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Phuket Governor Maitree Intrusud with Australia's First Secretary and Consul Trudy McGowan and Deputy Head of Mission Jonathan Kenna today

Phuket Governor, Heading for Australia, Backs Memorial for Murder Victim

Tuesday, June 18, 2013
PHUKET: The Governor of Phuket, Maitree Intrusud, dressed in short sleeves for his meeting today with a delegation from the Australian Embassy, perhaps in preparation for a trip to ultra-casual ''Down Under'' later this month.

After a private meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall in Phuket City, Australia's new Deputy Head of Mission, Jonathan Kenna, told Phuketwan that he continued to advocate ''strict control over the carrying of weapons.''

It was Australian Ambassador James Wise who urged authorities to try to obliterate guns and knives from Phuket in the wake of the stabbing death of Australian tourist Michelle Smith.

Her murder occurred almost precisely one year ago, on June 20.

Ironically, two Australian men were later involved in perhaps the most flagrant use of weapons on Phuket. They mistakenly shot two German tourists while aiming to kill a Danish expat in a Patong street. A Phuket court freed the shooters on good behavior bonds.

It's believed that Australia's honorary consul, Larry Cunningham, suggested today that a small memorial for Mrs Smith would be appropriate at the spot near the five-star resort in Kata Noi where the Perth tour agent was killed while walking back from dinner.

Governor Maitree said he would look into it. Many Australian tourists visited Phuket and large numbers were coming these days for inexpensive surgery, some of it cosmetic, he said.

Although Mr Kenna said later that the issue of weapons on Phuket was not one he had discussed with the governor, he added that it was an important issue: ''Weapons are always dangerous.''

In the aftermath of Mrs Smith's murder - her killers were quickly caught and given long jail terms - Phuket's police introduced the safety zone system that has since expanded across the island.

The Australian delegation also met today with Phuket Police Commander Major General Chote Chawanwiwat and the superintendents of all of Phuket's police stations.

Safety of tourists is believed to have been top of the list of topics for discussion at both meetings, with Mr Kenna adding that the embassy was ''looking to work closely together'' with Governor Maitree.

Following on from last week's Phuket summit between European envoys and the governor, Australia's Ambassador Wise is to join the follow-up meeting on June 28 with Tourism and Sport Minister Somsak Pureesrisak.

The governor won't be there. He leaves with a Phuket delegation on June 25 to visit Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Wollongong.

Phuketwan has learned that the Phuket party of about 15 will be mostly talking with members of Australia's State Emergency Services.

Staffed primarily by volunteers, the SES provides rescue and emergency services in floods and bushfires.

The governor could also get to ride in Aussie taxis and perhaps see Aussie lifeguards in action, although it's the middle of winter there. He may need long sleeves.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


A party of 15 to study rescue services ?

I wonder how much that trip is costing the taxpayers and what, if any benefit can we expect from it.

Phuket governor seems to travel as much as a head of state, yet he governs just a small island.

I wonder if they are at least flying economy class as this would be in the best interest of their voters who they proclaim to serve.

Posted by ThaiMike on June 18, 2013 14:21

Editor Comment:

We have yet to learn enough about the trip to make a judgement. The meeting was private so we learned just a little. The purpose sounds worthy enough.


I tend to agree with TM - 15 is excessive - they could probably get all the info they need from internet & YouTube.

Posted by Logic on June 19, 2013 10:10

Monday July 13, 2020
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