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A decade ago: The murder of Debra O’Hanlon dominated the news

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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A decade ago: The murder of Debra O’Hanlon dominated the news | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: A picture of the smiling 31-year-old and her boyfriend at the time – the confessed killer – was page one of the August 13-19 issue of the Phuket Gazette. In hindsight, it is hard not to find yourself searching their eyes and faces for some hint of what was going to come during their time on this paradise island.

Not only was the case on page one, it was also the ‘Inside Story’, as the Gazette sat down for an exclusive interview with the killer, Paul Chetwynd-Talbot. Mr Chetwynd-Talbot was later sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.

However, it was not all doom and gloom in the news – though there seems to be a worldwide pertinacity for it. Luckily, there also seem to be rays of good news in every issue of the Gazette – like the warm sunshine on Kata Beach, after high tide has receded and the rubbish has been picked up, during the southwest monsoon season. There is clearly a push for more good news in every issue of the Gazette.

Nonetheless, the senseless violence that occasionally sheds blood on this island, such as the man being shot in the stomach as hundreds celebrated the birthday of Guan Yu last week, seems to always find itself column inches.

However, a decade ago, the good news was Jungceylon.

Yes, that iconic shopping mall complex that has become the centerpiece to the island’s premier party town had yet to open its doors. However, developers confirmed to the Gazette that it was ‘still on target for opening in November.’

Jungceylon had already had its opening date postponed due to a shortage of labor during the post-tsunami recovery period.

Unlike the people behind the numerous unfinished objects [UFOs] seen scattered along the Andaman coast, here was one set of investors whose confidence has panned out like a gold digger’s just prior to the 1848 rush in California.

“The management of Jungceylon is confident that the complex will help attract tourists and investors both from Thailand and around the world to come and witness the opening ceremony,” the Gazette wrote, attributing this confidence to Rena Undomkunnatum of the management firm Phuket Square.

Eventually, Jungceylon would benefit the whole tourism industry in Phuket, she said – and boy, was she right.

The editorial in the August 13-19 issue also had a positive tone to it, as the island helped organize the ‘highly entertaining World Boxing Organization title fight between Ratanachai Sor Vorapin and Panamanian challenger Mauricio Martinez’ – anybody remember who won?

The fight for the island though was not the boxing match, it was the push to develop Phuket as a sports tourism destination, which has largely been a success due both to private investments by Laguna Phuket, Thanyapura and a number of other businesses, as well as the heavy marching by the government sector.

Where those who have heavily invested in Phuket and those charged with the governance of the island will lead us ten years from now is difficult to foresee. However, at least one week 10 years ago, there seemed to be a positive outlook for our future.

— Isaac Stone Simonelli

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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

Phuket told to prepare “response plan” in case of second Covid-19 outbreak

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket told to prepare “response plan” in case of second Covid-19 outbreak | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Daily News

As Phuket awaits foreign tourists, city officials are told to prepare a “response plan” in case of a second wave of Covid-19. An official from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports held a workshop in Phuket today to discuss the risk of another outbreak as the country opens up to those on the Special Tourist Visa.

The ministry’s permanent secretary Chote Trachu says now that the country is allowing tourists (who are required to quarantine upon arrival) an infection “may somehow slip through.” He says a response plan needs to be in place in case this happens, adding that there should be corporation from the Ministry of Public Health and Ministry of Defense.

“If any tourists are found to be infected, the disease must not be allowed to spread among the people. There should be no panic, and public health officers will investigate the case. Tourist Police will track down the suspected person in an investigation with the Ministry of Public Health.”

Chote says all provinces – not just Phuket – should have a response plan. Although tourists must go through a mandatory 14 day quarantine upon arrival, Chote says there are some cases where the incubation period for Covid-19 is longer than 14 days.

“There are a variety of cases. Sometimes, the infection does not show after 14 days, or even 15 or 16 days. Each situation is different.”

Recently, a woman in Koh Samui tested positive for the coronavirus 5 days after she was released from a Samut Prakan quarantine facility. Traces of the virus were found on gym equipment the woman used at the quarantine, leading health officials to suspect she was infected before arriving to the island.

“We urge Thai people to not let their guard down. Everyone must wear masks, wash their hands and take care of personal hygiene. This will help prevent them from contracting the disease.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Business

Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub

Maya Taylor

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Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub | The Thaiger
Mai Khao beach in north Phuket - PHOTO: www.makemytrip.com

Industry officials are seeking the go-ahead for a project to transform over 140 rai of government land in Phuket into a world-leading medical hub. The project is budgeted at 3 – 4 billion baht, depending on which report you read. Kitkong Tantijaraswarodom, from the Federation of Thai Industries, believes the development of a medical and wellness hub in the sub-district of Mai Khao, north Phuket, will help revive the southern island’s battered economy. Phuket has become increasingly reliant on a steady flow of tourists over the past 2 decades.

The southern division of the FTI covers Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Trang, Patthalung, Surat Thani, Ranong, Satun, Chumphon, and Songkhla.

“The FTI will ask the government to green-light the project during the scheduled mobile cabinet meeting on the island on November 3.”

Kitkong says businesspeople in the south are anxious for the government to approve the project, which will provide both locals and foreign medical tourists with state-of-the-art medical care. The facility is expected to include long-term care, hospice and rehabilitation services, in addition to a dental hospital, sports therapy centre, and a medical training school for doctors, nurses, pharmacists and medical laboratory scientists.

The chair of the FTI’s southern chapter is also calling on officials to provide small and medium-sized businesses with additional support, in the form of access to loans, in order to deal with cash shortages.

“In the short term, the FTI wants the government to help SMEs, especially those in the tourism sector.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Phuket

Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment

The Thaiger

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Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment | The Thaiger

A man has been found hanged in Phuket Town apartment yesterday. Police are treating the cases as a suicide at the moment.

The man was found hanged from the apartment’s ceiling fan. His lifeless body was discovered around 11am after neighbours complained to the manager about the smell coming from the man’s room.

Police and the local Kusoldharm Foundation rescue workers attended the scene. Police later confirmed the incident happened in room on the 3rd floor of an apartment lock in Soi Phoonphol Soi 1, Talat Nuea in Phuket Town. Police said the man was 35-45 years of age and had a 29 year old girlfriend from Chumphon. He was paying 1,000 baht a month and had been renting the room for 2 months. Police estimate that the man had been dead for at least 3 days.

Police told media that the man had used, what appeared to be a dress, tied around his neck and then to the room’s roof fan. The apartment manager told police that he had been late on on his recent rent, speculating that the man may have been suffering financial hardship.

The man’s identity has not been released at this stage.

His body was taken to Vachira Hospital for an autopsy.

If you or anyone you know is in emotional distress, please contact the Samaritans of Thailand 24-hour hotline: 02 713 6791 (English), 02 713 6793 (Thai) or the Thai Mental Health Hotline at 1323 (Thai).

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