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Pm Confident Phuket Summit To Be Peaceful

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Monday, May 11, 2009

PM confident Phuket Summit to be peaceful

phuket-The-scene-at-Phuket-City-Police-Station-Saturday-morning-when-local-police-got-training-in-anti-riot-techniques-in-preparation-for-the-Asean-led-summits-scheduled-for-next-month-1-NfxGhwg.jpgThe scene at Phuket City Police Station Saturday morning, when local police got training in anti-riot techniques in preparation for the Asean-led summits scheduled for next month.

PHUKET CITY: Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said yesterday the Asean-led summits in Phuket next month will not see a repeat of the Pattaya fiasco as his government had a good new security plan in place.

The government was ready for the summit and would enforce the internal security law to have more power to handle the situation, he said in his weekly Sunday morning television program.

“Police alone might not be able to control the situation. We need military and civilians to help take care of security matters,” he said.

Prime Minister Abhisit decided to postpone a major Asean summit with partners from Asia and the Pacific region after red-shirted protesters stormed into a convention hall in Pattaya last month.

The government has proposed the new meeting to be held on June 13-14 in Phuket, a well-known stronghold of the ruling Democrat Party.

The official dates have not been fixed yet as some foreign leaders could not reschedule their foreign travel. However, most of the leaders have responded to the Phuket summit in a positive way, he said.

Asean Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan said last week that more than half of the 15 leaders had agreed with Thailand’s proposal.

PM Abhisit said he did not want to see any protests during the Phuket summit. “But if there are protests, it should be in accordance with the law,” he said.

“Asean is important for the country's reputation, dignity and international confidence, and we should not bring our internal problems there,” he added.

The prime minister insisted that he would not allow a recurrence of the Pattaya incident.

The Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship (DAAD), comprising the red shirts, has not been dissolved despite the military crackdown on Songkran Day. They gathered yesterday at a temple in Don Muang in a show of strength amid heavy rains in the afternoon.

They threatened last week to protest at the Phuket summit if the government does not bring the blue-shirted men to justice. They accused the blue group of setting up violence to facilitate the military crackdown against the red group.

DAAD leader Jatuporn Promphan said yesterday at the rally that the red group was “set up” to attack an empty bullet-proof car at the Interior Ministry on April 12.

Mr Jatuporn claimed PM Abhisit had changed to another car with the same license plate and had tricked the angry mob, which he said comprised mostly military officers in red shirts, into attacking the car.

PM Abhisit said in his televised program that he was in the car when the angry mob attacked the car.

The red rally yesterday was closely monitored by police since some of DAAD leaders were arrested and granted bail on the condition that they would not provoke any mass uprising said Police Maj Gen Saroj Phromcharoen of the Metropolitan Police Second Region.

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-- Phuket Gazette 2009-05-11

– The Nation



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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Phuket Police train for Asean summit

phuket-Phuket-Police-practice-using-fire-engines-and-phalanx-formations-to-drive-away-mock-protesters-1-mRGXJpj.jpgPhuket Police practice using fire engines and phalanx formations to drive away mock protesters. Gazette photo.

PHUKET CITY: There was more action than usual at Phuket City Police Station yesterday when some 300 local police took part in crowd control and anti-riot training under the watchful eye of Royal Thai Police Region 8 Commissioner Santarn Chayanon.

The special training is in the run-up to the Asean+3+6 summit, tentatively scheduled to take place at the Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort and Spa June 13 to 14.

The officers, from all eight police stations on the island, were equipped with batons and Plexiglas shields. They were split into two companies for the special training.

The first, led by Kathu Police Superintendent Grissak Songmoonnark, practiced using the shields to form phalanxes to protect themselves and march against a small group of mock rioters and agitators – actually motorcycle taxi drivers who volunteered to take part.

Some of the “rioters” tried to break the formation, while others abused them verbally or hurled objects such as palm fronds and light plastic water bottles.

The second group, led by Pol Col Thummanoon Fhaijou, focused on crowd control measures and group response to a variety of scenarios.

Their training included defensive measures starting with negotiation, then moved on to more agressive tactics including the deployment of fire engines and tear gas to disperse protesters.

All of the tactics used are legal under normal Thai law, said a press release issued at the event.

The training was directed by Phuket Provincial Police Commander Pigad Thantipong and supervised by Phuket Provincial Police Deputy Commander Chalit Tinthanee.

Lt Gen Santhan said that some 2,100 local policemen would provide security during the summit, with reinforcements of 400-700 from the Border Patrol Police and other units.

“The upcoming summit in Phuket is vital for both Thailand and Asean. The previous failure had an obvious impact on everyone involved. We don’t want a repeat of that, because the damage would multiply, and Thailand’s credibility would be badly affected,” he said.

The police may also get help from the Army, however. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Friday said he would seek Cabinet approval to enforce the Internal Security Act during the summit.

The law would only be enforced during a short period of time and only in areas where it is deemed warranted, the state-run Thai News Agency quoted him as saying.

Invoking the Act would authorize the military’s Internal Security Operations Center to issue orders to concerned agencies and control access along key travel routes for the summit.

The announcement has set off a great deal of debate in the Phuket tourism industry.

Phuket has in the past hosted many large regional summits without incident.

Invoking special security measures and involving the military could backfire and harm the island’s reputation, one businessman was quoted as saying in the local Thai language press today.

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-- Phuket Gazette 2009-05-10

– Khunakorn Terdkiatkhachorn



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“Police alone might not be able to control the situation. We need military and civilians to help take care of security matters,” he said.

involving civilians is the worst thing you can do

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"Police alone might not be able to control the situation. We need military and civilians to help take care of security matters," he said.

involving civilians is the worst thing you can do

if anything negative happens i will eat my hat (though I have been forced to dine on my hat in the past)

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VDO on http://thainews.prd.go.th/newsenglish/prev...hp?news_id=1102 or

item--1- Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is confident that Phuket is prepared to be a host venue for the ASEAN summit with dialogue partners and called for Thais to unite and be good hosts.

After spending a private weekend on vacation with his family in the resort island of Phuket, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on his departure gave an interview to local media at the airport saying that he had enjoyed the vacation and had a good rest. Asked about the ASEAN summit which is scheduled to take place in Phuket on June 13-14th, Mr.Abhisit expressed his confidence that the province is prepared and ready to host the summit. He said he learnt that the local provincial authority, local governments, business sector and residents welcome the summit. He said he is certain that the meeting in Phuket will be a success and should restore foreign confidence in Thailand. The prime minister also stressed that any international conference in Thailand is seen as a good opportunity for Thais to reflect the identity of Thainess and hospitality and he urges all Thais to join the government to be good hosts for this summit.

Item--2- Phuket Governor insists Phuket’s readiness to host ASEAN summit with dialogue partners and plans a mass vow in support of the summit.

Phuket Governor Wichai Praisa-ngob reaffirmed Phuket’s readiness to host the 14th ASEAN summit with dialogue partners, namely China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India in mid June. The summit will be held at the Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort and Spa located on Karon beach. In the lead up to the summit, among several activities to encourage local people to be good hosts, the governor plans a huge assembly of all parties on May 22nd to vow that they will fully support the summit and will be good hosts and ensure that the summit runs smoothly. Government officials, local government leaders and officials, members of the private sector, students and teachers plus members of the public are invited. The governor calls for multi sector collaboration, regardless of whatever their political belief is. Mr. Wichai went on to point out that if the ASEAN summit in Phuket went smoothly, it will greatly boost and revive tourism as well as restore foreign tourists and investors’ confidence in Thailand. The governor is calling a meeting with related agencies today Tuesday to assign and follow up preparation work focussed on landscaping and beatification of roads and both sides from the airport to the hotel for meeting and accommodation. He also follows up publicity to campaign for residents to join with the authority to give an impressive welcome to visitors. On the police side, police region 8 held a training session to review its officers’ skills in controlling or handling big crowds or mobs. Around 300 officers from the Phuket provincial police attended the training.

Item--3- A Phuket MP reassures that local people are willing to collaborate with the government to host the ASEAN summit with dialogue partners.

Phuket representative from Democrat Party Tossaporn Theppabutr insists Phuket’s readiness to host the ASEAN summit with dialogue partners on June 13-14 saying that after the meeting with local community leaders, organizations and residents, they expressed positive attitudes and welcomed the meeting. He said people he met said they are ready to give collaboration to the government to gear up for the success of the summit. Tossaporn confirms that Phuket is well prepared in many aspects whether convention facilities or accommodation etc.. On the local government side, the Patong Deputy Mayor Chairat Sukhaban voiced his full support that Phuket can host the international conference, saying that such an important conference will boost Phuket’s reputation and reassure visitors of safety and security. He also called for multi-sectors in Phuket to be good hosts for the summit.

Andaman News NBT TV (VHF dial) at 8.30am & perhaps repeats on Phuket Cable TV channel 1 at 3.30pm, 7pm & 1am, broadcast to Phang Nga, Krabi & Phuket provinces & Mazz Radio FM108 at 7pm in Phuket, Tuesday 12th May 2009 & http://thainews.prd.go.th/newsenglish/ & www.YouTube.com/AndamanNews

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Phuket red shirts vow no disruption to Asean summits

phuket-Mr-Wisut-presents-the-document-to-Phuket-Governor-Wichai-Phraisa-ngop-(pink-shirt)-Kamol-Pirat-1-IiTAYAm.jpgMr Wisut presents the document to Phuket Governor Wichai Phraisa-ngop (pink shirt). /Kamol Pirat

phuket-The-local-UDD-branch-goes-by-the-English-language-name-Phuket-Protect-Democratic-Group-4-WERUdAB.jpgThe local UDD branch goes by the somewhat awkward English-language name "Phuket Protect Democratic Group".

PHUKET CITY: Members of the Phuket branch of the National United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) this morning visited the Governor’s Office to protest government plans to invoke the Internal Security Act in Phuket during the upcoming Asean summit.

Dressed in their trademark red shirts, a group of about 20 UDD members led by Wisut “Ae Inside” Tangwittayaporn presented Phuket Governor Wichai Phraisa-ngop with a letter stating that they have no plan to cause a disturbance during the summits, scheduled to take place at the Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort in Karon on June 13 and 14.

“We will not rally or do anything to destroy the reputation of Phuket and Thailand during the meetings,” said Mr Wisut, who is also editor of the local political journal Inside Phuket.

“We will co-operate with the people of Phuket to prevent the “other color” group from causing any disturbance during the meetings,” he said.

Mr Wisut was speaking in a clear reference to the yellow-shirted People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), whose members last year occupied Government House in Bangkok and forced the closure of the two main airports in Bangkok.

However, Mr Wisut said the UDD continues to oppose the government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and its decision to invoke the Internal Security Act in Phuket during the meeting.

“The Security Act will impact tourism in Phuket. Tourists will be frightened when they land at Phuket International Airport and see soldiers armed with assault rifles,” he said.

Given that Phuket and six other nearby provinces are the power base of the Democrat Party, there is no reason to invoke the Act in Phuket or surrounding provinces, said Mr Wisut.

While admitting to his role in mobilizing red-shirt followers to take part in demonstrations at the aborted summit in Pattaya over the Songkran holiday, the Mr Wisut insisted his goal is political reconciliation across the entire country.

To achieve this, Prime Minister Abhisit must call on his party members to stop accusing the red shirts of being the cause of violence, he said.

“If his party’s members don’t stop barking at the red shirts, there is no way to have reconciliation in Thailand,” said Mr Wisut, who in 2007 ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Phuket Provincial Administration Organization during a by-election in District 1.

He came in third with just 273 votes to 839 for the winner, Democrat Party member Somkuan Tansakul.

Gov Wichai accepted the document, saying he wanted nothing more than the Asean summits to go smoothly.

“If everyone comes together to host a successful series of meetings, it will benefit the entire island by enhancing Phuket’s reputation as a safe tourist destination,” he said.

If any Phuket people are unhappy about the meetings, they should drive the governor off the island rather than take part in anti-government demonstrations, he added.

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-- Phuket Gazette 2009-05-12

– Kamol Pirat



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Without doubt, there won't be any significant disturbances during the Asean summit, other than the anticipated clampdown on movements in the vicinity of the airport and the chosen venue(s), and a high profile police presence everywhere. However, there is still the spectre of the ill judged PAD closure of Phuket airport last year, which probably caused more damage to the island's tourist industry than the Bangkok airport shutdown/general economic situation combined (people have long memories)! I still remember the stories of tourists climbing over fences with their luggage, seeking to get transport etc. I doubt that these people will be amongst the first to book another holiday in the LOS.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Local PAD commends Phuket red shirfts, but issues warning

phuket-Anti-Thaksin-artwork-put-up-by-PAD-supporters-during-the-PAD-Political-Concert-at-Saphan-Hin-in-Phuket-City-last-month-1-vscOMuf.jpgAnti-Thaksin artwork put up by PAD supporters during the PAD Political Concert at Saphan Hin in Phuket City last month.

PHUKET CITY: The People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) spokesperson for Phuket has commended the local “red shirt” group for its commitment not to disrupt the upcoming Asean-led summit meetings in June, but vowed to mobilize PAD members to prevent any incursion onto the island by red shirt protesters from other parts of the country.

Phuket PAD coordinator Aparat Chartchutikumjorn this morning told the Gazette, “Thank you to the Phuket red shirts for announcing that they have no plan to stop or disturb the Asean summit. This is to the benefit of Thailand and it should have happened before at [the aborted summit] in Pattaya, Chonburi.”

Miss Aparat was speaking in reference to a press conference held yesterday by Wisut “Ae Inside” Tangwittayaporn, who heads the “Phuket Protect Democratic Group”, an affiliate of the National United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) who remain loyal to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

For details of the press conference click here.

However, Ms Aparat said she had heard from “informed sources” that Prompong Nopparit, spokesman for the pro-Thaksin Puea Thai Party, is planning to mobilize as many as one million red shirt protesters from Isarn and other parts of the country to assemble in Phang Nga during the summit.

“If the Phuket red shirts are really committed to saving our economy, we ask them to help stop this from happening,” she said.

“The yellow shirts would like everyone to understand that we cannot destroy Thailand anymore. This government is faced with a financial crisis and we must put solving it as our first priority. Local and national level politicians must put the needs of the country before their own political aspirations,” she said.

“The yellow shirts will not give any chance for red shirts to come near the area where the Asean summit is being held. We have a plan to block the red shirts,” she said.

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-- Phuket Gazette 2009-05-13

– Khunakorn Terdkiatkhachorn and Stephen Fein

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