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Wind breathes life into Regatta

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Wind breathes life into Regatta | The Thaiger
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KATA: After three days of light winds and difficult conditions, the wind finally arrived off Kata Beach today, breathing new life into crews aboard the record fleet of 102 boats and giving them cause to enjoy the best racing so far in this year’s King’s Cup Regatta.

Three-time King’s Cup winner Neil Pryde is on target to win another King’s Cup to add to his already crowded trophy cabinet at his home in Hong Kong. Pryde now has the overall lead in the Racing 1 class on his boat Hi Fi despite a fifth place and a second place in today’s two races.

Paul Winkelmann’s Island Fling is giving Pryde a run for his money and is second overall in the class after winning the first of the two races today. However, a sixth place in the second race of the day allowed Pryde to slip into first place overall.

Despite scoring two first places, Frank Pong is in fourth place overall on his 75-foot yacht Jelik and is still within striking distance of upsetting Pryde’s plans for a victory. “We had a good breeze today which shifted a bit, but we moved very well,” said Pong, who is helping China’s team prepare for the America’s Cup.

“The competition here is very tough in our class and Island Fling is a great boat and has a good crew – and of course Neil Pryde’s boat is very good too. There is also Mandrake in our class, so the competition is very tough.”

Australian boat Strewth, skippered by Geoff Hill, has the overall lead in the Coutts Premier class after a second place in the one race contested in the class today.

Hong Kong-registered boat Moon Blue II, skippered by Peter Churchhouse, won the hotly contested Premier class race by less than a minute from Strewth. Both boats are on eight points at the top of the overall standings for the class, though Moon Blue II has a two-point advantage after factoring in the “drop”.

Bringing up third place in the class is Moon Blue, skippered by Hong Kong’s Andrew Richards. However, Moon Blue is a distant third and almost out of contention for the top two places.

There has been a lot of interest in the new Firefly catamarans, which are designed and built in Phuket. Five of the quick cats, dubbed “Formula One” machines of the sea, are racing in their own class for the first time. Hong Kong publisher Marc Cudennic’s Chi Machine has won four of the six races contested so far, giving it a six-point lead on Moto Inzi with only one race to go.

Moto Inzi, skippered by Pattaya-based Brit Roger Kingdon, has 12 points, while King’s Cup veteran Henry Kaye is in third place on his boat Mamba, with 14 points.

Principal Race Officer Howard Elliot was a happy man after today’s racing, and has his fingers crossed that the wind will be just as good tomorrow – the final day of the King’s Cup.

“We had good wind of around 10 to 12 knots at the start today, and it was steady all day,” said Elliot. “We have our fingers crossed that we’ll have the same conditions or better tomorrow.”

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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

Female prisoner on the run after escaping from Phuket Hospital

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Female prisoner on the run after escaping from Phuket Hospital | The Thaiger

A female prisoner is on the run after escaping from Vachira Phuket Hospital during a doctor appointment. 58 year old Siri Phodam allegedly escaped after asking her convoy officer to use the toilet, in which after she took a long time to come back, was found to have escaped. CCTV cameras caught her dressed in a blue hospital patient shirt and a sarong leaving the hospital quickly. A Phuket prison officer says the woman is 158cm tall and has dark skin.

“Some of our own officers are searching for her, and we have also sent the prisoner’s description to all Phuket police stations. However, at this stage we have not found any clues.

Female prisoner on the run after escaping from Phuket Hospital | News by The Thaiger

“If anyone finds a person matching the prisoner’s appearance, please inform us by calling 076 212 104.”

Siri was imprisoned after being charged with posessing illegal drugs and lived in Moo 2, Rawai.

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Phuket

Phuket’s annual vegetarian festival gets the green light – VIDEO

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket’s annual vegetarian festival gets the green light – VIDEO | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Caitlin Ashworth

WARNING: The content below contains photos and videos of self-mutilation that some may find disturbing.

Somehow Phuket’s annual vegetarian festival is to go ahead next month, but officials say they will ask participants to strictly observe social distancing. Good luck with that! For those who don’t know, the festival isn’t exactly known for the food. It’s known for blood, body mutilation and more blood.

During street processions for the weeklong event, also known as the Nine Gods Festival, so called “mah songs” are known to practice self-mutilation and are said to enter a trance-like state, channeling spirits through their body. “Mah” means horse in Thai, and many suggest the mah song acts like a horse for the spirit to ride.

Many mah songs pierce their checks, ears and lips, some with large swords and thick needles. Some slice their tongues continuously for hours, blood dripping down on the street. Others appear to be in a trace walk barefoot as firecrackers explode on the ground.

Mah songs march down Phuket’s streets for hours with a team of devotees to help tend to their wounds, adjust the piercings, wipe away drool and blood, and keep them hydrated. It’s understood that devotees wear white as a symbol of purity. It’s also reported that they abstain from eating meat, drinking alcohol and having sex during the weeklong festival.

It seems gruesome, but it’s actually very spiritual. Business owners and locals line the street, some setting up altars. Mah songs stop at each one and do a quick ritual. Some mah songs carry a black flag, waving it over onlookers who bow their heads and place their hands in the “wai” position. Some spend time blessing the elderly and handing out bracelets to children. During a procession last year, a woman held up a bracelet as said “the ‘Spirit’ gave this to my mother.”

This year, the festival will have to be a little different to abide by coronavirus prevention measures. The Bangkok Post says it’s the first festival since the outbreak. The head festival organiser Prasert Fukthongphol says “we will seriously enforce social distancing measures and require all participants to wear face masks.”

The grotesque piercings, noisy parades and visits to the shrine, are good news for Phuket’s tourism and bad news if you’re a vegetable. Many adherents to the Chinese-heritage local festival will go without sex, alcohol and meat for the week of so of the festival. The week of events and ceremonies hopes to scare away the bad gods again but, especially this year, attract some extra visitors to the festival.

Another Vegetarian Festival in Chon Buri has also been given the green light. The event is planned for October 16 to the 26. This year’s main event for the festival will be in Naklua at Sawangboriboon Thammasathan Foundation at the Sein Sua Chinese Temple, but many other events will be around the city throughout the week.

Phuket's annual vegetarian festival gets the green light - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

Phuket's annual vegetarian festival gets the green light - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

Phuket's annual vegetarian festival gets the green light - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

Phuket's annual vegetarian festival gets the green light - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

Phuket's annual vegetarian festival gets the green light - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | Pattaya News

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Phuket

Officials says no illegal land encroachment at Phuket’s Sri Panwa resort

Maya Taylor

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Officials says no illegal land encroachment at Phuket’s Sri Panwa resort | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Sri Panwa Phuket Resort - Sri Panwa Phuket

After coming in for some negative online attention recently, the land title deeds of the Sri Panwa Phuket resort have been investigated and found “to be in order”. The 5-star hotel first attracted the attention of netizens when its owner, Vorasit Issara, publicly criticised anti-government activist Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, calling for her arrest. He also claimed she wasn’t Thai, a factually wrong and inflammatory statement.

His Instagram tirade prompted outrage from those who support the current protest movement, with netizens calling for a boycott of his property and leaving several negative comments on various review sites. Trip Advisor suspended the hotel’s account due to the online attack.

Shortly after, the Civil Society for State Welfare called on the Social Security Office to clarify its investment in the resort’s trust fund. This was echoed by at least one opposition MP and anti-corruption activists.

Responding to the land rights issue, the Phuket Land Office has issued a statement to say the hotel does not occupy state land. The resort stands on 56 rai of prime real estate, overlooking Phuket’s south-eastern coast. The land office has confirmed its paperwork is all in order.

Meanwhile, it’s understood Charn Issara Development, owners of the property, have threatened to sue the resort’s critics for defamation.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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