PHUKET TOWN: The investigator who headed the probe into the slaying of Danis Wayne Tong testified yesterday in Phuket Provincial Court that the five suspects on trial participated in a murder-for-hire scheme following a fallout between the victim and well-known local businessman Hugo Vandervelde. Pol Maj Preecha Kla-thanong, Chief of the Special Investigations Unit for Phuket Province, told the court that his investigation of the murder led him to conclude that a dispute over debts between the two men culminated in the plan to gun down the 47-year-old Tong shortly after he pulled up to his Rawai residence on the night of June 24, 1997. The witness testified that witness interviews along with evidence gathered during the probe revealed that Tong and Vandervelde were involved in loan arrangements and outstanding work-related compensation totalling 800,000 baht. Vandervelde, a Belgian, was an executive of Thai Flemish Trading Co, Ltd, a Phuket-based food wholesaler with which Tong had close business ties. He is standing trial along with four Thai suspects – Manit Panme, Prajuab Sukkong, Pairat Raksawong and Pratin Praktong – for their alleged roles in the murder. Under questioning by prosecutor Banthoon Thongtan, Pol Maj Preecha testified that Pratin, whom the witness identified as a “relative of Hugo’s [Vanderdelde’s] wife,” brokered a deal on behalf of Vandervelde to hire three of the suspects – Manit, Prajuab and Pairat – to carry out the slaying. The witness said Pratin paid 200,000 baht as a partial payment to the trio, but did not provide the court with any other details of the arrangement. The police officer also testified that Manit, Prajuab and Pairat arrived in Phuket from their homes in Nakhon Si Thammarat to meet with Pratin and Hansa Ramdoung, a former Kathu district police corporal, prior to the alleged murder. During his testimony, the police major said Tong’s common law wife Jamlong Yamsuwan and neighbors told investigators that two men – one trigger man and one getaway driver – had carried out the killing. Defense attorney Surasak Limpanitch, who is representing Manit, the suspected motorbike getaway driver, asked the investigator what led police to suspect that his client, Prajuab, and Pairat were involved in the killing. The witness responded by saying authorities probing the crime were able to establish a link with the suspects through a police source. The witness refused to identify the source when asked to do so by the defense lawyer. Nakin Themrat, the defense attorney representing Pairat, questioned the witness as to why investigators focused on a business conflict as the motive for the killing. Pol Maj Preecha said police first suspected either a business or love conflict, then focused on the former following interviews with key witnesses. A court session scheduled to have taken place this morning was postponed when prosecution witnesses failed to appear. Testimony is scheduled to continue on September 30 at the Nakhon Si Thammarat Provincial Courthouse, and on December 3-4 in Phuket.
‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people
On October 18, the ‘Always Smile Journey’ group and its partners will host an exhibition with plenty of fun activities at the Yak Yai Market, near Chalong Circle, in Phuket. This event was designed to raise funds to provide free English classes for underprivileged people on the island of Phuket on Saturdays and Sundays. The group does not accept donations but aims to raise money through the sales of the products available at the event.
From 2 pm to 8 pm, there will be a number of artists, musicians and performers who will keep the attendees entertained along the way. There will be a short film about His Majesty King Rama 9 as well as fun activities and games for kids and families, which are all free of charge.
The big bike crew is also a part of this event. They will ride a parade from Rawai Beach heading to the market and showcase their gorgeous two-wheel buddies.
One of the highlights of the Always Smile Journey exhibition is the ‘Happening’ artists group, who will draw and paint a picture of the His Majesty King Rama 9 under the name ‘Street Art King Bhumibol’ on a 4×10 meter sign live at the event so the guests will experience this large-scale art in action. The Happening will also offer portrait sketching for the participants.
There will also be some western menus available at the event which will be donated to underprivileged children.
This free English class project has over seven years of experience through its cooperation working with individuals and other charity organizations. Throughout the years, the group visited several areas such as Ban Laem Hoy School, Ban Bopud School and Ban Angthong School in Samui, Surat Thani province, Ban Bueng Ao Oun School and Ban Kakoh Rayong, in Surin province, Jalae Village of Lahu (Muser) in Chiang Rai province, as well as community education centers in Siem Reap, Cambodia and in Luang Prabang, in Laos.
This event is a cooperation between several groups, including Happening, Yak Yai Market and Arrow Media, Tattoo artist group, Thonburi Art School Alumni, International School of Tourism, Suratthani Rajabhat University, big bike group from Phuket, artists/performers/musicians from many provinces as well as several businesses across Phuket.
The world’s fastest growing tourist destinations
PHOTO: Hello Phuket – destined for huge tourist growth in the next six years – fodors.com
In 2018, international tourist arrival traffic grew by 6% to reach a total of 1.4 billion world tourists, according to research by UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. And there’s a lot more to come with international travel predicted to increase by a massive 35% over the next six years to 2025.
But where is all that extra traffic going to go? Which destinations are quiet now that might be swarming with tourists in the years to come? Two destinations in Thailand are set for a prosperous future, according to the data. Whilst almost all the growth is excepted to be to Asian destinations, an under-visited resource for world tourism so far.
Euromonitor data has been used to simulate tourist growth models and reveal the fastest growing projected visitor arrivals in major cities and destinations around the world for 2025, compared to arrival figures in 2018.
In Thailand, Phuket’s tourist traffic is poised to increase up to 85% in the next six years, from nearly 12 million arrivals in 2018 to over 22 million in 2025. Bangkok is predicted to see the 8th most prolific rise in tourist traffic, with arrivals in Bangkok set to swell an additional 68% during the same period. Doha, the capital of Qatar, is set to explode with 104% increase in traffic over the next six years.
The data also predicts that both Bangkok and Phuket will rebound big time in 2020, Phuket in particular with a growth of around 20% for the next year, accord to the data from TravelSupermarket.com.
By 2025 the data predicts that Bangkok will be the world’s #1 tourist destination, a position it’s held before in recent years. The Thai capital will be followed by Singapore, Dubai, Phuket and Kuala Lumpur, making South East Asia the world’s emerging tourism hotspot.
Some of the world’s favourites – New York, Paris, London – will continue to grow their tourist numbers but not at the rate of most Asian destinations.
You can read the full list HERE.
Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com
Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com
Rawai beachfront water shut-off tomorrow for mains works
The Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority says Rawai’s mains water supply will be shut off tomorrow (Tuesday, October 15) as new water pipes are fitted in front of The Title Beach Front condo resort complex on the town’s beachfront.
The mains water supply will be shut off from 9am until 4:30pm along the beachfront strip.
The PWA says the areas affected will be along Wiset Road along the Rawai beachfront road, as well as Soi Yanui and Soi Ruafaed.
Residents and businesses are being urged to collect water for use during the day today, before tomorrow morning’s shut-off.
As usual, the PWA say…“We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
Contact the Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority on 076 319173 or 082 7901634 for more details.
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