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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:
Election preparations begin for the year 2000

Mayor re-elected

Police arrest armed robber

Pattaya Police bust car theft ring

Italian tourist busted with marijuana

Towards better disease control

Ministry of Health issues new policy for prevention of rabies

Eastern region municipalities prepare for the Year 2000

Eastern region municipalities prepare for the Year 2000

Election preparations begin for the year 2000

The new year to bring about changes

The year 2000 is approaching fast. Many believe the new year will bring about national elections and vast changes in many local administrative procedures.

Articles in the 1997 Constitution stipulate that district and sub-district officers, Pattaya City’s mayor and city council members all be elected by local residents, as opposed to being appointed or elected by the city council.

An election committee for Area 6 has been set up to prepare for the upcoming elections and ensure proper procedures are followed.

Assistant Professor Chana Pranomsri has been named the caretaker of Area 6 elections. Area 6 consists of: Naklua, Nong Prue, Nong Pla Lai, Takhientia, including Banglamung District, and Thung Sukhla in Sriracha District and Tha Thaweng in Si Chang Island District.

Chana Pranomsri is responsible for controlling the election and supervising the volunteer election officials. It is his job to make sure the elections are conducted according to the guidance contained in the 1997 Constitution.

Forty-eight volunteer election officials will ensure Area 6 voters are aware of those regulations. The volunteer election committee members also identify eligible candidates and polling locations, as well as select officials to count the ballots.

Chonburi province is divided up into seven election areas. Each area has one representative in parliament. Only one member from each province is elected to the Upper House (Senate).

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Mayor re-elected

City council shows vote of confidence

Pattaya’s city council voted to re-elect Pattaya City Mayor Pairat Suthithamrongsawat for another term. The decision was made during a bimonthly conference on 31 August.

The conference meeting date to decide the mayor’s term of office was established and scheduled two years ago when Mayor Pairat first took office. The date was set in accordance with procedures contained in National Article 35, dated 1989, concerning Pattaya City Administration Procedures. Article 35 stipulates that the election of the mayor must take place within 15 days of the end of the mayor’s two-year term in office.

Pattaya’s City Council is made up of 17 people; nine elected by public vote and eight appointed by the Ministry of Interior. In accordance with the 1989 Article, the 17 elected officials (in this case minus 2 individuals who were absent) re-elected Pairat Suthithamrongsawat to sit in the mayor’s position for an additional term.

There is a possibility, however, that the mayor may not be able to complete a full two year term under the current system, as the city’s administration may undergo some changes after the new year which would necessitate the mayor be elected by the public.

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Police arrest armed robber

Ran roadblock, seriously injuring police officer

Pattaya Police brought in a suspect who later confessed to holding up the Bang Chak Gas Station at the intersection of North Pattaya Road and Sukhumvit. The suspect, identified as Ranawat Cheunchom, age 19, was the same armed robber who ran a police roadblock in Sriracha, seriously injuring a police officer.

Station attendants identified Ranawat as the man who forced them at gunpoint to hand over 2,200 baht before fleeing the area.

Ranawat Cheunchom demonstrates to police how he robbed at gunpoint a number of gas stations in the area.

When arrested, Ranawat had in his possession the .38 mm weapon used in the robbery.

During the robbery he had the attendants fill his tank before drawing his weapon and taking the money from the attendants. He then drove off in his taxi towards Chonburi. A roadblock was set up in Sriracha to intercept him, which he drove through causing serious injury to a police officer.

Police took Ranawat to another Shell gas station on Sukhumvit Road in Naklua where he reconstructed for police how he held up the attendants there in a similar manner, taking 5,200 baht after shooting off a few rounds into the station building.

Ranawat told reporters that he always wanted to be a police officer but somehow got involved in drugs. He said he uses up to 30 amphetamine (ya ba) tablets a day. He said he stole to support his habit.

Ranawat confessed to police that he robbed over 10 gas stations in the recent past.

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Pattaya Police bust car theft ring

Fleecing car rental firms

Pattaya Police were notified by the owners of a car rental company that two men wanting to rent a car were using identification that appeared to be fake. Investigating Police officers found the two men still waiting at the car rental in front of the Grand Sole Hotel on Pattaya 2 Road.

Chaiphryk Srisawat, age 24, from Chonburi and Banjong Ketkeo, age 48, from Bangkok, were both arrested after inspection of their Thai identity cards and one driver’s license showed them to be fake.

The two later told police they were hired by two men, Chairat Ratwichien from Sakeo and Chaiyot Ruangjinda from Trang Province, to rent the vehicles. They also told the police that the two men were waiting for them in a South Pattaya room to return with the rented vehicle.

Police had Chaiphryk and Banjong take them to the room, and sure enough, the two other men were still waiting for them. Police took all four to the police station for further investigation. Police also confiscated a Toyota pick-up truck registered in Lopburi.

The four men confessed to police that they were planning to take the rented vehicles to an agent along the Thai-Cambodian border. They said the agent was to pay them up to 70,000 baht. The vehicles were destined to be sold in Cambodia.

Police are continuing their investigation and are trying to locate the agent purchasing the stolen vehicles at the border. Meanwhile, while the four men are in custody waiting to stand trial.

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Italian tourist busted with marijuana

Italian tourist Paolo Di Losso, age 27, was arrested by tourist police last week for possession of a small amount of marijuana.

Italian tourist Paolo Di Losso was arrested for possession of a small amount of marijuana. If convicted, he faces a fine and deportation.

Di Losso had been under investigation after tourist police received information he was in possession of the drug. Ten tourist police officers took part in the investigation.

After monitoring Di Losso ‘s activities, officers arrested Di Losso from his room in an apartment complex in Soi Yen Sabai on September 1st. A search of the room turned up one small plastic bag containing pressed marijuana at the head of his bed.

At the Tourist Police Station, Di Lasso confessed to purchasing 500 baht of marijuana from an unknown person on Beach Road for his own personal use.

Di Lasso is being charged with possession of a class 5 illegal drug and is waiting trial. If convicted, Di Lasso faces a fine and deportation.

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Towards better disease control

Critical procedures outlined for handling vaccines

Dr. Prasong Fakjareunphon from the Chonburi Disease Control Office held a conference to discuss the urgency of improving the disease prevention program. Health officials from seven provinces in the eastern region attended the conference.

Currently, the measures used in prevention and control of contagious diseases is by continuing the vaccination program, which for the most part has been a successful program throughout the country. Only a few remote areas have been excluded.

Dr. Prasong Fakjareunphon from the Chonburi Disease Control Office held a conference on the urgency of improving the disease prevention program.

The quantity of polio vaccines are sufficient, but in some cases the methods used to get the refrigerated vaccines to some areas of the country are inadequate causing the vaccines to lose their effectiveness. The objective of the conference was to increase awareness relating to the critical procedures required by people involved in handling the vaccines.

The conference discussed various suggested procedures to ensure the proper handling of vaccines and the crucial importance of keeping the vaccines constantly refrigerated.

The conference was held at the Pattaya Merlin Hotel.

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Ministry of Health issues new policy for prevention of rabies

Stay away from strays!

The Ministry of Public Health’s new policy for the prevention and treatment of rabies identifies the urgency in treating all patients with animal bites as emergency cases. The policy stresses that these cases require immediate medical attention.

This policy was presented during a recent seminar organized by the Chonburi Department of Communicable Disease Control held at the Pattaya Dusit Resort Hotel. Deputy Public Health Minister Khamron Lamphun chaired the seminar.

Deputy Public Health Minister Khamron Lamphun chaired a seminar at the Dusit Resort Pattaya on the “Management of Rabies patients and Prevention of Rabies Exposure”.

Current statistics show that deaths from dog bites in Thailand have steadily decreased from 370 recorded in 1980 to 44 recorded so far in 1999. All regions in Thailand have demonstrated a significant decrease, except for the central region. The central region statistics are causing alarm and have been the main reason behind producing a new policy.

The central region is experiencing more cases involving animal bites due to the large number of stray dogs throughout the region. Statistics show that most fatal cases involve bites from small dogs, three months old. The victims are mainly young children who do not perceive the possible dangers associated with the small and sometimes cute animals. The new policy includes making the public more aware of the dangers involved with stray animals.

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Eastern region municipalities prepare for the Year 2000

Deputy Director-General talks about confusing changes

The Deputy Director-General of the Ruling Department from the Municipal Administration Section Mr. Sarod Khachamad identified issues of concern during a conference with a special lecture entitled “Municipalities in the Year 2000”.

The conference took place at the Laem Chabang Municipal Building in Sriracha and was hosted by Chonburi Governor Sujarit Pachimnan.

Municipal Community officials from nine provinces in the eastern region attended the conference, including Saensukh Municipality Mayor Somchai Khunpleum and Pattaya Mayor Pairat Suthithamrongsawat.

(from right) Pattaya Mayor Pairat Suthithamrongsawat, Deputy Director-General of the Ruling Department from the Municipal Administration Section Sarod Khachamad, Mayor of Saensukh Municipality Somchai Khumpleum, Chonburi Governor Sujarit Pachimnan and the Chairman of the Standing Committee on Tourism of the House of Representatives Santsak Ngamphiches (far left).

The conference was assembled to issue guidance to municipal leaders in order to clarify the status and roles of the new level of administration.

105 new members were added to the existing 26 members in the eastern region after many sub-districts were recently changed into municipalities.

Since the change there has been some confusion concerning the new role and status of the municipal level. Arguments have surfaced among some leaders on various matters.

The change brought about 980 new municipalities in Thailand, added to the former number of 149 localities in the National Municipal Alliance of Thailand, which now receives new procedures in administration under the Ministry of Interior.

Also in the Municipal Alliance are the Provincial Administration and Sub-District Administration Organizations, including Bangkok and Pattaya.

Important issues in Mr. Sarod’s lecture covered the Ministry’s decision to require the mayors in each municipality to be locally elected officials. However, the government perceives that the local administration organizations are not yet prepared for the changes.

The problem appears to be disagreements between the municipal mayors and the municipal permanent secretaries. Both sides have submitted documents to the Ministry requesting guidance and decisions on certain matters.

Deputy Director-General Sarod said that the two parties must adjust to the new administration system and work together in order to function efficiently in the future.

Sarod identified three other important issues during his lecture. The first covered the problems of collecting revenues from the hotel room tax, and cigarette and fuel taxes at the provincial level of government. He said that it was up to the provincial administrative organizations to rectify their own internal problems on this matter.

The second issue covered the problem of allocating the authority the Ministry of Interior has given to the provincial level of government, but will soon be issuing new authority guidance to the sub-district and provincial administration organizations, including the municipality level of government.

Lastly, Sarod referred to the lack of clearly defined procedures for assessing various projects at the different levels of government. He declared that the opinions of local residents in respective localities must be included when considering and identifying various projects to be implemented.

Sarod also made it clear to the audience that the current constitution still contains the authority to remove administrative officials not suitably performing their duties.

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Mayor receives visit from JICA Institute

Professor (Rev.) Akiie Henry Ninomiya from the Japan International Co-operation Agency ‘JICA’ Institute, Khwansai Kaku-In University in Kobe, Japan visited Pattaya Mayor Pairat Suthithamrongsawat this week to follow-up on the project to establish conveniences for handicapped persons in Pattaya.

The many visitors coming to Pattaya each year has made the city into a well-known tourist attraction around the world. Therefore, the city should have all the features that other well-known up to date tourist locations offer. Pattaya has most of the features and a few that others don’t have, but is lacking adequate conveniences for handicapped persons, which has received much attention in other major cities around the world in recent years.

Pattaya Mayor Pairat Suthithamrongsawat shakes the hand of Akiie Henry Ninomiya from the Kobe Social Service Community Holistic Social Service Research Center in Japan. The Research Center is offering assistance in developing handicapped conveniences in Pattaya and is taking a look at the on-going progress of the project.

Wheelchair ramps along walkways have been included in many of the local government facilities but are not available throughout the city. The city now plans to implement the ramps along with other conveniences for handicapped persons. The goal is to provide equal opportunity to handicapped persons, including convenient access to hotel accommodations and restroom facilities for both residents and visitors to Pattaya.

The Pattaya Redemptorist School for the Blind initiated a plan to institute the changes in 1998, in conjunction with Tourism Authority of Thailand, Central Region 3. This year some of the conveniences were implemented along Pattaya 2 and Pattaya 3 Roads, Chalerm Prakiat Road and Jomtien Road. However, due to limited funds the changes made are just the beginning of a much larger project that expects to receive additional funds from O.E.C.F. in the amount of 1,400 million baht, of which 17.5 million baht will go towards the completion of the project. Hopefully, in the year 2000, the project will be completed, affording the conveniences for handicapped persons in the area and attracting foreign tourists with physical handicaps to visit Pattaya.

Akiie expressed he was very pleased to hear of the Pattaya Mayor’s interest in completing the project and said to feel free to contact the JICA Institute if any further assistance is needed. He also intends to inform the handicapped community in Japan of the good news with the coming improvements in Pattaya. The members of the JICA Institute will be continuing their coordination with the Chonburi Redemptorist Center for the Blind in Pattaya.

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Copyright 1998 Pattaya Mail Publishing Co.Ltd.
370/7-8 Pattaya Second Road, Pattaya City, Chonburi 20260, Thailand 
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Updated by Chinnaporn Sangwanlek.