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Raid on suspected Phuket casino ‘not spiteful’: Environmental Crime chief

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Raid on suspected Phuket casino ‘not spiteful’: Environmental Crime chief | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: The investigation of a suspected casino under construction on Rang Noi Island, just off the coast of Phuket Town, was carried out last Tuesday without prejudice and was not intended to defame or spite anyone, the top officer leading the raid has told the Phuket Gazette.

Armed with a search warrant issued by the Phuket Provincial Court, more than 50 officers raided the site on the small island, located about six kilometers directly offshore from the Boat Lagoon and only 2.5km from Koh Maphrao.

Leading the sortie was Pol Maj Gen Norrasak Hemnithi, Commander of the Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Suppression Division (NREC) in Bangkok, joined by NREC Superintendent Col Watcharin Phusit and Witoon Chalayonnavee, an expert in aerial map photography from the Courts of Justice.

Gen Norrasak explained that he became aware of the resort only after he received a complaint that public land on the island may have been encroached on by the developers of the resort, and that the Chanote land title deed for the resort site may have been illegally issued.

However, he stressed that the raid was carried out in the name of justice. “The investigation conducted was done purely for the purposes of justice. We are not doing this to defame or to spite anyone. We investigated the whole area with the lawyer and representative of the company who did the construction on this piece of land,” he said.

“So far all we have found is that they have built on land beyond the area we know they own. We have not accused them of anything just yet, we just asked them to provide all of the documents to prove their ownership of the land [they have built on] within seven days,” Maj Gen Norrasak added.

NREC Superintendent Col Watcharin told the Gazette that his investigators found several aspects of the Chanote title for the resort plot, issued in 1997, suspicious. “The company [Kan Krao Company] claims they have a SorKor 1 [which confers the right to occupy land] issued in 1954, but when Rang Noi Island was added to the Land Office register in 1969, no one claimed ownership of that land,” he said.

“We will also have to check the SorKor 1 document since itsaid the land was in Moo 3 [Village 3] of Koh Kaew, which was correct at that time. But the administrative boundaries within Koh Kaew have since changed, and the island is now in what is called Moo 6 [Village 6] of Koh Kaew,” he explained.

He added that a discrepancy between the plot size marked on the Chanote and aerial photographs of the island prompted the NREC to apply for the search warrant that permitted the raid on Tuesday to take place.

“We will compare aerial photographs from the past with images taken in recent years. If we find that this document [the Chanote] was illegally issued, we will press charges against both the person who issued the document and the company that claims ownership of this land,” Col Watcharin warned.

It was during the investigation of the land ownership history that NREC officers found that an American, who they named as John Kevin Baldwin, was involved.

“We found that the land previously belonged to Bridge Rang Noi Company, which has two foreigners [as executives], including Mr Baldwin, and one Thai as the managing director.

“Mr Baldwin is involved in Kan Krao Co, which is developing the resort. Mr Baldwin is also allegedly involved in the Savan Vegas Casino in Savannakhet, Laos, where gambling is legal,” he explained.

“After inspecting the site, we saw that the construction looks like a casino, so Gen Norrasak believes that the resort might be used as one,” he explained.

Among the partly finished buildings and sea-view swimming pool at the site, officers found a custom-built, walk-in safe.

— Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Phuket Monopoly game creators need your help with token designs

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Phuket Monopoly game creators need your help with token designs | The Thaiger

Phuket is set to get its own version of the popular game MONOPOLY and its creators want your help with ideas for the specialised tokens. ‘MONOPOLY: Phuket Edition’ was announced last month which will see the street art on the board game replaced with that of famous places around Thailand’s famous tourist destination. Such art will include beaches, hotels, shops, markets and other popular attractions.

Jennifer Lau from Winning Moves UK, is producing the game under official license from Monopoly brand owners, Hasbro. Lau says the tokens will feature a holiday theme. The token’s departure from the original theme of wheelbarrows, boots, iron, and thimbles as well as popular sports cars and hats.

“We have had a wealth of emails and suggestions coming in for Phuket, so thank you for each and every single one of them! We are taking them all into consideration whilst putting together the design of the game.”

“We wanted to change the tokens so that they would be more suitable for an island like Phuket, where so many people like to go on holiday to.”

“There will be six themed tokens that replace the original and we want to hear your suggestions for what these tokens should be!”

Bangkok has already been featured in the Monopoly game as it came out for purchase back in 2018.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket holds vaccine administration rehearsal as it waits for green light

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Phuket holds vaccine administration rehearsal as it waits for green light | The Thaiger

Phuket is rehearsing procedures to ready themselves for the Covid‐19 vaccine administration green light. A rehearsal at Vachira Hospital’s Lan Muang Khao open area was held late yesterday to iron out any kinks in the administration process. Phuket Vice Governor Pichet Panapong watched over the procedures along with other health officials.

Pichet says the first vaccine round of 4,000 doses should arrive early in March, with the 2nd and 3rd set of doses, 16,000 and 48,000 respectively, to arrive in April and May.

“The government recognises the importance of the affected areas of the economy where the epidemic situation of COVID-19 must be stopped and has allocated the COVID-19 vaccine to Phuket Province to build herd immunity, restore the economy, return a smile to Thailand.”

“We are preparing to COVID-19 mass vaccination to build confidence among the people that they will receive a quality, safe vaccine and to receive follow-up care after it has been administered.”

Pichet says Phuket’s first target groups to receive the vaccine include medical and public health personnel, with others on the frontlines to come next.

Then, workers aged 18-59 years old, people with underlying diseases including chronic respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, cerebrovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity will follow.

“People with severe neurological conditions and pregnant women should be wary of taking the vaccine, as well as women who are breastfeeding and people with immunodeficiency.”

The procedure to get vaccinated starts by recipients undergoing screening by having their temperatures taken, and then sanitising their hands before entering the administration area. Then, they will move their way through a series of steps, detailed below:

Step 1: Register

Step 2: Record weight and blood pressure

Step 3: Pass the screening process by have their medical history and risk assessment recorded and then signing a consent to receive the vaccine

Step 4: Wait for vaccination

Step 5: Vaccination

Step 6: Rest for 30 minutes, while being observed for symptoms. Then scan the official Line account “หมอพร้อม” (“Doctor Ready”)

Step 7: Pass a final check before receiving a document confirming vaccination

Pichet says health workers will follow up with vaccine recipients after 1,7, and 30 days from being vaccinated to monitor any adverse reactions.

Those who are set to receive their second jab will have appointments made for them. Those who receive the Sinovac vaccine will be scheduled to have their second doses 2 to 4 weeks after the first. AstraZeneca vaccine receivers will be scheduled for their second doses 10 to 12 weeks after the first.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Phuket

Phuket police officer charged with attempted murder for shooting and critically injuring a noodle vendor

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket police officer charged with attempted murder for shooting and critically injuring a noodle vendor | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Siamrath

The drunk, off-duty police officer in Phuket who has caught on camera shooting and beating a noodle vendor on Bangla Road is now facing attempted murder charges as well as charges of carrying a firearm in public without a necessary reason and firing a weapon in a public area. The commander of the Phuket police station said he ordered investigators to prosecute the officer Pornthep Channarong with every criminal charge that can be applied.

The officer had gotten into an altercation just before dawn yesterday and shot a young vendor who was walking by. Surveillance camera footage show the 25 year old suddenly falling to the ground after being shot. The officer walks up and shoots the vendor at a close range, but it appears the second shot did not hit the vendor. The officer also slapped the vendor in the face, picked him up and shoved him over, and then kicked him as he lay on the ground.

The vendor has a 4 year old daughter and 3 month old son. His wife says normally he works as a motorbike driver, but he was helping his mother selling noodles. He was shot while he was walking back from collecting a noodle bowl, she says. The vendor is in critical condition and being cared for at Vachira Phuket Hospital’s intensive care unit. He’s in need of Type B blood.

“For his condition, the doctor told me that the bullet went through his lung. He lost a lot of blood. We need a lot of Type B blood for him.”

A disciplinary investigation into the incident was launched by police and Pornthep was officially dismissed from the Royal Thai Police force. Region 8 Police Commander Kitrat Panpetch says the incident does not reflect the police force in Phuket.

“The incident was caused by an officer who did something wrong that our organisation does not want. We are a big organisation with more than 200,000 officers under our control. Our officers are not all bad like this.”

Phuket Provincial Police Commander Pornsak Nuannu says he has reminded the police chiefs across the island to discuss reasons for carrying firearms in public.

“Carrying firearms is to prevent any type of crime that may happen, not to commit a crime by themselves like this incident. If I see any police doing such a thing, I will decisively proceed in terms of both officer discipline and criminal charges.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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