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Vendors forced from Kamala Beach

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Vendors forced from Kamala Beach | The Thaiger

KAMALA: More than 40 police officers forced beachfront food stall vendors and sun-bed operators to vacate Kamala Beach yesterday morning, to clear the area for the tsunami memorial services on Monday.

Kathu District Chief Khantee Silapa told the Gazette the beach was cleared after an order from Phuket Governor Udomsak Uswarangkura, because Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is to visit the area.

However, it was later confirmed that PM Thaksin will not visit the beach itself on Monday, but will instead pass by en route to Patong. Deputy Prime Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit will attend the Kamala service in his place.

“There were about 36 shops on the beach. The owners of three shops did not move, but they promised to do so by tomorrow [December 24],” K. Khantee told the Gazette yesterday.

“After the tsunami anniversary, Kathu District Office will invite shop-owners to a meeting to establish a zone for beachfront vendors. If we do not set up such a zone, the shops will make the area look dirty,” he said.

The Gazette heard about the move after receiving calls from concerned tourists. One European visitor who comes to Kamala Beach every year said, “I heard that they had been warned before but did not do anything – but today surprised everyone.

“I think it’s so sad to act like this, because after the tsunami the vendors invested money to rebuild their business. But if the [government] does things like this, it is like a second tsunami for them,” he said.

One Kamala native, whose family has been selling food at the beach for more than 25 years, told the Gazette, “I understand that they will hold the tsunami memorial service here, but there’s no need to take away our stalls. My shop is just a small tent and does not cover a large area.”

She said the vendors did not receive any official document ordering them to move. “They said that they will let us return after December 27, but they also said they could not tell us where, or anything specific.

“I pay tax to Kamala OrBorTor [Tambon Administration Organization] and my family has had a permit to sell here for 25 years, but today there were no officers from Kamala OrBorTor here,” she added.

“[This year] we lost income from our businesses and our houses were damaged by the tsunami, and we have just started work again.

“What are supposed to do? Eat fresh air? Having a business here does not mean having good trade every day. We must wait until there are more tourists, and some days we have had heavy rain or strong winds, and have not been able to open.

“The officers threatened us with arrest if we tried to stop them pulling down our stalls. We asked what they would charge us with. We just sell food on public land – we do not sell illegal items,” she said.

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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 nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO | The Thaiger

There was the original Covid-19 outbreak and lockdowns back in April and May in 2020, then again just before Christmas and New Year when the new clusters emerged in Samut Sakhon and the eastern coastal provinces, Patong’s nightlife was quiet enough, almost non-existent.

Now when the restrictions are lifted, Nimz will take you through Phuket’s famous nightlife spot Bangla Road, Patong Beach and Phuket Town. It’s quiet, but there are still clubs open and operating and ready to welcome you.

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Expats

Deceased Phuket expat’s body stuck in hospital due to passport mix-up

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Deceased Phuket expat’s body stuck in hospital due to passport mix-up | The Thaiger

In a nightmarish scenario, a deceased Phuket expat’s body is stuck in a Thai hospital as his step‐daughter claims hospital administrators won’t release the body due to a passport mix‐up.

Gemma Swift, the step‐daughter of 75 year old David Donoghue, who died 2 weeks ago, says she is pleading with embassy staff in Thailand to resolve, what she says, is purely an administrative issue after Donoghue’s passport number at the hospital was from that of an expired one.

Donoghue’s current passport was on file with the British Embassy, but because it did not match what the hospital had, his body has remained at the hospital. Swift says it was something that could easily be corrected and the situation was “horrendous” for the family.

“The British Embassy over in Bangkok, they said that because [the number] was from his current passport, they were unable to change the letter. They have said that they won’t reissue a letter with the passport number that he’s got in the hospital with him.”

She said her family planned to arrange a funeral for him in Thailand, then bring his ashes back to the UK. As he retired to Phuket 15 years ago, her family would then take his ashes back to Thailand, as per his wishes, to scatter them.

However, none of his family members were able to travel to Thailand to be with Donoghue in his final days, as the mandatory 14 day quarantine period upon entering Thailand, would not have allowed them to see him.

“I thought this was a basic human right to be able to give somebody a funeral and I accept that there is always going to be red tape…but please just issue a letter and let us bring him home.”

She said before Covid-19, family members travelled often to Phuket to visit Donoghue, who once worked for the Thai tourist police. She says the entire ordeal has been heartbreaking as her family was unable to say goodbye.

“That on its own was heart breaking, and now to get this two weeks later, to find out we can’t give him a funeral, or get his ashes back, it’s just horrendous.”

“It’s like being on autopilot… once we know we have done everything we can, we can start the grieving process, but at the minute we can’t.”

A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokesperson said they are assisting Donoghue’s family during the difficult time.

“Our staff are in contact with the local hospital and funeral director to help his family obtain the necessary paperwork to ensure his body is treated in line with their wishes.”

If the situation isn’t fixed, Donoghue’s body will join a mass cremation at the hospital.

SOURCE: BBC News

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Phuket

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

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Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2 | The Thaiger

In today’s Thailand News Today…. The island of Phuket has a firm plan to get its residents vaccinated leading up to an October opening for tourists, the Thai PM backs up his police over last Sunday’s protest violence and Thai Airway’s employee union criticises the changes to employee contracts.

But the plan must be approved by the national government by April, if the province wants to open tourism by October 1. Phuket has a resident population of around 300- 400,000 people.

Before you go rushing off to book your plane tickets we’d stress that this is another in a long list of proposals that have not come to fruition and we’d urge patience until the Government approves the plans.

Meanwhile the island has taken delivery of 4,000 doses of the Chinese Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine. Vaccinations started yesterday, with priority given to 1,500 healthcare workers and 500 “at-risk” officials exposed to Covid-19 patients.

On a broader note… Thailand’s Tourism Minister says he has asked the Public Health Ministry to approve a vaccine passport scheme aimed at reviving Thailand’s devastated tourism sector. According to the Minister, the government is looking to the World Health Organisation to issue a statement on vaccine passports before it makes a final decision on the matter.

The Thai PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha has defended police action against protesters taking part in Sunday’s anti-government rally in Bangkok. Officers from the Metropolitan Police Bureau used tear gas, a water cannon and rubber bullets in an effort to drive protesters back from the PM’s residence. The PM insists the actions were in line with international standards. He says that police did not violate the protesters’ rights.

Thai researchers are claiming that horseshoe bats are not responsible for transmitting the Covid virus to humans. A researcher with the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Diseases-Health Science Centre, says that even though the bats have tested positive for a coronavirus, it is not the strain that is transmissible to humans, and it’s certainly not the virus that causes Covid-19.

As Thai Airways tries to sell new contracts and conditions to its remaining workforce, the labour union of the national carrier is challenging changes to the employment contracts, where Thai Airways employees are being asked to agree to changes as part of the bigger financial rehabilitation program.

But a union representative says the new contracts are unfair because it includes fewer leave days and shorter holidays. The union has filed a complaint with the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare.

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