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Phuket

International passengers must pay new B15 surcharge per flight

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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International passengers must pay new B15 surcharge per flight | The Thaiger

THAILAND: Air passengers travelling in and out of Thailand now have to pay a “surcharge” of 15 baht per person per flight.

Following ongoing investigations and criticism by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) of deficiencies in Thailand’s flight safety standards, the funds raised from the charge will be be used primarily to address those ills. However, the move has angered the head of the travel agents’ association.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) agreed on November 1 to implement the new charge, but it did not go into full effect until yesterday.

The extra fee is being added to air-ticket prices by IATA, the global aviation authority, which will also get a cut of the proceeds.

Currently, IATA oversees and supervises 265 aviation authorities representing 85 per cent of global aviation.

According to the Tourism Association of Thailand, the country is expected to receive more than 32 million international tourists this year, while more than six million Thais will travel overseas.

Based on the total passenger numbers from two flights per trip per person, the new surcharge should generate about 1.1 billion baht per year.

Charoen Wangananont, president of the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA), expressed doubts about the new surcharge.

Despite the imperative of adequate flight safety standards for Thailand, Mr Charoen wondered why “foreign” organizations such as IATA have the right to intervene into the country’s business in such a big decision as the surcharge, saying it was not fair to make travellers into and out of “this country” pay a fee that IATA itself will have some benefit from.

“If the government wants to solve aviation problems or develop further projects, it should grant a special budget and let the Thai authorities do it, not ask for money from passengers. And IATA should not be involved in this issue,” Mr Charoen said.

He added that local aviation experts working at the CAAT should be paid by the Thai government, not by passengers.

In the third quarter of this year, 8.2 million foreigners travelled to Thailand. China continued to be the main source market with 2.4 million visitors during the three-month period. Arrivals from Europe came in at around 1.2 million, up 12 per cent from the third quarter last year, while there were 2.2 million visitors from Asean countries, up 14 per cent.

IATA said last week that global passenger traffic in September grew 7 per cent compared with the same month in 2015. This was the strongest year-on-year increase in seven months. Capacity climbed 6.6 per cent.

European carriers saw September demand rise 5.2 per cent over September 2015.

Asia-Pacific airlines’ traffic rose 8.6 per cent in September, compared with the same month a year ago, although there are still signs of Asian travellers being put off by terrorism in Europe.

Middle East carriers had an 11.5-per-cent rise in demand in September compared with a year ago.

— The Nation

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Crime

Now you see him, now you don’t… Patong Police hunt foreigner over $30k theft

Greeley Pulitzer

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Now you see him, now you don’t… Patong Police hunt foreigner over $30k theft | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Patong Police

Patong Police have yet to develop any tangible leads tracking down a foreigner who made off with US$30,000 in cash from a currency exchange booth in Kalim, north of Patong in Phuket, last Tuesday.

The man is about 168 centimetres tall with grey hair and around 60 years old, Patong police told The Phuket News.

“We have no clue what nationality he is.”

He was last seen at the currency exchange booth wearing a purple polo shirt, blue jeans and black cap. Police have checked hotels in the area, police stations across the island and Phuket Immigration, but have yet to join the dots and come up with firm leads.

“Investigators have checked CCTV in the area and collected what evidence we have but we still do not know the man’s name or where he was staying.”

The man had visited the booth several times before Tuesday, when he disappeared with the $30,000 in US banknotes, according to police.

“It was always small amounts”, he added, noting that the amounts didn’t warrant staff at the exchange booth to check the man’s passport before making the exchange.

The man arrived at the booth again at about 1pm on Tuesday, saying that he had 900,000 baht cash to exchange.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Crime

Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room

The Thaiger

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Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Phuket Hot News

The security guard of a hotel in Nai Yang, northern Phuket, 52 year old Yingyot Butsabong, from Maha Sarakham province, was found dead yesterday (October 16) in his room. Police remain mystified how the man came to grief.

A woman named Supattra received a call from the hotel he worked at and was informed that he didn’t show up at work yesterday, so she went to his apartment to check on him.

She saw that his room was locked from the inside, so used the key she had in her possession to open the room and found Yingyot laying on the floor, face down. She thought he was just sleeping so she tried to wake him up but once she flipped him, she found that he already passed away.

She immediately called Saku police, and once on the scene, police found that there was some blood on the floor. The man had a 2 centimetre wound on his left eyebrow which was deep into his skull. There was also a wound on his chin about 1 centimetre long and about a centimetre deep. His left eye had a bruise which looked like he was attacked by a hard object.

Police report that he had been dead for around four hours in the room.

The room was not ransacked and there was no sign of fighting or theft. His body has been sent to Thalang Hospital for a detailed autopsy and to look into the cause of death.

SOURCE: Phuket Hot News

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People

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people

Nattha Thepbamrung

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‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | The Thaiger

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.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

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.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

One of the works created by the Happening team; a painting of HM the King Rama 9 on a huge wall (Photo credit: Chawat Chumpasan)

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.

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