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Russian denied entry at Phuket International Airport over “visa’ crackdown

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Russian denied entry at Phuket International Airport over “visa’ crackdown | The Thaiger

PHUKET: A Russian national was denied entry into Thailand by Phuket International Airport Immigration officers on April 21 and detained until she could be deported the next morning.

Officers denied entry to Mariia Sgibneva, 26, more than a week before the May 3 crackdown on the “three-visa-and-out rule” aimed at stymieing international crime.

“They stopped me at immigration, and ask me why I did so many visa runs. All my documents were okay. I returned from Russia in October,” Ms Sgibneva explained to the Phuket Gazette on Wednesday.

Ms Sgibneva planned to return to her rented room in Bang Tao after a friend’s wedding in Kuala Lumpur. Instead, she was told that she had to book a ticket out of Thailand.

“We checked Mariia’s information, it showed that she had frequently gone to Ranong for visa runs. This is often a sign of someone illegally working in Phuket,” Prapansak Prasansuk, chief of Immigration at the airport.

After arriving in Phuket in October, Ms Sgibneva left to get a three-month tourist visa in November. She then completed a visa run in February. Subsequently, she left the country on March 21 for a visa run, then again to visit friends in Kuala Lumpur on March 30 and April 18.

Ms Sgibneva explained to the Gazette that she planned to move from Phuket soon after she returned from the wedding, and decided against getting a three-month visa.

“That’s why I didn’t go to the Thai embassy,” she said.

“The first question they asked was if I had a departing ticket from Thailand – I didn’t. But not a big deal, I could buy one. I already knew when I was going to leave. I told them I could show them in 10 minutes, after I charged my phone to buy it.”

Ms Sgibneva was instead asked to prove financial stability for her stay in Thailand.

“They asked me to show them 20,000 baht in cash. I thought that by law I didn’t have to have the cash, it’s a lot of money. I thought I could show my bank account. They told me, ‘No it’s not possible.’ They wanted to see the cash,” she said.

After Ms Sgibneva asked to be shown the law, the officers became rude, she said.

“I have more than 20,000 baht in my bank account, but they told me they didn’t believe that it was my bank account. Because it was in Russian [when shown on her phone], they couldn’t understand,” she explained.

Ms Sgibneva offered to change her bank’s webpage to English. She also offered to have a friend come to the airport with 20,000 baht cash for her.

“They said, ‘No.’ They don’t believe me, and wanted to send me to Russia,” Ms Sgibneva said.

The officers allegedly offered to buy her ticket for her, but Ms Sgibneva still didn’t have enough cash to cover a ticket. She refused to return to Russia, instead opting to take the next flight to Malaysia.

Ms Sgibneva explained that she was able to have a friend buy the ticket for her.

“After I showed them the ticket, they sent me to a room for people waiting to be deported from the country,” Ms Sgibneva said.

However, Col Prapansak told the Gazette on Tuesday that his officers coordinated with the airline to take her back to Malaysia.

“We did not hold her, as she was waiting in an area prepared by the airline,” Col Prapansak said.

Ms Sgibneva reiterated to the Gazette that at about this time communication between herself and officers broke down, and that she was consistently dealt with rudely.

“They didn’t want to speak with me. I asked if it was possible to get my documents and medicine [not critical] from my room, because I really needed them. I had more than six hours to bring my stuff from my house, but they didn’t even want to talk to me and explain to me what had happened,” Ms Sgibneva said.

“Everybody is a human, maybe they hate me because I’m Russian, but it’s not a big question to answer: Can I bring my documents and medicine?”

By the time an AirAsia staffer arrived and informed Ms Sgibneva that she would be able to bring luggage aboard, assuming a friend brought it to the airport, it was too late.

“I think for some people who want to do a visa run, the biggest problem is that they can deport you without any reason. I can understand that there are many Russian tourists who cause problems with Thai police… but if you really want to find the people who work, find them at their workplace,” she said.

Col Prapansak told the Gazette that he was sure his officers had clearly explained to Ms Sgibneva why she had been denied entry.

Nonetheless, Ms Sgibneva said it was unclear to her until she reached Kuala Lumpur. Once in Malaysia she was told the official reason was “not clear reason to visit Phuket”.

Ms Sgibneva’s clothing was donated by friends to a local temple, as she continues to search for a reasonably priced way to get several small belongings and her documents to Malaysia.

“I was lucky that I have friends. Some people don’t have these kinds of possibilities. I don’t want to see someone else in this kind of story – Russian or non-Russian,” she said.

Additional reporting by Woranut Pechdee

— Isaac Stone Simonelli

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Crime

Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room

The Thaiger

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Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Phuket Hot News

The security guard of a hotel in Nai Yang, northern Phuket, 52 year old Yingyot Butsabong, from Maha Sarakham province, was found dead yesterday (October 16) in his room. Police remain mystified how the man came to grief.

A woman named Supattra received a call from the hotel he worked at and was informed that he didn’t show up at work yesterday, so she went to his apartment to check on him.

She saw that his room was locked from the inside, so used the key she had in her possession to open the room and found Yingyot laying on the floor, face down. She thought he was just sleeping so she tried to wake him up but once she flipped him, she found that he already passed away.

She immediately called Saku police, and once on the scene, police found that there was some blood on the floor. The man had a 2 centimetre wound on his left eyebrow which was deep into his skull. There was also a wound on his chin about 1 centimetre long and about a centimetre deep. His left eye had a bruise which looked like he was attacked by a hard object.

Police report that he had been dead for around four hours in the room.

The room was not ransacked and there was no sign of fighting or theft. His body has been sent to Thalang Hospital for a detailed autopsy and to look into the cause of death.

SOURCE: Phuket Hot News

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People

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people

Nattha Thepbamrung

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‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | The Thaiger

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.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

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.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

One of the works created by the Happening team; a painting of HM the King Rama 9 on a huge wall (Photo credit: Chawat Chumpasan)

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.

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Bangkok

The world’s fastest growing tourist destinations

The Thaiger

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The world’s fastest growing tourist destinations | The Thaiger

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.

The world's fastest growing tourist destinations | News by The Thaiger

Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com

The world's fastest growing tourist destinations | News by The Thaiger

Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com

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