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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

City still can’t decide how best to run the new wastewater treatment plant

Boyztown buzzes over “pink baht” scandal

Meyer Industries resolving pollution issues

City backs extended closing hours

PBTA proposes new tax laws for local hotels and shopping centers

Thaksin to address Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand

TGI hosts seminar on Thai economy and the new government economic policy

City still can’t decide how best to run the new wastewater treatment plant

City administrators are citing reasons as diverse as on-going construction on the city hall conference room disrupting their decision making process for the delay in coming up with a workable solution.

City Hall did admit that due to lack of qualified personnel, they are inclined to bring in a private company to manage the system. However, the city wants to maintain some control in order to prevent consumer costs from soaring out of control.

The prospective private company would be responsible for operation of all six pumping stations, the treatment plant, and inspecting the quality of water (biochemical oxygen demand). Pattaya City is to maintain the drainage system and utility costs for plant operation (water and electricity), including required chemicals.

In mid April, city administrators set the bidding for the treatment plant concession at 12 million baht, but only two companies came close to the mark. The East Water Company bid 9.2 million baht, while the Water Treatment Overseers Company, currently looking after the operation at the new plant, bid 9.8 million baht.

Last March it was reported that once the city decides whether to administer the plant’s operation internally or contract it out to a private company, final approval is required from both the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment, and the National Environmental Commission.

City administrators convened again at city hall on May 15 to discuss funding approval to continue operation of the plant. Members at the meeting approved 3.3 million baht remaining in this year’s budget and an additional 8.8 million baht from the next fiscal year’s budget to cover operational costs.

The decision on what company will be awarded the contract to operate the plant is expected next week. Sometime thereafter consumer costs will be added to water bills at a pro-rated fee against 80% of their total water use.

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Boyztown buzzes over “pink baht” scandal

Are May and Lumsden’s swords mightier than Quill’s pen is?

Boyztown, an enclave for a portion of Pattaya’s gay community, is all aflutter over a scandal involving Gordon May, James Lumsden and their soon to be former business partner Kevin Quill.

Gordon May and Jim Lumsden own the Ambiance Hotel and the Boyz Boyz Boyz boys a-go-go. The two also co-own Throb and Splash, two other boys a-go-goes with Kevin Quill. James Lumsden is currently the secretary of the Pattaya Gay Festival.

Kevin Quill

It all began with Kevin Quill’s arrest last October for trying to smuggle 170 cartons of Benson & Hedges cigarettes out of the country… except he was nowhere near the airport. And the local police that arrested him somehow found 100 tablets of amphetamines (ya ba) in one of the packets of cigarettes. How the police came to find that one pack out of the 3,400 packets he had, and why they didn’t bother opening any of the other 3,399 packets remains a mystery.

Kevin Quill was incarcerated for this heinous crime, fined over 600,000 baht for the illegal cigarettes, and denied bail on the drugs charge for fear he would take flight.

Quill remained locked up in Chonburi prison for a number of months, during which time he had plenty of time to think. Maintaining his relative innocence (he admitted to the cigarettes but denied knowledge of the drugs), he set out to determine who could have, and would have set him up and why.

James Lumsden, adorned in a striking light blue, sequined evening gown, as he appeared at a recent fund raising event

The most obvious answer seemed to be that his business partners must have had something to do with it. After all, they seemed to be the ones that would gain the most if he were to “disappear” from the scene. By his own admission, Quill had parted ways with somewhere in the vicinity of ฃ300,000, through business ventures with May and Lumsden, an automobile, condominiums, a house and lavish spending. “I think I must have left my brains behind in England,” he was quoted as saying.

Spurred on by the British tabloid press, Quill began his accusations. “Gay MacMafia stripped my assets and dumped me on death row” the sub-head screamed.

Quill allegedly, “Lost ฃ300,000, three homes and his Mercedes after being lured into the sleazy empire of transvestite Jim Lumsden and his partner Gordon May.”

Whether or not Quill’s accusations prove to be true, the byproduct of the affair is that skeletons began creeping out of everyone’s closets.

In 1987, Teague Homes Ltd., a property company in Edinburgh, UK, stated in their annual report that, “Mr. G. May had misappropriated ฃ243,438 from the company fund in collusion with one of the company’s legal advisors…” Gordon May was a director in the company and James Lumsden was the company secretary. Police later charged May with fraud, but he was acquitted.

“Mr. May was found unanimously not guilty by the jury under direction from the presiding judge, Lord Milligan, Senator of the College of Justice,” Blairs Solicitors, Gordon May’s UK legal counsel, wrote to the Pattaya Mail. “Because of the allegations… Mr. May successfully sued his accusers… and received a substantial out of court settlement.”

Gordon May

May and Lumsden also later featured in a report ordered by Sir William Sutherland, at the time the Chief Constable of Lothian and Borders Police, to investigate allegations that Scottish judges and advocates may have been blackmailed into dropping major criminal cases because of homosexual links.

They made the news again when Scotsman Ian MacDonald, 28, a major investor in ‘Boyz Boyz Boyz’, died in a blaze which was confined to his room in the Ambiance Hotel in April 1990.

Then in April 1996, Thaveepan Wuthisri, 21, a male a-go-go dancer employed by Lumsden and May at ‘Boyz Boyz Boyz’ was charged with murdering Swede Erik Bohman, who lived in London and had arrived in Pattaya to invest in property and gay nightclubs. In that case the Pattaya police said Wuthisri had been commissioned by foreign businessmen, but he described them as Danes and Germans.

Sergeant Major Vinai Yuyadmaak, a local “street cop” who “drinks 5 nights a week in Boyz Boyz Boyz,” also features in the saga. Quill claims he paid out ฃ3,500 to Vinai, “to take care of all future problems with police”.

Quill also says he gave Vinai, “ฃ500 for the funeral of his wife, cash for a mobile phone and a gold Rolex,” and that Vinai had approached him for “an interest free loan of ฃ15,000 to buy a house”.

Quill said, “There came a time when I stopped paying,” and that, “It was then that the relationship with Lumsden, May and the local police soured.”

In an exclusive for Pattaya Mail, Gordon May, who may have left just a tad early on his annual pilgrimage from Pattaya to Canada, and James Lumsden responded to some of the accusations, and bandied about a few of their own.

“Kevin’s relationship with us only ‘soured’ after his arrest and we were unable to secure bail for him,” Gordon May told Pattaya Mail. And, “There is no Gay MacMafia; this is a figment of a sick man’s imagination.”

May also denied stripping Quill’s assets. “Kevin has never lost anything regarding his three homes, one house and two condos. The two condos are in Kevin’s own name and to my knowledge still are. The house is in his own company called the Sipsari Co and I don’t have any authority over that company. None of Kevin’s assets were touched; this can be confirmed by his and our lawyers. Kevin has also received his share of the profits from the company on a monthly basis as normal.”

As for the Mercedes, Gordon said, “It was at Kevin’s request that the vehicle was put into Jim’s name as Kevin could not get financing for it and he did not want to pay cash.”

Lumsden says the paperwork is now complete and the car has been handed over to Quill.

Quill says that he asked May to provide him with the cigarettes, and that May delivered 170 cartons to his apartment shortly before he (Quill) left for the airport. May denies this as well. “I was asked but never provided a cache of cigarettes for Kevin. He and he alone bought, had them delivered and took them to his room himself. I never at any time handled these cigarettes and they were not delivered shortly before Kevin’s departure, they were delivered and were in his room a week prior to his departure.”

Regarding their “checkered past”, May replied, “We did not leave a checkered past behind us when we left Edinburgh… There was a report that was in fact ordered by Prime Minister John Majors after wildly exaggerated tabloid newspaper reports (were published) concerning 12 gay cases, all of which failed when they reached court. The enquiry, which was conducted by Lord Nimmo Smith, concluded there was no blackmailing and no gay conspiracy… This report is a matter of public record in Scotland… neither Jim’s nor my name is mentioned anywhere in the report.”

May and Lumsden told Pattaya Mail that it is Quill who has the checkered past. “Kevin frequently boasted that the UK police tried to charge him at one time with attempted murder. The charge was never laid… When Kevin left the UK he re-mortgaged his house and took out several loans for between 7 and 10 thousand (pounds) each, then came to Thailand with about 20 UK credit cards, purposely ran them all up to the limit and then, having no intention of paying anything… instructed his lawyers in the UK to declare him bankrupt… and it is understood that there is an ongoing fraud investigation into this at the moment. The total amount defrauded from these companies is in the region of 300,000 pounds sterling; strange that’s about the total amount of money he has claimed to have invested in Thailand.”

There is also the matter of May and Lumsden having removed Quill as director of their joint company. May told Pattaya Mail that Quill was removed as director because of his arrest, and that it was “bad for their image”. He also said that Quill knew about this and accepted it. May went on to say that Quill has not been reinstated as director due to the current legal proceedings, but he reiterated that Quill is still 50% owner of the company and that he is still receiving monthly profits as normal.

May also told Pattaya Mail that he has offered to buy out Quill for 7 million baht (about ฃ107,700), that the contract is ready and all Quill needs to do is show up and sign the documents and the money is his.

Just before going to press, Pattaya Mail learned that James Lumsden has begun proceedings to sue Kevin Quill for slander (a civil suit) and filing a false police report (a criminal offence) against him (Lumsden). The police report Quill filed against Lumsden, which resulted in Lumsden being brought in by police for questioning, accused Lumsden of stealing from Quill, destroying company documents, and embezzling, charges Lumsden denies.

Quill told police that upon his release from jail, he went to the Ambiance Hotel to retrieve his belongings (a mobile phone and computer discs containing company records), but that “Jim wouldn’t give them back… he had destroyed them”. He also reported to police that Lumsden had stolen 600,000 baht from him.

After bringing in Lumsden for questioning, police concluded that it was a “business conflict”, and then asked Quill to bring in witnesses to collaborate his claims. They said that once Quill brought in proof, police would bring Lumsden in again, something that as of press time had not yet happened.

Lumsden’s lawyer told Pattaya Mail that Kevin Quill has broken the penal code, section 172, section 174 paragraph 2, and sections 90 and 91, which now makes this a criminal case against Kevin Quill.

The preliminary hearing is set for August 2.

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Meyer Industries resolving pollution issues

After 3 years, residents can resume breathing clean air

For the past three years, people living in the area of Meyer Industries at Laem Chabang Industrial Estates have been complaining about foul odors emitting from the plant. Now they can once again breathe clean air.

Meyer Industries managing director Prapryt Sukolratnamethee (center) and administrators from Meyer Industries met with members of the Laem Chabang working committee at a review board to scrutinize action the company has taken to correct air pollution.

The Eastern Seaboard Commission Board instructed Meyer Industries to take the corrective action and to show results during this past February - April timeframe.

Meyer Industries was required to close off sections of an oven system that was releasing pollution into the environment, causing a foul stench. The corrective action was to be completed by February 27, and included reporting the measures taken to protect workers from the inherent dangers. The report was to be forwarded to the region 3 environmental agency and Laem Chabang Municipality.

Secondly, four air-pollution treatment systems were to be added with engineers certifying the installation work, which was to be completed by April 23.

Laem Chabang Industrial Estates manager Prasobsil Chotimongkol tracked the company’s progress and has reported to the commission that Meyers is proceeding satisfactorily, and that all actions required were completed within the designated timeframe.

Prasobsil said further action has been initiated to inspect other sections and associated equipment for normal wear and tear as an added precaution.

Management at Meyers Industries told the commission they have spent over 50 million baht over the past few years to keep up with environmental controls, and recent action has cost the company over 15 million baht.

Meyer Industries managing director Prapryt Sukolratnamethee said the costs to prevent further pollution from destroying the natural environment were certainly required and Meyer Industries followed through with corrective action even though the costs affected production.

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City backs extended closing hours

To petition Ministry of Interior

Saying that the current laws requiring entertainment venues to close at 2 a.m. are unsuitable for Pattaya and adhering to the law could ruin business and eventually have a detrimental affect on tourism, city council members are now backing the proposal to extend closing times to 4 a.m.

The statement came out of a council meeting on May 15, chaired by city council chairman Tawich Chaisawangwong. Government functionaries from various departments and all 24 members of the Pattaya city council attended the meeting at city hall.

The city council did qualify their decision, saying that the businesses must contribute to the government’s policies to fight the growing drug problem by preventing underage persons from frequenting late night entertainment venues and keeping drugs out of such establishments.

However, debate arose as to what age limit should be enforced, with some council members identifying the fact that individuals 18 years of age are eligible to vote, and therefore should have full privileges.

Other debate revolved around the fact that existing regulations do not aptly apply to beer bars, karaoke bars and other types of entertainment businesses, which is creating ambiguous interpretations and offering loopholes for violators, and therefore require revisions to the Entertainment Business Act 2509.

The city council decided to submit a document to the Ministry of Interior requesting suitable changes be made in the existing regulations applying to entertainment businesses, with inclusions allowing Pattaya business to operate until 4 a.m. Endorsements from local senators and house members will also be included to support the request.

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PBTA proposes new tax laws for local hotels and shopping centers

Members of the Pattaya Business and Tourism Association have initiated action to implement new tax laws designed to keep in Pattaya taxes collected from Pattaya businesses.

President Surat Mekawarkul (center) and secretary Tirapong Hemwadee (right) discuss new proposals with members of the PBTA.

Discussion on the added tax was brought up at a recent PBTA meeting when it was noted that a number of major businesses in Pattaya are registered in Bangkok. Taxes collected from these businesses are directed back to support the nation’s capitol, while Pattaya itself loses out.

PBTA president Surat Mekawarkul pointed out that Pattaya only receives an annual local development fund of approximately 34 million baht.

Although an increase of 20% is expected in the year 2002, and a 35% increase four years after that, he pointed out that the current amount of local development funds received are insufficient to support the outstanding requirements. The scheduled increases would more than likely be absorbed by inflation and thus barely realized.

The PBTA described large businesses, hotels and shopping centers are major moneymakers and excellent sources for generating income in Pattaya. However, the members at the meeting unanimously agreed that it was more than appropriate for big businesses that are profiting from the tourism industry to take more responsibility for environmental concerns.

The new taxes would go toward supplementing development, helping the VAT, and correcting environmental problems in the Pattaya area.

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Thaksin to address Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand

First major appearance before the foreign press

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra will address the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand on June 4 in Bangkok, the FCCT announced. It will be Thaksin’s first major appearance before the foreign press since the general election in January.

“Every Thai Prime Minister has been the guest of the club early in his term for as long as we can remember,” said FCCT President Rodney Tasker. “It will be a great honour for us to have Dr. Thaksin speak to us.”

The FCCT expects the Prime Minister to discuss his programmes and accomplishments in office and to take questions from the audience. He is expected to bring with him other senior members of his administration. Thaksin will have been in office 100 days as of May 26.

The appearance will take place during a dinner in the Prime Minister’s honour at the Plaza Ath้n้e Hotel in Bangkok on the evening of June 4. The dinner is open to the public at a cost of Baht 1,400 for FCCT members and Baht 2,400 for non-members. Corporate tables of ten are available. Advance reservations and payment are required on a first-come first-served basis. Tickets for the event are available only from the FCCT office (tel. 652-0580-1; [email protected]).

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TGI hosts seminar on Thai economy and the new government economic policy

In light of Thailand’s economic recovery and new development in business environment, the Siam Commercial Bank PCL in cooperation with Amata Nakorn Industrial Estate organized a seminar on the topic “The Thai Economy and The New Government Economic Policy.”

Siam Commercial Bank PCL, in cooperation with Amata Nakorn Industrial Estate, held a seminar at the TGI on the topic, “The Thai Economy and The New Government Economic Policy.”

The seminar, conducted in English by Dr. Olarn Chaipravat, chairman of the Joint Working Group on Economic Monitoring and Policy Assessment, Ministry of Finance, took place on May 17 at the Thai- German Institute.

On the same day the bank also opened its new Foreign Exchange and International Trade Services center at Amata Nakorn Industrial Estate and arranged an exhibition to demonstrate its latest version of E-Banking services including SCB Cash Management, SCB Trade, and

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