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4,000 pills and a 25 year old nabbed at Samui Post

The Thaiger & The Nation

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4,000 pills and a 25 year old nabbed at Samui Post | The Thaiger
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A man has been arrested on Koh Samui after collecting a parcel containing 4,000 methamphetamine pills and 500 grams of crystal methamphetamine from a private post office.

Acting on tips-off, troops, police and provincial officials staked out at the post office in Tambon Mae Nam and nabbed 25 year old Nattapong Nakwetcharin after he arrived to pick up the parcel.

Inside was a flask that contained the drugs.

Nattapong told police the parcel had been left by Wissanu Kaewsanguansilp and its contents were meant to be sold on Koh Samui. He added that it was the third parcel he had received from Wissanu.

Police are seeking an arrest warrant for Wissanu.

STORY: The Nation

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Transport

Koh Samui tourism operators want cheaper flights to lure tourists

Caitlin Ashworth

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Koh Samui tourism operators want cheaper flights to lure tourists | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Chiang Rai Times

Koh Samui needs more visitors, from anywhere. A number of hotels on the island, one of Thailand’s popular tourist destinations hit by the pandemic-induced travel bans, are certified for alternative local state quarantine, or ALSQ, and now tourism officials are looking to lure travellers in with cheaper flights.

Getting the prices lower could be difficult. President of the Tourism Association of Koh Samui, Vorasit Pongkumpunt, says both the airport and pier are owned by the private sector (in the car of the Airport, Bangkok Airways). Their monopoly has kept the cost of air fares to Samui inordinately high, when compared to most other air travel costs around the country.

“We want the government to find any practical solutions to help travellers visiting Samui with cheaper transport costs… Unfortunately, all entry points to the island – both airport and pier – are owned by the private sector. Bargaining for price reduction is hard.”

Tourism operators talk about the idea of lowering flight costs at a meeting next month focused on tourism stimulus plans for the southern provinces Phuket and Surat Thani, which includes Koh Samui. Vorasit says the island is ready to welcome international travellers on the new Special Tourist Visa.

A number of the island’s hotels, including 5-star resorts, on the island have been approved as ALSQ facilities and Koh Samui is now at healthcare capacity, Vorasit says.

4 luxury reports on the island, owned by Asset World Corp, a developer under the Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi’s TCC Group, are certified as ALSQ facilities. The hotels have trained staff and partnered with hospitals, according to the property developer’s chief hospitality group officer, Stephan Vanden Auweele. The hotels have also been inspected by authorities, but the Bangkok Post says the operators still want clarity about the Special Tourist Visa scheme.

While many tourist destinations have been preparing for potential visitors on the Special Tourist Visa scheme, plans have been sketchy, to say the least. A flight scheduled for earlier this month was delayed, with some saying it was postponed and scheduled to arrive after the Phuket Vegetarian Festival. Thailand’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson announced a few days later that no one in Guangzhou, China had actually applied for the visa. A group of visitors are now scheduled to arrive in Bangkok tomorrow.

The ban on international tourists has been in place for the past 6 months. Stephan says lifting border restrictions is important and tourism operators need the foreign visitors to survive.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Koh Samui

The Raja 4 salvage operations completed after the ferry sank off Koh Samui on August 1

The Thaiger

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The Raja 4 salvage operations completed after the ferry sank off Koh Samui on August 1 | The Thaiger

Salvage operations have been completed for the Raja 4 car and passenger ferry which sank off the coast of Surat Thani, heading back from Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand, on August 1. 12 people drowned as a result of the sinking.

The ferry foundered and sank in a sudden weather front about 2 nautical miles from Koh Samui as it headed for the Don Sak pier on the mainland. There was poor weather, driving rain and waves up to 3 metres at the time, according to people on the ferry. The Raja 4 was carrying 16 people, four 10-wheel garbage trucks and a pick-up. 3 of the garbage trucks had already been salvaged along with their loads of compressed garbage compacted at the island before transport.

Of the 16 people on board at the time, 12 were eventually rescued and 4 drowned, including the captain of the ferry. Helicopters from the Army and Navy were used to assist in the search operations. The life rafts were deployed by crew at the time as the ferry started sinking but not all passengers were able to scramble onto them before it sank.

2 other ferries in the area at the time steamed to the scene and were able to rescue 9 of the passengers and crew. Another 3 were rescued in the days after, 2 were swimming to nearby Koh Taen and were rescued, both wearing life jackets.

One of the 2 men found floating in the waters near the deserted island says that when everyone on the ferry realised that the boat was going to sink they all put on lifejackets. He told police that he became separated from the rest of the passengers because he was caught on the other side of the boat when it started sinking. One of the rescued men told police that they were separated from the rest of the passengers because they were caught on the other side of the boat when it started sinking.

“The water swept me away from the ship very quickly. Later I saw the island and then tried to swim toward it.”

MS Service Company was contracted to salvage the Raja 4. The company used 2 crane barges to left the wreckage from the bottom of the Gulf of Thailand where it was resting on its side. After lifting, the water was pumped out and the vessel towed back to Koh Samui.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Koh Samui

23 Koh Samui hotels seek alternative state quarantine certification

Caitlin Ashworth

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23 Koh Samui hotels seek alternative state quarantine certification | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO

Nearly 2 dozen hotels and resorts in the Thai Gulf island resort of Koh Samui are seeking certification to be alternative state quarantine facilities. Talk of a potential travel bubble scheme to the island is also set for today, the Nation Thailand reports.

8 of the 23 hotels have already gone through a government check and the rest will be checked in October, according to the Thai Hotels Association Southern Chapter East Coast. If all the hotels are approved, 1,000 rooms would be available, according to the Tourism Association of Koh Samui. They expect 90% of the hotels to be approved for state quarantine and predict around 200 international tourists to be in the first wave of visitors.

The 23 hotels on the island seeking the certification are a fair distance away from the main streets and local neighbourhoods, according to the Thai Hotels Association’s president Ruengnam Chiakwang. He says the locations make it difficult for tourists to run off during their mandatory quarantine and around 1,000 surveillance cameras are installed around the island, so officials will have an eye out.

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, or CCSA, is expected to talk with private representatives today about a travel bubble scheme to Koh Samui, according to the Nation. Past discussions of so called travel bubbles proposed foreign tourists from countries considered to be at low-risk for Covid-19 to be allowed to travel to select areas in Thailand. The island has a private airport owned and operated by Bangkok Airways who have traditionally charged unreasonably high air fares, compared to other flight in Thailand, for flights to the island.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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