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Ten charged in White Shark inspection so far

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Ten charged in White Shark inspection so far | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Ten land owners are being charged after a Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) team investigated 24 plots of land for alleged mangrove encroachment on Phuket.

The investigations are part of a nationwide operation to reclaim ‘national treasures’ across 24 provinces. The team will inspect a total 34 plots of land covering about 2,200 rai on the island (story here).

The team, dubbed ‘White Shark’, consists of about 120 officers, and is led by DMCR Deputy Director-General Sakda Wichiansin. It includes officials from the Royal Forest Department (RFD), Department of National Parks Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) and Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC).

“These plots include golf courses, marinas and shrimp farms. We have called for support from relevant authorities on the island in order to work on this mission,” Mr Sakda told the Phuket Gazette today.

Officials inspected the land at Phuket Boat Lagoon and Royal Phuket Marina (RPM) this morning.

“At this stage, based on our aerial photography, I am standing right in the mangrove forest, according to our map and aerial information,” Mr Sakda said while inspecting the land at the RPM.

RPM Managing Director Sarayuth Mallam presented land title deeds to the team, insisting that the 180 rai of land at the RPM were legally owned by them.

“I have no problem with the inspection as the officers are just doing their job. We have been doing business here for many years, and everything we do is legal and above board,” Mr Sarayuth said.

Officials believe a man, named only as ‘Thawat,’ was involved the sale of the land documents.

“Mr Thawat is involved in selling of land title deeds to private businesses, Thai and foreign, in Phuket,” Mr Sakda said. “Each of those plots are located in protected areas, which are not meant to be privately owned.”

“So far, 10 supposed land owners, owning 300 rai of land between them, have failed to present any ownership documentation to us. Others, owning about 1,000 rai of land, had some documentation to back their claims. We still have about 1,000 rai of land to inspect.”

Mr Sakda said that land owners were welcome to present their land documents, but they would have to be verified by the Land Department.

“We have to check the land ownership documents to ensure that they were issued legally, and that the piece of land is actually located where it appears on the land ownership document,” said Mr Sakda.

“If the documents were unlawfully issued, we will turn the case over to the Land Department in order to revoke the titles.”

Mr Sakda said that he was just doing his job and this this was not a personal vendetta against anyone.

“It doesn’t matter who owns the land. From what I hear, some owners are ‘well connected’ to ‘influential people’ in the country. It will be disheartening to me if those people support the land owners in any kind of unlawful activities,” he added.

— Chutharat Plerin

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Tourism

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

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Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO | The Thaiger

There was the original Covid-19 outbreak and lockdowns back in April and May in 2020, then again just before Christmas and New Year when the new clusters emerged in Samut Sakhon and the eastern coastal provinces, Patong’s nightlife was quiet enough, almost non-existent.

Now when the restrictions are lifted, Nimz will take you through Phuket’s famous nightlife spot Bangla Road, Patong Beach and Phuket Town. It’s quiet, but there are still clubs open and operating and ready to welcome you.

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Expats

Deceased Phuket expat’s body stuck in hospital due to passport mix-up

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Deceased Phuket expat’s body stuck in hospital due to passport mix-up | The Thaiger

In a nightmarish scenario, a deceased Phuket expat’s body is stuck in a Thai hospital as his step‐daughter claims hospital administrators won’t release the body due to a passport mix‐up.

Gemma Swift, the step‐daughter of 75 year old David Donoghue, who died 2 weeks ago, says she is pleading with embassy staff in Thailand to resolve, what she says, is purely an administrative issue after Donoghue’s passport number at the hospital was from that of an expired one.

Donoghue’s current passport was on file with the British Embassy, but because it did not match what the hospital had, his body has remained at the hospital. Swift says it was something that could easily be corrected and the situation was “horrendous” for the family.

“The British Embassy over in Bangkok, they said that because [the number] was from his current passport, they were unable to change the letter. They have said that they won’t reissue a letter with the passport number that he’s got in the hospital with him.”

She said her family planned to arrange a funeral for him in Thailand, then bring his ashes back to the UK. As he retired to Phuket 15 years ago, her family would then take his ashes back to Thailand, as per his wishes, to scatter them.

However, none of his family members were able to travel to Thailand to be with Donoghue in his final days, as the mandatory 14 day quarantine period upon entering Thailand, would not have allowed them to see him.

“I thought this was a basic human right to be able to give somebody a funeral and I accept that there is always going to be red tape…but please just issue a letter and let us bring him home.”

She said before Covid-19, family members travelled often to Phuket to visit Donoghue, who once worked for the Thai tourist police. She says the entire ordeal has been heartbreaking as her family was unable to say goodbye.

“That on its own was heart breaking, and now to get this two weeks later, to find out we can’t give him a funeral, or get his ashes back, it’s just horrendous.”

“It’s like being on autopilot… once we know we have done everything we can, we can start the grieving process, but at the minute we can’t.”

A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokesperson said they are assisting Donoghue’s family during the difficult time.

“Our staff are in contact with the local hospital and funeral director to help his family obtain the necessary paperwork to ensure his body is treated in line with their wishes.”

If the situation isn’t fixed, Donoghue’s body will join a mass cremation at the hospital.

SOURCE: BBC News

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Phuket

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

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Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2 | The Thaiger

In today’s Thailand News Today…. The island of Phuket has a firm plan to get its residents vaccinated leading up to an October opening for tourists, the Thai PM backs up his police over last Sunday’s protest violence and Thai Airway’s employee union criticises the changes to employee contracts.

But the plan must be approved by the national government by April, if the province wants to open tourism by October 1. Phuket has a resident population of around 300- 400,000 people.

Before you go rushing off to book your plane tickets we’d stress that this is another in a long list of proposals that have not come to fruition and we’d urge patience until the Government approves the plans.

Meanwhile the island has taken delivery of 4,000 doses of the Chinese Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine. Vaccinations started yesterday, with priority given to 1,500 healthcare workers and 500 “at-risk” officials exposed to Covid-19 patients.

On a broader note… Thailand’s Tourism Minister says he has asked the Public Health Ministry to approve a vaccine passport scheme aimed at reviving Thailand’s devastated tourism sector. According to the Minister, the government is looking to the World Health Organisation to issue a statement on vaccine passports before it makes a final decision on the matter.

The Thai PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha has defended police action against protesters taking part in Sunday’s anti-government rally in Bangkok. Officers from the Metropolitan Police Bureau used tear gas, a water cannon and rubber bullets in an effort to drive protesters back from the PM’s residence. The PM insists the actions were in line with international standards. He says that police did not violate the protesters’ rights.

Thai researchers are claiming that horseshoe bats are not responsible for transmitting the Covid virus to humans. A researcher with the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Diseases-Health Science Centre, says that even though the bats have tested positive for a coronavirus, it is not the strain that is transmissible to humans, and it’s certainly not the virus that causes Covid-19.

As Thai Airways tries to sell new contracts and conditions to its remaining workforce, the labour union of the national carrier is challenging changes to the employment contracts, where Thai Airways employees are being asked to agree to changes as part of the bigger financial rehabilitation program.

But a union representative says the new contracts are unfair because it includes fewer leave days and shorter holidays. The union has filed a complaint with the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare.

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