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Protesters express their discontent outside the Phuket resort today

Phuket Resort Hemmed by Local Protest Over Complaint to Thai PM's Office

Thursday, February 19, 2015
PHUKET: An angry protest outside a Phuket resort over a complaint about amplified prayer calls is likely to continue around the clock until the person who complained to the Prime Minister's office apologises, demonstrators said today.

At one stage during today's protest, tourist vans were prevented from entering or leaving the Phuket Panwa Beachfront Resort in eastern Phuket by a sometimes-noisy crowd of about 300 local residents.

Motorcycle riders circled the resort entrance, sounding their horns. Guests at the resort were obliged to walk out or walk in.

Close to sundown, the protesters allowed minivans to enter but set up a 24-hour protest events tent and announced that objections would continue to be made until February 26, when neighbors hope to meet with the resort's owner.

Efforts by senior administrators include Phuket Governor Nisit Jansomwong, Phuket Provincial Administrative Organisation President Paiboon Upatising and the president of the Muslim Community of Phuket, Komon Pomluk, failed to settle the angry row.

A Phuketwan reporter who heard a loudspeaker make a call to prayer today did not think it was especially loud and at least one guest at the resort - who admitted to being Muslim - said the amplified calls had not disturbed his holiday.

The main cause for the protest is that the letter of complaint was sent directly to the office of the Prime Minister of Thailand rather than the complainant dealing directly with Muslim neighbors of the resort.

The letter, dated February 11, was passed on by the PM's office to Phuket's Damrungtam complaints office and officials there alerted the Cape Panwa community to the specifics on February 16, but by sending a copy of the letter with the signatory's name removed.

A protest began outside the resort at 10am today and the number of demonstrators from the Issatulsalam Mosque swelled to 300 or more.

Phuket has more than 50 mosques and about one-third of the registered population is Muslim.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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Didn't the Police say they were going to stop this kind of harassment and mentality of blocking things and that people who block things would be arrested?

I am absolutely sure they said this not so long ago.

Posted by Tbs on February 19, 2015 18:36

Editor Comment:

We've been through this at some length. Every protest is different and some are legitimate. The public's right to protest in the street is a mark of democratic freedom - provided it's fair and reasonable and not a political powerplay. Repressive states ban all protests without regard to legitimacy and fairness.

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So if we all send letters to the PM maybe we would get a response for the Jet-skis and Para-sailing businesses on the beach.

Posted by Tbs on February 19, 2015 18:47

Editor Comment:

Most people find the task of writing a letter beyond them these days, Tbs.

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Where is the nearest loudspeaker to the resort located?

My observations were that is 100s meters away toward Ao Makham.

And anyway, all rooms face the sea, hardly any streetward originated noise reach rooms at any noticeable dB.

Posted by Sue on February 19, 2015 19:04

Editor Comment:

The nearest loudspeaker is at least 50 metres from the resort and directed away from the resort.

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Police would do well to stop gambling, pot smoking, illegal taxis and foreigners working without work permits in Ao Makham. Having lived there for more than ten years very difficult not to notice these activities.

Being English it's not in our culture to whinge.

Posted by gee on February 19, 2015 19:52

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This happens when you are not able to solve problems in a civilized and rational way.

Childish by both parties.

Posted by Georg The Viking on February 19, 2015 19:56

Editor Comment:

Writing to the Prime Minister is something we could all do about everything. Courage is sometimes required in talking to neighbors - and clearly lacking in this case.

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Its just non stop mob rule.

There are noise laws, if they are violating them, and having lived in Kamala I am guessing they were, and if the police will not apply the law, why shouldnt they write to the PM.

The way special interest groups feel that they are entitled to break the law, simply because enforcement is too hard or not profitable for the police, leads to all this chaos.

Posted by LivinLOS on February 19, 2015 20:12

Editor Comment:

You are guessing? That makes you foolish, LivinLOS, and it makes what you have to say of no value. But thank you for your honesty. What's far worse than ''non stop mob rule'' is fool rule.

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There is a skill called emotional intelligence,which if trained and aquired helps to avoid and prevent such incidents And yes the mosque was there before the resort was built. Reminds of the people building next to an airport then complain about the noise

Posted by Wm on February 19, 2015 20:43

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As for the PM's address, I'll happily write a letter if you can provide it for me.

Posted by Tbs on February 19, 2015 22:04

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I'm quite sure there are laws prohibiting people from blocking access on public roads, yet the police is not even mentioned in the article.

Ever since the BKK airport takeover by the Yellow shirts people use mob rule to protest whatever it is that was not to their liking.

There are proper channels of complaint and taking a resort hostage is not one of them, regardless of the cause.

Perhaps the affected Muslim leaders should consider writing their own letter to the PM.

After all, no-one from the resort organized a mob to block their access to the Mosque because they did not like the noise it was causing.

This is a very one-sided approach to problem solving and the impotence of the local police force only aggravates the situation.

Under such circumstances national reconciliation is nothing but a pipe dream.

Posted by Herbert on February 19, 2015 22:48

Editor Comment:

The use of the word ''mob'' is as sign you've decided who is right and who is wrong, Herbert. And now these residents are on a par with airport invaders. The letter written to the PM was ''a very one-sided approach to problem solving'' when the right thing was to talk to neighbors.

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Any gathering over 5 people is illegal under current (oppressive) laws, but only for political opponents of the junta - apparently.

Posted by The War Whores on February 19, 2015 23:55

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Complaint was anonymous, filed through 1111 hotline, and local community when presented with a complaint, decided that it could only this resorts as other " have relations with community".
Management says they didn't file a complaint, blame owner ( allegedly Thai politician in Bangkok), and post desperate messages on FB http://t.co/GKKW8keZ2D

That's quite a mob rule as it looks

Posted by Sue on February 20, 2015 00:49

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Its all a matter of toleranece and intolerance. Firstly as a resident of the area and ex North African expat, i find the call to prayer is haunting and beautiful. But does the response of the community really fit the "original provocation"? Lets say hypertheticlly that a Church constructed in the area were to ring its bells before dawn and then 5 times, a day in the area,as they in their way are aslo a call to prayer. Or in indeed if it became a buddhist practice to generate a loud noise at these times. Would this be tolerted ?

In my view the fraternity are clearly using this apparent provocation to voice deepr grievances and exact influence for other reasons. Frankly if this is how they react which brave fool would try to engage them face to face witout fear of being lynched.

This is not free speech this is whole sale intimidation and mob. If its not cut of in the bud then the next call will be for a islamic law and rule in Panwa. You rightly rally for the cause of the persecuted in Myamar this is a case of intimidation plain and simple.

Posted by Quasimodo on February 20, 2015 07:28

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Utterly ridiculous from both sides, though the resort deserves some flack if someone there has indeed sent an official complaint letter in this way.

Posted by Duncan on February 20, 2015 08:37

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Agree 100% with Sue on this one - mob rule at best and should not be supported in any way.

Posted by John M on February 20, 2015 09:12

Editor Comment:

Hardly ''mob rule.'' Totally inappropriate phrase. Misused by the tabloids with the same ease as ''mafia'' and ''nazi.''

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@ Ed

I have not decided anything. The law dictates what is wrong and what is right.

A large gathering of people using illegal means to block free movement aided by the intimidating effect of hundreds of people is certainly a mob in my books.

Since you disagree, would you please offer your PC term to describe such an incident ?

Peaceful protest does not apply when intimidation is used to infringe on the rights of others, as has been the case far too often in Thailand in the past few years.

How would you feel if you had a group of hundreds blocking the access to PW offices because they happened to disagree with something legal you did or said ?

How peaceful and justified a reaction do you feel it would be and how would you feel about the police completely ignoring the situation ?

Posted by Herbert on February 20, 2015 11:38

Editor Comment:

There is no suggestion that the public road was blocked, as it has been by other protests on Phuket where police have arrested participants in retrospect.

I have spoken regularly to an independent reporter who has been to the resort. But even so, I would not attempt to guess at the legitimacy or otherwise of the complaints.

I will leave that to readers whose supernatural ability to tell right from wrong without direct involvement never ceases to amaze me.

Move aside Zeus, make room for Herbert, please. He's great at theorising and apportioning blame hypothetically. Not much good at real life, though. Very PC, wants police to arrest everyone.

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300 angry people blocking the entrance of a resort is of course a "mob". Blocking or restricting innocent peoples movement is of course unlawful, and should be dealt with by the police. Besides, the resort claims it DID NOT make the complaint, but even if they did, a mob harassing people that don't have anything to do with this is unacceptable

Posted by christian on February 20, 2015 13:35

Editor Comment:

Your harsh opinion, christian, and you weren't even there. Why not let those who were there - police, the governor, the president of the Phuket Provincial Administrative Organisation - make logical judgements based on real evidence. None of them have called it a ''mob.'' But slavishly follow the tabloids in need of circulation if you must.

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@Quasimodo is quite right : these people seems to find a pre-text to demonstrate and increase influence in their local area. Don't forget that it is these ppl or their relatives who blocked in similar matter Port of Phuket on arrival on R&R of US troops to make them use their taxi service.

The complaint obviously doesn't specify location, as crowd listed other resorts alone Sakridet Rd. which they exonerate on allegedly good links to community.
As anonymous complaint it has more chances to be fixed by the Condo that is 2 turns away from to resort near the gate of commercial ports - there 3 new building, and yes, there are 2 loudspeakers along perimeter - I indeed wondered whether condo owners will love it...

Overall, 1111 line is not complaint to PM, it was just general purpose complaint line.

The approach by these people toward the resort is quite ridiculous , smth.like if I would say to someone - I've seen in a dream that you disrespectfully badmouthed me, now I want apologize and monetary comoensation, otherwise I will tirelessly pursue you, in my greenfielding exercise masked as paranoia ...

Posted by Sue on February 20, 2015 14:04

Editor Comment:

I don't know where your information about the 1111 call comes from but you appear to be one of those people who believes everything they hear, then passes it on as fact. We stand by our articles but cannot vouch for rumors and gossip.

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@ Ed

Smoke and mirrors.

Please just tell me what to call it if it's not a mob and how would you feel if such action was taken against your place of business.

Considering the numerous people you've upset on this island with your straightforward reporting, for which I'm very grateful, it's not so far fetched of an idea that such action would target PW.

If you condone such action taken against others, you would have no leg to stand on if you become the target.

Posted by Herbert on February 20, 2015 14:12

Editor Comment:

It's not going to happen here, we get on well with our neighbors, including the Royal Thai Navy, so your point is an irrelevant exaggeration. We neither condone nor criticise the protest: we'll leave it up to the proper authorities. So should you.

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@Ed

1111 hotline is a beginning of the story , where the complaint originated , then those complaints are dealt by some structure under the current of PM, and from where dispatched locally - this is what vice-governor told, and what was reported by other outlets.
To have a coherent picture of what going on we have to refer to various source , as objectively , we as readers can't reasonably expect one media outlets to cover all the event in all the details.
PW report is good and comprehensive one, more thorough than others, but yes, it missed the beginning of the story - as I said it's not a fault.

Vice-governor may told info about origination of a complaint at the moment when PW reporter was not there, of told it to rather narrow group of people, or without loudspeaker , or whatever - 1111 is just beginning of the story, and indeed not contravene PW report, but make it even better,as a picture them become more complete .

Posted by Sue on February 20, 2015 14:54

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For everyone, the definition of "mob"
mob


/m??b/


noun

noun: mob; plural noun: mobs; noun: Mob; noun: the Mob
1. a large crowd of people, especially one that is disorderly and intent on causing trouble or violence.
Please focus on the word "trouble," if blocking access isn't "trouble", then what is it.

Posted by Laurie Howells on February 20, 2015 15:44

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I can't see why the muslims should have loud speakers blasting out their religious stuff to everyone? I am sure that they would have protests if the Christians or Catholics started doing the same. The loud speakers should not be used for this. Why don't the muslims just have their own radio programme so they can listen to it in private without annoying anyone?

Posted by Mr Wolf on February 20, 2015 19:00

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@Ed

Here is that 1111 hotline anonymous complaint dd. 1st of February this year:

http://goo.gl/BHTZX4

Posted by Sue on February 20, 2015 21:25


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