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Phuket

Thais score Suzuki Cup first-leg win over Malaysia

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Thais score Suzuki Cup first-leg win over Malaysia | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Thailand struck two late goals, including a penalty, to snatch a 2-0 first-leg home win over Malaysia in the Suzuki Cup final last night which was just reward for their relentless pressure in an action-packed game.

They broke the deadlock with 18 minutes remaining when Charyl Chappuis converted a spot kick before Kroekrit Taweekarn sealed the victory with a cool finish four minutes from time.

Thailand coach Kiatisuk Senamuang said Malaysia were tricky opponents and his team would have to be at their best for the second leg which will be played at the packed and imposing Bukit Jalil stadium in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.

“There’ll be 80,000 or 100,000 people in Bukit Jalil and we’ll be the ones under pressure,” he told reporters. “We’ve shown the fans how exciting we can play. We will show them again at Bukit Jalil.”

Malaysia coach Dollah Salleh added: “Thailand played better than us today. Our back line, especially, collapsed after the 70th minute, but we have 90 more minutes to play. It’s not easy, 2-0, but in football anything can happen.”

Thailand were always in control in an action-packed first half, dangerous on the break but nervous in front of goal, with Mongkol Thosakrai blasting over the bar after four minutes and Kroekrit finding the side netting moments later.

Malaysia rode out the storm and created several chances of their own on the counter-attack with Mohamed Amri Bin Yahyah a constant menace for the shaky Thai defence.

Thailand almost went ahead near the break, when Adisak Kraisorn got the better of the Malaysia defence but his spiralling effort was pushed wide of the post by goalkeeper Mohamed Farizal Bin Marlias.

The Thais piled on the pressure in the second half at the Rajamangala Stadium but squandered three clear chances in as many minutes, with Prakit Deeprom, Adisak and Charyl all in space but driving the ball wide or over the bar.

They finally got their break after 72 minutes when Adisak was pulled down and Charyl stepped up to convert the penalty.

Kroekrit doubled the advantage in the dying moments, latching on to Chanathip Songkrasin’s cross inside the area to edge closer to their fourth title in the Southeast Asian contest and leave Malaysia with a mountain to climb in the second leg.

FOOTBALL FEVER

Football frenzy swept across Bangkok yesterday when Thai fans from all walks of life turned out in droves to get behind the national team, as they bid to reclaim the Asean Championship title that has eluded them for more than a decade.

Public interest in the Thai football team had subsided following years of underachievement, but there have been signs of a revival of interest since September following the strong display by the national under-23 side at the Incheon Asian Games.

The success in South Korea, where the Thais equalled their best result in the event by finishing in fourth spot, brought back some of the feel-good factor around the national team, before their sparkling performances in the group stage of the Asian Championship sparked a dramatic surge of interest in the public.

The whole country has been gripped by football fever since Thailand won all three of their group matches, which took place in Singapore last month, to qualify for the semi-finals as Group B winners.

The hype was there for all to see when supporters flocked into Rajamangala National Stadium last Wednesday to see Thailand claim a 3-0 second-leg win over the Philippines, a result which set up a title showdown with Malaysia.

With only 2010 winners Malaysia standing between the Kingdom and the title, the buzz surrounding coach Kiatisak Senamuang’s team was only going to get more intense.

Tickets for the first leg of the final at Rajamangala were snapped up by fans less than an hour after they were put on sale last Friday.

Despite the Malaysia fixture being announced as a sell-out, hundreds of fans arrived at the venue in the morning yesterday in the hope of getting tickets, as it had been rumoured that the remaining tickets from those allocated for away supporters would be put up for sale.

Meanwhile, scores of fans queued in a long line at the Grand Sport Hua Mark store to buy the national team’s replica shirts.

Given the high demand for tickets, touting was inevitably rampant, with one tout posting a photo of tickets with the caption “Each priced at 1,000 baht – No negotiation”, which was almost three times higher than the face value of 350 baht.

At the venue, a group of supporters held up signs with anti-touting slogans, one reading “Don’t tease Thai fans’ faith”, while a man was arrested and fined Bt1,000 by the police for touting tickets. He was later released.

Security was tight at the stadium, where officials were more diligent about checking fans after the Philippines match was marred by fans associated with a group called “Ultras Thailand” lighting flares – a practice banned by the regional governing body, the Asean Football Federation.

Fans waited in a long queue several hours before the gates were opened ahead of the 7pm kickoff. By the time the game started, the stadium was already full of expectant supporters, in scenes reminiscent of the Thai team’s heyday in the 90s.

— Reuters / The Nation

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Crime

Phuket police arrest meth dealer, discover drugs valued at 15 million baht

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket police arrest meth dealer, discover drugs valued at 15 million baht | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Newshawk Phuket

Drugs valued at 15 million baht have been seized in a drug crackdown in Phuket. On October 22, Phuket police, along with Phuket Governor Pakkapong Tawipat, reported to the media about a drug crackdown that ended up with a total seizure valued around 15 million baht.

Earlier, the police received a report from an undercover agent that a woman named ‘Ying’ or ‘Suthicha Thirawut’ was a local drug dealer trading drugs in Phuket area, so police planned to purchase drugs from the woman. They contacted Ying through another woman named ‘Noina’, Ying’s close friend. Around 10pm on October 20, police bought 1 gram of crystal methamphetamine from Noina before arresting Ying and another man, Thanet Thongtan, at the Naka Condominium.

The two confessed that they receive the drug from a man who they weren’t able to name, in order to sell in Phuket. They were paid 40,000 – 50,000 baht per time and admitted to police that they have done this for the man three times already. This time, the drugs hadn’t been sold to customers as they were arrested before being able to make a sale.

Apart from 2.4 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, valued around 4.8 million baht, the police also discovered 76,800 methamphetamine pills, worth around 11 million baht.

The three are now assisting Phuket police with their enquires related to the case.

SOURCE: Newshawk Phuket

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News

30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands

Greeley Pulitzer

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30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands | The Thaiger

Tourists were treated to the sight of a school of dolphins in the Similan Islands off the Phang Nga coast on Sunday.

Tour organisers said that around 30 dolphins swam close to the boat six or seven miles offshore, creating excitement for passengers. It was the first time dolphins had been seen in the vicinity since October 15.

The Similan Islands National Park director said they were bottlenose dolphins and were among several species now returning to the area following a five-year closure of the park for environmental rehabilitation. Food is again plentiful there for them, he said.

Tourists are forbidden to feed wildlife lest the free handouts alter the animals’ natural behaviour, and the park’s waters are also very sensitive to contamination from human disease and marine debris, according to the director.

SOURCE: nationthailand.com

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Patong

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms

The Thaiger

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Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | The Thaiger

by Sophie Deviller

Hotels on Thailand’s most popular holiday island are being forced to slash prices, with rooms left vacant and beaches sparse as Thailand’s tourism chiefs struggle with a plunge in Chinese visitors caused by the US trade war and a stronger baht. Phuket was the most visited destination in the country last year, after Bangkok, and a good gauge of the state of its crucial travel industry.

Tourism accounts for 18% of Thailand’s gross domestic product and Chinese holidaymakers make up more than a quarter of total arrivals. But while 2.2 million people from the country visited in 2018, according to official figures, the numbers for January-September were down almost 20% year on year.

Claude de Crissey, the French Honorary Consul in Phuket and owner of about 40 rooms in the Patong Beach area, says Chinese tourists are usually present even during the current low season.

“That was not the case this year,” he said, adding he had to lower his prices by as much as 50%.

The problem is not only in Phuket, with hotels also struggling to fill rooms in the seaside resort of Pattaya on the mainland and on Koh Samui.

Trade tensions with the US have already made some Chinese reluctant to take holidays owing to uncertainty back home, while the Thai baht has risen about 10% against the yuan this year.

A boating disaster off Phuket’s coast that killed 47 Chinese holidaymakers in July 2018 also scared some off.

“We are worried,” said an industry insider, declining to be named due to the sensitivity of the topic in a country where tourism provides tens of thousands of jobs. Adding to the headache is the fact that more than 3,000 new hotel rooms are being constructed on the island, raising the question of who will fill them.

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | News by The Thaiger

“In terms of business, it’s not good,” said Kongsak Khoopongsakorn, vice-president of the association of hotels in Thailand and director of Vijitt Resort.

“Because … we have more hotels, more rooms to sell, we have more restaurants, more coffee shops.”

Still, tourism authority chairman Yuthasak Supasorn said he remained “optimistic.”

“We should reach our goal of 39.8 million foreign visitors.”

However, that is only up from 38.2 million in 2018, much less than the jump seen from the previous year’s total of 35.6 million.

Counting on India

Now hoteliers and tour package operators are targeting visitors from elsewhere, particularly India, which experts see as a huge untapped market.

A rapid expansion of the middle class in India, increased direct flights and visa-free travel have prompted Thailand to revise forecasts upwards.

It now expects two million Indian tourists this year, after an increase of nearly 25% on-year in the first seven months. But for now, the lower arrivals is evident on the streets of Phuket.

“I’ve never seen anything as bad as what it is at the moment,” said Paul Scott from Australia, who said he has been coming to Thailand for 15 years.

He mainly blamed the stronger baht for the drop-off but also the fact that Thailand wasn’t the untouched vacation paradise it once was. “Now it’s not so new … and it’s not cheap,” he said.

SOURCE: AFP

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | News by The Thaiger

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