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Authorities battle to contain the fallout of ‘Phoenix’ disaster

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Authorities battle to contain the fallout of ‘Phoenix’ disaster | The Thaiger

“…hotel bookings in Phuket by Chinese tourists in the next two months had shrunk by up to 70 percent.

Chinese tourists are cancelling Phuket hotel bookings, unnerving Thai authorities and tourism-related business who are scrambling to raise the image of the island’s battered safety reputation. The cancellations are coming mostly from the tour company businesses based in China whilst the FIT (Free and Independent Travellers) are showing lingering confidence whilst the island’s systemic safety problems continue to be discussed.

The Transport Ministry, local and senior government agencies are working frantically to plug public safety loopholes to restore the confidence of Chinese tourists in wake of the cancellations of hotel bookings  following the July 5 sinking of the boat ‘Phoenix’ which left 47 Chinese dead. The entire crew and Captain survived the ordeal with survivors telling tales of Thai crew members abandoning the passengers remaining inside the boat and heading for the life rafts.

But a spokesperson from the Phuket office of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, who spoke to The Thaiger on condition of anonymity, says the real effects will be felt in coming months as the tourists arriving now had already paid for their holidays and less inclined to cancel.

Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisit has ordered a revamp of safety measures with tougher penalties against tour operators and boat skippers that defy safety measures.

The captain of ‘Phoenix’ is alleged to have defied forecasts of rough weather for the day when the boat left Chalong pier for an island tour to Koh Racha with 89 Chinese passengers on board.

It has also been revealed that the boat was owned by the same company which arranged the ill-fated boat trip. The owner of the company is a Thai nominee appointed by the real owner, a Chinese businessman linked to the Tha Li company which was shut down some time ago for operating so called zero-dollar package tours for unsuspecting Chinese tourists.

Tourism and sports permanent secretary Chartchai Thipsunavee claimed yesterday that between 10-15 percent of Phuket hotel bookings by Chinese tourists had already been canceled since the tragic incident.

Of the estimated 10 million Chinese tourists who visit Thailand each year, about three million of them visit Phuket.

Mr Chaiya Rapee-arphol, president of Andaman Tourism Business Association, is painting a much more gloomy picture of tourism business in the popular resort island, saying that hotel bookings in Phuket by Chinese tourists in the next two months had shrunk by up to 70 percent, with estimated loss in revenue in the tune of 42 billion baht from about 350 billion baht in revenue each year.

Authorities battle to contain the fallout of 'Phoenix' disaster | News by The Thaiger

SOURCES: The Thaiger, Thai PBS


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Bangkok

Kitten rescued from wall space after being stuck for three days

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Kitten rescued from wall space after being stuck for three days | The Thaiger

A kitten was rescued last night after it got stuck in a narrow five-inch wall space behind a 7-11 convenience store in Samut Prakan’s city district.

Staff of a 7-Eleven shop in Bang Pu Industrial Estate called the Bang Pu 811 Rescue Unit for help.

The staff say they had heard a kitten’s faint meows behind the wall for three days. A rescuer climbed up on top of the wall and lowered a rope with a noose to carefully pull up the kitten.

The space between walls was only five-inch wide and about three metres high.

So, that’s eight live left.

Kitten rescued from wall space after being stuck for three days | News by The Thaiger Kitten rescued from wall space after being stuck for three days | News by The Thaiger

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Phuket

Tourist Police service centres being set up on Phuket beaches

The Thaiger

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Tourist Police service centres being set up on Phuket beaches | The Thaiger

PHOTO: TravelScams.org

The Phuket Tourist Police are poised to improve marine and coastal safety by setting up service centres on Phuket beaches, starting initially with Kamala and Karon Beach.

The Tourist Police Division 3 Chief Major General Unggoon Klaiklueang says, “We have been planning on the project to set up the tourist service centres at Phuket’s busiest beaches.”

“The centres will be based in mobile modified shipping containers. Each centre will has two tourist police with an ATV vehicle (All-Terrain Vehicle)”

“We are planning to set up these centres on 12 Phuket beaches. We will start with Kamala and Karon Beach first. It is expected to be done before New Year as there will be a lot of tourists during that time, especially those locations.”

“By providing tourist police on beaches we be able to improve beach safety, for example if swimmers don’t listen to the warnings from lifeguards.”

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Phuket

Phuket Police officer transferred after gambling den raid

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Phuket Police officer transferred after gambling den raid | The Thaiger

Five Kathu Police have been transferred to the Phuket Provincial Police Station after a gambling den raid. Soldiers raided a gambling den in Kathu on Tuesday night. More than 56 gamblers were arrested.

Read more about the raid HERE.

The order issued yesterday was signed by the Phuket Provincial Police commander Maj Gen Wisan Panmunee stating that five Kathu Police have been moved to the Phuket Provincial Police Station.

The five Kathu Police have been named…  Kathu Police Chief Col Jakkrawat Boontaveekunsawat, Kathu Police Deputy Chief Lt Col Chalermchai Hernsawat, Lt Col Chao Pomna and Maj Nopparut  Sukkree, and Inspector of investigation Police Maj Jaronthorn Donnayanrit.

Maj Gen Wisan says, “All five police are now working at the Phuket Provincial Police Station while an investigation is being undertaken on allowing gambling den in the area. We have been strictly enforced on preventing any gambling den in Phuket.”

Phuket Police officer transferred after gambling den raid | News by The Thaiger Phuket Police officer transferred after gambling den raid | News by The Thaiger

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