Swedish tourists weather Thai tsunami scare

The tsunami scare that followed an earth quake in the Indian Ocean on Wednesday, measuring 8.7 on the Richter scale, had tourists fleeing the beaches of Thailand and Indonesia for higher grounds.

Swedish tourists weather Thai tsunami scare

“It was chaos, everyone is running in different directions. We didn’t get any information. It is very stressful and everyone is crying,” tourist Mikaela Clausenius told daily Aftonbladet.

Clausenius told the paper how she and her family had received warning of the expected tsunami while they were lounging by the pool. The family followed the others up on the roof, where they stayed until they recived the all clear.

Similar reports started to come in from other affected areas. Another tourist wrote to the paper that he and his friends fled up to the third floor of their hotel.

“The staff have disappeared. We are on the third floor. We’re hoping it will be eough,” he wrote to the paper.

Swedish travel agencies had begun evacuating tourists from areas affected by the earth quake on Wednesday fearing the effects of a potential tsunami in the region.

“There are thousands of Swedes in the affected provinces,” confirmed Andreas Magnusson of the Swedish Embassy in Bangkok to news agency TT.

Travel companies Ving, Apollo and Fritidsresor on Wednesday urged their clients to leave the beaches of Phuket, Ao Nang, and Krabi due to the fear of a tsunami.

“We are sending text messages informing them that a tsunami warning has been issued and that they should get themselves to the safer areas in the mountains,” said Ving spokeswoman Magdalena Öhrn to TT.

“There are evacuation routes that the authorities in Phuket have made available so there is information everywhere of where to go during a tsunami alert.”

And according to Anders Jörle, spokesperson for the foreign ministry, all the embassies in the region are alerted.

Roberta Alenius, a spokesperson for prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, also confirmed that the prime minister and the government were standing by.

“The government’s crisis group is following what is happening closely and is working on following the set up procedures,” she said to TT.

The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (Myndigheten för samhällsskydd och beredskap, MSB), is following the events and are ready to despatch personnel to the area should the situation worsen.

“We could have many there within 24 hours,” said Stina Sjölin, of the MSB to TT.

However, later in the afternoon, Swedes who had headed for higher grounds started to return to their beach resorts as it became clear that the immediate danger was over.

“The situation has calmed down here now,” texted tourist Stefan Söderlund from the small island of Koh Ngai outside of Krabi to Aftonbladet.

The Local/rm

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Swedish politician jailed for fraud

Former Moderate Party politician Annétthe Zettergren, 58, was jailed for 3.5 years on Thursday and ordered to pay damages totalling 3.9 million ($605,000) to the county of Värmland and a further 350,000 kronor to her former partner.

Swedish politician jailed for fraud

Zettergren was charged with two counts of serious fraud in July following her arrest in Thailand in March.

The first charge related to a period spent serving on the Värmland County Council. Zettergren also ran a physical therapy clinic that investigators believe she used to send fraudulent invoices to the county council to the tune of 4.5 million kronor.

RELATED STORIES: Read all about the Annétthe Zettergren fraud case

The second charge related to the theft of funds from her partner’s bank account before she disappeared, fleeing to Thailand in September 2012.

The scandal emerged after a report in the local Nya Wermlands-Tidningen that revealed that Zettergren was the highest paid physical therapist in the county.

The report led to a county council investigation and in June 2012 Zettergren left all of her positions of responsibility within the county. During her long service she has served on the Värmland County Council, the board of a regional development body and the local police board.

The county council reported the matter to the police on August 22nd and Zettergren disappeared a month later. A warrant for her arrest was issued shortly after.

After almost six months on the run, Swedish police were able to track her down and Thai police were able to catch up with her and make an arrest in the resort of Pattaya in March 2013. After a week in a Thai prison, Zettergren was deported back to Sweden.

Zettergren’s nephew, also detained in Thailand in March, was convicted on Thursday on charges of handling stolen money and sentenced to probation and community service.

The Local/pvs

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