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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Record number of voter turn out in Chonburi for national election

Two men rob Bangkok Bank

American Tourist dies in hotel room

Drunken monk arrested during “night on the town”

Another skeleton found near Pratamnak Road

Unidentified man found lynched in Nong Pla Lai

Hordes of tourists converge on Pattaya for New Year

Thai Rak Thai Party campaign vehicle gets stoned

Three area business organizations pushing for zoning

First UN treaty against transnational organised crime adopted by assembly

Another elephant born in Pattaya

Athletes compete to King’s trophies in Sattahip water sports

Record number of voters turn out in Chonburi for national election

Chart Thai Party loses Sattahip, claim foul - calling for recount

The heavily favored Chart Thai Party failed to win all 7 seats in Chonburi as predicted, when long-time politician Santsak Ngamphichet lost to Thai Rak Thai’s Vice Admiral Roj Wiphatpumiprathet in constituency 7 (Sattahip) - a navy stronghold.

In Chonburi, 493,684 out of the 739,964 eligible voters turned out at the polls in the province’s seven constituencies. 39,795 ballots were disqualified for various reasons, and 29,357 voters elected to not make a selection, instead marking the “none-of-the-above” box so they could retain their individual voting rights.

Announcing the election results were slower than usual, as the two-part ballot - one for party list and the other for parliament - which required closer attention, caused delays.

Santsak Ngamphichet (right) and Chanyut Hengtrakul held a press conference to announce their intentions to register complaints with election officials.

Constituencies 6 and 7 reported a number of problems, as there was much confusion over ballot marking procedures. Some local officials are calling for meetings to review the records, as well as the procedures used for controlling the transfer of ballot boxes.

In constituency 7 (Sattahip) the close number of votes between Santsak Ngamphichet (Chart Thai deputy party leader) and the winning candidate Vice Admiral Roj Wiphatpumiprathet (Thai Rak Thai) has Chart Thai calling “foul”.

Santsak, the former President of the Parliamentary Commission on Tourism and Member of Parliament in Chonburi, lost to Vice Admiral Roj by 2,633 votes. Voters in that constituency cast 5,327 votes electing not to choose any of the candidates on the ballot, and another 4,115 ballots were disqualified for improper markings.

The day after the election, January 7, Chart Thai Party representative Amnuay Saengsee registered complaints with Sattahip election officials claiming election tampering.

On January 8, Chanyut Hengtrakul, Chart Thai party list candidate, and Santsak Ngamphichet held a press conference at the Grand Sole Hotel in Pattaya to announce their intentions to submit documents showing election discrepancies occurred in constituency 7, which they say violated election regulations contained in article 71 and 85/7. The violations will be registered with election officials in constituency 6 for submission to the provincial election committee and on to the central government’s election commission.

The two made accusations that Rear Admiral Kayim Phichaikul, a member of the Chonburi election committee, and Navy Captain Suchon Raksasuk, a member on the constituency 7 election committee, are both close associates of the winning Thai Rak Thai candidate in Sattahip.

Additionally, Chanyut and Santsak say Rear Admiral Kayim and Navy Captain Suchon appointed naval students as ballot counting inspectors, who then announced numerous ballots marked in favor of the Chart Thai Party candidate as being for the Thai Rak Thai Party. Chanyut and Santsak also said the students disqualified as being invalid an unusually high number of ballots that had been marked for the Chart Thai candidate.

Chanyut and Santsak then accused Vice Admiral Roj (the winning Thai Rak Thai candidate) of sending a party representative, Navy Lieutenant Manee Srirat to pose as an election committee official sent in to inspect improperly marked ballots.

They also accuse Thai Rak Thai of buying votes, passing out gifts and using campaign funds exceeding the authorized amount of one million baht.

The final violation they registered claims election tampering, as the number of invalid ballots was unusually high and the number of ballots with voters electing not to select any of the candidates was even higher.

At press time, the election committee had not yet addressed the allegations and it is unclear whether there will be a recount, a new election in Sattahip, a red card issued, or none of the above.

Chonburi Results

Constituency 1
Sa-nga Thanasanguanwong (CTP) 
Miss Sawalak Suriyathip (TRT) 
Mrs. Warunee Bhurisamban (DP) 
Wichai Chulawanichpong (TTP) 
Sayam Chitngam (KMP) 


Constituency 2
Vidthaya Khunpluem (CTP) 
Sakda Napasit (DP) 
Sarawut Wongsaengtong (TRT) 
Surapon Khanawan (TTP) 
Benchong Santibenchakkul (PTP) 


Constituency 3
Somchai Sahachairungruang (CTP) 
Pramuan Embia (DP) 
Thanawat Watanabhinyo (TRT)
Sayumbhu It-ngam (PTP) 


Constituency 4
Surasit Nitiwutvorluck (CTP) 
Kasem Lueung-on (TRT) 
Abhinant Omrint (PTP) 


Constituency 5
Ittipol Khunpluem (CTP) 
Susid Premwaew (DP) 
Pol. Lt. Col. Chongsak Yaemlamul (TRT) 
Thirapan Kanchanasorn (PTP) 

Constituency 6
Charnsak Chavalitnittitham (CTP) 
Thongchai Phimsakul (TRT) 
Abhised Saksek (DP) 
Rear Admiral Patana Chiranant (KMP) 

Constituency 7
Vice Admiral Roj Wiphatpumiprathet (TRT)
Santsak Ngamphichet (CTP) 
Vice Admiral Navee Plengwithaya (DP) 
Ayut Eungwatana (PTP)


Key: CTP = Chart Thai Party, DP = Democrat Party, 
KMP = Kaset Mahachon Party, TRT = Thai Rak Thai Party, 
TTP = Thin Thai Party, PTP = Prachakorn Thai Party

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Two men rob Bangkok Bank

Trickery used instead of weapons

Two men described as Chinese in origin stole 14,000 baht from the currency exchange booth outside the Bangkok Bank on Pattaya 2nd Road opposite Soi 6.

Bangkok Bank’s currency exchange booth on Pattaya 2nd Road fell prey to a pair of Chinese con men.

The bank tellers at the foreign exchange both told police two Chinese men between 20-25 years old wearing black jackets came up to the window asking to exchange 500 US dollars into Thai currency. Before handing over the banknotes the two men began bickering, causing some confusion. The teller said he was momentarily distracted as one of the men reached in and grabbed 14,000 baht. The two then ran off, jumped on a large motorcycle that was idling nearby and sped away towards Central Pattaya Road.

Police were unable to find any trace of two men fitting the description. Police are conducting an intensified search and believe the two are the same criminals wanted for a similar robbery at the Thai Farmers Bank in Central Pattaya just a few weeks earlier.

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American Tourist dies in hotel room

Police surmise heart attack

Robert John Rochow, a 34-year old American tourist from Minnesota, was pronounced dead by medical examiners on December 28, 2000.

Management at the hotel in Soi Bua Khao where he was staying reported the death to Pattaya municipal police at 2.30 p.m.

When police arrived to investigate, Rochow was lying on the hotel room bed and there was no visible evidence of a struggle.

Miss Pranee Munkaew, age 20, from Ubon Province, who was in the room at the time, told police that she had been staying with Rochow for the past couple of weeks. She said Rochow had gone out drinking the previous night in South Pattaya and stayed out all night. She said when he returned at 9.00 a.m. the following morning, he became violently ill and passed out on the bed. She said she called for a doctor but by the time help arrived it was too late.

The body was transferred to the police forensic lab for further examination to determine the cause of death.

A police spokesman said the initial investigation suggests that excessive alcohol may have induced a heart attack, but police won’t know for sure until the autopsy reveals further information.

The U.S. Embassy has been notified.

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Drunken monk arrested during “night on the town”

Making mockery of the faith

Bang Lamung police were called to intervene at the Nong Toi 2 Cafe on Sukhumvit Road near the entrance into South Pattaya at 1.00 a.m. on January 4 where an inebriated man dressed in Buddhist monk robes was demonstrating unsuitable behavior and making a mockery of the faith.

When police arrived, the man dressed as a monk reeked of alcohol and was barely able to stand on his own. Two male employees of the Nong Toi had him in custody.

Police searched him and found 2,000 baht in cash but no documentation identifying him as a monk.

A female singer employed at the cafe told police she was standing with other girls out front waiting to welcome guests when the monk came sauntering up to her and began talking to her using daring language and wanting to buy beer. She said the girls ran inside and informed others of the situation, and the two male employees went out and detained him until police arrived.

During police questioning, the monk identified himself as Phra Somkhuan Pabhadsaro, age 50, from Was Asaromwiwek in Soi Khao Talo, which is just a few kilometers from the Nong Toi.

He told police he felt like having a beer and ended up drinking more bottles than he can remember, and then began wandering along the road. He said that when he saw the group of good looking girls in front of the cafe he was unable to resist and decided to indulge further since he had already failed to control his desires.

The monk was escorted to Wad Sawang Faa Phyrtaram Temple in Naklua to ascertain if he was actually a monk. If he is, he will be defrocked and returned to the police station where he will be charged for his unacceptable behavior and tried in court. If it turns out he is not a monk, other charges would apply for posing as a monk, wearing sacred robes and sardonically damaging the Buddhist faith.

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Another skeleton found near Pratamnak Road

Send in past two-months

Miss Uyaree Klinhom notified Pattaya municipal police that she had found a set of skeletal remains at 4 p.m. on January 4.

The discovery was the second of its kind within the past two months.

Miss Uyaree found the skeleton near the entrance of the Thai-Norway Village in Moo 12 off Pratamnak Road on the hill between South Pattaya and Jomtien. Miss Uyaree told police she was out collecting edible plants in the forested area when she stumbled on the skeletal remains. The remains were about 20 meters from the road in an area that was recently burned to clear out the overgrowth.

The condition of the remains made it difficult to discern if the corpse was male or female. However, the initial examination of the frame and its estimated height of about 165-170 cm led officers to believe it was a male.

A stainless steel necklace with a Luang Pho Khun pendant was around the neck with remnants of a multi-colored warm-up suit still clinging to the skeletal frame, which had been burned in the brush fire.

Police found no information to identify the body and the remains were transferred to the police forensic lab for further examination.

Last month another set of skeletal remains were found in a large black plastic bag about 200 meters from where these remains were discovered.

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Unidentified man found lynched in Nong Pla Lai

Hands tied, hung by the neck from a tree

On New Year’s Day, Nong Pla Lai Sub-district residents discovered the body of a man hanging from a tree in a secluded area. The hands were securely tied behind the back with a stainless steel belt, and electrical wire was fastened around the neck and connected to tree limbs above.

Bang Lamung police were led to the area, which was about 200 meters from the main road, Soi Nern Kamnan, and 50 meters away from a large pond in an overgrown area.

No one in the local vicinity recognized the man, who is believed to have been between 20-25 years of age. Marks on the body indicated the man was beaten with a heavy blunt object. The condition of the body suggests the death occurred about 5-7 days earlier.

Residents recalled hearing a vehicle drive into the secluded area late at night about the same number of days ago, but no one paid any attention.

Police believe the unidentified man may have been murdered before hanging.

The body was transferred to the police forensic lab and police are still awaiting the final results, which may take up to 30 days to complete.

In the meantime, the fingerprints are being cross-examined in case the body can be identified from a previous arrest, and police investigators are contacting local community leaders to see if the man can be identified from physical markings or if anyone fitting the description has been reported missing.

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Hordes of tourists converge on Pattaya for New Year

Traffic dense, beaches packed

Pattaya was brimming with tourists from all parts of the world over the long New Year’s weekend. Beaches in Pattaya and Jomtien were packed, and traffic was dense as holidaymakers headed for the coast to bring in the New Year.

“Tis the season...” Local beaches were packed over the holidays.

Beach vendors were beaming, as business couldn’t be better. Food and beverages were being sold in record numbers and the beach massage trade was bustling.

Traffic was a problem, but the police were out in full force to direct the congestion. Officers controlling the congested areas did a commendable job considering the amount of traffic and the availability of parking.

The long-awaited bathroom facilities at Jomtien Beach could have made a decent profit from the endless stream of visitors, and where people sought relief is obvious; hopefully the new water treatment facility will cancel out the holiday surge in wastewater.

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Thai Rak Thai Party campaign vehicle gets stoned

Things got a bit chippy before the elections

Kriangkrai Arunpee, a volunteer worker with the Thai Rak Thai Party, told police the windshield was smashed out of his party’s campaign truck on his way home from a public political debate a little over a week before the election. Kriangkrai was driving the vehicle for Thai Rak Thai Party candidate from constituency 6, Thongchai Phimsakul.

The Thai Rak Thai Party’s campaign vehicle took a rock through the windshield.

The political debate, in which all constituency 6 candidates participated, took place at the Phot Court in Naklua (PM Vol. IX No. 1). Constituency 6 covers Pattaya, all of Banglamung District and parts of Sri Racha District.

Kriangkrai told district police that just before midnight, he was driving home along Sawang Faa Road approaching the traffic light at Sukhumvit, and as he turned onto Sukhumvit and just before going under the overhead walkway heading towards Sattahip a rock came crashing through the front window shattering the glass.

The party campaign vehicle is a Toyota pick-up decked out with Thai Rak Thai emblems and loud speaker equipment. It is unknown whether the speaker equipment was being used at the time.

Kriangkrai said he was the only occupant in the vehicle, and was terrified, so he continued driving out of the area. He said he didn’t want to stop in fear of another attack. He said he went straight home and didn’t even think to report the incident to police until contacting Thongchai.

Kriangkrai’s statements were recorded in the district police ledger by the police officer on duty, Pol. Maj. Ataphool Sarakul.

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Three area business organizations pushing for zoning

Want to control, not eliminate certain businesses

by Veerachai Somchart

Three local business organizations are pushing local government to implement zoning laws in Pattaya. The Pattaya Business and Tourism Association (PBTA), the Thai Hotel Association Eastern Chapter (THA) and the Pattaya Hotel Community (PHC) are all lobbying to zone Pattaya to keep entertainment places away from schools, residential areas and temples.

A committee made up of members from the private sector, business community, municipal and district police, the city mayor and the district chief has been researching the possibility of zoning. This “zoning committee” is the result of a proposal made during Pattaya’s first Government and Private Sector (G&PS) meeting held last September.

Proponents want to reinvent the city’s image and protect residents from undue noise by isolating such entertainment to specific localities. The backers of the zoning are also concerned with Pattaya’s image in the world media, which, they say, is causing a decline in the number of “desired” tourists (families) to the area. Meanwhile, they say, other categories of tourists continue to increase, attracting criminal elements and other undesirable types.

The zoning committee is also concerned with the recent surge in the number of foreign prostitutes migrating to Pattaya, mostly from Russia, Myanmar and the Philippines. The committee also implied this is coinciding with an increase in the number of high-level officials and politicians converging on the city every week.

The committee’s plans to implement zoning in Pattaya is part of an overall scheme to transform the city’s image into being recognized for something other than a vacation spot for sex entertainment.

The committee has addressed the matter with local senators, the provincial governor and the Ministry of Interior, requesting the matter be carefully considered and that a course of action or at least a possible direction to correct the problem in the future be identified.

According to some members on the zoning committee, there is local government opinion that zoning controls conflict with free trade laws, or that the terminology associated with “free trade” practices is confusing, and therefore, zoning controls are not feasible unless government agencies take an active part in new legislation by re-writing laws governing entertainment businesses. They cited as an example the failure to legally control the number of beer bars and karaoke bars opening in Pattaya.

One committee suggestion would be to give Pattaya’s administration the authority to issue business permits.

However, there is some concern for the loss of revenue in taxes, but the current goal of the committee is not to eliminate the businesses in question or even limit the number. One speaker from the committee, Mr. Suwat Phaebhiromramarat (PHC chairman) said, “confining the types of business to certain localities is all that’s needed, and implementation doesn’t necessarily mean immediate action but rather plans with future goals, even if the desired affect is 3-5 years down the road. Again, what is driving the committee’s push for zoning controls is the numbers of tourists in certain categories having vacation funds available, and willing to spend, electing to travel elsewhere while other visitors with debatable intentions converge on Pattaya. Tourist agencies in many countries such as Brazil and Belgium refrain from recommending tourists from vacationing in Pattaya due to the reputation and the unavailability of suitable attractions.”

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First UN treaty against transnational organised crime adopted by assembly

from the Child Labour News Service

With increasing international alarm at the growing power of criminal groups and their involvement in new and alarmingly exploitative crimes, the General Assembly has adopted the first international treaty to address these concerns.

The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime is intended to close the major loopholes blocking international efforts to crack down on those engaged in a wide range of highly profitable illegal enterprises, ranging from money laundering to trafficking in human beings. Also adopted were two protocols to the treaty covering combating the trafficking in women and children - whether for exploitation as cheap labour, or as prostitutes - and the smuggling of would-be immigrants, which is often carried out at great peril to the victims.

“The Convention adopted will be a welcome tool for investigators, prosecutors and judges throughout the world,” said Pino Arlacchi, Executive Director of the Vienna-based United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP), which did the behind-the-scenes work that contributed to agreement on the texts in record time of less than two years. “This milestone measure is a living tribute to the thousands of men and women who have lost their lives in pursuit of a world free of mafias, drug cartels and criminal gangs.”

The Convention was opened for signature at a conference in Palermo, Italy, held from 12 to 15 December 2000, and will come into force after it has been signed and ratified by 40 countries. At least 20 heads of State attended the Palermo meeting.

Under the terms of the Convention, countries would commit themselves to criminalizing participation in an organised criminal group, money laundering, corruption and obstruction of justice, as well as to eliminating “safe havens”, protecting witnesses, and facilitating the investigation and prosecution of cases involving more than one country. The protocols seek to promote international co-operation and strengthen national legislation to punish the traffickers and to protect the victims.

What was critical, however, would be its implementation. The first steps had been taken, but there was still a long way to go.

(For more information, including complete texts of the Convention and Protocols, please visit the Palermo Signing Conference web site at

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Another elephant born in Pattaya

Female calf arrives at Pattaya Suan Chang

December 28 was a special day at the Suan Chang elephant grounds just outside of Pattaya. At a little after 2 a.m., Phang Ooi entered the world for the first time.

Baby Phang Ooi and mother Phang Lamphoon

The (female) elephant’s birth was the center of attraction for all the employees and tourists alike. The birth was celebrated just in time to say good-bye to last year and welcome in the new year.

“Phang Lamphoon”, the baby elephant’s 28-year old mother, was assisted in childbirth by her mahout Boonchant Jongchaichit and other mahouts.

Shortly after birth, the baby elephant opened its eyes for the first time and instinctively began trying to stand up, as the mother stayed close protecting and cleaning her new-born.

Boonchant said he bought Phang Lamphoon for 150,000 baht and moved to Pattaya to find employment at the Pattaya Suan Chang elephant grounds. He has since been offering rides and taking tourists on treks through the surrounding countryside.

Soon after arriving he had Phang Lamphoon mate with Phrai Num Sek, a bull elephant he described as a magnificent animal with a fine, strong and healthy form. Almost 2-years to the day went by and Phang Lamphoon finally gave birth to a healthy female specimen.

On the following day Phang Lamphoon and her baby were proudly led through traditional Thai mahout rituals and the baby elephant’s name was selected - “Phang Ooi”. Boonchant said the baby elephant was appropriately named after observing the mother having a special fondness for sugarcane throughout her pregnancy.

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Athletes compete for King’s trophies in Sattahip water sports

Navy gives rescue demonstration

Royal Thai Navy Commander Admiral Prasert Boonsong made a special visit to Sattahip Naval Base to preside over the opening ceremony starting the annual watercraft sports competition honoring His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej on December 22.

The Royal Thai Navy gave an exciting helicopter sea rescue demonstration.

The Royal Thai Navy, in conjunction with the National Yacht Racing Association (of Royal Patronage), the National Windsurfing Association, the National Sailing Association and the National Volleyball Association took part in organizing the day’s activities held in Dongtan Bay.

The activities included demonstrations of the different water sports and a sea rescue demonstration performed by personnel from the Royal Thai Navy using helicopter rescue equipment.

Large crowds of spectators were on hand to witness the demonstrations and later view the watercraft sports when athletes competed for trophies in the name of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The competition became an annual event following the 4th Laemtong Games hosted by Thailand at the Subhachalasai Sports Stadium in Bangkok on 16 December 1967.

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