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Three witnesses testify in Jennings murder trial

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: Three witnesses appeared on the stand this morning in the trial of Nongnut Tungkaburi and Kraisorn Kamnoun for their alleged involvement in the December 15, 1997 murder of Roger Jennings, Nongnut’s common-law husband. The first witness, Weeranat Kammanochart, 22, a cashier at the Alice Bar, owned by Jennings and Nongnut, testified that Mr Jennings and Nongnut were nice people. He said they sometimes had fights, but that these didn’t appear serious. He also testified that on the day of the murder, Wattana, a relative of Nongnut, took 4,000 baht from the bar at Nongnut’s request. Wattana, however, didn’t tell him what the money was for. When asked by the defense if Nongnut had previously asked Wattana to pick up money, Khun Weeranat answered, “Yes, sometimes, but not very often.” He also testified that there had previously been two robberies at the Patong Hill Estate where Mr Jennings and Nongnut lived, and where Mr Jennings was found dead. In response to additional questions from the defense, he said he believed that Nongnut was responsible for the murder. The second witness of the morning was Peter John Davey, 47, an Englishman living in Patong. He testified he had known Jennings for two or three years before the murder. He also said he knew Jennings was living with a woman named Nongnut, but that he wasn’t sure whether or not they were married. Mr Davey then testified that he frequented the Alice Bar five or six times a week. He said that the last time he met Mr Jennings at the bar was on December 14, 1997, at around 10:30 pm. The next day, he said, when he and his wife went to the Islander Restaurant for dinner, he didn’t see Mr Jennings, even though Mr Jennings normally went to the restaurant to eat. When Mr Davey left The Islander, he went to the Alice Bar at about 8 pm, but again did not see his friend. When the staff at the Alice Bar told him they hadn’t seen their boss either, he called Mr Jennings’ home at Patong Hill Estate, but there was no answer. At around 9 pm, Mr Davey testified, Nongnut entered the bar and came over to talk with him. He said that he found this surprising as she had never talked with him at the bar before. When he asked Nongnut where Mr Jennings was, she said that maybe he had gone to the dentist. He said he found this puzzling, as dentists in Patong were closed by 8 pm. At 10:10 pm, a maid from Patong Hill Estate ran into the bar and shouted “Papa dead! Papa dead!” causing an uproar in the bar. After helping Nongnut – who had collapsed on the floor – he asked Weeranat to close the bar. He then went to Patong Hill Estate where he found the dead body of Mr Jennings. He said that he never talked with Mr Jennings about any problems with Nongnut and that he had never seen them fight. He did say, however, that Mr Jennings had once told him that Nongnut spent a lot of money gambling, and on the lottery. When asked by defense lawyers if he thought Nongnut murdered Mr Jennings, he said that he did, because of all of the evidence against her and because of her strange behavior on the night of the murder. The third witness, Jongjitr Tonchaiyapoom, 19, formerly a gardener at the Patong Hill Estate, testified that she and her husband Santi lived in the gardener’s house approximately 100 meters from Mr Jennings’ home. At around 5 pm on the night of the murder, Nongnut took Jongjitr, Santi, two relatives and two house dogs to dinner in Patong Beach. Khun Santi said this was the first time Nongnut had taken her to a restaurant and that she had never seen the dogs taken out of the house before. When the party returned to Patong Hill Estate at 10:30 pm, Da, one of the relatives who had gone to dinner with them, walked to Mr Jennings’ house. A couple of minutes later she began screaming, “Papa dead! Papa dead!” The group then went to the Alice Bar to break the news to Nongnut. When asked whether she believed Nongnut was responsible for Jennings’ death, Khun Jongjitr replied in the affirmatve. Further testimony will now be collected by courts in Bangkok, Buriram and Chiang Rai, as some of the witnesses have moved to those places since the murder. When the out-of-province testimony is complete, the trial will resume in Phuket. No date has yet been set.

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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

4 billion baht medical hub planned for Phuket

Maya Taylor

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4 billion baht medical hub planned for Phuket | The Thaiger
Mai Khao beach in north Phuket. PHOTO: Booking.com

Phuket officials are setting aside around 4 billion baht to transform medical tourism in the southern province of Phuket, by developing a state-of-the-art treatment hub in the north of the island. The Bangkok Post reports that the Treasury department is planning to give the Public Health Ministry permission to use 141 rai of government land in the sub-district of Mai Khao, close to Phuket International Airport. It’s not the first time the proposal has come to light.

The concept is gathering support as Phuket battles to diversify its attraction beyond a tropical holiday island.

The aim is to develop Phuket as a world-class health and wellness destination, with facilities that will attract medical tourists from all over the world, as well as providing a high standard of treatment to the local population. It’s understood the facility will provide a full range of health services, including long-term care, and hospice and rehabilitation services.

The island already has a well-developed medical tourism market, but has been based around local hospitals and clinics linking up with foreign marketing companies in the past. “The International Medical and Public Health Service” has been conceived to create more long term financial security and diversification, and value-added tourism in Phuket, as the island has taken a heavy financial hit over the past 7 months.

4 billion baht medical hub planned for Phuket | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Phuket Andaman News

The plan was first suggested in 2017, by then governor, Noraphat Plodthong and confirmed by the director of Phuket’s Vachira Hospital, Dr. Chalermpong Sukontapol, in July. At that stage, the estimated budget was 3-4 billion baht. The director-general of the Treasury department, Yuthana Yimkarun, says the plot is being offered to the Health Ministry for free. The land is thought be worth around 1 billion baht.

Yuthana says the ministry will manage investment, with approximately 2 billion baht required for the first stage of the project. Construction of the facility is expected to be completed over 2 years.

Meanwhile, it’s understood that unused government land that is currently managed by various government agencies may be moved under the remit of central government, with a view to increasing its worth. According to the Bangkok Post report, just 4% of government land is directly managed by the Treasury. The other 96% is controlled by various government agencies. Yuthana says the plan is to increase the percentage of state-owned land under the Treasury’s management to 10% within 2 years.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

“Open the borders, safely”, Bill Heinecke, Minor International interview – VIDEO

The Thaiger

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“Open the borders, safely”, Bill Heinecke, Minor International interview – VIDEO | The Thaiger

Bill Heinecke speaks to Bill Barnett. The two heavy-hitters of Thailand’s hotel and hospitality sector, mull over the current Covid situation and the reopening of Thailand’s borders to some form of tourism. Bill Heinecke is the Chairman and Founder of Minor International.

Bill Barnett is the Managing Director of c9hotelworks.com

Now the Thai government has approved the special long-term tourist visa scheme (STV), hoteliers are remaining skeptical about reopening due to the lack of clarity in the recent announcement, which will reportedly take effect next month. The president of the Thai Hotels Association’s southern chapter says more hoteliers will consider reopening if the government gives further information about the plan in terms of prospective markets, arrival dates, origin countries, and flights.

Such details would allow hotels to prepare themselves ahead of time to offer services as alternative state quarantine premises as at least 60 hotels in Phuket are awaiting approval to operate such facilities.

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Bangkok

Now they’re coming… Special Tourist Visa flight set for Tuesday – Tourism and Sports Minister

Caitlin Ashworth

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Now they’re coming… Special Tourist Visa flight set for Tuesday – Tourism and Sports Minister | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Unsplash: Suhyeon Choi

After much confusion and a few apparent ‘misunderstandings’, Chinese tourists on the Special Tourist Visa will actually arrive on October 20 and 26. At least that’s what Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn says, according to the Bangkok Post. The first group is said to arrive 4 days from now in Bangkok (if they actually applied for the visa this time).

Reports circulated for weeks about a flight of 120 to 150 tourists set to arrive in Phuket on October 8 from Guangzhou, China. An announcement was made shortly after the flight was due to arrive with Tourism Authority Governor Yuthasak Supasorn saying “administrative issues” had caused the delay.

It was later reported that no one from Guangzhou had actually applied for the visa and it was all just a misunderstanding after the Tourism Authority of Thailand reportedly passed off a list of those “interested” in the visa as actual applications.

This time, the Post is reporting the first group of 120 tourists from Guangzhou will arrive at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport on Tuesday. Another group of 120 tourists, also from Guangzhou, will arrive on October 26, but the Post didn’t say where that flight will land.

It’s apparently the same group that was planned to arrive in Phuket on October 8, but the minister claims the trip was postponed due to the Vegetarian Festival which is planned to run until October 25. Both the Phuket governor and National Security Council secretary general had claimed the festival was the reason for the delayed flight and was intended to ease fears of Covid-19 for the festival-goers coming in from the rest of Thailand.

Even though the new long stay tourist visa is good for 90 days, and can be renewed twice, the tourists will only stay in the country for 30 days, with 14 of those days in quarantine. Phiphat says the Tourism Authority of Thailand will find activities to keep the tourists occupied while in quarantine.

The visitors will be the first international tourists after a 6 month ban to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Thai officials have been discussing plans for months about how to safely reopen borders to revive the country’s economy which is heavily driven by the tourism industry. Officals are now talking about cutting down the mandatory time for quarantine from 14 days to 7 days to help entice people to visit.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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