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Traffic jams mar Patong one-way system launch

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Traffic jams mar Patong one-way system launch | The Thaiger
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PATONG: The introduction of the new one-way traffic system in Patong passed without accident on its first day, January 15, but was marred by early evening traffic jams along Thaweewong Rd (beach road). Kathu District Police, determined to make the day a success, stationed a total of 75 officers on rotation from 3 am until midnight to direct traffic flow.

Pol Col Teerapol Thipjaroen, Superintendent of Kathu District Police Station, told the Gazette, “On the first day of the one-way system in Patong we had a few small problems with vehicles moving slowly due to being unfamiliar with the system, but these are just teething problems and the one-way system will improve traffic problems in the long term.

“We had no problems in the day time, but in the evening from about 5 pm to 7 pm there were tailbacks on Thaweewong Rd. That is rush hour in Patong when people finish work, tour buses take guests back to their hotels and tourists also going out to have dinner or to see a show. We will work on fixing this problem,” Col Teerapol assured.

“I ordered about 75 police officers to control the traffic on the first day. There were officers on duty from 3 am until midnight. There were no real accidents all day. There may have been a few instances of cars or bikes scraping each other, but nobody was injured,” he said

Col Teerapol admitted that the new system still lacks sufficient signs to direct traffic and blamed the problem on Patong Municipality’s budget shortcomings. “Because Patong Municipality has budget problems it may take a while until we have a full complement of signs in place,” he said.

“Rat-U-Thit 200 Pi Rd had no traffic jams; the only problem was on Thaweewong Rd. We experienced no problems with traffic driving on the right-hand side on [sois connecting Thaweewong Rd and Rat-U-Thit 200 Pi Rd] such as Haad Patong, Sawatdirak, Bangla and Ruamjai. The reason we designed the system like this is that we didn’t want cars to have to cross each other when turning onto and off Thaweewong and Rat-U-Thit 200 Pi roads, which could have caused accidents”, he explained.

“Now we have to improve traffic-flow control in the evening and increase the number and clarity of direction signs,” he added.

“All in all, the first day of the one-way system in Patong was a 90% success. The other 10% was the traffic jams in the evening,” Col Teerapol concluded.

Reactions to the change was mixed among Patong residents. Pairot Damrongratchasak, a travel agent who has been based on Thaweewong Rd for more than 10 years, said, “I think the one-way is an improvement. People can cross the road more safely now, as they don’t have to look both ways. Also it should decrease traffic jams, though I did see problems in the evening when people were finishing work. I am confident in the system though and I didn’t see any accidents [on the first day].”

On the other hand, Jaroen Trongjit, a motorbike taxi driver in Patong for more than 14 years, commented, “The introduction of the one-way system did not ease the problem of traffic jams on Phra Barami Rd between the Kalim and Khokmakham intersections, [caused by traffic coming off Thaweewong Rd]. One-way traffic will cause even more traffic jams. [On January 15] there were a lot of problems from 4 pm to 6 pm. Before there would only be traffic jams from 5 pm to 6 pm. The one-way system will also mean I have to drive further and use more petrol. I prefer the old system”, he complained.

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Tourism

Phuket prepares to welcome first Chinese tourists in over 6 months

Maya Taylor

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Phuket prepares to welcome first Chinese tourists in over 6 months | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Jing Daily

The first group of tourists to arrive under Thailand’s new Special Tourist Visa scheme are expected to land in Phuket on October 8. The Bangkok Post reports that a flight from Guangzhou in southern China will carry 120 tourists, who will spend their first 14 days in alternative state quarantine. They are reported to be travelling under the government’s new STV.

Arrivals who do not pass the initial health screening will be transferred to specially chosen hospitals, as “Patients under Investigation”. Those who do pass the screening will be transported to alternative state quarantine once they’ve gone through immigration processing.

A Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration spokesperson says the resort islands of Phuket and Koh Samui will be the first to welcome travellers under the Special Tourist Via scheme. He pointed out that Guangzhou has not recorded any new cases of the Covid-19 virus for a prolonged period, meaning next week’s tourist arrivals are deemed “low risk”. His assertion is confirmed from the official figures at worldometer.info website recording world Covid-19 cases.

The CCSA reports that there will be a limit of 300 foreign tourists admitted each week, but this will be reviewed after the first phase of the re-opening. All arrivals will be subject to 14 day quarantine, although the Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn has suggested reducing this to 7 days eventually. The CCSA says they are not considering reducing the quarantine time at this stage.

Thiravat Hemachudha from the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Disease Health Science Centre is not opposed to the idea.

“We can study this with foreign visitors who will arrive next month. During the 14 day quarantine they will be tested on the first, the seventh and the fourteenth day. If they are free of infections, we can shorten the quarantine to 7 days.”

However, not all are in agreement, with a doctor from Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University cautioning against any shortening of the quarantine period.

Meanwhile, Phuket governor, Narong Woonsiew, says the province is ready to welcome the new arrivals, with Covid-19 labs in place at Phuket airport, and officials due to carry out a full dress rehearsal today.

Thanit Sermkaew, chief of the Phuket Public Health Office, says over 1,200 rooms at 9 hotels have been chosen as alternative state quarantine properties, with a total of 73 hotels, providing over 5,800 rooms, applying for consideration.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Phuket

Woman arrested for abandoning newborn baby on a bench in Phuket

Caitlin Ashworth

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Woman arrested for abandoning newborn baby on a bench in Phuket | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Siangtai/Newshawk Phuket

Police tracked down and arrested a Burmese woman who allegedly left her newborn baby on a bench in Phuket’s Patong area last week. The mother faces charges of abandoning a baby.

The newborn was left in a reusable shopping bag on a bench behind a Krungthai Bank branch. A woman in the area heard the baby crying and found the newborn in the bag along with a bottle of milk, diapers and clothing. Police reviewed surveillance camera footage shows a woman, police later identified as Ei Ei Phyu, leaving the bag on the bench.

Police say the woman gave birth on September 9 at a local hospital in Surat Thani’s Phun Phin district. Ei Ei allegedly took a van from Surat Thani to Phuket on September 22 and stayed with a friend in Patong. The early the next morning, she allegedly left her baby on the bench before boarding a bus back to Surat Thani.

Burmese workers in the Patong area told police Ei Ei used to work at a local Indian food restaurant before she moved to Surat Thani to work as a rubber tapper. Ei Ei allegedly told police she is not in the position to raise a child.

In earlier reports, police said the baby is healthy and does not appear to have any injuries.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand

Phuket police arrest 6 after finding large amounts of methamphetamine in raid

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket police arrest 6 after finding large amounts of methamphetamine in raid | The Thaiger

Phuket Provincial Police have arrested 6 people after finding large amounts of methamphetamine and other drugs during a raid. One suspect alone allegedly had 7.6 kilograms of crystal meth (ya ice) and over 12,500 methamphetamine pills (ya bah). 29 year old Surasak ‘Bank’ Wijit and 27 year old Panida ‘Mei’ Saeyang were arrested at an apartment car park in Soi Lookkaew, Moo 6, Rassada, in eastern Phuket, after they were found in possession of the drugs.

Police also found 2 mobile phones and a red Honda PCX, registered in Phuket, as evidence. Both suspects have been charged with posessing a Category 1 drug with the intent to sell.

Other suspects arrested at the same time include 36 year old from Chiang Rai, 42 year old Sarawut ‘An’ Srichanon, from Ranong and 31 year old Pornthep ‘Iew’ Thepchampa, who were charged with the same crimes in Chalong after police found more drugs in their possession. 33 year old Kamon ‘Kung’ Sae-ngow, was arrested as well after police found kratom juice and leaves at a house in Rassada. He was taken to Phuket City Police station and was charged with a Category 5 drug possession.

SOURCE:The Phuket News

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