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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

City begins to demolish back of Nang Nual Restaurant

Governor orders investigation at Bali High Point

Liberians arrested pulling black money scam on South Korean

Naklua fisherman reel in explosive catch

Police bust in on drug orgy

Prominent hotelier diesis auto accident

City plans to create artificial coral reefs around local islands

Thailand has enough water to last 25 more years

Community holds annual Chao Pho Kedngam Shrine Ceremony

Korean officials welcomed in Pattaya

Police and School observe Asalahabucha Day and Khao Pansaa traditions

City begins to demolish back of Nang Nual Restaurant

Decisive action taken on day prior to statute of limitations

The controversy started years ago, but a court order was finally issued in November of last year. The restaurant’s owners at that time were given 30 days to dismantle a 12 x 12 meter extension of the restaurant that protruded over the bay at the rear of the restaurant’s 1st floor. However, since that time, the 2nd and 3rd floors at the rear of the restaurant have been included in the demolition plans.

Nang Nual Restaurant’s owner, Boonchuay Suwanakhrote, refused to comply with the court order issued last November and obtained a temporary appeal to have the case reviewed in April. Boonchuay told the courts that if the offending structure was removed at that time, it would cause undue hardship and an enormous loss of business during the busy season.

After the December 14 deadline came and went, the mayor came out in favor of allowing the restaurant to remain open until the case was reviewed on April 24. However, the provincial court decided to stand by its earlier decision and gave Nang Nual a new deadline of July 2nd to initiate action. The court’s order stated that if the July 2 deadline was disregarded, the City of Pattaya was to initiate the removal, billing Nang Nual for all costs involved.

On July 2 the Nang Nual Restaurant appeared to be undaunted and continued with business as usual, bringing the situation to a stalemate and forcing the mayor to take action before the court case expired.

A source reported that the restaurant owner’s son was at the Chonburi court on July 4th requesting another review or a delay, and the request was accepted but no apparent consideration given.

The restaurant is situated in the midst of the 101 businesses on South Pattaya’s Walking Street which are also targeted for removal to make way for major renovations. Nang Nual is considered one of the cornerstones in Pattaya after having served seafood for over 30 years.

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Governor orders investigation at Bali High Point

Ongoing construction may exceed initially identified area

Chonburi governor Sujarit Pachimnan has asked Vichien Chawalit, Banglamung’s district chief to investigate the excessive construction allegedly going on at the site of the new Pattaya tourist pier.

Ten-wheel trucks have been bringing in large boulders and landfill material and covering an area the length of the shoreline, beginning from the private business section at Bali High Point and connecting to the other end. This exceeds the designated area for the tourist boat pier, and its designed 15 meter width extending 500 meters out into the water.

Ten-wheel trucks have been bringing in large boulders and landfill and dumping them on the Bali High Point shoreline.

Reports imply that this construction is being conducted by the nearby Achaland Company, which is located on property owned by the former Deputy Interior Minister, Vatana Asawahame.

Achaland was also involved in a 1997 fracas. The company was cited for filling in coastal area without authorization, thus placing them in violation of the Thai Territorial Seas and Shipping Act of 1992. The civil suit brought against the company is still pending.

News sources report that the latest shoreline construction is part of an idea that the city envisioned in conjunction with developing the area surrounding Pratamnak Hill, with a connecting road and walkway incorporated in the plan. Included in this original scheme was the pier construction, although no construction plan seems to exist, and no budget was ever allocated to support the project. Also, the approval and cooperation from the Thai Navy was needed. When the construction of the pier was begun, apparently the idea of upgrading Pratamnak was included.

Chonburi governor Sujarit Pachimnan said that as of July 3, he has not received any reports from local offices concerning the excessive construction allegedly going on at the site of the new Pattaya tourist pier. However, he did ask Banglamung district chief Vichien Chawalit to investigate the construction site and report his findings to the governor, so that if necessary, further action can be taken.

Pattaya City administration’s plans to fill in 18.79 rai of coastal area and construct a new tourist pier at Bali High Point has been plagued with problems since the idea’s inception. A long list of logistical miscalculations and quarrels over the land area has evoked major disputes and delayed the construction.

Controversies surrounding this ambitious addition to the city include the decision on where to park hundreds of tourist boats which now use the location. The site is also the epic-center of a long-running dispute with the 101 private business which line South Pattaya’s Walking Street, and who’s owners are fighting to keep their shops and restaurants in the area. High-level officials had been slugging it out in court with the Thai Navy, until last year, when former Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai gave the go-ahead to begin construction, and the Ministry of Interior issued the order.

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Liberians arrested pulling black money scam on South Korean

Chakrapong Akkaranant

Liberians Yeorge J. Kuoh, 29, and Michael G. Hill, 31, were arrested at a Pattaya 2nd Road hotel last week for trying to pull the “black money” scam on a South Korean tourist.

Liberian con men Yeorge J. Kuoh and Michael G. Hill were arrested last week for trying to pull the “black money” scam on a South Korean tourist.

The two were charged with swindling Yee Suk Oh, 38, out of B500,000 and attempting to cheat him out of five million baht more. The con men convinced Yee Suk Oh that a bag full of paper cut to the size of U.S. banknotes and treated with black colored ink was concealing genuine 100 U.S. dollar banknotes.

One of the three silver-tongued men said the “black money” was obtained from his father who was hired by the U.S. government to transfer the specially treated money from Bangkok to Liberia. Yee Suk Oh was lured into the scam after witnessing a demonstration converting four pieces of black paper into one hundred dollar banknotes by applying a special liquid from a nearly empty small bottle.

The Korean was captivated by the opportunity to make an easy profit and gave the men B100,000 to purchase more of the special liquid. The Liberians said the liquid came from the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok.

Kuoh and Hill returned with a small quantity of the liquid but said they required an additional B400,000 to obtain a sufficient amount to convert the large bag of color treated money. They produced an official looking document on U.S. Embassy letterhead claiming that such a liquid exists.

Waiting in Pattaya for his Liberian business partners to return Yee Suk Oh received a phone call requesting an extra 5 million baht to acquire enough of the liquid to transform the large amount of paper. A light came on in Yee Suk Oh’s brain and he reported the incident to Pattaya tourist police who were able to arrest the criminal gang. The third member of the Liberian “black money” gang was able to avoid arrest and remains at large.

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Naklua fisherman reel in explosive catch

Threw this one back

Boonlua Chatree

In wasn’t a case of “the one that got away”; more like “the one we wish we’d never caught”. A group of local fishermen, groping around a small pond near the Naklua market, caught a little more than they bargained for. When one fished out a fully armed, ready to use mortar, he and his fishing buddies realized their catch was a little more than they could handle, so they threw it back and called police.

Naklua pond fishermen found this mortar in a pond near the Naklua market. They opted to throw it back into the pond.

Banglamung police officers rushed to the scene in Soi 13, Naklua Moo 6, and together with members of the Sawang Boriboon Rescue team they warily proceeded to assess the situation at the pond.

The group of fishermen explained to police how they had been groping around for small fish when one man inadvertently latched onto a heavy object and brought it to the surface. He called the others over to show off his ‘catch’, but a quick examination of the explosive devise showed it was probably still in good working order. Therefore, the gentlemen deemed it prudent to drop it back in the water and call police.

Sawang Boriboon Rescue personnel were ordered to retrieve the object. Somewhat reluctantly, and with great care, they retrieved the explosive devise and handed it to the police to examine. All agreed that the mortar was not only authentic, but it appeared armed and ready to use.

Police are now investigating the incident, hoping to find whoever placed the dangerous weapon in such a discreet location next to a busy market.

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Police bust in on drug orgy

Seven test positive for substance abuse

Chakrapong Akkaranant

A wild party going on in the middle of the afternoon on the 8th floor of the Niran Grand Condominium in Soi Arunotai off of Central Pattaya Road had tenants in an uproar on July 3rd after unsuccessfully trying to sleep through the blaring noise all night.

Three women and four men were arrested for illegal drug abuse after police found them lying around the floor nude.

Unable to take the audacity any longer, residents notified police. Officers busted in on the group at 2.00 p.m. surprising seven individuals, all of whom were in a drug induced state, laying around wearing no clothes. Police also found a packet of ketamine on a plate in the middle of the room.

After police ordered them to dress, all seven were taken in and tested for drug abuse. All seven tested positive and were charged with illegal substance abuse of a class 2 narcotic.

The arrests included two women from Sriracha, Sahatya Suksaeng, 27, and Narymon Sumetakul, 26, and another young woman named Charuni Peesaeng, 20. The four men arrested were Tanawud Wilaichon, 21, Somsak Saeyang, 22, Suchard Wilaichon, 24, and the condo owner Chainarong Deesombat, 29.

Chainarong was recently employed as a singer at the Star Dice Pub but was fired after management suspected him of selling drugs to tourists and other employees. He received the additional charge for possession of the illegal substance.

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Prominent hotelier dies is auto accident

Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Ambassador City Hotel crashes on Sukhumvit Road

Pirapong Chiranai

Chavalit Tungsamphan, 66, the president of Amtel Group of Hotels, died from severe wounds when the Toyota Land Cruiser he was driving flipped out of control on Sukhumvit Road in Sattahip District between kilometer marker 162-163 on July 8 at approximately 1.30 in the morning.

The Toyota was found lying on its side with the roof caved in and three tires blown. Rescue workers had to pry the body from behind the steering wheel. He was rushed to the Wat Yansangwararam Hospital in Huay Yai Sub-district in Banglamung but succumbed to the injuries en route. He suffered a broken neck, head injury and his chest was crushed from the impact with the steering column.

Suriya Ajamuang, 36, the usual driver employed by Chavalit, later told police that Chavalit instructed him to stay in for the night. He said Chavalit departed at around 7.00 p.m. to keep an appointment with a young lady in Ban Bang Sare Beach.

Chonburi provincial police officers from the scientific crime detection division later conducted an investigation at the scene of the accident. Due to Chavalit’s social status as a prominent figure in business, police initially presume that Chavalit was not accustomed to driving himself. The crash occurred at a curve in the road going down a gentle slope in an area not very well lit.

Chavalit owned both the Ambassador Hotel in Bangkok and the Ambassador City Hotel in Jomtien, along with other hotels in Thailand and the United States.

Funeral rites were held on the evening of July 9th at the Wat That Thong, Sala 20 in Bangkok.

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City plans to create artificial coral reefs around local islands

Requires 12 million baht budget

Veerachai Somchart

The city plans to rejuvenate the coral reefs around the area’s islands, and has allocated 12 million baht to do so.

The waters around Pattaya Bay were once home to beautiful coral reefs and an abundance of marine life equal to those found in Thailand’s southern waters around Kho Pi Pi. In the past 2 decades, however, Pattaya’s rapid growth, an explosion of tourism and the expansion of an unregulated fishing industry have contributed to the decline and outright destruction of the delicate ecosystem which is vital to a coral reef’s survival.

Apichart Thongyu, chairman of the Sawadee Foundation of the University of Bangkok, Ragsit, and the administrator of Koh Larn’s environmental development project, said Pattaya City will play a vital role in the proposed coral rejuvenation project. Apichart also said the University of Burapha Marine Institute will cooperate by conducting marine surveys and administrate the project. He described how the completed project will have a positive impact on marine life and the environment, thus contributing to future success for the local business community.

The designated area for the proposed project consists of islands around Koh Larn, including Khrok, Saak, Nok, and Chun islands. During the first year of the project a budget of 1.6 million baht would be allocated to complete necessary surveys around the islands, and conduct feasibility studies and research in this area to assess the overall environmental impact.

During the second phase of the plan, priority will be given to the overall development of the marine environment. A four-year period of progression is planned for this phase, and will require a budget of an average of 3 million baht per year.

Apichart stressed that the triumph of this project will require a concentrated effort to increase local awareness of the importance that healthy coral reefs play in our marine environment. He added that participation from local citizens, particularly those engaged in the fishing and tourist industry will be paramount to the outcome of the coral project.

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Thailand has enough water to last 25 more years

Eastern region politicians discuss laws governing water resources

The Office of National Water Resource Commission, and the Royal Irrigation Department recently met at a conference to discuss the need to establish laws governing water resources.

Niwat Phonchua, senator from Rayong (far right)

Convened at the Pattaya Welcome Plaza Hotel, speakers, including Niwat Phonchua, the senator from Rayong, presented current policies and statistics which support the urgent need to govern the nation’s water resources. Addressing an audience made up of members of the House of Representatives, senate members from provinces in the eastern region, and representatives from local administrative organisations and private development agencies, the emphasis of the conference was to assess the state of the current supply of water resources and find ways to protect them.

The statistics presented described Thailand as having sufficient water resources to last another 25 years. However, if not properly managed, the supply would be depleted, or at least the quality degraded. Further neglect of this precious resource will have drastic negative impact on agriculture, industry, and the public water supply. Therefore, the government’s list of objectives includes improving the quality of life in communities, and changes in governing the nation which would include the participation of the public in developing local areas.

New laws governing the nation’s water resources have been a subject of concern for a long time. More comprehensive legislation is needed to alleviate the current overlapping, ambiguous and outdated laws which perpetuate conflict between state and private enterprises.

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Community holds annual Chao Pho Kedngam Shrine Ceremony

Mayor Pairat Suttithamwrongsawat presided over the annual ceremony to honor the Chao Pho Kedngam Shrine near Soi 6 on Beach Road. Attending the ceremony were city officials, members of the Rotary Club, the Yodsak Shopping Center, and other people of the community.

The Chao Pho Kedngam Shrine near Soi 6 on Beach Road

While paying homage to the sacred shrine, those in attendance also donated rice and cash which was presented to the Swang Boriboon Rescue Foundation. These offerings will be allocated to needy individuals who require help with funeral arrangements and have no family support.

This ceremony has been observed for the past eight years. The original image of Chao Pho Kedngam was crafted out of wood and installed in the shrine sometime prior to 1957. Over the decades, the image deteriorated, and was replaced last year with a new figure representing King Taksin the Great.

During the ceremony, people adorned the figure with sacred cloths signalling homage to the Thai hero, and others brought a variety of foods which were placed before the shrine as a request for good fortune and prosperity to the city.

Nine monks performed a ritual ceremony to sanctify the shrine, and blessed the local residents and the surrounding area. Similar ceremonies are performed at other shrines around Pattaya, including the monument of Admiral HRH Prince Chumphorn Khet-Udomsak on Thapraya Hill.

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Korean officials welcomed in Pattaya

Pattaya’s mayor, Pairat Suttithamrongsawat welcomed a group of officials from South Korea led by Kim Byung Gon, chairman of the Julabuko Provincial Council in charge of Industry, Culture and Tourism.

Mayor Pairat met with South Korean officials

The group met with the mayor and city administrators to exchange ideas and discuss related issues in the tourist industry. They also held talks on the motor industry and investment possibilities in Thailand.

Due to labor setbacks in South Korea’s car companies, Daiwoo and Hundai are considering new areas to base production and the Chonburi area with its air and sea transportation assets along with other conveniences attracted interest.

The group visited tourist attractions around the province and the neighboring industrial estates collecting information on a fact-finding tour.

Around 400,000 tourists from South Korea visited Thailand during the period Jan-Mar, an 18-20% increase from the previous year.

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Police and School observe Asalahabucha Day and Khao Pansaa traditions

On July 4, students and teachers from Wat Photisamphan Phitayakhan School joined Pattaya Tourist Police officers to celebrate the traditional ceremonies customary in the observance of Asalahabucha Day and Khao Pansaa, the first day of Buddhist Lent.

School director Anant Phradeso and tourist police department 3 Inspector Pol. Maj. Naradech Kromtuksing led the ceremony by presenting three gigantic candles to four monks for use during the holy holiday.

Tourist police and Wat Photisamphan Phitayakhan School officials present giant candles to Buddhist monks to observe Asalahabucha Day and Khao Pansaa, the first day of Buddhist Lent.

During the three months of Thailand’s rainy season, all monks remain in their monasteries, while huge candles remain continuously alight.

The finale of the day was marked when the group performed the lovely ritual called ‘Wientien’, in which the united devotees walk three times around the sacred temple grounds, thus honouring the Lord Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.

For Buddhists, three important events are marked on Asalahabucha Day. This day commemorates the first sermon given by Buddha in which he described the ‘Four Noble Truths’ and presented to his first five disciples. This sermon set in motion the ‘Wheel of Dhamma’ and the birth of Buddhism. Then upon hearing the words of the great Teacher, one of Buddha’s disciples became the first monk, and created the beginning of the order of the Sangha. For the first days of Lent, and perhaps for the entire period, devout Buddhists will abstain from intoxicants, certain foods, harsh language, deceitful deeds, and make a concentrated effort not to harm any living creature.

Buddhist Lent begins the day following Asalahabucha, and nowadays monks use this period of retreat to study and pray. It is also the time in which many families with sons approaching 20 years old will send their boys into the Buddhist priesthood to receive their religious training, and to bring great merit to all the members of their family.

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