HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

The ‘hard’ ground shook as the rig ‘rocked’ and rolled over

APEC Tourism Forum is definitely on

City officials order removal of illegal buildings along Pattaya Second Road

Pattaya City hosts annual seminar on prevention and control of hemorrhagic fever

Saen Sukh Network Co, Ltd. offers 4 world-class channels copyright to cable TV business operators nationwide

Walking Street to organize ‘Fancy Lighting’ contest

Pattaya Mass Media Club re-elects president at annual general meeting

Muang Pattana Company expands the Keha Center Market

‘Pang Duenpen’ gives birth to a bouncing baby boy elephant

Chonburi authorities launch another Anti-drugs campaign

Banglamung police arrest mafia style drug gang

Two youths die after playing a game of motorcycle ‘chicken’ on Jomtien Beach Road

Pattaya City says Anti-Child Sex Tourism project is bearing fruit

Hong Kong tourists fined for smoking marijuana

Young Russian tourist robs Thai woman at knifepoint, then binds her with duct tape

Pattaya City moves out for another mobile community service campaign for residents in outer lying communities

Cabinet ministers take sight-seeing stroll down Walking Street

Government to spotlight One Product, One District scheme

Thai born US Air Force recruit visits his birthplace after 30 years in the United States

The ‘hard’ ground shook as the rig ‘rocked’ and rolled over

Suchada Tupchai

The ear-splitting sound of a giant steel pile driving rig crashing onto the concrete and into a parked car shook the grounds of the Hard Rock Hotel on Monday afternoon. The 15-meter rig, located on the adjacent property, fell across the hotel entrance-exit road damaging a parked car, cutting off power and phone services in the process. One man on the construction site was seriously injured in the accident.

This beautiful piece of German engineering marvel had no chance under the massive weight of the rig. Fortunately no one was inside the car.

At approximately 3 p.m. police officers inspected the site of the accident. Workers of the STC Constructions Ltd., were in the process of driving piles on the property next to the hotel when the accident occurred.

Nineteen year old, Somboon Gaeprung, a contractor working on the rig when it fell, received serious injuries to both his feet, ankles and suffered fractures to his spine as a result.

Technical personnel on the construction site told officers that they needed to change the rig footings and pile driving settings to prevent the structure from falling and Somboon had climbed to the top to change the knot settings. Unfortunately the changes were not made in time.

As a result of the accident power and telephone lines were cut to the hotel and a disruption on the power grid sent lights flickering.

A light blue BMW owned by Wassana Wattana was severely damaged when the huge steel rig crashed down on it. The force of the heavy structure all but destroyed the front end of the vehicle. Fortunately she was in the hotel carrying out her business and escaped serious injury had she been in the car.

Shortly afterwards, city hall officials inspected the damage. Supakorn Chusilptong, director of Pattaya Building and civil works department told reporters and hotel management that the company’s building permits were appropriate and in order. However, the accident will be investigated further and charges of negligence may be filed. "STC Construction Ltd will be held responsible for the damage to private property, hotel and government property," said Supakorn.

Hotel management was suitably shocked by the incident, shaking their heads in disbelief.

"I’m appalled at the lack of safety and security measures taken by the construction company. What if someone was standing underneath, walking or driving past when the huge steel monster fell? It would have been be disastrous," said one Hard Rock manager.

The hotel was left without electricity, telephone lines, a broken water pipe and a stone wall crushed under the immense weight of the rig.

Needless to say Khun Wassana, the owner of the BMW was rendered speechless.

APEC Tourism Forum is definitely on

Veerachai Somchart

The Tourism Authority of Thailand has confirmed that the 22nd APEC Tourism Working Group Meeting and 3rd APEC Tourism Forum will definitely be held on June 7-14 at the Pattaya Exhibition and Convention Hall (PEACH) at the Royal Cliff Beach Resort.

Atthapol Wannakit, deputy director of Tourism Authority of Thailand Central Region 3 announced the new dates at the meeting of Pattaya Business and Tourism Association.

The recent severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) health scare that spread throughout the region caused the sudden cancellation and postponement of the APEC Tourism Charter meeting that was scheduled to take place last month in Pattaya.

Atthapol said, "This is a very good sign and a great opportunity for Pattaya City to welcome over 200-300 national and international world economic and tourism business leaders to the meeting."

"Over 20-30 million baht short-term cash flow is expected to be generated into the city’s economy during the week of the meeting. "The city will once again be showcased as one of the best-prepared international cities to host big events such as this one," he added.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) was formed in 1989 through the teamwork of 19 Asia and Pacific countries and 2 economic zones. Countries whose delegates are expected to attend are, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, China, Chinese Taipei Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, USA, and Vietnam.

APEC main policy is to create equality and fairness among member countries and to work in harmony with non-members in order to set international standards for free trade and investment, facilitate members in establishing these goals, and urge members to cooperate economically and share useful information.

The themes of these upcoming APEC meetings are ‘A World of Differences: Partnership for the Future’ and ‘Purpose-Progress-Prosperity’.

This year plays host to four meetings at four venues. The APEC Trade Ministers meeting will be held in Khon Kaen in early June, the APEC SMEs Ministers meeting will be held in Chiang Mai in August, Phuket will host the APEC Finance Ministers meeting in September and the 22nd APEC Tourism Working Group Meeting and 3rd APEC Tourism Forum will now take place in Pattaya next weekend. The APEC summit meeting will then be held in Bangkok in October.

The TAT deputy director went on to say, "Thailand can yet again show the world the kingdom’s unique culture and tradition, tourist attractions, fine cuisine, 5-star hospitality and service, potential world-class industrial products, and the exhibition of the "One Village, One Product".

City officials order removal of illegal buildings along Pattaya Second Road

Encroaching structures and signs must go

Civil authorities have already removed illegal signs along Pattaya Second Road and are waiting for owners to collect them.

Pattaya City Mayor, Pairat Suttithamrongsawat and Supakorn Chusilptong, director of the city building and construction and planning department and a team of engineers surveyed the site of a number of buildings infringing on public walkways in the area of Pattaya Second Road, Soi 1 and down to Central Pattaya Road.

The inspection was the result of a city order to business operators to remove parts of building structures from public property to comply with current local legislation.

The recent survey was conducted because some of the operators have yet to comply with the order for a variety of reasons.

The mayor ordered that the illegal structures be removed immediately and that their advertising signs placed on the footpaths must be removed.

Owners have been warned and Pattaya City officials intend to dismantle encroaching structures within the next 30 days.

Pattaya City hosts annual seminar on prevention and control of hemorrhagic fever

Suchada Tupchai

The annual seminar on the prevention and control of hemorrhagic fever in Pattaya was recently held at the Soi 6 Public Health Clinic. Officially opened by Pattaya deputy mayor, Wuttisak Rermkijikarn the seminar was attended by over 50 teachers and students of the region’s private schools.

Wuttisak Rermkijikarn 
Pattaya deputy mayor

In previous years the number of hemorrhagic fever cases had reached high levels, citing that in 2001 there were 4,946 cases reported in which 218 people died from the disease. The disease is spread by mosquitoes.

Last year figures recorded in Pattaya and its surrounding districts slated the region as 25th highest in the country for hemorrhagic fever. The disease is prevalent from May to September each year.

The seminar focused on methods of prevention by eliminating breeding areas, where water remains stagnant, such as water buckets, plant pots and trays and other vessels where water becomes stale and allows mosquitoes to breed. By taking care of these simple prevention measures the possibility of spreading the disease will reduce drastically.

Wuttisak said that the annual project on educating the populace has met with some success in reducing the number of cases of hemorrhagic fever in the region.

Saen Sukh Network Co, Ltd. offers 4 world-class channels copyright to cable TV business operators nationwide

Sophon Cable TV adds 4 new channels

Songklod Kaewvisit

Last Friday at Cosy Beach Pattaya, Pongsak Nanthawanit, general manager of Saen Sukh Network Company, the authorized possessor of STAR Group channels copyright in Thailand, proposed a broadcasting agreement to local and regional cable TV business operators.

Pongsak Nanthawanit, GM of Saen Sukh Network Company,

The 4 international channels include Channel [V] International, STAR World, Adventure One, and FOX News.

Pongsak said the cable TV proprietors were deemed to purchase the copyright to broadcast the channels. Pongsak said during the current economic downturn, the charge would not be very high. Pongsak encouraged the operators to purchase the rights and said he was sure that people would love to see good programming on their TV.

Athasit Chuachuchart, general manager for Sophon Cable TV told the Pattaya Mail that Sophon is in the process of including another four channels to broadcast.

"The contract has been signed and we are in the process of changing over to add the extra channels. Star World, Channel V and Adventure One are on air already and Fox News is due to begin shortly. It is our policy to provide an increasing number of entertainment choices to Sophon Cable viewers."

Walking Street to organize ‘Fancy Lighting’ contest

Prime tourist area of Pattaya gets ready to shine

Songklod Kaewvisit

Ideas to create a classier, more sophisticated image for South Pattaya’s tenderloin district, Walking Street were recently discussed. One of the proposals was to give the area a more glamorous atmosphere for nighttime strollers by improving the lighting in the area by encouraging businesses to create striking displays.

Sunthorn Kangsirikul

At a committee meeting, Sunthorn Kangsirikul, president of Walking Street Committee said that during the low season tourist numbers have diminished, therefore the time is ripe to implement creative activities which could help ease the slump

The committee has come up with a fancy light decoration contest and is urging the 101 business operators in Walking Street to participate to win the many prizes which will promote incentive.

Participants are allowed to decorate their electric signboards and showcases in front of their venues but the decoration should not block the passage of fire or garbage trucks, and must be at least 5.50 meters in height.

The committee will also fund the street’s beautification efforts including the repainting and repairing any deteriorating parts of the Walking Street entrance archway.

Sunthorn said the activity would help to attract those who come to enjoy the vibrant nightlife and boost business revenue.The committee will select the shops that have the most stunning and fascinating decoration and present them with awards.

Pattaya Mass Media Club re-elects president at annual general meeting

Mass media requested to act in city’s best interests

Suchada Tupchai

The president and board of directors of the Pattaya Mass Media Club were elected at the club’s annual general meeting in the Grand Sole Hotel. Thonglor Umpueng was re-elected as president for yet another year as were some of the committee members.

Thonglor Umpueng was re-elected as president of PMMC. At left is Farook Wongborisut, Pattaya city counsellor

During the formalities, Thonglor told members of the city’s mass media that they must act in the interests of the community and the city to improve their overall image and maintain the trust of it’s residents by their accurate reporting of news.

Board members were also requested to carry out their duties in their respective positions to the best of their abilities to maintain the strength of the association as well as outline the necessary duties entrusted to members of the media.

Once the elections were completed members and guests settled in for a buffet dinner and an evening of relaxation.

Honored guests of the evening were Chansak Chawalitnittitham, Chonburi MP, mayor Pairat Suttithamrongsawat, Somsak Yonokphan, Banglamung district chief, council members and the Pattaya Chief of police, Pol. Col. Kamolchai Tienrungroj. Everyone was treated to sumptuous meal and an evening of entertainment, enjoying a much needed break from the daily grind of official duties.

Muang Pattana Company expands the Keha Center Market

Songklod Kaewvisit

Five years after its inception The Muang Pattaya Company has decided to further expand the Keha Market area to encompass another 7 rai as to accommodate the increasing demand for selling space. The area also includes the biggest local food center in Pattaya.

Gen. Kanit Permsub addresses the crowd during the grand opening celebrations of the Keha Market on Thepprasit Road.

The Keha Market was initiated in 1998 when Thailand was facing a severe economic slump. Numerous staff lay offs by many companies initiated new careers for many former employees in order to survive.

One of the businesses that became popular was selling second hand clothes at various markets and from the car boots. Starting in Bangkok, the idea quickly caught on in several provinces.

The success of such businesses prompted the further establishment of open markets such as the Keha Market on Theprasit Road in Jomtien.

Directors Pongpipat Wimuktayon and Thanin Tangsophon revealed the expansion plan was aided by the use of highly sophisticated computer systems to plan rental areas and zoning for their clients.

The Muang Pattana Company recently held the grand opening of the Keha Market on Thepprasit Road. The formalities were conducted by Gen. Kanit Permsub.

‘Pang Duenpen’ gives birth to a bouncing baby boy elephant

Patchapol Panrak

Nong Nooch Gardens has yet another new addition to the family of elephants. Seventeen year old Pang Duenpen gave birth to her second calf just after 2:00 a.m. on May 10th. The female was mated with the garden’s bull elephant Plai Bird 22 months earlier. The new baby is yet to be named.

Mother elephant gently nudges as the mahout tugs, to help the baby elephant stand on it’s own feet.

Pang Duenpen’s mahout, 74-year-old Subin Wongkaew, said that in all the years of raising and caring for elephants, this is the first time he has actually witnessed a birth. He added that by nature the elephants prefer to give birth in total privacy, it was a rare experience to watch a delivery.

Duenpen labored for 3 days and nights, wracked with pain. As the rain fell and thunder and lightning flashed in the sky, the young mother finally gave birth to a ‘tiny’ son.

The new calf was officially born at 2.07 a.m. on the 10 night of the 6th lunar month in the year of the goat. The new calf is destined to inherit the great skills and abilities of his mother.

Later as word spread, Nong Nooch Gardens received telephone calls and letters from interested people requesting for some of the elephant placenta, which is believed to help cure a number of ailments in humans.

Both mother and son are reported to be doing well!

Chonburi authorities launch another Anti-drugs campaign

Complying with government’s national policy against drug use

Songklod Kaewvisit

The central government does not intend to allow the positive results reaped from the recent crackdown on drugs and the hard-won progress gained to reinstate social order in the kingdom to deteriorate. The Ministry of Interior ordered the concerned departments in provinces around the nation to maintain a tough stance on drug abuse and trafficking. The government is insisting that illegal drugs be effectively eradicated in every city and village in the kingdom.

Chonburi Province has organized an anti-drugs campaign geared to keep track of known offenders. Colonel and Doctor Sumol Boonrod, deputy director of Wiwat Polamuang School, Nawamintarachini Camp, Chonburi and president of East Youth Administration Network, another well-known charitable organization leader in the society, chaired a meeting under the theme ‘Unity Against Drugs’ campaign.

The project is considered a passive move to monitor drug addicts who have been through rehabilitation programs and have seemingly kicked the habit.

The new campaign will take a less confrontational approach by promoting psychological support and encouraging families to deal with this problem with love and understanding. Those who have been arrested for drug abuse will be supervised while they await trial, and kept under surveillance to make sure they don’t fall back into their old ways or negatively influence youngsters in the villages.

The Unity Against Drugs organization is comprised of officials in different levels of ruling department that have lent a hand in suppressing the spread of drugs in their own hometowns and include district chiefs, sub-district heads, heads of rural administrations, heads of villages, and many representatives from the non-governmental organizations.

Banglamung police arrest mafia style drug gang

Information leads cops to source in Bangkok

Songklod Kaewvisit

Narcotics officers are still keeping a sharp eye out for drug dealers in the region. Another bust in Banglamung sent a signal that the serious crackdown around the nation is not waning.

Banglamung police paraded a group of methamphetamine traffickers in front of cameras during a press conference on May 23. Officers organized a raid on the mafia-style gang who were arrested in Lung Maak village, Banglamung. Police confiscated 49,000 ‘yaba’ pills in 24 packages, 1 motorcycle, 1 pick-up truck, 1 Toyota sedan car, and 3 mobile phones and arrested Passorn Pungprayoon, age 32, Prayong Khamkor, age 23, Suchart Nongnoot, aged 42, Eaksit Paankla, aged 16, and Winai Mansitong, age 39.

During surveillance officers witnessed Passorn and Prayong delivering 5 packages of speed pills to Suchart and Eaksit. Police revealed themselves to interrupt the transaction and took the four offenders into custody.

After police learned that the gang received the illegal drugs from Bangkok resident Winai Mansitong, they arrested him as well.

All were detained and charged with possession and sale of class one illegal drugs.

Two youths die after playing a game of motorcycle ‘chicken’ on Jomtien Beach Road

Hard-headed competition leads to tragedy

Boonlua Chatree

Police were called to a location on Jomtien Beach Road in the earlier hours of May 20th after receiving a report of the death of two youths on motorcycles.

Officers arrived on the scene to find two wrecked motorcycles and the bodies of the riders not far away. Both young men appeared not to be wearing helmets and died almost instantly after crashing into each other.

Witnesses told police that the two young men were playing a game of ‘chicken’. When neither refused to submit to losing they crashed head on into each other. The idea of the game is to drive full-throttle head on until the opponent gives way and pulls over. Egos are at stake here. In this instance neither of the youths gave way and both died as a result.

The bodies were transferred to the Banglamung hospital where relatives were contacted to commence funeral rites.

Pattaya City says Anti-Child Sex Tourism project is bearing fruit

Campaign against pedophiles and child exploitation has reduced incidents

Suchada Tupchai

The Anti-Child Sex Tourism project was initiated and funded by Pattaya City Hall. It was started last year and the project aims to educate the public and tourists that the city is taking a tough stance on pedophiles and would not tolerate assaults on juveniles.

Phisit Boonchuang, deputy governor of Chonburi Province chaired a seminar on Religion and Thai Cultural Heritage Preservation at Pattaya City Hall.

Phisit Boonchuang, deputy governor of Chonburi Province chaired a recent seminar on Religion and Thai Cultural Heritage Preservation at Pattaya City Hall. Those in attendance included Surat Mekhawarakul, past president of Pattaya Business and Tourism Association, Atthapol Wannakit, assistant director of Tourism Authority of Thailand, Central Region 3, Pattaya, and members of Pattaya City council.

Assessing the results of the campaign Surat said, "The project promoting Anti-Child Sex Tourism has been quite successful in Pattaya City. When the project began, the city produced 3,600 glue stickers under the theme of Anti-Child Sex Tourism and posted them around town, especially in the adult zones to cut down the numbers of juvenile physical assault crimes and pedophiles in Pattaya."

Surat added that the campaign was quite fruitful and should be continued. However, he suggested that the campaign stickers be printed in bright colors. The ones now are transparent and are difficult to see. Surat also said the committee should print large, eye-catching posters to be more widely distributed and step up public relations with an effort to increase the effectiveness of the message.

Hong Kong tourists fined for smoking marijuana

5 fun-loving smokers nabbed while doing taste comparison in a public street

Boonlua Chatree

During a routine street patrol, Pattaya police officers spotted 5 Hong Kong tourists standing in front of a disco on Pattaya/Naklua Road smoking marijuana.

The cops stepped in and spoiled all the fun. All five were taken to the station where they were questioned and fined.

One member of the group said they thought smoking dope was legal in Thailand. Wanting to try the taste and effect of local ‘ganja’ one of the tourists bought a whole package for 1,000 baht and happily shared it with friends. All smiles vanished when the fine turned out to be a lot more than they had paid for the illegal drug.

Young Russian tourist robs Thai woman at knifepoint, then binds her with duct tape

Angry residents thrash mugger and handcuff him before police arrive

Boonlua Chatree

Twenty-six year old Russian national Roman Nechaev was beaten, handcuffed and held until police arrived after he mugged a young Thai woman taking her gold and other valuables.

A police officer searches the handcuffed and beaten Russian and finds stolen jewelry worth 19,200 Baht.

Pattaya Police were called to a location Soi Skaw Beach at 2.30 a.m. on May 21 after nearby residents reported that a group of people were assaulting a foreigner in the lobby of a small hotel. Officers arrived on the scene to find the man on the floor, unconscious, bloodied and handcuffed.

The foreigner had tried to steal expensive diamond jewelry at knifepoint from a service girl. Nearby residents heard the woman’s call for help. They ran to her aid, beat up the foreigner and handcuffed him. Then they waited for the police to arrive.

Police searched the man’s pockets and found a 5 baht-weight gold necklace, another two 3 baht-weight gold necklaces, (1 baht gold is worth app. 6,800 baht) gold rings and cash totaling 19,200 baht.

The victim, 26 year old Namooy Mektup, identified the items belonging to her and said the foreigner had threatened her with a knife, handcuffed her and used duct tape to restrain her legs before making off with the booty. The Russian was taken into custody and charged with aggravated assault and theft.

While the charges were being processed another woman, identified as Pongsri Unjitr, arrived at the police station and told officers that the same man had also taken 19,000 baht in cash, 2 baht gold necklace, 1 baht gold bracelet, a gold ring and her mobile phone at knife point the day before.

Police looked up the daily report from May 20 and the Russian received an extra charge of aggravated assault and theft. Nechaev now awaits trial on all counts.

Pattaya City moves out for another mobile community service campaign for residents in outer lying communities

Suchada Tupchai

Pattaya City mobile community services unit led by the mayor of Pattaya, deputy mayors, council members police and service providers visited communities in the Soi Wat Thamasmakee area as part of the city’s continuing commitment to serving the greater needs of the region’s less fortunate residents.

Mayor Pairat Suttithamrongsawat (left) hands out a package of daily necessities to a dweller of the Soi Wat Thamasmakee area.

This month residents received free dental and health check ups, hair and beauty services, and even vaccinations for pets were part of the activities. The mobile unit provided people in the communities with an afternoon meal, distributed food and other daily necessities. The "eggs for trash" project urges community residents to collect trash that can be recycled in exchange for eggs.

Mayor Pairat Suttithamrongsawat said, "In spite of Pattaya’s continuing development in many areas, some smaller outer lying communities have missed out. And since residents in these communities are low income earners or unemployed the city has taken it upon itself the responsibility of aiding these people by providing such services. It is important that we care for the community and listen to their problems and try and solve them in an effective manner."

The afternoon’s entertainment was provided by Pattaya police officers who are aspiring to become singers on the side. This friendly atmosphere greatly boosted the morale of residents and enhanced relationships with the police.

Cabinet ministers take sight-seeing stroll down Walking Street

City shows off new “Hansa, Pattaya-Chonburi” project at Bali Hai pier

Boonlua Chatree

Prior to the mobile cabinet meeting held at the Royal Cliff last week, visiting parliamentary ministers toured Walking Street in South Pattaya to view the opening of the "Hansa, Pattaya-Chonburi" project, newly opened at the Bali Hai pier.

(from left) Mayor Pairat Suttithamrongsawat; Gen. Thammarat Isarangkul Na Ayuthaya, Minister of Defence; Sontaya Khunpluem, Minister of Tourism & Sports and Nikorn Jamnong, Deputy Transport Minister enjoy a stroll along Pattaya’s Walking Street in South Pattaya.

Pairat Suttithamrongsawat, Pattaya City Mayor and city administrators led ministers, Sontaya Khunpluem, Minister of Tourism & Sports, Gen. Thammarat Isarangkul Na Ayuthaya, Minister of Defense and other cabinet members on a sight seeing tour of the city’s vibrant nightlife in this popular section of Pattaya which has served as draw card to many tourists over the years.

The ministers spoke with residents and tourists during their tour while inspecting the order of things.

Walking Street - determined to put its best foot forward - had been thoroughly checked out by municipal and tourist police officers before the honored visitors paid a call.

The local constabulary was on hand to ensure safety of the political heavyweights and make sure the laws were being enforced. All in all, the cabinet members were happy with what they saw.

Walking Street was a beehive of activity, mostly due to the presence of visiting U.S. military personnel in town for this year’s Cobra Gold exercises, who were taking a break to enjoy the city’s entertainment venues in South Pattaya.

Minister of Defence, Gen. Thammarat Isarangkul Na Ayuthaya, received a small token from a representative of the US contingent, saying that they felt welcome and safe in Pattaya.

Following the tour, cabinet members returned to their respective hotel rooms to rest for the two-day meeting held at the Royal Cliff Resort.

Government to spotlight One Product, One District scheme

Outstanding districts producing most impressive products to be promoted by government departments

Suchada Tupchai

The "One Product, One District" scheme organized by the government to promote economic self-sufficiency in small communities around the nation was the main topic of a recent meeting chaired by Sermsak Pongpanich, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior (MOI) at Jomtien Palm Beach Pattaya. Government officials have introduced an initiative to select outstanding districts with impressive products.

Sermsak Pongpanich, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior (MOI) addresses the assembly at Jomtien Palm Beach Hotel.

Attending the meeting were Chonburi’s governor, representatives of Community Development Department (CDD), Industry Promotion Department, Export Promotion Department, Farmer Union Promotion Department, and district chiefs.

Officials from the MOI and CDD visited Pattaya on a mission to inform all districts of the regulations and criteria involved in the committee’s process of selection.

Sujarit Nantamontri, director of community development department said the MOI tasked the Community Development Department to hold the OTOP Product Champion Competition to evaluate districts and their products.

Earlier this month the Community Development Department OTOP committee members met at Impact Arena, Muang Thong Thani in Nonthaburi to set guidelines in selecting the winners and organize a road show to promote them throughout the central, northern, northeastern and southern regions of Thailand.

The department will choose 6 outstanding districts in 6 categories including food, drinks, garment and clothing, utensils and ornaments, art pieces and souvenirs, and herbal products.

The products should be well displayed, well packaged, and well presented for buyers.

Thai born US Air Force recruit visits his birthplace after 30 years in the United States

Songklod Kaewvisit

Over the years many Thai born US military personnel rediscover their roots in the Land of Smiles. This year is no exception. For 34-year-old Second Lieutenant Paradorn Silpsornprasit with the US Air Force, this is the very first time he has set foot on Thai soil in 30 years.

Thai native Paradorn Silpsornprasit, a Second Lieutenant with the US Air Force, is rediscovering his roots in the land of smiles.

Second Lt. Paradorn who is based in Hawaii returned to the land of his birth on May 12 after leaving Thailand with his mother at the age of 3. He grew up in the US, studied hard and passed the entrance exam to join the Air Force and is the first posting abroad in which he is part of the public relations team for Cobra Gold 2003.

"I never thought Thailand would so beautiful and developed," said 2nd Lt Paradorn who is still able speak a smattering of Thai after being taught by his mother.

With all those years abroad Paradorn is unable to read or write Thai having mainly focused on English as his first language.

When asked if he would like to return to Thailand to live, Paradorn said, "I would like to stay but Thailand is too hot. However, I have already contacted my relatives in Bangkok including my grandfather on my father’s side."

Paradorn explained to reporters that he contacted his paternal relatives but hadn’t been able to meet his father as yet, but that Cobra Gold has enabled him to return to his birthplace and this has made him feel very happy to have such an opportunity to do so.


Now Available


DCO Thailand