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Business News






HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:
Fish still dying in Laem Chabang

Juvenile elephant terrorizes elderly lady

Ya ba equipment confiscated

Drunken tourist amuses residents, but not police

Vendors cry “foul!” at Day/Night

Should Pattaya have special status under the law?

Mayor signs deal with Siam C-Pak Block to develop Walking Street

Foreigners should be allowed to own Thai land!

Fish still dying in Laem Chabang

Residents still trying to determine cause

by Veerachai Somchart

Residents of Laem Chabang are still concerned over the numbers of dead fish that continue to wash up on local shores. They have approached government officials, the port authority and officials at the Laem Chabang Industrial Estate, but have yet to either get the problem solved or even to get some officials to admit the problem exists.

Late last month, Laem Chabang Community Chairman Sanay Phoothong headed up a group that set out to notify responsible parties about the problem. Residents say the fish are dying from chemicals being released in the area of the 22 October Bridge.

The 22 October Bridge, which was blocking sewage from entering Khlong Huay Yai, was ordered dismantled by Laem Chabang Municipality despite the fact they had accused the Industrial Sites in the area of dumping dangerous chemicals into the Khlong, Water from the Khlong flows into the ocean.

In July, Pattaya Mail published the residents’ plea for help when fish and small aquatic life were dying off in Khlong Huay Yai and along the Laem Chabang coastline near the Uni-Thai Shipyard, which is located at the Laem Chabang Port. Soon after, the Uni-Thai Company and Port Officials conducted an investigation. Accompanied by the local media, on August 5th they announced that their findings indicated the polluted waters and dead animal life were not being caused from the nearby industrial sites.

However, Sanay and his committee say the inspection results are always the same from the company representatives. He said that port official’s investigations always claimed the local residents are the cause of the polluted waters and the Industrial Estates and Uni-Thai are not to blame.

Residents received the same answer again after they found hundreds of small dead fish along a 2.5 kilometer stretch of Khlong Huay Yai on 17 August. Khlong Huay Yai is fed by the wastewater drainage system from the industrial sites. The waters have a continual flow into the gulf and any contamination may soon be quickly dispersed and washed away, effectively hiding its concentration, yet adding to years of pollution. This pollution, residents say, is building up and eliminating fish that formerly flourished in the area.

More importantly, the Laem Chabang Municipality ordered the Thai-Italian Company to dismantle the 22 October Bridge crossing Khlong Huay Yai, as the bridge was blocking the drainage system from releasing its sewage into Khlong Huay Yai. They did this despite the fact that the municipal government had identified the wastewater drainage system as the source of pollution in Khlong Huay Yai.

Laem Chabang police were positioned at the bridge to prevent any confrontation between the Industrial Estate and local residents.

Two days later, on 19 August, the Laem Chabang Industrial Estates made their usual denial after five agencies conducted water quality examinations in the surrounding area. The five agencies involved in the testing were the Environmental Plans and Police Office, the Laem Chabang Industrial Estates, the Chonburi Industrial Office, the Pollution Control Department, and the local municipality.

According to Dr. Sanit Bantujant, manager of the Laem Chabang Industrial Estates, the summary of the water quality results, which, he added, the Industrial Estates take full responsibility for, indicate normal conditions. Animal life in the tested waters will continue and the quality of the water was found to be at normal, acceptable levels.

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Juvenile elephant terrorizes elderly lady

77 year old grandmother scared by fun loving young pachyderm

Miss Nimnual Phirakul called police for help after a young elephant started ransacking her grandmother’s home in Nong Prue. She told police that it just broke up the water jar outside the house and destroyed the rice bin.

Police were dispatched to the location in Soi Khrua Khao Hom finding the four-year old male elephant still carrying on wildly in a most happy manner. The outside kitchen area was demolished and the clothes drying on the line were scattered around the area.

The police and volunteer security personnel spent an hour shining flashlights at the elephant to keep it at bay, but the elephant thought he was being played with and kept up the foolishness, apparently enjoying the shenanigans.

Mahouts from the nearby Pattaya Elephant Farm were called in and identified the elephant, but told police that the elephant’s owner was not home. The mahouts located the four year old elephant’s mother, who was still tied to a tree about 20-30 meters away. Together they helped coerce the young elephant back to its mother.

Miss Nimnual told police she and her 77 year old grandmother were sleeping when the elephant’s rampage woke them up. She said she had to carry her grandmother outside as she feared the elephant would bring the house down.

The young elephant eventually calmed down and was tied to the tree next its mother.

Police are intending to in vestigate the whereabouts of the owner of the two elephants and find out why they were tied up at this location with the young one obviously carelessly tied. A stern warning will be given to the owner and he will have to pay up for the damages caused during the elephant’s fun romp at Miss Nimnual’s grandmother’s house.

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Ya ba equipment confiscated

Police continue investigation into marijuana producing facility

Banglamung Police from the Drug Suppression Division, continuing their investigation of the recently discovered marijuana plantation near their headquarters, found amphetamine producing equipment in a pickup truck in Naklua.

The investigation came after a raid on a house in Naklua belonging to a 62 year old woman named Phensri Buangbon. A large amount of marijuana was found growing on the premises, along with evidence indicating amphetamines were being produced there as well. (Pattaya Mail, Vol. VII No. 35, August 27).

The expanded investigation led to a red Toyota pickup parked along the beach near the Pla Thong Restaurant. Inside the pickup, police discovered numerous documents in the front seat and a graduation gown. In the rear of the truck was a large amount of equipment and chemicals used in the production of amphetamine drugs (ya ba). The contents included 30 glass jars of various chemicals and the ya ba derivative, glass containers for boiling the mixture, fertilizer and one bag of corn meal. Many containers with white powder were turned over to police experts for examination.

Later, the confiscated items were identified by experts who said the contents could have produced more than one million amphetamine pills, which would have been worth millions of baht on the street. The documents found inside the pickup contained the personal identity card belonging to Temi Sirirak, age 33, and another card identifying a Ramakhamheng University Student and a house registration document.

Another house near the parked pickup, also registered to Mrs. Phensri, was raided by the police officers. Three people were arrested: Bunjan Srisom, age 19, Nathi Thitingamwong, age 32, and Mrs. Sawad Thaikuchim, age 23. The house’s owner, Mrs. Phensri was not at home.

One small plastic bag of marijuana was found in the house. Bunjan confessed to police the packet of marijuana was for his personal use. He told police he was unaware of who the contents found in the pickup belonged to, although he did say that the vehicle belonged to Temi Sirirak.

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Drunken tourist amuses residents, but not police

Nearing midnight on 25 August the Pattaya Police were contacted to quell a disturbance in the area of Soi 17, South Pattaya Road, where a foreign tourist in a very drunken state had entered the caller’s home. He was unknown to anyone in the house.

Perhaps tee many martoonies landed this falang in the hooscow.

He was finally ushered out of the home and according to the caller he walked to the main road where he continued to harass people in the area.

When police arrived they found the man just as the caller described. However, they were unable to communicate with him due to his drunken condition. The man, about age 50, had nothing in his possession to identify himself, so police took him into the station.

At the station he became even more unresponsive. Police remanded him to custody, charging him with drunken disorderly conduct in a public area.

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Vendors cry “foul!” at Day/Night

First the hotel, now the plaza doors shut with little or no notice

The vendors at the Day/Night Plaza are crying “foul!”. They say the ownership and management are giving them the impression that they will not respect their contracts. It was those contracts that allowed the department store to reopen after years of sitting idle.

Just last year, the management of Day/Night locked the doors of the Day/Night Hotel without warning, releasing all their employees with no compensation.

It appears they have staged a repeat performance.

The mayor, the city's lawyer and the police met with vendors after the Day/Night Plaza closed its doors on August 30th. This is not the first time Day/Night Plaza management has used these tactics.

On August 30th, management locked the doors of the Day/Night Plaza, not allowing vendors to continue operating their businesses.

Spokespeople for the vendors say that a representative from the Pattaya Plaza Company Ltd. made a contract with them to rent space to sell their wares in the building for a period of 2 years. Vendors paid 120,000 baht up front, and were charged a monthly rental fee of 20,000 baht.

A vendor selling children’s clothing in the plaza said that soon after the contract was made almost 100 vendors moved in. Business was quite good until August 23rd when the electricity and water was turned off on the 2nd floor.

The vendors were told that improvements were going to be made on the floor and they were asked to move to the first floor. They said that management told them the usual rent would be ignored if they would instead give Day/Night 25% of their sales.

The vendors on the 2nd floor agreed to the temporary measure and made the move down to the 1st floor, but within days the electricity and water was turned off in the entire plaza.

They were told major improvements were to be made and everyone was requested to vacate the plaza by 30 August.

This time the vendors refused. This prompted Day/Night management to accuse the vendors of breaking their contract, saying they failed to pay their monthly rent.

Vendors are now requesting help from the city administration, making the counter-claim that their contract has been violated since 23 August.

Pattaya Mayor Pairat Suthithamrongsawat, Pattaya City Lawyer Suwat Suwanlom, and a prominent Police Colonel paid a visit to the Day/Night Plaza on South Pattaya Road on 30 August. They went with twenty vendors to meet with representatives from the plaza. However, the plaza was locked and a sign was hung on the entrance announcing the plaza will be closed for renovations starting 1 September. No opening date was annotated.

Another vendor told authorities that he rented space at the rate of 6,000 baht per month after paying an initial fee of 75,000 baht. He said he made the move from the 3rd floor to the 1st floor with other vendors. He also agreed to the 25% of sales fee in place of the usual rent, but, he said, the plaza kept 100% of his sales. They then informed him the money would be returned after the 25% had been taken out. But, he said, the money was not returned and when he asked plaza representatives about it, he was told that if he wanted his money returned he would have to vacate the plaza. “Now I can’t even enter the plaza to move my merchandise out,” he said.

Pattaya City Lawyer Suwat Suwanlom said that the initial contract will have to be reviewed to see what exactly has been violated. He said it is a legal matter for the court to decide. But, he said, the plaza appears to have no right to close the establishment in this manner, causing undue difficulties for the many vendors. As for the accusation made by the plaza concerning the vendors breaking the rental contract, which was a verbal agreement with the vendors, this should not pose any problem to the vendors, he said, due to the many supporting witnesses.

The vendors were advised to collectively register their complaint with the police in order to have proper documents to support their claims during court proceedings.

The mayor said he is unable to remain complacent on this matter because it is not the first incident of its kind concerning the Day/Night Plaza owners. The mayor referred to last year when employees in the Day/Night Hotel were released without compensation. Mayor Pairat said he intends to notify the Provincial Governor detailing the current matter, as well as the previous incidents.

Mayor Pairat said he intends to find out the answers and if it is found that the plaza is in error they will find it difficult to obtain new permits in the future.

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Should Pattaya have special status under the law?

Government officials taking a close look at the Entertainment Business Act of 1966

Government officials and members of the private sector in the Eastern Region don’t agree on how to handle Pattaya’s status under the law. Currently, they say, Pattaya businesses are not required to operate according to the same prescribed laws as other areas must do.

Mrs. Laddawan Wongsriwong, Assistant Secretary to the Office of the Prime Minister and the Chairman of the Women, Children and Underprivileged Development Sub-Committee, and Dr. Phasuk Kunlawanid, Director of Burapha University, are reviewing the new laws pertaining to businesses in the entertainment service arena.

A meeting was held at Burapha University last month, with representatives attending from various entertainment businesses, administrative officials, and other interested residents from seven provinces in the Eastern Region.

The changes in society are bringing new businesses into being, such as pubs, discoth่ques, restaurants with service girls and the like, which are considered to be sources adding to the problem of drug addiction, crime, and the sex industry in the country. The persons suffering most from the fallout of such behavior are the young people, women and underprivileged persons in society. The Entertainment Business Act of 1966, which still applies to this day, was not well conceived and is very limited and not suitable to the current existing conditions.

Therefore, the Thai Social Policies Committee with the Prime Minister as Chairman has established a Women, Children and Underprivileged Development Sub-Committee to administer policies to protect their welfare and to develop their status by revising the outdated Entertainment Business Act of 1966.

The sub-committee is also asking community residents to provide input on the Thai Constitution of 1997, which identifies the importance of meeting the people’s desires and opinions applying to the laws governing their existence. The data resulting from this meeting will be consolidated with other information collected from Chiang Mai, Udorn, Phuket and other areas and presented for consideration in revising the Business Entertainment Act into a new form in order to create a more suitable representation equal to the current conditions.

Mrs. Laddawan Wongsriwong, Assistant Secretary to the Office of the Prime Minister and the Chairman of the Women, Children and Underprivileged Development Sub-Committee, believes it is time to review the Entertainment Business Act of 1966. However, not everyone agrees with the changes she is proposing.

The basic concerns are not allowing minors to enter entertainment facilities, nor allow minors to work in the facilities, and employees are to be looked after in accordance with prescribed labor laws pertaining to days off, fines for being late and providing health insurance.

Chonburi Provincial Police Commander, Pol. Maj. Gen. Pongsun Vajratorn, gave his views on revising the outdated Act of 1966, saying there should be no adverse affects to tourists frequenting the establishments. But any minors engaging in activities inside the entertainment areas are sure to become involved in the drug problem. Additionally, the current laws are not explicit enough and are constantly changing, especially the hours of operation specifying opening between 06:00 am and midnight and closing between 02:00 a.m. and 03:00 a.m. The police are even confused as to what this specifically translates to, and the confusion is even more prevalent in Pattaya where the law states persons under the age of 20 are not permitted entry. But at the same time the law allows persons 18 years of age and under to be employed in the entertainment business establishments. “This doesn’t make any sense, especially when these young people should be engaged in furthering their education rather than engaging in employment leading to nowhere with their salaries more than likely supporting their parents,” Gen. Pongsun said.

Banglamung District Chief Prasert Thanasethakorn expressed his views on the new revision, saying the changes should not apply to Pattaya, which is a special case when compared to other areas such as Chiang Mai, Samui, and Phuket. He feels Pattaya has special status due to the many foreign tourists visiting the city, especially when considering Article 36 and the hours of operation of such establishments. If the new Act included revisions to Article 36 there would be adverse effects on the many entertainment businesses that would have to be compensated or assistance provided to in one way or another.

Naris Phechararat, Chairman of the Walking Street Committee, and Sukhum Wiphuthathanon, Chairman of the Committee representing the owners of the 101 business structures in South Pattaya, gave their views as entertainment business owners and what they perceive as the actual facts pertaining to Pattaya. They are not in agreement with changes to the operating hours, claiming if the closing time was established as midnight there would be a great loss of revenue for the city and the country as a whole. They identified the hours of 10 and 11:00 pm as the period most tourists start frequenting the entertainment establishments. However, they were agreeable to closing times between 2:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m.

The Chairman of the Chonburi Council, Chanyut Hengtrakul provided his opinions and debated the changes considered, expressing that any changes need to be in accordance with the current social conditions. He also referred to 90% of the businesses in the entertainment areas of Pattaya are not even licensed, due to the difficulties encountered when requesting proper licensing and the extremely high cost involved. Formerly, when Mr. Sanaw Thien Thong was the Minister of the Interior, the policies were relaxed allowing establishments in Pattaya to remain open continuously. Therefore, the existing transparencies in the outdated act should be revised in a suitable manner that will not have an adverse affect on minors becoming beggars and involved in unsuitable behavior such as the sex for sale trade. Any changes to the existing laws are going to have some affects that are not agreeable by one faction or another in Pattaya. The procedure of changing the laws should start with the Ministry of Interior updating the laws in special circumstances, due to the vagueness of current laws which are causing owners to be in an uproar declaring that they have paid the required tribute to police, so let it be.

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Mayor signs deal with Siam C-Pak Block to develop Walking Street

Artistic pavement to be laid

At Pattaya City Hall on August 17th, Pattaya Mayor Pairat Suthithamrongsawat and Sanan Kedkasemsuk, General Manager of the Siam C-Pak Block Company Ltd., signed an agreement to use the company’s material to complete the Walking Street project in South Pattaya. The company is a subsidiary of Thai Cement. The overall cost of the project is five million baht.

The Walking Street area involves a 700 meter length of street to be renovated into a walkway along the South Pattaya Beach. The inlaid C-Pak blocks will portray various ocean scenes consisting of artful impressions made from the inlaid blocks, which developers hope will attract many admirers. The project is scheduled to be completed in October of this year and from thereafter vehicles of all types will be prohibited from entering the street between the hours of 6:00 p.m. to midnight.

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Foreigners should be allowed to own Thai land!

An amazing evening with an amazing man

“Of course foreigners should be allowed to buy land in Thailand. Foreigners should also be able to own 100% of a condominium block.” Words you often hear spoken in the ex-pat community, but not words you expect from a 4-star Thai Police General with aspirations in the Thai political scene.

Police General Dr. Prasan Wongyai addressed the Jomtien-Pattaya Rotary Club and commenced by saying that he was very appreciative for what Rotary International had done for the good of world society and he was in debt for what the local Rotarians had done for the good of the Thai society.

He then went further by saying that Thailand must make it easier for foreigners to live and work here. If that was not enough, he went on to say that, “We want you to contribute your ideas to Thailand and to the Thai government.” By that stage every Rotarian and guest present was hanging incredulously on his words.

Police General Dr. Prasan Wongyai addressed the Jomtien-Pattaya Rotary Club.

Dr. Prasan then outlined the changes to be implemented in the make-up of Thai political representatives and the changes in the appointment of Senators. With candidates having to hold the minimum of a Bachelors Degree he hoped that this would produce a new government style which would be more broadminded, more liberal and more international.

Dr. Prasan himself is indeed a very international man, having spent 12 years in America, 2 years in Spain and 2 years in Switzerland. His career has been one of strong progression through the ranks until he became the number two police general in this country. In that progression has been time as a special Royal Aide to his Majesty the King. There was no doubt that this man is well educated and well connected.

Dr. Prasan’s political career is linked to Taksin Shinawatra’s Thai Rak Thai Party, whose liberal views are now starting to be heard. Dr. Prasan said firmly, “Thailand must become a member of the global society. We have to accept the fact that we must become international. We cannot stand alone anymore.”

Pol. Gen. Dr. Prasan Wongyai is surrounded by members and guests of the Rotary Club of Jomtien-Pattaya after the meeting.

He fielded questions from the audience with the consummate skill of a politician and was able to address problems such as vote buying, bribery and corruption without embarrassment. He made mention of methods to counteract these problems and admitted that education was a key factor in all of this. Education not just of people in power, but education for all Thai’s (and foreigners who live here) on what are their “rights”.

There was no doubt that Dr. Prasan impressed the Rotarians, with many saying they would immediately vote for him and his party if it were possible for them to do so! The fact that the dinner meeting went overtime by an hour, without one word of complaint or people quietly sneaking away, was enough to show the appreciation of the local ex-pat community present. There was no doubt that the group was impressed by the presentation and many expressed the hope that if the Thai Rak Thai party did indeed get into a position of power, that institution of the concepts as outlined by Dr. Prasan would be beneficial to both the foreigners living here and to a new revitalised and ‘internationalised’ Thailand.

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Copyright 1998 Pattaya Mail Publishing Co.Ltd.
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Updated by Chinnaporn Sangwanlek.