The Minister of Tourism and the Head of the National Police call for greater tourist security



PHUKET: Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn and National Police Chief Pol Gen Suwat Jangyodsuk today called in Phuket for tougher measures to increase security.

The call for enhanced security measures follows the death of 57-year-old Swiss tourist Nicole Sauvain-Weisskopf, whose body was found yesterday near the Ao Yon waterfall on the east coast of Phuket.

“I would like to say that I am deeply saddened for the loss of his family and the Swiss people,” said Mr. Phiphat, speaking at the Sandbox Emergency Operation Center (EOC) in Phuket Town this afternoon (August 6), also assisted by the Governor of Phuket Narong Woonciew.

“The Ministry of Tourism and Sports and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have offered our condolences to the Swiss Embassy. The incident is unexpected and no one wants such things to happen, ”he said.

“The incident should never have happened to anyone. As General Suwat suggested, we need to put in place security measures in all tourist attractions in Phuket, both popular places and natural places like the scene of the incident, ”Phiphat continued. .

“I want to have teams of staff to filter the people entering and leaving the premises, we have to define the entry and exit for each place to be at the same point, so that it is easy to control”, a he added.

“You can say it’s” Wau Hai Lom Khok ” [‘locking the stable door after the horse is stolen’] because every incident becomes our lesson. We always have to learn and apply what we are learning all the time, ”he said.

“Most importantly, I want everyone in Phuket to be the eyes and ears of our officials, especially those who live near tourist attractions. If you see anything suspicious, please let our police or agents know. We all have to work together, ”he said.

“One measure presented at the meeting that could disrupt the privacy of arrivals was to check the personal information and criminal history of arrivals at all ports before allowing them to enter Phuket,” Phiphat noted.

“Another measure is to install more CCTV cameras in each area. There may not be enough cameras on the island. Phuket governor to meet with relevant officials to table budget [request] for that, ”he said.

THE SANDBOX WILL CONTINUE

The safety of tourists in Thailand needs to be improved and the Phuket Sandbox program will continue, Phiphat said.

“The Phuket sandbox has yet to continue. To secure the island and the country, the current time is the most important because Thailand was ranked 110e for the safety of tourists in 150 countries, ”said Mr. Phiphat.

“We must unite to make our country safer to be ranked below 100e. We may not be able to do it this year, but I think we can do it next year, ”he said.

“This is to tell the world that we are taking a step forward for the safety of tourists during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have not done very well in terms of security in the past as we have had more tourists than our staff can handle.

“In 2019 we had around 40 million tourists, but right now we have a lot of time to prepare and take action to improve.

“However, it takes a budget to do anything. We have spent huge budgets to fight COVID-19. Right now, spending a budget on something else may require discussion with the appropriate members of government, ”Phiphat said.

UNITED EFFORTS

National Police Chief General Suwat said he was tasked by the prime minister to ensure that every effort is made to catch the killer.

“This morning, additional police officers were brought in to investigate the scene and to support police operations in the area, and instructions sent by the central government confirm that the police themselves will use their ability to monitor the case. to clarify what had happened as soon as possible, ”General Suwat said.

“The Phuket provincial government has also said it is important to step up action to put in place measures that will restore confidence, so that every square inch of Phuket is very safe,” he added.

The Governor of Phuket, Narong Woonciew, this afternoon repeated his message of condolences to the family and friends of Ms. Sauvain-Weisskopy.

“Those responsible will speed up the investigation of what happened and bring justice to Ms. Nicole.” Please count on our best efforts to follow this case closely, ”he said.

Bhummikitti Raktaengam, chairman of the Phuket Tourism Association, said the safety of tourists is the best guarantee that Phuket is a world-class tourist destination.

However, he added, “the number of police here is small, not balanced with Phuket being a tourist destination.”

“There are two phases to building trust, the first phase is to find the offender as quickly as possible in order to clarify our priorities to the community, and to restore confidence. The second phase is long-term planning so that this kind of incident does not happen again.

“This means taking into account the number of officers, which must be sufficient to achieve the target. On this occasion, I would like to represent 16 private organizations that will support the government in its efforts to strengthen security and confidence in all dimensions, ”he said.

Thanet Tantipiiriyakij, chairman of the Phuket branch of the Tourism Council, said the council is also ready to help the government build confidence in tourism.

“The safety of tourists is important to boost Phuket’s confidence and image,” he said.

A series of enhanced safety and security measures were presented at today’s meeting.

These included further research to identify where tourists go in the country and installing more CCTV cameras in key areas to increase tourist safety.

“Put in place measures to take care of tourists starting with the procedures on arrival at the airport and the close monitoring of tourists,” said Mr. Thanet.

“For example, in the event that a traveler leaves a hotel for another place of stay, the hotel must have verifiable information. Or in the case of tourists staying in a hotel, when the tourists go out to do activities, the hotel staff should observe every day whether or not the tourists have returned to the hotel.

“If a tourist is missing and the hotel suspects that something has happened, the tourist should be called to confirm that [he or she] is safe and this information should be reported to government officials.

CCTV AND COMMUNITY PATROL

The Minister of Tourism responded to several of the suggestions and questions raised.

“Regarding the problem of the lack of police personnel, which prevents them from performing their duties in a comprehensive way, the community should help,” he said.

“People like village chiefs [Phu Yai Baan], sub-district heads [Kaman], agents of local government organizations [municipalities etc] can volunteer to be eyewitnesses and deal with tourists. This will allow Phuket Sandbox to create a concrete model for supporting tourists, ”Phiphat added.

“Regarding the installation of CCTV cameras, the provincial government of Phuket has now completed a project to seek a budget from the government to install CCTV cameras, which the Prime Minister has attached importance to this issue. “, he noted.

In addition, the Department of Digital Economy and Society has been tasked with supporting the provincial government by providing the appropriate technology to be used to help men make the area safer and more secure instead of using the hand. -work, “continued Mr. Phiphat.

“The Thai government would like to express its condolences for this incident. The Prime Minister acknowledges what has happened and has ordered all parties to do their best on what needs to be done. “

Although recognized as disrespectful at this point after the death of Ms. Sauvain-Weisskopf, Mr. Phiphat noted for the record that the Ministry of Tourism and Sports has a fund to compensate tourists up to $ 1 million. baht in case of injury or death. .


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