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MediaWATCH: Thais Own Phuket, says Land Office

MediaWATCH: Thais Own Phuket, says Land Office

Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Phuketwan MediaWATCH

A daily wrap of Thailand news, with a Phuket perspective and reports from national and international media.

Bangkok Post The Phuket Land Office says it is unable to determine if any land on the island is registered on behalf of foreigners in the name of proxies. However, an executive at the office, who asked not to be named, says the office can confirm that all land on the island is legally owned by Thais. He says all land title deeds had been issued legally. The Thailand Research Fund released a research paper on Sunday in which it claimed about 90 percent of beach property in Phuket was controlled by foreigners through Thai proxies.

Today's Must Read

Associated Press The Los Angeles County coroner has ruled Michael Jackson's death a homicide, a law enforcement official says. This finding makes it more likely criminal charges will be filed against the doctor who was with the pop star when he died and is the target of a manslaughter investigation. The coroner determined a fatal combination of drugs was given to Jackson hours before he died June 25, according to the official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the findings have not been publicly released.

aljazeera Thailand has officially come out of its worst recession in 11 years after official data showed its economy grew 2.3 percent in the second quarter compared with the previous three months. Officials said a rebound in manufacturing and a government stimulus plan helped Southeast Asia's second largest economy begin tentative steps toward recovery. Analysts cautioned that political uncertainty could impede the recovery by continuing to squeeze tourism, which has a knock-on effect on private consumption.

theherald.co.uk The extent to which holidaymakers are damaging Britain's reputation abroad is laid bare in a report which reveals that 1000 people were arrested for drugs offences over the past year. British Behaviour Abroad, which collated statistics from British consulates, finds there were 6919 arrests or detentions involving UK citizens, and 5629 deaths. Spain, still the most popular destination among UK travellers, recorded the highest number of hospitalisations, with 741 British tourists requiring medical treatment there in the last year. Greece was in second place, followed by France then Thailand with 198. As a proportion of the total number of visitors, Brits were most likely to end up in hospital in Thailand, while drugs offences accounted for one-quarter of all the arrests in that country.

Bangkok Post Two drug traffickers at Bang Khwang prison have been executed by lethal injection. Bundit Jaroenwanit, 45, and Jirawat Poompreuk, 52, were given 60 minutes to call or write to their loved ones. The two, legs manacled, turned towards a temple as they were laid out on beds.They received three injections. The first was a sedative, the second a muscle relaxant and the third a drug that stops the heart beating.

zdnet.com Add the Radisson Hotels & Resorts chain to the growing list of businesses reporting significant data breaches that exposed sensitive customer data. In an open letter to guests, Radisson chief operating officer Fredrik Korallus said the hotel chain's computer system was hacked between November 2008 and May 2009 and customer data, including credit and debit card numbers, was stolen. From the Radisson letter: Radisson has been coordinating with federal law enforcement to assist in the investigation of this incident. While the number of potentially affected hotels involved in this incident is limited, the data accessed may have included guest information such as the name printed on a guest's credit card or debit card, a credit or debit card number, and/or a card expiration date. The company did not say how many customer records were accessed.

pr-inside.com Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort has hosted a cocktail reception to honor three lifeguards who saved a guest from drowning. U-thit Damsanit, Surachet Janwana and Viroon Chuasaman were praised for their swift and efficient coordination and courage in saving a guest from drowning at the risk of their own safety.

aljazeera.com A Malaysian Muslim woman who had been sentenced to be caned for drinking beer has been granted a reprieve until after Ramadan. Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, 32, had been expected to face six strokes of the rattan cane after her conviction by an Islamic sharia court. On Monday she was taken from her parent's home in preparation. But in a surprise announcement, hours later an official from the state of Pahang's Islamic Affairs department said Kartika had been freed on orders from ''higher authorities''.

Antara The use of an Indonesian cultural product by Malaysia for a commercial purpose cannot be tolerated and hurts Indonesia, a legislator said. A tourism advertisement in a Malaysia Visit Year program included girls performing the Balinese Pendet dance in a television program. ''The Indonesian government should teach Malaysia a lesson to stop its dishonorable behavior,'' the legislator said.

Australian Associated Press Convicted Australian drug runner Schapelle Corby has gone insane and will not survive her 20-year sentence unless she is moved out of Bali's Kerobokan Prison, a top Australian psychiatrist has warned. Associate Professor Jonathan Phillips visited Corby in prison earlier this month and says the former beauty student is ''hanging on by a thread''. ''She is lost in her own bewildering world where fantasy, hallucinations and bizarre ideas dominate her mind,'' Dr Phillips told New Idea magazine.

straitstimes.com Indonesian police have decided to drop a widely criticised plan to monitor sermons given at mosques and mass gatherings. The decision came after a number of political parties and Islamic organisations voiced their objections to the plan. ''There will be no monitoring or limiting of sermons, which has worried some,'' a national police spokesman said. Security forces in Indonesia are jittery after the country's fragile four-year peace was shattered last month when two hotels in Jakarta were struck by suicide bombers.

bernama.com Australia is the Langkawi Development Authority's next target to attract foreign tourists after success in Singapore, India and Germany. Pishol Ishak, Kedah branch chairman of the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents, said that a roadshow would be held in Australia in October to promote the resort island. He said 43,000 Australians visited Langkawi last year and the number for the first six months this year was 15,000.

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The new law on land ownership which is due out next year will be made for the whole Thailand to thwart the purchase of farmland by foreign countries under the guise of nominees and it seems impossible in the current political climate they will make amendments to laws to encourage foreign investors in commercial real estate or the purchase of private land as discontent is rampant among Thais of the street.

Media pressure on the central government comes from several factors;

- By the Thai real estate developers who can no longer sell their projects or who are seriously in competition with foreign investors in Phuket, Koh Samui, etc. ....

- By local communities (Muslim, Moken-Sea Gypsies in Rawai, native tourist beaches) that have been or are about to be evicted by landlords from the lands they are living for generations.

- By the Thais who can not buy land to build a family home because the property value of land in Phuket is beyond annual revenues for purchase with a bank loan even for those who have studied academic and work for a pittance in tourism or work for the government and local governments.

Certainly the government can not do much for those who have already invested with Thai nominee names at the risk of creating widespread panic on foreign investments, but they will be forced by pressure from the public and media to reinforce the law on land acquisition and to control more efficiently all financial supports from Thai shareholders in Thai companies and therefore it will be increasingly difficult things in the future to set up companies in Thailand without legal evidences of input liquidity by Thai partners..

Posted by Whistle-Blower on August 25, 2009 12:19


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