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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Top government officials begin mapping out political reform

Road rage reaches California freeway status

Kevin Quill back in court

Police continue to raid after-hours bars

Police in time to rescue potential rape victim

Pattaya’s tourist police named “outstanding station”

U.S. Embassy Consular Officer to visit Pattaya on August 17

Pattaya hosts ASEAN Navy Commander’s Conference

Pratumnak-Pattaya Lions Club presents bikes to students

New US law on passport applications for minors

Top government officials begin mapping out political reform

Thai government holds summit in Pattaya

The kingdom’s top government leaders met in Pattaya last week to begin the process of mapping out political reform. The main points coming out of this first session, held August 4 and 5 at the Royal Cliff Beach Resort, were decentralization of power and reorganization of a select few ministries.

Former US President Jimmy Carter met with Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra during the Thai government’s summit at the Royal Cliff Beach Resort

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who both called the meeting and presided over it, announced that he wants provincial governors to have more power and be given the authority to oversee all government matters pertaining to their provinces. Governors’ titles would be changed to directors-general or chief executives of their provinces.

Governors would no longer be under control of the Ministry of Interior, and would instead come under the supervision of the prime minister’s office.

Initially, four provinces will be used to test the scheme, and the governors of those provinces will be given greater autonomy to handle local affairs and problems. Under a one-year pilot project, the four select provincial chief executives would be given full authority to supervise their provinces’ budgets and manage state officials at all levels.

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was greeted by Royal Cliff Beach Resort executives (from left to right) personnel manager Yutthana Choengkroye, resident manager of the Royal Cliff Grand and Pattaya Mail wine columnist Ranjith Chandrasiri, (PM Thaksin), managing director Panga Vathanakul, and general manager Andrew Wood.

The four pilot provinces have yet to be named, but Phuket appears to be in the forefront to become one of the chosen few. The cabinet will most likely review the project sometime this month, and the 1-year test period could begin as early as October this year.

Also coming out of the summit was a plan to reorganize government ministries, affecting 15 ministries and 156 associated departments. Ministries receiving the most attention included the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment, which is to be divided up into separate ministries to direct natural resources, environmental concerns and science technology; the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives would undertake the duties of controlling production standards in agriculture, and the Ministry of Industry would have a closer relationship with the agriculture ministry. The Ministry of Transport and Communications would see communications and telecommunications becoming separate entities affiliated with other agencies. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs would assume more of a role in international trade, and the Ministry of Commerce would focus on domestic trade.

The list of dignitaries attending Prime Minister Thaksin’s workshop was impressive, and included former premiers Anand Panyarachun, Banharn Silpa-archa, and Gen. Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, as well as the entire cabinet and Democratic Party List MP Vijit Srisa-an, who sat in for former prime minister Chuan Leekpai, Korn Dabbarangsi, the leader of the Chart Pattana Party and former deputy prime minister, Suwat Liptapallop, former Minister of Industry and current secretary-general of the Chart Pattana Party, and academic leaders, political party leaders, party secretary-generals, the council of ministers and under-secretaries. In all, 70 top government officials attended the workshop.

(L to R) Former premiers Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, Banharn Silpa-archa and Anand Panyarachun provided valuable input for PM Thaksin’s workshop on political reform.

Former United States President Jimmy Carter also put in an appearance, meeting with PM Thaksin at the Royal Cliff during a stopover in Thailand on his way from Bangladesh to Korea.

The prime minister called the two-day workshop to chart bureaucratic reforms and prepare for a new era of government in Thailand. The objective of the workshop was collect opinions on the ideal direction for the government’s transformation. The participants were divided up into four sub-groups to discuss reform in areas associated with national security, administration, and social and economic development.

Finally, the civil service commission is also destined to undergo changes, with the objective of creating more efficiency in respective areas and focusing on better serving the public.

The next workshop is scheduled for September.

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Road rage reaches California freeway status

Drunk driver fires shots at slow moving (police) car

Vichan Pladplueng

Sompong Pinyosiripan, 40, a resident in Moo 10, Huay Yai sub-district, while driving under the influence lost his patience with a slow moving car in front of him, so he pulled out a pistol and fired shots at the red sedan slowing him down. But the car in front of him was being driven by police, who were not amused.

When Sompong Pinyosiripan fired shots at the slow moving car in front of him, he didn’t realize police were inside.

The two policemen were departing from the municipal police station at 3.30 a.m. on July 25, driving in a red Honda Civic along 2nd Road when they noticed a black pickup tailgating very close behind. When shots rang out, one of the officers took a good look out the window and saw a man waving a gun at them. Pol. L/C Niwat Sawadee and his partner Pol. L/C Chumpol Chomphuphet continued north on Pattaya-Naklua Road, and radioed in the incident to the Pattaya police station.

The pickup truck turned onto North Pattaya Road heading for Sukhumvit Road and was seen turning south. Police officers followed the vehicle into a Jet petrol station and arrested the driver.

Sompong defended his actions with a hard luck story involving lost business and quarrels with provincial politicians. Having spent the night drinking his sorrows away in Central Pattaya, he was driving a singer to her home in Soi Kophai when he came up behind the slow moving Honda Civic. He said his nerves simply exploded as the Honda slowly crawled down the road and he pulled out his 9mm automatic and fired eight shots into the sky.

Aside from the attempted murder charges registered by out of town police, other charges included unlawfully carrying a weapon in public, carelessly discharging the weapon and endangering the lives of others.

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Kevin Quill back in court

Arrest warrants issued for Garden May and Jim Lumsden

Boonlua Chatree

Still trying to clear name, Kevin Quill was back in court on August 6 to face charges of possession of 100 methamphetamine pills.

Quill was arrested in Pattaya on October 12 last year after police found two large black bags containing 170 cartons of contraband Benson & Hedges cigarettes in his Mercedes Benz sport utility vehicle. Police searched the cigarettes and found 100 methamphetamine pills concealed inside.

Quill admitted to charges of possessing contraband cigarettes but has consistently denied the charges against him for possessing illegal narcotics. Quill says he had no knowledge of the drugs found with the cigarettes.

Quill has appeared in court four times, and each time the case has been postponed to a later date. On April 19, the Chonburi provincial court allowed Quill to post one million baht bail.

On August 6, Kevin Quill was back in court facing Judge Kampol Sukeethorn. Pol. Maj. Komkryt Sriponggnam, representing the Foreign Crime Suppression Center, was also in court to testify that Quill’s arrest was carried out in perfect order. His statement was made in response to defense lawyers’ claims of investigation tampering and that Quill was set up.

Quill’s defense included news video coverage of the arrest, but the court failed to accept most of what was submitted as evidence, although they allowed portions to be entered as possible evidence for future consideration.

Quill has also registered criminal charges with Pattaya Municipal Police against two Scottish nationals, Gordon May and James Lumsden, stating that the two men collaborated to misappropriate his personal property during the period October 12, 2000 - May 16, 2001.

Arrest warrants were issued for both May and Lumsden in response to the accusations. The arrest warrants each have a 10-year duration and don’t expire until May 16, 2011.

Pattaya police arrested James Lumsden on July 26th and charged him with misappropriating personal property, including the residence belonging to Kevin Quill. Lumsden emphatically denied all charges. He was also allowed to post bail, set at B500,000. No court date has been announced.

Gordon May is currently in Canada.

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Police continue to raid after-hours bars

Ask provincial authorities to close down 7th Hole and Big Fun

Boonlua Chatree

On August 2, police paid a surprise visit to the 7th Hole after-hours bar, allegedly favored by all night drug users. The bar was still doing business at 8:00 a.m. when Pattaya Municipal Police Chief Pol. Col. Phadungsak Ubekhanon led 50 police officers on an early morning raid.]

Police rounded up 93 people from the 7th-Hole Bar, 54 of which tested positive for illegal drugs.

When police went inside and turned on the lights, 93 people were sitting in the lounge in a state of suspended animation. The entire crowd was rounded up and transferred to the Ban Phoonsri Drug Treatment Center and tested for drug use. 39 women and 15 men tested positive.

Test results were sent to a crime detection lab in Chonburi for further analysis. The 54 people were given the option to acknowledge their guilt and allow charges to be made immediately, or wait for official results and face trial at a later date.

This latest raid followed a similar foray to the Big Fun Disco in the middle of the day on July 30 in which 30 people were arrested for illegal drug use. The same person, Chamlong Meekaew, owns both the Big Fun and the 7th-Hole. Police have asked provincial authorities to close down both places.

Chamlong Meekaew was fined B2,000 for allowing his two entertainment establishments to operate after legal closing hours.

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Police in time to rescue potential rape victim

Save woman from over-zealous fisherman

Boonlua Chatree

On the evening of July 30, a Pattaya police officer on patrol heard a woman’s cries for help in the area of Pratamnak Hill. The fading light and the dense vegetation prevented him from locating the victim, so he relayed for assistance. Within a few minutes, five officers and three crime prevention volunteers from the South Pattaya station appeared at the scene.

Fisherman Tannarong Wongsanao was arrested for trying to rape a customer.

The search party found a young man with his pants off sitting on top of a woman who’s clothing was in total disarray. His hand was gripping the woman’s throat and he was threatening her with a pair of scissors. Officers rescued the victim, then ordered the would-be rapist to put his pants back on before they handcuffed him and took him into custody.

Tannarong Wongsanao, age 26, was employed as a hired hand on a tourist fishing boat in Pattaya. He told the police the woman he attacked had been taken out fishing in the waters of Koh Larn that day. He said she had been flirting and leading him on all day and it seemed to him she would be willing to accommodate his desires, so he took her to the woods. But when she resisted his advances he decided to take her by force.

Miss Walaiporn Herwin, a 41-year-old tourist from Phichit had a different story to tell. She told officers that she assumed Tannarong’s intentions were honorable and thought they were simply taking a walk in the woods. He then turned lustful and jumped her.

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Pattaya’s tourist police named “Outstanding station”

Receive prestigious CIB award

Boonlua Chatree

Pattaya’s tourist police received the “Outstanding Police Station Serving the Community Award 2001” from the Central Investigation Bureau.

Pattaya’s tourist police celebrated promotions, birthdays and the receipt of a prestigious award.

The Outstanding Police Station Award involved a complete review of records and accomplishments of police stations from all over Thailand. The results of actions and services rendered to the community at the Tourist Police Station Dept. 3 were found to be exemplary, and the officers assigned to this duty were the most deserving.

In light of this, Tourist Police Chief Inspector Pol. Maj. Noradech Klomtuksing and all police officers assigned to the tourist police department 3 in Pattaya, celebrated at the Ruay Restaurant on North Pattaya Road.

During the evening, tourist police officers also celebrated the promotion of three officers and the birthdays of six fellow officers.

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U.S. Embassy Consular Officer to visit Pattaya on August 17

Consular associate Roderick Gonzalez and passport and citizenship specialist Yaowanee Pisuthipot from the U.S. Embassy, Bangkok will visit Pattaya on August 17, 2001. Their visit will provide the opportunity for Americans residing in the area to obtain a number of consular services without having to travel to the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok.

Mr. Gonzalez and Ms. Pisuthipot will be providing services at the following times and location:

* Friday, August 17, 2001 from 8:00 a.m. to 12 noon and from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Montien Pattaya Hotel, #369 Central Pattaya City, Second Rd., Pattaya, Chonburi. Tel: (038) 428-155-6.

Below is a list of services that will be provided during this visit:

* extra passport pages

* passport applications (be advised, however, that new passports must be picked up at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok - they cannot be sent via mail)

* notarials, including affidavits required by the Thai government for marriage, driver’s licenses and certain types of visas

* registration with the U.S. Embassy

* information on application procedures for Thai citizens seeking U.S. visas (note that visa applications must be submitted at the U.S. Embassy, Bangkok)

Please note that U.S. law requires a $US55 (or Thai baht equivalent) fee for each notarial service provided. Passport applications cost $US 40-60.

Please share this information with other Americans in your area. Should you have any questions, contact the American Citizen Services office at 02-205-4049, or via email at: [email protected]

For additional information about the American Embassy in Thailand, please visit the website

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Pattaya hosts ASEAN Navy Commander’s Conference

ASEAN countries to assist each other during natural dilsasters

Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries have agreed to assist each other during natural disasters. This was the focus of this year’s ASEAN Navy Commander’s Conference held at the end of July at the Royal Cliff Beach Resort.

Assistant Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Navy Admiral Somchai Thawornphanich (center) with V. Adm. Thawint Moongchanya, Superintendent (RTN) (left), and R. Adm. Wanlop Kerdpol, Director-General of Operations (RTN) (right) announced details of the ASEAN Navy Commander’s Conference held in Pattaya.

The role, duty and capabilities of each country were illustrated during the conference, followed by discussions among participants that included naval commanders from Cambodia, Brunei, Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand.

Malaysia is scheduled to host the next ASEAN Commander’s conference in 2003. The Western Pacific Naval Symposium from September 14-16 will be held at Port Moresby, Papa New Guinea.

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Pratumnak-Pattaya Lions Club presents bikes to students

For use in traveling to and from small rural area school

Chakrapong Akkaranant

Lamai Pheawthong, president of the Pratumnak-Pattaya Lions Club joined with members to present 16 bicycles to the Huay Mara School. This pragmatic donation was made in response to the Education Ministry’s goal of assisting students in rural areas who do not have transportation to school.

The Pratumnak-Pattaya Lions Club presented 16 bicycles to the Huay Mara School.

The Huay Mara School, located in Moo 2, Nong Syachang sub-district in Huay Yai, Chonburi has 115 students attending two kindergarten grades on up to the 6th grade. Identified in a survey, the Huay Mara was one of the area schools found to be in urgent need of transportation for some of its students. Bright and eager to attend school, many young children from poor families walk from 4-6 kilometers a day to attend classes. For them there is no other way to get there.

The Lions Club members decided this was a suitable project and raised the B21,000 to purchase 16 bicycles. These bikes will be managed by the school staff and supervised by the school director Pongsak Sekuhumpat. The students most in need of transportation will be allowed to borrow the bikes until the end of the school term, or until family financial situations improve.

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New US law on passport applications for minors

from the American Citizen Services Unit, 
American Embassy - Bangkok

On Monday, July 2, 2001, the United States Department of State began implementation of a new law regarding the passport applications of minor U.S. citizens under the age of 14.

Under this new law, a person applying for a U.S. passport for a child under 14 must demonstrate that both parents consent to the issuance of a passport to the child or that the applying parent has sole authority to obtain the passport. Passport applications made at domestic U.S. passport agencies in the United States and at U.S. consular offices abroad will both be covered by this law. Exceptions to this requirement may be made in special family circumstances or exigent circumstances necessitating the immediate travel of the child.

The purpose of the new requirement that both parents’ consent be demonstrated is to lessen the possibility that a U.S. passport might be used in the course of international parental child abduction.

In order to bring age requirements into alignment, the age at which a minor may execute his or her own passport application is being raised from 13 to 14, effective July 2, 2001.

Parents having concerns about passport applications for any minor child who may become the victim of an international parental child abduction, including children between the ages of 14 and 18 who are not covered by this new law, should contact the Office of Children’s Issues in the Bureau of Consular Affairs at (202) 663-2641.

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Updated by Chinnaporn Sungwanlek, assisted by Boonsiri Suansuk.
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