Phuket Immigration Superintendent Col Thanet Sukchai announced the move at a meeting held at the EOC Command Centre at Phuket Provincial Police headquarters in Phuket Town yesterday (Aug 25), chaired by Phuket Vice Governor Vikrom Jakthee.
“SHA Plus managers must closely monitor these risk groups for the maximum safety of tourists,” Col Thanet said.
Vice Governor Vikrom yesterday reported that 177 Sandbox tourists arrived on five incoming flights on Tuesday, with all 177 testing negative for COVID-19 on arrival. So far 73 Sandbox tourists have tested positive after landing on the island.
Since the Sandbox scheme launched on July 1, 24,190 tourists had arrived on 288 flights, Vice Governor Vikrom said.
Of those, 5,416 were still on the island, he noted.
Col Thanet noted that a ‘crime triangle’ strategy was being deployed to increase safety for tourists arriving on the island.
Not mentioned at the meeting was that officials and police across Phuket were ordered to ramp up security measures after 57-year-old Swiss tourist Nicole Sauvain-Weiskopf, who arrived in Phuket under the Phuket Sandbox scheme, was found murdered near Ao Yon Waterfall on Aug 5.
“The strategy is to create safety for local people and for tourists arriving under Phuket Sandbox to build confidence and our tourism image, because safety is an important indicator of world-class tourist attractions,” Col Thanet said.
“Phuket is another destination that tourists decide to travel to. As a result, the province has raised security levels to build confidence for tourists in Phuket Sandbox,” he added.
“The Phuket Governor had previously ordered the relevant agencies to inspect 198 tourist attractions throughout Phuket in detail, and we have found two high-risk tourist sites which have now been ordered closed, by closing both the entrance [to the sites] and removing the tourist attractions’ listings on the internet. If people search the internet, the location of these areas will not be found,” he said.
Col Thanet did not mention which tourist attractions had been closed.
“Meanwhile, 26 more moderate and low-risk areas were identified,” Col Thanet continued.
“Modifications are to be made to these sites, with landscape adjustments, increased lighting, trees being removed and having volunteers increase the frequency of patrols, as well as local local authorities setting up the budget for installing more CCTV cameras in the areas that will be linked to the EOC Phuket Sandbox Center,” he said.
“People arriving via the checkpoint at Tha Chatchai must go through a thorough criminal history check in order to intercept individuals with outstanding warrants from entering the province. Pol Lt Gen Kitirat Phanphet, Provincial Police Region 8 commander, has donated smart card readers to officers to help speed up the checks,” he added.
“For tourists traveling through Phuket International Airport, Phuket Immigration will designate tourists who are likely to become victims into four groups, consisting of elderly-sick people, women traveling alone, girls and single men. SHA Plus managers must closely monitor these risk groups for maximum safety of tourists,” he repeated.