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Senator seeks halt to dive shop arrests

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Senator seeks halt to dive shop arrests | The Thaiger

PHUKET: According to several local dive shops, at least three tourists have suffered a somewhat ‘amazing’ experience over the past two weeks when tourist police accused them of being illegal divemasters, instructors, or guides. Two of them were Japanese unable to speak English. They were arrested and had to be bailed out, for 100,000 baht each, by the dive shop of which they were customers. Another, an Englishman, was, according to the manager of the shop he was diving with, “harassed” by the police for nearly half an hour before the shop was able to produce evidence that he was, in fact, a tourist, and not a member of the company’s staff. Following the incident, the hapless holiday-maker returned home immediately. As a result of these incidents and about ten recent arrests at Chalong Pier of foreign instructors working for various local dive shops, approximately 30 shop operators held a meeting at the Kata Beach Resort last night to address the problem and the damage which they say has been inflicted on the tourism industry here. The instructor arrests occurred in the presence, and to the dismay, of their shops’ customers, almost all of whom were foreign tourists. Although the instructors held valid certificates and work permits, they did not hold the “tour guide” licenses which the tourist police now say are required of them. The guide licenses are issued by the Tourism Authority of Thailand [TAT]. At last night’s meeting, Jeroen Deknatel of Fantasea Divers, a pioneer in the diving industry here, emphasized the importance of establishing an organization to represent the shops. “It is impossible to be 100% legal, as the law is ambiguous. We need a forum. If we don’t get together, no one will listen to us.” Phuket Senator Paiboon Upatising met today with Deknatel and Pol Lt Col Chak Onnim, inspector of the local tourist police. According to Deknatel, the senator suggested to the inspector that in a case like this where the law is not clear, the police should call a meeting to inform any interested parties of changes in policies so as to give these parties time to adapt. He also suggested that arrests not be made in front of tourists. Following the meeting with Senator Paiboon, Pol Lt Col Chak went on to meet with Anupharp Thirarath, Director of the TAT Southern Office, Region 4, to resolve matters. “We have reached a conclusion with the TAT today,” Pol Lt Col Chak told the Gazette. “We [the tourist police] will continue to do our job and will arrest – still — the dive shops who have registered their businesses improperly. Also, regarding work permits, we will continue to arrest those without them. You have to understand that laws are laws. “The only one thing that we will put to rest now is about the guide license. This is because foreigners — I am not sure if you know — cannot have a guide license in Thailand.” It is, however, not known how long the guide license issue for diving instructors will be held in abeyance. According to Pol Lt Col Chak, that is up to the authorities in Bangkok. The dive shop operators have now scheduled a meeting for Monday, March 20, to pursue establishment of their long-sought diving organization. “We invite all dive shop operators to join us, including Thai companies, because we are trying to protect the dive industry,” said Jeroen, whose shop, also on Monday, will go on trial to defend itself over the ‘no-guide-license’ charge.



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Business

Hermès opens its first store in Phuket at Central Floresta

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Hermès opens its first store in Phuket at Central Floresta | The Thaiger

Hermès has opened of its first store in Phuket at Central Floresta, the newly opened lifestyle shopping destination in the heart of the island, opposite Central Festival.

As Hermès’ first venture outside the Thai capital, the new Hermès Phuket store makes a significant statement of expansion and confidence in the market. The new address in this world-renowned island will allow the growing population of local residents, along with domestic and international tourists, to discover the abundant variety of Hermès métiers and savoir-faire.

Designed by the Parisian architecture agency RDAI, the elegant 172 m² retail space is located by the shopping centre’s main entrance and benefits from a double exposure with an exterior and an interior façade.

A bamboo claustra follows the line of the mall’s exterior glass, filtering the daylight that bathes the indoor space, and further illustrates Hermès’ high regard for local craftsmanship. The interior façade is composed of a refined lacquered metal, featuring a large window display, complemented by four recesses with illuminated silk scarves.

Upon entering the store, visitors are welcomed by the House’s ex-libris and signature Grecques lights, designed for Hermès in 1925. The store is decorated with natural and local materials – bamboo floors and claustra, cognac toned Cherrywood walls, toffee coloured silk and fibre fabrics – tastefully blending various elements of Thai culture and modern architecture. The soft colour palette evokes the sand and the sun in their various shades, providing a delightfully serene and convivial atmosphere.

The overall volume is divided into two main areas by the feminine silk grid facing the entrance. The first one, with the iconic Faubourg pattern mosaic floor, allows guests to explore the silk, fashion jewellery, fragrance, art of living, and equestrian departments.

Opposite the leather goods display, an intimate space invites guests to uncover the watch and jewellery collections. Further along, one can discover the women and men’s universes. A sand coloured carpet on the floor outlines the area dedicated to the shoe collections, enriched by a delicate custom-made bamboo light module as the ceiling centrepiece.

Hermès opens its first store in Phuket at Central Floresta | News by The Thaiger Hermès opens its first store in Phuket at Central Floresta | News by The Thaiger Hermès opens its first store in Phuket at Central Floresta | News by The Thaiger

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Phuket

Red car ‘gun flasher’ arrested in Phuket

The Thaiger

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Red car ‘gun flasher’ arrested in Phuket | The Thaiger

Phuket police have arrested and are questioning the driver of a red sedan following Friday’s incident on Thepkasattri Road in Srisoonthorn where he appeared to wave a gun out of his driver’s window (video in the link below).

Manop Sangpal was tracked down by police but they’ve confirmed that Mr Manop’s ‘gun’ was just a BB gun, not a firearm.

The video of the man driving the red sedan and waving the ‘gun’ out of the driver’s window spread around social media on Friday afternoon after a driver following recorded the incident and posted it.

Read the story and see the video below…

Police hunting for driver who threatened others with a gun on Phuket road – VIDEO

On the video the red Ford sedan cuts in front of the car with the dashcam then veers to the left lane while the driver waves the gun out of his window near Wat Srisoonthorn.

Police say Mr Manop was arrested at lunchtime yesterday (Saturday) in a workers camp in Soi Sukapibal where he lives with his Burmese wife and family.

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Krabi

Tsunami advisory for Andaman Coast – all clear

The Thaiger

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Tsunami advisory for Andaman Coast – all clear | The Thaiger

An advisory was sent out last night about two earth tremors registering 5.0 and 5.2 magnitude centered on the Andaman Islands, 620 kilometres north west of Phuket.

The National Disaster Warning Centre sent out an advisory to Governors of six Andaman Coast provinces to be on alert for tsunami warnings and more earthquake activity.

There has been no tsunami activity registered along the Andaman coastlines.

Tsunami advisory for Andaman Coast - all clear | News by The Thaiger

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