In heavy rain, Pattaya and Naklua residents try to celebrate annual vegetarian festival
Naklua market submerged in floodwaters
& Damri Muangkaew
Over 1,000 people braved a torrential downpour to partake
in a parade celebrating the annual vegetarian festival, held September 25 to
October 4. The group made its way from the Vegetarian Hall in Naklua down to
the fresh markets to jump-start this year’s festival.
of people of Chinese descent braved a torrential downpour to celebrate the
beginning of the annual Vegetarian Festival held in Naklua.
Thai residents of Chinese descent were dressed in white
for the start of the weeklong event. Many did their best to light joss
sticks in the rain, and prayed to deities to cleanse their souls as they in
turn cleansed the bodies of animal products in an act of compassion for the
The ancient belief is that 9 Chinese deities observe the
behavior of human beings during the weeklong event with each action being
logged into the heavenly account. As part of the festival and respect for
the deities, many devotees pledge to consume only fruit and vegetables
throughout the week.
floods cause financial chaos when venders tried to earn during a festival
However, not all was rosy in river city, as heavy rains
and flooding washed out much of the events at the beginning of the festival.
The fresh market in Naklua was knee-deep in water, not allowing vendors to
sell their vegetarian food to the masses.
One vendor told reporters, “Every year it rains and
every year the market area is flooded. It causes an enormous amount of
difficulty trying to earn a living, especially during important festivals
such as this (the vegetarian festival). Many of us lose money because of the
poor drainage in the market area.”
Residents and vendors have called for action from the
city to rectify the drainage problem. City administrators are apparently
reviewing plans to renovate the market area and improve the local
infrastructure, but it is not yet known when the project is scheduled to
More lighting proposed for Beach Road in attempt to get rid of the ‘ghosts under the palm trees’
Spotlighting hookers may reduce
At the monthly city council meeting, debates sparked over
whether or not to increase lighting on Pattaya Beach Road to chase away the
menacing ‘women of the second category’, streetwalkers and reduce
Mayor Pairat Suthithamrongsawat stressed, “City
management takes seriously Pattaya’s image and people’s perception of
the city. One of our many concerns is to clean up Beach Road, but numerous
schemes to accomplish this have failed, particularly on the issue of
streetwalkers and ‘katoeys’ plying their sexual services in the shadows
along the popular strip.”
The mayor proposed that lighting be increased from the
Dusit corner in North Pattaya down to Walking Street in South Pattaya, with
the project coming under the 2004 budget allocation.
However, Sittiparp Muangkham, Pattaya engineering
director pointed out that the department had not considered this, and has
not requested a budget allowance for the project. He said they planned to
place weather and temperature monitoring units on the light poles, but since
the suggestion was made, he said the department would consider more lighting
in next year’s budget.
Other hot topics brought up during the meeting included
the condition of the city’s roads - many of which are still under
construction - and the replacement of drainage pipes and building of
footpaths. Scores of residents have petitioned the local administration to
speed up the construction process and relieve the current traffic mess. City
officers agreed to coax contractors into completing their projects on
schedule, adding that a number of them are due to be finished in early
Pattaya Culture Committee drives home need for better standards to protect
the youth from the evils of alcohol
Members from the Pattaya Religious and Cultural Committee
met with members from the government and private sector to stress the need
for tighter controls on lewd entertainment and the sale of alcohol and
cigarettes to minors.
The committee concluded the city administration had done
little to control the sale of otherwise legal substances in the form of
cigarettes and alcohol to those less than 20 years old and objected to the
illegal guides who take their tour groups to venues staging obscene
entertainment. The committee also demanded the council take action in order
to ‘protect’ the youth and restore cultural and religious values among
Yodthong Senawong, committee member said, “The city has
failed to control the sale of controlled substances. It has also shown
little ability to crack down on business operators who defy the law by
selling these goods to minors and has had little success closing down
illegal entertainment establishments that persist in providing lewd shows in
defiance of the law. This ineffectiveness is destroying our precious
Yodthong proposed that stickers be printed in both
English and Chinese to inform tourists of the consequences of breaking local
Surapol Tiensuwan, Banglamung district chief said, “The
standards are in place but there are three types of operators that break the
law that must be dealt with. The first is lewd entertainment purported by
tour guides and in most cases the owners are Chinese. The second group is
go-go bars that allow women to dance naked on stage and the third group
consists of streetwalkers who sell their services and have no fixed
location. The district does enforce the law with the cooperation of Pattaya
police station, but we have failed to secure any cooperation from businesses
to cease such operations. After they have been caught and fined, most of
them return to their old ways and continue to break the law.”
The district chief called for greater cooperation from
all concerned departments to assist in enforcing the law. The outcome, as
usual, remains to be seen.
Redemptorist School, government and private sectors co-organize job placement market for disabled in Chonburi
Last Thursday, Mayor Pairat Suthithamrongsawat opened a
job fair at the Redemptorist School for the Disabled in Pattaya for the
disabled in Chonburi. Also attending were many representatives from the
government and private sectors in Pattaya and Chonburi.
students received an opportunity to meet with employers to help ensure a
The mayor said that in the past, the disabled were
usually denied jobs in some workplaces because the Human Resources
departments of those companies did not know that the disabled actually
possessed an equal level of working skills comparable to many non disabled
persons. But it is good to see that nowadays many companies are giving an
opportunity to the disabled to work and earn their living.
In Chonburi, it is also noticeable that companies and
associations are employing a larger number of the disabled to work in their
Somchai Sirorat, director of Chonburi Social and Security
Development Bureau said that under the new constitution, every person is
given equal rights for living and working. He said the bureau is an active
government department that is working to improve the living standards of the
underprivileged, the poor, the homeless, and people who suffer from many
kinds of social problems.
Somchai said the bureau would find the most suitable jobs
for those in need and forward them to the workplaces. Basically, the bureau
is acting as the medium between job seekers and government departments or
companies in need of new employees.
Nithit Arayawuthi, president of Laem Chabang Human
Resource Management Association said the association is determined to help
the needy, especially the disabled, to find jobs. Nithit said the job fair
for the disabled was organized to give employers a chance to meet with job
seekers. He said it was also a great opportunity for the disabled to show
their knowledge and skills to the employers. Nithit added that the disabled
could also prove that they were no less capable of working in the various
jobs than non-disabled persons.
City allocates 250 million baht
for underground cables on Beach Road
Could begin in Jan. 2004 - planners will try to reduce traffic disruption
City department heads called a meeting with all concerned
organizations, including regional electrical authority, water authority,
telephone organizations and cable operators to discuss plans to place
unsightly cables underground along Pattaya Beach Road.
Director of the planning and construction office, Phichet
Utaiwattananont said during the meeting, “We made our plans and it is now
time to listen to all organizations concerned before the plans to place all
cable underground along Beach Road are submitted to the relevant government
from the regional electrical authority, water authority, telephone
organizations and cable operators held a crucial meeting to discuss possible
solutions for cables going underground along Pattaya Beach Road.
The project will bury 3.4 kilometers of ugly telephone,
electrical and TV cables underground and has been approved with a budget
allowance of 250 million baht.
Opinions and alterations were discussed before a final
agreement was made. Construction along the stretch of Beach Road from the
Dolphin Roundabout through to Walking Street will begin in January 2004.
Phichet told reporters that High Density Drilling
equipment will be used to create the necessary space - 3 meters under the
road surface - for the pipes to position the cables and it would not be
necessary to tear up the road during the course of construction.
“The main problem associated with the project is the
affect it will have on traffic. However, what we are proposing is that the
work be carried out from midnight till dawn to reduce the inconvenience to
motorists. New water mains would also be apart of the project,” added the
director of planning and construction.
Contracting tenders will be announced in the near future,
and once approved the project is expected to take 9 months to complete.
Further areas slated for the future include Walking
Street and Pattaya Second Road, whereby all cables will go underground to
create a cleaner image for the city.
Mayor orders removal of boundary fence after residents complain
of being inconvenienced
Tempers flare as landowner claims his rights
Hot on the trail of illegal construction on public
property, Mayor Pairat Suthithamrongsawat visited a location on Central
Pattaya Road after residents in the 10 adjacent shophouses complained that
they were unable to enter or leave their property because the landowner had
built a fence blocking access.
Sarayuth Glinmarhom (left) shows land ownership documentation to Mayor
Pairat Suthithamrongsawat (center) and Pol. Capt. Taweesak Sueatong (right).
At 10.30 p.m. the mayor, municipal officers and civil
protection volunteers inspected the site next to the Pad Boong Loy Fah
Restaurant where Col. Sarayuth Glinmarhom was instructing construction
workers to build the fence to safeguard his newly acquired property. The
fence was blocking a 6-meter access point to the remaining shophouses.
The mayor stormed in and immediately ordered all work to
cease and that the fence be removed on the grounds that it encroached on
public property, created problems for residents in the area and that there
was no permit issued to build the fence.
Colonel Sarayuth explained that he took ownership of the
land at the beginning of the month and said he was within his rights to
build a fence on his own land and he had the documentation to prove it.
The mayor stood his ground and told Sarayuth that if he
refused to remove the fence, under the law, he would be arrested and legal
proceedings would follow. An argument ensued and an end to the situation
seemed nowhere in sight until local police arrived to quell the escalating
tempers of the mayor and residents.
Pol. Capt. Taweesak Sueatong mediated an agreement by
listening to both sides of the dispute and explained that the city has
building regulations whereby any construction must be approved and forbids
public land encroachment. The landowner has the right to protect his
property. In effect, the real losers are the shophouse owners who combine
their residences with business operations.
Col. Sarayuth agreed to remove the fence but wanted three
posts to remain to establish the legal boundaries of his property. He also
wanted acknowledgement that what he had done was perfectly legal, and that
he had only agreed to take the fence down because it caused problems for
residents. He said in fact the fence was legal because he was constructing a
building and would make very sure that all necessary permits would be
obtained from city hall, including permission to build the fence.
Region 2 officers raid pirate and porno VCD vendors in Pattaya
Doughty officers nab two vendors, bag hundreds of movies
Regional crime suppression officers on the trail of
pirate goods were recently out in force again looking to bag more bogus
goods in Pattaya. After inspecting a number of markets around town they
swooped down on a vendor in Soi 13/2 on Pattaya Beach Road, netting 610
pornographic VCDs and another 11 pirated titles. The vendor, 35-year-old
Manat Kaewnooch from Bangkok, was remanded to custody.
are all smiles as the paw through the hundreds of porn videos police
confiscated during a raid last week.
Not more than 5 meters away from the first vendor police
detained a 15-year-old boy who was selling pornographic VCDs. Both vendors
were taken into custody and charged with distributing pornographic material
and pirated material in breach of copyright laws.
Young hooligans busted for throwing bottles and stones at karaoke bar owned by police officer
Oops, looks like they picked the wrong karaoke to attack
Local police arrested seven rowdy thugs for throwing
bottles and stones at a Soi Kaho Noi Karaoke Bar.
The bar owner, who also happens to be a police officer in
Pattaya, reported the event to the Banglamung station. Police radioed ahead
and caught up with the gang as they passed the highway patrol office. The
seven men, between the ages of 16 and 23, were hauled in for questioning.
foolish seven - these boys were caught throwing stones at a karaoke owned by
a Pattaya cop.
Officers confiscated four motorcycles, one belonging to
23-year-old Surachai Sulaimarn who was carrying a loaded .22 pistol and 78
rounds of ammunition, but the reason for the attack on the bar was not
All seven were charged with willful damage of private
property and disturbing the peace. Surachai Sulaimarn received additional
charges of carrying a loaded and unlicensed firearm.
American found dead
in his rented room
Police surmise drug overdose was the cause
Police received a report that a foreign man was found dead
in a rented room in Soi Yensabai last Monday, September 29.
At the scene, the smell of burning incense sticks was
emanating from the deceased’s room. The television was still on and the
air-conditioner was still switched on full.
Steven Hume Carson, aged 30, an American national, was
found dead on the floor. Police surmised that the man had been dead for 4-5
days prior to being found.
In the room police also found an 11 mm pistol with some
ammunition on the table. One used and numerous unused syringes were
discovered in the closet drawer, as well as heroine powder in a spoon.
Upon questioning the landlord, Sanit Luamsai, aged 58,
who reported the death to the police, officers learned that the deceased had
stayed in the rented room for the past 7 months. Sanit also said that Carson
often appeared intoxicated.
Sanit said he last he saw Carson the previous Wednesday,
and he did not see him again until he noticed foul smell coming out of the
room and went to investigate.
Police surmised that Carson probably died from a drug
overdose. However, the body was sent to the forensic institute to determine
the actual cause of death.
Drug Suppression Unit arrests three drug dealers
First caught fingers other three
Kao Karat Condo residents, fearing for their personal
safety and loss of property, informed police that they suspected there were
drug dealers living within the complex.
Col Kamolchai Tienrungroj (left), Pattaya police superintendent, called a
press conference to announce the arrest of three men suspected of dealing
When drug suppression police raided the apartment in
question, they found two men in the process of using methamphetamines. After
a bit of minor scurrying about, both were detained. One of the addicts,
Natagrit Samdeaw, had 20 pills in his possession, which were duly
Natagrit fingered his accomplishes and told officers he
purchased the drugs from two other men he identified as Apichart Kongpeng
and Yuthana Tubmanee.
A sting operation was planned and officers met with the
unsuspecting Apichart, and confiscated a further 50 pills. A second sting
netted a further 875 methamphetamine pills from a still obviously
All three were charged with possession of illegal
narcotics and now face lengthy jail terms.
Regional police bust football bookie just
200 meters from Pattaya police
An intensive investigation on illegal gambling conducted
by Region 2 police officers led them to the Pornpun Secondhand Shop on
Pattaya Second Road, just over 200 meters from Pattaya Police station. Once
they had gathered enough evidence, a court order was issued to search the
premises and detain anyone there engaging in illegal activities.
Police moved in and presented the court order to Chaiyar
Kaewgrachai, the 47-year-old owner of the shop. A search of the premises
revealed another 52 people in a back room and 250 betting tickets, 40,000 in
cash and international football results, with evidence pointing to over 3
million baht in turnover on a daily basis.
Officers detained Chaiya and the 52 punters for
questioning. Chaiya admitted to his activities saying that he was preparing
for a Spurs vs. South Hampton match.
The secondhand goods dealer was charged with running an
illegal gambling operation. The remaining 52 were charged with their
involvement in illegal activities. All are now facing the gamble of judge,
jury and jail time.
Local police raid gambling
After a period of surveillance, local police raided the
storage area of the Rungruang Tour Company in North Pattaya at 2 a.m. on
Sunday morning and nabbed a group of luckless gamblers. Five people were
arrested in the raid for playing the game Hi-Lo. All five persons, aged
between 35-48 years old, were hauled off to the Pattaya police station for
questioning and now face charges for illegal gambling in the kingdom.
Two men rushed to hospital
from Larn Island after a joint suicide attempt
Two men working as security guards at the World Gems
complex in North Pattaya were rushed to Pattaya Memorial Hospital from Larn
Island after drinking a potentially lethal cocktail of insecticide and
coffee last Tuesday morning.
Pattaya police and Sawang Boriboon personnel were called
to Larn Island after tourists saw the two men lying on the beach, both
foaming at the mouth. Yupim Busa, 32, and Bunyai Narmsaeng, 29, were taken
to Pattaya Memorial Hospital in serious condition where doctors administered
the necessary antidotes and drips infusion to counter the nerve destroying
effect of insecticide.
When the pair regained consciousness in the ICU, police
questioned them. They told officers that they had made a suicide pact with
each other because they were unable to pay their rent and send money to
their families. They made their way to Larn Island, bought the coffee and
drank the deadly mixture.
pirated goods worth over 200,000 baht
After being tipped off that illegal goods were on display
and on sale on several stalls in Modern City, Pattaya police officers were
dispatched to arrest the copyright violators.
Many fake brand name shoes and clothes were confiscated
including copies of Nike, Adidas, Lacoste, and Berbery goods. The goods were
hidden under counters and in a storeroom. 1,553 pairs of fake Nike, 32 pairs
of Adidas shoes, and 169 other imitated brand name clothes were confiscated,
in all totaling around 200,000 baht.
The vendors were taken to the police station and will
face charges for selling imitation goods and breach of copyright laws.
possession of ‘ya bah’ pills and illegal weapon in South Pattaya
Police arrested 4 drug dealers in a recent raid in South
Pattaya. The four persons were delivering their illegal goods to their
customers in Soi Day and Night and Soi Jirapol areas. Monop, aged 27 from
Sriracha, had 150 methamphetamine pills and a .38 caliber pistol in his
possession. Warinporn aged 21 from Phitsanulok, had 30 pills, while Kwandao,
aged 25 from Petchaboon, and Sunisa, aged 26 from Nakhon Ratchasima, each
had 4 ‘ya bah’ tablets in their possession. All were taken to the police
station where they were interrogated and charged accordingly.
Local pub raided,
5 gamblers arrested, one escapes
Pattaya’s crime suppression unit raided the Rhino Pub
on Pattaya Third Road at 1 a.m. last Friday, as they suspected illegal
gambling was taking place on the premises. Turns out they were right, for
officers detained 5 men and confiscated gambling equipment. All five were
taken to Pattaya police station for processing.
However, arresting officers did not handcuff the men and
when they pulled into the Pattaya police station one of the men fled on foot
when the vehicle came to a stop. The runner was identified only as Chot.
The other four men were, however, charged with illegal
gambling and await the relevant legal processes.
Arresting officers knew the men in question and
apparently felt that they would not try to escape, therefore handcuffs were
thought to be unnecessary. Apparently they were wrong. Reporters covering
the arrest and detention were asked for forbearance. Police maintained an
arrest of the escapee was imminent.
Concerned environmentalists turn out for the 5th Annual Underwater Cleaning Project
Divers clean seabed near Larn Island
Over 100 divers from the government and private sector
turned up at the Bali Hai Pier last Saturday morning to take part in the 5th
Annual Underwater Cleaning Project.
to dedicated divers there are less tin cans to worry about on Pattaya’s
Formal ceremonies began just before 8 a.m. as
representatives from the local administration, provincial government, navy
and recreational divers came together to pool their resources in order to
improve and conserve Pattaya’s marine eco system.
The International Cleanup Day was co organized by Pattaya
City, TAT Region 3 and the Marine Dive Co. Ltd. as part of a conservation
campaign to protect the region’s natural resources. The cleaning, which
took place over Saturday and Sunday, focused on removing rubbish from the
seabed dumped by careless people around Larn Island.
and friends are in high spirits while working in teams during the Underwater
The project also educates the public on the importance of
caring for the environment and promotes awareness of how precious natural
resources such as the sea are a now a vital factor to the success of the
region’s tourism industry.
Each of the divers taking part in the clean up were
presented with gifts and a certificate of appreciation from the PADI Diving
Association’s Project Aware program.
Nang Nual Restaurant told to dismantle remaining illegal structure
Walking Street’s famous seafood eatery in the spotlight again
Walking Street’s now-famous seafood eatery, Nang Nual
Restaurant is in the spotlight again, as city hall still hasn’t figured
out a way to force the obstinate ownership to dismantle the most profitable
area of the restaurant.
The offending structure, a seating area 20 meters wide
and 10 meters long, was built on pylons out over Pattaya Bay. This is
illegal under Thai law.
City’s next move will be to push for the owner of Nang Nual to voluntarily
remove the encroaching construction soon,” Vice Governor Preecha
Kamolbutra said optimistically, although perhaps not quite realistically.
“The restaurant owner could face a fine of 10,000 baht per day if no
immediate action is taken.”
City and provincial officials met again last Thursday to
try and find a reasonable solution to the problem, but so far seem to be
coming up empty.
According to the Supreme Court, the offending edifice
must be dismantled, post haste. However, the owner of the building keeps
appealing the court order, which has long-stalled the city’s attempt to
solve the problem their way.
A technician from Pattaya City Hall’s Public Facility
Department explained that concerned authorities had at one time, under the
authority of a court order, actually removed the second floor of the
construction that encroached into South Pattaya Bay. He added that the case
has been dragging on for over 10 years now, bogged down by counter court
On March 11 this year, the restaurant proprietor pleaded
to the Chonburi Province Appeals Court to revise the order, but the plea was
The Supreme Court has allegedly closed the case; however,
the technician said city authorities are still waiting for the date for the
removal to be released. He said the city has to assemble all their men and
equipment in case a court order of negligence is issued.
Vice Governor Preecha Kamolbutra, chairing the meeting in
place of Governor Pisit Khetphasook, who could not attend the meeting
because he was at a seminar in Japan, said, “It is illegal to extend any
kind of structure over a natural preservative zone or public area. Nowadays
the government, groups of non-governmental activists, and the media are
keeping a close eye on law violators.”
“The city’s next move will be to push for the owner
of Nang Nual to voluntarily remove the encroaching construction soon,” the
vice governor said optimistically, although perhaps not quite realistically.
“Since the removal order from the Supreme Court remains unchanged, the
restaurant owner could face a fine of 10,000 baht per day if no immediate
action is taken to rectify the problem,” he concluded.