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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Chart Thai Party pursuing recount after loss in Sattahip

Dutch tourist arrested for purse snatching

Luxembourg tourist mugged

Police raid Show Girl bar

Broken-hearted Swede threatens to take 5-storey plunge

New Pattaya police chief takes control

PBTA opposes one-way 2nd Road

Today is Education Day

National Teacher’s Day held on January 16

Larn Island lobbies for a 20 million baht incinerator

Human rights’ defender attacked

Chart Thai Party pursuing recount after loss in Sattahip

Election officials called in to investigate

The election committee has sent to officials to Chonburi Province to investigate allegations of tampering in Sattahip’s constituency 7. Maj Gen. Sibthid Wutichat and Anthanon Thientong, the election committee director from Nakhorn Nayok, arrived this past week to begin their investigation.

As of January 16 the election commission had still not decided whether to call for a recount in Sattahip, but an agreement was met to investigate the allegations of election tampering brought forth the by the Chart Thai Party.

The Chart Thai Party won 6 of the 7 constituencies in Chonburi Province in the January 6 general election, but Santsak Ngamphichet (Chart Thai deputy party leader) lost to Vice Admiral Roj Wiphatpumiprathet (Thai Rak Thai) by 2,633 votes. 5,327 voters in constituency 7 elected not to choose any of the candidates on the ballot, and another 4,115 ballots were disqualified for improper markings.

Evidence of election tampering submitted to the election commission included pictures and videos of wrongdoing, as well as other evidence indicating Thai Rak Thai’s involvement in distributing gifts in exchange for votes.

Election and anti-corruption commissioner Yuwarat Kamolvej said that the decision to investigate was prompted by the accusations made by Santsak Ngamphichet after losing the election.

The violations identified include accusations that naval officers manipulated the counting of ballots in the predominantly navy community of Sattahip. Other accusations include votes obtained after distributing gifts, and that funds exceeding the authorized amount of one million baht were used during the campaign.

The investigation results need to be completed within a 30-day period following the election before the 500 members elected to parliament convene.

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Dutch tourist arrested for purse snatching

Lends new meaning to “Dutch treat”

Jenjurjan Scholten, age 21, from the Netherlands was arrested on January 8 for snatching the purse of a local bar girl.

Ms Somsiri Prasopngeun, a 24-year-old employee at the Best Friend Bar on Beach Road, reported to police that Scholten had snatched her purse containing 10,000 baht in cash and gold chains weighing nine baht in weight.

Jenjurjan Scholten (left) was arrested after Best Friend Bar employee Somsiri Prasopngeun (right) accused him of snatching her purse.

Police later apprehended Scholten, who was still in possession of the cash and the gold chains that Ms Somsiri claims were all stolen.

Somsiri made a positive identification and claimed her stolen property. However, Somsiri first told police that she did not know Scholten. But it soon became apparent that the two met at the Best Friend Bar and agreed to go to a hotel room to spend some time together. Somsiri then alleged she was on her way back to the bar with Scholten when he grabbed her purse and ran-off. She said she chased after him screaming for help.

Scholten denied the charges, saying he was staying with his wealthy father and had no reason to steal the purse.

Scholten was nonetheless charged with stealing the purse and is awaiting trial, where more facts are expected to surface surrounding the theft and how he ended up in possession Somsiri’s property.

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Luxembourg tourist mugged

Assailants make off with gold

Jen Carlo Luctano Leuenberger, a 43-year-old tourist from Luxembourg, reported to Pattaya police that he was mugged at 12.20 a.m. on January 14.

Jen Carlo Luctano Leuenberger was mugged by three men who made off with 27,000 baht worth of gold.

Leuenberger told police that three men were lying in wait as he was walking out of Soi 10 going towards Beach Road looking for transportation. The three men came up to him and offered him a drink from a bottle of water, and when he refused they ripped his necklace from his neck, then ran off down Beach Road.

Leuenberger said they got away with his 5-baht weight gold necklace and a gold pendant shaped like a motorcycle. He said the total value of the gold was 27,000 baht.

Leuenberger gave a description of the men and their clothing and was confident that he would be able to recognize them again if given the chance.

Officers on duty were alerted in the area but no sign of the three men was noted during the remainder of the night. The investigation remains open.

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Police raid Show Girl bar

No girls in sight

Undercover police shut down the Show Girl Bar on Pattaya 2nd Road this past week for performing lewd homosexual shows.

Pattaya municipal police officers, posing as tourists, entered the 3rd floor of the establishment just before show time. They reported the place was packed with tourists, both Thai and foreign.

The constables said they were shocked and disgusted, and put into action when two nude men walked onto stage and began performing homosexual activities for the audience. The officers said they “called a halt to the entertainment before someone got hurt.”

During the turmoil, they eventually found a 30-year-old man named Banlyy Bunmyynwai who admitted to managing the Show Girl Bar and the illegal entertainment on display. He was promptly arrested along with the two stars featured on stage, later identified as Yutana Wongsabuala, age 34, from Phetchabun, and Khampan Phanla-aw, age 23, from Kalasin.

The manager, Banlyy, from Nakhorn Rachasima, was charged with organizing the illicit entertainment. The two performers were charged for performing lewd acts in public.

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Broken-hearted Swede threatens to take 5-storey plunge

Ring up another for local bargirls

Pandemonium hit South Pattaya at 9.00 a.m. last Monday morning when a broken-hearted Swedish tourist threatened to jump from the 5th floor of the Rose Garden Hotel on Thappraya Road.

Precariously perched on the 5th floor of the hotel, Swede David Orjan Lenzfior was eventually talked out of ending his life over a bargirl.

Police officers from Pattaya and Banglamung responded with ladders and safety cushion equipment. The fire department, Sawang Boriboon rescue personnel, Pattaya’s mayor and Swedish consular representatives also responded, whilst a large crowd of onlookers with morbid senses of curiosity gathered below.

The Swede, 42-year-old David Orjan Lenzfior stood near the top of the 5-floor building, grasping a concrete pole as blood trickled down his left arm. Lenzfior had also wrapped electrical wire around his neck, which he had secured to the concrete above.

Mayor Pairat Suttithamrongsawat and Bent Laasholdt from the Swedish consulate spent over an hour trying to convince Lenzfior not to jump, and were successful in their attempts to stall him.

A Thai girl named Tuk, later identified as Lenzfior’s girlfriend, also attempted to dissuade him from jumping, but in his state of mind he ignored all pleas. A beach vendor, Thanomsak Prasanjit was brought in at Lenzfior’s request while the ladders and safety cushion equipment were put in place. Two more hours went by before Lenzfior finally showed signs of fatigue after losing a lot of blood.

During the attempts to coax Lenzfior down, Lenzfior’s dilemma began to become known when Thanomsak revealed that he was in possession of Lenzfior’s passport, holding it as collateral for a 3,000 baht loan. Thanomsak said he and Lenzfior had been friends for over a year and he knew that his Swedish friend became involved with a local bargirl who ending up taking Lenzfior’s house and a car. Lenzfior later discovered the girl was well known for deceiving gullible men. The discovery brought on deep depression and Lenzfior ended up spending whatever money he had left on the woman, Miss Tuk, and ultimately pawned his passport with Thanomsak so he could go on a binge and end his life. It is unknown whether “his friend” Thanomsak tried to talk him out of the suicide when he made the loan.

Following the Swedish consulate’s assurances that Lenzfior’s problems could be resolved, Lenzfior submitted, but due to his weakening condition he required assistance from Sawang Boriboon Rescue personnel to get down from the 5th floor.

Lenzfior was escorted to hospital for treatment due to the large amount of blood lost from the wound on his arm. Police suspect that he may have ingested a large quantity of tranquillizers, which had the effect of altering his mental state.

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New Pattaya police chief takes control

Pattaya Mail and Pattaya Sports Club receive official recognition

Pattaya municipal police chief, Pol. Col. Phadungsak Ubekkhanon, met with Pratheep (Peter) Malhotra, the managing director of the Pattaya Mail to discuss the forthcoming year and to apprise the media of the police objectives as he saw them.

Pattaya Mail MD Peter Malhotra (right) presents a gift to Pattaya’s municipal police chief, Pol. Col. Phadungsak Ubekkhanon after their recent meeting.

Since taking over as the new municipal police chief, Pol. Col. Phadungsak said he has personally been observing Pattaya, paying particular attention to the various tourist entertainment areas. He said his intentions are to make Pattaya a safe and secure environment for visitors, and a 24-hours-a-day assistance unit has been established with both male and female police officers on duty.

Pol. Col. Phadungsak praised the Pattaya Mail for its forthright reporting of criminal activities and pledged his support for the newspaper, which he felt was the ideal medium to use to present official police information to the ex-pat population when required. During the address, he reiterated that those foreigners who were running legitimate businesses in Pattaya, in accordance with the law, had nothing to fear, but his department was aware of those who were operating outside of the proscribed boundaries and they will be the subjects of constant scrutiny.

With Peter Malhotra also being the president of the Pattaya Sports Club (PSC), Pol. Col. Phadungsak passed on his appreciation of the charity work done by the organization, and added that the projects carried out by the PSC showed just how the foreign resident population could integrate and assist with the more needy Thais.

The new police chief has now settled in to his new posting, and is determined to make Pattaya the city we would all like it to become. He admits it will take time, but at least it looks as though the “man at the top” is looking in the right direction.

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PBTA opposes one-way 2nd Road

Wants to preserve “quiet” side streets

The Pattaya Business and Tourism Association (PBTA) is opposing the city administration’s proposal to turn 2nd Road from Central to North Pattaya Roads into a one-way street.

Solving Pattaya’s traffic congestion is an important task, but the PBTA is of the opinion that turning 2nd Road into a one-way street isn’t a good idea.

The PBTA is saying that tourism would suffer because traffic would increase along the side streets from 2nd Road going towards Pattaya Beach.

The PBTA concedes that the “one-way street” proposal may resolve some of the 2nd Road traffic flow problems, but says the diverted traffic would have an adverse affect on tourism because of the added flow of motor traffic and the accompanying exhaust fumes.

Many of Pattaya’s hotels are located on side roads, and those streets currently have little traffic. The PBTA also says that the hotels and beach area are preferred locations by many tourists because they are quiet.

The plan for turning 2nd Road into a one-way street is still on the table and is being carefully considered before any decisions become final. The PBTA hopes that preserving the few remaining tranquil locations within the city may redirect the city administration’s attention to other more readily available solutions to smooth traffic flow.

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Today is Education Day

Annual event tests knowledge, shows off skills

Today (January 19) is Education Day, held for the 13th time in Pattaya. Over 5,000 students from the eastern region’s municipal schools, Pattaya’s 10 city schools, private schools from the area and district area schools in Banglamung are participating in a multitude of events that will test their knowledge and allow students and teachers to show off their skills.

Over 800 students will compete against each other in contests on various academic subjects, school exhibitions will be on display, and schools will be giving presentations on a wide variety of subjects, including preserving the natural environment, personal inventions, English language proficiency, quiz contests and a number of other topics.

Students will also be performing on-stage to show off their skills and scholastic knowledge in the form of plays, skits and comedy routines.

During preparation for the event, Mayor Pairat Suttithamrongsawat said, “Education Day is Pattaya’s way of stressing the importance of supporting the education system in lines with government policy maintaining that the nation’s youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow.”

The city education office has organized the activities and has been compiling statistics on educational progress in the city school system, which will be announced during the opening ceremony at the Nong Phang Khae School #7.

A number of businesses and institutions from the private sector, realizing the importance of the day’s activities, have combined efforts to provide food and beverages for the students in honor of the 73rd birthday celebration of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

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National Teacher’s Day held on January 16

Over 1,500 area teachers from all levels of education assembled in honor of the teaching profession on Teacher’s Day, January 16.

In Banglamung District the day’s activities began at the International School of the Regents (ISR) in the morning with Banglamung District Chief Vichien Chawalit presiding over the opening ceremony. This was followed by an award presentation recognizing teachers for various outstanding achievements and service in their profession.

In the afternoon, over 300 teachers competed in athletic events. Later in the evening a gathering was held at the Banglamung School.

Prime Minister Pridi Phibulsongkhram first introduced the concept of National Teacher’s Day in 1956. The following year the Council of Ministers institutionalized the day and recognized January 16, 1957 (B.E. 2500) as the first National Teacher’s Day.

The special day recognizes teachers all over the country who teach at all levels, and acknowledges the important role teachers have in society. An important part of the ceremonies is the honoring of all teachers from past to present.

Students take the opportunity to personally pay respects to their former teachers and show special gratitude for the important contributions teachers made in shaping their futures. Other students pay respects at local shrines or monuments dedicated to the teaching profession.

Buddhist ritual ceremonies sanctify the day, including “tham bun - tak bat” ceremonies in the morning. In honor of teachers, many charitable functions are set in motion to commemorate the important day.

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Larn Island lobbies for a 20 million baht incinerator

Central government reps visit Pattaya to collect facts

Spokesmen for Larn Island are lobbying the central government to get them a new 20 million baht incinerator.

The amount of trash produced on Larn Island has steadily increased over the years and has surpassed the two-ton per day capability of the current incinerator, which has been in use since 1992.

Larn Island has 2,000 inhabitants and over 4,000 tourists visit each day.

Currently, up to four tons of is trash produced on the island each day. The incinerator now in use is also only capable of processing dry waste materials. The new waste incinerator would be capable of handling four tons of moist waste per day.

The Larn Island community is requesting the central government use funds from the Organization for Economic Cooperation (OECF) to purchase the new incinerator.

Manu Satayatheva, director of the Central Government Development Center in the National Social and Economic Development Office, visited the area earlier this month and received a briefing on the funding request from Mayor Pairat Suttithamrongsawat at Pattaya city hall. Manu and a group of officials then conducted a visit to Larn Island to observe the situation and collect information for further consideration.

Manu specified that the visit was to verify various requirements before endorsing the request and going to the council of ministers for approval. Construction could possibly start in 2002.

Manu also stressed that it is important to ascertain from the beginning whether there is local acceptance for the project, in order to avoid problems once construction begins and it becomes evident that the public is against the idea.

He also expressed concern about Pattaya’s readiness to appropriate funding to maintain efficient operation of the incinerator. “A non-functioning, expensive piece of machinery turned into an embarrassing monument,” Manu said, “is not what the country needs while attempting to gain economic recovery.”

City maintenance director Sittipap Muangkhum told Manu that environmental preservation is the main issue. He described Larn Island as one of the main tourist attractions in Pattaya and that neglecting the sanitation requirements would have a severe negative impact on the environment and ultimately affect the local tourist industry.

Currently, some businesses on Larn Island pay 2,500 - 3,000 baht a month to hire boats to transport waste to Pattaya for disposal. Local budget constraints are inadequate to support building a new incinerator, which has prompted the request for OECF funding.

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Human rights’ defender attacked

An urgent appeal for action

from the Child Labour News Service

Phillaur, Jalandhar (India): In an unsuccessful bid, three farm owners, allegedly in connivance with the local police made a murderous attempt on the life of Mr. Jai Singh, a human rights activist.

Jai Singh, regional co-ordinator of the South Asian Coalition on Child Servitude (SACCS), has been actively working for the liberation of bonded and child labourers for over two decades.

This was the fourth attempt on his life.

The activist alleged that the farm owners hatched a conspiracy against him as he had last month rescued two victimised farm labourers, Rohi Ram and Birbal Singh, who were being exploited under the age-old ‘Siri’ system.

Reacting sharply to the situation, Kailash Satyarthi, chairperson of SACCS, which has for over two decades been engaged in liberating children from servitude, said, “It is unfortunate that slavery still exists like a black spot on the face of humankind.”

Condemning the incident, Mr. Satyarthi, who is also the chairperson of Global March Against Child Labour, called for urgent action. He demanded that, “It is high time that steps be taken to protect the victims of exploitation, as well as their defenders.”

Time and again incidents of violence towards human rights activists have been reported.

“I wish to make an urgent appeal that we all should stand together and fight this grave injustice,” he added.

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