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Rawai resort owner charged for violating hotel closure order

Rawai resort owner charged for violating hotel closure order

PHUKET: A Rawai resort owner has been charged for accepting a new guest, in violation of the provincial order for all hotels to cease accepting new guests, and to close once the last guest has checked out.

COVID-19Coronavirustourism
By Eakkapop Thongtub

Thursday 9 April 2020, 05:24PM


A random check on the rsort was conducted on Tuesday (Apr 7). Photo: Chalong Police

A random check on the rsort was conducted on Tuesday (Apr 7). Photo: Chalong Police

The order was issued last week to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Government-owned hotels being used “field hospitals” or those providing accommodation for persons under observation or for other government-authorised purposes are exempt from the order.

Hotels that already have guests are allowed to remain open, but not allowed to accept any more guests. Once the last guest checks out, the hotel operator must close down immediately without accepting any further guests and inform officials. (See story here.)

Chalong Police, led by Capt Suchat Soonthornmatcha, together with Rawai Kamnan (Subdistrict Head) Charung Thaochan were conducting random checks on hotels in the area, and on Tuesday visited Vivi Bungalows Resort in Moo 2, Rawai

Thotsaphon Puengdon, 30, originally from Samut Prakan, presented himself as the person responsible for operating the resort. 

While conducting their inspection, officers discovered that Ukrainian tourist Olena Chika, 29, was staying at the resort. 

Ms Chika told police that she had been staying at the resort since last Sunday (Apr 5) and was to check out on Sunday (Apr 12). She paid B3,500 for the week.

Mr Thotsaphon admitted that he had accepted Ms Chika as a guest at the resort, despite the provincial order, and was taken to Chalong Police Station.

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Chalong Police Chief Col Sarawut Chuprasit confirmed to The Phuket News that Mr Thotsaphon has been charged for violating Phuket Government order 1797/2563, the order for hotels to longer accept new guests.

Col Sarawut said that police have already filed the case to the Phuket Provincial Court for prosecution.

If found guilty, Mr Thotsaphon faces up to one year in prison or a fine of up to B100,000, or both, for breaching Section 52 of the Communicable Disease Act 2015. (See here.)

He also stands to be punished under Section 18 of the Emergency Decree, which carries a maximum penalty of  up to two years in prison or a fine of up to B40,000, or both. (See here.)

Meanwhile, Col Sarawut also confirmed, “The tourist [Miss Chika] is still allowed to stay at the resort, as we prosecuted only the owner of the resort.”

Earlier this week Phuket Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana announced that five hotels were exempt from the order so that any tourists stranded in Phuket due to the COVID-19 crisis may stay at fixed rates.

None of the five exempt hotels are available at rates as cheap as Ms Chika was offered for staying at the Vivi Bungalows Resort.

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