Paul Walker’s Charity, ROWW, Was Among Haiyan First Responders

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Paul Walker’s Charity, ROWW, Was Among Haiyan First Responders

Also: Thai police chief to crack down on leakers, AirAsia top LCC at travel awards.

Some Tuesday ASEAN links:

Paul Walker, the star of Hollywood’s blockbuster Fast and Furious franchise, was killed in a fiery car accident yesterday. The popular celebrity may have been better known for his role as a bad boy street racer, but he was also heavily invested in charity work. Walker’s death occurred during a fundraiser for Reach Out Worldwide (ROWW) – an organization formed by the actor that dispatches first responders to disaster-hit areas around the globe.

According to The Inquirer, ROWW was among the first relief organizations to reach Leyte Island in the wake of super typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda).

“We have a special love for the Philippines,” said ROWW spokesman JD Dorfman, who was on the ground in Tabontabon to provide emergency medical assistance. “There wasn’t much relief help yet when we got there. We had a highly skilled medical team with us and we brought 1,500 pounds of medical equipment and supplies.”

Dorfman, whose team was able to treat more than 100 typhoon victims a day, added: “Paul wasn’t someone who would just write a check and lend his name to an organization; he was the heart and soul of [ROWW]. Paul was the first one in and the last one out … Some people play a hero, Paul was a hero.”

Walker was a passenger in a Porsche Carrera GT, a $500,000 supercar, when it lost control and struck a tree, bursting into flames. The professional race car driver who was behind the wheel also perished. Police reports indicate that excessive speed was a factor.

Tragedy also struck in Indonesia, with nine reported dead after a landslide in Berastagi,  on the island of Sumatra. Berastagi is in close proximity to Mount Sinabung, the volcano that has been erupting since September.

The landslide was triggered by torrential rain over the weekend. The rainy season is expected to intensify until peaking in January.

Over in Thailand, the National Police chief has promised a strict crackdown on officers who leak information to anti-government “Yellow Shirt” protestors.

As reported by The Bangkok Post, General Adul Saengsingkaew said that leakers should be “executed.”

“We, the police, are professionals and must respect our profession,” he said in a speech to subordinates. “We must not betray our profession.”

Though the general has no proof of an inside man, he has been public about his suspicion that some officers have been passing police directives to the protestors. He asked inspector generals to take “severe action” against leakers.

At the World Travel Awards in Qatar, Malaysian low cost carrier (LCC) AirAsia was given the top prize for budget airliners.

“AirAsia emerged the winner in the ‘World’s Leading Low Cost Airline’ category, receiving the highest votes from travel professionals from around the globe,” said The Hindu Business Times. “The award is referred to as the ‘Oscars’ of the travel industry.”

Tony Fernandes, AirAsia’s CEO, stated “From a Malaysian start-up, we are now an international brand synonymous with low-cost travel, with innovation as our key driver.”

AirAsia defeated other internationally-recognized LCCs including Air Arabia, Air Berlin, easyJet, JetBlue, Precision Air, and Southwest Airlines.