Seven perish in
massive Thaioil blaze
Investigators yet to determine cause
Employees reported a strong smell of fuel, followed by
reports from security guards that fuel was leaking from one of the tanks.
Within moments, the fuel ignited, causing a huge explosion that could be
heard 30 kilometers away. The impact of the explosion shook structures
like an earthquake and shattered windows in houses and automobiles within
a one kilometer radius.
daybreak Friday morning, Decenber 3rd, the fire was still a long way from
being under control.
4,000 people living in 10 small villages in the
vicinity had to be evacuated from their homes. Some were less than one
kilometer away from the accident scene. Many packed their belongings and
left their homes in the middle of the night while others without
transportation walked away from the blazing scene. They slept at temples
and schools nearby, and even under the flyover across the highway.
Firemen, police, army, navy and air force personnel
were called out to try to stop the inferno, but all that could be done was
to try to prevent the blaze from spreading to the nearby tanks.
The Royal Thai Army sent 15,000 tons of reserve stocks
of the foam to contain the fire, and altogether about 65,000 liters of
chemical foam were used, of which about 50,000 liters were brought in from
Singapore in the middle of the night on Friday. Yet it was not possible to
put enough chemical foam onto the blaze to put out the fire, as flames
reached 50 meters into the air. The only solution was to leave it to
eventually burn itself out when it ran out of fuel.
The fire finally subsided on Sunday morning, December
5th, after engulfing approximately 10 rai of land.
The following day after the fire was contained more
flames erupted again at 11:00 p.m. but the fire was extinguished within 20
minutes. Officials reported the re-erupting flames were not unusual and
were prepared for, as four fire trucks were standing by for such an
The damage is estimated to be at least 500 million baht
and the repair to the refinery will take 7 to 8 months. Thai Oil has
ceased all operations at the refinery for the time being and anticipates
at least another week before operations will continue. The shut down will
cause an additional loss of US$2.5 million.
fire cast an eerie glow over the debris from the explosion.
Thaioil is insured for up to US$2.2 billion through
Dhippaya Insurance Company. Officials from Dhippaya say they have enough
reserves to cover damages from the Thaioil fire.
Authorities state that there will not be any
environmental impact from the smoke, as it did not contain sulfur
substances. But health officials do warn people that the smoke pollution
could cause respiratory problems.
The villagers living around the refinery were shocked
by the incident because they had full confidence in the company’s
Safety standards at the Thai Oil refinery are world
class and there had never been a single major incident at the plant
before. PTT governor Viset Choopiban said the refinery had operated for 30
million hours since it was opened 30 years ago, with a clean safety
Officials from the Thai Oil Refinery announced that
they will take full responsibilities in this matter and will compensate
the victims. The Welfare and Labor Department of Chonburi and the Social
Security Department of Chonburi under the Ministry of Labor are also on
hand to assist in providing compensation.
The deceased were identified as: Somchai Rodphan,
Wichan Panchiangrak, Anusorn Tantivisutsri, Morakit Kosumwatcharaporn,
Uthai Saenboonruang, and Somporn Promchorn. A further victim has yet to be
Investigators later discovered a number of Buddha
images miraculously undamaged in the buildings destroyed in the fire.
Over 250 people have already filed claims for damages. There have also
been reports of looting.
Caught with 10 year old boy in his bed
Egli Thomas Johann, 48, from Switzerland, was arrested
last week for molesting a 10-year-old boy. Johann denies the charges, but
police believe evidence suggests otherwise.
Pattaya police were called at 2:30 a.m. on 30 November
to investigate what the caller described as “a foreigner taking a boy no
older than 12 years up to his hotel room”. The incident was taking place
at a hotel on Soi 10 off of Pattaya 2 Road.
Police had hotel staff accompany a group of officers to
the room and opened the door with spare keys, but entry was prohibited as
the door was chain fastened. Police knocked and the occupant opened the
door and turned the lights on. Police saw that a 10-year-old boy was
sleeping on the bed.
Thomas Johann, 48, from Switzerland, was arrested last week for molesting
a this 10-year-old boy.
The man was identified from his Swiss passport as Mr.
Egli Thomas Johann, age 48.
Police searched the room and found a package containing
four condoms, one dildo, one picture of a naked Thai girl and four
pictures of Johann with young Thai boys. All items were confiscated and
Johann was taken to the station for further questioning.
Johann told police he was employed as an artist in
Switzerland. He assured police he had no ill intentions by bringing the
young boy to his room, claiming he loved children. He said he was walking
along the beach when he met the cute boy and brought him to his room after
taking him out to eat and buying him a shirt. He said he brought the boy
back to his room and allowed him to go to sleep. He said that was when
police entered his room.
The boy told police officers he was from Chiang Rai
Province. He currently lives with his sister, who works at a beer bar in
South Pattaya. The boy similarly described to police that he met Johann as
he was walking along the beach area. He said Johann persuaded him to come
to his room after buying him the shirt and offering him money. Once in the
room, the boy told police, Johann took him into the bathroom and gave him
a bath, touching his private parts. He said that after the bath, the two
got into bed. He said Johann turned off the lights and took off his
clothes. He said that was when police came to the door. The boy said that
when Johann heard police knocking, he put his shorts back on and went to
Police recorded the information and charged Johann with luring a minor
under the age of 14 years to his room for the purpose of engaging in
released fro captors
“Parents” arrested, battered boy turned over to welfare
Concerned residents notified Pattaya Immigration police
on 1 December that two foreigners, a man and a woman, were physically
abusing a young boy no older than 10 years of age. The immigration
authorities investigated the report at the Soi A.R., Moo 9 address in
Central Pattaya, where a group of residents were waiting and promptly
directed the immigration police to the location.
Investigators were stunned when they entered the rented
home and discovered the young boy, who was sleeping on the floor, had
multiple scars, recent injuries and burns all over his body, including
bruises and wounds with dried blood.
The two people renting the house were identified as Mr.
Go Shimizu, age 30, carrying a Japanese passport and Miss Myyseu Saemyy,
age 18, from Myanmar. The boy was only identified as “La”, age 9. All
three were escorted to the Pattaya Immigration police office for further
Both Shimizu and Miss Myyseu denied physically abusing
the boy, claiming instead that the boy had bit Miss Myyseu and he was
spanked by both of them to correct his behavior.
However, the young boy asserted that the two were
forcing him to sell flowers in the entertainment areas of Pattaya from
6:00 p.m. until 4:00 a.m. each night. If he didn’t sell enough the two,
he said pointing to Shimizu and Myyseu, would beat him repeatedly, burn
him with cigarettes or take their dissatisfaction out on him in other
He told authorities he was from Chiang Mai Province and
lost his parents when he was about three years old. He said he did not
even know his last name.
The immigration police charged the two with abducting
and physically abusing a child age 9, inflicting injuries both physically
and mentally and forcing the minor to perform work for their profit. Miss
Myyseu was also charged with illegally entering the Kingdom.
The young boy was transferred to the Chonburi Children’s Welfare
Center for further care and treatment.
Police crack down
on illegal foreigners
Step up efforts after Orchid Inn murder
Police agencies in Pattaya have stepped up efforts to
eradicate foreigners residing illegally in Pattaya. The move comes as a
response to the murder and robbery at the Orchid Inn Hotel in South Pattaya.
Police have already arrested one man in their crackdown,
Iranian Hassan Aghalarkhani Hamadan. Hassan was observed acting suspiciously
in the parking lot in front of the Dee Den Apartments in Nong Prue.
Aghalarkhani Hamadan was arrested for passport fraud.
When officers approached him to check his identification,
he produced a passport identifying him as Hassan Aghalarkhani Hamadan, age
27, from Iran. Police searched him and found another passport in his
possession identifying him as Irishman Eyberg Porgeir Kristan. The search
also produced a daily police report dated 30 October 1999, from the Pattaya
Police Department indicating a Hassan’s passport was lost.
Hassan confessed that the visa in his passport had
reached its expiration date and he reported that his passport was lost. He
later acquired the Irish passport and assumed the identity of Eyberg Porgeir
Kristan. Hassan told police he paid $25,000 (USD) to a man named Mr. Said
from Pakistan on 17 November 1999. The purchase was made at the Grace Hotel
in Soi 3 off of Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok. Hassan then took a picture of
himself and replaced the one in the Irish passport.
Police have charged Hassan for illegally residing in the Kingdom, making
a false report with police officials and falsifying the identity in a
passport belonging to another person.
for stamping passports
Using forged immigration stamp
Sau A J Alakamees, age 33, from Kuwait was arrested
late last month for possessing a Pattaya Immigration Police stamp used to
Alakamees was picked up in the area of Ban Jareun Suk,
Moo 5, when police spotted him acting suspiciously.
Police were acting according to recent instructions to
step up activities against foreigners engaged in crime and residing
illegally in the country. Tourist police officers were on a routine patrol
in Soi Nern Phap Wan at 2:30 a.m. on 23 November when, nearing the corner
of Ban Jareun Suk, Moo 5, they spotted Alakamees carrying a bag in a
Police searched the bag and found a number of documents
and a rubber stamp belonging to the Pattaya Immigration Police for
authorizing extended stays in the Kingdom.
Alakamees confessed to residing in Pattaya for some
time now without a passport. He claimed he had the rubber stamp made and
was making money by stamping passports for people he knew in the area.
Police charged Alakamees for illegally residing in the Kingdom and for
counterfeiting government documents.
His Holiness the
Supreme Patriarch presides over religious week at Wat Yan Sangwararam
A religious week of prayers and offerings was organized
at Wat Yan Sangwararam to celebrate the auspicious occasion of His Majesty
the King’s 72nd birthday.
The religious week was presided over by His Holiness
the Supreme Patriarch. Prayers were chanted continuously from dusk till
dawn. 900 monks from temples all over Chonburi joined in the holy
monks from temples all over Chonburi joined in the holy proceedings during
a religious week of prayers and offerings at Wat Yan Sangwararam to
celebrate the auspicious occasion of His Majesty the King’s 72nd
A ceremony was held to offer new robes for the Maha
Chakri Pipat Chedi (pagoda). This was to replace the previous cloth that
was offered by His Majesty the King and His Royal Highness Crown Prince
Vajiralongkorn on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee celebrations to mark
His Majesty’s 50 years on the throne in 1996.
Exhibitions were held around the temple complex and
alms ere offered to the monks every morning.
Thousands of loyal subjects made a pilgrimage to Wat
Yan Sangwararam, which is under the patronage of His Majesty the King.
At night the whole temple complex was lit up by
hundreds of thousands of lights. This is according to the belief that the
magical powers of Somdej Phra Puthayan Naresuan will rapidly bring light
into the darkened hearts of some people in our country so that his Majesty
will be happy and bright like the millions of lights of celebration, and
that he may continue to protect the whole Thai nation from the darkness
and keep us enlightened until eternity.
The festivities came to an end with a beautiful fireworks display
lighting up the night sky paying tribute to the HM the King whom we love
Preparations in place
The Association of Private Hospitals in Pattaya
announced they feel local hospitals are Y2K ready. Corrective actions are
in place for any possible Y2K computer problems.
Hospital Administrative Supervisor Sarit Witayakorn
made the Y2K preparedness announcement at a special lecture at the Pattaya
Grand Sole Hotel covering Y2K preparations given to an audience of medical
personnel. The Director of Bangkok-Pattaya Hospital, Doctor Phichit
Kangwonkij chaired the conference.
Witayakorn announced local hospitals are Y2K ready.
The Bangkok-Pattaya Accident Center is very much aware
of the possible dangers that could result from computer failure. The
possible catastrophes they are prepared for include large scale accidents
on the roadways from inoperative traffic signals and mishaps in the
Officials from private hospitals and government run
hospitals in Chonburi have also met to discuss the preparations for
possible mishaps, and the private hospitals are considered to be more
prepared. There still remains a problem with computerized x-ray equipment
and experts from Hong Kong are now working on the corrections required.
Other areas such as blood bank refrigeration, radio
communication, hospital instruments and emergency room equipment have
already been tested and preparations are in place.
The Bangkok-Pattaya Hospital is preparing for the New Year celebration.
The following day will be the final test.
fishermen “muscled” out of area
Mollusk structures keeping fish at boy
About two years ago, researchers were brought in to
study the water in the area of Ban Rong Po to determine its feasibility
for fish farming. Their initial conclusions showed that the area was
indeed suitable for fishing. The researchers even went so far as to invest
funds in the fishing business and erect fences to cordon off areas to trap
fish. This made the local fishermen very happy.
Then, about a year ago, large numbers of muscles began
to appear in the area. Many of the investors turned to raising and
harvesting muscles instead of fish. This made the local fishermen very
The fishermen were concerned with the many structures
built to raise mussels, which prevented fish from entering the area. The
fishermen were unable to get a suitable response on the matter locally, so
they voiced their concerns with appropriate authorities.
from Ban Rong Po and Naklua met with Chonburi and Banglamung Fishing
Departments met with the leaders from the Chonburi Department of Natural
Resources to iron out fishing vs. muscle harvesting concerns.
Representatives from the Chonburi and Banglamung
Fishing Departments met with the leaders from the Chonburi Department of
Natural Resources, community leaders and fishermen from Rong Po
sub-district at a conference at the Rong Po elementary school on 22
November. The conference meeting centered around area fishing allocations
in the bay off Banglamung.
The representative from the Chonburi Fishery
Department, Uthai Khrujareun said the identified area has not yet been
approved for raising fish. But, he said, he understands the residents’
concern. He added that the department is staffed with people familiar with
the fishing industry, and they plan to work with the residents to allocate
areas approved for raising fish. He said surveys of the area waters must
be completed first and the number of fishermen in the area must be
identified before the new allocations can be made.
The local fishermen are still waiting for a final response.
Children ‘Sell Their Bodies To Survive’
Almost 4,000 young Australians, some under the age of
10, are reportedly selling their bodies to survive. The report by Save The
Children blasted the Government for failing to appoint a children’s
commissioner or enacting legislation to implement the UN Convention on the
Rights of the Child.
“In Australia today, children are also being sent
into detention for the smallest of offences, refugee children are being
deprived of their liberty and Aboriginal and rural children are missing
out on educational opportunities,” the report said.
Published 10 years after the United Nations Convention
on Child Rights was ratified, the report found 3,733 children under the
age of 18 engaged in commercial sexual activities. Most were from the
state of Victoria, followed by New South Wales and South Australia.
“The majority of cases involved young persons aged 16
to 17 years, but a disturbing finding was a number of 10- to 12-year-olds
and some under the age of 10 were reported as participants in commercial
sex work,” it said.
“Children engage in commercial sex activities to meet
their basic life needs which may include accommodation, food, drugs,
cigarettes, alcohol, clothing and money to buy goods and services.” The
report’s author, Andrew Johnson, said one of the fundamental problems
was that Australia’s political system failed to provide a mechanism to
“These children are not prostitutes, they’re simply
selling their bodies to survive, to eat and stay alive,” he said.
Reports from sex worker organisations indicated the
problem was getting worse. Child pornography was widespread and there was
growing evidence of child sex tourism. The report recommended
decriminalising prostitution and establishing a uniform age of consent for
males and females across Australia.
The Government came under fire for its failure to promote the rights of
children. The report charges that, “No agencies in Australia have been
given the authority or explicit role or resources to monitor Australia’s
compliance with the Convention in any effective way.”
Copyright 1999 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 Boonsiri Suansuk