PHUKET: A representative of Phuket’s Tiger Group of entertainment and nightlife venues has publicly lashed out against the allegations made by controversial MP Chuwit Kamolvisit.
The entertainment group is even considering legal action, said Thamrongsak Boonrak, legal counselor to the Tiger Group management.
The threat of legal action follows Kathu Police yesterday afternoon conducting surprise raids of businesses run by the Tiger Group in Patong, following a slew of recent allegations by MP Chuwit that “the largest casino in Southern Thailand” was being operated in one their establishments, which was also allegedly involved in prostitution.
The raids, led by Patong Police Superintendent Arayapan Pukbuakhao, followed shortly after officers saw outspoken Rak Prathet Thai (Love Thailand) Party leader and party list MP Chuwit on Thai TV Channel 7.
Mr Chuwit earlier that afternoon complained to national and Police Region 8 officers that the Tiger Group was operating a casino out of one of their entertainment complexes in Patong that had a daily turnover of 100 million baht, said the report.
Another gambling den located in Thung Thong Police District turned over 70 to 80 million baht a day, he alleged.
Both venues were allowed to operate thanks to payoffs to high-ranking police officers, who were also involved in an underground lottery racket, said MP Chuwit.
With these allegations in mind, Col Arayapan led the media and Kathu District officers on a tour of some of the properties allegedly involved.
At one of them, the new Tiger Disco on Bangla Road, he met Thamrongsak Boonrak, legal counselor to the Tiger Group management. Mr Thamrongsak ruled out MP Chuwit’s allegations as sheer falsehood.
“First of all, Mr Chuwit’s allegations against us were not only completely out of line – they were rubbish. He said we have daily turnover of 100 million baht per day from operating a gambling den upstairs here. That is not true at all.
“In fact we are still under construction. Look around and you will see equipment all over the floor, technicians working. We are installing a 57-million-baht light and sound system, funded from a loan provided by Land & Houses,” Mr Thamrongsak said, referring to the is a national real estate development firm that has built several upscale housing estates on Phuket.
Mr Thamrongsak also refuted another allegation recently made by Mr Chuwit that Tiger Group was one of many Phuket businesses involved in prostitution.
“I’m willing to meet Mr Chuwit in front of the media – anytime, anywhere. Our design theme here is to have boutique stucco art to show foreigners. We are not in the prostitution business.
“It is true we have disco and beer bars downstairs, our dancers are not prostitutes. The dancing is not lewd. You know, a few week ago there was a pole dancing competition in Singapore. It is international, not at all obscene,” he said.
“What he [Mr Chuwit] said could really ruin our reputation and business. What will financial institutions think of us?” he asked.
Mr Thamrongsak was quick to remind reporters that before taking on the mantle of graft-buster, Mr Chuwit himself was allegedly involved in the sex trade.
“Mr Chuwit is a former massage parlor tycoon, involved in the business of prostitution,” he said.
“Is this the kind of person people should believe?” he said, adding that Mr Chuwit had been arrested and imprisoned in the past.
Mr Thamrongsak took his denial that Tiger Group was involved in gambling a step further – claiming that all of Patong was free of bon phanan (the Thai term typically translated as “gambling den”).
“I do not know about the past, but presently there is not single gambling den in Patong,” he said.
“Mr Chuwit’s complaint also included video images of strippers. These were in another bar, not ours. His information is all mixed up,” he said.
Mr Chuwit also attributed images of the new 200-million-baht Tiger Live Band complex as having been taken at Tiger Discotheque on Soi Sansabai.
“He thinks other people will do the same types of bad things that he used to do, but his allegations are all rubbish, really,” he said, clearly infuriated by the allegations.
“Police inspected both Tiger Discotheque and Tiger Live Band. We are now considering legal action against Mr Chuwit. We will wait to see if he apologizes to us. This is ruining not only our reputation, but the entire reputation of Phuket,” said the angry Mr Thamrongsak, who even chastised a reporter for referring to the member of parliament as “Khun Chuwit”.
“He should be called Ai Chuwit,” he said. Ai is a derogatory title in Thai, though it is sometimes used as a loose term of endearment among friends.
In contrast, Col Arayapan appeared unperturbed by the very serious allegations made by Mr Chuwit.
“He said there were police and other government departments involved, so I ordered Patong Police to coordinate with the District Office to investigate the places referenced,” he said.
Some 30 police and Kathu District officials took part in the raids, which also included the Bangkok Residence hotel on Soi Sansabai.
As for the new Tiger Disco complex, Col Arayapan said, “From what I have observed they run beer bars downstairs and upstairs is still under construction.
“These are the facts I will include in my report to the provincial police commander,” he said.
— Chutharat Plerin
‘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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