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Understanding the PhuketWan “not guilty’ verdict

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Understanding the PhuketWan “not guilty’ verdict | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: All charges filed by the Royal Thai Navy against Big Island Media, Alan Morison and Chutima Sidasathian were dismissed yesterday. However, the Navy’s right to file those charges was upheld.

Judge Chaipawat Chayaanantapat addressed a courtroom packed with international journalists, but was noticeably devoid of members of the navy and the prosecuting team.

According to the court hearing, the charges against the pair stemmed from a report published on July 17, 2013, which contained excerpts from a Reuters special report alleging that some Thai naval security forces worked with human smugglers to profit from the exodus. The integrity of Reuters as a source was one of the saving graces in the case, the judge noted.

The judge explained that three key points in the case were required to be understood.

“Firstly, we judged whether or not the Royal Thai Navy could file the complaint in this case,” Judge Chaipawat said.

“Capt Pallop Komalodaka of the Royal Thai Navy was authorized to file the complaint to police against the suspects over the use of the term ‘Naval Forces’ in the article.

“The suspects and defence lawyers made the argument that ‘Naval Forces’ does not necessarily indicate the Royal Thai Navy. However, the Royal Thai Navy is one of Thailand’s naval forces, so they had the right to file the complaint.

“Secondly, we judged whether or not the suspects were guilty of criminal defamation. The suspects took words from Reuters, which is counted as a reliable news source. We believe that Reuters has checked their facts before publishing. The suspects did not formulate the paragraph in question themselves. Given these factors, we found them not guilty of [breaking] Section 328 of the Criminal Code, .

“Thirdly, we judged whether or not the suspects were guilty of violating Section 14 of the Computer Crimes Act [story here]. In this decision we considered the fact that the suspects took information from Reuters and distributed it through their own website. However, the information being distributed was not false information. Additionally, the information did not cause damage to public security or create public panic.

“Furthermore, the Computer Crimes Act was not intended to be used as part of criminal defamation cases.”

Siriwan Wongkietpaisan, one of the defence lawyers, said that her team had taken the case because they felt that criminal defamation cases could not be coupled with the Computer Crimes Act.

“This is especially important to understand when it comes to the media. It could have a serious impact on them and make it even harder for them to work,” Ms Siriwan said.

Following the judge’s announcement, Ms Chutima and Mr Morrison addressed the international press outside of the court house.

“The judges have done the right thing to prove that in Thailand we can believe in the truth and freedom of the media,” Ms Chutima said. “The benefit is not only for PhuketWan, me and Alan, but beneficial for Thailand and everybody who lives in Thailand.”

Mr Morrison expressed his gratefulness to the Thai judicial system.

“[The verdict] speaks to the maturity of the relationship that should develop between the military and the media in the future. I think in a mature democracy, the military and the media both understand each other, and both recognize and respect each others’ roles. And that’s what we hope is the outcome for everybody in this case,” Mr Morrison said.

— Chutharat Plerin

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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

Phuket told to prepare “response plan” in case of second Covid-19 outbreak

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket told to prepare “response plan” in case of second Covid-19 outbreak | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Daily News

As Phuket awaits foreign tourists, city officials are told to prepare a “response plan” in case of a second wave of Covid-19. An official from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports held a workshop in Phuket today to discuss the risk of another outbreak as the country opens up to those on the Special Tourist Visa.

The ministry’s permanent secretary Chote Trachu says now that the country is allowing tourists (who are required to quarantine upon arrival) an infection “may somehow slip through.” He says a response plan needs to be in place in case this happens, adding that there should be corporation from the Ministry of Public Health and Ministry of Defense.

“If any tourists are found to be infected, the disease must not be allowed to spread among the people. There should be no panic, and public health officers will investigate the case. Tourist Police will track down the suspected person in an investigation with the Ministry of Public Health.”

Chote says all provinces – not just Phuket – should have a response plan. Although tourists must go through a mandatory 14 day quarantine upon arrival, Chote says there are some cases where the incubation period for Covid-19 is longer than 14 days.

“There are a variety of cases. Sometimes, the infection does not show after 14 days, or even 15 or 16 days. Each situation is different.”

Recently, a woman in Koh Samui tested positive for the coronavirus 5 days after she was released from a Samut Prakan quarantine facility. Traces of the virus were found on gym equipment the woman used at the quarantine, leading health officials to suspect she was infected before arriving to the island.

“We urge Thai people to not let their guard down. Everyone must wear masks, wash their hands and take care of personal hygiene. This will help prevent them from contracting the disease.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub

Maya Taylor

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Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub | The Thaiger
Mai Khao beach in north Phuket - PHOTO: www.makemytrip.com

Industry officials are seeking the go-ahead for a project to transform over 140 rai of government land in Phuket into a world-leading medical hub. The project is budgeted at 3 – 4 billion baht, depending on which report you read. Kitkong Tantijaraswarodom, from the Federation of Thai Industries, believes the development of a medical and wellness hub in the sub-district of Mai Khao, north Phuket, will help revive the southern island’s battered economy. Phuket has become increasingly reliant on a steady flow of tourists over the past 2 decades.

The southern division of the FTI covers Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Trang, Patthalung, Surat Thani, Ranong, Satun, Chumphon, and Songkhla.

“The FTI will ask the government to green-light the project during the scheduled mobile cabinet meeting on the island on November 3.”

Kitkong says businesspeople in the south are anxious for the government to approve the project, which will provide both locals and foreign medical tourists with state-of-the-art medical care. The facility is expected to include long-term care, hospice and rehabilitation services, in addition to a dental hospital, sports therapy centre, and a medical training school for doctors, nurses, pharmacists and medical laboratory scientists.

The chair of the FTI’s southern chapter is also calling on officials to provide small and medium-sized businesses with additional support, in the form of access to loans, in order to deal with cash shortages.

“In the short term, the FTI wants the government to help SMEs, especially those in the tourism sector.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Phuket

Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment

The Thaiger

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Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment | The Thaiger

A man has been found hanged in Phuket Town apartment yesterday. Police are treating the cases as a suicide at the moment.

The man was found hanged from the apartment’s ceiling fan. His lifeless body was discovered around 11am after neighbours complained to the manager about the smell coming from the man’s room.

Police and the local Kusoldharm Foundation rescue workers attended the scene. Police later confirmed the incident happened in room on the 3rd floor of an apartment lock in Soi Phoonphol Soi 1, Talat Nuea in Phuket Town. Police said the man was 35-45 years of age and had a 29 year old girlfriend from Chumphon. He was paying 1,000 baht a month and had been renting the room for 2 months. Police estimate that the man had been dead for at least 3 days.

Police told media that the man had used, what appeared to be a dress, tied around his neck and then to the room’s roof fan. The apartment manager told police that he had been late on on his recent rent, speculating that the man may have been suffering financial hardship.

The man’s identity has not been released at this stage.

His body was taken to Vachira Hospital for an autopsy.

If you or anyone you know is in emotional distress, please contact the Samaritans of Thailand 24-hour hotline: 02 713 6791 (English), 02 713 6793 (Thai) or the Thai Mental Health Hotline at 1323 (Thai).

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