evasive at local “meet the press” session
Deferred all issues to provincial
One hundred fifty reporters from nine eastern region
provinces attended the conference on May 19 at the K.P. Grand Hotel in
Chanthaburi. The nine provinces represented were Rayong, Chanthaburi,
Trat, Prachinburi, Sakeo, Chachoengsao, Nakhorn Nayok, Samutprakarn and
The regional conference was the third of its kind. The
first was held in Chiang Mai and the second in Khon Kaen. Each conference
was set up to allow representatives of the press to ask questions
pertaining to concerns in their areas.
prime minister met with local residents who are concerned with falling
prices of fruits and other produce grown in the eastern region.
After each question, the prime minister directed
questions concerning a certain ministry over to that particular minister
to answer. He informed the press earlier that any questions unable to be
answered in full would be followed up.
The problem areas drawing the most attention were environmental
concerns involving the various industries located in the eastern region,
specifically air and water pollution, and trucks transporting dangerous
chemicals. The rampant drug trafficking originating from the Cambodian
border coming through Chanthaburi and Trat and now spreading throughout
the eastern region was another major topic of discussion. More questions
followed concerning the falling prices of
fruits and other produce grown in the region.
No straight answers were forthcoming on most of the
topics. The prime minister deferred to a recent policy that directs
provincial governors to hold local press conferences to cover many of the
questions being left unanswered. The prime minister said that at these
provincial conferences, provincial governors are to inform the general
public, through the media, of clarifications of local problems of concern.
They are also directed to identify obstacles involved, along with their
plans for corrective action.
A reporter from Rayong referred to a televised
discussion on ITV with Pattaya’s mayor and other officials who were
researching the idea of bringing casino gambling to Pattaya. The prime
minister’s response was neither positive nor negative, stating that laws
were currently in place prohibiting gambling. “Even though,” he said,
“many people may favor the idea, as it may prevent Thai nationals from
Pattaya Mail’s editor Kittisak Khamthong asked the
prime minister about the campaign to host the 2008 Olympics in Chonburi.
The prime minister re-directed the question to Jurint Laksanawisid from
the office of the prime minister in his capacity as National Athletic
Events Coordinator. Jurint indicated the process was still in its initial
phase. 3 or 4 other countries were being considered, even though Chonburi
and Pattaya are considered to be suitable locations to hold the sporting
events. The first hint of any decision is not expected until September and
the final selection will probably be announced in July 2001.
Jurint said the government is emphasizing athletics in
all 76 provinces and has allocated 70 million baht to promote sports, with
additional committees appointed at the district and sub-district levels to
organize this development.
The prime minister finished by saying that Chonburi has been identified
as the location where a cultural exhibition hall is to be established.
This will be a center to consolidate various items displaying customs and
the legacy of the eastern region. The exhibition hall is still in the
planning phase. Each region in Thailand will have a similar center with
each having a specific design inherent to its region.
World Smoke Out
Day 31 May
Countries around the world, including Thailand, are
recognizing 31 May as “World Smoke Out Day”. “Smoke Out”
activities are being sponsored by the World Health Organization and
Pattaya’s Dusit Resort in conjunction with the Bicycling for Health
The World Health Organization designated a torch as the
campaign symbol to create clean air free of tobacco smoke. The torch was
first lit in India in January 2000, and is destined for nine countries in
Southeast Asia from India on to Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Thailand,
Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Myanmar. The torch arrived in Thailand
on 30 April and continued traveling throughout the provinces announcing
the campaign to quit smoking. The Director of the World Health
Organization will be participating in a campaign ceremony in Thailand
before the torch leaves the country on the 1st of June.
The Pattaya Bicycle for Health Club and the city
administration are organizing a bicycle rally to support the campaign to
quit smoking. Mayor Pairat Suttithamrongsawat will “release” 200
bicyclists at 3.30 p.m. from the Dusit Resort on 31 May. During the rally,
vehicles with loud speakers will accompany the bikers and loudly announce
the dangers of smoking, inviting people to kick the habit. The entourage
will head towards South Pattaya’s Walking Street, on to the Chalerm
Prakiat overpass, proceed further to 3rd Road and end at the Pattaya
Central Festival Business Center. Everyone is invited to participate in
the Bicycle Smoke Out Campaign and all smokers are invited to kick the
accused of sodomy and rape
Thai police close case, sailors
turned over to US Naval Authorities
George Jameson Martinez, 22, an American sailor from the
USS Kitty Hawk, was briefly detained by Thai police after he and 4 other
sailors were accused of raping and sodomizing 29-year-old service girl
Phongsai Bhuminua. Martinez has thus far been the only name released. He and
the 4 others implicated in the offense were turned over to US Naval
authorities for further investigation.
Pol. Lt. Col. Chachawal Phisuttiwon and the officer in
charge of the case Pol. Lt. Nawarat Pramuanyat said that Thai authorities
will not pursue the case as the US Navy offered, and the victim accepted,
40,000 baht in compensation for her injuries. Miss Phongsai was briefly
hospitalized at Banglamung Hospital.
Miss Phongsai told police she had agreed to go with
Martinez to a local hotel at 2:00 a.m. on May 15 after he paid the 200 baht
fee at a beer bar in Soi 2. She said they walked to the hotel, where she
surrendered her identity card at the reception desk before going up to his
8th floor room.
She said the room was dark when they entered and remained
so when four other men allegedly came out of the corner and surprised her.
She said all four of the other men were unrecognizable in the dark. She said
they began to rape and sodomize her, stifling her screams by pinning her
down. Afterwards, she said, the men dressed in the dark and walked out of
the room. One man tossed 500 baht at her on the floor.
Miss Phongsai said she dressed, went downstairs,
collected her identity card and returned to the beer bar where she told her
friends what had took place before reporting the incident to police.
Local police contacted the American naval authorities and
together they returned to the hotel to investigate. They were able to obtain
Martinez’s name from the hotel registry.
The US publication Stars & Stripes, in an
inflammatory article that referred to Pattaya as, “a seedy port city”,
“sleazy south Pattaya”, “where hundreds of thousands of people - and
an estimated one out of three bar girls... are HIV positive” and where
“Americans created a booming prostitution economy,” also wrote that
“One of the sailors allegedly videotaped the assault,” but that, “The
videotape was allegedly taken back to the ship.”
It is expected that U.S. Navy criminal charges and
disciplinary actions will be brought against Martinez.
However, the incident will not be tried in Thailand, Pol.
Lt. Col. Chachawal said. Miss Phongsai agreed to this decision after
accepting 40,000 baht in compensation for her injuries from the U.S. Navy.
Local police considered the case closed after Miss Phongsai accepted the
masseuse leads to Russian arrest
Russian wanted her to work in
Russian Vladimir Kievakike, age 41, was arrested on 17
May at the Lek Hotel for conducting business on a temporary visa and
without a work permit.
Miss Somjit Nuamnoi, age 31, prompted the arrest when
she became suspicious and reported Vladimir’s actions to police. She
told police Vladimir first confronted her where she was employed as a
masseuse. He offered her employment as a masseuse in Amsterdam and
promised her a salary of 2,500 gilders (50,000 baht) per month. The amount
of money was attractive and she said became very interested.
to get Thai women to work in Amsterdam landed Russian Vladimir Kievakike
Somjit was to obtain a document from the district
office confirming her residence and identity in order to apply for a visa.
She said she obtained the document on 14 February and on the 16th Vladimir
had her sign an employment agreement with the Land of Smiles Company Ltd.
Vladimir identified himself as the manager and described his company as
providing ancient oriental massage in Amsterdam.
After signing the agreement she was enrolled in a 10
day course to learn the ancient art of Thai massage. She was presented
with a certificate of completion on 26 February.
Up to then she thought everything was legitimate, but
became suspicious when Vladimir said he would coordinate her visa and
wanted her to hand over her documents of birth and residence with visa
pictures and passport. He also requested her to sign a power of attorney.
The request for the power of attorney made her suspicious and she reported
what was transpiring to the Pattaya Tourist Police.
Police arrested Vladimir Kievakike and charged him with contracting
business without permission in the Kingdom under a temporary visa and for
illegally contracting employment for Thai nationals in a foreign country.
attempts suicide in Pattaya
US Navy sailor Mark Alten Hoffen, age 23, was taken to
the emergency room of the Pattaya Memorial Hospital at 2.30 a.m. on 15 May
after he jumped from the third floor of a local gay bar.
Hoffen was being treated for multiple fractures when
local police were called in to investigate. A song teaw had delivered
Hoffen to the hospital.
Police officers learned that Hoffen was upstairs in a
3rd floor room with one of the male employees from the gay bar. When the
club manager knocked at the room door to announce closing time, allegedly
Hoffen unexpectedly went out onto the balcony, yelled out “sawadee
Thailand”, then leapt from the balcony to the pavement below.
for robbing bar girl
Turnabout is not fair play
Miss Amphai Tiangthan, age 23, reported to Pattaya
police that she was robbed by a foreigner who took her gold bracelet and
necklace with pendent weighing 11 baht on 9 May.
Jurgen Kelzenberg became enamored with a bar girl’s gold and took it
from her at knifepoint.
She identified the man as a German national and told
police the man paid the 200 baht fee at the beer bar where she worked in
Soi Diamond thinking they were going back to his hotel. Instead the man
pulled out a knife and put it to her throat in a secluded area next to the
Tantrarak School. In addition to her gold jewelry, the man helped himself
to 70 Swiss Francs and 12,000 baht in cash that Amphai was carrying.
The Pattaya Police Foreign Crime Suppression Center
soon identified the man as Jurgen Kelzenberg, age 31, residing in Soi Nori
with a Thai girl named Kamolwan Kijphinit. He was spotted in Jomtien near
the Dongtan Police box and arrested. Miss Amphai was then able to provide
police with a positive identification of Kelzenberg.
Jurgen confessed to the crime admitting he planned to rob Amphai after
seeing her all decked out in gold at the beer bar. All of the stolen items
were recovered except for the five baht weight gold bracelet, which Jurgen
said he sold at a gold shop in Sri Racha. He was charged with armed
robbery and is awaiting trial.
the 2008 Olympics
Chonburi / Pattaya would host water sports
Members of the Thai Olympic Committee are still
cautiously optimistic that Thailand may have a chance to host the 2008
Olympics. Ten cities are still in the running, and in September that
number will be reduced to five. The final decision will be announced in
July 2001. If successful, the Chonburi area and Pattaya would be host to
four different water events.
Last Monday, May 22, members of the Thai Olympic
Committee, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Pattaya’s city
administration met with local restaurant and business owners and the
eastern region hotel community to outline what it would mean to the local
economy if Thailand was successful in its bid to host the Olympics.
Nat Inthornpan, member of both the International Olympic Committee and the
Thai Olympic Committee (center); Roderick Mc Geoch, Coordination
Consultant for Host Submission of the Olympic Games 2008 (2nd from left);
Suwanachai Rytirak, TAT Director of Tourist Location Development (4th from
left); Jaradsri Suriyachai, Secretary of the Thai Eastern Hotel
Association (far left); and Suwach Phraebhiromrat, Chairman of the Pattaya
Hotel Association (far right).
Dr. Nat Inthapan, IOC and Thai Olympic Committee
member, said if Thailand’s bid for the games in 2008 were successful the
Olympic games would be a sure boost to country’s economy. Employment and
the income brought in preparing for the Olympics would be the initial
positive aspects going to the private sector, but positive affects would
continue to last for years after the games ended. The prestige gained from
hosting the games would add to Thailand’s fame and display the
country’s capability around the world.
TV rights alone are being estimated at US$833 million
(US Dollars); another US$200 million would be realized from overseas
marketing, which would start to come in three years before the games took
place. Other benefits derived from hosting the Olympics would include
improved infrastructure, especially transportation and road improvements,
to provide added conveniences to support the games.
Suwanachai Rytirak, TAT Tourism Development Director, said the world
recognition gained after hosting the games would continue to attract
conferences involving people in the
thousands, and major events with 10,000 or more people.
In Thailand’s bid to host the games, the IOC and Thai
Olympic Committee would like to see a combined effort involving every
level of society. The panel encouraged the “entire area” to root for
Thailand’s bid to host the 2008 Olympics, and introduced the Slogan,
“Combined Spirit Can Achieve the Goal”.
Roderick Mc Geoch, the consultant orchestrating Thailand’s bid for
the games in 2008, said according to IOC rules, 28 events make up the
Olympic games with up to 10,000 athletes participating from over 200
countries, with 5,000 judges and referees. Personnel from the media
attending the games could see numbers over 25,000, and the games would
have live televised coverage viewed by over 5 billion people around the
accused of sex shows on dinner cruises
Deputy Mayor Witisak Reumkijakarn and Laem Chabang Port
Officials boarded the Oriental Princess in Pattaya Bay to conduct an
investigation into complaints that sex shows were being performed on board.
Oriental Princess in Pattaya Bay - owners deny sex shows aboard.
Winai Intsorn, owner of the Oriental Princess, denied the
accusations and explained to the inspection team that the upper levels
constitute a dining area for passengers with a dance floor area offering
go-go shows for the visiting tourists. The Oriental Princess makes 2-3 trips
around the bay each day depending on the number of cruises booked. According
to Winai, the entertainment consists of a show with girls of the second
category performing and he assured the inspection team that there were no
sex shows involved at all.
The boat is a two-story vessel 14 meters wide and 64
meters long with a capacity to carry 1,000 passengers. The lower level has a
dining area, bathroom facilities and sleeping quarters for employees.
The results of the inspection determined that the waste collection tank
was inadequate and the Oriental Princess was given 15 days to resolve this
problem. If not taken care of within the prescribed timeframe the deputy
mayor said legal action would be initiated.
20 year class reunion
The sparks were flying
Students that graduated 20 years ago from the Regional
Electricians School Class 10 at the Bang Khen Main Office recently
reunited at the Merlin Hotel in Pattaya. Each of the 23 graduates work in
various locations throughout Thailand.
and teachers from Class 10 Regional Electric during their 20 Year Reunion
at the Merlin Hotel in Pattaya.
President of the Jomtien-Pattaya Rotary Club Bancha
Mungchana hosted the event. Bancha works at the Regional Electrical
Facility in Bang Lamung. Also attending were a number of instructors from
the school and the former Regional Electric Operations Deputy Director
The evening gave the former classmates the opportunity
to meet and compare experiences over the past 20 years and to meet other
family members of the group. In addition, the get together allowed the
professional electricians to organize a special fund for class 10
graduates covering illnesses and death among their families.
Bancha invited eight young people from Rotary Club, aged 15-18, who
were part of an exchange program from around the country. They
enthusiastically joined the reunion and exchanged ideas, later joining in
the singing. An electrifying evening was had by all.
taken on elephants entering city
5 persons fined
Pattaya City deputy mayors Wiwat Khakhai and Niran
Watanasadsathorn organized a team of local police and collection officers
to conduct a sweep of elephants and mahouts illegally residing inside city
are taking strict action to ensure Pattaya’s elephant population does
not continue to increase without proper supervision.
The recent incidents involving elephants prompted
stricter action to prevent these animals from roaming the city’s streets
in order to prevent any further problems.
The action was initiated after receiving reports of
elephants still sighted roaming in some areas after numerous pleas were
made by the city administration.
Two elephants and five mahouts were located in Soi
S.S., Nong Prue. The action taken against the group consisted of police
confiscating the various fruits sold to tourists for feeding the
elephants. Police also confiscated the elephant seating platforms and
issued strict warnings not to bring the elephants back inside the city
Deputy Mayor Niran said the large number of elephants
already residing in Pattaya continues to increase with others being
brought in from Surin seeking employment. The wandering elephants obstruct
traffic and concern for the safety of visiting tourists is of major
The city is restricting the numbers allowed and police have received
instructions to have unregistered elephants returned to their former
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Chinnaporn Sungwanlek, assisted by Boonsiri Suansuk.