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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Kingdom celebrated Princess Chulabhorn’s Birthday July 4

Jomtien and Naklua parking lot concessions open to private sector

Buddhist Lent begins today

Market vendors implied in bogus monk scam

Mayor says 80% of business will not be affected by Beach Road widening

Irish swindler arrested in Pattaya

City to take action against Marina Inn

TOT changing telephone numbers

Gold scam victim locates con artist 5-days after incident

Survivor takes on new role in SE Asian jungles

Kingdom celebrated Princess Chulabhorn’s Birthday July 4

Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn, the youngest child of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great and Queen Sirikit, was born on July 4, 1957 at the Royal Dusit Palace in Bangkok. The same day Princess Chulabhorn was born His Majesty King Bhumibol presided over a graduation ceremony at the Chulalongkorn University, hence the selection of the Princess’ name commemorating the auspicious occasion.

Princess Chulabhorn is the fourth child in the Royal Family. She has two older sisters, Princess Ubol Ratana and Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, and an older brother, the Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn.

In 1982 Princess Chulabhorn was married to Flight Lieutenant Virayuth Didyasarin, a fighter pilot, and they have two daughters, Their Royal Highnesses Princess Siribhachudhabhorn and Princess Adityadornkitikhun.

Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn graduated from the Faculty of Science and Arts at Kasetsart University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Organic Chemistry, First Class Honors, in 1979. Her Royal Highness completed her doctorate work in organic chemistry in 1985, and received her Doctor of Philosophy Degree from Mahidol University in July of the same year. As a gifted scientist, she was awarded the coveted Einstein Gold Medal in 1986. On December 1, 1987, she set up the Chulabhorn Research Institute to promote scientific research in Thailand, and she has lectured on a number of occasions before academic groups abroad.

In 1981, Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn was presented the rank of captain in the Navy and Air Force. In the same year she was appointed as a professor in the Scientific Division at the Royal Thai Navy Air Force Academy.

Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn has been instrumental in conducting programs that research ways to improve conditions for Thai people and give them occupational skills to support themselves. She has visited with the people of Thailand, traveling to many provinces throughout the Kingdom, initiating various programs such as Special Occupational Skills and the Royal Sai Jai Thai Foundation.

She sits at the head of the King Mongkut Hospital Foundation and heads the Chulabhorn Research Institute, which facilitates scientific technology whilst seeking ways to improve the quality of life for people in Thailand.

Another of Her initiatives includes the “Tabtim Siam Project” which is an all inclusive program working to preserve and govern natural resources with the added goals of reviving the natural environment and developing the quality of life for people residing near the Thai-Cambodian border. The work involves improving occupational skills, providing public utilities and agricultural assistance.

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Jomtien and Naklua parking lot concessions open to private sector

Veerachai Somchart

The city is looking for interested takers to manage two parking lot concessions, one at the old market next to Lan Phot Courtyard in Naklua and the other located at the Jomtien Beach walkway.

The city wants to lease out the concession for the newly completed Jomtien parking lot to a private contractor.

Construction at the Jomtien Beach walkway parking lot was completed using a city budget of just over 2-million baht. Concrete was laid over an area of 2,800 square meters and should be able to accommodate up to 57 cars and 151 motorbikes. Mayor Pairat Suttithamrongsawat said parking fees were set at ten baht per car and five baht for motorbikes. He said this should return an average of 337,500 baht each month at the Jomtien parking lot.

The city wants to lease out the concession for the Jomtien lot to a private contractor. The price for the concession will be 50,000 baht per year, plus a monthly rental fee of 30,000 baht.

Surveys conducted at the Lan Phot parking lot in Naklua show that an average of 2,900 baht per day, or around 87,000 baht per month, would be collected, whilst charging vehicles the same price as in Jomtien. The city plans to lease it out as concession as well, but at a lesser rate. The city is asking for 30,000 baht up front plus a monthly rental fee of 20,000 baht.

The city is anxiously waiting for sincere offers for what is considered two highly profitable business opportunities.

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Buddhist Lent begins today

Buddhist Lent, or “Khao Pansaa” begins today, July 6. Asalhabucha Day, an important holy day for Buddhists, this year was observed yesterday, July 5.

Khao Pansaa is recognized as a government holiday. Many people take time off from work in recognition of the importance of the Buddhist Holy Day.

Khao Pansaa falls on the first full moon (1 kham) of the Buddhist Lunar calendar during the eighth month of every year (which this year equates to July 6) and ends on the 15th full moon (15 kham) of the 11th month of the Buddhist calendar, or in mid-October.

The term “Khao Pansaa” can also translate to entering the months of the rainy season when monks return to the temple for the duration of the rains, usually to the temple where they were ordained, where they stay for approximately three months. The monks are not to depart the temples to stay overnight at any other location during this time, although there are a few exceptions (i.e., matters relating to survival). Instead, monks remain in temples, discussing and studying Buddhist scriptures, following Buddhist disciplines, meditating and performing ritual ceremonies.

Important functions requiring the usual presence of monks are avoided during this period and traditional Thai marriages are scheduled at other times because all monks must remain in the temples.

Followers of Buddhism all over Thailand will attend temples in the morning of Khao Pansaa, bringing food, necessity items, money, the traditional candles, garments and ceremonial items for the monks.

For those people having devout faith they may refrain from the recognized eight offences for the duration of the three month rainy season just as monks do, while others may give up a single vice, with yet others recognizing the 5-8 offences just for the day.

Everyone is invited to participate in the temple ceremonies and to refrain from offensive behavior for the day and to also make the same effort thereafter.

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Market vendors implied in bogus monk scam

5 monks, 2 imposters brought in for questioning

Chakrapong Akkaranant

Vendors at the South Pattaya Market opposite Wat Chaiyamongkol and the Phra Adul Market on Central Road have been implicated in a “hire a monk” scam. The vendors allegedly hired at least two monk impersonators to stand in front of their shops in the wee hours of the morning to entice tourists and locals to buy alms from their shops to give to the monks.

Deputy mayor Nirand Watanasatsatorn, city hall officers and city police broke up the bogus monk scam being played out during the middle of the night in Pattaya.

City hall first learned of the crime when people began complaining that the monks were appearing at the markets at an unusual hour, too early for the normal practice of collecting alms.

Deputy mayor Nirand Watanasatsatorn last week led city hall officers and city police on a late night investigation of the situation. They found seven men wearing Buddhist robes and carrying alms bowls at 3.30 a.m. All seven were questioned and taken to Wat Chaiyamongkol to meet with the abbot to explain their appearance at the unusual time.

Five of the seven monks were able to produce authentic documentation identifying them as true monks. The other two eventually admitted to masquerading as monks, and told of the deceitful plan allegedly organized by different vendors in the market.

The five authentic monks were thoroughly admonished by the abbot of Wat Chaiyamongkol, Phrakhrubaidika Anant Thamasoto. He told them how their behavior negatively affects the Buddhist order of the Sangha and the intended purpose of collecting alms and making merit. The five monks were then released with a warning not to appear prior to the appropriate hour to collect offerings in Pattaya.

The two men masquerading as monks were identified as Wan Samang, 54, and Mana Thongsonthi, 55. They told police some of the vendors at the two markets hired them for 300-500 baht a night to stand in front of the food stalls holding their collection bowls. The two men said they were to wait around from 3.00-7.00 a.m. for unknowing tourists and locals getting off of work or returning home. The idea was for the loitering monks to attract the late night crowd’s attention and take offerings from them (which were being purchased at the stalls where the monk impersonators were standing) under the pretense that the good citizens at the hour would miss the opportunity to offer alms at the usual time at sunrise.

Police recorded the imposters’ personal information and confiscated all of the Buddhist items in their possession before releasing them with a strict warning not to be picked up again defacing the Buddhist order of the Sangha.

The deputy mayor said he intends to pursue the matter further after considering a suitable course of action to take up with the enterprising vendors described as masterminding the deceitful scheme to increase business.

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Mayor says 80% of business will not be affected by Beach Road widening

Veerachai Somchart

Mayor Pairat Suttithamrongsawat said that 80% of the businesses along Beach Road would be unaffected by the city’s plan to expand the width of the walkway an additional eight meters from Dolphin Runabout to South Pattaya Road.

The mayor also said that a recent survey shows that most of the businesses on Beach Road that would be affected would only need to renovate an area of one meter, with some having to make allowances for 2-3 meters.

The city administration plans to widen the width of Beach Road eight meters in accordance with prescribed dimensions in the building control act of 1975, established by the Ministry of Interior for roads in tourist locations along the coast, such as Phuket and Pattaya. The expanded width would provide convenient walkways next to businesses and present a more scenic and orderly appearance in Pattaya.

There is still no specific date for when this will begin.

Land, building and business owners on Beach Road, however, don’t necessarily agree with the plan, and feel the proposed width is beyond reason.

Former mayor of Pattaya Suchai Ruayrin, representing a group of business owners who feel jeopardized by the plan, submitted a document to the city administration outlining their views on the widening plan, which included some requests they hope the city will consider.

The document implied that the majority of businesses on Beach Road were in agreement that it would be beneficial to widen the road from North to South Pattaya; however, they feel that only an additional 2-3 meters would be needed.

The document also specified an overall consensus that if Beach Road was to be widened to the width regulated by the Ministry of Interior, then all roads in Pattaya falling into the same category should be widened as well.

The document further emphasized that the city has been unable to correct the problem of rental vehicles and vendors obstructing much of the walking space. The business owners said that if they have to undergo extensive renovations so that the city could widen Beach Road, they want the city to ensure rental vehicles and vendors do not obstruct the area.

Mayor Pairat said that the widening project on Beach Road was first segment of a larger plan to widen other roads around the city and end the problem of businesses encroaching onto public property.

As for the problem of motorbikes for hire and rental vehicles obstructing the roads and walkways, the mayor said the city plans to designate parking areas, which he said should alleviate that particular problem.

Mayor Pairat also suggested that if full cooperation was not received in removing obstructing buildings, the city would resort to taking legal action. The mayor seemed confident that the city would prevail, although he said the city would rather achieve the results in a less severe fashion.

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Irish swindler arrested in Pattaya

Boonlua Chatree

Miss Chidabha Khyansaeng, 40, a resident of Chiang Mai contacted Chiang Mai Municipal Police to report a foreigner named Nigel Beardsley had deceived her out of more than B200,000 before disappearing with her car. The report was relayed to all tourist locations around the country and alert police officers in Pattaya spotted a suspect fitting the description on June 28.

Beardsley, in handcuffs, looks on as police view his new color TV.

The Pattaya Foreign Crime Suppression Center followed up the information and found the suspect lounging on Jomtien’s Dongtan Beach. After police made a positive identification of him from his British passport, 38-year-old Nigel Beardsley from Northern Ireland was arrested.

Police searched Beardsley’s room at the Kaokrarat Condominium in Soi Arunotai and confiscated an assortment of documents, two recently purchased color televisions, a satellite dish and a variety of other expensive electrical products. Also found on the premises were two packets containing compressed cannabis, four-methamphetamine pills, a small packet of cocaine and drug paraphernalia.

Beardsley was allegedly able to convince the 40-year-old businesswoman in Chiang Mai that he was privy to a method of selling gold at triple the value. Miss Chidabha was apparently captivated by the prospect and provided Nigel with B210,000 and her personal gold jewelry weighing 12 baht. She also allowed him to use her Toyota in order to close the deal. After he didn’t return, she became suspicious and contacted police.

Pattaya police are charging Nigel with possession of class 1 and 5 illegal substances. He will also be returned to Chiang Mai to face further charges after Miss Chidabha is contacted to collect whatever she can identify as rightfully belonging to her.

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City to take action against Marina Inn

Pattaya City is upset with the Marina Inn’s attempts to combat beach erosion, and it now appears the city will take the owner of the hotel to court.

City hall says this construction at the Marina Inn in Naklua is an unauthorized encroachment onto public property and has ordered its removal.

The Marina Inn, which is owned by Ms. Wilanda Inchatra, is located off the Pattaya-Naklua Road in Soi 12. Management of the hotel recently built a sea wall and concrete beach steps along the beach near the Naklua fishing pier.

City hall says the construction is not in compliance with Article 8 of the Ministry of Interior’s Building Control Act of 1979, and that the wall is encroaching on public property. They want to take action before the situation gets out of hand, like the Nang Nual Restaurant in South Pattaya.

City officials inspected the area on April 5 and issued an order to cease construction and for the removal of a wall approximately 100 meters long. Similar to the Nang Nual Restaurant case, city hall gave the Marina Inn 30 days to complete the action or come up with documents authorizing the new construction. Also similar to the Nang Nual Restaurant case, to date no steps have been taken.

Mayor Pairat Suttithamrongsawat and city officials investigated the site on June 28. In addition to the wall, the mayor and accompanying officials noticed the concrete and stone terrace on the shore, along with a garden area and pathways which the city claims are unauthorized encroachment onto public property.

Afterwards the mayor said the city intends to take the necessary steps to achieve results. He said that legal action has already been initiated, and that the city has collected data from the district land office and other agencies to support the city’s case.

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TOT changing telephone numbers

The Telephone Organization of Thailand (TOT) is changing telephone numbers in Thailand, to take effect from 5th July 2001.

“According to the rapid increase in telephone demand, current telephone numbers can not respond to subscribers’ requirements,” a written announcement from the TOT read. “Without adding new numbers to serve the increasing demand, this problem can effect business operators and others.

“The Telephone Organization of Thailand (TOT) would like to inform (subscribers) that there will be a New Numbering Plan all over Thailand. TOT has indicated the area codes to be part of the new telephone numbers for every system including fixed line telephones and mobile phones (except special numbers such as 191, 1133). For making calls, the area codes need to be dialed first, followed with designated numbers; however, the charge rates will be the same. This Thailand New Numbering Plan will be have the least affect on subscribers and provide an additional 90 million numbers to serve for the next 15-20 years.”

The TOT gave the following examples:

Bangkok Metropolitan Area - Existing Number (02) 505-1212 - New Number 02505-1212

Provincial Area - Existing Number (035) 244-192 - New Number 035244-192

Mobile Phone - Existing Number (01) 441-0505 - New Number 01441-0505

Overseas calls will remain unchanged.

The written message continued, “For making special number calls such as 1133, 191 and overseas calls, there will be no change, except 17 restoration service changes to 1177 + number such as 1177-0-2505-1000.

“For PABX users, please contact sales representatives for upgrading software in order to serve with New Numbering Plan. The Thailand New Numbering Plan (became) officially effective on July 5, 2001. For subscribers convenience, TOT will allow the existing system to be used for one month after the effective date.”

For further information, please contact Call Center # 1100 (free of charge), e-mail: new [email protected] or visit TOT’s website: numbering

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Gold scam victim locates con artist 5-days after incident

Chakrapong Akkaranant

Miss Chiriya Pratheepsen, 24, was the victim of con game arranged by three women that resulted in the loss of her gold necklace, bracelet and ring weighing 6-baht. The incident occurred on June 22 at the Big C store on 2nd Road when Chiriya was approached by one of the three women and talked into accompanying her off the premises to meet up with two other women.

Saowanee Yusuk was arrested for her part in a gold thieving con game.

Chiriya later told police that she was unable to explain what all transpired after leaving Big C, but when she regained her senses she was by herself and without her gold jewelry. She told police that it was as if she was drugged and recalls almost willingly handing over her valuables.

Realizing she was the victim of a planned con game she returned to Big C day after day hoping to run into the band of swindlers. One of the three women was finally spotted on June 28 and Chiraya contacted police.

Saowanee Yusuk, 30, was arrested and eventually confessed to committing as many as 20 such scams in Pattaya with her two partners. She also admitted to committing other scams in Bangkok and other areas.

Saowanee told police how women alone wearing a lot of gold were searched out at markets and shopping centers. She said after engaging them in friendly conversation or luring them in with a money making proposition or the promise of a reward, the victims were taken away to a secluded area and relieved of their valuables.

Pictures of Saowanee’s two partners in crime were made available and police expect to have both in custody soon. Other victims of similar scams are urged to come in and make positive identification and provide any information to assist police in arresting the two women still at large.

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Survivor takes on new role in SE Asian jungles

by Ensign Christina Skacan, Commander Destroyer Squadron One Public Affairs

Surrounded by sights and sounds of the Thai jungle near Sattahip, U.S. Marines learned lessons they might not get in Camp Lejeune, N.C., or Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Here, Landing Force Cooperation Afloat Readiness And Training, or LF-CARAT, Marines listened intently to specific instructions from their Thai counterparts on how to calm and catch a cobra.

LF-CARAT Marines received an animated brief on how to find and cook food, build shelter, access water and treat sickness and injury with indigenous jungle materials.

“We are sure we increase our capabilities every time we train together,” said Cmdr. Somkeart Ponprayoon, reconnaissance battalion commander, Royal Thai Marines.

“The terrain in Thailand is absolutely different from the U.S. We can teach you many things you have never seen before - important survival skills in areas that may be new to you,” he added.

Subduing a cobra captivated the attention of every Marine, American and Thai. With an ability to see only a 45-degree radius, a cobra can be calmed by pushing its head to the ground. Thai experts taught U. S. Marines how to stay out of the cobra’s view and to deftly use one unseen hand to reduce the snake from the striking position and grab it by the tail or neck.

Marines listened intently to specific instructions from their Thai counterparts on how to calm and catch a cobra.

“We’re here to learn from the Royal Thai Marines - some of the most skilled jungle warriors in the world,” said 2nd Lt. David Herron, assistant operations officer for LF-CARAT, headquartered in Okinawa Japan.

LF-CARAT Marines received an animated brief on how to find and cook food, build shelter, access water and treat sickness and injury with indigenous jungle materials.

“Use everything,” said Sgt. Maj. Yodrug Pranom.

He prepared a display of the edible, inedible and poisonous plants and animals to punctuate his eight steps to jungle survival. Pranom says first size-up the situation. He warns that undue haste makes waste and says to remember where you are using the sun, moon and stars. In the jungle, Pranom advises to vanquish fear and panic, improvise everything, value living, act like the natives and learn the basic survival skills before you enter the jungle.

“There are 13,000 plants in Thailand, 50 percent are edible.”

Fragrant Thai lemon grass effectively repels mosquitoes, so Thai farmers ground and blend it with water to spray on their crops. U.S. Marines learned that Thai ginger helps reduce fever; Thai eggplant assists blood clotting, and Thai peas provide a good source of protein.

“All the fruit looks so good. It is interesting to learn what you can eat and what you can’t,” noted Lance Cpl. Robert Zaring.

Pranom encouraged the U.S. Marines to touch, taste and smell over 50 Thai foods found in the wild. He gave them some basic guidance every jungle-surviving Marine needs.

“If you see monkey eat, you eat. If monkey no eat, you no eat - you eat the monkey.”

U.S. Marines shared tips and their expertise in an area more familiar to them with their Thai counterparts - urban warfare.

“You have taught me about military operations in urban terrain, close quarters battle and an amphibious raid,” said Lt. Srimawong Samart.

CARAT, a series of bilateral exercises, takes place throughout Southeast Asia each year. It aims to build interoperability and regional cooperation. In addition to valuable information, Marines also gain new friends during the exercises.

“When you come here it is not the U.S. Marines, but our friends coming to visit,” said Ponprayoon, a participant in previous CARATs who has trained in the States at Fort Benning, Ga. and Quantico, Va.

LF-CARAT Marines embarked USS Rushmore (LSD 47) in Japan before heading to Southeast Asia. USS Wadsworth (FFG 9), USS Curts (FFG 38), all homeported in San Diego, Calif., are also taking part in this seventh annual CARAT exercise.

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