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Rohingya trafficking suspect to be charged for abduction, rape

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Rohingya trafficking suspect to be charged for abduction, rape | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: The man accused of repeatedly raping a Rohingya woman he was allegedly to smuggle from a welfare shelter in Phang Nga, north of Phuket, to Malaysia will face rape and abduction charges, police today confirmed to the Phuket Gazette.

“We were issued an arrest warrant today that will allow us to take him into custody and proceed with pressing deprivation of liberty and rape charges against him,” said Lt Saner Sumard of the Kuraburi Police.

Korlimula Mahamutu, as he is named in Thai on the arrest warrant, is currently being detained in Phang Nga Town as he is already facing charges of human trafficking (story here).

“Now that we have the warrant, we will co-ordinate when we can take him into custody,” Lt Saner said late this afternoon.

Phang Nga Provincial Police Commander Chalit Kaewyarat told the Gazette that his officers will continue their investigation into the reported rape ordeal and the human-trafficking allegations.

“Any persons we find involved in human trafficking will be prosecuted,” he said.

Following reports of a Thai man arriving at the Phang Nga shelter where Rohingya refugees are staying and threatening to kill the Rohingya woman and the shelter’s director, Maj Gen Chalit said he had no knowledge of any such incidents.

“If we had received any such reports, we certainly would investigate them and take action against any person who did such a wrongful act,” he said.

A high-ranking, trusted source at the shelter today told the Gazette that she had not heard of any threats against any staff or Rohingya at the refuge.

“I do not know how that news was spread. Nobody even asked me about it. I swear that no Thai man came here to threaten anybody,” she added.

However, the allegedly raped Rohingya woman and her two daughters will be transferred to another Department of Social Development and Welfare shelter.

“There, she will be protected and nobody can bother her about the rape,” the staffer said.

“The woman is sick and tired of people trying to approach her, talk to her and take photos of her,” she explained.

“At this stage I cannot reveal when and where she will be transferred. That depends on the police and if they still need her for questioning…

“But I do know she is tired of the case. She does not want to talk about it. I understand that, and I hope others understand that too,” she said.

The news today follows New York-based Human Rights Watch this morning issuing a statement calling for the Thai government to investigate the alleged rape ordeal and how human traffickers reportedly gained access to the Rohingya refugees.

“The rape… demonstrates the vulnerability of Rohingya women to human traffickers – even when they are living in government-run shelters where they should be protected,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

“The government needs to swiftly and impartially investigate the rape case, and determine why traffickers were able to get access to Rohingya women in this shelter, and prosecute all those who aided the crime,” he said.

“It’s unacceptable that those involved in trafficking and abusing of Rohingya operate with impunity, while the victims are left with little or no protection from Thai authorities,” Adams said.

The HRW report today noted that more than 1,700 Rohingya have been in the custody of Thai authorities since January 2013.

“Under immense international pressure, the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra agreed in January 2013 to let these Rohingya stay in Thailand temporarily, until they can be safely repatriated to their places of origin or resettled in third countries,” said the report.

“Calling them ‘illegal immigrants’, Thai authorities have put Rohingya men in overcrowded immigration detention facilities across the country. Women and children have been sent to shelters operated by the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security. As a result, in a number of cases, families have been split up

“The government does not permit the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to properly conduct refugee status determination screening of these Rohingya,” it added.

“Each year, tens of thousands of Rohingya set sail to flee persecution by the Burmese government and dire poverty,” Mr Adams said.

“Their plight has worsened at the hands of traffickers and corrupt Thai officials. It is time for the United Nations and the international community to take action.”

— 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.

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Bangkok

The rise of the e-bicycle in Thailand, a bit of motorised assistance

The Thaiger

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The rise of the e-bicycle in Thailand, a bit of motorised assistance | The Thaiger

by Nicole Kash

Cycling tours offer a unique way to explore Thailand. Faster than walking but slower than driving, cycling tours cover plenty of ground while allowing cyclists to immerse themselves in the sights, smells, and culture of Thailand without the boundary of a car window.

Cycling tours can cover up to a heart-pumping 150 kilometre a day. Though exciting for many, some find longer distances daunting, especially newer cyclists or those out of practice. This is where the e-bike has begun filling a unique gap in Thailand’s adventure tourism industry. Thanks to e-bikes, longer distance day tours and challenging multi-day cycling tours are no longer reserved for fitness fanatics. 

Popular in the US and Europe, the e-bike has made its way to Thailand is now thriving within the Kingdom’s tourism industry. These motorised bicycles offer the option to assist cyclists with pedaling, which is especially useful for long distances and tough uphill climbs. Even with the help of the motor, cyclists still get plenty of exercise, as the pedal-assist system requires the rider to put some work in.

Unlike a scooter or motorbike, an e-bike does not run without the pedaling effort of the rider. They feature rechargeable batteries and an and off switch, allowing cyclists to challenge themselves as much as they’d like and get a little extra help when needed. 

The option of swapping our traditional bikes for e-bikes on cycling tours offer more tourists the opportunity to join in on cycling tours than ever before, growing the number of potential clients for Thai adventure tourism companies while fostering a climate of inclusivity.

Looking to join in on the fun? Here’s a look into a few of the single-day and multi-day bicycle tours with e-bike options offered by Bangkok based SpiceRoads Cycling! 

Road Cycling Bangkok to Phuket (10 days)

Starting in bustling Bangkok and ending in along Phuket’s sparkling coastline, this 10-day bicycle tour with e-bike options is the perfect mix of must-see sites and tucked away local spots all on smooth roads. Pedalling toward the scenic south, ride beyond the city lights and explore rural Thailand’s rich culture and welcoming villages while making stops at the east and west coast’s local beach spots along the way.

Rolling hills, golden sunsets, a real taste of local life, and of course serene sea views await you! This trip is fully supported with an air-conditioned van and riders can take a break and cool off while still enjoying the same views as the rest of the group. 

Phuket Highlights (½ day) 

Take a break from beach life to explore Phuket’s unique and often overlooked old town on this ½ day bicycle tour with e-bike options. We start on the town’s peripheral, exploring Koh Sirey’s community of sea gypsies and on to see and smell the fresh catch of the day as locals bid for the best deals at the fishing port.

Then we head downtown to admire Phuket Old Town’s Sino-Portuguese architecture, Jui Tui Shrine museum, and unique shops by bike. This leisurely 27 kilometre tour ends with a drive to stunning Khao Khad viewpoint for a scenic sea view and bird’s eye view over where we have ridden. 

Kanchanaburi Explorer (3 days) 

Immerse yourself in Kanchanaburi’s natural beauty and historic sites on this 3 day bicycle tour with e-bike options. Cycle along country roads and through local villages, enjoying mountain views and the thrill off jungle clad and dirt trails along the way.

Then explore off the bike, boarding a local train for a stunning train ride on Death Railway, visiting the historic and dark Hellfire Pass, and taking an optional boat trip to visit a Mon village. A diverse itinerary combining Kanchanburi’s stunning natural sites with stops at historical must-sees on a mix of tarmac and dirt trails assures you will never get bored on this 102 kilometre bicycle tour!

The rise of the e-bicycle in Thailand, a bit of motorised assistance | News by The Thaiger

To find out more, and see more tours from the Spice Roads team, click HERE.

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Phuket

82 year old Frenchman killed in motorbike crash with ATV in Phuket

Greeley Pulitzer

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82 year old Frenchman killed in motorbike crash with ATV in Phuket | The Thaiger
PHOTO: A police officer examines the red ATV involved in a crash that killed an elderly Frenchman in Phuket

An elderly French man has died after an American woman lost control of her all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and crashed into his motorcycle in Chalong, southern Phuket. The woman was seriously injured. Police say the incident occurred on Soi Klum Yang in Chalong around 4pm on Thursday.

The crash involved a red ATV, and a black motorcycle ridden by the 82 year old Frenchman Robert Geoffray.

The woman, identified as 39 year old American Onome Alero Adeosun, suffered a broken right arm, leg and collarbone. Emergency workers found the elderly Frenchman lying unconscious on the road with serious head injuries. Medics performed CPR before sending both to Chalong Hospital, where the man was later pronounced dead.

His body was taken to Vachira Phuket Hospital for autopsy. The woman was transferred to Siriroj Hospital and is currently helping police with their investigation.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Air Pollution

Salty tap water and dirty air – Bangkok’s environmental woes continue today

The Thaiger

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Salty tap water and dirty air – Bangkok’s environmental woes continue today | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Government House officials are turning to salt-tolerant plants - khaosod.co.th

Brackish tap water, with increased salinity caused by seawater back-flowing into the Chao Phraya River, is threatening the gardens in and around the Government House compound. Government House officials are seeking assistance from the Agriculture Department.

Several small tree species – Lamduan, Chor Sumalee, Rachavadi, Nom Maew and Hom Muenlee – are more vulnerable to brackish tap water. The gardens are watered from a supply pumped in from the Chao Phraya.

It’s been noted tha the saline level was around 400 milligrams per litre, still within the 1,000 mg/litre standard, but some of the species were already intolerant to the rising salinity.

Officials are seeking advice from the Agriculture Department about long-term measures to replant with species which would be more tolerant to the rising salinity of the water – situation they acknowledge will need to be managed in the short to medium term.

Salty tap water and dirty air - Bangkok's environmental woes continue today | News by The Thaiger

SCREENGRAB: Air Visual

Meanwhile, air around the capital today continues to be universally poor to very poor with readings as high as 187 near Suvarnabhumi Airport. Light airs, dust problems from northern-easter provinces and hot continental air flowing across the capital, continue to haunt Bangkok. Even with many factories closed today, and traffic lighter than weekdays, Bangkok’s air has been recorded as the ninth worst city in the world for air pollution.

Right across the city the air quality readings are into the ‘unhealthy’ zone.

Chiang Mai, Lampang and Central Thailand are fairing no better – all with readings at least 3 times the Thai upper safe limit of 50 microns of 2.5micron particulate per cubic metre. The World Health Organisation sets its limit even lower at 25.

Pattaya has air quality readings today of 162, whilst even Phuket, in the south, is registering readings between 100 and 145 with reduced visibility today.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

Salty tap water and dirty air - Bangkok's environmental woes continue today | News by The Thaiger

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