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White Sharks hunting for encroachers in Phuket mangroves

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PHUKET: A new taskforce set up by the National Parks Department, known as ‘White Shark’, launched an investigation into alleged encroachment of more than 2,200 rai of mangrove forest in Phuket.

The taskforce mustered 200 officials to check several plots in Phuket. Officials estimate encroachment of the mangrove forest has cost the state 250 million baht.

Officials were split into eight teams led by Pongsapak Hiabsakul, director of the Coastal and Mangrove Forests Conservation Division, to carry out the operation, which started yesterday and will run until Tuesday.

They suspect about 82 rai of a golf course encroaches on mangrove forest. Operators of the golf course reportedly showed the officials land-title deeds for 801 rai. Officials plan to check the title deeds against state title deeds and have yet to press any charges, pending further investigation.

A prawn farm on 400 rai in Thalang district was among the sites inspected. Representatives of a private company showed the officials land-title deeds, which will also be checked.

Sakda Wichiansil, deputy director-general of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, said that in 1961 Phuket had 21,021 rai of mangrove forest, yet recent aerial photographs showed that only 13,446 rai of such forest now remains.

He said the province that faced the most encroachment on mangrove forests was Samut Sakhon with 126,000 rai allegedly taken illegally, followed by Phetchaburi (35,200 rai), Samut Songkram (14,600 rai), and Phang Nga (3,680 rai). Most were taken for agricultural purposes.

“The department set a target this year to reclaim 15,000 rai of mangrove and coastal forests from people who illegally seized the land. So far, 10,694 rai has been reclaimed by the state. Another 4,306 rai is to be inspected this year,” Mr Sakda said.

Another taskforce set up by the National Parks Department filed a complaint with police yesterday after confiscating two young elephants from a zoo in Hua Hin iafter it was revealed the elephants did not have correct livestock identification forms.

The ‘King of the Tigers’ taskforce, led by Chaiwat Limlikit-aksorn, checked the zoo in Hua Hin’s Tambon Hin Lek Fai. They found 11 elephants. Two of them did not have the correct ID forms.

One, called Plai Bun, was four years old, but had a document that said it was 10 years old. The form also said the elephant had five front nails and four back nails but the elephant had only four nails on both front and back legs. It also did not have a hole on its ear lobe, as described in the ID form.

Officials also seized a 17-year-old elephant named Plai Moss, which has ivory tusks – while its ID form said it had no tusks.

Officials suspect that the zoo does not have complete and necessary documents to possess other wild animals such as tigers and bears. They said it had only a licence to operate the zoo but not documents to prove that the state had been notified about its possession of wildlife.

Operators of the zoo were given time to bring the documents to officials, but were told if they cannot comply, some of the wildlife would be confiscated.

On Friday, the government decided for the first time to list cases concerning wildlife smuggling, forest encroachment, and illegal logging as special cases that will be pursued under Department of Special Investigation laws, in order to keep up with criminal gangs and ‘influential figures’.

— The Nation

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Events

Phuket Monopoly game creators need your help with token designs

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Phuket Monopoly game creators need your help with token designs | The Thaiger

Phuket is set to get its own version of the popular game MONOPOLY and its creators want your help with ideas for the specialised tokens. ‘MONOPOLY: Phuket Edition’ was announced last month which will see the street art on the board game replaced with that of famous places around Thailand’s famous tourist destination. Such art will include beaches, hotels, shops, markets and other popular attractions.

Jennifer Lau from Winning Moves UK, is producing the game under official license from Monopoly brand owners, Hasbro. Lau says the tokens will feature a holiday theme. The token’s departure from the original theme of wheelbarrows, boots, iron, and thimbles as well as popular sports cars and hats.

“We have had a wealth of emails and suggestions coming in for Phuket, so thank you for each and every single one of them! We are taking them all into consideration whilst putting together the design of the game.”

“We wanted to change the tokens so that they would be more suitable for an island like Phuket, where so many people like to go on holiday to.”

“There will be six themed tokens that replace the original and we want to hear your suggestions for what these tokens should be!”

Bangkok has already been featured in the Monopoly game as it came out for purchase back in 2018.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket holds vaccine administration rehearsal as it waits for green light

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Phuket holds vaccine administration rehearsal as it waits for green light | The Thaiger

Phuket is rehearsing procedures to ready themselves for the Covid‐19 vaccine administration green light. A rehearsal at Vachira Hospital’s Lan Muang Khao open area was held late yesterday to iron out any kinks in the administration process. Phuket Vice Governor Pichet Panapong watched over the procedures along with other health officials.

Pichet says the first vaccine round of 4,000 doses should arrive early in March, with the 2nd and 3rd set of doses, 16,000 and 48,000 respectively, to arrive in April and May.

“The government recognises the importance of the affected areas of the economy where the epidemic situation of COVID-19 must be stopped and has allocated the COVID-19 vaccine to Phuket Province to build herd immunity, restore the economy, return a smile to Thailand.”

“We are preparing to COVID-19 mass vaccination to build confidence among the people that they will receive a quality, safe vaccine and to receive follow-up care after it has been administered.”

Pichet says Phuket’s first target groups to receive the vaccine include medical and public health personnel, with others on the frontlines to come next.

Then, workers aged 18-59 years old, people with underlying diseases including chronic respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, cerebrovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity will follow.

“People with severe neurological conditions and pregnant women should be wary of taking the vaccine, as well as women who are breastfeeding and people with immunodeficiency.”

The procedure to get vaccinated starts by recipients undergoing screening by having their temperatures taken, and then sanitising their hands before entering the administration area. Then, they will move their way through a series of steps, detailed below:

Step 1: Register

Step 2: Record weight and blood pressure

Step 3: Pass the screening process by have their medical history and risk assessment recorded and then signing a consent to receive the vaccine

Step 4: Wait for vaccination

Step 5: Vaccination

Step 6: Rest for 30 minutes, while being observed for symptoms. Then scan the official Line account “หมอพร้อม” (“Doctor Ready”)

Step 7: Pass a final check before receiving a document confirming vaccination

Pichet says health workers will follow up with vaccine recipients after 1,7, and 30 days from being vaccinated to monitor any adverse reactions.

Those who are set to receive their second jab will have appointments made for them. Those who receive the Sinovac vaccine will be scheduled to have their second doses 2 to 4 weeks after the first. AstraZeneca vaccine receivers will be scheduled for their second doses 10 to 12 weeks after the first.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Phuket

Phuket police officer charged with attempted murder for shooting and critically injuring a noodle vendor

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket police officer charged with attempted murder for shooting and critically injuring a noodle vendor | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Siamrath

The drunk, off-duty police officer in Phuket who has caught on camera shooting and beating a noodle vendor on Bangla Road is now facing attempted murder charges as well as charges of carrying a firearm in public without a necessary reason and firing a weapon in a public area. The commander of the Phuket police station said he ordered investigators to prosecute the officer Pornthep Channarong with every criminal charge that can be applied.

The officer had gotten into an altercation just before dawn yesterday and shot a young vendor who was walking by. Surveillance camera footage show the 25 year old suddenly falling to the ground after being shot. The officer walks up and shoots the vendor at a close range, but it appears the second shot did not hit the vendor. The officer also slapped the vendor in the face, picked him up and shoved him over, and then kicked him as he lay on the ground.

The vendor has a 4 year old daughter and 3 month old son. His wife says normally he works as a motorbike driver, but he was helping his mother selling noodles. He was shot while he was walking back from collecting a noodle bowl, she says. The vendor is in critical condition and being cared for at Vachira Phuket Hospital’s intensive care unit. He’s in need of Type B blood.

“For his condition, the doctor told me that the bullet went through his lung. He lost a lot of blood. We need a lot of Type B blood for him.”

A disciplinary investigation into the incident was launched by police and Pornthep was officially dismissed from the Royal Thai Police force. Region 8 Police Commander Kitrat Panpetch says the incident does not reflect the police force in Phuket.

“The incident was caused by an officer who did something wrong that our organisation does not want. We are a big organisation with more than 200,000 officers under our control. Our officers are not all bad like this.”

Phuket Provincial Police Commander Pornsak Nuannu says he has reminded the police chiefs across the island to discuss reasons for carrying firearms in public.

“Carrying firearms is to prevent any type of crime that may happen, not to commit a crime by themselves like this incident. If I see any police doing such a thing, I will decisively proceed in terms of both officer discipline and criminal charges.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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