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Yacht skipper blasts mob violence

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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THALANG: The skipper of a 30-meter superyacht has blasted villagers in the north of Phuket for “lawlessness” after a member of his crew was beaten up by a mob on Sunday evening, and was then forced to apologize to them for driving through their village too fast. After brushing aside security staff at the Yacht Haven marina, the mob of about 100 villagers from Baan Kor-Ane assaulted the driver and then attacked the pick-up truck he had been driving, causing damage estimated at 200,000 baht, said Charlie Dwyer, skipper of the yacht Yanneke Too. Mr Dwyer said that members of the mob also stole cameras and other valuables from inside the truck. He explained that the driver of the pick-up, Kent Michalick, and another crew member were hurrying back to the boat after receiving a call that there was a fire on board. “They drove through the village very fast,” he explained, “and they put the fire out. When they went back to the truck, which they had left in the parking lot, [Mr Michalick] was attacked by a mob of villagers. He was assaulted and punched a few times in the face, and he had to jump into the water to save his life. They threw rocks at him while he was in the water. “Then they beat the vehicle to absolutely nothing. After that, they came down the dock and threatened people in the boats in the marina – not just our yacht, but other yachts too. This was an uncontrolled mob, totally taking the law into their own hands. “Someone driving fast through a village should be arrested for driving too fast. He should not be beaten, and should not have his property destroyed. “We are a lucrative business for this country. We spend a lot of money when we come here. If this sort of thing is going to happen, these yachts won’t be coming back here. They’ll be going to Langkawi, to a safe port.” Angrily, he added, “The local police paraded [Mr Michalick] up to the village, against my specific wishes, and forced him to apologize to the people who had just beaten him.” Village Chief Somkiat Budsa explained that many people were on the street when the pick-up truck drove through. He told the Gazette, “They sped through the village, causing dust to blow all over the food stalls and scaring many villagers. Some were so angry that about a hundred followed the truck to the marina.” Concerned that the situation looked like deteriorating, K. Somkiat, who had followed the crowd, called the police. “At first about four or five officers turned up, but that wasn’t enough. Later, more police arrived, by which time the villagers were demanding that the driver apologize. “I spoke with the driver and eventually he went to the village hall and said he was sorry. It was almost morning before the crowd calmed down,” he added. Pol Maj Wirawat Chantarawijit, of Tah Chat Chai Police Station, who termed the incident a “sensitive” case, said, “The driver was fined for reckless driving. At the moment, we are investigating who destroyed the truck. It’s difficult because many people were there that night.” Asked about the incident, the General Manager of the marina, Andy Stephens, told the Gazette, “I’d rather not comment at this stage because the investigation is still going on.”

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

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thailand targeting specific Chinese provinces for “tourism bubble”

Jack Burton

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Thailand targeting specific Chinese provinces for “tourism bubble” | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Travelwire News

Thailand’s minister of tourism and sports says his ministry will target specific provinces in China in a bid to attract tourists back to the resort island of Phuket as travel restrictions are gradually eased. Pipat Ratchakijprakarn says the ministry will not splash out money launching a tourist campaign all across China but rather target some of the many provinces that have brought Covid-19 under control.

He didn’t specify which provinces, but said Phuket is being eyed to lead the planned “tourism bubbles” comprising Thailand and its selected partners. The primary target is selected Chinese cities and provinces.

“China is the first market with potential, because flying time to Thailand is less than six hours.”

Other markets being discussed include South Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and some south east Asian countries.

Before the pandemic, 1 in every 4 foreign visitors to Thailand was Chinese. There were almost 40 million foreign arrivals last year.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Crime

Officials raid 2 Phuket casinos, arresting 87 illegal gamblers

Jack Burton

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Officials raid 2 Phuket casinos, arresting 87 illegal gamblers | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Phuket Andaman News

Officials have raided 2 Phuket casinos resulting in 87 people being arrested for allegedly gambling after the island’s provincial police received complaints of gambling dens operating around the clock – a violation of the current Emergency Decree which bans crowds.

The first raid took place at about 3:30 pm and was at a casino in tambon Talat Nua of Muang district. The premises provided parking spaces for motorcycles and up to 30 cars, and was fenced on all sides with metal sheets. Officials arrested 45 gamblers-30 men and 15 women. They also seized 62,420 baht that was placed as wagers and a gold necklace that was 15 grams in weight.

Around the same time, a second team raided another casino tambon Sisunthon of Thalang district in Phuket’s north. It was also fenced with metal sheets and featured an ample amount of parking space. 42 people- 22 men and 20 women- were rounded up with police seizing 64,260 baht in placed wagers.

All have been charged with illegal betting and violating the Emergency Decree which was recently extended through July.

Officials raid 2 Phuket casinos, arresting 87 illegal gamblers | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Business

Phuket’s (in)famous “Soi Bangla” district reopens today

Jack Burton

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Phuket’s (in)famous “Soi Bangla” district reopens today | The Thaiger

Today is the official reopening of Phuket’s famous (or infamous) “Soi Bangla” nightlife district, but only about 20% of venues say they’re reopening during this early stage. The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration announced yesterday that all night entertainment venues may reopen but must strictly adhere to health guidelines set out to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Dr Taweesilp Visanuyothin, the spokesman for the CCSA, says night entertainment venues, including pubs, bars, karaoke venues and beer gardens will be allowed to open, but only until midnight. Social distancing measures will be strictly enforced, and customers must use the Thai Chana app to check in and out.

The Patong Entertainment Business Association president says only about 20% of the 324 registered members are expected to reopen initially, but he expects more to reopen soon. Among the 22 rules announced last week- to be presented to the CCSA for approval- were that all staff must wear face masks and face shields, but performers may wear face shields only. No bottles are to be served, and all drinks are to be served in glasses. No pool table games (including snooker and billiards) and no dart games are to be allowed.

The number of guests in each venue is to be restricted to cater for social distancing, with at least 2 metres between tables, or partitions must be installed to ensure patrons are seated at least one metre away from each other.

Undercutting the main reason people visit popular venues, the draft rules also call for groups to be limited to 5 people, and for guests to be prohibited from dancing and singing, gathering, shouting, or “wandering around the premises”.

“I have no idea what the rules will be, but we will open anyway. If the full list of 22 rules for pubs, bars and entertainment venues is to be applied, we won’t be able to enforce all the rules, because enforcing all these rules is impossible. But we can follow some of the rules, such as social distancing, wearing masks and checking temperatures.”

Even Patong’s mayor told The Phuket News that she is yet to receive a copy of all the rules to be enforced.

“The next thing to do is follow up with the CCSA about the rules. This is very important for the entertainment industry in Patong. I will help and consider being flexible with the rules for entertainment businesses in Patong, because the rules announced by CCSA are the general rules for many places. But some of these rules are not appropriate for businesses here. We have to apply the right rules and optimise them for businesses in Patong.”

The PEBA president dismissed a few entertainment zones being singled out in other countries as “hotbeds for starting a second wave” of Covid-19 infections.

“I do not care what some people claim is the risk of being in a bar. If the government is genuinely concerned about the risk of Covid-19 spreading, then it is not just about bars, pubs and entertainment venues. The risk of Covid-19 spreading applies anywhere where people are around, not only at bars and pubs.”

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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