailand to introduce “area quarantine” for international visitors from April

Maya Taylor

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Thailand to introduce “area quarantine” for international visitors from April | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Andreas M on Unsplash

From next month, foreign visitors to the Kingdom will be able to experience the delights of “area quarantine”, after the government confirmed the scheme for 5 provinces. Following a meeting with the Public Health Ministry, the Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn confirmed that Phuket, Krabi, Chiang Mai, Chon Buri (Pattaya), and Surat Thani (Koh Samui and Koh Pha-ngan) have been chosen to pilot the scheme.

Foreign tourists opting for area quarantine will be required to remain in their hotel rooms for the first 3 days of their stay. They will be tested for Covid-19 and, if negative after 3 days, will be allowed to leave their room and roam freely around the resort for the remainder of their 14-day quarantine. At the end of the 14-day period, they will once again be tested for the virus and, if negative, allowed to travel around the quarantine area.

In order to avail of the scheme, tourists will still need to fulfil the other requirements for travel, including obtaining a Certificate of Entry, a negative Covid-19 test 72 hours prior to travel, and adequate health insurance. Nation Thailand reports that the area quarantine plan will be run by 29 travel agencies, under TAT supervision.

The area quarantine scheme comes as the TAT hails the success of the first “golf quarantine” scheme, which operates in a similar manner. Travellers from countries considered “low-risk” for Covid-19 can come to Thailand for a golf holiday at approved golf resorts in the Kingdom. Conditions are similar to those attached to area quarantine, with the golfers having to spend the first 3 days in their room, test negative for the virus, and then enjoy free rein of the resort, with a few rounds of golf thrown in.

Thailand’s economy has been decimated by the fallout from the pandemic, in particular the loss of international tourism. The current mandatory 14-day quarantine period is seen as the biggest hurdle to overcome in order to re-ignite the sector. In 2019, international tourism contributed 2 trillion baht out of a total 3.01 trillion baht tourism trade. In the same year, tourism made up 17% of Thailand’s GDP.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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