Αποστολέας Θέμα: Phuket News & Events  (Αναγνώστηκε 48421 φορές)

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Phuket News & Events
« στις: Αύγουστος 03, 2013, 09:05:41 πμ »

Explosion at Phuket Provincial Hall, bomb suspected


Police inspect the scene of the explosion at Provincial Hall

PHUKET: -- The Phuket Gazette has confirmed reports of an explosion at the Phuket Provincial Hall complex in Phuket Town happened  just after 2pm on Thursday 01-08-2013.

Police officers at the scene found the remains of a clock and batteries among the debris from an explosion that emanated from a green plastic trash can in the car park in front of the Phuket Provincial Administrative Organization (PPAO) building.

Three cars were damaged in the explosion.

So far, no injuries have been reported.



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« Απάντηση #1 στις: Αύγουστος 04, 2013, 07:39:20 πμ »
'Father of tourism' slams Phuket greed


Wichit na Ranong: The father of Phuket Tourism.

PHUKET: -- Wichit na Ranong – known to many on Phuket as the Father of Phuket Tourism – has weighed into the growing debate over the industry on the island, slamming greed and delivering “a last warning” to the island that it must clean up its act.

Interviewed by a new Thai-language magazine, Saphan Hin, Mr Wichit, whose family owns the Pearl Hotel in Phuket Town, the Indigo Pearl Resort at Nai Yang Beach, and the Toyota dealerships on the island, among other businesses, said that the lack of any real tourism planning had allowed the island to spiral “out of control”.

The result, he says, is general disorganisation, with deteriorating environment: dirty and unorganised beach area, airport congestion, traffic jams, negative impact on local people and other problems. “Tourists want to come to Phuket, which has resulted in more and more business people wanting to invest in Phuket, establishing hotels, restaurants and other businesses.

“But people’s greed has grown, which has resulted in their good-heartedness shrivelling and criminality growing.

“The problems have been evident for a while”, he says, “manifesting in environmental degradation and a rising tide of criticisms from tourists, and growing bad effects on ordinary local people. Tourism should not have a negative impact on local people.”

He warned that Phuket may no longer be counted as a world class tourism destination because of a slide in the overall quality of the destination.

“Tourists come to Phuket for the beach and if the beach is not attractive, there is no reason for them to come.

We don’t have to try to improve any other facilities if the core product is deteriorating as the tourists won’t come any way.”

He also criticised central and local authorities for their inability to address the problems.

“Most of the governing bodies in Phuket, unfortunately, don’t understand tourism development in depth yet and there is no evidence that they have engaged any expert for advice.

“They may know tourism from the tourist’s perspective, but do not consider the view of professional tourism administrators to manage the destination.

This has created a concern as they have both money and authority, but fail to do their job thoroughly.”he argues.

“Moreover, governors appointed by the Central Government come for just a short period of time and move on. “How could they solve the problems in such a time frame?

“I have heard many people say they come and they go but the problems stay.

“The old problems remain unsolved and the new ones are accumulating.

“Central to fixing Phuket’s woes, he said in the interview, “is cleaning up the messiness along the island’s beaches.

“Phuket’s beaches are the core products.

There are many shops, bars, food stalls, restaurants, sun beds, discotheques and others businesses along the beach that make a mess out of the core product itself.

“The beaches must be clean and and well organized, otherwise it is useless trying to improve or create other attractive services and facilities.”

At the end of the interview, Mr Wichit urges the next generation of business people on the island, “Be the leader and not the follower for the products and services. Be creative.

“And be honest to your own profession and your guests

Mr Wichit is a direct descendant of famed 19th Century Phuket Governor Kaw Sim Bee.

In the 1980s, recognising that the tin industry on the island was in permanent decline, he led the drive to establish a new industry, tourism, to take its place, successfully lobbying the government to support it, and making many overseas trips to establish the island on the tourism map.

Mr Wichit is the first President of the Tourism Council of Thailand and was the founding president of the Phuket Tourist Association.

He was also formerly on the board of Thai Airways International and Tourism Authority of Thailand.





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« Απάντηση #2 στις: Αύγουστος 06, 2013, 15:05:34 μμ »
Temporary terminal to provide quick relief for Phuket Airport


Phuket's existing terminal is jammed

PHUKET: -- The overcrowded Phuket International Airport will get some quick relief by the end of the year with a new temporary passenger terminal.

The board of Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) last week endorsed a B145-million maximum budget for building the facility, designed to provide much-needed capacity before the airport’s main expansion, costing B5.8 billion, is completed in mid-2015.

The approval came as the AoT board also asked management to conduct a feasibility study for a second runway at Phuket to meet future demand growth once the current expansion is finished, AoT executives said.

Unique Engineering and Construction Plc was given a preliminary mandate from the board to build the temporary terminal, a single-storey building with usable floor space of 1,400 square metres, subject to price negotiations.

When completed in December the temporary terminal, to be built in 120 days on four rai currently used as a football pitch, will have the capacity to handle 3 million passengers a year.

It will be a glass-and-steel structure designed in harmony with the terminal featured in the main expansion.

Because it will be located away from the existing terminal, the temporary facility, equipped with 10 check-in counters, will be used for passengers on international charter flights, who will then be transferred by bus to the main terminal for security and immigration processing.

The temporary terminal will provide much-needed capacity at Phuket airport, whose traffic volume is expected to reach 10.5 million passenger movements this year, well beyond the 6.5 million official capacity of the existing terminal.

The ongoing permanent expansion will increase Phuket’s annual passenger handling to 12.5 million movements.

The new multi-storey permanent terminal, capable of handling 5 million passengers a year, will be for international travellers.

The present terminal will be used solely for domestic passengers once its upgrade is done in mid-2015, giving it a yearly capacity of 7.5 million passengers – for a total airport capacity of 12.5 million.

All the construction will only allow the airport to catch up with traffic; if numbers continue to grow at the current rate, Phuket is projected to see 12 million movements or more by 2015, when the new international terminal opens.

Meanwhile, AoT management has orders to assess the possibility of building a second runway at Phuket by acquiring adjoining land now occupied by state bodies such as the Royal Thai Navy.

The board is to consider an initial plan for the second runway at its next meeting on Aug 28.

Pratuang Sonkham, general manager of Phuket airport, earlier said a second runway would be needed in 10-15 years, as well as capacity to handle an additional 10 million passengers a year.

It was not clear how long the new runway would be. Phuket’s existing runway is not long enough for fully laden Boeing 747s or Airbus A380s to take off (with a good safety margin for an aborted take-off).

This means the island’s airport can take only smaller aircraft, resulting in a higher number of aircraft movements.

The Phuket News
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« Απάντηση #3 στις: Αύγουστος 07, 2013, 15:09:27 μμ »
Tourist Assistance Centre opens office in Phuket Town


Santi Pawai: Tourism Ministry has been asked to approve a new building for the TAC.

PHUKET: -- The Tourist Assistance Centre (TAC) has opened a second, temporary, office to help tourists, at Surakul Stadium on the edge of Phuket Town.

There is already a TAC office at Phuket International Airport, and offices in 10 other provinces apart from Phuket.

Santi Pawai, director of the Phuket Office of Tourism and Sport, to whom the local TAC reports, told The Phuket News, “I believe more TACs will be established in other provinces to provide help for tourists.

“Currently we have only 10 staff in Phuket [covering both offices]. I want to get more in preparation for the Asean Economic Community [in December 2015] and because the numbers of tourists are continually increasing.

“I think the TAC is an advantage for Phuket tourism because we can help tourists to understand things and give them correct information.”

The office at the stadium is temporary, he added. “The TAC will have a new building. I have already sent a request for approval of the idea to the Ministry of Tourism and Sport.”

So far, however, a site for the new building has not been identified.

TAC staff man the airport office around the clock, but the stadium office will be open only during normal office hours.

The TAC cooperates closely with the Tourist police and other police, the Marine Department and the Tourist Association of Thailand to solve tourists’ problems.

Mr Santi said, “Anyone can call the TAC for help with tourists’ problems. The number is 076 327 100.”

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« Απάντηση #4 στις: Αύγουστος 10, 2013, 12:40:08 μμ »
AUSSIES A DRAIN ON PHUKET HOSPITALS

PHUKET: -- Australian visitors - mostly males in their 30s and without health insurance -- are posing an increasing drain on public hospitals budgets on the Thai resort island of Phuket.

The island has become increasingly popular with not only tourists, but also retirees and long-term foreign residents lured by the lower cost of living.

But the Thai public hospital system is facing an increasing financial burden from the high expense of caring for ill, cash-strapped foreign visitors.

Dr Nara Kingkaew, deputy director of Vachira Public Hospital in Phuket, says Australians are among the leading foreign patients who seek medical care at public hospitals because they don't have insurance.

"It's a lot of problem because it's a great burden for us to look after the foreigners, especially the Westerners who come to Thailand without any health insurance and then they fall sick or are met with an accident," Dr Nara told AAP.

There are about 30,000 Australians on Phuket in any given month out of a total of about 900,000 Australian visitors to Thailand each year.

Other nationals include Russians, British and Germans.

Dr Nara noted an Australian man who fell from a Patong Beach Hotel spent several months in hospital recuperating from his injuries, including broken legs and hips, before being discharged. He was unable to pay the cost of his hospital stay, which amounted to about $A10,000.

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« Απάντηση #5 στις: Αύγουστος 11, 2013, 19:21:16 μμ »
Phuket Opinion: Italy’s Honorary Consul – respect and enforce laws

Dr Francesco Pensato, 53, became the Honorary Consul of Italy for Phuket and Southern Thailand in May.

A director of the Thai-Italian Chamber of Commerce, Dr Francesco has degrees in Pharmacology, Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Sound Engineering, and is the CEO of World Pharm, JK Drinks and King manufacturing company.

Here, he talks about the most pressing problems facing Italian tourists and expats in Phuket.

PHUKET:
Official statistics indicate that around 250,000 Italian tourists visited Phuket last year and about 1,000 Italian expats are living on the island. The number of Italian tourists and expats in Phuket rises by more than five per cent each year.

Some expats are pensioners who are spending their retirement years in Phuket, but others have their own businesses and work here.

 The food and beverage industry is a popular line of work for Italians, and there are many Italian chefs in Phuket and elsewhere in Thailand.

Italians have invested in, and/or are managing, more than 200 restaurants, hotels, resorts and guesthouses on the island.

Others are involved in real estate and construction companies.

 However, we often hear about Italians working without a work permit and living in the Kingdom after their permit-to-stay has expired.

 I would like the police and relevant government organizations to be strict on checking and arresting expats who illegally work and live in Thailand.

We are very willing to support the authorities in this matter.

 At the same time, I also urge the authorities to take sterner action against tuk-tuk and taxi drivers who overcharge and cheat tourists.

 We have received many formal complaints about the cost of public transport in Phuket.

Some specific complaints pointed out that some taxi drivers do not turn on the meter, and instead overcharge their passengers.

 Ambassadors from European Union countries and honorary consuls have met the Phuket Governor to discuss the problems expats and tourists in Phuket face, and this was among them (story here).

 We would like the Highways Police and the Phuket Land Transport Office to be stricter on these cheats.

I also think the new airport bus (story here) is a good choice for tourists wanting to avoid overcharging by taxi drivers.

 Other issues raised by the European ambassadors were stricter enforcement of traffic laws and improved marine safety.

 In total, there were 300 road accidents and marine incidents involving tourists last year.

The top cause of accidents was tuk-tuks, vans, motorbikes and cars being driven too fast.

 The second most-common cause was tourists endangering themselves by riding motorbikes without helmets, drunk driving, not following traffic laws or not heeding lifeguards on the beaches.

 Stricter enforcement of laws would help reduce the number of tourists injured or killed in accidents resulting from these behaviors.

 In another development, we plan to have an Italian language and culture course added to a school curriculum this year, so Thai people can learn to speak Italian and make a living from Italian tourism.

We also hope to see this develop into a course at a university.

 Most importantly, we would like to remind all Italian tourists and expats to please respect the laws and culture of Thailand.

We have decided to live here – so don’t forget that we are guests in this country.

 Honorary Consulate of Italy for Phuket and South Thailand, Dr Francesco Pensato, 68/303 Moo 1, T. Chalong, A. Muang 83130, Phuket. Tel: 076-263923, Fax: 076-367153, Mobile: 088-7612637 (emergencies only).
Email: consolare.phuket@gmail.com
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« Απάντηση #6 στις: Αύγουστος 12, 2013, 13:41:44 μμ »
Special Report: Anatomy of a Phuket taxi driver


Legally registering a car has been cited as the most difficult hurdle to becoming a legal taxi driver.

Special Report

The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) has opened an 'Organized Crime Center' at Phuket International Airport to crack down on illegal taxi drivers still operating there.
The move follows widespread allegations of mafia operating on the island and illegal taxi drivers overcharging tourists.

Here, the Phuket Gazette investigates what it takes to become a Phuket taxi driver.

PHUKET: -- There are currently 2,110 taxis legally registered to operate in Phuket; 129 of those are metered taxis. However, almost 1,000 more drivers continue to work illegally on the island, gleaning profit from freshly arrived tourists, often through outright gouging.

During the crackdown earlier this year, the Phuket Land Transport Office (PLTO) identified 2,882 illegal taxis in Phuket. The crackdown inspired a further 1,981 taxi drivers to apply to have their vehicles registered.

“The PLTO is currently processing those applications,” explained PLTO officer Jaturong Kaewkasi.

However, that means at least 900 taxi drivers are operating without having made any attempt to become legal.

“This is despite us granting them amnesty and helping them by negotiating with finance companies, banks and insurance companies to reduce the costs of re-registering their vehicles as private taxis in order to become legal drivers,” Mr Jaturong said.

Although the amnesty ended on April 30, drivers can still apply to register their vehicles as taxis and apply for their taxi drivers’ licenses, he added.

Along with the carrot came the stick. On May 1, police and PLTO officers were called upon to fine all drivers caught for “illegally operating a vehicle as a taxi”.
The fine levied was the flat maximum 2,000 baht for each infringement.

The enforcement enjoyed limited success. Phuket Provincial Police confirmed to the Gazette that across the island 170 drivers were each fined 2,000 baht in April for not applying to register their vehicles as taxis, while their counterparts who were still illegally operating taxis but who had applied to become legal, were let free.

A further 246 drivers were fined in May, and another 224 in June.

However, the penalty is no stiffer for repeat offenders. “We do not have stronger penalties for drivers who repeatedly break the law.
So far, the fine is 2,000 baht every time they are caught,” Mr Jaturong said.

THE CARS

Regardless of whether a taxi is fitted with a meter or not, the engine size must not be less than 1600cc. “It doesn’t matter which make or model of car it is, and there is no restriction on the maximum size of the engine,” Mr Jaturong explained.

The vehicle cannot be more than two years old at the time it is registered as a taxi, and cannot be used as a taxi after the vehicle turns nine years old from the date the car was first registered, he added.

Furthermore, there is no such thing as an independent taxi driver in Phuket. The car must be registered as working for a legally registered organization.

“This is a nationwide regulation so that the driver of each taxi can be identified and reached in case he does something wrong,” Mr Jaturong explained.

“The person registering the taxi must provide evidence that he works for a formal organization.
He can provide a signed agreement proving he works as part of a taxi co-operative, or an employment contract showing he works for a tourism business, such as a tour kiosk, or for some other form of legal entity,” he added.

Regardless, so-called “taxi groups” are not held accountable for their members’ actions, even if their members consistently break the law.

“If their drivers are involved in a crime, charges will be pressed against the driver, not the group,” Mr Jaturong said.

“If there are complaints against a driver, the group will resolve the issue themselves. They have their own rules to punish drivers, such as suspending the drivers from work.
The number of days’ suspension – and hence lost income – will depend on what the drivers have done wrong,” he assured.

THE DRIVERS

In order to carry passengers in a taxi, drivers must be Thai nationals, as ferrying passengers is a job prohibited to foreigners under the Alien Workers Act.

They must hold a commercial driver’s license, be at least 22 years old and also hold a valid standard driver’s license issued for five years.

Applicants must provide a medical certificate affirming they are free from leprosy, tuberculosis, elephantiasis, drug addiction and alcoholism.

And they must pass a test which takes place over a two-day period at the PLTO, during which applicants receive training in traffic law, basic English language, polite manners and common courtesy, Mr Konlayut said.

They also undergo an eyesight and reflex test.

As part of the process, police conduct a background check.

“Any applicants found to have served jail time for any crime will be rejected,” Mr Konlayut assured.

“However, repeat offenders, even for traffic offenses such as reckless driving, will be issued a license to drive a taxi in Phuket so long as they have not served a day in prison,” he added.

Once issued their license, on its large yellow card, the drivers must have it on display at all times while driving the taxi.

THE INSURANCE

Every vehicle being registered as a taxi must first have at least basic commercial insurance coverage, as stipulated by the national Office of Insurance Commission, before the PLTO will process its application.

The high cost of commercial insurance has been an ongoing point of dispute among many illegal taxi drivers in Phuket, who claim they cannot afford the rates.

To make insurance coverage more affordable, the PLTO directly engaged in negotiations with finance companies, banks and insurance companies on behalf of the drivers.
The result, after months of talks, was base policies starting at about 30,000 baht per annum.

“We know it can be expensive, but we have done the best we can – and this is a mandatory requirement for a vehicle to be registered as a taxi,” Mr Jaturong confirmed.

Yet Patong Police Traffic Inspector Ekkarat Plaiduang confirmed to the Gazette that his officers would not pursue charges against any driver found driving without the required insurance.

“Instead, we will report it to the insurance company and let them decide whether they want to file a complaint,’ Maj Ekkarat explained.

“If they do, we will charge not the driver. but the owner of the car with providing false information on an official document.
The penalty for that is a fine of up to 60,000 baht or up to three years in prison, or both,” he said.

Maj Ekkarat did not elaborate on what action police would take in case passengers, including tourists, are injured in an accident involving a taxi with inadequate insurance coverage.

THE AIRPORT

The ultimate goal of nearly every taxi driver on the island is to serve Phuket International Airport, which Chanchai Doungjit, chief of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Phuket office, last month reported was the primary tourist gateway on an island that attracts about 11 million visitors per year.

Tourists pump an estimated 200 billion baht into the local economy, said Mr Chanchai. The consequence is that, for many taxi drivers in Phuket, the airport represents an easy avenue to hard cash.

To legally serve the airport, however, drivers must work for one of the taxi co-operatives that have signed a concession with the facility’s operator, Airports of Thailand (AoT).

Prakob Panyawai, managing director of Phuket Airport Limousine and Business Cooperative Ltd (PBC), explained that all cars serving the airport must be of a higher standard than regular taxis and the drivers must adhere to a dress and behavior code.

And drivers must pay the concession holders they work for, who in turn pay the AoT. Which concession they work for can affect their monthly take-home pay.

For example, Phuket Mai Khao Co, which operates 175 taxis and vans at the airport, must pay the AoT 1.3 million baht a month – requiring each driver to pay nearly 7,500 baht each month in dues. PBC, which operates 271 vehicles at the airport, owes the AoT 1.6mn baht a month – requiring each driver to pay about 5,900 baht a month.

Mr Prakob maintains that his drivers take home between 15,000 to 20,000 baht per month.

“They have to make payments on their own cars or pay a rental fee to use one of our fleet cars. Drivers who have only recently joined us also have to pay a 10,000 baht deposit against possible damage to the car they are driving,” he added.

“But the harder they work, the more they earn, and the more they get to take home,” he said.

phuket gazette

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« Απάντηση #7 στις: Αύγουστος 18, 2013, 10:14:03 πμ »
Tiger Disco: date set for trial over lethal Phuket fire

PHUKET: More than than a year after a fatal blaze killed four people at Patong’s famous Tiger Disco nightclub on August 17 last year, the nightclub’s operators will be called to Phuket Court to enter a plea to charges of negligence causing death.

“Tiger Group CEO Piya Isaramalai and Sara Entertainment Co Ltd each face a charge under Section 291 of the Thai Criminal Code: Causing Death through Negligence. They also face charges of causing physical and mental injury and trading after hours,” Phuket Chief Public Prosecutor Chiengsean Panhya confirmed to the Phuket Gazette this week.

“The suspects were formally charged on July 10. The next court appearance will be on September 2,” Mr Chiengsean said.

 On that day, the defendants will be called upon to enter a plea, he added.

“They will be also asked to explain what evidence they have to support their plea,” Mr Chiengsean explained.

 Although the trial is to be held in Phuket, the case had to be approved by the Public Prosecutor’s regional head office in Surat Thani to present in court, he added.

 The long-awaited trial comes after a series of delays in securing evidence, despite Thailand’s leading forensic police being dispatched from Bangkok to investigate the fire .

 It also comes after a damning report by the Building Society Inspectors and Officers Association (BSA) and the Association of Siamese Architects (ASA), which cited failure by nightclub management to adhere to multiple fire-safety regulations.

 The disco had improper placement of fire extinguishers and faulty emergency-exit ladders, and used a highly-flammable foam for wall and ceiling decorations, said the report .

 Some of the emergency-exit ladders were found to be too short to reach the ground, which matches witness reports of individuals being forced to jump from the burning building.

 The report also supported evidence that the decorations on the ceilings and walls of the building were made of highly flammable expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam, which is now illegal to use inside buildings.

 The forensics report, months in coming, identified the cause of the fire as an electrical short circuit under the ceiling at the front of the building, Maj Gen Chonasit Wattanavrangkul, who was Provincial Police Commander at the time, confirmed with Patong Police.

“The spark set alight the ceiling and the wall, both of which were coated with highly flammable EPS foam,” he explained.

 The popular night venue erupted into flames just before 4am, while hundreds of patrons were still inside (story here).

 British tourist Michael Tzouvanni, 24, French tourist Emmanuel Becard, 30, and Thai nationals Duangporn Budklor, 34, and Nipaphat Sudtasorn, 36, all died in the inferno.

 Days later, scores of people from Patong’s entertainment industry turned out at a memorial event to mourn those lost to the fire .

 The legal counsel for Tiger Discotheque, Thamrongsak Boonrak, confirmed this week that Tiger Group CEO Piya Isaramalai posted bail on July 10.

“Mr Piya was allowed to post bail by the court on that day. We bailed him out with cash,” he said.

“It does not matter how much we paid to post bail. He is not going anywhere,” he added.

 Mr Thamrongsak was confident in successfully defending the manslaughter charges, which carry a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison or a fine of up to 20,000 baht.

“We are not afraid to fight the charges because we are innocent. It was an accident,” he assured.

“We have all the evidence we need to prove that it was a lightning strike that night. It was not our fault at all,” he said.

 Atipong Thongyon, chief of the PEA Patong office, on August 18 – the day after the fire – refuted allegations that the blaze was caused by an exploding transformer .

“We also have evidence to prove that the Patong office of the Provincial Electricity Authority is hiding from us,” Mr Thamrongsak alleged.

“They should check their power cables and poles for public safety. The electrical wires are all old; they better check and make it safe,” he said.

phuket gazette
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« Απάντηση #8 στις: Αύγουστος 19, 2013, 13:10:21 μμ »
Canadian arrested in Patong for theft of B100,000 from Chiang Rai hotel



PHUKET: A Canadian hotel worker wanted on a charge of theft in Chiang Rai was arrested in Patong last night (August 18).

A warrant for David Peter Sundstrom, 39, formerly on the management team of a hotel in Thailand’s northern most province, was issued in June after the owner of the hotel accused him of stealing B100,000.

The hotel owner discovered that Sundstrom had rented a room in Nanai Rd.

Kathu police, accompanied by the owner, stopped Sundstrom as he rode a Honda CBR motorbike along the road at around 8pm.

He is currently being held in custody until arrangements can be made to send him back to Chiang Rai.

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« Απάντηση #9 στις: Σεπτέμβριος 04, 2013, 18:27:51 μμ »
Phuket teaches Russian, Chinese and Korean tour operators how to be legal


Governor Maitri shakes hands with one of the attendees learning about work permits and employment law

PHUKET: -- The Phuket Employment Office yesterday launched a two-day series of seminars to educate Russians, Chinese and Koreans operating tourism-related businesses in Phuket about work permits and employment law regarding foreigners.

Phuket Governor Maitri Inthusut officiated the opening of the first seminar yesterday, attended by 100 foreign and Thai representatives working for tour operators that cater to Russians tourists.

 Talks were delivered in Thai and related to attendees by translators.

 Another seminar is being held today that will cater to Chinese and Korean tour operators.

“We want foreigners involved in business and working in Phuket to know the relevant Thai laws involved.

We want to teach them what is required and also hear about the problems they encounter,” Governor Maitri told the Phuket Gazette.

 Governor Maitri explained that the three nationalities were chosen as they represented the leading source markets for inbound tourists to Phuket.

“We chose these nationalities because a lot of tourists from those countries come to Phuket, and these tourists do not speak English, so almost all of the tour operators catering to these markets hire their own native-speaking guides to serve them – and that is illegal,” he said.

 By law, only qualified, registered Thai nationals may work as tour guides in Thailand.

“After this seminar, we expect the number of foreigners working illegally in Phuket to decrease,” Governor Maitri said.

 Phuket Provincial Employment Office chief Yaowapa Pibulpol explained that the seminar covered the basics in the Foreign Business Act BE 2542, Working of Aliens Act BE 2551, Immigration Act BE 2522, Tourism Business and Guide Act BE 2535, Social Security Act BE 2533 and the Trade Associations Act BE 2509.

“When business owners know, understand and respect these laws, the number of people working illegally in Phuket’s tourism industry will decrease,” she said.

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« Απάντηση #10 στις: Σεπτέμβριος 19, 2013, 14:39:55 μμ »
Phuket camera grabbers quickly caught


Smile! Rosemary Kaberra gets her stolen camera back.

PHUKET: -- Swift action by Karon police resulted in the arrest of two teenage snatch-and-run artists and the return of the expensive Nikon camera they had grabbed from a Brazilian tourist less than 48 hours earlier.

Rosemary Maria Kaberra reported on Monday (September 16) that she had been walking along Soi Kaetkwan in Karon at about 2 am when the duo came alongside on a motorbike and snatched the camera from her shoulder.

She was unable to give police the make or number of the bike, so they checked security cameras around the area.

Just over a day later, acting on what they saw in the camera footage, officers arrested a 22-year-old Thai man, Kanin Kongchana and a Burmese teenager who cannot be named because he is under 18 years of age.

They also recovered the stolen camera and seized a Yamaha Fino motorbike used in the robbery.

Both confessed to the theft and were taken to Karon Police Station where they were booked on a charge of robbery while using motorised transport.

Pol Maj Gen Choti Chavalviwat, Commander of Phuket Provincial Police, praised to Karon officers for their swift action.

The camera was returned to the delighted tourist, who also said how impressed she was with the efficiency of the police and how grateful she was to get her Nikon back.

18-09-2013
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« Απάντηση #11 στις: Οκτώβριος 02, 2013, 10:39:26 πμ »
Aussie taxi driver intimidates other drivers with gun, blade






PHUKET: An Aussie allegedly illegally working as a taxi driver in Patong attempted to intimidate a female taxi driver yesterday afternoon with a bladed weapon and a gun.

Garry Porting was arrested later in the day by Patong Police for the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition, explained Kathu District Chief Veera Kerdsirimongkol.

Mr Porting went to the Graceland Hotel and Spa in Patong to pick up a foreign guest who wanted to go to Tiger Kingdom at about 9am yesterday, said Mr Veera.

“While waiting for the guest at the hotel, Mr Porting got into an argument with a female taxi driver stationed there, who told him he could not work as a taxi driver and accused him of being a timeshare tout,” Mr Veera told the Phuket Gazette.

After returning his customer to the hotel, Mr Porting allegedly drove his car around searching for the woman he had argued with in the morning.

“At about 3pm he saw the woman back at the taxi station, pulled his car over and got out. He approached her wielding a bladed weapon. When he noticed that she was backed by other taxi drivers, he returned to his car and got the gun and rubber bullets. He started to approach the group, but people were shouting and yelling for police, so he ran away and drove off,” Mr Veera explained.

Patong police arrested Mr Porting not far from the hotel shortly after the incident.
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« Απάντηση #12 στις: Οκτώβριος 28, 2013, 06:14:44 πμ »
Police launch new Phuket tourist support project

PHUKET: Tourists being constantly harassed by black taxi drivers has sparked a new “Tourist Care” project on the island, an initiative established by new Police Commander, Maj Gen Ong-arj Phiwruangnont.



The project, which will be ongoing, was launched on October 14 and includes two new patrol vehicles, a brochure drive and a Facebook page.

Pol Lt Col Thummasan Boonsong, the Superintendent of the Police Investigation Division, told The Phuket News the idea stemmed from tourists being harassed by illegal taxi drivers, and facing other problems while on the island.

“We have two new stickered vehicles, one jeep and one van, that will drive around the island. One will drive around the north side, and the other will drive around the south, and during the evening it will be around Bangla Road,” he said.

There are also posters and brochures being distributed in six different languages – Thai, English, Mandarin, Russian, Japanese and Korean – with contact details of who to call if the tourists have any problems.

These are being given out to people arriving at Phuket International Airport and posters are being put up in hotels around the island.

Lt Col Thummasan said, “It is impossible to think that crime won’t happen anymore because of this project. But if criminals see these vehicles and police officers around, perhaps it will make them think twice before doing anything. I think this campaign is good because we are closer to the people who need help.

“Our first case was when a Thai tourist who was visiting from Phang Nga lost her purse on October 23 while at the Tin Mining Museum. She saw the stickered van drive past, and hailed it down. Then the police officers were able to find the purse, which had been dropped in the area.

“For special occasions, like events that have large numbers of people gathering such as sports events or concerts, we will patrol around these areas with the vehicles,” Lt Col Thummasan said.

“Sometimes the tourists don’t know where to seek help. First, they can always call 191 that will reach any police station, wherever they are.

“But they can also contact our officers directly: Pol Lt Col Napat Keawwehol on 091 017 9194; Pol Lt Nakarin Sreeakaravinet 087 955 5677; or myself on 080 718 6858.”

Those wishing to follow the project can visit the Facebook page, “Phuket Police Tourist Care”.


 http://www.thephuketnews.com/police-launch-new-phuket-tourist-support-project-42567.php#sthash.P51JhPuN.dpuf

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« Απάντηση #13 στις: Οκτώβριος 28, 2013, 10:43:48 πμ »
R.I.P.

Well-known Phuket expat Richard Cracknell dies



PHUKET: Well-known Phuket man Dr Richard Cracknell, a chiropractor, acupuncturist, athlete and owner of the Wellness House and the Living Food raw cafe on the island, died in America this week.

Dr Cracknell's daughter Cynthia posted on Facebook that her father died in Miami, in the United States, on October 24.

He is believed to have died from an illness. He is understood to have returned to America earlier this year after becoming ill.

The American was a well-known personality on the island.

A doctor of acupuncture and naturopathic medicine, with a PHD in complimentary alternative medicine, Dr Cracknell ran the Wellness House detox and naturopathic health centre alongside the Living Food Cafe in Naiharn.

He moved to Phuket in 1994 after two years living in northern Thailand teaching English.

Working for many years on the island as a chiropractor, acupuncturist and general health healer, he established the Wellness House around four years ago.

The Living Food Café came about from him wanting to make good food for himself and his guests, and teach others how to do the same, he told The Phuket News in an earlier interview.

Dr Cracknell also was a top regional marathon runner, regularly winning in his age group in marathons held around Southeast Asia.

Martin Smetsers told The Phuket News he met Dr Cracknell around three years ago.

"He was a dedicated health professional who knew what he was doing; a true sportsman who's vegetarian regime helped him to recover so much more quickly from big athletic events, he told me.

He was devoted to the health cause; an ambassador for his beliefs and a true athlete.

"I was very sorry to hear that he got ill and was saddened by today's news. Condolences to his family; a good man has left us."

Dr Cracknell has adult children in America and one young daughter living in Phuket.

P.I.P. Dr. Rich

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« Απάντηση #14 στις: Οκτώβριος 31, 2013, 06:50:30 πμ »
A foreign tourist staying at at hotel in Bang Tao on Tuesday night had an uninvited visitor enter his room: a two-meter long king cobra.

Thanakorn Puyati, 29, a security guard at Bangtao Beach Gardens, was called to the scene, and quickly summoned Kusoldharm rescue workers.



“We rushed to the hotel and found a frightened foreigner and his Thai girlfriend waiting for us in their room,” said a rescue worker.





“The guest told us that he opened the sliding glass doors, then sat on the bed to enjoy the view,” he said.

The man called security when he saw the snake slither into the room, but by the time security arrived, the cobra had positioned itself behind the toilet in the bathroom.

“It took us two hours to coax it out,” the rescue worker said.

Once caught, the cobra was released at Khao Phra Thaeo National Park.


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« Απάντηση #14 στις: Οκτώβριος 31, 2013, 06:50:30 πμ »