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Video Report: Police fail to bust gibbon touts despite video evidence

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Video Report: Police fail to bust gibbon touts despite video evidence | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Officers have yet to arrest a gibbon tout caught on video earlier this week while working on the walking streets of Phi Phi Don.

The video, sent to the Phuket Gazette by a reader, clearly shows the culprit’s face and was forwarded to officials on Tuesday evening. As of today, no arrest has been made, confirmed Lt Col Danai Niyomdecha of the Phi Phi Island Police.

“The touts have disappeared for a while. We will go back to check when we receive tip-offs,” Lt Col Danai said.

Despite Lt Col Danai’s statement to the Gazette, tourists spotted the gibbon tout in the same area at about the same time, multiple nights in a row. Lt Col Danai did not clarify what he meant by his statement regarding the “disappearance” of the touts.

Recent success in arresting gibbon touts has been spearheaded by ‘Non Hunting Zone’ officers from national parks and Thung Talay.

“I really appreciate the video clip being sent to us. We mostly receive photos, but a video like this is much clearer,” said Boonname Chauyradom, assistant park chief of the Hat Noppharat Thara – Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park.

Mr Boonname vowed to take officers on Wednesday night to the area where the tout was sighted. However, rough weather prevented them from accessing Phi Phi Don.

Chief of the Thung Talay Non Hunting Zone, Suwat Suksiri, told the Gazette that gibbon touts were starting to recognize his officers’ faces, allowing them to hide whenever an investigation team was sent to the island.

“I think local police and park officers need to step up their enforcement. At this point, we are wasting our time, as we are unable to find the gibbon touts when we get to the area,” said Mr Suwat.

Officials have also failed to make any arrests in connection with photographic evidence of two men with gibbons walking down Monkey Beach and offering to take pictures of tourists holding the apes. The pictures were handed over to officials earlier this month (story here).

One tout, arrested earlier this year, told officials that he could earn at least 5,000 baht per day during low season and up to 20,000 baht per day during the high season.

With the possibility of making more than 500,000 baht a month during the high season, the maximum punishment of not more than 4,000 baht, four years imprisonment, or both is hardly a deterrent, noted Mr Suwat.

Mr Suwat explained that according to their records, there are still at least five gibbons – a protected species in Thailand – being held in captivity and used by touts in Phi Phi. This number is much smaller than his previous estimate of about 20 gibbons on the island in August.

Gibbons are generally brought over to Phi Phi from Phuket. These baby gibbons, costing about 25,000 baht each, are sourced from the wild by poachers who take them from their mothers. The mother is killed in the process, Mr Suwat explained.

Complaints or tip-offs can be filed directly to the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) – hotline at 1362.

— Kongleaphy Keam

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

Business

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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Tourism

Bangkok Airways add 3 new local routes to their schedule

The Thaiger

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Bangkok Airways add 3 new local routes to their schedule | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Bangkok Airways' ATR72, servicing the re-introduced routes

Some domestic routes are being added as local routes continue to expand. This time Bangkok Airways has announced it’s resuming its Samui-Phuket, Phuket-Hat Yai and Phuket-Pattaya/Rayong (U-Tapao) flights.

The first additions to the schedule will be the Phuket-Samui flights resuming this Sunday, October 25, and the Phuket-Pattaya flights start again next Tuesday, October 27. The Phuket-Samui flights will be operating on Sundays and Wednesdays only on the airlines’ ATR72 turbo prop regional planes, same as before.

A casual search on the Bangkok Airways website, for a return flight from Phuket to Samui on November 1, then back to Phuket on November 8 indicates the cheapest fare (promo) is 2,430 baht. Coming back, the cheapest fare we found, again labelled ‘promo’, was 2,630 baht. Bangkok Airways operate as a “full service” airline and don’t compete with the country’s discount airlines. But they operate these three routes exclusively – like it or leave it.

Bangkok Airways say that the flights will be operated “with the highest preventive measures and standards”. Around the country the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand have eased a few of the onboard restrictions, including the start of catering services which were originally banned under the initial flight rules when domestic routes started flying again at the start of July.

The daily direct services between Phuket and Hat Yai are also being operated on the ATR72 aircraft. The flight to Ha Yai leaves Phuket at 8.40am and arrives at Hat Yai at 9:.45am. The return flights leave Hat Yai back to Phuket at 10.25am each day. The route was very popular for the airline before the ‘disruption’ when airlines had their fleets grounded in April.

The service between Phuket and U-Tapao, linking the party city with the party island, will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, again with the ATR72. Phuket to U-Tapao will leave at 12.10pm and then from U-Tapao to Phuket at 4pm on the three days. U-Tapao is about a 50 minute drive from Pattaya and the airport also serves the greater Rayong area.

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