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Business News





HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:
Road Show Returns

Top officials meets to discuss Pattaya’s status

Pattaya group helps push for elebator access in Bangkok

Destitute mother, nursing child, arrested for selling speed

Banglamung police officer under investigation

Students get a first hand look and government work

Australia and Thailand’s stock exchanges join forces

Drug Center hopeful of receiving government assistance

New road in Jomtien soon

German businessman donates to underprivileged students

South Pattaya schools becoming overcrowded

Road Show Returns

The Pattaya business community, the Tourism Authority of Thailand Region 3 and Thai Airways organized the "Pattaya Road Show" to Australia and New Zealand from June 19-28. The 27-person team circulated information and announced new developments made in Pattaya to tourist agencies in the cities of Melbourne and Sydney Australia, and Auckland, New Zealand.

The Road Show was led by Setthaphan Bhuddhani, Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand Region 3, and city council member Sutham Phanthusak. Sutham replaced Pattaya’s Mayor who decided to withdraw from the trip due to erroneous accusations made by a local Thai language newspaper.

Other prominent members of the Road Show included Chatchawal Supachayanont, President of the Thai Hotel Association Eastern Chapter, and Surat Mekavarakul, President of the Pattaya Business and Tourism Association (PBTA).

All who returned from the Road Show expressed high expectations of seeing positive results coming back to the entire Pattaya business community resulting from the trip.

The first presentation was made in the form of table top sales at the Chang Thong Restaurant (Golden Elephant) in Auckland, New Zealand. Representatives from 70 tourist agencies in New Zealand were also shown a video presentation introducing Pattaya, portraying the many hotels, golf courses, tourist attractions and entertainment areas. Merchandise from all over Thailand was also put on display.

The Road Show pointed out the many environmental improvements and new features in Pattaya, including the convenient new motorway connecting Pattaya and the surrounding area.

One of the main selling points for Pattaya tourism was the many hotel accommodations offering world class standards at very reasonable rates. The new wastewater treatment plant, which should be operational by the year 2000, was also promoted.

The Road Show members received assurances from the agency representatives that the information will be disseminated throughout New Zealand.

On June 23rd the Road Show moved on to Melbourne, Australia with the same presentation given to representatives from 80 tourist agencies at the Sawasdi Restaurant.

"The Road Show presentation was also very well received and more positive results can be expected from this part of Australia," Sutham said.

From Melbourne the Road Show proceeded on to Sydney where the members met with representatives from more than 100 tourist agencies at the Arun Thai Restaurant. The news media from Sydney was also on hand, along with Thai Television Channel 5.

Mrs. Sopin Thappajuk, Pattaya City Council Member and Managing Director of the Diana Inn, said the Road Show met with only a few obstacles, making the trip very exciting if not somewhat intense at times.

The first problem was met with at Don Muang Airport when the travelers were informed that the 4,500 brochures introducing Pattaya put them well over the weight limit. However, this was soon sorted out.

Once safely in New Zealand, Sopin said, "The first night’s presentation was honored with the presence of Mr. Michael Whale, the Honorary Royal Thai Consulate General in Auckland."

Sopin said the atmosphere at the presentation was very warm and friendly. Added amusement was provided from promotional gifts given as door prizes to lucky individuals from the tourist agencies who put their name cards into a hat before entering. The gifts included airline tickets, hotel, golf course and entertainment certificates arranged by the Road Show members.

Sopin said that in Melbourne, Australia, Thai Airways hosted the presentation of the Road Show. Dr. Simon A. Wallace, Honorary Consul General of the Royal Thai Consulate was the guest of honor.

Sopin also pointed out that the weather "down-under" was much different than in Pattaya. "The heavy rains and strong winds were not unfamiliar but the cold temperature was something out of the ordinary," she said.

However, the Road Show members were soon able to warm up as they were welcomed by Khun Phornsiri Manoharn, the Australian and New Zealand Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

Khun Phornsiri hosted the Road Show presentation at the Arun Thai Restaurant in Sydney, which also provided the guests with Thai Dancing entertainment and more door prizes. Dr. Chaiyoung Satjipanon, PhD, Royal Thai Consulate General in Sydney, was the special guest of honor.

"The organizing of the Pattaya Road Show with the combined efforts of the Pattaya Administration and local businesses have accomplished much more than the members anticipated," Sopin said. "Due to the unexpected turnout of so many tourist agencies in each of the three cities visited. Especially considering the small amount of funds required to support the Road Show."

Sopin said if statistics collected by the Tourism Authority of Thailand show a substantial increase in tourism to Pattaya from the two countries, then the Road Show ought to be taken on to the cities of Brisbane, Perth, and Wellington in the future.

However, this would be up to the Pattaya Administration and ultimately depend on the intentions of both the administration and concerned businesses in Pattaya.

She said, "The 27 members of this Road Show have portrayed a very convincing picture of Pattaya City and its new developments. Now it’s up to the administration to insure the corrected areas identified actually happen by the year 2000."

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Top officials meet to discuss Pattaya’s status

Preliminary feeling is that motion will pass

"Pattaya is a special case," so reiterated Deputy Minister of Interior Chamni Sakadised whilst chairing a Special Commission meeting to consider the new Pattaya City Government Administrative Regulation Act (Draft).

The special meeting took place at the Grand Sole Hotel on June 18th. Over 300 people attended the meeting, including representatives from both the private and government sectors.

Commission Chairman Chamni said that the draft proposal should pass without any major problems, as the changes involve improvements which will make Pattaya’s administration run more efficiently.

The draft has already passed the first round of consideration in parliament. The second round is scheduled to take place in July. In typical bureaucratic fashion, a third round of consideration talks will then be scheduled before any decisions are made.

The main issues pertain to the position of Mayor of Pattaya City. The new regulation stipulates the mayor be elected by the people for a four year term and limits the mayor to no more than two terms in office.

The educational requirements for the mayor will be eased, with the intention of leaving it up to the people at the voting poles to decide if the mayoral candidate is educated enough to hold the position.

The draft proposal also gives the mayor more powers and allows the mayor to choose no more than four assistants to be on his staff.

The City Council will not have the privilege of deciding to remove the mayor if need be. However, the people will have the ultimate power to remove the mayor if they can collect 50,000 signatures.

The new proposal will also deal with the confusing issue of the allocation of revenue collected in Pattaya.

Thawin Phairod, Deputy Minister of the Interior Consultant and Assistant Chairman of the Special Commission, indicated the new regulation clearly identifies how much revenue the city and local administration will be retaining. In the case of the Value Added Tax (Vat) the Revenue Department from the Ministry of Interior stipulates that companies from Bangkok, for example, with branches in Pattaya will have the Value Added Tax collected in Pattaya going back to the head company in Bangkok. However, the new draft proposal identifies the Value Added Tax from any branch in Pattaya will remain in Pattaya.

Current Pattaya Mayor Pairat Suthithamrongsawat indicated that collecting various revenues in Pattaya should be viewed as a special separate entity. The city has 70,000 registered residents, and another 100,000 residents living in the area but not registered on the city books. "Governing a tourist city with people from all over the world is not an easy task when considering the available budget with most of the revenue going back to the central government," he said.

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Pattaya group helps push for elevator access in Bangkok

Enabling handicapped to use new elevated train system

The Chonburi Handicapped Development Group joined over 200 handicapped persons from all over the country in a peaceful demonstration to try and convince the government to install elevator access to the new elevated train system in Bangkok.

The group assembled at Government House in Bangkok on June 21st, calling for the government to include the installation of elevators for handicapped persons. It is estimated the elevators might cost as much as 140 million baht to install.

n3.jpg (22176 bytes)Thailand’s physically challenged have the right to be able to use the new elebated train system in Bangkok, and are making sure this right is not overlooked by government.

Maj. Gen. Sanan Khajornprasad, Minister of the Interior, and Phichit Rattakul, Governor of Bangkok, met with the group and informed them that the 140 million baht is "in the process of" being allocated. The installation of elevators is expected to be completed before Dec 5th.

Five locations have been identified where the elevators will be installed: Siam Square, Phrakhanong, the Victory Monument, Silom and Morchit.

The two officials assured the group that the elevators will soon become a reality. The Ministry of the Interior said his budget office will be instructed to accelerate the budgeting of 50% of the required funds. The other 50% is expected to come from the city of Bangkok once the House of Representatives gives its approval.

Prakit Inthisit, Chairman of the Chonburi Handicapped Group, said that the group has been pushing this issue with the government for the last five years. Group members have been going to government house every month to make their appeal heard. Initially, in 1995, it was estimated that 85 million baht would be needed for the project.

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Destitute mother, nursing child, arrested for selling speed

Pleads for child to stay with friends

Banglamung Police last week raided an area in Nong Preu Sub-District after receiving information drugs were being sold there. Five people were arrested, including a 32 year old mother nursing her 15 day old child.

Undercover police purchased one tablet of the amphetamine drug (Ya Ba) and shortly after raided the house, arresting Mrs. Wanthong Bunsanga, age 32, who was nursing her 15 day old baby. A search of the house produced 14 more of the amphetamine pills.

n4.jpg (20522 bytes)Wanthong Bunsanga holds her 15 day old child while being booked for selling amphetamines.

Mrs. Wanthong was charged with possessing and distributing a class 1 illegal drug. She told police she had no means to support her child, therefore she turned to selling the amphetamines. She then pleaded with police to allow her 15 day old baby be sent to stay with friends.

Later the same day police raided another house in the same area and arrested four young people while they were smoking marijuana. Wirod Inchan, Rythiphorn Suriya, Miss Thanid Khidnunam, and Miss Saranya Nararak were taken in to custody with four small plastic bags of marijuana as evidence. They are being charged with possession of a class 5 illegal substance.

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Banglamung police officer under investigation

Suspected of abusing his authority

Banglamung police officer, Capt. Samai Somjit, is under investigation for abuse of authority for operating outside his jurisdiction and jailing a seemingly innocent man, as well as confiscating all his belongings, possibly for his own personal use.

Earlier this month, Capt. Samai arrested a Mr. Sawai Piakham, age 53, for selling cut lumber along Pattaya 3 Road. Sawai was jailed for the offense and all his lumber was confiscated by Pol. Capt. Samai and four of his men.

Pol. Col. Phinit Satchareun, Pattaya Police Superintendent, said he spoke with Sawai after his arrest. Sawai explained to him that he had been selling the cut lumber at the said location for the last three months. One day, Pol. Capt. Samai came by told him to remove a sun shade cover made from thatched grass that was blocking the sun in Sawai’s work area. Capt. Samai informed him that the sun shade was obstructing the adjacent construction. He then departed.

Sawai said he did not remove the sun shade, thinking the police captain was deliberately making life difficult for him. Three days later the captain returned with officers in uniform, and some others not in uniform, and collected everything and anything made from wood. He then threw Samai in jail.

Pattaya Police Superintendent Phinit said he investigated the matter and found that perhaps Pol. Capt. Samai did violate his authority. Superintendent Phinit pointed out that Capt. Samai was outside of the Banglamung Police jurisdiction, and he did not notify the Pattaya Police of his actions. The Superintendent added that the wood the Capt. confiscated is common wood that is not controlled by the Forestry Department.

The Chief of Police in Chonburi has been notified and he intends to investigate the matter. He assured the Pattaya Police Superintendent that no police officer is wanted on the force who abuses his authority and who deliberately makes life difficult for law-abiding people. So far it appears that Sawai has done nothing against the law.

Sawai told reporters that he is a common person who works honestly and makes just enough to live from day to day. The police officer involved had no right to arrest him. The owner of the land where Sawai works is on his side also and is not charging him rent while he is in jail. Sawai said he will not let this matter rest until he receives just satisfaction.

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Students get a first hand look and government work

Observe offices in Chonburi and Rayong

Mrs. Phatriya Sumano, Director of the Public Relations Association under the Public Relations Department of the Office of the Prime Minister, led a working committee and a group of public relation students to observe the work of government and private enterprises in Chonburi and Rayong from June 23-25.

n6.jpg (23836 bytes)Mrs. Phatriya Sumano, Director of the Public Relations Association (front), sits with the working observe activities at the Laem Chabang port on June 23rd.

The working committee and students also listened to lectures summarizing provincial public relation policy presented by Chonburi Governor Sujarit Pachimnan, and Rayong Governor Chaijit Ratkhajorn.

Afterwards the students asked questions and had an opportunity to exchange ideas, gaining a better understanding of what was observed during their visit to various locations.

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Australia and Thailand’s stock exchanges join forces

On Friday, June 25th, the Australian Stock Exchange signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

Witnessing this momentous occasion was Australia’s Minister for Financial Services and Regulation, the Hon. Joe Hockey, and his Thai counterpart, His Excellency Dr. Pisit Leeahtam, the Deputy Minister of Finance.

The aim of the MOU is to facilitate the sharing of information for regulation and enforcement.

It is hoped that the signing of the agreement will promote dialogue and be a vehicle for the exchange of technical information between the two organizations.

It is becoming apparent that as the number of more formal relationships develops and networks expand, the level of recognition of the ASX in the Asia Pacific region is strengthening.

The Chairman of the Australian Stock Exchange, Maurice L. Newman AM and Amarat Sila-on, the Chairman of the Stock Exchange of Thailand signed the MOU at a formal ceremony on 25 June in the Grand Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt Erawan.

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Drug Center hopeful of receiving government assistance

Deputy Minister of Interior said he will “look into it”

The Ban Poonsri Drug Rehabilitation Center could be receiving assistance from the government in the future, both in their budget and in finding a new location for the center.

Deputy Minister of the Interior, HE Praphat Phothisuthon, and the Commissioner of Tourism, MP Santsak Ngamphiches, visited the Ban Poonsri Drug Rehabilitation Center in Soi Phothisan, Naklua. The center now has 80 young people in the process of changing their lives while receiving treatment. The center has provided treatment to many thousands of young addicts in the past.

The Deputy Minister inspected the in-patients’ living quarters and other areas within the center. He also spoke with the young people in treatment, asking them to persevere in their endeavor to resist drugs, adding that it would surely be an honorable tribute to both their parents and society. He mentioned that he will research the possibility of providing government assistance in finding a new location with more suitable accommodation for the center.

The Rehabilitation Center is currently using facilities belonging to well intentioned local residents. However, the accommodation is inadequate for the large number of people receiving treatment at the center. It is hoped that the Deputy Minister will be able to persuade the government to appropriate funds from the central budget to provide a more suitable facility and provide further assistance in supporting the center’s mission of rehabilitating the young people with their drug addiction.

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New road in Jomtien soon

City officials inspect progress

Pattaya Mayor Pairat Suthithamrongsawat and council members conducted an inspection of the progress at the construction area of Wad Bunkanjanaram Road and Soi Chaiyapheud where a new road will open to relieve the traffic congestion along Jomtien Road. Road fill and gravel has been laid down on three kilometers of road so far and is in the process of being compacted. The road will soon have the asphalt laid down.

The new road will certainly help the traffic flow along Jomtien Road according to the Mayor. However, there is concern that the road may become a problem area during the rainy season, so engineers will be surveying the area to incorporate a drainage system.

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German businessman donates to underprivileged students

Collected money at his birthday party

As was reported in last week’s Pattaya Mail, Uwe Sonthoff, owner of Deutsche Schanke Restaurant on Pattaya-Naklua Road, celebrated his birthday in a most benevolent way. He asked his friends and acquaintances to give him envelopes full of money for his birthday. Not for himself, mind you, but for charity. When the envelopes were counted, Uwe matched the amount taken in with money from his own pocket. In the end, he had amassed 13,000 baht for charity.

n10.jpg (29498 bytes)Uwe Sonthoff, his wife, Mayor Pairat with the children who received the birthday donation for their educational assistance.

This past week, Uwe and his wife met with Mayor Pairat Suthithamrongsawat to present the money to underprivileged students in Pattaya who have performed well in school.

The mayor, whose birthday was on a day very close to that of Uwe, had Pattaya schools identify students deserving the educational assistance.

The four students receiving the donations were: Sinaphorn Phraeophrai, a first grade student from Pattaya 3 School; Khwanryan Namprasit, a fifth grade student from Pattaya 6 School; Thana Srisuphak, a seventh grade student from Pattaya 8 School; and a seventh grader from Banglamung School.

Each student was given 2,500 baht for their educational assistance. The 3,000 baht remaining will be given to Pattaya School 6 for the purchase of athletic uniforms.

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South Pattaya schools becoming overcrowded

The area of South Pattaya Road has quickly become congested, as, with all the local construction, many new laborers have taken up residence in the area. Many of the new laborers have children, and those children have enrolled in the schools.

The schools are now overcrowded and unable to provide adequate education for the many students now attending.

Pattaya Mayor Pairat Suthithumrongsawat, Council Member Adidsorn Phonlukin, City Manager Niran Wattanasadsathorn and other officials conducted an inspection of the overcrowded conditions at schools in the area.

The administration feels it is necessary to provide quality education for the students of this area. Otherwise, the young people will grow up in an under privileged environment that may result in many ending up as future misfits causing multiple problems for the city.

The mayor said funds have been appropriated for hiring additional teachers and new funds will be allocated in the coming months to start expanding the classrooms. Funds will also be allocated to construct an additional building with more classrooms to accommodate the increase in student numbers.

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Copyright 1998 Pattaya Mail Publishing Co.Ltd.
370/7-8 Pattaya Second Road, Pattaya City, Chonburi 20260, Thailand 
Tel.66-38 411 240-1, 413 240-1, Fax:66-38 427 596; e-mail: [email protected]
Updated by Chinnaporn Sangwanlek.