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Transport Minister eyes Phuket traffic black spots

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Transport Minister eyes Phuket traffic black spots | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Transport Minister Jarupong Ruangsuwan in Phuket last week admitted that despite efforts to resolve traffic jams in Phuket through billion-baht underpass projects, other traffic congestion “black spots” also needed addressing.

Mr Jarupong identified the Heroines’ Monument in Thalang and Chalong Circle in the south of Phuket as two areas that specifically need attention.

“Projects that improve public transportation in tourism destinations in the South [of Thailand] are quite important, especially in Phuket with projects such as the airport expansion,” Mr Jarupong said.

He pointed out that the 600-million-baht underpass to be built at the Darasamuth Intersection and the 800-million-baht underpass at the Samkong Intersection had already been approved, as had the 500mn-baht underpass to be built at the Bang Khu Intersection at the north end of the bypass road.

“These are all to reduce traffic jams,” Mr Jarupong said.

However, Mr Jarupong also told the Gazette that, “Today, we saw that we have more problems to consider, especially the traffic jams around the Heroines’ Monument and the narrow and busy streets around Chalong Circle.”

Mr Jarupong was in Phuket to attend a public meeting on the impact of the Patong Tunnel project on local residents, especially the Baan Mon community in Patong, where many of the local residents face forced relocation due to the impending road works to make way for the tunnel exit into the west coast town.

At the meeting, attended by about 500 participants, Mr Jarupong faced many questions over the 6bn-baht tunnel project.

“We have to listen to local residents’ concerns even though it makes projects slow in coming. I have already directly assigned officers to gather local residents’ opinions. If the project affects most of the people, the project is likely to be changed,” he replied.

Also at the meeting, Chartchai Tipsunave, Director-General of the Department of Rural Roads, delivered progress updates on other major road projects in Phuket.

Upgrades to Phang Muang Sai Kor Road, which runs behind Jungceylon in Patong, are now about 10 per cent complete, he said.

The improvements consist of widening the road to four lanes and installing footpaths, roadside drains and street lighting. “The project is expected to be finished by the end of next year,” he added.

Mr Chartchai said that the Klong Koh Pee project, a 200mn-baht dual-lane flyover across a mangrove forest in Phuket Town, probably will start in November. “It will take two years to finish,” he said.

Questioned about the disparity between the volume of money generated by Phuket and the money spent by the government on developing the tourism island, Mr Jarupong said that his ministry was spending 1.9 trillion baht on improving transportation links across the country.

“According to our information, less than 50 per cent of ‘local people’ are aware of our different projects nationwide, so we need to get out and tell the public, especially heads of local government and organizations, to publicize government projects. It would also give us some encouragement to know whether or not they agreed with our plans,” Mr Jarupong said.

The Transport Minister explained that two-thirds of the mega-budget is being spent on rail networks. “It’s more efficient and cheaper in light of gasoline prices continually rising,” he said.

Most of the land transportation budget is to be spent on, among other national rail projects, developing high-speed train and electric train networks serving Bangkok.

Mr Jarupong, however, did not reveal any details about the current status of the Phang Nga rail link that received Cabinet approval in March to undergo a feasibility study.

The link aims to build a railway from Surat Thani to an area in Phang Nga just north of the bridges joining Phuket to the mainland.

— Atchaa Khamlo

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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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Thailand

Phuket Muay Thai fighter is the first Thai national to compete in UFC

The Thaiger

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Phuket Muay Thai fighter is the first Thai national to compete in UFC | The Thaiger

The upcoming Ultimate Fighting Championship Fight Night event in Abu Dhabi will feature Thailand’s only national marking her third fight with the UFC, the world’s largest mixed martial arts competition. 24 year old Loma Lookboonme, from Burirram in northeastern Thailand, will fight in the event on October 3, 2020.

Loma is a Muay Thai fighter who has adapted her MMA skills to fight in the UFC where she currently trains at the Tiger Muay Thai gym in Phuket. Loma qualified for the national team at the age of 19 and has fought in over 12 nations worldwide. She currently trains 6 days a week starting daily at 6:30am with a 3 kilometre run. In the UFC, she will be competing against China’s Angela Lee who is the undisputed champion of the 52 kilogram fist weight category.

Phuket Muay Thai fighter is the first Thai national to compete in UFC | News by The Thaiger

Loma’s parents are former Muay Thai fighters and her 2 sisters currently compete as well. She reportedly started training at 8 years old after being inspired by her father, whom she describes as her “hero.”

Like most Thais in such fighting sports, Muay Thai offers a way to rise out of poverty-and fighting for the UFC can be financially lucrative. But Loma says her only Thai sponsor is the gym where she trains, with the rest of her sponsors being from foreign brands. She says she is trying to get more Thai sponsors but feels that maybe she needs to win the UFC first before Thai brands notice her.

Loma lost her last fight and says her new opponent gives her nothing to lose. She says her goal is to get into the Top 10, but is not sure when it will happen. Loma says for now, it would be good to fight against someone in the Top 10 to help her prepare for her future.

FULL INTERVIEW: Thisrupt.co

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Tourism

Phuket airport ready for tourists after finishing Covid screening labs

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket airport ready for tourists after finishing Covid screening labs | The Thaiger

Phuket Airport is officially ready for tourists as authorities say they have finished installing Covid screening labs in an effort to welcome international travellers. The 5T Model for Covid-19 is being used at the airport with the goal of screening large groups of people in a quick and efficient manner. The Phuket health chief says the 5T’s stand for Target, Testing, Treating, Trusting and Tracing.

Phuket has one large airport at the north end of the island but is separated into two separate terminals – a domestic terminal (the original airport terminal), and a new international terminal opened in 2016.

The target category refers to the target groups of tourists while the tracing stands for software that will be used to monitor their movements. The testing category refers to Covid tests that will be implemented to travellers upon arrival along with the treatment and trust categories signifying the readiness of resources for medical treatment and confident communications between all parties respectively.

The Covid-19 lab container module has been set up at Phuket airport’s Terminal X (the terminal opened for charter flights opened in 2014) and will be tested tomorrow with its operation to start on September 30. As large groups of tourists could arrive (later in the year, the lab is reportedly capable of testing 96 people at a time with test results becoming available in 6 hours. What the airport would do withe tested passengers whilst waiting for 6 hours, has not been detailed at this stage.

Such a readiness plan to welcome foreign tourists originally singled out Phuket due to its popularity with travellers, and as a so-called guinea pig model to test in a controlled environment (Phuket is an island joined to the Thai mainland by a single 300 metre road bridge). Once dubbed the Phuket Model, authorities have proposed to rename the plan to “Special Tourist Visa” due to the confusion and opposition it reportedly caused. The scheme is reportedly now being proposed for all areas of Thailand but only allowing foreigners from specific countries.

SOURCE: Pattaya Mail

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