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Tuk-tuks blockade US military in Phuket

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Tuk-tuks blockade US military in Phuket | The Thaiger

PHUKET: The future of Phuket as a rest and relaxation destination for US Navy ships is in jeopardy following a blockade of the access road at the Phuket Deep Sea Port by taxi drivers demanding sailors use their service instead of a free transport service provided by the US military.

Details of what transpired last night have yet to be fully confirmed, but sources told the Gazette this morning that the blockade lasted several hours and was only broken up around midnight following negotiations between the drivers and police, local government and military negotiators.

The stranded sailors were aboard the US Navy vessels USS Curts and USS Vandegrift as well as the US Coast Guard Cutter Mellon. The vessels will be in Phuket from June 12 to 20, with a staggered arrival and departure schedule.

Top local officials were immediately notified of the blockade, which lasted from about 9pm until midnight.

The protesters, which included a number of unregistered ‘black plate’ taxi drivers, set up the blockade when they noticed sailors inside the Deep Sea Port security gate boarding passenger vans bound for Patong.

The drivers were apparently angry that the sailors were boarding passenger vans provided for them free of charge by a private firm that has a contract with the US Navy to provide support services for visiting ships.

In the past, the sailors were taken to Patong in large air-conditioned coaches.

The appearance of the passenger vans in their place infuriated the tuk-tuk drivers, who thought their ‘turf’ was being infringed upon. A false rumor circulated among the taxi drivers that the sailors were paying 200 baht a head to board the vans, which in fact were provided free-of-charge, just as the buses were in the past.

Part of the problem may have arisen because the new port manager had failed to notify the tuk-tuk drivers in advance of the change, the source said.

A source in the Royal Thai Navy responsible for security at Phuket Deep Sea Port had a somewhat different version of events. He told the Gazette under condition of anonymity that as many as 500 tuk-tuks, ‘black plate’ taxis and vans, all desperate for low-season fares, converged at the Deep Sea Port at the same time to try and collect passengers numbering only about 300.

The blockade was more of a traffic jam than an organized blockade, he said.

Preechavude ‘Prab’ Keesin, president of the newly formed Patong Taxi Federation (PTF), said that members of his association were not among the drivers involved in the alleged protest.

Our members wouldn’t do such a thing,” he said.

A source in the Phuket Provincial Administration Organization confirmed that ‘local taxi drivers’ did in fact blockade the access road until about midnight, at which time the dispute was settled by negotiation.

Chairat Khumban, secretary of Wichit Mayor Kreetar Saetan, said the blockade was ended after the drivers agreed with military, police and Wichit Municipality negotiators to go back to an old agreement allowing the local taxis access to low-ranking US military personnel while only officers could take advantage of the free van service provided by an outside contractor.

A high-ranking US Navy officer attending a welcome dinner put on by the Phuket branch of the US Navy League in Patong last night was reportedly furious at the security breach when informed by telephone.

His crew had been on active duty in the Persian Gulf and hadn’t been ashore for 97 days, he said.

The Phuket visit was a last-minute change from the originally scheduled visit to Singapore.

We would obviously never have a problem like this in Singapore,” the officer was quoted as saying.

Phuket City Police this morning said the duty officer at the time did not visit the protest site and that no criminal charges have been filed in connection with the incident.

A source told the Gazette the incident could place Phuket’s role as an R&R and resupply site for the US military in serious jeopardy and that it would probably take a few weeks to find out the true damage of the incident.

The blockade could be taken as a major security breach because the drivers were allowed to block US military personnel at their designated point of entry into the country and inside the established security perimeter, he said.

Resupply of American warships, including some of the world’s largest aircraft carriers, is an important industry for Phuket.

People think the only benefit to the local economy is the money sailors spend on night-life, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. When the USS Ronald Reagan was here they loaded 14 containers of supplies. It is a huge business and it would be a shame if we were to lose it because of the greed of a small group of taxi drivers,” he said.



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Phuket

Power outage hits parts of Thalang

The Thaiger

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Power outage hits parts of Thalang | The Thaiger

Electricity was shut off in Thalang today. The The Phuket Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) announced the outage.

Residents of Thalang have had to endure blackouts from 9am to 4.30pm today as the PEA continues its work on high power voltage systems in the area.

Areas being affected are from Makprok PTT Gas Station to Baan Mueang Mai Intersection and from Baan Mueang Mai Intersection to Mud Dok Khao Intersection on Thepkrasattri Road.

As always, the PEA apologises for the inconvenience. (Maybe we can sit in the PEA and enjoy their air-conditioning)

For more information contact the Operations and Maintenance Department of the Provincial Electricity Authority on 076 386 880 – 2

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Top 10 ways to save water at home

The Thaiger

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Top 10 ways to save water at home | The Thaiger

Hot weather and Thailand’s boom-or-bust water issues (floods in wet season and water shortages in the hot season) are a part of our life. And it’s predicted that there will be hotter hot seasons and wetter wet-seasons in the future. Even if we’re not sure what the future brings we should all be conscious of our water usage, be more self-sufficient and empower ourselves to do something positive to protect Thailand’s precious water reserves.

Here are a few ideas that may help you become more water-wise…

• Shower with a bucket. Don’t let all that water pour down the drain and stick a bucket next to you whilst you shower. The plants will be grateful for an extra drink on hot days and save you using the hose sometimes. Whilst you’re at it, cut your 5 minute shower down to three minutes. Really, you can sing somewhere else! And, really, do we absolutely have to have four showers a day? No. A fresh spray of the deodorant and a fresh shirt will be perfectly OK during water shortages. For couples, well, shower together!

• Leave the water running whilst brushing your teeth? Try turning it off until you want to rinse out your mouth. All that useable water flowing down the basic drain whilst you’re brushing isn’t making your teeth any whiter! Same when you’re washing your hands or washing your hair. Turn off the tap whilst you’re doing all the scrubbing. These little habits could end up saving tens of litres every time you do these common tasks.

Top 10 ways to save water at home | News by The Thaiger

• Boiling pasta? Rice? Eggs? Once the left-over water has cooled use it to water your indoor or outdoor plants. Just make sure the water has cooled first!

• Washing the car at a car wash is more efficient than doing it yourself at home. Car wash businesses recycle a lot of their water. Even better, drive around with a dirty car now and then – it’s not hurting you or the car and will save water by delaying your car wash.

Top 10 ways to save water at home | News by The Thaiger

• Lawns use lots of water and daily watering during the hot season can soak up hundreds of litres of valuable. Letting your lawn go brown, be assured it will come back in the wet season. And long-term, landscape accordingly with water wise ground covers, succulents, and other plants that thrive in drought conditions. Lawns may be a luxury we can’t afford in these water-conscious times.

• Only run the dishwasher when it’s full. Even better wash the dishes by hand. Dishwashing machines are notable water wasters. Grab you partner or a friend and have a chat or a laugh for the five minutes it will take you to wash the dishes by hand. You could save up to 50-100 litres of water! And fill up the sink once and do all the washing together without leaving the water running all the time.

Top 10 ways to save water at home | News by The Thaiger

• Whilst it hasn’t been a worry in the past, our useable potable water supplies around Thailand are becoming an issue that won’t be fixed immediately. Consider installing a simple rain catchment system. They can be cheap or expensive and should be considered if you’re building a new house as an integral part of the design. Your roof is an amazing water-catcher. Use it.

• Flush the toilet less often and with less water. Most modern toilets have a half-flush option and there are other tricks to reducing the re-fill in your toilet’s cistern – putting a brick into your cistern is one way (gently!).

• Water the plants early in the morning. You’ll need less water, since cooler morning temperatures mean less evaporation. It’s not a great idea to water in the evenings, since this can promote mould growth in the humid Thai weather and hot evenings. And you really don’t need to water the driveway. It’s not growing. No one is going to walk past your house and compliment you on your sparkling clean drive-way.

• The dog WILL survive without being washed every day, or week. Indeed our dogs used to survive perfectly well without being washed at all. If the family pooch does need a wash try and use some of the water you saved from the bucket in the shower and be careful not to leave the hose on whilst rubbing in the shampoo. As for the cat, it is genetically programmed to clean itself better than you could ever hope to. Leave the cat alone – it DOES NOT need to be washed.

Top 10 ways to save water at home | News by The Thaiger

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Mystery luxury house found under construction overlooking Bang Wad Dam in Kathu

The Thaiger

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Mystery luxury house found under construction overlooking Bang Wad Dam in Kathu | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Chatchanon Na Thalang

A luxury house, under construction, has been found on the Nark Herd Hills overlooking Bang Wad Dam in Kathu.

The issue came to light after aerial photos of the house went viral in local social media. Yesterday officials paid a visit to the new house.

A man name Taweep Phonputchai from Bangkok, a representative of the land owner, met with officials and presented the land title deed to officers. The land covers an area of about 10 rai.

The land used to be rubber plantation. Officials have checked and found that the land has a legal land tittle deed but are continuing their investigation into the new residence.

Meanwhile, look how low the dam is!

Mystery luxury house found under construction overlooking Bang Wad Dam in Kathu | News by The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Chatchanon Na Thalang

Mystery luxury house found under construction overlooking Bang Wad Dam in Kathu | News by The Thaiger Mystery luxury house found under construction overlooking Bang Wad Dam in Kathu | News by The Thaiger Mystery luxury house found under construction overlooking Bang Wad Dam in Kathu | News by The Thaiger Mystery luxury house found under construction overlooking Bang Wad Dam in Kathu | News by The Thaiger Mystery luxury house found under construction overlooking Bang Wad Dam in Kathu | News by The Thaiger Mystery luxury house found under construction overlooking Bang Wad Dam in Kathu | News by The Thaiger Mystery luxury house found under construction overlooking Bang Wad Dam in Kathu | News by The Thaiger Mystery luxury house found under construction overlooking Bang Wad Dam in Kathu | News by The Thaiger Mystery luxury house found under construction overlooking Bang Wad Dam in Kathu | News by The Thaiger Mystery luxury house found under construction overlooking Bang Wad Dam in Kathu | News by The Thaiger

 

 

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