Casino on Koh Larn - what are the odds?
The continuing debate over Thailand’s first legalized
casino took a turn round the s-bend last week as the debate over the
location of the country’s legalized gambling establishment hit the floor.
A recent Suan Dusit poll of over 8,000 people revealed
that 52 percent were in favor of the idea and 32 percent opposed.
The meeting, held at the Ambassador City Hotel Jomtien,
drew just over 200 of the expected 500 people to present their ideas and
opinions on the matter. A number of investors from Australia, Singapore,
Hong Kong and the United States were also present to observe the
Burintr Hiranburana, chairman of House committee on
Finance and Banking said in his opening statement, “The legalization of
gambling in Thailand is not new. It is currently illegal, yet there are
gambling dens operating around the nation, which has created numerous social
problems. On top of that, neighboring countries have opened casinos along
the border, with almost all their trade coming from Thai nationals. This is
hole is causing the country to lose over 400 billion baht per year. If we
were to have a legalized venue, not only would we be able to plug that hole
but also draw interest from outside the country and the government would
benefit from the collection of taxes. The committee has suggested that the
matter be considered and studied further before a decision is made. Lack of
research and study could result in further social and economic ills,
affecting Thailand’s stability. I suggest we meet again after further
studying the implications and those venues in border towns before deciding
where to build a casino in Thailand.”
House speaker Uthai Pimchaichon, posed his comments on
the issue, “The issue has drawn interest from many departments. My point
of view is that, and I’ve heard this on numerous occasions, a casino
should be built either in Phuket, Surat Thani, Samui, Chiang Mai or Pattaya
to further attract tourists to these areas. I would suggest that after
observing the banter, if a casino were to be legalized in Thailand, it
should not be in a major tourist center, but could be close by. The
reasoning behind this is tourists will visit these centers anyway. If a
casino were to be opened it would put a strain on the area, effectively
asking the question, would a casino attract more tourists to that already
busy center or not? Would it or would it not turn them away? Why not build a
venue in smaller nearby service centers, for instance: Koh Pangnga or a
place nearby Pattaya. The idea would be similar to that of Macao just
outside Hong Kong or that of Las Vegas, which is in the middle of the
desert. Would it not have greater benefit to these smaller areas and to the
tourist centers if a casino were built outside of the main tourism
Uthai continued, “If a casino is to be built outside a
tourist city then a referendum must be taken to decide whether residents
want the venue. If the results show favorably in that province then there is
a possibility. Chonburi, or more specifically Pattaya, has shown a positive
return. Personally, I would like to see the casino built on Larn Island but
there must be a clear line for that community and it would also have to have
special economic status as such.”
Professor Sukum Cheliwsap, director of the Suan Dusit
Poll added, “We at the Dusit poll have undertaken a number of surveys at
all levels and vocations among Thai citizens. The latest poll completed on
July 4 involved 8,571 people. Of these, 52.23% were in favor of a casino and
33.8% were against. However, the most favored location for a casino was in
the South of Thailand. The favorites came as Phuket, Songkhla, Surat Thani
at 20.8%. The eastern region of Chonburi, Rayong came it a fifth place on
the ladder with just 9.02% in favor of the location.”
Representing the National Police Bureau, Pol. Lt. Col.
Tawornsak Thepchatri added his opinion, “Under the current 1935
legislation pertaining to the illegality of gambling, the opening of a legal
establishment would create headaches for law in enforcement agencies. In the
last 20 years there have been thousands of cases where illegal gambling has
taken place with thousands more people taking part in the activity. If the
law was amended to allow only licensed venues or the legislation was changed
to allow such activities, police would face numerous cases where those
caught could challenge the validity of the raid and in turn could press
charges against police, creating a legal nightmare in the court system and
for police officers.”
Itthipol Khunpluem, MP for Chonburi said, “The issue of
legalizing a major gambling venue is still divided, with those against the
move lacking confidence in the law and its enforcement. Apart from that,
there are bound to be people with ill intent using the system to their own
advantage. In order to prevent social problems and in the overall scheme a
casino would have to be a complete entertainment package, which is the way
the Taksin government sees such a place to be.”
Various opinions from different sections of the meeting
continued with most people supporting the idea of legalizing a casino but
agreeing not to allow small income earners or inappropriate persons to use
such facilities. They also agreed that the venue should be a complete
Finally, a surprising point was made: rather than open
just one casino in a specific place, why not open one in each of the six
regions of Thailand: Central, Southern, Northern, Eastern, Northeastern (Issarn)
and Western regions? The project would effectively be part of a consortium
or public company with part of the revenue being returned to local
communities, such as educational funds and other clearly defined sectors.
Pattaya’s new walk-through
See the wonders of the deep without getting wet
Underwater World Pattaya says Pattaya’s newest tourist
attraction is the largest and most modern ocean aquarium in Asia, boasting a
100-meter-long, 6.4-centimeter-thick acrylic pedestrian tunnel through an
underwater environment filled with dozens of marine species.
mayor gets a firsthand look at life under the sea.
rare shovelnose ray, a hybrid between a shark and a stingray.
Located just 200 meters south of Tesco Lotus in South
Pattaya, the new theme park covers a total area of 12-rai and is housed in a
structure similar to a large circus tent. “This enables the place to have
natural light that nurtures the algae,” said Bruce Mackay, the head
“The aquarium houses more than 4,000 marine animals,
comprising more than 200 different species from the region as well as some
rare creatures from overseas,” added David Hong, general manager and an
investor in the project. Hong stressed visitors must-see the rare shovelnose
ray, a hybrid between a shark and a stingray. “There are three of them at
the aquarium that we purchased from local fishermen, who normally kill them
for consumption,” he said.
The oceanarium is owned by Underwater World Pattaya Ltd
and managed by Sovereign Marketing, a subsidiary of Singapore’s Haw Par
Group. Marinescape took 17 months to construct the 4,200-square-meter
Moray eels look daunting.
the whole family.
“Besides opening visitors’ eyes to the brilliance and
diversity of undersea life, the Pattaya aquarium will also play an important
role in education and marine conservation,” said Darong Yingchon, a
curator and marine biologist with years of experience at public aquariums
around the region.
Further expansion is already on the drawing board, with a
good possibility that dolphins, giant octopuses, manta rays and perhaps
killer whales will be added to the attraction.
“Our estimate of 600,000 visitors a year pales when
compared to Sentosa, where there are 1.3 million each year. But we expect
the Pattaya facility to grow in popularity as time goes by,” said Hong.
Buddhist Lent begins next week
Ahsalahabucha Day July 13,
Khao Pansaa July 14
All government offices, banks and many local businesses
will close for a day when Buddhist Lent, or “Khao Pansaa” begins next
Monday, July 14. Ahsalahabucha Day, an important holy day for Buddhists,
this year is being observed on Sunday, July 13.
The Buddhist Holy Day of Ahsalahabucha falls on the 15th
night (15 kham) of the full moon during the eighth month of the Buddhist
Lunar calendar, this year equating to July 13. Ahsalahabucha means paying
homage and worshiping on that day, Ahsalaha being the name of the eighth
month in the Pali language.
Ahsalahabucha Day is worshipped because of three
important events occurring on that day, called the “Triple Gem”,
commemorating the first sermon given by the Buddha, called the
“Dhammachakapavattama Sutta”, about the “Four Noble Truths”
presented to the Buddha’s first five disciples. The sermon set in motion
the “Wheel of Dhamma”, or “Dhammachaka”.
The sermon concluded that: 1. All things are a source of
suffering from the constant cycle of birth, disease, old age and death. 2.
Desire or the inability to obtain what one desires is the cause of
suffering, resulting from cause and effect. 3. Freedom from suffering can be
obtained after the complete cessation of desire. 4. The last of the Four
Noble Truths is the “Middle Way”, or the path between extremes of
asceticism and indulgence leading to the eliminating of desire. The
Eight-Fold Path consists of possessing the correct: Views, Resolve, Speech,
Conduct, Livelihood, Effort, Mindfulness, and Meditation (or Concentration).
Secondly, the day is considered to be the birth of
Buddhism. The Buddha departed the location where he obtained his
enlightenment two months earlier, and then went to a forest area in the city
of Pharansi where he showed favor to five ascetics. These five became his
Thirdly, the event of the first person to listen to the
Buddha’s sermon, and realizing the truths contained therein, is also
recognized on this day. This person became the first Buddhist monk and
created the Buddhist order “Sangha”; so this day is known as “Sangha
Day” as well as Ahsalahabucha Day.
The Thai government established the observance of
Ahsalahabucha Day in 1958, with Buddhist temples throughout the Kingdom
arranging ceremonies venerating these important historic events. Devout
Buddhists participate in the ceremonies by presenting offerings to monks and
listening to sermons and performing ritual prayers.
The entire day is revered and certain precepts are
adhered to by the more devout Buddhists, or by those who have the
inclination and opportunity to do so. The wien tian ritual ceremony is
performed in the evening - many people go to nearby temples, bringing
candles, flowers and joss sticks with them, where they walk three times
around the temple’s sacred grounds.
The day following the start of Buddhist Lent is another
important Buddhist holy day and begins in Thailand with the custom called
Khao Pansaa. This day falls on the first full moon (1 kham) of the Buddhist
Lunar calendar during the eighth month of every year, which this year
equates to July 14, and ends on the 15th full moon (15 kham) of the 11th
month of the Buddhist calendar, or in mid-October. During a leap year it is
identified during the “second eighth” month (the next leap year will be
The term “Khao Pansaa” can also translate to entering
the rainy season when monks return to the temple for the duration of the
rains, usually to the temple where they were ordained, where they stay for
approximately three months. The monks are not to depart the temples to stay
overnight at any other location during these months. Although the rainy
season is considered to be longer than three months, lasting up to four or
even more, monks are only required to remain at the temples for three of the
four months. During the last period of the rainy season they can then go
elsewhere when the “Katin” ceremony is performed to present robes to the
In ancient times, the act of monks going into the temples
during the rainy season was not yet a custom. Monks would continue roaming
from one domain to another, giving sermons and instructing people in the
ways of eliminating suffering and disseminating Buddhist beliefs. This was
unlike other religions of the time, as most people, including merchants and
heretics, refrained from travel due to the hazards and difficulties involved
in traveling during the rainy season.
Initially, stopping monks from traveling during the rainy
season concerned the idea that it was inappropriate for them to walk about
during the rainy season because many small living creatures were about
(which they might accidentally step on) and the rice crops were in the
ground. Therefore, it was established long ago that the monks would remain
in temples during the rains for three months, discussing and studying
Buddhist scriptures, following Buddhist disciplines, meditating and
performing ritual ceremonies.
The custom of Khao Pansaa has continued to this day with
three classes of ceremonies: a Royal Ceremony conducted by the King of
Thailand, ritual ceremonies for devout followers of Buddhism throughout the
Kingdom and ceremonies performed by monks in the temples.
The Royal Ceremony is similar to those performed by the
general public, but more elaborate. The King and members of the Royal Family
perform ritual ceremonies to pay homage to the Buddha and present Khao
Pansaa candles and traditional garments worn by Buddhist monks to the
Followers of Buddhism all over Thailand, with flowers and
candles in hand will attend temples in the morning, bringing in food,
necessities, money, traditional candles, garments and ceremonial items for
People having devout faith may refrain from the
recognized eight offences for the duration of the three month rainy season
just as monks do, while others may give up a single vice, with yet others
giving up 5-8 offences just for the day.
The ceremonies performed by monks in temples revolve
around rituals, and include accepting new monks who are taking the vows for
periods of up to three months or more. Senior monks at each monastery also
perform ceremonies to lead followers in worship and prayer.
The two main items presented to monks during Khao Pansaa
are candles and the garments worn by monks, specifically the bathing robe.
In former times, candles were essential for ceremonies, studying scriptures
and performing various other functions. Candle offerings eventually
developed into a custom that is still followed.
The presentation of garments worn by monks is said to
have originated when, in former times, people would bathe in community
areas, i.e., local streams, rivers, ponds and other sources of water, and
monks required a bathing robe. The custom of presenting garments to monks
continued to develop until it included presenting the entire arrangement
worn by monks.
Khao Pansaa, July 14, is recognized as a government
holiday. All government offices, banks and many other businesses close for
the day to recognize the importance of the Buddhist Holy Day.
Everyone is invited to participate in the temple
ceremonies and to refrain from offensive behavior for the day, and to make
the same effort thereafter.
Mayor opens recycling project at the Sawang Boriboon Foundation in Naklua
Residents get ‘cash for trash’ and cleaner environment
The city’s latest environmental conservation drive took
another turn for the better last Thursday afternoon as Mayor Pairat
Suthithamrongsawat and his four deputies officially opened a new recycling
depot in front of the Sawang Boriboon Foundation in Naklua. The campaign
encourages residents to swap their trash for cash and preserve the
environment at the same time.
management, teachers and community leaders take a moment to remember the
beginning of the new recycling project.
Residents from the community in Soi Post Office in Naklua,
Sawang Boriboon personnel, Banglamung Cable TV and students, teachers and
parents joined in the day’s event.
The aim of the project is to promote awareness in the
community that most of the waste that people normally discard can be
recycled and put to good use. The project also aims to reduce the amount of
waste products produced by local schools.
The campaign focuses on the recycling of paper, glass
bottles, plastic, aluminum, copper and bronze.
During the campaign kickoff, a large amount of trash was handed over with
the proceeds from the exchange going towards improving the quality and
availability of education for students at the nearby Pattaya School No. 3.
Land encroachment dispute gives mayor a headache
Squabbling neighbors suck Mayor Pairat into role of mediator
After the city built and widened dam and drainage systems
to prevent land erosion and flooding in Naklua, reports have come in that
that some people have illegally built home extensions that encroach on
Pattaya Mayor Pairat Suthithamrongsawat surveyed the area
and validated the complaints. The owners of the encroaching structures were
told to demolish and remove their illegal extensions immediately.
During his visit the mayor also played mediator in a
private argument. The dispute involved two residents who were unwilling to
settle a case as one of them had extended his house and the other demanded
that the additional construction be torn down because it obstructed the view
and violated his rights.
The mayor ordered that a one-meter width be left between
the two houses, and if there was no compliance, he would be forced to use
legal means to demolish the extension.
MOI tells district chiefs to stop
processing gun permits and provide
a gun amnesty for heavy weapons
National ‘social order’ campaign will include
reduction of firearms amongst the general public
The nation is evidently now awash with illegal firearms
and deadly military weapons which are being used for criminal activities. In
response to this serious social scourge the Ministry of Interior (MOI) has
issued an order to stop processing gun licenses. The order came down after
statistics showed an increasing number of weapons are used in crime and the
death toll in these incidents is rising.
Under 1974 legislation all weapons, such as pistols and
rifles, require a license from the district officer.
In addition to the halt on issuing gun licenses, an
amnesty is being set up for the populace to hand in their military weapons,
which will effectively become illegal in the near future once the law has
been pushed through parliament.
All this comes under the current government policy to
crack down on mafia related crimes and those ‘dark influences’. It was
not made clear how many of these mafiosi, dark influences and armed
criminals actually register their firearms before committing a crime with
‘Som tam’ lovers flock to Pattaya 4 Fun to see who can make the city’s tastiest spicy papaya salad
Residents and tourists flocked to the beachfront in
Pattaya last Saturday to witness more Pattaya 4 Fun activities. The
highlight of the second week of the 1 month-long promotion was the ‘som
tam’ competition which awarded prizes for the city’s most delicious
spicy papaya salad.
of the ‘som tam’ competition proudly display prizes during the recent
Pattaya 4 Fun event on Beach Road.
Over 100 people competed in 3 categories (professional,
novice and the best show) to show their style using the mortar and pestle.
The panel of judges was left red-faced at the spice of
the salad while the audience was entertained by teams from a number of
hotels in the most fanciful display of making this popular Thai dish all
Sutthiya Darasee placed first in the professional
category. In the novice category Poncharat Euartorn took the top spot.
Chosen by the audience, winners in the most entertaining category went to
the team from Asia Pattaya Hotel.
Extra prizes were awarded to the Siam Bayshore for the
most beautifully dressed team, while the outrageous group from Alcazar won a
prize for the most popular.
Visitors were later treated to a special concert and more cabaret from
the boys at Alcazar, each event drawing large crowds. The Pattaya 4 Fun
campaign is proving a big draw for residents and tourists.
Constant rain washes away part of Soi Khao Noi
Leaves residents to wonder when an accident will occur
Constant and persistent rain is taking its toll on the
city’s infrastructure. In Soi Khao Noi, aka Soi Wat Boonsamphan, part of
the road has been washed away. Approximately 20 meters over the railway
line, a section of the road has disintegrated leaving a deep, 2.5-meter-long
hole on the road shoulder.
A section of Soi Khao Noi, aka Soi Wat Boonsamphan, has disintegrated
leaving a deep, 2.5-meter-long hole on the road shoulder.
Residents in the area are fearful of a fatal accident
occurring because of the road’s condition and have requested officialdom
to repair the holes immediately and upgrade the drainage along the stretch
of road that is notorious for flooding even after the lightest rain.
The subject was brought to the attention of city council
members and subsequently put forth for discussion and action at a council
Bureaucratic processes take time but whatever the case, who will take
responsibility when someone is injured or killed in an accident?
City seeks ways to prevent flooding following heavy rains
Crews sent out to clear clogged drains
In light of the recent floods caused by heavy rains,
Pattaya City officials are looking for ways to prevent the problems from
reoccurring. The main cause of the floods was identified as a lack of
capacity in the drainage system to handle large volumes of water. Drains
clogged with silt and rubbish complicated the situation.
City officials have mapped out a plan to ease the problem
should another heavy downpour occur. First of all, crews of municipal staff
are busy clearing the city’s drains to allow water to flow more easily.
The second effort involves the current drainage system
that allows water from Pattaya Second Road to wash down to Pattaya Bay. The
project, which has been completed for some time, has run into difficulties
in the area of South Pattaya.
A canal or ‘klong’ has been created by illegal
construction. The large canal that runs underneath the streets is the main
passage for draining water in the South Pattaya area. City officials are in
the process of removing the intrusive structures to ease water flow and
widen the outlet.
The Naklua Klong is already under the process of widening
and should be completed soon.
Banglamung chief informs community leaders that MOI is scrutinizing their performance
Complaints from residents about abuse of power are mounting
Residents have been complaining that certain officials
are abusing their positions and using their influence to their own
advantage. As a result, a directive has come down from the Ministry of
Interior (MOI) for all district officers to keep a close eye on their
As part of the policy, each kamnan and pooyai ban will
receive additional training as to their roles in the community, which will
encompass laws and responsibilities.
At the monthly meeting in the Banglamung District Office,
Somsak Yonokphan, Banglamung district chief met with village headmen,
sub-district headmen and government officers. Topping the agenda was the
recent announcement by the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) through the
provincial administration regarding the guidelines and policies on the
duties of sub-district headmen or ‘kamnan’ and village headmen also
known as ‘pooyai ban’.
During the meeting Somsak Yonokphan explained the
importance of their position in providing service to the community. As
village and sub-district representatives their job is to provide honest
service and advice and resolve problems within their jurisdiction.
The district chief added that he is obliged to report to
the provincial office of the MOI what is happening within the Banglamung
area and notify the office if anyone is not performing properly.
New policies regarding administration sections in small
communities were passed earlier this year, which state that those who misuse
their authority are subject to criminal prosecution.
However, the MOI has also stated that civil servants will
be rewarded for their efforts if their performance is outstanding and they
contribute exceptional service to the community.
Drunk and naked, woman prances into Pattaya police station after
a heavy session
Whoever said the graveyard shift in Pattaya was ever dull
wasn’t there at around 3 a.m. on Sunday morning a woman wearing nothing
but a smile pranced into Pattaya police station. Apparently upset over
something, the women, later identified as Noi, was incomprehensible to
police and reporters. Apparently she joined the festivities at the Pattaya
Bike weekend and engaged in a heavy drinking session.
night ended with her finally donning some clothes before heading in the
direction of Pattaya beach, leaving local police to shake their heads.
Speaking loudly, she had no inhibitions about her state
of undress and was not afraid to show or tell anyone about it. Police and
reporters tried to calm her down and persuade her to don some clothing.
After around 10 minutes the women agreed and she was handed a pair of jeans
and a long sleeve shirt. She then made her way out of the station and into
the night in the direction of the beach.
Amazed police officers let her go of her own accord since
she posed no threat to anyone, although normal protocol would have been to
charge her with drunk and disorderly conduct in public. However, since she
was brave enough to walk into the station without a stitch of clothing, all
duty officers could do was shake their heads that the woman had the audacity
to commit such an act.
Japanese businessman found
murdered in his condo
Police say they know who did it
Thirty-seven year old Japanese national Keita Samukawa
was found in his condo room with his throat cut. Police believe that he may
have been dead for three days, as apartment staff said they last saw him on
Saturday with a young Thai man between 18 and 20 years of age. Keita
Samukawa was a marketing manager for the Toichidentsu Company.
A police inspection of the room revealed traces of
anti-retroviral drugs. Samukawa’s personal items from his room and car
were reported to be missing.
Police suspect the killer stole Samukawa’s car and
On Wednesday, police located the dead man’s car in the
central province of Ang Thong, approximately 200 kilometers north of
Bangkok. Investigating officers say they know the identity of the killer and
expect to make an arrest in the near future.
Unattended luggage holds Mini Siam Theme Park staff and police at bay for 4 hours
Benign briefcase assaulted by navy bomb squad
At 8.30 p.m. on July 3 Banglamung police were called to
inspect the mysterious appearance of a briefcase at the Mini Siam theme park
on Sukhumvit Road. The head of security at the park reported he suspected
the bag was in fact a bomb.
ordinance expert examines the rogue luggage more closely after x-rays
revealed it to be harmless. The bag had been left at the entrance to Mini
Siam, and security feared it might have been a bomb.
Criminal investigation police arrived at the scene to
find the 70cm x 50cm bag located next to one the two giant statues guarding
the entrance to the park. After a quick examination of the suspicious item,
police were unsure of the contents of the bag and called in specialists from
the Ordnance Department at Sattahip Navy Base to investigate.
The navy teams brought in their bomb disposal experts and
an X-ray machine to view the contents of the case.
The remote control unit revealed nothing out of the
ordinary. Irked at the false alarm, navy officers nevertheless confiscated
Police now think some forgetful tourist left his or her bag behind or
that someone mischievously left the bag there to scare staff and police.
Chemicals connected with
deadly wine located
Police raid Soi Batman lawyer’s premises
The tragic death of one person last week as a result of
drinking poisoned wine prompted a nationwide uproar resulting in an
intensive investigation. Local and regional police traced the source
elements of the deadly drink to a location in Soi Batman in South Pattaya.
Criminal investigation officers raided a shop house in
the South Pattaya soi belonging to a lawyer. It was apparent that the owner
of the business was aware of the impending raid since he fled before
Officers found three 200-liter barrels of chemical
substances. They were later identified as gamma butyrolcatone (GBL) and
Tetrahydrofurane (THL), the same constituents found in the bogus bottle of
wine. Police confiscated the containers for further testing and as evidence.
Officers also found shipping documents addressed to a
company in the United States.
One of the chemicals, GBL, has been used in western
countries as a hallucinogen in minute quantities. Large doses cause
reparatory failure and sudden death.
Last Friday evening Pattaya Tourist Police raided the
Supaprint graphic design and print business on Pattaya Third Road, detaining
Miss Ooythip Srikrot and Sonsak Prisananont. Officers also confiscated 1,000
stickers with the bogus Le Sante Winery labels and receipts from the job
The pair told police that they were employees of the
company and provided them with as many details as they could remember.
Officers then moved to the print house were the labels were printed.
Officers also detained Miss Sompong Tongsuk, manager of PM Offset Printing.
All three told police that they had received the print
order in February this year but thought nothing of it until the news hit the
national media and newspapers. Miss Sompong told police she was shocked to
see her work in the national newspapers and called police to offer full
Police officials said that the three would not be charged
as they cooperated fully in the investigation and apparently were conducting
their business without knowledge of criminal intent.
Pol. Maj. Panya Marman, tourist police superintendent,
said that criminal investigation police are now looking for the man who
ordered the wine labels as well as some 600 liters of chemicals missing from
drums found in last week’s raid in South Pattaya.
The chemicals contained in the deadly wine were shipped
to the US and police believe that it is part of an elaborate drug ring since
the chemicals are used in manufacturing narcotics.
Police are looking for Noraset Tunthawirote and two
foreign nationals in connection with the poisonous wine. One man has been
identified as Jon Erik Hamsten, a 28-year-old Swedish national.