Phuket Governor responds to Patong hotel closed, Songkran COVID rules flouted

PHUKET: Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew this morning (Apr 18) tread carefully in responding to the news of a well-known Patong hotel being ordered closed for flouting COVID-19 prevention rules during the Songkran holidays, and the mass water fights on Bangla Rd during Songkran, resulting in five officers from Patong Police Station being transferred pending further investigation.

Governor Narong said that the public and business operators had been well informed of the need to follow the COVID-prevention rules during the Songkran holidays to prevent the spread of infections.

Phuket Provincial Police in concert this morning posted a notice repeating the official public notices issued on Apr 2 and on Apr 4 warning all people and business operators to follow the mandated COVID-19 protocols.

“As for the incident, it is understandable that most of the tourists who travelled to Phuket wanted to enjoy themselves. They wanted to have fun, while the business operators have struggled for the past two years,” Governor Narong said.

“Overall, according to the TAT’s assessment, a lot of tourists have been coming in, averaging 15,000 people per day, spending more than B3 billion. The number of hotel stays has been high,” he said.

“The guidelines for practice of supervision in ensuring in accordance with the law, government agencies must take care of each other. The last Songkran festival, for example, in the matter of splashing water, the administrative and police departments were in control. 

However, he added, regarding this year’s Songkran celebrations, “In the beginning there was a violation, which was the result of the fact that everyone wanted to engage in water for Songkran water, especially foreigners.

“So we have to understand each other,” Governor Narong said.

“With regard to hotels in Patong area that violated the law, there are legal proceedings which are expected to be filed in court today,” he said.

Phuket Provincial Police this morning issued yet another notice amid the public relations blitz to defend the lack of action taken by local authorities to enforce COVID-prevention rules on only certain operators.

The notice issued this morning appeared to defend the Patong Bay Hill hotel, at the epicentre of the media storm for flouting COVID rules. The police notice pointed out that the hotel has a “No Camera” sign posted at its entrance.

Action against the hotel was taken only after a video proving the breach of COVID-19 rules by the hotel was posted online.

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