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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Pattaya should vigorously market MICE

Ulrich ushered back to Germany

Five month old baby boy abandoned in hospital bathroom

Police catch elusive drug agent

Foreigners arrested with “Ecstasy”

Deputy Mayor on the trail of corrupt Municipal Officials

Good Samaritan halts mountain bike theft

Vehicle traffic to be restricted on Dongtan Beach Walkway

Chonburi PAO explains garbage dump

City budgets 3 million for festival

Lions International President visits Pattaya

Rotary donates to YWCA school lunches

A final Clinton crusade

Pattaya should vigorously market MICE

THA (Eastern Chapter) President advises at monthly Skal meeting

Chatchawal, who is also an advisor to city hall and chairman of the Green Leaf Foundation, told the Skal members that the Thai government has acknowledged the importance of this market. “The formation of a MICE convention bureau will be under the umbrella of TAT, but will be a separate government entity, with a ten year plan and a 2 billion baht budget. The bureau will focus on the MICE market, as there has been a promising increase in the statistics. Thai Airways International has also pledged to support the project.”

Chatchawal warned the SKAL group, “It was realized that Thailand has been successful in the past in promoting tourism; however, it is important we all be mindful of the new market for the country, in view of the present economy. The new market is MICE.”

Members of Skal International, Pattaya Chapter, thanking their special guest speaker, Dusit GM Chatchawal Supachayanont (6th from right) at their monthly luncheon last week.

It was reported in Bangkok that almost 250,000 MICE arrivals are expected in Thailand in this coming year. Chatchawal said, “Pattaya must get to the forefront of this market, as this would benefit not only the hotels, but would also benefit all types of businesses in Pattaya.”

“Phuket attracts a lot of tourist business and Pattaya must compete. Pattaya is a better destination for the MICE market because of its close proximity to Bangkok. (Meanwhile) Bangkok is losing its MICE market edge because of traffic congestion.”

He agreed that it is important to change the image of Pattaya in the global marketplace and mentioned the work that will be done by Manit Boonchim (local TAT director) to send press releases to the ITB, International Tourism Burse, the largest worldwide tourist convention.

“At the ITB 1994 Berlin, Pattaya made a lot of promises to the world about planned changes including the wastewater treatment plan. Now, with the latest figures on Pattaya’s water showing far less bacteria, meaning cleaner waters and beaches, this can be used as one of the ways to promote Pattaya at the next ITB in Europe in 2002.”

“A commitment from the city, education for the public and changing attitudes are the key to improving the situation further. We made a lot of promises to the world, and now we have the confidence in our waters that the water treatment plant has brought.”

He exhorted Pattaya to have a strong commitment to continue to clean up the environment. The word he used repeatedly was the need to be “proactive” and to have a plan for the future to attract overseas attendees for MICE market opportunities. “The city should employ a professional PR company to boost its image,” he said.

He concluded by saying, “It is hoped that the new government will realize that tourism is important for the economy, and that changes will be made.”

Michael Vogt, GM of the Amari suggested promoting the new improved water and beaches as a major draw-card to the International Thai Travel Mart (to be held at PEACH from September 16-20) as an ideal opportunity for the city to promote its new image.

Local TAT director Manit Boonchim added that the forthcoming road show to Japan is aimed at putting Pattaya on the map with the younger Japanese market. “The road show is planned in May and will visit Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto over a one-week period. Currently there are approximately 1 million Japanese visitors to Thailand every year with only 90,000 coming to Pattaya. The aim of the Pattaya road show to Japan is to attract the younger generation of Japanese to Pattaya, emphasizing our world class golf courses in the region and water sports.” Manit also endorses belief in the importance of a long-term public relations plan for improving the image of Pattaya.

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Ulrich ushered back to Germany

Leaves town under cover of darkness

Late Valentines Night (February 14), under heavy security, the Thailand chapter of Wolfgang Ulrich’s travails came to an end. Under the cover of darkness, thirty of the kingdom’s elite police escorted Ulrich to Don Muang Airport, where he boarded a Lufthansa flight bound for Frankfurt Germany.

Once back in Germany, Ulrich was handed over to German authorities to face embezzlement charges. Ulrich stands accused of embezzling up to 70 million DM (about 400 million baht) from an animal protection foundation.

Ulrich had been serving time in a Bangkok prison for illegally importing into Thailand his luxury yacht “Last Money”. He was briefly released on the King’s birthday in 1999, but was quickly re-arrested to undergo extradition proceedings. The court rejected Ulrich’s appeal against extradition, and on December 27 ordered that Ulrich be extradited to Germany within 3 months.

Ulrich, who based his operations in and lived in Pattaya, was placed on the police “black list” of foreigners suspected of illegal businesses involving drugs and prostitution, and was first arrested back in September 1998. Police accused him of being a “mafia” boss here in Pattaya, although no evidence to support the allegations was ever publicly released.

Four German police officers and a Thai officer accompanied Ulrich on his flight to Germany. All Ulrich’s assets in Germany have been frozen pending trial, including 64 million DM in bank deposits, a Ferrari, a Rolls Royce, a Porsche and three Mercedes Benz.

Ulrich and his accomplices will be tried in a Munich court.

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Five month old baby boy abandoned in hospital bathroom

Baby healthy but society has cause for concern

Reporter: Vichan Pladpleung

A 5 month old baby boy was discovered early Saturday morning, February 10, in a deserted wing of Banglamung Hospital. A hospital employee collecting his work equipment heard the baby’s distant cries, went to investigate and found the abandoned child.

This poor little 5-month-old boy was abandoned by his mother and left at Banglamung Hospital.

Mr. Bunsong Senanikhom had just arrived at work and was walking in the wing where children are brought in during the week for examinations and vaccinations. He said he heard sounds of an infant’s cries coming from a distance and at first he paid little attention because the cries were a common sound during the week. But when he realized no one else was around, he followed the cries to the lady’s bathroom. Bunsong said he slowly entered the bathroom and found the baby boy laying face down, crying and with his face as red as a chili pepper. The baby was dressed in a clean shirt and a fresh diaper and there was a bottle of baby’s milk nearby.

The baby was taken to the hospital emergency room where he was examined by doctors and nurses, who later reported the baby was not only adorable but in perfect health.

Bunsong and other employees spent the rest of the morning questioning people trying to locate the baby’s mother with hopes that there was some explanation for the unattended child.

One vendor selling beverages outside recalled seeing a 25-30 year old woman walking by the hospital earlier in the morning, but no other information became available.

The 5-month old baby was smiling and playful following his examination, and was later transferred to a social welfare agency where his future will be decided.

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Police catch elusive drug agent

Known for escape, question now is: can they keep him?

Reporter: Boonlua Chatree

Chayaporn Bhumimanoch, age 26, was arrested on February 13 for possession of class 1 narcotics. However, Chayaporn has been arrested for drugs more than once, and has somehow managed to avoid doing any serious jail time.

Chayaporn was arrested in front of the Ekamongkhol housing area in Soi Khao Talo following an investigation conducted by the Deputy Superintendent of the Narcotics Suppression Bureau Pol. Lt. Col. Jirat Phichitpai.

Collected information indicated Chayaporn would be making a delivery in the Soi Khao Talo area, so police and anti-narcotics agents, led by Pol. Lt. Col. Ittiphorn Chutikulang, were lying in wait when Chayaporn pulled up on his Yamaha TZRR.

Police officers apprehended Chayaporn as he was dismounting the motorbike. Police searched Chayaporn and found 21,500 baht in cash, one mobile phone, and stashed under the seat was a plastic bag wrapped in cloth containing four separate plastic bags with a total of 780 methamphetamine pills.

Chayaporn told police he purchased the drugs in the area of Soi Nern Plab Wan at 60 baht per pill and he intended to sell them for twice that amount.

Chayaporn was charged with possession and distribution of illegal narcotics carrying class 1 punishment and held in custody by the Narcotics Suppression Bureau.

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Foreigners arrested with “Ecstasy”

Bar floor littered with pills

Reporter: Boonlua Chatree

Following a month long investigation conducted by the Pattaya Foreign Crime Suppression Center, the Inca Bar in South Pattaya was raided at 1 a.m. on February 17. Police suspected the bar was a common meeting area where drugs were made available to foreigners.

Norbert Raedel, Darren Ramsey Lee, and Anthony Phillip Sandere were arrested for possession of ya-e, or “ecstasy”.

When police entered the bar a large crowd of foreign men were sitting and standing around swaying their heads with the loud music. The noise was ordered turned off, lights turned on and everyone was told to remain in place.

A search was conducted and three persons were found holding illegal substances, later identified as ecstasy pills. The arrests included Norbert Raedel, age 33, carrying a German passport; Darren Ramsey Lee, age 29, carrying a British passport; and Anthony Phillip Sandere, age 32, also carrying a British passport. Each had one pill in their possession. Police also collected a large quantity of the drug from the bar room floor.

Once at the Pattaya police station the three men admitted to possessing the class 1 illegal narcotic and made numerous attempts and requests to phone a third party to clear the matter before going any further. However, each was charged with possession of illegal drugs.

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Deputy Mayor on the trail of corrupt Municipal Officials

Deputy Mayor Niran Wattanasathron has received numerous complaints from residents and business owners in Walking Street about corrupt city officers threatening and extorting money from owners during the past month.

An immediate investigation into the allegations of official corruption is underway and once caught the officers concerned will face criminal charges.

Deputy Mayor Niran agreed there was the possibility of confusion with some business owners as the municipal uniform was similar to that of the regular police uniform.

He also said that those involved in the scam will be brought to justice.

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Good Samaritan halts mountain bike theft

Thief told police it was for his wife

Reporter: Bunleua Chatree

Miss Chaluay Mekmanurak, a 32-year old employee at the Hasse Cafe in Soi Post Office, saved a tourist’s mountain bike from being stolen last week.

Miss Chaluay told police she watched a tourist pull up and dismount from his mountain bike, then walk into one of the shops on Soi Post Office. Soon after, she spotted a man, later identified as Pyuak Saengkaew, age 29, showing exaggerated interest in the bike. Miss Chaluay said that when she saw Pyuak nonchalantly walking off with the bike, she put chase. She managed to catch up with him and grab the bike, then began calling out for help.

A small crowd soon formed and was able to detain Pyuak until police arrived.

Pyuak admitted he was attempting to steal the bike, and told police he was going to give it to his wife so she could go to and from the market.

Police weren’t impressed and charged Pyuak for attempted theft.

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Vehicle traffic to be restricted on Dongtan Beach Walkway

8 hours set aside for service-vehicle-only traffic

People might actually get a chance to walk on the beautiful new Jomtien Beach walkway. That is, if police are ready, willing and able to enforce city hall’s new directive to restrict traffic on the walkway to the hours of 6 - 10 a.m. and 4 - 8 p.m. City hall’s proposed plan also calls for allowing only service vehicles on the “walkway” during those 8 designated hours.

Deputy mayor Nirand Watanasadsatorn and city council members met with local business owners and vendors on the Dongtan Beach Walkway in Jomtien to discuss long awaited changes.

The designated times will be posted at the entrance to the walkway near the police box at Dongtan curve, and enforcement is expected to start on March 1. Parking rates at the new parking area will also be established and posted at that time.

Vehicle traffic has been disrupting what could be a pleasant walkway on the inlaid brickwork, which is barely one year old and already showing signs of disrepair.

Meanwhile, the long awaited public bathrooms are yet to open. Apparently no one has stepped forward to apply for the vending rights, in part due to rumors that contracts may be breached or changed at will. Also, the underground water pipes have allegedly been damaged by vehicle traffic going in and out of the area. Once the new regulations restricting vehicles in the area take affect, at least the water pipe damage problem might be resolved.

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Chonburi PAO explains garbage dump

Says recycling is a better solution

Chonburi’s Provincial Administration Organization (PAO) met with concerned residents in an attempt to explain the implications surrounding the selection of Nong Yai District’s Moo 6 as the location for Chonburi’s consolidated waste site.

The meeting took place at the Nong Yai district building on February 12, one week after 800 local residents staged a protest outside government offices and threatened to take the matter to the Ministry of Finance.

Chonburi governor Sujarit Pachimnan and PAO chairman Bhinyo Tanwised addressed a crowd of nearly 1,000 area residents.

Miss Prinda Siriwarawat, the designated leader of the “Residents for Happiness” group, has been opposing the Nong Yai waste site plan, mainly because of its close proximity to area residents. The proposed location is just two kilometers from the Ban Mabyang community.

Ban Mabyang in Moo 6 was chosen after considering technological factors, the social economic situation and the environmental impact.

Chonburi PAO chairman Bhinyo Tanwised contended that the proposed site in Ban Mabyang would only be servicing waste produced in community areas. He said the General Environment Conservation Plc (Genco) would be responsible for disposing all industrial waste, which would include hazardous materials.

He also asserted that at this point in time there have been no land contracts made for establishing the consolidated waste site in Ban Mabyang, and the matter is still in the research stage. Researchers are still considering possible negative aspects that could directly affect residents in Nong Yai.

Bhinyo said the PAO favors recycling, as it would have less impact on the community and environment. He said recycling management would consist of a recycling separation plant, wet compost plant, and landfill.

Bhinyo said more detailed information on the consolidated waste site would be made available prior to the public forum on February 21.

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City budgets 3 million for festival

Could be the last one

Mayor Pairat Suttithamrongsawat announced that the city has budgeted 3 million baht for this year’s Songkran festival. Mayor Pairat also said this will be the last year that the city will organize the festival during April.

“Pattaya City Festival 2001” will kick off with a parade along Beach Road beginning at 5 p.m. on April 12. Festivities will continue throughout the week, and culminate with the annual water throwing mayhem on April 18 & 19 in Pattaya and Naklua.

The annual festival, held during the Thai New Year or “Songkran”, celebrates the passing of seasons, and attracts much interest among local residents and tourists alike. The action takes place all over the city, but especially along area beaches from Naklua to Jomtien.

On April 13, “Songkran Day”, there will be exhibitions of the traditional water pouring custom to display the “proper procedures” of the age-old custom in Thailand.

On April 14 a special concert “Rock on the Beach” will feature bands playing music from the 50s to present.

Nightly entertainment from 7 p.m. - midnight is scheduled featuring popular Thai singers and bands with troupes of dancers such as Tak Leela, Salakchit Duangchant, Thadthuang Monichant, and Morakot Monichai.

Scheduled activities include various cultural exhibits from all regions in Thailand and displays of village life in Pattaya’s by-gone era when it was a small fishing community.

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Lions International President visits Pattaya

Pattaya-Pratamnak Lions honor visit with educational donations

Lion president Kovit Tiantongnukul and members of the Pattaya and Pratamnak International Lions Clubs met at the 9th floor conference room of the Royal Cruise A-1 Hotel on Pattaya Beach Road to present educational materials and scholarship funds on February 10. The meeting was honored with the presence of the current International President of the Lions, Dr. Jean Behar, and the previous president Cpt. Khajit Hapananon along with Vice-Governor of the International Lion 310-C Chapter Naris Phetcharat.

Dr. Behar presented certificates and prizes to students from five Pattaya area schools who participated in the “Peace Poster Contest”.

Dr. Jean Behar, the International President of the Lions Organization, said his visit to the Pattaya-Pratamnak Lions was to observe the activities of the Lions in Thailand and was part of a Lion leadership strengthening program in 2001, inspiring quality and efficiency in the Lion organization.

Dr. Behar presented certificates and prizes to students from five Pattaya area schools participating in the “Peace Poster Contest”, and presented an award to the Pratamnak-Pattaya Lions Club on the occasion of their 10th anniversary.

President of the Pratamnak-Pattaya Lions, Kovit Tiantongnukul, presented a set of Thai encyclopedias to Pattaya City Schools #3 and #6. Lion Udom Ophasri, Charter President of Pratamnak-Pattaya Lions Club, and Lion Vichien Jinvut, Past President of the Pratamnak-Pattaya Lions Club, each presented 18 educational scholarships in the amount of 9,000 baht apiece. The 36 scholarships were given to students from the Ban Bang Samae School and Wat Nongtmlung School.

Lion Somsak Nakson, Past President of the Pratamnak-Pattaya Lions Club, presented educational materials including computer tables and printer equipment to the Ban Kod School. Lion Premrudee Jittivutikarn, also a Past President of the Pratamnak-Pattaya Lions, presented 100 donated prescription eye-glasses to the “Second Sight Program”.

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Rotary donates to YWCA school lunches

Lunches to be served on March 6

The Rotary Club of Jomtien Pattaya donated a generous amount of money to the Bangkok-Pattaya YWCA. The money is to go to support area school lunch programs.

Members of the Rotary Club of Jomtien Pattaya donated a generous amount of money to the Bangkok-Pattaya YWCA to go towards local school lunch programs.

Bangkok-Pattaya YWCA president Premrudee Jittivutikarn received the donations at the King Seafood Restaurant in South Pattaya on February 15.

Bruno Wagner from the Jomtien-Pattaya Rotary presented 30,000 baht and another 10,000 baht was donated by Mr. EA Willvroh from Switzerland. Both gentlemen were given certificates of appreciation in return.

Premrudee announced that the funds will be presented to students from disadvantaged families in Huay Yai Sub-district on March 6, and the members of the YWCA are organizing a lunch for that day starting at 11.00 a.m.

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A final Clinton crusade

New efforts to fight sweatshops and child labor around the world

from the Child Labor News Service

Just before he left office, US president Bill Clinton announced two new initiatives aimed at giving the global economy “a more human face” by eradicating sweatshops and abusive child labor practices worldwide.

“Around the world, tens of millions of children are deprived of their childhood and subjected to the worst forms of child labor, slavery, forced or compulsory labor, prostitution, pornography, and other kinds of harmful and unsafe work,” he said in a statement.

Clinton unveiled some four million dollars in grants to private sector efforts to eliminate sweatshops overseas as well as government guidelines to help US businesses comply with laws prohibiting imports produced with forced child labor.

The United States will spend some $92 million this year to help eliminate abusive child labor worldwide, according to a White House statement.

Under new initiatives, the US State Department will handle some $3.3 million in grants to private groups battling the phenomenon while the US Agency for International Development will administer another $600,000.

“These grants recognize that in a global economy some countries will seek to compete by cutting corners and ignoring abuses, and that is all too human and dead wrong, and we cannot and must not accept it,” said Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State.

“Efforts to eliminate sweatshops are at an early stage. There is no one proven formula. And so these grants are not only going to a variety of organizations, they will support a variety of approaches,” she added.

“These include the establishment of business codes of conduct, workplace monitoring systems, research, and labeling initiatives,” she said.

The US Customs Service will issue guidelines that will raise “red flags” that importers can use to determine whether goods are proscribed because they were made with forced or indentured child labor.

In doing so, “we will help businesses avoid participating in the exploitation of children and complement our vigorous efforts to enforce the law to keep goods made with forced child labor out of the United States,” said Lawrence Summers, former Treasury Secretary.

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