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Rang Hill rogues terrorize tourists

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET CITY: Two rogue monkeys are wreaking havoc atop Rang Hill, where they have been terrorizing tourists, stealing food from diners in a hillside restaurant – and even biting people.

News of the primate pests was reported to the Kusoldharm Foundation volunteer rescue service by staff at the Tunk-ka Cafe on January 26, months after the monkeys first appeared.

Sukontip Kitsubun, who has a concession to run a small retail shop in the park there, told the Gazette that there are two groups of monkeys living atop Rang Hill. The first is a colony of about 10 monkeys that has lived there for a long time without creating any bother.

About three months ago, however, trouble arrived in the form of three pigtailed macaques (Macaca nemestrina), easily recognizable by their bright red bottoms. Not long after their arrival, the macaques began biting and scratching tourists, especially those who tried to feed them, she told the Gazette.

“One child was bitten or scratched in the face, and a man suffered a nasty wound from a bite to his ankle,” she said.

Last month, one of the three macaques – the only male – died in the most unexpected fashion for a monkey: he fell from a tree.

K. Sukontip said it is a mystery how the macaques had found their way into the municipal park.

“Those monkeys are a lot different from the ones in the other group. I think some people must have dumped them here. That’s so rude,” she commented.

And the macaques are every bit as rude as the people who abandoned them, she added.

“Those monkeys are always rude, always biting tourists and grabbing their food,” she said, adding that the animals appeared thin and malnourished.

“Last November I called the Phuket City Municipality’s Environmental Division about this problem. They told me to call the fire station. When I did, they said they would take care of the problem – but that was months ago and nothing has happened,” she said.

Rang Hill is popular with tour guides, who often conduct busloads of tourists to the park so they can enjoy its impressive views over the city. The tour guides view the two remaining macaques as a threat to tourism.

“One tour guide tried to help us by calling the police emergency hotline. The police asked: ‘What do you expect us to do? Bring our guns and shoot them dead?'” she said.

Aikachai Chuwong of the Kusoldharm Foundation told the Gazette that three foundation staffers went to Rang Hill on January 26 in an attempt to catch the two monkeys and remove them to Toh Sae Hill or Koh Sireh. The effort failed, however, when one staff member was bitten while trying to catch the primates.

K. Aikachai said the Phuket Provincial Livestock Office (PPLO) should step in to solve the problem.

When contacted by the Gazette, PPLO Chief Sunart Wongchawalit said responsibility for the problem falls on the Municipality, but that the PPLO would be glad to provide its help and expertise if the city asked for it.

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Thailand

Phuket police arrest 6 after finding large amounts of methamphetamine in raid

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket police arrest 6 after finding large amounts of methamphetamine in raid | The Thaiger

Phuket Provincial Police have arrested 6 people after finding large amounts of methamphetamine and other drugs during a raid. One suspect alone allegedly had 7.6 kilograms of crystal meth (ya ice) and over 12,500 methamphetamine pills (ya bah). 29 year old Surasak ‘Bank’ Wijit and 27 year old Panida ‘Mei’ Saeyang were arrested at an apartment car park in Soi Lookkaew, Moo 6, Rassada, in eastern Phuket, after they were found in possession of the drugs.

Police also found 2 mobile phones and a red Honda PCX, registered in Phuket, as evidence. Both suspects have been charged with posessing a Category 1 drug with the intent to sell.

Other suspects arrested at the same time include 36 year old from Chiang Rai, 42 year old Sarawut ‘An’ Srichanon, from Ranong and 31 year old Pornthep ‘Iew’ Thepchampa, who were charged with the same crimes in Chalong after police found more drugs in their possession. 33 year old Kamon ‘Kung’ Sae-ngow, was arrested as well after police found kratom juice and leaves at a house in Rassada. He was taken to Phuket City Police station and was charged with a Category 5 drug possession.

SOURCE:The Phuket News

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Thailand

Phuket Muay Thai fighter is the first Thai national to compete in UFC

The Thaiger

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Phuket Muay Thai fighter is the first Thai national to compete in UFC | The Thaiger

The upcoming Ultimate Fighting Championship Fight Night event in Abu Dhabi will feature Thailand’s only national marking her third fight with the UFC, the world’s largest mixed martial arts competition. 24 year old Loma Lookboonme, from Burirram in northeastern Thailand, will fight in the event on October 3, 2020.

Loma is a Muay Thai fighter who has adapted her MMA skills to fight in the UFC where she currently trains at the Tiger Muay Thai gym in Phuket. Loma qualified for the national team at the age of 19 and has fought in over 12 nations worldwide. She currently trains 6 days a week starting daily at 6:30am with a 3 kilometre run. In the UFC, she will be competing against China’s Angela Lee who is the undisputed champion of the 52 kilogram fist weight category.

Phuket Muay Thai fighter is the first Thai national to compete in UFC | News by The Thaiger

Loma’s parents are former Muay Thai fighters and her 2 sisters currently compete as well. She reportedly started training at 8 years old after being inspired by her father, whom she describes as her “hero.”

Like most Thais in such fighting sports, Muay Thai offers a way to rise out of poverty-and fighting for the UFC can be financially lucrative. But Loma says her only Thai sponsor is the gym where she trains, with the rest of her sponsors being from foreign brands. She says she is trying to get more Thai sponsors but feels that maybe she needs to win the UFC first before Thai brands notice her.

Loma lost her last fight and says her new opponent gives her nothing to lose. She says her goal is to get into the Top 10, but is not sure when it will happen. Loma says for now, it would be good to fight against someone in the Top 10 to help her prepare for her future.

FULL INTERVIEW: Thisrupt.co

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Tourism

Phuket airport ready for tourists after finishing Covid screening labs

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket airport ready for tourists after finishing Covid screening labs | The Thaiger

Phuket Airport is officially ready for tourists as authorities say they have finished installing Covid screening labs in an effort to welcome international travellers. The 5T Model for Covid-19 is being used at the airport with the goal of screening large groups of people in a quick and efficient manner. The Phuket health chief says the 5T’s stand for Target, Testing, Treating, Trusting and Tracing.

Phuket has one large airport at the north end of the island but is separated into two separate terminals – a domestic terminal (the original airport terminal), and a new international terminal opened in 2016.

The target category refers to the target groups of tourists while the tracing stands for software that will be used to monitor their movements. The testing category refers to Covid tests that will be implemented to travellers upon arrival along with the treatment and trust categories signifying the readiness of resources for medical treatment and confident communications between all parties respectively.

The Covid-19 lab container module has been set up at Phuket airport’s Terminal X (the terminal opened for charter flights opened in 2014) and will be tested tomorrow with its operation to start on September 30. As large groups of tourists could arrive (later in the year, the lab is reportedly capable of testing 96 people at a time with test results becoming available in 6 hours. What the airport would do withe tested passengers whilst waiting for 6 hours, has not been detailed at this stage.

Such a readiness plan to welcome foreign tourists originally singled out Phuket due to its popularity with travellers, and as a so-called guinea pig model to test in a controlled environment (Phuket is an island joined to the Thai mainland by a single 300 metre road bridge). Once dubbed the Phuket Model, authorities have proposed to rename the plan to “Special Tourist Visa” due to the confusion and opposition it reportedly caused. The scheme is reportedly now being proposed for all areas of Thailand but only allowing foreigners from specific countries.

SOURCE: Pattaya Mail

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