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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Crime Watch Volunteers arrested for shakedown

Drug crazed tourist arrested in South Pattaya

Katoey arrested for mugging tourists

Tipsy tourist cleaned out by two streetwalkers

Bar owners continue to pursue late closing times

Star Dice Disco gutted by fire

Ten countries attend 4th e-ASEAN Certification Authority Forum in Pattaya

Global campaign to stop child labour

Annual exercise builds relations in Southeast Asia

Pattaya’s Bangladesh community celebrates New Year & Songkran

Crime Watch Volunteers arrested for shakedown

Took a hostage and demanded 300,000 Baht

Boonlua Chatree

Five Crime Watch Volunteers were arrested last week for extortion, kidnapping and posing as police officers.

Five Crime Watch Volunteers were caught trying to extort 30,000 baht from a poverty stricken family.

Saifon Soison, a 32-year-old woman living at Ban Sabaichai in Soi Arunothai, contacted police last week after the four men and one woman barged into her home late at night claiming to be police officers conducting a search for narcotics. Mrs. Saifon said the group demanded 30,000 baht in cash, threatening to arrest her and her family for selling amphetamines if they didn’t comply. None of the intruders were in uniform and they took a member of the family hostage until the money could be made available.

Saifon said the apparent gang leader also took unwarranted liberties searching her person looking for drugs whilst the others searched the house and the rest of the family. They did not find any illegal substances.

Pattaya police gave Saifon the required money in pre-recorded banknotes and told her to keep the appointment so that officers could set a trap. Sure enough, the bogus police turned up, and after meeting with Saifon and accepting the money, they were pounced upon by real police.

The five were later identified as Pramot Phumthed, age 37, from Naklua, Manoon Thaimai, age 31, from Lampang, Somkhuan Songthong, age 33, from Yasothorn, and Subhakij Kulsiri, age 34, from Naklua. The female member of the gang was identified as Amphan Suantai, age 27, from Nakhon Nayok. All five possessed Crime Watch Volunteer identity cards issued by the Pattaya police.

When arrested, the gang had the pre-recorded banknotes in their possession and now face charges of extortion and taking a hostage. The gang leader, Manoon faces an additional charge of sexually molesting Saifon during his all too thorough body search.

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Drug crazed tourist arrested in South Pattaya

Boonlua Chatree

Stephen Davies startled the locals last week when he was stumbling around South Pattaya wrapped in a blanket, sans shirt, and seemingly not in control of his mental faculties.

Stephen Davies was arrested for possession of methamphetamines.

An anonymous caller contacted the Pattaya tourist police, who promptly converged on the area and cornered him for questioning.

Although Davies was in a somewhat agitated state, police managed to search him and found he was wearing a brown leather money belt. Inside the belt was 27,000 baht in cash and 15 methamphetamine pills hidden away. Police dutifully took him down to the station for questioning.

Davies told police he bought the drugs from a Thai male, but couldn’t remember his name. He said he bought the drugs for 100 baht each for his own personal use, but admitted that on occasion he would sell the drugs to his acquaintances in the foreign community for prices ranging from 500-1,000 baht per pill.

Davies was jailed and charged with possessing class 1 illegal narcotics.

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Katoey arrested for mugging tourists

Also charged with drug possession

Boonlua Chatree

Mr. Leung Chi Ming, a 47-year old tourist from Sweden, was mugged and robbed by a large katoey at 4 a.m. on April 18.

Towering over local police (it is unknown whether he was wearing his lethal high-heels when this photo was taken), Yingyod “Jane” Khantsaenyod was arrested for beating up a tourist.

Ming told police that he was walking along Beach Road in front of the Royal Palace Hotel when a man dressed as a female propositioned him, asking for 1,000 baht in return for a good time. Not attracted by the husky voice he turned down the offer, but the katoey, transvestite or female impersonator persisted and blocked his way. It then took a high-heeled shoe and commenced to beat on him, inflicting considerable injury.

Ming said that as he was trying to avoid the high-heeled shoe, his attacker filched around 5,000 baht from his pockets and ran off, leaving him stunned and on the ground.

The Pattaya tourist police investigation led them to Yingyod Khantsaenyod, also known as “Jane” and “Puay”, a 26-year-old male from Chiang Rai who is known to hang out on Beach Road during the hours prior to sunrise.

Police caught Yingyod napping at the Dennis Apartments in South Pattaya’s Soi V.C. He had 10 billfolds in the room, one of which belonged to Ming. A further search of the room produced three methamphetamine pills.

Yingyod later boldly told police that he cornered tourists nightly from 3-4 a.m. and found it easy to take their money because his targets were too drunk to defend themselves.

Yingyod was charged for possession of illegal narcotics carrying class one punishment, as well as assault on Ming, before being transferred to the Pattaya Police station where he’s sure to liven things up at the local jailhouse.

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Tipsy tourist cleaned out by two streetwalkers

“Over-the-hill gang” makes off with cameras and cash

Boonlua Chatree

German tourist Sigurd Gerhard Schluter imbibed a bit too heavily during the Songkran holiday and paid a hefty price.

Perhaps it was better they left before he awoke.

Schluter told police that after drinking heavily on April 14, he took two over the hill women back to his hotel room to continue celebrating the Thai New Year. The following day the 49-year-old German discovered his video camera, tape player and still camera were all missing, along with the two streetwalkers and 4,000 baht in cash.

Schluter was able to provide a good description of the two, and tourist police were soon able to bring in Suwanna Watanatham, age 43.

Suwanna told police that Schluter was swaying back and forth whilst walking in Soi Yamato and the late night reveler took her and another girl named Phayao (Noi) Ratanachant back to his room sometime around 2.00 a.m.

Suwanna, however, denied any wrongdoing, and said she was paid 1,500 baht for services performed. She said she then left Noi alone with Schluter, and was unaware what transpired thereafter.

After Suwanna gave police Noi’s address, Noi was arrested when a police search of her room turned up Schluter’s video camera. All his other things were sold and Noi said she didn’t’ know where the buyers lived.

It is now up to the courts to decide Noi and Suwanna’s role in the theft.

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Bar owners continue to pursue late closing times

Will drug test employees and check customer IDs

Boonlua Chatree

The Pattaya entertainment business community met again at the Grand Sole Hotel on April 18 to discuss their strategy to convince the Ministry of Interior that Pattaya is doing its share to support the government’s anti-drug initiatives. The meeting follows a meeting nine days earlier when the entertainment business community consolidated to look for ways to keep businesses operating until 4 a.m.

Pattaya’s entertainment workers took to the streets with anti-drugs signs on April 18.

Precha Sanguansak, chairman of the group, called the meeting, and said the group feels that more than 1,000 businesses providing entertainment in Pattaya would experience difficulties, and that 15,000 employees would also be affected.

Members agreed to target drug prevention measures and prohibit people under the age of 20 from entering all entertainment businesses in Pattaya. They said they plan to test all employees for drug use and check all customer identification before allowing them entry.

Meanwhile, over 2000 employees from Pattaya’s entertainment industry walked through city streets carrying signs with anti-drug slogans. They were escorted by a vehicle from the Pattaya Tourist Police.

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Star Dice Disco gutted by fire

Suffers one million Baht damage

Vichan Pladplueng

The Star Dice Disco on Pattaya-Naklua Road was gutted by fire at 2:30 p.m. on April 16.

The Star Dice Disco on Pattaya-Naklua Road was gutted by fire.

It took firefighters from five fire engines about an hour to bring the blaze under control, and they were able to do so before it spread to the Euro Country Club next door.

The ceiling of the disco had been decorated with glittering items made of flammable material. Major damage was done to the ceiling, chairs, tables and sound equipment. The total damages were assessed at more than one million baht.

The cause of the fire has yet to be determined, although fire damage investigators suspect possibly a faulty electrical circuit, and have not ruled out carelessness.

No injuries were reported, as the Star Dice was undergoing renovations at the time and the facility was locked up for the day.

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Ten countries attend 4th e-ASEAN Certification Authority Forum in Pattaya

Professor Thaweesak Koanankakool, director of the National Electronics and Computer Technology Center, chaired the 4th e-ASEAN Certification Authority Forum organized by 10 member countries from ASEAN at the Pattaya Dusit Resort.

The forum was a continuation of the previous one held in the Philippines where the members of the Association of South East Asian Nations agreed to begin an ASEAN electronics initiative. The agreement proposed establishing a free-trade area for service merchandise with IT and communication investments. Additional plans include pilot development programs assisting new businesses to be e-commerce proficient.

NECTEC director, Professor Thaweesak, said Singapore and Malaysia were currently leading initiatives in IT and electronic communication development. He indicated that Thailand requires additional development in education, especially in rural areas.

Presently, the two major players spearheading technological development in electronics and IT communications in Thailand are the government’s SETEC R&D Center and Thai Digital ID Co., Ltd., a private enterprise.

The Thaksin government is expected to propose regulations supporting on-line businesses that will coincide with United Nation guidelines.

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Global campaign to stop child labour

Multinationals under Scrutiny

From the Child Labour News Service

As part of its new global campaign to eliminate child labour, launched early this month, the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) and International Trade Secretariats (ITS) have pledged to pursue activities and urge multinational enterprises (MNE) to assume responsibility to stop child labour.

The Brussels-based ICFTU launched this two-year campaign involving the trade union movement and the like-minded non-governmental organisations.

In a petition, which is now circulating around the world, employers (including MNEs) are urged to stop hiring children and to take the children who are presently working out of work, rehabilitate them and bring them to school.

The petition will be presented during the UN Special Session on the Rights of the Child in September 2001.

The international trade union movement is seeking to make the elimination of child labour a part of the wider effort to promote corporate social responsibility among MNEs and to link the elimination of child labour to the observance of fundamental rights at work.

“The only guarantee to end the use of child labour is if workers themselves can ensure through trade union organisations that proper practices and conditions prevail day in and day out,” says Bill Jordan, ICFTU General Secretary, “and this requires recognition of the fundamental right to organise and engage in collective bargaining.”

There are now nine pioneering framework agreements between International Trade Secretariats and multinational enterprises. All of these agreements include provisions to ban the use of child labour linked with the observance of other fundamental workers’ rights, including freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining.

“Almost every multinational represented on the high street is guilty of profiting from child labour. They may not employ children directly but they are invariably doing so through their sub-contractors. MNEs must accept their responsibilities and realise that they cannot demand world class standards whilst paying sweatshop prices,” says Neil Kearney, General Secretary of the ITGLWF (International Textile, Garment & Leather Workers’ Federation).

In the following months the ICFTU, in close co-operation with the International Trade Union Secretariats, will launch more specific action plans at national, regional and international levels.

More information about the Global Campaign including a direct link to the petition is available on the ICFTU web-site at: (Click on child labour).

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Annual exercise builds relations in Southeast Asia

by Lt. Leslie Hull-Ryde

U.S. Navy ships left their homeports, April 6, headed for the sea services’ premier bilateral exercise in Southeast Asia.

USS Wadsworth (FFG 9), USS Curts (FFG 38) and USS Rushmore (LSD 47) headquartered in San Diego got underway for Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training. CARAT, a series of bilateral exercises, takes place in the region every summer.

“This exercise reinforces our commitment to the host nations and the fact that we’re their staunchest ally in working for security and stability in the region,” says Capt. Gary Erickson, commander, Destroyer Squadron 1.

“Our professional and social interactions with foreign navy counterparts engenders a close working relationship and atmosphere of cooperation which, in turn, leads to better understanding of the mutual needs and requirements of our respective countries.”

Rear Adm. Mark J. Edwards, commander, Logistics Group, Western Pacific in Singapore spearheads the CARAT Task Force. As the CARAT commodore, Erickson leads the U.S. ships, crews and other detachments taking part this year.

The tri-fold CARAT mission includes enhancing regional cooperation; building friendships between the U.S. and nations involved; and strengthening professional skills at every level, from the most junior to the more senior.

“In addition to outstanding training and individual professional growth and development, I expect host nation sailors to observe first hand our sailors and marines’ core values, competency and sense of pride and professionalism,” said Erickson.

The ships will stop in Okinawa, Japan, to pick up Marines of III Marine Expeditionary force who will participate in CARAT. The sailors and marines will then cruise to the Western Pacific Region. There, they’ll meet with Coast Guardsmen who make up the CARAT team.

Host nation countries take the lead in planning each phase of CARAT. The planning for this complex series of exercises takes place months before the task group arrives in each country.

“Each phase of the CARAT exercise series is planned in close coordination with the military leaders of the participating countries,” Erickson said. “We have planned intermediate and advanced naval operations at sea and ashore. And we’ve scheduled professional seminars and social and personal interactions which engender a relationship of trust, diplomacy and friendship.”

CARAT kicks off mid-May in Indonesia and wraps up in Brunei three months later. The ships will work with the Navy and Marine Corps in the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia as well.

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Pattaya’s Bangladesh community celebrates New Year & Songkran

The president of the Bangladesh community in Pattaya, Mr. J. Khan Masud invited his friends and relatives from the surrounding area to join in the Songkran celebration, also recognized as the New Year in Bangladesh.

The Bangladesh community held a football friendly as part of the Bangladesh New Year and Thai Songkran celebration.

The activities started in the morning on April 18 with merit making ceremonies at the temple. Later that evening, the community played a football game at the Inter Field on the Pattaya-Naklua Road, after which everyone joined up for a party. The day’s activities strengthened the bonds between members of the community and also helped preserve ancient traditions.

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