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US embassy ramps up search for American missing in Phuket

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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US embassy ramps up search for American missing in Phuket | Thaiger

PHUKET: The US Embassy in Bangkok has stepped up its search for missing American citizen Brett Chapman Bean, 43, who was last known to be in Phuket.

Staff at the AirAsia office at Phuket Airport confirmed to the Phuket Gazette that Mr Bean had booked a seat on board flight FD3012, which was scheduled to depart Phuket at 9:30pm on November 27 and arrive at Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok later that night.

However, airport staff confirmed that Mr Bean did not board the plane.

The US embassy has since distributed photos provided by Mr Bean’s worried parents to area wardens in Phuket and shared them with local police. The US embassy has also notified embassy posts in Burma, Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia.

Embassy staff have confirmed to the Gazette that the embassy in Bangkok was notified of Mr Bean’s disappearance on Friday, November 30.

Since then, embassy staff have:

• Performed an immigration check to confirm that Mr Bean is still in Thailand

• Attempted to contact Mr Bean via phone (call back automated message), text message from Embassy Blackberry and email

• Contacted Wells Fargo

• Notified Phuket volunteer wardens

• Contacted Royal Thai Police and Tourist Police

• Contacted hospitals in Phuket

“Brett is a ski instructor in Colorado in the winter. He spends his summers in Phuket. He is an avid surfer. He knows a lot of people at the surf shops in Kata Beach. He has told me that he has pulled swimmers out of rough waters,” a staffer at the US Embassy’s American Citizen Services (ACS) unit in Bangkok told the Gazette.

“He is an animal lover and often feeds the homeless dogs. He was attached to one particular dog at one of the temples and he would visit him often. He likes to explore new places. He has a large circle of close friends in Colorado. He usually has a beard in the winter and shaves it off in the summer.

“He has a large tattoo on the inside of his left forearm. He speaks Thai, [but] I am not sure how proficient he is,” she added.

Mr Bean was at last report staying at a bungalow in Karon.

“There is an American gentleman and an Australian gentleman living in the same place that he is at now. Brett just recently took care of the American’s dog while he visited the USA,” the embassy official told the Gazette.

“The Phuket newspapers have been wonderful. They have helped us a lot as we are not familiar with the area,” she added.

Brett Bean is described as 43 years old, 6’2″ (about 188cm) with blond hair, blue eyes and fair skin.

Phuket police have been alerted to the physical similarities in the descriptions of Mr Bean and the body found floating off Koh Racha, about 25 kilometers south of Phuket, on November 23.

Chalong Police Deputy Superintendent Jumroon Plaiduang explained that Mr Bean is reported to have a tattoo on the inside of his left forearm while the body pulled from the water off Koh Racha has a tattoo on the inside of the right forearm.

“Regardless, we are investigating the possibility that it may be the same man,” he told the Gazette.

Anyone with information that may help locate Brett Bean is urged to contact the US Embassy Bangkok at + 66-2-205-4049.

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Tourism

Phuket’s July Sandbox no-quarantine model “needs a major revamp”

Tim Newton

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Phuket’s July Sandbox no-quarantine model “needs a major revamp” | Thaiger
PHOTO: The monsoon waves are starting to hit Phuket's west coast

Thailand’s Sports and Tourism minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn is acknowledging that Phuket’s ‘Sandbox’ model for a no-quarantine re-opening in July will need “a major revamp”. As the Songkran travel bubble bursts and the monsoon season waves start to roll onto the island’s west coast beaches, Phuket’s scheduled July re-boot suddenly seems a long way off.

Minister Phiphat says he plans to meet with “all related agencies” this week. Apart from the latest national re-surge in new infections, Phuket has been unable to get its hands on sufficient vaccines to meed its deadline of 70% of the island vaccinated by July 1. Thailand’s limited supplies of the vaccine – including some 930,000 doses designated for Phuket – are being rerouted to other provinces as the government prioritises the limited supply.

“We are all concerned about the reopening timeline,” he was quoted in Bangkok Post.

But the Minister did acknowledge that, if the 70% vaccination level couldn’t be met, they may consider opening some areas of the island. Exactly how that would work hasn’t been revealed at this stage.

The minister also brought up the ongoing travel bubble negotiations and says he hadn’t heard back from some of the candidates with their reaction to the current outbreak.

Flights in and out of Phuket Airport’s international terminal have been extremely patchy and the flights from feeder tourist markets will need to co-operate with any re-opening plans.

Phuket, whilst suffering a rise in new infections, hasn’t been hit as hard as some of the other popular holiday provinces, like Chiang Mai, Chon Buri (Pattaya) and Prachuap Khiri Khan (Hua Hin).

This year’s Songkran was going to be a major stepping stone for the island’s recovery and many hotels, some who had opened especially to cater for Songkran holiday traffic, noted a lot of cancellations just prior to the break.

But some island hotels have still reported high occupancy rates over the past week. One Manager, who did not want his name published, said that their hotel was almost full with Thai patrons, most who had pre-paid for their flights and accommodation and decided to go ahead anyway.

Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, the president of the Phuket Tourist Association, says that they are opposed to any lockdown as it would cripple the island, with its tourist businesses already suffering greatly. He stated that 15% of people cancelled their Songkran bookings, while 30% had postponed their trips.

The Sports and Tourism Ministers is still in quarantine after having close contact with Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, who was diagnosed with Covid-19 2 weeks ago.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket begs Kolour attendees to come for Covid-19 testing

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Phuket begs Kolour attendees to come for Covid-19 testing | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Kolour in the park was more pleasant in 2018 before Covid-19.

Health officials in Phuket put out a public statement this week compelling all foreigners who attended clubs and Kolour events to report for Covid-19 testing. As many might expect, the response has been lacklustre at best. Spreading the message around the foreigner and expat community in Phuket, the message is aimed at the multitudes of people, mostly foreign who attended Kolour and related events that turned into a Covid-19 superspreader event. Many foreigners have not come forward, much to health officials chagrin.

Online and on social media, foreigners and Thais shed light on why this urgent public health request is going largely unheeded. Foreigners fear the repercussions of coming forward, especially since Thailand is not allowing staying home or elsewhere in isolation if someone tests positive for Covid-19. Quarantine is mandatory, and with infection numbers exploding across the country, many fear the less-than-posh comforts of being quarantined in an emergency field hospital.

Cost is the other factor that likely is preventing foreigners from turning themselves in to be tested for Covid-19. While Phuket health officials may test people for free, anyone found infected with Covid-19 will be financially responsible for all the costs of their treatment and quarantine. Foreigners with limited financial resources, especially after a year of holing up in Thailand to ride out the Coronavirus, may resist reporting to authorities when they cannot afford the mandatory quarantine and medical treatment.

Perhaps recognizing this hesitation, the message includes a plea for all attendees to self-quarantine and self-monitor for any symptoms over the next week, even if they fail to report or test negative. The note also reminds everyone to wear masks in public at all times. The statement to the public also instructed anyone who attended any of the Covid-19 spreading nightlife events to report to the Acute Respiratory Infection Clinic area of Vachira General Hospital to receive a Covid-19 swab test.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions

Tim Newton

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Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions | Thaiger

Three of Thailand’s biggest expat areas are seeing sharp rises in new infections, partly from pre-Songkran traffic. The Songkran holidays, now officially over (but will see many people taking today off and making a weekend Songkran extension), and the government says they are expecting to see a rise in the cases numbers reported in the popular holiday locations.

Chon Buri Public Health office says they now have a total of 910 infections since April 1. They have 103 new cases in the past 24 hours. Most new cases are in Bang Lamung district which includes Pattaya City with 47, Siracha with 12) & Chon buri City with 8.

Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions | News by Thaiger

Meanwhile Phuket has a total of 142 infections recorded on the island with the Governor still insisting there will be no need for a lockdown. Here’s a breakdown of the areas and the numbers of recorded infections so far (below).

Governor Narong announced that the Phuket Infectious Disease Control Committee won’t be implementing an official lockdown, but will “strictly raise the intensity of public health measures to counter the spread of Covid-19″.

“Everyone should wear a face mask, maintain social distancing, wash their hands frequently and install the Mor Chana app (available for free from App Store and Google Play Store).”

A meeting of the CCSA, chaired by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is expected to upgrade restrictions in red zone areas around the country, which includes Phuket and Pattaya. Read more about the latest red and orange zones HERE.

Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions | News by Thaiger

For Hua Hin expats, there’s been 100 new Covid-19 infections announced in Prachuap Khiri Khan in the past 24 hours, 75 cases from Hua Hin. This takes the total in the province since April 1 to 625. Hua Hin accounts for nearly 90% of the district’s total cases.

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