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Scottish tourist raped during festival

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Scottish tourist raped during festival | The Thaiger
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PHUKET TOWN: Instead of enjoying her holiday during the island’s Vegetarian Festival, a tourist from Scotland ended up being raped on Tuesday night. The victim, 22-year-old Dawn Farmer, told police that she was raped by a man wearing the traditional white clothing popular with celebrants during the chaotic festival. The white clothing is associated with the festival’s undertone of purity, moral behavior, and sexual abstinence. Capt Nakorn Sangthong of the Tourist Police told the Gazette that Ms Farmer arrived in Phuket with her boyfriend on October 1 and checked into the Suksabai Hotel on Thepkrasattri Rd in Phuket Town because they wanted to see Phuket’s famous festival. As her boyfriend was feeling ill, Ms Farmer decided to leave the hotel by herself in the early evening to take a walk and check out the fire-walking ceremony held at Jui Tui Shrine on Ranong Rd. “She was by herself until 10:30 pm and got lost on her way back to the hotel. A Thai man came by on a motorcycle and offered help,” said Capt Nakorn. Ms Farmer told police that she thought the man was a motorcycle taxi driver, so she decided to get on the bike and asked him to take her to the hotel. Instead, however, the man took her to a dark corner in a Chinese cemetery in Baan Laem Chan on Sakdidej Rd. Capt Nakorn told the Gazette, “It was difficult for us to locate where the rape took place because it was raining really hard and the victim saw almost nothing along the way. “She defended herself, but the man forced her to take off her clothes. He punched her on the chin once and then several times in the stomach before raping her.” As the man prepared to leave, the victim begged him to take her to a place with lights or access to a street, but he refused. About 20 minutes later, Ms Farmer found her way out of the cemetery. A middle-aged Thai couple saw her and took her to the Tourist Police, who in turn took her to Wachira Phuket Hospital for medical treatment. Pol Lt Col Wichai Boonruen, an inspector with the Tourist Police, said, “Because of the rain and the darkness, the victim remembered hardly anything that would identify the man. “Fortunately, after going over the crime scene, we found her underwear with his fingerprints on it. We also found what may possibly be some of his hair on the ground, as Ms Farmer told us that she pulled his hair a couple of times while they were struggling.” Ms Farmer said at Muang District Police Station that she could not believe that such a terrible incident could happen to her in the midst of a religious festival. She also said, “I had planned to stay longer, but I don’t think so now – and I’m definitely never going to come back either.” “It’s such a shame that it happened during the festival. We must arrest the perpetrator,” said Pol Col Chalit Thinthanee, Superintendent of Muang District Police Station. “I am very confident that we will be able to do this with the evidence that has been sent to the Phuket Forensic Science Office.” Police later arrested two men aged 20 and 25, whose appearances and motorbikes matched the descriptions given by the victim. “But Ms Farmer confirmed that neither man was the one who raped her,” Lt Col Wichai said.

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Phuket

Officials says no illegal land encroachment at Phuket’s Sri Panwa resort

Maya Taylor

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Officials says no illegal land encroachment at Phuket’s Sri Panwa resort | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Sri Panwa Phuket Resort - Sri Panwa Phuket

After coming in for some negative online attention recently, the land title deeds of the Sri Panwa Phuket resort have been investigated and found “to be in order”. The 5-star hotel first attracted the attention of netizens when its owner, Vorasit Issara, publicly criticised anti-government activist Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, calling for her arrest. He also claimed she wasn’t Thai, a factually wrong and inflammatory statement.

His Instagram tirade prompted outrage from those who support the current protest movement, with netizens calling for a boycott of his property and leaving several negative comments on various review sites. Trip Advisor suspended the hotel’s account due to the online attack.

Shortly after, the Civil Society for State Welfare called on the Social Security Office to clarify its investment in the resort’s trust fund. This was echoed by at least one opposition MP and anti-corruption activists.

Responding to the land rights issue, the Phuket Land Office has issued a statement to say the hotel does not occupy state land. The resort stands on 56 rai of prime real estate, overlooking Phuket’s south-eastern coast. The land office has confirmed its paperwork is all in order.

Meanwhile, it’s understood Charn Issara Development, owners of the property, have threatened to sue the resort’s critics for defamation.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Economy

70% of Phuket’s tourism businesses are closed, many for good

Caitlin Ashworth

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70% of Phuket’s tourism businesses are closed, many for good | The Thaiger
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Most tourism businesses in Phuket have closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and they probably won’t be up and running again until foreign tourists are let back in Thailand. Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew says around 70% of tourism businesses have closed, most of them just temporarily, but some have shut down permanently. But the statistics are not quite that simple, with the east side of the island, largely inhabited by locals with the central business district of Phuket Town and some of the more popular expat towns, doing far better than the tourist magnets of the west coast. The Thaiger estimates that on the west coast the number would exceed 90%.

Before the pandemic, tourism to Phuket brought in 450 billion baht a year with 400 billion baht from foreign visitors while the other 50 billion baht was from domestic tourists. Thailand has been trying to increase domestic tourism to help revive the industry after the pandemic. Phuket’s governor says it helps, but not enough.

“Their visits can help solve some of our economic problems, but they cannot replace the need of foreign tourists.”

66.8% of tourism businesses in Phuket have closed temporarily while 2.8% have closed permanently, according to data by the Digital Economy Promotion Agency. (Again the percentage along the west coast is MUCH higher – just take a drive through Paton, Kat, Karon). Phuket’s governor is trying figure out how to recover the economy. And fast.

“By the end of September, the number of businesses to be closed will increase up to 70% for sure.”

While many businesses are closed, the governor says Phuket is “almost 100% ready to welcome foreign tourists.” The governor says he can’t give an answer to when foreign tourists will arrive in Phuket, but he claims they’ve “prepared every step,” from checking in at the airport to hotel quarantine. They’re just going to install some new temperature check machines at the Phuket International Airport and review the procedures for welcoming the tourists.

“We have to work and prepare carefully to welcome foreign tourists… We have to gradually open our door to welcome small groups of people first, in order to test our system, and then open for bigger groups.”

At the moment, only 3 venues in Phuket have been approved to operate as alternative state quarantine facilities. Anantara Phuket Suites & Villas has 100 rooms available, Anantara Mai Khao Phuket has 36 villas and Trisara resort has 15 villas. All are 5 star venues with a commensurate 5 star cost.

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Phuket

Thailand’s Social Security Office forced to explain investment in Sri Panwa Phuket Resort trust fund

Maya Taylor

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Thailand’s Social Security Office forced to explain investment in Sri Panwa Phuket Resort trust fund | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Sri Panwa Phuket Resort - Sri Panwa Phuket

The Social Security Office, a department under the direction of Thailand’s Ministry of Labour, is being asked to explain its investment in the trust fund of Phuket’s Sri Panwa Phuket Resort. The demand comes as members of the opposition and political activists call for an investigation into the property’s land rights. The owner of Sri Panwa Phuket, Vorasit Issara, has been condemned online recently, with his property attracting multiple negative reviews, after he criticised anti-government protest leader, Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul.

Thai PBS World reports that the Civil Society for State Welfare is calling on the SSO to clarify its investment in the Sri Panwa Hospitality Real Estate Investment Trust, thought to be worth around 500 million baht. Nimit Thian-udom says that, while the SSO’s investment does not break any laws, the board must explain the reasons behind the investment decision and clarify the return on that investment. In addition, he says the SSO should attach more importance to good governance when choosing where to invest.

The call for clarity is echoed by opposition MP Chirayu Huangsap, from the Pheu Thai Party, who calls on the Labour Minister to explain the investment. He adds that any discrepancies will be reported to both the National Anti-Corruption Commission and the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission.

The land rights of the luxury Sri Panwa Phuket resort, which sits on prime land atop Phuket’s Cape Panwa, overlooking the south-eastern tip of the island, are also being called into question. Veera Somkwamkid, from the People’s Network Against Corruption, says he is looking into the property’s land rights and will pass his findings to the Department of Special Investigations.

For his part, the Labour Minister, Somsak Thepsuthin, says he doesn’t know if the property has been legally built, saying it’s up to the DSI to investigate and that a complaint does not need to be filed in order for them to do so.

Meanwhile, review site Tripadvisor has had to suspend reviews for the Sri Panwa resort, as anti-government netizens exact their revenge on the proprietor by posting negative feedback on the property.

“Due to a recent event that has attracted media attention and has caused an influx of review submissions that do not describe a first-hand experience, we have temporarily suspended publishing new reviews for this listing.”

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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