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Senator seeks halt to dive shop arrests

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Senator seeks halt to dive shop arrests | 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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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Phuket

Thailand News Today | Pfizer vaccines on the way, Phuket’s July re-opening | May 7

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Disease Control Department back-peddled saying that that foreigners living in Thailand WILL also be vaccinated, governor of Chiang Mai is calling for the ban on dining in at restaurants in the northern city to be lifted and for eateries to be allowed to serve food on-site until 9pm, Tourism and Sports Minister insists the southern island of Phuket must record zero Covid-19 cases if a planned July re-opening is to go ahead, and 150 million baht worth of methamphetamine pills were impounded in Nakhon Phanom yesterday

 

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We’re looking for a Video Editor/Production Assistant in Phuket

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The Thaiger is seeking a full time video editor and production assistant for a new project based in Phuket. The role is open to a Thai national but with great English skills as well. You will need to be able to work to deadlines with a crazy bunch of stressed out news hosts, guests and the rest of The Thaiger team.

You’ll also need a general knowledge of the Thai news cycle as the content will be largely centred around daily news and current affairs. Knowledge of social media, and especially YouTube, will be an advantage.

Prior work in the TV or video production industry would be a requirement; we couldn’t care less about your educational qualifications. The role would be Monday to Friday.

The work hours would be earlier in the day, probably starting around 7am. There may be some occasional travel to Bangkok involved as well. Salary would be between 30-40,000 baht per month, depending on experience with opportunities for bonuses. The initial contract would be for 3 months, renewable.

If you are interested, or know someone who could fit the job, send an email to THAIGER EDITOR at info@thethaiger.com

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket red zone list adds Krabi, Trang, Ranong, Phatthalung

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FILE PHOTO: The Phuket checkpoint now lists 25 provinces as a red zone.

Visitors to Phuket from Krabi, Trang, Ranong, and Phatthalung will now have to prove they’re vaccinated or have a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of arrival, as they’ve been added to the red zone province list. People entering without those qualifications will have to take a rapid antigen test on the spot before being allowed into Phuket.

The 4 provinces join a group of 21 other provinces already on the Phuket red zone list requiring strict measures to enter. That list even includes Phuket itself, as people do exit the province have to prove a negative test or vaccination before being allowed to re-enter.

Phuket’s vice governor made the announcement yesterday after the governor signed the order and put it into effect until at least May 15th. That same order requires all trucks transporting goods to travel from 11 pm to 5 am, the nighttime hours that other people are not allowed to enter the island. Phuket recently closed its entry checkpoints from late night to early morning after reports of exhaustion from the health officials working to test everyone or verify their credentials.

Delivery drivers will also have to pass the same requirements as red zone province arrivals before entering Phuket. Any driver who does not have a negative test within 72 hours or proof that they’ve received both doses of a vaccine approved by Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration, will be forced to wait until the regular checkpoint opens at 5 am to receive a rapid antigen test.

Over 40,000 people from red zones have now been tested at the checkpoint to enter Phuket. In the first week of the requirement which began on April 22, health officials tested more than 22,000 people, overwhelming staff and prompting the government to close the entrance from 11 pm to 5 am to give checkpoint workers a break.

The 25 provinces currently classified as a red zone for entering Phuket are as follows:

Bangkok Nakhon Pathom Pathum Thani Rayong Suphan Buri
Chiang Mai Nakhon Ratchasima Phatthalung Sa Kaeo Surat Thani
Chonburi Nakhon Sri Thammarat Phuket Samut Prakan Tak
Khon Kaen Narathiwat Prachuap Khiri Khan Samut Sakhon Trang
Krabi Nonthaburi Ranong Songkhla Udon Thani

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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