HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Jomtien Beach organization receiving stricter attention

Minister of Interior conducts unannounced visit in Pattaya

Governor wants preparation details on “20th World Scouting Organization Jamboree”

Tifpar Company donates sports equipment to city schools

FCCT elects new executive committee

Over a thousand gather at Buddha carving to renounce drugs

Special police continue crackdown on copied merchandise

Willi Berke and Pornphen released on bail

Beggars bounced off streets

Distraught man gives it up on Pattaya 2nd Road

Israeli arrested for sexually abusing minors

Jomtien Beach organization receiving stricter attention

City wants chairs kept “in-line”

Vichan Pladplueng

City Hall wants beach chairs on Jomtien Beach to be set up in an orderly manner, and is willing to arrest, fine and generally ostracize any vendor who will not comply.

The G&PS committee to solve Pattaya’s problems wants beach chairs and umbrellas on Jomtien to be set up like this. They seem to think this will attract more tourists, and have thus given it some priority. Admittedly, it is a tough job keeping those beach chairs in line, but violators could be prosecuted. Ten-hut!

According to city officials, many beach chair vendors continue to flaunt the city’s objective of improving appearances on city beaches by cluttering locations with unauthorised items and arranging chairs and umbrellas in a haphazard manner.

Last week, beach chair vendors in Na Jomtien received a surprise visit from Nirand Watanasadsathorn and committee members tasked with organizing city beaches. The surprise inspection was part of the Chonburi governor’s polices to improve tourism to the area.

The office director from Pattaya city maintenance, Sittiphap Muangkhum accompanied the deputy mayor, as did Sanit Boonmachai, chairman of the beach problems sub-committee of the government and private sector (G&PS) head committee tasked to resolve problems in Pattaya.

Sittiphap announced that stricter measures were underway to achieve the desired goal of improving the appearance of the beach in order to attract more tourists to Pattaya.

He sheepishly admitted that measures taken in the past were too lenient and beach chair vendors took advantage of the situation by expanding areas and bringing in more equipment, which created the undesirable appearance. The designated area for each vendor is 7 x 7 meters, which allows room for 40 beach chairs and 35 umbrellas, if they are arranged in order.

Sittiphap said it has become necessary for city hall “thedsakij” officers to start seizing unauthorized items brought onto the beach, issue fines, and if needed arrest persistent violators and take these cases to court. Individuals accumulating three violations could have their operating permits revoked, Sittiphap said.

Minister of Interior conducts unannounced visit in Pattaya

Tours Walking Street

Boonlua Chatree

The Minister of Interior, Purachai Piumsombun, paid an unannounced visit to Pattaya on January 28th. The first stop on his visit was to Pattaya’s municipal police station, where he made inquiries and poured over arrest records. His main focus was on cases involving entertainment businesses operating outside of the prescribed hours and other infractions connected with social reforms.

Minister of Interior Purachai Piumsombun toured South Pattaya and Walking Street during an unannounced visit to the city.

After Minister Purachai spent an hour going over the arrest records, he remarked that everything was in order and said his visit was meant to inspire enthusiasm among the police officers to continue working fairly and justly in support his of social reforms. Minister Purachai commended the record and made special note of Pattaya having the highest arrest record in police region 2.

The minister emphasized that the issue of foreigners married to Thai women who are operating shady businesses in the sex industry and exploiting human resources for profit is a high priority matter to resolve. He also included money laundering operations, business scams and illegal undertakings involving foreign operated businesses that result in profits sent out of country.

Later in the evening he conducted a tour in South Pattaya along Walking Street, one of the main tourist attractions in Pattaya, taking in the flavor and observing the activities.

The minister pointed out a few individuals roaming the streets looking for handouts and police officers promptly issued instructions to investigate. He also stopped to talk to individuals on the street.

During the visit the minister of interior also commented on extending the walking area along Beach Road and prohibiting motor traffic from Bali High Point and further north of the entrance to Walking Street, suggesting that it seemed to be most suitable for the location and easily adaptable.

A group of high-ranking police officers from the local region received the interior minister and escorted on his trip through South Pattaya.

Governor wants preparation details on “20th World Scouting Organization Jamboree”

Potential problems need to be solved now

The “20th World Scouting Jamboree” being held at Yao Beach in Sattahip is scheduled to take place December 28, 2002 thru January 8, 2003. Preparations started nearly four years ago to support the arrival of some 30,000 scouts (14-17 years old) from 157 countries. Problems in budget and logistics need to be addressed quickly.

Sutham Phanthusak, member of the Jamboree Preparation Committee, has identified shortcomings and financial requirements to support over 30,000 scouts expected to attend the “20th World Scouting Organization Jamboree” at the end of this year in Sattahip.

Chonburi’s governor , Chadej Insawang, was critical of the committee’s organizing preparations. The event will take place in Sattahip, a location under his jurisdiction. The governor said that he needs to be better informed. At the moment, all he knows about the preparations is that the provincial police bureau is tasked to provide security, and the committee has received a B500 million budget allocation in support of the event.

Problems with preparations are just now coming to his attention, said Chadej. So far no one from the private sector has shown interest in the contract to collect waste on the site where 400 toilets are positioned on location. He said a meeting with the Sattahip sub-district administration organization (SAO) is scheduled to enlist support, discuss the payment procedures, and the B10,000 cost for each scout attending the jamboree.

Thailand has been trying to host the World Scouting Jamboree since 1993. The jamboree consists of 24,000 scouts from over 150 countries and another 6,000 scouts, both boys and girls, from Thailand are expected to attend. Funds from the education department, irrigation department, and other government agencies have been allocated to support the event, but the sum is insufficient to support all the requirements.

Previously, Thai Airways submitted a proposal to provide financial support but the committee rejected the offer and the governor has been asked to present the problems before the committee.

The World Scout Bureau and the World Scout Committee established a requirement that precludes outsiders from the general public from entering the grounds to observe the activities. Plans to set up booths selling merchandise from the “One Tambon - One Product Project” is under consideration and also needs to be discussed with the committee, possibly organizing a separate area outside of the Jamboree location.

Another area of concern pertains to individual fees for each scout attending the jamboree. Participating scouts from outside of Thailand are paying as much as B10,000 per head, and some countries like the United States are paying a service charge as much as US$670 for each participant. A pro-rated fee has been established, starting at US$91 for scouts attending from families with limited financial earnings.

The area selected and undergoing preparations for the jamboree belongs to the Royal Thai Navy. It is located on 2,800 acres (7,000 rai) along a beautiful stretch of beach at Hat Yao in Sattahip. The area is divided into four different community camps, each providing a full range of utilities, conveniences and sanitary preparations. Also included are postal and telephone services, money exchange service, dining facilities, toilet facilities, living quarters, medical facilities, stores, exhibition and activity buildings, and reporting offices for supervisory staff.

Tifpar Company donates sports equipment to city schools

Combined effort with Mikes Shopping Mall

Surat Mekhawarakul (3rd from left) and Thomas Kunzelmann (center) donated table tennis equipment to city schools in Pattaya.

City schools in Pattaya now have new sporting equipment, thanks to Tifpar Company and Mike’s Shopping Mall.

The sporting equipment was donated at Mike’s Shopping Mall on January 24, following a table tennis tournament organized by Surat Mekhawarakul, the general manager of Mike’s Group.

Thomas Kunzelmann, representing the Tifpar Company, manufacturers of table tennis equipment in Thailand, along with administrative personnel presented the equipment to teachers and students from the city school system.

The table tennis tournament was a combined effort by Mike’s Shopping Mall and the Tifpar Company. The tournament helped to promote the sport of table tennis by introducing the sport to young people 12 years old and older from Pattaya City Schools 1, 3, 5 and 7. Other city schools will be invited to take part in the 2nd tournament to be held in the coming months.

FCCT elects new executive committee

The annual general meeting of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand on January 25, 2002, has elected a new executive committee:

President: Rodney Tasker, the Far Eastern Economic Review

1st Vice-President: Christopher Johnson, Reuters (Thailand) Limited

2nd Vice President: Ms. Jeanne Hallacy, AsiaWorks

Correspondent Secretary: Evgenii Belenky

Correspondent Director/Publicity: Michael Elmore

Correspondent Director/Membership: Marc Laban

Correspondent Director/Programme: Ms. Sarah Stewart, Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Recording Secretary: Ms. Mira Kim Prachabarn, Thai-Korean Chamber of Commerce

Treasurer: Julian Spindler, Spindler & Associates

Associate Director/Publicity: Lin Neumann

Associate Director/Membership: Ms. Karen Emmons

Associate Director/Programme: Dumrus Rodchanapiches, Thaipost Daily


Over a thousand gather at Buddha carving to renounce drugs

Ceremonies held throughout the Kingdom

Vichan Pladplueng

Thai Naval personnel, police officers from Sattahip, Pattaya, Banglamung and Phlutaluang, and members from the general public and business community took oaths to stay drug-free at a mass ceremony at Khao Cheechan in Chonburi on January 29.

More than 1,000 people gathered in front of the huge engraving of the Lord Buddha on the cliff facing at Khao Cheechan near Pattaya to participate in a special ceremony against drug use on January 29.

Chonburi governor Chadej Insawang and the assistant secretary from the Drug Prevention and Suppression Office, Mrs. Rasamee Visatawet led the ceremony, which was held as part of the a new inspirational theme “Combined Efforts for Thais with Pure Hearts” being conducted throughout the Kingdom.

The drug prevention and suppression office, with their new push against drugs, hopes to gain participation from everyone in the collective effort to stamp out the drug problem.

The ceremony was attended by police officers from Sattahip, Pattaya, Banglamung and Phlutaluang, along with personnel from Thai Naval units at Sattahip and many businesspeople from the Chonburi area.

Through the new campaign, the drug prevention and suppression office also hopes to inform the general public and business operators on the legal aspects involved in drug suppression, as well as enlist assistance from the general public to continue the fight against drugs.

The ceremony included sacred oaths taken in the name of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej to stay drug-free, followed by the governor presenting symbolic pins to participants, signifying the united stance against drugs.

Special police continue crackdown on copied merchandise

Sellers running scared

Boonlua Chatree

Special units from the Pattaya municipal police have been conducting a number of sweeps in areas around Pattaya, raiding vendors peddling illegal merchandise having registered brand names.

Following recent directives from the National Police Bureau demanding more intensive action on merchants selling copied items protected by international laws, the number of raids in Pattaya has noticeably increased.

Police confiscated a large cache of copied clothing with registered trademarks in recent raid. However, all sellers managed to flee before being arrested.

One operation on January 21 resulted in two arrests and the confiscating of a large quantity of leather-goods and clothing articles.

Another sweep organized by assistant suppression superintendent, Pol. Lt. Col. Sakrapee Phreawphanich, and special suppression unit inspector, Pol. Maj. Ekasit Tupanich, was conducted on January 28 targeting vendors setting up shop along the streets in South Pattaya.

News of the crackdown must be spreading around the market areas, as hired sales people are now on the alert and are abandoning their merchandise as soon as they see the police coming.

During the raid on January 28, 4,000 pieces of clothing with popular name brands worth as much as one million baht was confiscated by police. When police approached, however, the sellers disappeared. Penalties are apparently either too heavy and not worth the profits made in the illicit trade, or the menial salary given to sales personnel is not worth taking the rap.

Willi Berke and Pornphen released on bail

Homebuyers take plight to Interior Minister

Boonlua Chatree

German Willi Berke and his Thai wife Pornphen, arrested last week for allegedly swindling 28 million baht from potential homebuyers, were released on bail, despite recommendations from the police officers involved in the case not to do so. Bail was set at 2 million baht.

Upon hearing the news, the homebuyers, many of whom paid in full for homes to be built but never received ownership documents, became concerned, especially after many allegedly received threats.

The nine homebuyers took their plight to the minister of interior, Purachai Piumsombun, who was in Pattaya paying property taxes. They caught up with him at city hall and presented him with a letter detailing the alleged wrongdoing.

The interior minister summoned the Banglamung district chief of police, Pol. Col. Supoj Kasemchayanant, and the police officer in charge of the case, Pol. Maj. Atapool Sarakul, and they together reviewed the case files. Minister Purachai then instructed the police officers to closely follow the case. He also contacted the consumer protection agency telling them to “ensure justice is achieved.”

The homebuyers received reassurance that their concerns would receive adequate attention, and that the courts would take every aspect into consideration and look out for their interests.

After receiving assurances the homebuyers departed feeling somewhat better now that big guns were aware of their plight.

Before the minister of interior departed he left some words of wisdom for the people of Pattaya, remarking that it was everyone’s civic duty to pay their taxes in order to continue development. He said everyone should be willing to contribute, and they should volunteer to pay taxes due in order to improve conditions in the community and create a better life for all.

Mayor Pairat Suttithamrongsawat reiterated Minister Purachai’s remarks, hoping others would follow the minister of interior’s example and become inspired to join the campaign to voluntarily pay taxes due the government.

Beggars bounced off streets

Not good for Pattaya’s image

Boonlua Chatree

Pattaya police, assisted by the Chonburi Assistance Agency and district officials, organized a sweep last week, clearing 32 beggars off Pattaya streets. All 32 were remanded in custody.

Police concentrated their sweep on the areas around the Grand Hall Market in Soi Bua Khao and Wat Chaimongkol in South Pattaya.

The arrests included a group of Cambodians, 11 males and seven females aged from 2 - 84 years; each had entered the country illegally.

Fourteen Thais were also arrested, five males and nine females, mostly from Pichit Province.

All were charged with vagrancy, and the Cambodians were also charged with entering the Kingdom illegally.

The Cambodians told police a Cambodian woman, who they only knew as “Chong”, had organized transportation to Pattaya. They said she charged each 200 baht for the trip, and after arrival she also organized their new employment as beggars in different areas around the city.

They said Chong required each person she brought into the city illegally to work off a 3,000 baht debt. Afterwards, they were free to continue begging independently and keep all handouts.

The sweep was in support of the provincial governor’s goal of improving the city’s image and ultimately improving tourism to the area.

Other areas being targeted include protecting consumers, organizing city beach areas, suppressing prostitution, and supporting the minister of interior’s social reforms directed at underage persons and anti-drug campaigns.

Distraught man gives it up on Pattaya 2nd Road

Locals convinced it was the result of evil spirits

Boonlua Chatree

Pattaya police were notified by tourists just before midnight on January 29 that a man lay dead on the side of Pattaya 2nd Road near the entrance to Soi 2.

Police examined the body and found no indications of foul play. The body was later identified as Thon Phanchumphin, age 31, formerly from Nong Khai, who had been residing with relatives in Ban Fameeachakan, Moo 1, Nong Prue. Other than his frail and emaciated features, there was no explanation for the cause of death.

Witnesses told police that they had seen the man hanging around the area for the previous three days, and that he frequently drank leftover alcohol left by tourists in the bars. Prior to the incident, witnesses saw him drinking from a spirit house in front of one of the bars, after which he passed out on the footpath and died.

A short while after police arrived, a woman arrived identifying herself as Thon’s mother.

Mrs. Phanphen Phanchumphin told police her son’s death was all her fault because she drove him away from their home. She continued crying without describing the exact circumstances involved in the dispute at home, although she indicated that he probably had not eaten for many days.

The body was transferred to the Banglamung Hospital.

Israeli arrested for sexually abusing minors

Four teenage boys in his room at the time of arrest

Vichan Pladplueng

Israeli tourist Yehuda Aharon Zvi, 61, was arrested from his room at the Day-Night Guesthouse on January 31 and charged for allegedly having sex with underage boys.

Israeli tourist, Yehuda Aharon Zvi, was arrested for allegedly sexually abusing minors in Pattaya.

Pattaya Immigration Police Inspector, Pol. Lt. Col. Somchai Erbab, led a team of police officers to the hotel after tourist police had received reports from other guests at the hotel that Zvi had been regularly bringing adolescent boys back to his room.

Four young Cambodian boys, aged 15-17, were in his room at the time of his arrest. The boys told police their parents had been arrested for illegally entering the Kingdom and left them to fend for themselves on the streets of Pattaya.

During a search of the room, police also found pictures of Zvi with naked Cambodian boys as young as 14 years of age.

Zvi was transferred to the Pattaya municipal police and charged with harboring foreigners illegally residing in the Kingdom and sexually abusing minors under the age of 18. If convicted, Zvi will face between five and 20 years imprisonment. His name and personal data were also added to the blacklist to prevent him from entering the Kingdom in the future.