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Surin beach clearout “70 per cent complete’ as deadline looms

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Surin beach clearout “70 per cent complete’ as deadline looms | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Surin Beach is a flurry of activity as businesses big and small seek to comply with the June 18 deadline to dismantle illegal structures on the beach.

The clear-out is part of an official crackdown on more than 100 businesses operating along the beachfronts at Surin, Bang Tao, Laypang and Layan beaches (story here).

Vendors who refuse to comply will have their premises torn down for them, Vice Governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada said last week, and could face hefty fines and jail time.

More than 70 per cent of illegal structures have been removed, Cherng Talay Mayor Ma-ann Samran said today.

“The order is applied equally, whether the business is valued at more than 10 million baht or less than 1mn baht,” Mr Ma-ann said.

Businesses which have not started deconstruction by the deadline will face legal action, but lenience will be shown to those who can prove the need for more time, he said. However, any illegal building or part of a building still standing after the deadline will not be permitted to open for business.

At Diamond Beach Club, staff are packing and moving bar equipment.

“We have to follow the law,” said Mittipong Porjai, a member of the club’s operations department.

“But the soonest we can have our tent and other equipment, which we rent from a private company, taken away is June 22. We have already notified the Cherng Talay Tambon Administration Organization [OrBorTor] and promised not to open that section.”

Zazada Beach Club has also notified the OrBorTor that they need more time.

“Staff are moving whatever they can carry, but the building can’t be removed within the deadline as it is very sturdy. We’ve already hired a specialist to destroy it,” said Kantasit Charoensuk, assistant operations manager at the club.

“We will be losing a big selling point for us: the swimming pool and club on the beach.”

Mr Ma-ann acknowledged the burden on business owners: “I know that this destruction will mean a loss to the businesses. We will discuss what can be done about that after the deadline has passed,” he said.

All beach clubs contacted by the Gazette confirmed that parts of the clubs not encroaching on the beach are open as usual.

— Woranut Pechdee

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Thailand

Thai Airways to resume flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Phuket

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai Airways to resume flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Phuket | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai Airways

After nearly 9 months on the ground due to the coronavirus pandemic, along with problems balancing their accounts, Thai Airways will resume flights between Bangkok and Chiang Mai as well as Bangkok and Phuket later this month. The flights will start back up on Christmas day.

Flights from Bangkok to the 2 key tourist provinces have been grounded since April 1. Starting December 25, the airline will run 3 flights a week on both routes. A source told the Bangkok Post that the new schedules will run until at least February 28.

Thai Lion Air, Thai Air Asia, Nok Air, Thai Smile, VietJet Air and Bangkok Airways have returned to the domestic skies since July and slowly adding frequency to their routes.

In addition to resuming the domestic flights, the Thai Airways is relaunching some international flights from January 1 to March 27 including weekly flights to Frankfurt, London, Copenhagen, Sydney, Seoul, Manila, Taipei and Osaka. Flights from Bangkok to Tokyo will be available 3 times a week and flights from Bangkok to Hong Kong will be available every day.

Thai Airways has been tackling bankruptcy throughout the lockdown and trying to make up for more than 300 billion baht in losses. Since many flights were suspended due to travel restrictions, Thai Airways has tried to make money by business ventures on the ground, like a pop-up restaurant serving in-flight meals and selling off unwanted equipment from their warehouse. There also disposing of much of their older fleet, including all of their Boring 747-400s.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

97 police officers investigated for fiddling Covid-19 payments

Maya Taylor

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97 police officers investigated for fiddling Covid-19 payments | The Thaiger
PHOTO: www.newsbeezer.com

97 police officers, from 41 police stations, are currently being investigated for an alleged scam involving Covid-19 payments meant for officers who worked extra shifts during the crisis. The case was assigned by national police chief Suwat Jangyodsuk in November, when it came to light that some officers may have fraudulently claimed allowances meant for others.

In one incident, an officer responsible for transferring extra payments to police on the southern island of Phuket transferred the money to his own accountant instead. At the time, the transfer was dismissed as a mistake (in his favour), with the officer in question receiving a warning, and payments then made to the qualifying officers.

Wissanu Prasatthong-Osot from the National Internal Affairs Police says the investigation should reach a conclusion within the next 10 days.

“The result of the investigation should be ready in 10 days. Currently, 97 officers in 41 police stations ranging from non-commissioned to generals are under investigation for being involved in the swindle. The bureau aims to provide justice to all policemen involved. After the investigation concludes, the victims will receive their full allowance, while the offending officers will be punished under the law and disciplinary standards.”

Nation Thailand reports that a full list of alleged offenders has been sent to Suwat, with Wissanu promising that none will escape prosecution.

“The National Police chief had also ordered the transfer of offending officers at the commander and sub-commander levels out of their areas as per the investigation procedures.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Tourism

Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce to propose Guangzhou-Phuket tourism route

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce to propose Guangzhou-Phuket tourism route | The Thaiger
PHOTO: 77 kaoded

A tourism route from Guangzhou, China to Phuket could help the island province recover from the recession brought on by the pandemic and lack of foreign travel, according to the Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce. The president of the organisation, Narongsak Puttapornmongkol, says they plan to submit a letter proposing the route under a travel bubble scheme to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

The Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce is proposing a travel bubble with around 20 cities in China with no recent coronavirus infections and considered to be at a low risk of spreading the virus. Travellers from Guangzhou recently entered Thailand on the new Special Tourist Visa. It was the second flight of international tourists since travel restrictions were imposed in late-March.

“We believe that the Travel Bubble and the quarantine reduction will resolve the tourism business, which is a huge economic opportunity to recover.”

Once a vaccine is widely available, Narongsak suggests that those who wish to Thailand could also present their vaccination certificate or examination reports from the place of origin. He adds that the mandatory state quarantine period is likely to be reduced.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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