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Phuket’s Tourist Court given “absolute support’

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket’s Tourist Court given “absolute support’ | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: The move to establish a new series of Tourist Courts in Phuket and at other key holiday destinations in Thailand – including Bangkok, Pattaya, Chiang Mai, Phang Nga and Krabi – has received much support on the island.

Chanchai Duangjit, director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Phuket office, gave his “absolute support” for the idea.

“This is a very good thing for tourists. Most tourists who come to Phuket are here only on a short holiday. They do not have much time to deal with a court trial,” he said.

“This will allow tourists to have their cases heard in court much more quickly than now,” Mr Chanchai added.

Australian honorary consul to Phuket, Larry Cunningham, praised the idea of a Tourist Court in Phuket as a very positive development, one that has been a long time coming.

“I think it would be an excellent idea for Phuket. I raised the idea with the Phuket Governor and the Chief of the Court four years ago. We were told at that time that Thai law would not allow a Tourist Court to be set up…

“I am pleased to see my idea from four years ago being acted on,” he said.

“Having a Tourist Court in Phuket is very necessary because tourists who do even a small thing wrong have to stay such a long time,” Mr Cunningham explained.

Among his most memorable examples, Mr Cunningham said, was a young Australian who was drunk and got involved in a scuffle while on a night out.

“When the police arrived, he thought it would be funny to take the policeman’s hat, put it on his head and dance around a bit. He was arrested and charged with theft at night.

“In the end he had to pay a 2,000-baht fine, but he had to wait one month for his case to be heard. While he was forced to stay here, he had to post bail, surrender his passport, had to pay peak-season rates to stay at a hotel and he had to pay all his other living expenses. He lost his job back home and his air ticket became unusable.

“In total, his stay being extended cost him more than AUS$20,000,” Mr Cunningham said.

The high praise for the pursuit of the new courts follows the announcement by Tourism Minister Somsak Pureesrisak earlier this week.

“Tourists who are the victims of thefts and robberies may have to face a lengthy trial and experience inconvenience because they only intended to stay in the country for a short time,” Minister Somsak explained.

Mr Somsak said he had discussed the problem with Court of Justice officials and found that hearings involving tourists could be expedited by setting up a tourism litigation division and extending office hours.

The ministry agreed to reimburse overtime pay for judges and legal officials, he added.

All relevant agencies have been involved in talks to set up the division, with the exception of the prosecutors’ office, which Minister Somsak said he would approach soon.

Phuket Court Chief Judge Parinya Chaowalittawin confirmed to the Gazette that he had received no official order from his superiors in Bangkok regarding the new courts.

“The Tourist Court is currently only a concept. I have yet to receive any order from the Courts of Justice regarding the matter, so I am unable to make any comment about it at this stage,” he said.

However, Chief Judge Parinya, 45, who took office as Phuket’s chief judge on April 1, added,

“I believe setting up a Tourist Court will take time. It is a big deal to open a new court.

“In the meanwhile, we will try to process cases as quickly as we can. The most important thing is to be fair to everyone, Thais and foreigners,” he said.

Phuket Provincial Police Commander Choti Chavalviwat was more apprehensive in his appraisal of launching new courts specifically to serve tourists.

“Setting up a Tourist Court will make it quicker and easier to finish cases involving tourists, but it would be better to focus on preventing crime in the first place.

“I would prefer more effort be put into preventing crime, such as by installing more CCTV cameras across Phuket, which would help police to catch bad men faster and would help reduce the already heavy workload on judges at the court,” Maj Gen Choti said.

— Chutharat Plerin

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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 shot dead at Phuket Bus Terminal Saturday night

The Thaiger

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2 shot dead at Phuket Bus Terminal Saturday night | The Thaiger
PHoTO: Nashaplaneta.net

Police say 2 men were gunned down at the Phuket Bus Terminal by a colleague at the terminal along the stretch of Thepkasattri road heading into Phuket Town last night. The incident happened at about 10:15pm with the local police chief arriving along with medical staff from Vachira Hospital shortly after the incident.

60 year old Wian Iadchuthong, the alleged gunman, was waiting to surrender at the scene when police arrived. Police say Wian appeared to be drunk and told them he had a serious argument with the 2 men and decided to take their lives with the gun. Police say they found 50 year old Yod Sae Lee lying on the ground in front of a taxi service stand, badly wounded. He was given CPR before being rushed to Vachira Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

54 year old Prakob Chuthong was also found lying dead by the counter of a 24 hour car park service kiosk. Police say he had been shot 2 times, once in the left side of his head and once in his left rib cage, according to Bangkok Post.

Witnesses say before the shooting, Wian was quietly drinking alone. But after getting drunk, he walked to the counter of the car park service kiosk and allegedly fired 2 shots from a 9mm gun at point-blank range, killing Prakob instantly. Wian then ran towards Yod, who was sitting in front of the taxi service stand. Yod saw Wian coming at him with the gun and he ran away to 1 side of the terminal building, only to be intercepted by Wian who allegedly fired 5 shots. Yod was hit 1 time in the head, 2 times in the torso and 2 times in the legs. Yod was also rushed to Vachira Hospital where he later died.

An initial police investigation found that the 3 were close colleagues at the workplace, but often engaged in heated fights over motorcycle taxi and taxi services at the bus terminal.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Tourism

Phuket lifts mandatory quarantine restrictions for ‘high risk’ arrivals. But were they ever applied?

The Thaiger

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Phuket lifts mandatory quarantine restrictions for ‘high risk’ arrivals. But were they ever applied? | The Thaiger

Culminating 2 weeks of mass confusion over the apparent mandatory self-quarantine for arrivals to Phuket from Bangkok and other high risk provinces, Phuket’s provincial communicable disease committee has agreed to lift the mandatory 14 day quarantine “to help boost the local economy hit by the Covid-19 pandemic”.

But for the vast majority of arrivals from Bangkok (DMK and BKK) to Phuket there wasn’t even any mention of quarantine. Over the past 2 weeks, since Phuket’s Governor released a 3 page announcement about new restrictions for the island, people have mostly been coming and going as usual. The only additional impediments were all arrivees having to download and fill in the Mor Chana app and registering with gophuget.com.

In 2 weeks not a single person has reported to The Thaiger that they had been forced to self-quarantine. Last night, when checking in at Suvarnabhumi airport for a Thai VietJet flight to Phuket, the person at the Check-In counter told the passenger (we’ll call them Mic to protect their identity) they would have to serve 14 days in state quarantine upon arrival in Phuket. Mic, surprised, asked for some sort of confirmation of this from airline management or information from the Phuket Provisional officials. None was forthcoming. Nothing more was said or communicated to the passengers.

When the plane landed in Phuket officials checked that passengers had completed the Mor Chana app and scanned their phones after they’d completed the gophuget.com registration. And that was it. No mention of quarantine.

The situation has been repeated by other Thaiger staff over the past 2 weeks as well, but without any mention of quarantine during the check-in or boarding procedures with various airlines. In all cases they flew from Suvarnabhumi or Don Mueang airports.

Phuket’s Governor Narong Woonciew says the decision to ease the Covid-19 restrictions for visitors followed calls from the business community seeking to lure visitors to Phuket. (The Thaiger wonders if any of these officials had actually travelled over the past 2 weeks)

Local businesses met with provincial authorities on Friday proposing an end to the mandatory quarantine period “for people travelling from certain high-risk areas” in the hope of “stimulating the tourism industry”. The proposal was less about stimulating and more about raising the industry from its current flatline.

But whatever mandatory quarantine they were asking to be lifted appears to be have been, at best, loosely applied anyway.

Phuket has has a triple hit. The first when the borders were closed in April and the international airport closed. The second was when December arrived, the start of the busy tourist high-season. The third was the new restrictions added 2 weeks ago in response to the 2nd wave of clusters that started on December 20, tripling the total number of Covid infections in the country in just over a month.

According to Bangkok Post, Sarayuth Mallum, president of the Phuket travel industry council, says… “strict disease control measures remain necessary to protect local people and tourists from contracting the virus”.

Somehow, the mandatory quarantine requirement instructions never reached the airport officials. But, for now anyway, the “restrictions” have been lifted anyway. What was you experience arriving in Phuket over the past week? Were you asked to conduct a mandatory 14 day self-quarantine?

In the meantime the struggling domestic airlines have been forced to massively cancel or reschedule flights. Over the past 2 days most airlines only had 1 or 2 flights to and from Phuket and Bangkok, down from the 4 – 10 daily flights some airlines were offering.

More about the Mor Chana App here…

More about the direct effects on the island of Phuket…

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Crime

Phuket national park officer fired over peeping Tom incident

The Thaiger

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Phuket national park officer fired over peeping Tom incident | The Thaiger

A national park officer has been fired after being accused of spying on a woman in the public toilet on January 17 at Phuket’s Sirinath National Park. 28 year old Abdulrama Mahaderi, was accused by a woman named Sopita and her boyfriend Panupong Rungrueng of climbing a wall that separates the men’s and women’s sections of the toilet at Nai Yang beach in order to look at Sopita. Abdulrama allegedly also had his mobile phone in his hand.

Sirinath National Park Chief Pramote Kaewnam confirmed that an investigative committee had spoken to witnesses and determined that Abdulrama was guilty of “misbehaviour and improper actions.”

Pramote confirmed that Abdulrama’s employment contract was then terminated, effective last Wednesday, 3 days after the incident allegedly took place. On its Facebook page, the Sirinath National Park made a post about the incident.

“It has caused disgrace to the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation and affected the image of the overall department.”

Sura Lertthaisong of Sakhu Police confirmed that Abdulrama would be facing charges and that he was currently investigating whether a charge of “bullying in public” under Section 397 of the Criminal Code would be appropriate.

Abdulrama had previously posted on the official Sirinath National Park Facebook page that his understanding was that no charges would be pursued by Sopita and Panupong.

“The tourists told me that they did not want to press charges. They just told me that they did not want me to do anything like this again.”

But after Panupong posted a photo of Abdulrama, detailing his alleged indiscretion on social media, others came forward with similar accusations.

“One group of women said that they were also spied on by this man on the toilet wall 2 months ago, but they did not report it and did not press charges – and the truth faded away as if nothing ever happened.”

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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