The tour operators have had enough of the winding back of tour boat operations and are now resorting to boycotting and ‘disrupting’ the tours in order to get their protests heard.
About 50 tour operators in Phuket and Phang nga say they’re suspending boat trips to Similan-Surin islands in the Andaman sea (off the coast of Phang-Nga) today and tomorrow to protest against the decision of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plants Conservation to limit the number of visitors to the islands to 3,850 a day. The number also includes 525 scuba divers.
Thai PBS reports that the limitation of visitors comes into force today after the two main islands re-opened to tourists after several months of closure during the monsoon season.
Besides the limitation of visitors, overnight stay-overs are not permitted.
Tour operators met yesterday in Ban Tap Lamu in Thai Muang district of Phang nga to discuss the new restrictions which they say they oppose.
They say their objections are because the restrictions would affect their business and that they’ve already accepted advance bookings to tour the islands before the department issued its new restrictions.
They say they will take their tourists to other tourist attractions Monday and Tuesday this week while awaiting response from the department.
Tour operators have been notified of the reopening of the two islands for visitors and the restrictions and to get themselves prepared with their vessels being properly checked to ensure their sea worthiness and equipped with enough life vests for their passengers.
The PM’s Office Minister Kobsak Putrakul, who was in Phang nga over the weekend, received the tour operators’ complaint and promised to bring it to the attention of the department chief.
SOURCE: Thai PBS
Phang Nga Court convicts 11 men over gang rape of 14 year old
A Phang Nga court has convicted 11 men and sentenced them to lengthy jail terms for gang-raping a 14 year old girl in the province last year.
Read the original story we broke on The Thaiger HERE.
News about the assaults came to light in September 2017 after the mother filed charges with police. She outlined a litany of abuses accusing up to 40 men in her Koh Raet community of repeatedly assaulting her daughter. It came to light that the daughter was often left home alone in the evenings while her parents went out to work in a nearby rubber plantation.
Community elders and relatives of the men turned the attack onto the family accusing them of being liars saying that their reputations had been tainted.
The Phang Nga provincial court handed down findings that all defendants were guilty of multiple counts of rape on the underage girl. The Court said they gang-raped the victim in her home at least 16 times between May 2016 and February 2017.
The Court sentenced the following to life in prison: Worachit Kongbut, Chatchai Srirat, Boonpoj Nonsee, Chalerm Samin, Sucheep Sumen, Thawatchai Thaogu and Nuttawut Butnoi.
The Court determined that Worachit was the first to assault the girl and forced her onto the beach to be raped by other men from the village. He also filmed and took photos of the assaults to blackmail her. Warachit and Boonpoj forced the girl to take drugs before the other men assaulted her.
Man found dead in his car at Ranong
A Ranong man has been found dead inside his car at a tourist spot today. Ranong is a five hour drive north of Phuket.
Police were alerted this morning that a car had been parked overnight in the parking lot of Grass Mountain in the main central district.
When police unlocked the car they found the body of a man, later identified as 32 year old Sutthipong Suk-aram, in the driver’s seat. A doctor determined that the man had been dead about 24 hours.
The car’s engine and air-conditioner were still on when the body was found and a charcoal stove, which had extinguished itself, was also found inside the car. The man’s relatives told police that Sutthipong had a quarrel with his girlfriend recently.
Charcoal briquettes emit carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a toxic, invisible gas that builds up indoors and can result in poisoning, unconsciousness, or death.
SOURCE: The Nation
13 provinces on alert for flash flooding
The Deputy PM Gen Chatchai Sarikalya explained today that winter will officially begin in the nation late this month and the Meteorological Department has assessed that rains in all regions except the south will be 10-20 percent less than the usual average for this time of the year.
Meanwhile, flood warnings are in force in the south until Saturday night.
Permanent Secretary for Public Health, Dr. Sukum Kanchanapimai has ordered hospitals in flood-risk areas to closely follow updates and stock up on medications. They are to prepare plans both internally and with local citizens to ensure minimal impact in the event of flooding. Equipment is also to be moved to higher ground and mobile units are to be readied, especially to assist bed-ridden and chronically ill patients.
Director-General of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, Chaiyapol Tithisakhas coordinated flood alerts for Petchaburi, Prachuap Khirikan, Chumporn, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phattalung, Songkhla, Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat, Ranong, Phang Nga, Phuket, Krabi, Trang and Satun. Many of the provinces are on alert for mud slides until October 27.
Assistance can be requested by calling the department’s 24 hour hotline 1784.
SOURCE: National News Bureau of Thailand
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