The Phuket Vegetarian Festival this year is to be held on October 20-28, Gov Norraphat announced at a meeting of officials and Chinese shrine representatives at Phuket Provincial Hall on Tuesday (July 11).
The state funeral for King Bhumibol will be on October 26, which has been declared a public holiday. (See story here.)
“There will be no or only a few piercings, but no large or unusual weapons, as the main highlight at the time will be for people to reflect and meditate in respect of our former Majesty, King Bhumibol,” Governor Norraphat told
“Selling firecrackers without permission will be prohibited and Phuket officials will launch a campaign for people to not throw firecrackers at mediums, which can cause injuries,” Gov Norraphat said.
“Officers from Phuket Police Stations will be assigned to be responsible for controlling traffic while having processions proceed along their routes around Phuket Town,” he added.
Governor Norraphat also ordered officials to take pre-emptive steps to avoid a slew of issues that tarnished the Phuket Vegetarian Festival last year.
Top priority was to ensure that no government agencies hand over cash to participating shrines to help support the festival.
“The Office of the Auditor General has ordered that local administrations are to not hand over state funds – especially cash – to shrines to promote or support the Vegetarian Festival,” Gov Norraphat said.
Government agencies, including the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), can use state funds to promote and support the festival themselves, but are not permitted to hand funds over to any specific shrine, he explained.
Officials were also ordered to counter any potential price gouging during the festival, a common practise by unscrupulous vendors looking to take advantage of the nine-day festival.
“Phuket officials will assign officers from the Phuket Commercial Office to conduct random checks to make sure vendors comply with the relevant price-control laws and publicly display the prices of their goods,” Gov Norraphat said.
People were urged to report any suspicious trading antics by calling 1669.
Officials from the Phuket Provincial Agricultural Extension Office will also conduct random checks at markets to ensure fruit and vegetables do not contain undue amounts of contaminants, he added.
“Any vendors found guilty of illicit trade practices will face fines of upt B10,000, Gov Norraphat warned.