again focus on U-tapao Airport
They diverted the funds to upgrade U-tapao Airport’s
safety requirements for landings and take-offs. The funds will also be
used to upgrade the facility to handle up to 1,000 passengers. The
facilities at U-tapao can now only handle from 400-500 passengers, most of
whom arrive on chartered flights from Taiwan, Russia and European
U-tapao currently lacks a sufficient number of check-in
counters, x-ray equipment and luggage conveyors, and the runway lighting
system is in need of upgrading. Other improvements are needed to get
passengers conveniently to and from the terminals, which has always been
hectic, especially during the tourist high season.
The Chairman of the Standing Committee on Tourism of
the House of Representatives Santsak Ngarmphiches was reported as saying
the 200 million baht was just the initial budget to start the
improvements. He said that other allocations will follow.
The planned improvements are expected to turn U-tapao
into an international commercial airport with the upgrades hopefully
completed within one year.
Santsak said the private sector and the city
administration in Pattaya, in conjunction with the TAT, has been pushing
to make the improvements for the past 2-3 years, but due to budget
constraints the results were never realized.
Santsak also referred to a 1997 agreement among the
ministers to develop areas along the Eastern Seaboard which included plans
for improvements at U-tapao. The plan calls for turning the area into a
production and transportation center (Global Transpark).
The agreement also included community social and environmental
developments, and human resource developments at a cost of 3,600 million
baht. However, the economic situation caused the budgeting office to opt
for improvements at the Nong Ngu Hao Airport in Bangkok, while all along
U-tapao was in close proximity, and with improvements, capable of handling
increased numbers of passengers and cargo for a long time to come.
leads to bomb scare at Susie Massage Parlor
Water filter causes woman to panic
A young female employee at a beer bar located
downstairs from the Susie Massage Parlor in Soi 4 uncovered a large
cardboard box containing heavy, scary looking items. With no one around
that was aware of the contents, the young woman panicked. What exactly
caused her to suspect a terrorist attack or some opposition having ill
intentions is unknown, but the conscientious girl contacted the police to
report a bomb had been found.
box containing a water filtering system caused a young woman to panic and
call in the bomb squad.
Pattaya police officers responded to the call in the
early evening of 15 June and cleared out the girls working on the second
floor massage parlor before carefully approaching the container. The box
was addressed to a person named Mr. Wisit from the Function Trading
Company in Bangkok.
Two police officers opened the container to find a
collection of unrecognizable cylindrical objects and other instruments. At
first they were puzzled and unsure as to what they were inspecting.
However, closer inspection revealed that the box contained a water reverse
osmosis filtering system and the police officers were able to relax.
Officers eventually found out that the owner of the Susie Massage
Parlor, “Daeng”, ordered the filtering system, which was sent by
mistake to the parlor rather than to his home. An absent minded employee
at Susie’s signed for the container when it was delivered and just left
it on a nearby table where it was discovered by the jittery bar worker.
passport ring broken
Three arrested, forgery equipment seized
Three Middle Easterners were arrested last week in
Pattaya for counterfeiting and selling passports. The three men, all with
their own false identification, were eventually identified as Ali Alfahad
Ki, age 52 from Iraq, Sabah K Alhelfi, age 49, also from Iraq, and Abrihim
Ayoub Hamid, age 26 from Sudan.
Alfahad Ki, Sabah K Alhelfi and Abrihim Ayoub Hamid were arrested and
charged with counterfeiting and selling passports.
Immigration Police Headquarters had uncovered information
indicating the gang was operating inside Thailand, faking passports.
Pattaya’s Immigration Police initiated an investigation on June 12 after
being notified that the gang was last reported to be in Pattaya.
The investigation led police to the Marine Bar Plaza in
South Pattaya where the three men were selling falsified passports and
Immigration Police tracked the gang and eventually found
all three in the Marine Plaza Hotel parking lot. None of the three were able
to produce any identification, so police escorted them to their hotel, where
a search produced four fake passports.
A subsequent search of a safety box at My Office located
next to the Marine Bar turned up 20 other falsified passports and the
gang’s equipment used in forging the documents. Included were a number of
rubber stamps, inks, magnifying glasses, an electric iron, over 200 pictures
of foreigners and other documents. The passports were from Portugal, Iraq,
Iran and India.
Ki, Alhelfi and Hamid were arrested and later confessed to forging
passports and visas, which they sold for prices ranging from 20,000 - 50,000
Monk found dead
at Chaiyamongkol Temple
Phra Sombun Atharo, age 39, a Buddhist monk from
Kanchanaburi Province, was found hanging from the stairway in the
Chaiyamongkol Temple storeroom at approximately 8.30 pm on 14 June.
A fellow monk found the body hanging from a length of
yellow robes around his neck which were attached to the stairs above.
When police arrived, a group of monks were assembled
staring at the hanging body. The initial examination of the body found no
other injuries and the death is presumed to have occurred around five
Police investigators were told Phra Sombun was
suffering from a mental disorder and was often seen walking about in an
agitated state claiming that someone was out to kill him. Due to his
constant display of fear, others avoided him.
The monk who discovered the body said he was searching
for Phra Sombun intending to discuss his problem with him, after having
seen him earlier in the day in an agitated condition.
It was reported that Phra Sombun had received treatment
for his disorder in the past but his paranoid behavior would often take
control of him. His symptoms were similar to those displayed by
Personnel from the Sawang Boriboon Rescue Foundation
transferred the body to the Police Forensic Lab for official examination.
results in death of Danish boy
Faulty electric lamp causes electrocution
Twelve-year-old Kasper Kirchbecker, on holiday from
Denmark with his parents, was electrocuted while playing at the sea-side
swimming pool of the Golden Cliff House at South Pattaya at around dusk on
Friday, June 16.
The young schoolboy was tragically killed in the latest
episode of an ongoing saga of negligence and haphazard management endemic
in certain sectors of the hotel and tourist industry.
James Grunwell, who lives in Thailand, was playing with
Kasper at the time and was more fortunate. He survived with injuries.
The parents of both boys were sitting on the balcony
overlooking the pool when tragedy struck.
It appeared that there had been a faulty electric light
which had been left un-repaired and a rain storm, common at this time of
the year, caused the fatal short circuit.
According to one witness, incompetence greatly
aggravated the problems. Kasper and his father were supposedly taken to
the Memorial Hospital in a mini-bus; instead, the driver left the stricken
child at a small clinic.
The witness, finding the rest of the families totally
disoriented, standing outside the hotel, took them down to Pattaya to
follow the mini-bus to the Memorial. One of the group saw the mini-bus
stopped outside a small clinic in South Pattaya. On entering, they found
the boy - apparently unattended - and the witness immediately rushed
father and son to the Memorial Hospital. But too much time had been lost
and Kasper was presumed dead on arrival at the Memorial, some 25 minutes
after his electrocution.
The hotel’s approach leaves a number of questions to
answer. The first - and most obvious question - is why was a faulty
fitting left un-repaired and exposed, especially near water? Why did not
the management call an ambulance immediately? Why was there no attempt on
behalf of the hotel to assist the parents? Why were there no emergency
The bereaved family is shattered and James’ mother,
Bea Grunwell, is quite sure that if more children had been at the pool
that day, others would have died too.
The next day, it was ‘business as usual’ around the
hotel’s swimming pool.
balk at 500 baht monthly fee
Deputy Mayors Niran Watanasadsathorn and Wutisak
Reumkijakarn and city council members met with a large group of beach
vendors this month as part of the continuing action to organize the nearly
400 vendors on Pattaya, Larn Island and Jomtien beaches.
The vendors along the beach pay the city a license fee
of 500 baht per year for a 7x7 meter area and 1,000 baht per year for a
7x14 meter area. The city is proposing for the first time a monthly fee of
500 baht. The idea upset most of the vendors, who said that their profits
are minimal and the monthly fee would be unfair.
Some vendors have set up on land that rents or leases
out at 100,000 baht. The most expensive area is located at the Dongtan
Curve. The proposal was argued back and forth with some mention of
considering a reduced fee of 300 baht for some locations.
The city is still involved in collecting a consolidated
list of names of all authorized vendors with licenses. This has been
complicated due to a number of licenses having been transferred into
different names. The city environmental and sanitation department will
maintain the list and issue license approvals, working in conjunction with
city excise collectors.
The two deputy mayors let it be known that the city was
not yet impressed with the progress made in organizing the three beach
areas. Recently held meetings issued instructions to have unnecessary
items removed from the streets overnight. They pointed out that litter and
trash still collects day after day presenting an unacceptable appearance
for a city trying to improve its tourism image.
Present conditions violate agreements made on 14
February 2000, and Niran announced that new city inspections will be
conducted. All vendors will be required to produce their inspection
results before the Environmental and Sanitation Department renews
anyone’s license. The inspection also includes looking for disease
carrying animals such as stray dogs and rats, in addition to orderly
appearances and other sanitation requirements.
Deputy Mayor Niran later disclosed that even though the
city’s plan to collect the 500 baht monthly fee will probably not be
realized, at least there would be a degree of control over the 400
Improvements will continue, and he said the monthly fees collected will
be turned around in making beach area improvements. Vendors not complying
to acceptable standards will be weeded out.
body floating in the bay
Police ask for help to identify the body
A fisherman from Ban Rong Po found a corpse floating in
Pattaya Bay on the evening of 13 June. After dragging the body to shore,
he immediately reported the incident to the police.
The unidentified male corpse was only clad in a pair of
dark blue trousers and the condition of the body indicated it may have
been in the water for up to two weeks.
The fisherman finding the body told police he was on
his way back to shore after a day out fishing when he sighted the object
floating in the water and went to investigate to satisfy his curiosity.
Police investigators presume the death may have
resulted in a dispute among fisherman, although the dark blue trousers are
similar to the uniform worn by technical students. The body was
transferred to the Police Forensic Lab for examination.
Anyone having any information pertaining to the
incident or the identity of the man is encouraged to contact the Bang
Lamung Police station.
negatively affecting local businesses
PBTA meets with Electric Co. to help solve
The frequent power failures of late have been having a
detrimental affect on local businesses. The failures are resulting in higher
operational costs each time emergency generators have to be utilized,
especially for larger companies and major hotels in Pattaya.
President Surat Mekawarakul met with Jamnong Wised, Manager of Bang Lamung
Electrical Power to discuss electrical power failure prevention measures.
On June 15, Pattaya Business and Tourism Association
President Surat Mekawarakul chaired a meeting to discuss electrical power
failure prevention measures with Jamnong Wised, Manager of Bang Lamung
The prevention measures suggested to reduce the number of
power failures included putting electrical poles in proper order. Specific
mention was made of the electrical poles at the South Pattaya Road
intersection by Pattaya City School #8. Large vehicles, such as tour busses
turning left off South Pattaya onto Pratamnak Road, have difficulty
completing the turn while trying to avoid the electrical wiring on the
Jamnong responded by saying that he would look into the
matter, starting with the regulatory costs for industrial sites and other
general costs, to insure that his officials are properly computing these
charges. Power costs are measured by an “Automatic Adjustment Mechanism”
regulated by policies established by the Power Authority of Thailand.
As for the electrical poles obstructing the traffic at
South Pattaya and Pratamnak Roads, he said relocating the poles to a more
suitable location could be easily accomplished.
“However, the main problem of putting all the electrical poles in
Pattaya in proper order is not so simple,” Jamnong said, adding that the
problem was not isolated to Pattaya alone, but is prevalent all over
Thailand. He did say that plans were being considered to turn Pattaya into a
test area for other provinces by putting in an underground electrical
system, thereby replacing the overhead mass confusion.
holds 2nd monthly press conference
Recent policy from the office of the Prime Minister
directed provincial governments to hold monthly press conferences
outlining government actions. The Chonburi administration opted to hold
press conferences twice each month. Chonburi Governor Sujarit Pachimnan
and leading officials held their second press conference earlier this
Governor Sujarit Pachimnan held his second meet the press session.
The governor opened the conference with references to
current on-going actions. He began with the government’s plan of
decentralizing authority by delegating more power and responsibility to
local levels of government, which includes cities such as Phuket and
Pattaya in addition to municipalities and their sub-district
administrations. The governor announced that its initial target for this
year is to allow local governments to maintain 20% of collected revenue to
be used for developing local projects at their own discretion. The amount
is expected to continually increase with the next target of 35% identified
for the year 2006.
In the past all revenues collected were directed to the
centralized government where they decided what projects to support at
The Labor and Social Welfare Ministry is in the process
of conducting inspections of the Labor Skills Development Project and the
governor referred to a new minimum wage of 140 baht per day that is under
consideration. The decision rests on economic data being collected from
labor practices in rural areas and statistics pertaining to illegal
The governor commented on problems resulting from the
many elephants migrating to the Chonburi area looking for employment and
reiterated the government’s stance that city areas are considered
inappropriate habitats for elephants. He referred to safety regulations
and health standards being implemented to look after the welfare of the
The Governor also implied that Chonburi is to become a
major center for the staging of athletic events.
Other topics surfacing during the press conference
touched on tinted vehicle windows, Euro 2000 gambling and sub-district
election violations under investigation in Phanat Nikhom.
Pol. Col. Anant Jarernchasri, representing the Chonburi
Municipal Police Departments, presented statistics on actions taken
against Pattaya bars remaining open after 2.00 a.m. Between 1 April and 20
May, 101 violations were registered and 2-3 locations had continued
operating after hours, thereby prompting orders to close down these
Another area of concern referred to complaints against traffic police
harassing motorists for petty violations. Police departments are now
required to have their officers meet every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the
month to receive legal guidance in the performance of their duties
emphasizing service to their communities. A directive to relax the
practice of setting up roadside inspections was also a topic of
about foul smelling coastal waters
A letter from concerned residents in Pattaya was
received at the Crown Property Bureau identifying a foul odor emanating
from black murky waters flowing onto the beach around hotels on the other
side of Pratamnak Hill. The letter received the bureau’s attention and
was subsequently brought to the notice of the city administration.
Property Bureau officials, Mayor Pairat and city maintenance personnel
inspect the foul water on the beaches over Pratamnak Hill.
Crown Property Bureau officials and pollution control
experts who wanted to personally investigate the facts described in the
letter accompanied Mayor Pairat Suttithamrongsawat and city maintenance
personnel to the shores located near the hotel. The letter’s description
was found to be true with the foul smell still lingering in the
surrounding air. The smell was traced to a water drainage pipe where a
pile of garbage had collected.
The mayor’s response was to mount an immediate
investigation on the same day, inspecting samples of treated wastewater
from each of the 8-9 hotels and condominiums in the area of Pratamnak
Hill. Other corrective measures initiated by the mayor include a survey of
the connecting pipes to the water treatment facility located in Soi Wad
Bunkajana Rama Jomtien and immediately replacing all unserviceable
The Pratamnak Hill area is surrounded by a drainage ditch 80 cm wide
and 60 cm deep that collects rainfall flowing into the ocean. According to
City Maintenance Director Sittipab Muangkhum, the hotels and condominiums
in the area have connecting pipes to the same rainfall drainage system.
All wastewater is supposed to be treated to acceptable levels prior to
being released into the system.
Northeast artist displayed work in Pattaya
Jedsada Khongsommas shows “Simple Artistic
The works of young, yet renowned artist Jedsada
Khongsommas were on display last week at the Amari Orchid Resort. The
showing, titled “Simple Artistic Memories”, ran from June 15th - 22nd.
Chairman of the Nong Prue Sub-district Administration Organization, Mai
Chayanit, officially opened Jedsada Khongsommas’s “Simple Artistic
Memories” exhibition on June 15.
Jedsada, a Burapha University student, has a distinct
technique. He uses acrylic oil paints to depict traditional settings from
rural areas in the Northeast region. His works portray customs and
everyday life that were commonly found during his youth.
Jedsada was born in Kalasin Province 25 years ago and
his paintings have been on display in Thailand and abroad. From his over
100 exhibitions he has won more than 20 awards for his artistic talent.
His “Simple Artistic Memories” was on exhibit at
the Chulalongkorn University before coming to Pattaya. Earlier, another of
Jedsada’s exhibits, titled “The Beauty of Democracy” was held at the
Democracy Monument in Bangkok.
Jedsada believes that changes in technology have turned
young people away from learning the tedious and time-consuming tasks once
commonplace. The looms, once used to weave cloth into beautiful intricate
patterns, are still hanging around, but are not in much use, while rice
mortars have turned into flowerpots and herb containers.
Over 200 of Jedsada’s works have captured what were
once familiar sights and sounds in the rural communities. Such as when the
silk looms and rice milling mortars filled the air with their musical
sounds, as did other musical instruments that are rarely heard today.
employees receive drug awareness training
Start of pilot program for other hotels to
Fifty Diana Group employees received drug awareness
training last week as part of a training program organized by Diana Group
Director Mrs. Sopin Thappajug.
Lt. Col. Jirat Phichitphai addresses Diana Group employees during a drug
awareness training program.
The training program was held to educate the employees
on the dangers involved in drug usage, and was part of the government
sponsored anti-drug campaign.
Deputy Superintendent from the Narcotics Suppression
Bureau, Pol. Lt. Col. Jirat Phichitphai was invited to present the
training at the Diana Inn on 14 June.
According to police records, the number of drug related
incidents in Pattaya are second only to Bangkok, with the majority of
cases involving methamphetamines. Pol. Lt. Col. Jirat described the drug
problem as reaching epidemic proportions, as the number of young people
becoming involved with drugs steadily increases. This, he said, is causing
great concern about the country’s future.
Pol. Lt. Col. Jirat explained the damaging affects of
drugs on the body, describing how the addiction process takes over the
individual and causes loss of behavioral control. Pol. Lt. Col. Jirat also
outlined the penalties for drug related offences.
Mrs. Sopin said the purpose of the training awareness
program was to familiarize employees within the Diana Group as to the
associated dangers of drug use and to have them pass on this information
to dissuade others of its use.
The pilot program is being introduced for other hotels
and businesses to follow and includes drug testing of all employees. Those
found using drugs would be referred to local treatment programs.
Hospital Director donates Bt15m land to courthouse
Visitors to use “Viravaidya Entranceway”
Pattaya Inter Hospital Managing Director, Doctor Sunya
Viravaidya donated land worth 15 million baht to help complete the new
provincial courthouse in Pattaya. The entranceway to the new justice
building will now and forever be known as “Viravaidya”.
Minister of Justice Somchai Wongsawat (left) presented Doctor Sunya
Viravaidya with an honorary certificate commemorating his gracious land
Doctor Sunya said the land area, known as “Khao
Noi”, had belonged to his father, Doctor Samak Viravaidya, since the end
of World War II. Discussions concerning the appropriation of the land
first began in 1995, when a 12 meter wide piece of land was needed to
complete the entranceway. In January 1996, Doctor Sunya agreed to donate a
25 meter wide / half-acre area valued at 15 million baht.
The new provincial courthouse, located on Thappraya
Road, was completed and officially opened on June 1st this year. As an
important part of the opening ceremony, Deputy Minister of Justice Somchai
Wongsawat officially accepted the deed to the land and presented Doctor
Sunya and his family with an honorary certificate commemorating their
A host of distinguished guests attended the ceremony,
including the Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Army, General Niphan
Bharannit, Region 1 Military Commander Lt. Gen. Thaweeb Suwanasing, Region
2 Military Commander Lt. Gen. Sanan Marengsit, the Commissioner of the
Provincial Police Region 2, Pol. Lt. Gen Somchai Prabhasabhakdi, Region 2
Chief Judge Samruad Udomthawee and Pattaya Chief Judge Dusit Chimplee.
donate goods to Children’s Home
Twenty-one members of the German Ladies Group “Die
Zugvogel” donated essential items and equipment to the recently opened
Remand Children’s Home in Chonburi. The presentation took place at the
Thai Garden Resort on 15 June.
opening in March, the home has mostly relied on private donations from
Chonburi Juvenile Correction Facility Director, Surakij
Angkurat and Mrs. Sopin Thappajug, Associate Judge for the Family Court of
Chonburi who is also responsible for the development of the home, received
the donated items from the members.
Donations are being sought to continue supporting the
center’s operation. An account has been set up at the Chonburi Oom Sin
Bank in the name of the “Chonburi Observation and Protection Center”,
account number 03-2101-20-126-200-9. Donated items can be sent to the
Diana Inn on Pattaya 2nd Road, tel. (038) 429870, 429675.
Laem Chabang aims
to keep youghs away from drugs
Laem Chabang Municipal Mayor Bunlert Nomsil recently
announced plans to introduce a group of 70 young people from the local
area to a program emphasizing the dangers of drug use. As part of the
program, the youths will visit the Prabat Nam Phu Temple and the
Ananthamahidol Hospital in Lopburi Province on 30 June.
Bunlert and the Laem Chabang administration are
concerned with the inherent dangers from the current drug problem
rampaging throughout society, and are searching for methods to combat the
spread of drug use in local communities. They are concerned with the
ever-increasing use of methamphetamines, ecstasy and other drugs amongst
young people during their important informative years.
The administration believes that school and the home
environment are part of the solution. It is important to provide education
and warm, loving understanding, thereby creating sound social values.
The training includes methods to handle poor economic
conditions that often contribute to family disparity and cause young
people to become disillusioned and end up being lured into drug addiction.
The program supports the community’s anti-drug
campaign introducing young people to the dangers of drug addiction by
arming them with important knowledge before they are confronted with the
choice to experiment with dangerous illegal substances.
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Updated by Chinnaporn Sangwanlek, assisted by