PHUKET: The deputy chief of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), Admiral Narong Pipatanasai, visited Patong early this afternoon (July 14) and was also slated to visit Surin and Naithon Beaches – until the weather came in and blotted out all plans.
Adm Narong, who is also Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Navy, and has the “social psychology” portfolio in the NCPO, arrived at Patong Beach close to Bangla Rd as strong winds drove rain from the west.
As he stepped from his car to be greeted by Patong Mayor Chalermlak Kebsab and some 200 officials and locals, many with bouquets of flowers, it seemed to get worse.
After a few minutes of sheltering from the sideways downpour, the NCPO team decided to call it a day and headed for Phuket Airport.
It wasn’t an entirely wasted visit for the Admiral. Yesterday (July 13) he visited the incinerator in Saphan Hin, for an update on its performance. Phuket was one of the first provinces in Thailand to get such a facility, and is therefore regarded as a model for other places to watch.
The storm must have disappointed those who wanted to show off the improvements to Patong.
Pol Col Jiraphat Pochanapan, Superintendent of Kathu Police, told The Phuket News, “You can see that the regulation of parking is much improved. Plus, we have three main check points, on Patong Hill, at Wat Suwankiriwong temple and in Kalim that show Kathu police are taking care Patong.”
Hearing this, an amused Vice-Governor Jamroen Thipayapongtada said, “Patong’s liked an epic movie. And the movie isn't over yet.”
But, he added, “I am glad to see Patong Beach looking as it should – as it did, perhaps, 10 years ago.”
Pol Maj Gen Paween Pongsirin, from Region 8 Police in Surat Thani, who has been leading the drive against mafia taxi activities, said, “I think the relevant officials cooperated well in all the actions here.
“But one thing in Patong needs more consideration: the tuk-tuks. It seems to me they need improving.”
Additional reporting by Eakkapop Thongtub