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Alleged ‘sex cult’ yoga retreat on Koh Phangan operating again

The Thaiger

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Alleged ‘sex cult’ yoga retreat on Koh Phangan operating again | The Thaiger
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PHOTO: Narcis Tarcau, aka. Swami Vivekananda Saraswati – South China Morning Post

The world’s “biggest tantric yoga school” has reopened on Koh Phangan with the accused leader back in charge amid accusations that management suppressed an investigation into the alleged abuse.

The centre closed last September after 14 women alleged rape and sexual assault and made official complaints. At the time the Agama centre promised a through internal investigation into the allegations.

Read The Thaiger’s story about the raids last year HERE.

Agama Yoga claimed at the time that they had shut down for “restructuring after the allegations from previous students became public in September, 2018. They accused the school of “facilitating rape, sexual assault and misogynist teachings”.

The accusations were mainly leveled at the leader, a Romanian called Narcis Tarcau, who had gone under the name of Swami Vivekananda Saraswati for 15 years. Allegations were also made at the time against several of the centre’s teaching staff.

The yoga school remains stripped of its Yoga Alliance certification, according to an article in The Guardian.

Sixteen former pupils and staff accused the centre of operating a defacto “sex cult” and claimed that it had been operating as such for quite some time. Two formal accusations of rape were made against Tarcau but a three-month statute of limitations on rape cases in Thailand meant they could not be investigated by authorities on Koh Phangan.

An article in South China Morning Post also says that Tarcau was accused of using his influence to promote “dangerous” health theories, which allegedly contributed to at least two women not seeking treatment for cancer with “devastating consequences”.

Tarcau fled Thailand when several of the victims went public, including several sending reports of the allegations to The Thaiger.

At the time the school apologised for any harm a teacher may have caused, promised a full internal investigation and said that they were “dedicated to change”. The centre claimed they were closing down and restructuring.

Now UK media, The Guardian, claims that Tarcau is back on Koh Phangan and has reopened the Agama centre. The article says that he is back teaching female students.

The Agama website said last month that he was listed as the teacher leading a New Year retreat as well as other yoga workshops. But all teachers’ names have now been removed from the website.

The website also promotes courses in other ‘alternative’ workshops including “Kundalini, Bhakti, Nidra, and Raja Yoga(s), The Tibetan Book of The Dead, Astrology, Psychotherapy, Rebirthing, Metaphysics, and much more”.

The website makes no mention of the complaints made against the ‘Swami’, last year’s closure, the allegations against the centre or changes made to avoid further abuses.

The article also claims that several other teachers who were also accused of misconduct, rape, assault, or were accused of being part of attempts to cover up the allegation, are now back teaching at the school.

In one allegation, Ana Smith, the mother of a former Agama pupil, Deborah Topp, claims that in 2017 Tarcau convinced her daughter not to return to Australia for breast cancer treatment and instead follow his natural remedies. These ‘remedies’ included eating only brown rice and drinking her own urine and menstrual blood, which she said he allegedly claimed to have used in the past to “successfully cure cancer”.

The mother said that Deborah eventually returned to Australia three months mater after the lump had grown rapidly. Despite a mastectomy, Ana says it was “too late” as the cancer had spread and “her chances of survival had long expired”.

Deborah Topp died in December 2017.

Koh Phangan police colonel Sathit Kongniam has confirmed to The Guardian they were “still monitoring” Agama, and made regular visits to the school. He also said that the police believed that Tarcau was no longer at the school.

Another story of the allegations against Narcis Tarcau, aka. Swami Vivekananda Saraswati HERE.

Alleged ‘sex cult’ yoga retreat on Koh Phangan operating again | News by The Thaiger

SOURCES: South China Morning Post, The Guardian

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Transport

Transport Company interprovincial bus services to the South remain suspended

Jack Burton

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Transport Company interprovincial bus services to the South remain suspended | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO

Transport Company, Thailand’s interprovincial bus company, announced this week that it is continuing its suspension of all services to the southern provinces as the country will be under the state of emergency until June 30.

It did not say when services will resume. The company was expected to resume services from Bangkok to Koh Samui, Phuket and Trang from June 1.

The Cabinet decided on Tuesday to extend state of emergency in line with measures to control the spread of Covid-19.

Transport Company announced in April, when the national curfew came into force, that services on routes longer than 300 kilometres would remain halted nationwide until further notice.

Services on routes under 300km operated by minibuses are still allowed, from 5am-4pm, and parcel services can operate from 5am-8:30pm.

The decision is in line with the decision of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration to maintain the night curfew, from 11pm-3am, and discourage travel between provinces to restrict the spread of the virus.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

 

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Tourism

Airports open, quarantine rules and Samui – the latest

Jack Burton

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Airports open, quarantine rules and Samui – the latest | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Santorini Dave

Airports of Thailand warns domestic airline passengers to check provincial travel restrictions before they book flights. Currently, there are 5 airports fully operational – Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang), Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Hat Yai, but only 4 airlines, namely Nok Air, Thai AirAsia, Thai Lion Air and Thai Vietjet are serving them.

Phuket airport was set to reopen on May 14, however the Civil Aviation Authority reversed its decision a day after its initial reopening announcement on Thursday.

Domestic travellers arriving at Bangkok’s 2 airports are not required to quarantine for 14 days, but the quarantine rule applies for Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. Passengers arriving at Chiang Mai International Airport must complete the tracking form “Chor Mor 1.” They will also be handed a guide on 14 day quarantine.

All foreign passengers arriving on domestic flights to Chiang Mai will be required to stay at hotels designated by the provincial authorities for 14 days at their own expense.

Domestic passengers arriving at Chiang Rai International Airport are required to fill out documents that can be downloaded to a mobile phone via a QR code. The documents are from the province’s administration and public health departments. The information is used to establish screening measures for anybody entering Chiang Rai province.

Travellers from Phuket to Chiang Rai must immediately report to the disease control officer. They will be transferred to the Wiang In Riverside Resort Hotel for 14 day quarantine at the passenger’s expense.

If passengers stayed in Bangkok or its adjoining provinces, Phuket, or the 4 southernmost provinces (Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Satun) for more than 24 hours they must report to disease control officers at the airport. They will also need to comply with the 14 day home quarantine rule.

Should passengers be travelling from Bangkok after a day visit of fewer than 24 hours, they are not required to report to the disease control officer and enter quarantine. However, they must check for Covid-19 symptoms for 14 days. Furthermore if they have a fever or other symptoms, they must immediately report to the nearest hospital.

Meanwhile, Bangkok Airways has resumed its daily flights to Koh Samui in the southern Surat Thani province, but imposing strict social distancing measures for passengers. Bangkok Airways has adopted the sanitary guidelines of the Health Department and the Civil Aviation Authority. The airline is also giving away specially designed face masks to passengers (who are required to wear a mask at all times anyway).

The carrier will perform body temperature checks on all passengers at the point of origin and destination. Bangkok Airways has also arranged seats onboard to keep passengers apart at a ‘proper distance’.

“Standing and waiting points are designated at service counters and on shuttle buses. Passengers are strictly required to keep a safe distances from others. Passengers are required to wear face masks as well as cabin crew. Eating and drinking are not allowed onboard and no food is served during flights.”

SOURCES: Chiang Rai Times | TTR Weekly | MCOT

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Koh Tao residents caught without face masks made to do push-ups and jumping jacks – VIDEO

Maya Taylor

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Koh Tao residents caught without face masks made to do push-ups and jumping jacks – VIDEO | The Thaiger
News NBT Thailand

Officials on the island of Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand have come up with a novel way to punish people for not wearing face masks, still a legal requirement under the Covid-19 emergency decree when people are out in public.

The Pattaya News reports that both tourists and Thais caught without protective face coverings are being made to do a series of push-ups and jumping jacks, much to the amusement of onlookers armed with smartphones. It comes after police on Koh Tao set up a checkpoint near the pier, with anyone violating the face mask stipulation being made to perform no fewer than 20 push-ups and 20 jumping jacks.

Video: News NBT Thailand

Officials also provide them with free face masks, although they are not required to wear them until after they’ve finished exercising, which aligns nicely with the Department of Health’s recent warning that exercising while wearing a face mask could be “harmful”.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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