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Search continues for killer Phi Phi speedboat

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Search continues for killer Phi Phi speedboat | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Krabi Police are still working to identify vessels that were at Tonsai Beach on Phi Phi Island when a French tourist was killed while snorkeling in the area on August 18.

Police suspect a fast-moving speedboat struck and killed French national Olivier Raymond Philippe Jannequin. The police report into Mr Jannequin’s death included a statement from Phi Phi Island Hospital stating that Mr Jannequin died from a severe head injury that almost cleaved his head in two. Minor injuries also recorded included lacerations to his right arm and knee.

From this, Krabi Police presume that Mr Jannequin was run over by a boat, the propeller blades inflicting the fatal injury.

Lt Col Bundit Khaosutham of the Krabi Tourist Police told the Phuket Gazette that he had informed the French Embassy of the incident.

Following the death of Mr Jannequin, who was a government officer at the French Ministry of Agriculture, his snorkeling partner Pierre Yves Martin submitted a written statement, in French, to Krabi Tourist Police.

Mr Martin, 37, who had been a close friend of Mr Jannequin for eight years, wrote in his statement that on August 18, at about 11.30am, he and Mr Jannequin went snorkeling off Tonsai Beach near the Mama Beach Hotel.

After snorkeling in the swimming zone, cordoned off by a line of floating pontoons, the pair decided to leave the safety zone to snorkel around some coral located outside. Mr Martin told police that there were three or four dive boats in the area at the time.

They had been snorkeling around the coral reef for about 30 minutes and were returning to shore at the time of the tragedy. Mr Martin was leading, with Mr Jannequin following some three meters behind.

In his statement Mr Martin wrote, “While I was on the surface breathing, preparing to dive again, I heard a scream from behind me. I turned but was immediately struck and disorientated by waves.”

Mr Martin said the waves were consistent to those created by a fast-moving speedboat.

After regaining his bearings, he saw his friend floating in the water and swam towards him. On reaching him, he saw the seriousness of the injury to his friend’s head and realized that he was dead.

“I found him with cuts on his body and a severely deep wound to his head… his blood was everywhere around us.

“I supported him with one arm and shouted towards a dive boat some 300 meters from us at the bay’s north end. No one heard us, so supporting Oliver I started to swim ashore.”

“I do not think anyone else saw the accident because there was no one else swimming in the area. It happened a long way away from the dive boats.”

“About 10 minutes after the accident, a black “long-tail” boat passed us and I asked for help. The boatman told us to wait and said he would get a dive boat to come and help us. After 10 minutes, I gave up waiting and decided to carry on swimming to get Olivier ashore.”

“I saw a small hut on the rocky coastline but there was no one around, so I continued swimming, supporting him all the way, back to Mama Beach. It was there that people helped me take Olivier to the Phi Phi Island Hospital.”

Mr Martin thought the scream he had heard might not have been from Mr Jannequin, as his friend had a snorkel tube in his mouth. He thought it more likely to have come from someone aboard the boat that he believes struck Mr Jannequin.

Although Mr Martin said he did not see a boat strike Mr Jannequin, he feels confident that it was a speedboat because it happened so fast. He discounted the possibility that it could have been a longtail boat, as these make a loud noise and can be heard from far off, even underwater, he said.

“I presumed Olivier’s wounds were from a sharp object, such as the propeller of a passing boat. I did not see what kind of boat it was because I was searching for Olivier. Although there were none in the area, I thought it was probably a speedboat moving at high speed. Also I’m sure that the boat would have been heading to the beach.”

Lt Wissawa Sanaeha of the Phi Phi Island Police said that Mr Martin and Mr Jannequin arrived on Koh Phi Phi on August 14 and were staying at the Sandview Hotel. They were scheduled to fly home on August 23.

Mr Martin told Krabi Police that their hotel receptionist told them that the area around the swimming zone, where they were snorkeling, was free from fast-moving speedboats. Most vessels there are long-tail boats and boats passing through the area would be travelling at low speeds, they were told.

“We went snorkeling nearly every day. In the time we spent on the beach we saw many speedboats taking tourists to the beach… My two brothers and I would like Olivier’s death to serve as an example for the need to implement more safety measures,” Mr Martin said.

Police asked Mr Martin to appear before the Krabi Prosecutor’s Office as a witness, but he was forced to decline as he was scheduled to leave Phuket on August 23.

Col Bundit Khaosutham of the Krabi Tourist Police told Gazette yesterday, “We still don’t know which speedboat hit the Mr Jannequin, whose body was repatriated two days after the accident.

“His relatives sent a message to us through the French embassy asking us to try to find the speedboat driver. We keep trying to find the guilty party, but it’s not easy due to the lack of witnesses. We do realize the importance of this case,” he said.

However, Col Bundit explained that safety measures were already in place, including a swimming zone, snorkeling zone and boat parking area clearly sectioned off by floating markers to notify tourists.

He added that efforts to warn tourists to not stray from the designated zones were continual.

“In this case the two of them went off at midday, when many boats are running to and fro for lunch on the island.

“Actually, a pontoon showing that the area [where the accident occurred] was offshore from a designated boat parking zone was in place at the time,” he added.

— Atchaa Khamlo

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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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