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School closed after “pupils possessed by spirits’

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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School closed after “pupils possessed by spirits’ | The Thaiger
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THALANG: The Director of Cherng Talay Wittayakom secondary school sent students home for three days from Monday, following an apparent case of mass hysteria the previous Friday.

On that afternoon, a number of students were supposedly possessed by a spirit after a backhoe being used as part of a renovation project accidentally damaged an old Chinese shrine behind the school.

According to some accounts, one girl first became possessed by the shrine’s spirit. She began pointing her finger at School Director Nachai Keimnipatt, screaming abuse at him.

Other students also showed signs of possession, some screaming until they collapsed. The wave of hysteria then spread in varying degrees to other students – and to some staff.

K. Nachai downplayed reports that up to 100 students had been “possessed” and that some required hospitalization for shock. He said the actual number affected had been about 20 or 30.

One teacher told the Gazette that about 10 students went to the hospital after the incident, while the rest simply went home.

K. Nachai told the Gazette that, following that Phuket Vegetarian Festival, some students had undergone ritual purifications at a local shrine for cases of possession.

“My students regularly served as mediums for the shrine during the Vegetarian Festival, so rituals were performed afterward to help release the spirits from them,” he explained.

“But on Friday I had ordered a backhoe to do some landscaping work in an overgrown area behind the school, and the operator didn’t notice the old Chinese spirit house, and damaged it,” he said.

“One student became terrified and began screaming, [claiming that] an apparition appeared to her after the spirit house was damaged.

“The spirit [appeared to have] entered the girl’s body. Through the possessed student, the spirit told me she no longer had a dwelling place and wanted a new shrine. I promised to rebuild the small shrine just for the Khaaw Spirit [which had possessed the girl] and another, larger, shrine for all the other gods and godesses. After that I called the hospital. Then the police came too.

“It was all very tumultuous,” K. Nachai said.

“With all their screaming, they frightened the other students and staff, so I made the decision to close the school for three days,” he said.

Ceremonies will be arranged to ensure there is no repetition of the strange event, he added.

“I have invited local community leaders to take part in ceremonies to atone for whatever bad things happened, and to dedicate the new spirit houses. These will be in a new area that will be easier to take care of, and more convenient for believers who want to pay their respects.

“Although I believe in science, I don’t want to be disrespectful [of their beliefs], so I myself will make offerings of pork, chicken and garlands of flowers,” he added.

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Tourism

Phuket prepares to welcome first Chinese tourists in over 6 months

Maya Taylor

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Phuket prepares to welcome first Chinese tourists in over 6 months | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Jing Daily

The first group of tourists to arrive under Thailand’s new Special Tourist Visa scheme are expected to land in Phuket on October 8. The Bangkok Post reports that a flight from Guangzhou in southern China will carry 120 tourists, who will spend their first 14 days in alternative state quarantine. They are reported to be travelling under the government’s new STV.

Arrivals who do not pass the initial health screening will be transferred to specially chosen hospitals, as “Patients under Investigation”. Those who do pass the screening will be transported to alternative state quarantine once they’ve gone through immigration processing.

A Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration spokesperson says the resort islands of Phuket and Koh Samui will be the first to welcome travellers under the Special Tourist Via scheme. He pointed out that Guangzhou has not recorded any new cases of the Covid-19 virus for a prolonged period, meaning next week’s tourist arrivals are deemed “low risk”. His assertion is confirmed from the official figures at worldometer.info website recording world Covid-19 cases.

The CCSA reports that there will be a limit of 300 foreign tourists admitted each week, but this will be reviewed after the first phase of the re-opening. All arrivals will be subject to 14 day quarantine, although the Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn has suggested reducing this to 7 days eventually. The CCSA says they are not considering reducing the quarantine time at this stage.

Thiravat Hemachudha from the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Disease Health Science Centre is not opposed to the idea.

“We can study this with foreign visitors who will arrive next month. During the 14 day quarantine they will be tested on the first, the seventh and the fourteenth day. If they are free of infections, we can shorten the quarantine to 7 days.”

However, not all are in agreement, with a doctor from Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University cautioning against any shortening of the quarantine period.

Meanwhile, Phuket governor, Narong Woonsiew, says the province is ready to welcome the new arrivals, with Covid-19 labs in place at Phuket airport, and officials due to carry out a full dress rehearsal today.

Thanit Sermkaew, chief of the Phuket Public Health Office, says over 1,200 rooms at 9 hotels have been chosen as alternative state quarantine properties, with a total of 73 hotels, providing over 5,800 rooms, applying for consideration.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Phuket

Woman arrested for abandoning newborn baby on a bench in Phuket

Caitlin Ashworth

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Woman arrested for abandoning newborn baby on a bench in Phuket | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Siangtai/Newshawk Phuket

Police tracked down and arrested a Burmese woman who allegedly left her newborn baby on a bench in Phuket’s Patong area last week. The mother faces charges of abandoning a baby.

The newborn was left in a reusable shopping bag on a bench behind a Krungthai Bank branch. A woman in the area heard the baby crying and found the newborn in the bag along with a bottle of milk, diapers and clothing. Police reviewed surveillance camera footage shows a woman, police later identified as Ei Ei Phyu, leaving the bag on the bench.

Police say the woman gave birth on September 9 at a local hospital in Surat Thani’s Phun Phin district. Ei Ei allegedly took a van from Surat Thani to Phuket on September 22 and stayed with a friend in Patong. The early the next morning, she allegedly left her baby on the bench before boarding a bus back to Surat Thani.

Burmese workers in the Patong area told police Ei Ei used to work at a local Indian food restaurant before she moved to Surat Thani to work as a rubber tapper. Ei Ei allegedly told police she is not in the position to raise a child.

In earlier reports, police said the baby is healthy and does not appear to have any injuries.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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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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